It purports to document a heavenly ascent by Moses, where he was raptured up to Heaven and conversed with God. It teaches the theory of Mormon theology that all humans are the physical offspring of God, who begat them in something akin to the usual way with a " Heavenly Mother ", along with Jesus and Satan. Jesus and Satan are everybody's brothers. The Book of Abraham is even more interesting. Its theological significance is as an exposition of the Mormon priesthood.
Pearl of Great Price (Mormonism)
It represents Smith's clueless interpretation of several Ancient Egyptian papyri, the chief of which is one of many copies of the Egyptian Book of Breathing or Opening of the Mouth , a late recension of the Book of the Dead buried with mummies, that Smith got a hold of. Champollion's work on deciphering ancient Egyptian had not penetrated the United States at the time, so Smith's interpretation was made without the benefit of any real understanding of ancient Egyptian. The original papyri were thought lost in the Great Chicago Fire. However, portions of Smith's papyri were discovered by a Coptic scholar in , who revealed their survival to the LDS church.
Pearl of Great Price - RationalWiki
Subsequently, the Church bought the papyri, which are held in its archives as the Joseph Smith Papyri. The papyri were recognized because Smith published facsimiles of the fragments he possessed, with his own imaginative reconstruction of the gaps.
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In fairness to Smith, his drawings, though slightly garbled and containing imaginative reconstructions of the gaps, were accurate enough that Egyptologists were able to read some of the hieroglyphs they contained and determine that Smith's claims as to their significance were fabricated. Smith decided that his Egyptian papyri were written by the patriarch Abraham and contained autobiographical materials. In it, we learn that the Pharaoh was of the " race of Ham" and as such ineligible for the priesthood; this was one source of the LDS Church's teaching that African Americans and other Black people could not achieve the highest ranks in the Mormon hierarchy, nor obtain deification in the afterlife.
The Book of Abraham also tells us that the God worshipped by Christians in fact dwells on a planet revolving around a star or planet named Kolob.
Abraham, in a vision, "saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; … and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest. The Book of Abraham also represents Mormonism's abandonment of monotheism in favor of polytheism. According to the Book of Abraham, there are many gods; the God of the Christian faith only created the Earth , and the other gods are for other planets.
The sacrifice of Jesus is repeated under different names by different divine creators on different worlds, to redeem alien populations. It is the penultimate parable in Matthew 13, just before the Parable of the Dragnet. It immediately follows the Parable of the Hidden Treasure , which has a similar theme.
It does not appear in the other synoptic gospels  but a version of this parable does appear in the non-canonical Gospel of Thomas , Saying Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.
This parable is generally interpreted as illustrating the great value of the Kingdom of Heaven. Anglican bishop Charles Ellicott notes that:. They, rather than emeralds and sapphires , were the typical instance of all costliest adornments Matthew 7: Nolland comments that it shares with that parable the notions of "good fortune and demanding action in attaining the kingdom of heaven",  but adds in this case the notion of "diligent seeking". The valuable pearl is the "deal of a lifetime"  for the merchant in the story. However, those who do not believe in the kingdom of heaven enough to stake their whole future on it are unworthy of the kingdom.
O that Pearl of great price!
Spiritual Wisdom from Saint John of the Cross
Is the Savior supreme in your love? O consider it well, ere you answer, As you hope for a welcome above. Have you given up all for this Treasure? Have you counted past gains as but loss? Has your trust in yourself and your merits Come to naught before Christ and His cross?
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A less common interpretation of the parable is that the merchant represents Jesus , and the pearl represents the Christian Church. The phrase "Pearl of Great Price" has also been interpreted more widely to apply to things of great value in a number of religious contexts.