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Joseph Smith:

“Is called in Egyptian Enish-go-on-dosh; this is one of the governing planets also, and is said by the Egyptians to be the Sun, and to borrow its light from Kolob through the medium of Kae-e-vanrash, which is the grand Key, or, in other words, the governing power, which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars, as also Floeese or the Moon, the Earth and the Sun in their annual revolutions. This planet receives its power through the medium of Kli-flos-is-es, or Hah-ko-kau-beam, the stars represented by numbers 22 and 23, receiving light from the revolutions of Kolob.”

Waters Of Creation – Egyptologists say this is Ihet, a form of goddess Hathor: “A cow wearing a sun disk and double plumes with a menit-necklace (symbol of Hathor, Ihet, etc.). This is the cow Ihet mentioned in chapter 162 of the Book of the Dead, which should be drawn on a piece of new papyrus to make a hypocephalus. Hence this picture of a cow is common to almost all hypocephali. Ihet is a form of Hathor, a personification of the original waters from which the whole of creation arose and the one who gave birth to the sun.” (Michael Rhodes, BYU Studies)

Warmth During Night – This cow stands upside down to Figure 1, to signify Figure 1’s aspect during the night time. As Figure 1 represented the path of the sun by day, so Figure 5 represents the path of the sun at night. Hathor gave “‘warmth’ to the deceased in the underworld.” Specifically, she gave “warmth for the body” in the cold of night. The deceased sought for the reviving warmth of the sun during the dark time of death, and a purpose of the hypocephalus document–which is what Facsimile 2 is–was to provide this warmth.

Joseph Smith said this Figure was “said by the Egyptians to be the Sun… which governs fifteen other fixed planets or stars.” He was totally correct: “Hathor, goddess of the nocturnal sky, also plays the role of sun-eye.” She bears the “sun-disc between her horns” and gives birth to the sun in the morning. The Hathor cow in this Figure creates the sun.

The rim of Facsimile 2 indicates that the deceased individual for whom this hypocephalus was written finds himself enveloped by this Hathor bull: “I am the Provider in the Sun Temple in Heliopolis. [I am] most exalted and very glorious. [I am] a virile bull without equal. [I am] that Mighty God in the Sun Temple in Heliopolis. with that Mighty God in Heliopolis.” The deceased gains access to be one of the gods by being birthed along with them in the waters of whole creation.

Derived From Figure 1 – The Egyptians considered Hathor to be Amun-Re’s daughter, in that she derived from him. Hathor was born of the sun, being the daughter of Amun-Re. The fluid from Re fell “onto the earth from his eye and transformed into the beautiful Hathor.” Joseph Smith was therefore correct to say this Figure and the sun gets “its light from” Figure 1, Amun-Re. The Egyptian’s made sense of how forces of the universe affected other forces through their mythology of male and female and which gods combined to copulate and create another god. Egyptians therefore believed Amun-Re provided light and governing power to the sun through Hathor.

Medium Of Power

This cow Figure also represents the goddess Mehweret: “She is also connected with Mehweret (Greek Methyr), another cow goddess who symbolized the sky and is the celestial mother by whom the sun is reborn each day. The name Mehweret (Mh-wr.t) means, “Great fullness,” i.e., the primeval waters from which Re, the Sun, first arose. Standing behind the cow is the goddess Wedjat who is holding a lotus blossom, the symbol of rebirth, here indicating the daily and annual renewal of the sun.” (Michael Rhodes, BYU Studies)

The name Mehweret means “Great fullness” and refers to the primeval waters of creation that birth Re. Mehweret is called the eye of Re: “Mehweret is named the ‘Eye of Re'” and is shown “wearing the sun disc and the double plume” of Ra. Now, this is important because to be designated “Eye of Re” was to receive the power of Re: “The designation refers to the fact that these volatile goddesses are agents of, and counterparts to, the sun god Re.” Joseph Smith was therefore correct to say Mehweret receives “governing power” from Atum-Re. “Eye of Re” is synonymous with “acts of Re”, and this Mehweret cow performed the acts of Re.

Heliopolis, which earlier we saw called out in the rim of the hypocephalus, was specifically the cult location that considered Amun-Re to be the power behind the the Ihet cow’s creation acts: “In a well-preserved Roman Period (30 BCE-495 CE) text, Neith/Ihet creates the world by making seven utterances that lead to the sun’s birth out of the Nun and to a creation of the world and of humanity–with man evolving from the tears of the sun god’s eye and the gods from the saliva of his lips. In Thebes, the Heliopolitan creation was elaborated by attributing stages of the creative act to the local deity Amun-Ra.” (All Things Ancient Egypt: An Encyclopedi…, Lisa K. Sabbahy)

The seven stages of creation were delegated by the supreme God to Ihet and then on to the other other celestial bodies. This creation of the earth and sky is referenced in this Facsimile 2 temple document to suggest the priesthood power that will revitalize and fill the deceased individual for whom it is written. Joseph Smith was correct that Hathor was believed to “borrow its light from” Figure 1, but held back explaining why.

Festival Of The Beautiful Embrace – The hypocephalus is a cosmological diagram, like the face of a clock, where the sun goes around in a cyclical circle. The upper half is daytime and the lower half is nighttime. These Figures speak to the meeting of the morning and evening sun, or the day sun and the night moon.

This astronomical moment of the year was celebrated by the Egyptian festival of the “beautiful embrace,” where Hathor meets Horus and exchanges powers. They literally exchange powers: it was also considered a moment of “sacred marriage.” Statues of Hathor and Horus were placed next to each other in a romantic way by priests on the day of the new moon. The gods were thought to exchange power through the romantic act and in so doing revitalize the earth for another year.

In an associated ritual in the Decade Festival, the Amun-Re statue was carried to the mound of creation at Medinet Habu for revitalization, and then the statue returned to his goddess wife for a “two-day divine re-entrance ritual… represented as ‘He whose hand is holy’ and ‘Bull of his Mother’, showing the fertility aspects of the re-entry.”

Joseph Smith, again, correctly identified this Hathor symbol as “borrowing its light from Kolob” or Knum/Amun-Re to create and govern the planets, as a parent creates and governs children. It is an important aspect of Egyptian cosmology that forms the structure behind the Egyptian concept of rebirth. The final scene of the Beautiful Embrace showed the “return of Hathor, mother, daughter, consort, to Edfu”, which “also heralds the royal installation, patterned after the original Sed Festival when Hathor first meets the embrace of Horus.”

Figure 1’s relationship to Figure 5 therefore is the basis of the Sed Festival, which is what is shown in our Facsimile 1 lion couch scene.

Basis For Facsimile 1

Revitalizing Power – Joseph Smith said this night sun and the “planet receives its power” through some kind of medium. Hathor herself acted as a medium of power in rituals: “Then as cow-goddess she suckles the child. The suckling of the child by Hathor has a deeper meaning… it is only through this divine mother-milk that the young prince becomes a true king… This gesture can be interpreted either as a mark of favour or as a sign that the goddess recognizes the queen and wishes to give her power.”(Hathor and Thoth: Two Key Figures of the Ancient Egyptian Religion, Claas Jouco Bleeker)

We do not see a scepter in this Figure to signify governing power, but we do see a bouquet of lotus flowers, and “Egyptians also saw papyrus as a protective symbol, often taking the form of a scepter.” Joseph Smith is correct that we see “governing power” and priesthood authority. The Sed Festival referenced Hathor’s role of divine mother to show the kingdom that the king held divine rulership. The king experienced much the same process as Horus did in his rebirth. “Neith was said to have carried the infant sun god the length of Egypt seated between her horns. In the second myth, the Ihet cow gave birth to and suckled the infant god Horus in the marshes of Chemmis. The Ihet cow was most commonly identified with Isis or Hathor… Royal birth scenes show a pair of cow-headed goddesses suckling the newborn king and his ka. Life, stability, and power were said to enter the king with the milk of the divine cow. From the Middle Kingdom onward, kings identified with Horus in Chemmis by depicting themselves being suckled by a divine cow hidden inside a papyrus thicket. Nonroyal people eventually became part of this mythical archetype by showing themselves sheltering beneath the head of the divine cow… Both Hathor and the sky goddess Nut could be imagined as a gigantic cow whose body was patterned with stars… In the graphic myths, the sun god sails along the belly of the cow each day. At night he traveled through the inner sky along an underworld river… The sky cow was the mother of the cosmos, who gave birth to the diurnal and nocturnal forms of the sun.” (Handbook of Egyptian Mythology, Geraldine Pinch)

The king made a prayer to Amun-Re in a chapter of the Book of the Dead: “Father of the Father, the most hidden of the most hidden, the Father who is up in heaven.” … Another main role in this chapter is played by the Ihet cow. At the beginning of the saying, one has the impression that the deceased identifies with this cow so that the lion god can protect him. The Ihet cow has been known as the creator of the sun god Re since the New Kingdom. This cow is also used to designate different goddesses. All of these goddesses are associated with the birth or attainment of the sun god. Although there is no evidence of Ihet-cow being the mother of Amun, it is likely that she was cited in this saying because of her motherly creations. The Ihet cow ended up being a frequent nickname of Neith. This could be one reason why this saying was so popular during the 26th dynasty – despite its upliftment of the god Amun, whose influence goes far back.” (Totenbuch-Forschungen: Gesammelte Beiträge Des 2…, Burkhard Backes, Irmtraut Munro, Simone Stöhr)

The protective lion god is found in Facsimile 1 as the lion couch on which the unfortunate proxy victim for the king is sacrificed. The lion is obviously not protective for the victim, but he is for the king for whom the victim is slain. Isis and Neith are often shown on either side of the lion couch vignette, though not in our Facsimile 1. But Neith, who is associated with the Ihet cow, is certainly referenced in Facismile 1 as the driving force behind the ritual:

In the firmament waters of Facsimile 1 we see Sobek the crocodile, explained to identify with the wicked priest who was behind the whole ritual taking place. Sobek the crocodile’s protective god was Neith, who was “the flood” god who provided the great primeval waters of creation’s birth. As such, she was considered the mother of Sobek. In funerary literature, the dead Pharaoh identified himself as Sobek and associated himself with Neith. The “dead king identifies himself with ‘Sobk son of Neith'” for two reasons: because the waters acted as “the ultimate source of all life” necessary for the king’s rebirth in the Sed festival, and because the flooding allowed “the king to cross to the horizon,” providing a watery path for him to traverse. In Facsimile 1, the king identified as crocodile to be enabled to cross these waters, and to gain authority on behalf of everyone else in his kingdom to do the same.

Neith’s symbol was a click beetle, which made reference to the beetle’s ability to “save itself from the rising flood waters of the Nile” by jumping high distances. This sounds awfully similar to Book of Abraham 1:23 which talks about a woman first discovering the land of Egypt as it was underwater and settling her sons there, from which “sprang” the race of Egyptians. This woman was the mother of all of Egypt. Neith was a protectionary creation god who assumed this characteristic of gathering life and preserving it above the waters of chaos, and as “father” of Egypt, the king Pharaoh assumed this identity.

Governing Planet -Joseph Smith said something very curious about this Figure: it was both the Sun and a governing planet also. How can that be? Both the sun and a governing planet? To the Egyptians, Hathor associated with Isis, or the planet Venus: “As the celestial cow called ‘eye of the sun (Re)’ in Egyptian funerary text, Hathor was frequently depicted wearing a large solar disk between her horns. Because of her original solar associations and further identification with Hathor… Isis sported the very same crown and also appropriated the cow as a sacred animals.”(Egyptian Religion: The Last Thousand Years…)

Amun – According to Orson Pratt in 1855, Joseph Smith identified the Egyptian god’s name Amun, which Orson Pratt spelled Ahman: “There is one revelation that this people are not generally acquainted with. I think it has never been published, but probably it will be in the Church History. It is given in questions and answers. The first question is, “What is the name of God in the pure language?” The answer says, “Ahman.” “What is the name of the Son of God?” Answer, “Son Ahman–the greatest of all the parts of God excepting Ahman.””

The later version of D&C 78:20 refers to “the Son Ahman, who prepareth all things before he taketh you… up in a cloud, and appoint every man his portion.” D&C 95:17 says it is synonymous with being Alpha and Omega: “Son Ahman; or, in other words, Alphus; or, in other words, Omegus; even Jesus Christ your Lord.”

D&C 88 is the key to understanding how Joseph Smith’s translation of Figure 5 fits in to his definition of Ahman. This powerful revelation explains what Alpha and Omega means: “He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth… The light which is in all things, which giveth life to all things, which is the law by which all things are governed, even the power of God.”

Light Cleaveth Unto Light – I think I could write an entire lengthy book about D&C 88. But to keep this article brief, the point is Jesus Christ is identified as the Son of God who provides the medium of power to the sun and planets and all people who receive priesthood power, and is the source of light that powers the sun and everything existing in the universe. It is crucial to remember that Joseph Smith’s translation of Figure 5 is only what was “said by the Egyptians.” It is similar to what we find in D&C 88, and we can assume the Egyptians based it on true doctrine, but it’s not the same thing.

In D&C 88:40 is the well-known verse explaining why the planet and moon how there are multiple kingdoms of glory: “For intelligence cleaveth unto intelligence; wisdom receiveth wisdom; truth embraceth truth; virtue loveth virtue; light cleaveth unto light… And their courses are fixed, even the courses of the heavens and the earth, which comprehend the earth and all the planets. And they give light to each other in their times and in their seasons…”

We would assume “light” here refers to gravity that keeps the planets spinning around the sun at varying circuits. But consider what ancient Roman writer Virtuvius said about light cleaving unto light: “According to the teaching of Berosus, who came from the state, or rather nation, of the Chaldees, and was the pioneer of Chaldean learning in Asia, the moon is a ball, one half luminous and the rest of a blue colour. When, in the course of her orbit, she has passed below the disc of the sun, she is attracted by his rays and great heat, and turns thither her luminous side, on account of the sympathy between light and light.”(Ten Books On Architecture, Vitruvius)

Berosus’s law “sympathy between light and light” sounds an awful lot like “light cleaveth unto light.” And who besides Berosus was from the Chaldees?


The Romans evidently misunderstood what Berosus was saying about the moon and took it to mean the moon literally turns its light side to be closer to the sun because it also produces light. But what we learn from D&C 88 and what we can glean from the Egyptian conception of Hathor and Amun-Re in the Facsimiles is is that priesthood power is the light that spins the moon and keeps the planet sin orbit around the sun. An exchange of governing power with Jesus Christ at the center keeps everything in its proper place.

In his explanation of the planets’ and stars’ varying speed around the sun, Vitruvius compared them to ants on a potter wheel: “For example, place seven ants on a wheel such as potters use, having made seven channels on the wheel about the centre, increasing successively in circumference; and suppose those ants obliged to make a circuit in these channels while the wheel is turned in the opposite direction. In spite of having to move in a direction contrary to that of the wheel, the ants must necessarily complete their journeys in the opposite direction, and that ant which is nearest the centre must finish its circuit sooner, while the ant that is going round at the outer edge of the disc of the wheel must, on account of the size of its circuit, be much slower in completing its course, even though it is moving just as quickly as the other. In the same way, these stars, which struggle on against the course of the firmament, are accomplishing an orbit on paths of their own; but, owing to the revolution of the heaven, they are swept back as it goes round every day. “(Ten Books On Architecture, Vitruvius)

The same imagery of individuals at varying radii away from the center of a circle can be seen in the explanation of how Jesus is Alpha and Omega in D&C 88: “He that ascended up on high, as also he descended below all things, in that he comprehended all things, that he might be in all and through all things, the light of truth; Which truth shineth. This is the light of Christ. As also he is in the sun, and the light of the sun, and the power thereof by which it was made. As also he is in the moon, and is the light of the moon, and the power thereof by which it was made; As also the light of the stars, and the power thereof by which they were made… Behold, I will liken these kingdoms unto a man having a field, and he sent forth his servants into the field to dig in the field. And he said unto the first: Go ye and labor in the field, and in the first hour I will come unto you, and ye shall behold the joy of my countenance. And he said unto the second: Go ye also into the field, and in the second hour I will visit you with the joy of my countenance. And also unto the third, saying: I will visit you; And unto the fourth, and so on unto the twelfth. And the lord of the field went unto the first in the first hour, and tarried with him all that hour, and he was made glad with the light of the countenance of his lord. And then he withdrew from the first that he might visit the second also, and the third, and the fourth, and so on unto the twelfth. And thus they all received the light of the countenance of their lord, every man in his hour, and in his time, and in his season— Beginning at the first, and so on unto the last, and from the last unto the first, and from the first unto the last; Every man in his own order, until his hour was finished, even according as his lord had commanded him, that his lord might be glorified in him, and he in his lord, that they all might be glorified.”(Ten Books On Architecture, Vitruvius)

Joseph Smith said the earth receives power through the “medium of Kli-flos-is-es,” which some have speculated to mean “Isis-draws-near-and-comes-forth.” Though this Facsimile was drawn with an Egyptian understanding and is to some degree wrong, we can still through Joseph Smith’s interpretation appreciate rich cosmology and understanding of eternal progression and the nature of priesthood power.

For more insight on the names Joseph Smith identifies in this Figure, see here.

Categories: Apologetics