Date: March 08, 2018 09:47AM
What's the current stand on it?
You can get that from the "essay" the church published on the topic a while back.
From which I quote:
"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces the book of Abraham as scripture."
First sentence in the essay. Sets the stage -- they've already reached a conclusion, no matter what the evidence says.
"The book originated with Egyptian papyri that Joseph Smith translated beginning in 1835. Many people saw the papyri, but no eyewitness account of the translation survives, making it impossible to reconstruct the process."
Well, ok, it did originate about the time Smith got some Egyptian papyri. But it wasn't "translated" (and they admit as much later in the essay, making that line a blatant contradiction), and the "Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar" that Smith made up DOES survive (along with descriptions of how it was made), so the last line is also a blatant lie.
"Only small fragments of the long papyrus scrolls once in Joseph Smith’s possession exist today. The relationship between those fragments and the text we have today is largely a matter of conjecture."
Another blatant lie. The surviving portions match up perfectly with the "facsimiles" published in the book itself, and with what Smith and others say he "translated." And what survived is much more than "small fragments." This lie gives the foundation for their position: that we don't have the stuff Smith "translated." When we do.
" The word translation typically assumes an expert knowledge of multiple languages. Joseph Smith claimed no expertise in any language. He readily acknowledged that he was one of the “weak things of the world,” called to speak words sent “from heaven.”1 Speaking of the translation of the Book of Mormon, the Lord said, “You cannot write that which is sacred save it be given you from me.”2 The same principle can be applied to the book of Abraham. The Lord did not require Joseph Smith to have knowledge of Egyptian. By the gift and power of God, Joseph received knowledge about the life and teachings of Abraham."
Above, they try to re-define what "translation" means -- they have to, since the book's introduction claims the book was translated from the papyrus (it also says the papyrus was written by Abraham's "own hand," and it most certainly was not, it's at least 1500 years later than when Abraham could have existed). But to try and save the book they have, they re-define "translation" to not mean going from one language to another, but to mean "god told him what to write." And that the papyrus itself wasn't even necessary. Which isn't, of course, what "translate" means at all.
"The book of Abraham’s status as scripture ultimately rests on faith in the saving truths found within the book itself as witnessed by the Holy Ghost."
A dodge, to get the reader to ignore all of the facts & evidence showing the BoA isn't what Smith claimed, or what the church claimed, and wasn't translated, and wasn't written by Abraham, etc. Never mind all that -- just go by feelings and it's true. They use the same dodge with the BoM.
The essay does give their "stand" on the BoA.
Trouble is, the essay is full of obfuscations, half-truths, dodges, and outright lies. So it's not at all a stretch to say that their "stand" is that they're dishonest purveyors of bullshit.
You can read the whole thing for yourself here:https://www.lds.org/topics/translation-and-historicity-of-the-book-of-abraham?lang=eng
And then read a more honest appraisal here:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Critical_appraisal_of_the_Book_of_Abraham