The Church continues to publish the slanderous Explanations of FACSIMILE NO. 3. It also publishes a childish apologetic mockup contained in an official Church publication entitled:
“The Book of Abraham,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2000), 28–41
With regard to Facsimile No. 3, the Church says virtually nothing on an official level. Church leaders never discuss it. Never! The above supplement is a rare look at the scant information produced and presented by official Church scholarship on their website regarding original translation claims made by Joseph Smith. In other words, informed leaders of the Church today know that Smith's claims are false but continue to publish them on pretense that members will accept them as true and ignore the objections of science and Egyptology from specialized universities around the world.
“The Book of Abraham,” The Pearl of Great Price Student Manual (2000), 28–41 wrote:
Facsimile 3. General Information
In Abraham 3:15, the Lord told Abraham that he was to teach the Egyptians the things he had learned (see Abraham 3:15). Commenting on this, the Prophet Joseph Smith said: “The learning of the Egyptians, and their knowledge of astronomy was no doubt taught them by Abraham and Joseph, as their records testify, who received it from the Lord” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 251).
Facsimile 3, figure 1. Abraham upon Pharaoh’s Throne
In figure 1 of facsimile 3, Abraham is shown seated upon the throne of Pharaoh, “reasoning upon the principles of Astronomy, in the king’s court” (explanation for facsimile 3; see also the explanation for figure 1). It is clear in Abraham 3:1–16 and facsimile 2, figures 1–5, that Abraham gained great knowledge of the principles of astronomy. Figure 1 could also be symbolic of Abraham receiving his exaltation and sitting upon a throne in the presence of God (see D&C 132:37).
Church leaders know that it's not really Abraham sitting on the throne. Scholars employed by Brigham Young University are also aware of this fact that refutes Smith's original claim contained in the canonical Explanation -- nevertheless, the Church continues to publish the falsehood in order to support the claim that Smith was translating Egyptian.
The Church employs the phrase "could also be symbolic" in order to distance itself from a literal translation and distance itself from Smith's original claim that he was literally translating Egyptian and not just providing a symbolic explanation that had no basis in fact or reality.
Then again, the use of the word "could" is suggestive that perhaps it could not, leaving only one alternative explanation -- the translation is literal as Smith and his assistants originally claimed, not symbolic. The Church is trying to play both sides of the fence and the double talk is simply dishonest.