THIS WAS ACTUALLY PREACHED AT THE PULPIT IN GENERAL CONFERENCE BY A MEMBER OF THE FIRST PRESIDENCY AND SERVES TO REFLECT COMMON BELIEFS HAD BY THE CHURCH IN HIS DAY:
President Anthony W. Ivins, First Counselor of the First Presidency, Conference Oct 1931 wrote:
I hold in my hand. The title of the book is "Our Bible in Stone." The author is Francis M. Darter of Los Angeles, a member of the Church, in good standing, an experienced engineer and a mathematician of ability. It treats principally the erection, symbolism and prophetic character of the pyramid of Gizeh, or in Greek, Cheops. Various other applications so far as the name is concerned have been applied to this structure. Because of its superiority over all other like structures it has come to be known and referred to as the Great Pyramid of Gizeh. The Great Pyramid of Gizeh is situated in Egypt, about ten miles west of the city of Cairo, and one hundred and twenty-five miles south from the city of Alexandria, which was founded by Alexander the Great 332 B. C. It is bounded on the west by the Libyan desert, and is therefore in the borders of the land. It is one of a group of nine other similar structures, which are known as the Pyramids of Gizeh.
It is a noteworthy fact that while many pyramids are found in Egypt, none is known to exist in other parts of the world except in America, where many such structures are known to have been erected, but no other pyramids can be compared with the unusual structure to which my remarks are to be confined. The orientation of the great pile, as it applies to the points of the compass, and the accuracy with which its proportions are related one to the other, are a marvel to those who have made a study of it.
The relationship of the Pyramid to modern mathematics, by which scholars have endeavored to fix the date of its construction, indicates that in its erection the builders were familiar with and governed largely by the movement of the heavenly bodies, which science the moderns refer to as astronomy. Sir John Herschel, from astronomical calculation, places the construction of the Pyramid at 2160 B. C., and Professor Piazza Smyth at 2170 B. C. Basil Stewart, in his recently published book, "The Witness of the Great Pyramid," after a careful study of the application of astronomy in its construction, says : "The Great Pyramid therefore may be considered the earliest known record in existence wherein is embodied the fact of the immense cycle known as
the precession of the equinoxes."
The magnitude of the structure may be best understood by comparing it with something with which we are familiar. The area covered by the base of the structure is in excess of thirteen acres, or three acres larger than the block upon which this building stands, which is ten acres. The height of the Pyramid is 485 feet above the base, or more than twice the height of the temple to the east of us. The bulk of the building is more than ninety million cubic feet, and sufficient stone was used in its construction to build a wall four feet high and two feet thick, twenty-two hundred miles in length, or which would reach from Chicago to San Francisco.
Who were the builders of the Pyramid no one knows. Khufu (Cheops, in Greek) is given credit for having been the builder. This personage has been identified by some students as Seth, the son of Adam; others give Enoch, the son of Jared, credit for having been the builder ; others Shem, the Son of Noah ; while some believe that Melchizedek, that mysterious personage to whom Abraham paid tithes, and whom some of these scholars identify as the Patriarch Job, was the person who constructed it.
Herodotus, who lived nearly five hundred years before the birth of Christ, and who is referred to as the father of history, knew of the existence of the Great Pyramid, and wrote concerning it. He says that the Egyptians detested the memory of the kings who caused their fathers to erect these structures, and besides compelled them to close their own temples, and for this reason they were not willing to mention their names, but called the two first pyramids erected after Philition, a shepherd who fed his cattle about the place.
Manetho, himself an Egyptian, wrote as follows:
"There came from the east, in a strange manner, men of an ignoble race, who had the confidence to invade our country, and easily subdued it by their power without a battle. All this invading nation was styled Hyksos, that is, 'Shepherd Kings'."
He then relates how they departed for Judea and built a city there named Jerusalem. This he says was long before the exodus of the Israelitish people from Egypt under Moses. It is known that Hyksos, or Shepherd Kings, dominated Egypt at the time that Jacob and his family went into that country, during the period when Joseph ruled as vice regent of the reigning Pharaoh, and it was among this people that Joseph chose his wife, Asenath, who became the mother of his sons Ephraim and Manasseh.
The first definite suggestion that the Great Pyramid was other than the tomb of a king, or other merely temporal monument, was in a work written by John Taylor in London in 1859. He conceived the idea that it was a divinely planned and constructed monument, designed to be a witness to the human race, showing in advance the history of mankind from the creation to the period of the second coming of our Lord, who would establish dominion over the earth upon which we dwell and usher in a reign of righteousness and peace.
At a later date C. Piazza Smyth, astronomer royal of Scotland, wrote upon the subject, agreeing with the conclusions reached by Taylor. Sir W. M. Flinders Petrie, Professor John Edgar, D. Davidson, Joseph A. Seiss, Sir John Herschel, Basil Stewart and many other scholarly men, after making a study of the subject, became advocates of the theory advanced by Taylor, that the Great Pyramid has something more than human in its construction and symbolism.
For ages after its construction the interior of the Great Pyramid remained a sealed mystery. Obsessed with the belief that within the great pile hordes of treasure had been concealed, men finally determined to penetrate and explore it. A tunnel was driven into the structure far towards the center, but the work was so difficult that it was about to be discontinued when the workmen unexpectedly broke into the passage-way, and the mystery was solved.
Nothing was found to indicate that the Pyramid had been constructed to be the tomb of a king, as was usually the case with the smaller structures of like architecture. It was discovered that the original builders had constructed a series of passages or galleries in the interior of the Pyramid, the entrance to which had been concealed and so strongly closed that it became necessary to blast around it in order that entrance might be made possible. This entrance is on the north side of the structure, and the first gallery or passage descends from the opening at an angle of about twenty-six degrees to a point far below the floor of the Pyramid into the solid rock upon which it stands, where it terminates in a chamber which is called the Pit.
A short distance from the entrance, at the same angle, another passageway leads upward and communicates with two other chambers, one referred to as the Queen's Chamber, near the center, and the other, higher up, as the King's Chamber.
It is the accuracy with which these galleries are constructed and certain markings and steps which are placed at intervals along the way, that have convinced scholars who have made careful study of the subject that the Pyramid was intended by its builders to represent the history of our race, as has been stated, from the remote past to the
time of the second coming of our Lord.
Discussion of the symbolism of the Great Pyramid is not a new thing in the Church. I well remember that Orson Pratt, during his lifetime, lectured on the subject and made mathematical calculations by which he reached the conclusion that certain measurements of the galleries and markings which were upon them had reference to the opening of the Gospel dispensation in which we live, and the final consummation of the purposes of our Father in heaven, by which peace would come to the world and happiness to mankind.
I remember also that his calculations brought conclusions which differed from others who had made a study of the subject, but were in the main the same. Soon after the World War students of the Pyramid announced that according to their theory, and it is only a theory, the year 1928 would witness the beginning of a period of tribulation which would continue with increasing intensity until 1936, and would bring sorrow and mourning to the inhabitants of the earth. At that date their symbols and measurements bring us to the King's Chamber, and the record of the Pyramid, if it has a record, will cease with the advent of our Lord and the establishment of a period of peace, happiness and good will among men.
The Church has not at any time, nor does it now, accept the conclusions of pyramid students to be definitely correct. In fact there is great doubt that the arbitrary basis upon which their calculations and conclusions are founded is correct.
I do not wish to be understood to say that they are in error. Neither do I say that they are correct. But this much I desire to declare to this congregation : While I have not given profound study to the theories of men regarding the origin and symbolism of this miracle in stone, I have read and studied it in a general way and have found nothing in it to convince me that the record of the Great Pyramid definitely forecasts coming events.
The Church does not depend upon Pyramids of Gizeh nor the conclusions of scientific investigators, however helpful they may sometimes be in the study of these questions, for an interpretation of the scripture which refers to the return of Christ our Lord to earth and the millennium of peace and good-will which is to be enjoyed under his personal administration.
to settle issues about Egyptology as it relates to the scriptures because the Church and their scriptures trump Egyptology.