Interpreter Peer Reviewed

Interpreter Peer Reviewed

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Interpreter, common sense, and phony stylometry

Lately I've had several people tell me they think the Interpreter has gone a little crazy and they've stopped reading it. I don't disagree, and I'll have a post about that soon. But here's an example of why I think the Interpreter has lost credibility and why I think those who write for, serve on the editorial board, and read the Interpreter should reconsider their involvement.

According to the Interpreter, Joseph Smith wrote the anonymous 1842 articles that claimed Zarahemla was in Central America. John Taylor contributed to these articles, supposedly, and Wilford Woodruff was also implicated because he gave the Stephens books to Joseph, purchased copies for John Taylor, and was the only one who actually expressed enthusiasm for them.

John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff later became Presidents of the Church.

What was their view about Zarahemla at that point?

They both approved the publication of Orson Pratt's footnotes, published in the official 1879 Book of Mormon throughout both their terms as President, which placed Zarahemla not in Central America but in Colombia.

IOW, they rejected what the Interpreter claims Joseph Smith wrote, with the assistance of Taylor and Woodruff.

And yet, these anonymous 1842 articles are the entire basis for the Interpreter's position that Joseph didn't know anything about Book of Mormon geography, that he was merely speculating, that he relied on scholarship, and, ironically, that Joseph approved of a Central American setting. The Interpreter has resorted to a phony stylometry study to support the editorial board's position.

Even more fun, the one thing Joseph Smith and all his contemporaries agreed on was that the Book of Mormon Hill Cumorah was in New York. That position was published not only in the Times and Seasons (not in an anonymous article but in a letter signed by Oliver Cowdery), but also in the Messenger and Advocate, the Gospel Reflector, and in Orson Pratt's pamphlet that Joseph used in writing the Wentworth letter. Joseph had his scribes copy the letter into his personal journal as part of his own history.

John Taylor and Wilford Woodruff approved Orson Pratt's footnotes which unambiguously placed the Book of Mormon Hill Cumorah in New York.

Of course, the Interpreter rejects a New York Cumorah.

So the Interpreter wants its readers to believe Joseph Smith and all his associates were wrong about the Hill Cumorah being in New York. The Interpreter wants its readers to believe Taylor and Woodruff and Orson Pratt were wrong about Zarahemla in Colombia. But the Interpreter wants its readers to believe that anonymous (and anachronistic) articles in the Times and Seasons are the only correct statements about Book of Mormon geography from early Church history.

Even worse, the Interpreter claims all of this is the product of its "peer-review" process.

No comments:

Post a Comment