Seers and Stones: The Translation of the Book of Mormon as Divine Visions of an Old-Time Seer
Back in 2017, when the Interpreter published this article, they forgot to include me on their peer review committee. (To be sure, they've forgotten to include me ever since. Actually, they forgot to include me before 2017, too, for some reason.)
One of the fun aspects of Church history in today's world is what I call the citation cartel. I suppose it's inevitable. There are relatively few original sources for Church history, most of them compiled in the Joseph Smith Papers, and only a few people interested enough to study and comment on them. I don't know how many employees/consultants work in the Church History Department, how many people work/consult for the Joseph Smith Papers, or how many Church historians work at BYU, but there are a lot of revolving doors among these groups.
When you look at a note in the Joseph Smith Papers or the Gospel Topics Essays, you will often find references to (and even language borrowed from) the work of the scholars who publish in BYU Studies, the Interpreter, and other venues (including FairMormon). As I said, this is inevitable given the small number of sources and interested people. But it leads to a certain Groupthink that assumes a mantle of Truth.
One of the most delightful examples is in the Gospel Topics entry on Book of Mormon Geography. I bring this up because the Interpreter article we are peer reviewing today includes a fascinating twist on Joseph Smith as editor of the Times and Seasons. I discussed that here:
This form of "situational responsibility" assigns authorship and credibility based not on extrinsic evidentiary factors, but on the degree of agreement with the respective authors' views. We'll see a lot more of that in this article.
As usual, I have to provide the full article to do a peer review. Otherwise, my critics will say I took things out of context. Original in blue, my comments in red, quotes within my comments in green.