Givens and Grow will be at Benchmark Books Oct. 14

Terryl Givens and Matt Grow will be a Benchmark Books, October 14th speaking about their recent book Parley P. Pratt: The Apostle Paul of Mormonism. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011). Book signing from 5:30pm to 6, then speaking will happen. (ht:Kevin Barney)

Joseph Smith and the Priesthood Mythos

Joseph Smith was very much in the mould of the Old Testament prophets, and cast Mormonism as a unification of Old and New Testament ideas and even ritual. The kind of dispensationalism that saw the Old Testament period as backward – the dwelling of a hidden God and only partially revealed truth was not for him. He saw that mould as formed by a priesthood mythos, only parts of which were evident in Scripture. Many of his statements and some revelations make this evident. For example, our old friend D&C 107. Verse 29:

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Imagine a new Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith

What would it look like? What goes in it? How would this be received if some beloved statements were absent? Could it be a Deseret Book product? Should texts that were obviously (or less obviously) co-productions or contemporarily ghostwritten be allowed? Where should the circle be drawn? Just curious.

Voice and Print – Sermon and Book and Media

Writing somehow reconstitutes (imperfectly and incompletely) a sermon (or any speech) into the three dimensional world. Printing that manuscript fixes that representation much more firmly and reliably, confidently, by making available many copies, exact duplicates, of that thought once expressed orally.

What about the hypertext world? It seems like a retreat. Going backwards somehow. Yes, the website is still there tomorrow, displaying the things that were there yesterday. But the webpage may be edited without trace. The text that was there yesterday may actually be different (even improved) today. But permanence, confidence, is left bleeding on the altar of technology. I exaggerate a little. Books were distrusted in the beginning and for good reason. In the environment of type blocks, sameness was not the rule.

Will the book die? Can the technoverse find a lasting replacement? Independent of server death, ISP disappearance, disk crashes and DVD aging?

A CD is a set of golden plates. You need a seer stone (disc drive) to access it. Unfortunately CDs don’t get Divine anti-aging blessings.

Then there’s the question of authorship. This isn’t the 1800s when the author was king, the center of the textual world. These days it’s the reader. The rabble interprets, creates meaning. That disease even reaches the canon. Oh well.

All of this is a little bit of what I’ve been wondering about as I try to finish up chapter 9 and jump into chapter 10. I mean, how to distribute the final product? Technology always wins. I love Gutenberg, but he may be dead.

John Whitmer Historical Association Meetings Sept. 22-25 in Nauvoo

For those of you just awaking from a comatose state, you will find fun and adventure at the JWHA conference in Nauvoo in a few days. Get on over if you can. It’s bound to be good. And hey! I know the President! (Good luck John, sounds like a great program.) Here’s a link:

Salt Lake City ADE Conference Reminder

The Association for Documentary Editing Salt Lake City, Utah conference is getting close. Should be good with JSPP participation. Details at the link.

Scripture Poll #1: Doctrine and Covenants

Scripture Poll #1. To fulfill my curiosity I offer this poll. Explain your answers in the comments.

Cool. It’s alive.

See for yourself.

News: Nauvoo Neighbor is Up, D&C 107 Study Available at

As promised in the previous post, the Nauvoo Neighbor is now available on Go to the home page and click on, you guessed it, Nauvoo-Neighbor. The series of posts from last year, and repeated this summer on D&C 107 is now available as a single article on the same home page. It’s part of an ambitious project to gather such pages on all the revelations of the Doctrine and Covenants.