Book Review: Shall Millions Now Know Brother Joseph Again? (Post Script)

By May 3, 2008

Joe asked some good questions in the comments section of part 4.  As I began to write a response, I found that I had quickly written almost 3 pages of response, so I figured that would make a pretty annoying comment.  I here reproduce his questions and my response.  Now I really am finished with posting on this topic.  I thank everyone for their longsuffering and comments up to now, I didn’t mean to hijack the blog for the last day or so, I appologize.

Jared T-
It sounds to me like you disagree with Tracy’s methods but not his outcomes? Or in other words do you feel that his evidence is relevant but just a poor organization of the material?

The reason I ask, it seems to me that with such obvious flaws in writing and editing the reader should be able to distance themselves from those negatives and see the real point of what the author was trying to say, albeit very scattered? I could be wrong, but I was curious about your opinion on that point after reading your review.

Also, when you talked to Tracy at the open house, did you find him as scattered in person, or was this just an example of not being able to convey his information in mwriting?

Because I met him as well and I got the impression that he was very thorough with the research. However, after reading your review it seems that the book was not able to capture that same impression.

Any comment for further clarification? Thanks.

My response:

Joe, good questions. Kind of like the kind a reporter would ask <g>.  Do I feel the evidence is relevant but with poor organization?  The short answer is yes, but it goes beyond just poor organization.  Wherever there is evidence, it’s relevant, and organizing that evidence in a useful and reasonable way is very important.  As I went along in the review, as I set out to write part 4, I realized that though it was clear to me that I didn’t think that Tracy just didn’t know what he was talking about, it might not be clear to the reader of the review.  So, in part 4 I took special care to spell that out.  The second paragraph here on part 4 is an example.  There is no explanation that I could find that told me what these dots of facial recognition were supposed to mean.  I know that they’re used in face recognition software, that is mentioned, but how?  One could get the impression that I’m saying, “It’s just a bunch of dots up there, the author just made something up.”  No.  I absolutely think there’s something behind it, but it’s just not spelled out in the book.

Take this quote just a few paragraphs down from that:

I have trouble understanding what basis the author is using to draw his conclusions, and how the reader is expected to do any sort of personal evaluation aside from choosing either to believe or disbelieve the author’s interpretation. I don’t believe the author is just making things up here or in other places, I just don’t believe that, but the book does a poor job in communicating to the reader what seems to be certain in the author’s mind. This is not necessarily uncommon, which is why things like peer review by less involved individuals is important. I think that had (I’m guessing it was not) this book been passed around other than internally before going to press, then many of these difficulties might have been smoothed out and the reader provided with a more coherent study.

Maybe Patrick, who’s already graced us, or someone else connected with the project can comment on what kind of review this book got before going to press.  Of course if it was “peer” reviewed, then I say get new peers.  Before reading the book one of the things I’d heard about again and again as one of the key determinations was that there were twenty something points of similarity, that the forensics were air tight, it’s good enough for the FBI.

I’ve been accused of becoming “emotionally instable” by Patrick Bishop over on Part 3 because my apparent delusions about the daguerreotype were not realized, as if I’m to blame.  Wow.  This goes back to the Deseret News article that I cited at the end of this part 4, blaming cynicism about the book on unreasonable expectations of readers, produced by trumped up reports in anonymous emails and such.

My expectations were simply that the book measure up to the talk and it didn’t.  As I mentioned in part 1, yes I liked the image, but I was also aware of difficulties, and so, I was reserving judgment until I could get the chance to read it.  I wrote this in note 73 over a month ago.  “It’s not looking good…” Yea, really strong emotional ties there.  No wonder I was excited to read the book, my excitement stemming from the idea that finally, one way or another, here were answers.  Did I and do I still “want” a photograph of Joseph?  Of course. But does that somehow constitute a debilitating mental condition?  If so, then I’m not the sickest one here.  And it doesn’t help matters when you hear things like “Everyone that I know of who has seen the documentary or read the book is a believer.”  That’s setting a pretty high threshold of expectation.  Shannon will perhaps remember what I said on Monday, and I specifically remember what I said, “If this book is anything like what I’ve been hearing, then it’ll be a good review.”

Oh, and furthermore, if you’ll remember that I mentioned that Tuesday was my “angry” day.  By the next afternoon I had still only read up to about page 75.  You don’t even get to the daguerreotype until page 200!  What was the source of my outrage?  It was the butchery perpetrated on logic and history up to about page 66. It had nothing to do with Scannel. I didn’t even get to that part until early Tuesday when I was already into my feeling nothing stage.

Maybe Patrick can explain a little about who claims responsibility for those portions, because when I brought my concerns thus far to Shannon on Wed. at the open house, he directed me to someone else.

This precisely is what happens when you are writing angry, you make ridiculous, unfounded statements.  Which is why if even 80% of what I’ve written here is solid, given the conditions and constraints I was working under, then I think that would be a pretty amazing vindication of my having written honestly, not in a frenzied wreck.

But I digress.

Back to the issues at hand.  Yes, the organization is problematic, yes communication to the reader is very problematic.  And evidence?  Well, that’s also incomplete.

Can the reader distance themselves with such obvious flaws?  That’s the thing, as I also point out, they’re only obvious if you think this way and the majority of people do not.  They’re just not trained to.  I didn’t think this way back when I was sitting in my Introduction to Teaching Seminary class straight off the mission.  I mention in the review that the reader, if not careful, can be easily led along right to the conclusion the author sets forth, regardless of the path.

I did talk with Tracy at the open house and what’s more, I hung out around him for the better part of an hour on Monday when I just happened to visit Eborn’s store (for the first time in a few months I might add, quite providential) and I hung around him for about an hour and listened as he talked with patrons about the book.  I found him very open, very likeable, very gracious, and very inviting. He offered to pay for the review copies I asked for, for heaven’s sake.  What I hope will not happen is that the publisher will think, “Oh, I’ll never give another book of mine to someone like that again.”  Maybe instead, the books should be given to people like me before they are published as well as after, but again, I digress.  I got to the open house a little before it was to begin and stood by and listened to the better part of his interview with Channel 4.  I was astounded at how composed and articulate he was.  It really made an impression on me.  I was convinced on Monday that he was convinced and that there must be a reason for that.  As far as I could tell, and I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person, those reasons are just not in the book. Shannon is someone I think I would find value in having a continued contact with. I would love him to contact me.

I think that one of the biggest problems has been this failure to communicate what is clear in the author’s mind to the audience as I mentioned more than once in the review.  I have had this same problem with a paper I’m writing on tracing the history and provenance of two historical relics.  It’s all clear in my mind what’s what, and when I gave it to one of my professors he was able to follow it through, but asked that I make further clarifications about which artifact I was talking about in certain instances, as they descend from different branches of the same family, and it can certainly get confusing.  What’s the answer? Peer review, peer review, peer review.  I have my own guesses at why this wouldn’t have gotten wide prepublication circulation, but I forbear.

Also, determining who you are writing to is a big factor.  As far as audience, I think it doesn’t do anybody any favors to write down to people.  If this is to be a billed as a forensic study (since there’s apparently nothing else it can be), then write to the forensics experts.  Place all of that data forward, so that when someone like Shannon Novak reads the book, she can come away and say, Ok, I can see that.  That is a contribution.  Granted, it’s hard to write technically and also make it accessible to the lay reader.  I’m not pretending that’s not a difficulty, but I believe it’s doable.

So, do I agree with his conclusions if not his methods?  Well, I guess I have to say no, because Shannon seems convinced this is authentic, and I am not.  As I mention, I’m about right back where I was before reading the book, which was at the reserving judgment stage.

What will get me past that?  It’s not having Joseph appear to me in vision and testify of the daguerreotype.  Though that would do it all right!  I want to see professionals take this study up.

I’m in favor of one more attempt at exhumation.  It is tragic that it was done the way it was, possibly with crucial remains lost, damaged, or overlooked and now lost.  However, who is to say that it wasn’t also providential?  I would like to see these remains taken up and studied correctly by the right people.  Not amateurs consulting with professionals, but professionals controlling and leading the study and consulting with other professionals.  If Joseph’s leg bone is still there, it should be easy to identify his previous injury and then it should be possible to connect that leg bone to the right skull.  Perhaps even DNA testing might be possible. This is the future of this study, not Photoshop.  The amateurs must be commended for what has been done up to this time and for injecting life into this pursuit.  Heck, I know I’m grateful.  What must also be recognized is that it’s time to turn it over to the pros.  I reviewed Shannon Novak’s history of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, and was astounded at what she was able to tell just from bones, about the life and death of these people. However, there was no way of putting a name to the bones.  Here, however, wow.  What an opportunity.

Yes, the future is bright, in the right hands and with the right kind of energy.  With recent attempts to exhume the body of Parley P. Pratt, maybe now is the right time to start talking about how to put all this speculation about Joseph Smith’s skull to rest once and for all.  And in the process, come up with academically acceptable criteria for authenticating a potential daguerreotype of Joseph Smith.


Comments

  1. Jared,
    I appreciate your pointing out to me that I have four fingers pointing back at me. Please forgive my brash way of critiquing your review, especially the “emotionally unstable” part.
    I should have looked at my own life and perhaps realized that there is a “beam in my own eye”.
    I will not try and reword my thoughts of your review at this point, but will just offer my sincere apologies!!
    Patrick

    Comment by Patrick — May 4, 2008 @ 9:15 am

  2. Thank you for your response. It was quite clear after your first review that you thought so little of Tracy’s work that you would now use it as toilet paper. Now I see that you simply hold his delivery in question.

    I do have to disagree with you on a couple of points however. As I read through the book I found that there was no need to explain the points of match or the points of correlation used by forensic computers because it seems like the names “points of match” are self defining. The face is like a fingerprint. There are certain unique characteristics that each make each face unique. Size of the eyes, distance from other facial landmarks, etc. I felt that this was an area that needed no explanation beyond what common sense could assume.

    Furthermore, I was surprised that you seemed to have so many things wrong with the evidence but offered no counter proof to discredit it. It almost reeked of liberal politics where it is a common practice to piss and moan about the other candidate but offer no solid counter program. I almost felt like I was reading Bill Maher’s review of of the latest Ann Coulter book. In other words I felt that you approached this book as if guilty and not possible of being proven innocent. To start off your review the way you did, by coming out of the gates swinging, in my opinion, it discredited your words the rest of the way. It seemed like your thoughts were not limited by the work alone and that some influence or outside bias clouded your paradigm.

    Now with that being said, you did point out some things I agreed with you on. However, I have said enough. Keep reviewing, just try and be mindful that not everyone appreciates all negatives about a work unless there are credible, and constructive alternatives presented concurrently. You felt that the work was too emotional and not scientific enough, yet you admitted to being too “angry” or emotional with your own review. Reviewer faux paux #7. Don’t be guilty of the negatives you accuse the work of having within your own review. Just some suggestions for your next review that I look forward to.

    For the record I don’t mind this imperfect book. I am glad I own it.

    Comment by Joe — May 4, 2008 @ 6:50 pm

  3. Thank you Patrick.

    No hard feelings.

    Jared

    I should mention to anyone who wondered about why I said something about a reporter in this post. A guy in my ward is a reporter, and he happened to be at the open house. We chatted and I told him to come check the blog later and thought “Joe” was him, since the guy’s name is Joe. I saw him today and sure enough, it wasn’t him. I guess I could have checked the ip address, but you know how I don’t like research

    Thanks also to Marden, I fixed the letter.

    Comment by Jared T — May 4, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  4. I felt that this was an area that needed no explanation beyond what common sense could assume.

    If someone were to tell me that A and B have X points of correspondence, I have no idea whether that is high or low, or whether the points are significant. Is one point of correspondence the fact that A and B have two eyes each? If so, the correspondence seems insignificant. Is one point of correspondence the distance between the eyes? If so, how do I know whether that distance is typical for the majority of young white men, or so atypical that it is significant? How many points of correspondence does it take for facial recognition software to make a reliable match? Does law enforcement have a standard number of points of correspondence, and if so does X meet their criteria?

    “Points of correspondence” conveys nothing to me without some explanation.

    Comment by Reader — May 4, 2008 @ 8:52 pm

  5. Joe, thanks for contributing substantively to the discussion, albeit not very politely. I couldn’t very well use this as toilet paper, the paper is way too glossy! 🙂

    I have to agree with Reader who makes excellent points about the difficulties involved with giving little to no information about the facial recognition process. I mean, listen, the dot comparison of the Scannel image has no caption and the conclusion under Anatomical Evidences says, “The image matches well in all comparisons” (p. 205). What does that mean? How? Though there may be significant similarities, were there significant differences and how might you account for those? Another image is this one sold on ebay. The dots are there, and again, there is no caption to the picture. Under Anatomical Evidences it says, “The image matches well to all but the width of the head when compared to the skull” (p. 199). Huh? Are you telling me that the software says the faces are either the same or so close that it’s not worth nothing a difference? Really? Tracy concludes about this image that “This image is not an authentic photographic image of Joseph Smith from life. It could, however, be a painting done of Joseph Smith after the martyrdom” (199). How about the daguerreotype of the painting? This painting was actually supposed to have been done during JS’s life. The caption there just says, “The Carson image does not match the death mask close enough to give a possible match.” So, I’m to understand that according to this facial recognition software, a possible paining of JS after his death is more accurate compared to the death mask than an actual paining done from life? If these aren’t reasons enough to expect a more detailed presentation, then jeez, I don’t know what to tell you. This is far from “self defining”, but I hope I just exhibited some “common sense”.

    Joe, give specific examples please of places where I disagree with the evidence but provide no counter examples. I believe that I show how the Carthage write up is flawed from the source, for example. I show how the presentation of the word portraits of Joseph Smith is flawed, and I spent plenty of time on that and telling what the source really says. Those are all offering countering evidence. I did that all throughout the review. Listen, this is anther thing. I’ve been very specific in the review. I don’t think I’ve been making general statements and that’s it. I’ve been giving specific examples, and I expect the same. I just don’t have time to go guessing about the review wondering if this or that is what someone meant. Please provide some specific examples. I may very well have done what you’re saying, just give me some specifics.

    As far as having an agenda, in my opinion, a person who was really just out to do a Bill Maher hit job would have said, “Look, there’s no evidence, this is all a fraud!” or used insulting language or something, you know, like you have here. No, I give time and time again the benefit of the doubt to the author. This was in no way as negative and raving a review as has been charged. No way. As I have shown time and time again, I had the attitude of reserving judgment until I could read the book and see for myself. Even at the Open House that was still my stand. A few people asked me what I thought. I said I didn’t know, I hadn’t gotten to that part yet. I was only at about page 75. I know because it was right after the discussion of Carthage and right before the first skull photos. I did not “have it out” for this book, no ulterior motives. And to say so is unfair to me. Everyone has some amount of bias, but if anything I was biased FOR the book when I started reading it. I really took it seriously, and I almost feel embarrassed for that now. And as I’ve also shown, my discontent was not tied to any disappointment about my supposed “emotional attachment” to the image and having my expectations not met with that (I know Patrick apologized, and I accept it, and I’m not trying to pick on him, but that’s where this issue began, and I have to address it). The book was just, in my opinion, not that great. I’m sorry. What else can I say? You’ve seen the book differently, and that’s fine, we can have differences about that, but this talk of not having credibility I think is just groundless. To me, a person is not credible if he is consistent in making unsupported claims, slander and the like. I think my points are reasonable and that I support them with evidence.

    Listen also, it’s so hard to know what someone is feeling when he writes. I can assure you that as I write all this, I don’t feel a shred of anger. I type strongly. I am wont to use strong, descriptive language. Sometimes I think that can come over as being emotional or overbearing when it’s just the way I write. Some people are just louder or more emphatic when they talk than others, for example, but that doesn’t mean there’s necessarily any more emotion there than the next person. I think you’ve asked honest questions and I’m giving sincere answers, and with a cool head to boot 🙂

    You say I haven’t presented constructive alternatives, when they are all over the review. In part 4 I note a number of places were the communication is rough, and where it could be improved. In part 2 I talk about how the word portraits could be more usefully organized. Again, please provide specifics.

    “You felt that the work was too emotional and not scientific enough, yet you admitted to being too “angry” or emotional with your own review. Reviewer faux paux #7. Don’t be guilty of the negatives you accuse the work of having within your own review.”

    I want to address this notion of “emotionalism” that has come up. It’s been blown way out of proportion here and I should have reined it in earlier. You say that I said that the book was too emotional and not scientific enough. I said nothing of the kind. Near the end of part 4 I said, “My hope now is that further study by trained professionals who are sufficiently detached from the emotionalism of the subject can be performed…” And that’s the only reference in the whole review about emotion. And besides, though I admit anger on Tuesday, by Thursday when I began writing the review, I claim unfeeling. My former anger had little to do with what I wrote. It’s just about time we accept that. Even if I had had anger when I was writing, it doesn’t automatically follow that I would let that anger interfere with my writing.

    Let’s talk a little about what my statement means and what it does not mean because now two people here on the blog and one not have used this statement in a way I never intended. I said “emotionalism of the subject”. Not emotionalism of the person. I wasn’t talking about Tracy or any people here. I was trying to say that the subject of Joseph Smith stirs up such strong feelings both positive and negative, that where possible, a disinterested party should be sought to perform the study. If that wasn’t clear, then that’s my bad, I should have said it like I just did. But I also think that how the reader chooses to read it can have just as much to do with how it’s taken.

    I did not say that Tracy was too emotional writing the book or even that it’s bad to have emotion when writing. For heaven’s sake, heaven forbid that we be robots writing history. No, no, no. Dispassionate history is not history written by an author without emotion or passion. We know that how we write history is informed by our feelings on a subject, our background, and what influences have informed our views of the subject, some might call these things biases. All these things inform a historical study. But if emotion causes you to arrive at faulty conclusions and leaps of logic, well, then there’s a problem. Once again, I never say that emotion is why these flaws exist in this book, but that maybe they come from difficulty in communicating to the reader. Emotion is a question of motive. I never say that Tracy was so emotionally attached to the scannel dag and wanted so much for it to be Joseph that he just made stuff up, etc. No, I never said that. Others have, but not me. He reaches conclusions? Yes. How? I don’t know. But I think I gave him the benefit of the doubt that there was something behind his conclusions, but that if so, I have yet to be able to discern what it is.

    Comment by Jared T — May 5, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  6. It almost reeked of liberal politics where it is a common practice to piss and moan about the other candidate but offer no solid counter program.

    Sorry for the sidetrack, I just wanted to say this comment is a little over the top.

    Comment by BHodges — May 5, 2008 @ 11:37 am

  7. You want to know why, BHodges?

    Joe, why don’t you tell us who you really are and whether or not you’ve ever had an interested role in this project?

    Comment by Jared T — May 5, 2008 @ 11:44 am

  8. Oh! oh! /waves hand frantically in air like teacher’s pet/ Can I guess?

    Joe’s grammar and writing style seem peculiarly like somebody who participated in earlier discussions of the daguerreotype — N**k, wasn’t it? Am I right?

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — May 5, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

  9. Joe and Nick certainly share the same IP address, as well as the same pomposity.

    Comment by David G. — May 5, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  10. David, surely you don’t mean this Nick, who described himself as “closely related to this project” and insulted the Community of Christ Church, and who promised that the evidence in the book would be convincing and…?

    Comment by Jared T — May 5, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  11. Jared, yep, the same classless “Nick,” who for the time being is no longer welcome at the Juvenile Instructor.

    Comment by David G. — May 5, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

  12. Reading that link to Joe/Nick’s earlier comments reminded me of a detail in Tracy’s book that I *was* interested in reading — his evidence that the CoC’s daguerreotype was a copy rather than the original. When they took the image out of its case and disassembled all the parts, they discovered that some of the damage — some of the fingerprints and scratches — was not damage on this image itself. Rather, it was damage to an earlier iteration of the image that was photographically reproduced when the extant image was copied.

    Two remarks:

    1. This is an example of some really important information that was not really exploited by the author. That is, this evidence of reproduction successfully deals with the problem of the maker’s mark on the plate that indicates the extant daguerreotype was made in the 1850s. The information was there, but the dots weren’t really connected.

    2. I don’t understand Joe/Nick’s claim that the fact that the CoC’s image was a reproduction puts it in the public domain. That would be like saying that only the original manuscript of my Great American Novel is under copyright, and that if you sneak into my house and successfully photocopy the manuscript, your photocopy puts my novel into the public domain. At least that is how I read his statement; if that’s not what he intended, and if he can be civil, perhaps Joe/Nick will clarify.

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — May 5, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  13. The vague names are interesting. Joe and Nick. Maybe his friends Bill and Rod will drop by, too, complete with giant American flag lapel pins.

    Comment by BHodges — May 5, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

  14. Blair, lol.

    Comment by David G. — May 5, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  15. As an avid reader of the many fine books that Eborn Books has published over the years, I find it hard to believe that Bret has stamped his name on this book, a work I believe is clearly aimed at making a quick buck from the faithful followers of Joseph Smith. Books like this are very much like a Pepsi from a Wendy’s drive-thru — full of filler and rarely satisfying. As we saw with the Da Vinci Code craze a few years back, capitalizing on people’s interest is paramount. Throw a product out there and, no matter how lame it is, claim it’s the greatest thing since Star Wars. That’s business. I get it. But then there is this, and this happens far too often. Taking that which is sacred to so many and, like a cheap house (or hotel), flipping it for a profit. This book, in my opinion, does just that. The purchaser is left with very little for their money. It disturbs me that the majority of the book’s defenders, who swear that it’s just fantastic, are those who have a financial interest in it’s success. It feels like ravenous wolves with overdrawn bank accounts have come upon us. Attempting to conceal their names as fiercely as their motives, their goal seems to be relatively simple: fleece the unsuspecting saints of their hard earned cash. I applaud Jared for exposing yet another selfish attempt to peddle us a book which is lacking in so many ways. The book appears to have been written with a sinister and arrogant assumption — that our love of the Prophet would somehow make up the balance left to us by the author. Unfortunately for those who have already been taken in by it, no love can transform the book into something it is not, and what this book is not is worthwhile. Brother Joseph must be spinning circles in his grave. He, along with many others now are left helpless to watch as Tracy and his partners count their cash while they trample on Joseph’s memory, and, in my opinion, the faith and dreams of many of his followers. It’s been said many times that the saints are suckers. Many of those involved with this book are clearly banking on it.

    Comment by R. Thomas — May 5, 2008 @ 10:27 pm

  16. Thanks for your perspective R. Thomas. I think you’ve put everything very well, though as I mentioned over in part 1, I, personally, have nothing to say about the motives for this project. What I’ve been concerned with is what it is, and, well, you can read what I think it is.

    Comment by Jared T — May 7, 2008 @ 8:31 am

  17. RThomas-I have to say you are making assumptions about “those” who contributed to the writing of this book. It may not meet the agendas that others have or be liked by all, this to be expected. The research that went into this project was/is sincere and has drawn those in the project closer to Joseph. We all know that drawing closer to Joseph is not salvation but I sure can not wait to meet the man who has done more, save Jesus Christ. Thinking of Joseph on a daily basis causes one to think of his teachings of Christ and want to be better and then share, though not to salvation, the things they have had experiences in with others. If you do not like it and it does not give you information you feel is valuable then do not read it. I was not involved with this project for money, As to your money comment,I have received nothing of financial gain, in fact it has cost a goodly amount to do this research. Is there money to be made, very likely but speaking from my part of the project that was not the motivation factor. Yes, emotions are tied to it but who does a project without being tied in after the research comes back so positive from different sources.
    Thanks to those who feel to be the saviors on mount zion and save everyone from reading and formulating their own opinions. This comment is not to stir anger in those who have written but to maybe have them evaluate why they feel the need to be the self appointed critics. I am grateful for the helpful critics for I will refine my research with it but when that happens there will always be someone else on the otherside of that see/saw that will voice a more weighty critique of the first critique.
    Thank you Jared for not having anything to say about the motives, for you have never met me and know nothing of my motives and this would be a judment that you would have to render after knowing me.
    I feel all need to evaluate their “OWN” motives for what they research and write (even on blogs). I know Patrick very well and have spent many, many hours with him on and offthis project and will tell you that the motives are pure.
    We invite all to do the research and share positive or negative about it, but do the research! If it proves to not by Joseph then wonderful and if it proves to be Joseph then wonderful.
    I am sure those who feel inclined to read between these lines and make more of what I said will and that is ok, I am a big boy and will take it.

    Comment by mark — May 7, 2008 @ 10:59 am

  18. Thanks for stopping in, Mark. Good luck in future endeavors.

    Comment by Jared T — May 7, 2008 @ 11:34 am

  19. Well, Jared, it looks like you are going to get any more free books out of publishers…j/k

    Actually, at John Whitmer Books we finally sent The Mormon Quest for the Presidency to the printer last week. The book is a series of biographies of 10 Mormons* who ran for president from Joseph Smith to Mitt Romney along with a discussion of how the “Mormon question” affected their campaigns. (*The book takes “Mormon” in the broad sense to include cultural Mormons like Mo Udall and Parley P. Christensen who were lapsed LDS and also Sonia Johnson who had been excommunicated. Also included is Eldridge Cleaver whose 3rd-party bid occured to his conversion.)

    Anyway, I’d love to send you a copy to review, if you’re interested. Will you be at MHA? I’m pretty excited about the book, but I’m still eager to put it through your wringer. If you uncover lots of flaws, you may find me taking up your suggestion and sending you manuscripts prior to their publication.

    Comment by John Hamer — May 19, 2008 @ 12:53 pm

  20. Thank you for your comments, John. I have your email and will contact you.

    Regarding the provenance that you asked about on the other page, well, there’s nothing to discuss and the author admits that outright. An intriguing piece of information is that the family also had a first Emma hymnal which was inscribed (if I remember correctly, I’m away from the book at this time) by a family member who was contemporary with Joseph. However, the book also admits that there is no record of how either of these relics got to the family or when. So, intriguing yes, provenance? No.

    Comment by Jared T — May 19, 2008 @ 1:58 pm

  21. […] Book Review: Millions Shall Know Brother Joseph Again (The Joseph Smith Photo Book) Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. […]

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Steve Fleming on Book Review: William Smith,: “Good points, David. I could have listed many more strengths of the book, and those quibbles I mentioned probably took up an inordinate amount of…”


David G. on Book Review: William Smith,: “Thanks, Steve. I think it's an important book and continues Bill's important textual work, both in terms of production and reception, on the revelations. You…”


Ardis on Ministering, Home Teaching, and: “Well, this explains, in part, at least, has never worked for me. Without the one-and-only approved model home at the center, nothing else quite fits.…”


Ben P on Series Preview: Introductions to: “...and to quickly add, I would hope that whoever writes a Lee bio would do so in a way that appropriately reflects the #MormonMeToo concerns.”

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