Dubious Sources

When using dubious sources, historians make mistakes. Even if someone has a position or an apparent basis to presume credibility, it does not mean they are reliable. Many of those close to Joseph Smith had reasons to tell stories decades after Joseph’s death. They would use him as the source to support what they were then doing, saying or believing. They borrowed his name and therefore his credibility for their agenda.

Deseret Book is publishing a book through their subsidiary Cedar Fort, Inc. and selling in their stores. One could conclude that this book is bona fide because the LDS church is the owner of the publishing company. That book is titled: Hour of God’s Judgment: Joseph Smith’s Paradigm of the Last Days. It is written by Vern Grosvenor Swanson. I’ve never met him (to the best of my knowledge) and I’ve certainly never been interviewed by him, or provided him with any information for his book.

In Appendix II of Mr. Swanson’s book there is an entry for 28 September 2015 that states: “Call out to tent cities. Erstwhile Latter-day Saint, Julie Rowe in her books, A Greater tomorrow: My Journey Beyond the Veil and The Time is Now, and her many Latter-day Saint Firesides and interviews (especially on KUED, SLC); and excommunicated Denver Snuffer, et. al., proclaim that the “Call Out” will occur in late September and for safety we will have to flee to tent cities. …” As far as this attributes anything to me, it is utterly untrue.

I have NEVER said anything like what is attributed to me in this book. I have never met, talked with, or corresponded with Julie Rowe nor have I read anything she has written. I know nothing more about her other than what others have remarked in my presence. I do not base any opinion about someone relying on second-hand sources. Therefore, I cannot say anything about what she has said. But I’ve never joined her in saying anything about tent cities.

I mention this only to point out that in 200 years, a careful researcher may stumble onto this false statement and rely on the LDS owned publisher to accept the falsehood as true. If so, the researcher will be led into error by accepting bogus nonsense as true.

September 28, 2015 I was at work, and during the day I got an update about progress on a website prepared by volunteers that was then ready to go live and be accessed by the public. I wrote a post on that date and provided a link to the website. It allowed people to request baptism, and a volunteer would travel to them free of charge to perform the ordinance. I said nothing on that day, or any other day, about “tent cities” or something termed the “Call Out.” I’m not sure I know what that is. I have heard second-hand there was a group called AVOW advocating that idea. My understanding it that they had a pay-to-view website advocating a “Call Out” and tent cities, etc. I think their name is an acronym for A Voice of Warning (AVOW). But as I never saw or read anything from their organization I cannot be sure of that. I did a quick search on DuckDuckGo and found a website: ldsavow.com, which appears to be them. If so, they still exist.

This is going afield. The point of this is that there is one demonstrably false attribution about me found in a book published by a subsidiary of Deseret Book and sold in the LDS Deseret Book bookstores. Likewise, there are numerous other false attributions about me made on discussion boards, in symposiums and articles written about me. I do not take the time to correct them all. That would be a full-time job and I don’t really care enough to bother.

Think about those sworn affidavits, sermons, newspaper articles and Journal of Discourses talks attributing things to Joseph Smith years, even decades, after his death. Why trust them? After all, he was misquoted while he was alive. He and Sidney Rigdon both denounced the “Happiness Letter” and yet it appears as his in the Teachings of Joseph Smith and in the Joseph Smith Papers as if he were the author. It has been quoted in General Conferences of the LDS church. Rob Fotheringham did a video that addressed that letter in his recently released Defending the Prophet Joseph: Martha Brotherington Affidavit and The Happiness Letter. If Joseph’s own denial is ignored by the LDS church as well as the historians writing both “orthodox” and polemic histories about Joseph, then you can know for certain the authors are perpetuating falsehoods about him. As the Lord informed Joseph: “The ends of the earth shall inquire after your name, and fools shall have you in derision, and hell shall rage against you, while the pure in heart, and the wise, and the noble, and the virtuous shall seek counsel, and authority, and blessings constantly from under your hand. And your people shall never be turned against you by the testimony of traitors[.]” T&C 139:7

Although it imposes some effort on us, when studying the restoration generally, and Joseph Smith particularly, we should avoid trusting dubious sources.