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William Schryver

Vogel's The Making Of A Prophet

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May I respectfully request that this thread return to its designated topic?

Is there anyone out there who has even read Vogel's The Making of a Prophet?

And, if so, have you identified within its covers any factual inaccuracies?

Yeah, I got it here on my lap as we speak. The Janus-head cover always freaks me

out and I get distracted from why I got the thing off the shelf.

I think he probably has Catherine [Katherine] Smith's marriage in the wrong place.

Although my conspiracy theory demons would love to see Rigdon over in NY at an

early date, I think Dan will probably have to move the site over to Kirtland.

See Scott Kenny's comments in this regard at his saintswithouthalos web-site.

yer Unk

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See Scott Kenny's comments in this regard at his saintswithouthalos web-site.

yer Unk

Is there a link were we could follow it to learn more?

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My apologies. I had an irrational desire to see Mr. Noel00 own up to his own behavior here for once, instead of baselessly attacking others, and to get him to stop it. But I do not wish to derail a potentially interesting thread.

For the record, I've read Mr. Vogel's book. I don't especially care for it. But I'm busy preparing for a presentation to a group of lawyers in Salt Lake City tomorrow morning and am also trying to finish a paper to present at the BYU Tree of Life Symposium tomorrow afternoon. (Today was spent with a group of visiting Jordanian judges.) So I won't be commenting. For now, at least.

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Dan has produced a number on books on documents relating to the Smith period. Surely he is not that silly to deliberately use sources that do not exist. I have not read the book yet, but hope to after reading Bethge's Bonhoeffer. I have come into some money so I will read both Bushman's and Vogel's book. There was a review on Bushman's book in Books and Culture which pointed out a number of problem areas.

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See Scott Kenny's comments in this regard at his saintswithouthalos web-site.

yer Unk

Is there a link were we could follow it to learn more?

try here:

http://www.saintswithouthalos.com/b/salisbury_wj.phtml

Go down near the bottom of the page and look for my name, under "Family"

The Vogel error (?) is on page 554 and page 695 note 113 -- see also EMD5 appendix.

Uncle Dale

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My apologies. I had an irrational desire to see Mr. Noel00 own up to his own behavior here for once, instead of baselessly attacking others, and to get him to stop it. But I do not wish to derail a potentially interesting thread.

For the record, I've read Mr. Vogel's book. I don't especially care for it. But I'm busy preparing for a presentation to a group of lawyers in Salt Lake City tomorrow morning and am also trying to finish a paper to present at the BYU Tree of Life Symposium tomorrow afternoon. (Today was spent with a group of visiting Jordanian judges.) So I won't be commenting. For now, at least.

Hey, I'm a lawyer in SLC. How do I get invited to this soiree?

C.I.

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I finished The Making of a Prophet recently, and I am in the process of writing up my feedback to Dan. I have to tell you, there are literally dozens of errors. Here are a few:

  • On page xiv there is what appears to be an em dash, but when you look at it more closely you'll notice that it's actually a hyphen followed by an en dash. Can you believe it?
  • On page 8 he uses the phrase "struck a cord," when he should have said "struck a chord." Absolutely pathetic!
  • On page 218 he refers to "Psalms 95," whereas on page 214 he refers to "Psalm 95." I mean, come on! Make up your mind.

And I have found many, many more errors every bit as serious. That is why, despite the fact that this represents the most comprehensive treatment of all the available sources on Joseph Smith's life before he moved to Ohio, I cannot recommend it to the typographically delicate.

If, however, you are willing to overlook a little sloppy editing, the scholarship is first-rate.

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If, however, you are willing to overlook a little sloppy editing, the scholarship is first-rate.

I'm curious as to your foundation for making this claim? How do you know if the scholarship is good or not? Are you a scholar? What are your credentials? What is your education?

From what I've seen, people who actually specialize in some of the areas that Dan explores have been quite critical of his scholarship. And they have the expertise to offer such opinions. What is your expertise?

C.I.

P.S. I'm not saying that Dan's book doesn't have some merits. In fact, I've seen David Bokovoy praise several aspects of it. I'm just not swayed greatly when a non-expert begins to fawn.

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If, however, you are willing to overlook a little sloppy editing, the scholarship is first-rate.

I'm curious as to your foundation for making this claim? How do you know if the scholarship is good or not? Are you a scholar? What are your credentials? What is your education? . . . I'm just not swayed greatly when a non-expert begins to fawn.

I don't have any credentials. I have a basic familiarity with the primary and secondary literature, the ability to comprehend written prose, and an inclination to occasionally share my subjective opinion about first-rate scholarship when I read it. Don't worry your pretty little lawyer head over the remote possibility that my opinion will carry such weight of authority that weak-minded believers will be compelled to adopt the naturalist framework within which both Dan Vogel and I interpret Mormon history. Obviously believers will disagree with his interpretations. It remains for a believing scholar to produce an alternative reading of the same sources. Bushman does a fine job (although I have some editorial feedback for him and his Knopf cronies as well, believe it or not), but since Rough Stone Rolling covers the Prophet's entire life, it is not as detailed or comprehensive with all the sources that Dan treats.

I am proud to have both books on my shelf. If this is fawning, then let the record include my obsequious assessment of Bushman's first-rate scholarship as well.

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From what I've seen, people who actually specialize in some of the areas that Dan explores have been quite critical of his scholarship. And they have the expertise to offer such opinions.

Like winning the Best Biography Award from the Mormon History Association and the Best Book Award from the John Whitmer Historical Association?

Last I checked they represent the two leading scholarly organizations for Mormon/Restoration Historians. They seem to offer a different opinion of his scholarship.

Phaedrus

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phaedrus ut:

Like winning the Best Biography Award from the Mormon History Association and the Best Book Award from the John Whitmer Historical Association?

Last I checked they represent the two leading scholarly organizations for Mormon/Restoration Historians. They seem to offer a different opinion of his scholarship.

Please spare all of us from your endorsement of the two foremost havens on earth for disaffected and ex-Mormon writers and scholars. No doubt we will shortly see the next step in the devolution of the MHA:

Signature Books, official publisher of the Mormon History Association.

When not even Davis Bitton can find anything worthy in the proceedings, you know there is nothing left to save.

And don't even get me going about the John Whitmer Anti-Joseph Smith Historical Association ...

In short, it is hardly any surprise that these two particular organizations would laud Vogel's work, seeing as how they are in lock-step one with another, philosophically-speaking.

By the way, I have yet to see a correction/retraction from Mr. Vogel regarding the apparently inaccurate reference I cited. I'm actually a bit disappointed. I was hoping that there really is another source of Book of Mormon characters. That would be a significant historical discovery, indeed.

Edit: Lest anyone misunderstand my comment about Davis Bitton, I mean it only as a compliment to his demonstrated ability to find the good, however miniscule, in anything. Hence, if Brother Bitton can no longer endorse the MHA, it means there's nothing good left to endorse.

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P.S. I'm not saying that Dan's book doesn't have some merits. In fact, I've seen David Bokovoy praise several aspects of it. I'm just not swayed greatly when a non-expert begins to fawn.

The only thing that should "sway" you is reading it yourself.

BTW, have you read Guns, Germs & Steel yet? :P

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I don't have any credentials.

What a coincidence, neither do I. <_<

I have a basic familiarity with the primary and secondary literature, the ability to comprehend written prose, and an inclination to occasionally share my subjective opinion about first-rate scholarship when I read it.

Okay. You seem to think I was trying to make a point that, in fact, I was not trying to make. Your comments just struck me and I used them as a springboard to my own thoughts.

Don't worry your pretty little lawyer head over the remote possibility that my opinion will carry such weight of authority that weak-minded believers will be compelled to adopt the naturalist framework within which both Dan Vogel and I interpret Mormon history.

Oh don't worry, that was never my concern. I was just contemplating the question of how any of us can know something is good unless we actually have the relevant expertise. For example, I can take one quick look at a motion to suppress on a Fourth Amendment issue and in just few moments I can tell 1) whether the argument has any merit and 2) whether the argument is well done. However, even will my legal training, if you brought a Last Will and Testament to me and asked me if was any good, I just give you blank stare. Frankly, I don't know if its any good because its outside of my range of expertise. I can tell you if it sounds good. I can give you a general notion of some of the issues involved, but in the end relying on my opinion could be detrimental since I really don't know enough.

I see many of us as having the same problem with much of the information presented on this list from day to day. The DNA stuff, the archeology stuff, etc. We've got all kinds of folks willing to give their opinions, but very few who are actually equipped to have those opinions carry any weight.

You see what I'm getting at? You know you like Vogel because he validates your pre-existing point of view. But you don't have the training or expetise to really know if what he's arguing and what he's conlcuding really has any merit.

And before you get all uppity, I must admit I'm the same way. I love Dr. Peterson's Ashera article. It makes perfect sense to me and I find the arguments persuasive. However, I haven't the slightest notion of whether he actually right or now because I don't have the relevant language, cultural, archeological or anthropological background to make that call.

Obviously believers will disagree with his interpretations.

Only believers? You don't think its possible that a non-LDS person could find any quibble with his methodology or conclusions?

It remains for a believing scholar to produce an alternative reading of the same sources.

Are you stating that the abscence of an alternative reading automatically renders Vogel's reading as authoritiative? If so, that's a very interesting concept.

Bushman does a fine job (although I have some editorial feedback for him and his Knopf cronies as well, believe it or not),

Okay, seems like a bit of hubris to me, but we are all entitled to our opinions. I'm sure The Dude is very interested in my feedback regarding his scientific endeavors also..... :P

C.I.

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BTW, have you read Guns, Germs & Steel yet?

What do you mean, "yet"? Had I made a promise somewhere along the line to read it? I didn't read it several years ago but have long since forgotten the major points of his thesis since, as I recall, I tried to cram the whole thing over a short time during law school and it really didn't take.

I'd like to sit down and read it again some time but unfortunately, right now I'm engagaged in trying to untangle the Immigration and Naturalization Act (with some limited success) so my mind right now taken up with the difference between being admissible and removable, between aggravated felonies and crimes involving moral turpitude and between the deportation and voluntary removal, etc.

Somewhere along the line I went and got a real job that they expect me to know some of this stuff. It's kind of aggravating actually.

C.I.

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And don't even get me going...

OK -- won't do that...

Gee it's hard to keep this thread on-track. I brought up a very juicy nugget from

Dan's pages, which may or may not help resolve the old accusations of a certain

maiden of Zion being enceinte upon her departure for Kirtland -- and what do

we get? more useless chatter here than at the Harper Valley PTA.

Anybody here ever read any Mormon history?

Uncle "work yer fingers to the bone, whadya get? -- boney fingers" Dale

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I was just contemplating the question of how any of us can know something is good unless we actually have the relevant expertise.  For example, I can take one quick look at a motion to suppress on a Fourth Amendment issue and in just few moments I can tell  1) whether the argument has any merit and 2) whether the argument is well done.    However, even will my legal training, if you brought a Last Will and Testament to me and asked me if was any good, I just give you blank stare.  Frankly, I don't know if its any good because its outside of my range of expertise.  I can tell you if it sounds good.  I can give you a general notion of some of the issues involved, but in the end relying on my opinion could be detrimental since I really don't know enough.

I see many of us as having the same problem with much of the information presented on this list from day to day.  The DNA stuff, the archeology stuff, etc.  We've got all kinds of folks willing to give their opinions, but very few who are actually equipped to have those opinions carry any weight.

I don't consider history nearly as arcane an art as law. So I'm perfectly content to draw conclusions about the past based on the evidence I've read, realizing that I may amend my opinions upon further study. I can also recognize good scholarship when I see it, particularly in a work like Vogel's where the analysis is so transparent. The narrative is straightforwardly chronological, and every conclusion, suggestion, and speculation is explicitly tied to documented sources (principally those in his Early Mormon Documents series). So if you have any disagreement with his analysis (which I sometimes do), the sources are there for you to digest and reach the conclusion you find most plausible. But the sources must be dealt with, and I have yet to read any treatment of them as comprehensive as this one.

You see what I'm getting at?  You know you like Vogel because he validates your pre-existing point of view.  But you don't have the training or expetise to really know if what he's arguing and what he's conlcuding really has any merit. 

And before you get all uppity, I must admit I'm the same way.  I love Dr. Peterson's Ashera article.  It makes perfect sense to me and I find the arguments persuasive.  However, I haven't the slightest notion of whether he actually right or now because I don't have the relevant language, cultural, archeological or anthropological background to make that call.

I hope that it doesn't sound uppity when I say that:

1. I don't like Vogel simply because he validates my pre-existing point of view. Otherwise, I would have to dislike scholars like Bushman and Peterson, who do not validate my pre-existing point of view. I like good scholarship. Some of it supports my opinions, some of it challenges them. And where scholarship has largely moved past dispute, I accept its conclusions and move on.

2. I am mystified by the idea of an article making perfect sense and having persuasive arguments without, however, my having the slightest notion of whether it is right or not. To be persuaded is to believe something, which is at least a slight notion of its being right.

Obviously believers will disagree with his interpretations.

Only believers? You don't think its possible that a non-LDS person could find any quibble with his methodology or conclusions?

Only "obviously" believers. Other disagreements are to be expected, but anticipating a believer's objections is, yes, obvious.

It remains for a believing scholar to produce an alternative reading of the same sources.

Are you stating that the abscence of an alternative reading automatically renders Vogel's reading as authoritiative?

It doesn't render it authoritative (in the final, dispositive sense), but it does represent an achievement for the naturalist interpretation that currently has no correspondingly comprehensive analogue in the faithful literature.

Bushman does a fine job (although I have some editorial feedback for him and his Knopf cronies as well, believe it or not),

Okay, seems like a bit of hubris to me, but we are all entitled to our opinions.

Is it hubris to be perfectly confident that I can recognize an editorial mistake when I see one? If you're curious, maybe I'll share some of my Bushman corrections as well (although I don't have them with me at the moment). While they are fewer, I assure you that they are every bit as significant (!) as the ones I cited for Vogel above.

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May I respectfully request that this thread return to its designated topic?

Is there anyone out there who has even read Vogel's The Making of a Prophet?

And, if so, have you identified within its covers any factual inaccuracies?

I have read, The Making of a prophet twice. I have also read, Rough Stone Rolling, (and had the pleasure of meeting Bushman this summer).

While I am not a Mormon historian, I found Vogel's book to be extraordinarily well researched and meticulously documented.

Whether one agrees with Dan or not, or finds his book enjoyable or not, I will say that I do not think there is a historian alive who tries harder to be fair, respectful, honest, and accurate as does Dan.

I know first hand how dilligently Dan works to present an honest and complete narrative.

His integrity and desire to share history as accurately as possible is above reproach.

~dancer~

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Please spare all of us from your endorsement of the two foremost havens on earth for disaffected and ex-Mormon writers and scholars. No doubt we will shortly see the next step in the devolution of the MHA:

Signature Books, official publisher of the Mormon History Association.

When not even Davis Bitton can find anything worthy in the proceedings, you know there is nothing left to save.

And don't even get me going about the John Whitmer Anti-Joseph Smith Historical Association ...

In short, it is hardly any surprise that these two particular organizations would laud Vogel's work, seeing as how they are in lock-step one with another, philosophically-speaking.

By the way, I have yet to see a correction/retraction from Mr. Vogel regarding the apparently inaccurate reference I cited. I'm actually a bit disappointed. I was hoping that there really is another source of Book of Mormon characters. That would be a significant historical discovery, indeed.

Edit: Lest anyone misunderstand my comment about Davis Bitton, I mean it only as a compliment to his demonstrated ability to find the good, however miniscule, in anything. Hence, if Brother Bitton can no longer endorse the MHA, it means there's nothing good left to endorse.

From the rants of sycophants come the truth.

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truth dancer, you said, "While I am not a Mormon historian, I found Vogel's book to be extraordinarily well researched and meticulously documented." That is only a valid opinion, if the meticulously documented doesn't contain a bogus reference. If there is a citation that is made up, then the whole "well researched and meticulously documented" argument falls apart.

That is the whole point of this thread. William Schryver has noted that one of the footnotes seems to refer to material that does not exist. Dan Vogel has not come on the board to defend this citation. If it stands, then his whole scholarship is called into serious question.

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his whole scholarship is called into serious question.

Isn't this going too far? Surely one must establish this is a ongoing pattern and not a one time mistake before questioning his entire scholarship. This is just the first step and may be the last one as well of going nowhere.

Dan V. is not on the board every day and I think this thread is just going to get more cluttered with comments like mine. Perhaps Will should make another thread in the Pundits forum so it can wait patiently until Dan has a chance to respond.

add-on: I see that Dan posted in the Pundit forum yesterday, looks like if you want to catch his attention that's the best place to do it.

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Hi Charity..

That is only a valid opinion, if the meticulously documented doesn't contain a bogus reference. If there is a citation that is made up, then the whole "well researched and meticulously documented" argument falls apart.

I can guarantee that if there is a mistake in the footnoes it was not intentional or "made up."

There are hundreds of footnotes and I would not be surprised to find a mistake or two. I did look up many of them (I was working on a paper at the time), and found one mistake... there was an incorrect page number or something IIRC.

But again, I can personally vouch for Dan, that if there is a mistake it was not intentional.

My comment still stands. I know of no one who is more careful and conscientious in his work than Dan.

~dancer~

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Hi Charity..

That is only a valid opinion, if the meticulously documented doesn't contain a bogus reference. If there is a citation that is made up, then the whole "well researched and meticulously documented" argument falls apart.

I can guarantee that if there is a mistake in the footnoes it was not intentional or "made up."

There are hundreds of footnotes and I would not be surprised to find a mistake or two.

If one of the more reputable TBMs here will PM me, I'll give out Steve Sorenson's

e-mail address at the LDS Archives and somebody can contact him and ask just

what this purported document may be, and whether it is availlable for inspection.

I'm not in the habit of sharing my contacts address book with just anybody, but

Bill Hamlin or Dr. Peterson would have my trust.

UD

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truth dancer, if you know Dan why don't you tell him what is going on with this topic. I really would like to hear what he has to say about it.

I agree mistakes can happen. Wrong page number. Etc. But to cite a source which seems as though it doesn't exist? That isn't a "wrong page number." That is why he really should make his appearance and explain.

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truth dancer, if you know Dan why don't you tell him what is going on with this topic.

I saw him browsing just a minute ago.

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truth dancer, if you know Dan why don't you tell him what is going on with this topic.

I saw him browsing just a minute ago.

Elvis was sighted in St. Paul last Sunday at a Starbucks...

UD

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