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Switch to Forum Live View Ostlings - trying to get errata list.
7 years ago  ::  Nov 08, 2007 - 8:15AM #1
Ironhold
Posts: 11,549
I'm in the process of reading the 2007 edition of the Ostling's "Mormon America."

I've already noted three major points of errata, and am now compiling a list of errata (which I may or may not actually send to them if I can locate their contact information).

Items I have thus far:


1. They say that Joseph Smith was convicted during the 1826 trial, when even during 1999 (when they first wrote the book) the evidence was pointing the other way; new evidence and research have come to light since then which effectively proves that the trial most likely never progressed beyond a preliminary hearing.

2. They still hold ZCMI as being a powerful economic force in Utah, when shortly after the 1999 edition came out ZCMI was bought out; all ZCMI stores were either re-branded or closed down.

3. They claim that the Book of Mormon is pro-monogamy and list three passages that supposedly support this claim, all the while missing Jacob 2:29-30 in which God says that he reserves the right to allow polygamy if he sees fit; this one is a touch galling as the Ostlings mention Jacob 2:24, 27 as one of the passages that is pro-monogamy.

Anyone else find anything (in either edition) that I should check on as potential errata?

Thanks.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 11, 2007 - 8:36AM #2
Ironhold
Posts: 11,549
4. The Ostlings assert that 2 Nephi 30:6 was changed solely because the priesthood ban was lifted.

In reality, Joseph Smith himself put the change into effect in 1840, but due to his murder, communication problems with England, and a host of other issues, the church wound up using the pre-1840 editions. It wasn't until 1852 that the 1840s's edits started being woven into the text again.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2007 - 12:00AM #3
bytebear
Posts: 1,451
I am currently re-reading the book, and noting a few things. They are mostly guilty of not explaining things fully. For example, they say Smith translated from looking at a stone in a hat, and that "often" the plates were in anther room altogether. They give no explaination beyond that. They take second and third hand references as matter-of-fact, while ignoring evidence to contradict them.

The book is also fairly dated. It was written prior to the rebuilding of the Nauvoo Temple using the Pamyra temple as their focal point in connecting the past with the presnent (which today seems completely odd), and as Iron said, more evidence has come to light on various issues. They also seem to relish in the authorship of Palmer while practically ignoring Bushman. It is definitely selective scholarship.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2007 - 12:28AM #4
Ironhold
Posts: 11,549
Like I said - when I get my errata list done, I intend to get their contact info and send it to them.

I'm about 20% of the way through the book, so it shouldn't be more than another two or three months (I don't read as often as I used to; too many other things going on).
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2007 - 7:16AM #5
Ironhold
Posts: 11,549
#5. On page 104, they need to add a disclaimer stating that Mormon Doctrine isn't regarded as canonical.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2007 - 10:29AM #6
moksha8088
Posts: 4,984

Ironhold wrote:

#5. On page 104, they need to add a disclaimer stating that Mormon Doctrine isn't regarded as canonical.



Good point.  McConkie's Doctrine is not canon.  Some parts are even embarrassing.

Cry Heaven and let loose the Penguins of Peace
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 12, 2007 - 4:48PM #7
bytebear
Posts: 1,451
As I recall, the Ostlings are pretty loose on their interpretation of what is "canon" and what is not. They implied that early versions of the D&C (then the Book of Commandments) was canon, before it was compiled officially and canonized Same goes for the Pearl of Great Price which originally contained writings later adopted into the D&C as well as a poem by John Jaques. They do quote a few sources as "high ranking church leaders", when in fact, they are not even General Authorities.  I think one thing that non-Mormons don't get is the concept of continual revelation and truth.  Sure, McConkie sounds a bit kooky to us today, but we have a little more truth than he had.  When the ban on blacks was lifted in 1878, he pretty much said that everything he had surmized about the practice was probably wrong.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 13, 2007 - 6:31PM #8
bytebear
Posts: 1,451
I found another interesting thing about the book.  In it, the Ostlings say that the persecution was not all that great, and that a Catholic riot around the same time killed more people than Mormons were killed by mobs.  Although careful to point out that any murder is bad, and that the Mormons were living in fear, they really don't point out that Catholics weren't driven from their homes, state laws weren't passed to kill Catholics, and the Catholic riot was really an isolated incident compared to decades of abuse against the Mormons.  This is the kind of subtle reporting the Ostlings are good at.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 21, 2007 - 7:11AM #9
Ironhold
Posts: 11,549
#6. On page 121, they imply that Bonneville Communications (which they don't refer to by name) is a purely commercial venture.

They ignore the fact that Bonneville is the company that handles the broadcasting of General Conference.
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7 years ago  ::  Nov 27, 2007 - 8:16AM #10
Ironhold
Posts: 11,549
#7. A total of three items on page 160 need to be clarified.

*The prohibition on airing videos during Sacrament meeting or using church TV satellites to record non-LDS material makes sense in regards to how closely some groups guard their creative property copyrights

*Prohibiting political meetings from taking place in church facilities is also wise, as under US tax law a congregation could lose its tax-free status if a complaint was filed concerning mixing religion and politics.

*There is an LDS music craze; it’s just that few of these songs find their way into an LDS Sacrament meeting, and even then it’s often only performed by the members themselves.

Edit-

I ran the numbers and I'm now looking at one major goof or disclaimer ever 23 pages.
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