Refuting the errors of Jonathan Neville and the Heartland hoax

Thursday, August 4, 2022

President Nelson and the attention to detail in Saints

Here’s a timely follow-up to my last post:

I’m at this year’s FAIR conference, and Jed Woodworth just gave a presentation about Saints volume 3. Woodworth is a historian and writer in the Church History Department, and he’s managing historian of Saints, the Church’s multi-volume history that Jonathan Neville has done his level best to criticize it for presenting a “false historical narrative.”

Except for the portions in quotations marks, the following is my paraphrase of Woodworth’s remarks. (I’m looking forward to a recording of the presentation becoming available so I can get an exact transcript.)

Saints volume 1 has been reviewed and approved by the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Woodworth said, “We have learned that President Nelson is a footnote-reader” and will correct the footnotes in draft manuscripts of Saints that he reviews.

He also said that the First Presidency and other apostles “read every word” of Saints before the volumes are published. President Nelson even once corrected a place in the manuscript that was missing the middle initial in a person’s name.

Woodworth’s comments show that the Brethren are concerned about exacting attention to minute detail, something that’s very odd for a history that supposedly “[doesn’t] present an accurate historical narrative,” as critic Jonathan Neville has claimed.

—Peter Pan

1 comment:

  1. I was in southern Utah this week, taking my son on campus tours. While we were there, we took the opportunity to visit the Mountain Meadows monument. I was very glad to have Saints on my phone so we could listen to the relevant chapter on our way to the place in Utah where the Arkansas flag flies in solemn reverence.

    What I appreciate about Saints is its comprehensive nature, while remaining accessible to ordinary readers. Good history tells the whole story, warts and all. It expects that we've outgrown the Primary flannel board version of events.


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