Normally a summary comes at the end of one’s work, but realizing this review of The God Makers is lengthy and detailed, some readers may have neither the time nor inclination to read every one of the hundreds of responses I have made. For this reason I have provided an “Over- view” at the beginning of this review.
Some of the replies in the “Detailed and Documented Responses” section are only a few lines; others run two or more pages.
Both my “Overview” and “Detailed and Documented Responses” sections have been written in a manner to be understandable both to those who have read The God Makers (cited herein mostly as “the book”) and to those who have not.
For those interested in more thorough answers to certain issues, including documentation, I provide page and line number from The God Makers (e.g., 164:32) both in my “Overview” and in my “Detailed and Documented Responses” section. I have used few source references in the “Overview,” in order to reduce the size. The index will be helpful in giving the reader an organized ready-access resource to a reply to anti-LDS charges. Actually, my work is more in the form of a mini-encyclopedia of answers to anti-LDS accusations, but arranged in the same sequences that the issues are raised in The God Makers. For this reason, those interested in isolated points will find the Index helpful.
A frequent reference used by the book was the Journal of Discourses, which is not an official source of LDS doctrine because the limitation of scribes recording what they heard or thought they heard in those days makes some error a possibility. Anyone who dictates to a secretary knows how garbled and erroneous his intended statements some- times appear in print. However, the Journal of Discourses (a 26 volume set of speeches by early LDS leaders from 1854 to 1886) is a valuable and basically accurate source of LDS thought, but not codified doctrine. It reflects the emotions and hyperbole of Church officials during an era of persecutions, desert survival, government harassment and conflicts with outsiders. Keeping that background in mind, one can better understand the reasons for the speakers’ statements.
Since many of the book’s charges are repeated numerous times I have often merely given a cross-reference in the “Detailed and Documented Responses” section to keep the replies less repetitive than the charges in the book.
The “Overview” covers only a fraction of the errors and does not take into account all the issues discussed in the main part of my work.
There were six points that the authors made that may have some validity (see “Criticisms with Some Merit,” Section XI of the “Over- view”).
Since my response to The God Makers deals largely with examining almost all of the more than six hundred footnote references in the book, I have departed from standard footnoting procedure and put references right in the text of the “Detailed and Documented Responses” section so that readers may conveniently check them out instead of wading through hundreds of items at the back of the chapter or book. I have therefore simplified source referral as much as possible, using abbreviations for common sources and often not including publisher, date and place of publication, so that having references right in the text would not cause any more distractions than necessary.
Although the following tabulation is very subjective, I did make an attempt to classify the charges of the book into various categories. The total of these items far exceeds the actual number of errors because some statements fit more than one of the areas I was tabulating. For example, a particular claim could be labeled “not true,” “un- documented,” and a “repetition.”
Kinds and Numbers of Errors Found in The God Makers
Repetition of charges from once to several times 169
Statements that were not true 141
Unwarranted conclusions based on known facts 131
Misinterpreted statements 125
Exaggerated statements 119
Broad generalizations 48
Significant quotes or charges without documentation 47
Historical material quoted out of context which
altered the meaning 39
Scriptures quoted out of context or paraphrased incorrectly
which altered the meaning 18
Footnote references that were not where they were indicated 7
Wrong footnote because the source copied by the authors had the wrong footnote also 5
All in all there are well over six hundred errors in The God Makers