Joseph Smith Jr. Dec. 23, 1805 – June 27, 1844.
There have been many dramatic accounts of those final days and hours, produced in form of text, stage and film production. One recently has emerged from Seth Adam Smith about what is purported to be Joseph Smith’s last dream. I just want to direct readers to Ardis’ excellent review of the video, it’s story, and the potential problems with how the historical account and the video’s contributors have been represented.
Ardis makes some extensive historical points that I’ll recommend to you on her blog. Of particular concern to me in reviewing the video and others that Seth has on his Youtube channel about this purported dream are the problematic ways that Seth has chosen to represent those who he uses as talking heads. In this specific case, as Ardis points out, Paul Thomas Smith, this project’s principal explanatory figure, is identified as “Author & Church Historian.” I think Ardis rightly points out that “Church Historian” is rightly the title of one person–Elder Marlin K. Jensen. S
EAS misleadingly uses this title all over his blog as well, [which can be misleading]. In addition, the credits of the principal video lists “Paul Thomas Smith, LDS Church Archives” which I find blatantly [may also be] mis leading[read] as PT Smith, a career CES educator, is not an employee of the LDS Church “Archives” (I assume he means “LDS Church History Library”) but does some volunteer work there a few days a week. It is clear that [It would appear that] Seth’s purpose in doing this is [could be interpreted as wanting] to lend undue authority to PT Smith’s words and interpretations [though I acknowledge and appreciate his claim that this was unintentional--see comment #15]. That PT Smith, who would have seen the final videos , did not correct him at production, raises my eyebrows a bit [He apparently did not see the final videos, see comment #15]. These [presumed] grasping appeals to authority [and i still think they are present and that the presentation and defense of the video are problematic as Ardis deftly argues], in my view, speak volumes about the project as a whole. [Update: See comment #14 and #15]
I think this is unfortunate, because the type of work done there is not, to me, worthy of being identified with the type of rigorous, responsible, and thoughtful scholarship that the professionals at the Church History Library and Museum do on a daily basis. Hopefully S
EAS will be responsible in correcting these points and be more careful in the future in how he chooses to represent history and historical commentary. [Stand by this 100% with encouragment by comment #15]