Tuesday, March 27, 2018
CONFERENCE NOTES - Phoenix 2018
Delivered by Chris Hamill
Someone brought up the question this morning, "Who are the scriptures committee?" I've not wanted to share this, but I want to now tell you an experience that happened last year at the conference in St. George that will tell you about the scripture committee:
I was waiting to announce the scripture project. As I sat in the hall next to the auditorium, I asked the Lord, "Why me? Why am I announcing this? I'm nobody important. Why am I doing this?" He responded, "Because you're nobody important."
That's how we on the committee view ourselves. We don't consider ourselves in any way important.
Fixing the scriptures was carefully limited. Once the Lord gave the Answer to Prayer for Covenant, wherein He said to just do what we had currently planned, we determined not to go further. Also, we need to keep in mind that the Bible was a mess to begin with and we could only take it from very broken to less broken. At some point in the future the Lord intends to replace our current Old Testament and maintaining the significant differences between the brokenness of the current Bible and what we may receive in the future seems the most prudent. We've done the best we could with our time and manpower constraints. We had to get something out without taking 5 years to do so. There are still fixes to be completed and we apologize that the list isn't short.
JS struck through a lot of words in the JST, but did not get back to replacing most of them (or he did and we have no record of it), so Vol. 1-2 are simply our best effort to make the remaining text work. Some of it may seem awkward, but we’ll just have to live with it until something changes. Also, we had to leave some strike-throughs in place or some of the changed sentences wouldn’t make sense. Though we understand the words that were not removed were noted as incorrect by Joseph Smith, we chose to leave those words rather than to freelance.
Reminder: we were NOT given permission to update the archaic language in the Book of Mormon.
There is a Google doc called TYPOS AND ISSUES that tracks all of the fixes that people find and submit; it does it in real time. There is a link to it on the scriptures project blog in the SCRIPTURES box on the right. If you find what you think is an error in one of the volumes PLEASE check that document first to see if the problem has already been reported before emailing us. We update the document, then we update the text, and periodically we update the files, both on Amazon and scriptures.info. We have already made many of the fixes, and the books sold on Amazon today have those fixes incorporated. The second benefit of the tracking document is that you can make the fixes in your own copies right away.
Notifying us of any errors in the scriptures, including the scriptures found on scriptures.info, needs to happen by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. That's because scriptures.info gets copies of the text that we correct. They use the same text we publish and update. They don't simply change their coding. This keeps the printed volumes and the website in sync.
Regarding changing any punctuation, we will only change punctuation if you can clearly demonstrate that the existing punctuation harms the meaning of the text or is a glaring grammatical problem. If you just don't like a comma there, that's probably a personal preference and you can use whiteout to kill it. If you want a comma added, you have a pen. But we have had a few instances, for example, where removing a comma improved the text noticeably and we implemented the change. I'm just saying that we are only changing what has to change.
Also, some issues get raised due to the funky language that is found in the volumes, particularly in the Book of Mormon. I’ve typically been the one researching those and if the funkiness is there because of Joseph and not an error on our part, we leave it alone, but add an explanation to the TYPOS AND ISSUES document so you can understand why it’s there and not report it again.
We will use a minimum of six months to find and implement all the fixes that this body can find and report so that the fancier, leather-bound edition of scriptures - in fact every published version - will be as good as it gets. And our hope is to get a fancy set produced by the end of the year.
Cover art - make of it what you will. The artist offers no explanations.
Glossary - not written by the committee. It was compiled using all of Denver’s written materials and then edited and added to by him during his review. If you want another term added to the glossary, be sure to follow the same guidelines that were used in compiling the original - the explanation must be composed of material from Denver Snuffer, Joseph Smith and the scriptures, and will be reviewed and edited by Denver.
Literary devices were used in the T&C - Wisdom, Eternal, etc. This was intentional. It was discussed with Denver and others prior to being implemented.
Revelations printed in JSH - if different from Sections, they are noted as [See Section X].
Online Research Versions will likely be the next project, followed by the publication of the committee’s emails.
Scriptures.info - almost all of the scriptures have been updated. As stated earlier, if you find an error in the text on scriptures.info, you need send an email to email@example.com. This site will become a great resource. I've already been contacted about adding things to the site, but it's not up to me or this committee what will be added or the guidelines for changes and additions. That is up to those who are designing and building the site. They set the guidelines. If you have ideas or suggestions or submissions, visit the scriptures.info CONTACT form.
Apps - The Android app is under active development. The iOS app is no longer available in the App Store in order to update the files. The problem is that the apps are dependent on the files handed to them by scriptures.info, which is dependent on the files we send them. Please be patient. Both apps will be called "RE Scriptures".
The T&C will hopefully be ready and available on scriptures.info by next weekend.
In closing, I'd like to note that it is very easy to second guess everything we've done with the scriptures. Given the thousands of emails, the literally years of combined man-hours, the dozens of conference calls and meetings, and the active participation of Denver whenever an issue or suggestion came up, you can know that all of our decisions were deliberate and intended to offer ALL of us the very best WORD possible, given our amateur limitations. We didn't know what we were getting into, what would be required, how it would evolve with new scripture, new resources and a new covenant, but it has been a treat to serve. Our committee thanks all of you for your help, your support, your patience and your prayers.