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Question

Gramps,

You recently used the same quote of Elder Whitney (Elder Orson F. Whitney, Conference Report, April 1929, Third Day Morning Meeting, p.110) that is so often used in the church regarding wayward children. My question is where is this actual quote form Joseph Smith found? I have been unable to locate a referrence to it other then Elder Whitney saying Joseph said it. I would certainly like to see Joseph’s own words and not someone else quote of Joseph’s words.

Sincerely,

Bob

 

Answer

Dear Bob,

One of the problems with dealing with historical records is finding a reliable source. Ideally each historical record would be recorded in the moment it happened by the people directly involved. Unfortunately we rarely get this type of record. More often we get second hand accounts, and accounts well after the fact. Because many times people don’t realize how important something is until long past.

Your desire to go as close to the original source as you can is good and quite correct. However in this case Elder Whitney’s recollection and recording long after the fact is as close as we can get. Elder Whitney is considered a reliable source, but we have to acknowledge the possibility of mistakes due to human frailty. Memory can be a tricky thing even for people who have the best desires and intent.

Given that Elder Whitney’s quote has been referenced by other Apostles and General Authorities we can be reasonably confident that the core idea is sound, barring any more direct correction from those in position and authority to do so.

Gramps

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