Here are the answers to yesterday’s quiz.
A couple of points I’d like to make, as some have suggested that I’ve taken things out of context and that, if you try hard enough, you can find similarities between any two speakers (the example given is Stalin and Churchill).
First of all, I do not believe Joseph Smith was capable of what Jim Jones did. Not even close. Despite what anyone thinks, I did not mean to suggest that, because they had similar speaking styles and content, Smith and Jones were two of a kind.
As I said, I was reading some sermons from Jim Jones for an entirely different purpose, and I was struck by the similarities between his speaking style and content and Joseph Smith’s. It is striking, indeed. I spent less than 15 minutes on that last post, which I doubt I could have done had I been digging around for unfair comparisons. I would suggest that it would take some digging to find such similarities between Stalin and Churchill, for example. If someone would like to show me I’m wrong, I’m happy to be corrected, and I’ll even post what you come up with here on my blog.
Another reader suggested that I focused exclusively on sermons and speeches Joseph Smith gave at the end of his life, when he was in rather desperate circumstances. There may be something to that. I’ve long felt that Joseph Smith was less calculating than a lot of people think. I see in him someone who started something that snowballed out of control, and his later speeches and actions reflect a desperation born of that loss of control. I’m not sure when he reached the point at which he couldn’t just walk away, but clearly by the end of his life he was wedded (no pun intended) to his position as prophet, seer, and revelator.
That said, I do not believe my earlier post was unfair because, whatever you think of Joseph Smith, the similarities I pointed out are obvious. Readers can make what they will of that.