The Prophets Have Spoken, but What Did They Say?: Examining the Differences between George D. Watt’s Original Shorthand Notes and the Sermons Published in the Journal of Discourses
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On a summer day in August of 1867, Brigham Young delivered a powerful sermon to the residents of Tooele, Utah. He urged the assembled Saints to more faithfully live the principles of the Word of Wisdom and cease their attempts to parse out the words of the revelation, seeking a loophole. Young responded directly to such thinking. The practicality and straightforward manner of the explanation is often seen as a reflection of not only Young's position on the doctrine, but of the man himself. Direct, clear, brief. Indeed, it is easy to imagine Young speaking those sentiments to a congregation anxiously waiting upon every word. However, while Young certainly expressed these sentiments, he apparently did not speak these words as they have come down to us in published form; the specification of the forms of tobacco in use, the cadence of the speaker, and rhetorical devices he used were lost as this speech was transcribed from the original shorthand notes to its published version found in the Journal of Discourses.