My Name is Emmanuel Goldstein



In George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston Smith is a low-level member of the Party who works in the Ministry of Truth, or “Minitrue.”  There, his duty is to rewrite history books and old newspapers so that what they say accords with whatever the current Party line happens to be.  (“We have always been at war with Eastasia.”)  The purpose of these activities is to make it impossible for anybody to oppose the Party, just as the purpose of Newspeak—the new and impoverished language created by the Party—is to make subversive thoughts (“crimethink”) literally unthinkable.


Just this evening, a friend shared with me something that evidently appeared on a predominantly secular/agnostic/atheist message board where I’m particularly reviled.  It was written by a person who likes neither me nor much of what I do—he’s even publicly complained that the people at Patheos have allowed me to blog on their site—and it’s striking on several levels.  I’ll mention two of them.


“Dan,” this unsympathetic author declares, “was given the opportunity and plenty of time.  He fought it.  The Mormon Studies Review was supposed to reflect the new vision, and he failed miserably with the first issue.  He further made [clear?] with the trashed issue [which would have been 23/2] that he refused to embrace it.  It is my understanding that the [Maxwell Institute] staff wants to start fresh and pretend that the first MSR never happened by beginning the next issue 1:1.”


Now, I admit that I haven’t heard about the idea of beginning the numbering of the Mormon Studies Review over again so as to pretend that my minions and I never existed.  Perhaps it’s really going to happen.  Perhaps Brother Winston Smith now works for the Maxwell Institute (“Maxitrue”?).  Perhaps, having been found to be “doubleplusungood,” as Newspeak would express it, and declared “unpersons,” we and all our works are being consigned to the “memory hole.”  (Orwellian neologisms somehow come readily to mind in this context.)


But, as I say, I know nothing of such an idea, and can’t comment on it.


What I can say, though, is that the notion that, having been “given the opportunity and plenty of time,” I “fought” the “new vision” and defiantly “refused to embrace it” is a flat out lie, whether it’s this particular author’s or somebody else’s.


Maria Alm, Austria


  • Christopher Smith

    Is it a lie because there was no such new vision, or because you think the Dehlin piece was consistent with said vision?

  • The narrator

    Dan, before you are quick to call me a liar, you should see what your apparently lying friend Bill said:

    This is the culmination of a long-term struggle between radically different visions for the future of the Institute.  Peterson wishes to continue the traditional heritage of FARMS, providing cutting edge scholarship and apologetics on LDS scripture.  Bradford wants to move the Institute in a different direction, focusing on more secular-style studies that will be accessible and acceptable to non-Mormon scholars.  Bradford is especially opposed to LDS apologetics, which he wants to terminate entirely as part of the mission of the Institute.  He feels apologetics should be done by FAIR (The Foundation for Apologetic Information and Research ) or other groups.

    Throughout the past two years Bradford has censored several articles that Dan planned to publish, thereby delaying publication of the Review.  Bradford finally concluded that he refuses to publish the most recent issue of the Review, which has been essentially ready to go to press for six months.  He plans to seek a new editor for the Review to move it in the entirely new direction he envisions.

  • Bill Hamblin

    Alas, Dan, your name is not Emmanuel Goldstein; it is Mudd.

  • Mike Reed

    Why is Patheos giving space for this?

  • Cynthia L.

    I thought Patheos was an inter-faith blog. I understand these events are a big deal to the author, but is this really the face of Mormonism that we want to be putting forward to the outside world? Patheos seems like a really odd venue choice for this particular writing/rhetorical style and topic selection.