“John Lennon Was Wrong, But Right at the Same Time”


John Lennon and Yoko Ono in New York, 1972


A California anti-Mormon once accused me, years ago, of plagiarizing from myself (!) because I had copied a footnote from one article of mine (a footnote that listed four books on the Book of Mormon witnesses in alphabetical order, with their bibliographical information) and pasted it into another article of mine several years later.


This Deseret News column is an even better example of self-plagiarism, though, as I plainly borrowed it – with some deletions and additions and modifications — from a blog entry that I posted the other day.


This is a busy week for me, what with four substantial lectures at BYU Education Week, preparation for leading a tour to Turkey in two weeks, preparation for the new BYU fall term that will actually begin while I’m out of the country, on-going business matters relating to our launch of the new online Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, and a slew of exceptionally important meetings.


Accordingly, yes, I “plagiarized from myself.”


So sue me.


Oh.  Wait a minute.  That particular anti-Mormon did eventually sue me.  For $4.5 million..


Now that’s a story.  But I’ll probably never blog about it.  He’s still out there, along with his zealous Evangelical pro bono lawyers.  Needless to say, he didn’t prevail.  (And he wouldn’t have gotten $4.5 million out of me in any case.  Blood from a turnip, and all that.)


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  • http://adventures-in-mormonism.com bfwebster

    When you’re reusing your own material, it’s not plagiarism — it’s “repurposing”. :-) ..bruce..

  • hc1951

    But a Nice turnip, none-the-less ;-) If my dear family can ever stop “interfering” with my life (mostly by catching cancer) I will treat myself to “An Education Week With Dan Peterson” next year!

  • Rodney Ross

    “Self-plagerism is style!”
    -Alfred Hitchcock (And he would know!)

  • http://www.terraceplayhouse.com Kim Florence

    Enjoyed your article on the Olympic closing ceremonies. Unfortunately, as you noted, the worldly views and philosophies, on the whole, play out a bit shallow as does Lennon’s “Imagine”. As was related by a prophet of old – without divine guidence or “the law” as was established through prophetic records or as given by living oracles of Christ and the efficacious adherence thereof, what else can a people be expected to do but “dwindle and perish in unbelief” (1Nephi 4). If anyone wonders how bad things can get during this process of dwindling, one need only consider the circumstance and fate of such godless civilizations as that of present day Africa, countries of Central and South America ruled by drug cartels, the earlier Aztec and Inca civilizations of Central America as well as those regimes you mentioned in your article.

  • Sorrel Jakins

    cf Alma chapter 30 (Korihor). I don’t think John Lennon missed a thing.

  • christine

    come on. you cannot say that your source was yourself ? surely we all cannot read all you have written….