The O-So-Mysterious Interpreter Foundation!

The O-So-Mysterious Interpreter Foundation! August 17, 2018


Our high rise HQ
Even by Utah Valley’s spectacular standards, Interpreter Headquarters stands tall.
(Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


On Friday, it being Friday, a new article appeared in Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture:


“Missourian Efforts to Extradite Joseph Smith and the Ethics of Governor Thomas Reynolds of Missouri”


Happy weekend!




But what about the journal’s title?


Within the past day or two, President Russell M. Nelson, whom believing members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints regard as a prophet, seer, and revelator, has issued an official statement calling upon members of the Church to reemphasize its actual, official name and to move away from the nickname Mormon (which was, after all, originally given to us by hostile outsiders):


This will require adjustments in many areas, including some with which I’m involved (e.g., Mormon Scholars Testify and Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture and perhaps FairMormon).  It will affect internet links and have a ripple effect that we cannot yet quite foresee.


My associates and I support President Nelson, however, and we don’t want to be, or even to seem to be, out of harmony with the Church and the Prophet.  Moreover, we see the point of such adjustments in making the commitment of the Church to the Savior Jesus Christ as explicit and unmistakable as we can.  We understand that outsiders are unlikely to comply with President Nelson’s request, but we intend to do so as soon as we are able and to the (considerable) extent that we can.


The title of the journal will, for example, almost certainly need to be changed.  On one hostile message board, a handful of obsessively hostile critics are making merry over speculations about what new name we’ll eventually give to Mormon Interpreter.  But, of course, that was never the journal’s name.  Rather, that was the name falsely bestowed upon it by my Malevolent Stalker, who pretended to see my characteristically seething anger in the fact that Mormon Interpreter, founded shortly after the purge that expelled me from the Maxwell Institute (the former FARMS), has the same initials as Maxwell Institute does.  But this supposed parallel was entirely a figment of his malign imagination, kept alive by his gullible devotees’ helpful failure to verify his claims.  The journal’s title is, and always has been, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture.  Which will now need to be changed, but not in the way that they imagine.


One or two among this tiny group of critics are also now expressing puzzlement about the sheer point of “Mormon Interpreter,” if indeed it has a point beyond what they dismiss as mere blogging, making money for its “staff,” publishing hit pieces, and — this claim is, I admit, entirely opaque to me — engaging in some sort of bizarre hero worship.  We are, it seems, “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.”


Well, we haven’t been particularly secretive about what we’re up to.  But I’ll take this opportunity to lay it out for those who may still be unaware.


Here is the current mission statement of the Interpreter Foundation:


The Interpreter Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization focused on the scriptures of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, the Bible, and the Doctrine and Covenants), early LDS history, and related subjects. All publications in its journal, Interpreter: A Journal of Mormon Scripture, are peer-reviewed and made available as free internet downloads or through at-cost print-on-demand services. Other posts on the website are not necessarily peer-reviewed, but are approved by Interpreter’s Executive Board.

Our goal is to increase understanding of scripture through careful scholarly investigation and analysis of the insights provided by a wide range of ancillary disciplines, including language, history, archaeology, literature, culture, ethnohistory, art, geography, law, politics, philosophy, statistics, etc. Interpreter will also publish articles advocating the authenticity and historicity of LDS scripture and the Restoration, along with scholarly responses to critics of the LDS faith. We hope to illuminate, by study and faith, the eternal spiritual message of the scriptures—that Jesus is the Christ.

Although the Board fully supports the goals and teachings of the Church, The Interpreter Foundation is an independent entity and is not owned, controlled by, or affiliated with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or with Brigham Young University. All research and opinions provided on this site are the sole responsibility of their respective authors, and should not be interpreted as the opinions of the Board nor as official statements of LDS doctrine, belief, or practice.


Beyond the journal — which, as of 17 August 2018, has published at least one article every Friday for 318 weeks in a row (out of our 319.5 weeks of existence) — the Interpreter Foundation publishes books, provides materials to help with study and teaching in the Gospel Doctrine classes of the Church, sponsors a weekly radio program (see here and here), hosts a blog, organizes conferences and generates videos of them for those unable to attend, and produces films (see, for example, here and here).


Anybody who still finds what we’re doing inscrutably “mysterious” and “puzzling” simply hasn’t bothered to look.


Incidentally, although we unavoidably pay for some services, the Interpreter Foundation has no salaried “staff.”  A handful of senior officers of the Foundation do, according to its bylaws, have the right to draw up to $500 annually in wages or salary — a truly munificent sum.  But nobody has ever taken so much as a penny of that amount.  So Interpreter is failing miserably as a money-making venture for its principal leadership.



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