- Correlation tables for all volumes have been added.
- The Appendix for the T&C has also been updated to include the endnotes for section 175.
- The web site should now have full fidelity to the PDF and print editions of the RE scriptures.
Let's see if I can help clarify all of the material emailed out yesterday, as well as provide more details about the November conference.
Earlier this week I announced a conference in order to address concerns from several groups regarding the proposed new Section for the T&C. Well, I'm now canceling that conference, though if anyone still feels strongly that a conference should take place prior to the one planned for Cedar City this coming March 20-22, feel free to arrange one.
It seems confusing and chaotic to propose and then cancel a conference so quickly, but when the decision for the conference was first made, it appeared to be the only option for resolving matters in a way that left open the possibilities desired by each group. However, some significant information came to light the next day that persuaded me we should not move forward with this vote at this time. Here's why:
The report title Work Flow for Future Printed Editions of the RE Scriptures can be boiled down to the following bullet points: When we first provided softcover printings of the scriptures through Amazon, it was easy and free to update the text, and all subsequent printings would immediately have those updated texts. It was assumed that when we switched from Amazon to Ingram, our new on-demand self-publisher, things would run the same. Ingram is different in some significant ways:
- Though they claim to provide Print-On-Demand (POD) services, they only start out that way. If a book (or group of books) demonstrates a certain level of buying interest, Ingram will print multiple copies and stock them in many locations to fulfill orders. If updates are made, future orders may be fulfilled with the old version before new ones are printed.
- If new material is added to a book, it must be reprinted as a different book, not an update. A new ISBN (International Standard Book Number) has to be issued to the new book and each variation of the new book. If future orders are made using the book title, the older versions may be used to fulfill them; only if an order is placed using the ISBN can you ensure getting the newer version. The only place we have the links to the ISBNs is on scriptures.shop, so international orders for the paperback and hardbound printings likely would be ordered using the titles, leading to the problem already explained.
In addition, there is a long list of problems generated by "simply adding a new section at the end of the sections". Here is a condensed list, for anyone interested:
- ISBN rules (as well as eBook rules) do not allow the addition of new content to any current or previous edition. The only allowed changes are to correct any punctuation, spelling, and minor grammar issues.
- If the body desires to add new sections to the book, this requires the creation of the Second Edition, with a new publication date and new ISBNs for all iterations. This will require at least 40 new ISBNs (which includes all thee paperback sizes, all three hardcover sizes, the journaling edition, the leather edition, the Kindle KDP edition, and the ePub edition; 100 ISBNs is $599), in addition to the free PDF edition and the online version. This will also require changes to the eBooks and apps.
- Create the new manuscript with all approved changes:
- Update the table of contents, page numbers, front matter, publication date, running headers and formatting.
- Create final print-ready files of all books, all sizes, and cover types.
- Register all of the ISBNs (a tedious process)
- Update all the covers.
- Review and update title, short description, long description, back-end search terms, back-end settings, and edition metadata for online stores.
- Submit all versions of the new edition to the publisher for review and approval.
- Follow up with all major vendors (BN, Amazon, etc.) to encourage them to sync up their catalogs with Ingram for all of the new ISBNs (this takes several weeks).
- Update Scriptures.info.
- Update Scripture.shop (so many interconnected pieces).
- Notify the email list along key points of the process.
Many of the points above involve many steps, so it's more work than even the list implies. This whole process will result in an interruption of availability of the paperback and hardcover books for a significant period of time (probably 2-6 weeks). The biggest hurt, though, is that it would delay the printing of the leather scriptures -- again, probably by at least a month, if not more.
All things considered, since so much trouble would be incurred by trying to add anything new to the existing text for the leather scriptures, holding a conference in November with that hope in mind doesn't make sense. An effort has been made to discuss this turn of events and the new understanding with several women who have hoped for the new Section to be included in the first printing. So far they have all understood the issues raised, agree that they are too big a problem to risk, and agree that a vote can be held later since we would no longer need to meet the current deadline for the printing of the leather scriptures.
This does NOT mean that the issue of adding the proposed Section is off the table -- it would simply be handled at the next planned conference in March. Though it means that the Section wouldn't have a chance of being printed in the first printing, the new Section would be immediate proof of our claim that we expect the Lord (husband and wife) to continue to speak to us. Once we have enough additional material/Sections, either a booklet, a reprinting of the T&C, or possibly a new volume would be created and this proposed Section, if adopted, would be the first entry.
I apologize for the rough ride to get to this point. I never expected it. But I hope for the best outcome for all of us.
Some of the women spoken with have let me know that while it may appear to have been a rough couple of weeks, blessings have come from it: we, as a movement, have been talking about this proposed new section, bringing out the Mother's counsel to us in our families and fellowships; additionally it has brought up the question of how we, as a movement, should conduct future business. Many thanks for everyone's input; all of your thoughts and concerns were taken into consideration and valued.
With that said, there is a second issue to address. The cancelled conference was intended not only to deal with the proposed new Section, but also to attempt to decide on a formal process for adding new material as scripture. I've had discussions and thoughts about it and I'm going to propose a process here for consideration. The intent is not to dictate how it will or should be done, but to offer a starting point for discussions. I would hope that over the next several months prior to the conference, better minds than mine (that's just about everyone) can come up with modifications or even a complete replacement to what I'm about to propose that will be far better than mine. The following is simply to get the discussion and ideas started.
I don't want to make this seem too formal. Just like with fellowships, we need to keep such a process to a basic framework with very basic principles and as few restrictions as necessary. The spirit needs room to slip in and quietly guide us. Formalizing things can quickly turn institutional, which has proven to be deadly to anything living.
I'll try to offer some sort of explanation for each point in order to help the discussions that need to take place. One huge sticking point is that we don't have a central place for large discussions. Today, an online forum was announced called CovenantChat.com. Online forums haven't worked so far. But discussions need to take place within and between fellowships, families and friends before we gather at a conference to finalize it all. We all need time to prepare so we don't have to review everything at teh conference before getting something done. Online solutions offer the upside of a broader and farther reach than in-person discussions, but written communications have been problematic for us all (can anyone say Guide and Standard?). CovenantChat.com COULD be a fresh start for us if we approach it wisely. If it simply is used for posting and commenting, our experience has shown we will likely slip quickly into contention, because as people, you lack the ability to respectfully disagree among one another. (T&C 157:3) And the difficulty is so great that He said, Even a single soul who stirs up the hearts of others to anger can destroy the peace of all my people. (T&C 157:19) That is why He added, Each of you must equally walk truly in my path, not only to profess, but to do as you profess. Written comments have proven such a great obstacle that instead of posting and commenting, I encourage using the new site to arrange video chats, phone calls, and local gatherings -- anything that allows for real-time voice communication. CovenantChat.com has also assumed the role of repository for proposals. It is not an official site of any sort; if it becomes the go-to place to discuss, that's up to everyone. One would assume, though, that conference business would first be sent to conference organizers for approval and announcement as part of the business to be conducted at the conference. Jumping into discussing stuff that may not be taken up at a conference seems a bit premature. However, I've discussed the matter of how to add new material to our scriptures with members of the Cedar City committee and it will be addressed during their conference.
Here are some ideas to start the discussions:
- One of the most important principles to keep in mind is that it's hard to anticipate all the circumstances that may be in our future, so putting any restrictions on ourselves that aren't absolutely essential might wind up excluding anything unusual or unexpected, and therefore seems unwise. The simpler, the more flexible and adaptable.
- New material proposed for scripture can generally be dealt with in a conference. If any exception needs to be made, or participation extended beyond attendees, perhaps an online/mail-in vote during or prior to the conference vote can be included. In the days of Joseph Smith, all conference business was accomplished by those present. But, most of the people lived within a short distance. Anyone who could not attend had to trust those present to do the right thing. On the other hand, conference-only discussion and voting excludes those who cannot travel for whatever reason (cost, timing, etc.) and favors those with greater funding and flexibility with their time.
- Any proposal should be made no less than 30 days prior to the conference to allow everyone enough time to study, ponder and discuss the proposal. The same would apply to counter-proposals, which don't have to be a complete replacement of the proposal, but perhaps address just one or a few of the points within the proposal. If you have a reasonable overall proposal, but one or some of the points chafe, don't reinvent the wheel, just round the corners off. However, since a proposal might be posted with just the minimum amount of time left, there needs to be time to allow for counter-proposals to develop. So I propose that counter-proposals be submitted no less than 2 weeks prior to the conference. However, the sooner something can be put out in the public eye, the better.
- Conference organizers control the content of the conference, therefore it seems reasonable that they approve the proposals to be dealt with, in line with whatever criteria are decided on. Those items need to be announced as quickly as possible so that discussions can begin, along with their counter-proposals, which also need someone (likely the same organizers) to verify that any submission criteria are met.
- There really needs to be a commonly accepted place for the proposal(s) to be available to everyone. Whether a central, perhaps online, place is created, or the website for the upcoming conference is used, or another alternative, is up to the better minds to figure out. CovenantChat.com MAY turn out to be such a venue, but only time will tell.
- The proposal can require the signed support of at least 7 men and women, named on the proposal. This requires work on the part of the proposer to persuade more than a few and can filter out much of the individual agendas. Too high a number, though, could be prohibitive to isolated groups or individuals that otherwise have a good idea to propose; too low, and any hair-brained idea can tie up our time and attention. By requiring both men and women, wisdom can help influence things. And if the Lord deemed 7 is sufficient for sustaining, that number seems both minimal and adequate for proposing (12 is recommended by the Lord for a more difficult task, which offering a proposal doesn't measure up to.) Also, I've avoided using the term "Covenant holders" because there is no way to identify who is / is not part of the covenant people and implies policing of some sort.
- Time should be made in the conference for the presentation of the final version of the proposal (after discussions and input have possibly helped a better version to be developed), as well as any new alternative proposals and counter-arguments to that final version. Relegating all discussion to online arenas alone assumes that they are effective and sufficient. But there is nothing about online approaches that ensures a large group of the general membership has been able to discuss a matter together, whereas a time designated at a conference specifically for such a purpose does ensure it.
- Online voting allows many who could not travel to a conference to participate, but if the conference is not able to be live-streamed, the online voters do not have the benefit of the discussion prior to the vote and would therefore be less informed. That obstacle also denies some individuals and fellowships of the opportunity to host a conference. Equality demands that they not be denied such. If online participation is deemed problematic or undesirable, then the 30-day proposal deadline would allow for people who want their voice to be included in a vote to mail or otherwise have their vote and their reasoning given to someone who can act as proxy for them in the vote. In a conference vote, an online vote count should not be made known until after the in-conference votes have been counted so as not to unfairly influence the voting by the attendees. Keep in mind that online votes can be easily hijacked, though it hasn't yet happened to us. Tracking simple information such as an IP address for each vote can help identify mischief, but can easily be sidestepped as well.
- If there is more than one proposal for the same issue, a simple majority is likely sufficient for choosing, but with 3 or more proposals, a series of votes that drops the proposal(s) with the fewest votes could be used to reduce the final vote to 2 proposals. In all of the examples of voting found in the scriptures, no minimum number of voters is ever given, nor is a minimum requirement given for passage, other than an implied simple majority (for example, Helaman 2:15 - For as their laws and their governments were established by the voice of the people, and they who chose evil were more numerous than they who chose good, therefore they were ripening for destruction. For the laws had become corrupted...). Requiring a high bar like 90% approval invites minority rule because a small group doesn't have to make nearly the effort to derail a vote than is required by the greater body. In fact, a handful of individuals can kill any vote approval if a high bar of even 75% is used. Again, the scriptures never require anything other than a simple majority, so why should we?
- Is there a worst case scenario?: If a small group of people arrange/execute a smaller conference and conduct business on behalf of all the people, but their business likely doesn't reflect what the greater body of the covenant people would approve, those matters of business can be re-addressed in a subsequent larger conference and the outcome of the larger conference can supersede the smaller.
- The responsibility for ensuring that the formalized process/procedure is followed should fall to the host(s) of the conference where the voting takes place. It can also fall to them to make decisions or propose voting on anything exceptional or unexpected during the process.
Thank you for considering these ideas. It is my belief, as well as many others, that we need to determine how we as a people are going to conduct business. We have about 5 months before the next general conference in which to discuss possible solutions. So let's talk.
An Attempt to Address All of the Concerns
"... my works are without end, and also my words, for they never cease." Gen. 1:1
"Whenever men can find out the will of God and find an administrator legally authorized from God, there is the kingdom of God." --Joseph Smith
The Lord is always talking. The real issue is whether or not we're listening. No one likes to be ignored, and tend to go quiet if they are. Given His propensity to speak, we can, perhaps, judge our listening skills and willingness to hear by how much we're receiving from Him. If we think we're seeking to find out His will and hear what He has to say, then we should expect to receive a lot of words from Him -- if we're right about ourselves. And if we are, we should always be anticipating more from Him, at any time.
On Wednesday I had a post put up on totheremnant.com that explained why the vote on a proposed new Section for the T&C had been temporarily suspended, what concerns had caused the halt, initially addressed those concerns, and announced a replacement vote done in a way that lets all the people decide if an online vote was even acceptable. However, even that approach has had push-back, the main argument being that an online process isn't at all acceptable.
Underlying all of this, we're faced with are two apparently opposing positions. One is a group that is excited to have Mother's voice clearly spotlighted in our new scriptures and who feel that not including them in the first printing of the leather scriptures, but having them possibly added later as an inserted page, just wouldn't do them justice. They feel that having them included in the first printing adds a sense of legitimacy to Her words. The other group is concerned with having anything added to the scriptures handled in a conference and not online. Online interaction is far more limited and far less personal. They believe that waiting until the next conference in late March is therefore the appropriate way to handle the question of the proposed Section.
The challenge these two views present is that a delay until the next planned conference (late March) would deny the opportunity of including the Section, if approved, in the first printing of the leather scriptures, while an online vote now feels rushed and lacks the opportunity for the larger body to discuss it together.
Because online interactions are indeed pretty limited and limiting, as well as too troubling to some of you, the replacement vote due to start in just over a week is being retracted. There will be no online vote. Even with time to ponder and discuss in small groups prior to the vote, there is no arena available for a larger discussion, which seems to be an important factor. This may feel like a slap in the face to those who really want the potential new Section included in the first printing. In order to reconcile this dilemma of timing vs. in-person conferences:
We have already been taught that anyone can call a conference at any time for any reason. Therefore, a General Business Conference is now planned for mid-November in the Salt Lake area to satisfy the need of formalizing how new scripture will be adopted moving forward, and then to consider the content and adoption of the proposed Section. This alleviates the concerns some have of not dealing with the matter in person at a conference, while making sure it happens in time to allow for the possibility of including the proposed Section in the first printing. This notice gives a greater amount of time to prepare than the one held this past summer in Sandy, UT (that one only gave 2 weeks' notice), will not interfere with holiday travel, and allows time for local discussions in fellowships before the larger gathering and discussion happens. A location, date, and speaker have already been tentatively set and more details will be given next week.
Because it's easier to take something that exists and modify it than it is to start from scratch, a process for adopting new material as scripture will be offered in next week's update. It is intended to seed discussion and to create a starting point, not dictate an outcome. It will include the support of a number of people, rather than being the product of just one mind. But the expectation is that it will not remain unchanged.
The ongoing vote regarding a proposed new Section for the T&C has been temporarily suspended so that some valid concerns can be addressed. A discussion of those concerns can be found on new post at totheremnant.com. The new vote will begin a week from this Saturday, on October 12th, and run through Sunday October 20th. This will allow all of us enough time to consider all of the issues presented, any new ones, and discuss it all among ourselves before voting.
A vote is needed on a proposed new section for the T&C. It will be open until late Sunday night, October 6th, 2019. (see the link below) This is being done now in order to include it, if accepted, in the leather-bound scriptures. The question being voted on is whether to add revealed text to the Teachings and Commandments (T&C) that was given during the talk OUR DIVINE PARENTS in Gilbert, AZ in 2018.
This material is being proposed for inclusion in the T&C for the following reasons:
- After making remarks on the Word of Wisdom, Denver moved to other remarks, and then returned to comment on those given in the proposed section. That effort to emphasize this particular portion of the text, and his indication that they were given by revelation, to be given during this talk, sets it apart from his regular teaching. Revelation given through Denver to this people is the very definition of a new T&C Section.
- The talk was given to clearly remind us of the presence and importance of the role of our Heavenly Mother, and the quoted text is intended to honor Her. This is unique in all of scripture.
- Including it in our scriptures begins to lift the veil that has shrouded Her presence and recognizes Her as equal with Her spouse in speaking to us.
Here is the text as it would appear in the T&C:
Revelation given through Denver Snuffer during a general conference in Gilbert, AZ, 25 March 2018.
1 Let me briefly mention the Word of Wisdom. This was a revelation inspired by a woman, Emma Smith, and given to her husband. It declares it is a greeting, and not a commandment or constraint, but it is a revelation and the word of Wisdom given to show forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days. The revelation is charged with kindly, motherly advice. Wine or strong drink is not good, apart from the sacrament. For the sacrament it should be pure wine of the grape of the vine that we make. We are warned that strong drinks are not for the belly (T&C 89:1-3) because many avoidable, foolish, physical and emotional errors are made when under the influence of strong drink; wine and strong drink tempt us into errors. The Mother urges us to find wisdom, prudence, counsel, understanding, truth, excellent things, and nothing that is froward or perverse. Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging, and whoever is deceived thereby is not wise (Proverbs 2:299).
2 Any kindly advice from a caring Mother ought to be followed, particularly when we are promised that by following it, we will receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones, and shall find Wisdom and great treasures of wisdom and knowledge, even hidden treasures, and shall run and not be weary and walk and not faint (T&C 89:6)…
3 Those concluding references to the Word of Wisdom were themselves given as a reminder, by revelation, as something to be repeated here in the context of this talk [Our Divine Parents] to honor Her. A great deal of foolishness and distress and a lot of arguments have resulted from ignoring the Word of Wisdom; and wise counsel always tells us to be prudent and to be careful.
To vote on the proposed section, click here.
Some of the Restoration Edition scriptures are now available for purchase from www.scriptures.shop. We are making them available in both softcover (paperback) and hardcover versions. These have been separated into manageable page sizes to help preserve the bindings: Old Covenants 1&2, New Testament, Book of Mormon, Teachings and Commandments, and A Glossary of Gospel Terms . The entire lineup will be available in 3 sizes: A4 / 8.5"x11" (large print), A5, and 5"x7" (compact). You will be able to buy them individually or as a complete set. The first set to be available will be the A5 paperbacks (though OC2 will not be available for another week or two due to a technical issue). Those links are live. The rest will appear over the coming week.
PLEASE NOTE: We intend to have the printer of the leather-bound scriptures also provide softcover versions that use the same text block (paper & pages) as the leather-bound scriptures. They will be less expensive than the Print-On-Demand scriptures, but they will not be available before early next year.
The Restoration Edition scriptures are also available as eBooks and can be downloaded for free from either scriptures.shop or here on the Downloads page of scriptures.info. Currently we have them available in ePub, Mobi and AZW3 (Kindle) formats. Please download the "Complete Restoration Scriptures" version if you want to have all of the cross-references hyperlinked between the volumes. There is no need to download the individual volumes unless you prefer having them as separate "books" in your e-reader, but then the hyperlinks only work within a single volume (ebook). There is also a stand-alone Glossary if that is all you want to use or share (the Glossary is also included in the appendix of Teachings and Commandments).
The android app REScriptures is free to download from the Google Play Store. It is a very basic app and will be updated in the next few weeks with the final text of the scriptures and with additional functionality, including bookmarking and text-to-speech (you can play the scriptures on your phone while offline).
An iPhone app is under development, but we don't have a launch date yet.
It will take several more weeks for the scriptures to become available through sources such as Amazon.com, BookDepository.co.uk, and other online booksellers. The books are Print-On-Demand and should be available for purchase and delivery worldwide. The time it takes for the retailers to pick up the titles depends on each distributor; we have no control over that. Nor can we control the pricing. Different vendors have different requirements. We are always asking to sell the scriptures at our cost, and are requiring the lowest pricing possible from each vendor. That is the most control we can exert on the pricing.
Samples of the leather-bound scriptures ship soon from one of the two final printer candidates. We hope to decide on the actual printer within a week of receiving them. That decision will determine the pricing of the leather-bound scriptures. The pricing and projected availability date will be announced as soon as we know.
Thank you for being patient with this process. It has taken far longer than anticipated, but our efforts and care have been noted by the potential printers. They are impressed with both our specifications and the final product we have required.
We have done everything we can to balance cost, build quality and availability for all of the different formats.
Editing never ends. We continue to find typos here and there despite having reviewed all of the texts many, many times. If we had waited to publish until every mistake was found, we'd never get the works published. These books represent the most recent versions, but there may be a few more typos discovered. We will do one final update to the text just prior to the actual printing of the leather-bound scriptures in a month or two. These will likely be typos changing lowercase to uppercase, or adding a comma or a space. Those changes can be easily made by you in your current copies. But we will do everything we can to present the most perfect version of the final, leather-bound scriptures possible.
All further announcements about the Restoration Edition Scriptures will be posted on this site. Scripturesproject.blogspot.com will no longer be used.
- All three volumes are now finalized and available here.
- PDF versions are also available from the Downloads page, which precisely match the final print editions.
- A "Print Editions" top link has been added take you to a different site with information about at-cost print editions available.
- PDF documents highlighting all changes made since the May 2018 edition are also available on the Downloads page.