Have you ever read one of Jonathan Stapley’s carefully crafted historical posts, and then said to yourself, “Sheesh, how in the world does he know all that?” Do you ever finish disgesting JNS’ latest analytical piece, only to proclaim, “Surely it is a sin for a man to know so much!” Do you ever read a Brad Kramer tour-de-force, and think, “Oh my heck, Brad probably forgot more Mormon history this morning than I’m likely to learn all year!”
Well, you shouldn’t. In fact, I’m going to let you in on a little secret… With only a modicum of effort, exerted over the course of one evening, you can successfully feign erudition and scholarliness when it comes to Mormon history. That’s because all you really need to know can be summarized in 10 short statements:
1. Joseph didn’t talk about the 1st Vision until years afterwards, and the 1st vision accounts are all different.
5. 19th Century Mormon leaders drank and smoked. Even in Carthage jail.
Seriously, that’s it. Everything else is details. Memorize this list, show it off, and you’ll get 90% of the respect of a Kramer, Seawright or Stapley with 0.0001% of the work.
And be honest … Do you really envy J. Stapley reading obscure pioneer diaries in the Archives until 3 am? No, of course you don’t.