In Mormon historical and doctrinal discussions, it is not uncommon to hear doubts voiced about whether such-and-such quotation by so-and-so General Authority as reported in the Journal of Discourses was accurately transcribed or not. In my experience, this happens most frequently in discussions of the Adam-God Theory, but there are other examples.
It’s not hard to guess why it occurs to so many Churchmembers to invoke this sort of argument. After all, Mormons often have “mistranscription” on the brain. We have visions of corrupt and conniving scribes, removing or reworking crucial sections of the Biblical text (even if reading 1 Nephi 13 so literally has gone out of fashion with some). We imagine that the Prophet Joseph literally restored some of this corrupted material (at least those of us who haven’t adopted the Midrashic interpretation of the JST). And Mormon Studies nerds know that the King Follett Discourse comes in multiple versions, and we can’t be sure who, if anyone, really transcribed it correctly. So with all the scary stuff in the JD, why not just assume some portions were written down wrong? This would make for a much easier ride through the minefields of LDS doctrinal history.
But I’m just not buying it. It’s not clear to me what basis there is for assuming that significant mistranscription is going on in the JD. The fact that the Church has distanced itself from some of the doctrinal content of those volumes, or the fact that the JD was not officially published by the LDS Church, is not an argument that the text fails to report accurately what various Mormon leaders actually said.
I have yet to see an example of the “mistranscription” assertion applied to the JD that isn’t accompanied by a weak apologetic argument concerning the substance of the supposedly disputed text. This may reflect nothing more than my ignorance, however. So I ask you: Are there any examples of textual mistranscription in the Journal of Discourses that seem compelling? If so, what are they?