Initial Thoughts on “Waiting for Worlds End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff”

November 10, 2008    By: Matt W. @ 10:51 am   Category: Book Reviews

I’m going to be up front here, I do not normally purchase books published by Signature Books, due to the company’s controversial place in Current Mormon Culture. So you can read all my comments as someone who is biased by their culture to have a disposition to dislike Signature Books.

That said, Every Latter-day Saint who has even a remote interest in Church History should own at least this book. I am about 50 pages in and so far it has given me an insider’s view of: The Zion’s Camp affair, the Kirtland Safety Society, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, Early Temple worship, The Endowment, The 12’s Mission to UK, The Book of Abraham, and more. Woodruff is incredibly articulate and Staker does an excellent job of abridging the text to keep the pace quick and interesting.

Some highlights:

1. When Joseph Smith is imprisoned in relation to Zion’s Camp, Woodruff does not blame the Missourians, but puts Boggs response in the context of a man reacting to false reports of Thomas Marsh and Orson Hyde. Further He blames General Hinckle for surrendering the leadership. I do not know much about the events around Zion’s Camp, but it is interesting to me that from Woodruff’s perspective the fault was with the saints as much as with anyone else.

2. The initial temple ceremony in Kirtland was days long, and Woodruff makes it so exciting! His spiritual battle to overcome Satan he relays in the middle of this event is simply fascinating and moving as an example of the powers of spiritual brotherhood.

3. Missionary work has changed. I don’t think we can understand just how incredible the Mission to UK by the 12 was as we read it through our modern cultural lense. 1st, no one cares that these were apostles. 2nd, they had no money, 3rd, there were no churches or congregations waiting for them, not even 1 single member 4th, they baptized thousands! Wilford Woodruff acquired chapels for the Church by baptizing the Pastor and gaining the building!

4. Wilford Woodruff recorded the visions and thoughts of early LDS sisters with the view that they were as interesting and important as the sermons of Joseph Smith. There is an especially poignant recording from the vision of one Eliza Bromley (Who I’d love to know who she is!) where she notes “Your tears number more than your enemies.” Followed by an urgent petition to love our enemies. It’s beautiful and compelling, and Woodruff took it in as from God. He calls women prophetesses, and he draws strength from them. As a father of girls, I love these vignettes of powerful LDS women I can share with my daughters in years to come.

Some regrets:

1. The Introduction is unfortunate, in that Staker begins basically by telling us all the reasons her primary market, the LDS base, should not purchase this book. She only made it to get money, she sets herself up as not really liking Woodruff, and speculating that he wouldn’t like her or this book. She calls her labors on this project a “confinement” and herself “skeptical” of the truth claims Woodruff lived for. Basically she is saying she doesn’t really give a crap about Woodruff, and all in the first few paragraphs of her introduction! This is unfortunate because it really hurts her overall goal of selling more copies of this book. If another edition of this book is ever published, I would suggest the introduction focus more on Woodruff (and in a more complementary fashion) and less on his editor. (I have intentionally started my post hypocritically in the same fashion I feel , as an effort to make this point more clear)

2. The Cover suffers the same problem as do many of the covers to Dialogue, a Journal of Mormon thought, in that they fail to make any effort to appeal to the general aesthetics of the Mormon Base, which should be the primary market. The cover features a photo of Woodruff in tones of Yellow with one Eye in Red, almost denoting it as an “evil eye” and has a picture of some sort of Red Army, perhaps some sort of Apocalyptic Army in reference to the last days and the Title of the book? In any case, the cover does not scream, this is Woodruff’s life in his own words, check it out, but instead seems to want to imply something sinister in the contents. My guess, is the cover artist at most read the first few paragraphs of the introduction as a basis for inspiration, and may have only been given the title of the book. In any case, the cover sucks, not as bad as the cover of “shaken faith syndrome” but it definitely makes no effort to appeal to mainstream Mormonism, which again is sad, because the book is awesome!

3. My only editorial gripe on the contents is that when Sarah Emma dies, Wilford records the entirety of his wife’s letter in his journal to track the event, but this edition omits his own thoughts on it, as Spartan as they admittedly are. All Wilford had to say, according the Church Manual on the event was :

“Other than copying Phoebe’s letter, Elder Woodruff wrote very little about his daughter’s passing. He merely said that Sarah Emma had been “taken from time” and that she was “gone to be seen no more in this life.”

While this isn’t very much, It atleast gives Woodruff the impression of having thought on his daughter, which is somewhat lacking in the break neck speed of the current edition.

In Conclusion, I stand by what I said, everyone should own this book who is interested in Church History. Staker does an excellent Job of making Woodruff very readable, and the ride is incredible! So ignore the cover, ignore the introduction, and if you are a biased goat like me, ignore the publisher, but check this book out. You won’t regret it.

50 Comments »

  1. One other note: I was talking to a friend about this book at church and he corrected me saying they were “Journals” not “Diaries”. Is this actually an issue?

    Comment by Matt W. — November 10, 2008 @ 11:57 am

  2. It’s great book. The distinction between a diary and journals is blurry to my eyes.

    I agree about the introduction which is odd to say the least.

    Comment by Clark — November 10, 2008 @ 1:21 pm

  3. I don’t know if you have seen the complete set of diaries published by Signature, but they are beautiful (They also take up about two feet of shelf space). To bad they are impossible to buy now (but thank heaven they are on the New Mormon CD-ROM!).

    I don’t mind the cover, and I haven’t read the intro, so can’t comment; but I know Susan, and she is typically pretty fair.

    Regarding their appellation, they are actually diaries. Davis Bitton wrote in his Guide:

    There are no firm definitions for such terms as diary, journal, daybook, memoir, reminiscences, or autobiography. Although some persons obviously have their own set of clear meanings for these terms, those who wrote the documents used them with very little consistency.

    All items listed in the Guide, however, have been classified in one of three categories: autobiography, journal, and diary. These terms have been selected on the basis of functional considerations, according to the author’s method of recording his account. It it was written fairly close to the time of the events reported-or at least organized according to dated entries-then it has been classified as a diary. If a record was made some time after the events discussed, it has been classed as an autobiography. In most cases the lack of daily entries has been regarded as sufficient grounds for so classifying a document. An account which mixed retrospective material in significant quantity with contemporary entries is termed a journal.

    The Woodruff diaries are so important, it is impossible to understate their value.

    Regarding your highlights, I would say that the temple ceremony didn’t last days, but that there were various ceremonies and rituals spread across days.

    Comment by J. Stapley — November 10, 2008 @ 1:42 pm

  4. One day I need to get a copy of the New Mormon CD-Rom and subscribe to Deseret Book’s book service. One day…

    Good point about the time period for the ceremonies. I wish we had more info on them.

    I should also note that Woodruff’s journals (using the common term to describe then rather than the descriptive categories you list) really aren’t terribly reflective. As such we shouldn’t be surprised he doesn’t poor out his heart on many emotional issues like the death of his daughter. (IMO)

    To me the most interesting bit of the journals was the romance late in his life with that one woman. (Sorry, I’m at work and can’t remember the name) Of course that also highlights, to me, the biggest problem with the practice of polygamy. It was just too easy to neglect your spouse for some new woman. Even if polygamy was inspired the practical way it was lived was anything but.

    Comment by Clark — November 10, 2008 @ 2:01 pm

  5. There is a fair body of material on the Kirtland Temple rituals. Joseph Smith’s journal is one that pops out. Woodruff was interesting, because he was away from Kirtland for the Temple festivities in 1836 and participated in them the following year.

    Comment by J. Stapley — November 10, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  6. J. – I personally don’t mind the cover, I just don’t believe it does a good job of marketing the book to who I think should be considered it’s primary market.

    I am definitely not saying Susan was not fair in the introduction, I just think she sells herself short and again fails to appeal to the primary market for this book.

    While I love searchable CDs for research purposes, nothing beats a book for leisurely reading, and as such, Staker does a great job of making over 5k of journals into an enjoyable leisurely read.

    And you are correct that the ceremonies themselves were not days in length, but they did happen over a period of days, which is still fascinatingly different than the initiatory endowment setup. Here’s hoping the Joseph Smith Papers do not ommit descriptions of the Kirtland Temple Scenario.

    Clark: Woodruff is marginally reflective on other things, such as his frustration with London’s slow pace of mission. I think perhaps it speaks to who Woodruff felt he was writing for while he was a missionary.

    Oh, and Yes, either of you can give me the complete set of diaries for Christmas.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 10, 2008 @ 3:04 pm

  7. I think it would be impossible for them to omit them. The Joseph Diary for 1836 has already been published and the details of the rituals are explicitly described there. If they didn’t publish those parts they would loose all credibility.

    Comment by J. Stapley — November 10, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  8. Matt, I think that a problem with Signature in general. They have some excellent books but they also have a bit of a rep which leads some to neglect very worthwhile books.

    Comment by Clark — November 10, 2008 @ 3:21 pm

  9. Doh. I wasn’t thinking of Kirtland but of Nauvoo. My bad.

    Comment by Clark — November 10, 2008 @ 3:29 pm

  10. Clark: What bugs me is that Signature seems to want this rep, based on their lack of effort to appeal to the wider base, which seems to contrary to messaging from them I’ve seen on the blogs, ie- They want more mainstream writers but the mainstream is unwilling, etc. (Please correct me if I am incorrectly conflating signature with dialogue.) It just seems if they were genuinely trying to appeal to the mainstream, they’d make some kind of effort in their marketing to do so.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 10, 2008 @ 3:38 pm

  11. Thanks for this review Matt. I got a hold of some of the Woodruff diaries years ago at a thrift store in Provo (if you can believe it) and the part I have is phenomenal. I’m looking forward to this volume.

    Comment by Jacob J — November 10, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  12. Matt, I’m not convinced Signature wants this rep but I agree that they are a bit inconsistent on this. Further, to be fair, a lot of the rep was given to them back in the Signature/FARMS battles of the 90′s. The sad fact is though that no one else is doing a lot of this. Kofford is trying to be that middle ground between Signature and FARMS but it’s hit and miss how well they are doing. And there are distribution problems they’ve faced.

    Comment by Clark — November 10, 2008 @ 4:43 pm

  13. I remember when the complete Woodruff diaries came out. Alas, I was a poor student and there’s no way I could have purchased a set at that time. Rats.

    Comment by Kevin Barney — November 10, 2008 @ 8:31 pm

  14. Ditto Kevin. Although even then they were outrageously expensive.

    Comment by Clark — November 10, 2008 @ 9:26 pm

  15. The cheapest I have seen them is $4,200, which is out of my league. Maybe if I were a big shot lawyer or chocolateer, then I’d have a chance, but Susan’s abridged version is pretty dang good for my budget.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 10, 2008 @ 9:29 pm

  16. Maybe if I were a big shot lawyer or chocolateer

    hehe

    Comment by Jacob J — November 11, 2008 @ 9:04 am

  17. Heh. Someone has never started a small business. I guarantee I make way less than I did a few years ago. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to buy all the history books I could wish. But not yet.

    Comment by Clark — November 11, 2008 @ 10:23 am

  18. What bugs me is that Signature seems to want this rep, based on their lack of effort to appeal to the wider base, which seems to contrary to messaging from them I’ve seen on the blogs, ie- They want more mainstream writers but the mainstream is unwilling, etc.

    In my experience, folks associated with Signature don’t seem to spend much time on the blogs.

    Comment by Justin — November 12, 2008 @ 11:37 am

  19. The church offices of the only two General Authorties I know are lined with dozens of wonderful Signature titles. Your blanket policy to “not normally purchase books published by Signature Books, due to the company’s controversial place in Current Mormon Culture” oversteps the mark. It is possible, you know, to make a decision about “appropriateness” on a book-by-book basis.

    Comment by Matt Thurston — November 12, 2008 @ 11:58 am

  20. I have to agree with Clark. Clearly if Signature wanted to appeal to the masses they would publish a lot more tacky, sentimental, crappy, fiction, or deceptively footnoted, badly designed, traditional orthodox revisionism as scholarship. Let them keep their “so called” honest efforts at the fringe of our culture. They won’t disturb the honest folk that way.

    Comment by Tom Kimball — November 12, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

  21. Justin: I must be conflating Signature and Dialogue then

    Matt: I obviously bought this book didn’t I? In looking at Signatures library, there are lots of awesome books, like this one. I just think it’s unfortunate that they aren’t more effectively marketed. That’s my subjective opinion. I think if you took the cover of “Waiting for world’s end” and “Leaves from my journal” and put them side by side and asked your average buyer of LDS related books, “Leaves” is going to sell more copies, because it is more approachable in it’s presentation. This is a shame, because I think Susan did an excellent Job and presented a better product.

    Tom: Richard Bushman appeals to the Masses of the niche genre of LDS history I am discussing, So does Terryl Givens. Both reference multiple Signature Books, but many people who read their books wouldn’t read a Signature Book. I am not comparing Signature with Deseret Books, nor do I have any desire for Signature to be Deseret Books. I just think the introduction of a book and the cover matter to the average impulse buyer, which is a large part of the market, and Signature could sell a lot more books if it made an effort to appeal to the average mormon aesthetically.

    I mean didn’t I say I think everyone should own this book? Didn’t I say Staker did an Awesome Job? Are you dismissing my praise because of my negative opening remarks? Isn’t that exactly what I argued in my post was the reason I thought it was a bad Idea for Staker to open her introduction with negative remarks? See, you are dismissing what I said based on that and your perception of the situation. I worry that many will dismiss many of your books for the same reasons.

    Any way, thanks for being interested enough to respond.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 12, 2008 @ 1:44 pm

  22. Hmmm… maybe Tom can explain the decision-making that went into the Waiting For The World’s End cover.

    For my part, I love it. It has a beautiful, enigmatic aesthetic. It looks like a scholarly book of substance, not some fluffy, sentimental piece of tripe.

    But I get what you are saying about a “Mormon Aesthetic” and appealing to conventional Mormons. Do you have a book cover or two you could point to as a good example of what you would prefer? Do you like the cover for Thomas Alexander’s Wilford Woodruff biography, for example?

    Comment by Matt Thurston — November 12, 2008 @ 2:07 pm

  23. Re (#20),

    Well, there you have it. Signature actually doesn’t want to appeal to a wider audience. That’s just sad.

    I am not biased against Signature in the way Matt W describes and I own several Signature books that I’ve enjoyed. But the way Tom’s disdain for Deseret Books has spilled over to an apparent disdain for “the masses” is regrettable.

    Comment by Jacob J — November 12, 2008 @ 2:49 pm

  24. Re #20: Niiice.

    Tom is the marketing guru over at Signature Books…

    ’nuff said.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 12, 2008 @ 3:09 pm

  25. Matt, it is definitely less off-putting. I guess I should not over-generalize about all the covers of signature books, since my experience is mainly with the Staker’s book and the covers of the last 15 or so Dialogue magazines which I may be incorrectly over-associating with Signature.

    I personally really like the cover of “Mysteries of Godliness” for example, and think “Insider’s View of Mormon origens” has a pretty cool design. I just don’t know that they appeal to the more general base of who buys LDS books.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 12, 2008 @ 4:45 pm

  26. which I may be incorrectly over-associating with Signature

    Yes — you are incorrectly associating the two.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 12, 2008 @ 4:49 pm

  27. K, thanks for the correction. That doesn’t really make my review any different, but I had always wondered, since they get lumped together a lot and signature sells dialogue on its web site.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 12, 2008 @ 5:07 pm

  28. Matt, I really like the cover of “Mysteries of Godliness” as well. Although that’s a book I think that with just slight modification could have appealed to a much wider audience. Ditto with several other Signature books I have. I think Tom’s disdain for much of Deseret Books is warranted but I sure hope it hasn’t spilled over into disdain for the masses. As many have noted in this discussion and similar ones Bushman and others demonstrate quite clearly that the masses of Mormonism are open to a scholarly honest history. It’s just that in far too many otherwise good books (and even those with certain problems) there a certain “look down my nose” at regular Mormons. It’s just as unfortunate as Deseret Book’s assumption they all want pablum.

    As I said I think Kofford has been trying for a middle ground. They’ve been struggling in some ways but are trying to be what I always wished Signature would become. (Or FARMS for that matter)

    False dichotomies always make me sad.

    Comment by Clark — November 12, 2008 @ 10:22 pm

  29. I think the covers of most Signature books are fine. I have half a dozen or so. However, I think the cover of “Waiting on Worlds End” one is atrocious, almost to the point of offensiveness.

    Comment by Mark D. — November 12, 2008 @ 11:28 pm

  30. Clark: THe Only Kofford Books I have are Blake’s first 2 (Amazon cancelled my order for #3 for unknown reasons) I do have all the Second Witness books on my wish list, so that may change.

    Mark: I wouldn’t go so far as to say the cover offended me, but it did make me think twice about buying the book. (I’ve been meaning to buy it for a few years, but reservations regarding the cover kept causing me to put it off.)

    Comment by Matt W. — November 13, 2008 @ 10:27 am

  31. Matt, Amazon did the same to mine. Kofford has had trouble keeping books in Amazon. They’ve also had some binding issues. (Which I believe is why it was originally cancelled from Amazon, although I could be wrong on that)

    They have a really crappy web page but it’s worth checking out. They’ve published Brant Gardner’s Book of Mormon commentary, are publishing Nick Literski new book on Mormon Masonry, and quite a few others of interest.

    I hope they are successful because as much as I love the various university presses I think we need an independent press doing interesting stuff without the baggage that Deseret Books or Signature bring.

    Comment by Clark — November 13, 2008 @ 8:34 pm

  32. Matt, clearly you need to renew your subscription to Dialogue :)

    Also, if you want to have a talk with the art director about the covers, I’m sure he’d be interested in your opinions–e-mail me and I’ll put you in touch.

    Comment by Kristine — November 15, 2008 @ 5:59 am

  33. Kristine: I am the first to admit that I get all my interaction with dialogue via the free stuff available online at U of U and your website.

    If I can think of anything more constructive to say than ‘it doesn’t appeal to the base’ I will email you.

    Thanks for always being so classy. It is something I really admire from you.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 15, 2008 @ 9:36 am

  34. When I worked at Deseret Book they carried Sunstone, Dialogue, and the Journal of Mormon history. I loved every second I worked at Deseret Book. Unfortunately Deseret Book doesn’t enjoy a moderate buying department at this present time. Too bad. We are left to frequent great book shops such as Benchmark Books and the BYU Bookstore for our non-sentimental tacky crap-needs.

    As for Signature Books distribution. I’m on it … like white on rice, on a paper plate, with a glass of milk, in a snowstorm. But the fact is quality Mormon books are like drugs, If you buy them, book stores will cary them. If you don’t buy them, well, that’s on you.

    Since the best way to hide anything from Mormons is to publish it. Especially in the Ensign. It’s no wonder quality Mormon studies enjoys it’s elite status.

    Oh, Bushman and Givens enjoy the status of the appropriate “gift book.” It’s like those GA books we sold at DB when I was younger. The book “uncle Bob” thanks you for when he opens it Christmas morning, but ultimately ends up at the DI after he kicks off, only for some book picker to find it in the same condition it left the store all those years before–unread.

    Failed Mormon Book Marketing Guru.

    Comment by Tom Kimball — November 15, 2008 @ 6:19 pm

  35. Tom, I get the feeling you don’t really want to talk about this. Anyway, I buy all my books through Amazon.com, and so far as I know have never been in a “deseret book”, since the only two months I ever lived in Utah were in the MTC.

    So anyway, not sure why you are ripping on Bushman and Givens, but I know It is rough being signature books, so I’m not gonna worry about it.

    Anyway, in short, great book, and my opinion is you could have sold more copies and gotten a more positive response with some simple changes that don’t really compromise too much. That’s not to say the book isn’t totally awesome, It’s just stating my opinion.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 15, 2008 @ 7:45 pm

  36. Matt, I don’t think Tom was ripping on Bushman and Givens so much as he was commenting on the traits of the average Mormon book buyer: There are an awful lot of us who give books as gifts because, well, they’re easy. We buy books by “acceptable” authors because, well, I don’t really know Uncle Bob well enough to know what he would like, but by golly he can’t object to a book by a General Authority or the current celebrity author. Then when Uncle Bob, who isn’t really a book reader, gets the book as a gift, he puts it on the shelf because that’s what you do with books, and never quite gets around to reading it. The book doesn’t get read because Bushman or Givens aren’t good, but because Uncle Bob isn’t a reader, except maybe of Dilbert cartoons. There are a lot of Uncle Bobs who are fully Mormon, but who aren’t part of the Mormon Base of book readers like many of us in the Bloggernacle.

    I appreciated your review, which I hadn’t happened to see until I noticed Tom’s name in the comment list and clicked over. You peg some of my own dissatisfactions with too many recent books (although not yet having read this one, I’m not speaking directly of it) — authors need to have basic respect for their subjects, and even a little affection, if not admiration. They ought to have basic respect for their audience. And the text should stand on its own — the author shouldn’t complain about what he could or couldn’t include, or about not having space to adequately address the arguments. Reviews are sometimes hard to read because reviewers review the book they wanted to read instead of the one between the covers — it’s *really* bad when the author himself complains in the forematter that he didn’t write the book he wanted to write!

    Comment by Ardis Parshall — November 15, 2008 @ 8:15 pm

  37. Tom: Failed Mormon Book Marketing Guru.

    True dat.

    How can I tell you probably suck at your job? Because you seem to think that any difficulties with sales or distribution are not really your responsibility. I love your circular logic too: “If people bought a lot more quality Mormon books more stores would stock them…” Ok, well if you convinced more stores to stock your quality books a lot more people would buy them right?

    Matt is a real live customer who just bought one of your books. He is giving you customer feedback. He had a few simple suggestions on how you might make your books more appealing to more Mormons and instead of saying “Hmmm… maybe this unbiased customer feedback could be useful to our business” you roll in here acting like a peevish jerkwad.

    I can only assume based on your sneering arrogance and refusal to believe your company can or ought to reconsider your marketing strategy that you are paid with a salary instead of on a commission. Anyone paid based on performance would have incentive to actually get better at marketing.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 15, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  38. Geoff

    Why would I want to be part of a publisher that would appeal to the lowest common denominator of Mormons? I like the Mormons who read our books. That sets them apart. My kind of folks.

    You think I’m paid on commission? Dude, I’m paid by the good pleasure of our owner. The day we make a prophet, he’s going to fire my butt, cuz I’m appealing to too many Mormons.

    Comment by Tom Kimball — November 15, 2008 @ 8:43 pm

  39. Ardis: Good call. I guess I misread Tom. Anyway, there is absolutely no reason “Waiting” couldn’t be the perfect gift book, outside the one or two quibbles I’ve mentioned, which make it marginally problematic, in that the messaging is just a bit uncomfortable. I wouldn’t attribute to the book all the issues you express, as Staker after the brief introduction I outline does an admirable Job of discussing Woodruff’s Millenialist leanings, his growth from a convert to a prophet, and his amazing diary writing. Which is why it is such a bummer the first few paragraphs seems so uncomfortable, like when you were given a test in ethics class asking how hard you worked, and you don’t know whether you should say 10 or not because it seems dishonest to say 10 because its ethics class, but you did everything you were supposed to do, but you know you could have done more because you can always do more, etc etc.

    Tom,
    If I understand you right, the mission of signature is to make excellent books, not to make a profit, with excellence fitting into a very specific scope, as defined by the core values of your benefactor. I am cool with that, I guess I would be interested in what those core values are, and in the case of this book, if you were part of the decission process for this cover and why this configuration was selected.

    Comment by Matt W. — November 15, 2008 @ 9:07 pm

  40. Matt

    We have several designers and ironically we have used the same book designers that have worked on productions for Deseret Book and the Ensign. Sometimes we do well with our designs, other times–not so much. Live and learn.

    Waiting for Worlds End was long before my time and long before our current production manager. I hope it wasn’t too avant-garde for bloggernacle sensibilities. I do understand that the editor–who happens to be Nate Oman’s mother– felt that it was the best-of-the-best by Woodruff.

    We hope you enjoy.

    Tom Kimball: resident “peevish jerkwad” at Sig. I’ll ask my 15 year old to translate when he gets back from Bands of America in Indianapolis. Though I work with the 11-year-old scouts in my ward, I’m just not up on all this Mormon teenager slang. I hope it’s nice.

    Comment by Tom Kimball — November 15, 2008 @ 9:29 pm

  41. My bad Tom. I assumed Signature Books was a for-profit organization. It sounds like I assumed wrong and Signature Books is really the money losing hobby project of a wealthy benefactor who isn’t interested in having more people buy and read Signature-published books no matter how good the quality is between the covers. Sounds like a pretty sweet gig for you as the marketing guru though.

    I hope you will forgive Matt for giving this book a positive review here — I know that might lead to more sales and all when people Google the books and find this post…

    Comment by Geoff J — November 15, 2008 @ 9:35 pm

  42. Dude, my 13 year daughter just told told me what “Peevish Jerkwad” means. Your a bad man.

    Comment by Tom Kimball — November 15, 2008 @ 9:40 pm

  43. Hehe. Oh I know I’m a bad man. Nevertheless, sorry about going over the top on #37. I was feeling a bit of a peevish myself when I rattled it off.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 15, 2008 @ 9:49 pm

  44. What is a peevish jerkwad exactly? Well, its funny at least. The antichrist is here.

    Comment by martin k — November 16, 2008 @ 11:13 am

  45. We just discovered this website and decided to order the Wilford Woodruff book. Then I spotted the comments column and read the lot. Very interesting!! We don’t care what the cover looks like, it’s the content that we’re interested in. Of course, a good review helps a lot. We bought,or were given, a copy of The Mysteries of Godliness along with a few copies of Dialogue and Sunstone many years ago and really enjoyed them. We gave our Branch President the Mysteries to read and afterwards he said he wouldn’t have it in his house and advised us to burn it. Of course we didn’t, and since then have been looking for more books we should burn, but that will give us the further knowledge from the best books we should all be reading. Now we can scan the Signature book list and hopefully find some. Controversial books and magazines are difficult to come across in this part of England, or any part of England come to that. Hope to tune in to some of you again soon. Good reading. Judy L. P.S. Peevish jerkwad? Oh dear!!

    Comment by Judy Lee — November 17, 2008 @ 2:22 pm

  46. P.S. Peevish jerkwad? Oh dear!!

    Well I anguished for a good 16-18 seconds over what to use there Judy… I liked “peevish” but needed a good amusing noun too. I considered tool, dillweed, douchebag, and asswipe. But in the end I think jerkwad worked out ok.

    Comment by Geoff J — November 17, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

  47. I stand by #37.

    Comment by Jacob J — November 17, 2008 @ 4:19 pm

  48. Geoff

    With my posts I was only shooting for a head scratch or possibly bewilderment. Name calling and righteous indignation would have been too glorious to consider.

    I’ll shoot higher next time.

    Comment by Tom Kimball — December 1, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

  49. Well you’re always welcome here at the Thang Tom.

    Comment by Geoff J — December 1, 2008 @ 3:18 pm

  50. Matt W., can you email me? I have a question about the book. I am looking for info on Woodruff sermons or statements on or around Aug. 19, 1877. I wonder if this selection contains anything there.

    Comment by BHodges — December 15, 2008 @ 11:03 am

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