A few items regarding the Interpreter Foundation:
First, I would like to highlight the little-noticed skirmish
between Dr. Midgley and "Glen Danielsen" (pen name) and Dennis Horne on the Interpreter's website. (Regrettably, "Peter Pan" from Neville-Neville Land didn't participate.) Dr. Midgley expresses a wish at one point that "Danielsen" and Horne "were a bit more charitable and wise in their assessments and opinions." He also says that "one must make every effort to understand the opinions of others, as much as possible, as they understand themselves." I am not making this up.
Second, Dr. Peterson recently reported
that the Foundation has now raised $950,000 of the $1.2 million needed to complete his Battlefield Earth
, a.k.a. the Witnesses
film. I've heard rumors that the Relief Society sister in Parowan intends to cash out her entire retirement fund--$50,000--to help the project reach a million dollars (which will apparently trigger a pledge by someone or some entity to kick in an additional $200,000).
Third, I am pleased to say that the Foundation, has, at long last, posted its financial summaries for the first
quarters of 2019.
Highlights of the first quarter: $15,657 for web design, digital publications, and set-up; a record $17,300
for Royal Skousen’s Critical Text Project Volume III; $3,994.73 for technical editing; and $3,021.89 for an unidentified media project. Total expenses for the quarter: $43,269.63.
Highlights of the second quarter: $17,248 for web design, digital publications, and set-up; $15,400 for Royal Skousen’s Critical Text Project Volume III; and $2,100.82 for technical editing. Total expenses for the quarter: $37,402.35.
Through the second quarter of 2019, the Foundation has spent an astonishing $230,239.65
on Skousen's Critical Text Project Volume III (parts 5-7 of which are forthcoming). To put this figure into more concrete terms, I am reliably informed that $230,000 would convince legendary actor John Travolta to play Joseph Smith in Witnesses
' "dramatic retelling of the compelling true story of three men who asked God for a witness."
Thank you as always, Tom, for your diligence. The accounting here is confusing. Why does an up-and-running site need to spend $15,657 on "web design, digital publications, and set-up." Wasn't it *already* "set up"? I know you've called for more transparency in the past, and I'd like to join you in that request. That figure for Skousen's work is quite extraordinary. Where does the money go? Straight into Skousen's pocket?
Lol... Please permit me to speculate. What if Interpreter was conceived, at least in part, as a money-making scheme--something that could pay for Dr. Peterson's luxurious summer travel schedule, or that could at least supplement what he does. It is at least conceivable (and again, this is pure speculation) that he could make some quiet arrangement with Skousen whereby they "split the cut." Officially, and on the tax forms, the money goes to Skousen's project, but "under the table," Skousen splits the money with DCP. In other words, Skousen goes and cashes the check and then pays half of it to DCP. To donors, it looks like they are funding Skousen's ridiculous "ghost committee" project, but in reality, they are both cashing in and lining their pockets (well, to be fair: Skousen is apparently still writing something. So the donors *are* getting their money's worth). If this is true, is it unethical? Undoubtedly. What is murkier for me is the legality of such a scenario. I mean, couldn't Skousen say that he was just "giving a donation" to his friend? If you feel like passing a couple thousand bucks to a friend now and then, that's not illegal, is it? I would have to defer to the attorneys on the board on this question, but you do sort of have to wonder....
Whatever the case may be, I am probably wrong about all of this, but it can be amusing sometimes to speculate. I'll just add that greater transparency would make it harder to engage in speculation of this nature.
As for the "Witnesses" project--and "project' is really the correct name for it, this is not a "film" in the normal sense; it's probably more accurate to characterize it as "propaganda"--I'm looking forward to the finished project (if they ever finish it, that is).
"[I]f, while hoping that everybody else will be honest and so forth, I can personally prosper through unethical and immoral acts without being detected and without risk, why should I not?." --Daniel Peterson, 6/4/14