Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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Tom
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by Tom »

Analytics wrote:So what is the deal with Royal Skousen? It looks like the Interpreter is simply paying him about $13,000 a quarter indefinitely for writing these books.

So what's up? Is the money going to Skousen personally? Or is to pay for research assistants, office space, supplies, miscellaneous expenses? Or is it an advance on the money Skousen is expected to make off of the book that is eventually published?

If I recall, a few years after the drama at the MI, "the Critical Text Project" moved from the MI to BYU Studies, with electronic versions of the books being published by Interpreter Foundation. Based on my not-even-casual observation of these events, I would speculate that the Interpreter agreed to pay Skousen $13,000 a quarter to conduct this research. I would guess that Skousen's salary at BYU had been about $104,000 a year, and that 50% of his work responsibilities consisted of this research.

It would then follow that BYU (through BYU Studies) is allowing Interpreter to have the prestige (and revenue) of being the electronic publisher of these books in exchange for Interpreter picking up 50% of Skousen's salary (i.e. $52,000 a year, or $13,000 a quarter).

Am I in the right direction here? Why did BYU agree to this? Were they about to cut the funding on Skousen because they don't think it is worth it? Or do they appreciate his work, but are glad to let somebody else pick up the tab?

Unfortunately, there’s little transparency here. For the record, I will quote a passage from Dr. Peterson’s fundraising letter back in December 2014:
[O]wing to unwelcome external circumstances, Professor Skousen’s landmark Critical Text Project suddenly needs to find a new home and (certainly by our standards) substantial funding. He has just approached The Interpreter Foundation for help. The amount required—approximately $40,000 for a year—dwarfs anything we’ve heretofore done. But this is an opportunity for Interpreter to participate in an undertaking that will benefit the Saints and the Church for generations to come. If you would like to help with this effort, donations will need to be sent to The Interpreter Foundation by check, annotated to indicate that they are earmarked for the Critical Text Project, Volume 3. Anybody who might be interested in speaking with Professor Skousen and/or with me about the current situation and the needs of the project should contact us via ....

It’s anybody’s guess how $40,000 for a year turned into $170,000+ as of mid-2018.

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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The Skousen Project is important, and it is a real feather in the cap of the Interpreter Foundation to support it. Whatever you may think of DCP, he has done a real service in generating and supporting worthwhile endeavors. Unfortunately he will be best known to some for his polemical projects and writings, but on the whole this is the least important work he has done.
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by Analytics »

Thanks for the reference, Tom.

Kishkumen wrote:The Skousen Project is important, and it is a real feather in the cap of the Interpreter Foundation to support it. Whatever you may think of DCP, he has done a real service in generating and supporting worthwhile endeavors. Unfortunately he will be best known to some for his polemical projects and writings, but on the whole this is the least important work he has done.


Absolutely. It's the kind of thing I'm glad is out there, although reading an 856 page book about the mosses of Great Britain would be no more boring than reading 6 volumes about Book of Mormon manuscripts.

My personal lack of erudition aside, how did Skousen's life work come to "suddenly need to find a new home"? Somehow BYU decided that it wasn't worthwhile to fund this anymore? My sincerest kudos to Peterson for having the will and ability to pick this up. But what is the rest of the story?
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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Analytics wrote:Absolutely. It's the kind of thing I'm glad is out there, although reading an 856 page book about the mosses of Great Britain would be...


How...

- Doc
In the face of madness, rationality has no power - Xiao Wang, US historiographer, 2287 AD.

Every record...falsified, every book rewritten...every statue...has been renamed or torn down, every date...altered...the process is continuing...minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Ideology is always right.

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by Tom »

A few more bits of information, from Skousen’s C.V. (p. 48):
independent fund raising

raising of $136,000 from November 2014 through the summer of 2015 to pay for the typesetting of volume 3 independently of BYU

raising of $96,400 from September 2017 through December 2017 to pay for part 7 in volume 3, plus the additional typesetting for volume 3; externally donated funds will be used to pay for this extra part 7

https://humanities.BYU.edu/cv/?netid=rjs4

Skousen has collaborated with S. Carmack on Volume 3.

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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Tom wrote:A few more bits of information, from Skousen’s C.V. (p. 48):
independent fund raising

raising of $136,000 from November 2014 through the summer of 2015 to pay for the typesetting of volume 3 independently of BYU

raising of $96,400 from September 2017 through December 2017 to pay for part 7 in volume 3, plus the additional typesetting for volume 3; externally donated funds will be used to pay for this extra part 7

https://humanities.BYU.edu/cv/?netid=rjs4

Skousen has collaborated with S. Carmack on Volume 3.


This is very interesting. One possibility is that this project used to be funded by either FARMS/the Old Maxwell Institute (or even METI/ISPART?), but after the Mopologists departed, funding was pulled--not right away, mind you, but eventually. I think this possibility is unlikely for the simple reason that, if the New MI was involved, the Mopologists would have been clamoring to blame them for trying to "silence" this project.

Instead, the politics of the whole thing have been handled far more delicately, which leads me to believe that DCP never said anything publicly out of a desire to avoid pissing off key people. Given how goofy this project has turned out to be (what with ghost committees and seances and Elizabethan language in the Book of Mormon), it wouldn't surprise me if Skousen's home department told him to take his show on the road--sort of like what happened with Bill Hamblin.

The big mystery for me is: Who was paying for this to begin with? Those of us here who have a really good memory will remember clear back prior to the 2012 "purge" that Skousen had run afoul of some of the Brethren, who didn't like what he was up to with this project. I seem to recall an old thread where Dean Robbers posed a provocative question "Have the Moplogists Published their own Book of Mormon"? The idea being that this new Skousen-edited version would be more "authoritative" than the official "Church version". I can see from this old thread, however, that DCP says that the initial volumes were "published with us," which I take to mean the Old Maxwell Institute (the thread is from 2009).

A trivia tidbit: according to Skousen's CV, he is married to a Harkonen. Quite interesting.
"[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

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by Tom »

The Interpreter Foundation is quite late in posting its financial summary for the third quarter of 2018, but I am, nonetheless, pleased to see it released in time for Christmas. The quarter's major expenses include $35,232.91 for an unidentified "media project" (presumably the Book of Mormon witnesses film); $15,487.66 for web design, digital publications, and set-up; $12,400 for Book of Mormon Critical Text Project Volume III; $1,702.11 for technical editing; $500 for "publicity - Fair Mormon"; and $400 for the "annual donor & volunteer seminar" (held at the Garfield County Jail in Panguitch). Total expenses for the quarter were a record-setting $67,153.97.

Through the third quarter of 2018, the Foundation has spent a total of $183,486.25 on Royal Skousen's Critical Text Project Volume III. To put this figure into more concrete terms, I am reliably informed that $183,000 would enable the Interpreter Foundation to purchase Provo's Olive Garden restaurant, where Interpreter was founded over lunch in 2012, and turn it into a Mopologetics Historic Site that houses, among other things, a complete collection of FARMS books, periodicals, papers, newsletters, videos, and tie tacks as well as the Louis Midgley papers, a scale model of the never-built FARMS ziggurat, Zelph's reconstructed skeleton, Nephi's personal astrolabe, James E. Talmage's 1921 prototype of an electronic chiasmus detector (intended for advanced analysis of the Book of Mormon), and Shiz's personal scalp.

Finally, with regard to funds, I am pleased to report that the Interpreter Foundation's #GivingTuesday Fundraiser, which continues until the end of the year, has now pulled in $1,835 of its $10,000 goal.
Last edited by Tom on Tue Jan 22, 2019 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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Thanks, Tom. It is good to see that the Interpreter Foundation is a vital organization that is out there making a difference. The support for Skousen's project alone justifies the foundation's existence amply. One could hypothetically take the blog and the radio show and drop them in the dumpster and you would be left with something really valuable in Skousen's work. And that's really saying something.
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by I have a question »

I admit to not understanding Royal Skousen's Critical Text Project. It seems to me to be a checking of the remaining 25% of the original BofM scribed manuscript, and the 100% of the original printers manuscript. Meaning it's likely a more accurate rendition of the Book Of Mormon than the one the Church is currently using.

1. Will the Church adopt any/all corrections identified by this project?
2. Why has it taken 25 years?
3. What else is it?
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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1. Will the Church adopt any/all corrections identified by this project?

- The critical text edition was published as I understand it, in defiance of the Brethren.

2. Why has it taken 25 years?

- Because the Book of Mormon is such and insanely scholarly book that it defies the understanding of Man.

3. What else is it?

- Mainly, it's proof that the Book of Mormon was written in 15th century English, which Joseph Smith couldn't have known, and therefore had to have been translated in the spirit world by protestant reformers and dictated to Smith word-for-word directly through the seer stone.
FARMS refuted:

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by I have a question »

The largest of the items mentioned is the “Media Project.” What is this? It refers to a very ambitious effort that we’ve launched to produce a film, accompanied by a number of related products, treating the Witnesses (official and unofficial) to the Book of Mormon

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/danpeters ... ances.html

Martin Harris and David Whitmer action figures?
“When we are confronted with evidence that challenges our deeply held beliefs we are more likely to reframe the evidence than we are to alter our beliefs. We simply invent new reasons, new justifications, new explanations. Sometimes we ignore the evidence altogether.” (Mathew Syed 'Black Box Thinking')

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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I have a question wrote:I admit to not understanding Royal Skousen's Critical Text Project. It seems to me to be a checking of the remaining 25% of the original BofM scribed manuscript, and the 100% of the original printers manuscript. Meaning it's likely a more accurate rendition of the Book Of Mormon than the one the Church is currently using.

1. Will the Church adopt any/all corrections identified by this project?
2. Why has it taken 25 years?
3. What else is it?


25 years, are you kidding?! It's two manuscripts and we know exactly what their relationship is! As a point of reference, Bob Kaster recently finished a new edition of Suetonius's Vitae Caesarum, of which their are dozens of manuscripts in libraries throughout Europe, some with very complicated relationships that are difficult to entangle in establishing a critical text. It took him about five years, during which time he also taught full time and did other work, and I doubt he had the sort of financial help that Skousen's project has had.
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by Kishkumen »

Now, Symmachus, don’t you go spoiling Skousen’s sweet gig!
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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Symmachus wrote:
25 years, are you kidding?! It's two manuscripts and we know exactly what their relationship is! As a point of reference, Bob Kaster recently finished a new edition of Suetonius's Vitae Caesarum, of which their are dozens of manuscripts in libraries throughout Europe, some with very complicated relationships that are difficult to entangle in establishing a critical text. It took him about five years, during which time he also taught full time and did other work, and I doubt he had the sort of financial help that Skousen's project has had.


It has been proven time and time again that the Holy Ghost is slow when it comes to confirmation of Mormon doctrine, history, philosophy, and entrepeneurial leadership... Give it time, the Lord is at the helm! :wink:
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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I am pleased to report that the Interpreter Foundation has posted its financial summary for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Please permit me to say a few words about it.

The quarter’s major expenses included $17,708.97 for web design, digital publications, and set-up; $14,053.40 for Royal Skousen’s Critical Text Project Volume III; $3,351.82 for technical editing; $1,529.55 for an unidentified media project; and $333.06 for the Foundation’s annual donor and volunteer seminar ($400 was reported in this category for the third quarter of 2018). Total expenses for the quarter: $38,978.43.

Through the fourth quarter of 2018, the Foundation has spent a total of $197,539.65 on Skousen's Critical Text Project Volume III. To put this figure into more concrete terms, I am reliably informed that $197,000 would enable the Interpreter Foundation to suppress, pulp, decimate, obliterate, incinerate, and annihilate all extant copies of the Review of Books on the Book of Mormon volume featuring the complete “Metcalfe is Butthead” acrostic (see here for precedent for this move in Mormon history; incidentally, I’d be willing to suppress and destroy my personal copy for a mere $40,000) and the remaining $100,000 would meet William Hamblin’s price to part ways with his original pre-1985 letter from Michael Watson regarding Book of Mormon geography.

Finally, with regard to funds, I am pleased to report the final numbers for the Interpreter Foundation's #GivingTuesday Fundraiser: the Foundation raised $1,835 ($10,000 goal).
Last edited by Tom on Fri Aug 02, 2019 10:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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Does the Ghost Committee get any remuneration from the Interpreter or do they have to settle for the powdered donut holes?
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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moksha wrote:Does the Ghost Committee get any remuneration from the Interpreter or do they have to settle for the powdered donut holes?

The latter. In truth, the Interpreter Foundation initially paid members of the Ghost Committee with $3 notes issued by the Interpreter Safety Society Anti-banking Company. Unfortunately, though, that practice quickly ended when Ghost Committee chair William Tyndale tried to set up a personal savings account at the south central Provo branch of Zions Bank last October and he was summarily ejected from the bank for trying to pass off counterfeit bills as U.S. legal tender. It was an ugly scene made worse by a difficult language barrier, but thankfully Drs. Skousen and Carmack were called in to serve as translators for the more part of Tyndale’s pre-Early Modern English and bank officers chose not to press charges. (The fact that Dr. Peterson graciously agreed to lead said bank officers on a Cruise Lady tour to Colorado City and Hildale next spring didn’t hurt.)
Last edited by Tom on Wed Jan 23, 2019 4:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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Did I read that right Tom, Skousen is getting nearly $200,000 a year via Interpreter?
What could that be for, other than paying Skousen for his time?
“When we are confronted with evidence that challenges our deeply held beliefs we are more likely to reframe the evidence than we are to alter our beliefs. We simply invent new reasons, new justifications, new explanations. Sometimes we ignore the evidence altogether.” (Mathew Syed 'Black Box Thinking')

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by Tom »

I have a question wrote:Did I read that right Tom, Skousen is getting nearly $200,000 a year via Interpreter?
What could that be for, other than paying Skousen for his time?

Actually, the Interpreter Foundation has reported spending nearly $200,000 on Critical Text Project Volume III over the past four years. So approximately $50,000 a year. It’s unclear how the funds are being used (e.g., is Dr. Carmack receiving grants?) because the Interpreter Foundation has not been sufficiently open, public, and transparent with its finances.

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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

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What an astonishing colossal waste of money....... and all for what? To find out it wasn't ancient, but more medieval in inspired whisperings from dead people?!
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Re: Latest numbers from the Interpreter Foundation

Post by Tom »

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 and second 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."
Last edited by Tom on Fri Aug 02, 2019 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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