[Ads-l] Zoar survivor quote=?UTF-8?Q?=E2=80=94Errol_?=Morris versions

ADSGarson O'Toole adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM
Wed Jun 2 11:01:54 EDT 2021


The formulation under examination is sometimes employed when
contention between religious groups is discussed. Members of minority
religious groups may find themselves forced to think about the
existence of divergent beliefs.

Here is a match in 1881 within an article by a person who appears to
be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

[ref] 1881 February 1, Deseret Evening News, Not a Political Question,
Quote Page 2, Column 1, Salt Lake City, Utah. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Some self-sufficient and supercilious "Christians" may consider that
there is no question at issue; that if the "Mormons" are not in accord
with the; "Christian" world they must be wrong from the very fact. But
if those self-satisfied persons reflect a little, they will find that
on many very important subjects they are hopelessly divided among
themselves; that the differing factions cannot all be right; that it
is possible they may all be wrong; that if they are wrong on one point
of controversy they may be on others; and that while a subject is a
question, a very small minority may be in the right. The numbers
opposed to our views count nothing with us in the argument.
[End excerpt]

Here is a match in 1890 within a Catholic periodical. The domain is
missionary work in Japan with contention between multiple Protestant
denominations and Catholics.

[ref] 1890 May 29, The Kansas Catholic, (Untitled Article), Quote Page
6, Column 2, Leavenworth, Kansas. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
How confusing this must all be to the Japanese, who are just now so
willing to receive the truth!" If the Japanese have logical minds they
must say: These Protestants cannot agree among themselves; they cannot
all be right, and possibly may all be wrong. Let us examine the claims
of the Catholic Church.--Catholic News
[End excerpt]

Here is a match in 1896. The overall stance of the writer seems to be
skeptical. It is interesting, in part, because the writer mentions
several religious subgroups, e.g., Inghamites, Glassites, and
Sandemanians. Unfortunately, Zoarites are not mentioned

[ref] 1896 March 8, Reynolds's Newspaper, Superstitions of To-day,
(Letter to the editor of Reynolds's Newspaper), Quote Page 2, Column
4, London, England. (Newspapers_com) [/ref]

[Begin excerpt]
Although in recent times superstitions have been disposed of by the
thousand, we have managed, by constant replenishing, to keep almost as
many in stock at present as there were before these clearances. The
old gives place to the new, and some forms of credulity that once were
"all the rage" are now very much out of date. In superstitions, as in
other things, we are the slaves of fashion . . .

In 1894 this little island boasted 278 religious denominations, and.
fifteen more were added last year, bringing the total up to close upon
300. Amongst these we find such strangely-named organizations as the
Inghamites, the Glassites, the Ranters, the Dependents, the Recreative
Religionists, the Sandemanians, the Alethians, the Christian Zoce
Perissos Society, and the Holiness and Divine Healing movement. Now,
what are we to think of the wild worshippers who label themselves
after this fashion?

They may number amongst them many estimable men and women. But why do
they thus separate themselves from their fellows? If unity is
strength, where is the advantage of this sub-division into 300
fragments? They cannot all be right, although they may all be wrong. I
would suggest, as a way out of the difficulty, that the faith-healers
should be called together to pray for the healing of all the diseased
faiths.

We are on the threshold of the twentieth century, as various people
have already remarked. Is it to be a century of scientific thought or
another century of superstition--which?
GRACCHUS.
[End excerpt]

Garson

On Wed, Jun 2, 2021 at 8:23 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
>
> Thanks.
> I’m beginning to think that the last Zoarite did not say what Morris recalled.
> There are such statements about religions published in the suitable time. E.g., “One thing is certain: they can't all be right. But they could all be wrong!” Richard Seymour, Religion: Who Needs it? (Moody Press, 1977) 28. Maybe this, or similar, read while also researching Zoar. Then mixed? Wrong about wrong?
> Reminds me of (Nassim Talib, Guardian 26 June 2015):
> “While researching his own PhD, [Umberto] Eco recalls, he got deeply stuck, and one day happened to buy a book by an obscure 19th-century abbot, mainly because he liked the binding. Idly paging through it, he found, in a throwaway line, a stunning idea that led him to a breakthrough. Who’d have predicted it? Except that, years later, when a friend asked to see the passage in question, he climbed a ladder to a high bookshelf, located the book… and the line wasn’t there. Stimulated by the abbot’s words, it seems, he’d come up with it himself. You never know where good ideas will come from, even when they come from you.”
>  Stephen Goranson
> http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/
>
> ________________________________
> From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of Dan Goncharoff <thegonch at GMAIL.COM>
> Sent: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 3:26 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Subject: Re: Zoar survivor quote—Errol Morris versions
>
> According to findagrave.com
> Hilda Morhart died in 1978, and is buried in the Zoar Cemetery
> Hilda R. Dischinger Morhart (1900-1978) - Find A Grave Memorial
> <https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/20210738/hilda-r.-morhart__;!!OToaGQ!7_F9wxYfRmgZF_h6QqfwxIf9g48d47Ac3af4QDqGGXducLXDjbUt1BMSqWX8-49Z$ >
>
> DanG
>
>
> On Tue, Jun 1, 2021 at 9:32 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu> wrote:
>
> > Apologies to those not interested in this quotation hunt.
> >
> > But, according to New York Times of March 16, 1975, Section XX, Page 11:
> >
> > Hilda Morhart, one of two old‐time Zoarites still living, sits in her
> > warm, cluttered parlor reading through memoirs and notes on conversations
> > she has had with other old‐timers about the Zoar community. She has
> > published book of Zoar lore, “The Zoar Story,” and knows as much about
> > those mysteriously different years as anyone today. “The spirit was
> > different then,” she says. “Those were very humble people back there. They
> > were very close to their religion.”
> >
> > So, the quote, *if* accurately remembered, as a deathbed mention of the
> > last living member, would be after that date (maybe from the other
> > survivor, unless Hilda Dischinger Morhart [for whom I have not yet found an
> > obituary] had a big change of heart) and before circa 1985.
> >
> > S. Goranson
> > ________________________________
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> > Stephen Goranson <goranson at DUKE.EDU>
> > Sent: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 6:42 AM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Subject: Re: Zoar survivor quote—Errol Morris versions
> >
> > Thanks to Garson!
> > I actually had The New Yorker piece in my notes, but forgot to include it.
> > Yes, Feb. 6, 1989 "Predilictions" by Mark Singer (intermittent) pages
> > 39-72, here page 72. I missed the 1995 book. (At NYT, not sure if comments
> > are allowed on the recent Morris article (the icon is there but empty): in
> > this case, only for subscribers? I buy the Sunday, but get the rest via
> > uni.)
> >
> > So, revised dates for the publication of the ex-Zoarite/Morris
> > quote--assuming it, or something similar, exists--now probably well after
> > 1930 and probably before 1985-ish.
> >
> > Stephen Goranson
> >
> > PS.
> > Here's Ben's Wall St. J. column on hijacking (May 28):
> >
> > https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://archive.is/G32ZH__;!!OToaGQ!87UDiYYXXhildeKOirV2ykoVl4jyh1A8JQw1AvGG0KossA9oRtoo3YCD3jF5_PQY$
> > <
> > https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://archive.is/G32ZH__;!!OToaGQ!4-5c1jPu3ylMQBwKHflX0-gWuwv7AXrGdmMvK0JRSfE9CBOIGlYOf8iI_QZFb4lo$
> > >
> >
> > PPS
> > I added at amazon a brief review of Ralph Keyes, The Hidden History of
> > Coined Words, which I bought (published March 1, 2021).
> >
> >
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com>
> > Sent: Monday, May 31, 2021 12:48 PM
> > To: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at listserv.uga.edu>; Stephen Goranson <
> > goranson at duke.edu>
> > Subject: Re: Zoar survivor quote—Errol Morris versions
> >
> > There is a match for the quotation in a 1995 book that contains a
> > reprint of a profile of Errol Morris written by journalist Mark
> > Singer. The reprint is from a collection titled "Mr. Personality" by
> > Singer, but the original source is "The New Yorker".
> >
> > The website of "The New Yorker" indicates that the profile of Errol
> > Morris by Mark Singer was titled "Predilections" and it appeared in
> > the February 6, 1989 issue.
> >
> > I have not verified the text in "The New Yorker". I currently do not
> > have access to "The New Yorker", but some other list member might be
> > able to check it. Of course, this is not direct evidence that the
> > quotation was employed by a Zoarite. It simply suggests that Errol
> > Morris was propagating it circa 1989.
> >
> > Year: 1995
> > Book: Literary Journalism: A New Collection of the Best American Nonfiction
> > Editors: Norman Sims, ‎Mark Kramer
> > Publisher: Ballantine Books, New York
> > Quote Page 295
> > Database: Google Books Preview
> >
> > Bibliographical Note: “Errol Morris: Predilections" from Mr.
> > Personality by Mark Singer. Copyright © 1989 by Mark Singer. Reprinted
> > by permission. Originally in The New Yorker.
> >
> > [Begin excerpt]
> > “My favorite line in Dr. Death, I think, will be when the last living
> > Zoarite is quoted as saying, 'Think of it—all those religions. They
> > can't all be right. But they could all be wrong,” Morris said.
> > . . .
> > At the time this Profile was published in The New Yorker, in February
> > 1989, a decision about Randall Adams' legal fate, although imminent .
> > . .
> > [End excerpt]
> >
> > Date: February 6, 1989 (print edition)
> > Periodical: The New Yorker
> > Article: Profiles - Predilections
> > Comment: Profile of moviemaker Errol Morris by Mark Singer
> >
> > Full access to this article is paywalled. I have not verified the
> > presence of the quotation in this article
> >
> >
> > https://urldefense.com/v3/__https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1989/02/06/predilections__;!!OToaGQ!59JbO_gDd2T7gbRqjKl38XM2m2mXC3q-CmsoCXIsa3MNPR2lWI0XkGLfXtwp7koV$
> >
> > Garson
> >
> > On Mon, May 31, 2021 at 8:27 AM Stephen Goranson <goranson at duke.edu>
> > wrote:
> > >
> > > In the NY Times, May 28, 2021, ‘Errol Morris: What We Believe About
> > Beliefs”:
> > >  “Years ago I read an anecdote about the 19th-century utopian community
> > of Zoar [in Ohio]. It was mentioned in passing in a book about forensic
> > psychiatry. And try as I might, I haven’t been able to source it since. The
> > story concerns the last living inhabitant of Zoar, a woman who on her
> > deathbed said, “Think of all those religions. They can’t all be right. But
> > they can all be wrong.”
> > > So, what is the quote, or was he wrong? Other remembrances from him
> > (check accuracy):
> > > 1997 Filmmaker v6 p50 [my elipses]:
> > > “Years ago when I was reading all sorts of different things, I stumbled
> > across a story about this religion. ….last living inhabitant of Zoar on his
> > [sic, though maybe a transcription error or typo for her?] deathbed…”All
> > those religions. They can’t all be right. But they could all be wrong.”
> > > 2003:
> > > “…in her nineties on her deathbed. Think of it. All those religions.
> > They can’t all be right. But they can all be wrong.”
> > > 2008 (?):
> > > “But I found in an archive in Ohio a record of the last inhabitant of
> > Zoar…Think of it. All those religions? They can’t all be right. But they
> > can all be wrong.”
> > > Tentatively, I assume there was some such quote, but, if in a regular
> > published or widely-known book of forensic psychology, it seems as if it
> > would have turned up by now. Reportedly, Morris considered making a film
> > about Zoar, so archival text is not out of the question, though, say, the
> > Ohio Historical Society archive could be quoted in a book. In 1930, a Mrs.
> > Beiter [former family name of members was Beuter, Mary [Mary Beiter Carr?
> > 1890-1969?] or Alameda, or her relatives] was said to be the oldest
> > survivor of Zoar community. That’s not the same as the last member, but
> > suggests a post-1930 date for the statement, the death, and the
> > publication. Yet before about 1992?
> > >
> > > Stephen Goranson
> > > http://people.duke.edu/~goranson/
> > >
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society -
> > https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!59JbO_gDd2T7gbRqjKl38XM2m2mXC3q-CmsoCXIsa3MNPR2lWI0XkGLfXrcMtphA$
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society -
> > https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!87UDiYYXXhildeKOirV2ykoVl4jyh1A8JQw1AvGG0KossA9oRtoo3YCD3tX5Ncl2$
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!7_F9wxYfRmgZF_h6QqfwxIf9g48d47Ac3af4QDqGGXducLXDjbUt1BMSqUO4dNKB$
> >
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - https://urldefense.com/v3/__http://www.americandialect.org__;!!OToaGQ!7_F9wxYfRmgZF_h6QqfwxIf9g48d47Ac3af4QDqGGXducLXDjbUt1BMSqUO4dNKB$
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

------------------------------------------------------------
The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org


More information about the Ads-l mailing list