[Ads-l] Zoar survivor quote=?Windows-1252?Q?=97Errol_?=Morris versions

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Mon May 31 08:27:03 EDT 2021


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/


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