A seminar on Jehovah’s Witnesses was held April last in Antwerp, sponsored by CESNUR. It drew colleagues and friends. I have five children and other responsibilities which explains why, though I was invited, I did not attend.
Separate Identity, our book, drew some comment, some positive and some negative. Not everyone will like what they read regardless of who wrote it. Some won’t like the writing style. Some will reject conclusions that differ from their own. The criticism to which I object is the claim we do not cite opposition writers. This is false on its face. And it reflects a lack of understanding of the nature of original research. Original historical research is not based on secondary sources. It is based on original sources. These are memoirs by event participants, contemporary documents and articles in contemporary periodicals. Few opposition writers represent original sources. Reliance on them is an affectation derived from the writing style of sociologists. It is not, nor should it be, part of a historian’s kit, except when their statements are challenged or a shared conclusion is referenced.
Contrary to the claim made by a conference attender, we reference opposition writers at least twenty-two times. Some of these are former adherents; some are not. Some claimed academic credentials but are truly polemicists. One in the final edition of his book met a high academic standard but is still an opposition writer.
Why anyone would trash our book, no matter how politely, with this false claim puzzles me. Herewith is the list of opposition writers we cite in footnotes and text:
1. R Bowman and A. Gomes – page 81; 2. G. Burns – page 256. 3. W. T Conner – page 178; 4. C. C. Cook – page 178; 5. J. V. Coombs – page 51; 6. R. W. Coon – page 51; 7. M. D. Curry, Jr. – page 175; 8. C. G. Falkner – page 306; 9. W. Gavin – page 232; 10. D. Graham – page 60; 11. E. Gruss – pages 210, 329, 332; 12. J. Haughlen – page 234; 13. C. O. Johnson and J. Penton – page 168; 14. Morris and Kross – page 232; 15. A. T. Rogerson – page 179; 16. J. J. Ross – page 51; 17. T. T. Shields – Page 314; 18. F. Springmeir – page 193; 19. E. Young – page 51.
With the exception of Wikipedia nonsense, we felt no need to footnote controversialist web pages of little to no worth. We stand by that decision. None of them are original source material. In those few cases where original source material is reproduced online, we cite it in the usual way.
There may be more examples but my memory suggests only three: On page 185, footnote 12 we cite Lottie F. Warner’s diary which is found online; on page 203 we cited Early Lives of Andrew and Lydia Ann Beeman, reproduced online; on page 257 we cite a Davies family memoir also found online. These are original sources.