ANSWERS: 2
  • It is definitely true that the Journal of Discourses is not considered official LDS doctrine. See, for example: http://library.lds.org/nxt/gateway.dll/Magazines/Ensign/1978.htm/ensign%20august%201978%20.htm/i%20have%20a%20question.htm?fn=document-frame.htm&f=templates&2.0#LPTOC2 However, it is unlikely that they contain inaccurate transcriptions or are unreliable reports of what was taught, due to the amount of exposure they received by many prophets and apostles in the early Church. See, for example: http://www.mrm.org/topics/miscellaneous/journal-discourses-mere-opinions-or-eternal-truth Regardless, they are not considered doctrinal or binding by Church members, and are typically not studied or read widely today.
  • Somehow, my original answer to this question got deleted. Suffice it to say that the Journal of Discourses is not and never has been considered an authoritative source of LDS doctrine. The transcripts for this publication were created from shorthand notes that had been taken by various people who listened to the sermons in question. These shorthand notes then had to be translated to longhand and then set in type. At no point in the process were the transcripts submitted to the speakers for corrections. In many cases, the translation into long hand occurred years after the original sermon was given and even after the death of the speaker. So, the accuracy is questionable. Because of this, the Journal of discourses is only considered to be authoritative when it is backed up by other official sources. This is something that the critics of the Church like to ignore. They like to quote from the JD as if it is an authoritative source. However, it should always be kept in mind that doctrines found exclusively in the JD are not Church doctrine.

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