Gerrit Dirkmaat and LaJean Carruth examine some discrepancies between George Watt’s shorthand records of sermons and the printed versions that are found in the Journal of Discourses. Listen on the LDS Perspectives Podcast website.
In their research, they examined hundreds of sermons, and sometimes the sermons and original transcriptions varied by hundreds of words. Dirkmaat points out that when one is talking about doctrine, words matter. While the essence of these speeches are similar in the shorthand and published versions, the words used vary greatly.
The Journal of Discourses have historical and religious value, but Dirkmaat urges members to be careful quoting specific passages and to realize that in most cases, there is no way to know the specific words used.