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August 2001 Part 2
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

Aug. 19, 2001

Mrs. Tanner;

...During a genealogy search, my search engine spit out a mormon site or two, which I viewed with a grain of salt and no small degree of amusement, based on my personal experiences. On one of those sites, I ran across a reference to a website run by the Devil incarnate, i.e. you. I made a superficial perusal, and shrugged off both sites as typical wars between true believers. I took it less than seriously, ... Again, I have had searches listing sites not appropriate to my intended target, and a couple of these proved to be documentary materials of yours. One thing I have respect for is good, documented research. I have been able to verify many of your references, and must say you are quite accurate in your attributions, and clearly a serious researcher and reporter. (If only our media would research as well!)

No question about it, you have an axe to grind, but your assaults are well reasoned and documented, as far as I have determined. Conversely, the "mormon sites" attacking you relied on conjecture, and their faith in their own righteousness, a faith I cannot share, based on their presentation. Give me something I can see, taste, touch, or feel as being of substance. Opinions are like.....well, you know.


Aug. 19, 2001

I have read with great interest your site and the many links associated with it. I have spent a good amount of time looking for a comparison of the LDS and RLDS. I have a good friend who attends a main line protestant church, who let her daughter go to an RLDS summer camp with a friend. She didn't ask for my opinion. She probably didn't want to hear from me. My friend would never think of sending her daughter to a LDS camp, but because the RLDS has made some doctrine changes since the death of Joseph Smith, she thought it would be save to let her daughter go. At times when we are discussing faith and religions she notices that I often will blend the LDS and the RLDS as much to same. Which angers her. I know you are busy, but could you help me out. I'm not looking for a defense or to say that I'm right, but what I am looking for is information that can be added to our conversations.

Thank you for you time. God bless you and Jesus is Lord,

[Sandra's Note: The RLDS are in a state of transition, neither fish nor foul. Below is an article on it.

The Reorganized LDS Church

The two major denominations tracing their origins to Joseph Smith are the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with over 11 million members, and the much smaller Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, with 250,000 members. According to The Salt Lake Tribune, as of April 6, 2001, the RLDS Church will now be known "as the Community of Christ....The RLDS name still will be used for some legal and official work." (The Salt Lake Tribune, April 6, 2001, p.A1)

The article went on to state:

The RLDS and LDS churches share common terminology. Both have a First Presidency composed of a church president and two counselors, a Council of Twelve Apostles which helps administer church programs and organizational units such as Seventies, Quorums and stakes.

Scriptural canons of both faiths include The Book of Mormon and versions of the Doctrine and Covenants, along with the Bible.

However, the two churches have some radically different practices. The RLDS Church has ordained women as priests since 1985, while the LDS Church does not. The RLDS Church contends it has never banned blacks from its priesthood; the LDS Church did until 1978, when the prohibition was lifted.

"You have to understand that the RLDS Church and the Mormon church share a 14-year slice of history [during Joseph Smith's lifetime], that's it. We separated in 1844 and have developed on entirely different tracks in all the years since then," McMurray said. (The Salt Lake Tribune, April 6, 2001)

RLDS historian Richard P. Howard explained the ways the RLDS Church sought to distinguished itself from the larger LDS Church:

To a greater degree than that of any other descendant of the early Mormon movement, the history of the RLDS Church in that early period [1800's] is the story of a people in search of their personal and corporate identity. The search for identity first occurred in terms of what might be called the "Mormon boundary"--that is, the RLDS Church tended to identify itself in terms of what it was not, by contrasting itself with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints... (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol.5, No.1, p.61, "The Reorganized Church in Illinois, 1852-82: Search for Identity.")

Later in the same article, Mr. Howard observered:

At the initial conference of the new organization the following resolution was passed: "That this conference regard the pretensions of Brigham Young, James J. Strang, James Colin Brewster, William McLellin, William Smith and Joseph Wood's joint claim to the leadership of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints as an assumption of Power in violation of the Law of God and consequently we disclaim all connection and fellowship with them." Such an action clearly established the RLDS Church at its inception in an antagonistic position with regard to every other descendant of the original church. As if to further underscore that stance, it was also "Resolved that the successor of Joseph Smith, Jr., as the Presiding High Priest in the Melchisedek Priesthood must of necessity be the seed of Joseph Smith, Jr. in fulfillment of the law and the promises of God."

After 1852 there were several official attempts by the fledgling organization to persuade Joseph Smith III (who was born in 1832 and who was the only surviving son of Joseph Smith, Jr.) to accept his place as prophet. The record shows that at first he was repulsed by the idea, but that he responded to repeated importunings. On April 6, 1860, at a conference held in Amboy, Lee County, Illinois, Joseph Smith III was accepted and ordained as "prophet, seer and revelator of the Church of Jesus Christ and the successor of his father." (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol.5, No.1, p.67)

Besides the RLDS rejection of polygamy, there are other differences between them and the larger LDS Church. Howard also stated:

As the severe scrutiny and judgment of the nation and the world was turned increasingly upon the Mormons of Utah in those early years the RLDS Church was caught in the cross currents. During this period, the RLDS Church categorized a number of "Utah Mormon" beliefs and practices as heretical, even those which were originally common to both churches. For example, early RLDS literature spoke of the Book of Abraham being divinely inspired, a position long since abandoned. The doctrine of a plurality of Gods, given considerable support by early RLDS writers, is now considered scripturally unfounded. (Dialogue, Vol.5, No.1, p.69)

RLDS historian Roger D. Launius wrote about the changing character of the RLDS Church:

The movement of the church into foreign missions, its rise in income and economic position, the development of an organized bureaucracy, the increasing ecumenism, the concern with social issues beyond the church as never before, and a series of other changes arising during the decade all suggest a coming of age for the Reorganized Church. It progressed from a sect to a denomination with a vision broader than itself and it has rarely looked back. Whether the age drove the changes, prompting the church to react, or whether the church took the initiative and could have chosen to ignore what was taking place around it is a moot point. The Reorganization's traditional openness to Protestant religious influences probably aided in its willingness to move toward greater ecumenism. Several years ago Clare D. Vlahos described what could only be considered a tightrope upon which the Reorganized Church had tread since the 1850s as it both sought "to be reasonable to gentiles and legitimate to Mormons." In the 1960s the church began to abandon its traditional goal of "legitimacy" to Mormons in favor of a greater reasonableness to other elements of Christianity. That step was probably not conscious and undoubtedly those who began the process did not anticipate that it would extend as far, too far according to some, as it has. The turbulent era of the 1960s set the stage for the continuation of the shift from sect to denomination that has been so much a part of the Reorganization in subsequent years. For good or ill, the course marked in the 1960s has been followed into the 1990s. It was a critical decade in the maturation of the movement, a tumultuous, confrontational, bewildering and also exalting time in which the Reorganized Church fundamentally altered its structure and pattern of behavior. ("Coming of Age? The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and the 1960s," Dialogue, Vol. 28, No. 2, Summer 1995, p.56-p.57)

Salt Lake Tribune reporter Peggy Stack observed:

Church groups used to be called "branches and missions"; now they are known as congregations. Leaders once called "presiding elders or branch presidents" are now referred to as "pastors."

Beyond that, several uniquely Mormon ideas have been rejected, said Sid Troyer, RLDS district president.

"As a child I was taught that the only way I could get to heaven (attain celestial glory) was as a member of this church," Troyer said. Now most RLDS have discarded the one true church concept. (The Salt Lake Tribune, June 29, 1996, p.D1)

The president of the RLDS Church was always part of the Smith family. However, in 1995 W. Grant McMurray became "the first RLDS president who is not a direct descendant of Joseph Smith." (The Salt Lake Tribune, June 29, 1996, p.D1)

The article also pointed out:

Both LDS and RLDS believe it [the Book of Mormon] is scripture. But in recent years, The Book of Mormon has been deemphasized among RLDS. ...

Some consider it a historically accurate book of scripture and faith, while others accept it as being an important part of the canon but not literal history.

[President] McMurray's view is that The Book of Mormon "falls outside the traditional standards of historical documentation and veracity." (The Salt Lake Tribune, June 29, 1996)

While the RLDS Church still retains some of Smith's revelatory writings in their canon, they are moving more to the Bible:

The Book of Mormon remains a part of the RLDS Church's heritage, but the Bible has supplanted it as the faith's principal scripture.

"The Bible is probably an 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, the Doctrine and Covenants a 1.5 and the Book of Mormon a .5," [RLDS employee] Spillman said. (The Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 3, 1994, p. D3)

In another Salt Lake Tribune article we read: "The appointment of McMurray, who was trained in a Protestant seminary, is part of the RLDS Church's continuing movement toward Protestantism." (The Salt Lake Tribune, Sept. 21, 1995, p.A1)

This shift has caused a great division within the RLDS ranks. Peggy Stack reported: "Nearly 15 percent of formerly active RLDS now attend 'dissent congregations,' possibly as many as 150 congregations, according to [RLDS historian Bill] Russell,..." (The Salt Lake Tribune, April 25, 1992, p.A13)

Aug. 19, 2001

Subject: I am so sorry!

I feel so sorry after reading your testimonies about the mormon church. You have been given a free agency and i am not afraid to say that you're on the devil's side.

We, mormons don't walk by sight, we walk by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I am not sorry to say that you have been wasting your time, energy, and money to go against the church of Jesus Christ. You will never win the battle.

I am a convert and i know the other churches are manmade. They preach about God to get money. Most minister and pastors are satan's tool. You are one of them.

However, i like to tell you that the more you criticize the mormon church, the more i grow and stronger in my Faith.

May God the Eternal Father forgive you for your wicked knowledge and desires.

Aug. 19, 2001

Dear Tanners, First of all, thank you for all of your hard work and research. My wife and I are currently in the thick of witnessing to 2 young LDS missionaries who live down the block from us. We believe God sent them our way because of the interest I've recently developed in understanding cults and my constant reading of your material. Your publications have sure been a blessing. Here's my question:

Have you (or anyone else for that matter) done a study to compare the the biblical scriptures quoted in the Book of Mormon with the "Inspired Version" of the KJV that the LDS uses to see how may contradictions lie between them? I would think that since Joseph Smith Jr. quoted so much from the Bible in writing the Book of Mormon, and then later penned the "Inspired Version", that there would be some contradictions between some (possibly even many) of the scriptures found in both places.

In His grip,

[Sandra's Note: There is some material on this in our books—Mormon Scriptures and the Bible and Case Against Mormonism, Vol.3. For a copy of the "Inspired Version" see Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible.]

Aug. 20, 2001


Aug. 20, 2001

Subject: Praise

I was raised in a SLC Mormon family. My parents both remain devout as do most of my siblings. In my mid-twenties I wrestled with the apparent contradictions.

Unfortunately, I concluded that God did not exist. It was twenty years before I set foot inside a church (this time: Presbyterian). I am deeply gratified by Godís patience and love. It has been a long journey — made longer by the misconceptions of childhood and the difficulty in finding a good source to illuminate truth.

Last week I was in SLC on vacation and picked up a copy of the Salt Lake Tribune. There, in the letters to the editor, I noted your web site. I've just completed a thirty minute scan of what you provide. Please accept my heartiest praise for doing God's work. It's one thing to have such conversations one-on-one with someone who is already questioning their theology. It is quite another to do so in such a public manner in the heart of Zion....

In His love,

Aug. 20, 2001

Subject: Membership

Dear Mr and Mrs Tanner, I was briefly a member in the LDS church and I still am on membership records with them. Should I ask to be removed from their membership records? I am wondering that if I do ask to be removed from their records that that will only acknowledge that I see some kind authority in the LDS church. The only spiritual authority I want to recognize is Jesus Christ, my Lord. Do I need to be concerned with what LDS records show?

[Sandra's Note: There are different points of view on this. Personally, I did not want the LDS Church claiming me as part of their membership. When they boast they have 11,000,000 members, they actually have far less. If everyone who didn't believe in it removed their membership, it would be a big blow to their public image.

It isn't a matter of recognizing their authority, it is a matter of taking a public stand that they are not God's true church. They have no right to continue to list someone as a member, which implies endorsement, when the person notifies the church they want their membership terminated. If you look at the instructions on our site (How to Remove Your Name From the LDS Records) you will see that we do not recommend meeting with them, just send a letter. State you are notifying them that you have resigned, you are not asking their permission. State you do not want to meet with them, there is nothing to discuss. But tell them to send you a letter when they get it taken care of, stating that you are no longer listed as a member—AT YOUR REQUEST, not excommunication (which implies you sinned). I don't think it has any bearing on God or His view of you, but it could be a witness to the bishop, who must read all the resignation letters.]

Aug. 20, 2001

Subject: Peace be unto you

Hello, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I don't know you, but I see what you are teaching here today. ...Jesus is my Savior and I love him, there is peace in my heart as I feel of his love. You say that you agree that Jesus is your Savior. Then look to Jesus for your salvation. ... What can I say that will help you see that you are fighting against His church? If you have read the Book of Mormon then you know the story of the sons of Mosiah. Children of the rightous king and son of the high priest were evil and wicked. Oh, how they were right in saying that they felt an awful trembling for those not saved in Christ.

I have my own struggles, I am not a perfect Latter-Day Saint, but I know the way to Him is through the teachings He gave to the Church He restored to the earth through Joseph Smith. ...Have faith that the Lord has brought His Kingdom here to Earth. He is at the head of his people and will not suffer that they shall be persecuted.

Your teachings are as Korihor for it tells people that believe that thier hope in Christ is vain. That living with Him is vain and that we are no longer to be families together forever. ...What you teach is that thousands have been deceived for the last one hundred and eight years that all thier lives and sacrifices and example for their children were for pigs and dogs. Pearls before swine and a dog returning to his own vomit. This is most definately not so.

God lives. Jesus Christ live. Joseph Smith saw them and testified of them. We have a modern day prophet and apostles and teacher who live and guide us closer to Him....

In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Aug. 21, 2001

Subject: Mormons and public money

Dear Tanners: I am writing as a member of a group of civil rights advocates concerned about discrimination against people of color and non-Mormons in the educational system in the State of Arizona. We have encountered what is an interesting phenomena concerning the Mormons and their funneling of public monies to mostly Mormon businesses and entities through the procurement procedures in public schools (including our universities) in Arizona. Many of the rural school board members and quite a few of those in Tucson and Phoenix are members of the LDS Church. They are violating the open meeting laws and procurement laws of the state in order to "treat" or take care of church members who are in a position to contract with the school systems for outside work, e.g. construction, furniture, security services, real estate, etc.

We have been observing this for the last 12 years. With the demographics changing in so many of the rural areas, it has now become a major problem in many of our communities. The public was successful recently in replacing LDS board members and a superintendent in one school district in Tucson and subsequently was able to reduce costs enough to give raises to all of the teachers. The Attorney General has fined a number of districts for ignoring the procurement and open meeting laws. My question is: Do you have any literature or research that pertains specifically to our experience of observing LDS church members using public institutions to "take care of their own?" Any help would be appreciated.

[Sandra's Note: Sounds interesting, but I don't have any information on this. Sorry.]

Aug. 21, 2001

Dear Tanners,

I found the "Temple Ritual Altered" article on xmission.com as I have been reading various writings on the temple and other aspects of Mormonism.

I am a lifelong member of the LDS church, 49, mission, temple marriage, lots of church callings, etc. and I am only now beginning to validate or come to terms with the fact that I've been troubled by certain doctrines and ordinances. As I went through your material, I kept looking for one thing in particular (among many others) that disturbed me about the old temple ceremony.

Only twice was I able to witness this particular element of the live temple session; the first time was when I first went through the temple and the second was when I was married. Each time, I was given one of the front row seats. I believe this may have been the only vantage point from which you could see this fleeting display.

The man dressed in black (was it Satan or was it an earthly minister? I guess to the faithful, they may be one and the same!) answers that he does indeed have signs and tokens. At that point, he opens his suit jacket revealing an apron. It's sort of like the one we were all wearing except it had lots of other stuff on it. As I say, I only saw this twice and it appeared to me that he was careful not to give anyone too much of an eyeful of what was there. But I distinctly remember there being about the full assortment of Masonic symbols on that apron!

As I have come to find that the Masonic and Mormon temple ceremonies are almost indistinguishable in some places, I have to wonder why we would castigate those Masonic symbols so badly in our temple. After all, many of our own enduring symbols, including the ones on the stonework of the SLC temple and even on our own garments look pretty Masonic to me.

Naturally, that was one of the things that was taken out of the later ceremonies. I'm not sure it even survived until the film versions came out. I must admit, though, my own temple attendance also didn't survive much beyond my wedding. My wife and I did consent to taking the temple preparation class a couple of years ago, which concluded with a trip to the temple. (Ironically, I used to teach that same class.) I still couldn't get past my discomfort with the whole ceremony. It just doesn't ring true to me.

Anyway, if you can respond to my question, I'd really appreciate it.


[Sandra's Note: I never went through the ceremony but friends say that the devil wears a dark blue or black apron with embroidered Masonic symbols . The design was said to be similar to the Masonic apron presented to George Washington by Lafayette, with pillars on each side and the checkerboard floor in the middle, along with other Masonic symbols. Washington's apron is pictured in The Craft and Its Symbols: Opening the Door to Masonic Symbolism by Allen Roberts, Macoy Pub,. Richmond, VA., copyright 1974, p.11.

You can contact a couple (Dennis and Rauni Higley) that used to be temple workers and ask them about the devil's apron. Their website is at http://www.members.tripod.com/hismin.

We have a book called Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony that contains the 1930, 1984, 1990 ceremonies. Also, our books Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? and The Mormon Kingdom Vol.1 have the 1970 ceremony.]

Aug. 22, 2001

...I am particularly fascinated with the instructions given members while in the military regarding the wearing of temple garments. Apparently, garments are now made in khaki color and in T-shirts and so forth. I worked at the Utah Woolen Mill for five years and helped manufacture thousands of pair of longjohns for the faithful. Restrictions for use were much more limited 60 years ago during World War II.

One must admire the Church's adaptability in modifying the garment to meet situations that might be encountered. Since GI issue was mandatory during WWII, the member was excused from wearing the garment during active duty, but todays flexibility, color change, etc. are imaginative. All we made were one piece suits with special markings.

I thoroughly enjoy dropping by and chatting with you. I currently am reading David Bigler's FORGOTTEN KINGDOM. Much is familiar, but I am picking up some gems I have not encountered in my previous reading. Thanks for suggesting it. I have both Stenhouse's ROCKY MOUNTAIN SAINTS and Fanny's TELL IT ALL, ...Young was an incredible scoundrel. He employed that Church Law of Consecration in 1854 to steal Liberty Park from my uncle Isaac Chase.

Aug. 22, 2001

What is the date on the Millennial Star, vol. 45, p. 454 [referenced in the Aug. 1998 Salt Lake City Messenger, p.7].

The Penrose quote on polygamy and is there a title for the article in which the quote appears?

[Sandra's Note: It is from the Latter-day Saints' Millennial Star, no.29, vol.XLV, July 16, 1883, p.454, article 'Plural Marriage.' Here is a longer quote from the article:

At a recent conference of the Davis Stake of Zion, held at Centerville, Davis Co., Utah, some interesting remarks were made upon the subject of plural marriage, of which we append the following account from the Deseret News:

In the afternoon Elder Arthur Stayner read an affidavit made by Elder Thomas Grover. The substance of the document was that the affiant was a member of the High Council of the Church, that in 1843 Hyrum Smith, the Patriarch, appeared at a meeting of that body and presented the Revelation on Celestial Marriage, at the same time declaring it to be from God.

After the reading of this paper Elder Grover made a statement to the effect that Hyrum there and then asserted that those brethren who received the revelation should be blessed and preserved, while those who rejected it would go down. Nine members of the Council accepted and three took a stand against it. Those three subsequently apostatized, were excommunicated from the Church and are all now dead.

Elder Joseph B. Noble next addressed the conference. He stated that the Prophet Joseph told him that the doctrine of celestial marriage was revealed to him while he was engaged on the work of translation of the Scriptures, but when the communication was first made the Lord stated that the time for the practice of that principle had not arrived. Subsequently, he state, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and informed him that the time had fully come. Elder Noble sealed his wife's sister to Joseph, that being the first plural marriage consummated. ...

President Taylor spoke briefly, stating that he was present at a meeting of the leading authorities of the Church in Nauvoo at which the subject of the Revelation on Celestial Marriage was laid before them and unanimously received as from God, Joseph declaring that unless it was received the Church could progress no further....

Elder Charles W. Penrose spoke a short time. He advised the young people especially who were present to store the facts that had been elucidated in their minds, that they might be able to refute the baseless stories afloat, the object of which was to show that the Prophet did not receive the revelation, and did not practice plural marriage. He showed that the revelation that had been the subject of attention was only one published on Celestial Marriage, and if the doctrine of plural marriage was repudiated so must be the glorious principle of marriage for eternity, the two being indissolubly interwoven with each other. He also showed that the most severe troubles of the Church had been before the introduction of that doctrine, comparatively no success having attended the efforts of opposition since, its practice having been accompanied by "blessing and not cursing."

Elder George Reynolds spoke a short time, alluding to his incarceration in prison for the sake of that doctrine. ...

President George Q. Cannon delivered a thrillingly powerful discourse on the subject of plural marriage, showing that while those who had entered into that relation properly had, as a rule, been greatly blessed, men who had tampered with the other sex outside of the "marriage relation," had wilted and gone down in every instance. Those who had embraced the doctrine were the leading men of the Church, possessing the Holy Spirit to a much more than ordinary degree. ...]

Aug. 22, 2001

Subject: Hitler's Temple Work

I had a comment to share considering the article of Hitler's Temple work... [The Mormon Church Attempts to Conceal Temple Records for Adolf Hitler]

As a member of the Church I would have to say that it would be no surprise that Hitler's temple work had been done. Just because he had been baptized for the dead does not mean that we believe that he's saved. ... Hitler would still have his free agency to accept or reject those ordinances. I do not say that after accepting those ordinances he would be forgiven. Likewise, I cannot say that he's going to hell. Again, Christ is the judge.

My overall desire is to show that there's no reason for the church to try and hide the fact that such an ordinance has been done. The church goes through documents all of the time. The response received concerning Hitler's work seemed to be a pre-made letter addressing "Famous or Historical Figures." If I were in the church office, I would probably send the same letter if I thought that so doing would answer your question. Another item to address is the fact that if a somebody did try and cover these things up, it probably wasn't "ordered" for them to do so.

I'm sure the general authorities have much more important things to be doing than answering minor questions such as this. For that reason, just because a member responds in some way does not mean that it's the official standpoint of the Church itself. Likewise this letter written by me shouldn't be esteemed as such. Now, if truly your intention is to teach people the truth, without biased perspectives, there is no reason that the inclusion of the essential content of this letter shouldn't be on the above mentioned web page.....


[Sandra's Note: First, there has indeed been a deliberate effort in the LDS records to remove listings of temple work for Nazis. Helen Radkey has carefully researched this and has the documentation.

Second, apparently Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith did not share your views. He stated that temple work should not be done for murderers:

MURDERERS DENIED VICARIOUS ORDINANCES. We are called upon to assist in saving our own families.... The Lord will judge whether they are worthy or not to receive what we have done. Remember, though, we do not have the privilege of performing the ordinances for murderers who shed innocent blood, nor for those who take their own lives. These are left in the hands of the Lord. If we find in our record one of this kind, we should pass him by and not attempt to do work for him.... I cannot imagine a murderer like Nero, for example, having the work done for him and being entitled to the blessings of the celestial kingdom along with Isaiah who laid down his life for the truth. Men are to be graded, and every man will receive all that he is entitled to receive according to the laws of justice and mercy. (Doctrines of Salvation, by Joseph Fielding Smith, Vol.2, p.192)

I assume that the work for Hitler was done by someone other than a relative. So what would motivate a Mormon to single out Hitler, and other perpetrators of the Holocaust, for temple work when there would be so many people one could choose who would not have committed murder? While I do not believe the LDS rituals accomplish anything, I find it curious that Mormons would spend the time and money to do work for unrepentant murderers.]

Aug. 22, 2001

Subject: Temple Sealing

Why must we have permission from Salt Lake to be sealed AFTER my husband was excommunicated (over 17 yrs ago) rebabtised, his Priesthood restored, did everything the church has ask for, also full tithing payer, NOW they want a letter telling ALL his transgressions leading to his excommunication ? ? ? What is the deal ? ? I am a convert, have a temple recommend, live the church standards, but am getting NO answers from my Bishop.


[Sandra's Note: The Bible presents a picture of total forgiveness after repentance, not partial forgiveness where past sins are catalogued and brought up time after time. Unfortunately you are a victim of the LDS cult-like behavior of "unrighteous dominion."

Mormons object to the application of "cult" to Mormonism, but it fits many of the basic elements. There are two ways to look at the word cult, in the social/psychological sense or in the Christian/religious sense.

A social scientist would list marks of a cult as:

The Doctrine is Reality
There is no room in a mind control environment for regarding the group's beliefs as mere theory, or as a way to interpret reality or to seek reality. The doctrine IS reality. ...cult doctrine always requires that a person distrust his own self. The doctrine becomes the "master program" for all thoughts, feelings, and actions....

Reality is Black and White, Good Versus Evil
Even the most complex cult doctrines ultimately reduce reality into two basic poles black versus white, good versus evil;...us verses them.... The "huge conspiracies" working to thwart the group are, of course, proof of its tremendous importance....

Elitist Mentality
Members are made to feel part of an elite corps of mankind. This feeling of being special, of participating in the most important acts in human history with a vanguard of committed believers, is strong emotional glue to keep people sacrificing and working hard. ...As a community, they feel they have been chosen (by God, history, or some other supernatural force) to lead mankind out of darkness into a new age of enlightenment....

Group Will over Individual Will
In all destructive cults the self must submit to the group. The "whole purpose" must be the focus; the "self purpose" must be subordinated....Absolute obedience to superiors is one of the most universal themes in cults. Individuality is bad. Conformity is good....

Strict Obedience Modeling the Leader
A new member is often induced to abandon his former behavior patterns and become 'dedicated' by being paired with an older cult member who serves as a model for him to imitate. ...One reason why a group of cultists may strike even a naive outsider as spooky or weird is that everyone has similar odd mannerisms, clothing styles, and modes of speech....

Happiness through Good Performance
...The cult member learns that love is not unconditional but depends on good performance....Competitions are used to inspire and shame members into being more productive....Relationships are usually superficial within these groups because sharing deep personal feelings, especially negative ones, is highly discouraged....

Manipulation through Fear and Guilt
The cult member comes to live within a narrow corridor of fear, guilt, and shame. Problems are always the fault of the member and are due to HIS weak faith, HIS lack of understanding,... He perpetually feels guilty for not meeting standards....

No Way Out
In a destructive cult, there is never a legitimate reason for leaving. Unlike non-cult organizations that recognize a person's inherent right to choose to move on, mind control groups make it very clear that there is no legitimate way to leave. Members are told that the only reasons why people leave are weakness, insanity, temptation, brainwashing (by deprogrammers), pride, sin, and so on. ... Although cult members will often say "Show me a way that is better than mine and I will quit," they are not allowed the time or mental tools to prove that statement to themselves. They are locked in a psychological prison. (from the book Combatting Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan, pp. 78-84)

Many people coming out of the LDS Church report just such things in their experience as a Mormon, especially the returned LDS missionary.

Briefly, a Christian perspective on marks of a cult would be:

They add to the word of God.
They may have additional books of scripture. LDS have three other books, Christian Science has the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, Jehovah's Witnesses have the writings of the Watchtower, etc. These are considered of more value and reliable than the Bible. Their leaders statements become more important than the Bible.

They subtract from the person and work of Jesus.
Mormons claim to be the same species as Jesus, with the same potential. He is their older brother, all born in a literal sense in a pre-mortal life to Heavenly Father and Heavenly Mother. Jesus is "a" god, but not "the" God of the Bible. They subtract from the atonement by adding temple work as a necessity for eternal life.

They multiply the requirements for salvation.
Jesus' atonement on the cross is not enough, a person must add all sorts of works for the organization to merit eternal life. They divide between themselves and Christianity. Mormons say they are "the only true church" and the only ones who represent God on earth. They thus divide themselves from the Christian community. They do not recognize any Christian baptism as valid, only those performed by the LDS priesthood.

These points fit the Mormons as well as Jehovah's Witnesses, followers of Rev. Moon, etc.]

Aug. 22, 2001

Subject: Fantastic!

I met you at one of your speaking engagements. ...Congratulations on a terrific site. I have purchased many of your publications and have given most of them away. ...I will give out the URL to many now that I know you have such a fantastic site!

Good luck to you and God bless you!

Aug. 24, 2001

I work with a Mormon girl who was once a Baptist until she married a Mormon man. her children and mother have gotten saved and she is under lots of conviction about the Mormon church.

Her husband is willing to learn the truth. I don't know what to give them that would help her husband to understand the truth. Please help me to pick out some simple and straight forward books or pamphlets to compare the bible with Mormon theology.

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: Here are several suggestions:

Any one of these would be good.]

Aug. 26, 2001

Subject: I want out

Can you get me in touch with someone who can help me transition out of the Mormon church? I can't get over this fear that if they are what they say they are, I'll be dooming myself. I have no testimony of Joseph Smith and have tried for 20 years to be a good member, but I just don't fit in. How do I get over the fear so I can leave. Any help would be appreciated.

[Sandra's Note: A good book to read is Out of the Cults and into the Church. Many have found my tape, Sandra Tanner Tape No.4, "Struggles of Leaving Mormonism," helpful.]

Aug. 26, 2001

Subject: My thanks

I just wanted to say that I appreciate this information very much.

God bless you.

Aug. 26, 2001

There is so much information on your site that has answered many prayers for me lately. The events leading up to my finding a link to one of your newsletters can be explained only as supernatural. I was raised my whole life in the Mormon church. My Mother is still a devout member of the "faith." At age ...I was called into the stake Presidents office. He said "that he knew I had sinnedĒ and needed to confess my wrongdoing to him. Where he got his information I still do not know.

To make a long story short a few years later {after being inactive for that period} I was called to come to court. I did not show and within a week I was deemed not worthy to be a member and received my excommunication papers. I'll never forget my feelings of shame and anger.

I believe the bible in that no man can judge and it will be the Lord who will determine my worthiness.

My question is this: What would you suggest that will be the most persuading book to send to my mother. I would like to send it to her anonymously. My heart is breaking for her because she believe in this farce with every fiber of her being. However, I know that she has not studied the documents that you have available as I have been. Namely because she does not have them made available to her through the church.

I would really appreciate any suggestions you can offer. ...It seems that I am filled with confusion about what I should now believe.


[Sandra's Note: It isn't usually very effective to send something anonymously. I would suggest you send her a book for Christmas like Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith. You can get this biography of Joseph Smith's wife from the LDS book store, Deseret Book here in SLC. Their phone is 801-328-8191.

This is a good starting point to try to raise questions about Smith. It goes into his magic practices, polygamy, etc. It is not 'anti' Mormon but tells things the average Mormon has never heard. It is written by two LDS women historians. You could just tell your mom that a friend in Salt Lake recommended it as a good biography of Joseph's wife and since we don't hear much about her in Mormonism (since she joined the RLDS) you thought she might enjoy reading it. She can't accuse you of sending anti-Mormon literature if it comes from their own store.]

Aug. 26, 2001

Why is it that men can be sealed in the temple to more than one woman, but a woman can only be sealed to one man. And where in the book of mormon is this stated? Please help, I've been looking and asking for this answer for years and no one can answer.

[Sandra's Note: This all goes back to the basic reason for polygamy, to give birth to as many children as possible, thus making the man a more powerful god, ruling over an ever-increasing posterity. The Mormon answer would be that it wouldn't matter how many husbands a woman had, she still would be limited on the number of babies she could have in a year. However, a man married to ten women can father ten babies. See our online article: Mormons Hope to Become Gods of Their Own Worlds.

There is nothing in the Book of Mormon on this (or the Bible for that matter). It comes from the Doctrine and Covenants, section 132.]

Aug. 27, 2001

Subject: First Cause

Hello, I am a Ph.D. student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am writing a philosophy paper on first cause and infinite causal regress which I later hope to apply to Mormon Eternal Progression. I have asked Mormons how the entire process of one god fathering another began. They have never answered me. I know Orson Pratt deals with it some in "The Seer," but do you know of any other Mormon resources that deal with it (modern or past resources)?


[Sandra's Note: Have you read the chapter on God in The Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism? It is written by Francis Beckwith and deals with this topic as well as quoting various LDS sources. Another good book is The Theological Foundations of the Mormon Religion by McMurrin.]

Aug. 27, 2001

So are you that sacred to slam someone faith? We never do that to any other faith... But you have too huh? You know the truth hurts.

Aug. 27, 2001

Greetings Tanners, in the Name, May the LORD continue to bless the work of your hands...

We live in Moses Lake, Washington and have for the past 4 years come to a firm conviction that there is a need to educate our brothers and sisters as they are beginning to understand that their LDS neighbours are not Christians. Our home church, Moses Lake Christian and Missionary Alliance, is being challenged at a variety of levels; teenagers wanting to date their LDS contemporaries, couples who have, for years, lived next door to Mormons and are only now beginning to sense some particular differences, co-workers who, in the course of office or work-site conversation, attempt a witness and are met with the faux 'born-again' cliches, etc.

Briefly, _____, my wife, was lifted from Mormonism about 6 years ago, and has since be called upon to testify to the regeneration that has placed her in Kingdom on several occasions. I have been born-again since an early age, and spent my adolesence and young adulthood in Magna/Lehi. I am familiar with your ministry and work ( and even met your both, briefly, many years ago ) and feel that it is the best source for beginning an educational ministry here....We were dismayed to find that our little town of 15000 was, at last survey, 60% LDS. Truly the LORD has brought us here to declare His Name.

Always and only in Yeshua,

Aug. 28, 2001

Subject: The case

...I find it hard to believe that any church would want any copyright for any of their publications. Surely a church wants to spread its message by any means to reach people by as many means as possible.

I live in the U.K ...I would have thought that they would be at worst pleased that someone else was mentioning their name no matter in what light to show that they had arrived on the scene after 170 odd years.

Oh as an after thought I find it even harder to believe that any church needs a separate company Intellectual Reserve Inc to look after their claims as a church. As a outsider Intellectual Reserve sounds like protection for something that has been "created" by a body or unit or person or free thinking individual that has come up with good idea and doesn't want any one else to reap the financial benefits. Perhaps I don't know enough about U.S. religion. Hope all's well that ends well.

Aug. 29, 2001

Subject: The infamous Tanner

Are you guys still around?? I am amazed. But then its not unusual. NO Tanners, true CHRISTIAN mormons aren't upset about your constant silly attacks on us. It doesn't bother us really cos every idiot under the sun' has attacked the True Church and where has it gotten them? Nowhere! So you guys keep going because to be quite honest - we have deep pity for you both knowing what is going to happen to you. To be honest even Hitler doesn't get what you 2 have to have.

I am sure you are two very nice people who are just ill-informed and misunderstood and have lost the path but fighting against something you no longer believe in seems terribly childish and pathetic to me. You are actually in my prayers and I do wish you to have a happy life cos the next life is not going to be at all happy.

Aug. 29, 2001

Subject: Jesus and satan brothers?

Good day--I pray that God has kept you well. I am interested to know if/why Mormons believe Jesus, who gave His blood for us to be cleansed, and satan are brothers?!? Thank you and "may the peace of God rule in your heart..." (Col. 3:15).

[Sandra's Note: Joseph Smith taught that gods, angels, devils and humans are all the same species, just in different stages. According to Mormonism, our god was once born as a human on some other world (ruled by yet another god, who had also started out at some distant point as a human), married, had children, died, went to heaven, and then earned the right to become a god, as countless men had done before him.

Then he and his resurrected wife, from his prior world experience, went on to have born to them the millions of spirit children that would one day be born on our earth. Thus we were first born and raised to maturity in heaven before becoming mortal.

Thus we all have two sets of parents, god and his wife begat us in a pre-earth life and then we were born as mortals on earth to a different set of parents (who would actually be our spirit brother and sister. This also means that whoever you marry is also your spirit brother or sister.).

Jesus and Lucifer were our two oldest brothers. They each proposed different ways to run the earth. God and Jesus agreed on the plan, Lucifer rebelled, along with 1/3 of the other children of god, and were cast out to become the devils of this earth. The other 2/3 of godís spirit children were to be born on this earth to be tested to see if they would obey the father's plan and thus return to the celestial kingdom and then go on to godhood themselves. In the Book of Abraham Smith wrote:

Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones;

And God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said These I will make my rulers; for he stood among those that were spirits, and he saw that they were good; and he said unto me Abraham, thou art one of them, thou wast chosen before thou wast born.

And there stood one among them that was like unto God, and he said unto those who were with him We will go down, for there is space there, and we will take of these materials, and we will make an earth whereon these may dwell;

And we will prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them;

And they who keep their first estate [pre-mortal life], shall be added upon; and they who keep not their first estate, shall not have glory in the same kingdom with those who keep their first estate; and they who keep their second estate [earth life], shall have glory added upon their heads for ever and ever.

And the Lord said, whom shall I send? And one answered like unto the Son of Man [Jesus] Here am I, send me. And another answered [Lucifer] and said Here am I, send me. And the Lord said, I will send the first.

And the second was angry, and kept not his first estate; and, at that day, many followed after him. And then the Lord said, let us go down; and they went down at the beginning, and they organized and formed (that is, the Gods) the heavens and the earth. (The Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham 3:22-41)

LDS president Joseph F. Smith, nephew to the original Joseph Smith, declared:

Among the spirit children of Elohim the firstborn was and is Jehovah or Jesus Christ to whom all others are juniors.... There is no impropriety, therefore, in speaking of Jesus Christ as the elder brother of the rest of human kind.... Let it not be forgotten, however, that He is essentially greater than any and all others by reason (1) of His seniority as the oldest or firstborn; (2) of His unique status in the flesh as the offspring of a mortal mother and of an immortal, or resurrected and glorified, Father; (3) of His selection and foreordination as the one and only Redeemer and Savior of the race; and (4) of His transcendent sinlessness. Jesus Christ is not the Father of the spirits who have taken or yet shall take bodies upon this earth, for He is one of them. He is the Son, as they are sons or daughters of Elohim. ("The Father and the Son: A Doctrinal Exposition by the First Presidency and the Twelve," June 1916, as quoted in Encyclopedia of Mormonism Vol.4 p.1670-1677)

In 1894 LDS Apostle George Q. Cannon preached

We are here to be tested and tried. There is a war between Satan and God. We are brethren and sisters of Satan as well as of Jesus. It may be startling doctrine to many to say this; but Satan is our brother. Jesus is our brother. We are the children of God. God begot us in the spirit in the eternal worlds. This fight that I speak of arose, as we are told, over the question as to how man should work out his earthly probation in a tabernacle of flesh and bones and obtain redemption. Satan differed from God, and he rebelled. We are told in the scriptures that he drew after him one third of the family of God. They thought his plan better than that of the Savior Jesus Christ. From that time until the present he has been struggling to destroy the plans of Jehovah, and to seduce the children of men—his brothers and sisters—from their allegiance to God. (Collected Discourses, Vol. 4, p.23, compiled by Brain Stuy, "Secret Combinations," discourse delivered by Apostle George Q. Cannon, at the Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Sunday, March 11th, 1894.)

In the current manual of the LDS Church called Gospel Principles it is stated that "Man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents," that "every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven," and that Jesus "is literally our elder brother." When God was deciding on who would be the savior for our world "two of our brothers offered to help." The book then explains that Jesus was chosen over Lucifer, who then rebelled. Chapter forty-seven explains that those who obey the LDS gospel will gain "exaltation in the celestial kingdom" and thus become "gods" of their own worlds. These resurrected couples, now gods and goddesses, "will have their righteous family members with them and will be able to have spirit children also. These spirit children will have the same relationship to them as we do to our Heavenly Father" (p.302). Gospel Principles is on line at http://www.lds.org/library/gos_pri/gos_pri.html.

For more on the LDS concept of becoming gods, see: Mormons Hope to Become Gods of Their Own Worlds.]

Aug. 29, 2001

Subject: Kings?

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner; I read in one of your newsletters about certain mormons being ordained as "kings"-I was just wondering what this entailed and the history of this practiced (who is "worthy") etc.

Thank you again, Much Love,

[Sandra's Note: There would be a difference between the temple ceremony, where a man is ordained a "king" and his wife as a "queen," and the concept of the president of the church being ordained "king" of the kingdom of God. Heber C. Kimball quoted Brigham Young as saying: " 'Every man that gets his endowment...[has been] ordained to the Melchisedeck Priesthood, which is the highest order of Priesthood. ...those who have come in here and have received their washing & anointing will be ordained Kings & Priests, and will then have received the fulness of the Priesthood, all that can be given on earth, for Brother Joseph said he had given us all that could be given to man on the earth.' Brigham Young, 1845" (Heber C. Kimball, Journal, 26 Dec. 1845) (Quote taken from Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol.16, No.1, p.15, "The Fulness of the Priesthood" The Second Anointing in Latter-day Saint Theology and Practice, by David John Buerger)

But then there is the concept of the President of the LDS Church being ordained "king" of the kingdom. D. Michael Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.124, wrote:

Two days after this general conference Smith became Mormonism's theocratic king. The kingdom's clerk William Clayton wrote that during the 11 April 1844 meeting "was prest. Joseph chosen as our Prophet, Priest and King by Hosannas." Clayton did not describe what happened immediately after this secret sustaining vote by the Council of Fifty. Although he had participated, William Marks never referred to the sustaining vote on 11 April but later stated that the Council of Fifty performed an ordinance "in which Joseph suffered himself to be ordained a king, to reign over the house of Israel forever."

Some have been uncomfortable with the assertion that Smith became a king. They have claimed that Marks and other critics either confused or misrepresented Smith's reception of the strictly religious ceremony of the second anointing as "king and priest." As already noted, the prophet taught that the second anointing had theocratic meaning, but he received that ordinance nearly six months before Clayton's entry for 11 April. What occurred that day was clearly something different from the second anointing ordinance for a heavenly "King and Priest."

For more on Smith and Young being ordained "king" see our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? or The Mormon Kingdom, Vol.1.]

Aug. 29, 2001

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner; I received the packet of info from you just the other day and have been reading it ever since. The amount of information and the QUALITY of it is amazing-it far surpassed my expectations. Unlike other organizations that have endless funds and send just "teasers" of information to queries-your organization sent me in depth newsletters and a book list with prices that are staggeringly affordable!!!!!!

Furthermore you have Wm Morgan's Pamphlet on masonry as well-something I failed to find through a book finder (but I've been calling it Illustrations from Freemasonry-that could be the problem, too.)

I just want to thank you and say "GOD BLESS YOU ALL" I am hope to receive more newsletters in the future, ...I cannot say enough or thank you enough. May your blessing number the sandgrains on the seashore.

[Web-editor: We have that book online as well. See: Exposition of Freemasonry by Capt. William M. Morgan.]

Aug. 30, 2001

I have checked over your web pages, particularly those on Mormonism, with great interest. However I am saddened by the fact that most of the information is either negative, out of date, speculative or simply misrepresented. Is there nothing good about the Mormons?

I notice that the expansion of the Mormon church is still very good with a replacement temple now being built in Nauvoo where the original one was destroyed by vandals following the persecutions and expulsions of Mormons from Missouri and Illinois. This is despite the hundreds of anti-Mormon web pages on the WWW, some of them CRASS, some downright ugly and irreverent; but all of them doing a fantastic job in weeding out the Tares from the wheat....

In future whenever I require information about any faith group I am going to ask their faithful adherents, not the disillusioned or those who have axes to grind. You are a nasty lot of people.

Aug. 30, 2001

[MASONIC CRY?] How well documented is the meaning and intent of Joseph Smith's last words? I've read Reed Durham's article and it sounds right. A former missionary companion of mine, while not exactly questioning this, may think that there is scanty source material for this. According to John D. Lee Joseph says the entire Masonic distress cry while Durham doubts that he did. So just how well documented is this?

[Sandra's Note: While most Mormons are not familiar with the early Mormon participation in Free Masonry, their own History of the Church records Smith's entrance into the Masonic lodge in 1842:

Tuesday, 15.—I [Joseph Smith] officiated as grand chaplain at the installation of the Nauvoo Lodge of Free Masons, at the Grove near the Temple. Grand Master Jonas, of Columbus, being present, a large number of people assembled on the occasion. The day was exceedingly fine; all things were done in order, and universal satisfaction was manifested. In the evening I received the first degree in Free Masonry in the Nauvoo Lodge, assembled in my general business office. (History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, Deseret Book, 1978, Vol.4, Ch.32, p.550-1)

The next day Smith recorded: "Wednesday, March 16.—I was with the Masonic Lodge and rose to the sublime degree." (History of the Church, Vol.4, Ch.32, p.552)

There is ample evidence that Smith attempted to give the Masonic signal of distress when he jumped from the jail window as he was being shot to death. Historian D. Michael Quinn relates the events of the day:

27 June, 5 p.m. A large group of men approaches Carthage Jail disguised with blackened faces. Smith at first assumes it is the Nauvoo Legion he has secretly ordered to rescue him. However, major-general Jonathan Dunham has disobeyed orders knowing that a prison escape would mean the annihilation of Nauvoo. Instead the vigilantes storm the upstairs room, instantly killing Hyrum and severely wounding Taylor. Joseph defends himself with a pistol, jumps out the window, and begins to shout the Masonic cry of distress: 'Oh, Lord, my God, is there no help for the widow's son?' Masons in the crowd show no mercy and prop the semi-conscious Smith against a nearby well and shoot him several times at point-blank range. Willard Richards (hereafter Richards) is the only one not killed or severely wounded. Mormons immediately attribute this to the fact that he alone wore the undergarment given to endowed persons. (The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, p.646)

In his footnotes, Dr. Quinn gives numerous references to Smith giving the masonic signal of distress:

History of the Church, 6:617-20, which includes the statement by Apostle Willard Richards: "Joseph attempted, as the last resort, to leap the same window from whence Mr. [John] Taylor fell." Times and Seasons 5 (15 July 1844): 585 implied that Smith's final words were an effort to utter the Masonic cry of distress: "Oh, Lord my God, is there no help for the widow's son?" His polygamous wife Zina D. Huntington was more specific: "I am the widow of a master mason, who, when leaping from the window of Carthage Jail pierced with bullets, made the masonic sign of distress..." See Andrew Jenson, Latter-day Saint Biographical Encyclopedia, 4 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret News/Andrew Jenson History Company, 1901-1936), l: 698. For Freemasons who were in the Carthage mob, see Mervin B. Hogan, Freemasonry and the Lynching at Carthage Jail (Salt Lake City: By the author, 1981), 10-11.

Although History of the Church, 6:618, states that Smith received all his bullet wounds within the jail as he stood ready to jump, several of the participating vigilantes wrote that he escaped injury until landing at the feet of the mobbers who propped him against the waterwell of Carthage Jail and shot him, execution-style. For example, on the day Nauvoo learned of the martyrdom, Nathan Cheney wrote another Mormon: "he fell to the ground [and] the mob run him throug[h] with their baynet [bayonets] a number of times and fired him through a number of time[s] after they had stuck their baynets through him" (Cheney to Charles Beebe, 28 June 1844 at Nauvoo, LDS archives). A member of the Carthage militia at the scene also wrote that Smith "was shot several times and a bayonet run through him after he fell" (S.O. Williams to John Prickerr, 10 July 1844, quoted in Jessee, "Return to Carthage," 17n30, and in Annette P. Hampshire, Mormonism In Conflict: The Nauvoo Years [New York: Edwin Mellen Press, 1985], 207). A week earlier, William M. Daniels (then a non-Mormon) had made a legal affidavit at Warsaw, Illinois in which he likewise testified that the murderers shot Smith execution-style by the well (which account lacked a sensational description of divine intervention later published in a Mormon version of Daniels's statement). See Jessee, "Return to Carthage," 4-5. Almira Covey wrote a similar description a week later. See Covey to Harriet Whittemore, 18 July 1844, RLDS archives; also John C. Elliott (accused murdered of Smith), statement, ca. July 1844, related by John C. Burns, in Nauvoo Neighbor, 19 Feb. 1845, [3]. Jessee, "Return to Carthage," 6, 15n26 also discusses statements about Smith's execution-style death by participants Edward A. Bedell and William Web.

These are the most accurate descriptions of Smith's death, since eyewitness accounts by different vigilantes and non-Mormon witnesses began appearing within days of the martyrdom. Willard Richards provided the official description of Smith's death in History of the Church, but he was not in a position to see the bullets strike the prophet. According to a statement of Richards to the physician who tended the wounded John Taylor immediately afterward, Richards was unable to see whether the wounds in Joseph Smith's corpse came before or after his fall from the window: "He stood next to the hinges of the door...so when they [the mob] crowded the door open it shut him up against the wall and he stood there and did not move till the affair was all over." See Dr. Thomas Barnes to his daughter Miranda Barnes Haskett, 6 Nov. 1897, in Mulder and Mortensen, Among the Mormon, 151, and in Keith Huntress, ed., Murder of an American Prophet... (San Francisco: Chandler Publishing Co., 1960), 152-53.

His written account shows that Richards depended on later examination of Hyrum Smith's corpse to reconstruct how the patriarch was shot, and similar reconstruction undoubtedly occurred after Richards examined the bullet wounds in Joseph Smith's corpse. Smith's secretary William Clayton accepted the non-Mormon accounts rather than the reconstruction by Richards, who was his employer. Clayton's 1839-45 journal stated: "Joseph jumped through the window and was immediately surrounded by the mob. They raised him up and set him against the well-curb; but as yet it appears he had not been hit with a ball. However, four of the mob immediately drew up their guns and shot him dead." See "An Interesting Journal," in Smith, An Intimate Chronicle, 542. (The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, footnote from page 141)

President Wilford Woodruff recorded in his diary:

[August] 19 Sunday... Presidets Young & Kimball with O. Pratt W. Woodruff J. Taylor G. A. Smith E. Snow F. D. Richards & G. Q. Cannon of the Twelve met for Prayer when the following conversation took place:

President Young said the people of the United States had sought our destruction and they had used every Exertion to perfe[c]t it. They have worked through the masonic institution to perfect it. Joseph & Hyrum Smith were Master Masons and they were put to death by masons or through there instigation and he gave the sign of distress & he was shot by masons while in the act. And there were delegates from the various lodges in the Union to see that he was put to death.... I hope to live to see the day when I can have power to make them do right. They have got the blood of the prophets upon their heads & they have got to meet it.

When President Buchanan & the U.S. Government sent Col Johnson & the U.S. Army to Utah it was with the Express purpose to destroy the Church & kingdom from off the Earth to put to death this people. But the Lord sustained us & put them to shame & Confusion & to his name be the honor & glory.

There are other Masons sent to this territory for the same purpose to Esstablish a lodge here & try to get an influence with some here to lay a plan to try to murder me & the leaders of the Church But they will not accomplish it. (Waiting for World's End: The Diaries of Wilford Woodruff, compiled by Susan Staker, Signature Books, 1993, p.252)

In 1994 Michael Homer discussed the issue of Masonry and Joseph Smith:

More than twenty years ago Reed C. Durham, Jr., director of the LDS Institute of Religion adjacent to the University of Utah, delivered his presidential address at the Mormon History Association in Nauvoo, Illinois, on the topic of Mormonism and Freemasonry. He concluded his controversial remarks by stating that the Mormon temple endowment "had an immediate inspiration from Masonry," that "the Prophet first embraced Masonry and, then in the process, he modified, expanded, amplified, or glorified it," and that similarities between the two ceremonies were "so apparent and overwhelming that some dependent relationship cannot be denied."... Social historian Mark C. Carnes has observed: "...Whether Smith stole the temple rites from Freemasonry, as the Masons claim, or received them as revelation from God is ultimately a question of faith," but it "cannot be disputed...that quasi-Masonic ritual figured prominently in the lives of most Mormon men."...

...Significantly, a Masonic Hall which, under the direction of Lucius Scoville, took less than one year to construct, was completed and dedicated on April 5, 1844. Joseph Smith attended and spoke at the dedication, which was presided over by Worshipful Master Hyrum Smith, and the Masonic address was delivered by Erastus Snow. As many as 550 Masons attended the ceremony,... Less than three months after dedication of the Masonic Hall, Joseph and Hyrum Smith were assassinated by a mob in Carthage, Illinois, which included a number of Freemasons. Shortly after his death it was reported that Joseph had given the Masonic distress call before falling through the jail window....

Furthermore, there is no evidence that Smith intended the endowment to rival Masonic rituals or that Mormon lodges would be abandoned after the completion of the temple. His use of the Masonic distress call, the continuation of lodge work after he revealed the endowment, and the completion and dedication of the Masonic Hall after the Grand Lodge withdrew its recognition from the Mormon lodges demonstrate that Smith was not a lukewarm Mason, that Mormons were not using Masonry only to gain a political foothold in Illinois, that they remained dedicated Masons throughout Smith's life, and that they continued to do lodge work until they left Nauvoo in 1846. Arguably, it was only after the Saints relocated in the Great Basin that Mormonism and Masonry were completely divorced and only then did Mormon officials claim that Masonry had outlived its purpose.

In Nauvoo the relationship between Mormonism and Masonry was readily acknowledged. According to Heber C. Kimball, Smith believed there was "similarity of preast Hood [sic] in Masonary [sic]" and that Freemasonry was "taken from [the] preasthood [sic] but has become degenrated [sic]." Benjamin F. Johnson, a Nauvoo Mason, also quoted Smith teaching that "Freemasonry as at present, was the apostate endowments, as sectarian religion was the apostate religion." Smith's successor, Brigham Young, taught that King Solomon built his temple to give endowments, that Solomon founded Freemasonry, but that "they gave few if any endowments" because "the High Priest [Hiram Abiff] was murdered by wicked and corrupt men, who had already begun to apostatize, because he would not reveal those things appertaining to the priesthood that were forbidden for him to reveal until he came to the proper place." Young's first counselor also taught that "Masonry of today is received from the apostasy which took place in the days of Solomon and David." (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 27, No. 3, p.2-70, Fall 1994, "Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry": The Relationship Between Freemasonry and Mormonism, by Michael W. Homer)]

Aug. 30, 2001

Subject: Thanks

Thanks for going out of your way to prove the book of mormon is true. We need more info going around like this. This builds my faith even more.

I had no idea that there were that many books written befor 1830 that said the indians were hebrew and that they were waiting for a book or a lost book (gold plates). Keep searching you'll figure it out. Listen to your heart while your reading. You'll feel the truth it's right there in front of you.


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