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May 2002
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

May 1, 2002

...I am a very active Mormon and am very proud of it. I was born and raised into the church and I've also converted my husband into the church. ...I'm very hurt that you would harden your own hearts to the truthfulness of the "true" church and believe what Satan wants you to believe. Some of the information on your website is very wrong.

May 1, 2002

I just found your website and read through many of your documents. Although interesting reading, it's hard to make the connection between many of your editorial conclusions and the facts in your stories. For example, you say the Joseph Smith had a sexual problem but your facts only reveal that women were "sealed" to him. You don't offer a shred of evidence that any of these women and girls ever had any relations with or lived with or even spent any time at all with him. It seems to me that "sealed" and "sexual" have a pretty wide gap. ...

I read articles from the Tanners years ago when the Mark Hoffman Salamander Letter event was going on. I quit paying any attention to them when the truth came out and Tanners offered no appology for the lies they spread. Now that the Mountain Meadows Massacre has made news, it is being scrutinized like the Salamander Letter, and as a result of truth being disclosed about false documents and self-serving statements, the LDS church leaders appear to have been telling the truth and the Tanners appear to be party to advancing lies, ONLY because they attempt to stir up hatred against mormons. How sad that your lighthouse is so lacking in light.....

[Sandra's Note: If you go to our site, under Topical Index go to the entries for Joseph Smith, you will find documented evidence that Joseph Smith had at least 33 wives, twelve of whom were already married with living husbands. His friends and some of his wives left statements to the effect that he had physical relationships with his wives (see Historical Record, 1887, pp.219-240. I own an original, but other copies should be in various libraries in Utah.).

If you will call the Deseret Book store, 801-972-2429, you can order the books:

These historical studies are written by LDS historians that document what I have just said.

As to the Hofmann case, I am afraid you have not remembered the details. Jerald was the first to raise the question as to the authenticity of Hofmann's documents BEFORE his murders. This was at the same time that the LDS Church was ACCEPTING the documents.]

May 1, 2002

Subject: A different type of comment

Dear Sandra,

...I have been enthralled by your site for years now. I have spent countless hours pouring through the information you have posted, and I am so very, very grateful for the work you have done.

I am writing for the benefit of the devout LDS persons who visit your site. I am sure many LDS readers are just like me: honest and sincere in their quest for the truth. So, I thought my story might help them.

I was raised LDS, was a missionary, baptized many people into the LDS Church, and I am married in the LDS temple and have several children. I also have a first-class legal education, and feel I honestly try to look at things objectively. I am not an "anti-Mormon." I am a Mormon.

In high school, my class had over 600 students, and 99% of them professed to be Christian (this was a non-Utah school, so there were only about ten Mormons in my entire class.) I found their "Christianity" absurd, and their lack of morality disgusting. I honestly saw these "Christians" as a bunch of fornicating heathens, who believed in the silliness of "merely confessing Jesus with their lips" as a way of being "saved from Hell."

The only people I knew who seemed to live the law of chastity were some of the Mormons (and I stress the word "some."). My "Christian" classmates would bring me the typical "anti-Mormon" attacks, which I deemed (and still deem) to be very weak Biblically.

I went to BYU, then went on a mission in South America. At BYU, I was interviewed by a stake president to see if I was worthy to go on a mission. He only asked me one question:


I was sure he was a kind and honest man, and I wanted to be honest in my answer. I responded,


He politely told me that he could not send me on a mission because I did not know the Book of Mormon was true. I told him I understood. We shook hands, and I went back to the dorms. I then called my dad to tell him that I was not mission-worthy. I did not fault anybody for this, and I understood where the Church was coming from. After all, the Stake President was the Lord's Mouthpiece on that issue, so far as I was concerned.

The next day, my Dad called me. He told me that he had spoken with the stake president in California, and he had told my Dad that my stake president at BYU was essentially nuts, and if I would simply come home to California, my stake president there would send me on my mission. I was only 19 at the time, and did not think through what this meant: somebody, either the stake president in Utah, or in California, was flat-out uninspired.

So, I came home, was interviewed, and deemed worthy to go on a mission. Before my mission I read "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder," and "Jesus the Christ." In fact, I read them both a couple time apiece. I felt they just made so much sense, and I felt really good about telling people I felt the Church was true.

In the MTC, I wanted a sure knowledge, so I went into a custodian's closet to pray to "know for sure." After all, everybody else there seemed to KNOW WITH EVERY FIBER OF THEIR BEINGS that the Church was true. I prayed and prayed. I did not feel I got an answer. My companion, a jewel of a person, told me I probably got an answer, and was being too hard on myself.

After being in the MTC a while, I found it easier and easier to tell people I KNEW the Church was true, when in fact, I did not know this. However, I convinced myself of it. I am embarrassed to admit this, but you have to understand that when everybody around you is testifying, and showing you so much love, it is next to impossible for some people like me not to begin to feel that the Church is "obviously true." I was also inundated with the Church's truth 24 hours a day for two months.

I started my mission "stateside" (in the United States), while I waited for my South American visa. I knocked doors, and preached to the best of my ability.

On my mission, I felt I could "wipe out" any person from another Christian faith, so far as Biblical debating went. To me, the LDS scriptural system is still very methodical and sensible. And I am sure most effective LDS missionaries share this view.

I was an excellent elder, who obeyed all the rules. The people who attacked me, physically and Biblically, were typically so vicious that I felt like my Church must be true, or I wouldn't be so persecuted by them. And after all, wasn't that what the the mobsters did to the early Saints!

I finally got to South America, and ran into my first crisis after about a year. [LDS Apostle] Boyd K. Packer came to speak to my entire area. Thousands of LDS people showed up.

I had read the New Testament, and was so impressed that Joseph Smith was inspired to fix what I deemed to be a glaring error in the Lord's Prayer. Let me explain: The King James' Version reads, "Lead us not into Temptation." Joseph Smith changed that to "Suffer us not to be led into temptation." This change made total sense to me because Christ would not ask God not to lead him into temptation, after all, that is Satan's job, not God's, and Christ certainly would have understood this. I read the other "inspired translations" was abundantly impressed.

Then, I noticed that my Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 13:12 had the same language that Joseph Smith had CHANGED. It, too, says, "Lead us not into temptation." I found this to be very odd, because after all, wasn't this changed in the NT because it was wrong? In fact, in the bottom of my Book of Mormon it referred to the Joseph Smith translation of Matt 6:13. So, out of curiosity, I looked it up in my Spanish Bible. And it, too said, "Lead us not into temptation." Then, I wondered what the Spanish Book of Mormon said. And to my surprise, the Spanish Book of Mormon contained the language of the Joseph Smith translation, not the language of the English Book of Mormon. I was totally confused by this, and wanted to know why.

Now, keep in mind, that I was not a smart aleck, I just had an honest question. So, after the meeting, I shook hands with the General Authority, Boyd K. Packer, and I asked him if he could explain the "problem." He told me just to obey the commandments, and that it did not matter. He wasn't rude.

That was 17 years ago, and it still bothers me. This is the Lord's Prayer we are talking about! It mattered enough for God to tell Joseph Smith to fix it in the Bible. Again, that was the first problem I ever had with the LDS position on anything.

In high school, I had asked my bishop about the Adam-God theory and blood atonement because the "anti-Mormons" at school kept confronting me about these doctrines. However, I was always assured that Brigham Young was simply misquoted by the enemies of the Church.

And since I knew Joseph Smith was murdered and that countless Mormons had been relentlessly tormented in anti-Mormons, I certainly felt anti-Mormons could twist the words of Brigham Young. (With the advent of the internet, we LDS people can no longer use that "Well-he-must-have-been-misquoted line.")

On my mission, somebody told me that Joseph Smith was a mason. I did not believe it. I was quite shocked when my companion told me that, yes, he was. Okay, I finally thought, that's cool. God sent him to the Masons to get a handle on temple rights. I could live with that.

When I got home, I dated a lovely young woman, whose mother had left the LDS church. She was an adulterous, difficult woman, whom I had no respect for, and still don't. One day she told me that Joseph Smith had many wives.

She then went into some detail about how he met these women, and how he kept things from Emma and so on. I knew she must be lying to me. Joseph Smith was a beacon of morality to me, and the Restorer of the Church, and there was no way he had ever done anything immoral, and he certainly would not have concealed anything from Emma! I thought this woman was the Devil, so I did not believe her. I was in the my mid-twenties when this happened.

Then, when I was 35, I stumbled onto the Lighthouse Ministries web site. I thought, "Oh, yeah, more of that typical, hateful, anti-Mormon crap." And I started to read.

But then I stumbled across the differing accounts of the First Vision. For the first time in my life, I felt my heart was going to beat out of my chest. Could it be? This had to be false! There could not be so many versions! I panicked and stopped reading. A full year passed before I had the guts to go back to the site. I decided that running from truth was idiotic, and unGodly. So, I promised I would read everything on the site. I was very, very, painful.

So, what happened? Well, I am not a "Born-Again Christian," and I still think they are half crazy. And I still don't think God is going to burn people alive in hell. And I still actually think that the Book of Mormon is true.

However, I cannot look somebody in the eye and say, "I know the LDS Church is true." It may be true, I just don't know. The history I have read is really, really disturbing. I am not willing to lie to myself anymore.

(Note: Michael Quinn taught me at BYU, and I know that man is not a liar, and I trust his quotes. I have found his writings to be very informative. Remember, he wrote articles for the Ensign before he got the boot from the Church.)

And I am so ashamed that I told so many South Americans that I KNEW the Church was true. I had to repent for that. The one thing that I do admire about LDS people is that they do tell investigators to pray, and get their own witness. All the "Born-Agains" I ever knew wanted to convince me with their own logic. Now, I tell people what I BELIEVE, and I am okay with that.

It is so hard for me to talk with my fellow LDS people, because if I bring up things that are not even disputed by Church historians, they think I am deluded or "falling away." It amazes me that most Mormons have no idea there are differing accounts of the First Vision. However, I can't be too critical because I had no idea either. I feel bad when I read some emails attacking you, Sandra Tanner, personally.

Because my conscience was burning, I actually went to meet you one day. You were polite, and very willing to talk open-mindedly. I still disagree with your theology, but will be forever grateful for your research.

I am still grappling with my own feelings, and still agree with most LDS doctrine. As a missionary, I would get so frustrated with people who would not even read the Book of Mormon. Then, I found myself doing the same thing when it came to avoiding what you - the NOTORIOUS Sandra Tanner - had to say. I finally said, "Hey, I am not running from history any more. I am going to take a hard look at it." Now, I feel free. Thank you.

God Bless.

May 2, 2002

dear Mr, and Mrs tanner.

i am very disapointed in you two. you two have been publishing Anti-LDS material for a long time. you two are going nowhere. you two need to get a life. you two are driving yourselfs down to Hell.

i testify to you that the CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER DAY SAINTS, is the true and only living church upon the whole face of the earth. God has told me that the BOOK OF MORMON is true. God has told me that the LDS church is true. "NO i was not tricked by satan. dont use that excuse either.

i dont want to hear any justifications, or Lame excuses. you two need humbled big time. you two need to have your hearts soften.you two may e-mail back to me with your response of my letter. but dont you dare, Start e-mailing ANTI-LDS literature to me. i dont mean to be harsh, but you two need to give your Anti business a rest, and get a real job.

SIncerely, the guy who you will thank someday.

May 2, 2002

What a clever decepition. Honest seekers of truth will read your distorted views. Does the end justify the means?

May 3, 2002

Subject: Thanks for the info!

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus! There is a wealth of information on this site, so thank you. May God be with you in your journey to reach the lost for Him. The truth needs to be told about the conflicts between what the Bible says and what LDS doctrine teaches.

There is a saying in the LDS religion, "choose the right." Truth is right, right? John 14:6 says, "I am the way, THE TRUTH, and life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. Jesus is THE TRUTH.

What more do you need? The Bible says that there is only ONE mediator between God and man (1 Timothy) and that is Christ Jesus. I'll choose Him. Anyway, thanks again.

May 3, 2002

Subject: Symbols on the Temple

Is there any information available concerning the pentagrams, the sunstones, etc. and the other symbols on the outside of the temples? The pictures on the newly built Nauvoo temple show a lot of them, but what they represent is not mentioned. It all appears to be very satanic to me. I would like to do some study on this, but can't find anything. Thank you so much for your work and may God continue to bless you,

[Web-editor: See Masonic Symbols and the LDS Temple.] 

May 3, 2002

Dear Tanners,

I'm a little confused about Mormonism and Polygamy. If the Mormons discontinued the practice of polygamy, then why can a Mormon man remarry another women in a Temple after loosing his previous wife? Does this not make him a polygamist in the next life? And on the other hand, Mormon women cannot remarry in a Temple to another man if she has not had a Temple divorce from the first husband.

It seems to me that polygamy is very much alive in the Mormon Church; the only difference being is which life they refer to in doctrinal teachings.

[Sandra Note: You are right. They play a game of denying polygamy but allow temple sealings that would make one a polygamist in heaven.

The Mormon Church makes a distinction between entering into polygamy while all the participants are alive, and polygamy as they believe it will be practiced in heaven. Thus a man would get excommunicated for taking a living plural wife, but if his first wife died or he got a divorce, he could then marry a second woman in the temple. Then in heaven they would all be together in polygamy. Many LDS do not realize this doctrine is still very much alive. In fact, many don't even know that Smith's revelation on polygamy, sec.132 in the D&C, is still printed in their scriptures.

I understand that now, after a divorce or the death of her husband, a woman can remarry in the temple and then, after the resurrection, God will decide which sealing is valid in heaven.]

May 4, 2002

Thank you for your work in exposing this lie called mormonism. I am interested in finding out what businesses and products the mormon church owns. ...

[Sandra's Note: The most current financial information on Mormonism is in Mormon America: The Power and the Promise, by Richard and Joan Ostling.]

May 5, 2002

Subject: My time with lds

Dear Sandra, May God Bless you with this endeavor, you are truly carrying out the Great Commission.

Many years ago, while I was in the military I had an occasion to meet a mormon family (I became a volunteer "Big Sister" for one of their daughters). Of course they "set me up" to meet with 2 missionaries. One thing led to another and the father of that family baptized me into the lds.

Being only 21 at the time, I leaned on that family for a lot of education on how to live the mormon life. One day, while at work, the mother of the family stopped by my office to see me. She had something on her mind that she NEEDED to share with me. She told me that if the Lord called on her husband to take another wife, she would gladly "divorce" him to make room for the new wife. (She explained that a "civil divorce" doesn't affect her standing as his first wife; she would still be sealed to him, and his second wife would be sealed as his second wife...) At this point, I finally realized WHAT SHE MEANT!!

Needless to say, I was STUNNED! I had begun to have doubts about "that burning in my bosom" ...and the lds life. That was pretty much my last straw (why would I wish to marry a man with a wife and 7 kids already; a man that was ALMOST old enough to be my father????)

Like many others I've read about here on your site, it took me some time to extricate myself from their lies. My first detour was moving in with an older/retired mormon couple. My second was getting engaged to a "RM". But the doubts I had just kept ringing in my ears. I "broke up" with the RM and moved out of the mormons home.

I Thank God that a man I had dated while stationed overseas came and rescued me, we were married soon after. Unfortunately, my relationship with this man did not work out (BUT, by that time I had become a card-carrying Protestant). After several years I met a WONDERFUL Christian man (literally IN SUNDAY SCHOOL!) and we were married.

...I've read a few of the editorial comments made here on your site. I find it IRONIC that anyone could say that you don't know what mormonism/lds is all about. After all, you and your husband were raised mormons and are former mormons. NOT to mention you & your husbands "pedigree" (I'm not saying that you or your husband are of the canine variety; it's just the EMPHASIS that lds puts on who's children are whose and all.)

Thank You for this MUCH NEEDED educational site; I think Christians everywhere should "drop in" at least once to see what lies they say.

God Bless you & your husband,

May 6, 2002

Subject: thanks

Thank you for your webpage! I stumbled upon it, probably was guided by the Holy Spirit! I have lost my sister to Mormonism. They reeled her in when she was at a low point in her life during high school. It enrages me that they are allowed to minister to the innocent children at school. Something ought to be done about that.

She has been Mormon for 15 years. I still have faith that I will reach her for my niece's sake. I have used information from your site to show her the truth! Thanks for being there especially for us who know nothing about the religion. My mom always used to say, "Well at least she believes in Jesus." But I have shown my mom that it is not THE Real Jesus!


May 6, 2002

I don't know if anyone else has noticed this yet but I was looking through Saturdays church news (May 4th) and I saw a very interesting picture of the newly completed Nauvoo temple. There are eight round windows around the top of each side and inset in each of these windows is a pentagram. There is an enlarged photograph of one of these windows in the church news! I couldn't believe my eyes. Not a star of David but an occult pentagram! Why is that there? And why would they show case it so prominently in the church news?

Don't they realize what a pentagram represents? I have a copy of D. Michael Quinn's "Early Mormonism and the Magic World View" and I am going to be reading it with great interest in light of this discovery.

[Web-editor: See Masonic Symbols and the LDS Temple.]

May 6, 2002

Subject: The Nauvoo temple?

I had seen on TV months ago the story coverage of the rebuilding of the Nauvoo temple and I saw pentagrams in the round stained glass windows. I never recorded it so I had no proof to show my son who left his Christian home to join the church and go on a mission for them.

In last Saturdays paper I read a sad article about prayer by a mormon writer, but it was along side the big picture of the Nauvoo temple and right there plain as day are all those windows filled with pentagrams. ...

Today I received a prayer request for an LDS family who had lost their 19 year old son to suicide. It seems he couldn't take the pressure of going on the mission. I cried many tears for this family and I just don't understand how they can keep turning their eyes from the Lords truth? I have lived here a long time and I know and understand how deep the brain washing goes but why can't they see it? How many more children have to needlessly loose their lives? I am praying that Abba father crushes this evil empire soon. ...Your Brother In Christ

[Web-editor: See Masonic Symbols and the LDS Temple.]

May 6, 2002

Subject: Questions


Praise the Lord for your website! I've started reading your online book, "The Changing World of Mormonism," and am enjoying it....God bless you for your stand!

For the Messiah,

May 8, 2002

Subject: Christianity and Mormonism

I have enjoyed your website, thanks.

I left Mormonism when I was 33 (I am now 53), when I came to understand that there never really was an "empty tomb," nor a "virgin conception/birth," and that Jesus died for the arrogance and convenience of Rome, and not for "the sins of mankind." And that YHWH God of the Hebrew scriptures does not use, need, or want messy bloody human Jesus sacrifice to forgive sins. And that the sacrifices of God are a broken heart and contrite spirit. And that the Hebrew scriptures (the Christian "Old Testament") are replete with examples of either non-blood atonement, or the total subordination of ritual blood sacrifice to more important and godly things.

...ALL of the great social prophets of Israel, including Jesus, knew and taught that Temple sacrifice was of very secondary importance. I do agree that Mormonism is a cult, or at least a subcult: ...within the Christ cult of Christianity...the Cult of the Empty Tomb. But it is also true that the Mormons didn't create the Christ myth about Jesus, they merely adopted and adapted it....

I agree that there are fundamental differences between the "hows and whys and whos" of the origin and evolution of Christ myth compared to the Mormon myth. But they both tell us very similar things concerning the need for and the power of myth, particularly "sacred" myth, in human culture, community, and the human mind. As does, of course, Utah Lighthouse Ministry.

Shalom and God bless

May 8, 2002

If you feel that the Mormon church isn't right , why do you waste your time trying to figure it out? Which Church is the True church of Christ on earth today that is set up by apostles and prophets with Jesus being the chief corner stone as stated in the bible, Ephesian 2:20 ?

May 9, 2002

Good afternoon,

I have just finished reading the account by Lee of the Mountain Meadows Massacre (interesting how he is so 'innocent') and I am always fascinated by the fact that no matter how much circumstantial evidence there is to implicate the leadership of the LDS Church that they always seem to escape actual direct involvement.

As a previous member of the 'Church' I know full well how the church system works, particularly as I have served as a Bishop, District President, Branch President, High Councilor, etc, etc and I was employed as a senior church employee for some 14 years....

As such I was wondering if you could answer why this is so. Why, when it comes to any crimes, deceit, corruption etc does the leadership always seem to escape direct implication and/or involvement?

Another thing that really annoys me is this, and I have seen it so many times. Why is it that when an individual has an issue with the church they cant stick to the facts when they try to so call, expose the church? I left the church simply because of the facts available, I don't need some fanatic writing a book with crazy half truths.

That's why I have always appreciated the Tanners, I have noted that if they are traveling down a course of enquiry and it doesn't add up then they no longer pursue it. This is the road that I prefer to take, the one that simply explains and justifies the truth.

For instance, in my current employment I came across a salesman who is also a minister for a well known religion. As usually happens the subject of religion came up and he started to tell me all about the LDS Church. After about 10 minutes I told him that most of the information that he had was incorrect and that he would do everyone a service if he could simply find out and then stick to the facts. As usual he didn't want to listen as so often 'anti' people don't consider the truth to be sufficient. Once again, why is this so?

I am not anti anything, I am FOR things. The church simply doesn't represent the truth so I try to say it as I see it. And yet I am still so very fascinated by Church history, the actual history that is:)

...Thank for your time.


[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church fosters an attitude of misrepresentation, cover-up and lying. Missionaries are trained to obscure the more controversial aspects of LDS doctrine to potential converts. President Hinckley has repeatedly given less than candid answers to public interviews.

This approach started with Joseph Smith with his secret practice of polygamy. This created an atmosphere of lying and justifying the cover-up. The 1835 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants contained a denial of polygamy (see our newsletter #66 Polygamy and Truth). In one of Smith's last sermons he denied his practice of polygamy (see History of the Church, vol.6, pp. 408-412). Also, his purported translation of the Book of Abraham contains a story of God commanding Abraham to lie (see Pearl of Great Price, Book of Abraham, pp.222-25).

Smith also introduced secret temple rituals and had a secret Council of Fifty as part of his quest to set up the political kingdom of God on earth. (see Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power by Quinn) Thus Mormonism developed a rationalization for hiding their real teachings and agenda.

In general the LDS Church advises its members to be honest, yet they practice a system of cover-up and deceit when it comes to their controversial teachings. Thus one can see why outsiders sometimes have problems understanding and explaining Mormonism.

I, too, am saddened and upset when I see a non-Mormon write on the subject with faulty statements. I agree, anyone writing on Mormonism should show the Mormons the respect of having done their homework and being as accurate as possible. Shortcuts on truth are not a part of the gospel of Christ.]

May 10, 2002

Dear Tanners:

I have read quite a bit of your work over the last few years. I am familiar with the Book of Mormon and have noticed a couple of problems with it that no one else has mentioned to my knowledge. I will share them with you.

1. The very first page begins with a summary of what is to follow and Nephi himself appears to have written it. Is such a summary too recent a literary technique to reasonably belong in such an ancient work?

2. The "narrow neck of land" is said to be bounded by an "East Sea" and a "West Sea". Even a shallow look at a map of the Isthmus of Panama or of Teuantepec ( which some are arguing is the narrow neck) shows that the LAND in both cases runs east and west. The oceans there are NORTH and SOUTH. An ancient man living there would have referred to a north sea and a south sea, since he would never have seen a map of the world showing the great masses of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans lying mainly to the east and west.

I was raised in the RLDS Church but have come to have serious questions regarding the Book of Mormon. I saw your email address while browsing the internet and thought to ask you about the importance of my "problems". If even I can find serious problems then the book must be ridden with them.

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: I believe your point #1 is a valid one. Can't speak from research, but seems out of place.

The first page of the Book of Nephi, in the Book of Mormon, reminds me of the writings of the famous Jewish historian, Josephus. In his 'Life of Flavious Josephus', he states:

"The family from which I am derived is not an ignoble one, but hath descended all along from the priests;....Now, my father Matthias was not only eminent on account of his nobility, but had a higher commendation on account of his righteousness; and was in great reputation in Jerusalem,..." (Complete Works of Flavius Josephus, Kregel Pub., 1966, p.1)

The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi: 1, reads:

"I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents, therefore I was taught somewhat in all the learning of my father;...having had a great knowledge of the goodness and the mysteries of God, therefore I make a record of my proceedings in my days."

As for your #2—LDS scholar John Sorenson, BYU, has tried to explain this problem away by saying the Nephites took their north/south designations from the land, thus the coast was considered either east or west, leaving the land either north or south. However, if these people were smart enough to navigate from Arabia to the new world, one assumes they used the stars and sun for direction and would not have abandoned regular sea-faring techniques for a clumsy reworked directional system. They had to know where the sun came up and set, how could they suddenly change their directional orientation? Deanne Matheny in New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, points out the problems with Sorenson's theories.

Some good books on Book of Mormon issues are:

May 10, 2002

Subject: A few thoughts on the Black Hole of the Book of Mormon

Thank you for providing the service you render. It is very difficult if not impossible to find the information you have from any authoritative Church source.

You seem very logical and seekers of truth, with which I can completely empathize. I think that mormons who believe in the Church solely on a "feeling" live in a dream-land that is not consistent with reality. I hope that you will read this email with the same logic and desire for truth.

In "surfing" through your website, I was particularly interested in your "black hole cover-up" of the book of mormon. And especially in the portion that spoke of the supposed necessity of similarities between the Jewish temple worship and that of the children of Lehi.

However, I thought it would have been important to note in your expose that Lehi was not of the tribe of Judah, nor was he of the tribe of Levi who held the Aaronic priesthood. Neither was Ishmael from whom his grandchildren derived.

They were from the tribes of Manasseh and Ephraim respectively, if I recall, and held a different, if not higher order of the priesthood. I don't know what Nephi and his group actually did in the temple nor do I really care whether it mimics what was practiced by the Jews at the time of Lehi. Just as what Mormons do in temples today does not precisely mimic the

Jewish temple at the time of Lehi nor the Mosaic temple at the time of Moses (nor the Nephite temple after Christ visited), the Temples of the Nephites could not, nay, should not mimic the Jewish temple of Lehi's time.

Amalgamating all tribes of the children of Israel under the name "Jewish" when in this case makes all the difference is quite a bit misleading. I certainly wouldn't think that your institution would ever attempt to do or say something misleading. Judah and his children were not originally given the charge over the temple rites. It was Levi and his children. (see Numbers 1:50)

Along that same thought, I was wondering if you could show me in the Bible that the tribe of Judah was ever given express charge over the affairs of the temple (replacing or inclusive with the tribe of Levi) and that they had a call from God to start performing temple worship (or if they still understood or practiced the temple rites at the time Lehi lived in Jerusalem). I guess even if there were that charge, it would constitute a change within the Law of Moses, which is what you argue against with the book of mormon, correct? Perhaps you can help me find any references on this topic. I'd appreciate it.

I'm sure you study this much, much more than I do. I wish I could make a living out of studying the Church (that darn lay clergy), but I can't. In your thorough study of this issue, you must have come across these facts.

If you didn't already know this information, then please let me know if your studies take you to a different conclusion regarding the genealogy of the Nephites or the commendation of the Mosaic temple rituals to the children of Judah.

But if you did know about this, why did you choose to exclude this vital information as to the basic points of the issue? It seems that everything you stated was quite one-sided and self-serving to the anti-mormon cause. Not at all becoming a believer of the LIGHT and TRUTH.

I just read on your website, that you may desire to post part or all of my email. You may feel free to post my email on your website if you deem it beneficial, but copying merely a part that serves your purpose and throwing out the rest would only show one-sidedness. Let God be your conscience on that issue. If you do choose to post this, I would appreciate a courtesy contact to read any on-line retort.

I realized that I have discussed merely one issue in your article, but I guess this just goes to show me the necessity of thoroughly studying each point of the doctrine, rather than throwing together a bunch of seemingly condemning material without the other side of the issue.

I prefer to study the doctrines of the Church from both the Church as well as from God-fearing anti-mormons such as yourselves. Do you also suggest to your readers to take the missionary discussions?

Thank you so much for your time.

P.S. Besides everything previously stated, even if there were more references to the Law of Moses in the book of mormon, wouldn't you just say that Joseph Smith plagiarized them from the Bible anyway?

[Sandra's Note: I have put your entire email on the site so people can judge for themselves the strength of your position.  I think you missed our point.

Nephi makes a very specific claim that they were keeping the law of Moses:

"And we did observe to keep the judgments, and the statutes, and the commandments of the Lord in ALL THINGS, ACCORDING TO THE LAW OF MOSES." (2 Nephi 5:10).

Nephi could not offer sacrifices according to the 'law of Moses', as he wasn't a descendant of Aaron. The Bible is very specific, you could not offer sacrifices 'according to the law of Moses' unless you were a priest, which he wasn't. It doesn't work to say that maybe they had some other sort of priesthood—then they were NOT keeping the LAW OF MOSES, they were doing something else. It is the contradiction in the claim that is the problem.

As for taking the LDS missionary lessons, I do not recommend it.  If a person is simply trying to evaluate Mormon claims, that is not the best way to find out what Mormonism really teaches.  The lessons are very carefully constructed to avoid their more controversial doctrines.]

May 11, 2002


I just do not understand why someone needs to waste their whole life tearing down another religion. I am a Mormon and I am sorry that you do not like us. But why do you only talk bad about us and not any other religions? We do not have any such organization that tears down other faiths. I am very happy being a Mormon. I know that it is the one true church on the earth today. Something so bad as you claim, could not bring so much good into the world. Spending so much time and energy against our religion is not exactly a good deed. It's a shame that this sort of thing has to go on, and I am very sorry that you are doing it. I am very young, still in high school. I know the church is true. Please don't try to tear other people down. Please respect us.

Thank you

May 12, 2002

To the Utah Lighthouse Ministry,

Thanks for making available all the publications you have, especially the "trilogy"--the BofM, D&C, and PGP. I asked the Mormon missionaries in my town to order me a copy of the D&C two months ago, and I called them the other day and asked the status--"Well, it's still on order." I turn around and order it from y'all and it only took 4 days!

I know the missionaries are reluctant to share the D&C with those that are not members of the LDS church. I would not be surprised if they never even ordered the thing!

Well, thanks again.

[Web-editor: Triple Combination: Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price]

May 12, 2002

Subject: I praise God for you!

Thank you SO MUCH for the work you do for God, helping Mormons!!! I have a good friend who is LDS, .... I met her on the internet.

Yesterday she actually allowed me to talk to her about the temple ceremony!!! Can you BELIEVE it??? She was at one time an excommunicated Mormon and is now working on becoming "temple worthy" again. But she has never been comfortable talking about the temple ceremony with me, a so-called "anti Mormon." Yesterday she did, and today I sent her some links from your website on the CHANGES in temple ceremony from when she was going to the temple, to what it is like now.

She wanted to know what has changed, and I asked her why God would change His mind about what it takes to get to Heaven. So she is now wondering about that. Praise God! :) I LOVE your entire website, it is SUCH a blessing to me, in my online ministry to Mormons, and on the phone with that one Mormon I just mentioned. Occupy till He comes! :)

May 12, 2002

Subject: your review of the film legacy

I can not say that you have given anything in your "diatribe" that is positive or up lifting in any manor or way. This to me is an obvious hatchet job of a persons character. Here you are trying to relate in our comfy 21st century dens and homes and lifestyles to a more brutal meager 19th century lifestyle. ...Just when was the last time you went hungry or had to build a homestead out of the mud? ...

Here is my schtick yeah I am lds and yes I go to the temple. You at one time as I understand were in the church also. So you have been duly enlightened and feel so free that you have loosened your shackles. I am on the other hand truly amazed that time and time again you take a high road opinion, hidden behind degrees and volumes of "research" and mound up your vast opinion into a mountain of I am right. When it may just boil down to 19th century living was hard as heck.

These persons you are referring to including your own ancestors did what they could to live. Just as you do today. Yet we have a car home and lifestyle that if they were here today would be they were in heaven so to speak. I am not trying to get you to change your opinions just remember that perspective of "then to now" and see if it would open your mind set a bit.

[Web-editor: See Salt Lake City Messenger #88.]

May 13, 2002

You really should get a life.

May 13, 2002

...I am an Australian currently residing in New Zealand...To be candid, as I was born and raised in the LDS Church I thought that initially the Church's focus on the 'Brethren' rather than the Savior was an American thing as this type of focus on individuals is not part of our culture in this part of the world. I mean you often hear of an American President quoting another American President as if somehow that quote is sacred, but here we never hear our leaders quoting another.

So I guess you might understand why I thought this approach was American and not just unique to the 'Church' so I excused it until I realised that the Savior was taking a back seat in meetings etc. I started to count how often the Savior was mentioned and of course realised that in reality he was not talked about as much as Church programs and the 'Brethren' were.

I was fully immersed in the 'Church' however I couldn't understand why I was looked down on if I quoted one of the past prophets, when what they had said was quite plainly wrong.

Then I decided to do what the Brethren seemed to be asking and that is to study the past Prophets etc. What I didn't realise once again is that they wanted me to study, what they wanted me to study. I had to leave out all of the past that they didn't accept. This I found very strange indeed.

At this point I met a Church member..., a doctor who writes for several publications and he gave me a whole new direction in my approach to studying the Church. We became very good friends for a time but unfortunately I have lost touch with him. ...

Anyway, I left the 'Church' and I have to admit that it has left a void in my life, and yet I can never go back. I guess its like being a child, I really miss the thought of Santa Clause and would love to have that child-like feeling again but that is impossible.

Interestingly though, a lot of my friends and associates who are still in the 'Church' agree with me but cant leave because of social and family reasons. As a friend at the Salt Lake Church office once told me, being born a Mormon in Utah makes you are a Mormon statistically and culturally, but not religiously. In other words he has to stay a Mormon because of his associations, not because of his convictions. There are many there just like that and to a degree I can understand this.

Of course I now have a fine line to tread with my LDS friends. If I talk about the 'Church' too much they tell me that I cant leave it alone. If I don't mention it at all then they say I am a lost sheep.

Meantime, I am trying to find a faith that I would like to associate with but I have to admit that it is very hard. A lifetime of LDS influence is so hard to ignore.

Once again thanks,

May 13, 2002

Hi Jerald and Sandra,

Greetings to you in the name of the Lord from England. Many thanks for continuing to send me your excellent newsletter.

I know you are very busy but if you get a moment to answer this I would be most grateful.I know that evidence from the Book of Commandments, the Book of Mormon, and much of LDS history indicates that the event in May 15, 1829, when John the Baptist gave the Aaronic priesthood to Smith and Oliver Cowdery cannot be found but was added to D&C later.

However, how do we account for the entry in the History of the Church 1: 40? Do you know if this was added later as well? If not, how do we account for it? I am using this line of reasoning in my witnessing to Mormons. Thanks for your help.

May Christ bless you,

[Sandra's Note: Smith didn't even start writing the History of the Church until 1838 and the first installments of it were printed in the 1842 Times and Seasons, long after he started claiming priesthood.

The first published LDS history telling of the rise of Mormonism was done in 1834 by Oliver Cowdery. While he mentions "an angel" coming to him and Smith there is no mention of Aaronic or Melchizedek priesthoods. He wrote:

"...the angel of God came down clothed in glory, and delivered the anxiously looked for message, and the keys of the gospel of repentence!...we received under his hand the holy priesthood, as he said, 'upon you my fellow servents, in the name of Messiah I confer this priesthood and this authority,...' " (Messenger and Advocate, vol.1, Oct. 1834, pp.15-16)

LaMar Petersen reports:

"Historical research in early Mormon documents shows that the term 'priesthood' was not used until 1831.

"The 'full history of the rise of the church of the Latter Day Saints,' which was written by Oliver Cowdery in 1834, should surely contain the details of these miraculous events, but though there is indeed an ecstatic account of the ordination by an angel, other particulars are notably lacking. The angel is unidentified (if Joseph and Oliver then knew him to be John the Baptist they did not reveal it), there is no mention of two Priesthoods, Aaronic or Melchizedek, lesser or higher, no promise of the Holy Ghost, no visit of Peter, James, and John (which in 1834 should have been a matter of historical record for five years), no mention of the baptism and ordination of each other, and finally, a different wording of the angel conferment. Oliver Cowdery's 1834 account was 'the first time Mormons learned that a heavenly conferral of authority occurred before the church's organization.' " (The Creation of the Book of Mormon, p.142)

We tell how Smith's history was compiled and changed in our books Changes in Joseph Smith's History and Falsification of Joseph Smith's History.

As for priesthood problems, there is information in Power From On High: The Development of Mormon Priesthood, by Gregory A. Prince, The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, by D. Michael Quinn, Latter-day Saints, Where did you get Authority? by Hal Hougey and The Creation of the Book of Mormon, by LaMar Petersen.]

May 14, 2002

I have grown up in the Mormon church all my life. My husband was baptized over a year ago. I have had my doubts about the church for some time. I cried when my husband was baptized because I didn't know what to think.

I have read some scriptures in the Book of Mormon and the Bible. Some are the same. Why would the Mormon church copy verses from the bible?

I was told callings are from God. The bishopric prays and then so on and so on. Well that is not the case with me. I was called into the nursery because someone was being released and they saw me in the nursery while I was helping my daughter get use to being in there. It wasn't a sign from God as they put it. Also, I was called to do the newsletter from Relief Society. They said it was a coincidence But I know it wasn't. I use to do the news letter in my old ward in Illinois. I told them this in Relief Society one day. Then all of a sudden I am called and they acted as if they had no idea I use to do it.

I have asked to be released from the nursery because I am 4 months pregnant and don't want to bend over all the time and do so much work in the class. They won't release me. They said I am the only one who can do this job. I can't deny Gods choice to have me in the nursery. I don't know what to do. My husband is so into the church. He wants to go to the temple. I want out....

May 15, 2002

Subject: Your Website

Thank you and God bless you for what you are doing. Jesus IS enough, isn't he? We don't need Brigham Young, Mary Baker Eddy, Jim Jones, or any other "Savior." Thank you! ...

May 15, 2002

I too have come into the light. I will share my story with you, as your website has been instrumental in educating myself about the dangers of the Mormon Cult. I will bet you get plenty of negative stuff from the Mormons; I want you to understand that if your work saved ONE person it was worth it, yet we both know it has undoubtedly saved so many more.

I grew up agnostic by parental choice. Married a Mormon girl. I made a strong deal with my wife that I would never be Mormon. That changed when we started having children. I took the discussions from the elders and was baptized. In 10 years of going to Mormon buildings, I never once had a testimony of any of it. I just hoped it was true since I was going. I started reading the Bible 3 years ago. I consumed it. I figure my conversion occurred shortly after this time, and am know a true believer in the Lord. This is where the problems started.

I figured it would be quite simple to show the truth to my wife. I used your website, the Book of Mormon, the bible, any information I could get my hands on. Quite frankly, I became obsessed with your website as it made this work so much easier. I tried to muscle my way through getting my family out of the cult with this information and almost lost my family over it. ...

Of my 4 children, one is going to a Bible based church with me. The other 3 are on the path of darkness. I hit bottom. This is the best time of my life. I now realize I must trust the Lord entirely to wash this cult from my life. It has made my faith grow immeasurably. I would like to take this moment to thank you for helping me to realize this. I know your families history and what the cult means to you. I realize you had to have gone through so much more pain than I to get where you are. You inspire me to keep moving forward in the Lord.

Now, I read your website as information to commit to memory for that day when my wife or any Mormon asks me a question about its real truth. ...I want you both to know (and most certainly your staff) that you have left a testimony on this earth that our Father in Heaven is applauding. You have made a difference in my life. Please do not let any Mormon critical of your work effect you. ...I will probably never meet you; mine is a face you may never see. However, the light around you people as I sit and write this from California shows incredibly beautiful people.

God bless, and thank you.

May 15, 2002

Subject: Lee Strobel's "The Case For Christ"

Dear Sandra Tanner,

I've noticed that the vast majority of your published letters are of 3 types:

1. NonMormons looking for ways to defend against Mormonism.

2. ExMormons grateful to be out.

3. Mormons wishing you would stop publishing "lies".

There are some, but very few, letters from

4. NonMormons who think your Mormon ministry is unChristlike and

5. letters from religious skeptics.

Are the letters you publish a fair representation of the letters you receive or do you tend to squelch the atheistic ones? You do an excellent job of defending your views on Mormonism, but a poor job of defending your views on Christianity. You suggest that Christian skeptics read Lee Strobel's book "The Case For Christ." I read all 251 of the reviews to this book at Amazon.com.

Although I found the majority of posters voted based on their theist / atheist attitude rather than on the merits of the book, the 1* and 2* critics generally presented more relevant surveys than the 4* and 5* supporters. I also discovered a rebuttal to Strobel by Earl Doherty called "Challenging The Verdict." Have you read it? What do you think? I've ordered both books so I can judge their merits for myself. Perhaps your readers should do likewise. Is there a good case for Christ?

Evidently some educated people don't think so, and that number is growing. If people like McDowell and Strobel believe what they preach then why won't they defend it in a forum such as II Errancy at ?

They've been invited repeatedly, but refuse. Could it be that they can't afford to see themselves challenged in such a forum by an informed opposition? I think yes. Perhaps some of your readers could encourage them to defend God's Word at II Errancy and put the infidel Farrell Till in his place.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, the letters we post are a fair representation of the type of letters we receive.

As for Strobel and McDowell, you would have to ask them about their policy regarding their response to critics. Personally, I know I do not have time to monitor and respond to the many different sites and boards that criticize us. I suspect Strobel and McDowell are faced with the same time restraint issues as myself. Sorry, I have not seen the book by Doherty.]

May 16, 2002

Thank you so much Sandra ...you are a wonderful vessel for the Lord. I thank you for giving to the Lord, I am a life that was changed. I am in constant prayer for my son...

May 16, 2002

Subject: A Question

If The Mormon faith is not true then why do I get a peaceful feeling when I pray about it?

May 16, 2002

Jerald and Sandra,

...Thank you for maintaining your bookshop and web presence. It was my and my family's first shopping stop on our way out of Mormonism. When we first popped by to buy a few books, we were still wearing garments, but have happily moved on to selecting our own underwear and choosing our own schedule for wearing them. And this the least of our new found freedoms!

Keep up the good work and don't let the downtown suits in the great and spacious building tear you down with their mocking and finger-of-shame pointing.


[Sandra's Note: For those who didn't recognize the reference above to the 'great and spacious building' it comes from the Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 8:26-28. It refers to a vision of righteous Lehi where he sees the mockers of true faith. A number of disaffected Mormons and polygamists feel the LDS Church's new conference center (cost of which could exceed a billion dollars) is a fulfillment of Lehi's dream, proving that the church is in apostasy.]

May 17, 2002

Subject: Journal of Discourses

...When I first heard about the Tanners I have to say I didn't like them. At that time I was an active member in the LDS church and anyone who spoke against the church teachings were considered evil.

It took a trip to the temple to take out my own endowments to make me think "Wait a minute, this is wrong!" Now I am an Atheist. My wife and kids are still active in the church. My wife knows I'm an Atheist but my kids just think I quit going to church.

I was told that the Tanners twist the truth, but I've been reading up on some of the things the Tanners have said on their webpage. No "National Enquirer" type stuff, just laying everything out on the table. I can't believe how I was duped in the church....I may not agree with you on the existence of god, but I do agree with you on how false the LDS church is....Thanks.

May 17, 2002

Subject: Behold, the beloved Tanners...

I just wanted to say thank you Sandra for all the work you have done for the Lord. ...I lived in Utah for a while and am still talking with my girlfriend from Utah...We've been together for about a year and a half now and I think we are going to at least remain good friends. I really don't see any way it could be anything more. Especially since I have surrounded myself with some true believers and now fully understand the concept of being unequally yoked.

I hope you can see what you have done for the kingdom. You have no idea how many lives you have touched. I love you guys. May you prosper, ....Aloha....

May 19, 2002

Hello, I guess you two didn't participate in the promise of the Book of Mormon. For instance, asking God if it is true and not relying on other criticizers. Moroni 10:3-5. Explain what this means to you?

[Sandra's Note: We did pray about the Book of Mormon. In fact, we believed the Book of Mormon for over two years after we left the LDS Church. However, God led us to the evidence that it is not history and not from God. By the way, God did not say to test prophets by prayer and feeling, but by comparing their teachings with what God had already revealed (Gal. 1:7-9).]

May 20, 2002

It's really sad to see people who are this ignorant. I'm sorry but your so called facts are incorrect. It might be a good idea to know what you are talking about before you start talking. (Just a suggestion)

May 20, 2002

Subject: A msg frm Singapore

Dear Tanners,

i found your website of Utah Lighthouse Ministry while researching on mormonism. thank you for such a good coverage of research on mormonism.

...i'm...currently dating a mormon and it seems like i'm getting no where trying to convince him to research and read up on both the history and doctrines of mormonism. in fact, we got into a verbal fight a few times. though resolved, i still have this tuggling feeling deep down in my heart to bring him out of his church. and often, i do think that its not right for me to date him....

Refering to the website "Letters to The Editor" dated March 10 2002, Sandra commented that "Most of the time, when one asks a serious question in Mormonism the person is shamed, made to feel guilty of doubting the prophet, told to just 'pray about it,' don't read anything that would lead to questioning the brethren.]" this is so true in my boyfriend's case. everytime when i initiate a talk on this matter, he would try to down scale things and end up by saying just pray about it, dont read anything else....Once again, thank you for the wonderful website.

God bless this ministry of light,

May 21, 2002

Dear Tanners: I have been brought up Mormon my entire life and am still finding my way out of it at 45. ...Thanking you for ...your wonderful website. Your books and this site are truly showing me the light. God bless you in your work.

May 22, 2002


I was trying to prove my fears about the church wrong but the opposite happened. The harder I dug, the more lies I uncovered. I saw a lot about you folks and when I saw your address I felt like I would like to write to you. .... I started digging because I had seen a show about the Masons. I was very shocked and upset to see temple ordinances on the tv. When I started searching to find out if what church members had told me was true, that the masons had the truth from King Solomons Temple, and I found out the whole thing was a lie.

I do not think Joseph Smith was an evil man, I think he was a religious zealot and may have had some sort of disorder that they didnt have medication for in those days. I had a member of the church tell me that she had a revelation from God and that she would be sealed to Jesus and I would be sealed to John the Baptist. After she left, I picked my jaw up off the floor and got my eyebrows back to their natural place on my face then called the Bishop and he told me that she was schizophrenic (?) and off her pills. It crossed my mind that this is one explanation for Joseph Smith.

Anyhow, thanks for listening and keep up the good work. The Mormon church is filled with good honest people who have been brainwashed and need to see what you folks have uncovered. I know that you have helped me.


May 23, 2002

Good Morning: ...I have used your site to address a letter to the Mormon Church to have my name removed from the records. The Bishop called me, Mormon missionaries came by, etc, everything I have ask these people not to do.

Anyway the bishop said he would send the letter back up the chain (State Pres) and apply my wishes. It been way over a month and closer to two months? Do I receive anything from them stating I want my name removed again or what? Or do I just wait? Thank You for your help, and a great resource on this site.

[Sandra's Note: Sounds like you will have to send a letter to the bishop. Tell him that since it has been over two months since your last communication, and you want verification that your membership has been terminated. Inform him that you want a letter from him stating that this has been done as you requested. Remind him that he had promised you he would take care of the matter. You should again state you do not want any visits from anyone in the Ward about this, that he should just send a letter.]

May 23, 2002

Subject: Gethsemane

Dear Jerald and Sandra:

I thought you might enjoy some insight my wife and I recently picked up from a program on The Discovery Channel. Blood sweats, although perceived by many as phenomena, are actually much more common than previously thought. Medical science has recorded scores of such events, normally in people who know they are about to suffer tremendous physical trauma.

This makes perfect sense, as Jesus knew full well what was in store for him, and asked God if there were any other way. He knew full well the agony he was about to endure, which caused the blood sweats.

Mormons believe it was the burden of our sins which caused the blood sweating, but it was not. When Jesus cried out, on the cross, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?", it was because he, for the first time, felt isolated from his Father, because he had taken on our sins and God and sin cannot intermingle. This is obviously when He took on our sins, not in the garden of Gethsemane.

The Bible teaches it. Science has proved it. It is true. God bless you for the work that you do!

May 23, 2002

Thank you, Sandra.

...My husband spent 25 years a member of the LDS church. Since divorcing his first wife about 9 years ago, he has not been active. When we married, he told me that he was a Mormon but I did not know much about it, and, since he was not practicing, did not give it much thought. I, on the other hand, am a born again Christian (I first found Christ when I was 25, I am 47 now.)

When we first married, my faith was pretty stagnant but, since then, I have been growing a lot. When I resumed going to a Christian church about 4 years ago, my husband came with me. Unfortunately, due to several incidences where contrasts to Mormon theology and Christianity were made during the Sunday service, my husband became very upset and defensive and has not come to church with me since the last time (about a year ago.)

I have tried to be tolerant, including allowing the Elders to visit our home and attend the LDS church once in a great while when he has gone. The more I learn about Mormonism, the more upset it makes me. Of course, as I understand is typical, he does not wish to discuss areas of conflict between my beliefs and his. He considers the LDS church to be totally Christian. I couldn't disagree more. Your website had been a great deal of help to me in trying to understand for myself what Mormonism is about and what they believe. ...

May 23, 2002

Subject: Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible

Let me first say I am very happy your organization exists. I am currently reading your book MORMONISM: SHADOW OR REALITY on the internet. I enjoy this book more than THE CHANGING WORLD OF MORMONISM because there is a lot more information included.

My question is this: the LDS church says there is an inspired version of the bible translated by Joseph Smith. If this is the case, why do they use the standard King James Version of the bible as PART of their canonized scriptures? Why not use Joseph Smith's translation?

[Sandra's Note: I believe that one of the main reasons the LDS Church does not endorse the full Joseph Smith Bible revision is its lack of support for their current doctrine on the nature of God.  Smith worked on his Bible revision during the early 1830's, before he developed his unorthodox doctrine of plural gods. (See chapter 3 of Mormonism and the Nature of God: A Theological Evolution, 18301915, by Kurt Widmer, McFarland Pub.)

The Reorganized LDS Church, aka Community of Christ, owns the manuscript of Joseph Smith's Bible revision. They issue their own printing of his work. Prior to 1979 the regular LDS Church only printed Smith's revision of Matthew, chapters 23-24 and his revision of Genesis 1-5 (Book of Moses)  in the Pearl of Great Price. However, in 1979 they issued their own printing of the KJV Bible with footnotes  and an appendix containing excerpts from the Joseph Smith Translation (aka the "Inspired Revision"). In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism we read:

"Joseph Smith...made a 'new translation' of the Bible, using the text of the King James Version (KJV). This work differs from the KJV in at least 3,410 verses and consists of additions, deletions, rearrangements, and other alterations that cause it to vary not only from the KJV but from other biblical texts."  (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, p.763)

"In 1979 the LDS Church published an edition of the King James Version with hundreds of JST footnotes and a seventeen-page appendix containing JST excerpts..." (vol. 2, p.766)

The RLDS Church publishes a parallel edition of the Joseph Smith revision and the KJV Bible entitled Joseph Smith's "New Translation" of the Bible. We also have material on Smith's revisions in our book Mormon Scriptures and the Bible.]

May 24, 2002

Subject: hello to Sandra from downunder


I always enjoy reading the Messenger, ...We ...think and pray for you often (I am sure God hears our prayers and thoughts even though we are down-under [in Australia]) I remember fondly how, almost 30 years ago, you had a part in leading us to the Lord. Thank you so much for introducing us to our best friend (Jesus). ...Thanks for your ministry. Love you guys.

May 25, 2002

Subject: adam is god...believe it and be saved

hi, i am a mormon convert of nearly ten years. i have read the journal of discourses and various unpublished discourses of the early prophets of the mormon church. i know they taught the adam god doctrine. i believe the doctrine is true. so should every other self respecting mormon. it is a simple and sound doctrine. it makes sense. if you do not understand it, accept it, or believe it, that is your own short coming. in short, adam is the father of jesus christ and the brother of lucifer. both of whom lived out a mortal probation on a creation other than our earth. adam is a celestial being who attained god-hood through obedience to eternal laws.there!!! you heard it from an active temple worthy, return missionary, temple married mormon!!!!!!!!

May 27, 2002

Subject: what to do??

so here I am, a life-long multi-generational mormon, returned missionary, temple marriage, children, and at 40 years old, discover the truth about my religion. does one continue as a "social mormon" and attend church for the "benefit of the family" or make a stand, stop going and wave goodbye to my wife and kids every sunday?

[Sandra's Note: I think that we have to consider what message you want to convey to your kids. Is it one of standing for truth or going along with the crowd? I think you can drop out without being nasty about it, but explain to your wife and kids that since even the articles of faith say that the Mormons believe in allowing everyone to worship God as they see fit, that you are only asking them to allow you to follow your conscience in this matter. Explain that you have always been bothered by religious hypocrites and that if you kept going when you did not believe it, that would make you one. Offer that you could visit for important events, but you can no longer attend in such a way as to imply belief.

I hope that you have been able to maintain a belief in God through this. It is important to model for your kids that someone can be honest, moral, God-fearing and not believe in Mormonism.]

May 28, 2002

Subject: Christ's Attonement

I am a mormon man who no longer wants anything to do with the church. I was having some doubts about the doctrine, but the clincher was when one of our High Counselors was speaking in Sacrament about Christ's atonement taking place in the garden of gethsemene because of his sweating great drops of blood. A red flag went up in my mind, but I thought I might have just misunderstood. Then a few weeks later I remembered hearing that mentioned previously in sunday school class. A few sundays after that, I heard our former Bishop mention the same thing again. Now I know that I have always been taught that Jesus' atonement took place on the cross. Why now is the church down playing the cross again? Maybe it is true that the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing! I apologize for my poor writing, but I hope you get the point.

[Sandra's Note: Actually, Smith started the emphasis in the Doctrine & Covenants 19:18. I think they have always emphasized Gethsemane since Smith's revelation. See: Gethsemane and Christ's Blood in LDS References.]

May 29, 2002

I just want to thank you for the wonderful freedom you have helped me achieve. I have just broken free from the church this last month, and I have never felt so good about myself. I have questioned the teachings of the church for over 7 years, but was too afraid to say anything to anyone.

With your help, and the help of others who have found the truth, I have finally been released from the doubts, from the guilt I felt because I couldn't follow something so ridiculously false.

I am almost ashamed that it took me so long to see; even now I have friends converting or friends on missions that I would so much love to share this freedom with. I admit I am a little afraid, since the church has been finding new and improved ways of warping the truth. For example, at the library in Provo, UT, every controversial book on the church is either missing or has been locked up in a "Special Collection". I appreciate that all the books I want to read, you provide. Perhaps with the information you provide, someday we'll all be free.

Thank you!!

May 29, 2002

Subject: Jesus in Celestial Kingdom

Hi, I just placed an order on your website and I appreciate all the resources you have. I have been to many Christian Bookstores and they have very little to deal with the false prophets who are out there now.

A question for you. I sent this into the BOM Answerman and to the Stumpus team of LDS Missionaries and got no answer.

Where will Jesus be for eternity in LDS Theology. Will he be in the Celestial Kingdom, or because of his sacrifice to go to Earth instead of Satan and because he never married will he be relegated to one of the two lesser kingdoms. I know that some LDS Apostles said he did marry, but I have never seen anything dealing with what kingdom according to the Mormons Jesus will inherit.

Thanks and the Lord give you strength and encouragement. bye.

[Sandra's Note: Since Mormonism teaches that one must be married in the temple in order to achieve exaltation and godhood, obviously Jesus must have been married. In Brigham Young's day this was openly taught, but Mormons don't like to discuss the issue today.

The current LDS teaching is that Jesus went to the Celestial Kingdom, but will oversee the Terrestrial Kingdom. See Doctrine and Covenants 76:62-89.]

May 29, 2002

Subject: witnessing

Hello, As a Christian, what would be the most effective strategy for witnessing to a Mormon? I have read several books on Mormon theology and the history of the church. Should I focus on current theology or raise issues with the church's origins and history?

Thank You and God bless

[Sandra's Note: This is somewhat of a personal preference. The book, Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons is a good resource. Another helpful book with questions for LDS is For Any Latter Day Saint.

One of the most important factors in witnessing to a Mormon is your sincere friendship. Usually former LDS tell me that they had a close friend that had shared his/her faith with them. This friend acted as a bridge between Mormon assumptions and explaining what the Bible actually says.

Usually Mormons will already view themselves as Christians, and will say they accept you as one also. However, they would see you as only having one fourth of the gospel while they have the whole package. Your faith in Christ, according to them, assures you of a place in heaven. However, in order to go to the highest part of heaven, the Celestial Kingdom (godhood, exaltation), you would need to have a Mormon baptism and a Mormon temple marriage. If you don't join the LDS Church during this life, you will be given a chance to accept it during the millennium.

Remember that they view you as the one with the defective belief system. You have only the Bible (which accounts for your "limited" understanding) while they have additional light from their other scriptures, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Beyond this, they also have the teachings of their prophets.

We are part of a process. It may take several encounters with various Christians before the Mormon person will seriously start reevaluating his/her beliefs.

One man shared these thoughts with me—

"The approach that I have used has been to develop a friendship and over time, question his belief system, (first for clarity and second for contradiction). My goal has been to get him to realize for himself that his belief system doesn't stand up to scrutiny, (on the surface, perhaps, but not with any depth). Then, when he begins to question, that's when I can begin to supply answers from my faith, eventually to a full Gospel presentation. That's my theory anyway."]

May 29, 2002

Subject: thank you note......

Dear Editor, We do thank you for reminding us that we all have our DARK spots in our lives. We, as Europeans, although we are very grateful to have saved us for the Nazi's and other hoodlums, Mr. B. and his gang will drive the US nation under, for revenge is a bad master. Instead Mr. B. must teach the US Nation to learn to forgive.

In the Mormon Theater this 1857 massacre is also a very DARK era in it's church history. If we want to be washed 'clean' , we must confess our sins. As a church as a body it must confess its sins to its Maker and Keeper.

A faith is a faith, if you believe that are living tiny men in the woods or in your garden, so be it. If you are happy with it, go for it.

Another point is it when evil is involved, like killing in the Name of the LORD. So what is then the difference between Bin Laden and Brigham Young? They both claim to be in the Service of Allah. And so there are many things to ponder....

Kind Regards,

May 30, 2002

Subject: confused

Mr. and Mrs. Tanner,

I don't understand why you both have immersed yourselves in proving the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints "wrong". You wouldn't have invested so much time and energy with your troubling but eloquent writing if your heart was not in the Church. As an active member (who's been inactive on and off over the years), I find myself sometimes wishing the church was not completely true, because I rationalize that things would be freer and easier. But the happiness I feel from being there is absorbed in every pore. I wish you would use the site to appeal to Christians rather than be so negative. I wish you the best regardless.

May 30, 2002

Subject: Stepping Out

Greetings and God strengthen you!!! I am a Christian with a heart for those caught up in the Mormon Church. I have studied quite a bit, read some books, talked to Mormons and written term papers on the LDS church and am excited to make a difference in peoples lives.

Yesterday, Wednesday the 29th of May, I was dropping off the teens I work with at a city park where they get on their buses and noticed a pair of Mormon missionaries talking to a young man at a park bench. Immediately I felt the need to do something but didn't have the nerve to just walk over and break up their presentation.

I prayed for wisdom and boldness then went home real quick to grab a brochure made by the Christian Research Institute on Mormonism. I raced back to the park and waited for a couple of minutes until the missionaries shook the young man's hand and took off. I went up to the young man, found out his name was _____, and introduced myself. I just told him that I was a Christian who had done some research on Mormonism and found that there was more to the religion then those missionaries were telling him. I handed him the brochure with my phone number on it and told him I would be happy to share my resources with him so he could see both sides of the story. That was it. Should I have done more? Have you ever confronted a couple of missionaries while they were talking to someone like that?

Thank you for your time,

[Sandra's Note: Sounds like a wise approach to wait and talk to the person later. It is more likely that he would be open to a discussion than the missionaries.]

 May 31, 2002

Subject: check this out.

World Book Encyclopedia states that the book of mormon "is a history of early peoples of the western hemispher." Clearly they have not researched this very well.

"The book is a history of early peoples of the Western Hemisphere. Mormons and other followers of Joseph Smith believe the book was divinely inspired. They regard it as holy scripture."

May 31, 2002

I dont think that your information is accurtate. I am LDS and I think that you are sending people the wrong message about our Church. You should research the Truth of our Church before making a website about it. But I guess its a freedom of speech. I am 16 yrs old and I just find your website so disturbing. I think yall should get a life, personaly.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. We always try to be accurate and would be happy to change anything that can be shown to be misquoted. If you find an error on the site, feel free to send the correct information or where it may be found. Otherwise, I can only assume you are just giving a personal opinion of our site (which is fine), but that you do not know of any specific error. Hope you keep an open mind and continue searching for the truth.]

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