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July 2003
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

July 1, 2003




July 1, 2003

Wow !!! You guys must really be making a killing bashing some religion. Can i write a book and get in on it.

[Sandra's Note: We are merely following LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith's admonition:

"If Joseph Smith was a deceiver, who willfully attempted to mislead the people, then he should be exposed; his claims should be refuted, and his doctrines shown to be false, for the doctrines of an impostor cannot be made to harmonize in all particulars with divine truth. If his claims and declarations were built upon fraud and deceit, there would appear many errors and contradictions, which would be easy to detect. The doctrines of false teachers will not stand the test when tried by the accepted standards of measurement, the scriptures....The world has been unable to place a finger upon anything that is inconsistent or out of harmony in the revelations of Joseph Smith, with that which has been revealed before, or predicted by the prophets and the Lord Himself." (Doctrines of Salvation, vol.1, pp.188-189)]

July 2, 2003

What is a LDS funeral like? How does it differ from a funeral of a Protestant person, other than doctrinal issues?


[Sandra's Note: It would depend on whether or not the person had been through the LDS temple ritual. If so, the person would be buried in his/her temple outfit: white clothing, green apron, long length of white pleated material over one shoulder, special hat or veil. Usually at the viewing the night before the funeral, the deceased person is in a half-opened casket (sometimes there is a fully open casket) where you can just barely see the top of the green apron.

There would be a family prayer just prior to the service. At that time the hat or veil would be placed on the person and the casket closed. At the funeral there would be an opening prayer, couple of music selections and a couple of speakers, with closing prayer. After the service, family and friends gather around the burial plot and a church leader will say a prayer of dedication, to assure that the body will remain unmolested until Christ's return.]

July 4, 2003

Subject: Thank you

I am grateful to all that is on your site, and hope I am able to get your book some time soon. (I am praying for it).

My mother informed me after she remarried that she became a Mormon, and since then I have been quite adamant about learning all I can about them, and their past. My in laws also had some dealings with them. My Grandfather in law was a preacher for the Mormon's for some years before he found Christ and started converting Mormon's.

I've spent a lot of time talking with atheists and scientists, but I find myself always coming back to the Mormons with a great love every time, and a need for them to know the truth. It is simply awesome that you have this site, and your book to help those looking for answers.

In Christ's love,

July 4, 2003

Subject: mormon scripture

I am interested in obtaining various Mormon scripture such and Journal of Discourses, Pearl of Great Price, Doctrines & Covenants, etc..... Do you have access to any of it that I could purchase? Please let me know if you have any ideas.


[Sandra's Note: The Journal of Discourses is out of print. You can sometimes find a photo-reprint of the 26 vol. set at used bookstores or on Ebay. But they would most likely cost over $500. However, the Mormon Church puts out a CD-ROM called GospeLink that has dozens of LDS works on it, including the Journal of Discourses (unedited as far as I know) and History of the Church. See www.deseretbook.com

We sell copies of the LDS scriptures like the Triple Combination (current Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price) We also sell reprints of the originals of their scriptures. See 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith Begins His Work, vol. 1 and Joseph Smith Begins His Work, vol. 2.]

July 6, 2003

Subject: Witnessing to Mormons

I have, on many occasions, witnessed to Mormons with some of the same critical, blaming, and at times, downright offensive results that you yourselves have received. They are desperate people, seeking what Christians possess. Keep up the good work regardless of the reaction. Jesus would have it no other way. Thank you for your ministry.

July 6, 2003

Subject: RE: Sexual Abuse / Other LDS experiences

I've just happened upon your site just recently...I commend you on the comprehensive literary resources that you have available. I would like to apprise you of several personal experiences, in order.

First, when I was 16, we moved across town into a new ward, and my new bishop was very descriptive and graphic in describing sexual practices while he was interviewing me, and always insisted that he knew I was lying about my sexual "deviancy" and "obvious" sexual inclinations. He "knew" that I was sexually active and corrupting "the innocent daughters of Zion". I eventually refused to meet him at all, and this was part of the myriad of experiences that led to my complete disenchantment with the LDS church.

Second, I attended a singles ward for 10 years. I wasn't even close to wanting to be married, hence my lengthy attendance. Incidentally, I met an incredible amount of sexually active female members in the ward, and was also privy to the sizable number of homosexuals in the ward as well, due to the fact that I became good friends with one of my home teaching companions, who admitted to me that he was gay, and he subsequently apprised me of all of his partners and or friends in the ward that shared the same lifestyle. My awareness of the extensive promiscuity in the singles ward was instrumental in my earliest doubts of the "inspiration and guidance" of the LDS "church".

Second, for four years within the 10 years that I attended the singles ward, I dated one girl in particular that also attended the same ward, her whole family was of strong Mormon background, and her father was a bishop in another ward. This girl's grandfather (her Mother's father), over a period of 50+ years molested all of his respective daughters and granddaughters, invading them from a very young age on, including my girlfriend and her mother. According to my girlfriend, her sister and their mother, the molestations included fondling, oral sex and intercourse. Not only was the whole family, their inlaws and direct relatives aware of the ongoing molestations, the man's wife (my girlfriend's grandmother) adamantly protected him, and at the time, I couldn't help wondering if the woman supported him in his evil. The whole family acted as if though nothing was irregular, when they would socialize with each other at functions or parties with the grandfather in attendance, I would voice my opinion to my girlfriend personally, stating that I couldn't believe he hadn't been turned in to the police, and that everyone acted like a "normal" family.

My girlfriend told me that the last time he tried to molest her was when she was 16. Well, he became somewhat feeble (physically) in his advanced age, and obviously couldn't ply his craft as easily as he had before, and during a transition between residences, my girlfriend, who was 26 at the time, stayed with them (grandparents) for two weeks. She called me at approximately 2 AM one morning during her stay with them, she then said to me, "Can you believe this? That dirty son of a bitch (grandfather) can barely walk, and while I was sleeping I was awakened by some commotion, I awoke and he had come into my room, he had my sweat pants and underwear pulled down to my knees and was trying to get on top of me." (She cursed him, and walked him out of the room. Remember, she was 26, and he was close to 80 at the time.) Although I felt that she (girlfriend) seemed normal and adjusted in general, and even though he obviously posed no threat to her at that particular time, she was very angry at the incident and asked if I'd come to pick her up, which I did.

Incidentally, the grandfather died in late 2002. His activities were never reported to any formal authority or agency. Being that this whole family was comprised of active LDS members and temple goers, I again drew on the experience to question the Mormon "Inspiration".

My final "straws" may seem trivial, but to me they were significant. By the time of these last 2 events, I had completely stopped going to church for many reasons, too numerous to mention in this email. I hadn't been to church in about 6-8 months, meanwhile I had been dating a girl that had moved here from another state, she is not LDS. She was very attractive and busty, (There's a point in my physical description of her) and one afternoon, we had taken our boat to the lake with a few friends. She was wearing a bikini, and during our return from the lake, we stopped at a Taco Bell© to eat. She pulled on shorts to enter the restaurant, but did
not put on a shirt over her bikini top. We ordered our food, we sat at a booth, and I noticed my stake president sitting with his wife at an opposite table across the restaurant. For 30 minutes, this stake president could not take his eyes off of my girlfriends breasts. He was completely oblivious to me (???) and his wife. My girlfriend was sitting next to me, us both facing him, and his wife was sitting opposite of him with her back to us. He didn't even recognize me. I was amazed. His ogling was so intense, he showed no lack of control, even with his "eternal companion" sitting 2 feet in front of him, facing him.

That evening, I was in bed, and I was thinking about what had happened. I also realized that while I was thinking about this, that stake president wouldn't be thinking that he helped orchestrate part of my overall opinion of the Mormon church. 2 years later, I married this same girlfriend, and she subsequently went to work at a large local company. The new owner of the business started to offer her money to go out with him. Nightly she would tell me about it, he was consistently mentioning to her how much he was attracted to her, but he was not overly annoying. She was still comfortable working there. I would tease her and say, "Do it, we need the money...ha ha ha".

He was very adamant about his offers, and he would write her notes, leave gifts for her, flowers on her car, etc. One day she called from work and asked if I could bring her planner to her, she had forgotten it. As I pulled up to her work, a bishop that I knew from many years back was walking out...we hadn't seen each other in a while so we chatted for a few minutes...he said his wife and kids were good, and he was surprised that I had got married. I finally went in, and I told my wife, "Hey, I just saw a good friend of mine...", she said, "Oh, really? Who's that?". When I mentioned his name, her jaw dropped. She said, "Are you serious??? That's the owner of the business who's been trying to date me!" I remember that one of my scoutmasters from my first ward told me that everyone in church hierarchy from a bishop and higher has been given special "keys" for guidance, and that they are worthy and chosen to lead us.

They sure are.

July 6, 2003

After we die we will truly come to find out the true nature of God and His Plan for all of His children. If a Mormon wants to believe in their type of a God and how He operates then that is their privilege. When we all get to stand before God we will know who was right and who was wrong. Why can't we all just be Chistians with each other and respect each other in their beliefs. That is the only thing any of us will ever have in our favor as we stand before God. Thank You

[Sandra's Note: But Mormons are not content to leave the rest of us alone to believe what we want. They send out 60,000 missionaries around the world to convince people their current belief system is wrong and that only Mormonism is right. With that sort of effort there will always be those, like us, who will challenge the LDS claims.]

July 7, 2003

Subject: thank u!!

I wanted to express my gratitude for the information u make so accessible to the "little people". I hope u know how sincerely grateful I am for the hard work u have done and I know continue to do. Some people just want to know the truth, and I thank for it.


July 7, 2003

I was wondering if you have heard the claims of Mormons that the Hopewell culture located in ancient America between 500 B.C. - 300 A.D. parallels that of the Nephites, and could actually be the Nephites of the Book of Mormon. I have seen slides of artifacts that were supposedly found in America and dated back to the time of the Nephites. Some of these artifacts also had Hebrew writing on them. Has this claim been made before? Do you have any information concerning the validity of Mormonism from an archaeological viewpoint? Thank you.

[Sandra's Note: I think you will find that most scholars see no connection between the Hopewell culture and the culture depicted in the Book of Mormon or any connection to Hebrew writing. Here are a couple of sites on the Hopewell.


In Smith's day there was speculation about the mound builders being part of the lost tribes of Israel, but not today. I do not know of any Hebrew writing from these people that anthropologists would accept as authentic.

If a Mormon points to the Michigan relics, they have even been rejected by the BYU scholars. (see Insights, Aug. 2000, newsletter of FARMS, BYU). LDS Apostle James E. Talmage wrote: "As a result of my investigation, I am thoroughly convinced that the alleged 'relices' are forgeries and that they are made and buried to be dug up on demand." (Insights, p.8)

Also, see the following article on the Detroit News web site:

And this one from City Weekly:
http://weeklywire.com/ww/10-06-97/slc_story.html ]

July 8, 2003

Dear Tanners,

First off, thank you both for such a truthful spirit lifting website. Truth will eventually set all men free.

I've a question that I hope you will have an answer to. After spending 10 years in that most abominable organization, I left the LDS in 1997. During that time my then wife and I had 3 beautiful boys which were either blessed in or baptized into that organization. My wife left me for another member in 1997 and I gained custody of our boys in 2000.

Currently, my ex and I have "Joint legal custody" of our boys with them in my custody as I have said. My former spouse is still a member living in . . . , CA. Recently and after having one to many knocks on our door with the missionaries wanting to speak with our boys, I decided to send a letter to the ward bishop requesting that my children's names be taken off of the rolls of the church. To my surprise, and because "Joint legal custody" is in play here, the bishop contacted my former spouse about the matter and she said that she did not want to have the names removed.

I talked with the Bishop this evening by phone about this matter and I was told that the Church legal counsel told him that because of the "Joint legal custody", I can't have the children's names removed unless my former spouse agrees to it.

Can you give me any advice concerning this matter?

Thank you very much,

P.S. I do know that the Lord will eventually prevail in this matter (Amen!!)

[Sandra's Note: Your boys would have had to be at least eight in order to be baptized a member. If they were younger than eight they were probably just 'blessed' or 'named' in the LDS Church, which isn't quite as formal a deal. But it does enter them on the LDS list for future contact. You can at least tell the bishop to remove your family and address from any call list as you will consider it harassment to keep contacting your boys. You are the parent, you set the religious teaching in the home.

Mention that they would not appreciate the local pastor continually trying to contact their children against the parents will. Remind him of article eleven in the LDS 'Articles of Faith' (see back of the Pearl of Great Price) where they say they believe in allowing everyone the right to worship God "how, where, or what they may,..." Inform him that your boys will have their entire adult life to pursue Mormonism if they choose; in the meantime, the LDS people are not to interfere with your parental direction.]

July 8, 2003

Ok..I have one question. What occurs during a temple marriage?

My friend (who just turned mormon) is getting married and well I want to know what I am not going to see. ...

[Sandra's Note: The first step is to take out one's "endowment" prior to the actual marriage. Upon arrival at the LDS temple the men and women go to separate locker rooms. They then change out of their street clothes and put on a white covering, something like a poncho. Each person then goes to a special booth where attendants of the same sex anoint the person's body with oil and water, repeating various prayers, and then assist the person with putting on the new temple underwear. This under-garment, produced by the LDS Church, is available in both one and two-piece styles. The man's is usually of cotton (like a tee shirt and briefs that come to the knee) and the woman's of nylon or other synthetic material (like a camisole top with short sleeves and panties that go to the knee). On the breasts of all styles (men's and women's) are small embroidery stitches in the form of a compass and square, and look like a letter L and V. These symbols were taken from Freemasonry. There is also symbolic stitching at the naval and right knee. The garment is to be worn day and night, except for bathing and athletics. The person will also be given a new name for eternity—like Peter, Paul, Mary, Elizabeth, etc.

After the person dresses in this garment he/she puts on a white outfit (long dress or pants and shirt), hat or veil, and white slippers. The person will carry a small bundle containing a green apron (representing Adam and Eve's apron) and white robe to be placed over one shoulder later in the ceremony.

They then proceed to the auditorium where they watch a film on the creation (LDS version) and see Adam and Eve being instructed by Peter, James and John on special handshakes and pass words needed to gain entrance into God's presence. Everyone is taught these same handshakes, passwords, and put under oath to obey the church and support it with all they have.

Each person is then brought to the front of the room to symbolically act out giving the handshakes and passwords to God, played by a man standing behind a curtain. They are then granted permission to enter the Celestial Kingdom, and pass through the veil into a reception room. The actual wedding could take place right after this endowment ceremony, or the couple could come back in a few days for the wedding service. They will again dress in the temple clothing, go to a small reception room, with a few friends or family, and kneel at an altar where they will repeat the temple handshakes and the attendant will say a short marriage ceremony, promising them that their marriage will last through eternity if they are faithful to Mormonism.

For more on this, see our book Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.]

July 8, 2003

ULH MIN . . . I have been real successful in using the J.Smith-Mason connection in witnessing, especially to young Mormon elder whom I have been meeting with weekly, plus others including Bishops, etc. No Help for the Widows Son has been a big help. Lord Bless the Tanners and staff, in Jesus name,

July 10, 2003

Dear Tanners,

. . . I've come across some disturbing material! In the Church's history of Joseph I've encountered at least 4 of Joseph's children who died.

Is there any other than these 4 & if so is there anyone who has checked into the possibility of child neglect on his behalf?

I ask because I believe that Mormonism seems to breed fanatisim! . . .

I'd be interested to know if joseph smith practiced any outlandish diets and if there is any documentation on the causes of death in so many of his children.

I'm a seeker of truth. . . . I am truly changing and dedicating my life to truth. I'm studying from all perspectives right now but I assure you that thanks to your book - Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?, that I won't be a Mormon much longer! Thank you for your courage to print the truth! . . .

[Sandra's Note: I am not aware of any evidence that the Smith's were negligent with their children or that they imposed any sort of 'special' diet with them. The children that died seem to be simply cases of normal health issues of the day.

Smith's first child died within three hours of birth, 1828, and was reported to have had some sort of birth defect. In 1830 Emma gave birth to twins who only lived a few hours (they may have been premature, thus having a more difficult time surviving). In 1841 her 14 month old son died of malaria (which many of the Mormons had got from the swampy conditions in Nauvoo). In Feb. 1842 Emma gave birth to another son that died at birth.

Emma had an interest in herbal medicines but that would have been common to most people at that time, given the limited knowledge of doctors.

These issues are discussed in the book, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, by Newell and Avery.]

July 11, 2003

Subject: need help

[A relative] was asked to leave the missionary field because he had too many questions (Bless God) Please tell me what book I could get him. He seems to be at an open spot in his life right now. His family is disappointed in him and he feels like he let them down.

Thanks and God Bless you for all you hard work

[Sandra's Note: Get him the book An Insiders View of Mormon Origins by Grant Palmer. This is written by a retired LDS Institute of Religion director, so this young man may be more open to read it. Mr. Palmer lays out the many problems of early Mormon claims, like the First Vision, priesthood restoration, Book of Mormon, etc.]

July 12, 2003

I just wonder what it will be like for you on your judgement day with all that has been said on this site!

July 12, 2003

Subject: My thanks for the education

I was stationed in Salt Lake during WW2. Never expected to such a total true history of the Mormon Church. I never did believed that anyone could be so brainwashed as some of the people I met in Utah. They really believe that they are Gods only people! Keep up the good work. I am now a member the Lutheran Church and try with Gods help to live the Christian life. My heart goes out to the young men I see going around trying to convert others to Mormonism.

July 12, 2003

Subject: Not Hate Mail

My biggest problem with your website is not that you don't make valid points. I mean depending upon what foundation you stand you could be making great points to the right kind of people.

My problem is not what you say about Mormonism, because your audience is your own. My problem is that you do not stand up for your own religion in your website. How does your belief stand, I mean you have a great testimony about what you don't believe, I give you that, but none about what you believe.

I mean I walked your shoes, but how can you devote so much time to tearing down one religion and not realize if you devoted this much time to the study of your own, you couldn't find a leg to stand on. Main stream born-again Christianity is undermined by its own history and flawed priests. You have some courage, but it is simple, you skirt around absolute denial, let's call it logical denial, brave yes but the devil is brave. I wish you to explain just one contradiction. How can a Perfect God create imperfect beings. Modern Christianity in all its forms, does not about for this discrepancy.

July 12, 2003

Subject: Just so you know

The so called "salary" you refer to, it is modest indeed.

[Sandra's Note: I assume you are referring to our page, Do Mormon Leaders Receive Financial Support? Do you have an LDS accounting statement where the salaries are listed? If not, there is no way for either you or me to know if the salary is 'modest.' The LDS Church has not issued a financial expenditure statement for over forty years.]

July 13, 2003

I just read AMERICAN MASSACRE, by Sally Denton and was shocked/amazed at this tragedy. How has it been kept under wraps for so long, and how is it possible that a university can be named after this murderer! I find it incredible!


July 13, 2003

Subject: Very strange.

I find it very strange that practices that dwarf Charles Manson's Family were actually perpetrated by the Mormon Church in the 19th Century. Today, Mormons are law abiding people. Not a threat in any way to anyone. I have Mormon friends.

But there's the other side. The rabid intolerance of the times in Missouri, Illinois, etc., may have caused Mormons to react fanatically--hence Danites, etc.

Mormon religion has advocated much good in the world. Many good deeds have been done. Yet the dark side of the history, as with the Catholic Inquisition, is likewise denied by the leaders of today's Mormon Church.

Really...it would be very good for the leaders of LDS today to apologize for the past violence and racism even.

July 14, 2003

I'm writing an article . . . that explores Utah's high rate of personal bankruptcy, and am trying to research the (apparently) little-known fact that Joseph Smith himself filed in, I believe, 1842.

Is there a single source of information that provides accurate background information for Smith's filing? . . .

Thank you for your time.

[Sandra's Note: See p.120-124 in Zion in the Courts: Legal History of LDS Church 1830-1900, by Edwin Firmage, Univ. of Ill. Press. There is also some information on this in our book, Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?]

July 14, 2003

Subject: FW: Thought for the day

. . .Now, my way of seeing things, is that absolute discipleship of Jesus Christ is not dependant upon your intelect. It shall serve you well. .But nobody from any church will gain "eternal life" based on what they know. What makes the mark in the end is the following phrase..in the least of these that you have done one to another..you have done to me.

The missionaries will not divulge a complete gospel to anyone. That never was to be their mission and never will be. You will never "get" that, it is something that will be revealed to you . . . . My point is..do not base your whole theology on that of breaking one's belief system and rebuilding it as your own.

First it does not coincide with Christ's teachings. I don't remember Christ ripping the sadducees or Pharisees on their belief system, they tended to do that by their own stupidity they needed no help.

Secondly, he was more concerned that people apply the ministry that he taught and that they lived the gospel or applied the teachings than to become deeply intellectual as per the teachings.

Far more sins are due to the misunderstanding of the laws that they're breaking. Those who are so indelved and into catching all the hypocritical statements are those who usually miss the boat and become those who fall due to sins of commission as well as sins of omission. Things that should have been done that went by the wayside. Or things that were done but they knew better and had they followed th limited amount of the scriptures that they had read and followed such advice would not be in the perils that they themselves had placed themselves into. All of this because they were so intently concerned with the need to break another person's personal belief system because what...they care about their neighbor? Let us remember that before the world was, we chose the path that Christ had planned that we all be given the right to choose right from wrong. To have the opposition in all things. To be able to decide right from wrong. To have the free agency to make the right decisions OR wrong and either way face the consequences for all of our actions, be they positive or negative and see that those consequences are just the natural consequences. A girl hits another girl..the natural consequence is pain...the consequences that follow from the parents of that girl are added upon by their judgement according to the rules of that home. Those consequences are usually temporal compared to those that the Lord uses to teach us eternal principles. She'll forget the swat on the bottom..she won't soon forget the humiliation the girl went through as she fell to the ground looking at her," why did you do that?" Learn another point of Christs ministry and teach that...it will serve you better in the end.

Very Respectfully,

July 15, 2003

. . . one more question. the scripture that talks about the stick of joseph and the stick of Judah coming together. he seems to think that the stick of joseph is the book of mormon. could you be so kind as to explain it to me.

thank you. ...

[Sandra's Note: The explanation for the joining of the two sticks in Ez. 37:16-19, "one stick…for Judah, and…another stick…the stick of Ephraim…", is found in the second half of the chapter, vr.22, "And I will make them one nation in the land…and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." This is not about two different books of scripture but of the uniting of the divided kingdom of Israel.

For more on this topic see our page Book of Mormon Overview.]

July 15, 2003

Dear Gentlepersons:

. . . My brother-in-law and his then second wife joined the Mormon church and they tried to influence my late husband and I to join, but we were definitely not interested. In about 1987 I saw the film "The Godmakers," and decided to further research the LDS church, at least to become more knowledgeable and with a distant idea of converting my brother-in-law out of Mormonism. Well, that never happened, he is strong in it, although now on Wife No. 4 (must believe in the polygamy aspects!) Anyway, off and on thru the years I get the urge to get into it again as so much of it is so bizarre and opposite to my upbringing and understanding.

Recent findings on the internet amazed me regarding Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun being sealed into marriage and baptised in the church. Incredible how that church wants to control everything and has all the answers! Everyone gets to go to heaven, the scum of the earth, murderers, child abusers, and so on. I suppose tho, who knows but God if some of them repented of their sins before they died and therefore are accepted into heaven, but yet the Mormons are really judging them by their proxy baptims for the dead.

I've a neighbor friend who is Mormon and we've gotten into discussions lately. It all began when she mentioned that the current prophet states that we are living in the 7th seal of the Book of Revelation. That surprised me, as I didn't think we were even into the 7 years of tribulation yet. Anyway, back and forth, searching the internet, discovering more information and getting a better understanding why Mormons believe as they do. I don't agree with hardly any of it, but still fascinating.

My neighbor said she would borrow me "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder" for me to read. When I said I already had it, she was surprised and wanted to know where I obtained it. My late husband picked it up at a garage sale along with the Book of Mormon and the "Pearl of Great Price" around 1972, about the time his brother joined the Mormons. My neighbor said I should read Page 3 of "A Marvelous Work and a Wonder", "A Catholic Utterance," which I did (and had read in the past). My question is, Who was that learned member of the Roman Catholic Church who said either Catholicism was right or Mormonism was and that all other churches are apostates? So far I've not been able to find anything on it. Seems to me that man's name should have been included so we could check him out and see how his life went. A small bit of trivia interest, I suppose in the grand scheme of things.

Thank you for any help or info you can provide!

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, I don't know the name of the Catholic person referred to.]

July 16, 2003

i have been going to the mormon church since 1977. i have gone to apease my wife. although she was not at all active when we married, she later became very active. as the years have passed she has become more obsesssed with every facit of it. i attended the temple under pressure of divorce from her. my life is have to.

we have 5 children from 13-24 and the older ones have left the church as soon as they could. they don't know how i've put up with her controlling demands and fanatical pressure. i have no free will if i stay in the marrige. i will be married 30 yrs in january and i still love the girl i married, but it's really hard putting hours per week into the church and running 3 of my own companies. all of my friends including my marrige counsoler agree that my wife is and has been systematiclly brain washed. instead of taking care of me after my work days, she is on the internet obsessing over the many web pages that the lds church. i thought god's plan was free agency, although the mormons preach it, they under mind it's meaning to black mail and psychological domination. it's been very hard for me not to send her packing/


July 17, 2003

Subject: why not?

You are obviously very intelligent people, so why not use those brains for good? there are drugs, orphans, homeless, diseased, and violent people out on the streets everyday. So many people and situations that are in dire need help. Why not use your influential powers to help our world for good, instead of tearing down other peoples' faith? If they are truly converted, nothing you say can change their minds, anyway. I pray that you and others like you can see the light.


PS-Latter-day saints DO believe in the Christ of the bible. If we didn't, why would we read it? Christ is our Lord and Savior, and there is only one. His teachings dwell in both the Holy bible AND the Book of Mormon. Thank you.

July 18, 2003


Thanks for your labor of love and specifically for the document referenced above. I had a thought/question re: the Bible and it's importance to Mormons. I understand one of the early Mormon leaders stated, "the Bible was useful so far as it is properly translated" (or similar phraseology). It seems that when useful to bolster some LDS belief, it is used. Otherwise, it is unreliable and should be ignored... with the BOM and other LDS works the only truly reliable sources.

Why does the LDS give away so many free copies of the King James Bible if they consider it flawed? If they consider it flawed and full of error, why doesn't it include a disclaimer at the front of the text, warning the reader of the many errors in the text? Further, why not list the specific portions which they consider flawed? Is the offer of a free Bible just a ruse to appear Christian and in the process gain names and addresses for the missionaries to visit?

Thanks for listening? Any thoughts would be appreciated.


[Sandra's Note: You have answered your own question. It is a gimmick to make people think the Mormons revere the Bible and to get addresses for their missionaries.]

July 19, 2003

Subject: Writing an Investigator's 'Companion'


firstly, thank you so much for posting everything you do on line - I rely on the internet to answer most questions I have and my life would have been completely taken over by the LDS church had it not been for your material.

I entertained the Missionaries while they gave the discussions and I started going to the church on a Sunday along with Gospel Principles and Relief Society out of 'academic' interest. The people I met were so genuine and friendly - some of the nicest people I've ever met in my life and there was no overt pressure to be baptised.

I did, however see that, many of the people the missionaries brought to the church were quite vulnerable, unassertive types - yet even some of them seem to be 'busy' most Sundays and have avoided baptism so far.

There is one notable exception to this - a Trinidadian couple. The husband plays football for the local team so he's a bit of a celebrity in British sport and since they first turned up at the church, the attitude has sickened me. The Bishopric and the Priesthood have totally forgotten that the investigators are there and every 'sermon' has references to football. No-one has thought to mention the 1978 ruling on the Curse of Cain etc... or Brigham Young's views on slavery. They're just being 'wooed' into the church where their tithing will probably be more than that of all the Bishopric put together - British footballers are amazingly well paid. The missionaries (from Oregon and Utah) haven't actually joined in on this and look after their less 'famous' investigators incredibly well - they're wonderful young men in their own right. . . .


July 20, 2003

Subject: To Sandra Tanner

Greetings Mrs. Tanner,

Thank you so much for all the research that you and your husband have done. . . . my favorite is Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book Of Mormon [Now incorporated in Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible]. I wanted to thank you for writing it. After studying Mormonism and witnessing to Mormons for over 19 years, this book has really impressed me more than any other that the BOM was a fraud. . . . Thanks again for all you have contributed to the study of Mormonism.

Sincerely for Mormons,

July 20, 2003


[Sandra's Note: Photography was in its infancy at the time. There were paintings, and possibly one or two daguerreotypes. One picture that claims to be a touched-up copy of a daguerreotype can be seen at http://comevisit.com/lds/js3photo.htm

There was an article in the RLDS magazine, Saints Herald, in Dec. 1994, p.8, with a different daguerreotype of a possible Joseph Smith image, dated about 1843. Sunstone Mag., April 1995, had an article on this, along with the image.

Also, there was a death mask made of Joseph Smith and Hyrum. See Salt Lake Tribune, Jan. 27, 1996, p.C1-2, and the article in Sunstone, Nov./Dec. 1980, p.30-31.]

July 20, 2003

Subject: History of the Church

I just want to thank you for the wealth of information on your website. I'm currently praying for my Mormon friend, and your website has helped tremendously in my research. Do you know where I may find an online copy of the "History of the Church?"

Thanks again,

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, don't know of an online source. The Mormons put out a CD-ROM called GospeLink that contains the Journal of Discourses and the History of the Church, plus dozens of other titles. Call Deseret Book, 801-328-8191, www.deseretbook.com.]

July 21, 2003

Subject: Need an answer

Hi, wanted to know if the whole episode of the escape from jail and the killing of Jo Smith as he also killed two other men is still in DoC? Not sure if it was in DoC or some other Mormon book. But I need to know if the event is still current in their publications and what verse it is.

Thanks very much,

[Sandra's Note: Section 135 of the Doctrine and Covenants has some material relating to Smith’s murder in Carthage jail. However, that account does not mention the fact that two guns had been smuggled into the jail. A fuller account of Smith's death is in the official History of the Church. See our page Joseph Smith's Death for the History account and others.]

July 22, 2003

Subject: divorce



[Sandra's Note: In 1999 the Salt Lake Tribune reported on LDS divorce:

"The incidence of divorce among LDS couples, though not quite at the national average, is high enough to alarm many Mormon counselors and leaders....Kenneth A. Macnab [member of Association of Mormon Counselors and Therapists]...acknowledged that there can be good reasons for divorce but 'many more break-ups could be prevented.'

" 'If the divorce rate is at 60 percent nationally, among LDS couples it is between 40 and 50 percent,' he said. 'It is not a whole lot lower with temple marriages.' " (Salt Lake Tribune, March 27, 1999, p.C2)

Here is a quote from a Mormon writer:

"Secular divorce rates stabilized at an all-time high in about 1979. Divorce rates for temple marriages, historically several times lower than secular rates, have continued to climb, gradually narrowing the gap that separates the two. The current survival rate for temple marriages is not overly impressive." (Carlfred Broderick, My Parents Married on a Dare and Other Favorite Essays on Life, Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1996, p. 87.)]

July 22, 2003

What is the importance of John the Baptist and their Baptisms being the only true baptisms? Every time I talk to a LDS person they bring this up. John the Baptist gave them the only authority?

[Sandra's Note: The Bible does not present John the Baptist as having some special priesthood necessary for Christians. Why would Joseph Smith have needed John the Baptist to ordain him to the Aaronic Priesthood as well as Peter, James and John appearing to give him the Melchizedek Priesthood? Mormons claim their current prophet and his two counselors hold the 'keys' of both priesthoods. If Mormons are going to argue that Peter, James and John were the First Presidency of the early Christian Church those three would have held all the authority needed. There would have been no need to send John the Baptist to Smith if God were sending the original First Presidency.

In fact, in the book of Acts, ch.19, people that had experienced only John's baptism (baptism of repentance) were rebaptized (in a Christian baptism). See ch. 6 through 8 in the book, Mormon Claims Answered.]

July 23, 2003

Dear Sandra,

… I know that you and Jerald had questioned the authenticity of the First Vision account prior to Paul Cheesman's thesis in 1965. But I do not know where you published your article on it or what year. That information would also be helpful in compiling my facts on the subject.

Thank you for your help, and as always God Bless.

[Sandra's Note: We were questioning the First Vision in 1959, at the time we got married. During July of 1959, I had met with my bishop and discussed various problems I was having with the historical claims of Mormonism. My bishop offered to forward one question of mine on to the official LDS Church Historian, Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith. On Oct. 1, 1959 I sent a letter to Bishop Kennedy, San Fernando, Calif, outlining my problems with LDS Historian Andrew Jensen's account of the First Vision in his Historical Record, first printed in 1888. The first printing identified the personage in the grove as an angel, the reprint of the volume (a couple of years later) read "Christ" instead of "angel." ( I own copies of both editions.) My question was why the change? I then requested a photocopy of Smith's earliest account of the First Vision "in his own handwriting." I went on to state "I cannot find where Joseph Smith or Brigham Young identified the personages in the First Vision as 'God, the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ,' or where either make any reference to this vision in a sermon.

"Where can I find the first reference made by authorities of the Church, wherein these personages are identified as God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ, and where and when was this first taught as doctrine?"

Joseph Fielding Smith sent a letter to Bishop Kennedy, dated Nov. 3, 1959, essentially castigating me for asking questions. "Those questions come from those who do not seek the truth..." He then obscured the whole issue by saying the angel was "Moroni", completely sidestepping the whole problem. He then finished up with "This young woman asks for a 'photostatic copy' of the Prophet's statement in his own handwriting. Well, if we furnished it would that convince her? She will find a complete answer to this request in the sixteenth chapter of Luke, which I commend to her for her edification."

I believe he had to know that the First Vision in Smith's handwriting would not clear up the matter, since it only mentions Jesus. We, of course, were not aware at that time of Smith's 1832 account, but J.F. Smith must have been. He just sent a big smoke screen to the Bishop so he would be satisfied that I had received my answer.

We next put out a couple of small pamphlets on Godhead/First Vision issues. In 1960 we mimeographed a 5 page document titled The Father and the Son? and then a one page document entitled Joseph Smith Speaks on the First Vision. This was a comparison of the change in the History of the Church from the Deseret News printing, on his 'first vision' or 'first visitation of angels.' In 1961-62 we put out a 22 page booklet called Who Censored the Joseph Smith Story?

All these issues, plus more, were then discussed in our 1963 mimeographed book, Mormonism, which contained a whole chapter on First Vision problems. This was then enlarged for the chapter in our 1964 edition of Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?

Then in 1965 we put out Joseph Smith's Strange Account of the First Vision, which discussed, among other items, the Cheesman thesis at BYU, which contained Smith's 1832 account. This material was incorporated into a later edition of Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?]

July 23, 2003

Subject: Elemental beings and the Prophet


I have been trying to do a bit of research on Mormon history, and have just read Quinn's Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, and some of the very excellent articles on your web site. With such a prodigious knowledge of magic, why have no scholars proposed what to me seems the obvious explanation--that Smith was 'inspired' by elemental -- likely gnomes -- beings, the same sort that were responsible for so much of the mischief of Spiritualism?


July 23, 2003

Subject: The Education of Joseph Smith

Hi Sandra,

A mormon missionary stated that Joseph Smith could not have written the Book of Mormon himself because he only had a 3rd grade education. Because of Joseph's 3rd grade education the Book of Mormon had to be the inspired word of God. What was Joseph Smith's educational background?

Thanks for your answer!

[Sandra's Note: True, Joseph Smith did not spend a lot of time in a class room due to family needs. However, intelligence and creativity do not depend on that. According to his mother, he was an excellent story teller. (See Joseph Smith's History by His Mother, p.84-85.) He availed himself of whatever educational opportunities opened, as evidenced by his return to the classroom when he was twenty-years-old. His father had at one time taught school, the family subscribed to the local newspaper, there was a local lending library. He attended various religious meetings and was an 'exhorter' at the Methodist camp meetings. In other words, he was exposed to information from a number of different sources. (See Inventing Mormonism, p.43-62; No Man Knows My History, p.29-30.)

Also, when Mormons raise this issue, they are usually trying to imply the Book of Mormon is so advanced in its knowledge that Smith could not have written the book.

However, even LDS leader B. H. Roberts saw that this was a poor argument. B. H. Roberts, a general authority in the LDS Church, wrote:

"In the light of this evidence, there can be no doubt as to the possession of avidly strong, creative imagination by Joseph Smith, the Prophet, an imagination, it could with reason be urged, which, given the suggestions that are to be found in the 'common knowledge' of accepted American antiquities of the times, supplemented by such a work as Ethan Smith's View of the Hebrews, would make it possible for him to create a book such as the Book of Mormon is." (Studies of the Book of Mormon, p.250. See also p.154, 277, 308, 330 and 335 of his book.)

These issues were also addressed in Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon, by David Persuitte.

Other religions make similar claims for their founders. Mohammed was unlearned, an angel supposedly gave him the Koran and over a billion people follow Islam today.

Ellen G. White started the Seventh Day Adventist Church with her visions and writings. It is as large as the Mormon Church and started later. They make the same claims as the Mormons; she was too uneducated to make up her revelations and numerous writings and there are millions of followers, colleges, schools, medical facilities, etc., due to her.]

July 24, 2003

Subject: Polygamy or not?

Regarding your general FAQ, number 18 that talks about polygamy--

18. Does the LDS Church still believe in polygamy?

Yes, the doctrine of polygamy is still in their scriptures, Doctrine and Covenants, section 132 . . . Mormons are instructed not to practice polygamy during this life but the practice will be permitted in heaven. Today if a Mormon man outlives his first wife (after having a temple marriage) he can marry again in the temple. This would guarantee him two wives in heaven.

I am listening to a couple of missionaries as a courtesy to my friend who is a very devoted Mormon. (I can see you wincing for me now). I have been doing a lot of research behind the scenes without her knowledge and am so glad to have found your web site.

Now to my question. One night during the talks with the missionaries, I brought up the fact that I had just seen the movie 'Charly' (Mormon movie) and I asked them about temple marriages and asked if the husband could remarry after his wife died from cancer without the church considering it polygamy since he is "sealed" to his first wife.

The missionaries told me that the surviving husband can remarry, but cannot be sealed to the second wife, and the second marriage would only be for time and not eternity because when he dies, the second marriage will be annulled and he will be reunited with his sealed first wife in heaven. I said that sucks for the second wife doesn't it? They both agreed, but said that's the way it is. So, as I am seeing quite often, things aren't consistent, if what you say is the truth in your general FAQ #18. Where can I find in writing that a man can be sealed to another wife if his first one dies? I'm sure the missionaries would be interested to read this.

On a side note, I am finding it a bit amusing when neither of the missionaries can answer my questions. They sit there and flip through their books, look at each other for help with a confused look on their faces, and eventually have to say "can I get back to you on that"?

Thanks for the info, I'm sure I'll be learning a lot more now that I've found your site.

[Sandra's Note: These young men need to read the LDS Church Handbook of Instruction. It is much more complicated than that.

Even though the current Mormon leaders are very quiet about the matter of polygamy, Sec. 132 of the Doc. & Cov. still teaches the doctrine. While church leaders no longer allow the practice of polygamy here on the earth, they allow a living man to be sealed again after the death of his wife, or after divorce. This leads to the obvious situation of establishing multiple sealings on earth that will mean polygamy in heaven. President Joseph Fielding Smith remarried after the death of his first wife, and in his book, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, page 67, he remarked: "...my wives will be mine in eternity."

Harold B. Lee, the 11th president of the church, also remarried, and was sealed to another woman, after his wife's death and was looking forward to a polygamous relationship in heaven. He, in fact, wrote a poem in which he reflected:

"My lovely Joan was sent to me:
So Joan [his second wife] joins Fern [his first wife]
That three might be, more fitted for eternity.
'O Heavenly Father, my thanks to thee' "
(Deseret News 1974 Church Almanac, page 17)
[I added the clarification on which was the first and second wife.]

The church leaders realize the quagmire their doctrine of 'eternal families' becomes with blended families, but don't have any good answers. Here is a quote from the LDS magazine, Ensign, on remarriage:

'Uniting Blended Families', by Robert E. Wells, Ensign, Aug. 1997, p.24:

. . . Choosing a Spouse. After a person decides to remarry, it may take some time to find a spouse. In my case I wrote to several friends and relatives who understood my circumstances and told them of my desires to remarry. I asked them if they knew of anyone who would be willing to consider becoming a mother to three children and a wife to a Church district president and banker in South America with many demands on his time. After receiving six recommendations, I took a vacation to the United States and ultimately felt prompted to date and eventually propose marriage to my beloved Helen.

Helen brought a two-year-old daughter into our union, and I brought my sons, ages three and six, and my nine-year-old daughter. In time, we had three daughters together, which gave us a blended family of seven children. . . . Following are some areas, along with related suggestions, that blended families may need to openly address: . . .

Sealings. Former Utah senator Jake Garn was reluctant to remarry following the death of his first wife, Hazel, in 1976, but he soon realized that he could not be both a father and a mother to his children. When he began dating Kathleen Brewerton, who would become his second wife, questions soon arose about how his first wife would feel should he become sealed to a second wife. The couple took their questions to President Spencer W. Kimball.

"He said he did not know exactly how these relationships will be worked out, but he did know that through faithfulness all will be well and we will have much joy. Brother Garn later recalled. Kathleen told him that she was afraid of offending Hazel. President Kimball's demeanor seemed to change. From being somewhat hesitant in his earlier answers, he now became sure and spoke with firmness. He looked right at Kathleen and with a tear forming in his eye, he said, 'I do know this: you have nothing to worry about. Not only will she accept you, she will put her arms around you and thank you for raising her children' (Jake Garn, Why I Believe [1992], 13).

"Family members need not worry about the sealing situation of blended families as it might be in the next life. Our concern is to live the gospel now and to love others, especially those in our family. If we live the gospel to the best of our ability, the Lord in His love and mercy will bless us in the next life and all things will be right.

"I have seen some new blended families become torn apart by worrying about who will belong to whom and who will be with whom in the next life. My mother, who is sealed to my deceased father, is married to a widower who is sealed to his first wife, who died childless. My mother and her second husband have a son, who is my brother. We are not concerned about who will be sealed to whom. We simply trust in the Lord's wisdom and love and try to live righteously. . . ." (Ensign, Aug. 1997, p.24)

I know that when my grandfather remarried after the death of my grandmother, the family certainly believed that the new wife, sealed to him in the temple, would be an equal wife with my grandmother in heaven. The official LDS Church Handbook of Instruction says:

"Living Women -- A living woman may be sealed to only one husband. . . .

 "Living Men -- If a husband and wife have been sealed and the wife dies, the man may have another woman sealed to him if she is not already sealed." (Church Handbook of Instruction, p.72)

Obviously, the LDS Church continues to believe polygamy will be practiced in heaven, they just don't want to admit it publicly for fear of looking strange.]

July 24, 2003

Subject: Your website

Dear Editor,

I was recently made aware of your website through a friend. He and I have had, at length, conversations about religion. I was excommunicated from the LDS Church.

I served an LDS mission, so I have a large knowledge of the Church's practices and actual beliefs. I am somewhat appalled at some of the information that you have posted on your website. If there are any non-discerning individuals who want the truth about 'Mormonism', and they stumble across your website, I do not feel that I would be adequately educated.

I found several quotations that were not whole, and parts of quotations that were bolded for added sensationalism while detracting from the original meaning. You quote the Smithsonian as stating that they concluded that the Book of Mormon is not an effective tool for research, and neglect to state that they said the same thing about the Bible. You espouse to 'enlighten' people of the truths of Mormonism, and seek to hide all of the facts, just those that prove your point. You quote anything that any anti-mormon scholar says as factual.

When I was on my mission I served in an area that had in the ward library a copy of several books that are sited in anti-mormon literature. Someone that we had talked with gave us a copy of a tract that was anti-mormon, and we decided to actually look up some of the actual quotes that are sited. What we found was alarming: We looked on several pages that were quoted, and the topic they sited wasn't even on those pages. We found railsplits (...) that stopped and picked up several pages later. How can that be truthful and factual?

I personally am disguisted by this website and any others that claim to be proclaiming the truth yet being very desceptive about it. Isn't the truth just that, truthful and not desceptive? You are right, you do tell the truth, but you neglect to tell the entire truth. What do you have to gain by deceiving people in such a manner? Why are you continuing the circle of deceit that has been created by opponents of the church?

As I said, I am no longer a member of the LDS church. That is a decision that I have made based on my actions and my lifestyle. However, I will not discriminate against others because they believe differently than I do. I do desire a reply to this e-mail, because I desire to know why you are discriminating against good people for living what they believe. And whatever it is that you are receiving as compensation, I hope that it is worth going against the good Christian principles that you espouse to believe in.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely yours,

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Several points come to mind. First, it would help me evaluate your criticism better if you gave a specific example from our web site where you feel WE have been unfair. It is not helpful to just say you were 'appalled' and then not cite the specific reason. Of course our quotes were not 'whole.' One would have to quote an entire chapter. I believe we give at least as much, if not more, of a specific quote than most authors, certainly more than you get in church writings. Just look at 'Story of the Latter Day Saints', which is better history than most LDS writings. They do not give the 'entire' quote on anything they use. Not giving the 'entire' quote does not mean something was distorted. Our books would be way too long to read if every quote were at least a page long (assuming that would satisfy your requirement for the quote to be 'entire').

As for the quotes you looked up as a missionary, it may be that those books got the references wrong. However, there is another possibility. Were they quoting a different edition than the one you used? I know I have quotes from Richards 'Marvelous Work' in my booklet Bible and Mormon Doctrine that would not be on the right page of a current edition. Not because I misquoted the book, but due to the church putting out a new edition since then with changes and new page numbers. This is also true for such books as 'Mormon Doctrine' by McConkie.

We have tried to be accurate. And we encourage people to look up our references. If there is an error at least give us the courtesy of an example. It is a serious thing to accuse us of 'deceit', yet you never cite an example. Please at least back up your charge.

You also charge us with 'discriminating' against the Mormons. I fail to see how a discussion of their claims is an act of 'discrimination.'

As to the Smithsonian Institution and their statement on the Bible, it is very different from the one they issue on the Book of Mormon. The paper I have from them is entitled 'The Bible as History', no date. The Smithsonian paper states that 'most Biblical scholars . . . regard the Biblical story of the flood and Noah's Ark as a story handed down by oral tradition.' However, the paper goes on to state:

'On the other hand, much of the Bible, in particular the historical books of the old testament, are as accurate historical documents as any that we have from antiquity and are in fact more accurate than many of the Egyptian, Mesopotamian, or Greek histories. These Biblical records can be and are used as are other ancient documents in archeological work. For the most part, historical events described took place and the peoples cited really existed. This is not to say . . . that every event as reported in the historical books happened exactly as stated. There are conflicts between present archeological evidence and historical reports that may result from a lack of information on our part or from misunderstandings or mistakes by the ancient writers.'

The Smithsonian never presents the Book of Mormon as having ANY historical base. See the Smithsonian Letter.]

July 25, 2003

Subject: Baptism for the dead

I was wondering what exactly is Baptisms for the dead? Do Mormons just get death certificates and decide this person has accepted the LDS faith? Very confused.


[Sandra's Note: The Mormons believe that when a non-Mormon person dies he/she goes to the Spirit Prison to wait for Christ's return to earth and the first resurrection. After death Mormons supposedly go to Paradise to await Christ's return. They believe that deceased Mormons are sent as missionaries to preach to the non-Mormons in the spirit prison. When one of these dead non-Mormons accepts the LDS gospel he/she must then wait for some live Mormon on Earth to do that person's proxy baptism and temple ordinances. That is the reason for all of their genealogical research, they are gathering up the names of all the dead so they can do proxy baptisms and temple marriages for them.]

July 27, 2003

Subject: recovering Mormon responds

I have been, for the first time, perusing through your articles. I am in need of some sort of healing....I still feel strange away from my Mormon heritage...but I cannot accept it as truth either.

I am a descendant of Pioneers and Polygamy like many Mormons. My great great Grandfather was Thomas E. Ricks, founder of the "College formerly known as Ricks". I was raised in a hypocritical home, suffering sexual abuse at a young age by several Priesthood holding relatives. I told no one about it until I was a married and having my own family.

I left college and married a full time seminary teacher and settled down in Zion to raise up a righteous posterity. The problem was, I never felt right with all of it....I felt I was constantly striving and pretending. I felt like I lived among unreal and robotic people who were all consumed, as I was, with impressing others with abilities and service to the kingdom. I am a history major and have always been fascinated with origins and cultural geography, and so many historical items I came across continually bothered me as well as the apparent dismissive attitude directed toward women and their issues. For that reason I always disliked missionary work....it made me uncomfortable to try and foist upon others something I couldn't fully accept myself. I never felt peace in the temple or around large gatherings of the righteously ambitious. I thought it had something to do with my abuse and that I had to work to overcome the bad feelings.

The abuse of my childhood was put into the light by my brother a few years ago, when I was 36 years old. My Seminary teaching husband of 16 years was worried about my perpetrators eternal salvation and so he tricked him into going to his bishop by telling the perpetrator, (my stepfather from the age of three) that he had already told that bishop. My husband wanted him to repent so we could all be in happy land together. The punishment meted out to this man who repeatedly molested and exposed himself to me was that he and my mother would go on a mission. His bishop and stake president thought that would be a great way for them to make up for his misdeeds. My husband basically threw me to the wolves on the issue....somehow all of these men blamed me for what happened to me while I was four, eight, nine, and ten...anyway...my disappointment in basically all of the people who were suppose to love me led me to seriously question the church that would sanction these kinds of situations.

The story is too long to tell you, but I just wanted to reach out somehow...I need to figure out how these things can be dealt with. I left the church and my husband. I have not left my children, of course, but they are all still active in the church because of their dad and step mom. I don't know what to say to them about the fallacies I see, since I am responsible for so much of their brainwashing myself. After all, I taught gospel doctrine and was a young womens president. I taught them family home evening lessons and led them in Primary in songs such as "Follow the Prophet".

One Sunday, while I was leading the music in Primary, I realized that I was helping to homogenize little children into always smiling little Mormon robots like I was. I could no longer be part of such a system. I went so deeply into a depression I ended up in the mental hospital. My now ex husband threatened that I would have to stay there until I could behave myself...in essence, go back to being the Molly Mormon I had been before my own brain could take it no longer. This was a little over two years ago and I am still struggling to find the me that isn't just a well behaved Stepford wife Mormon. I believe that the church is potentially harmful to women. I know that some people life happily within it's grip, but I think many suffer greatly their whole lives and don't even understand the reason.

Thank you for your website and the articles I have read. I am remarried to a confirmed agnostic and he tries to understand the pain I go through, but there really is no way for him to understand how difficult it is to have the very fabric of your life come completely unraveled!

Thank you for allowing me to share this.


[Sandra's Note: Thank you for sharing your story with me. Have you been to www.irr.org/mit? They have an ex-Mormon discussion group that would be supportive. A good tape that might help to listen to is Sandra Tanner Tape No. 4 on the 'Struggles of Leaving Mormonism.' And the books Out of the Cults and Into the Church and Combating Cult Mind Control, might be helpful as well.]

July 27, 2003

Subject: one style, false concepts

Just read your very interesting "black hole" theory article. Toward the end you make this statement:

"When we find a number of different Book of Mormon writers - e. g., Nephi, Jacob, Enos, Moroni and Mormon - all using many of the same unusual word combinations, we begin to suspect that all these books were really written by one person, Our research, in fact, leads us to believe that notwithstanding the fact that the Book of Mormon is filled with portions which have been plagiarized from the Bible, one style of writing can still be identified throughout the entire book. Furthermore, the preponderance of the evidence points towards Joseph Smith as the author."

Couldn't the "same style" be explained by the "abridgment" of the various writings by Mormon? Or perhaps by a further abridgment by Joseph Smith? Every day as editor of a legal newsletter I "abridge" or paraphrase in abbreviated fashion legal writings by many authors, with the result that one reading my newsletter could conclude that the same style is employed by all the various authors.

Second, after reading your generally very scholarly presentation I am jolted at the end by this rather unscholarly comment:

"Nevertheless, as in the case of Mark Hofmann, Smith's works are not authentic and contain false concepts - e. g., that the Indians were cursed by God with a dark skin. For this reason they must be totally rejected."

Isn't this begging the question? If the Book of Mormon is true, this and the other concepts are not false. If the book is fraudulent, the concepts could still be true, even if they didn't appear to square with the Bible or some other authority.

July 27, 2003

I find it sad and depressing that you feel united not for something, but against something.

I am LDS, but at times have been inactive and all other sorts of religion, I KNOW that the Church of Jesus Christ is the ONLY true church, I KNOW Joseph Smith is the prophet of God, and I also KNOW that God would never leave us, that is why he sent us the latter day prophets, "God is the great I AM not the great HE WAS" To quote Rufus Jones.

It saddens me that you would create a site to tear down a religion that doesnt hurt anyone. Lets think about this, the LDS church has a welfare system, we contribute to the community, we do many service projects in our communities, and we have a multi million dollar humanitarain aid center in Utah in which we send aid to not only members of the church in need.. but EVERYONE. And you, in a world where there are people dying, and suffering, are putting your energies toward tearing our people down. Its your choice to tear down this religion that supports so many, and makes so many happy. You can choose to refuse the truth, but know, that no matter what when you die, your work will be done for you in the temple, and one of these people, your enemies, will bring about your salvation. God Bless you to someday know the truth.

[Sandra's Note: I found your reference to "God is the great I AM not the great HE WAS" interesting. Especially since Mormonism does not believe that God has always been God. If Joseph Smith were writing the phrase it would probably read "God is the great I BECAME" not "the great I AM" (which means He has, does, and will always exist as God). Smith's god evolved from a mortal to a god through a process of learning and achievement and is but one of a long line of men who have reached godhood. See his King Follett sermon on our web site.]

July 29, 2003

Subject: mormon marriage

If someone is married in a temple marriage but not civilly, is this marriage legally recognized? That is, do they need a civil divorce or how do they get a divorce (male) within the temple?

[Sandra's Note: Temple marriages are legal and are recognized by the courts of the land. A Mormon getting a civil divorce would not automatically be given a temple divorce (actually they call them 'cancellation of sealing'). If a person is excommunicated from the LDS Church his temple sealing is revoked.

However, if a good Mormon couple gets a civil divorce, the temple sealing will be left in place. If the woman wants to be sealed later to another man, she will have to go through a process to get the sealing to her first husband cancelled. The man does not need to get his sealing to his first wife cancelled in order to be sealed to a second wife. In order for the husband to get the sealing cancelled usually means he would have to show due cause/sin on the first wife's part. 'Incompatibility' is usually not enough. In other words, the divorced LDS man can have two, three, etc. valid sealings on the books to various women which would mean he would be a polygamist in heaven. But if one of his divorced wives wanted to be sealed to another man, she would have to get the sealing to the first husband cancelled; she can not have two husbands sealed to her.

If a widow, who was sealed to her first husband, wants to remarry in the temple, she can have a marriage there for 'time only' (civil marriage) to the second husband.]

July 29, 2003


Hate to bother you because I know you are so busy, but just a quick couple of questions to help me clarify something.

1. When we speak of the endowment in the Temple is that plural or singular. As I understand it it is "endowment."

2. I know baptism for the dead and celestial marriage is not part of the endowment, but do we refer to them as ordinances or do we call them ceremonies?

2 1/2- One other, sorry. When a couple goes through the Temple for celestial marriage do I understand it correctly to say that at one point the "Aaronic Priesthood tokens are given to them (as both man and wife) or are they only given to the man since a woman can't be a priest? I hope you understand my question.

Best wishes, we are praying for you folks and the ministry.

[Sandra's Note:

1. One takes out his/her own 'endowment'—singular. A couple could be referred to as having taken out THEIR endowments (plural). In casual conversation one might say something like, have you ever taken out your endowments. But this is not accurate, just colloquial usage.

2. Proper usage would probably be 'ordinances' not 'ceremonies.'

2.5. The man would have already been ordained to both the Aaronic and Melchizedek priesthoods long before going through the temple. Both men and women are instructed in, and receive the 'first token of the Aaronic Priesthood' during the ceremony (which is not the same as receiving the priesthood). Everyone gives the same 'sign.' See p.122 of our book Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.

The whole ceremony raises questions about women's role in priesthood functions. Both men and women participate in the 'initiatory ordinance' of 'washing and anointing' the body prior to the 'endowment' ritual (see p.61 of our book. The actual marriage ceremony/ordinance would be after the endowment ritual).

During the 'washing and anointing' women 'anoint' women, men 'anoint' men. Thus women seem to be delegated 'priesthood' authority to perform this ordinance.]

July 31, 2003

Subject: Los Lunas Decalogue Stone


Are you familiar with the Los Lunas Decalogue stone of New Mexico…? What little research I've done on it seems to imply that there were ancient Hebrews in SW USA as early as Nehemiah's time. Do you have any information/rebuttal for our LDS friends who use this to back up their claims supporting the Book of Mormon (Jews in ancient America)?

Thank you for your help.

[Sandra's Note: As far as I am aware, serious scholars do not accept the Los Lunas writing as genuine. An article in Sunstone Review stated:

Mystery Rock: Silent Testimony or Hocus-Pocus?

West of Los Lunas, New Mexico, on Hidden Mountain lies a rock covered with strange writing. The writing is Phoenician script, the type of writing used in Palestine about 600 B.C. (Lehi's time), and contains parts of the Ten Commandments. Recently the Mormon newspaper Southwest Saint published an article by Dalford Stover explaining the origin of the Ten Commandment Rock based on his research.

According to Stover the Ten Commandment Rock "has stood as silent testimony to the Book of Mormon." As evidence of the authenticity of the rock, Stover cites Cyrus H. Gordon, a professor of Semantic Linguistics, who asserted, "No modern man has had the knowledge to utilize these characters prior to 1876." . . . (Sunstone Review, April 1983, NEWS)

The article goes on to quote another position:

A Second Opinion

In response to Stover's article, John L. Sorenson, Chairman, BYU Dept. of Anthropology, wrote a letter to the editor, enclosing an article that revealed contrary facts to the Stover article. Sorenson said that although this type of speculation makes comforting reading for the Saints, it reveals to those more informed that, as a people, Mormons "are suckers for a myth. . . . The cause of truth is not well served by distributing sheer speculation. however well intended."

The article that Sorenson enclosed, which the Southwest Saint subsequently published, was a paper written by Welby W. Ricks, B.A., O.D., President, University Archaeological Society.

Ricks corresponded with the purported discoverer of the rock, William M. McCart, of Albuquerque, New Mexico. McCart was a treasure hunter, and Ricks concluded from the correspondence that he hoped to arouse interest in the discovery in order to raise funds to search for treasure.

Still, there was the possibility that the stone was genuine.

In 1953 Ricks and a number of others- Milton R. Hunter, Sidney B. Sperry, Hugh Nibley, and John L. Sorenson-made a trip to New Mexico to investigate the inscription on the rock.

The party picked up McCart, who led them to the rock. "We were quite thrilled at first sight and fascinated by its contents," said Sorenson. While other members of the group continued examining the rock, Sorenson "took some shots of surrounding petroglyphs and was surprised to find they were heavily patinated, whereas none of the carvings on the Phoenician stone were thus darkened. (Patination is the discoloration due to oxidation which develops on exposed surfaces of stone over very long periods of time.)"

A little farther up the hill the party was surprised and dismayed to find another inscription with the same size of groove, that read, "Eva and Hobie, 3-13-30." They found two other stones in the area in the Phoenician script, both the same size, groove and freshness as the Ten Commandment Rock. Nibley said the inscriptions appeared so fresh that dust from the cutting was still on them. When he blew on the inscription, loose grayish matter came off.

Later the group went with McCart to his home. There the McCarts showed them two stones they had inscribed in Phoenician letters and set in their back yard in order to see how long it would take for patina to form.

Ricks said it seemed odd that they had made the test at all. Why not periodically check the Ten Commandment Rock itself and why had they used unfamiliar Phoenician letters instead of English?

Also while the group was at the McCart home, a friend, Mike Castillo, came over and told them a story about a place called the Temple of Toni which he had been in and where he had found golden treasures.

However, the story was so full of holes that the party was not particularly impressed. As Ricks left the house that evening, he stopped on the porch to catch any conversation inside. "How do you think my story went?" said Castillo. McCart's wife replied, "They lapped it up."

The next day Castillo was to show them the Temple of Toni, but he was unable to find it. "You can't tell me a man could lose track of a temple of gold," said Ricks. "If he really believed his own story he would turn the mountain upside down to find it."

Finally Ricks said to McCart, "As I see the whole picture, you want to try to raise funds by showing us this stone so you can go out there in the lava area and hunt for treasure." McCart responded, "Yes!"

Ricks listed the reasons he believed the inscription was fraudulent: Lack of patination-"if they had been of ancient date there would have been some patination;" dust of freshly cut stone in the grooves; other stones found nearby with inscriptions of similar groove size--including "Eva and Hobie 3-13-30;" the questionable stories of the McCarts and their friend, and the admission of their hope to get funds for treasure hunting; and the rocks the McCarts made in Phoenician script to test for patination.

Ricks concluded:

For these reasons and others I am fully convinced that the Ten Commandment stone found near Los Lunas, New Mexico is a fraud. Its age does not go back into ancient times. It is probably from thirty to fifty years old, perhaps even dating to as late as March 13, 1930. (Sunstone Review, April 1983, NEWS)

Even Hugh Nibley rejected the stone inscription:

"Much study and care went into the preparation of this "ancient Hebrew inscription" near Los Lunas, New Mexico, yet a cursory glance was enough to reveal the crisp freshness of the newly-cut letters. Numerous other flaws appeared upon closer inspection. To anyone not determined to accept this inscription as genuine, it furnishes an interesting illustration of the pains to which people will go to produce a convincing-looking antique, and the impossibility of doing so without immense and laborious preparation. Yet such a forgery as this would be infinitely easier to get away with than one of Book of Mormon proportions." (New Approaches To Book of Mormon Study, by Hugh Nibley, Improvement Era, January, 1954.)

Hope this helps.]

July 31, 2003

To whom it may concern:

I am 16 yrs old since I am a minor does that mean I can not get my name of the records of the church? Any information that you can give me would be most appreciated

[Sandra's Note: Isn't it interesting that the LDS Church thought you were mature enough to join at 8 but not mature enough to resign at 16? Sorry, you will probably have to wait until you are 18 to get this taken care of.]

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