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March 2003
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

March 1, 2003

I try to write and send a contribution to you a couple of times a year. I'm probably only one of a few BYU grads who do this!... I think your work for the LDS is fantastic and pray that your efforts will bring many to the true Lord and Savior.


March 2, 2003

Subject: 11 Witnesses of BOM

I just have one question: The church is always pointing to the fact that none of the witnesses of the gold plates, apostate though they were, ever denied their testimony. Can this be refuted, or explained? Even David Whitmer seemed to admit in his later years, in spite of all his criticism of the church, that he still believed in the Book of Mormon. I tend to think that because of his animosity toward the church he would have recanted, but as far as I know, he never did.

Of course, I have never looked into this before and only know what I have heard in church. I really would like to know and would appreciate it if you could point me to some sources.

[Sandra's Note: There is some information on the witnesses in our book The Changing World of Mormonism. However, the longest treatment is in our book The Case Against Mormonism, Vol. 2.

While all the witnesses, except the Smiths, had left Mormonism by 1838 they still believed in the Book of Mormon. Cowdery and Harris later returned to the church.

Martin Harris made the rounds of many churches, both before and after he joined Mormonism and left in 1837. He later rejoined the LDS and came to Utah and died a Mormon.

Oliver Cowdery left Mormonism in 1838, joined the Methodists, left them, rejoined the LDS, left them, returned to his brother-in-law's home (David Whitmer) in Mo., where he died.

David Whitmer left in 1838, was for a short time in the McLellin group, gave revelations there, then left, started his own church, wrote two pamphlets in 1887 stating Smith was a fallen prophet and only called to bring out the Book of Mormon. See An Address To All Believers in Christ and An Address To All Believers in the Book of Mormon. He claimed God told him to leave the LDS.

Only Cowdery denied his testimony to the Book of Mormon for a period, while a Methodist. Harris and Whitmer always believed the Book of Mormon, but accepted other things that would not have been compatible with Smith's other teachings. All three, at different times, felt Smith was a fallen prophet.

There are similar problems with the eight witnesses, other than the Smiths.

So when are we to believe these men? Which testimony? Do they demonstrate the type of stability that would add credibility to their claims of visions? They were all involved in magic (using various charms and magical paraphernalia) and money digging in New York which demonstrates a certain amount of gullibility.]

March 3, 2003

You two are so utterly ridiculous. You have no idea what you are talking about. The only reason you have the faith that you have is because of the church that you grew up in. And in the very time when you could show your grattitude for those teachings, you turned your backs on the truth. I feel so sorry for you both.

March 3, 2003

I read somewhere that even a confession was plagarized by the mormon church. I think it is the Westminster(?) confession. Where can I find out how it was used and by whom?

[Web-editor: See The Changing World of Mormonism, p.111.]

March 3, 2003

Subject: Blood Atonement

To whom it may concern,

Hello ...I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I was very disturbed at what you wrote in your article. I then realized that my church doesn't believe all that you claim.

We believe in blood atonement, but only for when a person commits murder. In the scriptures it says that the only sins that you can't be forgiven for are murder and denying the Holy Ghost. We don't kill people for adultery. We just believe that if a person commits murder the only way to atone for that sin is by dying themselves. In the sermons that Brigham Young gave it never mentioned what kind of sins you would have to die for and I was taught that the only one is murder. I don't know if statements by John D. Lee are able to be accepted as truth. He might have been lying.

I would like to know if there is other evidence besides people's claims (which can't always be trusted) that Joseph Smith had people killed. I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that he would never have done such things. So I would appreciate it if there is any other evidence to let me know. I hope you have solid evidence for such claims and are not basing it on testimonies other than that of a confession from Joseph Smith otherwise I would call it speculation and a possibility. I would appreciate if you would put in your articles that these claims are not proven and not necessarily true.


[Sandra's Note: I assure you that blood atonement was preached from the pulpit, by the LDS prophet, to the LDS members. Here is a quote from President Brigham Young, sermon given May 8, 1853 in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City:

"If you want to know what to do with a thief that you may find stealing, I say kill him on the spot, and never suffer him to commit another iniquity." (Journal of Discourses, vol. 1, p.108)

Then on March 16,1856, Pres. Young preached in the Tabernacle:

"Let me suppose a case. Suppose you found your brother in bed with your wife, and put a javelin through both of them, you would be justified, and they would atone for their sins, and be received into the kingdom of God. I would at once do so in such a case; and under such circumstances, I have no wife whom I love so well that I would not put a javelin through her heart, and I would do it with clean hands. But you who trifle with your covenants, be careful lest in judging you will be judged....

"There is not a man or woman, who violates the covenants made with their God, that will not be required to pay the debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out, your own blood must atone for it; and the judgments of the Almighty will come, sooner or later, and every man and woman will have to atone for breaking their covenants." (Journal of Discourses, vol.3, p. 247)

Later that year Pres. Brigham Young, in a church sermon in Salt Lake City on September 21, 1856, preached:

"There are sins that men commit for which they cannot receive forgiveness in this world, or in that which is to come, and if they had their eyes open to see their true condition, they would be perfectly willing to have their blood spilt upon the ground, that the smoke thereof might ascend to heaven as an offering for their sins; and the smoking incense would atone for their sins, whereas, if such is not the case, they will stick to them and remain upon them in the spirit world.

"I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine, but it is to save them, not to destroy them.... I will say further; I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins.

"It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit. .... There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days, and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, or a calf, or of turtle doves, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man. "(Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp. 53-54; also published in the Mormon newspaper Deseret News, October 1, 1856, p. 235)

Several months later President Brigham Young explained

"Now take a person in this congregation who has knowledge with regard to being saved... and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say 'shed my blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?'

"All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers and sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the shedding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood?...

"I could refer you to plenty of instances where men have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. ... I have known a great many men who left this Church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them, the wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbids this principle's being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

"This is loving our neighbor as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind." (Deseret News, Feb. 18, 1857; also reprinted in Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp. 219-20)

There are more sermons on this, but this should demonstrate to you that it involved far more than just capital punishment. I hope you will continue your research. Truth will stand up to investigation. All of our quotes can be verified at the Univ. of Utah library, the BYU library or the Utah State Historical Society Library. Also, the Journal of Discourses (an official LDS publication) is on the LDS CD-ROM called GospeLink. There is also more on this on our web site here: Blood Atonement.]

March 4, 2003

Subject: when are LDS leaders held accountable?

I have had LDS Friends tell me that things that Brigham Young or other LDS figures have said are not valid because they were not in office at the time or something like that. Could you respond to this and please send me some dates of when LDS leaders/prophets were in office and could be held accountable if it is convenient. If not could you just give me some direction on where to go with this?

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: I am constantly amazed at the lengths LDS members will go to in order to dismiss a quote they don't like.

The statements from Brigham Young used in various non-LDS books are almost always taken from his sermons when he was the president of the LDS Church. He was ordained an apostle in 1835 and sustained as President in 1847, died in 1877. In 1870 Brigham Young declared "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call Scripture." (Journal of Discourses, vol.13, p.95)

All of the quotes from the Journal of Discourses are from either church presidents, like Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, or one of their apostles, speaking at official church gatherings. If these are not 'official' then when do they speak 'officially'? When do they declare doctrine? Don't Mormons today accept the sermons given at conference as 'official'? Then the ones given 150 years ago at conference should be just as 'official.'

The entire set of Journal of Discourses is on the LDS CD-ROM GospeLink, available from any LDS bookstore (like www.deseretbook.com). It is often quoted by LDS leaders in their talks and articles. The accuracy of these early sermons never seems to be an issue when current LDS leaders use them, only when critics use them. In the introduction to vol. 1 of the Journal of Discourses Brigham Young stated:

(click to enlarge)

Dear Brethren—It is well known to many of you, that Elder George D. Watt, by our counsel, spent much time in the midst of poverty and hardships to acquire the art of reporting in Phonography, which he has faithfully and fully accomplished; and he has been reporting the public Sermons, Discourses, Lectures &c., delivered by the Presidency, the Twelve, and others in this city, for nearly two years,....we cheerfully and warmly support your co-operation in the purchase and sale of the above-named Journal...

Brigham Young,}
Heber C. Kimball,}
Willard Richards.}

First Presidency of the Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

See the book Essentials in Church History by Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, 1922, p.674, where the set is listed as an official church publication. The set was also listed as an official publication in the Deseret News 1989-90 Church Almanac, p.188.

Hope this helps.]

March 4, 2003

Subject: An honest question

I am not a mormon, but what bothers me is why a religion would be focused on answering questions about another religion. Seems a little obsessive. I don't feel good about receiving answers on what someone believes from someone who is against it, and puts it down. That is exactly the opposite of what Christ did. He simply taught the truth, he didn't have discourses and tear the foundations out of other churches.

I know you guys have excellent intentions and God bless you for that. So many people would not put up such an effort as you do. But why not just focus on what is good in your religion that could bless my life, rather than tear another one apart from head to toe. I guess I am a positive thinker that way. I would love to join with you in celebrating Christ. Before I do, I would like to know why you focus on others beliefs and why they are wrong, rather than why yours are right. Now I'm not going to go off and join the Mormon Church or anything, but I would like to learn more about what you believe. I thought it was odd finding your group under a Mormon name.

Please respond, I mean no negativity by this e-mail.


[Sandra's Note: I guess it all comes down to whether or not you believe truth matters, or if you take Jesus seriously when he warned against false prophets (i.e. Matt 24:11—'And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many').

Jesus certainly rejected, denounced and exposed the hypercritical/false religious leaders of his day (i.e. Matt. 23:13-29). The New Testament has numerous passages warning about false teachers, not just 'positive' teachings (i.e. I John 4:1ó'Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God because many false prophets are gone out into the world'). People are being deceived by a powerful corporation and it does have negative consequences.

There are watch-dog organizations for all sorts of things, bad products, government bureaucracy, etc. Why not one dealing with the problems of Mormonism? People are free to join or reject Mormonism. We just want them to make their decision from an informed position.]

March 4, 2003

Subject: Finding statistics on the persecution.

Has anyone done any collection on what the level of persecution was during the Mormon early years? The data that I have collected off the Net is probably wrong but here it is:


Reason Left: Smith was trying to [escape from] money Diggers who wanted the gold.

Mormons Killed: 0

Mormons died from exposure: 0


Reason Left: Smith was trying to escape bank fraud charges.

Mormons Killed: 0

Mormons died from exposure: 0

Gentiles Killed: Only attempted on Newell


Reason Left: JacksonóD&C 52 "Missouri is the land of your inheritance, and is inhabited by your enemy". Ray County - UNKNOWN, Far West- a series of escalating problems (Rigdon's 4th of July speech, voting riot, and Smith forcing Judge Black to sign a petition or face a 100-150 Danites)

Mormons Killed: 40 (only source found was the Reed Peck Manuscript)

Mormons died from exposure: No mention

Gentiles Killed: 3 and one attempt on Gov Boggs


Mormons Killed: 5-10 (J & H Smith and then a few who would not leave)

Mormons died from exposure: No mention until the Winter Quarters in Nebraska. Over the next 20 years - 6,000 is often mention but it seems high when you the gentiles could go to California with a 3% mortality rate.

Gentiles Killed: None, but Smith want[ed] to be broken out [of jail] by the Nauvoo Legion so it [potentially] could have been a lot.

Utah Mormons Killed: 0 from Gentiles or US Army, UNKNOWN from church due to Blood Atonement.

Gentiles Killed: 120 M[ountain] M[eadows] M[assacre], 6 A[iken] Party+ (just before the Utah War), and some rumors that small pioneer groups were massacred for loot (the book "Naked Truths About Mormonism")

I feel like a loon to tell my friends that Mormons actually killed more gentiles than gentiles killed them, AND that to get away from the "persecution" 100 time more Mormons died by their own doing than killed by gentiles. Are the above figures close to the truth?

Thanks for your help.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, see the books: The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power; The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power; The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri; Forgotten Kingdom; One Nation Under Gods; The Mormon Kingdom, Vol. 1, and The Mormon Kingdom, Vol. 2; Blood of the Prophets; and Reminiscences of Early Utah.]

March 5, 2003

Subject: How to get out of Mormonism

Did that once [left Mormonism]. I was dead wrong. Came back in humility. Re-baptised. How can we get rid of "Tannerism"?

[Sandra's Note: Surprised to hear from you again after you wrote last year (when you specifically said you did not want me to respond to your email). Since you wrote again I assume I can write you back.

Not sure what you are trying to get rid of—research or undue attention given to us? The facts show the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham are modern inventions, not works of history. If detailing such research is 'Tannerism' it will never go away.]

March 5, 2003

Dear Tanners,

I trust you are doing well! ... I have a man [in our church] who is now a Christian who was married to a woman who left him to become the 8th wife of Jim Harmston in Manti,Ut. He has remarried a christian about 4 yrs. ago. They have recently started coming to my church. What a combination! God bless you both!

March 6, 2003

Subject: Your Article is true

And I have to thank you for compiling the information in one, very well-organized place. You see I was born a Mormon in one of the most mormon-centric places in the world: ...Arizona. I grew up "strong in the faith" and cherished the uncluttered beliefs and simple faith of the Church's doctrines. Then, as a 19-year-old prospective missionary, I attended my first Temple endowment session... and ran face first into the most confusing and terrifying experience of my life.

Rather than being uplifting, the Temple ceremony scared me and seemed to be at 180 degrees opposition to the simple, unceremonial lifestyle I had grown up in. But I went on my mission, and I returned to visit the Temple many times. In 1979 I married my "mormon sweetheart" in the Temple and endured the endowment ceremony many times after that. But I could never reconcile the "blood-thirsty" actions I was being directed to perform and the whole thing became more and more sophomoric to me.

Finally around 1993, I officially withdrew my membership from the Mormon church. I have to say that, as you mentioned in your article, gaining entrance to the Temple and going through the ceremonies performed there, was the beginning of my loss of faith and belief in all things Mormon. To this day, the things that go on in the Temple are my main objections to the religion and the reasons I will never return to "The Faith".

There are other events which I have lived through that have bolstered my "dis-belief" in the divinity of Mormon doctrine. One of them was the knowledge and education I gained after being ...on a jury that awarded Gary Sheets a $650,000.00 judgement against the City and County of Salt Lake, after detectives and officers gave pages from his deceased wife's diary to the author of the book "A Gathering of Saints".

After that trial, I decided to find out what the TRUE story of Mark Hoffman's involvement with the Mormon church was, and the subsequent realization, that the Mormon's "Prophet of God" sat down with that murderer, the very next day after he had killed one of their own Bishops (Steven Christensen) with a cruel and inhuman bomb, and were only concerned with replacing Christensen as the purchaser of the fictional "McLellan Papers" was just too much for me. You alluded to this in your article, but it was one of the other most profound reasons why I had to lay aside my "suspension of disbelief" and cut my ties to the Mormon church.

You will notice that I have no axe to grind, and no crucial falling out with the Church or anybody in it. I'm where I am now because of my knowledge and understanding which I can no longer deny. I have lost my family; my mother and father, brothers and sister will only speak to me under the most dire of circumstances. I'm divorced from that "mormon sweetheart" and my children have suffered documented, physical abuse from her through the years. But I know what I know, and I can "testify" to the accuracy of nearly all of your assertions.

To this day I remember the Temple ceremony, almost word for word. "Health in the navel, marrow in the bones, strength in the loins and in the sinews. Power of the Priesthood be upon me and upon my posterity through all time and throughout all eternity." Yes I know the words. Yes, I was there, before 1990 when we were forced to pretend that we would cut our own throats, tear out our own hearts, and disembowel ourselves for the sake of keeping those signs and covenants secret. "Sacred" they are not. Abominable they are. And I can never forget that horror.

All these years I have carried it with me, alone. Your article helped me to realize that others HAVE had the same reaction. I've always known I was right. I now know that I'm not alone.

March 6, 2003


My husband and I are Christians, ...[in] Idaho ...My husband was saved out of Mormonism 17 years ago, having been born into the infamous polygamist family of LeBarons from Mexico....God be with you as you speak the truth and call sinners to repentance.

March 6, 2003

Subject: Excommunication

Dear Utah Lighthouse Ministry,

I was raised in Utah as a Mormon, by a very fanatic Mormon mother. Now I'm living in Denmark as an "apostate" of the church. Even though I don't think my mother is aware of just how much I have rejected the Mormon religion she is beginning to send me threatning e-mails telling me that "it is one thing to be inactive in the Church, quite another to be an apostate" and that I should be very careful because if I think that I am not capable of "fighting against the church without consequences" I am severely wrong. You can see what a concerned, loving mother I have concerning my salvation!!

I can handle those sorts of e-mails because I'm so far from Utah, and I have never run into a Mormon here in Denmark. But just the other day I got a letter in the mail from the LDS church here in Denmark. I was in contact with the church when I first came to Denmark, because I was still a faithful Mormon at that time. They have my address. But when I needed them at that time, I never heard a word from them, and now when I don't need them anymore, they send me a list over their activities. I wouldn't be surprised if my mother has contacted them.

But it makes me suddenly afraid that home teachers and visiting teachers are going to be appearing at my door. I don't want anything to do with the LDS church, and I must admit that I am still in a fragile state from my very hard road I tread going out of the church. And so now I'm seriously contemplating my last step out of the Church for good - excommunication.

My question is how do I go about this when I'm so far away from the Churches headquarters? And can I avoid talking to Bishops and general authorities and those kind of things? I feel myself on a nervous breakdown with just the thought of having to talk to these people. ...Thank you for your time.


[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. You would need to send a letter to the bishop of your local ward to inform him that you want your membership terminated. It has to be handled on the local level.

You can state in your letter that you do not want anyone to visit you or phone you, as you will consider it harassment. They are to just send you a letter stating that your membership has been terminated at your request. See How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.]

March 7, 2003

Dear Jerald and Sandra,

I am so very sorry that you have never been properly informormed on the topics of which you write. I am sure [you] know full well what you are doing and that no good will come from it.

March 7, 2003

Subject: Praise Jesus

I just wanted to say that I have never been a Mormon but I am a Christian. The Mormon people are some of the most kind on the planet. If only we Christians had their foot work and organization the enemy would not stand a chance. However, I have read only a little on your site but it's great. Peace to you,

March 7, 2003

Dear S&J

I read a statement in one of your articles a while back, that totally explains the way the LDS church explains there theolgy, and having believed in the LDS church for 34 years, until the Holy Spirit opened my eyes,(6 years ago I became a baptized LCMS Lutheran). The statement you claimed is totally, 100% spot on:

"LDS test the Bible by their prophets. Christians test prophets, pastors and teachers by the Bible."

March 11, 2003

i converted from mormonism to judaism after 25 years... no joseph OR jesus for me


March 11, 2003

Subject question for you

I was a member of the Mormon church for about 7 years till my son asked enough questions that I had to research and finding answers I didn't like and when, as relief society president, I got a bird's eye view of the goings on and the policies of the branch I belonged to.....long story....

anyhow I visited your site for the first time today after watching a story on E! television....I think that is where I seen it....on the salamander letter and it had a part about you and your site.....

I was reading over the changes in the temple ceremony.....I have been endowed.....and I couldn't find anything about the annointing that happens before you go into the room where you watch the movie.....I have always been a little "disturbed" about that part of the ceremony and wonder if you have any info on it.....thank you very much.....you are doing a great work

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. 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 garment, produced by the LDS Church, is available in both one and two-piece styles. The man's is usually of cotton and the woman's of nylon material. On the breasts of all styles 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. The garment is to be worn day and night, except for bathing and athletics. After the person dresses in this garment he/she puts on a white outfit, hat or veil, and slippers. The person will carry a small bundle containing a green apron and white robe to be worn later in the ceremony.

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

March 12, 2003

Subject: Boyd K. Packer talk (abt 1981)

Jerald and Sandra Tanner,

I'm quite impressed with your ability to cut though the crap and get to the facts.

Some of my paternal family started as Mormons in Far West, MO in the 1840's. Some are still in the process of learning that Joseph was a polygamist. But most want to know what's wrong with me because I'm not dumb enough to believe the obvious lies.

[Book of Mormon] Jacob 2:24 -- Behold, David and Solomon truly had many wives and concubines, which thing was abominable before me, saith the Lord.

D&C 132:39 -- David's wives and concubines were given unto him of me, ...and in none of these things did he sin against me save in the case of Uriah and his wife...

So WHO am I worshiping a defender of purity or a PIMP that gives and takes wives and concubines as if they were sheep?

Speaking of truth and or lies, I have seen quotes, from sources other than yourself, about a talk they say was given by Boyd K. Packer "Do Not Spread Disease Germs".(about 1981) He is quoted :

"Some things that are true are not very useful."

"The writer or the teacher who has an exaggerated loyalty to the theory that everything must be told is laying a foundation for his own judgment..."

Do you have or know where I can get a complete copy of this talk?

Thank you.

[Sandra's Note: Apostle Packer's talk, 'The Mantle is Far, Far Greater Than the Intellect', was printed in the BYU Studies, vol.21, Summer 1981, pp.259-278. If you are in the intermountain area it might be in a library near you.]

March 12, 2003

Subject The Apparent Inerrant Word Of God

...Christian scholars are now reaching the same conclusion about the Bible that faithful Latter-day Saints have known all along and they are finally speaking out. ...The truth is, the Holy Bible has errors -- Lots of them! ...

...From everything that we know and with the myriad's of scientific and archeological evidence, your particular views on biblical authority, inerrancy, and infallibility don't exactly add up with all the facts....because multiple errors have been discovered in the manuscript records! ...

Nevertheless, for today's modern Christian religious world, there's an amazing assortment of Christian religious ministers for every conceivable Christian religious belief and everyone wants to make lots of money by selling their various Christian religious ideas -- including you!

...Anyone can justify almost anything by simply using (abusing) the common biblical scripture and people have been doing that for centuries. The common thread running through the Christian community is the canonized Holy Bible and that's where the problem is.

Now, if the Bible is guilty of doing all that, I would strongly suggest that the highly prized biblical canon is anything but authoritative!...Anyone attempting to believe such nonsense is looking more like an idiot and that's not good for the image! ...

However, if you really expect the Latter-day Saints to seriously consider any of your unsolicited censorious criticism of Joseph Smith and the LDS Church, I strongly suggest that you correct all of your own false beliefs first. ...

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Let's look at a few of the issues you raise.

First, the site you mentioned is evidently a discussion board, not a site maintained by Bible scholars. For scholarly information on the Bible see—

Second, if the Bible is not reliable why does the Book of Mormon plagiarize so much material from it? See Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible.

Third, merely because there are different versions of the Bible it does not prove that the message has been altered. The doctrine is the same in the earliest Greek New Testament manuscripts as it is today. See The King James Only Controversy.

Fourth, the LDS scriptures have gone through numerous revisions and doctrinal changes, easily established by comparing various editions at the University of Utah or BYU libraries. Thus, by your standard, they must be of little value for determining correct doctrine. For more on this see, The Joseph Smith's Revelations: Text & Commentary, by Marquardt, The Case Against Mormonism, Vol. 1, by J. & S. Tanner.

Fifth, simply because there are many different Christian churches does not take away from the truth or reliability of the Bible. If that is the standard, Mormonism fails as well. Look at all the groups claiming Joseph Smith as their founder, with totally different beliefs and varying scriptures.

Sixth, if it is wrong for us to sell books about religion is it wrong for Deseret Book to do so? Does the commercialization of religion prove the religion is untrue? How much LDS art work, jewelry, and books are in an LDS home?

Seventh, all of our research can be verified at the University of Utah library, the BYU library, the Utah State Historical Society, and various other libraries and universities around the United States. We do not expect people to just take our word, go check it out.]

March 12, 2003

Subject: Smart Case

I'm certainly glad the SLC area girl [Elizabeth Smart] was reunited with her family. Having children, I can't imagine what a horrific ordeal this has been, if what the press has reported is the truth. When the mormon church publicity juggernaut gets rolling, it's hard to stop.

...Why is it that the missing children cases with the most media attention are from some of the most affluent families in any given community? If this family was a recent victim of our poor economy, laid-off from the aerospace industry and with little financial resources, would the media cover the story? If the family was not in good standing in the mormon church, would the SLC leaders allow the press? They say she may have been brain washed. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.

March 13, 2003

Subject: Elizabeth Smart

Dear Folks,

As most people, I too have followed the Elizabeth Smart story since her abduction last June. Now that she has been found, do you have any information that her abductor may have belonged to a Fundamentalist Mormon Sect that still advocates Plural Marriage?

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: He was originally a good Mormon and temple worker, was later excommunicated for teachings strange doctrines. Evidently he was a loner, not part of one of the regular polygamist groups. The press is indicating that he claimed a revelation that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God but the current leadership has gone astray and he is to take additional wives. His revelation can be read at:


He may have conducted some sort of marriage ceremony in the canyon to convince Elizabeth that she was his plural wife.]

March 13, 2003

Subject: Elizabeth Smart

Hello from Texas,

...I am ... on your mailing list and appreciate the work you are doing. I was astonished to hear how the Elizabeth Smart case turned out, however I was quite suspicious from the beginning that this was not a normal "kidnapping". I don't think I am the only one who is wondering why...

1. The Smarts didn't suspect this "Emmanuel" guy was involved sooner. After all, how many "handymen" did this guy hire? 200? No, probably less than 10.

2. Ed Smart didn't suspect that this "self-appointed prophet" who rambled about Jesus on the street corners in Salt Lake might have something to do with Elizabeth's abduction.

3. Nobody at this "beer party" that was held 2-3 blocks from the Smart home could figure out that the blue eyes and blond haired (her eyebrows and eyelashes would reveal her true colors even if she had a wig on) girl with "Emmanuel" might be Elizabeth.

4. If 2 and 2 were put together this "Emmanuel" character wasn't put under surveillance a lot sooner. If they had video tape of the 3 of them walking through a park in Salt Lake, didn't anyone ever ask who this new 3rd person was?

5. A 15-year old girl who appears very physically fit and athletic couldn't run away or try to make a break when she is right there in her own city where she knew someone would come to her aid right away. I haven't heard of any guns being found on "Emmanuel" so was Elizabeth refraining from such an escape attempt just because she was told not to run!?

I have a strong feeling that we have not heard the end of this story. Sandra, what is your take?

[Sandra's Note: There are many crazy, loose ends with this story, but as for her fleeing, that may be explained by psychological manipulation. Funny how Utah has crazy religious overtones to many of its main crime stories. I get the feeling we have more 'true prophets' than any other state!]

March 13, 2003


I'm a former member of the Church in Brazil. I just wanna write for your ministry cause you must know that your work is important and a lot of people around the world are reading and studing looking for the truth. I left my mission and after one year I left the church, they refused ask my resignation letter so they tried excomunicated me.

I confess that i learned a lot of good things in the Church but by the other side I'm turned a bad son and a confused person. Is very interesting the influence of your work in youths, every youth who access internet know you and discuss your work even in the church class. My former ward now is united with other two weak wards and the Santo André City - Brazil Stake is very weak too, I don't know what will happen with this organization in the future, maybe they will conduct the religion with the same absurdity of the actual Roman Catholic Church. So thank you so much.

Ps.: Forgive my english !!! :-)

March 14, 2003

Subject: Smart Case

Brain washed? Sure. She has been programmed to be brain washed her entire live. Just as her parents, grandparents and pioneer ancestors before them that traveled across the plains were brain washed by Smith and Young. The term brain washed is used in this case because Elizabeth was taught something against her parents beliefs. I think these people who took her are completely out of line and should be convicted to the highest extent of the law. Maybe this guy was only trying to do what Smith did, take young wife's. Personally I'm convinced mormons have been brain washed.

March 14, 2003

Subject: The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith

Hello guys,

Thanks again for all of your painstaking work. I am witnessing to a family of Mormons here in San Diego, CA, and slowly making progress with at least one family member.

My question is, has the recent reprinting of The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith had things removed from it like the church has done in the past? Mainly, I am concerned with the first vision reports. I am going to reference these, like Jerald says to in his tape "Problems in Winning Mormons." Should I buy the new version, or should I spring for the older edition (fairly expensive at Eborn Books)? Is there another Mormon source? ...

Thanks so much for your time,

[Sandra's Note: Personal Writings still has Smith's 1832, 1835 and 1838 first vision material. What they took out was a couple of Mark Hofmann forgeries. The current printing is a good source, no sense spending extra for the first ed. The first vision accounts are also in the book An American Prophet's Record.]

March 14, 2003

Subject: missionary encounter

When the missionaries came to my door, they try to get me to accept Joseph Smith and his (so called) prophesy. I told them the issue isn't Joseph Smith, but accepting Jesus. I love the Mormon friends I have had when I lived in Wyoming, but oh gosh I feel so sorry for them being entangled with so much false doctrine/teaching. They were so sincere and hospitable.


March 15, 2003

I have great respect and appreciation for your research. We remember your reaction and comments on the SLC bombings....

Thank you.

March 16, 2003

My question is regarding the restoration. I have been reading recently that the Book of Mormon states that the Apostle John never died, and was allowed to remain on the earth until the second coming, 3 Ne 28:7 -

Therefore, more blessed are ye, for ye shall never taste of death; but ye shall live to behold all the doings of the Father unto the children of men, even until all things shall be fulfilled according to the will of the Father, when I shall come in my glory with the powers of heaven.

If this is what Mormons believe, and presumably John never lost his authority....how do the LDS get around this problem with their line of authority never being broken in the first place. There was no need for Joseph Smith to restore anything.

I look forward to hearing from you.


[Sandra's Note: Not only do the Mormons believe John did not die but stayed on earth (D&C sec.7) the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 28, also promised three Nephite apostles that they would stay on earth until Jesus comes back. So there should have been four men on earth with the priesthood and capable of ordaining others. So why or how did the priesthood end? They don't usually have an answer for this.]

March 16, 2003

Have any figures ever been released about how many persons quit the Mormon church?

[Sandra's Note: The Mormons don't release that type of information. They only tell the number of converts and baptisms, not how many leave.]

March 17, 2003

Subject: ~1833 version of D&C

I was reading in one of Francis Darter's books (IIRC), and I understand that in approximately 1833 the church composed and prepared a version of the D&C which removed 90 or so whole sections, saying, "they have no enduring value to our time". I do know that many people at that time had raised severe questions and concerns about the Church publishing such a volume.

QUESTION 1: Did this D&C version actually get published, or did they pull it before actually publishing it?

QUESTION 2: If it did in fact get published, would a library or perhaps BYU have a copy to view?

QUESTION 3: What documentation exists now that would go into more detail about this incident?

Thank you in advance for helping me with this.

[Sandra's Note: Several things in your note seem confused. The first printing of Smith's revelations in book form was done in 1833, in a volume titled Book of Commandments.

Then in 1835 Smith changed some of the revelations, added some new ones, added a section called the Lectures on Faith, and changed the name to Doctrine and Covenants.

We sell a photo-reprint of these books under the title Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 2. This reprint is also sold at LDS bookstores.

Other changes in the Doctrine and Covenants were made through the years, with a few various revelations added and deleted. These various editions would be at the BYU library, University of Utah and the Utah State Historical Society Library. In 1921 the LDS Church removed the Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine and Covenants since the lectures taught that there were only two in the godhead, the father (a spirit without a body) and the son (who has a resurrected body)—the Holy Ghost being the mind of the two.]

March 17, 2003

Subject: Re: Elizabeth Smart

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Tanner,

Greetings from a researcher in Toronto, Canada.

I was perusing your fascinating site just now and ordered one of your books. Currently, I am looking for anomalous data on Elizabeth Smart and/or her family. I understand that they were Mormons. Perhaps you had some arcane news regarding her disappearance that didn't make it through the filters of the controlled media.

I am also reading an issue of your excellent Salt Lake City Messenger. ...Peace of Christ,

[Sandra's Note: Look in past issues of Salt Lake City Weekly. Here is their link, you can do a search on Elizabeth Smart and find their articles, http://www.slweekly.com]

March 17, 2003

Subject: Faith


Just found your site! I have many questions because I am a member of LDS.

I will say I am a Christian therefore, would you please explain why you feel LDS is not of Christanity? because I following the teachings of Christ himself and the church I attend, which does bare his name, is where my soul feels home and the comforts of fellowship when pondering the word of God.

My second question, what other religions or faiths do you disagree with?

My third question, what have you read in the book of mormon that specificly stands against God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit? I am not writing to argue the word of God, but as I see we both believe in God, the God of Abraham, then of course we can ponder the word of God together? May peace be with you and your house.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. I assure you I have read the LDS scriptures many times, prayed about them, and feel assured that God led me to the evidence that they are man-made.

I am puzzled that the Mormons want to be accepted as part of the larger body of Christian churches since Smith claimed God told him "I must join none of them, for they were all wrong; and...all their creeds were an abomination in his sight..." (Pearl of Great Price, Joseph Smith-History 1:19)

Since Joseph Smith proclaimed that all other churches were in total apostasy and that only the LDS Church, and its ordinances, could lead a person back to the presence of God the Father, one can hardly be surprised that people of other churches would question his claims. Why should anyone accept his word or accept him as a prophet? We believe that the facts of his life clearly demonstrate that he was not such a prophet.

One of the basic problems with accepting the LDS Church as Christian is its non-Biblical view of God. Here are statements by four of the past LDS presidents. LDS Prophet Joseph Smith taught that God was once a mortal man:

"God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. ...I am going to tell you how God came to be God. We have imagined and supposed that God was God from all eternity. I will refute that idea, and take away the veil,...

It is the first principle of the gospel to know for a certainty the character of God, ...and that He was once a man like us; yea, that God himself, the Father of us all, dwelt on an earth, the same as Jesus Christ Himself did; ...you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another,... from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings. and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power" (History of the Church, Vol.6, Ch.14, p.305-6).

LDS President Brigham Young declared that God was once a finite being

"It appears ridiculous to the world, under their darkened and erroneous traditions, that God has once been a finite being" (Deseret News, Nov.16, 1859, p.290).

LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith said that God had a father, a grandfather, etc.

"Our father in heaven, according to the Prophet, had a father, and since there has been a condition of this kind through all eternity, each Father had a Father" (Doctrines of Salvation, 247).

LDS President Joseph F. Smith taught that God was born as a mortal on some other earth

"I know that God is a being with body, parts and passions...Man was born of woman; Christ, the Savior, was born of woman; and God, the Father was born of woman" (Deseret News, Church News, Sept.19, 1936, p.2).

However, the Bible declares there is only one God, who has always been God for all eternity past and that there will be no other.

"I am he; before me there was no God formed neither shall there be after me. I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour." (Isa. 43:10-11)

"I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God....Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any." (Isa. 44:6&8)

"To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?...for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me." (Isa. 46:5&9)

Mormonism speaks of Christ, but it is a different Jesus than standard Christianity. The Bible declares that Jesus has always been God, not that he achieved it in some distant past as the Mormons claim.

Another problem is what constitutes the word of God? Mormonism adds three books to the cannon of scripture which introduce many different doctrines. Why should anyone accept these revelations of Smiths? What are the evidences that he was a man of God? Our research shows a man of greatly flawed moral character.

The LDS doctrines, scriptures, temple ceremony, etc. have all gone through repeated changes. Why? If God gave them they wouldn't need changed. Truth will stand up to investigation.

We are firm believers in freedom of speech. We do not want to stop the Mormons from being able to spread their message. We only ask for the same opportunity.]

March 19, 2003

Subject pastor walters

Hello.....I am interested in the life of a Pastor Wesely Walters who was a researcher of mormon history. Is there any information or any picture of him anywhere on the internet ? Is the UTLM ministry able to provide me with any information to help me with my interest in this man who discovered the trial records for the Joe Smith fortune telling case? Any help would be most appreciated.

Thank you.

[Sandra's Note: Pastor Walters (1926-1990) was a dear friend of ours. We met and corresponded with him for almost 30 years. He was the pastor of the Presbyterian Church in Marissa, Ill. for over thirty years. During that time he spent his free time traveling to Mormon sites and researching in libraries and archives in the East relative to Smith's early years. Some of his major finds were the documents relating to Joseph Smith's 1826 arrest as a "glass looker" and his research in the various New York Protestant church records for the 1815-1825 time period relative to Smith's claimed vision in 1820 after he attended revival meetings in the area. Several of his writings are listed on our booklist.]

March 19, 2003

Subject: Question about the names Moroni and Comoros

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner,

I came across a reference to the city of Moroni located on one of the Comoros Islands (Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros). Is there any reason to suspect that Joseph Smith lifted these names from a contemporary map or other publication for his use in the Book of Mormon? It seems like a potentially incriminating piece of evidence if these place names were available to him and if their known linguistic origin (if it is known) doesn't connect to the claimed ancient origns of the Book of Mormon. Are you aware of any solid research on this?

Thanks in advance for any information or references.

[Sandra's Note: A common school book in Joseph Smith's day was Geography Made Easy by Jedidiah Morse, 1813 (I own an original). On p.356 there is mention of the "Comora Islands" off the coast of Africa. While the capital, Moroni, is not given in the Morse book, I am sure Smith somehow heard of the two names and then incorporated them into the Book of Mormon. Moroni was also the name of an Italian painter, but I believe Smith borrowed the names from the island. The use of 'Comora' (spelled variously in different books) and 'Moroni' together in the Book of Mormon seems to be just too much for mere coincidence.]

March 19, 2003


My husband and I are born-again Christians and we were attending a church that was passing out two books to the married couples. One was for the husband to read and the other was for the wife. The names of the books are: Fascinating Womenhood and the other was Men of Velvet/Men of Steel. It was written by Helen Anderlin and her husband. We confronted the elders that were passing out the books becuase they were written by mormons and the Fascinating Womanhood book seemed to be manipulative and seductive.

I was just wondering if you ever read these two books and if they are circulated in the mormon church and what you think of them and of born-again christians using them in their church for married couples?

I look forward to hearing back from you.

[Sandra's Note: I didn't even know her books were still being used or in print. They were once very popular in Mormon circles in the 1970's but I hardly ever hear of them now.

Besides the fact that she is a devout Mormon, I would be leery of her writings since they seem to be based on practicing a certain amount of deception and manipulation instead of equal partners treating each other with mutual respect. Is this really the type of Christian women or marriages we want? Are Christian women to act like helpless little girls instead of competent women of faith? The women of the Bible were strong women of courage. Surely there are more current, better balanced Christian books on women's issues than one by a devout Mormon written back in the 1970's. I hope your elders will give this a second look.]

March 20, 2003

Hi Sandra;

My name is _____. I just read about you and your husband in Charisma magazine. All of a sudden, I'm having opportunities to witness to Mormons. I love Jesus and I see the error in some of the LDS beliefs. My question is, what is the best book of video I can share with my Mormon friends?

May God Bless you both. I'm in awe of your perseverance through the years. Talk about having a lot of guts to go against the flow. You're an amazing couple!


[Sandra's Note: Look at our Topical Index for more info. As for sharing with a Mormon friend, the videos Lost Book of Abraham and DNA vs Book of Mormon are both good. For an overview see The Mormon Puzzle (could be shown to a Mormon) or Mormonism—A Christian View (more for a Christian).

One thing you can ask a Mormon is about their view of God. You could print out Smith's King Follett sermon from our web site and then show it to a Mormon with the question as to whether or not they agree with Smith. You can just say something like, 'I was wondering what Mormons believe and someone told me about this sermon. Since it seems to be very different from what I see in the Bible I was wondering if all Mormons believe Smith's teaching?' If they say no, ask why they are Mormon then and why they would hold Smith to be a prophet. If they say yes, you can discuss the Book of Isaiah which seems to be teaching something opposite of Smith. See Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints and How Do We Test a Prophet?.

A good book for a Mormon is An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, by a retired LDS Institute of Religion teacher. They can't accuse you of giving them 'anti' Mormon literature, he is still a member. But he raises very tough questions about the origins of the LDS faith. For a Mormon woman, maybe Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, the biography of Joseph Smith's wife by two LDS women historians. These can be used as sort of first steps into questioning Mormonism.]

March 20, 2003

Subject: money

Do you know of solid evidence that Hinkley and the rest make alot of money? My father thinks they are independently wealthy cuz they're so smart.


[Sandra's Note: See our page: Do Mormon Leaders Receive Financial Support?

LDS Pres. Gordon Hinckley has worked for the church almost his whole life. In the 2001-2002 Deseret News Church Almanac, available from LDS bookstores, p. 22 shows that he was hired by the church right after his mission. If he has money, it wasn't from some career before working for the church.]

March 22, 2003

Subject: Thank you

Jerald and Sandra,

I am sure you receive so much e-mail, but I just have to thank you for your efforts. I am a 23 yr. old Christian woman and I have several Mormon friends. My ... sister is not a Christian, but is newly open to finding the Truth. That being the case, one of my Mormon friends is eager to tell her all about his religion, while I am speaking to her about the real Jesus. I'm praying she will come to know Him and accept his offer of salvation. Thank you once again, for shedding light on Mormon doctrine. God bless you both, and I wish you much peace!

In Christ,

March 23, 2003

Dear Sandra,

Hello. I want to firstly thank you for all you[r] help and time in answering my questions dealing with Mormonism. ...I made a visit to the [LDS] Museum of Church History and Art. There I talked to a man who, after an hour, confused me as to what the Bible teaches. I wasn't sure if the Bible taught about three gods or one God. Also I was confused about its description of the plan of salvation. ... At your bookstore I bought Forgotten Trinity. It was so helpful and extensive. By the time I was finished, I was convinced in my mind that the Bible teaches about one God in three persons....After all was said & done, I realized that the error of my way was not knowing the Bible....

March 24, 2003


GOD BLESS YOU..........

March 25, 2003

Hi there. I'm writing today because I received the Messenger in my mail today, as I do periodically. Today it stirred up some passionate feelings....I feel so frustrated!

I read about the bishop in Australia and I just can't understand why my family is so reluctant to read or really talk about any of the material I have learned since I left the Mormon Church and became Christian.

I'm not perfect, but I strive to be a good example and I certainly pray for them. Six and a half years have passed and my husband has only come to the ...Church that I attend with me and my kids one time. I still have the feeling if I told him tomorrow that I've decided that we need to be married in the temple that he'd probably go for it even though he hasn't been an active Mormon for a long time. My mother and father and step parents and siblings and cousins and grandparents are all active LDS members. I am thankful that my kids and myself are believers in Christ if nothing else but I have to admit that I'm sad and frustrated that not one member of my family including my husband has been influenced since God called me to be a Christian. I feel like such a failure.

My brother, who is part black, and was adopted by my parent's through the LDS Church 21 years ago, recently read some of Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? at my home and I witnessed to him, and he told me that the information in the book was biased! I simply can't understand how anyone when faced with the truth who has even a high school education can continue to believe Mormonism. I'm so frustrated and would like to find out how other families in the SLC area actually came to Christ.

I was a black sheep growing up. I challenged everything. It's normally a bad quality to be such a rebel as I, so just like the song, sometimes I Stand All Amazed that God chose me. I am 31, and my parent's hold moderately high positions in the church. Is there anyone out there like me who's parent's have come to Christ? Brother's or sister's? Husband's?

It seems that some find Christ so easily, after discovering this or that about the Mormons. I've shown my parent's and they say I and the information I have attained are stumbling blocks put out by Satan. Of course I choose God, but I miss them. Is there anyone like me?

[Sandra's Note: Yes, there are many. Try posting on the discussion board at www.irr.org/mit. They will give you some encouragement.]

March 25, 2003

Hello Sandra, I just received your l00th issue of the Messenger. I must say; I already new alot of the stories; so I knew they were true. When you put them all together; it is alot....Thank you for your work.

March 26, 2003

Subject: mormon funerals?

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner,

I have some of your books and have found them to be extremely helpful over the years as all my sibblings and parents are LDS and I am a Christian...

Sooner or later there will be funerals to attend and not being raised in the organization I have questions about how things are done. Are there things that I should know about Mormon funerals beforehand? What should I expect? Could I attend in good conscience?

I would much appreciate any response you have the time to give to this question. My goal is to witness to the family by a constant life of Christ in humility and honest conversation.


[Sandra's Note: If the funeral is for an active Mormon who went through the temple ritual, he/she will be buried in the temple clothing (i.e. white shirt and pants or long white dress, white robe over one shoulder, green apron. Men have a soft round white hat, sort of like a baker's hat. Women will have a veil, about a yard square. These head coverings are put on just before closing the casket.) A fellow Mormon usually dresses the body in the temple clothing prior to the viewing.

At the funeral they usually have someone sing, someone gives a brief overview of the person's life and church participation, the Bishop usually gives a few words, sometimes another musical number, then they close in prayer. They are told to keep these simple. (I have been to a few where they spoke so highly of the person I almost thought I was in the wrong funeral.) They then go to the grave-side where they say a prayer of dedication over the site and pray that God will preserve the body until the resurrection.

As for attending, I attend my family's funerals. I don't feel this is a compromise as I do want to extend my sympathies to them. They all know I don't believe Mormonism so I don't feel any need to make a point at such gatherings, just show my love and support. I also attend LDS wedding receptions. However, I draw the line at attending LDS baptisms or missionary farewells. Each person must weight these issues out in his/her own mind.]

March 26, 2003

If God is total love and he has all power, why did he create us His eternal inferiors?

[Sandra's Note: The key is in the word 'create'—created beings are always going to be inferior to the creator. God has always existed, we have not, thus we are inferior to him.]

March 26, 2003

Subject: charismatic Mormons

Dear Tanners,

I grew up in SLC and now pastor a church in Texas....Here's my question: Are there any "charismatic Mormons"? Aren't there references to some of the old-timers speaking in tongues etc.? As a child, I remember one converted Mormon telling that she remember her LDS grandfather as a tongues speaker.

Thanks for your help.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, early Mormonism had many members that claimed to speak in tongues. This is outlined in an article by Dan Vogel and Scott Dunn, " 'The Tongue of Angels' Glossolalia among Mormonism's Founders", Journal of Mormon History, vol. 19, no. 2, Fall 1993, pp.1-34. They quote from David Whitmer's book An Address To All Believers in Christ, p. 33, where he mentions that some spoke in tongues at the founding of Mormonism in 1830. Vogel and Scott then quote many other sources of glossolalia among early Mormons, such as Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball. A number of Smith's plural wives also claimed to speak in tongues.

The Mormon's 'Articles of Faith', in the Pearl of Great Price, states:

"7. We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, and so forth."

Today there are a few Mormons who privately claim to have this gift but generally the LDS Church does not allow speaking in tongues in their meetings. They usually say the gift is manifested when young missionaries are able to learn a new language in a very short time. However, early Mormonism practiced it in much the same way as charismatic Christians do today, in an unknown tongue.]

March 26, 2003

Subject: praying in TN

Mrs. Tanner,

.... Once again we thank you for allowing us to visit your ministry last Wednesday and for further educating us on the spiritual war waged against the LDS church. Our group of seven [from a college in Tenn.] commits to pray specifically for Utah Lighthouse Ministries each Wednesday through this semester. ... HIS peace to you, and HIS blessings as well,

March 26, 2003

Dear Friends,

We just received issue 100 of Salt Lake City Messenger & find it so very interesting. Many months ago I asked about some materials and you sent me a bunch & did not even bill me. Thank you so much. ...

The letters you receive & print are very interesting. Several just simply rant & rave. Then there are those who show the love of Christ for those who are "deceived and deceiving others." ...

May God bless you for your devoted and fearless service to the LDS people.


March 26, 2003

Subject: "i know without a doubt!"

hey!...thanks to the fact that i have finally decided to answer the numerous questions that i was told to "put on a shelf", I AM FREE!!! I am especially thankful to your site for opening the "can of worms" for me! it seems that each time i have a thought or a question about "the church", i can turn to you for the answers. my life-long goal is not to bash "the church", but to open the eyes of my blind, programmed friends that i (we) had to leave behind.

my question for today is a tough one. simply put, what do i say and what resources are available to use to back me when one of my mormon friends tell me that they are happy that i have made my decision about "the church", but that they "KNOW THAT THE CHURCH IS TRUE WITHOUT A SHADOW OF A DOUBT!". this is a tough one! thanks again!!!

[Sandra's Note: A great book to give a Mormon is An Insider's View of Mormon Origins, by Grant Palmer, a retired LDS Institute of Religion director. He clearly lays out the historical problems of Mormonism's foundational claims. Or the book Where Does it Say That? which contains dozens of photos from early LDS sources documenting some of the more crazy statements of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith. All of our research and that used in the various books we sell can be seen at libraries here in Utah, like the University of Utah and the BYU library.

You need to point out that feelings are not an infallible guide. Otherwise there wouldn't be so many religions throughout the world. Jehovah's Witnesses are just as convinced that they have the truth, have missionaries around the world, and have suffered persecution, etc. but that doesn't make them true.]

March 27, 2003


i read about you in charisma magazine for this month. did you know that the tanners were featured in it? may they continue to carry this torch of the Light of the gospel to the unsaved mormon people.

[A few years ago] i ran the .... marathon in utah, and am good friends with a woman there. ...she did not mention wearing the holy garment, do only higher-up people in the church wear that?... thank u for your work


[Sandra's Note: Mormons who have gone on missions and/or have been married in an LDS temple, wear the special undergarment. Most Mormons would never mention wearing the special underwear to outsiders. They are allowed to remove the garment for bathing and sporting events.]

March 27, 2003

Subject: splinter groups

Hello again,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Question. Talking with a young Mormon teen in our town. He says there are only two LDS groups, the Salt Lake group and the RLDS. I thought I read once that there are many other splinter groups. ... Not necessary to name them all, but would appreciate maybe five names.

Again, many thanks....


[Sandra's Note: There is a book called Divergent Paths of the Restoration, which lists about 100 different groups basing their teachings on Joseph Smith.

There is the Church of Christ (Temple Lot) in Independence, Mo., the Order of Aaron (founded by M. Glendenning) in Eskdale, UT. These two are non-polygamist groups.

The polygamist groups include the True and Living Church of Jesus Christ of Saints of the Last Days, in Manti, UT (-founded by J. Harmston); Church of the Lamb of God and Apostolic United Brethern, here in Salt Lake (the Allreds); the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in Hildale, Ut. (Rulon Jeffs) and the Latter-day Church of Christ (the Kingstons) in Bountiful, UT. There are many more.

These have all been in the local news in the last few years.]

March 27, 2003

Subject: help with removal of name

I sent my letter to the President of the LDS church, bishop, records, and Stake President 51 days ago. I have gotten it all the way to Records Department from the Stake President. [The person] from confidential records department has told me that they have completed the process on March 20th, but I have yet to receive a confirmation letter. They have no tracking number because they send it regular mail and tell me that I can not come down and pick up a copy of the letter. Is there anything I can do at this point to get the verification letter right away?

Please help with any suggestions.

By how much I have had to fight with them every step of the way with them always telling me they have done their part, when they haven't I do not trust that they have actually removed my name until I have something in writing.


[Sandra's Note: Send him another letter outlining your situation, that their letter got lost, etc. Since their first letter was evidently lost in the mail it should be relatively easy for them to send another one. Then state that either a duplicate of the original or a new letter stating that your membership has been terminated as you requested should be immediately sent. This is not unreasonable, demand that they supply a letter. State that if you do not immediately receive a letter from them you will be forced to go to the media with the story of how they give people the runaround.

Let me know what happens. If they won't resend it, write up your whole experience and send it to me for the letters to the editor section of our web site (we delete names so you won't have to worry about repercussions).]

March 27, 2003

Subject: Retirement

I just read where the Tanner's are contemplating retirement [Salt Lake City Weekly Article]. I'll be sad to see them go but I understand that at a certain period in one's life certain decisions must be made for the sake of health and well being. I know they will be leaving the lighthouse ministry in good hands and someone will carry on the good works the Tanner's began many years ago.

Folks with the personalities such as the Tanners will probably never completely retire. They may not come into work everyday, but I feel they will probably not sit still and do nothing. Their above average intelligence and work ethic will not stop.

I wish them well in whatever course in life they choose.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the kind words. Jerald has retired but I hope to keep working for some years. Then I hope to turn the ministry over to someone else so it won't end.]

March 27, 2003

Subject: Comments

I just received the books that I ordered from your ministry. I read the book "Gentile Girl" in just a few hours and I could relate so well. As a recent convert, I attended BYU in the late 1980s. During my sophomore year I read the bible and I was horrified. I left the school and the church and was baptized as a Baptist. I have been very uncomfortable around LDS members since then, never wanting to talk about religion or my experiences at the Y. Your publications have given me strength.

I admire your strength and the strength of your convictions. I found Provo to be the unhappiest place I had ever been. I have not been back since 1989 though I am planning a trip to Park City this summer. You are the salt and the light in a region of darkness....Thank you and may God bless you and your ministry.

In Christ,

March 27, 2003

I thought the add for "Blue Boutique" next to the article about you in City Weekly was quite fitting. Trash belongs with trash.

March 28, 2003

Subject: Legality of baby blessings

I recently saw an article about your organization in the City Weekly and thought maybe you would be a good source for some questions that I need clarified. I'm a born in the church, 31 year-old male who never really believed in the Mormon religion and quit going but never resigned. My wife and I just had our first child, my father is insistent that we give him a Mormon blessing.

My father is in his late 70's and his some serious health problems. We've been going at it concerning blessing my kid and I am afraid that by arguing with my dad, I am causing him some undo stress and I don't want this argument to be the catalyst for him to have a stroke, heart attack, or other serious problems. (This is a very emotional issue for him and he isn't interested in reason.) However, since I don't believe in the Mormon religion I feel strongly about not giving my child a Mormon blessing.

My questions are, what is the importance of a Mormon blessing vs. saying good words over the kid in some kind of religious neutral blessing? And, if I acquiesce and allow him to give my son a Mormon blessing, does my child's name go on the church records to be used in marketing the church's growth, etc. Would we have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get his name removed? Will it open our family up to being hassled by the missionaries or local ward do-gooders. Are there any other drawbacks for which I should be aware?


[Sandra's Note: If the blessing is done as an official LDS act it will mean the child's name and address will be entered on the LDS rolls, not as a member, but as one who was blessed/named by the authority of their priesthood (which means he/she is a prime target for baptism). They think that an official blessing is kind of a spiritual protection for the kidóbut it really amounts to the start of membership. It is when the child officially receives his/her name before God. They do not allow the mother to take part in this blessing—it is done by the PRIESTHOOD. They will then keep track of the child and do follow-up visits through the years to try to win the kid over. I strongly suggest not doing this, unless you like contact with Mormon visitors/missionaries.

Gently inform your father that he can pray for your child all he wants at his church and his home but that since you do not believe in the LDS Church there is no point in an official ceremony by one of their priesthood holders (who would be your father, but could be done by any elder). You could invite him to join with you in a non-church sponsored prayer for the child at your home, where the whole family could join inóincluding the women, and you and your wife could just ask God to bless your child with health, wisdom and integrity, etc.]

March 28, 2003

Subject: the elizabeth smart case

I was wondering if you are going to have any commentary on the strangeness of the beliefs of the man who took Elizabeth in comparison to practices and beliefs of early Mormonism--the media portray the whole thing as someone from a normal belief system taken by someone from an abnormal one--they seem totally unaware of the weird things Joseph and Brigham, the beloved founders, did in their time.

Thanks. I especially enjoy the letters you put in your newsletter--reason for hope.

[Note: You can read Mitchell's "revelation" here:


The whole thing goes right back to Joseph Smith and his taking 14 year old girls as plural wives. Since Elizabeth would have been raised to accept the Doctrine and Covenants, which still contains sec.132 on polygamy, as scripture, it might have made it easier to convince her she should enter polygamy with Mitchell.]

March 28, 2003

Dear Jerald & Sandra,

I just read the 100th Commemorative Issue from cover to cover. You have done a remarkable service to us Christians who are concerned about so many people in the Mormon Church that are separated from The Truth of who who Jesus Christ really is. Enclosed is a contribution to your ministry with our thanks....

March 29, 2003

Subject: Which medication

In reading your writings and knowing that you live in Utah. I have to ask which one or both of you has been on Prozak for too long.

Your writings sound like the writings of someone who is in drug induced delusions. As you may know Prozak has many side-effects some common ones are hallucinations, delusions, untouch with reality.

You guys really crack me up. Your paranoia shows through in the fact that you believe that the L.D.S church is conspiring with the CIA and KGB. Your guys are just a small pimple on the ass of life and most people including the church just get a good laugh at your stupidity. Most of those you think you have drawn away from the church are probably on the Prozak also.

March 30, 2003

Subject: support needed

Thank you for your website - I came out of Mormonism and accepted Christ 3 years ago - I work for an all Mormon company [in Utah] that provides for some difficult circumstances....

March 31, 2003

Subject: what an interesting site

dear mr. and mrs tanners, a very interesting web site. i have always wondered why people belong to the Mormon church. it seems to be way off. keep up the good work. i also read an article that says you might be retiring.

good luck, your new friend and reader,

[Sandra's Note: Jerald has retired but I am still working at the ministry and hope to for some years yet.]

March 31, 2003

Perhaps you do not know the spirit when it speaks to you. You may one day believe your God when His prophet has things to say to you, but maybe not in this life time. Perhaps you just aren't ready.

Your Friend,

March 31, 2003

Subject: membership....

Dear Tanners:

I just read the article about you in the City Weekly. Thank You for your work!

I grew up going to the Mormon church, and making a long story short, saw the fraud of it in about 1987 (the whole thing makes me cringe)......

I don't like having my name on their records, needless to say, the church does not reflect my heart and mind AT ALL anymore......how can I go about removing my name from their records? My children would probably be interested to know too. Seems ridiculous to go through the whole "excommunication" thing.

[Sandra's Note: You will need to send a letter to your local bishop stating that they are to terminate your membership. See our page How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.]

March 31, 2003

Subject: Packet of information


We just moved into the SLC area and are trying to figure out this land of Mormons. We have been strong Christians since 1999 when we finally started listening to God, instead of just ourselves. Could you please send us a packet of information to us? We just read the article in Salt Lake City Weekly March 27 issue....Thanks you so much! We would love to meet you someday. ...God bless,

March 31, 2003

God bless you. The Mormons have my son. He is mentally ill & they want him to give blood so he can give to [the] church. He thinks he will go or be in Hell if he doesn't! He has been to the temple, etc. ...

Thank you

March 31, 2003

I have family in the lds church. I have provided alot of info to them about the errors of the church. they still resort to their "testimony" and are seriously blind....God bless and thank you, you guys are awesome!!!

March 31st, 2003

Dear Jerald & Sandra Tanner:

The last issue of The Salt Lake City Messenger (Issue 100, March 2003) contained a reference to something that I've heard rumored for years in Arizona and New Mexico; specifically, that the first Negro 'priest' in the "Mormon church" received his "priesthood" through the performance of unusual favors to "L.D.S. church" founder Joseph Smith....Do you have any further information on the person or Mormon career of Elijah Abel?

[Sandra's Note: Elijah Abel was ordained an elder in Ohio in1836 and made a Seventy in 1841 in Illinois. In Nauvoo Abel was both a mortician and personal aid to Joseph Smith. See our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?, ch. 21, or Mormons and Negroes.]

March 31, 2003

Subject: Membership Removal!

I just received in the mail the confirmation letter that I am no longer a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints! I also received my Baptism certificate from the Pentecostal Church I attend. I was baptized on March 23, 2003 and I am so happy I am no longer associated with that cult! I am a Christian and there is no better feeling than knowing that accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior I have eternal life in Heaven.

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