letterstotheeditorsmall.jpg (14279 bytes)


July 2004
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

July 1, 2004

where in the book of mormon can i find the story about the 3 nephites that prayed to god so that they could live for ever, i use this to disprove the aposticy but i have completely forgot where i can find it, i think its in 2 nephi but i dont know, and where do they get john living for ever, that just seems weird to me.

thanks for the help

[Sandra's Note: According to Smith's revelations, John the Apostle was promised that he would never die, but remain on earth to bring souls to Christ (D&C 7). The Book of Mormon teaches that when Christ appeared here in America, after his crucifixion, he promised three Nephite disciples that they, too, would never die, but remain on earth to bring people to faith (3 Nephi 28:6-8). At least as late as 1988 stories of the three Nephites appearing to someone were still circulating. Here are two quotes from the article 'Freeways, Parking Lots, and Ice Cream Stands: The Three Nephites in Contemporary Society,' by William A. Wilson:

In 1940 and 1942 Austin Fife published "The Three Nephites in Popular Tradition," a ground-breaking collection of fifty-two texts, and "Popular Legends of the Mormons," which contained a summary of the main features of the stories. In describing the Nephites, Fife gave a capsule summary of the legend that has served to the present day:

In localities of Utah, Idaho, and other states where the Mormon faith is prevalent, one frequently hears accounts of the miraculous appearance and disappearance of kindly, white-bearded old men who bring messages of the greatest spiritual importance, give blessings in exchange for hospitality, lead lost people to safety, and perform various other miraculous deeds. These old men are said by the people to be the "Three Nephites" (1940, 1). [p.14]

Stories of the Three Nephites...are still very much a part of contemporary Mormon society. In our unguarded moments, in a testimony meeting, in a Sunday school class, in intimate conversations with small groups of friends, in the family circle—when critical perceptions are tuned low and the spiritual vibrations are strong—in these moments the Nephite stories circulate among us. [p.25] ("Freeways, Parking Lots, and Ice Cream Stands: The Three Nephites in Contemporary Society," by William A. Wilson, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 21, No. 3, Fall 1988, pp. 14 and 25)

In my experience growing up in Mormonism, Three Nephite stories were most often told by my grandmother's generation. However, my uncles (on the Young side of the family) claim the honor of creating a few Nephite legends in Arizona when they were boys. They would occasionally sneak along the outside of a house, up to the kitchen window, and steal the pie that was set on the ledge to cool. Often in the next Fast and Testimony Meeting (first Sunday of the month) some woman would stand up and give her testimony that one of the Three Nephites had visited her house and taken a pie. I don't know how often such stories are related today.]

July 2, 2004

The Lord's statement that there would be "false Christs and false prophets" reflects the reality that He expected us to have true prophets and apostles on the earth, otherwise why make the distinction. He could just have warned us about prophets in general.

Are true prophets and apostles expected to be infallible? A study of the New Testament shows true prophets and apostles making and admitting to making mistakes. If you believe the New Testament apostles despite their imperfections you should extend the same courtesy to the past and present leaders of the restored Church.

Your website depicts the Church as being led by pathological liars. What have all LDS leaders, or any member for that matter, had to gain by serving faithfully in the Church all these years?

Prophets are mentioned throughout the Holy Bible. If we didn't believe that God expects us to listen to them, then we would be going against what the Scriptures have taught for thousands of years.

[Sandra's Note: — Marvin Cowan addresses these topics in his book, Mormon Claims Answered. I suggest you read Chapter 7.

How much 'fallibility' can a man exhibit before determining that he is a 'false prophet'? Read How Do We Test a Prophet? and A Sample of Joseph Smith's False Prophecies.

Another site dealing with Smith's failure as a prophet is www.josephlied.com.]

July 2, 2004

Some years ago I asked your help, I wanted to resign my L.D.S. Church membership. Your advice was to do it in the form of a letter and subsequently have had my name removed from the roles. My constant search has been ongoing all these years, and I am blessed indeed to move toward a personal relationship with our loving inclusive triune God. May God continue to bless Sandra and Gerald Tanner.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the encouraging words. For those wanting information on how to send a letter to their bishop, see—

As well as this on another site:

http://www.irr.org/mit/exit-letters.html ]

July 3, 2004

Subject: Meeting w/ Missionaries

I am interested in the latest "Mormon evidences" related to archaeology, the pre-history of the Americas, etc. My Bible study is meeting for the 3rd time with Mormon missionaries next Sunday afternoon, and they promised to bring some of these type of evidences.

Do you have any information on the latest "evidences" that missionaries are using, along with any helpful historical perspective from the scholarly community?

I am a former Campus Crusade for Christ staff member, having worked at the Univ. of Utah for six years, so I know the basics of Mormonism and I have many of your materials, including the 1969 version of "Archaeology and the Book of Mormon". But I would like to hear anything that is "up to date" in the witnessing materials of the missionaries.


[Sandra's Note: Our November, 2004 newsletter will deal with some of the issues challenging Book of Mormon historicity. Some Mormons assume archeological sites have been found but the LDS Church has not published any such 'official' claim and they publish no map of Book of Mormon lands. See my comments on their claim of finding Nahom in the June 14, 2001 Letters to the Editor, recopied here:


In the February, 2001, issue of the LDS magazine Ensign, there was a small notice, on p.79, that stated:

Book of Mormon Linked to Site in Yemen

A group of Latter-day Saint researchers recently found evidence linking a site in Yemen, on the southwest corner of the Arabian peninsula, to a name associated with Lehi's journey as recorded in the Book of Mormon.

"Warren Aston, Lynn Hilton, and Gregory Witt located a stone altar that professional archaeologists dated to at least 700 B.C. This altar contains an inscription confirming 'Nahom' as an actual place that existed in the peninsula before the time of Lehi....

"This is the first archaeological find that supports a Book of Mormon place-name other than Jerusalem or the Red Sea, says Brother Witt."

So what have we learned?

First, this is not the name of a place, it is an inscription on a monument. Who or what is it referring to?

Mormon scholar S. Kent Brown related "A certain 'Biathar, son of Sawad, son of Nawan, the Nihmite' donated the altar to the temple. The altar has been part of a traveling exhibit of artifacts from ancient Yemen...." (The Place That Was Called Nahom New Light from Ancient Yemen, by S. Kent Brown, Journal of Book of Mormon Studies, Vol. 8, , no.1, 1999, p.66-68) Mormon apologist Jeff Lindsay states "Thus, there is ancient evidence referring to the tribe of Nihm, a member of which was wealthy enough to donate an altar to a temple. The reference cited above shows a picture of the finely carved, beautiful altar. The reference to the tribe of Nihm doesn't prove the existence of a place by the same name." (www.jefflindsay.com) He goes on to suggest possible connections, but these are only speculation.

What ties this altar to the Book of Mormon? Nothing, other than wishful thinking. They are only writing about possibilities, not proven identifications tied to the Book of Mormon people.

Second, the altar just had the name 'Nhm' (Arabic wouldn't have had vowels, so the spelling depends on which vowels are added).

There was an article in the Ensign for Aug. 1978, p.73, about such possible name associations. The article pointed out that in 1763 there was a map of Yemen showing a place called "Nehhm". This is an Arabic name. Is that the same as Hebrew "Nahom"? They don't know. The article says "Perhaps the next step would be to invite semiticists to give their opinions as to whether Nahom and Nehhm are probable phonetic equivalents." I have yet to see such a study. I understand that there were a number of sites in Arabia with similar consonants in the name.

Third, the article refers to a group of LDS people, not outside scholars.

Fourth, the LDS Church did not officially comment on this altar. They just put a small notice at the back of the Ensign. Sort of like saying, 'Here is a small sliver of hope, but we aren't committing ourselves to this interpretation.'

Fifth, notice that they admit that this is the "FIRST ARCHAEOLOGICAL FIND THAT SUPPORTS A BOOK OF MORMON PLACE-NAME." If this is the best they have, they are in DEEP trouble. (Letters to the Editor: June 2001)

Also, read our #72 Messenger. The most recent book on Book of Mormon problems is Losing a Lost Tribe, by Southerton.

Another good book is Joseph Smith and the Origins of The Book of Mormon.]

July 4, 2004

Saw a piece about you on City Confidential. I was a Mormon for five years before I found the whole thing to be a fraud. I live within blocks of the Oakland Temple, but took out my own endowments at SLC Temple back in the days when they still had live "sessions". The last I heard, everything had gone over to "multi-media".

Looking forward to receiving a copy of your newsletter, which I requested through the appropriate e-mail address. Keep up the good work. Joseph Smith Jr. was an ignorant, but clever fraud whose only interest was in gaining power over a large group of people. Poor Old Emma never doubted him, but loathed Brigham with a passion, hence the return to Kirtland.

Seems to me a lady once wrote a book about Old Joe, called "no man knows my history", or something to that effect. Might be worth reading. The real revelation comes from spending some years within the church. Trouble is, it is way too easy to get caught up in the "mysteries", and to lose touch with reality.

I later joined the Masonic Lodge, and was immediately struck with the fact that Joe Smith stole a great deal of the symbols, and even the rituals of Freemasonry for use in the temple. I really do have an understanding of how people get sucked in, and once in, stay in. Since I left the church, I have had no contact with any of my former friends. They just don't socialize outside of the church. But of course, you know all this! Keep up the good work...

July 4, 2004

Subject: The "One" Book to Order


I've been visiting your site for quite some time now, and I just wanted to say thank you for giving people such a plethora of objective information instead of the usual angry and vehement attacks on Mormonism frequently on other websites. I'm currently a Christian looking for more information on the LDS church so I can better witness to my LDS friends (and gain a better knowledge of Mormonism).

I remember reading in some of the postings about one specific book written by the Tanners; I believe it to be "The Changing Face of Mormonism" or something similar to that title. The book is supposed to be the best seller and brings up many good points on the LDS church, often leading LDS members to leave the church. Would you please give me the exact title and some of the content covered? I'd love to order it at some point this summer and help out UTLM. Thank you so much for your time; I know you guys are busy over there. Keep up the good work!


[Sandra's Note: I think you are referring to The Changing World of Mormonism. It is out of print but can be read on the internet at our web site.

Our other best seller is Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?

Be sure to read some of the articles on our Online Resources page.]

July 4, 2004

Subject: I can't find a specific quote


... While chatting on-line an lds member told me that a prophet is only a prophet when he's acting as such and you know by him saying "thus saith the lord". I immediately remembered something I'd read about the prophet not needing to say that. There's some sort of list of characteristics of a prophet (or something). I believe on of the other points was a live prophet takes precedence over a dead one. I asked so many people at LDSchat.com and no one had a clue. I'm not getting anywhere by searching either.

If you know what I'm talking about, I'd really appreciate the source so that I can save it and refer to it in the future.

Thanks so much for your incredibly valuable website. I'm constantly referring to it.

[Sandra's Note: I think you are referring to Ezra T. Benson's 1980 talk, 'Fourteen Fundaments in Following the Prophets.' The sixth point in his sermon was "The Prophet Does Not Have to Say "Thus Saith the Lord" to Give Us Scripture."

For those who might doubt our printing of the talk, it is also posted on the BYU site: http://speeches.byu.edu/htmlfiles/Benson_Ezra_02_1980.html

As to Mormons appealing to Joseph Smith's statement that a prophet is only a prophet when acting like one, that is not in their cannon of scripture. In fact, the Doctrine and Covenants commands the saints to receive Joseph Smith's words as coming from God: "For his word ye shall receive, as if from mine own mouth, in all patience and faith (D&C 21:5). See also D&C 1:37-38; D&C 28:2,3,7 and D&C 52:9.

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)]

July 6, 2004

Subject: i read your SLCM via U. Library

Kudos to UTLM for trying to do good in world. i did read your SLCM via finding it on literature stack outside library of UCSC in santa cruz, CA. so, it shows you that it gets around. one of your subscribers put copies there maybe? ... i think i read them completely or almost. to pass time or entertainment at least, perhaps? ...

July 6, 2004

Subject: LDS DNA genealogy projects

Dear Sir or Ms:

Having read the amazing claim that the Mormon Church originally became interested in genealogy as the result of the notion that some hypothetical bloodlines should be eradicated, I would like to ask for your take on the issue.

I have read that the Mormon church believes in spurious lines of descent from Jesus Christ, which they claim must be eradicated from the face of the earth.

I am interested in DNA genealogy projects, most of which seem to originate in Utah. I can't help but wondering if I would not be shelling out some five of six hundred dollars, just to put my DNA information somewhere it does not belong.

What is your advice.


[Sandra's Note: The original, and current, use of genealogy in Mormonism was/is only to find names to do their temple ordinances for the dead. I am not aware of any use that would have been to cleanse ones blood line.

Before the LDS Church gave priesthood to blacks if you had done your genealogy and found you had a black in your family line the church would have rescinded your priesthood. But there was no teaching about 'cleansing' your blood—any black in your family line, no matter how far back, would bar you from priesthood. That all changed in 1978 when they gave priesthood to blacks. See #102 Messenger.

Back in Smith and Young's day there was talk of one's Jewish blood being changed when a Jew was made a member of the LDS Church. God supposedly did the changing, not through marriage selection. Again, I am not aware of any teaching that would cover 'eradication' of any specific blood line.

Some believe that among their apostles are those who are direct descendents of Jesus, but there is no teaching to eradicate the line. See LDS Leaders Claim to be Descended from Christ and His Apostles.

There are a few passages in the Doctrine and Covenants that talk of 'avenging' God's enemies to the 'third and fourth generation' but no one takes that literally today or traces their genealogy for that purpose.

'And my presence shall be with you even in avenging me of mine enemies, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.' (Doctrine and Covenants 103:26.)

As for the BYU DNA project, I suppose the main concern is that one's family genealogy would then be available to the LDS. They could take those files and do temple rituals for the names that were turned in.]

July 7, 2004

Dear Editor -

I stumbled across Ms. Tanner's 'Chiasmus and the Book of Mormon' article [Chiasmus and the Book of Mormon] on your website while looking for a list of foreign language translations of the Book of Mormon. I've been collecting examples of Chiasmus in the Bible and the Book of Mormon and in other sources for many years. So perhaps I am somewhat equipped to comment.

Ms. Tanner admits that nobody seems to have been aware of the existence of Chiasmus in 1830. But then she says "Thus, they reason, his use of it in the Book of Mormon demonstrates that it is a translation of an ancient text."

I don't think Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon demonstrates that at all. I don't think any rational person in the LDS Church ever made that claim. I think it DOES demonstrate that the Book of Mormon is very unusual and that it deserves a careful reading and prayerful consideration.

Joseph Smith was only 24 years old in 1830 when he published the Book of Mormon. From what I've read, he had no formal education. ...

It is also argued that there have been changes made in the Book of Mormon since that first edition of 1830. While I haven't done an exhaustive word-by-word comparison, I have looked at quite a lot of the original pages, and the changes reflect what would be expected given that the original was written down by a pair of frontiersmen. ...

As I said, I've been collecting and analyzing the Chiasmus in this amazing Book for many years. I've ported a lot of it into Spanish as part of my church callings. So I've had to look at it quite closely. If you were really aware of the astonishing wealth of Chiasmus in the Book of Mormon - if you were to actually study it - I think you would be forced to conclude that Book of Mormon is MUCH more than just the product of a 24 year old backwoods bumpkin's imagination.

Even if you became convinced that the Book of Mormon was something marvelous, this still would not be PROOF that it was a translation of an ancient text (although that's exactly what I believe it is). As Ms. Tanner points out, Chiasmus also exists (to a very limited extent) in the Doctrine and Covenants. The same God that revealed different portions of the Bible to Adam, Enoch, Noah, Moses, Isaiah, Elijah and other prophets was at work when Jesus walked on the earth and when Joseph was called to open the Last Dispensation. So if Joseph were a true prophet, you'd expect some of his own revelations to be structured in this way....

I'm trained as an electrical engineer. I think I'm rational and not given to flights of fancy. I find it hard to believe that with something as tangible as the Book of Mormon, there are apparently sincere people, like Ms. Tanner, who can write articles against it. I am astonished by this. The more I study this book the more amazed I become.... I'd love to have a calm rational discussion with an anti-Mormon to find out what the real issues are. ...

Your friend,

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, between the time I spend taking care of Jerald, who has Alzheimer's, and running the ministry, my time is very limited for correspondence. So as I noted at the end of my article, further comments on chiasmus can be found in—

  1. Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? p. 96G-96I
  2. Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol. 17, no. 4, Winter 1984, "Ancient Chiasmus Studied," by Prof. John Kselman, p. 146-148
  3. Dialogue, vol. 26, no. 3, Fall 1993, "Apologetic and Critical Assumptions about Book of Mormon Historicity," by Brent Metcalfe, p. 162-171
  4. Also, New Approaches to the Book of Mormon: Explorations in Critical Methodology, ed. by Brent Metcalfe, Signature Books, SLC, 1993,—ch. 9, "A Record in the Language of My Father: Evidence of Ancient Egyptian and Hebrew in the Book of Mormon," by Ed. Ashment, p. 329-394.]

July 8, 2004

... I had a question, I have recently been studying mormonism with almost all my spare time and have just givin my first study on it last week. Someone told me that joseph smith got the name moroni from a comic book? have you ever heard of this?...i could think of no one else to ask beside you and jerald. I am truely greatful for your ministry, it has been a great help to me in learning about mormonsim. thanks again for your response and if your ever in southern california i would love to meet you and your husband! God Bless.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the note. First, I don't think there were comic books in Smith's day. Second, I think he somehow heard about the Comoro Islands, off the coast of Africa, with the capital of Moroni.

A common school book in Smith's day was "Geography Made Easy" by Jedidiah Morse, 1813. On p.356 he mentions the "Comora Islands" off the coast of Africa. While the capital is Moroni, it isn't mentioned in Morse' book. See Possible Sources for Book of Mormon Names.

See also an this off-site link: http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/world/A0834074.html

This site has some information on the Islands and their names: http://www.ksu.edu/sasw/comoros/ngazidja.comoro

Moroni was also the name of an Italian painter: http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/people/A0834073.html ]

July 9, 2004

Hi there from New Zealand...if you go to http://www.nzherald.co.nz/storydisplay.cfm?storyID=3577285&msg=emaillink ...you can print out a massive article that has just appeared in the National Newspaper...regard[ing] The New Zealand Family Tracing Service. ...

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the web page. I see the LDS Church is at it again, trying to intimidate people. Here is part of the article:

From the back bedroom of his rural home in Kerikeri, Robert Sintes devotes his time to a noble cause - trying to re-unite lost or adopted children with their family members.

But 60-year-old Sintes has bought himself a big fight - with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons).

The row is over a tiny piece of the internet real estate Sintes has reserved for his genealogy people-tracing service.

But the Mormons are also in the genealogy game.

They have a handful of locally granted trademarks of the term "familysearch" and are trying to stop Sintes using the term.

Good luck in your legal tangles.]

July 9, 2004

Subject: Proof that Joseph Smith was not a prophet

Hi! I'm a relatively baby Christian, having been saved for about 2 years now.  In my thus short faith I've done a considerable amount of research into Mormonism and all the research I've done points to the fact that the Mormon faith is a false, deceptive one. I've also fasted and prayed that God would reveal to me that the Mormon faith is true if it is, and never received a "burning in the bosom" or any other sort of "testimony" as to the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon or Joseph Smith's status as a prophet.  I've also attended a Sunday service at a LDS church and quite honestly felt disturbed and under attack the whole time. I am thankful for ministries like yours which have been used by God to help protect me from falling victim to this cult, and hope for God's continued blessings upon you.

I wanted to share with you what has come to be one of the greatest reasons for which I continue to reject Mormonism. You may already have this on your site somewhere, or might otherwise be aware of this particular proof, but just in case I thought I'd share it with you and those who might read this email if it's posted.

The "inspired" version of the Bible distributed by the RLDS Church contains many changes made by Joseph Smith to the Scriptures which do not appear in the LDS Church's official "Selections From the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible", which leads me to believe that the LDS Church does not officially recognize all these changes as being truly Smith's work. This is unfortunate because there are some changes which, if they could be undeniably linked to Smith, would prove him a false prophet. One such change was made in Matthew 5, where Jesus' words to "go the extra mile" are changed, essentially, to "go one mile, and if compelled to go a second, do so." This not only changes the message of the entirety of Christ's sermon in this passage, which is clearly to go above and beyond what's expected, but it also changes the text of the nearly-identical passage in the Book of Mormon in which Jesus gives the same sermon. If Joseph Smith, by the "gift and power of God", translated ancient plates into a rendering of "the most correct book" on the earth, how is it that he needed to change it again later, when it already matched the rendition contained in the Bible? If it could be proven that Joseph Smith did, in fact, make this change, it would be, in my opinion, undeniable proof that he was not a prophet, and instead was a fraud wantonly warping Scripture to suit his needs.

Alas, as far as I know, there is no way to prove that Smith made this change.  However, the fact that the LDS Church's "Selections From the Joseph Smith Translation of the Bible" contains Smith's change to Genesis 8:20-22, thereby officially crediting this change to him, proves that Smith was just such a false prophet, altering Scripture at will. Here is that passage in both the KJV and in Smith's rendition:

KJV — Genesis 8:20-21

20   And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.

21   And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done.

JST — Genesis 9:4-6

4 And Noah builded an altar unto the Lord, and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar; and gave thanks unto the Lord, and rejoiced in his heart.

5 And the Lord spake unto Noah, and he blessed him. And Noah smelled a sweet savor, and he said in his heart;

6 I will call on the name of the Lord, that he will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake, for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; and that he will not again smite any more every thing living, as he hath done, while the earth remaineth;

Notice the most striking change, in which Smith changed the One who smelled the odor arising from Noah's sacrifice from the LORD, as the KJV tells us, to Noah himself.  What makes this change so damning is that throughout Scripture, both Old Testament and New, only God is said to be the One who smells the aroma of a sacrifice.  This is the case approximately 45 times in the Old Testament (such as Exodus 29:18, Leviticus 1:9, Numbers 15:3, and Ezekiel 16:19), and 3 times in the New Testament (2 Cor. 2:15, Eph. 5:2, and Phil. 4:18).

The Hebrew word "sweet-smelling" is nichowach and refers to a soothing or tranquilizing property on the part of the aroma. The point, then, of the "sweet-smelling" aroma of sacrifices is that they sooth God when He's justifiably angry with sin, and they sooth God because they are a symbol of repentance and desire for forgiveness. Thus, it would simply be nonsensical for Noah to be depicted as the one who smelled his own sacrifice, and such a change not only defies logic but also the Hebrew language and the rest of the divinely-inspired Jewish authors of Scripture.

Since Joseph Smith claimed divine revelation in "restoring" this passage to what was originally written or intended, or simply to a clearer understanding of the passage, this revelation could not have come from God.  Either Joseph Smith received this "revelation" from Satan or his demons, or he was purposely changing God-inspired Scripture to suit his own desires. Either way, whatever other revelations Smith claimed to have received from God, including the translation of the Book of Mormon, his teachings in doctrine, and so forth, must also have come from a source other than God. Clearly, Joseph Smith can not be trusted as a prophet of any sort — except as a false one.

This single, simple change Smith made to this passage of God-inspired Scripture was probably one of the last of countless nails in the coffin, as it were, for me. Joseph Smith simply was not a true prophet, and thus the Church he founded is a false one, its doctrines heresies and its members misled. I hope that you will find this information useful, and that you might be able to condense this email into something more readable for your Letters to the Editor section.

Thanks so much for your efforts!

July 9, 2004

Hello, Sandra,

Abundant blessings upon you; as my sister ...would say, your plate is full. I can identify with your situation [dealing with Jerald's Alzhiemer's]. I lost my mother in 2001 after a ten-year bout with Alzheimer's. ...

You and Jerald have been grand soldiers, and your work will remain a strong witness. You should know that you have been successful; the opposition to your work shows how upset Satan is for your having reached Mormons for Jesus.

I read, save, and use your newsletters in addition to your other publications. My copy of Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? is well worn and highlighted....

July 10, 2004

Question: Whatever happened to DJ Nelson? You wrote and quoted extensively in your books about him. He seems to have disappeared. Just wondering.

Anyone else you quoted that has now been uncovered as a fraud?

[Sandra's Note: First, as to Mr. Nelson, as soon as we discovered he was claiming to have a degree which he did not have, we announced it in our newsletter. Even Hugh Nibley thought Nelson had competent knowledge of Egyptian. Nelson has been dead for some years.

Here is a quote from our book, The Changing World of Mormonism, pp.339-340:

Dr. Nibley realized he was in trouble and sought help in defending the "Book of Abraham" from a Mormon elder by the name of Dee Jay Nelson. In a letter dated June 27, 1967, he told Nelson that he could "see no reason in the world why you should not be taken into the confidence of the Brethren if this thing ever comes out into the open; in fact, you should be enormously useful to the Church ... there are parties in Salt Lake who are howling for a showdown on the P.G.P.; if they have their way we may have to get together."

On January 4, 1968, Dee Jay Nelson visited with Dr. Nibley at Brigham Young University and examined the original papyri. Dr. Nibley agreed that Nelson should translate the papyri, and be sent a note to N. Eldon Tanner, a member of the First Presidency, stating that "it would be a good idea to let Prof. Dee J. Nelson have copies" of the papyri. This was before the Mormon leaders allowed photographs of all the papyri to be published. Mr. Nelson translated the papyri but was unable to find any mention of Abraham or his religion in any portion of the documents. He found the names of many pagan gods who were worshiped by the Egyptians but nothing concerning the God of Abraham. Since Nelson's work did not support the "Book of Abraham," the Mormon Church declined to publish it, and Nelson turned it over to us for publication. Dee Jay Nelson later withdrew his membership from the church and began to make exaggerated claims concerning his importance as an Egyptologist and about ten years after completing his translation of the Joseph Smith Papyri, he claimed to have a doctor's degree from Pacific Northwestern University. In March 1980 we learned from a woman in Arizona that this school could not be located, and, therefore, asked Mr. Nelson for verification. Nelson furnished us with a diploma from the school, but after a great deal of investigation we finally learned that Pacific Northwestern University in Seattle was only a "diploma mill of the worst kind." (The reader can obtain more free information about this matter by writing to us at PO Box 1884, Salt Lake City, Utah 84110.)

Although we made a number of quotations from Nelson's work in the first edition of this book, we believe that it is unwise to continue quoting him in this edition. This is not to say that his work has no merit. On the contrary, for even Dr. Hugh Nibley said it is "a conscientious piece of work for which the Latter-day Saints owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Dee Jay Nelson. ... This is ... a usable and reliable translation of the available papyri that once belonged to Joseph Smith" (BYU Studies, Spring 1968, p.247).

Although we generally agree with Dr. Nibley's statement on the reliability of Nelson's translation, we believe he has dishonored himself by falling into the footsteps of "Robert C. Webb," the fake "Ph.D." who defended the Mormon Church. Our case against the "Book on Abraham" is certainly not based on any one man but stands firmly on the science of Egyptology and on the work of some of the world's greatest Egyptologists—i.e., Professor Richard Parker of Brown University and Professors Klaus Baer and John A. Wilson (now deceased) of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute. These scholars were requested to make their translations by the editors of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought—a publication not controlled by the LDS Church.

If you are truly concerned about our relationship to Nelson I can send you a copy of the newsletter where we tell about his false claims. Just send your mailing address. And don't worry, unlike the Mormons we will not send a missionary to your door.

As yet we have not been able to get our earlier newsletters retyped to post on the web. (They were not done on a word processor so must be retyped into the computer. We are working on them but it will be a while before they are ready.)

Second, as to your question about any others that have been "uncovered as a fraud" — Yes, try Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, and all LDS prophets.]

July 10, 2004

Subject: How specifically is one excommunicated from the church...

and what must the requirements be or what specifically must one do to get himself excommunicated.

[Sandra's Note: If the person has committed adultery, child abuse or been convicted of some criminal act, requiring prison, these are considered severe enough to warrant excommunication.

If a Mormon man, who never held the Melchezedic priesthood, (or a woman) wants his membership terminated he must write a letter stating as much to the bishop of the ward where he currently lives. The bishop must hold a meeting with the others in the bishopric to formalize this.

If the man held their higher priesthood his case would be handled by the Stake President and the stake High Council. They hold a big meeting to hear the reasons for excommunication, and then pass judgment, resulting in removing the person from membership.

See our page: How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records ]

July 10, 2004


[Sandra's Note: Joseph Smith wasn't counting on dying at the age of 38 and didn't have any well-laid plans. Evidently Smith had designated his son as his successor, but he was only twelve when Smith was killed and was hardly ready to lead the church at such a critical time. Here is a quote from Robert B. Flanders, RLDS scholar, from his book Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi, pp.311-312:

"Most critical was the problem of leadership. The whole structure of authority was geared to Smith's pre-eminence as charismatic leader, and the vacuum created by his death was intolerable. Furthermore, the assassination was almost totally unexpected by a people who saw the activity of their church as the working out step by step of the Divine Will, and who expected therefore that divine aid would protect the Prophet. Smith was only thirty-eight, in the vigorous prime of life. He had survived sickness, accident, and constant persecution; and few, including Smith himself, seem to have seriously considered the possibility of his death. When it came, perplexity was added to shock and grief. There had been three in the quorum of First Presidency; William Law had apostatized, so Sidney Rigdon was the sole remaining member. Rigdon's standing with the people as well as his capacity were questionable, however, following his virtual repudiation by the Prophet. A man of both unquestioned prestige and ability was Brigham Young; but the Twelve stood next below the Presidency in the hierarchy of Mormon authority. The situation of the Council of Fifty was anomalous since the group was as yet unknown to the people and had been organized around the person of the Prophet. Finally it was remembered by some that Smith had at least twice publicly designated his eldest son, Joseph III, to be his successor in the prophetic office; but in 1844 young Smith was still only twelve years old.

"Almost all Mormon leaders were away campaigning when the Smiths were killed, but hastened back to Nauvoo when they received the news. Most of them arrived late in July or early in August, and they began to confer immediately about the problem of leadership. There seemed to be some consensus, expressed outwardly at least, that the new head should be no more than a pro tempore authority. But there was serious disagreement about who it should be."

Young stepped in as a sort of temporary head, led the majority to Utah, and then later declared himself to be the president/prophet. At first he implied he would step aside eventually when Smith's boys came of age. But by then the RLDS church was formed and the Smith's went into it and opposed polygamy.

For more on this see Quinn's The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power Vol. 1.

From Brigham Young's time until the present, when the prophet dies he is always replaced by the apostle with the most seniority in the office, guaranteeing that the president of the church will always be quite old. When Pres. Hinkley dies he will be replaced by Thomas S. Monson, born in 1927 and an apostle since 1963. Upon Monson's death, the next president will be Boyd K. Packer, born in 1924 and an apostle since 1970.]

July 10, 2004

I just want to make a statement to you. I browsed your site and came upon some very vulgar things you say, which leads me to believe you are not even handed. To say that any faithful Mormon will kill if asked to do so by one of his leaders is absolutely insane.

I am a faithful Mormon and I have my free agency, as is taught to all of us by the church. If given a commandment by any leader, I have the right (and am encouraged to do so) to get on my knees and receive my own personal revelation as to its truthfulness. If I do not receive my own personal revelation, I am not bound to follow it. Even the LDS prophets and apostles can each chose for themselves upon each revelation. I know what they have said, studied their words and have tested this out for myself. I can respectfully disagree with any decision made within the church and have never feared reprimand or disfellowship. We are rational individuals, and as such each have free choice.

I expect more even handed information from you. I am a convert and attended and studied numerous other faiths, but none, not one, could answer my several questions that two young LDS missionaries were able to do .... I received a personal witness through the Holy Ghost of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith...

Man does make mistakes and we are all only human and cannot begin to try to understand what life was like in isolated parts of the country when survival was in question every day. But, God uses humans and always has. Should I judge the people of the Mormon church in the light of the people of the old and new testements, I would have to throw the baby out with the bath water. Nothing in the LDS history is not contained in the Holy Bible. So, if the LDS church is wrong, then the Bible is wrong and there is no hope for truth anywhere. But, if the Bible is true (with all of the imperfections, killings, wars, etc., in it) then the Book of Mormon and the history of the Mormons is no less true.

I hope you have the courage to put this on your site, as you say to be even handed.

Take Care

[Sandra's Note: As to your statement about the 'vulgar' statements on our web site, I would just like to ask, specifically, which part falls in that category?

I do not remember saying that 'any faithful Mormon will kill if asked' — are you confusing this with Brigham Young's doctrine of blood atonement? We never said it was practiced today, other than by a few fundamentalist polygamists.

By the way, I find it interesting that you expect us to publish your comments, which we will do, but your church never does anything like this! Where is open discussion or different points of view in the Ensign? The LDS Church has excommunicated a number of their scholars and historians when they have written articles or books that differ from the accepted party line. See our #85 Messenger.]

July 10, 2004

Subject: Living in Utah

I live ...with a family of Mormons. I am a born again Christian believer ... I know Mormon doctrine to be false and I would like to learn more about the differences.

The family in who's house I stay are very dedicated to the Church. We don't really discuss our differences, They say they respect my belief, as I should theirs. ...

Anyway recently at work a couple people told [my friend] I am very judgmental of Mormons and have said that [my friend] is a false Christian-I have never said that out loud. [My friend] told me I cannot even start to say anything (about Mormonism) unless I have been in her position an open mind.

I would love to tell them the real way for salvation. I am so confused and overwhelmed on how to even approach the subject without putting up a barrier between this family's and my relationship. I would like to learn more about their doctrine and figure out a non confrontational way to start up a discussion with [them]. I am writing you *obviously* since you were once in the church and know how it feels to be told your religion is wrong. I also was wondering if you have a Bible study that I could come to? Also if you need a volunteer I would be happy to help!

Thanks so much,

[Steve's note: Here are a couple of thoughts about your letter. Respect for one another is very important. However, respect does not automatically mean that our differences can not be discussed. They are under an additional obligation from their 11th Article of Faith to respect your faith and to allow room for you to practice your faith as you choose.

At 18 you are no longer a child but a young adult and should be treated as such. We must not only refrain from voicing judgmental statements but we must never harbor a judgmental attitude against Mormons. Our disagreement must be with the teachings of the LDS Church never aimed against the people themselves.

You can start off your conversation by allowing them to explain their beliefs to you. Don't assume to know what they may have been taught. Not all Mormons are taught the same things. Once they have shared their views, you are then able to have the opportunity to share your faith with them. There are several good resources that could be helpful to you, such as the books Mormon Claims Answered, Mormonism 101, The Bible and Mormon Doctrine, and Where Does It Say That? You might also consider the book Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons and video. These can be ordered from us online at www.utlm.org or by calling (801) 485-0312. If possible, you could also visit our store in SLC. Another good resource is the paper Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints.

Unfortunately, we do not have an active Bible study right now. I can tell you that many of the local churches here have very good studies going on. You can also find out more information about local Bible studies by calling the local Christian Radio stations and they have contacts who can help you get involved in a group.]

July 10, 2004






[Sandra's Note: In Mormonism, it was more a matter of spilling his blood (slitting his throat, shooting or stabbing), not necessarily beheading. See the articles under Topical Index: Blood Atonement.]

July 10, 2004

Subject: Temple Sealings...need info. fast!


I am an ex-Mormon, and am now a recently baptized Christian....God is Awesome, and He Reigns forever! My husband is in the US Navy, ...

Recently, one of the Protestant Chaplains at our base Chapel asked me for some help. Knowing I had once been Mormon, he asked me for some info.

A young man he is counselling recently received a letter from his ex-wife stating that she wanted his signature to approve of his and her daughter being sealed in the Temple to her new husband. From what I understand, the young man here is not or never has been a Mormon. He, of course, has no idea why they want to do this or what it entails. Neither does the Chaplain. I was under the impression that in order to have the child sealed to him, the stepfather had to legally adopt the child, which of course means the legal father giving up his parental rights. No way does he ( legal father) want to do that, of course. Am I off base?

Our chaplain feels this poor guy...the ex-husband...is in a no-win situation, and I agree. What are the legal ramifcations in this situation? Does he have to give up his parental rights in order for them to do the sealing? And if he refuses....what kind of a hell is he letting himself in for............if you all could give me the straight up info on what happens here, I'd be grateful. ...

I can't tell you how glad I am to be out of all this MESS...You all are an inspiration. May God continue to bless your ministry! I have leaned on your website heavily this past year. Thank you for being shining lights to the true God, and to our true Savior Jesus Christ, God the Son, who Reigns forever. ...

[Sandra's Note: The step-dad does not need to legally adopt the girl to have a temple family sealing. But he is supposed to get the father's permission for the sealing. I would recommend that he NOT sign a release for his daughter to be sealed to her step-father.

Mormons are taught that the LDS membership link is important to the family so that they will be connected in heaven. I don't believe their sealings mean anything and certainly don't believe they will have any effect on anyone in heaven. However, if he gives his consent for her to be sealed to another man she may interpret this to mean that the step-father is her 'real' father and that her biological father doesn't care, or doesn't count, as being her 'real' father.

He can just explain to the ex-wife that the daughter is free to do this when she becomes an adult, if she so wishes, but there is no pressing need to do it now. He can say something to the effect that he does not feel comfortable with this ceremony because of the implications it could have and the damage it could bring to his relationship with his daughter. The LDS view would be that the step-dad IS her actual real father at the point of the sealing.

How old is the child? If she is eight, has she been baptized? If she is under eight or hasn't been baptized the father should state at this time that he does NOT give permission for baptism. The girl can seek this out when she is eighteen if she wants to, but since he does not believe Mormonism he can't give his permission.

Hope this helps.]

July 11, 2004

Who is John J Stewart ?

[Sandra's Note: He was a prominent LDS author during the 1960-1970's and several of his books were published by Deseret Book. For instance, he collaborated with Joseph Fielding Smith, Jr. to write The Life Of Joseph Fielding Smith, Deseret Book, 1972. Three of his books we have quoted from are—

Brigham Young and His Wives. Salt Lake City: Mercury, 1961.
Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet
. Salt Lake City: Mercury, 1966.
and his book with William E. Berrett, Mormonism and the Negro. Bookmark, 1960.]

July 11, 2004

Dear Mrs. Tanner or staff

I live in a Mormon community but am not LDS myself. Religion is not talked much among the people here. You go your way, I'll go mine. You understand.

I have noticed in many issues of SLM that letters from readers often say they began to investigate Mormonism because the church was not given them answers for nagging personal questions. May I ask, what are some of the questions you think they might be struggling with? Why does the church not offer help for them?

Reason I ask is that there are a number of local people that I would like to talk with and challenge their thinking about Mormonism. I'm hoping you might have some insightful questions that will open doors for witnessing. A full frontal attack with all the evidence you folks have supplied gets nowhere.

I could say more but I want to keep this letter short. I trust you understand what I am asking.

Thank you very much and I hope to hear from one of you very soon.

P.S. Please use the return email address on this letter, none other, they don't work anymore.


[Sandra's Note: Each person seems to have different problem areas and questions. What bothers one may not bother another. The point is to try to get them thinking logically about their church's doctrines and history claims.

They eventually start asking questions that relate to Mormonism's truth claims:

  • Is the Book of Mormon actual history?
  • Is the Book of Abraham an accurate translation?
  • Why are there differing accounts of Smith's first vision?
  • Why doesn't the New Testament and the Book of Mormon teach the unique LDS doctrines of temple marriage for both the living and the dead, that God was once a man, eternal progression to godhood, etc.?
  • Why have changes been made in the various editions of LDS scripture?
  • Why has the temple ceremony been altered a number of times?
  • Why did Joseph Smith lie about polygamy and marry women who were already married?
  • If Brigham Young was a prophet of God how could he teach a false doctrine on the nature of God (Adam-God)?
  • We give some guidelines in our article Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints.
  • See the book Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons.
  • You might find the suggestions at http://www.truth-in-love.org helpful. See their witnessing sections.]

July 12, 2004

Mrs. Tanner,

I have a quick question, I have heard it said that even though my wife is a convert, she may be counceled by the LDS church to leave me because I am not a member. Is there any truth to that?

Thanks for your time,

In Christ,

[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church leaders would usually hope that the wife could convert you in time. A bishop would not usually advise divorce unless the non-Mormon mate was actively 'anti-Mormon' or trying to get the kids to abandon Mormonism.

It is a little different for those who have once been LDS and then leave. We have heard of numerous cases where the bishop has advised divorce when a spouse leaves the LDS Church.]

July 12, 2004

I have a neighbor who has asked me to fill out a survey on the family for use in their "study" at church. They are Mormon and had us read "A Proclamation to the World: The Family" from Sep 23, 1995 by G. Hinckley. The portion that I wish to write to them about is on the Divine Birth paragraphs. These speak to the belief that we are all born of divine parents before actually coming to earth through our earthly parents. What can I say to not just tell them that I disagree but to possibly cause some reflection???? . . . Thank you!!

[Sandra's Note: The 1995 LDS statement on the family [http://www.lds.org/library/display/0,4945,161-1-11-1,FF.html] is a prime example of how LDS doctrine is carefully packaged for public consumption. While it hints at many of the strange doctrines of the Mormon Church, it does not state them in a clear enough manner for outsiders to grasp how those beliefs differ from standard Christian doctrine.

The proclamation starts out affirming that "the family is central to the Creator's plan for the eternal destiny of His children." However, the Bible never links marriage with one's "eternal destiny." In John 3:15 we read that "whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life." One's destiny is linked to faith, not LDS temple marriage.

It then states "All human beings...are created in the image of God. Each is a beloved spirit son or daughter of heavenly parents, and, as such, each has a divine nature and destiny." Later we read:

In the premortal realm, spirit sons and daughters knew and worshiped God as their Eternal Father and accepted His plan by which His children could obtain a physical body and gain earthly experience to progress toward perfection and ultimately realize his or her divine destiny as an heir of eternal life. The divine plan of happiness enables family relationships to be perpetuated beyond the grave. Sacred ordinances and covenants available in holy temples make it possible for individuals to return to the presence of God and for families to be united eternally.

Behind these statements is the LDS teaching that God is married, that Christ, Lucifer and mortals are all literally the same species, and that mortals have the same potential to achieve godhood as God the Father once did. Eternal life defined as the ability to become a god possessing the power of eternal progeny, making countless more worlds, peopled by ones own spirit children. However, the Bible teaches there is only one God, who has eternity existed as God.


and Joseph Smith's sermons on the nature of God:

For further reading on LDS doctrine, see Terminology Differences. And chapter 10 of Marvin Cowan's book, Mormon Claims Answered.]

July 13, 2004

... I joined the LDS church several years ago while an officer in the US Air Force. The LDS church is the ONLY church that has been able to answer numerous questions that NO OTHER church could answer. After reading the Book of Mormon, the Holy Ghost bore witness to me that is was true. ... But when I compare the actions, situations, etc. with the Bible and the Book of Mormon and the LDS church, what I find out is that God uses human beings as His instruments, warts and all.

After 20 years of research I can find no credible evidence of the authenticity of the Book of Mormon other than exactly what Joseph Smith said happened to him. The 3 witnesses of the Angel Moroni that bore their testimony to the world remains firm and was written in a way so as not to ever be confused. ...

One can point out faults here and there until the sun goes down, but the bottom line is indeed that the Book of Mormon is true and I received a spiritual manifestation of this via God. That's the way Christ said the comforter would work in the new testament. ...

Again, I don't mean to be disrespectful in any way, but when I talk to people about religion, I always tell them that if they have something that I do not have, then I'm all ears. But to try to tear down someone's faith by showing flaws only creates ill feelings. Why not show people how Lighthouse ministries has more answers than Mormonism or makes people happy, versus filling up pages of stuff you don't like about the LDS church. ...

.... Anyway, sorry to ramble. Just some thoughts.

Take care and may God bless.

July 13, 2004

Point of note on the Book of Abraham-We don't have the original document. I believe, and correct me if I am wrong, that the one Joseph Smith had ran down the hall and had a red line down the side. What has been found can be placed on a desk top. Am I correct?

I'll do some research, but FARMS has done a lot on this. ...

Take care.

[Sandra's Note: Mormons have often tried to dismiss the fact that the piece of papyri which Smith claimed to use in producing his Book of Abraham has been found. They often quote this statement about the red marks on the papyri in the History of the Church, vol.2, p.348:

The record of Abraham and Joseph, found with the mummies is beautifully written on papyrus, with black, and a small part red, ink or paint, in perfect preservation.

Mormons say that the papyrus we claim was used by Smith does not contain red marks, thus can not be the one he used. However, the statement applies to both scrolls of papyrus, not just the 'Book of Breathings' piece. The other piece does have red rubrics and is much better preserved than the 'Book of Breathings' papyrus.

When comparing Smith's 'Alphabet and Grammar' and the manuscripts of the Book of Abraham with the papyri, it is obvious he was claiming to translate the small 'sensen'—Book of Breathings—piece.

See our online book, The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 11.

A more complete treatment of the issue is in our book, Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?

Also the books:

You might also read Egyptologist Robert Ritner's latest statement: "THE BREATHING PERMIT OF HÔR" AMONG THE JOSEPH SMITH PAPYRI (.pdf)

Also see the irr.org page on the subject here: http://www.irr.org/mit/Book-of-Abraham-page.html ]

July 13, 2004

...You say you are a seeker of truth, not "warm fuzzies." So the accusation is that we teach if you get a "warm fuzzie" it's not biblical or a witness of the Holy Ghost. Let's see what the Bible says:

Luke 24:22 And they said one to another, Did not our heart not burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?

So, in the Bible it says our hearts can "burn within us." This is what happened to me in a big way! In this biblical account it was the Holy Ghost telling these two men that they were hearing truth.

So, is this "burning within us" a true doctrine or not? Can we indeed actually feel our hearts burn within us, via the Holy Ghost when we hear truth?

Take care.

[Sandra's Note: The spiritual confirmation came AFTER Jesus had quoted and explained the scriptures to them, not just through prayer or a spiritual experience. Feelings alone are obviously too subjective to use in ascertaining truth. People around the world are claiming contradictory religious experiences. That is why study is so vital.

I have had people from the various polygamist groups come in to the store and tell me of their visions, claiming that they now "know without a shadow of doubt" that the regular LDS Church is in a state of apostasy and that their group or leader is the only one ordained of God. So I am a little cynical when it comes to "testimonies." I believe all search for truth should include study along with prayer. But I often find Mormons wanting to bypass research, especially if it goes against their prior feelings.]

July 14, 2004

I am trying to find news clippings or books on members of Congress that were LDS. I am trying to find out if non-Mormons are getting elected to Congress in Utah. I also want to know about the LDS church business ventures. Any help you can give me would be appreciated.

[Sandra's Note: The book Mormon America: The Power and the Promise will help on LDS wealth and businesses.

Try these sites for LDS politicians:

LDS celebrities are listed on this site:

July 14, 2004

Subject: Mormon wife has affair not only once but twice

Do you ever watch Dr. Phil? Not to long ago he had a couple on his show. They were both Mormon. The wife had an affair not only once but twice. Had a baby from the first affair, gave it up for adoption. The church is helping pay some of their bills because the husband is only getting paid minimum wage. She has the degree and could be working and bringing home the money, but refuses to work because it's the man who suppose provide for the family. She said on the show, if I have to work and provide for the family, why do I need him. My questions is why are they still together? Sounds like she don't want him anymore, to bring home the money or in her bed. I think they need to get a divorce

July 14, 2004

Subject: Retirement

I read an email that said that Jerald retired due to health problems, but that you will continue the ministry. Do you have any to help you? or to take over when you retire? I would hate to think that your ministry will stop. You have been so helpful...I am not Mormon but have made great progress with some Mormon friends moving them to Christ. I have used a lot of information from your site to do it.

Sometimes it seems disheartening when I see the number of baptisms. But I read where the number seems to be inflated since many are outside of the US and a larger percentage leave the Church a few months after baptism. Is this true?

[Sandra's Note: Jerald retired due to Alzheimer's. He is still up and about but unable to do any research or typing. I hope to continue on with the ministry. I have several staff people and one young man who is training under me. So hopefully things will continue for some years to come.

Mormonism is growing, but I believe this is the result of both large families and converts. Various articles suggest LDS numbers are inflated, and do not factor in those who leave. See the article "The Rise and Fall of the LDS Church" on our site.]

July 15, 2004

Subject: difference between brigham young mormon & joseph smith mormon

Hello, my neighbor is a long standing mormon. As a born again Christian, I have major concerns for teaching my teenage children the differences between mormonism and Christianity, so they will not be swayed by the neighbor children, who are very good friends.

For the first few years that my neighbor knew me she implied she was a Christian (actually still calls herself one). One day she told me her family believed in the book of mormon but did not follow the brigham young mormons, instead was of the joseph smith mormon.

Her family is orginally from Missouri . . . Are you familiar with the division in the mormon church and do you have information on this sect of it? Thank you for taking the time to answer.

in Christ

[Sandra's Note: Here is an article on The Reorganized LDS Church.

It has changed it's name to Community of Christ. They do not usually call themselves 'Mormon.' They are very different from the regular LDS Church. They do not believe in plural gods, polygamy, temple marriages, etc.

However, they still have additional books of scripture, Joseph Smith's revision of the Bible, the Book of Mormon, and their version of the Doctrine and Covenants. It is unclear just how authoritative any of these would be to a current member or even the president of their church. They are divided as to the Book of Mormon : is it actual history or inspired allegory? Some view the Joseph Smith revision of the Bible as a sort of 'inspired' commentary, not actually restoring the original text. Some pick and choose which 'revelations' of Joseph Smith are truly binding. They do not accept the Book of Abraham. They do still call their authority by Melchizedek and Aaronic priesthood names.

They no longer maintain they are the ONLY true church, but part of the larger body of Christ. Of course, this raises many questions, was Smith called of God? in what way? for what purpose? If the Book of Mormon is not actual history is it Smith's novel? If not factual what is its value? How would it carry any more weight than any Christian book at the local bookstore? How is one to view Smith's revelations? Are they all from God or just certain ones? How does one determine that?

As to evangelical Christianity, I would place the RLDS leadership outside that definition. They would fall more into a liberal position. Here is a link to their site, read their newest revelation: http://www.cofchrist.org/wc2004/section162.asp.  Pres. McMurray reminds the members they are part of the 'restoration.' But restoration of what? the true gospel? the true priesthood? restored by Smith? How is it 'restored' beyond what was being proclaimed by Christian ministers prior to Joseph Smith?

We do have a book that discusses their beliefs called, Part Way to Utah: The Forgotten Mormons.

Hope this helps.]

July 17, 2004

Did Joseph Smith ever violate Rev. 22:18-19 when he was creating his translation of the Bible or any other doctrine? By the way, you're site is such an awesome study tool. My friends and I use it all the time. God bless your ministry.

[Steve's Note: Yes, Joseph did violate Revelation 22:18-19. His "Inspired Translation" makes countless changes to the text of the Bible. Even if someone would want to argue that Revelation 22:18-19 refers only to changes made to the book of Revelation, Joseph Smith would still be guilty of violating the warnings.

Joseph Smith changed many verses within just the book of Revelation. The book Joseph Smith's New Translation of the Bible, which is available through us, gives a parallel column listing of all the verses from the KJV and Joseph's Inspired Translation where Joseph Smith made changes to the text. Incidentally, this book is also available from Deseret Book, which is the book store owned by the LDS Church.]

July 17, 2004

Subject: Information Requested from a confused LDS member...

... I am currently a member that has been in-active for the past 10yrs. Sort of an off and on again member. The missionaries have set up an appointment to come and see us tomorrow... which I have no problem with... it's just that... when i got baptized... I was so sure of everything... however.. over time... I don't think that I would say that my faith has waivered really... I just have a few concerns... and I actually found your website by accident... and have read your testimonials... and some of what you have written... has been on my own heart over the past few years...

Thank you... (God Bless...)

July 18, 2004

. . . I am a Christian and have been seeing an LDS man who just recently got a divorce and released from a 16 year "calling" as a stake clerk. We have been talking about the differences in our beliefs and it amazes me how much he doesn't know about his own doctrine. We actually had an argument last night about Joseph Smith being a polygamist and a murderer (he said he had never heard such a thing and we Christians just go around making this stuff up to hurt the church).

Anyway, I asked him if he would be willing to read the information I could get regarding these things and he said yes. The problem is........he doesn't believe anything I get off the internet because he says it is made up to look like people got it from the church history.

So here is my question..........where is it that he (or I) could get "proof" from documentation that comes right from their own history records? As a Mormon could he go to the church records building and look stuff up? Have they hid it so no one can research the records? Where could I get documentation about Joseph's polygamy that isn't just a book quoting such things?

Also, do you know about the Joseph Smith's translation of the Bible and why they don't use that version?

I know I have many questions but would appreciate you taking the time to answer them. I am very frustrated with my Mormon friend's stubborness to look into his own doctrine and feel the only way he will even give it a look is if it comes from his own church history and records.

Thank you. Keep up the great work!

[Sandra's Note: If you go to the LDS genealogy web site: http://www.familysearch.org and fill in the names for Joseph Smith, married to Emma Hale, father is Joseph, mother is Lucy. Fill in country, United States, Smith was born in 1805 in Vermont. This will pull up Smith's genealogy and lists a number of his wives. Some were already married, like Zina Huntington, Mary Elizabeth Rollins, Sylvia Sessions. Just follow the links to these women and note the dates of their marriages.

Type in Brigham Young, married Mary Angel, born 1801 in Vermont. This will get you Brigham's genealogy and a number of his wives.

Both had more wives than are on the list and some who were married to Smith later married Young after Smith's death.

These are detailed in the books, Mormon Enigma, and In Sacred Loneliness. Both are written by Mormons and can be ordered through Deseretbook.com, just type in the titles in their search box.

Most of the books we quote from, such as the Journal of Discourses, History of the Church, etc., are in college libraries throughout Utah and areas that have high numbers of LDS, like Idaho, Calif. or Arizona. Probably all of them are at BYU, Univ. of Utah, Utah State Historical Society Library and the LDS Church Historical Dept.]

July 18, 2004

hello i have a question maybe you can help me with . do you have a reference that mormons will be a God on there own planet and have a Goddess wife with spiritual babies and they will be worshiped . i was talking to a mormon he told me that there is not document that they will have there own planet . if you have any info on that can you let me know i have bought books from you and other materials you have helped me witness to mormons . i thank you for your wonderful web site God bless

[Sandra's Note: In 2001 the LDS Church printed the manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor. This is currently sold at LDS stores and on our book list. In it we read:

"We are children of our Heavenly Father and have the potential to become like Him. ... In one point of view, man appears very poor, weak, and imbecile ... In another point of view, we look at him [man] as emanating from the Gods—as a God in embryo—as an eternal being who had an existence before he came here, ... He is a God in embryo, and possesses within him a spark of the eternal flame which was struck from the blaze of God's eternal fire in the eternal world, ... And when he shall be perfected, and have progressed to maturity, he will be like his Father—a God, being indeed His offspring. As the horse, the ox, the sheep, and every living creature, including man propagates its own species and perpetuates its own kind, so does God perpetuate his. ... It is for the exaltation of man to this state of superior intelligence and Godhead that the mediation and atonement of Jesus Christ is instituted; and that noble being, man, ... is rendered capable of becoming a God, possessing the power, the majesty, the exaltation and the position of a God." (Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, pp.2-5)

See the quotes in our article: Mormons Hope to Become Gods of Their Own Worlds.

I believe all of these LDS books are on the LDS CD-ROM program called GospeLink 2001.]

July 18, 2004

... I see now why over the years some really good people left the Mormon church and had fellowship with one another instead of attending LDS Sacrament. I am also a little hesitant about resigning too fast because as a member I may be able to witness to another inactive member before I quit, and I know my resignation shall be a tremendous shock to my family.

I want to say thank you and your husband for the good work you have been doing to make the truth available so others may judge for themselves. I won't waste my time being bitter, but I sure hate having been so deceived for almost 40 years.

I have had some very interesting experiences with the church authorities as I have questioned them over the years. I may write about them because it may help others wake up.

In 1974 I was even publicly chastized and accused of claiming to be a "prophetess" for simply giving my testimony explaining how some people were trying to force fluoridation in our state (We lived in NJ at the time) and I warned the congregation of the distortion of truth I had witnessed in a public meeting I'd attended in the State's capital. I pointed out to the congregation that a six pound baby taking two quarts of formula or mother's milk was getting 30 times the amount of a 180 lb. adult who drank the same amount...and no other medication is ever given more to an infant than an adult - especially to that proportion. (That is with fluoride in the formula water and in the mother's milk when she drinks fluoridated water) It was two years before I could admit to myself that the bishop who chastized me in Sacrament did so because he was looking out for his own interests. He worked for a chemical fertilizer company whose waste deposit was sodium fluoride which was sold to medicate water supplies. I was shunned by the people and so were my little children, but eventually the shunning stopped as the church leaders valued my services teaching difficult classes no one else could handle which I won over as I shared the Christ light. Many Mormons are good Christians who don't realize the deceptions about the history of the LDS church.

The truths I now know came as a result of my praying to Heavenly Father to know the truth about the church because I could see that despite being very solidly active in the Mormon church, our youngest daughter who is married to a return missionary and who has three children, sometimes puzzled me. Both she and our son-in-law do not seem to have the "connection" with Christ that I have always felt (I was a convert from Methodism at age 33), and I wanted to know why and how I can help her especially since I raised her thinking I had taught her to honor, love and trust what Jesus taught and lived above all else.

One morning I prayed to know the truth, believing in my heart that something was really wrong with not only the actions of the brethren I had observed for years, but the basic teachings of the church, and that same day I found 4 little anti-Mormon books in the thrift shop (discards from the Baptist church library) and decided to take them home to read and see what they had to say.

I would have known the truth long ago if I had read these little books, but instead, one protestant friend gave me very hateful pamphlets and tried to bombard me with hateful anti-Mormon literature, and another showed open hostility, and this turned me off to listening, comparing and Asking. The little books I found in the thrift shop were written with Christian compassion, not hate, and I could not put them down until I had finished them. Since then, the books I have bought from you have helped me also, and I feel free of bondage but I do yearn to Christian fellowship, yet I am very reluctant to just join another church. I don't want to be deceived again. I need time to heal.

I hope to be able to witness to the truth with kindness because I believe that it is ever more important to be kind than even to be right. I know you know that for you show it. Thank you so very much for your good and faithful work. I hope I can meet you next time we are in Salt Lake City to visit our family. ...

May God continue to bless you and your family, and your good works,

July 19, 2004

I have a friend who is a Mormon, who is now finally, after years of being witnessed to by Christians, willing to research and find out the truth about Mormonism. But we have a problem.

She says she wants to read the KJV Bible for herself without the JST, but she wants to know where she can get original documents about Mormonism, such as proof of the lifestyles of Joseph Smith, Brigham Young and others. I have told her that such information is available from your ministry, but she is still presently convinced Mormonism is true, and she says that what you have is only COPIES of original documents and that you could have CHANGED what they really said.

I have told her that you would not do such a thing but being a typical Mormon she won't believe me. I don't know if you have original stuff or just copies of it, so I didn't know what to tell her about that. I was wondering if you have any suggestions of what to tell her about where to get information on things like the books that have been edited by Mormonism, where they've taken out things that make Mormonism look bad, etc., as well as information on the ungodliness of Smith and Young?

[Sandra's Note: The Journal of Discourses, History of the Church, etc. , are in most of the university libraries here in Utah, the Utah State Historical Society, BYU, and a number of universities around the country.]

July 19, 2004

Subject: question regarding FLDS

Thank you very much for your website. I'm a born again believer, ... I am wondering if you would have a connection for me that could link me with others who have left the cult of FLDS possibly out of Colorado City and have become believers in Christ in a true sense of the word "christian." I know of Tapestry but cannot figure out if they are LDS or actually evangelical Christians.

If there is no one to contact who is formerly of this group, would you know anyone who might be able to give me help in knowing how to help, encourage and witness to a woman who has left this cult, was in a polygamous marriage as well as the children of this polygamous marriage. There is only one of the children who has made a commitment to Christ, the mother (wife #2) and son have not and are both at this point not interested in discussing anything religious. There are several siblings still left within the cult and thus it is a bit difficult. I know that I could easily blunder in this, but God has placed it within my family due to marriage of my nephew and thus I feel a great burden for this woman and her son as well as those still involved in the cult. There is much abuse of women and children.

Thank you very much for any help you may be able to give me.

[Sandra's Note: Contact Mary Mackert at xpolygamist@yahoo.com See her site:


Also, Doris Hansen was raised in polygamy but left before they could marry her off: oneofhisheep@integrity.com

Both of these women are good Christians and may be able to advise you or know of others to refer you to.

Also, Mary's brother, Brian has his story on the net.

http://www.geocities.com/plygkid/ ]

July 19, 2004

Subject: Fwd: The God Makers Book???

My Husband and I just finished reading the God Makers by Ed Decker...from what I gather so far you don't fully agree with what he says just from different web sites etc....After reading the book My husband and I are so relieved to now see the truth about the Mormon religion.

What we would like to know is what it is that you believe or factual data that contradicts ED Decker's Book so that my husband and I can fully understand this matter? Both my husband and I grew up in the LDS Church and can't deny what he says in his book to be somewhat factual we both thought he was pretty much right on with the way the Church and there Temple does things...After we read this we now have asked to have our names removed from the church and will not take part in The LDS Church. If you could back with me on this that would be great thanks..


[Sandra's Note: The general outline of LDS historical and doctrinal problems are treated adequately in the book. In fact, much of the historical material was taken from our book, Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? (sometimes credited in the footnotes).

But there are statements that seem too melodramatic. For instance, see pp.72 and 73 (in my 1984 ed.) where they deal with 'mormo' and speak of 'the unmistakable fingerprints of Lucifer himself.' Then on p.74-5 they relate part of the temple ceremony and talk of Lucifer's apron and imply Mormons wear a 'similar' apron. Actually, the devil's is black or navy blue, the patron wears a green apron with fig leafs embroidered on it.

By the way, I do not believe ANY of the temple ceremony and feel it must be a great blasphemy to God. However, in the Godmakers it is all spoken of in such a sensational manner, 'Luciferian aprons' etc. It doesn't create a feeling of confidence when the conspiratorial tone is so heavy. (see p.254 for an example—'Mormonism can best be understood in relation to the larger occult conspiracy, of which it is a part.') The film also had problems with exaggeration.

I feel the straight forward history of Mormonism is bad enough without exaggerating it and making it some sort of 'conspiracy.' Obviously the material on our site shows we believe Smith was a deceiver but we try to lay this out for a person in a less emotional setting. Otherwise, the Mormon may just throw it all out as lies.

Many of our problems with Ed Decker stem more from his involvement with Bill Schnoeblen, see #65 Messenger and #67 Messenger. And with his film 'Godmakers 2.' See #84 Messenger and our book—Problems in Godmakers II.

I hope this answers your questions.]

July 20, 2004

Dear Sir/Ma'm,

Please send me any type of witnessing material you have. I am trying to witness to my mom who has been baptized into the mormon church along with my 11-year-old brother who I am greatly worried about. I'm not sure how secure he is in his faith and I know that he won't be taught the truth at the LDS church!

I would like any information that will help me help my mom and brother. There is no father in the equation - he abandoned us 11 years ago. I am a 22 year old girl who doesn't live at home - . . . - I know in my heart there is a reason I am trying to retract my little family from the LDS church, I know the gospel, my mom taught it to me as a young child... she fell away from the non-denominational church I grew up in when I was about 9 yrs old. She has had many hardships in her life, MANY, and I know that the people in the church are very nice and comforting for her, BUT, my little brother's everlasting life is/may be hanging in the balance!!!

This is very important to me, it's like a fever in my soul to bring them back to the truth. My mom won't read the LDS's Gospel Principles book, which contradicts the Bible throughout. I desperately need help. Can anyone there find the time to help us?

Your friend and supporter in Jesus Christ,

[Sandra's Note: If your mom won't even look at LDS material I am not sure what type of material would help. We will send you a packet of information that will help you. You might order the photos from our list called Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies.

I don't know if polygamy would upset your mom. Sec. 132 is still in the Doctrine and Covenants—and Joseph Smith did practice it. If you go to the LDS genealogy web site—http://www.familysearch.org/Eng/Search/frameset_search.asp

and do a search on Joseph Smith and Brigham Young you will find that they had a number of wives, some of whom were already married to other men. Both had more wives than are on the list.

These are detailed in the books, Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, and In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith. Bother are written by Mormons and can be ordered through Deseretbook.com, just type the titles in their search box. You should read Mormon Enigma and then try to get her to look at it.]

July 20, 2004

Subject: Search for Truth

... Up until a couple of months ago, I considered myself Mormon, albeit an inactive one. Thanks primarily to your Lighthouse Ministries website, I can honestly say that is no longer the case. I joined the church in '96 and was active for two years. After learning that an entire active member family was covertly trying to convert me to polygamy (bear in mind I was a member of the mainstream LDS church, not a fundamentalist version), I became inactive, but retained my LDS-taught beliefs.

Throughout my time with this church, my questions have never ceased. The doctrines seem extremely complex, and NO ONE could ever answer my questions. Nevertheless, I kept the faith. But studying the Bible, and not the Book of Mormon, began to take hold. And still more questions arose. For instance, Mormons are ceaselessly told about the eternal family. Marriage is forever, husbands and wives are forever; children are yours forever, etc., (provided you're married and sealed in the Temple, of course). But then you read Mark 12:25, and in Jesus' own words this teaching is made false.

Again, in the LDS church you are taught that the only way to achieve the higher realms of heaven is to have children. The more children you have, the greater your posterity. Yet, in Matthew 19:12 Jesus' words seem to void that claim, as well.

When I brought these contradictions to the attention of the local branch President, whom I dearly love as a friend, he could not answer. Instead, he chastised me for seeking after the "secret things of the Bible." I was very surprised and saddened by his response, but it turned out to be the best answer he could've given me, for it served to further my continued studies of the Bible.

Then, last March, I happened across an article on the net regarding the DNA study of the American Indians ~ funded, no less, by Brigham Young University. Initially devastated, I couldn't read any more for over a month. But after much rumination, I concluded that TRUTH is more important than the comfort zone of a familiar religion, having to admit that I was wrong in my beliefs, or maintaining friendships forged in a false faith. TRUTH is more important than anything, and with that I investigated further, and eventually found your website. I cannot tell you how much time I've spent studying your site. The sheer number of pages to go through, and then follow-ups on the reference pages, is daunting. Within another month, though, I'd learned enough to finally realize that Joseph Smith was a false prophet, as have been each and every other "prophet" of the LDS church since then (mainstream, reorganized, fundamentalist, etc). The church is false, the religion is false.

Thank God I've kept my faith in Jesus Christ, and in fact it's stronger than ever! So many, particularly the youth, seem to lose all faith in Christ and God when they discover the Truth behind the Lie of the Mormon religion. It's heartbreaking to read their messages posted on the Mormon Recovery message board. They all deserve and need our prayers.

Anyway, I want to say THANK YOU for all the years you and Jerald have dedicated to bringing forth all the facts and hidden documents you've uncovered, so the rest of us may benefit from the truths revealed.

Yours in Christ,

July 20, 2004

Subject: Population

A friend of mine gave me a good point that I'm a little worried about. The population growth in the book of Mormon is unheard of. http://www.josephlied.com/population.html What's the explanation to this?

[Sandra's Note: Yes, the population growth, numbers killed in battles, etc. create huge problems for those wanting to take the Book of Mormon seriously as history. See the chapter on population growth in the book, New Approaches to the Book of Mormon.

Mormon scholars see the problem and try to get around it by saying that there were already people in the Americas before any of the Book of Mormon people arrived. And then they have to argue that the Nephites and Lamanites intermarried with these others, thus creating the huge populations mentioned in the Book of Mormon. However, the Book of Mormon never mentions anyone in the land other than the Jaredites, Mulekites, and Lehi's descendents. In fact, it seems to say that God specifically reserved the land for those he guided to it.

God promises the Jaradites "that they should come forth even unto the land of promise, which was choice above all other lands, which the Lord God had preserved for a righteous people. And he had sworn in his wrath unto the brother of Jared, that whoso should possess this land of promise, from that time henceforth and forever, should serve him, the true and only God, or they should be swept off when the fulness of his wrath should come upon them." (Ether 2:7-9.)

This hardly sounds like God would have let a pagan people cover the Americas if he was preserving it as the "promised land." God told Lehi's group that "inasmuch as ye shall keep my commandments, ye shall prosper, and shall be led to a land of promise; yea, even a land which I have prepared for you; yea, a land which is choice above all other lands.(1 Nephi 2:20.)

Then in 2 Nephi we are told: "we have obtained a land of promise, a land which is choice above all other lands; a land which the Lord God hath covenanted with me should be a land for the inheritance of my seed. Yea, the Lord hath covenanted this land unto me, and to my children forever, and also all those who should be led out of other countries by the hand of the Lord. " (2 Nephi 1:5.)

The Mayans, with their pagan gods, certainly were not worshiping the Christian God and would hardly qualify as a people led to the land because of their righteousness.]

July 21, 2004

Hi, I am a "Mormon" and I enjoy my religion very much. I appreciate how much though you have put into researching our church, I wish that you could put thought in to researching it's truths.

You might find that they are good and that they feel good.

Have you ever though to look at the church as a whole and see the good that the doctrine does in the lives of the people that believe it, the happiness that it brings them? In my experience spending too much time looking for the bad ends up making people unhappy, spiteful, and even self destructive.

Why do you put so much effort and time into speaking out against the mormon church? It seems to me that your time would be more productive researching the bible and applying the principles of Jesus Christ and the prophets of the old testament and improving a little bit of this world around you. Especially in a time of such need for spiritual strength.

I know that this letter will probably upset somebody and I hope you read it with the sincerity I am writing it (I am, by no means, saying this with any anger or malice). I was just reading your information about the Salamander letter and I appreciated the honesty, I just wanted to ask if you have found any truth in the doctrines taught and have seen goodness in the fruits of the church as a whole? Thank you for your time.

[Steve's Note: Thank you for taking the time to write to us. I am glad that you wrote your letter in the spirit that you did. It takes tremendous courage to share with us as you have and to sincerely ask us to explain what motivates us in our work rather than simply assuming the worst in us.

The Utah Lighthouse Ministry has always tried to be even-handed in our research of the LDS Church. We do not encourage sensationalistic or unfounded accusations against the LDS Church or its members. There have been times when Jerald and Sandra Tanner have stood up for the truth even when everyone else was pressuring them to take another position that would be more embarrassing to the LDS Church.

An example of this is when Jerald was the first one to publicly doubt the authenticity of the Salamander Letter that Mark Hofmann was selling to the LDS Church. It is ironic that Jerald Tanner is the one who first doubted what Mark Hofmann was presenting to the LDS Church while the LDS Church was the one who was unable to discern that they were being deceived.

Unfortunately, the truth does not always "feel good". Sometimes the truth challenges us and moves us where we would not choose to take ourselves. The truth may lead us to a destination that will be neither easy nor comfortable. There may be a large price to pay for standing for the truth. Much of the "good that the doctrine does in the lives of the [LDS] people" can be claimed by all other religions too. The question is not does the church do good in someone's life but is it really the truth?

We spend our time and our lives reaching out to Mormons because, above all, we feel as though God has called us to this ministry. We also continue because of our love for Mormons (many of whom are our family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers). Just as why we are doing this work the question can be asked "why do 60,000+ LDS missionaries spend 2 years of their lives trying to convince others that their beliefs are not right and that the LDS Church is the one true church?". Some of the good that this ministry tries to do to improve the world, among other things, is the support and sponsorship of 44 children around the world through World Vision.

There are several things that the LDS Church does that can be seen as good things for Christians to think about. Mormons have a zeal for God; they have a desire to live out their faith and to share it with others; they have programs within the church to meet needs of many groups within the church; they talk of the importance of the family and ethical standards of living and they demonstrate the importance of cultivating reverence and respect for God through worship and the observance of the Sabbath day. If the Mormon Church had nothing positive about it at all then no one would ever be interested in joining.

Unfortunately, in spite of these good things that can be said about the Mormons, the truth remains that the content of their teachings is not true and is at odds both with itself and the clear history of Christianity. When someone tries to decide about their faith the choice should not have to be either truth or an attractive church. We, Christians, must work to live out our faith in such a way that those around us see both the attraction of how we love one another and how we stand for the truth.

I hope that this helps. If I can be of any additional assistance to you please feel free to write again.]

July 21, 2004

Subject: about different sources about Mormonism

I am writing to what other sources you consider to be good and reliable sources of information about Mormonism.I think Utah Lighthouse Ministy is the best of the ones I've got information from;I'm not saying that just because I'm writing to you,but I've recieving information from you for quite some years now and I have found it to be extremely reliable,and I really appreciate that since so much of what I've read about the Mormon church(including alot of the 'anti' material;I'm using the term 'anti' hear for lack of a better term) has proved to be unreliable and full of errors,which tends to be counter-productive to one's cause(WHATEVER that cause might be). ...

By the way,the pastor's wife at the church I am now attending is a former Mormon,and she mentioned that she met Mrs. Tanner and thinks Mrs. Tanner is a very nice person.

[Sandra's Note: Here are a few sites that have good information.

Also see our links page, Other Websites ]

July 22, 2004

Dear Editor,

what makes you think that the things that you write about the mormon faith aren't already known by the mormons? what makes you think that your faith is anymore perfect than the mormon faith? don't you believe in christ? don't I believe in christ?

what if joseph smith brags about being a great prophet? your bragging that your religion is better than his. how does that make you better than him. i just don't get you people? claim to be christian but don't even have the appearance of it. just the nametag.

i wish this could be just like a boxing match where everyone just goes to their corners and awaits the judge's decision. till then live your life and be happy. Because you are only feasting on the naive and weak of heart.


fed up

July 22, 2004

Subject: Thanks


I grew up with my best friend, who is a Mormon.

We have always discussed the scriptures and I came very close to joining the church. I was never told the true meaning behind all the terminology that we (Christians) and Mormons share, but with very different interpretations. I can also say that after praying with the Mormon Missionaries, I felt a "Burning in the bosom" sensation. Something stilled gnawed at me though and I also felt very scared. It was then that I set out to test the prophet (Joseph Smith) and he fell way short.

After doing some research and discovering some of the true beliefs of Mormonism, I was actually shocked and my Christian conscience was really offended.

I decided to first research the Christianity that I was brought up in. I really set out to test if what I believe in is true. I can confidently say that there is enough evidence in the case for Christianity to warrant faith. I was so overjoyed to discover that even a sceptic who researches the truth claims of Christianity will see that the scriptures hold up under all types of tests. This is not the case for Mormonism, it is riddled with holes and at every turn the truth about the LDS church leaps out at you, and you realise that it is founded on lies.

I wrote a book to my friend detailing all the factual reasons why I must reject Joseph Smith as a false prophet. I am confident that the evidence in the case is so overwhelming that any rational person will very quickly see the truth. After reading my friends response I realised that no amount of academic or factual debate can convince him. It was also then that I realised just how effective a cult is in clouding its' members judgement. It seems that a veil is over their eyes and they simply cannot grasp what is right in front of their eyes.

I understand the concept of why a subjective faith test is not the right way to test the B.O.M. After all; what may seem right to me, may not be right to God. Our own imaginations are very dangerous. This is where the irony is: I realised that no amount of truth will convince the Mormons of their error ---- but only the Holy Spirit can lift the veil, so we must challenge Mormons to pray for wisdom ---- But when they pray they should first ask to whom they are speaking before they ask the question. The God of the Bible will give a different response to the god of Joseph Smith.

We can only pray for our Mormon friends that the veil will be lifted and that the Holy Spirit can open their eyes to the truth.

Thanks again for a great website

July 23, 2004

A friend of mine sent his daughter to Utah to the University and now she is written a letter telling them she is going to be baptized in the mormon church. We are totally ignorant of the doctrines of the LDS.

Have read some books about the mountain meadow massacre and try to find some information in the net but everything is so long. Could you give us a short information on their doctrines, rituals and criminal activities and teachings? Also a short note on their leaders starting with Smith. Thanks.

[Sandra's Note: First, read these pages on our site—especially the ones under LDS Theology and the Tracts.

Here is a link to our newsletter on the massacre—#98 Messenger.

You might want to get some of our videos—they are a good, fast way to get some basic information.

See: Booklist: Categories: Videos

You will also find some great information at this site—http://irr.org/mit/Is-Mormonism-Christian.html

This site has a good overview of Joseph Smith's life—http://www.lds-mormon.com/jsmith.shtml

A good side by side comparison on LDS/Christian doctrine is laid out in Understanding Mormonism: Mormonism and Christianity Compared.

A good, fairly brief, overview of the LDS faith is in the book Mormonism Unmasked.

Many times a Mormon or potential convert will say the Christian is misinformed on what the LDS Church teaches. At that point a person needs to have some photos from LDS books showing some of their true beliefs. An important tool is the compilation of LDS photos in our set called Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies. Also Where Does It Say That?

Hope this helps.]

July 24, 2004

Subject: Question regarding witnessing


... I am 21 and... I have a close friend of mine who married a mormon girl about a year and a half ago.  Just a few days ago he told me he was thinking of converting. He is Methodist now I believe. I told him we need to talk before he makes that decision and he agreed. I have spent this week reading up on as much Mormon things as possible.

My question is...if the book of Mormon does not necessarily preach the teachings of the LDS Church, how do you make a strong argument without someone with Mormon beliefs not believing you. I am sure my friend does not have an extensive knowledge of LDS teachings, but I know he has read the book of Mormon. How do I get around that?

Thanks for all your help.

[Steve's Note: My answer to your question would be that your friend must be willing to ask the tough questions about the teachings of the LDS Church and whether those teachings are compatible with the message of the Book of Mormon, the Bible and the historic faith of millions upon millions of Christians.

You can gently point out to him that the Book of Mormon contains teachings that are not in agreement with the LDS Church today. It also can be said that there are many teachings found in the LDS Church that are nowhere to be found in the Book of Mormon. For additional help with this please refer to our Online Resources section, especially the following:

You may also want to familiarize yourself with the Terminology Differences page that we offer at.

If we are not aware that Mormons use the same terms Christians do but with completely different meanings then we can inadvertently end up talking right past one another—and not even realize that it is happening.

I pray that this will be of help to you.]

July 24, 2004

Subject: purchase of rare mormon books

I'm interested in purchasing an 1830 addition of the book of mormon. Can you tell me where I can find a copy?


[Sandra's Note: An original 1830 edition of the Book of Mormon would cost somewhere between $50,000-$100,000. Here are the web pages for three used book dealers—

Benchmark Books

Sam Weller's Book

Ken Sanders Used Books

However, you can buy a photo reprint of the 1830 ed. from us. See—Joseph Smith Begins His Work Vol. 1.

We also have a photo of the 1830 ed. with the changes marked. See—3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon.

To read a list of the major changes, see—Introduction to 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon.]

July 25, 2004

Hello to the Tanner Family............

I would like to get more information on my family, on my Mother's Side. I do not want to go through the Mormon Church.

I was in Salt Lake last week to lay my Momma to rest .... My Mother was not too fond of the Mormons. They were not to good to her Mom and Dad at a time of need. My grandparents were from Holland and had 14 children. They lived in Salt Lake were my Momma and her brothers and sisters were raised. If you can help me find the family information I would be very happy.

I have been reading your book Mormonism Shadow or Reality 5th edition. I can't believe anyone would want to follow that nutcase!! Well, anyway.... My Momma raised me to believe in God and to have respect for one another. I don't have to like them.... I do not go to Church,... In finding this information on my Family I would rather not have to pay an arm and a leg to get. Any Idea's ???

Thank you


[Sandra's Note: I would suggest you use the LDS program on the internet.


Using their program does not give them any more information on your family than they already have. By using their free program you are not supporting them financially. I have used their program to find some of my own relatives.]

July 25, 2004

1.How do you know Mormonism is not the truth? Is it possible that it's true?

2.The Book of Mormon is like the Holy Bible. It also has commandments, history,etc. Why do you accept the Bible, but not the Book of Mormon?

3.There're lots of Mormon who think what they're believing are true. If Mormonism is not true, How can we help them?

4.Do your think their prophets know about the truth? Do they know Mormonism is not true and they lie?

[Steve's Note: I will try to answer your questions as you asked them.

1. I know that Mormonism is not true since it is in conflict with what the Bible has to say about who God is and how we might receive salvation. Furthermore, Mormonism has many contradictions both externally (as viewed against other information that we can know of the world around us) and internally (problems where the teachings and the history from the LDS Church are at odds with itself). It is because of problems like this that Mormonism can not possibly be true in any objective way. See LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible, Bible and Book of Mormon Contradictions, and Contradictions in LDS Scriptures.

2. The history and evidence that exists for the Bible does not exist at all for the Book of Mormon. Many places, people and things mentioned in the Bible can be confirmed and verified to have been real facts of history whereas the Book of Mormon can not confirm a single person, place or name from its account. There are many scholars who can confirm the accuracy of the Biblical record regardless of whether or not they happen to believe the Bible's spiritual message. Confirming the historical reality does not demand faith in the spiritual message but allows it to remain a real option. Belief in the Book of Mormon must be held in spite its claims which are not in harmony with the evidence, the data and the historic record. For more information consider reading the book we sell titled The Bible and Mormon Doctrine and A Look at Christianity.

3. We can help Mormons to see the errors of their beliefs by earning the right to be heard. We must let them know we share what we do because we care about them and the truth. We must let them see that we think the truth is important enough to be shared even when facing it is a painful process. For additional thoughts see our paper called Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints.

4. As for what the prophets may know, I can only say that I can't speak for what they may know. However, having said that, they, above everyone else, are without excuse since they have a better position to evaluate the claims of Mormonism and to look at information that they will not allow the rest of us to look at. If they do persist in their beliefs in spite of the evidence available to them or if they have never been willing to face the evidence, they will be accountable before God for failing to acknowledge and respond to the truth. We will all be judged by God for how we responded to the truth; so whether or not the LDS leadership is in deliberate error still does not release any of us from dealing with the truth ourselves.

I pray that this helps.]

July 26, 2004


I am reading "Reasoning from the Scriptures with Mormons" by Ron Rhodes and Marian Bodine and found your website listed in the references. I read your testimonies and sincerely praise the Lord for people like you. I pray that God grants you confidence and courage to boldly follow Him through a challenging world.

I am an evangelical Christian student and am learning about Mormon doctrine.... I sincerely thank you for making such resources available and I will continue to use your website as a valuable tool.

Yours in Christ,

July 26, 2004


I recently visited your site and I noted the quote by Joseph Smith about how great he thought he was. I have seen "History of the Church" quoted many times by experts. Is this book available for ordering. If so, how much, shipping, etc.


[Sandra's Note: The LDS bookstore, Deseret Book, sells both a hard-back set and a soft-back set of History of the Church.


It is also included in their online program called Gospelink: http://gospelink.com

This program also contains the Journal of Discourses, plus dozens of other LDS titles. The History of the Church, Journal of Discourses, and most other historical LDS books can be seen at the various public, college and university libraries throughout Utah.]

July 27, 2004

What's the best way to approach mormon's with "truth"? There seems to be a problem in that they don't want to be bothered with facts. Whether its facts about the Bible or facts about the problems of Joseph Smith and mormon doctrine, they don't seem to want to be bothered with factual evidence. Is there any tips you can pass along on the subject of truth and/or facts?

Thank you,

[Steve's Note: Although there is no final answer that will work for all Mormons there are a few things you can do to earn the right to be heard.

First, pray for them. Our struggle here is not only horizontal but vertical in nature.

Second, make sure that your life does not reflect something that would turn off a Mormon. Mormons judge your words by whether or not they are in harmony with your life.

Third, ask them about their faith. Do not assume to know everything there is to know about what any particular person may believe. Many Mormons have experiences being taught very different things.

Fourth, plant seeds in them by helping them be able to question their faith. This is so important. Mormons are not encouraged to do critical thinking about their church, its leaders or its history.

Finally, talk to them about your own faith. More often than not, Mormons do not really understand the Christian teaching about God, the Bible, Jesus and Salvation. Help them to see the difference that exists between LDS and Christian teaching.

For materials that may help you, you could watch a video together, read a book or article or even work together to evaluate what they believe. On our Online Resources section of our website. We have several good papers that could help you. Among others see:

July 27, 2004

... Isn't Christianity supposed to teach about Christ? Why spend time focusing on other religions when that time could be focusing on what their church is about and focusing on the people of their church and their spirituality. I am so sick of hearing people from the pulpits preaching about Mormons and Jehova Witnesses and Seventh Day Adventists! They should be preaching about their own religion.

This is one thing that has turned me from these so called Christianity religions. If they were really Christians they would teach about Christ instead of focusing on other religions. Yes, it is true that all the time spent is not focused on other religions, but everywhere I go, there is some kind of preaching about them. Think about these things when you are creating your website and how people will view you as a Christian. I certainally have no respect for people who have to belittle and tear other religions apart and then think that they are doing Gods will. Give me a break!


[Steve's note: Thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts to us. The questions you have asked raise some very important points.

The reason Christian churches feel compelled to preach about the errors of what others teach is to inform their own congregations of false teaching they may be exposed to. Jesus and the apostles spent considerable time preaching against false prophets, false teachers, a false gospel, a false Christ and false teachings (Matthew 7:15; 24:11, 24; Mark 13:22; Luke 6:26; 2 Corinthians 11:13; Galatians 3:1; 2 Peter 2:1; 1 John 4:1; Jude 5-16; and Revelation 16:13; 19:20).

On the other hand, if the churches you have been attending seem to focus solely on the errors of others then it probably would be wise to look elsewhere for a place to worship God. There is so much more to worship and fellowship with other believers than being consumed with any one topic. A healthy, balanced church will strive to not only help you understand truth and error but will also teach you the importance of a life characterized by love and self sacrifice.

We agree that it is counterproductive to engage in belittling or mean-spirited attacks. However, a careful examination and critique of the teachings of a religious organization does not automatically make those studies belittling or motivated by a desire to "tear other religions apart." What the Utah Lighthouse Ministry does in its research and comparison of the LDS church and Christianity should not ever be understood to be a substitute for involvement with church or its importance.

I hope that this information is helpful to you. If you have any further questions or would like more information please feel free to write again.]

July 27, 2004

Is it hard for you to live in the mecca of Mormonism and be separated from your family? I can't imagine the strength that God has given you for that. You guys are special! ... Thanks again.

[Sandra's Note: Our families never disowned us. However, they did put a lot of pressure on us at first to come back to the church. The first year out of Mormonism I spent a lot of time crying after friends and family events. We had a number of arguments but finally agreed not to discuss religion, unless everyone agreed to have the discussion, as we couldn't agree and everyone just got upset. We have had opportunities to talk to various family members through the years and a number of them have become evangelical Christians. Some have given up on religion all together, and others are still devout LDS.

It was harder on our kids growing up in Salt Lake to not be Mormon, and the children of famous apostates, than it was for us to be ex-Mormon. We found new friends and a good church group.

In relation to the work environment, when Jerald was a machinist years ago we ran into problems with employers due to his being ex-Mormon. But once we started our own research business, Modern Microfilm, it wasn't so much of a problem. We no longer had to worry about work discrimination. However, some businesses refused to do printing and photocopy work for us so we finally bought our own equipment.]

July 27, 2004

A friend of mine and I were discussing Joseph Smith's prophacy of the Civil War...he says that no other religion or person in history was able to prophatize this war. He claims the information that you have on your site pertaining to this does not give any proof that anyone else was able to say that this event was to take place. Can you help me on this....He is a mormon and I am not.

[Sandra's Note: The Painesville Telegraph, Ohio, ran a number of articles during November and December of 1832 discussing the pending Nullification in South Carolina. On Dec. 14, 1832 the paper ran this article:

Nullification in South Carolina, we should suppose was nearly brought to a head.— Nothing now remains to open a civil war, but the first overt act. The state conven. has met and adjourned. the Governor of the state was its president. The business of the convention appeared to be to mark the proper course to resist the operation of the tariff laws. They passed an ordinance recommending the immediate enaction of laws by the legislature, adopted several reports and addresses, of great length, declaratory of their views of the constitution, "as they understand it," their opinions of the tariff, and expressing a firm determination not to pay one cent beyond that required to support the government. Every line breaths a spirit of defiance and chivalry, well worthy the days of —Don Quixote.— ...

See our section on the civil war in our online book, Changing World: Chapter 14, p. 424, and item #3 in Mormon Claims Answered: Prophecies in the Doctrine and Covenants.

Also see this site's article:

http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/painesville-telegraph.html ]

July 28, 2004

Subject: Book Recommendations?

In ministry to Mormons, I have obtained several Mormon publications.

These include:

1. Current Book of Mormon
2. Current Doctrine & Covenants & Pearl of Great Price
3. 1830 BOM
4. 1835 Doctrine & Covenants

What recommendation do you have beyond these that would be beneficial in demonstrating to Mormons the inconsistencies in the teachings of the LDS Church. In other words, what is the next book that I should get? Do you sell it?

[Sandra's Note: First, look at our booklist, see Current LDS Publications.

Doctrines of the Gospel, Gospel Principles, and their priesthood manuals, such as Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor, all have good references.

The Deseret News 2003 Church Almanac has a lot of statistics, growth, temples, list of names of all General Authorities, Pres. of the Church, apostles, etc.

Also, our list of photos called Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies is helpful in proving what they really believe.

Another good LDS source is GospeLink. It has the 26 vol. set of Journal of Discourses, History of the Church, plus dozens of LDS doctrinal books. See http://gospelink.com

Also, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith: http://deseretbook.com/store/product?product_id=100015098

You will find we have quoted from many of these books in our LDS Theology section.

A good side by side comparison between the Bible and LDS doctrine is Understanding Mormonism: Mormonism and Christianity Compared.]

July 27, 2004

 ... The other day, I asked you all to pray for my meeting yesterday with S......, a LDS friend of my Christian friend K....... The meeting went VERY well! She was so open and honest that we could sense the Lord has been softening her heart and drawing her to Himself.

K...... and I met with her for over two hours and she shared how she was raised Mormon and her entire family is LDS as well. When her husband left the Mormon church, she has been checking out other churches with him, but because of her LDS beliefs, she has not been comfortable in any of them and it has caused a great struggle in their relationship. She wants desperately to have the security of an eternal family and to be able to live with Heavenly Father and Jesus.

My Christian friend K......and I listened and let her share her struggles, questions and doubts about Christianity before we said anything against Mormonism. When I asked her about her husband's research into Mormonism, she explained that she had been uncomfortable looking at it because she didn't want to read a lot of "hate" literature on the church. She then asked me, "What is the information against Mormonism that everyone is talking about? I really want to know the truth." I pulled out my research on how Joseph Smith had changed the revelations in Doctrine and Covenants after he originally published them in the 1833 Book of Commandments. Some of the revelations had been changed so much that Joseph Smith had added at least twice the content that was in the original revelation. She was shocked to see this and even took my photocopies home to show her husband.

We then discussed the LDS view of men becoming "gods," God being an "exalted man" with a heavenly wife who produced Jesus Christ and all mankind's "spirits" through celestial "sex." I showed her Isaiah 43:10 that speaks of "Jehovah" (which Joseph Smith claimed is Jesus Christ in the Old Testament) not having a God formed before Him or after Him. I explained how this proves that Heavenly Father could not have become God prior to Jesus and that their existence had to be simultaneous. She was overwhelmed to see this.

She had all kinds of questions on the Trinity doctrine. When I explained the distinctions in persons but the unity of the one God, she exclaimed "You're the first person who ever explained this to me!" I then told her about how the LDS Bible Dictionary on page 681 claims that "When one speaks of God, it is generally the Father who is referred to: that is, Elohim...The personage known as Jehovah in the Old Testament times, and who is usually identified in the Old Testament as LORD (in capital letters), is the Son, known as Jesus Christ, and who is also a God." We then turned to Deuteronomy 6 in which Elohim (Father) and Jehovah (Jesus Christ) are referred to as the SAME God. She was so amazed to see how this proves that they are both one God and not two Gods as Mormonism teaches.

There were times throughout our discussion that she would get a distant look in her eyes as her whole world was being shaken... And she would say things that showed how she was questioning everything she had been taught as a Mormon. Please pray for S......! She has such a hunger to know the Truth about God the Father and Jesus and how to relate to Him and she longs to know him intimately... We showed her His love and she agreed to get together with us again sometime... maybe even next week.

God is so awesome! He is truly the only one who can open blind eyes. I praise Him that He is doing this in S......'s heart right now! ...

May God be praised!

July 28, 2004

Subject: BOM Reference

In the Book of Mormon, page 517, verse 18, we find this statement: "For I know that God is not a partial God, neither a changeable being; but he is unchangeable from all eternity to all eternity."

The above quote is from your website. Can you please tell me what book chapter and verse this is from in the BOM. My page 517 apparently does not equate with the book you are using.


[Sandra's Note: Sorry, from about 1921 until 1981 all Book of Mormons had the same page numbers. However, the 1981 ed. went to new page numbers. The reference is Moroni 8:18.]

July 28, 2004

Dear Tanners & Utah Lighthouse Ministry,

... Question: when did the LDS actively begin calling themselves "Christians"?

Thanks for your help and for your ministry,

[Sandra's Note: When I was growing up LDS in the 1950's I would have told you I was a Christian, just not Protestant or Catholic. We boasted of being different and not part of the rest of the churches. The LDS Church didn't join in ecumenical activities. The church was not trying to fit in with the rest of the Christian community like it does today.

This 'Christian' emphasis seems to be the work of Pres. Hinckley, who is a master at Public Relations. Probably began under Pres. Kimball., when Hinckley was made his counselor in 1981.]

July 29, 2004

Subject: Content of your web site

I am a member of the LDS church and came across your web site while researching the web for personal reconciliation b/t Masonic rituals and the LDS temple ordinances, and all that they encompass. When I found your web site and began reading, my curiosity was peaked when I saw the link to "embarrassing questions." [Captain Morgan and the Masonic Influence in Mormonism: Embarrassing Questions]

I decided to read on just to satisfy some curiosity. In doing so, I hadn't read but a couple of paragraphs when I concluded that you are incapable of forming a complete, logical, or powerful argument. So I didn't read on. However from what I had read, I found the arguments so poorly constructed that I thought I would send you a few thoughts regarding the portion that I read. After I had read a few lines, I decided that the rest of your information isn't worth reading, primarily because the arguments you presented convinced me that you aren't a very capable person. If you can understand how they fit into your arguments:

1. Although the Lord stated that he "worketh not in secret combinations," as you quote, you fail to establish the Lord's definition of what a secret combination is. Without doing so your argument/ insinuation doesn't stand.

2. The ordinances and teachings of the temple are considered more sacred than they are secret. And the Lord did command to not, "cast your pearls before swine."

I suggest you find something you are better at doing, you certainly are not threat to truth.

July 30, 2004

... I can not begin to say how much you have helped me get through to some Mormon friends. You provide a very valuable service with great information. It seems that there is a movement growing (at least on the internet) of several groups like yours--Former Mormons who have become Christians who are determined to spread the truth about the gospel.

God Bless,

July 30, 2004

Subject: Baptism For The Dead & Other Things To Think About...

The LDS church teaches that people who have died cannot be baptized because they do not have a physical body. Therefore, baptisms for the dead are performed in LDS temples. However, the LDS church also teaches that EVERYBODY will be resurrected (with a physical body) at some time during the millennium. If we assume that a person must be baptized in order to dwell in heaven, would not the millennium be the time and place to baptize those who still need the ordinance?

The LDS church does not display the cross on or in any of its buildings because "it is the instrument which killed Jesus. After all a grieving woman would not wear or display the knife which killed her son." Why then, does the LDS church have tours at the Carthage Jail (where Joseph Smith was killed)? Using the same logic for not displaying the cross, the jail should have been destroyed.

When a priesthood blessing is administered, the words "if it is God's will" is usually included. If the afflicted person recovers, credit is given to the priesthood. If the person does not recover, it's because God needed that person on the other side of the veil (usually to do missionary work). How safe it is to know that whatever happens, the blessing was not a failure.

For the men who are reading this:

Imagine that Joseph Smith comes to you and asks to marry your wife. Do you...

A) Allow Joseph to marry your wife.
B) Offer your teenage daughter in place of your wife.
C) Take your family and leave ASAP.

For the women who are reading this:

Imagine that Joseph Smith comes to your husband and asks for your hand in marriage. Your husband offers your teenage daughter instead. Do you...

A) Allow Joseph to marry your teenage daughter.
B) Agree to marry Joseph because you want to protect your daughter.
C) Take your daughter and leave ASAP.

When faced with the same situation, Heber C. Kimball and his wife Vilate allowed their daughter, Helen Mar Kimball (age 14), to marry Joseph Smith (age 37).

To those who write and claim that this website is full of lies:

Verify the references for yourselves. If you believe that something is incorrect, be specific.

[Sandra's Note: The experience of Helen Mar Kimball is truly heartbreaking. She consented to be 'sealed' to Joseph in order to ensure her family's eternal exaltation. However, she did not understanding the marriage would be consummated. In the book Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, by two LDS women historians, we read:

In much the same manner as Emma's friend Elizabeth Ann Whitney had given her daughter Sarah to Joseph a year earlier, Vilate Kimball and her husband Heber C. agreed to the marriage of their daughter—who was one month from her fifteenth birthday—to Joseph. Helen Mar Kimball told of her marriage in her 1881 autobiography.

Just previous to my father's starting up his last mission ...to the Eastern States, he taught me the principle of Celestial marriage, and having a great desire to be connected with the Prophet Joseph, he offered me to him; this I afterwards learned from the Prophet's own mouth. My father had but one lamb, but willingly laid her upon the alter: how cruel this seemed to the mother whose heartstrings were already stretched untile they were ready to snap asunder for he had taken Sarah Noon to wife & she thought she had made sufficient sacrifice but the Lord required more. I will pass over the temptations which I had during the twenty four hours after my father introduced to me the principle & asked me if I would be sealed to Joseph who came next morning & with my parents I heard him teach & explain the principle of Celestial marriage—after which he said to me, "If you will take this step, it will ensure your eternal salvation & exaltation and that . . . of your fathers household & all of your kindred." I willingly gave myself to purchase so glorious a reward. None but God & angels could see my mother's bleeding heart, when Joseph asked her if she was willing, she replied "If Helen is willing I have nothing more to say." She had witnessed the sufferings of others, who were older & who better understood the step they were taking, & to see her child, who had scarcely seen her fifteenth summer, following in the same thorny path, in her mind she saw the misery which was so sure to come as the sun was to rise and set; but it was all hidden from me.

Apparently the Kimballs had not fully explained to Helen what the marriage would involve. "I would never have been sealed [married] to Joseph, had I known it was anything more than a ceremony," Helen later confided to her mother. (Mormon Enigma, pp.146-147, emphasis added)]

July 31, 2004

Dear Jerald and Sandra,

As an ex-Mormon myself I have come to greatly appreciate your website as a good source to research the history and background of Joseph Smith and Mormonism. Your life-long work is a tremendous help in sorting out the complexities of this false religion.

One question I do have is, why is there no mention on your site of M.T. Lambs research in his work "The Golden Bible"? I just completed reading it and believe he has documented very well the false claims made in the Book of Mormon and it is a good reference to have on hand to refute Joseph Smith's so-called inspired book. ...

Sincerely, and in Christ,

[Sandra's Note: We sell a photo reprint of Lamb's book. See: The Golden Bible. It was a major influence on me when I was struggling with the claims of the Book of Mormon. Even though the book is over one hundred years old the arguments against the historicity of the Book of Mormon are still valid.]

July 31, 2004

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner

I would like to thank you again for your very informative web site and for bringing so much information to public view.

I have a question from being in a discussion with an LDS member... This LDS continues to quote John Hay as support that none of the men Joseph Smith shot actually died.. The "History of the Church" does insinuate that it is only hearsay. I realize that this subject is very minute in discussing "Joseph Smith the martyr" but it did peak some curiosity in me.

So my question is... Do we have any documentation verifying that men did indeed die from Joseph Smith's shoot-out and that GIVES THEIR NAMES?

Thanks in advance!

[Sandra's Note: Dallin Oaks, who later became an apostle, gives this information about the main people involved in the murder of the Smiths:

"Very little is known about four of the men who were indicted. Allen, Wills, Voras, and Gallaher were never arrested and never appeared for trial. John Hay, who lived in the county as a boy, indicated that Allen was 'six feet two in his moccasins.' Wills, Voras, and Gahhaher were probably named in the indictment because their wounds, which testimony showed were received at the jail, were irrefutable evidence that they had participated in the mob. They undoubtedly recognized their vulnerability and fled the county. A contemporary witness reported these three as saying that they were the first men at the jail, that one of them shot through the door killing Hyrum, that Joseph wounded all three with his pistol, and that Gallaher shot Joseph as he ran to the window. According to Hay, Wills, whom the Mormon prophet had shot in the arm, was an Irishman who had joined the mob from 'his congenital love of a brawl.' Gallaher was a young man from Mississippi who was shot in the face. Hay described Voras (Voorhees) as a 'half-grown hobbledehoy from Bear Creek' whom Joseph shot in the shoulder. The citizens of Green Plains were said to have given Gallaher and Voras new suits of clothes for their parts in the killing.

"There is a great deal of information about the other five indicted defendants. All were prominent men with property, reputations, and political ambitions. All left indelible marks in their county's history, both before and after the trial. No doubt it was this prominence that caused them to stay and defend themselves rather than flee like the others." (Carthage Conspiracy, by Dallin Oaks and Marvin Hill, University of Illinois Press, 1979, pp. 52-53)

Also see the information on our page, Joseph Smith's Death.

Whether or not any of the men actually died from their wounds is not as important as that Smith was armed and shooting, obviously intending to kill them, thus not acting much like 'a lamb to the slaughter' or a martyr.]

Go to Letters to the Editor: Main

Go to Online Resources


Home | FAQs | What's New | Topical Index | Testimony | Newsletters | Online Resources | Online Books | Booklist | Order/Contact | Email | Other Websites