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September 2004
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

Sept. 1, 2004

Besides the articles I always enjoy reading the letters of those LDS who are having eyes opened and are receiving Christ. My prayer and hope is for some of those sometime to be my family members.

Keep up the good work and God bless—

Sept. 1, 2004

I have read a couple of your articles, and I must say, you guys are cowards. Anybody could write better lies than that, it was just obvious that you website was not credible. How can any man claim to be Christian and not follow the basic Christian principle of honesty? Anybody who focuses on badmouthing other religions isn't living theirs.

Sept. 1, 2004

Subject: New Mormon wanting to leave LDS-need direction

Greetings in Christ's name!

A friend of mine who 6 months ago became a Mormon, is now expressing a desire to get out. He is a genuine believer in Christ, though easily misled, even by his own admission. Once pointed him toward your site and others, he may have made a mistake. Like many, his main difficulty in leaving is the relationships he's developed. He lives in [another state], ... so my ability to assist him is limited. ... Thanks.

In His Grip,

[Steve's Note: There are many wonderful churches in [his] area that are more than able to assist him. He can contact the local Christian Radio stations. Additionally, there are support groups that he can get help from at both "Mormons in Transition" found at http://www.irr.org/mit/mentor.html and local groups of former Mormons that meet around the country can be found at http://exmormon.meetup.com/

I hope this helps.]

Sept. 1, 2004

Subject: Gethsemane, Cross in Sacrifice for Sin

I take great interest in this topic, as it is central to Christianity...recently I have done a lot of studying on the issue. Your webpage at http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/gethsemaneandchristsbloodinldsreferences.htm does a good job of sharing the views. But there is something else that you can add to that webpage that was neglected.

The Book of Mormon, which Mormons claim to be translated correctly, even indicates the Cross as central far more often than even bringing up anything related to Gethsemane. This means Mormons don't even believe in their own book unless it suits their needs. Here are specific Book of Mormon or Doctrine and Covenants references dealing with the Cross. This is far more comprehensive than any list dealing wit Gethsemane. Mormons don't even believe in the Book of Mormon!

Helaman 8:14-15 (symbolically)
14 Yea, did he not bear record that the Son of God should come? And as he lifted up the brazen serpent in the wilderness, even so shall he be lifted up who should come.
15 And as many as should look upon that serpent should live, even so as many as should look upon the Son of God with faith, having a contrite spirit, might live, even unto that life which is eternal.

Translation: We must look to the Son of God lifted up like Moses was lifted up on the brazen serpent in order to have eternal life. When did that occur? On the cross.

D&C 76:41 That he came into the world, even Jesus, to be crucified for the world, and to bear the sins of the world, and to sanctify the world, and to cleanse it from all unrighteousness

Moroni 9:25 "May His sufferings and death...rest in your mind forever"

3 Nephi 27 (from Christ Himself, according to the Book of Mormon)
13 Behold I have given unto you my gospel, and this is the gospel which I have given unto you-that I came into the world to do the will of my Father, because my Father sent me.
14 And my Father sent me that I might be lifted up upon the cross; and after that I had been lifted up upon the cross, that I might draw all men unto me, that as I have been lifted up by men even so should men be lifted up by the Father, to stand before me, to be judged of their works, whether they be good or whether they be evil-
15 And for this cause have I been lifted up; therefore, according to the power of the Father I will according to their works

Mosiah 15:7 Yea, even so he shall be led, crucified, and slain, the flesh becoming subject even unto death, the will of the Son being swallowed up in the will of the Father

3 Nephi 6:20 And there began to be men inspired from heaven and sent forth, standing among the people in all the land, preaching and testifying boldly of the sins and iniquities of the people, and testifying unto them concerning the redemption which the Lord would make for his people, or in other words, the resurrection of Christ; and they did testify boldly of his death and sufferings.

Very few LDS testify boldly of His death and sufferings, except Gethsemane (in their minds).

Alma 21:9 Now Aaron began to open the scriptures unto them concerning the coming of Christ, and also concerning the resurrection of the dead, and that there could be no redemption for mankind save it were through the death and sufferings of Christ, and the atonement of his blood.

Alma 22:14 And since man had fallen he could not merit anything of himself; but the sufferings and death of Christ atone for their sins, through faith and repentance, and so forth; and that he breaketh the bands of death, that the grave shall have no victory, and that the sting of death should be swallowed up in the hopes of glory; and Aaron did expound all these things unto the king

Mosiah 14/Isaiah 53 entire thing; here is a small subset to whet your whistle:
4 Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of
God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

Alma 30:26 And ye also say that Christ shall come. But behold, I say that ye do not know that there shall be a Christ. And ye say also that he shall be slain for the sins of the world-

In this verse, "ye" = Alma, "I" = Korihor, an Anti-Christ in the Book of Mormon. Interestingly, Korihor taught the crucifixion was not part of the sacrifice for sin. So why then do they try to slip that by today?

1 Nephi 11:33 And I, Nephi, saw that he was lifted up upon the cross and slain for the sins of the world.

Jacob 1:8 Wherefore, we would to God that we could persuade all men anot to rebel against God, to provoke him to anger, but that all men would believe in Christ, and view his death, and suffer his cross and bear the shame of the world; wherefore, I, Jacob, take it upon me to fulfil the commandment of my brother Nephi

Finally, again, from Christ Himself:

3 Nephi 11:14 Arise and come forth unto me, that ye may thrust your hands into my side, and also that ye may feel the prints of the nails in my hands and in my feet, that ye may know that I am the God of Israel, and the God of the whole earth, and have been slain for the sins of the world.

So there you have it. Talk about a contrast to the impression the leaders leave you with! ...

Thanks, and God bless!

Sept. 1, 2004

Hello, I would like something to give to some Mormon neighbors that I am getting to know. Can you suggest something that could be effective. I have had some opportunity to witness to them and they know that I am a Christian. Thank you,

[Steve's note: Without knowing your neighbors personally and what is most important to them about their faith, I would recommend our Tract Pack. After looking over these materials you could decide what you would feel might be most effective with your neighbors and that you would feel most capable of discussing with them. Whatever you choose to share with them should be used as a conversation starter to ask questions about their faith and then that will open the opportunity for you to share your faith with them. You can give the materials of your choice to them and tell them that you have come across this information and since you know they are Mormon you would like to hear their response to the materials. You would also want to let them know that you would welcome anything they could point out to you that may not be correct. This method can provide wonderfully authentic dialogue with your neighbors.]

[Additional Note from Sandra: You might also ask them to swap videos with you. Offer to watch one of theirs with them if they will then watch one you select. You could then ask them to discuss the films with you. See our video/dvd list.]

Sept. 2, 2004

Thank you for praying for _____ and me as we witnessed to the LDS (Mormon) missionaries who came to her house Tuesday night. It went VERY well! We did not argue at all and everything went smoothly as we allowed them to share their missionary lessons with us.

As they were sharing with us, they would frequently ask us if we had any questions. At one point in the discussion, _____ asked them how many "Gods" they worship. They replied that they worship only "one" God, but immediately admitted that in LDS doctrine they actually believe in 3 separate "Gods": Father, Son and Holy Ghost. We then asked which "God" they worship. They admitted that they "only" worship the Father.

"You only worship the Father?" _____ replied. "Why did the Nephites worship Jesus at 3 Nephi 11:17 in the Book of Mormon?" The missionaries had a hard time with this one and tried desperately to reconcile why Jesus is worshipped not only in the Book of Mormon but also in the Bible (see Matt 28:17, Heb 1:6).

We talked about the LDS view of Jesus being a "God" who was "formed" after His Father "Elohim" who in Mormonism had a Father who was a God "formed" before Him. I showed the missionaries the statement on page 681 of their LDS Bible dictionary that talks about their belief that when "Jehovah" which is translated "LORD" in the Hebrew Old Testament is used, it is always referring to Jesus.

Their Bible dictionary goes on to state that "Elohim" translated "God" in their Bible refers to the Father. Then I showed them Isaiah 43:10 which reads in their Bible "Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD [Jehovah = Jesus]...that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me [Jesus] there was no God [Elohim = Father] formed, neither shall there be after me."

This shocked the missionaries as they believe that Jesus's "Father" (Elohim) was "formed" before Jesus and that Jesus came into being as a result of celestial sex between "Heavenly Father" (Elohim) and "Heavenly Mother." But yet this verse clearly teaches that Jesus was not formed "after" Elohim - the Father, nor could Jesus' Father have been formed at some other prior to Jesus.

They wrote this verse down along with a few other verses that _____ and I shared with them and said that they would get back to us next week on these. ...

Sept. 4, 2004


I had a 20 minute argument with a former Bishop today who insisted that you were a liar because he has an original 1830 B.O.M. and he swears that some of your "3,913" changes in the B.O.M. were not in his copy.

I then discovered that there are at least 60 different versions of the 1830 B.O.M. Granted, they are slightly different, but different nonetheless.

You might want to mention this fact in the introduction to the book you wrote next time you print it off.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for sending me the reference to the BYU page http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=transcripts&id=27

Since the printer of the Book of Mormon was limited on the amount of type he had, he only set eight pages at a time. As the printer was printing, if an error was detected he changed the type, but did not discard the pages already printed that contained the error. Thus there are variants between different original editions.

Our count of "3,913 changes" came from a comparison of the original edition at the University of Utah and the 1964 edition. The LDS Church has made a number of changes since that time, as noted in our Intro to 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon.]

Sept. 5, 2004

...Just out of curiosity I have a question I have been meaning to ask for the longest time, to somebody who does not believe in the truth of Mormonism. I am a Mormon. As with anything that is an enigma there is controversy either way in regards to its validity. However I await with the greatest interest an answer to this question, if an answer can be given at all. Intellectual, and academic historical arguments can ultimately never prove anything I fully admitt either for or against definitively. However I ask this question to those who presume Mormonism is false that the Church is not infact what it claims, the One True Church on the face of the earth but infact dead wrong, false and not in fact true.

But what happens when someone like myself have seen Angels in Terrible blinding glory face to face. As Brigham young warned, 'pray that you never see and Angel'! And what happens when I have been in the company of others of the Latter Day Saints at divers times and places when Angels have ministered to mortals face to face, not a fickle imagination of the mind, but as the Prophet Joseph Smith himself described, in blinding white light. Like the burning of white magnezium which if you look directly at it will burn a hole in your retina, and received instruction in the affairs of Mormonism?

[Steve's Note: The answer to your question must come by first asking several questions about your experience.

First, was there truly an appearance at all or was it merely the result of your own expectations? Psychologists tell us that the power of suggestion is a truly remarkable thing and that we can work ourselves up to the point where our own minds can create what we are hoping to receive.

If it was not from us and was a true appearance of an angel then several new questions must be asked. First, where did this angel come from? The Bible warns us that Satan himself can appear as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14) and that Christians are to be forewarned that if an angel appears with a different gospel then that angel should be curse not received (Gal. 1:8). Therefore, we would have to weigh the message the angel brought to us and see how it compares with the gospel as delivered in the Bible. It would also be fair to ask how one deals with the visions received by those of other faiths. Should those experiences be accepted as the ultimate basis for truth?

In other words, would Mormons, for example, accept the visions and appearances of Mary that many Catholics report? If not, why not? I would suggest that something more objective must be the foundation for what is true; namely, does the message agree with what is in the Bible about God, Jesus and the gospel?

Additional problems from an LDS point of view are that Joseph Smith himself was unable to discern the source of divine information until it was too late. After supposedly receiving a revelation instructing them to go to the city of Toronto to sell the copyright for the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith made the feeble attempt to cover the obvious falsity of his revelation by telling his followers "Some revelations are of God: some revelations are of man: and some revelations are of the devil". This can be found in the Comprehensive History of the Church, by B.H. Roberts, Vol. 1, pp 162, 166 and David Whitmer's book An Address to All Believers in Christ, pp. 31-32.

Joseph Smith gave even more dubious means for determining the angel's origins: in the History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, Vol. 4, p. 581. Smith states that it is by the color of the angel's hair that you can tell whether the angel is good or bad. Joseph Smith is also reported to have claimed that you can determine whether an angel is good or bad by shaking hands with him. This is found in the Diaries of Wilford Woodruff 1833-1840, Vol 1, p. 341, under the date of June 27th 1839 [also D&C:129].

If an angel appeared to you I would suggest that you did not think to put the angel to the tests offered by Joseph Smith. And even if you had, the message that the angel brought you with "instruction[s] in the affairs of Mormonism" would plainly be at odds with the Bible and therefore, according to the apostle Paul, should be rejected and accused. In the Bible various groups of people (such as the Bereans in Acts 17:11) are commended for "searching the Scriptures" to see if what they were being taught was true. Never does the Bible instruct believers to pray or seek visitations of angels to confirm the truth.

I hope that this helps.]

Sept. 5, 2004

I have heard that before anyone can get married in the temple that the Women have to have sex with other members of the officials doing the ceremony. Is this true.

[Sandra's Note: No, I have talked to dozens, maybe hundreds, of women who were married in the temple who have since left the LDS Church and no one has ever told me of such a practice.]

Sept. 5, 2004

I need help.

I have a friend that was talking to me about the Bible.

He read me a passage Galatiion 1:8 which reads: If He or an angel from Heaven preach to you a gospel diffrent from the we preach to you may he be condemned to hell.

Isn't the Mormon religion based upon An angel coming down from Heaven preaching a different gospel, therefore how can a religion be based on something the Bible feels and warns so strongly against. ...

[Steve's note: Yes, it is a different gospel. Unfortunately, the challenge is to get the Mormons to recognize that theirs is a different gospel. They would want to claim that they have simply returned to the original gospel as taught by the early church.

One way we can counter this with them is to ask for any evidence for their assertion that the unique teachings and practices of the LDS church can be found in anything from the early church. In the same way, Mormons should be challenged to demonstrate that the Book of Mormon reflects any of the unique teachings of the LDS church. There is a clear lack of agreement between the current LDS church and the messages put forward in the Book of Mormon.]

Sept. 6, 2004

Dear Friends,

I am very happy to find your site. I was searching for it! First, sorry for my English. I'm Brazilian, living in Sao Paulo and still studying this language. I hope I will speak and write without problems one day.

I would like to share my experiences during the time I attended at Mormon Church (1982-1990) and when I was working at Church Administration Building here in Sao Paulo.... Now I am feeling really peace out the Mormon Church. But when I decided to go out, I felt my world was end and a terrible guilt feeling full of my heart. I had to try much and today I know God loves me really.

This site is a great blessing do us!

See you

Sept. 6, 2004

Subject: Thank you for writing your testimony

To Sandra Tanner,

Thank you for sharing your experiences online in your testimony. I have been a member for over 7 years now and just this past year, I have experienced such mean accusations from Relief Society sisters that it just makes me cringe. I feel as though the entire environment now is cult like in nature because of the hurtful things that have been said to me. The patronizing attitude has left me completely unfulfilled. I wish I could sit and talk to you for hours about my experiences in the church. I could probably write a book myself on the things that have gone on. I am a single woman of 46 years old. I have been a primary worker in the Primary for many years. It's not easy being single in this church. The Elders bribed me to become a member by saying, if you become a member of this church you'll be married in no time flat for sure.

Well, seven years later, still not married, now I'm getting harassed by the Relief Society. They interrupt my responses and try to gain power over me by being abusive and patronizing, and these non perfect people who are "called" to be leaders, know not how to be compassionate or understanding of my being single. ... Oh sure they have helped me out financially and Sandra, I don't know what I would have done without the help from the church. Seriously, but I seem to be led in other directions now. After 7 years, I keep getting messages from God that I need to look elsewhere for faith. ... on the Internet, folks there suggested I find you and talk with you and read what you had to say. So, I did a search.

...Christ is there for US..HE LOVES US...ALL OF US...not just a select few......or not just those we agree with or are in a clique with...


[Sandra's Note: Unfortunately, many single LDS people have had similar experiences. In a church that makes temple marriage one of the requirements for eternal life there is not much encouragement for an adult who is single.

For more on this subject, read the article "Single Cursedness: An Overview of LDS Authorities' Statements about Unmarried People," by Marybeth Raynes and Erin Parsons, in the book Multiply and Replenish, edited by Brent Corcoran, Ch.10, Signature Books, 1994., p.217-227.]

Sept. 6, 2004

I myself have never been a Mormon, but I know several people who are. Thanks to you guys, I now know more about Mormonism and am more confident to start trying to tell them about the REAL accounts of our Lord Jesus and the truth of the entire Holy Bible. Thanks.

Sept. 7, 2004

Subject: Thanks and a few questions.

I just want to say Thank You. With references from your website I was able to show a friend how we were born into a lie and how the Mormon Church continues to deceive millions of people. As for myself, I was born in Logan UT to a Mormon family. I remember thinking as a kid how the Mormon is the only possible true church and I believed everything my parents and teachers told me. But as I got older I found out from non member friends how wrong the church was.

I left the Mormon church 5 years ago while I was still in high school. My family pretty much disowned me and I joined the Military to get away from it all. For the next two years I considered my self atheist because I thought all Christian churches were like Mormonism. 2 years ago a friend talked me into going to a non-denominational Christian church in St Louis and I got saved the same day.

When I tried to share my experience with Family and Friends they told me that I'm now worst than an unbeliever, because I knew of the truth, yet I don't believe. I've now realized how the Mormon church brainwashed their followers to believe in almost anything and how they use fear to keep people believing.

I do have a couple question, why don't Mormons believe in Salvation the same way as other Christian churches? When I was 8 I was baptized as a Mormon, should I be baptized again?

Thanks again...

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Joseph Smith's revelations took the LDS understanding of the atonement in a different direction, focusing on the necessity of ordinances, such as baptism done by proper church priesthood authority. The meaning of Christ's atonement shifted from being the sole means of gaining eternal life to being seen as part of a long process, including temple ceremonies. See our web page on Terminology Differences.

Also, see Cowan's book, Mormon Claims Answered, Chapter 8.]

Sept. 7, 2004

Subject: McConkie/England letter


ULM's publication "LDS Apostle Confesses Brigham Young Taught Adam-God Doctrine" contains a photomechanical reproduction of a confidential letter from Bruce R. McConkie to Eugene England. My understanding is that England emphatically denied having given it to ULM; rather, he maintained, copies were already circulating when he received it. Do you know who supplied the letter to ULM? If so, would you identify him/her? Ditto with the Glen L. Pace letter/memo regarding ritualistic satanic abuse in the Church. Was this delivered sight-unseen, or does ULM know the identity of the person(s) who supplied this scoop to ULM, and would ULM identify these person(s)?

I anticipate that ULM is not willing to identify these sources, assuming that the sources are known (I seem to remember that Mr. and Mrs. Tanner claimed that the new Handbook of Instructions was left on their doorstep, so it could be that items are sometimes anonymously given). I've never asked, though, so I really don't know (but I am curious!). If ULM is not willing to identify the sources, what rationalization does the ministry give for not identifying them? Thank you for your consideration!

[Sandra's Note: It is my understanding that at the same time Apostle McConkie sent his letter to BYU professor Eugene England, he also sent copies to several of England's friends. England was out of the country at the time and his friends got copies before he even read McConkie's letter. One of these people put the stamp "Do Not Reproduce" on his copy of the letter and gave copies to his friends. Then it was spread all over BYU. I do not know who this person was, but eventually a copy was given to us.

Over the past forty-five years many items have been passed on to us, and to others, in this anonymous way. Obviously LDS people would fear church discipline for such actions, so do it in ways to keep their identity secret. Much the same way as the 'anonymous' historian (D. Michael Quinn) did when he gave a garage-full of his pamphlet attacking us to Sam Weller's Bookstore. In those cases where we know who the person was who provided a document, we have chosen not to disclose the name, much the same as newspaper reporters do not give out their sources. People would stop passing things on to us if they feared public exposure.]

Sept. 7, 2004

Dear Sandra,

Do you know, or is there a book re the importance of the Mormon genealogy. I'm thinking in terms of its importance to occult groups. I wrote you once before - both sets of my grandparents were Mormons - My father a Tanner, and my maternal grandfather a Mason - but I don't know how high up he was in the organization. Thank you for any help.

[Sandra's Note: Some people trace their family's genealogy as a hobby. However, the LDS Church members do it as a religious duty. They believe everyone who has never had the opportunity to join Mormonism during mortality will be given the chance in the hereafter. Thus they trace their family members so that each name can be submitted for proxy temple rites, often referred to as 'work for the dead.' Each of these deceased relatives must have a mortal on earth to go through a proxy LDS baptism and temple marriage in their behalf. As teenage Mormons Jerald and I both attended the temple (he in Salt Lake and I in So. California) to do baptism in behalf of dead people. I was immersed about 15-20 times in separate baptisms for various dead people on one Saturday. Then those names would have been submitted to the temple for some LDS couple to go through the endowment and marriage ceremony in their behalf. LDS Patriarch Eldred G. Smith taught:

So this activity by which we earn the right of attaining exaltation starts with birth on the earth and ends with the resurrection. There is much that has to be done in mortality, and what we do not do ourselves has to be done for us, if we do not have the opportunity-such as the ordinances which require the elements of the earth, as does baptism. It must be done on this earth. So if we do not do it in this life, because we do not have the opportunity, then someone has to do it by proxy for us in order for us to attain that degree of glory. (Elder Eldred G. Smith, March 10, 1964, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964)

Here are some articles that will give you more insight on this:

Here is a link to another site with a good article on baptism for the dead: http://www.irr.org/mit/baptdead.html ]

Sept. 8, 2004

Subject: Good evening


... I am a student at a Baptist College in Oklahoma ... I would like Sandra and Jerald to know that I have an intense love in my heart for the LDS people. The Lord has permitted me to be the conduit to show an LDS family the True and Living Son of God...Jesus Christ and this family just recently left the LDS Church and are now attending a Bible based true evangelical church. .... God bless you as you continue your labor for our Heavenly Father.

Sept. 8, 2004

As usual your press tells half truths and out and out lies, but I guess when you have no morals thats ok.

[Sandra's Note: I am not sure if you were looking at an article we wrote, or something on another site. Our official web page is www.utlm.org. I would appreciate knowing just which article/topic you felt contained "out and out lies." Obviously a Mormon is not going to agree with our conclusions, but we do try to be accurate in our quotes even when trying to point out the problems of Mormonism. Everyone is free to draw their own conclusions. But if we have misstated the facts (as opposed to our conclusions) or misquoted something, please give me the specifics so that we can correct it.

Thank you.]

Sept. 8, 2004


I have been trying to obtain copies of the original code language/characters that Joseph Smith produced in the 1820's 1830's. Not the [Mark Hoffman] faked ones later. Do you know a good book or source where i can find them. Also do you know if this language/characters were ever successfully transcribed?

Another thing I am interested but the mormon lds church wont respond about is the Symbols on the original Nauvoo Temple mainly the symbols of the "Clasped hands" and the saying "I am alpha omega" and any other symbols that may appear. Do you know a good source for them?


[Sandra's Note: I assume you are looking for the sample of text Smith claimed to copy off the Book of Mormon plates, referred to as the Anthon Transcript.

The script has never been translated and no other sample of such writing has ever been found. There was an article in Sunstone Mag. by Edward Ashment, a former LDS Church employee, who was coordinator for Translation Services during the 1970's, on this. See "The Book Of Mormon And The Anthon Transcript: An Interim Report," Sunstone 5:3/30 (May 80).

See the following page for information on the temple symbolism: Masonic Symbols and the LDS Temple.]

Sept. 9, 2004

Subject: Mormon law

I had a question regarding the Moral, Civil, and Ceremonial laws in the Old Testament. I was debating a Mormon apologist last week and I brought up Alma 41:8 where it says that the "decrees of God are unalterable," thus how could the LDS change the temple ceremonies in the early 1990's? His response was "The same way that Jesus could play fast and loose with the Old Testament laws by changing them. Jesus changed Matthew 5:38-39 about an eye for an eye didn't He?"

I told him that we are not in a theocracy today and that Jesus did not come to break the law but to fulfill them, Matthew 5:17-18. Jesus broke the Pharisees traditions that they tacked onto the laws, but Jesus did not change any moral laws in the Old Testament. He then said, "So then you do believe that Jesus said we should practice eye for eye?" Is what I said to him accurate? What else should I have said to him so that I'll be better prepared for the next time?

[Steve's Note: Yes, you were accurate when you said that Jesus broke the Pharisees' traditions but did not change any moral laws in the Old Testament. Jesus himself condemned the Pharisees for burdening others with the commandments of men and neglecting the commandments of God (see Matthew 23).

Jesus said that he came not to destroy the law but rather to fulfill it (Matt 5:17) This is the same context; namely, the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus goes on to contrast the requirement of the law with his teaching. This example of "an eye for an eye" that Jesus is referring to comes from Ex. 21:23-25 and Lev. 24:20. Many scholars understand that the law was given not to demand exact retaliation but rather it was setting limits that could not be exceeded. The law was teaching that to demand anything more was not justice but rather unrighteous revenge which would lead to even more violence and revenge. Jesus was calling the people to not only obedience to the letter of the law but to live according to the spirit of the law. That is why Jesus taught that hatred is what leads to murder and that lustful thinking leads to adultery. Jesus was not teaching in opposition to the law but was rather elevating our respect for the law.

I hope this helps. There are several good books we offer that can help with difficult questions like this. They are Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, Hard Sayings of the Bible, and When Critics Ask: A Popular Handbook on Bible Difficulties.]

Sept. 9, 2004

Dear Mrs Tanner,

I have some good news. The friend that I have written you about has decided to turn her life over to Christ. After several months of study and reflection she started to open herself up to Christian teachings. She has been working with our team chaplain and studying on her own and no longer considers Mormonism true. She has developed a personal relationship with Jesus, and says that it has been revealed to her to follow Him alone. She told me the other day that she wants to be rebaptized a Christian. She told her parents and they were disappointed but have been relatively understanding.

Thanks for all of your help.

Sept. 9, 2004


I just order and received this wonderful book 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon. I have been studying a lot of Mormonism based on my Mormon past and my conversion to Christianity. I have been really curious about all the things about it and praise God I found your web site. I really want to thank you for this wonderful resource, and for the great job, you did with this book.

I have a question: Why is that in the original Book of Mormon, there's only 7 chapters in the first book of Nephi, but in the newest there are 22 chapters! ...Thank you so much again.

[Sandra's Note: It is the same material but the chapter divisions have been changed. In 1879 Orson Pratt divided the various books in the Book of Mormon into shorter chapters, and divided its long paragraphs into short verses. Compare the end of ch. 22, on p.53 of a current edition, with p.35 of the 1830 edition and you will see the text is the same. There may be a word or two changed, but most of the text is the same.]

Sept. 10, 2004

Jerald and Sandra Tanner,

... I first saw and heard you when I watched the movie "God Makers" when I was trying to reach my then mormon, now Christian best friend in high school. I admire your work and appreciate your ministry, as I too have a strong heart and burden to see mormons come to know the real Jesus Christ and accept the forgiveness and liberty that we have in him and knowing that we have eternal life.

Shortly after moving back to california from chicago, where I was attending seminary, I discovered that some mormon missionaries were living in our apartment complex. After realizing that they weren't going to approach me, probably due to a signed contract not to solicit in the complex, I approached them about meeting to discuss our beliefs. That was about two months ago, and the meetings have been very encouraging. I've seen Elder ......... through a transition in his partner, and his new partner upon our first meeting sounded like he was really listening to the points I've been bringing up.

On our last meeting, they gave me 2 cd's to listen to, and I did. ... The first cd discussed reasons why the book of mormon couldn't have been simply a forgery by Joseph Smith. His main arguments consisted of the book's knowledge of subjects (such as geography, cultivating olive trees), the fact that it was put together so quickly, and that is has a plausible history, geography, and that the promises that are in the book ring true in real life. The second cd consisted of an argument based on the character and life history of the 3 and 8 witnesses to the book of mormon. He seemed to be trying to prove that while each of them seemed to have their falling outs with Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, or the church, they each testified to their dying day with great delight that the book of mormon is true and that joseph smith is a real prophet. ... I appreciate any resources or responses you can forward my way in regardto this. ...

[Sandra's Note: We have not written a response to those specific tapes. However, there is information on some of these issues at our site under Topical Index: Book of Mormon.

See specifically:

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

As for the witnesses, see Changing World, Chapter 5: The Witnesses.]

Sept. 10, 2004

Subject: Hostile EX T.B.M.


My husband... has written to you referring to me (his wife of 36 years) as his EX and also saying I am a TRUE BLUE MORMON. I am not his EX, but he is living with another woman... He is unfaithful to me, traumatizing me and his five children, and upsetting everybody decent that knows him.

Thanks to people like you, he lost his testimony, gave up his morals, left his TRUE BLUE MORMON wife, ruined our retirement years, and turned our lives into a tragedy. ... So, this day, I thank you and others like you for the undoing of this family. You will pay dearly at the judgement bar of God. Wife of 36 + years and a TBM.

[Sandra's Note: As someone who has been married 45 years I can understand your heartbreak, but I do not feel we are responsible for your husband's actions.

Yes, we provide information on the errors of Mormonism, but we do not encourage immoral behavior. When people have asked us about the problems they will face when leaving Mormonism we tell them it will probably cause discord with their spouse.

However, we always encourage them to do their best to be loving, understanding and to try to find ways to strengthen their marriage. As a Christian organization we believe in morality and fidelity in marriage. We are opposed to divorce and encourage people to seek reconciliation when possible.

I might add that the same type of alienation often happens when a spouse JOINS Mormonism. Many people have come to me feeling their marriage was ruined when their mate converted INTO Mormonism, especially if the partner goes on to participate in the temple. Also, many mothers have called me in tears when they have been told that their daughter, who joined Mormonism against her parent's wishes and contrary to her religious upbringing, is getting married in the LDS temple and they cannot attend the wedding. It sours many of them against Mormonism.

Both sides need to proceed in love and empathy when a loved one chooses a different path.]

Sept. 10, 2004

Subject: Witnessing to Mormons

Hello Mr. and Mrs. Turner,

I shouted "Praise God" when I discovered your web site tonight. I spent the night attempting to witness to 4 Mormon missionaries. I have to admit I am so frustrated and hurt by the whole experience. They were fantastic in the way they could recall scriptures. I do not believe a word of their "religion" but I do admire how equipped they are in their delivery. I so desperately want to be able to have a unshakable, unmistakeable shield of faith as well. I am thrilled to have found through your works and passion for Christ HIS will will be done. ...

In Christ's love,

Sept. 10, 2004

... I was reading your page on the Anthon Transcript and noticed the following line at the bottom of the page:

"No sample of the Anthon type of writing has ever been found in the Americas."

In his book "The Lives and Travels of Mormon and Moroni," Jerry Ainsworth documents his recent discoveries to the contrary. I'm wondering whether you are familiar with this work, and if so, how you would react to this information.


[Sandra's Note: Even FAIR has problems with his book. See http://www.fairlds.org/apol/ai180.html Scroll down to:

Brant Gardner, "Too Good To Be True: Questionable Archaeology and the Book of Mormon," (Mesa, Arizona: FAIR, September 2002) This FAIR paper examines questionable scholarship and claims concerning the Michigan Mounds Artifacts and the Padilla plates.]

Sept. 11, 2004

Hi. ... I just resigned from the mormon church. Your website has helped me! Praise GOD!!! ... I am 18 and a senior in highschool.. Thanks so much,

In Christ,

Sept. 11, 2004

Subject: Did Joseph Smith receive his "info" from Moroni or a lizard?

25 to 30 years ago, there was a newpaper article saying that Smith received his message from a lizard. Was that a forged letter of his that supposedly had been found?

Thank you.

[Sandra's Note: I think you are remembering the Mark Hofmann forgery, referred to as the 'salamander' letter. See #62 Messenger, Hofmann Confesses, and our online book Tracking the White Salamander.

However, Mark Hoffman got his idea for the white salamander from the testimony of Willard Chase, printed in Mormonism Unvailed, written by E.D. Howe (1833), p. 242. Mr. Chase stated that Joseph's father gave the following account of Smith finding the plates:

"He [Joseph Smith, Jr.] saw in the box something like a toad, which soon assumed the appearance of a man, and struck him on the side of his head.—Not being discouraged at trifles, he again stooped down and strove to take the book, when the spirit struck him again, and knocked him three or four rods, and hurt him prodigiously. After recovering from his fright, he enquired why he could not obtain the plates; to which the spirit made reply, because you have not obeyed your orders."

Mr. Chase had known the Smiths for some time and had hired them for various farm jobs. Once when digging a well for Mr. Chase young Smith found a singular looking stone that he later used to translate the Book of Mormon. For more on the stone and translation process, see Changing World, Chapt. 4: Joseph Smith and Money-Digging.]

Sept. 11, 2004

I am a "recovering" and soon to be "escaped" Mormon convert who is so thankful for your ministry and website.

Please send the Messenger to my home, along with all other free items that I can use to witness to my LDS neighbors in love and in truth. My Christian son (age 19) is to thank for my questioning and for me eventually finding your website.

In Jesus' name,

Sept. 13, 2004


I'd like to receive any info about the LDS faith. I've only been a member for a few months and I found www.utlm.org to be correct about the new converts not knowing the full truth about the LDS faith. ...

Sept. 14, 2004

Subject: Orson Pratt, his doctrine & modern followers

I have read some quotations of Orson Pratt and I have read some information about him on the Internet. As I understood he was more radical man in the doctrinal question than famous Brigham Young (for example, about polygamy and about doctrine of the Godhead). Besides, some modern members of the LDS-Church of Hinckley use the words "wild texts of Orson Pratt" about some his quotations. I am not sure but I did hear either that Orson Pratt finally left LDS - Church of Salt-Lake-City and found his own group with the most radical mormon doctrine. Are these facts genuine ? Do real followers of Orson Pratt exist now?

Thank you.

With the respect,

[Sandra's Note: Orson Pratt remained an LDS apostle until his death. I don't know that he was any more radical that Brigham Young on polygamy. And Young's doctrine of Adam-God is as far out as anything Pratt wrote. A good book on Pratt's teachings is Conflict in the Quorum: Orson Pratt, Brigham Young, Joseph Smith.

The fundamentalist polygamists are more enamored of Pratt's writings than the current LDS leaders. However, the LDS leaders quote from him at times, but are careful what they use. The Ensign Mag., April, 1984, had an article about him entitled "Orson Pratt: Early Advocate of the Book of Mormon," by BYU professor David Whittaker. In it we read: "As student, advocate, and editor, Orson Pratt sought throughout his life to make these 'precious things' available to his generation. His work lives on today as a legacy of faith and devotion to truth." So he obviously remained in good standing.]

Sept. 14, 2004

Subject: How did Joseph Smith Die?

I have understood that Joseph Smith and his brother and maybe others, were killed while being held in a jail for their beliefs. Is this true or is there more to the story?


[Sandra's Note: There is more to the story. In the 1840's Smith had secretly introduced plural marriage and his political kingdom of God to a few select followers. Certain leaders objected and threatened to expose him in their opposition newspaper, the Nauvoo Expositor. After Joseph Smith, as mayor of the Mormon town of Nauvoo, ordered the destruction of the press, he and his brother were placed under arrest by the state of Illinois. While in jail, a mob charged the building and killed Smith and his brother, and wounded two others. See:

Sept. 14, 2004

...Last night, my wife and I watched [the] documentary "Burying the Past".

Thanks to Gerald and Sandra Tanner, for their very speedy service, ...it arrived yesterday on Monday, all the way out to ...California! Today, I have recommended many folks purchase this DVD video from the Tanners.

I will tell you up front that both my wife and I were raised in the mormon church myself near Salt Lake, my wife, out past Park City.

Recently, we have began investigating the history of our church. We have been troubled by what we have found and are still finding. As we traveled further down this road of our own church history, we have found many skeletons, but this was no skeleton that we ran across, it was a festering dead carcass which we found to be known as the Mountain Meadows Massacre. Truly the ugliest piece of mormon history.

We Mormon kids were never taught about this horrible stain that penetrates deep into the historical soil which Utah and Mormon history are built. This event is NEVER discussed in church, and is simply glossed over in public school history classes. Since Utah is a mormon theocracy of sorts, I can see why it is glossed over in public schools.

If I had one wish, it would be that ALL mormon seminary students watch [this] documentary.

Brian . . . really did this piece of history pure justice. [He] simply reported what happened. [He] gave those victims of this horrific event what the mormon church will never give them, respect and honor by telling the truth about their tragic demise. . . .

We have never felt such a range of emotion as we did watching this horrific piece of mormon history unfold before our eyes. My wife and I were so moved by this, we felt deep sorrow, shame for our church, and even guilt for not knowing this terrible piece mormon history. How could this have happened.

Lately, I really don't like calling the church I was raised in) anything else but MORMON, because it is the real name of the history of this church that the leaders would rather have us call "LDS" or "The church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints". I was raised a mormon in the theocratic capitol of mormonism, Salt Lake City UTAH.

[Brian Patrick was] more than fair to the mormon church in reporting this event. There was no bias, none was needed.

In the end I see the mormon leadership was guilty of two crimes, one in 1857 when this slaughter was carried out in the name of the mormon god and one in 1999 when President Hinkley stood completely void of grief, compassion, and emotion as he delivered what the lawyers wrote for the dedication of "their" new monument really made him stand out as a shallow, patronizing characature spouting platitudes. His delivery sounded no different than when he speaks at general conference... I thought there would be SOMETHING in his voice that showed how he felt.

The church should have simply funded the rebuilding of the site by a team led by a non-mormon archeologist. After which, turned it over to a non-mormon historical society, and pledged to pay for the upkeep into the future. Instead they looked at it as a PR stunt, forced by the families and the association. "We don't want inaccurate information being disseminated at the site"??? What they really mean is they don't want the truth to be told, just like the rest of their history. . . .

[Brian Patrick's] talents as a documentary film maker have touched the lives of two people who were blindly raised mormon. You have delivered truth to us. We thank you for that.

Here is how I presented it to my family and friends in an email:

September 11th.

Innocent men, women, and children are mercilessly slaughtered. Their bodies left to rot. Their personal belongings pillaged. All in the name of a religious god, to avenge and destroy.

Was this the year 2001?
Did this occur in New York?
Were the murderers muslim?


120 innocent men, women, and children were slaughtered in the name of the Mormon God September 11, 1857 near Cedar City Utah.

You all need to watch a documentary about the involvement of our church in this horrific event http://www.buryingthepast.com . . .

[Web-editor: Brian Patrick is currently trying to get Burying the Past on PBS. See: Letter from Brian Patrick.]

Sept. 14, 2004

I am doing a study on mormonism, and I heard about a court case on joseph smith. I was wondering if I could recieve a copy of the actual legal document on this case. ... Thank you.


[Sandra's Note: Transcripts were pretty informal in those days in NY. A handwritten record of the 1826 hearing was brought to Utah in the 1870's and published in different papers. But the original has since been lost. We do have photos of the Judge's bill to the county for the charges involved with hearing the case, and the constable's bill for arresting Smith. The originals are preserved in Norwich, NY.

See our Topical Index: Smith, Joseph Jr.: Money-Digging and Magic.

You might start with


Sept. 15, 2004

Subject: Choosing Apostles

With the recent passing of two apostles, I would like to know how the next two will be chosen. I asked the bishop of the ward in which I live and he said President Hinckley has been praying and will know who is ready and will let us know by General Conference..

This sounds like its a done deal, and there are "apostles in waiting". Do you know where I can find any written information as recent things including this are not making sense. I've been a member for five years, more inactive than anything, but have never really questioned anything until now. Hope this letter isn't to mixed up, and thanks for your time.

[Sandra's Note: I don't know what has been written on this, but generally new apostles are chosen from the Seventy or from mission presidents. Those positions are sort of training/proving grounds for apostleship. Also, they are generally people with some sort of business competency and good standing in the community (which usually means they know how to deal with budgets in the millions of dollars).]

Sept. 15, 2004

Subject: mindless, blind-faith, dogmatic diatribes

Hi, first I would like to say you need to follow your own requirements when you publish stuff on your web site, http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/changes.htm, you stated No mindless, blind-faith, dogmatic diatribes please.

The entire page is mindless, blind-faith, dogmatic diatribes. Yes there were changes made to the D&C. Joseph Smith was an uneducated farm boy. He didn't have the comforts of a word processor with a spell checker and thesaurus, High school or college education, and help from other scholars as you do to write your trash. He made some mistake and they needed to be corrected. In the past 100 years or so there haven't been any changes other than revelations.

You don't know or don't probably care, a lot of the changes may have been inspired through revelation. The bible has had over 150,000 changes. These changes change the meaning of the bible. All the changes people have made to the bible is because they didn't like the original, the KJV. Since they didn't write the bible, or claim to have revelation to do so, their changes are blasphemy. St John in the book of Revelation specifically stated the book can't be changed. He stated:

18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:

19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

All the different bible versions like the NIV and the like have changed the Book of Revelations. Why don't you bash them. Put the same effort to bash the Catholics, Baptist, Lutherans, and the like.

[Sandra's Note: For good books on the various translations of the Bible, see—

Sept. 16, 2004

Subject: Annotated Book of Mormon

Hello Jerald and Sandra,

Have you seen the following link? It is pretty interesting.



Sept. 16, 2004

Subject: LDS membership

I understand the Mormons never drop anyone from the membership rolls unless by excommunication or request. Is this true? Might explain why they keep growing so large. My wife is a devout mormon. I am not and never will be.

[Steve's Note: As far as we know, it is true that the LDS Church retains someone on their membership rolls unless that person requests (in writing) to have his/her name taken off the list.

The LDS Church declares each spring general conference how many members the LDS Church has, how many converts were gained and how many missionaries the LDS Church has serving the church. Unfortunately, the LDS Church does not release the kinds of information such as how many members they lost during the year, and how many requested to have their names removed. If the LDS Church wished to give an honest picture of their church then they would provide the same kind of information for their church as it exists in each country around the world, and they would release their financial information for all to see just as other responsible churches do.]

Sept. 17, 2004

To the UTLM staffs, You are Godsent. I praise the Lord for you. You are doing a tremendous job.

My mom and two sisters are mormons, and I have continually sent them emails of articles about our Christian faith and some of your articles. My sister responded once that out of the rest of the family, I'm the one closest to her religion. ...

In Christ,

Sept. 17, 2004

Subject: Your site

Yours is the most despicable anti-Morman hate site I have seen yet. It is done in the same vein as the murderous and thieving Mormon persecutors of that hateful time in history starting at the very beginning of the Church and continuing up until this very day.

You have taken one incident of wrong-doing and tried to equate it with the centuries of "witch" killing, burning at the stake, and other atrocities committed by religious "zealots" with sick minds. You represent the murderous founders of Protestantism---characters like Zwingli and Hus, two of the most despicable men in religious history, and you represent them well. Your one sentence below demonstrates the depth of your hatred, ignorance, and convoluted thinking:

".....that the expulsion of the Latter-day Saints from Missouri, the killing of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, and the expulsion of the church from Illinois were but the logical results of the "revelations," sermons and writings of the Mormon leaders, and which inspired the rank and file of the Mormons with grotesquely exaggerated views of the religious and political mission of Mormonism, and of their own importance.

You have just defended and attempted to justify the criminal actions of a group of Protestants, who, in many incidents, were led by Protestant ministers who persecuted, burned homes, and killed leaders of a people just because they were different. What makes you think that you are any different than those thieving murderers? And you are so cowardly as to try to scare off your critics by legal statements.

You should be ashamed of yourselves. God is.

[Sandra's Note: First, your quote is from the book, Mountains Meadows Massacre, by Gibbs, not from something we personally wrote.

Second, we have always stated that we do not indorse taking the law in ones own hands and condemn the actions of the mob that stormed the jail when Smith was shot. I wish they had let him live so he could have stood trial. However, he also bears part of the blame. His secret, illegal practice of polygamy and his secret political teachings on setting up the Kingdom of God, with its council of fifty, led several church leaders to challenge his leadership and print the Nauvoo Expositor, which led to Smith's order to destroy it. That in turn led to his arrest.

Third, the rest of your comments and analogies leave me a little perplexed. Merely printing another point of view of historical events of over one hundred and fifty years ago hardly equates with persecution. Where is your outrage over the Mormons murdering 120 innocent people at Mountain Meadows, most of whom were defenseless women and children?]

Response: Sept. 21, 2004

I cannot believe you would even dare to deny any kind of persecution. Anyone in this country who knows anything about American history knows not only of the murders, burnings, theft, and other persecutions of Mormons, but we know the names of some of the worst of them, and some of those were Protestant "ministers". Undeniable, absolute fact. ...You are a liar. ... No one but lying, bitter, rancorous, mentally disturbed people who make it their life's work to hack at someone else's religion ever deny these facts. ...

I simply cannot understand why some warped minds would choose to live in the land of the Mormons, then try to denigrate their religion. If you don't like Mormonism, MOVE. Get out of their country. You Gentiles have ruined it anyway. The whole state is beginning to be ruined by the smell of Gentiles and their bad habits, rude behavior, hatred, and blasphemy. If it weren't for you Gentiles it could have been "Beautiful Nauoo" all over again. If you spent the time cleaning up Salt Lake and the areas around it that you do blaspheming the Mormons, it wouldn't be such an ugly area. That's what happens when Gentiles begin to outnumber the Mormons and move in with their bad-mouthing and persecutions of Mormons. ...

I suggest you read up on the "incomprehensible", "invisible", "unchanging", non-corporeal, etc. God, and trace these blasphemies of Protestantism right back to Greek philosophy. The sad think is not that you worship a trinity that doesn't exist, it's the persecutions, murder, and other atrocities that Protestants and Catholics have perpetrated against those who know this doctrine was made up under a threat from Constantine. ....

Most of your hateful garbage is personal opinion and misunderstandings of things taken out of context. ... You are doing it to yourself. If you would just preach your gospel, use some manners and discretion, and leave others alone, people wouldn't hate you. ...

Sept. 17, 2004


I'm just curious, and I mean this in a completely peaceful and kind way, but do you take into account, and prove wrong, responses to information you provide for the public about the LDS church?

For example sites such as http://www.lightplanet.com/mormons/ or http://www.mormonhaven.com can provide answers to the problems you have with the church. Does your site contain links to any of these? If not, why? Why would you not present the opposing viewpoint if you know it's wrong, and you can prove it wrong?

Exposing truth is completely right, but when you expose something you once thought as truth, and then are proven wrong, and refuse to take it back, or continue to distort it, that is very wrong, that is very evil.

Also, I'd like you to consider the fact that us as humans on this earth _do_ have a limited knowledge of the things of Heaven, whether we like it or not, in that we're limited to the knowledge given to us.... People are _VERY_ imperfect; there has never been anyone on this earth after Christ Himself who have not made mistakes. People misunderstand things, people take things the wrong way. Even apostles and prophets do. ...


Sept. 18, 2004

A day or so ago someone sent me this link.

Let me inform you that I am a Black member, have been so since 1976, but became inactive 2 years after that. Not until 1993 did I become back active in the church. About 8 years ago my husband, who is Black and not a member of the church told me of the Church not allowing Blacks to enter the temple until around late 70s. I just let it go in one ear and out the other ear. Well, long a behold, in sunday school class at church, the sunday school teacher was giving a lesson on priesthood, and made a remark that confirmed what my dear husband told me a year or so before that.

Let me tell you I have never had a testimony that the church was true and still don't after hearing this from husband and now from sunday school teacher. So I can tell you ever since then I have question this being the true church, because the God I worship, I refuse to believe that he felt Blacks were less than anyone else. Among other doctrine I don't believe in.......But this one is a major one.

I appreciate this website, but let me tell you I will be reading the material provided on here, and cross referencing and doing my own research and praying about what I find and read. I even intend to write to the church and ask for certain material.

May I also direct you to a book i got from the church called Standing on the Promises. I have not read this book, but now I will be reading it.... Elijah Abel is the topic of this book. There is also a Book 2, which I will seek to get within the next week or so.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. I am glad you will be checking out the references. That way you can reach your conclusions based on your own study. As you put truth and the pursuit of God first in your life I am sure God will honor that. Have you read our newsletter on blacks? See #102 Messenger, Blacks and the Mormon Priesthood.

You might want to read our entire book on racial issues: Curse of Cain? Racism in the Mormon Church.

All of our sources can be read in various college libraries here in Utah. I haven't read the book on Elijah Able—will have to look into it.

Please feel free to write with any questions or just to give us your point of view.]

Sept. 19, 2004

Subject: I am glad that you publish answers to questions. . .

Dear Editor--

I recently read through some of your archives (Letters to the Editor: January 2003), and am very glad that your research confirms some of the same results that I have collected over the years.

Some history: I was raised in the Roman Catholic Church, about which I had some concerns: ...

After I left the Catholic Church as a teenager, I searched through many religions and philosophies until I found Creative Dynamics, which was founded by Floyd Edwards. I saw Creative Dynamics as offering a cookbook recipe for success, based on the common Truths, or Laws, taught by all the major religions of the world. (You don't get something for nothing. You reap what you sow. There is a higher-order Being (God, or by any other name). God (or the Cosmic Muffin, or whatever) will answer your prayers if you will just ask. And so on. . .) I also saw Creative Dynamics as a way to understand my relationship to and interact with the Universe without being driven by Judeo-Christian guilt.

However, I learned some interesting things while I was taking instruction from Floyd, one first-generation teacher, and two second-generation teachers:

1) The first-generation teacher pretty much repeated what Floyd taught, but she did not believe in all the teachings.

2) The second-generation teachers repeated the words of Floyd, but reinterpreted them and restated them in their own words, even when reading them out of the same manual.

3) Your prayers +will+ be answered, as long as you are willing to ask for what you want.

My Catholic Church and Creative Dynamics experiences lead me to a few conclusions:

1) That the Founder of any religion or religious philosophy gives the doctrine pretty clearly. The first generation of teachers starts changing the message in subtle ways. The second- and later-generation teachers reinterpret and pass along the message based on their own experiences, political pressures, lack of understanding, and so forth.

2) The implication of the previous point is that if you want to find the most correct statements of Truth, go back to the writings of the Founder, or at least the first generation of teachers.

3) That each and every one of us is entitled to personal revelation.

4) That nobody is infallible, not even the person with the 'Top Dog' title.

5) That there is a God, and that he/she/they/it cares enough about us to answer prayers.

6) That all the religions that deny a full heavenly reward to people whose only fault was to be born before Christ are denying the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father.

Long after I married a lovely Mormon convert, and long after I collected the sorts of answers you publish on your website, I came to the conclusion that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was the only Christian church that had returned to the teachings of the early Apostles to right the wrongs of later leaders, and to reinstitute baptisms for the dead, so that +the dead+ could choose their own heavenly reward, not the Mormon or any other church.

I also came to see similar patterns in emerging Mormonism: fallible leaders (but ones willing to learn and grow), early leaders getting the doctrine as close to correct as they could and later leaders moving on to more unified and coherent positions as their understanding grew, a desire to put adversity and bad decisions behind them, a return to personal revelation and personal answers to prayers, and a willingness to bring the Good News of the Gospel to your and my ancestors so that +they+ can all choose their post-mortal reward.

Were there things I could not explain before I became a Mormon? You bet! Are there still things I do not understand? Yes, sirree! Do I know anyone who has died and come back to tell us what we need to know about the afterlife? Only one that I know of: Jesus Christ. Did He tell us everything we would like to know? No more so than we could explain all the intricacies of an aircraft carrier to an ant, or even a chimpanzee. And finally, do we need those answers here on Earth? No, I believe that we are told over and over again to show faith and perform good works to obtain our full and just reward. . . I really enjoyed reading the results of your research, and even the writings of some of your letters to the editor.

Your published work has reminded me of the reasons I became a Mormon, and reinforced the faith that I have in the atonement of my chosen savior, Jesus Christ, who has chosen +all+ of His brothers and sisters under the guidance of our Heavenly Father.

God bless your efforts, that you will make correct choices!


Sept. 20, 2004

I was wondering why on your web site you sponsor books by Paul H Dunn, when he was a fraud and even though he wrote many inspirational books, it turned out he didn’t tell the truth, much like most Mormons. I came across your articles and book and in looking at your web site, I was surprised by this!


[Web-editor Note: Unfortunately, we have no control over the "Sponsored Links" that occur when a person uses the search engine. They are not sponsored by us, but rather by people that have bought advertising with the search engine company. The sponsored links are generated by the words that people use to search. It can create some rather ironic results, but it's a common problem with third party search engines and contextual advertising.]

Sept. 20, 2004

Subject: Evans Book


I joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints of Salt Lake City, Utah, [in] 1977, served a mission for that church ... from 1984-5, ...and I left this church in 1988 after reading a book by Steven L. Shields entitled Latter Day Saint Beliefs by Herald House that I purchased through Deseret Book in late 1987.

After my honorable service in Desert Storm, I joined the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (now known as the Community of Christ) [in] 1992, ... and left this church in 1997 or 8 due to their hyper-liberal tendencies. Technically, I'm still a member of both churches. It wasn't until I read R.C. Evans' Forty Years in the [RLDS] Mormon Church and Why I Left It that I purchased from you was I able to put aside my attachment to Joseph Smith, Jr., the Book of Mormon, and it's various churches. Thanks for your help.

Sept. 22, 2004

Subject: Hiding anti-mormon books

Hi, ... my husband and I left the church two years ago after being very active members for over 30 years.

I had an interesting experience a couple of weeks ago. I was at Borders and a member of my former ward was there and we started talking. She told me that she goes into Borders every night and hides all the anti-mormon books so people won't find them. I was stunned. I am wondering if you have heard this before.

I have donated several books (Out of Mormonism by Judy Robertson and some others) to our local library. Now it occurs to me that there might be people out there who are hiding library books or checking them out and not returning them. I was wondering if you have a way to distribute anit-mormon books to those who are looking for them without worrying about them being hidden, stolen or not returned. I would love to hear any thoughts or ideas you might have regarding this matter.


[Sandra's Note: Yes, I think there is a whole host of Mormons that try to "help" keep people from seeing negative information on the LDS Church. I have been told that this is frequently done in public libraries here in Utah. Many "anti" Mormon books disappear off the shelves.

All I can suggest is start tracking the critical books on the LDS Church in your library. What ones are long overdue, indicating they have been stolen. Then go to your librarian and make him/her aware of the problem. Suggest they may want to keep certain titles in the reference section or special collections so they won't get taken.

We have some information on this type of thing in our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? Here is a page from our book:



For many years the Mormon Church has encouraged the destruction of publications that are critical of Joseph Smith or the Church. The Deseret News (the Mormon paper published in Salt Lake City) carried a disgraceful article in 1953, in which the following statement appeared:

Good-natured Sven A. Wiman can manage a cautious grin when his married daughter relates in English, and which he can understand pretty well, how when he returned home each evening from his part-time employment in various used book stores throughout Sweden he would produce an anti-Mormon book and then proceed TO BURN IT. Sweden, you learn, has literally no end of anti-Church books, and Elder Wiman set himself up as a ONE-MAN CLEANUP COMMITTEE TO DESTROY AS MANY OF THESE DIATRIBES AGAINST THE CHURCH AS POSSIBLE. (Deseret News, Church Section, May 16, 1953, page 10)

This article gives the impression that book-burning is a good activity to be engaged in if it is directed against books critical of the Church.

In 1965 we were visited by a student from Brigham Young University who had recently completed a mission for the Mormon Church in Texas. He related that while on his mission he was instructed to see that books critical of the Mormon Church were removed from libraries. He said that he was instructed to take a set of new Mormon books furnished by the Church to each library and offer them in exchange for their old books dealing with the Church. In this way he was able to trick the librarian into giving him the older books which were critical of the Church. He said that the method was VERY effective in Texas, and that many of the books critical of the Church were removed from the libraries by this method. That such a project was actually carried out by some Mormon missionaries has now been verified by the Mormon writer Samuel W. Taylor. He stated:

...I wonder how many good-will tours by the Tabernacle Choir would be required to repair the damage done to the Mormon image when Playboy, with its enormous circulation and impact on young people, published the fact that MORMON MISSIONARIES WERE ENGAGED IN A CAMPAIGN OF BOOK-BURNING? The item was a letter from a librarian of Northampton, Mass., Lawrence Wikander, published first in the American Library Association's Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May, 1963, and subsequently reprinted in Playboy. Wikander told of two Elders arriving at his library to inspect the index of Mormon material. They offered a list of 'more up-to-date material' and after delivering it made the following proposition:

Now that we had these books which told the truth about their religion, undoubtedly we would like to discard other books in the library which told lies about the Mormon Church. Other libraries, they said, had been glad to have this pointed out to them.

Following the expose in Playboy a friend of mine tried to find out how extensive the missionary book-burning campaign had been. A NUMBER OF RETURNED MISSIONARIES from both domestic and foreign missions ADMITTED THAT THEY HAD PARTICIPATED IN IT; but data as to when and how and by whom the project had been originated was, understandably, unavailable.

Self-appointed Comstocks among us have for years been dedicated to the unholy quest of seeking out and DESTROYING BOOKS CONSIDERED UNFAVORABLE.... My brother Raymond was approached by a zealot offering a number of rare Mormon books bearing library stamps; the devout saint blandly admitted STEALING THEM TO PROTECT THE PUBLIC, but said he was sure that Raymond, with his background of research and firm testimony, would not be harmed. (Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Summer 1967, page 26)

(Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?, p.10)]

Sept. 23, 2004

Subject: pay for bishops

Could you please give any reference to whether a church bishop receives pay or not?

Thanks for all the info you provide on-line. I gave your site address to a very close friend of mine who was thinking of leaving the mormon church. I heard from this person the other day and they have informed me that they have sent in a request to be removed as a member of the church.


[Sandra's Note: It is my understanding that the bishop continues to work at his usual occupation. I believe they get petty cash money, or are reimbursed, to pay for stamps and other expenses, but not a salary.

I know my bishops all worked at regular jobs. They all seemed to be very sincere, with a genuine concern for those in the ward. I have talked to other ex-LDS who did not have good experiences with their bishops. My problem with my last bishop was one of not being able to provide answers to my questions. He was a nice man, a plumber as I recall, and certainly not getting rich off of being bishop.]

Sept. 23, 2004

Subject: Gadianton Robbers


Would you please give me some in formation on the Gadianton Robbers:

I would like to know:

who were the gadianton robbers?
where did they come from?
what did they do?
how did they gain power?
how were they finally defeated?

thank you for your help.

[Sandra's Note: The Gadianton robbers are mentioned in the Book of Mormon in the book of Helaman.

Hel. 3: 23. And it came to pass in the forty and ninth year of the reign of the judges, there was continual peace established in the land, all save it were the secret combinations which Gadianton the robber had established in the more settled parts of the land, which at that time were not known unto those who were at the head of government; therefore they were not destroyed out of the land.

Hel. 6: 18 (18, 29). And now behold, those murderers and plunderers were a band who had been formed by Kishkumen and Gadianton. And now it had come to pass that there were many, even among the Nephites, of Gadiantons band. But behold, they were more numerous among the more wicked part of the Lamanites. And they were called Gadiantons robbers and murderers.

I believe Joseph Smith got his ideas for the Book of Mormon Gadianton robbers from the uproar about the Masonic secret oaths. See: Captain Morgan and the Masonic Influence in Mormonism.]

Sept. 23, 2004

Subject: Question regarding the singing of hymns in the temple.

Thank you so much for all of the work you do in educating others about Mormonism and for pointing them to our Saviour.

An issue came up on the RFM board that I find interesting. Apparently at one time it was part of the endowment ceremony for the minister (some say it was Satan) to lead the congregation in a hymn. Do you have any information on this? Apparently the practice was discontinued. When we ask people about it on the board everyone seems to come up with a different hymn that was sung. Most people recall the hymn(s) to be of Christian origin but it's not clear if the Mormons had the same hymn in their hymn books.

Any information on this would be appreciated.

[Sandra's Note: It is possible that different hymns were used in various temples, or during different years. In the late 1960's, in the Oakland Temple, the hymn was:

When I can read my title clear,
In mansions in the sky,
I'll bid farewell to all my fears,
And wipe my weeping eyes.
Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? p. 469)

These lines come from a hymn by Isaac Watts.

In the 1931 temple expose the hymn is given as

"Hail Father, Son and Holy Ghost,
One Lord, in persons three;
To Thee we make our joyful boast, Our songs we raise to Thee."
Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony: 1842-1990, p.180)

This is a hymn of Charles Wesley, sung to the tune of "Oh, for a Thousand Tongues to sing."
http://www.cyberhymnal.org/htm/h/f/hailfshg.htm ]

Sept. 25, 2004

Subject: Interfaith Dating/marriages

I am currently dating a Mormon man (2 years) and we both know the huge obstacle which surrounds us. We love each other though. I have looked for information on this type of interfaith relationships but not much on Baptist/LDS. Please give me some books and or support literature so that I may study the scriptures more for guidance in our relationship. I fear it will be doomed.

Thank you,

[Steve's Note: I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but unfortunately, it is the harsh reality that nearly all mixed relationships between Mormons and Christians do not work out. In our experience the statistical odds are against you. The demands of his faith will eventually pull him away from you or you will be put in the position of abandoning your faith.

Since LDS teachings are at odds with Christianity a conflict is ultimately inevitable. Conflict from parents or other family, even if well intentioned, is very likely too. The additional truth which must be faced is the difficulties and friction that will certainly come about if the raising of children is ever something you anticipate through this relationship. I wish I could share with you all of the heartbreaking stories of people who contact us telling of their problems because of differing faiths in their household. Many of these same people could tell you that when they were where you are now that they believed they could avoid the difficulties they now are facing; that they would not let their differences of faith come between their love for one another. They would also say that if they could go back and do things over they would not put themselves or their children into this situation again.

Many of the biographical books that are written recount the fear, the isolation and the pain of broken relationships when one partner chooses not to be LDS. If this kind of heartbreak occurs when both started out together as LDS (as many do) then consider how much more likely it is that the same future lies ahead for a marriage which does not even begin on the same common ground. If you truly love one another then I would encourage you to sit down together and speak the truth with one another about just how different your faiths are and how their respective teachings can not be harmonized. As Christians we understand that our ultimate loyalties and allegiances are rightfully due to God alone and that we can not allow anyone or anything to take a higher position in our life.

We will be praying for you and this Mormon man. We will pray that you will both seek to do God's will and that you will be open to his truth above all else.]

[Additional Note from Sandra: I would suggest you read Judy Robertson's book, Out of Mormonism: A Woman's True Story. Also, The Ins and Outs of Mormonism.

We sell two other books that deal with the pain of leaving Mormonism. They are not written from an Evangelical Christian point of view but are very good in relating the struggles of facing the errors of the LDS Church.

Sept. 26, 2004

Subject: KJV Bible

Has the LDS church made changes in the KJV of the Bible?

I know the LDS church prints its on KJV of the bible, but is it the same as the KJV of the bible the christians use?

Please let me know.

Thank You and God Bless

[Steve's Note: The KJV of the Bible that the LDS Church publishes is the same as what Christians use with a few qualifiers. Although the main text is the same, there are LDS cross-references and topical notes to lead one to the conclusion of Mormonism. This would not be without these "helps." The KJV of the Bible they produce also includes many selections of Joseph Smith's Inspired Translation of the Bible either at the bottom of the page or at the end of the Bible for longer sections which Joseph Smith claimed to "correct." This of course raises an unavoidable problem. If Joseph Smith were truly inspired by God to make corrections to the KJV of the Bible, then why retain the old KJV at all? And if the old KJV is still acceptable, what does that say about Joseph Smith's claim to have received these "corrections" from God? This puts them in a no win situation when it comes to the preferred text.]

Sept. 26, 2004

Subject: Question about LDS

Every time I talk to a Mormon friend, and I extend examples or evidence that would bring their church's beliefs into question, rather than give me specifics, or even admit that I have them stumped they go back to their old standby "pray about it, to get a "warm fuzzy" to see if its true or not. Its like a never ending cycle, that ALWAYS goes back to "ask God and he'll tell you the truth".

I have even attempted to show parts of the Bible where God recommends that you verify the claims of the Biblical accounts and even to say that I have asked God and I got an answer that the LDS church is wrong. They say, "did you TRULY ask the Lord from your heart"? How do you recommend that I go about combating this circular reasoning of theirs?

[Steve's Note: The only way I know to sidestep this is to let them see they are focused on questioning you as an individual whereas you are calling them to remain focused on the content of their faith. Mormonism makes very specific truth claims that are based on historic events. As such these events, if truly a part of history, should be able to be examined critically. The story as recorded in the Book of Mormon and the First Vision of Joseph Smith are just two examples of historic events which must have really occurred if their faith is to be embraced. If the historicity of what they claim can be shown to be in error, then to accept it in spite of the evidence would not be an exercise in faith but in foolishness. A couple of quotes from LDS leaders inviting others to critically examine their faith could be helpful to you. I have included a couple of these quotes below.

"If a faith will not bear to be investigated; if its preachers and professors are afraid to have it examined, their foundation must be very weak." (George A. Smith, Journal of Discourses, Volume 14, p. 216, August 13, 1871)

" I say to the whole world, receive the truth, no matter who presents it to you. Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test." (Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, Volume 16, p.46, May 18, 1873)

"If the people of this country have generally formed different conclusions from us upon this subject; and if they have embraced religions which are mere congenial to their minds than the religion of the Saints, we say to them that they are welcome to their own religious views; the laws should not interfere with the exercise of their religious rights. If we cannot convince you by reason nor by the word of God, that your religion is wrong, we will not persecute you, but will sustain you in the privileges, guaranteed in the great Charter of American Liberty: we ask from you the same generosity—protect us in the exercise of our religious rights—convince us of our errors of doctrine, if we have any, by reason, by logical arguments, or by the word of God, and we will be ever grateful for the information, and you will ever have the pleasing reflection that you have been instruments in the hands of God of redeeming your fellow beings from the darkness which you may see enveloping their minds. Come, then, let us reason together, and try to discover the true light upon all subjects, connected with our temporal or eternal happiness; and if we disagree, in our judgments, let us impute it to the weakness and imperfections of our fallen natures, and let us pity each other, and endeavor with patience and meekness to reclaim from error, and save the immortal soul from an endless death." (Orson Pratt, The Seer, Volume 1, Number 1, pp.15-16)

"In a matter of such infinite importance no person should rest satisfied with the conjectures or opinions of others: he should use every exertion himself to become acquainted with the nature of the message: he should carefully examine the evidences of which it is offered to the world: he should, with all patience and perseverance, seek to acquire a certain knowledge whether it be of God or not. Without such an investigation in the most careful, candid, and impartial manner, he cannot safely judge without greatly harming his future and eternal welfare. If, after a rigid examination, it be found an imposition, should be extensively published to the world as such; the evidences and arguments upon which the imposture was detected, should be clearly and logically stated, that those who have been sincerely yet unfortunately deceived, may perceive the nature of the deception, and be reclaimed, and that those who continue to publish the delusion, may be exposed and silenced, not by physical force, neither by persecutions, bare assertions, nor ridicule, but by strong and powerful arguments—by evidences adduced from scripture and reason. Such, and such only, should be the weapons employed to detect and overthrow false doctrines—to reclaim mankind from their errors, to expose religious enthusiasm, and put to silence base and wicked impostors. (Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p.1) ]

Sept. 27, 2004

Where would I be able to get a copy of the History of the Church - all the volumes?

Thank you

[Sandra's Note: You can order it from Deseret Book—paper back is $50.


It is also in the various libraries in Utah.]

Sept. 28, 2004

To LightHouse Ministry—

This is a prayerful thank you for your work. Your concern & commitment has brought me great peace. That combined with all the prayers for my son, has brought [him] out of the Mormon Church. He no longer is plagued with the demons found there.

Never grow tired. Your work is great and God-given. Shall pray for your work.

In Thanksgiving,

Sept. 28, 2004

I find it strange that your information is not accurate regarding the Mormon religion. Do you think it is strange that you think you are helping others discover "Truth" when you information is not truthful?

I am being serious. I am sincerely asking you to reflect that question. Anyone with half a brain, Mormon or not could pick out concrete facts from stereotypes and untruths. If you cannot trust "Christians" to demonstrate honesty it is scary to think, "who can you really trust?" Just something I observe from anti-Mormon literature. I truly feel that you could be truthful about the Mormon religion and still people would show no desire of joining; slandering is unnecessary.

I myself do not attend the Mormon faith (my entire family is Mormon) nor do I have a desire. However, I will follow any Christian who is focused solely on discovering Jesus Christ and not criticizing other fellow Christians attempts. Hence, I am sadly non-denominational.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the note. I am curious about your statement that our information is not "accurate." Can you give me an example? Obviously we do not believe Mormonism but we do try to give accurate information. If something is actually inaccurate, as opposed to a different point of view, we will gladly correct it.

Mormons send out 60,000 missionaries to persuade people of other faiths to join the LDS Church. We feel they do not give enough information to their contacts for them to make a valid assessment of LDS claims.]

Sept. 28, 2004

Thank you very much for all of your help that you gave me this past Saturday. ...

+In Christ

Sept. 29, 2004

Subject: questioning your motives

hi, i was going through the internet doing some research and I stumbled on your site. My question to you is why do you spend so much time trying to disprove Mormonism? Do you spend equall time disproving Buddism, Judism or any other religion you do not believe is true.

Christ did not spend his time talking about other religions instead he spent his time teaching what he believed in. It is fine if you do not think Mormonism is true but you should spend your time more productivly by preching your own religion not giving half truths about others...


[Sandra's Note: Jesus warned his disciples of the wrong teachings of the Pharisees, scribes and Sadducees (see Matt. 16:6-12 and Mark 12:38). He also warned against false prophets in Matt.7:15-23.]

Sept. 30, 2004

Subject: Deseret Foundation

Hello Friends,

I came to your site after not having any contact with you for years. I am currently trying to finish putting together a brief history of the murders of Joseph and Hyrum at Carthage, and I'm behind schedule. ... concerning the days following the killings at Carthage jail, I have often heard a story that the bodies had to be hidden down a well to avoid desecration by the mob, but I've never actually seen anything written. Have you? I know about the decoy burial and such, but not about this other rumor.

Thanks, and hope all is well!

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, don't have any references on the well story.

In the book Carthage Conspiracy: the Trial of the Accused Assassins of J Smith, by Oaks and Hill, p.28, there is a reference to: "Whitney, 'Scenes in Nauvoo,' Woman's Exponent, 12, June 1883, p.6-7."

This evidently discusses the various means to hide the bodies, but I haven't read the reference.]

Sept. 30, 2004

Subject: Animal Spirits


In 1991, a friend at work helped me to accept Jesus as my personal savior. I got saved as the Baptists would say. A several years before that I stopped attending the LDS church; therefore, I had issues. When I was active in the LDS church, I was never really encouraged to accept the gift of salvation or accept Jesus as my savior or anything centered on Christ to represent a turning point in my life. I was encouraged to get a testimony.

Although it has been 20 years since I stopped going to church, I still am intrigued with Mormonism. A coupe of weeks ago, I purchased your publication "Major Problems with Mormonism" and I find that it is wonderful reading. Anyway, thank you for your mission.

My question(s):

According to LDS doctrine, everything is created spiritually before it is created physically. The distinguishing factor between exalted post-mortal beings from non-exalted post-mortal beings is the power of creation; meaning, exalted man and exalted woman have exalted sex and bear non-exalted spiritual pre-mortal offspring. What does LDS doctrine say about animals in the pre-mortal existence? Are animals spiritually begotten from exalted animals? If so, are there glorified god-dogs, god-cats, god-rats, god-dolphins, etc... If the planet earth has a spirit then do Mormons believe that the earth has heavenly parents (god-planets)?

God created everything, He has always been and always will be God.


[Sandra's Note: I don't think the Mormons have ever thought it all through to its logical conclusion. It certainly looks like it would lead to some pretty bizarre ideas. Here is a quote from Orson Pratt. This is taken from our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? p.561:

Vegetable Spirits

The Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt, writing in 1853, made these statements:

The spirit of a vegetable is in the same image and likeness of its tabernacle, and of the same magnitude, for it fills every part thereof.... If the spirit of an apple tree were rendered visible when separated from its natural tabernacle, it would appear in the form, likeness, and magnitude of the natural apple tree;... When the spiritual vegetable withdraws, the natural one decays and returns to its original elements; but its spirit, being a living substance, remains in its organized form, CAPABLE OF HAPPINESS in its own sphere, and will again inhabit a celestial tabernacle when all things are made new....we are compelled to believe that every vegetable, whether great or small, has a living INTELLIGENT SPIRIT capable of feeling, KNOWING, and rejoicing in its sphere. (The Seer, 1853, pp. 33 and 34)

When a world is redeemed from its fallen state, and made into a Heaven, all the animal creation are raised from the dead, and become celestial and immortal. The food of these animals is derived from the vegetables, growing on a celestial soil; consequently, it is not converted into blood, but into spirit which circulates in the veins of these animals; therefore, their offspring will be spiritual bodies, instead of flesh and bones....

...when planted in a celestial soil, each vegetable derives its nourishment therefrom; and the fluid thus derived, circulates in the pores and cells of the vegetable tabernacle, and preserves it from decay and death; this same fluid, thus circulating, forms a spiritual vegetable; this differs from the parent vegetables in Heaven.... Thus the spirits of both vegetables and animals are the offspring of male and female parents which have been raised from the dead, or redeemed from a fallen condition, with the world upon which they dwelt. (The Seer, pp. 37-38)

Admitting the eternity of the capacities, then the materials of which our spirits are composed, must have been capable of thinking, moving, willing, & c., before they were organized in the womb of the celestial female.... If they were once organized in the vegetable kingdom, and then disorganized by becoming the food of celestial animals, and then again reorganized in the form of the spirits of animals which is a higher sphere of being, then, is it unreasonable to suppose that the same particles have, from all eternity, been passing through an endless chain of unions and disunions, organizations and disorganizations, until at length they are permitted to enter into the highest and most exalted sphere of organization in the image and likeness of God? A TRANSMIGRATION of the same particles of spirits from a lower to a higher organization, is demonstrated from the fact that the same particles exist in a diffused scattered state, mingled with other matter; next, they exist in a united form, growing out of the earth in the shape of grass, herbs, and trees; and after this, these vegetables become food for celestial animals, and these same particles are organized into their offspring, and thus form the SPIRITS OF ANIMALS. Here then, is apparently a TRANSMIGRATION OF THE SAME PARTICLES OF SPIRIT from an inferior to a superior organization, wherein their condition is improved, and their sphere of action enlarged. Who shall set any bounds to this upward tendency of spirit?...who shall say that it will not progress until it shall gain the very summit of perfection,...the IMAGE OF GOD? (The Seer., pp. 102-103)

(Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? p.561)


And this from p. 560 of our book, Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?:

The Living Earth

On Nov. 8, 1857, Heber C. Kimball, who was a member of the First Presidency, stated:

...blessing be to God that I live on an earth that lives....WELL, IT IS TRUTH.... Do you believe that a dead woman can conceive from a live man and bring forth a live child?... No, you know better. Well, if a woman will not produce when she is dead, then the earth cannot produce living things if it was dead.... Where did the earth come from? From its PARENT EARTHS. (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 6, pp. 35-36)

On another occasion Heber C. Kimball stated that the earth has a spirit as much as any body has a spirit. (Ibid., Vol. 5, p. 172)

Mormon leaders still teach that the earth is alive. Bruce R. McConkie, of the First Council of Seventy, said:

...this earth was created first as a spirit, and that it was thereafter clothed upon with tangible, physical element. (Mormon Doctrine, 1966, pp. 210-211)

...the earth itself is passing through a plan of salvation. It was created (the equivalent of birth); it fell to its present mortal or telestial state; it was baptized by immersion, when the universal flood swept over its entire surface...it will be baptized by fire...in the day when it is renewed and receives its paradisiacal glory; it will die; and finally it will be quickened (or resurrected) and become a celestial sphere. (Ibid., pp. 251-252)

Joseph Fielding Smith, the tenth President of the Mormon Church, states:

This earth is living and must die, but since it keeps the law it shall be restored through the resurrection by which it shall become celestialized... The earth, as a living body, will have to die and be resurrected, for it, too, has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ. (Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 1, pp. 73-74) ]

Sept. 30, 2004

Subject: Excommunication Courts


Has anyone who wished to be excommunicated ever been allowed represent their views and reasons for leaving in an excommunication court? I have always thought that six stake high councilmen represent the "accused" as his advocate and six act as prosecution while the stake presidency presides. Are the proceedings open to invitees? I would like to watch this process especially if the person being excommunicated wants to present a case against the church.


[Sandra's Note: From what I have heard about excommunication courts, and Jerald's and my experience, most people don't get a chance to say much. If the church takes action against someone and the person still believes Mormonism and wants to try to stay in the church, they could probably say something.

But if someone, like Jerald and I, requests their membership to be terminated, they aren't allowed to explain why they don't believe Mormonism. I brought some references to my trial to demonstrate why I couldn't believe the LDS prophets. My bishop wouldn't let me show them anything or give any reasons for not believing. My bishop's comment was to the effect that the church was not on trial, only me. And since I was obviously in a state of apostasy, not believing in Joseph Smith, I was worthy of excommunication.

A person can bring a witness if the witness is there to testify that the person should be considered in good standing and that the person believes and supports the church. For instance, if a man were accused of adultery and was about to be excommunicated, he could bring a witness to testify about his good moral character.]

Sept. 30, 2004

Dear utlm.org,

I am writing to a Mormon graduate student. As a result it has forced me to look up material on Mormonism and I must say it is like going to collage. I not only have learned a great deal about Mormonism, but probably even more about the truth of Christianity. My question is that my Mormon friend ...... wrote to me that he had accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior? How can this be as I know what they believe about Jesus is not the same as what we believe?

Waiting your answer, Sincerely

[Steve's Note: The claim that Jesus Christ is his Lord and Savior is one which needs to be clarified. Although I don't know his heart, I suspect that he sees Jesus as one component to a much larger part of what he believes he needs to do in order to have eternal life.

The question must be, "Is Jesus the only means to eternal life or must we also have others things as well?"
Are temple works necessary to obtain eternal life?
Is membership in the LDS Church necessary?

All of these questions can help to answer his claim as to whether he is trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. Many times Mormons will use the same terms as Christians but with very different meanings for those terms. Our fact sheet, Terminology Differences, and should be helpful to you in your conversation.

You can also ask him questions about what he believes concerning Jesus Christ. By asking him additional questions, you will be able to see exactly where he does stand; and, you will be able to let him see the difference between LDS teaching and Christianity. The fact sheet, LDS Leaders Define Their Concept of Jesus Christ, will give you more information. It will also let you see that even LDS leaders admit that they do not worship the same Jesus as Christians do. Also, Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints should help you to see many of the central issues to be discussed.]

Sept. 30, 2004

Subject: From South Africa

I have been a Mormon for the past 20 years and since becoming computer literate have had a lot of doubts about my past beliefs.

I am particularly interested in the quote from History of the Church Vol 6, which tells of Joseph Smith boasting to be better than Christ.

How can I get access to History of the Church in Volumes to open up to see for myself. Obviously my Mormon friends tell me that the quote has been altered.

I have soooooo many questions - I actually find myself in quite a turmoil about the whole setup.

Awaiting your reply

With thanks,

[Sandra's Note: You can see scanned images at www.irr.org/mit. See:


Also, the Deseret Book Store sells a CD-ROM program called LDS Collectors Library 2005 that includes the History of the Church, plus dozens of other LDS titles. See:


Most original sources and reference works on Mormonism are in the various university libraries in Utah.]

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