April 2005
(Names and Contact Info Removed)
April 1, 2005
I sure hope that you find what you are looking for. Evidently, you did not look hard enough or looked to the wrong source for your answers. Before making false claims against something that you do not fully understand you ought first to weigh the consequences of your actions.

Remember that God will judge between me and thee! Angles in Heaven record your actions and your words whereupon your lives will be based and judged according to justice and mercy. Thank God, for his words and work living and breathing in the lives of his people.

One concerned with your withdrawal from the light of life and light in his order and kingdom. Be well according to your obedience to the commandments of God and his Christ.

April 2, 2005
Subject: New LDS Stats as of 12/31/2004

Just heard the new stats given in conference:

Once again the convert baptism rate is down from its peak of 330,877 way back in 1990. If you add the new converts with the amount of children baptized, and subtract that number from the total membership, you get 340,109 or a difference of 49,541. I'm sure many of that 49,541 was a result of death. I wonder how many left on their own.

April 3, 2005
. . . After 30 years as a "convert" to the LDS Church, I and my wife (she is still struggling with this) have walked away from the church. I've always thought of folks like you as spreaders of poison and followed church leaders advice to avoid "anit-mormon" literature.

Recently, and I don't know why, I chose to take a look at the challenge put forth about the Book of Abraham and found the evidence compelling. I've even read the FARMS and FAIR responses and found them to be pretty lame.

Since then I've read a ton of stuff that I won't list here but has convinced me that the things that I've held sacred all these years are no more than smoke and mirrors created by Brother Joe. I'm angry and disappointed that I've been lied to all these years. I still have two very active children and for that reason only I have not yet sent a letter requesting my name be removed from the church records.

Thanks to folks like you truth that would not otherwise come forth is available now for those who are seeking the real truth. Thanks for what you do. A small contribution will follow by mail.

April 3, 2005
. . . I am grateful that we found the truth about the mormon church. There is still a lot of abuse in the church in this area and we were accustomed to it and it has been difficult to get away from, although I still am attracted to some aspects of the religion, the private rituals and ceremonies, I will one day come out of.
April 5, 2005
I am a former Mormon who was able to excommunicate himself from the Mormon Church over 10 years ago with the help of your ministry. My younger sister, brother-in-law, and I have since embraced traditional Christianity . . . .

Thank you for your efforts. May God continue to bless you and your ministry.

April 5, 2005
Subject: Payment for church service

My Mormon friend boasts that Mormon church leaders do not get paid for what they do. I know I've read somewhere that they make money because they are the heads of the church's business and therefore make money on the church's investments — but I can't find that information. Do you know the answer?

[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church leaders used to sit on the boards of various businesses. But this has been discontinued in recent years. However, the top leaders do receive salaries. See:

For information on the boards that the LDS leaders used to be on, and church businesses, see Quinn's book The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, chapter 6. and our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?, chapter 34.

Current LDS financial matters are dealt with in Mormon America: The Power and the Promise.]

April 5, 2005
Subject: baptism service in Ancient America

There is a picture in the old Book of Mormons depicting what might have been an ancient baptismal service. Sure enough there are two people standing in the bottom of this apparent font in the attitude of a baptism ceremony. You're probably familiar with the picture what I'm talking about. One of my friends used this an argument for having faith in BOM archeology. And I have to admit when I was a missionary I used to look at that picture and try to imagine what else it could be. So...if not a baptismal font then what else could it be? A root cellar?

[Sandra's Note: Could be anything. Why 'apparent font'? Who is to say what the enclosure was originally used for? So two modern people (obviously modern, or we wouldn't have a 'photo') are standing in a stone/cement enclosure? Maybe they held animals or a prisoner there prior to sacrifice? Threw the dead sacrifices in it? Washed their bodies before a ceremony? Almost every religion has some sort of cleansing rite. That does not mean those groups understood or practiced Christian baptism, where one is being symbolically cleansed from sin and identifies with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. I suggest you substitute the words 'cleansing rite' with 'baptism' in reading any old text. We bring too much of our own interpretation to the word 'baptism'.]

April 5, 2005
Could this statement from Brigham Young simply have been a typical round about secular declaration if you will, that is typical with mormons, due to the fact that the Utah territory was considered a "slave" territory during the civil war period? just food for thought.

The Lord put a mark on him [Cain]...When all the other children of Adam have had the privilege of receiving the Priesthood, and of coming into the kingdom of God... and have received their resurrection... then it will be time enough to remove the curse from Cain and his posterity. (Journal of Discourses, vol.2, page 143)

[Sandra's Note: Brigham Young was speaking in the role of prophet in 1854, in the LDS Tabernacle in Salt Lake. I assume from this that he meant what he said to be accepted as teaching from God. Also, this was not the only LDS statement of such doctrine. See: Topical Index: Racism. As to being a 'slave' territory—that was his doing as well. He could have had the territory set up as non-slave.

Certainly he was influenced by the attitudes of the country at the time. But from the LDS perspective, he should be speaking for God, not caving in to popular sentiment.]

April 6, 2005
First off thank you for having such an informative website:) I decided to become inactive in the church over one year ago (stopped paying tithes no longer attended, told my bishop i wanted no contact from any church member). They are honoring my request and i will never go back (knowing what i know to now be true). They don't know where i live or how to contact me.

I read about name removal and i am debating why i should even do it? I know the church is not true i don't believe in any of the blessings still holding any weight in my life(i was endowed and stopped wearing the garments after one month, summer was coming and i didn't think christ would think i was refusing him by deciding to not wear two t-shirts in the 90 degree summer heat. So i was wondering if you my be able to give me some advice seeing that if i went through with the paper process of name removal i would have to restablish contact with people in the church that know i am out for good anyway and want nothing to do with them. do you understand my situation please have me out if you have the time :)

thanks again for the time and research you've put in to making this site, had i not be to this site i might still be a faithful lds today.


[Steve's Note: You can request to have your name removed by writing directly to the Membership Dept. of the LDS Church. You can also state that you do not want any contact from anyone in the LDS Church and if you are contacted you will consider it harassment and will contact your attorney and the media. You can state you will only accept from them a letter confirming that your name has been removed from their membership records.

For more information on this please read—How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.]

[Additional note from Sandra: Another site with helpful information on this is: http://www.exmormon.org/remove.htm ]

April 6, 2005
I'm a former Mormon who came to know the Lord in 1972 while I was a player in the NFL through the ministry of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The Mormon Church does such a good job of obscuring its theological positions and the changing of its historical positions that it took me five years before I realized that I couldn't be both a Mormon and a Christian. The materials I obtained through Utah Lighthouse Ministry were incredibly helpful to me in turning the light on. I finally found the peace that I'd been looking for and my life hasn't been the same since!

Thank you and God bless you for all you!

April 6, 2005

I recently read on an Episcopal web site that LDS membership increased 1.75% in 2004 and is up to 5.5 million american members. That would mean that about 85,000 people were baptized in the US. Do you know if that is all new members or does that include 8 year olds that are baptized whose are raised in the faith? I am interested in how many NEW members there are. Also do you have any idea how many leave the mormon church every year?


[Steve's Note: The LDS Church just released their membership numbers again in their General Conference in April. (See data in email of April 2, 2005.)

The LDS Church does not release information in greater detail than this. When this year's figures are included in the next annual LDS Church Almanac then there will be additional details. For now anything else is simply the best guesses or estimates of others.

Unfortunately, the LDS Church does not disclose how many persons either leave their church by their own free will or how many are made to give up their membership by the LDS Church. Without this information being released, the claims made by the LDS Church for any amount of growth is misleading at best and it gives a very incomplete picture of the situation relating to their actual membership numbers.]

[Additional note from Sandra: Here are the figures given on the official LDS web site.

Membership data December 31, 2004:


April 7, 2005
I am thankful for Christians who are reaching out and spreading the full truth of Mormonism. I was also raised and active in the LDS church. I have been exposed to every doctrinal teaching of what I call "Surface Mormonism." That is, the basic beliefs that the Mormons CHOOSE to reveal to prospective converts.

Superficially, Mormonism appears to be a Christian sect (for those not necessarily doctrinally/Biblically sound). I was exposed to the "surface," but not shown the depth of its indoctrination. When I was old enough (about 15) to think on my own volition, I realized my deep and longing need for the Savior. Even being active and baptized in the church, I knew that the Mormon faith could not—would not fulfill that emptiness that I felt when I pondered on Christ and who He truly was. So, thank you, Mr. and Mrs. Tanner, for your desire and your calling to serve those Mormons who are searching for the truth. . . .

April 7, 2005
i stumbled upon you web site of letters to the editor, and became very offended. Yes I am an LDS "Mormon" or whatever you would like to call me normally i do not send an argumentative email when i get angry about something because i feel it is a waste of my time, however. If someone has Questions about a certain religion shouldn't they go right to the soures and ask a member.

I also am tired of being critizied that as long as i hold to the book of Mormon that i cannot truly believe in Jesus Christ as a savior. Well as well as being a Columbus one of the reasons those who choose to come was for freedom of religion. I can also tell you that as a history student that both the Book of Mormon and the Holy Bible have both been cannon fodder for science and both have been proven right and wrong by scientist on both sides. Know that the feelings expressed in this email is my own and should not be reflected on my fellow philosophies and religions are all base with FAITH IN WHAT ONE BELIEVES TO BE TRUE IN THERE HEART!!!. and in my Heart I know the words of the Book Of Mormon to be true and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God and that THe Prophet Gorden B. Hinkley "is" a prophet and revelator of God. that through the Angel Moroni the Gospel was restored to the earth. I do believe that John the Baptist baptised Joseph Smith. and I do Believe the Jesus the Christ is the Litteral Son of God, and of the Earthly Mother Mary and that GOD HIS SON,JESUS CHRIST, AND THE HOLY GHOST teachings i can once again return to my Heavanly Father.

I have a great many blessing through the church. I have the blessing of the patriarchal blessings. Blessings for the sick and Prophets that offer guildence with kindness and understanding i have the blessing that the living the necessary work for the dead and after my own death that through the blessings of his Holy Temple I can be sealed to My Husband and Children. I am very greatful the Gospel is True but I humble ask you as i have writen this letter it has softened my heart. do not take the word for of a person who in not of the Faith of the Mormon Church the Church oF Jesus Christ of Latter-Day-Saints but, I ask you to go to one of these sacred houses of the lord and talk to a missionary or a Bishop get the Book Of Mormon for yourself read and study the Scriptures contained within, then decide for yourself what you feel in your own heart. I do not feel right closing this letter as i would end my testimony in my Church but i do give you this with my Heart that even if you do not agree with me that you allow me to openly rejoice for what i know to be the true religion for my heart. thanks

[Steve's Note: Thank you for your letter and the issues you raise. They are all very important. We spend our time reaching out to Mormons since we have either come out of the LDS Church (as is the case with Jerald and Sandra Tanner, the founders of this ministry) or we have family members and neighbors whom we love very much. It is not sufficient to go just to those who profess their own faith for all the information concerning it any more than it is enough to go just to one dealership to hear all there is to know about a given brand of automobile. One does not have to be a member of a particular faith in order to understand what it teaches and to respond to the claims it makes for itself.

If someone else's faith should not be questioned then the obvious question would need to be asked as to why Mormon missionaries feel it is O.K. to question the beliefs of other persons and to challenge what it is that their church teaches them. Mormon authorities have also invited the outside world to examine the faith of the LDS Church and to expose it as wrong if seen as such. For example, Orson Pratt wrote in his book, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon,

"If, after a rigid examination, it be found an imposition, it should be extensively published to the world as such; the evidences and arguments on 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." (p.1).

We are simply responding to their open invitation. We would ask of you that you would only continue to ask the tough questions about your own faith and whether it has reasons to be believed.]

April 7, 2005
Dear Tanners, I have been studying your information on "reason" [http://www.xmission.com/~country/reason/reason.htm] for the last couple of weeks...I guess most of the articles and issues were from quite a while ago....but this kind of data ... all you have said...doesn't loose its validity with time. I've had the impression to write to you for a couple of days now and tell you my story... but first I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for the work you are doing. I don't know if you know what your work means to "Mormons" that want and truly seek for the truth...no matter what the cost. I know the cost is great sometimes.

...last Saturday I introduced my sister...(we have been best friends since our childhoods)...to some of the things I had recently learned. I knew how this would affect her...(because I knew how it affected me)... so I tried to be gentle. She immediately stood up, and in front of her children (who love me), my girlfriend and her her husband told me immediately to get out of her house...she told me that our relationship was over and that she never wanted to see me again. I tried to apoligize...said I would never mention stuff like this again...but she just became more angry. I made her promise that she wouldn't tell dad before I started (he had a major heart attack 3 months ago)...but I know she will still tell him...he will give her affimation of the "truth". But it's probably going to break his heart....literally.

In mormonism we're are taught that we are all able to discern truth or un-truth...through the Spirit of Christ (Moroni 7, 12-19). Almost everything you have said ... I have immediately gone to FARMS of FAIR or other "church friendly sites" to see what they have said about the issue. To see if you had plagerized or flat out lied or exaggerated the truth. The most venemous attack that I could find was in FARMS that you had misinterpreted the meaning of "plagerize" (no spell check on my email...sorry...my spelling isn't that great with words like this). But in honestly examing both sides (something that we are taught DEFINITELY not to do)...my "Spirit if Christ" has told me that the things brought up by you are true.

One of the first things that I read was David Whitmer's letter...then I read what was written by Oliver Cowdery and then by Martin Harris...where I first learned that all of these men were excommunicated from the Church. So if they were excommunicated...and their records were stricken from the records of the church...why are their testimonies still used to validitate the divinity of the Book of Mormon? If we so strongly take their word as TRUE about the Book of Mormon genuinely being tranlated by an ancient record....then why don't we believe their claims that Joseph Smith was a "fallen prophet"... and that he fell into transgession afterwards (with poligamy...for instance).

It's interesting the missionary method...pray that the Book of Mormon is true. Then you will "know" that the LDS church is true as well as everything else they teach is true. They throw this into one big basket...but it isn't. Have you ever heard of a faithful mormon praying specifically about specific doctorine (like the doctorine of poligamy) to see if that is true? We throw the baby IN with the bathwater. If one thing is true, it is ALL true. The "anonomous" letter geared toward converts is great for keeping their numbers up...but what about the members that were born in the church... WHY DON'T THEY SHEILD US FROM THESE FACTS WHEN WE ARE YOUNG? WE ARE PLIABLE AT THAT AGE! WHY DON'T THEY PREPARE US FOR THIS INCREDIBLE AMOUNT OF EVIDENCE AND INFORMATION THAT IS READILY AVIALABLE OVER THE INTERNET?

The problem is that when we find out this info...we are immediately labeled as an "apostate"...and we are branded as someone you should stay away from and not talk to. But here is where a very central problem arises. One that has occupied my mind constantly for the past couple of weeks. According to EVERYTHING the LDS church teaches...apostates are dambed to hell forever...we won't be given the chance to hear the gospel again... we knew the "truth" and have forsaken it...basically...it would have been better if we have died than to be in our present situation. Then where do we find the courage to do and say what we do??? If a Mormon is wrong....well, he finds it out in the afterlife....and life goes on.

But if WE [apostates] are wrong...if YOU...the infamous Tanners are wrong....well, you have a really bad guilt trip awaiting you when you die. And that, according to Mormon doctorine, is probably the biggest understatement you can make. So wouldn't people that become "anti-mormon" after living their whole life as Mormons be REALLY careful about the choice they are making? ...MY GOD! Look how much we have to loose!!! Wouldn't I MAKE SURE that I have a "testimony" of the "truth" before I even dared write this letter to you? Look how much more is at stake?

I wish and still hope that Mormonism is true...it would be so much easier to stick with the statis quo. Change is so hard. But faith is built upon evidence...and the evidence is so AGAINST faith in the church. I have a lot of old publications from Orson Pratt...etc...and I have studied them over the years. The "Lectures on Faith"...actually on the cover...(I have a copy of it in front of me now)...states "A compilation containing the LECTURES ON FAITH also AN HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE SAME by Dr. John A Widtsoe, aslo a treatise on TRUE FAITH by Orson Pratt, also a BIBLIOGRAPHY ON MELCHIZEDIK by Ariel L. Crowley. (N.B. Lundwall, Compiler, Bookcraft Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah) In True Faith... by Orson Pratt...it states: "2.—Faith or belief is the result of evidence presented to the mind. Without evidence, the mind cannot have faith in anything....Faith in every fact, statement, truth, or proposition which we have confidence in, is, in all cases whatsoever derived from evidence." Man...go on and read this sermon or lecture ...it screams out against faith without evidence! So, the BIG question here is... do we have faith in the evidence???...or do we have faith in the warm, fuzzy, feeling???

I'm sorry, but I have had the warm, fuzzy feeling while I have watched AT&T commercials...so have I immediately went and bought stock in those companies because the spirit told me they are "true"?? I'm sorry...I guess I am venting now....but 32 years of indoctorination will tend to do that to you. Well, I still have so much to say to you....so I guess this is Part 1 of my email...but anyway...thanks for the info.


April 7, 2005
. . . . A friend recently loaned us a book called "Gathering of Saints" which discusses the Hoffman dealings and trial in great detail. I looked in the list of resources contained in the last newsletter I received, and it wasn't available. I was wondering if you carry this title.

Also, if you could point out the resources that you have that are linked to the Hoffman findings & dealings, that would help me a lot. You know, it's amazing, no matter how long I study the church and how deep I go, there is always more weird stuff to encounter. This is truly a religion spawned by Satan himself. Thank you for your ministry. Oh, and it was kind of interesting to read a little about yourself and Jerald in the book and how you got your start in this ministry.


[Sandra's Note: I believe the book Gathering of Saints is out of print. However, if you go to Amazon you can order a used copy:


Our book on Hofmann, Tracking the White Salamander, is on our web site.

We also sell the books Salamander, and The Poet and the Murderer, as well as an A&E video on the Hofmann case—City Confidential: Faith and Foul Play in Salt Lake City DVD.]

April 8, 2005

I have a question about the Fall. LDS writers talk about the "Fortunate Fall." Could Adam and Eve have "replenished the earth" without eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil?

Thanks for your help

[Steve's Note: Yes, God would not have given them a command they were unable to keep. Furthermore, after Adam and Eve sin, God pronounces the curse of the Fall to them. God spells out that Adam's work (which was commanded before the fall) will now be accompanied with difficulties. Likewise, the consequence of the Fall for Eve is not that she will now be able to bear children but rather her childbearing will be painful. If what Adam and Eve did was a good and necessary act as claimed by Mormonism how then could God judge them and curse them for this act? Logically this would make no sense. God would not curse and condemn someone for doing what they ultimately should do. For more information on this please see:

The Changing World of Mormonism, "The Fall" in Terminology Differences and Mormon Claims Answered. You may also be interested in the books we offer that deal with difficult passages of the Bible like this. The best of those books are:


April 10, 2005
Dear Sandra—sorry to trouble you is there a LDS Headquarters in Salt Lake City with an e-mail address that one could get some letter to their President. I have looked and cannot find, I would appricate your help thanks.

an unhappy member soon to be a none member.

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, the LDS leaders do not give out their email addresses. They probably have emails for their offices—but I do not know of any of them. You would need to write directly to their headquarters. The address is:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
50 E. North Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150


April 10, 2005
Didn't there used to be a question on the Temple recommend list that inquired about if one had read any anti-Mormon literature?

[Steve's Note: I believe you are thinking of the interview question which states, "Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?" Although this is similar to what you are asking it is a bit different than that.]

April 13, 2005
Subject: Howard Hughes and the mormon mafia

My question is in regards to something I heard about Howard Hughes and his close advisors (aka mormon mafia). I heard that during Howard Hughes later years that his morman mafia controlled all his business affairs as well as his personal affairs. To the extent that the eccentric billionaire was practically their prisoner. They were the ones who took care of him from day to day and even gave him his drugs that he was addicited to. The purpose being to get to his money and siphon it off to the mormon church.

I also heard that Howard Hughes had written a last will and testament but that the mormons got rid of it and tried to have him make a new one leaving a lot of money to concerning the mormon mafia that controlled his affairs and I wondered what if anything might be true.

Did Howard Hughes indeed have a mormon mafia, did they try to take his money, is their anything known about these individuals? I know that people sometimes say the weirdest things but I am very interested in learning more about this and was wondering if you knew anything about this. Thank You for your time. Sincerly,

[Sandra's Note: We have quit a bit of information on Hughes in our book Mormon Spies, Hughes and the CIA.

We also did a pamphlet on the fake Hughes will in 1976 called Howard Hughes and the "Mormon Will." It is now out of print but we could make a photocopy of it. We had a small notice of this publication in our newsletter back in 1978.

#39 Messenger, The "Mormon Will"

You will also find some information on Hughes and the Mormon connection in this article. See entry under 'Later Years.' http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Hughes ]

April 14, 2005
Hello, . . . we work with troubled youth. One of the girls is Morman and she told us she has gone through a rite of sealing, or something like that. What does that mean and what does it mean to her life now?


[Sandra's Note: I assume the girl was sealed to her parents in the LDS temple ceremony discussed below.

This is from http://www.concernedchristians.org/nocomparison_temple7-misc2.php#1

Ceremony for Sealing Children to Parents

Married Couples who have had children before they joined the Mormon Church or who were married before being sealed in the temple must have their children sealed to them for time and eternity. Children born after a temple marriage are automatically sealed to their parents. These children are considered "Born under the Covenant."

[At the LDS temple] The parents kneel at the wedding altar, dressed in the Robes of the Holy Priesthood, Melchizedek Order [special white outfit with green apron]. They join hands in the Patriarchal Grip, or Sure Sign of the Nail, and the children kneel around the altar placing their right hands upon their parents' hands, beginning with the oldest child. The children are clothed in white.

When this ceremony is performed for dead individuals extra words are added and are represented here by the following brackets [---]

OFFICIATOR (SEALER): By the authority of the Holy Priesthood, I seal upon you ___, [acting as proxy for ____, who is dead] and you____, and ____, (etc. Children named in order of age) to your father ____, and to your mother ____, for time and all eternity, as an heir [or as heirs] [with all the children] as though you were born in the New and Everlasting Covenant, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

Hope this explains the ceremony the girl was talking about. As for what it might mean to the girl in question, that is hard to say. It may give her comfort that she has been promised to be with her family in heaven, it could also make her feel guilty if she were to consider any other religious position.]

April 16, 2005
Two years ago, in the date of April 15, 2003, I was in Iraq. Tension was very high and my courage was challenged. As a coward, I decided that the best way the handle the situation would be to kill myself. As I went to the tent to get my weapon, I found out that my weapon was empty. Earlier that day the commander wanted all ammunition accounted for, so they took all my magazines as well. Thus my plan to kill myself would never materialize.

The next day, I chose to be baptized with the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints. I was very happy to overcome this painful moment of my life. I gave my heart to my Lord and Savior Jesus and let him take charge of my well-being. Once I returned to America, I continued attending church and began to learn more about the doctrine of the church. I had heard so many negative stories about the church and I wanted to be prepared to debate with anyone who would criticize the church.

It now has been 2 years. I have read the Book of Mormon and the other books of the church. I have attended church and mingled with many leaders of the church. I met and discussed with many bishops. The opinion I share with the church is that the best way to obtain salvation is through faith and deeds. Jesus Christ instructed all of us to challenge every prophet that comes claiming to be talking in his name. This is what I have been doing for the last 2 years. After reading Jer 17:5, 1Juan 4, and Deu 18:22, I used those reference to guide myself.

My father is Puerto Rican. My mother is the Daughter of a Cuban man and woman from Haiti. I am the result of mixing between Blacks, Indians, and maybe French and Spanish. I am very sensitive to the philosophy which holds one race superior over another. According to the Mormon Church, Blacks are dark because it was the curse that God placed on Cain with a special Mark. In addition to that, in pre-existence, those who sided with the devil were punished with the hardship of being black and underprivileged in today's life. I have gathered the teachings of every Mormon prophet since Joseph Smith about the origin of Blacks.

This conception is incorrect and evil. It goes against the message of Jesus Christ. Jesus never mentions any curse on anyone. Jesus is only the way to salvation. In fact, God chose Cain to show all of us that through faith and deed we could gain salvation. Nowhere is it specified in the bible that the mark was a black skin as we know it today.

If Cain's descendents were to be cursed forever or to the seventh generation, then why would God choose a descendent of Cain (Noah) to save mankind? If Blacks were the cursed race why would God bless the son of a Black woman (King David) as the King of Israel? If it was wrong to mix with Blacks why didn't God stop Solomon from having a child with a Black woman (Queen of Sheba), why would God punish Aaron and Miriam for making a racist comment (Num 12)?

There is an incorrect belief that Jews are God's favorite people. I studied the Hebrew language and I can tell you that God's favorite people are all believers, not only Jews. Jews were first to accept the one and only true God while other tribes adored false Gods. Let's not forget that Abraham was first a Chaldean. God choose Abraham as a messanger. The chaldeans were not Jews, so as you see God picked a believer to be his favorite son. The basic rite of Judaism as a religion really starts with Moses. When God gave the 10 commandments to Moses, he clearly stated that he wanted to be the only one God. He never mentions about Jews being his favorite children. When He saved the Jews from Egypt God was fulfilling the promise he made to Abraham. Abraham was the father of many nations, just like Adam, Noah, and Cain! We always forget that among those who were with Moses when he crossed the sea were Ethiopians and other who feared God! By saying that they were God's people, the Jews took pride in being the ones to adore the real God.

Jesus told the disciples to go all over the world to proclaim the good news. Jesus said he was the king of Jews because he is the son of God. Let's not forget that he also said that his kingdom was not from this world! Jesus saved a Roman, a Samaritan, a bandit, and even those who killed him. As you see salvation is for everyone.

The basis of Western civilization today comes from the Greeks and the Roman cultures. Plato, the biggest influence of the Europeans said that if you don't understand something or someone it's because that something or someone is unclear. That conception can be the best explanation for the roots of racism and ignorance . Because we don't understand people, we simply decide that they are bad.

There is good and bad in every nation. I now find myself near where Joseph Smith was raised and I see all the familiar names of the Book of Mormon. Those names ere either modified or just cut in half.

A DNA test has been done on Indians and the result is that they have no link with the Jews. There is no geographical or archeological evidence to support the Book of Mormon. There is no evidence that places Jews in America in 600 BC. There never has been a languange called Reformed Egyptian. There is no record or even ruins of any Lamanite tribe in the Americas. The papyrus used by Joseph Smith to translate the book of Abraham has been proven to be a burial document that doesn't mention anything about Abraham. There are too many contradictions in the Book of Mormon to name. However, The most damaging evidence is that God could not possibly wait until 1978 to tell the Mormon leaders to give Blacks the priesthood.

I cannot be a member of a church that thinks of me as an inferior person. I cannot not belong to a church that practices the glorification of the white race and marginalization of other races. I cannot support a church that tarnishes the image of God with lies. I don't understand those who try to find excuses for racism. I don't believe that Jesus Christ would choose a racist to lead his church. Even Paul who persecuted Christians came with a message of unity, equality, and salvation through Jesus Christ.

I spent two years praying the lord to give me guidance, and I can tell you my friends today that Joseph Smith is not a true prophet. Glory to God! I must do what Jesus commands me to do by forgiving the Mormon leaders for all the ignorance they placed on my people. Just like Jesus asked Paul why he was persecuting him by killing Christians; Joseph Smith must answer why he persecuted Jesus by cursing and degrading Blacks and Indians.

[Steve's Note: Thank you for sending your thoughts to me. I have some comments related to what you wrote. Much of what you wrote is a gripping personal account. I too was in the military during the first Gulf War. However, unlike you, I was lucky to be spared from actually having to face the terror of war. To me, much of your reaction was only natural and understandable.

I would want to tell you first above all else that salvation, according to the Bible, is not a matter of faith plus deeds but rather faith alone in the the finished work of Jesus Christ for us and offered to us as a gift. God presents salvation to us this way so that among other things no one will be able to boast of his/her own salvation. (see Romans 4, Galatians 3 and Ephesians 2). None of this of course means that our deeds are meaningless. It is out of a proper appreciation for and gratitude of what God has done for us that we now live to please him. How could we do anything less in light of how God loved us and gave himself for us while we were still his enemies. I would ask you to reread Genesis again. The Bible does not present Cain as a model for us to see that through faith and works we can have salvation. The writer of the book of Hebrews mentions Abel as the example of a life of faith, not Cain (chapter 11).

Also, notice when you read Genesis 5 that Noah is not descended through Cain but rather through Seth, the third named son of Adam and Eve. There is no evidence that King David is the son of a black woman but was of the tribe of Judah. The Queen of Sheba may or may not have been a black woman. She is said to have ruled from what is today Ethiopia to India. Most Scholars see Sheba as an early name for what is today known as Saudi Arabia. Of course, there were black people in the Bible and the early Christian Church who made a major impact.

The overarching message of the Bible is that God loves all people (John 3:16), is the respecter of none (Acts 10:34), and that he made the all the nations of one blood (Acts 17:26). Paul also tells us that in Christ there is no difference. He extends this specifically to include the idea of races when he says "neither Jew nor Greek" (see Galatians 3:28).

The Bible (esp. the Old Testament) most definitely declares the nation of Israel to be God's chosen people through whom he will bless all peoples. God declared that one day he would make a new covenant which will extend to all peoples.. Those who had not previously been his people will be his people and he will be their God (see Jeremiah 31, Hosea 2 and Hebrews 8).

Joseph Smith seems to have been far more tolerant of Blacks and American Indians than those who came after him. He even allowed a Black man to hold the priesthood. For more information on this please refer to our Topical Index: Racism. You may also be interested in the following books we offer:


April 16, 2005
Dear Sister Tanner,

I appreciate your faithfulness in exposing the error's of Mormonism and pointing out the truth in Christ. I know you do it as a labor of love, though many still trapped in that damning religion cannot see the truth of such a statement.

I admire your care for your husband [who has Alzheimers]. He worked hand in hand with you for many years. I appreciate your commitment to obey the Lord's call on you. I appreciate your helpers there as well. Your ministry is a good one. May God continue to bless the work there. My prayers remain before God for that end. . . .

Sincerely for Christ,

April 17, 2005
Subject: Question about Hofmann Murders

In SLCM #83 I was reading about Mark Hofmann and the forged documents, and a while later I read an article at this web site


and found something that confused me. According to the SLCM, the original McLellin Collection was concealed in the First Presidency's vault since 1908, but the article on Crimlibrary.com says in chapter 11 that "a journalist found the actual McLellin collection in Texas, which contained nothing controversial, and discovered that its owners had never heard of Mark Hofmann."

Can both of these statements be true?

Thanks in advance and keep up the great work,

[Steve's Note: Yes, there were two different parts to the McLellin collection. Originally, the LDS Church purchased part of the total McLellin collection in 1908. However, there was another portion of the McLellin collection which was not purchased by the LDS Church and which was owned by the Traughber family. Mark Hofmann was claiming to have found the entire collection and was preparing to sell it to the LDS Church.

For more information on this you will be interested in reading under our Topical Index: Hofmann, Mark, as well as these books:


April 17, 2005

I recently read this article http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=review&id=127

I really didn't like it, I felt the author was angrily defending what he "knew" as truth and not being totally honest. I have not read the book in question. Did you research it thoroughly?

I am currently LDS but I have serious questions about my religion. Where can I go to find the truth? I want the truth not misguided information. I have read your testimonies and the testimony of David A. McCament and I have read a lot of articles you have written.

I guess what I am asking is I need help finding out the truth, and I don't totally trust Church approved resources. PLEASE HELP me!!!! My husband and I have been called in to talk to the Bishop and I don't want to tell him what I feel or what I have learned. I just want to quietly disappear.

Thank you for any help you can give me.


[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. The article you referenced discusses the Book of Abraham claims and counterclaims and mentions the Egyptian papyri having red markings. Mormons have often tried to dismiss the fact that the piece of papyri which Smith claimed to use in producing his Book of Abraham has been found. They often quote this statement about the red marks on the papyri in the History of the Church, vol. 2, p. 348:

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

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

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

We have not written a specific response to Nibley's two books. We consider Nibley to be a great creator of smoke-screens. We have responded to many of the LDS scholars and Nibley's various arguments in favor of the Book of Abraham in our book, Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? There is a smaller treatment in our online book, The Changing World of Mormonism.

Also see this site:


Also see: "THE BREATHING PERMIT OF HÔR" AMONG THE JOSEPH SMITH PAPYRI (.pdf) This article is written by the head of the Dept. of Egyptology at the University of Chicago.

I assure you, the Book of Abraham is the invention of Joseph Smith and has absolutely no connection to any Egyptian papyri.

I encourage you to keep researching. Truth will stand up to investigation. Most of our research can be verified at the University of Utah Marriott Library; the BYU library; the Utah State Historical Society Library; and just about any other college in Utah or surrounding areas.

Let us know if we can be of further help.]

April 18, 2005
. . . I am not a LDS member but my husband is and we recently talked about going through the temple to be sealed, once the missionaries started coming over I felt very uneasy and your website helped me so much. Thank you so much for everything that you do to inform people from making a big religious mistake.
April 18, 2005
I happened on this website when searching for a telephone number for the LDS institute. I am only 26 years old so I know that I have not yet gained a lot of the experience and wisdom that many of you more seasoned writers have. However, I have worked for the US Congress, traveled to foreign countries, lived in seven states, and feel as though I have been relatively exposed to different schools of thought. I am not the most educated person in the world, but I am in the middle of earning a Juris Doctorate from a top 15 ranked Law School. I am an LDS return missionary who makes no claim of objectivity. But the one thing Law School has confirmed to me is that there are always two sides of any issue.

I think it is funny though that anyone on this site makes claims that they have history or science on their side to "prove" their point. Science, history, and reason are all slaves to whatever master navigates them. I love being surrounded by academics. We all think that the thing that we have invested our whole lives in is so convincing, then we think that someone is crazy for not agreeing with us.

I suppose some of you feel that God has called you to save Mormons from going to hell, because we believe that man has the potential to become like God, or we believe that there will be polygamy in the post-mortal life, or because we believe that there were prophets in ancient America, or we don't believe that salvation is by pure election, or a whole host of other reasons (incidentally, I am confused as to why people keep calling these "secret" doctrines-on my mission I wasn't afraid of teaching my investigators that we are NOT mainstream Christianity-I love the differences-if people don't appreciate the differences then they are probably better off in some protestant or Catholic congregation that teaches things that they want to believe in). That is great for you I guess.

I think all of us would be advantaged by talking more to each other. My best friend is an evangelical Christian. Unlike many of his Christian friends, he doesn't think I am the Boogy Man because I am Mormon, which is kind of nice. He is not sure if I am going to hell or not. I am confident that he is not going to hell, but I don't care. He knows how I feel. We talk about it. He doesn't believe some Mormon doctrine, I don't believe some Protestant doctrines. I live my life to serve people, to live according to my faith, and I am happy as a lark. But I have chosen to believe what I do. God didn't force me. When I die, I will be accountable to Him, and I am comfortable with that. He will die and be accountable to the same God that created us all. I think he is doing what he believes is right, and for all I know it is exactly what God wants of him now. It's between him and God.

I hope that people who are on this site looking for truth are persuaded by their relationship with God and not by some fallacious claims that reason, science, or history dictates the truth of this important matter. For me, I love the LDS Church. By its fruits, I know it is exactly where God wants me! It is so, so good


[Steve's Note: I am encouraged by what you have written. I am glad that you are willing to see there are two sides to every story. Continue to read widely and deeply and it will serve you well. Hopefully, good science, history and reason all withstand the evaluation and review of others. The telling thing relative to the claims of the Book of Mormon is that not a single non LDS scholar sees New World Studies as being compatible with LDS dogma. Many LDS authorities have invited outsiders to evaluate the beliefs of Mormonism. It is unfair then to protest when we do try to weigh the evidence and reach conclusions about the beliefs of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I find it interesting that you are willing to admit that your Church is not mainstream Christianity when many of the current authorities of the LDS Church are trying to portray Mormonism as though it is and should be included in the broad collection of mainstream Christian churches. I think perhaps you are more honest with this than many others are willing to be.

The truth claims of a religion are not verified by the pragmatic view you express. There are persons within all the world's religions who claim their faith works for them and produces good fruit in their lives. Be that as it may, the competing claims made by the world's religions can not all be true simultaneously. The apostle Paul made the argument that Christianity must be based on the historic reality of the risen Christ. He stated in 1 Corinthians 15:14-19 that he would be a false witness of God if Christ has not been raised and we Christians should be pitied above all mankind. Notice he does not base Christianity on the argument of whether or not it works but on the objective fact that Jesus Christ did in fact rise from the dead.]

April 18, 2005
Have you come across anything which expands on the Ed Young article on the sociological analysis of the "business model" of the Church you have on your website? It is from 2000, but I've been looking at their statistics and in percentage terms they had a huge drop in both missionaries and adult converts in 2003 which was sustained in 2004. Curiously, they had a significant increase in the number of child baptisms at the same time, so I'm wondering if part of it could be a change in measurement. Even if so, their drop in membership increase, as a percentage of overall membership, has been large. Based on reports since 1980:

- 1980 ratio of church members to total converts (adults and child baptisms): 16.8
- 1990 ratio of members to total converts: 18.6
- 1995 ratio of members to total converts: 24.9
- 2000 ratio of members to total converts: 31.2
- 2004 ratio of members to total converts: 36.1

In other words, it takes slightly more than twice as many Mormons to bring in another - through conversion or reproduction - than it took 24 years ago. This takes the analysis a step further. I would be interested if there were some study out there dealing with this that is up to date. I noticed the cumorah.com site you have linked, and it comes to 2002, with no analysis of underlying socio-religious factors like the Young article.

Most notable was the huge drop in missionaries, about 10% each of both 2003 and 2004. Long-term trends aside, any idea about this?

Someone else will have to do it if there is not one, but I can add one point: the last year I was active was 2001, and I attended singles wards in the DC area and Manhattan. What I noticed was unusual for the LDS Church but typical of Catholic Latin America was that females hugely outnumbered males. During the 1990s, the LDS leadership took a really soft-line approach on certain difficult issues - especially patriarchal authority and birth control - while continuously talking about "family," and they may have lost their male membership to an extent. I'm not sure there is a connection here, and there are surely other factors, but I can't think of anything else. (I stopped attending mainly because I did some research on Ancient Mesoamerica and concluded that the Book of Mormon was not historical, but I don't think that many people do the research.) . . . .


[Steve's Note: Thanks for your letter. You may also be interested in reading some additional articles found online.

The View from the Foyer—Topic: 31 years of church statistics

http://www.lds4u.com/growth2/Index.htm ]

April 19, 2005
Subject: Now I get it

You described the Quorum of the Twelve as the church's managerial body in one of your newsletters. I've privately complained about that for years, because it's not what the apostles did during or after the Lord's mortal ministry. In fact, they made it a point not to become caught up in administrative affairs (see Acts 6:1-8). But as mentioned in this passage (verse 8), what's missing in the church today are the "great wonders and miracles among the people."

In fact, the 12 minimize direct contact with the members, and tell the membership not to write or call them (they're too busy). However, as recorded in Mark 16:17-18,

"And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them: they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

In my mind, there should be no one in the church today with a chronic illness, disease, or deformity.

So now I understand—thanks for all your work. The focus is all on the church and its leadership—not on the people. And now I see why.

April 19, 2005
Hi there,

I am a devout member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and I understand that you are doing what you feel is right! It is your choice, your option and your right. I do have a question as to the why?

Why focus so intently on Latter Day Saints? If your goal is to truly indeed help people come to their own realization and truth of Christ, then shouldn't your message (and criticism) be directed to everyone, and not just individuals of a single faith? Wouldn't it be more beneficial to devote your life to finding the positive in what you believe and studying that, rather than finding out the negative in what someone else believes and belittling that? I know that this letter will probably never see the light of your editor's letters page since you seem to only post letters that reflect your agenda, but if you feel like answering, it would be interesting to know.

[Steve's Note: We focus on the Mormon Church for several reasons.

First, the founders of this ministry grew up members of the LDS Church and their desire is to reach out to family, friends and neighbors with what they have discovered about the LDS Church and its history and its teachings. While we would want all to come to Christ we realize that we can not possibly reach out to all with this ministry. No one ministry can do it all. The reality is we are called by God to reach out to those first and foremost in our own community. In other words, God has planted us here in Utah for the purpose of sharing his love with those around us. Even the apostles Peter and Paul were called by God to work with the Jews and the Gentiles respectively (see Galatians 2:8). This does not mean, of course, that neither Paul nor Peter cared about the other group, but that their efforts were focused where God had called them. Just as Paul confronted the errors of the Judaizers in his own day, we are speaking out against the errors of the LDS Church's teachings and making the positive call for Mormons to believe in the God of the Bible—not the God of Mormon teaching. For more information on this please read, LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible.

Finally, we are simply accepting the invitation of LDS authorities who have welcomed critical analysis of the LDS Church. For example, Orson Pratt wrote in his book, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon,

"If, after a rigid examination, it be found an imposition, it should be extensively published to the world as such; the evidences and arguments on 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." (page 1).

LDS Apostle George A. Smith stated,

"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." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 14, page 216).


April 20, 2005
I am writing with reference to your web page of 'Masonic Symbols with LDS Temples'.

As I'm sure you're aware the church doesn't deny any of the connections with the Mason's or previous leaders' membership thereof, and as far as I can see there's no reason why they should. Some of the symbols are similar or even the same at times.

The rituals involved with masons comes from King Soloman's temple, (as you mention on the site), however as there has been no divine leadership within the mason's this has been left open to men's idea's and interpretation over the years. So, as with many churches and religions of today, it contains a certain degree of truth from the original source but the whole of that original truth has been lost throughout time. That whole truth would now be contained within the 'Mormon' church or Temples of today.

Secondly the symbols you speak of were only ever 'made' evil by an over zealous Catholic church trying to dictate to people that the only way back to god was through them. It is important to remember that symbols quite often have diffeent interpretations such as some of the nazi symbols that originally came from religious backgrounds but now are seen as nothing but bad.


[Steve's Note: Our website does not support the notion that the forms and rituals associated with modern Masonry can be traced back to Solomon's Temple. In fact we conclude our article online titled, Masonic Symbols and the LDS Temple, with the following information:

The problem with Mr. McGavin's position is that neither the Masonic or Mormon rituals can be shown to date to King Solomon's temple. In fact, most historians place the beginning of Freemasonry in the 1700's. LDS author Michael Homer wrote:

"Prior to 1860 most Masonic writers accepted the legends of Freemasonry with claimed that it originated in antiquity. Although these claims were challenged by most anti-Masonic writers in the United States,...most Masonic writers refused to discount these claims until 'a school of English investigators' began to evaluate lodge minutes, ancient rituals, and municipal records. Eventually this movement...debunked the notion that the rituals practiced in Speculative Freemasonry originated before the sixteenth century. Gould and others argued that the best evidence indicated that Operative Freemasonry originated with trade guilds in the Middle Ages and that the development of Speculative Freemasonry, with ceremonies and rituals similar to those practiced today, began in the seventeenth century....the rituals of Freemasonry have never been static, but have evolved both in time and place. For example, only post-1760 rituals included separate obligations for degrees in conjunction with signs, penalties, tokens, and words, the form found in most subsequent rituals and the same format followed in the Mormon temple endowment." ("Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry," Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol.27, no.3, Fall 1994, pp.103-104)

For more information concerning Masonry, its origins and its connection to Mormonism you may wish to see our Booklist Category: Magic and Masonry.

[Additional note from Sandra: Here is a link to an article about Freemasonry that might prove insightful. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freemasonry ]

April 20, 2005
I was pleased to find your web site after reading her book, Leaving the Saints. Will you be reviewing it, or have you?

I was saved from being baptized by the missionaries about 30 years ago by a Jehovah Witness friend. Her husband found Fawn Brodie's book at the thrift shop (it could not be found elsewhere!!) and I immediately knew Joseph Smith (as well-meaning as he may have been) was a fake!

Thanks for your time and I am so interested to know what you think of Martha's book. As I'm sure you must be also, I was sad to find that she is a "free thinker" and not a Christian. However, after being molested by her own big shot father, it isn't hard to understand!

[Steve's Note: I have just recently gotten a copy of her book myself and am currently reading it. So far my impression is that the general information on Mormonism seems to be fairly accurate but I am hesitant to accept Ms. Beck's allegations against her father [Hugh Nibley] without either concrete evidence which would support her claims or by other independent sources verifying what she says. For more information, you may be interested in reading Bill McKeever's review at:

http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/leaving-the-saints.html ]

April 21, 2005
I have a 1920 book of Mormon I just found in our church libary and would like to know if there are any changes between that book and the 1950 which I have also?

Thanks for your great work.

[Sandra's Note: Here is a list of Major Changes Between the 1920 and 1981 Editions of the Book of Mormon.

You could use either your 1920 or 1950 to compare with the new 1981 ed. From 1920 to 1980 the editions were essentially the same, then changed in 1981.]

April 21, 2005

I am puzzled why the mormans have two books. If they use the King James verzon, they should be aware of what God said on very last page.No one is to add, or take away from the Bible. Seems to me that the Mormons have been mis-lead, and do not have the truth in them. There are many, many false churches today. I don't mean to be rude, but I strongly believe that- that Smith guy has mis-lead all those inocent people who belive in the Mormon church. Trust in Jesus Christ, and not in any "MAN" Thank you

April 21, 2005

I have read through some of the Book of Abraham material, but most authors hammer on the same thing about the fragments, which are the tip of the iceberg. And even experts cannot agree on the actual meaning of the fragments. Obviously JS did not "translate" the BOA from the fragments, it is pretty clear he had large scrolls...and those have not been recovered. I agree though that on the surface, the BOA is damaging to JS' story.

Thanks for responding,

[Sandra's Note: We can demonstrate which papyri piece Smith was claiming to translate by lining up the symbols from the papyri with the Book of Abraham manuscripts contained in his Alphabet and Grammar.

This was dictated to scribes who were trusted, faithful Mormons (a few later left Mormonism, but at the time of writing the grammar they were believers). There are entries in Smith's History of the Church that he spent the day working on this grammar.

Smith's papyri were not much longer than what we have. Dr. Ritner, of the University of Chicago, discussed the size of the 'sensen' papyri text—which is the scroll with the characters that match the Book of Abraham manuscript. He commented:

The original width of the papyrus was correctly estimated by Baer as being about 150-55 cm, allowing for textual restorations and the now lost Facsimile 3.33 The number of vignettes varies in Books of Breathings, but introductory and concluding vignettes are common.34 At most, the papyrus might have been expanded by the inclusion of a further, middle vignette, as found in Papyrus Tübingen 2016, 35 but there is no reasonable expectation of any further text, and certainly nothing even vaguely resembling the alien narrative of The Book of Abraham. ("THE BREATHING PERMIT OF HÔR" AMONG THE JOSEPH SMITH PAPYRI [.pdf] )

His footnote #33 states:

33 Baer, p. 127, n. 113. There is no justification for Gee's unsubstantiated attempt to more than double this figure to "320 cm (about 10 feet)" in Gee, A Guide to the Joseph Smith Papyri, pp. 10 and 12-13. Gee presumably wishes to allow space for a supposedly "lost hieratic text" of The Book of Abraham; his figure derives from the average length of a manufactured (blank) Ptolemaic papyrus roll—not comparable, individual documents cut from such a roll.

The papyri and Book of Abraham are carefully explored in a chapter in our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? Also see Larson's, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus.]

April 21, 2005
Subject: Consent for biological daughter to be baptised

I am involved in a nasty custody battle with the LDS mother and her LDS husband over the daughter she and I had out of wedlock . . . Now she is in a blackmail kind of way, siding with him and refusing to agree to share joint physical custody with me over the daughter she and I had together. . . . she asked me to sign a consent form for the LDS church giving her permission to have our daughter baptized in the LDS, to participate in sealing ceremonies, and temple ordinances when she turns 8 years old . . . She knows I am a devout Christian and I think they just do not want my daughter exposed to Christianity and they think they can control her and brainwash her with Mormonism if they have total physical custody over her. 2 questions:

1) Do you have any thoughts as to why they are so resistant to even sharing physical custody of my daughter with me, her biological Father? And

2) The consent form I signed stated I was giving "irrevocable" permission but I know legally nothing is "irrevocable". How can I revoke my permission for my daughter to be baptized in the LDS when she turns 8 years old?

What a mess and what a mistake I made having anything to do with this woman.

Thanks for any help.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, it is a very sad mess. You would need to ask an attorney about the legality of the agreement you signed. I don't know how binding that would be.

I always counsel people to NOT give consent for LDS baptism or temple sealing. The child can make that decision when he/she turns 18. By consenting a parent guarantees that the child will be raised as a Mormon — and the child would know it was with the actual parent's consent (thus seeming to show that you really didn't believe your own faith was very important).

Also, if the child is 'sealed' to the step-parent in their family temple sealing it may cause the child to view the step-parent as his/her true/actual parent since they are supposedly sealed together for eternity (he would be viewed as her 'real' father). While I don't believe the LDS sealing actually accomplishes anything, I believe it can cause a child to feel abandoned by the real parent, who supposedly gave them up for eternity, and feel that the step-parent loves him/her more.

I also assume that they are afraid you would try to counter their religious training if you had joint custody. They will try every way they can to make sure she is only taught Mormonism.]

April 22, 2005
Dear Jerald and Sandra Tanner,

I've written to you . . . to let you know that you've been an encouragement to me. I left the Mormon church after 40 years and your information and testimonies have helped me grow in my walk with God to where I'm able to help others see the errors of the Mormon Church. . . .

April 23, 2005
I'm writing a paper . . . , and I'd like to reference the Gordon B. Hinckley interviews on Larry King Live (especially the one in 1998). Do you by chance have transcripts, recordings, or anything like that?

[Steve's Note: You can see a copy of this online at:

http://www.lds-mormon.com/lkl_00.shtml ]

[Additional note from Sandra: Interview with San Francisco Chronicle:


Interview with L.A. Times:


For an interesting article evaluating statements by Gordon Hinckley, see:


Other websites with material about Hinckley's statements are:


April 25, 2005
I have been a member of the LDS church for 27 years but been inactive for last 8 years. I originally left because I didn't agree with some of the teachings but mostly I thought it was absured for any religion to claim that it was the only true religion on earth.

Over the last few years I'm read a number of books, most notably "No Man Knows My History", "The Mormon Conspiracy" and "One Nation Under Gods" and have reached the conclusion that this religion is blatanly false and insult to all its members who are just trying to live a good life.

I've tried a few times to remove my name from the official records but they've all been unsuccessful. Do you perhaps have a sure-fire way that I could do this. Perhaps a "form letter" of some sort thats worked in the past. I'm originally from Utah but I'm currently stationed in Japan so I can't exactly walk down to church headquarters and talk to anyone. I'd appreciate any help you could give me. Thank you.

[Steve's Note: You can send a letter directly to the LDS Church's Membership Department. Please read the information we have online at:

Online Resources: Name Removal from LDS Records

Hopefully this will work for you.]

April 25, 2005

Subject: Mormon lineage

Dear Sandra and Jerald,

My mormon friend claims that her family can trace their lineage all the way back to the biblical Joseph (the one who was pharoahs right hand man). I say "What?" How can that be? Is she just deluded? Does she think she actually has a lineage that is actually traceable all that way back? I would speculate that that would be almost impossible to trace. Do LDS teach this to their bretheren? Could you please explain?

Thank You

[Sandra's Note: I know LDS usually claim they can trace their priesthood back to Joseph Smith, who supposedly got it direct from Peter, James and John. But haven't had one tell me they have their family line back to Joseph in Genesis. The only thing I can think of is that she was referring to her "Patriarchal Blessing" where LDS are usually told that they descend from the Biblical Joseph, through one of his sons, Ephraim or Manasseh.

See: LDS Patriarchal Blessings.]

April 26, 2005
Subject: Changes in the D&C


On your website you mention that you have found one or more revelations in the Doctrine & Covenants that were changed. Could you please provide the documentation of those changes - as I am interested in researching them.


[Sandra's Note: The majority of the changes made in Joseph Smith's revelations were done by Smith himself in the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. His revelations prior to 1835 were either published in the 1833 Book of Commandments or the Evening and Morning Star. Here are some links to articles on our web site that deal with some of the changes in the D&C.

We sell a photo reprint of the 1833 Book of Commandments and the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants. Both books are bound together and sold under the title, Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 2.

However, this photo-reprint does not tell you where the changes have been made. However, one could use our book, The Case Against Mormonism, Vol.1, to find the major changes.

A thorough study of the changes is presented in The Joseph Smith Revelations Text & Commentary.]

April 26, 2005
Subject: Mormon Missionary Question

What is the plan the missionaries are taught to present? Is there an overview of what will be presented for each visit?

I am a Catholic but want to know what they will say at a visit should I plan to try and minister to them? I can then be prepared.

[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church has recently instituted a new set of missionary lessons, but the general overview remains the same as in recent years. Books that cover the basic concepts presented by the missionaries would be:

We also sell the official LDS missionary lesson manual.

While I am not Catholic, I will try to send you some helpful Catholic links. You might contact:


Here are a couple of books you might find interesting.



Also see:


You might enjoy reading this book by Norman Geisler, Roman Catholics and Evangelicals: Agreements and Differences.



April 27, 2005
Subject: marraige

I recently heard of the practice of derobing at the marriage ceremoney. Can you explain this to me. I heard the wife must have sex with the priest in front of the husband. What is the stated purpose of this practice? How many people submitt to it? Any information is appreciated.

[Sandra's Note: The Mormons do not engage in any sort of sexual act in their temples. The first time a person goes to the temple to take out his/her "endowments" they do go to a locker room area (men in a separate area from women). There the person disrobes and then puts on the special LDS undergarment and then over it he/she puts on a 'shield'—which is like a poncho, but sewn up most of the way on the sides. You can read more about the ceremony in our book, Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.

You can also read about the ceremony online at:



For a good article comparing the LDS teaching on temples and the biblical view, see:

http://www.irr.org/mit/temple.html ]

April 27, 2005
I asked the Mormon missionaries and being a long time Baptist I thought they didn't believe the Bible just the Book of Mormon I have been studing a book called the Nag Hammadi, some early Christian writings that says that God's name was Adam and he was the first man I am going to get baptized in two weeks. . . .

Thank you so much.

[Sandra's Note: We acknowledge the LDS use of the Bible on our web site, see question #10 under FAQ. However, they always qualify the Bible's usefulness by saying they believe the Bible only in so far as it is translated correctly, thus implying it isn't always trustworthy.

As for the Nag Hammadi writings, are you prepared to accept all of the teachings in these writings? If not, how would you determine which teachings were part of the original apostles' doctrine? Just those that resemble the LDS teachings?

You mention that they teach that God's name was Adam. Are you suggesting they had a belief similar to Brigham Young's Adam/God doctrine? (See: Changing World, Chapter 8: The Adam-God Doctrine.)

Here is a link to an article dealing with the importance of the Nag Hammadi writings to Mormonism.



And this link will give you an overview of the Nag Hammadi writings.


And this one will give you an overview of the formation of the biblical canon.



April 27, 2005
You are really sad people. Spending your whole lives tearing something down. I really feel bad for you. What a pathetic life.]
April 27, 2005
Subject: Mountain Meadows Massacre

Although I read everything remotely connected to the Mountain Meadows Massacre, I had never heard of your film [Burying the Past]. I came across it accidently looking for info on my great, great grandfather, Thomas Wynn who was one of the deputies assisting Marshall Stokes when John D. Lee was arrested. In fact, Tom Wynn was the one charged with going into the "chicken coop" get Lee. It is reported that Marshall Stokes said to Tom Wynn, "Go in there and arrest that man and I promise if so much as a straw moves, I will blow his head off."

My ancestors, Mormons and non-Mormons alike, were in Southern Utah from the beginning of its settlement. My mother, Lucille Peters, who just turned 90, has actually written a novel (unpublished) based on the oral history passed down to her from her grandmother, Sarah Wynn Skougaard, daughter of Thomas Wynn. When we get talking she remembers all kinds of details about the horror of the Mountain Meadows Massacre as told to her by her family and she is so gratified to finally see the truth of it finally being made known.

I for one would find it satisfying to see [the] film on PBS. I will certainly add my voice to support that cause.


April 28, 2005
I recently received the letter of freebies, which though hurtful, I am grateful to know the truth about the Mountain Meadows Massacre. I am very grateful for the Tanners' honest look into Mormonism's past, and re-emphasis and the most important theme I cling to as a Mormon, and that is my personal relationship with the Lord. After an honest look at what they've presented, it becomes very evident that our Mormon prophets are just men, sinners like the rest of us with a sometimes unclear understanding of history and God's universe.

I don't know if this compliment from a Mormon is meaningless or not, but the Tanners' have followed the Lord's command to know the truth, and to make sure their brother does not stumble in error, two clear exhortations in the New Testament. As such, I firmly believe they will attain a higher degree of glory than many of us Mormons, and I am glad to see such an honest pursuit of truth. God loves the work your ministry is doing.


April 28, 2005

I recently received a ;large antique plaque with an image of what appears to be Brigham Young.

. . . could someone perhaps tell me if the resemblance is similar to the documented images you may have?

thank you

[Sandra's Note: See our article Brigham Young's Estate for a picture of Young. You can also see several photos of Brigham at these sites:




Also, you can do a Google search on their Images files for pictures of Brigham Young.]

April 29, 2005
Hello, Sandra. . . . The Lord has given you a great ministry. I'm sure many have been rescued from Mormonism.

Keep it up, and God bless you. . . .

April 29, 2005
Is your group involved with those very unChrist-like people who stand on the streets during LDS General Conference and yell their hateful comments at us? For the record, none of those people (who really need to "get a life") will ever persuade me to leave the church (in fact, the opposition only strengthens my testimony), but I am very curious as to why people spend their time each April and October doing that. What do they hope to gain by it?

And if we're criticized for "taking the gospel to all the world" in the form of our missionary program (which, by the way, was the Savior's injunction to all Christians - what do you think the TV evangelists are doing?) then why is it okay for these people to stand on the sidewalks during conference yelling at me and in their own way, "proselytizing" me to their belief?


A Very Happy Mormon

[Steve's Note: No, we are not involved with any of the persons who stand outside the LDS General Conference and yell hateful comments. They would say they hope to shake people out of their comfort zones and make them think about what the LDS Church is teaching them. While we believe they have the right as Americans to do this, we think that it is not productive to do so. In my opinion, their message and their methods are at odds. They do not realize they are too offensive in their approach and they are simply turning Mormons off because of their behavior. I hope you will see that not all Christians support those who engage in ridicule and mean-spirited comments. As far as we are concerned there is no excuse for attacking a person simply because of their faith. The focus needs to be on what is believed not on the person believing it. (It should be noted that not all people passing out literature around the temple are rude.)

Nobody says Mormons shouldn't be able to take their message into the world. Mormons just need to understand that by entering the public marketplace of ideas their faith should be open to an honest examination by others. Since Mormons challenge others to consider that their church may not be true, they must be willing to have others challenge the LDS Church's teachings as well.]

April 30, 2005
Subject: Talking to missionaries

My step son is beginning his mission with the LDS church. His father and I are both Christians and are struggling dealing with the propaganda/party line he is sending in his letters. His younger brother, . . . is starting to follow in his brother's footsteps to which his mother's side of the family takes great pride and cheers him for it. What can my husband and I say and do to get him to question what is happening to him? We feel we are running out of time as he is now finishing his first year of seminary. Please let us know where to look and what to say.

[Steve's Note: I would encourage you to use your step son's letters as the starting point for conversation about what you believe and why you believe it. You can also use this as an opportunity to learn more together as a family about what the LDS Church teaches and how it compares with Christianity. By making this a project you are working on together you will both learn more and you will avoid the "you vs. us" reactions that can otherwise come up.

You need to show your son that a healthy faith does not fear serious questions and examination. It may be through this open dialogue that he may come to see the problems with the claims of the LDS Church.]

[Additional note from Sandra: Here are a couple of titles that might help you. You can order either from us or from www.deseretbook.com, the following current LDS manuals.

Doctrines of the Gospel
(See chapters 3,4,6,7,33)

Gospel Principles
(Read the last chapter on Exaltation, p.302-305)

Teachings of Presidents of Church—John Taylor
(See p.2 on man's destiny to become a God.)

Some of their heretical doctrines are in these official books.

This will give you the chance to compare their official statements with your beliefs and be better prepared to discuss these issues with your son. Also, you might benefit from our packet, Godhead and Virgin Birth Photos.

Good side by side doctrinal comparison books are:

Two that might be helpful for a general overview and approach to sharing with your son are:

Small overview books that deal with the issues raised in the missionary lessons are:

Hope this helps.]

April 30, 2005

I love your site, you all are doing such great work. It's helping me a ton. I was LDS for 10 years and I'm now out, although the "letter" still needs to be written. My husband has left the LDS church as well. Since we live in Utah (as do you so you understand) we are given plenty of opportunity to discuss our LDS issues.

Let me get on with my question. Has the gospel link program that the LDS church distributes been "sanitized". I would like to buy it for reference but I have heard that the LDS church has changed the original works. What do you know about this?

Again, thanks for all the work you have done.


[Steve's Note: GospeLink has not been "sanitized." It is selective in what it includes but what is there is by and large accurate. We use it regularly here at the ministry. They would not try to deliberately alter the contents. There are too many other copies in existence of the important titles for anyone to try to make changes. (See http://gospelink.com/subscriptions) ]