May 2005
(Names and Contact Info Removed)
May 1, 2005
Greetings! Could you please send me email link to find out if I have been baptized into Mormonism? Thank you!

[Steve's Note: You have not been baptized into the LDS Church unless you personally have done so yourself. Mormons are only baptized for others after the one they are being baptized for has been deceased for at least one year.]

May 2, 2005
Your books are very disconcerting. While they may be true concerning Mormon history they are certainly not true concerning the RLDS history up until 1984 the RLDS church was the legal heir to the original church.

There are some quotes that you use from Mormon history which are not in RLDS history. It is well known that Brigham Young changed many things after he illegally took the reigns of the Church and leading his group (the Mormons in Utah) into an Apostacy that they still to this day have not come out of.

It is also known that Brigham came up with the Adam God theory this was never taught by Joseph Smith Jr. Also Brigham came up with Plural marriage or at least supported it this also was never taught by Joseph Smith Jr.

The legal heir to the original church is now The Remnant Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints our Prophet /President of the Church is Frederick Neils Larsen the Great Great Grandson of Joseph Smith Jr. you should come and see the differences between us and the Mormon church I think that you would be amazed. You can also go visit our website at:

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, the historical documents, diaries, etc all attest to Smith's involvement with multiple women. Simply because something is not in RLDS history books does not mean it is not true. A Mormon could say the same thing about items that are not in the official LDS history which he wants to dismiss.

I think most RLDS historians today would agree that Joseph Smith was involved in plural marriage and that it was not the sole invention of Brigham Young. Even the first issue of the RLDS paper Saints' Herald conceded as much. A copy can be purchased from us here: The True Latter Day Saints' Herald Vol. 1 No. 1]

May 2, 2005
Subject: Egyptian Grammar and Alphabet

Dear Tanners,

I recently read Charles Larson's, By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus: A New Look at the Joseph Smith Papyri. When I confronted a friend of mine (who wishes to be anonymous), he said he called Sandra some years ago and was told that the Egyptian Grammar and Alphabet was in the handwriting of Phelps and that it was complete nonsense (like Larson points out in his book), except for three pages in Joseph Smiths's handwriting. These three pages apparently is a perfect translation from Egyptian. Can you confirm any of this?


[Sandra's Note: Joseph Smith's Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar is complete nonsense. Here is a quote from Edward H. Ashment listing the scribes:

Because he "seldom used the pen himself," Smith employed scribes to take dictation. Determining the beginning and ending dates of each scribe's tenure establishes the correct temporal boundaries during which the Egyptian Papers were produced. Four handwriting styles are discernible on the relevant documents: Joseph Smith's, Oliver Cowdery's, William W. Phelps's, and Warren Parrish's. Smith wrote either prior to or contemporary with Oliver Cowdery. Cowdery's scribal tenure terminated when he moved to Missouri sometime in 1837. ('Reducing Dissonance: The Book of Abraham as a Case Study,' by Edward H. Ashment, The Word of God: Essays on Mormon Scriptures, Edited by Dan Vogel, pp.223-2224).

His entire article is important to this discussion. I am not aware of any page in the Grammar or manuscripts for the Book of Abraham that have anything correctly translated from Egyptian.

For our views on the Book of Abraham, see:

Also, we have a large chapter on the Book of Abraham translation problems in our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?

Here is a link to Mike Marquardt's material on the grammar.

Also read the article by Robert Ritner, of the University of Chicago, entitled "THE BREATHING PERMIT OF HÔR" AMONG THE JOSEPH SMITH PAPYRI (.pdf) ]

May 3, 2005
I'm not sure what the intentions of the UTLM are in connection with the Joseph Smith quote, on the title page of your website. Do you think he is bragging? Oh, no, heaven forbid that a man who has been persecuted since 14 years of age want to stand up to his persecutors and maybe declare some of the "fruits of his labors," which prove him to be a true prophet of God.

Did the quote characterize a weak moment in which Joseph, in frustration felt he needed to proclaim his accomplishments? Maybe. Does this mean he was not a prophet of God? Certainly not. What would it be like to have evil, conspiring men stock you all your life long, searching for any sign of weakness or mistakes? Well, since Joseph was not perfect, I'm sure these men found a thing or two. They would in all of us. . . .

[Sandra's Note: I hope you have read the entire sermon. I believe it shows that Smith was not only boasting but lying as well. This sermon was given just weeks before his death. Yet in it Smith denies plural marriage when he had at least 33 plural wives, most of whom were probably in the audience that day.

A good book on Joseph Smith and the beginnings of Mormonism by two LDS women historians is Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, by L. Newell and V. Avery. It is far more forthright on the problems of early Mormonism than the regular LDS Sunday School material and may help to broaden your understanding on the founding of your faith. I suggest you go to Deseret Book and purchase it.]

May 3, 2005
Why do you spend so much time discrediting the mormon church and not reflecting on your own faith? Are you scared that it may be true??

[Steve's Note: Thank you for taking the time to ask us your questions and your willingness to ask us about what we do. We have several reasons to spend so much time on reaching out to those in the LDS Church. First, many members of our own families are still Mormon and we wish to reach them with the truth of what God offers us freely through Jesus Christ and the wonderful relationship that can be had with Him.

Second, an important part of practicing our faith is responding to those around us about issues of faith and to have an answer for the hope that is in us. (1 Peter 3:15) This, of course, does not give us license to attack Mormons personally but rather to interact with the history and teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Third, LDS authorities have themselves invited the whole world to examine the teachings of their church and to publish what we find. We are simply accepting that challenge and making the information available to all.

Fourth, we are not doing anything different in reaching out to the LDS community than every Mormon missionary does when he/she spends time trying to gain a convert from some other faith. The issue is not whether we are doing something unique to lead Mormons out of their church but rather are the reasons for faith in the LDS Church valid?

Finally, this is only one part of our life of faith. There is much we do both as a ministry and as individuals to spend time, effort and thought in cultivating our life of faith both within ourselves and to serve those God puts around us.

We are quite confident in our conclusions regarding the claims of the LDS Church. We did not arrive at the place we are hastily. I would encourage you to keep asking the good tough questions you are of both your own faith and ours too. I would hope you would want to be told if, in fact, your faith was not reasonable. Please take another look at the personal testimonies of Jerald and Sandra Tanner on our website and some of our Online Resources which show some of the problems with what the LDS Church teaches. Here are a few articles I would want you to consider first:


May 3, 2005
Sandra: . . . Do you think the book of Mormon has it's origin in "View of the Hebrews?" Thanks for your help,

[Sandra's Note: Yes, many of the same concepts from that book appear in the Book of Mormon. See the book Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon and B. H. Roberts' book Studies of the Book of Mormon.

These articles might also help:

Where Did Joseph Smith Get His Ideas for the Book of Mormon?


May 3, 2005
Subject: Book of Mormon Changes

Hey, I have a complaint..;-}

You apparently missed one of the changes in the Book of Mormon. Between the 1830 edition and the 1981 edition, the word "plainness" in 1 Nephi 13:24 was changed to "fulness." If this is correct, your book should be entitled "3,914 Changes.."

Did I miss something?

A Fan,

[Sandra's Note: I am sure there are a number of changes we have missed. In fact, I am not 100% sure my original count was right. There were probably over 4000 changes.

However, I believe you will find that the change you mentioned is in the list of changes between the 1920 Book of Mormon and the 1981 ed. on our web site:

Major Changes Between the 1920 and 1981 Editions of the Book of Mormon

Thanks for writing.]

May 4, 2005
I am new to this site and would like to receive the Salt Lake City Messanger. I am not a Mormon, but I have family members who are and would like to somehow get them to see the truth about the Mormon Teachings, and the truth about Joseph Smith. . . . .

Thank You for this site.

May 4, 2005
Subject: Mormonism for Dummies

Hello. An LDS colleague recently gave me a copy of a new book, Mormonism for Dummies, to help answer some of the problems I presented him with. One that is especially vexing is the lack of archeological, historical evidence to support the BOM.

In particular, I mentioned that there were no horses prior to the Spaniards arriving here in the late 15th century. Well, this new book answers this by claiming that "horse" is an approximation, and the best word that could be found, and the actual animal wasn't necessarily a horse. They seem to have answers to EVERYTHING. I pointed out to him that it really didn't matter: if "horse" is correct, then the BOM is again incorrect, and if there was some other animal, then the BOM is not "the world's most perfect book". Has the LDS church always used this excuse, or is this a new spin? I found it startling that one of the authors attended Princeton Theological Seminary and converted to the church. I would think a college educated person, especially at Princeton, would be able to think more clearly.

[Sandra's Note: B. H. Roberts, famous LDS author and member of the Seventy, acknowledged the problem of finding evidence for the horse prior to the arrival of Europeans in his book New Witness for God, 1911,Vol. 3, Ch. 47. But he did not offer an alternative explanation. He just felt the archeological record was too sketchy to rule it out.

Here is a reference to horses in the Book of Mormon:

3 Nephi 3:22 — And it came to pass in the seventeenth year, in the latter end of the year, the proclamation of Lachoneus had gone forth throughout all the face of the land, and they had taken their horses, and their chariots, and their cattle, and all their flocks, and their herds, and their grain, and all their substance, and did march forth by thousands and by tens of thousands, until they had all gone forth to the place which had been appointed that they should gather themselves together, to defend themselves against their enemies.

This sounds like there must have been quite a few horses and chariots in order to transport "all their substance." I believe John L. Sorenson's book An Ancient American Setting for the Book of Mormon (1985) was the first to suggest that "horse" as used in the Book of Mormon may not be describing the same animal we think of as "horse." However, what other animal was available? The animal referred to in the Book of Mormon as a "horse" must be one that is able to pull a chariot, or wagon, loaded with goods. This hardly seems possible if the book actually meant something like "deer" or "tapir." A deer would be too small and tapirs are nocturnal. Neither seems like a good choice to pull vehicles loaded with supplies. LDS writers favor a setting in Mesoamerica for the Book of Mormon story but the Mayans had no beast of burden, no knowledge of the wheel and no chariots prior to the arrival of the Europeans. See chapter 8 of New Approaches to the Book of Mormon.]

May 4, 2005
hello there. just wanted to find out if this was a rumor...Is there a sealed portion of 900 pages of the book of mormon ? if so, how does this change any position of it's authority...I'm wondering ? if you can give me a reply that would be greatful....

signed non mormon

[Sandra's Note: The Book of Mormon plates are described as having at least half to two thirds of the plates "sealed." So that the portion Smith supposedly translated was only about 1/3 of the stack of plates. No page numbers are mentioned, only reference to the portion sealed in relation to the stack of plates. (See our November 2005 newsletter.)

Here is a link to a page on our site where we have reproduced an LDS article with an illustration of the plates, showing the sealed portion.

Book of Mormon Plates Source Information

While LDS leaders have never claimed to have a translation of the sealed portion, some others have claimed to have translated them. One man claims to have the lost book of Lehi, Another person claims to have restored the lost book of Zelph, And yet another person claims to have the sealed portion of the plates,]

May 4, 2005
?- I Lived in Japan for a few years, and met a lot of Non-Christian people, Infact, i met very few People who even know who christ is. (they know his name and he died on a cross). When i compare this Christian country (USA) to a non-Christian country (Japan), why are they so much more christ like than US, The Christians. Could bushism, or shintoism be true?

?- Now I find out that these Japanese, people who are more christlike than christians, that have never been baptised, cannot go to heaven. is this true?.

?- Why Earth, if there even is a heaven then why are we here. if God had all power, then why does he send us here, to a world with so many problems. why does he not just beam us to heaven with all the happiness in the world, or can he not do that? if he can't, then does he have all power?

?- When Christ was here on the earth he visited Jerusalem and established his church. Why not in Japan, does he only love part of this world? I know we are out there trying to teach Asia now, but what about the billions and billions of other who have never even heard about Grace, Works,and being Saved?

?- John 8:12 Jesus said: "I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness..." WORLD... does that include China and Japan, and many, many more?

?- Why was there even a bad tree in the garden of Eden to begin with?

?- Why are there so many inconsistancies in the bible? . . .

?- Why did God let David (David and Galieth) have so many Wifes? 2 Samuel 12: 8-13

?- Why did so many miracles happen from Adam till Christ and then it stopped?

?- Why do Chrisitians have bread and Wine for sacrament, why not just think about christ through pictures and music.? Why the cross? why the robes? why kneel down and close your eyes when praying? John 8:12

[Steve's Note: I have just a few thoughts relating to what you wrote. America was founded on a Judeo-Christian world view (not Islamic, Buddhist, etc.) that is why it is referred to as a "Christian nation." It is not that all Americans have a relationship with Jesus and have personally accepted his death for their sins and made him the Lord of their lives.

I really must question the claim you make when you say, "they are so much more christ like than US" Do the Japanese live out the Sermon on the Mount any better than we do? Have the Japanese been as generous in charity to the rest of the world as the US is? Does history show the Japanese to be benevolent victors in war like the US? I am not saying the US is perfect but neither are they.

No one goes to heaven because of baptism but on the basis of their acceptance of what God offers them as a free gift through Jesus Christ's death.

According to Christian teaching, God does not "send us here." We begin our existence here on earth and we have the opportunity to glorify God while we are on earth. God has all power but he chooses not to use it to compel anyone to love him. Rather, he gives us the ability to freely accept or reject him and to be used by him to create a better world.

Jesus came to the Jewish nation—a nation God chose to be used by him to bring his offer of salvation to all nations.

Yes, all mankind is called to walk in the light found in Christ.

There was a tree in the garden of Eden to allow us the ability to demonstrate our willingness to love God through our obedience to him.

I would encourage you to read several books we offer that will help you with difficult passages in the Bible.

God allowed this with David so the women who had been a part of the house of Saul would not be shamed or destitute.

Not as many miracles happened as you may think. If you look at the timeline in the Bible the miracles are the exception in the lives of those people. Typically, much time passes between miraculous events even in the life of a single person.

Christ offered bread and wine as symbols of his body and his blood which were about to be offered up for us. There is nothing wrong with pictures or music. They are appropriate ways to think about Christ. They are simply not the only ways to worship him. We, Christians think about the cross because the cross is a reminder of God's unspeakable love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. The use of robes is not a required part of Christianity and are a culturally based way of showing respect for God. How we are clothed and how we position ourselves in prayer are not essential parts of the Christian life. I would encourage you to read through the Gospel accounts so you may have a more complete and accurate picture of Jesus Christ, his work and the Christian church he would build.]

May 5, 2005
My family and I are moving somewhere just south of Salt Lake, but not as far as Provo. What can we expect in the way of any Christian churches? I have little children that will go into the public school system, what are your thoughts/experiences with that? Are there enough Christian people in Utah that one day my kids may find a mate and get married? My questions stem from wondering what the Christian influence is there. If everyone is LDS, with anyone want to be our friends, etc., etc. I am mostly concerned about the kids.

Thank you,

[Steve's Note: There are a number of very good Christian churches between the south end of Salt Lake City and Provo. If your children are still in the elementary grades the transition will be easier and they will have established friendships before much of the religious issues will come up that would tend to make it more difficult for them. There are certainly enough Christians here now that they could certainly meet someone who shares their faith. This will be even more likely if they are involved in a healthy Christian church.

Not everyone is LDS and many who are LDS are Mormon in name only. As far as your neighborhood goes, it will all depend on where you end up. Most Mormons will be friendly at first, especially if they think that you may be interested in their faith. If, however, you show that you are not interested in their faith or know of problems with their faith some of the "neighborliness" will end. In spite of all of this, you should be able to be friends with Mormons and yet not have to deny who you are.]

May 6, 2005
Subject: LDS Temple Sealings

Dear Tanners, I have heard that many women were "sealed" to Joseph Smith after he died. Is there any proof that the Mormon church allowed this? Or that this was officially accepted by the LDS church? I'm not sure if it was just rumors.

I heard of you two on the Recovery from Mormonism website. Thank you for all the years of keeping track of books no longer published, and cataloguing and organizing the changes in the LDS church as they happened. It's really useful for those of us that were born after those of African descent were given the priesthood, etc., when we want to understand the truth and share it with our families.

Best Regards,

[Sandra's Note: Yes, it appears that several women were sealed to Smith after his death, beyond the ones he had married prior to 1844. Here is a reference from the magazine, Dialogue

When the temple was closed on 7 February 1846, over two thousand couples had been sealed for time and eternity, and just under six hundred persons had received the fulness of the priesthood through their second anointing. In addition to Brigham Young, at least nineteen other men were delegated authority to perform second anointings. On a typical day, six to twelve couples received this ordinance. A few women were sealed to their current husband for time but as a queen to a deceased man (usually Joseph Smith) for eternity. For the first time several polygamous second anointing sealings were also performed. ("The Fulness of the Priesthood: The Second Anointing in Latter-day Saint Theology and Practice" by David John Buerger, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 16, No. 1, p. 26, Spring 1983)


May 6, 2005
Hi, I have known Mormons in . . . Iowa, for a number of years since I do genealogical research and use their research library frequently. I am a fairly assertive person and have taught genealogy classes in adult ed in this area. I had some Mormons in my genealogy classes, among various other religions. If the subject of religious doctrine comes up, I reiterate that we live in a country where we have religious freedom, and that as genealogists many of the records we search are from the various religious denominations in this great country. I have stressed that all churches who maintain family records do a great service for genealogists, including the LDS church.

I have been very clear that my ancestors were among those who went in the churches in Germany at the time of Martin Luther, and made them into Lutheran churches. I have also shared that all of my German descendants were among those who started Lutheran churches in western Illinois and southwest Iowa, so the Mormons I know are aware that I am Lutheran and intend to stay Lutheran. They have never tried to convert me in any way, and invited me to give speeches and classes on probate and other records at their church. They gave me a book of Mormon once, and I thanked them for it and that is as far as it went. . . .

My parents knew Mormons when they went to Arizona for the winter, and found them to be nice family oriented people who never tried to convert them. . . .

Maybe they have not approached us because of our educated backgrounds, but I don't think that that is the reason. My family members are pretty clear about their religious faith that has been in our family for 500 years.

Basically, my experience with Mormon people has been favorable, but I don't live in an area that is heavily Mormon, and some of the court cases that are ruled in favor of them in Utah would probably be fodder for much amusement and laughing in Iowa, as well as verdicts in favor of the plaintiffs, not the defendant Mormon church. . . .

May 6, 2005
. . . You people are really p***ing me off. My entire family and most of my friends are LDS. I happen to be Wiccan. They don't go around day by f****** day trying to tear down other people's faith and insulting their beliefs so why do you feel the need to do that to them?

As I said earlier, I am Wiccan. I am the only Wiccan in my circle of friends but they don't tell me that I am going to burn in hell if I don't straighten out. Honestly, I don't believe in a heaven or hell. I don't believe in one supreme god nor do I believe that Jesus Christ is any savior. I believe in The One or The All, whatever you want to call it. It is the source of all power, energy, and life. It is in us. It is around us. I also believe in the Father God and Mother Goddess (The Lady and The Lord). Are you going to insult my beliefs? No, because you know nothing about my religion. Just as you know nothing about the Mormon religion which falls under Christianity. You would know that if you would do some studying. . . .

Why can't you let the mormons worship their god the way that they choose? . . . Let me ask you another question. In the book of Matt. 7:1-2, does it not say "Judge not that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." Yes, I know the bible. I used to be Christian but it was the bull**** you are doing now that drove me to leave the christian church. Then I found Wicca, a religion better fit to my beliefs. Stop being a bunch of hypocrites and just let the mormons be! Don't take this and toss it aside. Actually think about what I have said. I have asked you some questions. I want them answered. If you don't respond to this within three days time, I will send you another one. Don't try to block my email address. There are ways to overide that. And besides I have more email addresses than you could count.

[Sandra's Note: (Crude language has been edited from the letter above.) Several of your points seem contradictory. You have insulted me with swear words because I challenge Mormonism yet you feel free to attack my beliefs and judge me. I do not swear at the Mormons, I have tried to present historical documentation about the problems of their claims. You say we should just let the Mormons be, why then didn't you just let us be? You are doing the very thing you say makes you mad at us. If you have the right to challenge me because you disagree with my belief system why don't I have the right to challenge anyone?]

In July the same person sent an apology for his angry email:

. . . I sent you an email a few months ago and I want to apologize for the way I put things. Christians are not bad people and to answer your question about why I didn't just let you be, I'm just getting tired of somebody insulting somebody every time I turn around. When I sent you that email I was in a very bad mood. I know that doesn't excuse the things I said and at the time I was being a hypocrite by going against my own religion. Wiccans are supposed to be a peaceful people but at that time I wasn't being peaceful. I am sorry for insulting you and from here on in I will let you do whatever it is you do without giving you a hard time. I am still Wiccan and I will never go back to Christianity but I will respect your beliefs.

May 7, 2005
This question is about rich and famous Mormons who end up divorce do they some how still get to go to the 3 heaven, because of their status such as the Osmonds?

[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church continues to teach that a member must be in good standing with the church, and married in the temple, in order to merit the Celestial Kingdom. If there has been a divorce, it would all hinge on the reason. If the male committed adultery the woman can get the marriage sealing cancelled and then be married to another man in the temple.]

May 9, 2005
Dear Tanners,

I am an evangelistic missionary living in Crimea, Ukraine. In the apartment below ours there have been a constantly changing stream of [LDS missionary] "companions" whom we have attempted to make friends with. They are every bit as loved as I am by God, and we feel that our proximity to them makes us responsible to testify to them of the Truth of the Christian Gospel.

They have apparently decided that they can convert us, as we have shown consistent interest in the young men housed there, and have asked a senior couple to talk to us. They have given us a Book of Mormon, and two videos produced by the LDS church.

I wonder if you have any ideas of things we should talk about and those we should avoid when talking to this senior couple. I assume that discussing what makes a prophet and whether or not Joseph Smith fits that description would be a good idea... But I don't know for sure.

Can you help?

Thank you,

[Steve's Note: I would encourage you to begin by reading the following articles from the Online Resources page of our website:

You may also be interested in some of the materials we offer for sale which can be very helpful when trying to reach out to Latter-day Saints.

When talking with them, I would encourage you to keep the conversation on the core doctrines of our faith such as who is God?, who is Jesus?, How does one get eternal life?, etc. It is far too easy to get sidetracked onto secondary issues. By staying on the essentials you can help them see how their faith really does differ from Christianity and what it is that Christianity really teaches. I would also encourage you to ask lots of questions of them about their faith and ask them to explain more fully what they mean when they use terminology that sounds Christian.]

May 9, 2005
Subject: Manuscript Lost

I recently heard that a family in the 1830's accused JS of plagiarism claiming that their father had written a very similar fiction book called Manuscript Lost. Is this true and is it verifiable?

[Sandra's Note: There is a theory that the Book of Mormon is taken from an 1812 novel written by a minister, Solomon Spalding (or Spaulding), who died in 1816. However, the minister lived in a different state than Joseph Smith and never published his novel.

One of the problems with this theory is explaining how the manuscript fell into Smith's hands. Some have theorized that several years after Spalding's death in 1816 Sidney Rigdon, a minister, had stolen Spalding's manuscript from a print shop in Pittsburg (around 1820-22). Since Joseph Smith would have been only 15 at the time Rigdon supposedly stole the manuscript, I assume Rigdon could not have had Smith in mind as a collaborator in his scheme. Which leads to the question, what was Rigdon's original plan? Why would he change it and pass the manuscript on to an unknown youth in another state? The theory continues that Rigdon would have done some rewriting of the story and then gave his manuscript to Smith to publish.

Some maintain that there were two manuscripts by Spalding and that the one used by Smith/Rigdon is no longer in existence. This is put forward as the reason the Book of Mormon doesn't contain the same names or directly parallel the existing manuscript by Spalding. However, there is no evidence, other than the late memory of relatives, that there were two manuscripts. Spalding's available manuscript is in a very different style from the Book of Mormon.

But why would Rigdon, a popular minister, trust his pet project to an unknown teenager like Smith? When did they meet? How long had Rigdon known him? How old was Smith when they decided to work together? How could Rigdon have been sure Smith could pull it off, get Harris to finance the printing, etc.? (Rigdon later joined Mormonism in 1830.)

Long after Spalding's death his family gave statements that they believed the Book of Mormon was produced by plagiarizing Spalding's novel. The Spalding family may have truly believed this to be the origin for the Book of Mormon but the evidence is shaky. When they saw the Book of Mormon it would have been about 20 years since they would have seen Spalding's writings. I think the family just saw some surface similarities, due to both Spalding and Smith being exposed to the same common ideas about the Indians, and jumped to conclusions.

The Spalding connection is a theory—there is no evidence that Rigdon ever met Smith prior to the start of Mormonism. Today most researchers on Smith and Book of Mormon sources look to the popular book View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith, published in 1823 and republished in 1825, as a more likely source for ideas for the Book of Mormon. For more on this, see Studies of the Book of Mormon by B.H. Roberts or Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon by David Persuitte.

I believe Smith wrote the Book of Mormon using bits and pieces of things he had read or heard (i.e. the Bible, local sermons, current events, etc.). But there is no hard evidence that Smith ever saw the Spalding material or met Sidney Rigdon prior to 1830. You might want to read the various articles on our web site: Topical Index: Book of Mormon: Ancient or Modern?]

May 10, 2005
May 10, 2005
Subject: LDS Church Spokesman Don Jesse Denies Curse of Cain Legacy

You should be aware that Don Jesse, official spokesman for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is telling journalists and nonmormon inquirers that the Church "has never taught that black people were cursed nor the descendants of Cain. Some Members of the Church may have held that view in the past, but it was never sanctioned by Church leaders."

When asked why black men could not hold the Priesthood before 1978, Mr. Jesse responded:

"Now that's a good question! We really don't know the answer. Many people have speculated or tried to provide answers, but we really don't know the reason."

When ask, "Did it have anything with the Curse of Cain doctrine?"

Jesse responded: "No! There was never any 'Curse of Cain' doctrine. There was never any such doctrine in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, at any time."

Here are the FACTS:

*Mormon prophets since Brigham Young up until and including Spencer W. Kimball have taught that "Negroes" are the descendants of Cain, and fall under the "Curse of Cain" which includes a black skin, negroid features, and a denial of the Priesthood in mortality "until the curse is removed by the Lord".

*In 1978, President Spencer W. Kimball removed the Priesthood-ban, but he did not repudiate the Curse of Cain doctrine nor the Priesthood-ban legacy. Nowhere did he call it a "mistake".

*Current Church Spokesman are not calling the Curse of Cain legacy a "mistake". They are saying, "There is NO SUCH legacy! There was NO SUCH doctrine".

. . . When Members call [the LDS Church Public Affairs Office] they are told "Ask your bishop!" The bishops do not answer, but rather ask the inquirer questions as to their "personal worthiness" and add statements such as:

"Don't bother the Brethren again, they are busy men!"

"If you were living the Gospel, you wouldn't be asking such questions!"

"Dont' worry about it! It pay your tithing, attend your meetings, and you'll be blessed"

. . . For an explanation of the Curse of Cain doctrine/Priesthood-ban please go to:

For quotes from Mormon leaders about blacks please go to:

May 10, 2005
Dear Sir(s);

On your web site you make it a point to state:

"With malice toward none, least of all toward the misguided assassins, and in a spirit of even-handed justice, the attempt will be made to assemble the fragments of causation and history and join them together in a consecutive narrative."

However, I beg to differ. By putting words such as prophet and apostates in quotes you are being anything but "even-handed". Try prejudiced. Would you put the word pope in quotations when speaking of the Catholic church? I highly doubt it.

Stating "Necessarily, the believer in unquestioning obedience to the dictum of one man, or his agent or agents, is a fanatic, and there is not a devout Mormon on earth who would not commit murder if he were ordered to do so by the chief 'prophet' or one of his agents in whom he had confidence. If he would not obey the order then he is not a 'firm believer in the (Mormon) faith.' The voice of the 'prophet' is the voice of God to him, and he has no alternative but to 'go and do as he is told.' Otherwise, 'he lies in the presence of God.' " is ignorant. It would behoove you to actually do a bit of research before you spout such propaganda. I know of no TRUE Mormon who would commit murder if ordered to by the Prophet (notice - NO quotation marks) and making such a statement is absurd. Mormons do believe in the Bible and, in case you missed it, the Bible does teach that murder in not only wrong but a sin.

I could go on and on citing the false and misleading statements on your site but I suspect I my words would fall on deaf ears. You obviously are not interested in truth - you only wish to inflame and cause hatred towards Mormons. May whatever force is driving you to do such things be one day replaced with truth, love, and compassion.

[Sandra's Note: Thank you for sharing your thoughts. The quote you sent is from a book written by Josiah Gibbs in 1910 about the Mountain Meadows Massacre, not something written about Mormons in 2005.

Since Mormons did in fact murder 120 non-Mormons in 1857 I can understand why Mr. Gibbs wrote what he did. I don't believe Mormons would do the same thing today. But history is history and the event did happen. See our newsletter on the subject, #98 Messenger, September 11th Massacre.

Sad to say, my own great grandfather, James Pearce (sometimes spelled Pierce) and great great grandfather, Harrison Pearce, participated in the massacre, as devout Mormons, and their names are listed in the various books on the subject. See my article: One of My Family's Best Kept Secrets.

I am a direct descendent of Brigham Young, raised in Mormonism, read all their scriptures, plus hundreds of their books and manuals, etc. and feel I am fairly well versed in the subject. President Young preached some very inflammatory sermons advocating killing people. In March of 1856 Brigham Young said:

A few of the men and women who go into the house of the Lord, and receive their endowments, and in the most sacred manner make covenants before the Almighty, go and violate those covenants. Do I have compassion on them? Yes, I do have mercy on them, for there is something in their organization which they do not understand; and there are but few in this congregation who do understand it.

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

Every man and women has got to have clean hands and a pure heart, to execute judgment, else they had better let the matter alone.

Again, suppose the parties are, not caught in their iniquity, and it passes along unnoticed, shall I have compassion on them? Yes, I will have compassion on them, for transgressions of the nature already named, or for those of any other description. If the Lord so order it that they are not caught in the act of their iniquity, it is pretty good proof that He is willing for them to live; and I say let them live and suffer in the flesh for their sins, for they will have it to do.

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

In Sept. of 1856 he preached:

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

I know, when you hear my brethren telling about cutting people off from the earth, that you consider it is strong doctrine; but it is to save them, not to destroy them.

Of all the children of Israel that started to pass through the wilderness, none inherited the land which had been promised, except Caleb and Joshua, and what was the reason? It was because of their rebellion and wickedness; and because the Lord had promised Abraham that he would save his seed.

They had to travel to and fro to every point of the compass, and were wasted away, because God was determined to save their spirits. But they could not enter into His rest in the flesh, because of their transgressions, consequently He destroyed them in the wilderness.

I do know that there are sins committed, of such a nature that if the people did understand the doctrine of salvation, they would tremble because of their situation. And furthermore, I know that there are transgressors, who, if they knew themselves, and the only condition upon which they can obtain forgiveness, would beg of their brethren to shed their blood, that the smoke thereof might ascend to God as an offering to appease the wrath that is kindled against them, and that the law might have its course. I will say further; I have had men come to me and offer their lives to atone for their sins.

It is true that the blood of the Son of God was shed for sins through the fall and those committed by men, yet men can commit sins which it can never remit. As it was in ancient days, so it is in our day; and though the principles are taught publicly from this stand, still the people do not understand them; yet the law is precisely the same. There are sins that can be atoned for by an offering upon an altar, as in ancient days; and there are sins that the blood of a lamb, of a calf, or of turtle doves, cannot remit, but they must be atoned for by the blood of the man. That is the reason why men talk to you as they do from this stand; they understand the doctrine and throw out a few words about it. You have been taught that doctrine, but you do not understand it. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, pp. 53-54)

Then in Feb. of 1857 Young preached:

When will we love our neighbour as ourselves? In the first place, Jesus said that no man hateth his own flesh. It is admitted by all that every person loves himself. Now if we do rightly love ourselves, we want to be saved and continue to exist, we want to go into the kingdom where we can enjoy eternity and see no more sorrow nor death. This is the desire of every person who believes in God. Now take a person in this congregation who has knowledge with regard to being saved in the kingdom of our God and our Father, and being exalted, one who knows and understands the principles of eternal life, and sees the beauty and excellency of the eternities before him compared with the vain and foolish things of the world, and suppose that he is overtaken in a gross fault, that he has committed a sin that he knows will deprive him of that exaltation which he desires, and that he cannot attain to it without the shedding of his blood, and also knows that by having his blood shed he will atone for that sin, and be saved and exalted with the Gods, is there a man or woman in this house but what would say, "shed my blood that I may be saved and exalted with the Gods?"

All mankind love themselves, and let these principles be known by an individual, and he would be glad to have his blood shed. That would be loving themselves, even unto an eternal exaltation. Will you love your brothers or sisters likewise, when they have committed a sin that cannot be atoned for without the sheding of their blood? Will you love that man or woman well enough to shed their blood? That is what Jesus Christ meant. He never told a man or woman to love their enemies in their wickedness, never. He never intended any such thing; his language is left as it is for those to read who have the Spirit to discern between truth and error; it was so left for those who can discern the things of God. Jesus Christ never meant that we should love a wicked man in his wickedness.

I could refer you to plenty of instances where men, have been righteously slain, in order to atone for their sins. I have seen scores and hundreds of people for whom there would have been a chance (in the last resurrection there will be) if their lives had been taken and their blood spilled on the ground as a smoking incense to the Almighty, but who are now angels to the devil, until our elder brother Jesus Christ raises them upconquers death, hell, and the grave. I have known a great many men who have left this Church for whom there is no chance whatever for exaltation, but if their blood had been spilled, it would have been better for them. The wickedness and ignorance of the nations forbid this principle's being in full force, but the time will come when the law of God will be in full force.

This is loving our neighbour as ourselves; if he needs help, help him; and if he wants salvation and it is necessary to spill his blood on the earth in order that he may be saved, spill it. Any of you who understand the principles of eternity, if you have sinned a sin requiring the shedding of blood, except the sin unto death, would not be satisfied nor rest until your blood should be spilled, that you might gain that salvation you desire. That is the way to love mankind. (Journal of Discourses, vol. 4, p. 219-220)

As a point of interest, Brigham Young's sermons on blood atonement were part of the reason I rejected Mormonism. Granted, President Hinckley does not preach such sermons today, but Brigham Young did and people took him at his word. That is why Mr. Gibbs made the comments he did in his book.

If you are not familiar with the LDS Church publication Journal of Discourses, you can access it through their online program This is put out by Deseret Book.]

May 11, 2005
Hi There,

It has been some months now since I asked for my name to be removed from the membership of the LDS church here in South Africa - I am quite friendly with the B[ranch] P[resident]'s wife and queried this with her while we were corresponding in an email. I have since my letter of "resignation" been attending the Methodist Church and am quite involved already (which helps with that "empty feeling" I experienced after making the decision to quit).

This is what her reply said:

About your membership. There are certain procedures in place that need to be done before removing your name from the records. The first being an interview with your B.P. Laurence has been trying to set up an interview with you for quite a while. There are certain things he needs to explain to you before going on to step 2 and step 3 etc. etc.

Having your name removed has very serious consequences which you may or may not accept, but irrespective of what you think there are certain things that must be done. It is not as simple as just handing in your "letter of resignation." So the sooner you set up an interview with Laurence the quicker the process can be put into action.

Do you have any idea what these steps might be - I could ask her but just want to go "prepared" in case it is anything I dont want to do then I would probably just leave the whole thing as is - although not quite my style.

I would appreciate a reply soonest

Take care,


[Steve's Note: The "steps" that she wants you to take would be an interview with your bishop (or Branch President) to try to talk you out of your decision. If you are firm in wanting to leave he may then try to tell you that you will face a church court hearing. If you are found to be guilty of "apostasy" you will have your membership terminated—most likely with the label of "excommunicated."

Of course, you do not have to submit to all of this. Since you freely joined the LDS Church and their own 11th Article of Faith says, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." you are at liberty to leave the LDS Church whenever you wish.

Because you have already sent your letter of resignation, the LDS Church's own Handbook of Instruction says there is only a 30 day waiting period to process your request. Any delay beyond this and they are deliberately stalling and not handling your situation as they should. For more information on this please read our website articles at Online Resources: Name Removal from LDS Records.]

May 11, 2005
Dear Mr. & Mrs. Tanner,

. . . My husband and I are Christians and have raised our four daughters in the Christian Faith. To make a very long story short, our youngest daughter . . . has recently proclaimed she has become Mormon. I am writing simply to ask you to please pray for her. Also, please pray for us to have the wisdom from our Heavenly Father to know what to do and when to do it, etc.

Thank you.

Sincerely - broken hearted parents

[Sandra's Note: This is a sad development. However, we do sometimes see such converts leave Mormonism after a few years. The sad part is that by then they usually have a family and it sometimes means divorce.

I assume this happened at college where she met LDS friends or has an LDS boyfriend. They are usually very nice, clean-cut kids that make a good impression. Their theology is just all wrong.

One way to maybe open a dialogue would be to buy her and yourself a copy of a book by two LDS women historians on the life of Joseph Smith's wife, Emma, titled Mormon Enigma. It is not 'anti' Mormon, but does show a lot of the problem areas that your daughter probably never heard. You can buy it from the LDS official bookstore, Deseret Book, thus avoiding the charge that you are reading books by "apostates."

Another one that the LDS bookstore carries, though not by LDS, but by two newspaper reporters, is Mormon America.

Maybe you could explain that you are trying to understand her new faith and wonder if she would be willing to read the same book you are reading so you can discuss it.

Here are a couple of LDS titles that might help you demonstrate some of their more heretical doctrines. You can order either from us or from, 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.)

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

May 11, 2005
Our family is Christian. Our daughter is dating a Mormon. His family is trying to push them together by telling her they don't care what religion she is as long as she believes in God.

My daughter thinks they are not very "Mormon" and insists she would never convert. However we know they are very Mormon. Our daughter is very intelligent, attending an Ivy League College, but a little naive when it comes to social issues. She does not realize they are slowly trying to convert her and telling her what they think she wants to hear. Can you recommend one book (If I give her too many she may reject them) that I can give her to read?

Thank you very much.

[Steve's Note: I suppose that if I had to choose one title for her to read it would be Mormon Missionaries. This family is "friendshipping" her into their church. They are following the model for every Latter-day Saint since the LDS Church repeatedly tells them "Every Member a Missionary." This book is aimed right at her age group and has many elements in it that I think she will relate to. She will need to see at some point the fact that she has a choice to make: Mormonism or Christianity. She can not have them both because they teach such different things that are irreconcilable.

I would also encourage you to try to use this as an opportunity to study about Mormonism and how it compares with Christianity with her. If you can create a cooperative effort where you are all learning things together as one it will be far more productive than if it turns into a her vs. you contest. You will also be showing her that a healthy faith encourages an examination. You will also show her that you too are on your own journey of faith where you are still learning new things and are not threatened to compare what you believe with what other competing voices out there may have to say.]

May 12, 2005
Subject: oposite effect

Just a note of appreciation. I found your web site and have been reading some of the things President Young taught. They have shed some light on the topics of Africans & the Priesthood as well as polygamy. The church does not publish information on those topics anymore since the Manifesto and revelation recieved by President Kimball.

However, the things I have read on your website have done nothing but confirm and strengthen my faith in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I noticed while on my mission in France that the enemies to the church can do harm to our efforts to bring others to Christ. But any information about the church (even if they be distortions or lies) is better than no infomation. Honest, humble seekers of truth will eventually find their way to the truth.

I wonder if your efforts are doing more to help the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints than to harm it.

[Sandra's Note: If any Latter-day Saints truly believe we help strengthen LDS testimonies they should consider making a donation to our work to further the cause.]

May 13, 2005
Subject: Joseph Smith, Sr.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner,

I recently did some research for an article on my website about seer stones, and came across what I think is good evidence that the Book of Mormon, Joseph's receiving revelations through a seer stone, and indeed the whole Restoration may been been Joseph Smith, Sr.'s idea! If you are interested, indulge me for a few minutes by reading the quotations below.

1. Joseph Smith, Sr., was present, and sworn as a witness. He confessed at great length all that his son had said in his examination. He delineated his characteristics in his youthful days-his visions of the luminous stones in the glass--his visit to visit to Lake Erie in search of the stone--and his wonderful triumphs as a seer. He described very many instances of his finding hidden and stolen goods. He swore that both he and his son were mortified that this wonderful power which God had so miraculously given him should be used only in search of filthy lucre, or its equivalent in earthlytreasures and with along-faced, "sanctimonious seeming," ****he said his constant prayer to his Heavenly Father was to manifest His will concerning this marvelous power. He trusted that the Son of Righteousness would some day illumine the heart of the boy, and enable him to see His will concerning Him.**** These words have ever had a strong impression on my mind. They seemed to contain a prophetic vision of the future history of that mighty delusion of the present century, Mormonism. The "old man eloquent" with his lank and haggard visage--his form very poorly clad-indicating a wandering vagabond rather than an oracle of future events, has, in view of those events, excited my wonder, if not my admiration.

William D. Purple's account of the 1826 trial

2. At a time when the money digging ardor was somewhat abated, the elder Smith declared that his son Jo had seen the spirit, (which he then described as a little old man with a long beard,) and was informed that he (Jo) under certain circumstances, eventually should obtain great treasures, and that in due time he (the spirit) would furnish him (Jo) with a book, which would give an account of the Ancient inhabitants (antideluvians) of this country, and where they had deposited their substance, consisting of costly furniture, &c. at the approach of the great deluge, which had ever since that time remained secure in his (the spirits) charge, in large and spacious chambers, in sundry places in this vicinity, and THESE TIDINGS CORRESPONDED PRECISELY WITH REVELATIONS MADE TO, AND PREDICTION MADE BY THE ELDER SMITH A NUMBER OF YEARS BEFORE.

Palmyra Reflector, [edited by Abner Cole] February 14, 1831

3. Barnes Frisbie, the historian of Middleton, Vermont, knew better and noted that the rodsmen who flourished at Wells, Middleton, and Poultney at the turn of the century were a religious group. They saw themselves as the children of Israel and believed in impending judgments. They were primitivists who hoped for the restoration of the true church and for healing gifts. ...When their leaders prophesied an earthquake in 1802 which did not occur, many fled to Lawrence, New York. Frisbie insisted that Oliver Cowdery's father was a member in Orange County.

Marvin S. Hill, Secular or Sectarian History?, Reconsidering No Man Knows My History: Fawn M. Brodie and Joseph Smith in Retrospect. Newell G. Bringhurst, ed. Logan, Utah: Utah State University Press, 1996, p. 70.

Hill seems to think that Joseph Smith and his father may have been in some way affiliated with this group, or may at least have held similar religious views. [Joseph Smith's mother wrote]

About this time my husband's mind became much excited upon the subject of religion; yet he would not subscribe to any particular system of faith, but contended for the ancient order, as established by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and his apostles... [after having a dream on the subject] my husband seemed more confirmed than ever in the opinion that there was no order or class of religionists that knew any more concerning the kingdom of God, than those of the world, or such as made no profession of religion whatever.

Lucy Mack Smith, Biographical Sketches, ch. 14.

We know, from elsewhere, that Joseph Sr. wanted his son Alvin to be a preacher. Could he have had similar—but higher—ambitions for another son, who seemed to have the miraculous gift of seeing in a stone? If Joseph Sr. was a religious rodsman of the sort described by Hill, and if the comments of Purple and Abner Cole can be trusted, then it may well have been Joseph Smith Sr. who suggested that his son might one day restore the church by receiving divine revelation through his stone and even by finding an ancient Indian record...

May 13, 2005
I think some of my family's ancestors may have been involved as members of the Baker-Fancher party. How can I obtain the names of the members of the Baker Fancher party ?

My family only recently learned enough history to even know that the Mountain Meadows incident happened. Which shows how little many people know about their own family histories and events. My family is now centered in Atlanta and we want to know if our clues of relation to a survivor of this event are factual.

We are very moderate in our religious views - we do not have any interest in Mormon politics or controversy. We just want to know if we are related to any parties to this historical event.

[Sandra's Note: Here are some links to sites dealing with the Mountain Meadows Massacre and a list of those who were killed.

The best book on the massacre, with names and information on the families, etc. is Blood of the Prophtes, by Will Bagley.]

May 17, 2005
Since moving back home to Nebraska in August 2003, after living in Utah for 22 years, . . . people here are so curious about the Mormon church's activities, I have told them to research your website and the information there, as I feel it is the only HONEST information they'll get pertaining to the LDS practices. . . . Most people here have a hard time grasping the hypocrisy that runs rampant in the Mormon cult.

Though it has been a few years since I visited with Jerald and Sandra, I will have the fondest of heartfelt memories of the forever. . . . After being "home" now for nearly 2 years, the biggest thing I feel that my 22 years in Utah destroyed in me was the strength of my faith. The continual disdain of not being accepted as good and decent people simply because my sons and I did not succumb to their pressures to discard our own beliefs and jump on the Mormon bandwagon is stress that I am so thankful I will never again be submitted to. Living there and dealing with the daily, ongoing pressure to 'change' had me wondering if there really was something wrong with me.

Now, after surviving that 22 years there, and being back in the Midwest's Christian value system, I'm almost starting to feel like a whole person again. I'll quit rambling now. In closing, thanks again, Jerald and Sandra, for the kind words of encouragement, for the wealth of knowledge you've published, and for simply being some of the best people to ever walk this earth. You will be rewarded!


May 19, 2005
Below is a picture of the temple clothing from an old exposure of the endowment called "Lifting the Vail." It was published in The Daily Tribune (Salt Lake City, Utah), Sunday September 28, 1879. It shows the "old style" garment, a robe, a cap, an apron and a woman's veil (the head is placed in the hole, the diamond-shaped part hangs down the back, and the two strings are tied beneath the chin)

Ladies and Gentlemen!

Older temple accessories are exposed above. -Is there anyone, who can tell an exmormon, who has been endowed, and a temple worker in the period of 1975-1985, and now a Christian, what emblem is placed on the cap above, what appears to "crossing bones"? Is there anything special about woman's apron, except for the shape, compared to a man's? I would be thankful to have answers to these questions.

Yours Sincerely,

[Sandra's Note: The modern hat does not have an X pattern on the front, there is a sort of flattened stack of three cotton patches. So that starting up from the bottom layer each piece gets narrower. I couldn't find a good picture on the internet. This was the best I could find.

**Warning for sensitive LDS—these sites have people shown in temple clothes.**

The shorter man has on a woman's apron, which is just a bit more fancy. The man's apron is square, the woman's is sort of scalloped around the edges. Here is another site with a discussion of the ritual.


May 20, 2005
Subject: Martha Beck

I was wondering what you think of Martha Beck's book on Leaving the Mormon church and finding her faith? I am in the middle of reading it and have formulated some conclusion, but was curious about your take on the matter. Could Hugh Nibley have abused his daughter? Would the Mormon church put pressure on the family to write a letter denying the event or series of events? Obviously, I don't like Matha's choice of spirituality over a relationship with Jesus Christ, but would like to hear what you have to say about her book.

Thank you

[Steve's Note: 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 without either concrete evidence which would support her claims or by other independent sources verifying what she says. I do not think that the information that Martha Beck supplies in her book is sufficient alone to support the allegation. The LDS Church may be glad the Nibley family has responded as it has to Martha's book. However, I don't believe they could apply the needed pressure to make them all to make such a statement since some of them are no longer members of the LDS Church.

For more information, you may be interested in reading Bill McKeever's review at]

May 21, 2005
Dear People:

I recently got your freebies packet. It's a trove!

My avocation is telling LDS missionaries that their church is a deliberate fraud foisted on them by Joseph Smith, for some of which I use your stuff. Alas that the quality of missionaries has fallen in recent years. I believe I get the ones just out of high school who, beyond bearing testimony, don't really know that much. Oh well. I at least throw a few names at them and maybe they will look up Isis or canopic jars when they get back home.

Again, thanks.

[Sandra's Note: Note for our readers—In 1835 Joseph Smith bought some Egyptian mummies and artifacts. One of the items was a papyrus scroll containing the Book of Breathings, an Egyptian religious text, dating to about 100 A.D. Smith claimed that this scroll was actually written by Abraham and Smith's "translation" of the papyrus was later canonized in the LDS text Pearl of Great Price. The writer above mentions "Isis" and "canopic jars" because these are images on the Smith papyrus that Smith misidentified.

The four figures in Facsimile No. 1 from the Book of Abraham under the couch are known as "canopic jars," used by the Egyptians to store the internal organs of the person being embalmed. They are misidentified by Joseph Smith. See p. 357 of The Changing World of Mormonism.

Smith also misidentified the figures on Fac. No. 3 of the Book of Abraham. He misidentified "Isis" (an Egyptian goddess) as "King Pharaoh." See The New York Times: Museum Walls Proclaim Fraud of Mormon Prophet.

For more on the Book of Abraham problems, see our Topical Index: Book of Abraham and ]

May 21, 2005
Subject: What are you? A Spritual Superman?

I can't believe that you would post something like this. How can you shut the door in the face of God like that? You are deliberetly trying to draw people away from the light. You held the torch once yourself, and you extinguished it and have since plunged others into darkness.

By the way- the 'material and research that would not normally be available' is incorrect, you have posted a lot of wrong interpretations and clearly have no idea what you are talking about. you are rewording passages to suit your purpose. And if you aren't trying to disparage the LDS faith, then why the web site? are you trying to be a spritual superman of sorts? or do you just have no life?

This isn't 'flaming', i am just very upset that you post so many false teachings and then preach about us. How can you see the splinter in our eyes, with a beam in your own?

May 21, 2005
Dear Sandra

You are the reason I got out of the Mormon Church over 25 years ago. I have a question that maybe you can answer, Are the words Hell, and Forever in the original Hebrew and Greek languages? I would be gratefull for any help you could give me on this. Still loving your ministry.

[Steve's Note: The words hell and forever are in both the Hebrew and Greek languages. For the word hell there is one Hebrew word, Sheol, and three Greek words, hades, gehenna and tartarus.

In both Hebrew and Greek there are several words used for the single English word forever. The Hebrew words are ad, ade ad, olam, and qedem. The Greek words are aidios, aion and aionios.

A good concordance will help you see which original words lie behind the English translation in any given context and thus will give you a sense of the scope of the meaning for each word.]

[Additional note from Sandra: Here is a site for Strong's Bible concordance. You can look up 'hell' or any other word very easily. This site also has various versions of the Bible.


May 22, 2005
In a recent talk to new mission presidents (The Light of Christ, Ensign April 2005), Boyd K. Packer said "The idea that with the Crucifixion of Christ the heavens were closed and that they opened in the First Vision is not true....God never abandons His children. He never has abandoned this earth."

Do you have any quotes that show that what he is proclaiming to be false is exactly what we were taught. I recall that there are quotes that say specificly that the heavens were closed, God withdrew from the earth, his voice was not heard on earth for 1500 or 1700 years, darkness fell on the earth, the morning didn't break until the First Vision, spiritual darkness descended on the earth that was not dispelled until the time of Joseph, not until then did the morning break and the shadows flee.

Thanks for your help.

[Sandra's Note: I think Apostle Packer is playing a word game. I suspect he means God did not seal the heavens, man quit talking to him and quit believing in revelation. It amounts to the same thing.

Here is a quote from Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith in 1953:

I wish to testify to you, my brethren and sisters, and to all the world, that God lives, that he has spoken again from the heavens, and the heavens have never been closed against those who are honest and true, who earnestly seek the guidance of the Lord. The Lord never closed the heavens. Men closed the heavens and said there should be no more revelation, no more commandments, only those which are in the canon of scripture. It was men who said that, not God. Men have said that the Lord finished his work. They have said there could be no more coming of angels, no more scripture, and that we would have to depend on the dead letter of the law as it is recorded in the books contained within the lids of the Bible. Men are saying that—God did not say it. (Conference Report, April 1953, p. 20-21)

In 1966 Apostle Spencer W. Kimball expressed a similar point of view:

If the Bible were "the end of the prophets," it would be through lack of faith, and that is the reason the heavens at times were closed and locked and became as iron and the earth as brass.

The Lord will not force himself upon people; and if they do not believe, they will receive no visitation. If they are content to depend upon their own limited calculations and interpretations then, of course, the Lord will leave them to their chosen fate. . . . There were the centuries of the dark ages when the heavens were as iron, when there were no revelations recorded; but more than a century ago, the iron ceiling was shattered, since which time revelations have been continuous. (Conference Report, October 1966, p. 22)

Here is a quote from an 1895 conference talk by Franklin Richards:

I once heard President Young say that he believed that if all who had heard him preach the Gospel had received it as he received it when he heard it, and had taken hold with the same interest and energy to keep the commandments of God themselves and teach others to do so, the Gospel might then have reached to all the nations of the earth, and they have been made partakers of its blessings and its privileges. But the fact is, the people of the earth are so bound up in the traditions of the fathers that they do not appreciate this matter. They have been taught by their religious teachers for whom they entertained the highest regard that the heavens were so effectually sealed up, that we were to have no more revelation. It has been awfully true that the heavens have been closed as concerning the revelations of God's will, for some fourteen hundred years past, while the famine for the word of the Lord bas prevailed, and a woe it has been to all the inhabitants of the earth to be thus strut out from the revelations of God and the power of His ministering Priesthood, and made only to depend upon a written book, called a Bible, for salvation. The Church of the Living God has never been conducted on the earth by writings alone, or by books, parchments, or records of any kind. ("Revelation and Priesthood," by Elder Franklin D. Richards, October 5th, 1895, Collected Discourses, edited by Brain Stuy,Vol. 4, p. 368)

In 1948 Milton R. Hunter, of the First Council of Seventy, preached that the heavens had been closed until God appeared to Joseph Smith:

After the death of the Savior and his apostles, the heavens were closed, and for many centuries God ceased to appoint holy prophets among men. Finally, as I have already stated, a living oracle was sent to earth again in the person of the Prophet Joseph Smith. The Eternal Father, his Only Begotten Son, and numerous holy angels talked with Joseph face to face, even as they had done with the prophets of old. Thus the word, the will, and the commandments of God came from heaven to mortals again in exactly the same manner as they had come in past ages. (Conference Report, April 1948, p. 29)

Trust this helps.]

May 23, 2005
It is amazing that the LDS Church has its Word of Wisdom and never mentions God's (Yahweh's) commandments on the matter in Deuteronomy 14 [clean and unclean animals]. Tea may have its problems but it never made anyone as sick as shellfish can. I don't defend Coke or Pepsi but they certainly never carried any disease as can a pig. Apparently one can eat rat or mouse and still keep the word of wisdom and hold a temple recommend.

I was a member of the church for 20 years. Looking back it is amazing how little I and the other members of the church knew. All we were ever told is that "The church is true" in a repetitively and non-examining manner.

[Sandra's Note: For more on the Word of Wisdom, Joseph Smith's health code, see our Topical Index: Word of Wisdom.]

May 24, 2005
I read in the book encyclopedia of cults and new religions that you have done some research as to what material was used for the book of mormon and was wondering if you have a complete list or can reccomend a book that does?

let me know


[Sandra's Note: No one knows for sure which books, newspapers, sermons, etc. Joseph Smith read or used. However, the Book of Mormon reflects the thinking of the day, found in many books, like View of the Hebrews (see Where Did Joseph Smith Get His Ideas for the Book of Mormon?). He was obviously very familiar with the Bible. See the articles under our Topical Index: Book of Mormon: Ancient or Modern?

Here are a few more suggestions.

Read Dan Vogel's book, Indian Origins and the Book of Mormon, online—

Also these books would help:


May 24, 2005
Thank you so much for the information I read in your pages. I was converted few years ago in a different country. I recieved just a part of information I know now. Last two years I tryed to read in internet everything I didn't know about and asking myself about what is true what is not. Some news were very shocking for me. I feel so mixed, even scaried. I feel as I have no freedom to decide what is true. I would like to know how difficult is leaving from the church and can it makes any trouble for me. I have more questions but I don't know will you write me


Sorry I can't use my real name

[Steve's Note: Thank you for taking the time and for your courage in writing to us. The questions and concerns you have written to us about are very important and deserved to be treated as such. The feelings you have described are very understandable. It is never easy facing the possibility that all you have believed in may not be what it claims to be. Even though it may not always feel like it, we all are blessed by God with the freedom to believe what we will.

When a Mormon decides to leave the LDS Church it is more difficult for some than it is for others. In spite of this Christ calls us to be willing to follow him even if it may cost us all we have. We should love God more than anything else. You can remind those Mormons you know that even they should not interfere with your decision to leave the LDS Church since their 11th Article of Faith states, "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may."

I would encourage you to feel free to write again. I promise you I will take you and your concerns seriously. We at the Utah Lighthouse Ministry will be here for you as much as we possibly can be to answer your questions and to let you know you are not alone and that many others before you have gone through the same things you are going through now.]

May 25, 2005
Dear Sandra Tanner,

I am not sure that you remember me, but I used to come to your house all the time when I lived in Salt Lake. That was years ago. (Twelve years I think) I used to ride my bike over to your place and come by to purchase study materials.

Anyway I live in New York now and I am in love with a girl who has been a Mormon for Three years. It is driving me crazy because I dont want to let her go. Any advice you can give would be helpful. I would die if I had to let her go.

[Sandra's Note: One way to possibly open a dialogue would be to buy her and yourself a copy of a book by two LDS women historians on the life of Joseph Smith's wife, Emma, titled Mormon Enigma. It is not 'anti' Mormon, but does show a lot of the problem areas that your friend probably never heard (like his plural wives and how Emma opposed it). And you can buy it from the LDS official bookstore, Deseret Book.

Or another one that the LDS bookstore carries, though not by LDS, but by two newspaper reporters, is Mormon America.

Tell her you are trying to understand her faith and wonder if she would be willing to read the same book you are reading so you can discuss it.

Here are a couple of LDS titles that might help you demonstrate their far out doctrines. You can order either from us or from, the following current LDS manuals.

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 daughter. Also, you might benefit from our photo packet—Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies.

Another angle would be to show her a video:


May 26, 2005
Subject: LDS gold plates

Hello and grace to you!

I'm a Christian who visited the lighthouse in early March, and I was quite intrigued by the heavy "replica gold plates" that was on display on the north side of the building. It reminded me of an article I read done by Mormonism Research Ministry [] about how difficult/impossible it would have been for Joseph Smith to carry the plates in the manner he described. It's a good "physical witness" and possibly a good "conversation piece" when Mormons might visit.

Two questions: how heavy is the object, and how could I get one of those things?


[Sandra's Note: A friend made the model in our store some years ago, and I don't believe he is making any more of them. Our model is made from lead sheets and weighs about 117 pounds. If the plates were made of gold they would weigh over 200 pounds. Even at 117 pounds the plates would be too cumbersome for Smith to have run through the woods three miles while fighting off attackers, as described by both Martin Harris and Smith's mother, Lucy.

Martin Harris estimated the weight of the plates at "forty or fifty pounds." (Tiffany's Monthly, 1859, p.166, reprinted in Early Mormon Documents, vol. 2, p.306). This would not be enough weight for them to be made of lead, let alone gold. Our November newsletter will deal with this issue. (See: #105 Messenger, Book of Mormon Plates: Artifact, Vision or Hoax?) ]

May 27, 2005
Hello From Alaska,

Thanks for your wonderful ministry. It has helped me very much in my dealings with the Mormons in our little community. Every chance I get, I welcome the LDS missionaries into our home to discuss the Bible and offer them the Good News. I treat them with respect and hospitality, but don't soft pedal the truth. Many are very nice people and I pray for them. . . .

May 27, 2005
Thank you for being faithful to our Lord. You have sent lots of articles over the years that have been really helpful with talking to Mormons and my Mormon daughter.

Bless you,

May 28, 2005
The article: "La Razón Por Qué / The Reason Why" (by Janet Louise Chatham) is just a simple interpretation of only one man. I know that The Church of Jesus christ of Latter Days Saints is true.
May 28, 2005
Thank God for your ministry. I think it is the BEST place for Mormon materials and research. Your booklist is top notch! The content would be parallel to that found in any well thought out bookstore. (I happen to work for Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa's for many years) Keep up the fanatastic work you are doing! There are many praying for you.


May 28, 2005
My Sister was a mormon at one time. In fact, soon after she became a mormon, I accepted Christ as my personal savior. Within a couple of years I had leaned so much about mormonism and helped get my sister out of the church. That was over 20 years ago. Now I still witness to mormons and help those that are interested in the church.

you have been such a source of info for me. I have the book "mormonism shadow or reality" and 10 other books that I have bought over the years.

I do have a question. I know I read that Brigham Young talk about the gates of hell. I believe he said that the gates of hell did prevail and will continue to prevail is this true? I think I read it in the journal of discourses. could you help me?

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, don't know of such a quote from Brigham Young. Here is one by LDS Apostle Orson Pratt:

40. Secondly, it is objected that if the Church of Christ has not continued, then the gate of hell must have prevailed against her; and they refer us to that cheering passage in Matthew 16:18 which reads thus:--"And I say also unto thee, that thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." They argue, that if the Church has ceased to exist, the gates of hell have prevailed over her and the promise of Jesus must be falsified. But we would inform the Catholics, that the Church of Christ has not ceased to exist, neither has Peter ceased his existence, but both the Church and Peter are in heaven, far out of the reach of the gates of hell, and far out of the reach of the abominable soul-destroying impositions of popery. The gates of hell have prevailed and will continue to prevail over the Catholic mother of harlots, and over all her Protestant daughters; but as for the apostolical Church of Christ, she rests secure in the mansion of eternal happiness, where she will remain until the apostate Catholic church, with all her popes and bishops, together with all her harlot daughters shall be hurled down to hell; then it shall be said, "Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her;" and then shall be "heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia: salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God; for true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand." And again they shall say, "Alleluia," and her smoke shall rise up for ever and ever. And thus when the Catholics and Protestants hear all the heavens, and all the holy apostles and prophets, rejoicing over the downfall of Babylon, they will learn that the Church of Christ still exists in heaven and that the gates of hell have not prevailed against her; then they will learn where the apostolical and prophetical power rests; then they will perceive the difference between the glory of the Church of Christ and the misery and wretchedness of their own fiery torments. ( "Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon," p.44,  in A Series of 6 Pamphlets, by Orson Pratt, Liverpool, England, 1850-51)


May 29, 2005
Subject: Thanks to Sandra Tanner!

I would like to thank Sandra Tanner for her information on removing one's name from the LDS church membership records. I had tried to do this for 20 years and was finally able to do so a couple of years ago by following her advice. It wasn't exactly pleasant—as I had asked for no contact and 5 different nights I had the local LDS bishop pounding on my door. One night he pounded for 10 minutes! Anyway, I have passed this information on to several other people who have also been wanting to have their names removed from the records.

Thanks again!

May 29, 2005
I am having some major concerns/ questions about the church and am just starting to do some research to figure out things, as I am currently a member. I haven't paid my tithing for the past 6 months so I am unable to hold a recommend. It was this that started my questioning and opened up a whole slew of questions.

I was wondering if you could help me with tithing and how it says in the bible to give 1 /10 etc...

The word denotes a tenth part, given for the service of God. The first recorded instance is the payment made by Abraham to Melchizedek (Gen. 14: 20; cf. Heb. 7: 4-10). See also Jacob's vow (Gen. 28: 22). The law enforced the payment, and provided rules with regard to the use to which the tithe should be put. In Num. 18: 21-28 it is directed that tithe be paid to the Levites, who in their turn give one-tenth of what they receive to the priests.

A clear exposition of the tithe is given in Mal. 3: 8-18, in which it is shown that blessings from the payment of tithing are both temporal and spiritual, and failure to pay an honest tithe is a form of robbery.

Thank you,

[Steve's Note: Christians differ on whether or not the tithe is binding on all believers everywhere today or not. For more information on this please refer to the below online articles I have given you links to.

You may also be interested in the below book which deals with the subject of tithing in a thorough way.

Should the Church Teach Tithing: A Theologian's Conclusions About a Taboo Doctrine (Off-site link) ]

May 30, 2005
I love Jehovah and he loves you too. Don't be afraid of things you do not understand, but learn to have faith. Even if it is a different religion you worship. I'm sure the book of Morman has helped people find the one true religion. Jehovah witnesses are normal people just like Mormens. So don't knock our faith we don't knock yours.

Respectfully yours,

May 31, 2005
I find your stuff full of unbelief and therefore full of wickedness, but I do have some problems with the Church which I thought you'ld like to know about.

I've been a member for 7 years now and have requested a revelation from the Lord through the Prophet on the subject of adultery through forbidden marriages. My request has been turned down. Jesus said that whosoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. The Church allows divorced women to remary and not required to be remarried to the same husband. They are allowed to remarry a different man. The Apostel Paul said if a woman divorces her husband she should remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband. I have told them this is adultery and requested a revelation from the Lord on the subject but have been repeatedly turned down. The Church is saying they are going to receive exaltation through these adulterous marriages, but I say they are going to hell, because you cannot be saved in your sins, you can only be saved from your sins on condition of repentance. And repentance means confession and forsaking the evil, neither of which are being done because the first presedency is saying it is not adultery, and yet they deny me my request for a revelation to verify their actions are true.

I have also requested a revelation from the Lord through the Prophet Gordon B Hinkley on the orginization of the 70's quorums. I believe they are not properly organized. It specifically says in the History of the Church that the 70's "are not to be High Priests" but are to be taken from the elders quorum. All of the 70's are High Priests today. It does say that the "Presidents" of the 70's quorums are to be Apostles and general authorities, but the rest are not to be High Priests but elders. And the presidents of the 70's quorums are to be taken from among the members of the quorum, and are not to be taken from outside the quorum and set over the elders in the quorum.

I have had other disagreements with the LDS Church besides these and have no hopes of getting any revelations on anything. That's the problem. The First Presidency are not following the lead of the Lord. If they were they would grant all revelation requests and verify their actions are the Lords doing, and not their own. I have been marginallized in the Church for my views, yet my views are 100% correct and not theirs. They never ask me to give a talk at sacrament meeting yet allow women and children to talk almost every week. I've stopped going to sacrament meeting because of this. Because I pointed out to them that women should maintain silence in the Church. They don't agree with me, wont grant my request for a revelation, and set me at naught for it. They defend the adulterers (through forbidden marriages) and threaten me with punitative action, and deny my requests for revelations.

The LDS Church is the true Church, just as the Jewish Church of Jesus' day was, but the Church of today is getting full of Pharasees, just as the true Church of Jesus' day was full of them. That's my anallysis of the situation. You ULM people are worse than they are, because you don't believe. Wont you get on your knees and seek for your own revelation from the Lord on this issue? If you wont are you any better than the LDS Church leaders? I think not.