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Selections and Extracts from Email
(Names and contact info removed)


January 2000

Jan. 1, 2000

I have been reading the hoopla the Mormons have been causing you and your business. If the Mormon Church succeeds then the very words spoken on television (ie: Bryan Gumbal saying "Microsoft") is a copyright infringement.

I enjoyed reading US Code title 17,section 107;

Sec. 107. Limitations on exclusive rights: Fair use

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include-

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;

(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;

(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and

(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors.

Jan. 1, 2000

We don't fight against logic, because if we did, there wouldn't be one Mormon left. Ours is a spiritual battle. I pray for your ministry and appreciate all of your hard work and dedication over the years. You can look forward to meeting many grateful ex-mormons when you get to heaven.

Jan. 2, 2000

We received an e-mail from a friend, ...from Ca. re: your lawsuit from the Mormon Church. We don't know if it is over yet or not, but you are in our prayers. Praise God that you have a ministry that reaches those involved in that cult. The fight for truth is hard, but don't give up--Jesus won it on the cross!!! Keep running the race in 2000--!!!

I just met a lady from Bible study who was saved out of the Mormon Church--and she praises God each day for the Christian friend who told her the truth about her church and her religion. She said it is a hard cult to leave for many reasons. Now, Mormons even go by our terminology and it makes matters even more confusing. (As you know already, I'm sure)

God's blessings to you,

Jan. 2, 2000

I praise the Lord for your testimony! I am also glad that you have accepted the Lord as your personal Saviour!! I hope that this lawsuit will not be too discouraging to you. ... Remember, greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world!!

Jan. 3, 2000

Hi, and a Happy New Year. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I was baptized on January 16 1999. Whilst reading your FAQ page I came across 1 or 2 questions that I have tried asking the missionaries in my ward, as well as quite a few other questions (not on the FAQ page). But: 1) Because these questions are not Scripture or lesson related they classed as "Anti-Mormon" questions. 2) The missionaries have made it clear that they do not read, listen to nor do they answer anything that is "Anti-Mormon". 3) As a member of the Church I should not be asking these sorts of questions. They are "Anti-Mormon". Why will they not answer me? Do they have something to hide or do they simply not have the answers? Even the Bishop of my ward will not answer any of my questions, or any other member for that matter. Before I joined this Church I had been round a lot of other churches and once I had visited this church I claimed this church to be the ONLY church that was willing to answer any questions that I could throw at them. Now my thoughts on this church has changed somewhat. I have not been to church for the past six weeks or since I received a calling and noone has been to see me, or called to ask how I have been. And I know that my Bishop is none too pleased. I really need some urgent help as to whether I should try and 'get out' so to speak while I can, before I get in any deeper and find myself in a situation that will make it too difficult for me to leave.

Jan. 3, 2000

The LDS church is not a humble spiritual organization, but a commercial, worldly financial monster using its high-life suits, pens and HUGE amounts of money (the root of all evil) to crush any attempt at publishing TRUTH. THE CHURCH WANTS FORMER MEMBERS TO LEAVE THEM ALONE BUT THEY SHOULD LEAVE THE WEB ALONE. EVEN A CREATION SUCH AS THE INTERNET IS NOT SAFE FROM THE MONSTERS IN SALT LAKE CITY! The LDS church is in no way a poor little pussy cat being picked on. More like a lion with a flea on its back. WHAT WE NEED IS MORE FLEAS!

Jan. 3, 2000

I am pleased to read that you have filed an appeal regarding the injunction in the lawsuit filed against you and your ministry by a corporate subsidiary of the Mormon Church.

The implications of this case are profound- not only for civil rights and American religious freedom, but also for the future of Internet communication. It is ironic that while the Mormon church attempts to portray itself as a defender of the US Constitution, it has assumed a leading role in a move to restrict First Amendment rights and the well-established Fair Use of copyrighted material.

The decision of LDS Church leaders to pursue this case seems like a desperate move- not to mention a fairly risky one from a public relations standpoint. I suspect there is a political agenda here and my guess is that by "getting" the Tanners, Mormon leaders hope to intimidate those who publish information critical of the LDS Church on the Internet.

The intellectual dishonesty of this approach- rather than directly addressing the arguments of critics- says a lot about the veracity of Mormonism. It may well may support the belief of some that the dissemination of historically accurate information about Mormonism over the Internet has been devastating to the LDS cause in the last several years.

Please do not be discouraged and know that you both are in our thoughts and prayers.

Jan. 3, 2000

The LDS church has no right to do the things that they do. I tried to have my name removed from their records over ten years ago and was intimidated out of it. Now I am followed and harrased for trying to believe and live my life as a christian. The intimidation never stops from friends or family. If the LDS church is the "true" church as they claim, why can't they let go of those who no longer hold it's beliefs? I hope you win!

Jan. 3, 2000

If Gordon Hinckley is such a good prophet, how come he didn't predict that nothing would happen over New Year's to the Air Traffic Control system?

Why did the church forbide its members to travel on official business over New Years due to fear over a "Y2K" bug which did not cause any disruptions to air travel?

Well, Prophet Hinckley was wrong about Mark Hoffman. So maybe we can't expect his gift of prophecy to sift through millions of lines of computer code.

Jan. 4, 2000

I am glad that I found your web site. My husband was baptized as a child in the Mormon church. He has not been a member for more than 20 years. We have been married for 14 years and have 2 wonderful children. Since I am of hispanic desent these people have never accepted me or our children. The missionaries continue to contact my husband even though he tells them he is not a member of the church. After years of harassment he wrote a letter to the bishop asking to be removed from the member rolls. We received a letter from the church saying that he had been taking off the member list. As you can guess, we are still being contacted through the mail and by phone. Is there any way short of hiring an attorney to get these people to stop interfering with our life. We have a strong marriage and lead a moral life and do not like these intrusions. I would be interested in any publications that you could suggest to help with this problem.

[Sandra's Note: I would suggest sending a letter to the bishop of your area. If you don't know who it is you can call the LDS Church offices, (801) 240-3500, and they will tell you. Write the bishop that you have resigned, maybe send a copy of the letter you got. Instruct him that you will not tolerate any more contact from the LDS Church and they are to remove you from any lists. Tell him you consider their mailings and phone calls harassment and you do not want to be forced to resort to legal action to get them to stop.]

Jan. 4, 2000


I used to be a Mormon but a few years ago I had my eyes opened and am glad to say no I am saved and trying to encourage my family to search for the truth. My sister is reading the material on your website and showed some of it to my father. He said he had never heard of the Journal of Discourses. Can you tell me if it has another name? Or some info to tell him about it.

[Web-editor: see General FAQ: What is the Journal of Discourses? The Journal of Discourses is a 26 vol. set of early LDS leaders speeches. It is in most libraries in Utah.]

Jan. 4, 2000

I was appalled when hearing of the lawsuit upon your organization. Something must be done to kill this concept of link regulating and internet censorship before it becomes prevalent! Obviously the Utah courts will not let go of the "rod". The U.S. government must act quickly to put the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in its place! The LDS church might have a monopoly on the state of Utah, but as far as the United States of America (and the world-wide web) is concerned, the LDS church had better humble itself because the rest of the country won't stand for it! I pray for another General Lee. Until then, Tanners keep up the good work!

Jan. 5, 2000

Great to see you on the 5:00 p.m. news last night. You and Jerald looked great. Your attorney appeared competent and there was an absence of an rancor, malice or animosity on your part. The LDS spokesman also came off as a thoughtful, reasoned fellow.

The reason I mention this is because in the day of sound-bites and split second answers where we immediately we go to another story, your appearance on camera did not damage your credibility or cause. I'm sure you have been 'hatched' in the press on more than one occasion.

It made me think, "What would Jesus say?" if he were only given a few seconds to answer some inflammatory question posed on the courthouse steps. ... Regardless of what you say, your kind but firm demeanor will continue to attract attention. Thank you for being willing to be tested and tried.

You are in my prayers.

Jan. 4, 2000

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner:

I noticed that many of the people who write letters of criticism about you appear to need an English course.....I have not yet canceled my membership but I've had too many questions about "church rules and regulations" with favoritism to some, that I am inactive. Anyone who criticizes you should attend church on Sacrament Sunday and listen with an open mind to how robotic the testimonies sound. They automatically say, " I believe Joseph Smith was a true prophet of God......." Never once have they said I believe that God sent his Son Jesus Christ as our Savior from eternal death.

Jan. 5, 2000

You guys have some serious problems spending so much time and energy on tearing down someones religious beliefs like this, let Mormons believe what they want and spend your time doing something more constructive. You can't prove they are wrong, just like they can't prove they're right, it's all about belief and faith, so get one of your own and knock it off! People like you make me furious! And don't just up and move on to another religion, KNOCK IT OFF LOSERS! The LDS church is right to try to stop you from spreading garbage about their personal beliefs.

[Sandra's note: Are you saying that chapter 10 of the LDS Church Handbook is "garbage?" That is what the LDS Church is trying to stop us from disseminating.]

Jan. 5, 2000

I just want you to know that you guys are alright. I look at it this way: What should a church have to hide? Obviously there is a lot the Mormons don't want their members to know because it seems like every time someone questions it or proves something wrong, they get excommunicated. You need to tell the truth about the Mormons because they obviuosly will not.

Jan. 5, 2000

I am LDS, but I am not a drone! I do have my own opinion and an open mind. My question is this, why do the LDS church and Utah Lighthouse Ministry have problems with each other? Can't we all just get along? I don't know what is going on with all this legal @$%^#!*, and I have to agree with Utah Lighthouse on this issue, but from what I have heard, you guy's and the LDS church have been jousting for quite some time. What's up with that? I guess I am a jack-Mormon, I have not been inside a church since my parents forced me to go as a boy, bored the #$@*^! outa me! And I don't plan on going anytime soon, you know- NFL playoffs. But I still have a few freinds left in the LDS church, not many, but a few.

Jan. 5, 2000

I have been a member of the LDS church all my life, served a mission in Brazil, and have studied extensively to know the truth of the church and our history. ... I have read a number of your works and have come to find time and time again that you have misrepresented historical information, distorted and taken out of context, out right lied and mislead and used conjecture in order to all you can to discredit another religion. Even if you do believe that the LDS church is inspired of Satan, does that give you the right as a so called "Christian" to use Satan's tactics to discredit it? "You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free" is the way of God not "the ends justify the means".

Have you read Hugh Nibley's work on how to make Anti-Mormon literature? Interestingly enough, he has your works pegged down to the last period. I sincerely hope that the churches lawsuit teaches you the value of law and order and respect for other people's right to follow the dictates of their hearts.

Jan. 5, 2000

I got your address from a video I just saw about the cult LDS. I do believe it is a cult. I was baptized some 12 years ago and about 1 1/2 years ago quit attending the LDS church and became involved in the Roman Catholic church. My husband John and I are very happy with this conversion; our problem is that we still have Home and Visiting teachers calling and missionaries pounding at our door. We even put up a "Do not disturb" sign. My question is, how do we officially get our names off LDS church records in Salt Lake? This is a very stressful time in our lives. We just want out.

[Web-editor: See How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records]

Jan. 5, 2000

Just a short note to say, "Keep up the good work, folks!" If they (mormons) do not like what you have done, then I think that you have hit on a very weak link in their so-called 'theology'. Their narrow minded bigotry needs to be brought to light so that everyone can see the truth. I believe, and have for years, that the mormon faith considers Joseph Smith an equal to Jesus Christ-a philosophy which reeks with a sense of their own self-indulgent beliefs. I will, in the coming months start doing research on your site and others like it for my own curiousity. Once again, keep going because the truth will always find a way to be told.

Jan. 5, 2000

I stopped by your site because I read a little snippet in today's S.L. Trib. It seems like the S.L. Trib. is quite friendly to you. Anyway - I believe that generally agree with the ruling of the judge that you have no right to post links to sights to documents which you have been ordered not to post. I believe in doing so you are making a mockery of the entire judicial system, and putting form over substance. In essence you are being told that you can not smoke crack cocaine, and instead of smoking it you are chewing it and swallowing it. the same effects are reached with a different approach.

Secondly I feel that the "legal notice" is insufficient. It essentially creates a contract of adhesion wherein anyone who wants to contact you has to agree to an ad infinatim (sp?) "right" of your self to post his or her opinion, even after the opinion has changed, without having the opportunity to correct the representation, furthermore, if an individual writes and says "your web sight is wrong" and meant to say your sight is wrongfully bashed (of course in a paper other than the S.L. Trib.) and sends a mistake, they have no way to correct it.

It would be interesting to see this sight in another legal battle over it's contract of adhesion which seems to be clearly against public policy in this area because it serves as a "chiller of free speech" - (kind of ironic that your argument in your case can be used against you - is it not?)

Anyway - just my two cents worth.

[Sandra's note: 1st, we have never ‘linked’ to a site containing the CHI. We simply posted email that had web addresses (not links) to sites that may contain the CHI. The Salt Lake Tribune did the same thing BEFORE we posted the web addresses. The NY Times did the same thing AFTER we did and have not been sued. 2nd, I fail to see how our letter/email policy differs from a newspaper. When you write to a newspaper you essentially give them the same right to quote you and edit your comments.]

Jan. 6, 2000

What do they have to hide? why are they suing you for showing something they published? If they are the one true church why would they hide their methods of operation from the public? It doen't seem like something Jesus would be proud of to me.

Jan. 11, 2000

I read with interest an article regarding this court case and as a LDS who uses the internet regularly several thoughts sprang to mind. I am a regular visitor to Christian Chat rooms and the material from your Ministry which is just as regularly shared with me is seldom given in anything but a rather aggressive and hateful way. Now of course you can claim that the bias of the people who approach me is their own and that you are not responsible for the attitudes I encounter, indeed the rather conservative and cautious way the you describe your Ministry suggests that you desire to be seen as merely educating people as to the 'problems' with the claims of so called 'Mormonism' and that the material you provide is given simply to acquaint folk with the facts as you see them in order to enable them to view both sides of the issue before deciding what they believe or should believe about the LDS Church.

We'll let that go for the moment and come to the second issue regarding the courtcase. As I say I am a regular user of the internet for a variety of reasons one of which is the posting of poetry on a variety of sites for my personal pleasure. Whatever verses I post are copyright protected and the poetry that I view on these sites is also copyright protected and it is made abundantly clear that I am not at liberty to copy or distribute any of the poems I see without the express permission of the authors. None of this is new though. The internet and it's use has from the outset been a minefield when it comes to such issues and they are continually being addressed in one way or another worldwide.

The posting of any copyrighted material without the owners permission is always going to infringe copyright laws and should the individual/organisation involved wish to they are at liberty to sue on that basis. If you had posted one of the Beatles songs without permission and Michael Jackson had felt strongly enough about it to act then this is the action that he would take n'est ce pas? No-one would have charged him with any other motives than protecting the ownership of a particular copyright.

I am lost as to understand therefore why the court case the church is trying to bring to prevent you from using it's material without permission comes as a surprise? Unless it is that you have become so accustomed to being left free (as indeed you have been) to say whatever you wanted to about the church and it's leaders past and present without much of a stir, that any kind of restriction placed on you, even by the duly appointed legal system, is galling ? If it were not the church but any other person or organisation who was insisting on their legal rights as copyright owners I cannot believe that you would be reacting in the same way and trying to turn it into an issue of 'free speech'. Free speech do copyright laws. Both protect the individual.

Whoever wins this lawsuit the situation regarding the internet will remain the same as it has from the outset. It is a quagmire and will doubtless remain so. Laws are continually broken on it which has been part of it's appeal to certain sections of the community, however I do not feel that any christian should feel free to play fast and loose with the ability it gives to break laws, infringe copyright, invade privacy etc. Impartial observers will see this as just another attempt to bring internet use under the same rule of law which exists outside cyberspace. The church's decision to act to protect it's copyright is no more 'sinister' than your decision to use copyrighted material in the first place. One might even say less sinister, but that is just a personal point of view.

As a member of 32 years...I welcome the church response, indeed as one of it's more feisty members I consider that it is long overdue whilst appreciating that the second coming is far too close and there is far too much to think about than one or two dissenters.

Jan. 11, 2000

I just want to say thank you for your faithfulness in the work you do to reach the folks lost in Mormonism. I remember hearing you speak many many years ago, while a young teen struggling with "religion, mormonism and so much more". I never forgot you or the messages I heard another then unknown, Stephen Covey. What a difference the two of you made in my life. Praise the Lord, I have been born again and accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior to be Lord of my life.

May He continue to bless you and your work to His glory.

Jan. 12, 2000

I admire what the Lord is doing in your life and Ministry. Even through the Tough Times God will be there. Rom 8:37 "Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us." I will keep you and the Ministry that the Lord has used you in my prayers.

Jan. 14, 2000

Lucifer is a lawyer. His friends are lawyers. His friends use lawyers to harass their opposition.

[Web-editor: Well, except OUR lawyer anyway... ;-)  ]

Jan. 17, 2000

[I] have spoken with you many times regarding Mormonism and how to witness to my LDS neighbors and Bishops wife. I know in my heart the true God and his Son will bless your gifted ministries with a victory over the LDS church handbook court decision. My family will remember your family needs in prayer during our dinner prayer. This legal issue has the whole internet interest watching if any president [precedent] may develop from this vindictive action.

God Bless you!

Jan. 18, 2000

I read an interesting letter in the Salt Lake Tribune Public Fourm today Jan. 17, 2000. [Web-editor: Vindictive Conduct] The point of the letter was, can the Trib be responsible for leading people to your web site that led people to the copy rited material of the LDS Church. ????? That's how I found you. God Bless!!

Jan. 18, 2000

I have purchased a NIV study bible, and have been doing some studying of my own. Since the Bible, the original that is, is the basis of all Christian faith's, I thought I would check it out with an open mind. What I have found so far, is that some religion's are out in left field! And being a Moron, woops! I mean a Mormon, I have found that the LDS faith and Jehova Witness faith, do not believe in the Trinity, is this true?

And that speech at the start of your web-site, you know, with Joesaph Smith saying - Not even Jesus has done what I have done, and more I care not to repeat, is this true? Did he really say these things? My roots are LDS, but I have a weird family, my dad and brother are LDS, my mom is a Christian, my sister a Catholic. And I am just plain lost! Pretty strange huh.

...Oh well, thanks again for your time, and good luck in your battles, and if there is a God, I am sure he will help you!

[Sandra's note: Yes, Joseph Smith really said that. The quote is still in the official LDS History of the Church. See Joseph Smith's Boasting and Polygamy Denial Sermon.]

Jan. 18, 2000

Thank you so much for your help. Thank goodness there are support groups. It would be so much harder deciding what to do next on my own. Most people if they have to choose between a false religion that provides some benefit and the unknown, will stay in their present circumstances. Having those who have blazed the trail ahead of us really helps. How are things going with the trial? Did you get your dismissal or is the Church pulling a scientology move on you? Do you still need funds for the legal costs?

[Sandra's note: The trial goes on. We have had enough gifts given to cover the trial costs so far. But if it keeps going we will need everyones help. You can donate here: Legal Defense Fund.]

Jan. 20, 2000

I have recently found your web site and appreciate it very much! I was a Mormon as a child but as an adult, choose not to be. My husband and I got tired of Mormon visits etc. for over 20 years despite repeated requests that they cease. My husband even went to the ward and threatened the bishop with police action.

This solution was temporary. Next, he wrote quite a graphic letter, made another ward visit and called the police. The police were happy to assist since we do not live in Utah. This finally broght a letter saying that I would be excommunicated on a certain date. My husband considered this letter to just another unagreed to contact and sent the police again. They showed up at the bishop's house the day the excommunication was final. The police got a kick out of it! I feel a weight is lifted from my shoulders to have finally escaped!

I feel sorry for non Mormons in Utah! They need your information badly to get off the rolls and avoid the trouble my husband and I went to. Fairness would dicate that the church give every prospective convert the information in the bishop instruction book before they join. Converts do not realize that Mormons view them like the mafia. Once a member, always a member! Thank you for your work and dedication!

Jan. 21, 2000

Subject: LDS trying to damage you!!??

You can't be serious??!!
Give it a break already!!

Jan. 21, 2000

This is not so much a question as a thank you and a short story I think you will find interestion.

On October 22 of 1999 I was in the Bountifull Temple waiting for a friends wedding. As I was waiting I noticed a Bible on the table next to me and so to pass the time I opened it at random to the book of Isaiah and began to read. In just a short while I had come to Isaiah 43:10-11 "before me there was no God formed neither shall there be after me" that hit me! I reread it several times and had to keep from laughing out loud, I think I did actually chuckle a little at the total incongruity of it. Here I was waiting for a temple wedding, a large part of which is the promise that and your wife will acheive god hood thru faithfullness and here I have a scripture in the Bible that gives the lie to the whole thing! I had been highly skeptical of the Mormon church for over a year prior to this time but had not yet seen this particular scripture. Finding it on my own and first hand as I did made the impact of it all the more powerfull.

That's my story. The thank you comes because when I got home I wanted to mark that passage in my own Bible but wouldn't you know it, I couldn't find it! It was maddening! I looked several times but to no avail, I had almost convinced myself that there really wasn't any such scripture, maybe I had imagined it or miss read something else, but then today as I was browsing thru your web site I came accross it and was thrilled! Thanks for your site and thanks for all you do!

Jan. 22, 2000

I am in Australia. I left the mormons in early 1996. I have a problem with young mormon missionaires who continue to come to visit and I have had this problem ever since I left. So I know how it feels to be continually be contacted by LDS missionaires when you want out of the mormon church. We have a big wire fence and a locked gate to prevent unwanted visitors like these and especially Jehovahs Witnesses, coming into our home. I know of a case here in Australia where there is an old lady of about 75 years of age who joined and left the LDS church back in about 1958 and after all these years, mormon missionaires are still contacting her relatives to ask of her whereabouts.

I am following this lawsuit about the church handbook. I want to say that it is very easy to see that the mormon church is using this as an oppuntunity to destroy the Tanners ministry once and for all. I believe this lawsuit is greatly motivated by the fact that the LDS church will have its greatest public relations challenge during the 2002 winter olympics and wants to put on a good impression of the church to all the international visitors and news media in SLC during this time and maybe they see UTLM and the Tanners as a great obstacle to this effort. Because many international visitors and media are going to want information about mormonism and they will get a lot of this from Jerald and Sandra. This will be things the LDS public relations department does not want the international visitors to know.

Jan. 22, 2000

Many thanks for all the MARVELLOUS information you have kindly supplied on your EXCELLENT website.

Jan. 22, 2000

I was so surprised to stumble upon your web site. I first encountered your work and ministry when I was 16 years old in 1968. The year before, in Kingman, AZ, I heard a missionary to the Mormons speak at our church and my heart went out to the Mormons. I felt God was calling me to be a missionary to the Mormons. A few months later my father was transferred to Salt Lake City. (I never told him what I felt God calling me to.) A lady at the church we were attending there introduced me to a book you had written. I read every word and was SO thankful for it. Attending public school there in Utah and not being a Mormon set my sister and I up for constant pressure from teachers and students to become Mormon. We would come home every night and spend hours searching Scripture to refute what they told us that day. Your material was so helpful. It was hard, but this experience really helped us to grow. One of my friends did pray to receive the Lord, but because of all the pressure she got from her family, she fell away. Since then, the Lord has mostly used me, off and on, to teach others and warn others about the deceptions of Mormonism....

I am thankful for my experiences there and you wonderful people that are so dedicated to warning and educating others about Mormonism. Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do. I pray that God will bless you and give you great victory in this law suit you are in.

Jan. 24, 2000

I converted to the church just two years ago, mostly like you said I believe I converted not because I totally believed in the church, I just liked what I heard. My husband was raised in the church for the most part and I am getting information to give to him and hoping he will find, as I have that the church cannot possibly be true.

I look forward to hearing from you and wish you all the luck with your lawsuit.

Jan. 24, 2000

There does seem to be a natural inclination to secrecy amongst Mormons. How often have we been told in Mormon doublespeak that their temple ceremonies are "sacred not secret"? ... The church, through its Intellectual Reserve Inc. that holds the rights to its intellectual property, sued [Utah Lighthouse Ministry] in October alleging copyright infringement.

In an official statement Sandra Tanner said:

"As a non-profit organization concerned with providing clear and accurate information to people desiring to terminate their LDS membership, we posted this material [from the LDS handbook] free on our web site. We believe we were acting in compliance with the copyright laws."

The church countered however with a statement from Berne S. Broadbent, copyright attorney for IR Inc:

"While some have tried to portray this as an access to information matter, it is simply a property rights issue. Copyright materials are property and we are entitled to, and in fact obligated to, protect our property."

He went on to explain that:

"people have access to the information contained in the Handbook from a number of sources. It is not secret information. However it is copyrighted and the illegal use of this material is much like someone reprinting a copyrighted book for their own use without the author or publisher's permission.."

Interested in finding out how accessible this information really is we rang the Birmingham Distribution Centre for the Mormon Church in the UK.

Our enquiry was passed on to a charming man who informed us that we could not have a copy of the Handbook, that it was available only to bishops, stake presidents and elder's quorum presidents, who have to hand them back when they step down from office. Restrictions are stringent, he told us, with even members of the stake high council not having ready access to the Handbook. He further informed us that the church had to be very careful that it didn't get into the "wrong hands".

When we asked him who on earth he could mean he told us in what seemed a tone of considerable disgust, "apostate people".

I suppose it depends on your definition of "secret" but Webster's third New International Dictionary gives one definition of secret as:

"something kept from the knowledge of others, concealed as one's private knowledge, or shared only confidentially with a few persons."

But then, in the true spirit of Mormonism one might say, what would Webster's know?

Jan. 24, 2000

I believe that it is fear of being exposed that is keeping this court case alive. If there is nothing objectionable in the material, then why are they screaming about it?

There is no money made from this material, by them. They do not sell it, so what exactly is copyrighted and how in the world could they be compensated for infringement, when there was never any expectation of profits in the first place.

I guess I am really confused by this action and must in all fairness consider it an outright attack against the Tanners for their attempt to bring forth the truth.

Jan. 25, 2000

My, I find it so ironic in this day when so many people are clamouring for freedom of speech, and yet when something like this comes along and an organization doesnt want their material printed for the public to see, I would say that that group has somethig to hide. We out here in the midwest will continue to pray that God, the True God of this universe. will have His way, and man will not. God Bless you folks in your work to bring Truth to light.

Jan. 26, 2000

Sandra, I believe that this lawsuit is greatly motivated by the fact the 2002 winter olympics are around the corner and many people and media from all over the world will be in SLC and will leave after that with a good or bad opinion of mormonism.Obviously,the LDS hierachy and public relations department hate Utah Lighthouse Ministry and see it as thorn in their side and are also preparing in other ways, such as the desicion [to] buy the SLC main street for 8 million. The LDS hierachy and pr department must be confident they can destroy UTLM in time for the 2002 winter olympics. They do not want vistors gaining information on mormonism from your bookstore. I become more convinced of this fact everyday.

Jan. 27, 2000

Praise the Lord! The Utah Lighthouse Ministry is doing an awesome job. I praise the Lord for the wonderful gift of witnessing that he has given to you wonderful, Godsend people to share the truth with so many people, saved and unsaved.

I love the book of James, the part I believe applies most to me right now at this time in my life is the first chapter. Count it all joy when you go through diverse trials and tribulations because those build patience and faith. Your doings have certainly built mine. I will continue to pray for the organization, its founders and employees. Praise the Lord!!!! Hebrews 11:1

Jan. 31, 2000

I just read the e-mail you posted for January and came across the one from the former missionary to Brazil [Jan. 5]. I also have been a lifelong member of the church and served a mission to Brazil.

I have read a number of your works as well as official LDS works and some more academic items (Dialogue and Sunstone types of articles - among others).

I find your standards of scholarship to be quite high and your honesty in dealing with LDS issues to be equally high.

The criticisms that do not deal with specific issues and put forth evidence in support of an alternative interpretation are quite beside the point and baseless.

I pray that reason will prevail in the courts and that the current trend against you will be reversed. Your work is important.

Jan. 31, 2000

I think it is a crime what they (the mormon church) is trying to do. It is another attempt to hide information from it's member. Hopefully this affair will backfire and alert more members to what is going on.

... "a mormon on his way out"

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