July 1, 2000
Dear Jerald and Sandra,
After a long absence I visited your website again last week. It has really grown. You two are angels in my opinion. Although I discovered Utah Lighthouse Ministry after I had left the church, the materials you offer and share with the world have helped reinforce my beliefs about the LDS church. I had not heard about the court case until I visited your site. I live in Denver, Colorado now so "church" news doesn't travel this far. In my opinion, the whole thing is silly. It looks to me as if the church is trying to put you wonderful people out of business. If they can drag this case on long enough they probably think that eventually you will run out of money and have to close down shop. I sincerely hope that doesn't happen. I wish I had money I could send you. I personally appreciate and applaud the service you provide to the public. In my opinion, you two are the "Saints" in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Keep up the good work,
[Sandra's Note: The ministry is doing fine. We have had enough donations to cover the legal fees to the present. We are still trying to negotiate a settlement with the LDS Church. Stay tuned, we will post any breakthroughs.]
July 1, 2000
Hello. I was looking at sites re: mormonism and recognized your names, the Tanners, from a book I'm reading: The Mormon Murders. I am a Christian and am fascinated with the cult-like workings of mormonism; I've never deeply looked into it before but am now - not for my own conversion, but for learning as much about it as I can! The Lord be with you in your battle; what courage He must provide you to do what you do in Salt Lake City!
P.S. What's with the special underwear???? I can't find ANYTHING on that!!
[Sandra's Note: When a Mormon goes through the temple for the first time they go through an initiation rite where they are ceremonially anointed with oil and water and start wearing the special Mormon underwear. For a man it is a white undershirt and briefs with legs to the knees. For a woman it is a camisole top and nylon panties with legs to the knee. On the breast of both the menís garment and the womanís garment are small embroidery stitches that form an L and a V. These represent the compass and square. After they put on the garment they dress in white clothes with a green apron. The men wear a funny shaped hat, the women wear a veil for the ceremony, which includes learning special handshakes and passwords that they need to know in order to get in to the highest LDS heaven. All missionaries and good Mormons that have gone through the temple wear the LDS undergarment . They are buried in the special clothes they wear during the temple ritual. We tell about the garments in our book, Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.]
July 1, 2000
Subject: LDS Ax Grinder
You had me going for a while, Tanner, thinking you might have had a valid point, or two, about Mormonism. After I read your own written account and testimony, it started to make perfect sense to me about your hurt feelings and the Church. Your wife's parents and the ex-boyfriend didn't care much about you either, all for very good reason, so I don't think you were capable of recovering from the deep wounds and severe rejection. Also, your uninvited attendance at the meeting with Elder Le Grande Richards and your wife, gives you plenty of motive for wanting to even the score and satisfy your feelings of bitterness and hatred aimed at the leadership of the Church.
J.P.Morgan once made the statement I think fits your mode of thinking. He said, "People usually have a good reason for the things they do and then there's the real reason." You have been exposed pal and I will be a critic of you from now on. You make it easy to explain your position, using the words from your own account, why you fight the LDS Church and print lie after lie. Some of the claims you make are so totally false it makes you look very foolish and absurd. I take comfort, knowing for every weak person you might draw away, a thousand or more will find the truth and join with us. God bless our missionaries! So I say, let God be your judge and hold you accountable for your every word. Non-LDS people just don't seem to care.
July 1, 2000
I was baptised a Mormon in July 1981. Within two months, I left the church (after reading your material). I then spent a year... studying at a... divinity school. There, I found Jesus (or better saidJesus found me). I have, however, had since then many relapses that have included: 1) feeling attracted to the Mormon church again, 2) feeling that if my Mormon testimony was indeed false, then all religious stirrings I have are probably false, 3) falling into complete spiritual death during which time I've found myself focusing only on work, getting involved in sexual promiscuity, etc.
When I joined the Mormon church, I thought absolutely that Joseph Smith was a prophet and the Book of Mormon is of God. The feelings were so strong, my testimony so great. How could I have been deceived? Do you find many former LDS people who are on this kind of roller-coaster? Any suggestions?
Thank you for being there,
[Sandra's Note: You would probably benefit from reading "Out of the Cults and Into the Church." The author discusses these very types of problems people often have after leaving a controlling cult. Your experience is typical to former LDS, former Jehovah Witnesses and former Moonies.]
July 1, 2000
Subject: TANNERS AGAINST THE LDS CHURCH
Are you crazy? You must be nuts to take on the LDS Church or it's leaders. If you don't agree with what the LDS Church is or does, walk away, leave it alone. The Church is bigger than the both of you. Making slanderous public statements about the Church or its leaders will only cause others to resent you, not to mention legal problems. I'm not telling you anything that you don't already know...Just because you don't think Joseph Smith was a true prophet, doesn't necessarily make it so. Your life must be "a Living Hell."
Set your ego aside and get away from it. Life is too short for you to try and prove or disprove Mormonism. God will not hate you for being kind to other people, even if they do not deserve it. Allow the LDS people to believe what they want--it's their Constitutional right! If you print one false statement about the Church, you are burnt toast... I do not envy you in anyway! Your obsession, attacking the Church will only cause you pain, suffering and sorrow! Some people I suppose are content with living a misery filled life...You are, or will be, crazy before it's all done! Elder Le Grande Richard's was right! You shouldn't have started anything!
July 1, 2000
Subject: Thoughts and testimonies
My experience in the LDS Church and culture (like all things in my life I suppose) has been rich with positive and negative aspects. I am a 5th generation Mormon whose family sacrificed and also received much for and from the Church since the days soon after Nauvoo. We have been comprised of devout temple recommended missionaries and skeptics from the early days in the Great Basin until the present day (June 30, 2000) The skeptics (all of them members, by the way) always held forth at reunions, etc., on the subjects of polygamy, polytheism, racism and secrecy regarding the temple rites- of which none of these doctrines was made very clear to the general membership until around 1852. The General Authorities' forbidding of scholarship in that rich treasure trove we call the archives only served to further vex tortured but pure souls.
Brother and Sister Tanner's work is a much needed window and an island of integrity in an otherwise secret and gray world. I have not always appreciated the tone or the form of the work, but the scholastic integrity is unsurpassed. Gerald and Sandra are a special blessing from the Lord.
Though I now experience worship of our Lord, Jesus Christ, in a more orthodox setting as an Episcopalian than I did as a small boy at LDS sacrament meetings, I still perceive that all of us are more or less sub-Christian in our daily walks with the Saviour. And while I concur with those who describe "Mormon doctrine" as sub-Christian, let me please assert to readers of this web-site that many, MANY LDS PEOPLE are not! It was 156 years ago last Tuesday since the Smith's brothers' tragic and dastardly murder. Much has happened within the subculture which has its genesis in that shameful event. To those sincere Christian people who would bring Mormons to Christ, let me gently remind you that the individual Mormon(s) you may have in mind are as likely as not much more orthodox in their individual beliefs than the official teachings of the Mormon Church. Use the Tanners' work with abandon yet judiciously in LOVE!
God bless you both, Gerald and Sandra. You are an underappreciated gift to the LDS, but your reverence for and publication of the truth is of immeasurable worth for generations to come. It is the TRUE "Pearl of Great Price" to be found in our shared history as LDS.
July 3, 2000
...I would like you to know that I have turned from the Lds religion recently and have turned to the true Jesus Christ who saves. Been reading your site for quite sometime. May you continue in your ministry to the lost ones held prisoner by the lds. Thank you.
July 3, 2000
Subject: mormon temple changes
I am aware that you are willing to entertain "different" points of view other than your own. I think you are missing the key element that is much more of a fundamental failure of the Mormons, throughout all their history, than the "window dressing" you list. This failure is reflected in all aspects of the Mormon society and is common knowledge among them. In fact most deny that it has any validity in their religion. This is the "law of consecration", which is 'the' covenant they make in the temples. If you want a hot debate among the Mormons just bring up that subject and stand back from the heat. Joseph Smith and Brigham Young both failed to convence their followers to live this 'law'. I've been waiting for the accommodation, by the general leadership, to the membership's intense disregard towards this principle of the 'restored' gospel, and the covenants removal from the temple ceremony. Your harranging the Mormons about their current and historical inconsistancies, inorder to discredit their perspective on Joseph Smith and his claim to devine revelation, (though it seems to serve your needs to express your self in this manner) is in no way as devistating, to the Mormons, as this lack of desire, on their part, to live this 'law'. The apostasy of any group to an 'ideal way of living' is in direct relation to the size of the group. The larger the group, the less likley the members are to conform their lives to the 'ideal' way, (for wide is the way and broad the gate and many there be that go in there at). Anyone who lives their lives, without devine revelation (varifiable between themselves and the Deity), is just guessing. Having a group, of guessers, surrounding one, though providing some social comfort, doesn't change the fundamentals at all, even if they number in the millions.
July 3, 2000
Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Wednesday, June 21, 2000
We hereby request the removal of membership records of our family from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, including: _____ _____ _____. We request that any Church-prescribed waiting period be waived, and that this request be processed immediately, as our decision is unalterable. We request that the term 'excommunication' not be used in any correspondence concerning this matter, as we are voluntarily leaving the LDS church, and we do not wish to be the subject of any unnecessary conversation or innuendo among LDS members. We wish our friends and family in the LDS church to know that we leave not because of people or personalities, or "sin" on our part, but solely because we have come to the conclusion, after years of study and experience, that the LDS church is not as it claims to be, "the only true church of Jesus Christ." Our research has discovered that there are major conflicts and contradictions in official versions of the origins of the LDS church--Joseph Smith's purported "first vision," the origin of The Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, and other writings and claims. We have sadly learned that the LDS church engages in a continuing campaign to redact, revise, and delete embarrassing details of Mormon history which, if known, tell a different, but more truthful story of the true origins and nature of the church. We have been dismayed to learn the details of such teachings as polygamy, blood atonement, the 'Adam/God' doctrine, the 'curse of Cain' doctrine, the origin of temple rites and the revision of same, and the unequal treatment of women; and in order to maintain the church's self-claimed 'divine origin,' the church's leaders and apologists intentionally omit facts on these subjects from church literature. A favorite LDS hymn reads "I believe in being honest"; the LDS temple recommend interview requires applicants to be "honest in your dealings with your fellow man." We are disappointed that the church as an institution is unwilling to exercise that same degree of honesty which it requires of its individual members. We note that the LDS church has continually revised its teachings in order to align itself with modern mainstream Christianity, for the purpose of drawing in more potential converts. We believe that this fact alone belies the church's claim of being "guided by God in every footstep," and of being "the only true and living church." We feel that the LDS church cannot be a viable member of the Christian community unless and until it publicly disavows its questionable origins and former teachings, and eliminates current teachings and practices which we believe to be unChristian and unscriptural.
For these reasons, we hereby resign our memberships in the LDS church.
July 5, 2000
Above is a quote from the Salt Lake Tribune Article regarding the rising incidence of teen suicides in Utah. My husband and I and a few others got a really good laugh from this quote. It shows the general mentality of the typical Utahn. I can't believe a reputable newspaper used a quote like this. It's comments like these that show just how mind-numbing the effects of the LDS church are. It has the average Utahn totally incapable of dealing with the fact that they are not the "best" or "most wonderful" in the world. (It's also obvious that the person who made the comment hasn't spent much time in New York.--It's a state dummy, not just a city!!)
Thanks for the laugh!!
July 5, 2000
I first saw your website a couple of months ago. I am an English ex-Mormon and was in the church for several years. The church here is a very different beast from that in Utah. Itís still mostly converts and the base knowledge of Mormon History is sparse. For example, I had heard of polygamy, but assumed it was only associated with the salt lake years. I was in the church for nearly a year before I found out that Joseph Smith had instituted polygamy. There are just so many things that are kept from members (in the hope that eventually they will be forgotten?)
These days the church is - basically - a nice family centred institution, It does some fine overseas charity work but it has no basis as Gods one true restored church. The testimony is a sham, which relies on vague warm feelings to overcome History and common sense. The only thing that can overcome this pernicious sham is knowledge and truth. I admire your mission to disseminate both.
July 5, 2000
I thank the Lord for your ministry and continue to pray for you. I'd like to respond to the e-mail you received on Jun 25. The author stated you and your followers were full of hatred, although i see nowhere in your website anything about hatred or hating someone else. What I do see is you fulfilling the Great Commision of Jesus to preach the truth. Also pointing out false prophets and false christs, just as Paul warned us to beware of. The author of the e-mail stated a few statements that God would ask of us when we "get to the other side". I'd like to ask this person where they got those specific statements from. I don't see them anywhere in the Bible, and I have read mine many times. God wouldn't ask if we had followed the commandments since Jesus took care of that at the cross. Actually, God doesn't have to ask us anything; He already knows what we've done. The Bible does say many will get to Heaven and say "haven't I done these thing in your name, cast out demons, etc in your name" and to which Jesus will reply " Depart from me, I never knew you". Mormons should take a hard look and decide how they will answer this. This letter has nothing to do with hate. It has more to do with helping them see the light and come to know Jesus Christ as their personal saviour.
Love in Christ,
July 6, 2000
How can I find out if my name is officially recorded in the Mormon Records? I almost joined the church last year. I was not baptised, but I did sign the form during the entrance interview.
[Sandra's Note: Try calling the LDS Membership Records Dept. at 801-240-3500. They can answer your question.]
July 7, 2000
This one is for Sandra.
Hi, my name is _____ ______ and I came and visited you today with my pastor _____ ______ and my friend _____. I just wanted to thank you for the time you gave us today and the cause you've dedicated yourself to. The LDS church is a formidable power and I'm glad there are people like you out there on the front lines keeping that power in check and bringing people to understanding and truth. I've had quite an experience with the LDS church these past few months and the books you've put out have helped me realize the deceit tied in with the church. It's nice to know that you're on my side of this spiritual battle. Once again, thanks for your time and I hope to talk to you again soon, it was awesome.
July 7, 2000
Subject: wanting membership removed from lds church
...i have requested my name to be removed from the roles of the mormon church about 2 months ago. I have not heard anything back from the bishop. I do not know what happens past this point. My 26 years as a Mormom was a dark tunnel groped with deception, lies, and untruths. The facet that scared me is I met so many Mormons with paranoia or schizophrania.... My life as a Mormon was tragic. I married an elder, who thought baby rearing was all that a woman was for. He took his life 10 years after we were married, leaving me with 6 children ages 9,8,7,6,4, and 2. At the time of his suicide, the bishop and relief society president told me if there was no money in an estate they were to foster the kids out. I was scared, but my dad had connections, and what he told the bishop helped my cause. The mormon church is very deceptive with the missionary tactics they play to the public, and the cause of the church is not community based. i attest to this owing to others my age who have left the church to find solace in the Lord Jesus Christ. this is the one person a visitor does not hear much.
[Sandra's Note: When the Bishop receives a letter from a member stating they want their name removed, he has to wait 30 days before finalizing the action. It has been enough time for him to complete this. Write a letter and ask him to send you a letter stating that, in fact, your membership has been terminated as you instructed.]
July 7, 2000
First let me tell you how much I appreciate your site. My brother-in-law converted to Mormonism about 2 years ago, and I have since spent much time researching Mormonism in an attempt to regain his (and his wife's) soul for Christ. Keep up the good work.
My question unfortunately may never be answered this side of heaven, but I am interested in your opinion nonetheless. What was Joseph Smith's motivation in creating the Mormon church? Was he in earnest about his beliefs or was he knowingly perpetrating a hoax?
Thank you and God Bless.
[Sandra's Note: He had to know he was making up the Book of Mormon and his visions. As to the reason, it may have started out to unify his own home. His father wouldn't join any church, his mother joined the Presbyterians, he himself favored the Methodists. When his brother Alvin died in 1823 the minister at the funeral inferred that Alvin went to hell. Did Smith invent baptism for the dead to 'save' Alvin? He also had been a money digger and medium. Didn't make much money at it. His future father-in-law objected to his line of work (or lack of work) and Joseph and Emma eloped. Did he turn to finding a religious gold book as a step up from his looking for buried treasure? All possible.]
July 7, 2000
Subject: Time Lost
I stumbled across your web site today and spent several hours reading some of your ideas. I have come to the conclusion that you both have wasted huge amounts of time and energy to try and prove your points. I commend you on being so passionate about your ideas, but after 40 years of church growth that you've seen, it should be clear that 11 million people are not following a fraud. How sad that you've wasted most of your lives trying to prove the world is flat. You could have done so much with that time.
July 8, 2000
Do you have an e-mail newsletter I can receive? I am a Mormon convert of three years, but I am becoming increasingly disenchanted with the Mormon Church and what it stands for. Any help or advice from you is appreciated. In Christ,
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. It is always good to hear from another Mormon who is reexamining the LDS claims. You will find a ton of info at on our site, if you haven't been there yet. We do not send the newsletter by email. We do post the Salt Lake City Messenger about the time we send it out through regular mail. God bless you as you continue your search for truth.]
July 11, 2000
I am what you would call a disillusioned Mormon. I have served in many capacities, including seminary teacher here in California, but can no longer tolerate the excuses anymore. In looking at the history of polygamy I am perplexed by one thought. I have tried to do some research but have yet to find it. I figure that you probably know the answer. I have always been under the understanding that polygamy as explained by the church is a celestial law and that it was a temple ceremony so obviously it can only be performed in the temple. But from what I can see Joseph Smith was married to these women before he was ever sealed to them. In doing further research I question whether some of these women were even members of the church at the time they were married to Joseph or in the case of these men who married the so called lamanites. If you could let me know what the churches reasoning was or explanation as to why it was not first performed in the temple I would appreciate it. Keep up the good work.
[Sandra's Note: Smith started polygamy before the Nauvoo temple was built, so those marriages could not have been done in the temple. The book In Sacred Loneliness by Compton deals with the time and place of Smith's various plural marriages. See also Mormon Polygamy: A History by Van Wagoner.]
July 12, 2000
When will Mormons come to the truth and see that their step by step, rung by rung, perfect we become salvation is demonic. It is the same old pagan belief that makes up the body of most religions. All things are trivia until a person knows and understands Jesus when he said the greatest commandment was "Hear ye Israel, the Lord thy God is ONE."
Dear Mormon, stop bearing your testimony and start studying the facts. Know the truth and the truth will set you free. Shed the shackles of the Mormon faith because it will pull you down to eternal death. Their is no greater sin than the concept of taking God's power and Priesthood and making them your own. Stop giving the Mormon church Your religious power of attorney.
Turn to Christ. He will take you home and love you for eternity without the authority of some religious organization....
July 15, 2000
Subject: CONSPIRACY AGAINST JOSEPH SMITH JR.
We in Zion know that the LDS are covering up the conspiracy!!!! A new Zionistic movement is starting at the Church of Christ Temple Lot. First Vision: Joseph Smith Jr. only saw the Lord Jesus Christ, the Eternal Father.
The early Church leadership is responsible for the conspiracy. Joseph Smith Jr. was the last prophet. John the Apostle is next prophet.
July 15, 2000
What is your 'take' on the following article?:
...it's from the Saturday, July 8 issue of the Des News.
An acquaintance of mine (who is going thru the process of being removed from church rolls, unrelated to this matter) is so incensed about it (as am I) that she has sent a message to_the_church_, with scripture and literary references, to point out just how wrong it is to kill defenseless animals for sport. The fact that the church apparently condones such behavior and is proud to admit to it is disgraceful.
July 15, 2000
Subject: Brazil a booming mormon mission
Today I just talked to our missionary from Brazil, and he tells me of all the lds missionaries that are working there. Tomorow I will give him a copy of Shadow or Reality and this net address. I hope that this can be used to strengthen his work and protect his congregation, as the lds church is a great threat in South America and Central America. Thank you again for all your hard work and will order more copies of shadow or reality later.
July 15, 2000
The Mormons have done a great job of making themselves out as the poor little picked on church that all the mean bad other religions and people just keep picking on. They write in this forum showing nothing but ridiculous emotion they have had programmed into their minds from going to testimony meetings from the day they were born. I can here the chant now--I know this church is true and and joseph was a prophet. It gets tiresome. I have gone to meetings where JESUS Name is not mentioned at all. Here is a church that claims that all other religions are false. Any religion that does not come from Joe is of the devil, and anyone that is not a mormon is lost and without hope of redemption. It is as if they can say and do anything and it is just fine, but God forbid you even question their doctrines because you are ANTI MORMON! Forget Anti and start thinking PRO. PRO-TRUTH. People have a right to the truth. The factual truth as evidenced by the work of Sandra and many others.
I want the truth I seek the truth I DEMAND the truth. Mormons are not getting the truth. They are working on feelings. I got a news for you. Feelings Don't cut it. I will not gamble with feelings when it comes to my eternal salvation. So when the facts showed that Mormonism is a demonic lie I did not need to pray about it. I ran as fast and far away as I could and tried to warn as many others as possible so not to loose my brothers and sisters to eternal grief.
Mormons, please look at the facts. The church was never lost. The gates of hell did not prevail. Grace is the way. Forget your becoming perfect. You can not do it. The Lord is perfect he can cover your sin and present you to the father perfected in his spirit. When you stand at the great judgment will the Lord take your hand and say father he is a believer I take his hand and he is mine. I will be his Lord for eternity, or will you pull out your list of good works you think will impress the lord as if you expect God to say "WOW LOOK AT ALL YOU HAVE DONE HOW COULD I KEEP YOU OUT? I can see Christ was a fool to waste his time dying on that cross for you. You are so good so perfect come on in I can't keep you out."
Think about it my Mormon friend. If you can work and become perfect it is your glory not Christ's. Do you really believe you can stand up to God's scrutiny???
July 16, 2000
Subject: thank you
I am now a 50 year old man...when I was a teen-ager, the Mormon Missionaries came to my small town in Tennessee. I joined the LDS Church. I moved to Utah. That experience is one for which I am so thankful because I had my eyes opened. I left the LDS church...knowing at that young age that it was all a charade. I am now a devout Catholic. Although I know you are [Protestant] fundamentalist, I want to thank you for your unrelenting pursuit of truth. I wish you had been around when I was so gullible. I hope you continue your work and wish you well in that pursuit.
July 27, 2000
It is an assumption that there was ever a period of time when Christ's church was not present in this world. It is a simple commission of a logical fallacy involving absence of proof. When there is no proof, one can assume anything but prove nothing. It is upon this premise that the entire LDS church is founded, an assumption. If there are no golden plates then one cannot PROVE the Book of Mormon ever existed before Joseph Smith. One can only assume. My faith is based upon more than an assumption. Faith without facts is simply being naive.
July 27, 2000
For the last almost two years my family has been involved in sexual abuse case involving my oldest daughter and her grandfather, a former director of the Manti Pageant in Manti, Utah. A trial was finally held in June in St. George, Utah. What we experienced at that trial was so devastating to us, that to this day I cannot wipe out of my mind the events and the "should haves" of what approach the attorney for the state should have taken. At this point I'm not sure it would have mattered, given the bias and untruths in that courtroom.
My daughter was sexually abused by her paternal grandfather for approximately 2-3 yrs (12-15 yrs. old). At the time the abuse was occurring my daughter was living with her father in Utah. Her grandfather is very well known in the church, having spent his entire career as a teacher in the church educational system, singing in his earlier years in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and most recently as the director of the Manti Pageant in Manti, Utah for approx. 10 years. During the time the abuse was occurring my daughter did not tell anyone because she knew no one would believe her. She certainly could not confide in her father because he has his own issues for which he has never been held accountable for in the church including not paying child support, fathering 2 illegitimate children and having four marriages.
After my daughter came back to Ohio to live with me and about a year later, she confided in my what happened to her by her grandfather. At the same time, my ex-husband had left his third wife and her children and the youngest daughter (8 yrs.) was experiencing nightmares. The nightmares were attributed to my ex-husband's increasingly physical and emotional outbursts leading up to his departure. When my daughter confided in me what had happened, of course, I was shocked beyond belief. Just as my daughter had believed herself....I never would have thought her grandfather capable of such abuse. However, I believed her wholeheartedly and I knew she was telling the truth. Given some thought back on past events with my ex-husband the abuse did not seem so out of place. Immediately, authorities in Utah and Ohio were contacted and the process began to bring him to accountability. Thus, began months and months of interviews and waiting.
When I brought this abuse to the attention of the ex-wife of my ex-husband, there was shock and concern because her youngest daughter during the time of the marriage was left alone innocently on many occasions with the grandfather. By this time her daughter was receiving counseling for the nightmares as well. Of course, this concern was brought to the counselor's attention and over the course of a few weeks, it was revealed that this child was abused as well. In addition my youngest daughter when gently asked if there had ever been inappropriate touching, confided that grandfather had tried to go down her panties, but she stopped him.
The state of Utah took on this case and brought it to trial this last June. For the state to have taken on this case, the abuse stated by my daughter must have been believable. Keep in mind, that my daughter willingly took a polygraph test and passed and the grandfather repeatedly refusing to take one. Keep in mind as well is that the county attorney for Sanpete County in Manti did not pursue these accusations and we can only speculate that it was because of the grandfather's prominence in the church in that part of Utah. Abuse did occur within that county, but was not pursued. Originally charged with 5 counts of varying sexual abuse charges, the charges were reduced to 3, with my oldest daughter's experiences being the ones he would be tried on.
I wondered from the very beginning what kind of defense my ex-father-in-law would have. He, of course denied any wrongdoing and yet, admitted that something happened. There are many circumstances I won't get into here, but the jest was, he knew what he did, but he was not going to admit it easily. My two biggest fears were #1 there would be a jury of LDS people who would not believe that the grandfather could be capable of such abuse based on his activity in the church and #2 that someone the family would blame me and say I put my daughter up to this.
What happened next was devastating in it's nature and totally appalling in a court of law. The trial consisted of a 8 person jury (5 women and 3 men). The defense used the argument that I was a vindictive ex-wife who put her daughter up to saying these horrible things about the grandfather to some how get back at my ex-husband. Let me assure that I am not bitter or vindictive at all. My ex-husband, his sister, his mother and his father were the witnesses for the defense. Every single one of them lied on the witness stand to events and circumstances that I have written documentation to dispute it all. The prosecuting attorney did not want to turn this into a bitter divorce trial for fear of steering the jury away from the facts of the case (like the O.J. Simpson case). Therefore, I did not get on the stand to counter any untruths that were said. However, I truly believe had the prosecution tried to put me on the stand, the defense would have argued against that, based on my overhearing and seeing a confrontation between the two attorneys. I sat in that courtroom incredulous to the fact that first, the judge would allow such accusations to be said and brought up in light of an abuse case and second, that supposedly good members of the church would lie so blatantly in a court of law. They were covering up for their father and husband and yet, these are supposed to be good members of the church. Keep in mind, that I had numerous people there in the court with me who knew the truth and that lies were being told. My own attorney who has handled my numerous attempts over the years to get child support was supportive and knew they were lying. After two days and less than an hour of deliberation, the jury found him not guilty. One of my fears were realized in that the defense did say horrible things about me and apparently the jury believed it. Of course, the grandfather and family were overjoyed with the verdict. The only thing my family and loved ones could think "now, a known pedophile is free to continue to abuse children and hide behind the church."
Of course, my daughter was devastated by the verdict. This case was never about vindictiveness or hatred. In fact, both my daughter and myself had stated on more than one occasion that we did not necessarily want to see the grandfather put in jail, but to get the help he needed in order to prevent him from abusing the other grandchildren. My daughter was also fearful that there had already been other cousins of hers abused, but who were too afraid to come forward.
A week later the attorney for the state called our home to ask if we had seen the newspaper reports. By this time we were back in Ohio and had not seen them. Of course, the articles were filled with untrue statements provided by the defense attorney in behalf of the grandfather. The attorney then went on to tell me that he wanted to reassure me that he did not believe that the jury found him not guilty based on the picture that was painted of me being a vindictive ex-wife. The attorney had spoken with the bailiff in charge of the jury during deliberation. Several of the jurors were overheard by this bailiff making the comments "I can't believe with 'his' church service that he could do that" or "he looks just like a bishop." Therefore, the attorney believes that my other fear was realized in that there would be a jury who allowed their religious beliefs to overshadow the truth.
I learned several things about our judicial system and most especially about justice and our LDS beliefs. I learned, first of all, that perjury is hardly ever tried. I naively assumed that if a person takes an oath to tell the truth and doesn't, then they are held accountable for that. Well, that isn't the case. I've been told that many people lie on the witness stand every day. I guess I naively assumed as well that as an LDS person, the truth would be told, but then, thinking about the grandfather--his and his family's only defense was to lie and make someone else look bad in order to save him from a conviction. Second, I learned that there are still people in our church that blindly believe that because a person attends church on Sunday, fulfills a church calling and attends temple sessions, that they are living a honorable life. How wrong that belief can be. For years I have endured the knowledge of knowing that my ex-husband attended church, taught priesthood lessons and even attended the temple, knowing that his actions were not what he would lead people to believe. In fact, the Sunday before the trial, my ex-husband stood up in priesthood class and spoke at great length on integrity (as told to me by my attorney who is in his ward) and yet, turns around and lies on the witness stand to protect his father and his family's reputation. What was even harder at times to endure was the knowledge that his bishops had knowledge although at times limited knowledge on some of my ex-husband's actions and did nothing to hold him accountable. I think of him now being on his fourth marriage and wonder if only he had been held accountable for past behavior there wouldn't be another innocent, but "desperate to marry" woman with children getting hurt. Now, knowing his father is also getting away with absolutely horrible behavior is devastating to say the least.
In time, with counseling, my daughter will heal and in the meantime, we continue to think of our blessings and have the faith that in the eternities all things are held accountable.
I have to admit that my faith is not as strong as it should be and that I have been quite disillusioned by the actions of some church leaders in regards to the treatment of my ex-husband and now, with the outcome of the trial. I find it hard to believe that in a church where family and most especially the role a father plays in the lives of his children is stressed so highly, that my ex-husband could get away with some of the things he has over the years. Where was the accountability? Who called me or my attorney to verify that my ex-husband was really paying child support and being a good father and friend to me? Why didn't a bishop counsel against marrying so many times so quickly? Is it because the church places such emphasis on marriage and family that a single woman would impulsively marry in order to be righteous and faithful? Is that why my ex-husband was so successful immediately after his divorce from his third wife, that he could place himself out on a internet dating site used mainly by LDS people and find a new wife? He could lie about his behavior, his children and his past marriages and the unsuspecting new wife didn't know any different because no bishop ever told her otherwise.
I am glad I had the opportunity to share my story with you....
July 28, 2000
Subject: You are a great inspiration!
Dear Mr & Mrs Tanner,
Thanks for being a light in such a dark religion. I know you have gone through great lengths to bring so much information out into the open. I am not Mormon, but I do have friends who are. I have been researching Mormonism for the past couple of years. I'm not sure why, but God has given me a burden for Mormons. I try to witness to them, any chance I get. I have a couple of your books. They are great! I talk to Jim and Judy Robertson once and while. They are very helpful also. I have been corresponding with a young girl (18 or 19) who has been going to a LDS church for the past year. She really enjoys the friendships she has there and also the church services. She told me she feels the closest to God at this LDS church. (She was raised Christian) She feels strongly that she would like to be baptized into the church, but I can tell she still has doubts. I have given her much of your information and also Biblical information. Her mother is asking her to wait another six months before she gets baptized to make sure this is what she wants. Do you have any suggestions on how I can help her? Keep up the awesome work! I will be praying for you.
July 30, 2000
My parents are ex mormons having been excommunicated. They have told me many of these truths you share. Many of my family is still mormon. I pray that someday they will see the truth that all they need is Jesus to be saved.
Thanks for all your work and knowledge. Your article made me want to tell everyone so they aren't fooled.
July 28, 2000
I left the mormon church in May and am finally starting to feel okay about my decision. I know Mormonism was wrong. I was in very deep. The missionaries keep stopping by to talk with me and I was wondering what I should do? They are nice and I don't want to be rude, but on the other hand, they are very persistant.
July 28, 2000
Subject: The Bad Tempered Missionaries
This morning I received a package of newsletters and information from your ministry. I sought help from you after my daughter was baptized into Mormonism. It had seemed that I had waited a long time for my package but it's arrival could not have been more timely. The missionaries arrived on my doorstep this evening. Worn out by the hot weather and tired, the two young men were not in good spirits and quickly became agitated. I was told that that I would be punished by god for my opinion that Mormonism was not the true religion. As they beat their hasty retreat, I suggested that they had forgotten to give me my free copy of the book of Mormon. They fished in their bags, produced a copy and handed it to me, asking that I read it and pray about it. I said that, although I had already read the book, I would accept their gift and reciprocated by giving them all the literature that you had sent me that day. I asked that they read it with an open mind and heart. I hope that they keep their promise to do so.