August 2001 Part 1
Aug. 1, 2001
...Thank YOU!!! ...The deeper I get into these issues, the more I see the complexity of the Maze of Mormonism....
Aug. 2, 2001
Subject: What a Great website.!!!
May God Bless You. I pray for your ministry and others who show the Light of God and the Truth of his sonJesus Christ, and the freedom and liberty of His Love. ( I used to live in southern Idaho, which I believe is about 46% LDS.) Today I lift up those whom I know to belong to that organization in prayer, that God would have mercy on them and they would be drawn to the truth--Jesus Christ.
Aug. 3, 2001
Subject: Thank you so much.
Dear Tanners, I want to thank you for your continued work in sharing the Gospel of Christ with Mormons. I have been on your newsletter mailing list for almost ten years -- since, as a teenager, I was confronted by a Mormon classmate at college and asked about my faith.
I have since been able to use your materials, research and exegesis of Scripture to witness to three other Mormons who have corresponded with me via e-mail. Until today, it had been about six years since I had heard from a Mormon, but the Lord has just dropped a new witnessing opportunity in my lap. Today I received a long letter from a young woman who has been corresponding with me from Utah for two years. I had thought she was a Christian until the letter before this one (when I began to suspect she might be a Mormon), but her latest letter removes all doubts. She just completed a pilgrimage to Nauvoo, Illinois, and wrote to share her love of Mormonism and her "faith." I know the Lord has opened this door so that I might proclaim the true Gospel. Since it has been so long, I needed to brush up on my research into Mormonism, and I promptly logged on to your website and began reading.
What a wealth of information is here! Your print newsletters have always been helpful, but I find the website 100 times greater, because of all the back issues and other resources available at the click of a mouse. I know you have come under persecution for your bold stance against Mormonism, but I just want to encourage you to continue contending for the faith in this important area. I would also like to ask your prayers for the young woman with whom I am corresponding. I will be composing a response to her letter this weekend, drawing from Scripture and your materials to present Mormonism in its true (false!) light. ...she is apparently a most devout Mormon. I would ask your prayers for her salvation and also for my testimony -- that it may be seasoned with humility and grace. Fight the good fight!
Aug. 3, 2001
well lets start with your symbolism, you have no clue ar idea what you are talking about, not a single peice of text you have about what the church beleive's in any way is right, (by the way you get most of your information from other people not your own research you are a pledgerist and i can prove it (want to go to court?).
you are not preaching any light if you where fighting nation of islam or christ hating marxist, it would be a little dif but your fighting a people who are developing a relationship with jesus christ. end of story. your opinion dos'nt count your opinion never saved any one only the atonment of jesus christ, when it come's down to the lowest common denominator. thats is all the church is preaching, jesus christ and the atnoment. your belligerent lies that you got from other people websites and books where never true and will never be. you are evil, you look evil and you talk nothing but evil. what is good you say is bad what is bad you say is good and you never talk about the people who joined the church who have been blessed.
i can go to any church on earth and find people unhappy with what they see so that is no foundation for any of your claims. this he said she said tact at saying joseph smith did something wrong is the same tact used against jesus, not a shred of it was true. preach what you like, leave people alone. we dont need any more marxist comminist telling us what, why and who we beleive in, with no tempted for truth.
your in it for the money baby and thats it your making your mark. if you love some one let them alone with there free agancy not your poor opinions.
every person i know who went agaist the church was in some way or other messed up in the head even if when they started out they where normal. you live your life as a lie , and it doe'snt matter if you really beleive it or not your still going to get hurt. get a life. give money and time to people who need it if your so heartfelt at helping people. you got your butts kicked once, you will again. the church will alway's win. Amen
Aug. 4, 2001
Hello, I was raised Mormon until I was 18 and discovered for myself there was a lot of mismatched information in the answers I was receiving about the Mormon church.
I am now a Christian and am raising all 3 of my children in a Christian church and home. My parents are still strong Mormons (Dad is the patriarch of his stake) and keep the edge turned toward me in that I will come back to their church. It has now been 10 years and my Christian faith is even stronger. ...I have approached them about my questions and their faith (respectfully), but receive the same tried and true answers. (Go read the BoM and your ?'s will be answered.)
...Thank you so much for helping me know I am not the only one looking for the truth after being deceived for so many years. God bless.
Aug. 4, 2001
Subject: Annual conversion rates to the LDS
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner:
I am trying to find the most recent figures of the conversion rate to the LDS Church per year in the US only (i.e., numbers of new members per year in the US). If you could point me in the right direction for this information, I would be greatly appreciative.
Sincerely in Christ,
[Sandra's Note: The Mormons put out a book called Deseret News 2001-2002 Church Almanac. It is issued every two years and gives their stats. It is sold through the Deseret News and in various book stores here in Utah.
Membership in USA:
It doesn't break it down as to just converts in the USA, but gives the total membership. So you would have to factor in births, deaths, conversions.]
Aug. 4, 2001
Subject: never ending changes
I have been an LDS member all my life, 45 years. I have been married in the temple and held several key positions. When I went to the temple we still did those oaths that have now changed and are no longer necessary???? Recently we were told that now the sacrament prayer does not have to be exact, it is up to the bishops desecration as when not to embarrass someone with repeated attempts. Have you heard this from others, when can we finally learn to be politically correct, even if the gospel has to be altered.
So much for the same; yesterday, today and forever??? I'm growing sick of the changes, any others out there feel the way I do?
Aug. 4, 2001
How do the Mormons justify those things that are mentioned in B of M that were not here historically before the Spaniards -- such as steel, wheat, etc...is that info anywhere?
[Sandra's Note: They usually maintain that just because those things haven't been found doesn't prove the Indians couldn't have had them. For more on this, see Quest for the Gold Plates and New Approaches to the Book of Mormon.]
Aug. 5, 2001
Dear Jerald and Sandra
I came to see you at the end of July 2000 and met Sandra in the bookstore....I was most interested in meeting you two because I wanted you to know what a tremendous influence your work has had in my life.
I left the church years ago but until I stumbled across your writings I never had a clear conscise reason for not believing in the church. As it turns out, it is absolutely the most fascinating reading I've ever done.... Over this past Memorial Day weekend I came to visit my sister...I visited southern [Utah] landmarks and spent an entire day at Mountain Meadows. I talked to a lot of Mormons on this trip and it is amazing to me that a church so false has such a control on so many. That you for making all of this personal growth possible for me. ...
Aug. 5, 2001
Subject: your website
I think that what you people are doing is so wrong! What will you say to your brother Jesus who died for you when he returns and asks why you did these things? I know that the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints is the one and only true church! I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet and restored the church. Just remember that God works in mysterious ways! I pray that you will see what you are doing is wrong and that it is only satan working to destroy our church through people like you.
Aug. 6, 2001
Subject: Thoughts and prayers
Dear Sandra, I'm sure that you don't remember me. It's been so long since I've talked to you. I live in ...NC and my son joined LDS several years ago and went on his mission. I called you because I had read a book that mentioned you and your ministry several times and I needed to know what to expect while Bos was on his mission. You were so kind to me that day and I appreciate the support you gave me.
I've just been thinking about you a lot since the church sued you. (That was so ridiculous. It's not as if you stole the material. But, a secret society can't let anything out.) I know that God has been with you through this experience and has made you even stronger. ...You have no idea how much I appreciate you and the work you're doing. I pray that God will continue to bless you.
In Christ's Name,
Aug. 6, 2001
Why can't Mormons swim on Sundays? I heard they believe the devil is in the water on Sunday. True?
[Sandra's Note: I think you are mixing two different issues. First, Mormons are encouraged to not engage in worldly entertainment on Sunday. This would cover such things as not going to movies or sporting events. Second, Smith got a revelation that Satan can destroy the faithful if they are on the water. LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie stated:
For this reason, LDS missionaries are instructed to not go swimming while on their mission.]
Aug. 6, 2001
Hello Mr. And Mrs. Tanner I was raised catholic but am non practicing. Recently I started dating a woman that turned out to be mormon. I really didn't know much about Mormons so I wanted to do a little research. The more I read, the more fearful I become. A friend of mine had suggested that I read about the Salamander Letters. In the process I found your website. I am completely shocked. Mormonism isnt a religion. It is a cult and its members are brainwashed.
...I know the relationship won't last if she continues to remain a mormon. The way I found out about her beliefs was because I made a mormon joke. I had told her a story about how the missionaries had come to my house once. I had asked the missionaries if they wanted to come in to meet Brother Smith and Brother Wesson. She was not amused at all.
My girlfriend was also raised catholic even though she came from a catholic/jewish family. She had converted when she was with her husband and I believe she has been a member for 6yrs. My question to you good people is how do I get her to see the reality of it all.. and bring her back to the real world. If Mormons are converting 300,000 people per year based on lies and deceit, something has to be done. From what I have noticed, Mormons are good moral individuals but have a really screwed up religion. Baptisms for the dead....marriages for the dead.... secret temple cermonies to select special underwear??? I dont need to tell you. You have been there. ...thanks for your time.
[Sandra's Note: I am assuming that she will not read anything from an outsider or former LDS (they are taught not to believe anything from the 'other side.') So, I would suggest you call the LDS bookstore, Deseret Book, 801-328-8191, and order either of the following two books. Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, by Tippets and Avery (two LDS women historians). In Sacred Loneliness, by Compton (a Mormon historian). Both of these books discuss Joseph Smith's polygamy, how he lied to his wife, Emma, and how he lied to the church and the public about it. Mormon Enigma also discusses Smith's involvement with magic and money-digging. These are not 'anti' Mormon books, but they do tell a lot of historical problems that most LDS have never heard of. Maybe you could suggest the two of you read the books together (or get 2 copies) so you can discuss it. Why should we believe Joseph Smith's story? You could say something to the effect that since you found out she was LDS, you have been trying to get better informed and these books might be a good place to start since they're by Mormon historians.]
Aug. 6, 2001
Dear Good People,
...I surely appreciate the marvelous material you sent....I was researching my way out of the Mormon fantasy. Having gone into it from a background of Christianity, I just never supposed they did not know the teachings of Jesus. It was through many years of pain and confusion that I finally came to realize the terrible mistake I made. It altered, and destroyed my life and the lives of my children. We are all still trying to recover. But it would take a book to describe those heart breaking experiences as the returned missionary I married turned to polygamy.
I tried to cleanse my mind of the whole thing, left the LDS Church and turned back to my “roots” of Christianity. I had never left them really.
It is difficult for me to even think of these lies, much less try to point them out to the people I care so deeply for. They don't want to hear, and will not listen....I so admire your preserverance and strength.
Aug. 7, 2001
Dear Mr Tanner,
I will try to be brief. I was born in the church, went on a mission, was recently in the Bishopric of my ward and all my family on both sides have been in the church since the crossing of the plains.
That said, I am a trial lawyer and have been doing criminal defense and other trial work for over 15 years. My daughter left the church and gave me a couple of web sites to show me why. That was two years ago. Since then I have become more or less convinced that the story of Joseph Smith et al is a hoax....Now I am catching hell from all sides of my family. I am writing to see if you can tell me where I can obtain copies of original documents to show my family since they won't believe much that I tell them.
I am particularly interested in getting Dean Jesse's book about early church documents (the book that has a copy of JS's handwritten version of the 1st vision) I can't find the book anywhere though I have seen reference to it on various sites. I would also like copies of "original" documents on the Blood Atonement practice, as many as you can find. I think this was one of the more condemming practices of the church and the one that I think may get some more of my family to thinking "all is NOT well in Zion".
Any suggestions as to other materials would be greatly appreciated as I do not intend on being silent about the conclusions I have reached. I have a client who is the pastor of a rather large church here in town and I may want to address his congregation and tell them a little about what I have discovered, but I want to have all my "ducks in a row" before I say any more to anyone.... thanks for your help,
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. We have a packet of photos from the Journal of Discourses on Blood Atonement--it is $2 plus shipping (call 801-485-0312 to order). We also have a packet of photos on the first vision, including the Dean Jesse photos, see: First Vision Photos. We also have a book of photos called Where Does It Say That. These items may also be seen at the University of Utah Library (Salt Lake City), Utah State Historical Society Library (Salt Lake City), BYU Library (Provo, Ut), and various other libraries. Hope this helps.]
Aug. 7, 2001
Dear Sandra and Jerald,
I attended the U from 84-86 and was a frequent browser/customer in your store. We were there when the whole Hofmann affair went down. My wife is ex-LDS....
Unfortunately, I have recently become informed of my estranged brother's family embracing Mormonism. I must now get my heart right and arm myself with scripture and your research as well. May God bless you and the continued strength of your ministry.
Thank your for all you do and continue to do in the name of the true Son of God.
Aug. 7, 2001
Subject: Democrats and Mormons
I have repeatedly heard the statement that "Democrats cannot be good Mormons." Ezra T. Benson is said to have made that statement. Can you tell me if that is, in fact, a true statement from him or anything similar? If it is true, when and where did he say that. Thank you for your response.
[Sandra's Note: There was reference to it in an article in Sunstone Mag., (Jul 81): "A Church Cannot Stand Silent In The Midst Of Moral Decay" by Edwin Brown Firmage.
The footnote at end of article gives the reference for Benson's statement as "Support for Candidate Possible Some Day, LDS Apostle Says," SL Tribune (22 February 1974) B1. I don't have the original SL Tribune article.
Benson's talk was also referenced in the NY Times, Nov. 8, 1985, article by Wallace Turner entitled "For Benson, the Long Wait for Power Nears End." In the article we read: "Mr. Benson frequently condemned Government welfare programs as 'galloping socialism,' which he said would lead to Communism. In 1974, when asked by an interviewer if a good Mormon could be a liberal Democrat, he replied, 'I think it would be hard if he was living the Gospel and understood it.' "]
Aug. 7, 2001
Subject: Thank you!
I justed wanted to say thanks for the information about the Latter-Day Saints. I was involved with a man about 5 years ago that was a member of the Mormon Church. I went to school with this person and knew he was a Mormon but I didn't know how committed he was to the church. ...To try to work things out with him I told him I would attend his church and read the book of Mormon. I went to his church 1 time and I felt so uncomfortable. I felt like an outsider. Everybody was nice to me but I felt uneasy. I decided that day I would never go to that church again.
From that one visit to his church he thought it would change my whole outlook. He told me that I wasn't trying hard enough to understand. I needed to talk to the missionaries or the females of the church. I told him I would never be a member. We dated for 2 years, until one day when I went home and found a letter from him saying that we weren't compatible. He wanted to be married in the Temple. So we broke it off and about 4-5 months later I notice in the newspaper that he is engaged to be married to a member of the church in about 2 months. ...But anyway your web site helped me understand a little more about LDS and I feel better about my decision I made years ago...Thanks again!
Aug. 7, 2001
My husband is a ex-Mormon who has been born again. We are so happy to have found your web site. It has taught us so much! The most impressive thing of all is how the Lord led both of you to himself.
I just praise the Lord for your voice crying out in the wilderness & hope anything we send will help your ministry.
Aug. 8, 2001
Subject: Devotion In Christ
As servants in Christ you have impacted many lives by allowing The Most High God to expose His truth of the Mormon Doctrine and how it has deceived generation upon generation of the followers of Joseph Smith. More importantly. You have passionately pursued those deceived with the love of the true Jesus, Son of the Living God. Assuring those who have rejected this false doctrine that they are truly loved as Jesus paid their penalty by the work of His own hand - no help from Joseph Smith, Brigham Young or any other who authenticates Mormon theology by generational link, tradition, conversion or burning testimonial.
There could never be enough "Thank you(s)" expressed by the many who's lives have been transformed and welcomed into the family of Christ, that could justly express the appreciation of your service for the Glory of Our Savior and His Kingdom.
But I am assured that when Christ welcomes you with His words..."Well done, good and faithful Servants" you will hear and be embraced by the encircling of all the Saints that will be their with Him and with you for eternity because of your faithful service and love of the Father and whom He created to hear the pure and right Word of Truth concerning Him and His Grace given through the death and life of His Son. Until that anticipated reunion precious ones...you are so appreciated for your labor in Christ Service!
Lovingly as a co-labor in Christ Service,
Aug. 9, 2001
Subject: Reference work - Swedenborg
Dear Mr. and Mrs.Tanner
I have used your ministry to help me in understanding Mormonism. I am a Believer in Christ and a Baptist.
Lately I've been on the LDS chat site. I read "Mormonism:Shadow or Reality" and was getting an idea of the LDS mind when I remembered the old writings of Emanuel Sweedenborg. He was a spiritualist born in 1688 who relates many of the same things J.Smith does and supposedly revealed as I said many of LDS Doctrines but it was in the 1700's. I collect old books and pulled one out entitled "Heaven and it's wonders and Hell" published by the Swedenborg Foundation in 1952. I wasn't sure if you were aware of the fact that so many beliefs seem similiar and it would seem J.Smith perhaps was familiar with this stuff because it was popular at the time he lived. I want to make it perfectly clear this is heresy and I do not believe this teachings, but I do see a similar doctrine. Thanks so much for your faithfulness to Christ and His gospel. God Bless you.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Yes, we are somewhat familiar with parallels to Swedenborg. When Jerald left Mormonism he had a LDS friend that was attracted to that. Several books and articles have mention the parallels. Dan Vogel, in his book The Word of God, p.194, observed:
An article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol.14, No.1, p.61-2, pointed out the similarities of dividing heaven into thee levels:
D. Michael Quinn, in his book Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.174, pointed out that "...the only pre-1830 advocate of three heavens was apparently Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg." George D. Smith, in Faithful History, p.ix, observed: "...similarities have been found between Joseph Smith's revelation of the three degrees of afterlife glory and the contemporary writings of Thomas Dick and Emanuel Swedenborg."
The concept of pre-earth life was pointed out in an article in Dialogue, Vol. 29, No. 2, p.29: "There is a parallel in Swedenborg to pre-existent matching of spirits, the doctrine Joseph taught Mary Elizabeth Lightner when he proposed to her 'Two souls which grew up together before life are bound to find each other again on earth.' "
An article in Dialogue, Vol. 23, No. 2, p.104, observed that "...ideas about the spirit world had been given an elaborate boost in the eighteenth century by the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Even more interesting is the fact that 'Mother Ann's Work' began among the Shakers in 1837. Through spiritualist phenomena, Shakers were informed that bands of Indian spirits as well as spirits of people from all over the world who had died long ago were being converted to Shakerism." For more on Swedenborg see http://craigwmiller.tripod.com]
Aug. 9, 2001
I find it simply amazing that 5 Mormon senators came out in support of stem cell research. Do you happen to know if Huntsman is involved in stem cell research and how much stock the LDS church owns in these ventures? Is this information available to the public?
[Sandra's Note: Good questionI don't know the answer.]
Aug. 10, 2001
I appreciate your research. I have referenced many of your sources and was sad that you were correct.
I am a lifelong member of the church, still active in body ( I attend my meetings) but not in spirit. I am struggling with the dilemma of keeping harmony with my ex-husband with whom I have children...he would never read anything controversial and if he did, could somehow justify whatever bothered him. Back when he and I were married and I struggled with my testimony, he would reinforce his testimony of Joseph Smith and how he was a man with human frailities...etc. I have never had a testimony of Joseph Smith.
I have felt however that the BOM was inspired and felt that if it were true, I had to accept the rest. I'm sure you've heard all this before.
Now that I feel I am ready to no longer participate in the Mormon church, how do I tell my ex-husband, keep harmony there (he and his family will surely up their efforts to keep my kids active and force-feed the gospel to compensate for what I won't be teaching them) and have my children continue to respect and value what I DO teach them when others will be calling me an apostate? What do I tell my son when he studies the BOM this fall in seminary? Will my children grow up and give up on religion all together?
How do I explain to my friends...all are LDS...that I am leaving the church? How do I say no to visiting teachers...home teachers...etc. I don't want to hurt anyone...I just want to follow the Savior. I am sure over the years you have corresponded with many people in similar positions...what would you offer as suggestions for my situation? I realize your inability to respond at great length, but I would appreciate your comments.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. This is always a hard transition. Your family will need to be reassured that your leaving Mormonism has nothing to do with your love and respect for your family and freinds. Just as the 11th Article of Faith says, you just want to be free to worship God as your conscience leads you.
You might find the following books and tapes helpful.
I would suggest just stating something like: Thanks for asking me how I'm doing and why I haven't been to church. I find I can get closer to God by just spending some quiet time with Him at home, without the distractions of a lot of meetings. Or, I am trying to focus more on Christ and less on man. If you want to get into some of your reasons for not believing Mormonism anymore you could always tell a friend something like, "This is not something I have done casually. I have spent a lot of prayer and study on this. If you REALLY want to know why I can't believe it any more I would be glad to have you visit my home some time to hear my conclusions. But I don't want to just give a brief answer right now. That just wouldn't be sufficient." But you don't want to set up some sort of meeting where you are out-numbered or on their turf. You want to maintain control of the discussion. Just keep in mind that they are not the problem, Mormonism is. They just respond as they are trained by higher ups. As for your son, just try to expose him to questions and other ways to view things. Don't press, just suggest. My Mom opened my mind by just bringing up various contradictions and just reminding me that others believed in God and Christ, not just Mormons. This opened the way for my later questions. You could remind him that truth will stand up to investigation. Our documentation is at libraries here in Utah (Univ. of Utah, BYU, Utah State Historical Soc. Library) and some other universities around the country. You only want him to use his mind and check things out, don't just 'believe' because someone else said it was true. Since most good Mormons will not read anything from an outsider or a former member, you will have to start with trying to get them to read books by Mormons who are respected for their research. Some that would be good are: Studies of the Book of Mormon, Mormon Enigma, Sidney Rigdon, In Sacred Loneliness.]
Aug. 10, 2001
...I spent some time in Salt Lake City recently, and came away with an overwhelming sense of evil about Mormonism, polygamy and all of the issues dealing with their treatment of women in particular. I understand that you have dedicated yourself witnessing Christ to the Mormons, and would like to try to do some of the same in my own area. As I quickly found out, I need a great deal more information, research and prayer to be successful in this mission.
Aug. 10, 2001
Subject: which book
I have a wife that attends a mormon church, and I would like to buy her a book to read, which one do you recommend? She is extremely stubborn, so it needs to explain things well.
[Sandra's Note: I would suggest Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith by Newell and Avery, pub. by Univ. of Ill. Press. This is the biography of Joseph Smith's wife, written by two LDS women historians. It is factual, interesting and revealing. It is not 'anti' as such, it never denounces Smith. But it tells of Joseph Smith's early life and magic practices, how he entered polygamy behind Emma's back, how he lied to her. It is a good beginning point and gives a great deal of early LDS history that most Mormons aren't aware of. It could be the start of opening her eyes.
In fact, you could probably order it directly from the LDS bookstore, Deseret Book, 801-328-8191. Then your wife couldn't accuse you of buying 'anti' Mormon books.]
Aug. 11, 2001
In doing some internet study on the mormon church I have come across this site. It is very extensive and informative. I am interested in the academic background of Jerald and Sandra Tanner who have written so much on the topic. I was not able to find any of their books in my local library. A short reply would be appreciated. Thank you for the resources.
[Sandra's Note: We have no specific training. We both took some college classes but did not graduate. However, we have spent the last 42 years (I am 60 and Jerald is 63) reading and researching Mormonism.]
Aug. 11, 2001
Dear Jerald and Sandra, Would you want to know all the facts regarding something before making a decision? Do you publish all the facts regarding the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints or simply the negative ones?
May I ask why you never published the facts regarding Dee Jay Nelson, or your support of him when you thought he could help the sell of your books? Why have you never published the fact that Dr. Klaus Baer, a true renowned Egyptologist of the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago, agreed with Joseph Smith's identification of the Canopic Jars.
Why have you never published the fact that Dee Jay Nelson has been shown to be a fraud or that, even though a fraud, he also agreed with Joseph Smith's identification of the Canopic Jars in the booklet, "The Joseph Smith Papyri," page 32? (check it out sometime, after all, it is the same booklet you proffered to prove that Nelson and Smith differed on their identification.). Is your position to only provide one sided information? After all, you have certainly done enough research to have both sides of the story and yet you never publish facts which would tend to hurt your bias, why is that?
Are you actually in this for the money? Funny how the LDS Church identified the papyri as an Egyptian funerary text in less than a month after receiveing it from the Metropolitan Museum. Yet you never bothered to tell anyone this, why?
It also does not match the description of the papyri used to translate the Book of Abraham, which you knew, and yet you have never bothered to tell anyone that either, why?
I appreciate that you have driven me to research the LDS Church and find the true Church of Jesus Christ here upon the earth. My life has been much happier and Joyful since I found the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Well, for now, I think that is enough questions, it is apparent why you are in this and it has nothing to do with truth.
[Sandra's Note: I am afraid you have been relying on the word of the Brown's in their book, They Lie in Wait to Deceive, Vol.1, without looking to see what we have done. We DID tell about Nelson. We have a whole chapter in MormonismShadow or Reality? telling all about the finding of the papyri, the translation, etc. You can also read some of this at our web site. See: Changing World p.339
We wrote a whole book about it, Can the Browns Save Joseph Smith?
As to your assertion that the papyri found at the museum does not match Smith's description of the Book of Abraham, see p. 37 of Can the Browns Save Joseph Smith? Smith's statements about the "beautifully written" papyrus with "a small part red" was a general statement referring to the whole collection that he had identified as the "record of Abraham and Joseph" not just to the record of Abraham. The other roll was better written and had "a small part red."
By the way, Klaus Baer got the identities wrong on the jars, not Nelson. See any book on Egyptian deities.]
Aug. 11, 2001
We have three LDS wards here in Lake City, Florida and on August 5, (I wasn't there; am inactive but relatives visit and call me about everything) the Bishop called out the names of members who MUST go to another ward based on their address. This is a rural area and a relative called me that night very upset because she's 80 years old, her youngest son and his wife and two youngest children were transferred from third to second ward and were told in no uncertain terms that there would be NO exception.
A few days ago I got a letter from the Relief Society President telling me I was transferred also. I had gotten permission a couple years ago to transfer from second to third because most of my family (including my mother; now deceased ...) was in that Ward.
...They use the leverage of telling members they must attend the ward they are assigned to or they will not be given an assignment or a temple recommend.
So much for their family togetherness.
Aug. 11, 2001
Subject: Conception of Jesus
Dear Jerald and Sandra,
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! Congratulations to you both for providing this valuable web site on the Mormon religion.
I would like to make some comments and observations regarding the Mormon Church's teaching that Jesus was conceived as a result of God the Father coming to earth and having sexual intercourse with Mary.
I have had at least 6 Mormon missionaries tell me straight to my face that this is what the Mormon church teaches. I had the opportunity to speak to a Mission President once about this subject and he assured me that God the Father did not come down and have sexual relations with Mary. He also said that to believe such a thing would be "dirty and crude."
I wonder what he would've done with the 6 missionaries who openly acknowledged to me that God the Father had sex with Mary. According to this Mission President who I spoke to, the conception of Jesus came about as a result of Heavenly Father's semen somehow being transferred into Mary.
While I'm sure that there are many Mormons who will flatly deny that the Church teaches that God the Father came to earth and had sex with Mary, there is however, plenty of documented evidence to prove that high ranking Church officials including Brigham Young believed and taught that God the Father had sex with Mary. For example Brigham Young, the Mormon Church's 2nd President and Prophet made this statement on July 24, 1853 in a sermon he delivered in Salt Lake City. Brigham Young stated: "for I believe the Father came down from heaven, as the Apostles said he did, and begat the Saviour of the world; for he is the ONLY-begotten of the Father, which could not be if the Father did not actually beget him in person.''
This statement can be found in the Journal of Discourses, Volume 1 page 238. It is quite obvious from this statement that Brigham Young believed that God the Father physically came down from heaven and had sex with Mary. After reading Brigham Young's statement I wonder how members of the Mormon Church would answer the following questions:
Q 1. If Brigham Young's statement does not imply that God the Father had sex with Mary then what exactly did he mean by his statement?
Q 2. Where in Scripture did any of the Apostles actually say ' the Father came down from heaven' ?
Q 3. Why did an all powerful God need to come down from heaven to beget the Saviour in person?
Q 4. If what Brigham Young stated actually did take place, was Joseph aware that God the Father had sex with his wife to be, Mary, and how can the Mormon Church believe in the virgin birth if God the Father had sex with Mary? Brigham Young also made several other statements which further adds weight to the fact that he believed and taught that God the Father had sex with Mary. But before I quote these statements it's important to bear in mind what Brigham Young said in the following statements: "I have never yet preached a sermon and sent it out to the children of men, that they may not call scripture. Let me have the privilege of correcting a sermon and it is as good scripture as they deserve. The people have the oracles of God continually." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, page 95, 2nd January, 1870)
Later that same year Brigham Young repeated that claim concerning his sermons and declared: "I say now, when they are copied and approved by me they are as good Scripture as is couched in this Bible, and if you want to read revelation read the sayings of him who knows the mind of God..." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 13, page 264, 6th October, 1870)
Now here are those other statements made by Brigham Young concerning Jesus' conception:
"When the time came that His first-born, the Savior, should come into the world and take a tabernacle, the Father came Himself and favoured that spirit with a tabernacle instead of letting any other man do it. The Savior was begotten by the Father of His spirit, by the same Being who is the Father of our spirits, and that is all the organic difference between Jesus Christ and you and me." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 4, page 218)
"The birth of the Savior was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood-was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers" (Journal of Discourses, Volume 8, page 115)
"The man Joseph, the husband of Mary, did not, that we know of, have more than one wife, but Mary the wife of Joseph had another husband....... That very babe that was cradled in the manger, was begotten, not by Joseph, the husband of Mary, but by another Being. Do you inquire by whom? He was begotten by God our Heavenly Father." (Journal of Discourses, Volume 11, page 268)
Other statements made by Mormon General Authorities about this teaching can be found in the following: Family Home Evening Manual, 1972, pages 125-26 (in this publication Mormon prophet, Joseph F. Smith made comments in 1914 which are extremely revealing as are the diagrams- definitely one to check out); The Seer by Orson Pratt, pages 158-159; Mormon Doctrine by Bruce R. McConkie, pages 546-547, 742; Doctrines of Salvation (take note of the title of this publication)Volume 1, pages 18-19 (this publication contains sermons and writings of the Mormon President Joseph Fielding Smith); The Promised Messiah by Bruce R. McConkie, pages 467-468: Journal of Discourses, Volume 1, pages 50-51: Volume 2, page 210; Volume 8 page 211. ...
There can be little doubt that when one checks the facts honestly and objectively it becomes evidently obvious that the Mormon Church do indeed teach this doctrine.
I have no doubt that if every baptismal candidate was informed about this teaching prior to being baptised they would renounce the Mormon religion immediately. It's little wonder that investigators are never told about this teaching. I'm sure that Catholics, in particular would be outraged and disgusted to learn that the Mormon Church teaches this sort of stuff.
Perhaps if every Christian confronted members of the Mormon church about this teaching by quoting and showing them statements made by leaders of their Church it might open their eyes.
My challenge to every member of the Mormon Church is to honestly look at the documented evidence and ask yourself whether Brigham Young and other General Authorities can be looked upon as being Prophets and men of God. May the Lord continue to bless your work!
Aug. 12, 2001
I was a member of the LDS Church for 35 years, until I found out that Joseph Smith was a Master Mason of the 'York Rite'... There is so much I have found out, none of it good. The Lord is indeed correct when he says that even the elect and the very elect may be deceived....
Aug. 13, 2001
Subject: What is the testimony
Dear Sandra and Jerald, Thank you so much for all of your work. I am a fairly recent convert to the LDS faith and have already been led into severe questioning of the Church.
Your research is impossible to dispute, and for that I am both happy and terrified. I am happy because it only confirms my intellectual problems with the church. I am saddened because I have no idea what to do with my testimony.
I was a broken soul before discovering the Book of Mormon several years ago, an atheist to be exact. When the BOM was given to me and I prayed about it, I felt a surge of spiritual peace and joy that lasted up until the point that I began asking questions about some strange verses in the BOM.
I no longer attend sacrament services mostly because the services are so boring that I would rather do almost anything than drag myself over there in the morning. So my question is this: Why is it that I felt the presence of God so strongly in my life while reading and studying the BOM. What exactly is causing my testimony and why can't I shake it?
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. First, the Book of Mormon contains a lot of material from the Bible or based on basic Christian principles. Therefore, one could be spiritually touched by reading those parts. However, there are thousands of books that can bring an emotional response that don't even claim to be scripture. You might enjoy reading - The Ins and Outs of Mormonism by Carlson. He is a former Mormon. As for Christianity, a few good books to read are: Basic Christianity, by Stott, Know Why You Believe, Know What You Believe, by Little, The Case for Christ, by Strobel, New Testament Documents, Are They Reliable?, by Bruce. Have you read Dave McCament's story on our site? Give it a try. Hope this helps.]
Aug. 13, 2001
Subject: Believing in Christ...
I ran across this website on certain searches and occasionally read over various parts. I find many claims typical, and have actually learned about many perpetuated false teachings that have been purported as fact for many years. Perhaps you don't know of these because you too, believe the hyperbole. Anyway, not to be too critical, although this seems to be the lingua franca, I do have a question, be it rhetorical or otherwise.
Having grown up in a neighborhood of Bloomington, Indiana, I could not help but compare my own sets of beliefs with those of my peers. I will bring to mind 10, since most of them were close enough to me in age and circumstance, and we were all in the same company over a period for 10 or so years. All of them came from strong moral and educative homes. Their religious backgrounds ranged from Jewish to agnostic, Episcopalian and Unitarian Catholic, to a few who might qualify as latent Christian traditionalists.
(OK, the question is forthcoming)
Of all of us who continued our associations through 4 years of high school, I seemed to be the only one who fervently believed in Jesus Christ. All the others had acces to the Bible, their pastors, a father who taught religion at IU, and ample opportunity to discover Jesus. Without hope in Him, I saw many of them struggle with drugs, sex, and moral ambition.
Meanwhile, I remained chaste and chose to serve a two year mission for Christ at the age of 19. Since then, I have received two college degrees, served Christ through my faith, been married recently and now have a beautiful baby that will grow up like her cousins learning of Jesus. What will be a major reason for our faith? Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon.
I have concluded that the Bible alone can lead to more doubts and problems than believing outside sources of revelation (such as modern day prophets). Do you think that these sources can bring a better faith in Jesus, or because of your claims of their "invented nature" that good fruits of them are just as bad? I ask this in a serious way in order to further my faith in Christ and my quest to serve the Master of the Good News. I sincerely hope my boyhood friends can turn to Jesus Christ somehow. ... gratefully,
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Below are a few thoughts.
You are showing faulty reasoning here. Glad your life went in a positive direction. Sorry to hear your friends did not. However, I could show you plenty of faithful LDS here in SLC who have NOT had their kids turn out so good and plenty of non-LDS Christian families who's kids turned out great. For instance, our 3 kids, raised in SLC as non-LDS Christians, all graduated from college, married to kids who graduated from college, all honest, upstanding contributors to their communities. Your position could be argued from either side. But that is not the way to test a prophet.
Can ONE BILLION Muslims be wrong? Sure. I have had Muslims use all the same reasoning to me as you are using for Mormonism.
Don't see how you arrived at your view that the Book of Mormon is a more sure guide than the Bible. Look at all the splinter groups of Mormonism. Just the polygamist groups alone (there are many others) show terrible fruits from Joseph Smith's polygamy teachings in D&C 132 (also factor in Smith's lying about it) and Brigham Young's teachings on blood atonement.
Anyone who follows basic Christian principles will have a good life and probably raise good kids. Mormons are just using those basic principles of love, respect, kindness, forgiveness, honoring God, etc. Those weren't invented by Joseph Smith.
Look at the leaders' teachings, not whether this member or that member turned out good. There are plenty of "good" Catholics, Jews, Muslims, etc. That does not "prove" they are right or wrong, but instead compare religious teachings to Christ's teachings.]
Aug. 14, 2001
Subject: Leaving the Church
I remember one time reading a typical letter about wanting to leave the church. My husband was brought up in the church, leaving it when he was about 13 and it never fails to amaze us that the Church finds us and calls, comes by and no matter how many times we tell them we are not LDS, they keep coming. Thanks for your time,
[Sandra's Note: If your husband wants to formally remove his name from the LDS membership rolls he will have to write a letter to the LDS bishop of his area instructing him to remove your husbands name. See: How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.]
Aug. 14, 2001
Subject romans 8:16-17
I am at a cross roads. I still have many questions. I read Mr. McCamet's testimony. It was thought provoking and I appreciate all the effort and thought that was involved in his life changes. I too have been praying and reading. I feel this scripture in Romans 8:16-17 supports the LDS idea of eternal progression and inheriting God-hood. Please respond.
[Sandra's Note: First, you might read Ch. 2 of Mormon Claims Answered.
Note that vr. 15 says we were 'adopted' not literally born to God and some Mother God in heaven. We are not children of God by nature, but by adoption when we become a Christian. This verse never says we will become gods, but share in Christ's glory. We are God's creation, not sired by procreation. Where is the Bible verse that God has a wife? Or was ever a mortal on some other earth?
Just like my dog has been 'adopted' into my family and enjoys all the blessings of being my 'child' it is not the same species and will never literally be my child. Are we to take John 8:44 (Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.) literally? Were the Jews literally sons of the devil? No, it is a figure of speech, just like Rom. 8:16-17.]
Aug. 15, 2001
Sandra and Gerald -
Should have sent word to you sooner. We had an experience at B____ Sunday excommunication court in Brigham City that I still can't believe!!
We were successful. They agreed to take B____ name off the rolls of the LDS church without excommunication. And, as Paul Harvey says, here is the rest of the story!
We left Ogden in time to arrive at the stake/ward chapel by the 5:00 p.m. meeting. On our way we called B____ to make sure he was on his way. He was actually in South Ogden on something like the 5th of 7 holes of golf. He had decided he wouldn't go - I know he was both afraid and angry.
Well, we persuaded him to go so he jumped in his car. When W____ and I arrived we were introduced to the bishop, his two counselors, the ward clerk, and the stake president. We began by stating that B____ was coming and then defining our request. The bishop stated that they had begun proceedings against B____ before the letter came, but that the letter had forced them to speed up the process.
To make a long story short, B____ got stuck in traffic on I-15 for 30 minutes, due to roadway stuff. We sat in the office for 1 1/2 hours. During that time, a real "God" thing happened.
If B____ had been there with us, we would have only been able to present our request - period. As it was, questions led to a discussion, and then to W____ presenting the "Good News" for a full 1 1/2 hours, while the men simply listened, and asked a few questions. I kept thinking what was happening was just unreal!!
Just a few notes here. W____ defined the Jesus of Christianity versus that of Mormonism; the difference in what the "Plan of Salvation" means versus the "free gift" of salvation. I'm talking complete detail - I had no idea W____ could do this!! We interjected the fact that even the devils knew Jesus when He forbid them to name Him - that salvation is more - and etc. I asked them what the oldest lie in the Bible was - they sat quietly - and I then said it was that Adam and Eve could become as God - could have His power - could become a god. They continued to sit speechless.
That led somehow to them asking me what had taken me out of the church. And I told them basically ...that the one who tells people, even prophets, to lie is named in the Bible as the great deceiver. The men just sat - not a word was spoken. So many times they were simply speechless! It was as if - well, I don't know. Like they just couldn't think to speak or something. I had my usual round of wondering if I had lost touch with reality!!
They asked W____ to define evangelical Christian. That led to discussion of the Bible (reliability).... And somehow that led to me asking them that if they died this minute, did any of them know for sure they would go to the Celestial Kingdom. Silence. I said I knew (well, that was a lie, I guess - I don't know, but I believe, in what I know of Christianity - but I had to use their "testimony" language which is just a feeling - and I feel it - but, sorry) I would go to the arms of Jesus - because my salvation was not based on doing anything or on anything "righteous" in me, but on His righteousness.
Breaking a long silence, one of them said yes, I know you would. I started to jump on that but W____ got there faster - and he said, "I know what you are thinking. That Christians go to the kingdom that they believe in - the Terrestrial World where Jesus visits. I used to think that too. But you are wrong...." And that went into a whole conversation. And somehow that went into me reading the paragraph about President Hinckley lying - you know that quote: Time Magazine /August 4, 1997 - Mormons, Inc. - The Secrets of America's Most Prosperous Religion - "On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he [President Gordon B. Hinckley] sounded uncertain, 'I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it . . . I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don't know a lot about it, and I don't think others know a lot about it.'" The men sat again totally speechless - I don't know why. W____ spoke at length about how ashamed he was that a man he had revered had come to the point of having to deceive people. One of the men spoke up and said it was because of the audience the prophet was speaking to. Again, the men were totally speechless as W____ talked about deception - lies - and the need to use deception. We discussed the differences of having our name taken off the rolls of [a local Christian Church] and the LDS church. That was a whole long thing about [the Christian Church].
At that point, as I said I could call up Pastor M____ and have my name off the rolls that day, one of the men ...asked if we knew K____. Seems he knows K____ from work and has talked church stuff with him. They have discussed Christmas Programs in their respective churches. I told him to tell K____ that he is to invite this guy to Christmas Dinner Theater this year and he said he would do it!! Said he has been curious about it each time they speak of their respective activities! W____ and I are thinking of inviting the entire group and spouses to the thing. Not that they would come. ...
Finally, W____ had given the men a gracious way out - ...W____ told them that, as he understood it, there was room for those administering the court to use their discretion. He also said that included placing a note in the person's file about their "sin" so if it comes to re-baptism, the matter would be dealt with at that time. B____ arrived and we were asked to wait outside - but that, in this circumstance (meaning B____ was scared to death!), we could stay if we did not speak. So they closed the door to the hallway ominously (it had been open all through the previous time). The bishop acknowledged that B____ had been open about his moral sin of living with his girlfriend - and had told him openly that it was a sin both in LDS views and to ...Christianity. The bishop said that as B____'s bishop he was concerned about B____ and this sin. B____ then stated clearly that the matter of sin was not between him and the bishop, but "between me and my Lord, Jesus." I don't think I have ever been prouder! Discussion around the same theme continued with Benjamin restating his answer in different ways. Finally the stake president told the bishop to forgive him for intervening, but he thought he could help. He asked B____ if he had broken off the relationship (which everyone there well knew from us telling them B____ had moved home two weeks ago). Through a lot of sentences and rephrasing over and over, he basically said that, upon that visual act of repentance, he was granting B____ the right to have his name taken off the rolls with no excommunication. But that a letter would be placed in B____'s files in case of re-baptism.
Whew!!...Know the prayers really helped!!! We got out of the bishop's office at 7:00, .... I just can't believe all this! Maybe God will use one teeny thing for one of those men. The ward clerk was young, and all through the two hours he could hardly meet our eyes. I'm not stupid enough to think the men absorbed much. But I know all showed embarrassment at my reading of Pres H's words. Yet, why did they just sit there and listen?? Talk to you guys later!
Aug. 15, 2001
Thank you so much, very helpful information. You have an awesome web-site also! ...
Aug. 15, 2001
[My girlfriend and I] had a talk about quite a few things but you are right, she wont listen. she compares a lot of the mormon issues to catholisism. ie the crusades, the killings if you left the religion etc.
I mentioned that I had emailed you as well. She said she had one of your books (she didnt say which one) She also told her missionaries that I emailed you. They just kinda chuckled and then went into how your whole family was excommunicated from the church. Which is completely understandable. Obvisously, if you dont believe in what they preach and are verbal about it then they will want to wipe themselves clean of the situation.
My girlfriend was very polite about the whole thing. We even had a conversation about the baptism of the dead for hitler. She said that she could never change her beliefs. I probably wont stay with her much longer. And as a matter of fact, I probably wont stay too much longer with my company. The owner is mormon as well. I wish I could do more to change people minds but dont know what direction to take.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Funny how stories spread around. The missionaries don't know anything about my family. My father left Mormonism and turned to Christ, but he never had his name removed from the LDS rolls that I know of (he is now dead). My Mom never goes to the LDS Church but she is still listed on their records as a member. My sister and brother have left Mormonism but have never removed their names from the LDS rolls. Jerald and I voluntarily requested that our membership be terminated, then they excommunicated us for leaving the church. Our three kids were never baptized LDS. Jerald's father and mother left Mormonism but never removed their names from the rolls. Jerald's older sister died last year in full fellowship, buried in her temple clothes. His two younger sisters have left Mormonism but I don't think they ever officially removed their names from the rolls. So much for the missionaries accuracy!]
Aug. 16, 2001
I requested by letter that my name be removed from Mormon church membership in 1999. This letter was given to Bishop ........... I have received no verification since that time that membership has been discontinued. Am I to assume that nothing was done? If that is the case, who do I contact to complete the process?
[Sandra's Note: Call the LDS membership dept. at 801-240-3500 and ask them if you are still listed as a member. If so, you will need to find out who the bishop is in your area and send another letter to him. The membership dept. should be able to give you this info.]
Aug. 18, 2001
What are you all about anyway? I do not understand whay you are putting down peoples faith. no one has the right to be so demening to others faith. I do not car what you belive but I beleive that everyone in this world has a right to choose for themselves what they beleive and that I nor others shold bash what they want to beleive and they have the right to their faith. We beleive in modernday revelationg and that our prophet gives us direct guidence and I know that. You make me sick. I have reason and ALL of the reason in the world points that The LDS church is true.
Aug. 18, 2001
Subject: dead sea scrolls and Joseph smith
Hello ...I am from Idaho Falls. My stepmother (mormon) recently "made" my dad (Christian) attend a Mormon Fireside while she was stuck in Salt Lake City. I volunteered to go with him so that he did not have to bear it alone. The theme was "archaological evidences of the Book of Mormon".
There are many things in the speech that I could question, but one comment was more disturbing than the others. The speaker was quite excited about how the dead sea scrolls "prove" theories in the Book of Mormon. Near the end of his speech, in a very convincing, low, roaring voice he said that the dead sea scrolls stated that... and one will come to restore the church (blah blah blah) "AND HIS NAME WILL BE JOSEPH!!". I have a very hard time believing that Joseph Smiths name is in the Dead Sea Scrolls, or is evenslightly mentioned, furthermore the description sounded like it was describing Jesus, as he had not come yet anyways. I am quite frustrated-
So - Does the dead sea scrolls "prove" any bit of the Book of Mormon besides those areas which are so parallel to the Bible anyways. Can you suggest a reading or an answer?
Thanks, ...frustrated Christian
[Sandra's Note: If you have access to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, see Vol.1, p361-364. There is an entry on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Under the heading "LDS Perspective" it says "Initial zeal [over the finding of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947] led to some superficial treatments, sensationalism, and misunderstandings....Certain aspects of the scrolls have particularly interested Latter-day Saints. For example, the Essenes of Qumran accepted the concepts of continuing REVELATION and open CANON much as Latter-day Saints do,...Qumran commentaries...contain new Essene prophetic interpretations of world events of the LAST DAYS, and the Qumran Temple Scroll claims to be a direct revelation to Moses. Similarly, Latter-day Saints believe that the Bible does not contain all of God's word,...Some people have made much of comparisons between Essene practices and those of the New Testament church, or between both of these and elements of Mormonism. For example, Essene cleansing rituals are in some ways similar to New Testament baptisms, and Essene ritual meals can be interpreted as sacramental....Some relate the Essene communal council, with its twelve men and three priests, to Jesus' calling of twelve apostles and favoring among them PETER, JAMES, AND JOHN, or to the Latter-day Saint organization with twelve apostles and a three-member FIRST PRESIDENCY....However, the similarities are counterbalanced by radical differences between Essene practices and the teachings of Jesus Christ, of Paul, or of the Church in modern times. Notably, the Essenes taught their adherents to hate their enemies. Their sect was strict and exclusive. Their ideas of ritual cleanness effectively barred women from the temple and from the temple city of Jerusalem."
If there were actually any material that supported the types of claims made at the Fireside you attended one would think that it would have been mentioned in this article. The similarities mentioned in the above article would prove nothing for LDS claims.]