Aug. 1, 2002
Dear Tanner Family:
Thank you for a wonderful website, so informative and well done. I used to be a member of the LDS church until 2001 when I asked to be released - something that I have no regrets over; however I am still dealing with the guilt and brainwashing of 20 something years. That is not something easily dismissed. ...Thank you....
Aug. 3, 2002
Subject: The Cross of Christ from Logan Utah
Note to the Religion Editor.
My LDS Sister once said to me that she could never have a cross in her home, around her neck or on her church because it is a murder weapon, that her focus is on the resurrected Jesus not His death. Since then I have heard this from many others. When I heard that a New York Fire Truck that lost its crew came to Salt lake City I was astounded by the remarks made by those of the LDS faith. This is what has inspired me to write the following. ...
The Cross -- Revised 8/2/02
When our thoughts turn to the cross of Christ what comes to mind? What is it that draws Christians to embrace the cross of Christ?
The American flag stands bloodied and torn but never broken, shining as always with great hope for all. The flag that hung from the Twin Towers is now being paraded around the country. Recently it came to Salt Lake City and was draped over a damaged New York fire truck. In this fire truck the crew lost their lives.. Many were drawn to this memorial.
One said that they felt that they had to be there, another that we must not forget those who died. The flag reminds us of the sacrifices made by our people to attain and maintain freedom from all oppression. Do we not commemorate their deaths in order to remember the precious gift that was given? During the Flag Folding Ceremony, observed by the American Uniformed Services, the flag is folded thirteen times into a triangle as a tribute to our nation's honored dead. The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day. Our American flag stands as one of the mightiest of symbols for every American who loves Liberty and Freedom for all.
The cross of Christ stands as the mightiest of all symbols for Christians. In the Bible we read: "The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God." (1 Cor 1:18) It is the message of course which is all important rather than the symbol of the Cross, but who could imagine life without gazing up at the many crosses in one's life, who could imagine America without the Stars and Stripes. The Cross reminds us that with faith in Christ we can live in Him, through Him, beyond death and it's shame. It is a total reliance on Jesus through a relationship with Him that will carry us out of sin's bondage. Nothing we can do in our own esteem will set us free. Without the message, the cross has no meaning, and Jesus would have died for us in vain. We all die, but to Satan's demise, if we die with Christ we are raised with Christ. Through the cross, death was defeated and mankind was restored to life.
In choosing the path to the cross rather than the worldly alternative, we learn to surrender our self-centered nature. For Christians, the journey to the cross of Christ comes to mean the ultimate reward, rather than something from which to hide. Few will make this journey. Many go as far as admiring the cross, but few are willing to go the distance. Even His Apostles denied him as He took the walk to the Cross. They looked to the rewards of the resurrection, but the Prince of the World thwarted them with the pain of the Cross. It was not until Pentecost, the receiving of the Holy Spirit, that they became willing to proclaim Christ aloud. It was here that they were given an understanding of their short comings in order that they could come to rely on the Savior's power. The proud and all-wise have no reason to go to the Cross, a place where vulnerability and faith take center stage.
The walk to the Cross comes in the form of the humbled and often the weak, the rejected, the poor and the abandoned. For where else do they have to go to find what only Christ can offer? Yet for the proud and the supposedly wise, the righteous and the rich, only one thing can move them towards the light - embracing the Cross and coming to know the suffering Christ. When past individuals found this secret, vast fortunes were given up. Lives were altered and saints rose to the occasion. Many proclaimed Jesus out loud, to face death in His name. Many still do. Many are still willing to take the highway of the Cross.
The Cross can open our eyes to many things. For Christians it can mean seeing and realizing our own sin. We see a direct correlation between the Cross, the fall of our first parents and our part in our savior's death. This can be a hard lesson in humility, where just one small lie, one small sin, finds us playing the role of the crucifier. As we come to love Jesus more, we do not want to sin. Our efforts to obey the commandments melt away into a relationship with Him. Through the Spirit we come to accept our part as the patient, His as the healer. When we realize our short comings, we come to understand the Cross of Christ and what He has done for us.
The peace that the Cross of Christ can bring when we come to Him for strength in our suffering is more powerful than any pill ever made, any new age psychiatrist that has ever lived. Sooner or later we all come into contact with our fallen nature, we then have choices to make. We can choose Adam's way: What can I do for myself? What will God give me? How will I be blessed? Or Jesus' way: What can I do for another? What can I do for God? We can take what the world offers, or a walk to the cross. Do we walk to the Cross to be crucified with Christ? Do we try and sneak around it? Or do we distance ourselves from it altogether?
In Luke 9:23-25 Jesus says: "Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever looses his life for my sake will find it. What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life." We see the Cross and death as a just reward for the wages of sin. Through God's great mercy, forgiveness and reconciliation, we prepare for the victory. We know that we are sinners in repentance, that Jesus did not die in vain. He died to give us eternal life with Him.
A few years ago on Larry King Live, Larry asked the elderly Billy Graham "What insight could you give now that you could not give when you first started preaching many years ago?" Mr Graham looked down for a moment and then looked up, saying "The Crucifixion is at the center of the Christian faith."
The American flag reminds us that we can not have freedom without the sacrifice. The Cross reminds us that we can not have eternal life without the Crucifixion. The resurrection is meaningless without the crucifixion.
Aug. 4, 2002
Subject: maybe a few questions thought!
So what exactly makes you better then any Mormon? What is your obsession with that religion? Are you profiting from the exploits of this church? ...Would the savior spend his time tearing down other people's religions? ...What talents has he given you? Have you wasted your talents? Is it possible you are the one in the wrong?
What would it take to change your mind? Do you feel good about what you do? ...Did you learn who God is? Has Christ become your savior and friend? ...Will he embrace you and tell you that you have been his good and faithful servant? Will he??? Does the spirit whisper peace in your ears now? Or do you feel uneasy and upset? Why so? -I hope you don't feel that reading this has in any way wasted your time.
-with love your brother
Aug. 4, 2002
...What's your beliefs on salvation (Once saved always saved) if so, what if you become a Mormon? More so, if you are saved (and always saved) why do anything at all? Would the savior spend his time tearing down other people's religions? If so where is such a thing accounted for? Do you believe we are all children of God? Does God love all of us? Does he love one more then another?
What talents has he given you? Have you wasted your talents? Is it possible you are the one in the wrong? What would it take to change your mind? Do you feel good about what you do? Do you make others feel good inside? What could you have done to make this world a better place? Was all your work in vain? Did you multiply your talents? Did you learn who God is? Has Christ become your savior and friend? Do you know him? Can you hear him? Will he embrace you and tell you that you have been his good and faithful servant? Will he??? Does the spirit whisper peace in your ears now? Or do you feel uneasy and upset? Why so? -I hope you don't feel that reading this has in any way wasted your time.
-with love your brother
Aug. 4, 2002
Subject: Temple Endowment Ritual
Dear Jerald and Sandra Tanner;
I know of a girl who was married in the temple in Utah in 1972. She claimed that she did not do the "ear-to-ear, across the throat" penalty sign during the ritual. She was offended when this was brought up. She claims that her ritual experience never had such a thing. Can this be true? Were there modifications in the ritual in 1972, that would exclude this sign?
Thank you for your help.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, she would have gone through the motions of drawing her hand across her throat, heart and bowels as a sign of the penalties. She may not remember this if she did not understand the ceremony or gestures. If the first time she went through was for her marriage she may have had her mind on that rather than on the meaning of the gestures. But she would have done them. The text of the ceremony that is in our book MormonismShadow or Reality? would be the closest to what she would have gone through (account of ceremony as of 1968). Did she go through again or only once? The signs of the penalties were not removed until 1990. If she only went through a time or two many years ago it has probably just slipped her mind. I find many Mormons didn't understand what they were doing at the time.]
Aug. 5, 2002
Subject: question about christianity and mormonism
To the Tanners,
One of my friends told me about your website since he knew that I have family members that are part of the LDS church.
Unlike my relatives, I go to a non-denominational church. I long to see my family renewed and to live in the truth. My knowledge of Mormonism is not much, but I would like to know more. If you can recommend me some books or other references, that would be great. I look at my family and see that they're such great, loving people who are just being deceived and it breaks my heart. ...I pray for your ministry and that God continues to do His work in it.
[Sandra's Note: A good beginner book would be Mormonism Unmasked. Also Mormonism 101. Other helpful books would be Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons or What do Mormons Really Believe? A good book on talking to Mormons about grace is Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons.]
Aug. 7, 2002
I had written asking for prayer. I wanted you to know I have found a christian church...independent fundamental baptist. The pastor is a very good Bible teacher...anyway, I am being baptized Sunday. I also mailed my letter requesting my name be removed from the LDS church membership. I received notice that he signed for the letter yesterday.
Thank you for taking time to pray for me.
Aug. 7, 2002
Hi,Thank you for your ministry!
Recently my nephew was married in the mormon temple, his 14 year old sister and 18 yr. old brother, who are both active members of that church had to wait in the waiting room. Could you explain why?
[Sandra's Note: The only people who can witness an LDS temple marriage are good Mormons who have already been through the ceremony themselves. These young people are not old enough to have 'taken out their endowments'meaning they have not been through the ceremony where they learn the secret handshakes and passwords and start wearing the LDS special underwear. An adult Mormon goes through the endowment ceremony prior to going on a mission or for a temple marriage. If the person is at least in his/her twenties, he/she can go through the endowment ceremony even if he/she is not getting married or going on a mission. Teens would not be old enough to go through the endowment ceremony, go on a mission or get married.]
Aug. 9, 2002
Subject: mountain meadows question
Greetings from New Zealand. Thank you so much for your site.
I was very interested in Sandra Tanner's item on Mountain Meadows - I've always known about the massacre but was surprised that John Lee was reinstated in 1961. We've often asked why only one murderer was punished when names of the others were known and of course Lee mentioned some. My question is: why didn't the US government prosecute anyone else? Why only Lee? I can see that the Mormons wouldn't want it to go further (Lee being the sacrifice) but why wasn't the government interested in taking the prosecution further and bringing others to justice? Have you any ideas on this?...
[Sandra's Note: They couldn't get enough evidence on the others. Mormons closed ranks, shut up or left town, and all pointed the finger at Lee. Will Bagley's new book, Blood of the Prophets, deals with this.]
Aug. 9, 2002
What does the Temple look like on the inside? I have been doing extensive research on Mormonism and learning would be helpful if I had an idea of what the temple looked like. Thank you and God bless!
[Sandra's Note: Parts would look like church meeting rooms, parts like a fancy hotel lobby, pastel colors, quality furniture, crystal chandeliers, basement has locker rooms like in a gym, etc. Main room has wall murals depicting the creation, garden of Eden, etc. The Mormons sell books on their temples with some photos of the interior.]
Aug. 10, 2002
Dear Lighthouse folks,
I wonder, has the Mormon church tried to run you out of town, or meddle in your bank accounts and property rights due to your research and accomplishments therein?
The reason I ask is because I come from a Jack Mormon background and hear all these horror stories when I visit Salt Lake. I was told, "if you keep your mouth shut, the Mormons won't bother you."
Thank You For Your Attention,
[Sandra's Note: No, they pretty much leave us alone, tell people we are liars and to stay away. They did try to bankrupt us a couple of years ago with a lawsuit on copyright issues. This is related in Messenger #96.]
Aug. 10, 2002
Subject: Keep up the great work!
I want to write to express my appreciation for the work your organization is doing. I joined the church approximately 12 years ago, but experienced my first doubts during my initial Temple visit. For years I remained a loyal, (silent), member standing next to my devoted wife.
Three years ago I began to really study. This I had to do in secrecy, as you well know the implications of voicing doubt. While I do believe the church has many wonderful, sincere people... and the Book of Mormon does have some good teachings... I have come to know that there exist many, many problems with the historicity and inconsistencies of the B. of M., the Book of Abraham and the rewriting of church history so that it all "works".
I have had countless hours of meetings with bishops, stake presidents and local church historians. They keep passing me along from "scholar" to "scholar", in the hopes that someone can answer the questions. Most of the time I feel I would like to stay a member of this church for my wife and children, and in the hopes that perhaps I can exact more change from within.
However, I have been told to not talk to other members of the church about truths I have discovered, with the threat of excommunication awaiting me if I do not comply. I am sure you can certainly relate to what my life is currently like. I vacillate from feeling like I am about to go crazy, to wanting to run away like mad, to desperately wanting to help my wife and children.
Well, anyway... having other people who understand, (like you), surely helps people out here like me, (and there are plenty of us), get through the rough times. Thank you so much and God bless your work.
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Yes, we do understand and you and your family are in our prayers.
A possible way to open your wife's eyes a little would be to order from Deseret Book, 801-486-3111 (www.deseretbook.com), the book Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith by Newell and Avery. This is on our book list but it would be better to buy it from the LDS book store so no one can accuse you of buying 'anti' Mormon books.
This book is written by two LDS women historians and was not written to discredit Smith. However, it does give a candid, straight forward history. They tell of Smith's magic involvement at the time he met Emma, various church problems, and how he started taking other wives. It is a candid view of Smith that most Mormons have never seen, yet not from an 'anti' position.]
Aug. 10, 2002
Subject: Multiple gods = multiple Jesus'??
I have tried to find an answer to this question but have failed...I appreciate your time and attention.
If Mormon doctrine teaches that Mormon men can become gods, this means that these gods will all have their own planets or worlds, correct? If so, does a Jesus die for the sins of the people in all the new worlds, just like He did in ours or perhaps there is a different scenario? Is there a Joseph Smith on each world? Are there multiple Jesus', just like the LDS multiple gods? Just how confusing does this all get?
Also, if Mormons believe that Satan is god of the water, why do they have a swimming and diving team at BYU?
[Sandra's Note: Most Mormons probably haven't thought this one through. However, Brigham Young said every earth has a savior and a devil:
As for your other inquiry, given that the Mormons believe the devil controls the water (see D&C, sec. 61), it is a good question. Don't know the answer.
One also wonders why they only wear swimming trunks and take off their temple undergarments when swimming if the devil has power over the water? Since many Mormons believe the garment offers some sort of divine protection, wouldn't that be a time you would especially want to wear them?]
Aug. 11, 2002
Subject: Thank you for enlightenment (after reading "terminology references").
I would like to express my sincerest thanks to your balanced and exhaustive presentation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints' beliefs and doctrines vis-a-vis other Christian sectarian teachings.
I am also equally grateful for your vivid explanation on the LDS doctrines quoting its standard works and church leaders' explanations. This has reinforced my belief of the divinity of the Book of Mormon and truthfulness of the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. May God bless you and more power!
[Web-editor: See Terminology Differences.]
Aug. 11, 2002
My daughter likes a LDS young man, I did not know much about the LDS church until she became interested in this boy. She is our only daughter and I wonder if I should be concerned. He is a very likable boy, but I am now a bit leery. He said he would have to go on a mission in a couple of years. Should I keep my mouth shut and hope he finds someone else while on his mission.
[Sandra's Note: First, make sure your daughter does NOT take the LDS missionary lessons. If this boy is planning on going on a mission he is a devout Mormon and will be trying to convert her.
Maybe you could print out the Terminology Differences from our web site and go over some of the differences between LDS and standard Christianity with your daughter. Also the pages on the LDS view of God and man's quest for godhood. This young man may not have learned these things yet, but he will as he gets older.
You might want to read something like Mormon Missionaries.]
Aug. 12, 2002
To whom it may concern:
I am writing to ask simply, why you take so much time and effort to put down other people's religion. It seems to me that you should be more concerned with your own, since according to your beliefs it is through those beliefs that you can be saved. You can't, on the other hand, work out salvation by attacking other's beliefs. Have you ever wrote an anti-catholic book? I'm just curious. Anyways I just think it's funny that so many people attack The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. It tells you a little something about the power and influence of the church. Anyways right or wrong, I believe that Mormons are great people and I would be, and am, happy to have them as neighbors and friends....
Aug. 12, 2002
I've just about had it with the LDS Church, while my wife is still faithful, forgiving and forgetting; about its history and policies. Over the next few months, the two of us have decided to examine all the claims to truth the church has. What books do you recommend for this, particularly from your library; ...
[Sandra's Note: Brodie's biography on Joseph Smith, No Man Knows My History, is the classic on Smith (however, she was excommunicated for writing it). If you want one written by LDS scholars, try Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith. It is very good, balanced, gives lots of insights on early Mormonism plus Emma's struggles with polygamy.
Along those same lines, also by a Mormon, Todd Compton's book In Sacred Loneliness - the biographies of 33 of Smith's plural wives. This is not an 'anti' Mormon book, but the facts of Smith's dealings with these women is very troubling. He tells of the many women who were currently married to other men when they married Smith, also shows how Smith manipulated women to say yes.
Our book, MormonismShadow or Reality? is kind of an encyclopedia of LDS problems. A smaller, condensed version is Major Problems of Mormonism. Another popular book by us is Mormonism, Magic and Masonry.
Good books on the Book of Mormon are:
Good one volume study of history of Mormonism is:
Good on Book of Abraham problems:
Good on doctrinal issues
Good story of one woman's struggle of leaving Mormonism
One by an ex-LDS man:
Good photos from LDS sources:
Hope this helps.]
Aug. 13, 2002
In a few of the books I have been reading it states that the evidence for jospehs plural marriages wouldn't have been so accessable if they had not made it public to refute his sons accusations against the policy. My question is, if you just wanted to use LDS sources where would you go to find such info. I am struggling to find the truth, and am not realy liking what I am finding, but the truth sometimes hurts. Thank you for the help and info.
Ohh also, the statements made by david whitmer, in his address to all christians, basically that smith had been called of god and then transgressed leading the church from the truth and into sin....are there any other sources that collaborate that and what is your opinion. To me that sounds like a greater possibility than that he just made the record of the nepites up, which some claim.
Thank you again,
[Sandra's Note: We can make you a copy of the pages from the LDS publication Historical Record, edited by LDS Church historian Andrew Jensen, 1887, for $2 plus $2 ship. He published various statements by Smith's friends and his plural wives about the introduction of polygamy. His books are in the various university libraries in Utah.
The best single book on Smith's plural marriages is done by an LDS researcher, Todd Compton, called In Sacred Loneliness. He gives the biographies of 33 of Smith's plural wives, details which ones were teenagers, which ones were already married to living husbands, etc. Another good book by two LDS women historians is Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith.
When we first left Mormonism, we followed the David Whitmer line of reasoning (An Address to All Believers in Christ) and continued to believe the Book of Mormon for a couple of more years, but renounced all the D&C doctrines of plural gods, temple work, 3 levels of heaven, priesthood, eternal progression, etc. However, as we continued our research we realized there was NO evidence that the Book of Mormon story ever happened and lots of evidence that Smith, or someone, just used current ideas and the Bible to invent the book. We then rejected the Book of Mormon and went back to just the Bible as the word of God.]
Aug. 14, 2002
Subject: I see no reason, I see no facts, to bad so sad.
What a waste of time What a wasted life....Get a life..... Make every day count Make a difference Do something good. Be a positive influence to the human race. Love one another, HATE and FEAR should not drive your life....
Aug. 14, 2002
Subject: Re: communicating with the dead.......
In a conversation with a Mormon woman, she believes they can communicate with dead loved ones, such as, mother, father, uncles, etc. Do you have any information on this subject. ...
Looking unto Jesus,
[Sandra's Note: Yes, the Mormons believe a dead person can appear to them. This is usually claimed in relation to a dead relative appearing to ask the Mormon to do his or her temple work. The LDS book store sells a book called "Spirit World Manifestations Accounts of Divine Aid in Genealogical and Temple and Other Assistance to Latter-day Saints." This book has many stories of dead relatives appearing to Mormons. Here is a quote from LDS Pres. Joseph F. Smith, Gospel Doctrine, Ch.24, p.550:
However, the Bible warns:
Deut. 18:9-13 also warns against contacting the dead. The King James version calls a person who contacts the dead "a consulter with familiar spirits" and "a necromancer" and says it is "an abomination unto the Lord."]
Aug. 15, 2002
what are the LDS church financial holdings? or how can i find out how they distribute their tithings that come in and how much that is?
[Sandra's Note: The Mormon Church does not release a financial statement, so estimates of their wealth must be put together from what people have been able to find out about their income from public records, newspaper articles, and business and land holdings. The most current information on LDS finances is in the book Mormon America.]
Aug. 15, 2002
Subject: Book of Mormon
I'm curious as to why the LDS have needed to revise the Book of Mormon so many times, when Smith's original version was translated by the gift and power of God and the most correct of any book on earth? Why revise God's inspired word?
[Sandra's Note: Good question, especially in light of the fact that Smith returned the plates to the angel after he finished translating. How would he be sure that any change was accurate when he couldn't consult the original?]
Aug. 16, 2002
Subject: Book of Mormon authorship
I was briefly an LDS member from January 2000 to October 2000. I quit because I noticed that the Book of Mormon, D&C, and Bible contradict each other. I especially noticed how ignorant the BOM and D&C were on Hebrew and Greek names (Isaiah=Esaias, Joshua=Jesus, Elias=Elijah, Jeremiah=Jeremy, etc.)
Either way I'm slowly becoming an expert in this field and following in the footsteps of people like the two of you. I have a question about the authorship of the book of Mormon.
Do you believe that Joseph Smith wrote the BOM alone? Or do you believe it was a collaborative effort with people like Oliver Cowdery, David Whitmer, and possibly Martin Harris (I have my doubt to whether Martin Harris was a conspirator or just plain deceived since he checked up on Joseph with Charles Anton)?
I feel that a combination effort explains much like Claims of multiple authorship Education issues since Cowdery was a school teacher Why 1 Nephi appears so amateurish and Mormon and Moroni are decent writing.
Thank you for all your good work and I look forward to your response.
[Sandra's Note: It is certainly possible that the Book of Mormon was some sort of group effort. The problem is figuring out who worked with Smith. Cowdery would be at the top of my list. Smith's family could have worked together on it. I doubt that either Harris or Whitmer were involved. I don't see Harris as smart enough and I think Whitmer was a true believer.]
Aug. 16, 2002
Dear Jerald and Sandra,
...I'm an evangelical Christian believer, and over a period of several years, have developed an interest in the Mormon Church. This interest has been generated by virtue of my having become acquainted with several people who are members of the LDS Church.
I've developed some pretty close friendships with them -- and as (over time) have gotten to know them better, and have come to know the teachings of the Mormon Church -- my level of concern, relative to these friends as well as what the Church really teaches, has risen dramatically.
I'm concerned, as I know you are, about how the Mormon Church misrepresents itself both to the public at large and to it's own members.
I know that recently, Gordon Hinckley has been interviewed by various media, and is beginning to deny that the Mormon Church teaches that god (their "Heavenly Father") was once a man, and he is also denying the fact that the Church teaches that members can become gods.
I know there is quite an extensive effort by Church authorities to give the appearance that the Mormon Church is just another, acceptable, mainstream Christian denomination; that it is very much just another Christian Church -- and that members are Christian believers.
We know (the three of us), that this is an absolute lie.
As I've studied Mormon teachings, conversed with my Mormon friends, and prayed for the Lord's guidance (and even his inspiration), I've discovered a pretty terrifying thing.
This revelation (in a sense) may be nothing new to you -- you may already have come to know this...but even so, I want to share it with you:
After very carefully studying actual Mormon teachings, beliefs, and doctrines, I have very recently come to the conclusion that the god of the Mormon Church is actually Satan.
As I've come to understand Mormon beliefs -- it is obvious that the god they worship are not the God we've come to know -- but instead is "the god of this world" -- as referred to in 2nd Corinthians 4:3-4, Ephesians 6:11-12, 1st John 5:19, and Ephesians 2:1-2.
Their god, truly is just the god of this world -- even in their own teachings.
He was once a man on some other planet, achieved godhood for himself, and now is the god of this world -- planet Earth.
What's interesting and instructive to me are the Mormon teachings about Lucifer/Satan. We, as Christians know that Lucifer wanted to become a god himself, to be higher than God -- and was cast out of heaven in his rebellion and sin. The gold coin of Mormonism is for members to become gods, just as Lucifer wanted to become a god.
We also know that Mormonism teaches that the fall of Adam and Eve was actually a good thing -- so Lucifer/Satan, when he deceived Eve, was actually doing us all a favor, and helping Adam and Eve to fall so they could become mortal, and then have the chance to earn their way to godhood via eternal progression. They teach that God didn't really give Adam and Eve a fair choice, that God, in a sense, forced them to disobey; that they couldn't both be fruitful and multiply, and not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil -- another lie; the idea is that they couldn't obey both of God's commands -- they had to disobey one or the other...a complete lie. Satan in the garden, promised Eve that she and Adam could become like gods.
In addition -- the Mormon Church teaches that when the Heavenly pre-mortal council was held -- Lucifer's suggestion was that all humans should automatically be saved, and none should be lost. And the reason he was cast out, was because he was mad that his plan wasn't adopted. The Mormon teachings that Lucifer/Satan wanted us all to be saved, that he wanted to become a god, and supposedly promises that all of us will become gods -- kind of sealed it for me.
The Mormon focus is the same as the focus of Satan -- the god of this world. They want what he wants...they are working to become gods.
Another crushing blow for me was when I found out that Mormons deny that the atonement took place on the cross. They teach that their version of the "atonement" took place in the garden of Gethsemane -- not on Calvary's cross. This to me was the clincher -- the final proof that they are massively, and absolutely not Christian -- and deny the power of the blood of Jesus to atone for all our sins, past, present, and future.
The Mormon god is Lucifer/Satan -- the god of this world. They even teach that Lucifer and Jesus are spirit brothers -- offspring of "Heavenly Father and Mother"...
Their Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible -- their god is not our God -- their religion may be loosely based on Christianity -- but it is some other religion, it's not Christianity -- by a wide margin....Thanks for listening.
Aug. 17, 2002
Subject: this stuff is gold!!!
Dear Utah Lighthouse ministry,
I recently received seven copies of the SLC Messenger. All I could say is: "THIS STUFF IS GOLD!". They are SO informative and pertinent to what I am studying about Mormonism....Thank you so much for your ministry and commitment to reaching the souls lost in Mormonism.
Aug. 17, 2002
Subject: God bless you.
God bless you, Gerald and Sandra for your work.
Many years ago a Mormon friend wanted to marry me. He knew one of us had to change. Unbelievably, after a lot of study, I joined...for a couple of weeks. Fortunately they asked me to substitute for a teacher and teach the kids about Joseph Smith. I told them I couldn't because I didn't believe it myself. I left...forever.
However, one of the things I learned in the worship service, was...words that were shocking. In all my study, (and I had done a lot and had plenty of reason not to join, but joining happened in a very weak moment for which I am ashamed) I had never heard the following:
That is the same lie Satan used with Eve: Genesis 3:5 "...Ye shall be as God."...I believe that is the bottom line of every cult. The original lie continues. It worked before, and it is still working. ...Again, God bless you,
Aug. 18, 2002
Subject: Thanks for being there!
From a former 7th generation Mormon now attending an evangelical church in Buffalo, New York, just want to say thank you for providing ministry and support to all of us former Mormons who are learning and growing in Christ. Keep up the good work, through your efforts, I and many others are able to learn more about the fallacies and deception of the Mormon faith, and enable us to separate fact from fiction in our soul searching for truth. Praise God for your ministry - you folks really are a "lighthouse" for His glory!
Aug. 18, 2002
Subject: Info or help needed
I am a Las Vegas resident that was raised Christian. I married a very good woman 19 years ago and have had a great life with her. 2 months ago she went to the temple and received her endowments ? Since that time we have had a miserable time. She has changed to be a submissive wife without opinion. I know the mormon faith is wrong but I need info and help to help my wife back from this transition. .... I am a basket case with dealing with this.
Aug. 19, 2002
Go get 'em, Tanners; Praise God!
Aug. 19, 2002
As I was reading the thought came to me. "Why would the Lord teach one thing in Jerusalem and a different thing in the Americas." So there should be similarities in the new testament and in the Book Of Mormon. It just makes cense that God would teach the same doctrine.
I appreciate the work you have pould forth on these documents, but the Lords said "love one another." you don't see the Mormons slandering other religions but almost all others slander them.
The Mormons believe strongly that on earth we are to find truth and live according to it. All we as is that you do as James did. (James 1:5)
Aug. 19, 2002
Subject: Thank You
Just wanted to say thanks for this wonderful resource of information on the LDS. I have lost my daughter to LDS and she's going to be married...in the temple in Orem. You have made things so much clearer for me. God Bless and keep up the good work.
Aug. 20, 2002
I am awed by the magnificent job you folks are doing. ...
Under ...Salt Lake Messenger, January 1988, Polygamy and Truth, you refer to Reed Smoot. ...every time I see Reed Smoot's name, I am reminded of a delightful poem Ogden Nash wrote many years ago, when the senator introduced a bill against "erotic" literature. You may be familiar with it. As I recall, it read, in part:
Senator Smoot, Republican, Ut.,
Aug. 21, 2002
...I really respect the work that you do. I am not, nor was I ever LDS, but I have had many Mormon friends and associates and I find your work very helpful and informative. Thanks again.
Aug. 21, 2002
Subject: My son became Mormon
Dear Mr & Mrs Tanner, Although my son grew up in our Christian home, he married a Mormon girl 5 years ago, and after two kids, was sealed in eternal marriage. I have asked him how he can believe such unbiblical concepts as eternal marriage, baptism for the dead etc., and how he knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet. He says that he knows these things because of a "burning in his bosom."
Given the fact that he and other Mormons take this "burning'' as proof, rather than solid evidence, how do you effectively witness to a Mormon?
[Sandra's Note: Sorry, there are no easy answers for this one. We pray for our families and hope that our lives will be a witness to them that Christ is enough, we don't need their temple ceremonies. We pray for them that something in their lives or experiences at the ward will cause them to question Mormonism, that they will have a spiritual hunger for something more from God than what they get from their church. In time, some get burned out from trying to be 'perfect', especially when they realize that they are no closer to 'perfect' than when they first got married in the temple.
Some good books are:
Since the Mormons want to challenge the reliability and translation of the Bible, one wonders how they justify the fact that their Book of Abraham is a faulty translation. A good book covering this historical issue is By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus. There is a new video out on the Book of Abraham issue called The Lost Book of Abraham. It goes hand-in-hand with the above book.
A few books you could order direct from the LDS bookstore, Deseret Book (801-328-8191 or www.deseretbook.com) that you could possibly use as a springboard to further discussion on Mormonism's truth claims would be:
These are all written by LDS researchers. We sell these as well, but it would be better to get them directly from an LDS bookstore. Then a Mormon can't say you are just using 'anti' Mormon literature.]
Aug. 22, 2002
Subject: the true church
you know something i really feel you people are wasting your time!!! instead of trying to ''tear-down'' other peoples faith why dont you go out and do something good in the world! contention is of the devil, God loves all his children no matter what faith they come from. Yes including mormons! i've been around mormons all my life and their is nothing you say that will make me believe other-wise. Mormons are good people with a strong faith, they would die for what they believe in. instead of tearing it down, may i suggest a new approach....read the book of mormon, pray about it, if you dont get your answer right away, you need not fear it will come. I respect your beliefs, i think you should respect thiers!
Aug. 22, 2002
This feels like the sheep in wolf clothing. Did the Savior Jesus Christ spend all his energy talking and bashing other faiths or did he teach His Gospel. It feels like blasphamie that one would claim to follow Christian principles yet speak so ill if their neighbor/brother/friend.
The purposes of God will roll forth regardless of any of us. "By their works ye shall know them" your fruits??? motives??? Attacking beliefs of others shame on you.
[Sandra's Note: While it is true that Jesus was very accepting of the general population, he had very harsh words for some of the religious leaders. For examples of his reproof, see Matthew, chapter 23, especially verses 27-28.
I see the same problems with the LDS leaders. They outwardly appear good, but they are perpetuating the false claims of Joseph Smith and covering up their true history.]
Aug. 22, 2002
Subject: So sad
It is so sad how you covertly cover you website luring people in and them slamming them with your negative opinions. Why not be honest and upfront and put as your sight title?. Anti-Mormon literature.com. At least you would be ethical. It is like saying, ?Candy little girl?? and luring her in with hidden intentions. It is too bad you are hiding in the shadows! If you are claiming tp be from the light?. then be all light, not just partial. So Sad,
Aug. 22, 2002
...Thank you again for all the work you do and sticking to it. I feel like my calling is to witness to Mormons and I have no idea how to start. I have many friends and family and would love to help them, but then... At least by contributing to your organization, I can be helping this way. The internet truly is awesome. It made my leaving the church so much easier.
In the older days, I would never have gone to a library and spent time going from one source to another. With the internet and new article or book or essay is only a click away. All in the privacy of my own home. Your comment ... about Mormons reading here but not buying is an interesting one.
For me, me wife had already bought the Sundholm's book [Understanding Mormonism] years ago and left it where I could run into it. Then one day I decided to see what it said about Temple Ceremonies and Freemasons is what hooked me. I couldn't stop reading and at the same time I was so confused.
I finally asked God (I even said I wanted to be sure it was the God of Abraham and the God who sent His Son Jesus to die for our sins) to help me. I would not be able to sort out the confusion on my own. The very next day as I was reading the Understanding Mormonism book and the Christian claim was making sense and the Mormon claim was looking more bizarre. Well, I slipped into my testimony and didn't even know it.... I went to the web and after that, WOW! I couldn't stop reading for days! I did it secretly because I was scared that my Christian wife would find out and I had this pride thing. It took me a couple of weeks before I could admit it to her. Of course she was happy.
I guess the reason I went off this was to let you know that the online resources you have provide some anonymity to people who are curious, but scared to be found out. It could be too that they don't want to give money to the devil, but it could also be that they don't want to be found with these books on order showing up in their home.
Sorry for the long email back, but I couldn't stop my fingers. Thanks again.
Aug. 22, 2002
It is amazing you are called the "Lighthouse Ministry" when actually you are working in the dark. ...Best Wishes for you.
Aug. 22, 2002
Subject: the true church
you know something i really feel you people are wasting your time!!! instead of trying to ''tear-down'' other peoples faith why dont you go out and do something good in the world!
contention is of the devil, God loves all his children no matter what faith they come from. Yes including mormons! i've been around mormons all my life and their is nothing you say that will make me believe other-wise.
Mormons are good people with a strong faith, they would die for what they believe in. instead of tearing it down, may i suggest a new approach....read the book of mormon, pray about it, if you dont get your answer right away, you need not fear it will come. I respect your beliefs, i think you should respect thiers!
[Sandra's Note: Thank you for writing. First, I agree that there are many nice Mormons. However, simply because a person is kind or moral is not sufficient proof that the person is a Christian or is right with God. Second, even the Mormons do not believe that simply being moral or good is sufficient. They send out 300,000 missionaries every year to convince respectable people to leave their faith and join the LDS Church.
As long as the LDS Church continues such an aggressive missionary campaign they can expect others to challenge their truth claims. Joseph Smith is the one who claimed God declared all other churches to be in a state of apostasy and unacceptable to Him (see Smith's story in the Pearl of Great Price). Smith made the first attack, Christians are merely responding to his charges.]
Aug. 25, 2002
I found your site through a search and found some of your information helpful regarding name removal from church records.
I was brought into the church at seven and attended Ricks College, and eventually left the church in the early 1990's. After taking out my endowments in the late 1980's, I was left with more questions than before and seemingly no one was interested in dissecting the ceremonies. I had questions that went unanswered, resulting in a feeling that I was to not question the doctrine, that my testimony and prayer would allay any doubts as the to what the truth was.
One nagging question or doubt that I had was why would God in all his benevolence and wisdom and love for his children require them to know secret handshakes to enter his kingdom???? This sounds like something the masons would come up with and maybe they use similar signs--not being a mason how would I ? And wasn't J. Smith a mason? I remember reading somewhere that Spencer W. Kimball wrote that he had been through the temple ceremony countless times and that he still did not undestand the entire meaning of it all. Great! That breeds confidence now doesn't it?
Is this a complex ecclesiastical question to answer or is it a matter of the simplest answer being the correct one (Achem's razor)? The answer being that the whole temple ceremony is just a bunch of hokey.....
So in the early nineties I went to my home bishop requesting the name removal. He seemed almost offended that I would suggest such a thing, and that he had no authority to do any such thing. I expressed my desire to not appear hypocritical by being on their records as a member when I held no faith in their beliefs. Getting no satisfaction, I dropped the matter. Several weeks passed and I received a letter informing of a high court that I was to attend. Laughing, I threw it in the trash. They really expected me to come and plead guilty to something I didn't believe in??? Not until the last few months had I considered pursuing it again. Missionaries had been tracting in our neighborhood came to our house.
Not looking to lie to people I related my experiences with the church and said that I had no hard feelings against the church or its members but I just didn't believe it. Asking me for reasons why I cited temple ceremony and the church's dodging any person who dared question the doctrine. So then it became "you don't have to like the members....." Bet many of us have heard that before.
So then I found your site and read the story related under the FAQ section on name removal. I wrote letters to the home bishop, stake president and the church records dept. (thanks for that address--couldn't find it on official LDS site) using the same recommendations--that request correspondence only be by mail with no calls or visitors, that the word "excommunication" not be used, and that any waiting period be waived.
Using that as my template I sent the letters. Two or three weeks have passed and yesterday I received a letter from Member and Statistical Dept. in SLC dated 8/19/02. In part it reads
Will I be required to go through this ridiculous "high court" scenario? Guess I will have to pull out the old "I am getting a lawyer and contact the media" routine. Why would any church WANT someone on their records if they don't believe it? Are church officials out to humiliate people making this request, not to mention possible negative public relations? ...
A Former Member
Aug. 26, 2002
I'm a new believer in Christ as my Savior. I like yourselves was a member of The LDS faith and I have always questioned, since a very young age, the fact that Joseph Smith was a true prophet from God. I found it very hard to fathom that one man had the Savoir in his back pocket so to speak, and the rest of us did not. I also had a difficult time with the knowledge that Jesus is not spoken of in Sunday school, yes we did read the bible sometimes, but usually the Book of Mormon was the main source of knowledge. I was a follower. I followed because my parents, grandparents, great-grandparents were all member. When my Mother passed away four years ago, I knew I was missing something and decided to go back to the Mormon church. They had me for a while, but, something was missing, Jesus.
I finally went to the Presbyterian Church across the street from my house this past January, and I finally found what has been missing from my life for the past 37 years. What a relief to have finally found Christ my Savoir and to know I'm finally on the right path.
Aug. 26, 2002
Dear Mr & Mrs. Tanner,
Whenever I think of you I give thanks and praise to the Lord! You are truly a blessing to me and Christians everywhere. I see how God is glorified through your efforts, through your good work. I pray for God's strength, health, protection and encouragement as you continue to minister. I have a great hope that the Lord will open the eyes of my brother..., who is Mormon, to the truth. You are an encouragement to me! Thank you!
Love in Christ,
Aug. 26, 2002
Dear Mrs. Tanner,
This is in regards to my recent study into Mormonism. I have been a member of the church for months now. There is much deception in getting someone to join the church, by only telling people only what the church wants them to know. Later on, after baptism we learn this incredible story that is so off the wall. If members don't believe this story, they are looked down upon in the church.
By looking at the material that you and others have made available, I have been able to look up contradictions in the book of mormon. Thank you for posting this information. Please keep this up. Other people thinking about joining the church have a right to know what is going on behind closed doors. ...
Aug. 27, 2002
...I served a mission from 1988-1990. You were the only 'group' who delivered the true Mark Hofffman story. I always wondered why Mark Hoffman did what he did - I was in High School - my parents said nothing and my seminary teacher talked a little but for the most part said nothing relevant.
Well Tanners, thanks for the revelation.. I have read many of your documents at the University of Utah - mostly during my undergraduate years. Thanks much.
Aug. 27, 2002
Dear Bro & Sis Tanner,
It is around ten years since I last contacted you. I bought Shadow or Reality. It has been referred to many, many times. Four of my children are Mormons. My...son lives in ...Colorado. He is a very committed member....I am a born again Christian. He flew to [see me] this month. He was very well prepared. But one line he used was I had never read anything but anti mormon literature. Not true. I was a Mormon, I went through the temple. I was Relief Society President. But I cleared my home out of all books. Now I wished I hadn't.
He said an excommunicated man called 'Howel' & another whose name I cannot remember wrote all anti Mormon literature & all books are written on this basis. I know this is not true.
My question is, who are these men?...Could you give me any information on who he is talking about?
God bless you,
[Sandra's Note: I believe he is referring to E. D. Howe, who wrote Mormonism Unvailed, in 1834. We sell a photo reprint of it, see our book list. It was the first full length book dealing with Joseph Smith's claims. It contains statements by the Smith's neighbors, among other issues, telling of the Smith family's involvement with magic and the occult. These statements are quoted in many books dealing with the beginnings of Mormonism since they represent some of the earliest statements from people who knew the Smith's in New York. Simply because they are old and have been quoted often does not mean they are false. Every Mormon book quotes Smith's early statements, so does that automatically make them false as well?
A Mormon will say that the statements in Howe are biased against Smith. Well, look at if from our side, why should we accept the early statements of people who believed Smith? Good history requires a look at all the documents, not just the ones we like. There are many current books examining Smith's claims that don't even mention Howe (because they deal with issues that arose after Howe's 1834 book).
A book that might help is Where Does It Say That?it contains photos from various early LDS books, like the Journal of Discourses, showing some of the crazy things the leaders have taught through the years.]
Aug. 30, 2002
Subject: LDS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$
I have sent and requested Allowance, Benefits, paid to the Top Church "officials", and directly to "Nat Carson" who seemingly intercepts Church questions. No response!!!! Is it too secret to tell the Church members and public.????
[Sandra's Note: It always amazes me that Mormons will quickly accuse us of being in this work for the money yet they never seem to hold their own leaders accountable for their church income. The LDS Church never reveals its income, expenses, or leaders' salaries.
The Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, p. 510, states: 'Because the General Authorities [President of church, his counselors, Apostles, Seventies] are obliged to leave their regular employment for full-time Church service, they receive a modest living allowance provided from income on Church investments.'
Since ministers also 'leave their regular employment for full-time Church service' one wonders why the LDS Church rails against a paid clergy? As for excusing their paid leaders by stating that the money comes from 'Church investments' one needs to remember that all of their wealth originated from church member's tithing. The LDS Church was not set up with a ready-made investment portfolio. It is hypocritical to speak against other churches for having a paid clergy while excusing their own.
For more information see: Do Mormon Leaders Receive Financial Support?]
Aug. 31, 2002
Subject: Thank you
I thank you very much for helping me find Christ. I was once a Mormon and visited your web site four months ago and started reading at first I rejected this web site. It took months for me to accept Christ and leave the Mormon Church
I thank you for helping me find Christ, but most of all I thank Jesus for dying for my sins.