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April 2003
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

April 1, 2003

Hi. It's funny. I had heard horrible things about you guys my entire life. I was raised LDS and then I went on a mission. I came home only ten months into said mission, mostly because I didn't feel good about what I was doing there, and I then proceeded to heavily research the truthfulness of the Mormon church. After many years of study and thought, I came to the conclusion that my assumptions were right and I left the Mormon church for good.

However, I always sort of wrote you guys off as vindictive liars, presumably because that is what I had always been told, so I didn't use any of your resources in my years of research. Damn. Many items that it took me some time to find were readily available through your ministry. I only recently visited your website, prompted mainly by the article in the City Weekly, and I feel moronic for not seeking out your resources earlier.

I commend you for your decades or honest research and courage. I only wish that I would've found you sooner. I would like any materials that you could send me, as my father and I, who is an LDS Institute Director in a major city on the East Coast, continue to have lively discussion about the validity of the Mormon faith. He's a well-spoken man and I need all the help I can get. I would also like to receive your newsletters. Thank you and good luck in passing the torch of your ministry.

April 2, 2003

...Keep up the good work. Your research has been of so much value to people finding their way. Thanks for the insight your organization has provided to the public. I learned a lot just reading you website alone then branching out to other areas.

God Bless,

April 2, 2003

I never understood why so many anti-Mormons use the protestant interpretation of the Bible as their proof against the church. 80% of your web site that i was able to read, was just that. Therefor it is only understandable for those who interprit the Bible as Protestants and Catholics do. Obviously "MORMONS" don't do so in such a way!

April 2, 2003

Subject: hurt by the lds church

hi, my name is _____ and i was lds for 35 years. i was in an emotionally abusive relationship with my ex-husband, he also abused my children physically and emotionally. i was married to him in the slc temple and bishops and stake presidents turned their heads and told me that "FAMILIES HAD TO STAY TOGETHER AT ALL COSTS". I finally left and have lost everything. ....

April 2, 2003

Could you tell me what the no. 1 most effective point, issue or subject that affects a Mormon? Or is there there such a thing? Do you know if there are organizations that have effective witness, door to door programs like Mormons have?


[Sandra's Note: I have not found one particular point that seems to have universal effectiveness. The most common experience shared by people coming out of Mormonism is being confronted at various times with questions about LDS doctrine, truth claims or something about Joseph Smith's credibility

However, the issue that bothers one person does not necessarily bother another. For some it is the lack of spirituality or teaching from the Bible. For some it is the contradictions between the various prophets of Mormonism. For others it is the Book of Abraham translation problems. For others it is the lack of historical evidence for the Book of Mormon.

As for door to door contacts, I do not know of anyone doing this on an organized basis. There are groups that pass out literature at various LDS sites and at the Utah State Fair. Contact—

Utah Partnerships for Christ

Utah Missions

Berean Christian Ministries

Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center
(217) 453-2372

Utah Christian Pub.

Mormonism Research Ministry
www.mrm.org ]

April 2, 2003

Subject: Where can I find the info on this quote?

I am looking for info on where Brigham Young and Snow OK's the castration of this poor young man in this story (taken from your April 1997 Salt Lake City Messenger) posted on recovery. Would you happen to know? It's just appalling that this type of info was never revealed to me when I was investigating the LDS church as a 17 year old kid. I would have never joined. Thanks for your efforts to expose the true history.

[Sandra's Note: The names of the books, which are on our book list, are given at the end of the quotes in our newsletter, no.92.

Confessions of John D. Lee, page 284-286.

The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power, Vol.2, pages 250-251.

Also see the book Forgotten Kingdom, pp.132-133.]

April 2, 2003

Subject: Smith's parents?

Dear Jerald and Sandra Tanner.

I was able to meet you last week and must say it was incredible to finally meet you and get a copy of Mormonism: shadow or reality. I came out to Utah with the Colorado Christian University Mission trip.

My question is this...What were Joseph Smith's parents practices and beliefs? Thank you so much for your time and your long standing efforts in Utah and your genuine love for the LDS people. Also the copies of the messenger I was able to get at the store are awesome as is your work. Thank you again.

[Sandra's Note: During the 1790's Joseph Smith's father attending at least some Methodist meetings. Upon hearing of this, Joseph's grandfather, Asael Smith, challenged the father to read Thomas Paine's Age of Reason. Evidently Joseph Smith's father then became disillusioned with the various denominations but went on to be a founding member of the Unitarian Church in Tunbridge, Vt., in 1797.

Joseph's mother, Lucy, came from a family of Presbyterians but became disillusioned with it shortly after her marriage.

Author Robert Hullinger observed "Critical of church division and the failures of the clergy to meet certain standards of piety, they [people like the Smith's] satisfied their religious impulses apart from existing churches at times, at times uneasily within them." (Joseph Smith's Response to Skepticism, p.36)

When Joseph's older brother, Alvin, died in 1823 the "Presbyterian minister who conducted the funeral—probably Benjamin Stockton—intimated that Alvin had gone to hell." (Hullinger, p.42) This seems to have finalized the resolve of both Joseph Smith, Sr. and his son, Joseph, to reject any connection with the Presbyterians. However, when revival came to Palmyra in 1824 Lucy Smith and a couple of the Smith children joined the Presbyterian Church. Young Joseph showed a partiality to Methodism and was an exhorter at some of their camp meetings.

Thus we see a picture of a home divided over religion and which church to join. For more on this see:

April 2, 2003

Subject: why does my Mormon friend get weird when returning from Salt Lake?

I have a Mormon friend who has a brain and every time she tries to use it and starts thinking too much or gathering her non mormon friends like me....she is flown out to Salt Lake for a Conference ? She returns like she had a Lobotomy....no reactions, dosal and slow and often sick for months. this has been twice in six years now and now we are not talking at all. ...

[Sandra's Note: Cults depend on controlling the members access to negative information. The sheep are happier, more easily led, if they never see any uncomfortable data. One is surrounded by only the approved material and told not to read anything from the outside. Those with any other point of view are demonized as liars. This same method is used on young missionaries. If they seem to be listening too much to their non-LDS contacts they will be reassigned so that the non-member will no longer be an influence.]

April 3, 2003

Subject: BYU's Anthropology Dept Morally equates Mayans to Judeo-Christianity

By Hector Maynez

Civilizations that equated gods with nature -a characteristic of all primitive societies- or that worshipped nature did not evolve.

This is in response to the BYU Magazine's winter 2003 article on Professor Stephen D.Houston's archeological dig at Piedras Negras Guatemala in 1999. Professor Houston concluded that the sudden demise of the Mayans in this particular region was a result of a "crisis in faith."

Traditional archaeological theories attribute the collapse of the Mayan culture to drought, political uncertainty, explosive and noisome population growth and environmental devastation. Professor Houston however, takes the conventional theory a step further, and declares that a "crisis in faith" was what led to the final demise of Mayan society in this particular area. The question is what faith?

Firstly and foremost, there are no archaeological discoveries in Central America that suggest any evidence of a monotheistic society ever having existed in Mayan culture. Secondly, and perhaps as important as the first, archaeological discoveries in regions where Mayans lived all point to polytheism, and the deification of nature, both antithetical to monotheism.

A "crisis in faith" theory explaining the collapse of this society is faulty, because such a conjecture can only be applied to a society whose religious beliefs and practices are based on the morality and beliefs of ethical monotheism.

The belief that all morality emanates from one God hadn't yet reached the Americas at the zenith of Mayan culture; the Mayans were a Pre Colombian primitive society. So to ascribe a "crisis in faith" theory to a primitive society such as the Mayans is tantamount to saying that Mayan polytheistic culture and ethical monotheistic culture are both morally equal. Though an educated theory, it is morally faulty and a theory that emanates from a clear sign of an increasing secularism at BYU.

A more logical and compelling conclusion would be that because of the Mayan faith, namely polytheism and their deification of nature, they were led to their final demise as a culture. Nature provided no moral code to live by, and it only led these individuals and their culture into further moral pandemonium, and to their eventual annihilation.

As polytheocratic nature worshipers the Mayans perceived nature as divine, and as a result were in a state of complete moral chaos. Polytheism and nature worship are amoral views; nature, and quarrelling divine wills know nothing of good and evil. Nature only knows survival of the fittest, no right only might, and if a creature is weak enslave it or kill it.

To further entangle the Mayan moral decadence, they were polytheistic, and subjected to a fantastic jungle of divine wills, the will of one-god clashed with the will of another god. In sum, polytheism provided moral relativity and nature prescribed no moral restrictions.

Nature allowed the Mayans to act naturally, and since its natural to rape, murder, enslave, and engage in all sorts of sexual practices i.e., bestialism, incest, and adult/child sexual relations, they engaged in these practices without moral compunction. Since nature knows no moral bounds, and polytheism prescribes a myriad of divine wills the Mayans at Piedras Negras lived without an objective morality, and as a consequence, were destined for doom. The Mayans at Piedras Negras didn't know that there is but one God who governs the universe morally, and not theologically; so they fell victims to their own faith; moral relativity, and moral equivalence. Their faith is what eventually killed them.

Had ethical monotheism been present in Mayan culture, human sacrifice, and slavery would've been nonexistent. There would've been one objective moral code from the one God who governs the universe morally, whose primary demand is that humans act good, and treat each other decently.

Ethical monotheism would've prescribed moral demands and told the Mayans that beheadings, and tearing out of human hearts in their practice of human sacrifice were all acts of pure evil; that all sexual practices were to be channeled into married heterosexual monogamous sex; that rape is both immoral, and evil; and that slavery is sinful. Polytheism and nature worship are the antithesis of ethical monotheism, murder isn't evil; all type of sex is allowed; rape is wrong only if one think its wrong; gods require human sacrifice, and slavery was a good thing in the Mayan infrastructure. Dostoyevsky's notable phrase, "where there's no God all is permitted." Could be rephrased with, " where there are many gods 'all' is also permitted." Only where there is one God from who emanates one morality is there a right and a wrong, a good and an evil. Where there is no god there can't possibly be an objective morality, such was the case with the Mayans.

The Mayans at Piedras Negras didn't know this so it was precisely their faith what didn't allow them to evolve. As stated earlier, civilizations that equated gods with nature, or venerated nature, a singularity of all uncivilized societies did not evolve.

Hector Maynez

PS: Professor Houston also says that the Mayan kings were "like the Dalai Lama with a penchant for warfare." The Tibetan Buddhists, and the Dalai Lama are pacifists to the core, the direct opposite of warriors. When the communists invaded Tibet in 1959 the Buddhists led by the Dalai Lama did nothing to defend themselves, and thousands were brutally butchered. Professor Houston, with all due respect should get his facts straight before pronouncing his theories.

April 3, 2003

Subject: Excommunicaitons


I just want to say, how sad it is that people get excommunicated from the mormon church. I just want you to know, that i am not mormon or a supporter of them. I believe in the christ of the bible, and only that christ, even though my faith isn't where it should be sometimes.

I think in the mormon church, they want to control their people. With excommunications, If someone finds out about the mormon church being a cult, and leave under their own free-will. the church wants to excommunicate them, since they asked to have their name taken off of the membership rolls. I guess they don't want the other members, or the general public to know, that these people left under their own power. It seems the are hiding something, and another thing. this confuses me. If the Mormon church, claims to be the only true church, how come they want to be accepted as another christian denomination. They call the our churches, the whores of babylon. Maybe the found their true calling :)



April 4, 2003

Subject: BM-book of antiquity?? - Your help on this issue is appreciated

I'm currently witnessing to a devote Mormon ...He has been trying to convert me. I have provided him with extensive information regarding Mormon history (primarily material available in Books written by the Tanners). I have also been trying to share the Gospel message with him. Recently, he sent me this short note as evidence to the antiquity of the Book of Mormon. Any comments you may have that would allow me to respond to this gentleman regarding his 'evidence' would be appreciated.

"...Jershon is used in a way in the BM that is strikingly consistent with the BM people knowing Hebrew. "When the Lamanites converted by the sons of Mosiah fled their homeland to escape persecution, the Nephites allowed them to settle in the land called Jershon. The name, though not found in the Bible, has an authentic Hebrew origin, the root *YRS, meaning 'to inherit,' with the suffix '-on' that denotes place names...."

[Sandra's Note: This could also suggest that someone was simply mimicking Bible names, like 'Gershon' in Gen. 46:11, or combining various syllables of Hebrew words to make new words. Thus one can take 'Jer' from any number of OT words, like Jerusalem, and add it to the ending 'on', which is used in many OT names. This is an obvious pattern in Book of Mormon names.

One hundred and forty one names in the Book of Mormon, almost half, are directly taken from the Bible. Most of the others are variants of spelling or combining syllables from Biblical names. Thus the Bible has 'Amalek' while the Book of Mormon has 'Amaleki.' The Bible has 'Abinadab' while the Book of Mormon has 'Abinadi.' The Bible has 'Shiza' while the Book of Mormon has 'Shez.' For more on the formation of names in the Book of Mormon, see The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Mormon, by Walters, Appendix C. For more analyses of the Book of Mormon and Hebrew influences, see New Approaches to the Book of Mormon, ch. 9.

To date there are still no artifacts or samples of writing, independent of Joseph Smith, from the Nephite/Lamanite culture. The LDS scholars can't even agree on a map for Book of Mormon lands (there is no official map produced by the LDS Church). There is no evidence that such a people ever existed. We have multiple samples of Mayan script on countless monuments. Why has nothing ever been found like the sample of writing Smith supposedly copied off the plates (the Anthon transcript)?

Also see our page: Possible Sources for Book of Mormon Names]

April 4, 2003

Dear Sandra,

Congratulations on the 100th issue of the Salt Lake City Messenger. Wow, yours really is a remarkable story! We're praying that the Lord will raise up the right person to help you keep the ministry going.

April 4, 2003

Subject: Journal of Discourses


Thanks again for all of your hard work and research. Your tenacity encourages me, and I pray for the day when my mormon friend ....comes to Christ.

The Journal of Discourses came up tonight. She made some claims about it that I know are untrue. Where can I obtain a copy?

Also, how have you overcome the statement by mormons that these sermons were intended only for those living at the times that they were issued? I mentioned to her that Brigham Young taught many doctrines that she disagreed with, like polygamy. She responded that these were only intended for those living in that time. I told her that Young had prophesied that the mormons would never give up polygamy for statehood. She said that since these statements were intended only for that period, the prophecy was true since polygamy was practiced until after Young's death.

Keep up the Good Work,

[Sandra's Note: If the teachings of earlier prophets were only for their day why is the LDS Church reprinting many of their sermons in their current manuals? Look at their series Teachings of Presidents of the Church. There is a specific volume for Brigham Young's sermons. These volumes all quote from the Journal of Discourses.

Doesn't she still read and obey the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price? These were all revealed to prophets even before the Journal of Discourses. Are they no longer valid? Does she dismiss Joseph Smith the same way as Young? Shouldn't past prophets agree with current prophets? If not, how do we know which ones to believe? They still believe Joseph Smith, a past prophet, so how can they dismiss prophets that came after him? As for polygamy, why is section 132 still in the Doctrine and Covenants?

The Journal of Discourses contain the sermons of church presidents, like Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, or one of their apostles, speaking at official church gatherings. If these are not 'official' then when do they speak 'officially'? When do they declare doctrine? Don't Mormons today accept the sermons given at conference as 'official'? Then the ones given 150 years ago at conference should be just as 'official.'

The entire set of Journal of Discourses is on the LDS CD-ROM GospeLink, available from any LDS bookstore (like www.deseretbook.com). It is often quoted by LDS leaders in their talks and articles. The accuracy of these early sermons never seems to be an issue when current LDS leaders use them, only when critics use them.]

April 4, 2003

Subject: Thank You For Helping to Build My Testimony

Dear Sandra and Jerald,

...One of the problems I have had with members of the church is that people don't seem to be encouraged to think critically. In fact most people who seem to express doubts, or have serious questions about doctrine or church history are looked down upon, have their "testimonies" questioned or are told they are on the road to apostasy... Members become indoctrinated and we as members should not question these truths or at least be very careful about how, when, where, and to whom we raise questions otherwise they could be perceived as "falling away", "not supporting church leaders", etc.

I am of the opinion that unfortunately that those in positions of high authortity within the church and many leaders in local positions have on many occassions seemed to demonstrate that maintaining the good name of the church is more important than critical thinking, children who have been abused, and so forth.

Many of these "issues" have caused me to really examine my beleifs-not to mention rampant hypocrisy. ...

I was aware of some of the shocking church history when I did a research paper on polygamy. I was so disturbed by some of the information I found that I confronted the Director of Religion at BYU and she surprisingly confirmed my research (most of which is available in large part on your site). Real seeds of doubt began to be planted.

Recently I read an article about you in City Weekly which led me to your website. In a fairly short amount of time I have consumed most of the information on your site reading several hundred pages.

Initially my concern grew to the point I really was starting to think I had been completely duped...But then something I would not, could not have predicted began to happen...the more I read the more my testimony actually INCREASED of the truthfullness of the LDS church. Despite the fact that you provide a wealth of useful and interesting information that on the surface appears to be very damaging to the church.

However, the more I read, the more I realized that you were clearly NOT objective. Your "research" is full of incomplete information, partial truths, far fetched opinions, conjecture, false logic, and very weak arguments in many cases.

It became clear that if I were to apply your line of reasoning and logic you attempt to use to discredit the BOM and its leaders, that if applied to the Bible and both ancient and modern christian leaders you would have to disregard Christianity altogether.

At first glance the information you provide is compelling and "appears" to make sense minus the anti-mormon rhetoric and one-sided commentary. Upon deeper inspection however it becomes clear that your methodology in proving the church untrue is for the most part useless and you only provide only information which you deem supports your position, without providing alternative information....

Luckily I am not so easily convinced--the deeper I probed the more pieces I have found to the puzzle and interestingly enough I even found quite a few compelling and I might say much more objective criticisms of your work by mormon and non-mormon scholars alike.

Although I have not found any "proof" per say that the church is true (I can't see the wind either) I have found evidence, explanations, and conclusions that are in most cases are much more complelling than your own line of reasoning and slanted conclusions....If you actually provided objective analysis your own position would be significantly weakened or made moot. Although mormon scholars have not provided conclusive evidence the church is true they have at least provided as much evidence and so forth as you have on the opposite end of the spectrum....

I have no doubt that the reasons you state you originally left the church are true, but I think that it is clear you now harbor a tremendous amount of bitterness, potentially hatred and so forth against the church--...In any case thanks for directly and indirectly increasing my testimony of the gospel...and for those skeptics out there many of the questions the Tanners raise can be answered persuasively, logically and in many cases with scientific evidence...you just have to take the time to look in the right places...somehow I doubt the Tanners would be willing to put up any links up to their site...but hey maybe if you ask they'll tell you who knows.

P.S. I'll be extremely surprised if you ever post this response on your board.

April 6, 2003


I am an inactive mormon having been active in the LDS church my entire life. My family goes back 5 generations... The service you are providing is spectacular. Thank you. My family in Utah does not know that I am inactive...I still have many friends who are still active in the church, not to mention all of my large extended family....

April 6, 2003

To the Tanner's,

You make a quick point of mentioning your heritage and direct ties to early prophets. I wonder why that would be relevant. Isn't Satan a direct descendant of God? He didn't turn out to be very good either.

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, I guess it's only important to mention if you are a good Mormon like Steve Young?]

April 7, 2003

Hi. I have had a few encounters with some mormons. This website was completely NON offensive. Usually there are mormon BASHING websites and mormon INFORMING websites. This one has shown me information and not outright slander. ...Thank you!

April 7, 2003

I have a question for the Tanners specifically -What are your credentials? Do you have University degrees? I simply question your "schollarly" abilities.

[Sandra's Note: Jerald and I are not trained historians. We each took various college classes but neither of us graduated from college. However, we have spent over forty years reading and researching the history of Mormonism. All of our research can be verified at the various university libraries here in Utah, such as the Univ. of Utah and the BYU. The question should be does our research hold up, not how much education did we have.

See: About Us]

April 7, 2003

Dear Tanners,

I love your work and what you are trying to do. The mormon church and its missionaries need to be stopped. As an ex-member and also one of the deceived now awakened, I cannot express my discontent towards the church and its leaders. I would like to know how I can get my name removed from the church records, and also my family members names removed from the church records. I just want you to know that I support you guys and all the work you do. ...thank you,

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

April 7, 2003

...I was a member of the LDS church for 35 years and I followed their council leading us " families have to stay together at all costs" so my children and i were abused emotionally and physically for more than ten tears. The church turned their back on us when my ex abandoned us for another woman. He committed adultery and doesn't follow his court orders. The church wants this kind of person in their church???????? That is when my eyes were opened and i found God for the first time in my life. ...I am interested in learning how to cut all ties and reprogram myself away from all their destructive views. Thank you for all you do for people that were in the LDS faith and need a way out. God bless you Always

April 7, 2003

[Pray for my daughter and] her involvement with the LDS, ...I was informed today by her, that she was officially baptized into the Mormon church.... In an effort to meet on some kind of common ground, she has agreed in counseling, at least as of today, to allow herself to listen to, or read, or talk to or view information about the LDS that I felt was necessary for her to make an 'informed decision" about all of this.

I asked her why she felt she had to be baptized again since she had already been baptized for the remission of her sins and that she was baptized into CHRIST and not into a church in the first place, she said that it was all part of the whole "process" and that she felt that she needed to be baptized under the proper "authority". Without belaboring this sad day, I just ask that each of you continue to pray for her to be open to the possibility that she could be making a mistake and that there was more that she needed to know. She agreed that she would do that,... I am in somewhat a state of shock and numb..... My heart is so heavy....

In Christian love,

P.S. ...In closing, her brother told her that the LDS will tell her again and again to read the Book of Mormon and study it and pray about it. He asked her if she had done that and she said yes. Then he asked her if she had done the same thing with the bible and she said, not really, so he admonished her to do that and she said she would. ...

April 8, 2003

Subject: My story

I have read many of the letters to the editor over the past few months. There are really two themes: 1) Someone reads and accepts literature identifying the contradictions in the Mormon theology and 2) Someone doesn't dare read the literature and starts name calling and saying that we should study and pray, or else all non-Mormons are condemned to eternal torment. My story falls somewhere in between these two views/experiences. Please indulge me while I explain.

I was born in a Mormon family, with Mormon grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. The few relatives who were weren't active were the black sheep and were to be avoided. In retrospect, this was not a very Christ-like attitude, but this is how I was raised. My parents, however, did teach us to think for ourselves (unusual, but valuable). We were even counseled to think carefully about any directive or commands from our religious leaders. To this day, I thank my parents for this attitude.

Growing up, I completed all of the necessary progression in the Mormon faith: Aaronic Priesthood at 12, Melchizedek Priesthood, endowments and missionary work at the appropriate time. All of this is what I was expected to do. In retrospect, I knew about the doctrinal contradictions, the confusing temple rituals, the lack of Christ in the Mormon teachings, but I spewed the 'party line' to myself and others when questioned about these things. I had obviously not learned to think for myself at that time.

I never had access to 'anti-Mormon' literature and never really desired to read it. The people responsible for waking me from my religious stupor were the General Authorities of the Mormon Church, specifically Boyd Packer and Bruce McConkie. ...We were told that it was better to lie than to tell a truth that wasn't 'faith promoting'. The most basic rules of behavior from the bible tell us very plainly that bearing false witness is wrong! And here is a leader of a supposedly Christian religion (I thought it was at the time) telling us to violate one of the Ten Commandments!

Several Church leaders informed the membership that they were not allowed to question the leadership. The statement (which is still revolting to me) is one that we have all heard "When the brethren have spoken, the thinking is done." Bruce McConkie even went as far as to say that we should either echo what he says or remain silent!

As a final straw, Boyd Packer indicated that 'Feminists, Homosexuals and Intellectuals' were the greatest threats to the church. I thought that I had spent my life trying to find the truth. I have studied many subjects and have multiple college degrees. Still to this day, I search for facts and truth. I do consider myself an intellectual. When I was named by Elder Packer as a threat to the Mormon church, that was the final straw. I knew that I could not remain a member of an organization that considered me an enemy.

That very week I requested that my name and the names of my family (wife and children) be removed from the records of the church. After several months of visits from the local Bishop I received the letter. When I read that I was no longer a member of the Mormon church, something happened that surprised and shocked me. I felt as if a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt free, truly free, for the first time in my life. Elation is an understatement for what I felt and have felt every day since.

...I have spent the last 10 years exorcising the demons that were drummed into my head for a majority of my life. I do have to thank both of you.

Your life's work has helped me heal and remove the psychological and mental wounds and smooth the scars from 30 years of, I almost hate to say this, brainwashing. Thinking carefully about the things that the Mormons require and teach, I cannot find a better word for it. Reading about the truth has made possible my transition from mindless drone to back to human being. I am remembering all the contradictions that I dismissed through the years as I read your extensive research. It is all very therapeutic....

To all the 'faithful' that impugn the research and reputations of the Tanners and others like them, I would give you a challenge. Either prove (scientifically, with FACTS, not just a burning in your bosom) that the Mormon Church is true (be careful, current research is against you) or prove that the information that the Tanners have gathered is NOT true. I have studied both of them extensively, and have relatives that have some original documentation from the time of the founding of the church. I can tell you which would hold up in court and would stand scientific and religious scrutiny. I also can tell you which I believe is the truth.

...Just the fact that you are visiting this site means that you should go confess this 'sin' to your leaders! If this makes any sense to you, that a handful of aging CEOs not only control 10% of your income (without reporting where it all goes or how much there is) but also tell you what to think and what to read, then you are where I was earlier in my life. I hope that you will each think carefully about how much control any individual should have over you or your family's thoughts and finances.

One last thought to the 'faithful': If the Mormon church is true, it should be able to withstand its members asking questions! I wonder why the General Authorities think that it won't? Maybe they know something that they won't tell you!

Jerald and Sandra: May God bless you for all your labors. Keep up the good work!

April 9, 2003

Dear Sir/Madam

...I would also like to take this opportunity and say well done to all the fine research and publishing you have undertaken over the years. I myself was a member of the LDS church for many years and had I not had the opportunity to study your material I would never have known the things which I know now. I learnt more from your publications than I would have from LDS sources themselves.

In the face of so much evidence one can only make the right decision and that is a complete withdrawal from the LDS movement. Although painful at the time the rewards of doing so are beneficial. When I read some of the negative feedback which you receive in your Salt Lake City Messenger I find myself baffled that anyone could dismiss as irrelevant the evidence which you have published. I have always said that if the LDS church had any truth to defend that their leaders would have no fear of your research and would be able to refute with the minimum amount of effort all the material and its conclusions which you have produced. This of course has not been the case and this to my mind speaks volumes in itself. Keep up the good work....

April 10, 2003

Just a brief comment, I was both amused and amazed recently after a comment on your letters page that when I input to a search engine "Church Handbook" how many versions became available to look at on-line, If the legal trouble you went through had not been so serious it would have been quite ridiculous, Also thank your for advise for getting my name of the records which I finally did, here in Australia it was very easy.

Many thanks

April 10, 2003

Subject: Mitchell Excommunication

I have been very closely following the Elizabeth Smart kidnapping case. I note in all the articles and different media stories that Brian David Mitchell was an excommunicated Mormon. But my question is: When was he excommunicated?

I have heard it has been anywhere from ten years ago to very recently. I feel the Church is trying to distance itself and its teachings from Mitchell, so that the public will have the impression that its polygamous teachings, and his Church background, had nothing to do with his religious beliefs....

By the way, while extremely happy that this child has been returned to her family, I feel that there are many questions in this case, we may never have the answers to. Thanking you in advance for any information you may be able to give!

[Sandra's Note: The Salt Lake Tribune had an article on Brian David Mitchell March 30, 2003. It indicated that he and his wife, Wanda Barzee, were LDS temple workers in the early 1990's. In 1993 he quit his job at O.C. Tanner jewelry company and started selling books by Samuel Wood, on holistic health. Then about 1995 he sold all his possessions and was claiming revelation. "Mitchell spoke strange prophecies, balked at paying income taxes." (Salt Lake Tribune, March 30, 2003, p. A15) The article goes on to state, "In November 2001, Lois Smart hired Mitchell for five hours to help with some roofing work at the Smart home. Seven months later, the LDS Church excommunicated Mitchell and Barzee for their extreme views. That same week, Elizabeth Smart disappeared."]

April 10, 2003

Hi Sandra;

...I've been reaching out to a Mormon friend, ... She agreed to go to my church if I would go to her Mormon church. Well, I went the other night, and that was definitely a first for me. I could practically smell the deception, and it really grieved me. But I am thankful for the opportunity I had to plant seed afterwards.

I boldly opened up my Bible in the hallway, and started sharing from Hebrew 1 about how in the PAST God spoke to us through his prophets, but in these last days...we have Jesus. Anyway, thanks for all that you do. And once again, God Bless you, your husband and your ministry. I look forward to meeting you some day.


April 11, 2003

Dear Lighthouse Ministries,

please discontinue my subscription. I really admire your attempts to get the 'truth' out to the public....I believe in God and Jesus Christ. I had an eye opening experience or revelation which won't allow me to deny the L.D.S. Church. Logicaly, after reading your literature which debunks, rebutes mormonism it would be logical to deny its claims of being the true church, however, I am not so priveleged as to rebuke what my heart claims and feels toward the church. I am walking by faith because my carnal eyes and mind want to steer me away from the Church....

April 11, 2003

Subject: Praise the Lord

Dear Tanners:

I just received your 100 Special Edition of The Salt Lake City Messenger, I do praise the Lord for you all and your ministry. I praise the Lord for your salvation and because your a channel of God's salvation for many others.

I pray you can put your materials into Spanish. I am a Peruvian Pastor and I see here in Peru that almost all the people are blind to the true Mormonism. ...Go ahead in the Lord!

In Him,

April 12, 2003

You've spent a large portion of your lives trying to destroy something that helps people to lead good lives. You shouldn't let mormonism stress you out, let them do their thing and you do yours and let it be!

April 13, 2003

The first I had heard about you mission was in last weeks City Weekly, I immediately found your website and began reading various newsletters from the past. What an eye opener they have been.

I always felt the Mormon church was a cult, but I never imagined to what extent! The articles on sexual abuse literally made me sick to stomach. Being baptized and raised LDS until I was old enough to know better, I have always looked for some kind of proof that what I felt in my heart to be true. Your publications are what I have been looking. Thank You...

April 13, 2003

...I'm interested in getting the messenger. I've recently been caught up in Mormonism, and was almost Baptized. Now I'm trying hard to find my way out.

Thank You!!

April 14, 2003

Thanks for the good work you are doing. I always enjoy reading your materials. I continue to believe that The BOM is the joint product of Joseph Smith's fertile imagination and Solomon Spaulding's speculative writings. Perhaps that will be demonstrated one day....Thanks, again, for all you do.

April 14, 2003

Subject: What's it like?

Upon viewing your website, I rejoice in the fact that each one of us will one day stand before God and account for the things we've done in our life. It is interesting to note the last year growth of the LDS church, over 230,000. I wonder why?

After feeling the holy ghost confirm the truth of what you were taught, how does it feel to then reject it? To know that one of your ancestors (Brigham Young) saw and spoke with the Savior, told the people what the Savior told him, and look at what your employment is. "Your disbelieve will not make the truth without effect," Guess who said that?

P.S. Don't throw rocks when you live in a glass house.

April 14, 2003

I find it funny how Mormons assume you're full of hate because you tell them things they don't want to hear. When I was a questioning Mormon I visited your bookstore and met Sandra. What a gentle soul! Thank you for being the face of Christ to people who don't even know how desperately they need Him.

April 15, 2003

Dear Gerald and Sandra,

A small word from Belgium. I have seen that the mormons use the web to attack our [Christian] positions. We are making a good work among the french speaking world. For 27 years, I read your excellent litterature. You were for us a wonderful starting block. With Emmy, my wife we are pastoring a church 20 miles from Brussels. ...

April 15, 2003

My question is about the LDS book called Our Search for Happiness, do you guys have any insight into this book? I searched your sight and I didn't find anything. Will you share what you know with me concerning this book? Thanks.

In Christ,

[Sandra's Note: Yes, I am familiar with the book. The author is an apostle in the LDS Church. I read it several years ago. It is just a gentler version of the standard LDS missionary arguments. These doctrinal issues have been addressed in many books, like Cowan's Mormon Claims Answered (full text on our web site).

While Mr. Ballard starts out with an appeal for unity he goes on to declare the LDS Church to be the only church recognized by God and the only one with authority to act in his name. He also goes on to declare that Mormonism is historically true. On p.120 he states—

"...either it [Mormonism] is true or it is not. Either Joseph Smith had that remarkable vision we call the First Vision, or he did not. Either he translated the Book of Mormon by the gift and power of God, or he did not. Either the priesthood of God was restored to earth through the ministry of John the Baptist, Peter, James, and John, or it was not. Either Heavenly Father created a wonderful eternal plan for His children [meaning eternal progression to godhood], or He did not.... Either these things happened as I've indicated, or they did not. If they didn't happen, then a lot of us have really been fooled....I know that what I'm telling you is true."

Our research demonstrates that these things did NOT happen. Recently a retired LDS Institute of Religion director came to the same conclusions and detailed his research in An Insiders View of Mormon Origins. Unfortunately, the Mormon leaders have been unwilling to face or discuss their own historical problems and the people continue to be "fooled." But history paints a very different picture.

Not only does Mormonism fail on the basis of a comparison with the Bible, its own history declares it to be false. See our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?]

April 15, 2003

I am a staff chaplain at .................University Hospital..........I am also in the last stage of getting my M.Div.....recently had a visit with one of our patients who told me that he was leaving the Mormon Church. I asked what was helpful in this decision. He replied that his son is a non-denominational minister who has been sharing the Gospel with him. He also said that he has been reading a book. When I asked him what he had been reading he showed me a copy of your book "Mormonism Unmasked". I asked him if he was ready to receive Christ yet. He said "I'm getting there". I thought you'd like to know that your book is helping this man. Thank you for your ministry.

In Christ,

April 16, 2003

Subject Temple & Masonry


I was wondering if you have any info pertaining to the origins of masonry and whether the practice started in the US or came from somewhere else. Also my sister and husband travelled to Egypt and came back with a firm conviction that things they had seen over there in some of the ancient writings depicted scenes from our temple ceremony and is a great testimony to them now about the divinity of the temple ceremony.

From all the material I have read that I have obtained from your research and others I am inclined to think that perhaps they are only comparing Joseph Smith's papyri which has been shown to be the Book of Breathings with his interpretation and then possibly seeing the same inscriptions over in Egypt portraying the same thing and concluding that this proves that the temple ceremony was practiced this way long ago in ancient times.

Do you have any research that touches on this subject? Thanks for your time in this matter.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, see the book Masonic Rites and Wrongs: An Examination of Freemasonry. Freemasonry, as we know it today, is generally believed to have started in 1717. The Washington Post, Nov. 25, 2001, p.W14, carried an article entitled "Fezzes, Sphinxes and Secret Handshakes." Author Peter Carlson explained:

"The Free and Accepted Order of Freemasons is the oldest fraternity in the world. But it is not nearly as old as some Masons would have you believe....Actually, Freemasonry evolved more than 500 years ago from the guilds of stonemasons who were free to travel from city to city in Europe and build cathedrals. The secret handshakes and passwords were originally ways a man could prove he was a member of the guild in the days before ID cards.

"Gradually, the stonemasons invited other men to join their brotherhood and it slowly evolved from a labor union into a fraternity. Printed references to Freemasonry date back to 1390, but it wasn't until 1717, when four London lodges united, that modern Freemasonry was born....By the mid-1700s, Freemasonry had spread throughout Europe and the American colonies,..."

For more on the Mormon ties to Freemasonry, see The Mysteries of Godliness: A History of Mormon Temple Worship, and our book Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.

As for the Egyptian connection, historically there have always been secret religious rites so a Mormon could latch onto this as some sort of evidence for the antiquity of their secret rites. But the ceremonies would have been very different. Besides, if there are similarities to the Egyptian religion that would just show the pagan nature of Mormonism's origins. God rejected the Egyptian religion back in the days of Moses and all through the Old Testament. Just which parts of the Egyptian religion are we supposed to accept? The Mormons do a lot of picking and choosing when it comes to trying to find support in ancient religions. Where in the New Testament do we see Christians going to the temple for a secret marriage ceremony?

For information on the Book of Abraham and the Egyptian papyri see By His Own Hand Upon Papyrus and the video Lost Book of Abraham.]

April 17, 2003

Subject: Thank you

I was born and raised in the "Church" and rose to the rank of Priest before becoming an infidel. Several years ago I found that reading the 7-volume History of the Church straight through to be sufficient for completely destroying the remains of any former testimony I might have had. Now I'm discovering that the huge work is a horrible misrepresentation of the tip of the iceberg of all that's wrong, stupid and insidious about the Church....I was always under the impression that the Anti-Mormons were telling lies and being downright mean to the Mormons for no good reason. Its weird to find out that so many of the most Anti-Mormon texts are written by Joe Smith, Brigham Young, et al. Most of the material on this site is simply a straightforward presentation of Mormon tenets;...

I would like to take issue with you on one point: You assert that Christ's suffering on the Cross is super-compelling and powerful, and that Christ suffering at Gethsemane is not so interesting. Did the other criminals crucified with Christ die for my sins too? ...If you believe Christ's claim to divinity surely you must admit that a god can handle just as much pain and suffering as some common crooks.

On a related note, you attack the Mormons' trinity position on theological points but ignore the fact that the whole point of the God of Abraham is that there is only one, singular and undivided Him. Christ's claims to divinity were blasphemous: he didn't claim to BE the God of Abraham, he claimed to be the bastard SON of Abraham's god,...Mormon positions are generally wrong, but your Christian positions are often just as unsatisfying. In the end Christians have to take everything they believe on faith just as the Mormons take all their lies on faith. Why not Islam? Or atheism? ...

Thank you again for all the wonderful books. I never thought I'd be giving money to a religious NPO, but "oh, well".

April 17, 2003

Has anyone ever tried to translate the characters that Joseph Smith copied from the gold plates.

[Sandra's Note: Through the years various non-LDS scholars have looked at the Anthon transcript but have found nothing consistent with a known language.

Wesley Walters, who at one time studied under Dr. William F. Albright, stated:

"There also fell into Dr. Albright's hands a recent Mormon list of 'Caractors', which Joseph Smith declared to be a transcription of the 'Caractors' on the plates. These charactors had been put in a column and beside them had been placed the Egyptian symbols that resembled them the closest. Upon examining this comparison, Dr. Albright discovered that in order to find any parallels the Mormons had had to select charactors from demotic, hieratic, and hieroglyphic writing, which are separate scripts, separated from each other in some cases by thousands of years. Dr. Albright said this would make no sense whatsoever.

"When asked what he thought about the Reformed Egyptian language, this 'leading authority on Reformed Egyptian' said that there was no such language." (The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Mormon, Wesley P. Walters, 1990, p.195)

Even Mormon writers are hard pressed to show any direct relationship to Egyptian. One can find a character here or there that might resemble Egyptian or Hebrew (but it might be upside-down or sideways), but more can be found that look like English than anything else. Since even the Book of Mormon claims that no one can read their script without divine aid (Mormon 9:34) obviously Anthon could not have read the extract presented by Martin Harris. Writing in 1958, Mormon educator William E. Berrett admitted that no one could read the Anthon transcript "Neither Professor Anthon nor any other man could read the characters. Even at the date of this writing the language of the plates remains a hidden secret." (The Restored Church, Deseret Book, 1958, p.43-44)]

April 17, 2003

Subject: My story...

Hmm...let's see...

My wife of 14 years asked me to leave in Mar. 2002. My (former) best friend and best man converted from Catholic to Mormon in or about 1997. He baptised my wife Mormon in Aug. 2002.

My wife hired her bishop to be her divorce lawyer in Aug. 2002. The Colorado courts arbitrarily ordered me to pay his fees. (There goes any incentive for negotiation.)

Divorced, bankrupt, broke, and pissed off, Jan.22, 2003. Ex wife marries former best friend / best man in true Mormon style Mar.28, 2003.

Presently doing all I can to maintain a happy, healthy relationship with my two young kids, who I dearly love. Thanks for the opportunity to tell of my bit of truth regarding this cult.

April 18, 2003

Subject: about Eden

I read with interest the church's recounting of a stone altar, found in Missouri. Joseph Smith, was probably correct about his opinion, the location lying in North America. I like, Mr. Smith had an encounter with the angels, which opened my eyes, wide open, searching for the truth about Eden. I also have found a stone altar, this one depicts the biblical creature with multiple heads. I have photographed this altar over and over again, finding something new in each photograph. I have also recovered a small creature complete with golden vessel. With science insisting that Eden must lie somewhere in the middle east, my finds go unnoticed. When I read the story of Joseph Smith, having encountered angels, I thought this to be a large fabrication of facts, however after my own encounter with these beings I can now associate this story as having been one not contrived, but most probably a factual event in Mr. Smith's life.....I belong not to any earthly denomonation, as I feel I am a child of God, as we all are. If not meant to be told, I would not of been allowed to find and photograph what I have.

[Web-editor: Was The Garden of Eden in Missouri?]

April 18, 2003

Subject: Survey on religious identification

The numbers are quite a bit off than what Mormons are claiming. See http://www.gc.cuny.edu/studies/aris_index.htm

The number of adult Mormons in America is 2,787,000 in 2001, and only 57% of people in Utah identified themselves as Mormon (most stats I've seen have that in the high 60's to 70 percent range).

In 1990 the total number of Mormons is reported at 2,500,000 showing a growth of only 287,000 Mormon adults in America over 11 years!

Fairly good evidence that the LDS Church claim of 11 million members is grossly inflated.

April 18, 2003

Subject: Respect

Dear Sandra,

I find it amazing how much respect is demanded by the LDS Church and it's members for their religious beliefs, religious ideals, their culture and their right to proselytize. I believe they deserve respect, like any other religious organization. The fact that they give so little respect in return, is absolutely amazing. I'm speaking mostly of the Utah area LDS church.

The numerous snide, hit and run comments about my non-LDS lifestyle are like fleas on a dog. Irritating, frustrating and only relieved by a good, hard scratch but no matter how hard I scratch, they always return.......I cannot wear my cross outside of my shirt, bow my head and give thanks for my lunch or drink a cup of coffee without being bombarded by rude, ignorant remarks from my LDS co-workers. If I do actually try and defend my beliefs, and I am rather good at it (thanks to people like you), a great deal of animosity stems from the confrontation and it puts a great deal of strain on my job. To keep peace at my work place, no matter how hard it may be, I usually let it roll off my back....I do praise the Lord for the piece of mind I get when I get on your web-site.

If only LDS Church leadership could stress, somewhat respecting their non-LDS relationships and maybe finding out what their non-LDS friend or co-worker believes we could all live a little more comfortably here in Salt Lake. I would really love to have the same respect given to me in return for the respect that is demanded by the LDS Church. ...Thank you, for allowing me to vent and I wish nothing but the best for you and your ministry. A true light in a very, very dark place.

God bless

April 19, 2003

Subject: my guess is....

The first words out of the Tanner's mouths when they die will be - "uh oh."

April 19, 2003

Subject: my old membership to the Mormon Church.

Dear Sandra:

Would you happen to know if the Mormon church keeps permanent records of all their present & former members?!

The reason that I ask, is because my parents & I joined the Mormon church way back in the early 1970's, and we resigned from their church way back in 1976. The other day, I got to thinking that I would like to know that exact dates that I joined their & resigned from their church. I guess I would have to call the local ward where I was a member of, to get this information.

Or do you think that I should let it go, and put this part of my life behind me?! ...

Sincerely Yours,

[Sandra's Note: They have records on everyone that has ever been a member. But I don't know if they are stored somewhere, or if they have ready access to them. I assume you could call the LDS Church membership dept. in Salt Lake City and ask if they have your record. Call (801) 240-3500

I don't think your local ward would have your records, unless you are getting visits from the home teachers. Once someone has quit or moved so much that the church lost track of them, the bishop sends their file to SLC.]

April 19, 2003

Dear Jerald and Sandra,

I am reading with great interest your article concerning Joseph Smith.

Would you please explain just why the use of a Greek name in the Book of Moron would be incorrect as relating to the following quote from your article:

"Joseph Smith was aware of the fact that it would be incorrect to have a name derived from the Greek language in the Book of Mormon."

Many thanks,

[Sandra's Note: First, Smith, himself, said "There was no Greek or Latin upon the plates..." (Times and Seasons, vol.4, p.194). Second, since Lehi was from Jerusalem, spoke Hebrew and came to America about 600 B.C. he would not have brought Greek with him.]

April 19, 2003

God bless every one, thanks for tell lot information about mormonisn, i realy need all, but is si posible in spanish, that 'll be wonderfull.

please never stop doing great job, i have not doubt , that the HOLY SPIRIT, keep your life in utah. I praise all the time for .your organization, and holy mission, and tell the truth about the JESUS CHRIST IS THE LORD, and the truth how LDS are evil cult. Thanks, and thanks. I am proud of you Jerald and Sandra Tanner

[Web-editor: See Booklist: Categories: Foreign Language]

April 19, 2003

Subject: Brigham Young...

[Brigham Young] once stated that "there isn't a sermon I haven't taught that I do not consider scripture". Would you know where I could find that? I think its in the JoD but can't be sure.

[Sandra's Note: Here is the reference:

"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." (Brigham Young, 1870, Journal of Discourses, vol.13, p.95)]

April 19, 2003

Subject: questions re: missionaries

1. At what point do the LDS missionaries decide to make you a "no contact"?

2. Why do the LDS missionaries meet with protestant pastors?

3. Why would LDS missionaries go to a oneness pentecostal church (Jesus only movement) over and over, not getting any converts, and only being allowed to say that they believe that Jesus atoned for their sins that they may one day return to the Heavenly Father?

4. Are Lds missionaries often converted to christianity while on mission?

5. If a Lds missionary stated, "I wish I could praise the Lord" What would he mean?


[Sandra's Note: I am not aware of a specific directive on this issues. But generally speaking, from people I have talked to—

1. LDS missionaries drop anyone who shows extensive knowledge of the Bible or Mormon history and doctrine. They are after the easy convert, not debates.

2. LDS missionaries hope to neutralize the pastor's public comments about Mormonism. If they can win him as a friend or shame him into not speaking out about Mormonism it will make their contacts in the community easier.

3. This may differ with the missionaries. Some visit other churches to show that the LDS Church, like them, worships the same God. If the missionaries are seen at various churches it may soften people's perception of Mormonism and make them more likely to let the missionaries into their homes. Once in a while you may have a situation where the missionaries are genuinely curious about the message of the church they are visiting.

4. LDS missionaries are RARELY converted to standard Christianity while on their mission. There is too much pressure on them to conform, fulfill family expectations, etc. However, many later say that their first doubts started on their mission as a result of things they read or heard from people they met. But the missionary didn't feel free to examine the issues while on his/her mission. The LDS Church does not allow them to read controversial literature (some sneak it into their room). They are to only read LDS Church approved material. If the leaders find out that a missionary is being influenced by a non-member he/she will be relocated to another mission area.

5. I would assume he/she has sensed the presence of God in that group in a deeper way than he/she has experienced it in Mormonism. Mormon services tend to be rather bland.]

April 19, 2003


...I was reading some of the other comments on you website and I really admire the fact that you show both sides of the story. I can say that I am glad you are there to give help to the people out there that have had troubles with the LDS church and with weeding out fact from fiction.


April 20, 2003

....I am one that enjoys studying different religions/denominations. I am a Christian now, attending an United Methodist church. I grew up in the LDS church and while for the most I enjoyed being LDS while I was LDS, I just no longer believe in a great deal of what they teach there. I do happen to be on your mailing list for the Utah Messenger and I do enjoy reading it. You do seem to stick to the facts, which some 'anti-LDS' (for lack of a BETTER term) don't do; I appreciate that.

April 20, 2003

You sure put a lot of time into your website on the Word of Wisdom . You must have a lot of time on your hands. If you don't believe it then why not just forget it and spend your time doing something worthwhile?

April 20, 2003

Subject: joseph smith, no man knows my history

One of the missionaries that has been teaching me told me that that book (Joseph Smith No Man Knows My History) has been proved by documents to be completely wrong. Could you explain this.

[Sandra's Note: I would need a specific example of something that they claim has been proven false. It is easy to say it is wrong when you don't have to give any proof.

Most historians view her biography of Smith as the best written so far—not perfect but the most complete. She gives the references for her statements and these documents can be seen in most college libraries here in Utah.]

April 20, 2003

Dear Mrs. Tanner,

I wanted to sit down and write a quick note...to let you know that I have certainly appreciated the information you've supplied....Although I do not have a lot of Mormon people that I am in contact with I have attempted on occasion to show them the truth of scripture and point out some of the difficulties I have come across with the LDS teachings. In that regard your web site and publications for sale have been really helpful. Another thing I've noticed is that the individuals that have come out of the Mormon church and embraced Christianity certainly have a bright testimony and that's very heartwarming to see....

April 20, 2003

Subject: my testimony

...I used to belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). Let me tell you why I no longer associate myself with them...I had a friend that I really wanted to convert to Mormonism (good, little, faithful member missionary that I was). He finally agreed to go to Sacrament Meeting with me, if I went to a worship service of his. OK, it would be a fun experience ­ and it worked out great since my ward didn't meet until after noon.

He attended a Pentecostal church and they sang alot at the beginning of the service. They called it 'Praise and Worship'. Wow! Culture shock. These songs had a lilt I wasn't used to, and there were several musicians playing an assortment of instruments. Some of the congregation stood up, others raised their hands, some were praying. I wondered how these people acted so normal when they weren't in church. (This kind of praise is very Biblical)

What also surprised me was the Spirit. Yes, I felt the Spirit of the Lord in that place. This surprised me, for I had always been taught that the Spirit could not dwell in a false religion ­ for "They draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me." Of course, being the well-taught, faithful Mormon that I was, I tried to rationalize this ­ perhaps it was the music. Music can stir emotion. Of course, that was it. But then, after the 'Praise & Worship' time, the Pastor stood and started his sermon. It was all about Christ. I could not find any fault with it. He stuck with the Bible very closely; how could I find error in that? I had felt the Spirit in my life many times, but not really that often in church.

Now it was my turn! My friend could come to Sacrament Meeting with me, and see that we, too, spoke of Christ and worshiped him; for my friend had been taught that Mormons were not Christians. (I now know that Mormons really are not Christians). But no, the Sacrament Meeting was all about Girl's Camp; all the girls spoke on the fun that they had had and all. The only time we heard of Jesus was when each girl, by rote memory, ended her talk by saying "In the name of Jesus Christ, amen". Um, well, slightly embarrassed, I told my friend, "Of course, this is not the usual. Afterall, girl's camp is a once a year thing. How about trying this next week? Your church and then mine?"

The next week came, and once again, I felt the Spirit so very strongly while attending his church; every song praising and worshiping God. And, once again, the sermon was about Christ. Sacrament meeting? It was about the scouting program. My friend said he wouldn't be attending again. I was ashamed.

Personally, I was beginning to like going to all this church. I was at a time in my life where I needed God in my life more than ever, and more church time was helping me to fill this need. The 'other' church also had a service mid-week. Also, since my friend had pointed out the lack of Jesus in my church, I started to pay attention to that. It was 2 full months before someone's talk centered on Jesus. There were talks on visiting teaching, home teaching, tithing, genealogy, etc. Good topics, but not Christ Jesus. Isn't Jesus the purpose of it all? ...

After saturating myself in scripture and prayer everyday, for several months, I was ready, truly ready. I felt I had nothing to lose. (Not even a husband any longer that I needed to please) I was ready to turn my whole life to living for God;... But I also felt guilty all of the time because I didn't always kneel to pray 2 or 3 times a day, I was too busy being a single parent of 7 children to go to the temple regularly, or to do genealogy, or to perfectly do my visiting teaching or to always have a family home evening lesson prepared, etc, etc.

I had resolved to renew my dedication to follow Jesus, ... the following Sunday… I was once again at my friend's church (his church was before mine). The 'Praise and Worship' was awesome. The Spirit was so strong within me. The sermon was very good, as usual. At the close of his sermon, he urged all that had not come to Christ; all who had not accepted Christ into their hearts (this didn't pertain to me. After all, I had accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior) to come to Him. Pray for Christ to live in them.

I was extremely surprised to find myself on my feet ­ someone, or something, was pushing me toward the front. Up front, there was an alter-type stair. I dropped to my knees and started to pray. I prayed silently. I prayed for forgiveness of my sins. I asked for help in my new resolve. When I started praying, I felt this tingling sensation, almost a burning, starting in my toes, working it's way up throughout my entire body; it was almost unbearable, overwhelming. It burned. I felt myself uttering unintelligible syllables, silently. I knew I was worshiping truly.....my friend, who was a retired Pastor...took his Bible and began to open up the scriptures to me. I had been baptized with the Spirit. He told me the experience is different for everyone, but it is always truly marvelous and life-altering. I had never heard of anything like this. As a Mormon, when you are baptized, afterward, you are confirmed a member of their church and at that time they say that you are given the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Sidenote: you are baptized a member of their Church, not a member of the Body of Christ.)

The Pastor asked how I felt. I said that I felt like I was new; fresh-like; clean. He continued to show me more scriptures.

All I can say is… Wow, the Mormons are missing out big time! ...I wanted to tell everyone. I wanted to shout from the rooftops.

Now, I was in a quandary. I really didn't know what was really true anymore. I spent the whole night praying for guidance. Praying for truth. I had grown up believing the Book of Mormon was true, that the church was the only true church on the earth. I felt that I 'knew' that the Book of Mormon was true. I believed the president was the prophet, though I couldn't honestly say I 'knew' he was. What was true? I honestly prayed that night. It was communicating; I wasn't doing all the talking. God was, this night....

Truth is always truth. It is always there and it never changes. I needed to let go of everything and let Him start anew. I was a new creation with a new life. If the Book of Mormon was true, it wasn't going anywhere. God would bring it back into my life when it was time..... I would not take for granted anything that anyone told me; not the church, not the bishop, not the pastor; only the Word of God, the Bible, and God himself. I ceased attending the Mormon Church; it was not feeding my spirit any longer. I yearned for the meat of the Word.

As I attended other churches, I constantly backed up the sermons with the Bible. ...The faith that is the 'one faith' is faith in Jesus Christ; not a denomination. Most of the churches I visited used the Bible.... In the case of the Mormons, when a Bible verse is brought up that contradicts their beliefs, they say that that part of the Bible must be translated incorrectly (how convenient). ...

Now, many years later, God has shown me many miracles. Mighty miracles of healing, miracles of faith. He has provided for all my family's needs. He has shown me his love in countless ways. The Holy Spirit is always with me. He has never let me down, and he has never led me back to the Mormon Church. In fact, he has clearly shown me the error of falling into its trap.… let God show you His Truth, His Word. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain....Thank-you for reading this, my testimony....Love,

April 21, 2003

how is it that the mormon system has concluded that the New Testament canon is open to new revelation? ...


[Sandra's Note: Joseph Smith claimed that the Bible was mistranslated and undependable. This is also stated in their scriptures, Book of Mormon—1 Nephi 13:21-29, 2 Nephi, ch. 28-29. See Chapter 3 of Mormon Claims Answered on our website.]

April 21, 2003

Subject: characters

...I am currently a member of the LDS church and have been for most of my life. Recently I have had cause to research the validity of its origins due to some interesting occurrences in my life. One is buying and reading a used book about the beginnings of masonry and how it got me to research the connections between masonry and the Temple. I now have several popular books on this and some that were hard to find.

Just another quick question. Has anyone noticed the elements of cabbala in the teachings of Joseph Smith and cabbala in the New Testament.

thanks again,

[Sandra's Note: The Fall 1994 issue of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol. 27, No. 3, had two articles on the Kabbalah and its impact on Joseph Smith. The first article was Similarity of Priesthood in Masonry: The Relationship between Freemasonry and Mormonism, by Michael W. Homer. He wrote:

"It has been claimed that the Kabbalah [Jewish mysticism], in an imperfect form, preserved ancient mysteries known to the Israelites. Similarities between the endowment and Masonic rituals could theoretically be explained by the fact that the esoteric wing of eighteenth-century Freemasonry was influenced by and incorporated elements of Jewish mysticism and the Kabbalah into its rituals. Nevertheless, the thesis has also been advanced that information on the Kabbalah and mystic Judaism was available to Joseph Smith independent of his association with Freemasonry."

The other article was Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection, by Lance S. Owens. He commented:

"By 1842 Joseph Smith most likely had touched the subject of Kabbalah in several ways and versions, even if such contacts remain beyond easy documentation. During Joseph's final years in Nauvoo, however, his connection with Kabbalah becomes more concrete. In the spring of 1841 there apparently arrived in Nauvoo an impressive library of Kabbalistic writings belonging to a European Jew and convert to Mormonism who evidently knew Kabbalah and its principal written works. This man, Alexander Neibaur, would soon become the prophet's friend and companion."]

April 21, 2003

Subject: Regarding Baptism for the Dead

First off, let me just say I really appreciate your website. It is an excellent resource for those who want to learn about the doctrines, rituals, history, and practices of the Mormons. Please keep up the important work you are doing.

I was reading your comments on the LDS practice of baptism for the dead, and I found it wanting. I would like to share my thoughts on the matter.....You are correct that the LDS have clearly misinterpreted 1 Corinthians 15:29,....If you take the entire chapter, it can be seen that Paul is arguing that the resurrection is .....essential. To truly be a Christian, we have to believe that Christ was literally raised from the dead. If this is not true, Christianity is just another philosophy, and Jesus was just one of many rabbis of the day.

That act of baptism was, and is, a public manifestation that one has chosen to believe in Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. .......Paul is simply saying "If Jesus is dead, why follow him? If the resurrection is not real, why be baptized (choose to follow) someone who is dead? What good will come of that?"

It seems a leap for me to conclude that Paul was referring to some group that was performing proxy baptisms. Paul goes on to ask "Why do we put ourselves in mortal danger every day, sharing the good news, if Jesus is dead and the resurrection never really happened?"

Later in the chapter, Paul explains how the body is changed following the resurrection. The doctrine of the literal resurrection was perhaps the most bizarre and unique teaching of this new religion. It was important to Paul that the church at Corinth understand this teaching was not a metaphor or myth; it was real. Apparently there were those in that church who were teaching that the resurrection was not an actual event.

Anyway, that is my take on the verse that the LDS have used to justify their temple ritual.

Keep up the good work,

April 21, 2003

Subject: that which is bound on earth will be bound in Heaven

What are other interpretations of the verse, that which is bound on Earth shall be bound in Heaven, which the LDS church uses to justify eternal marriage


[Sandra's Note: Let's look at the verses:

Matt 16:17-19—"And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

There is nothing in this passage to indicate it has anything to do with marriage. Christ bestows on Peter the authority to act in God's name, to open the door of the kingdom, and what he does in God's name will be honored on earth and heaven. But WHERE is there anything in the Bible that says marriages will be forever? or that they must be performed in a temple? The Jews NEVER got married in their temple.]

April 22, 2003

Subject: Release

how can one be released from Mormonism?

[Sandra's Note: If you are asking how to terminate your membership in the LDS faith, see our page How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.

If you are struggling with emotional issues of leaving Mormonism, you will find Out of the Cults and Into the Church a helpful book. Also my cassette tape Sandra Tanner Tape No. 4, dealing with the struggles of leaving Mormonism.]

April 22, 2003

I have on occasion emailed you questions, of which you always replied to me and I greatly appreciate that. My daughter has started her quest for the "Truth" she is 16 and right now she is having questions on the Adam-God doctrine. I have given her some direction but was wondering how you answer the following quote -

"Elder Charles C. Rich was not present on the day when President Young gave an address that was wrongly reported as saying Adam was our Father in heaven. [See JD 151] The sermon was delivered April 9, 1852, and Elder Rich returned April 21. In a copy of the Journal of Discourses

Elder Ben E. Rich, son of Elder Charles C. Rich, referred to the misquotation as it appears in the Journal of Discourses, and in his own hand corrected the statement to read as follows 'Jesus our Elder Brother, was begotten in the flesh by the same character who talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden, and who is our Father in heaven.' In this same statement Ben E. Rich wrote 'As corrected above is what Prest. Young said, as testified to me by my father, C. C. Rich.' (This signed statement is in the hands of the Church Historical Department.)... "On the face of it the mistake is obvious. We find in Genesis 215-16 and 38-9 that God walked and talked with Adam in the Garden of Eden." (Adam Who Is He? 1979 printing, pages 16-17)

Any answer would be appreciated.


[Sandra's Note: We dealt with this issue in Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?, p. 178-A.

Notice the strange reading—'Charles C. Rich was not present'—then he didn't have first-hand knowledge of the sermon's content and couldn't serve as the person to correct the printing of Young's sermon.  So how did his son, YEARS later, know that the sermon was recorded wrong?

This whole odd reference came about because the FIRST ed. of Petersen's book, Adam Who Is He?, 1976, stated Charles Rich was there and personally noted in his copy of the Journal of Discourses that the sermon was recorded wrong. When Petersen's mistake was made public he did a second edition, 1979, the one you quote, admitting Charles was not there.

Brigham Young could have corrected this sermon if it was wrong.  He didn't.  He gave it in 1852 and lived until 1877, and gave numerous other sermons on Adam-God through the years.  See the Adam-God section in The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 8, especially p.196.]

April 22, 2003

Dear Sandra & Jerald

Your bright green 100th issue came in the mail yesterday....For me this issue is a god-send...One look at your 'extracts' section will show the result of your work and the good being done with Truth.

Truth is hard to see, not to mention embrace and accept, when you have been firmly indoctrinated in error from your youth....

April 23, 2003

Subject: Thank you

Dear Mr & Mrs Tanner,

Thank you for kind, truthful and helpful newsletter. When a second one came I was surprised and felt ashamed that I had not made a donation to your good work. When I can I will.

I live in the Lake District of England and I have had painful encounters with young Mormons fresh from Utah. It's like being overrun by a Soviet Guards Tank Division: They recce weak spots, bury you in a barrage, swamp you with Combined Arms Teamwork and then close for the (metaphoric) kill.

They ask 'simple' disarming questions, classically: "Ask God if the book of Mormon is true?" I am a Christian and I know, have and confess Jesus as Lord, yet I know that the Lord has only communicated with me a few times directly in our relationship (like when I really needed to be reassured, not when I wanted to be). The other times the Lord communicates with me are through the Bible and through the actions and love of other people.

Looking back I see that God really wants me to do my own thinking. That God has given me enough resources and access to wise people and has given a good head on my shoulders that can draw conclusions, that God does not need to hold my hand on a daily basis, to blow my nose and make every decision for me....And so for me "Ask God if the book of Mormon is true?" was a cop out.

Thinking about it now, that is how I became a Christian. I did not ask God "Are you true?". That would be that cursed thing "BLIND BELIEF". I had to have proof. A proof that I could trust before I could trust a Person with my life. ...The theology of Christianity, the claims of Jesus, the actions of Christians were all interrogated, pondered and sifted over an eight year period, before I came to a saving knowledge of Jesus.

The point is: I approached the Good News as a hostile witness and was merciless with it and when the process was over ... [it] had a new follower.

The other point is this: I had put the Good News through the Refiners Fire and it came out nice and bright and shiny. And so I knew I could trust it to be a yard stick to measure other things against it. For example historical events recorded in the Good Book are true accounts of real events. The Book of Truth [the Bible] is found to contain True Events. It is what you would expect.

When I took the same approach to the Book of Mormon...The thing came apart at the wheels. It crashed and burned. Especially in its history which is fictional.

Must go God bless you

April 23, 2003

Subject 116 lost pages

Oddly, I've not heard "hide nor hair" of what happened to the 116 pages of the BOM, taken and lost by Martin Harris.

The worry supposedly was that the devil would get the thief(s) to alter and publish it (I guess). So ...after all this time, is there no sign of these lost pages? Nothing?

It would be fascinating to read them (even if they were altered), were they to exist. I find it hard to believe those who came into possession of such a rare thing, would just trash it. Do you know of any remnants of these lost pages?

[Sandra's Note: See our Messenger No.74, Feb. 1990, dealing with the 116 pages problem. This material is expanded in our book, Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible.

Evidently Mrs. Harris destroyed the pages in the hopes that Smith couldn't redo his manuscript and her husband would abandon his efforts to help Smith get it printed. No parts of the manuscript were ever recovered.]

April 23, 2003

Subject: Questions on Mormon Doctrine

I was teaching a class and received 2 questions that I was not sure what the answer was. The questions are as follows:

1) What is the Mormon stance on the subject of abortion and...

2) With the focus on exaltation, how do the Mormons view individuals that are unable to have children?......


[Sandra's Note:

1. The LDS Church Handbook of Instruction states:

Church members who submit to, perform, encourage, pay for, or arrange for an abortion may be subject to Church discipline. As far as has been revealed, a person may repent and be forgiven for the sin of abortion. (p.156)

They do allow members to have an abortion if it is medically necessary or the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

2. The LDS Church teaches that faithful members who were unable to have children during mortality need not feel deprived as they will have the ability to have children in heaven.]

April 24, 2003

Go Tanners! You guys are the best. Your research is thorough (despite Mormon criticism), your responses are professional (despite Mormon criticism), your motive is compassion (despite Mormon criticism), your patience is unbelievable (despite Mormon criticism), and the truth is on your side... I guess that leaves them with no response... other than criticism. It's got to be frustrating when your beliefs collide with truth.

In all seriousness, it is truly sad to consider the hold this religion has on so many and how deeply the convictions are held. I had a Mormon missionary once tell me to go about studying Mormonism "as if" I believed it to be true, rather than from a pre-disposition of it being false. Interesting concept! I wonder if he could agree to study "Apostate" Christianity in the same manner?

Nevertheless, many people have studied the Bible in an effort to disprove it and ended up embracing it! The trouble with Mormonism is even if you set out to study it in an effort to strengthen your faith, you keep running into annoying facts that contradict the "truth"! (As I know you well know.)

I will add my voice to the many who rightly observe: You have done an excellent job over the years. You have been and will continue to be blessed. (Despite Mormon criticism!)

April 24, 2003


Greetings through our awesome Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! ...I'm a 21 year old college student at the University of .......... I feel very called to work in the same area of ministry that you are involved in. .... I am feeling many emotions that I imagine you have felt at times. Sometimes I feel as though I am on top of a mountain. I love this work that I'm called to! But other times, I feel very discouraged.

I have a Mormon friend who in the last hour has really made me angry. For the last few weeks, he has been making a lot of comments that come from a mindset of superiority. I have been biting my tongue because I don't think my anger would help him very much. I need to get my pride out of the picture and try to do what's in his best interest....

I guess my main question is: How have you dealt with being so hated? I have been so frustrated for the last hour. .... Sandra, I think about what you and Jerald are doing very often.

....Please pray that I would have more compassion instead of anger for..... my Mormon friend. He was recently married in the ..... temple) Also, [my boyfriend] has been meeting with missionaries on his campus at ............ University for several months. I will be meeting with them next week. Thanks. Be encouraged! God has done mighty, mighty works through your ministry!

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Yes, it can be very frustrating trying to witness to a Mormon, especially one we care about and one that is not interested in the truth. We just have to keep in mind that it is not our job to convince the person, we present the evidence and leave the results to God. If we end up trying to debate or argue them into the kingdom we just get upset. Most people I talk to mention that there was a long process of different people witnessing to them, pointing out problems, or things in Mormonism itself that started to bother them. In time these things added up and the person was forced to reevaluate his/her position. Your friend may not be listening now but in time the things you have shared may yet take effect. You might find the book Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons helpful.]

April 24, 2003

Subject: Great work

Great site may many LDS be liberated to receive the glory and honour of salvation in Jesus Christ. Your book was extremely helpful as well. You are truly one of God's warriors for the truth.

God Bless,

April 24, 2003

Subject: Reason for polygamy

I have a friend whose family dates back in Mormonism to Joseph Smith. He claims that the practice of polygamy was because there were more women than men when they moved out west. I was always under the impression that there were more men than women out west. Can you shed some light on this? ...Thanks for your honesty in seeking the truth.

[Sandra's Note: See p.4 of our Salt Lake City Messenger, No.97, Oct. 2001, for information on the beginnings of Joseph Smith's polygamy. There were no shortages of men, Smith was marrying married women. How do Mormons fit that in? Especially since Sec. 132 specifically talks about "if a man have ten virgins"? Married women with living husbands hardly fit the revelation. Also see Messenger, No.66.

On p.224-226 of our online book The Changing World of Mormonism, you will find information on the shortage of women in Utah. LDS Apostle John A. Widtsoe admitted that there were more men than women (Evidences and Reconciliations, 1960, pp.390-92).]

April 24, 2003

Subject Re Information of Mormonism

Good afternoon!

...I don't have a lot of money to spend on this, so I was wondering if you have any information on reliable websites that have free downloads/free Book of Mormon, etc. ...I would love to have a copy of the Book of Mormon so I can compare their "scripture" with the Bible. ...

Thanks so much.

[Sandra's Note: If you will go to the section Other Websites you will find many good reference connections. The Book of Mormon is also on the internet, look at the list of books under the above for list of links. We have several books posted on our site, like our book The Changing World of Mormonism and Cowan's Mormon Claims Answered. Also see Terminology Differences.]

April 26, 2003

...We were recently saved 2 years ago. My husband is a direct descendant of Hyrum Smith. I come from a big Mormon Family also generations back, ... We were born and raised in Mesa Az, I still sound mormon.

But by Gods Grace we were brought out....We were temple, returned missionary mormons. We were married in 1987, I saw the changes to the ceremony in 1990. That really disturbed us back then. It still took years to open our eyes.

God Bless you. Our Family thinks we went nuts and are angry about life. Just the opposite holds true, peace and hope and faith came to us for the first time through the beautiful Lord Jesus Christ.

April 26, 2003

Subject Mormon Church and priesthood for blacks

I recently was told a story... Prior to the 1978 Kimball revelation admitting "blacks" to the priesthood, the Mormon Church was being sued by the...ACLU branch for discrimination against "blacks" for the ban on ordination of "blacks" to the priesthood....Do you have any supportive information regarding the above story?

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: I am not aware of any such lawsuit. I believe the LDS Church was worried about the potential of a lawsuit, but none had been filed. Read Chapter 10 of our book The Changing World of Mormonism, and our #39 issue of the Salt Lake City Messenger.]

April 26, 2003

I just have some quick questions for you, if you will. If the lds folk claim to get revelation from living prophets, wouldn't the same teachings given by god to the prophet be close to the same as the other teachings god gave to other people?

I mean they claim the same god as the Bible so the messages in the book of mormon would be close to that of the Bible right? In science experiments, scientists try to prove their theories on the subject wrong to get a good solid fact on the truth of the matter, wouldn't' that be a good idea for you to try?

Also, I heard some on the number of the people in the mormon church, how can it be so great? That many people cannot be deceived, can they? I mean we are talking about 10 mill. or so. It doesn't make sense.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, one would expect God to give the same message to all people. While the Book of Mormon has many teachings in common with the Bible, the Doctrine and Covenants and Pearl of Great Price teach a number of radically different beliefs (plural gods, temple marriage, etc.) So the Mormons face the problem that their own scriptures have conflicting doctrines.

Another problem is the King James wording found in the Book of Mormon. Mormons will say that God just gave the Nephites the same message he gave people in Jerusalem. However, that does not explain how the translation of the Book of Mormon, written originally in 'reformed Egyptian', would have the same exact wording as the English King James Version of the Bible, which was originally written in Greek. It looks like Smith was simply copying from his English Bible. Also, how are we to account for the Book of Mormon prophets, prior to Christ's time on earth, using the exact phrases that are found in the New Testament? Was Nephi quoting Paul or Paul quoting Nephi?

As to the size of the LDS Church, 11 million members is relatively small. There are over a billion Muslims and Catholics. The Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Jehovah's Witnesses are comparable to the LDS in size. There are more Southern Baptists than Mormons. There are over 32 million in the Assembly of God and they only started in the early 1900's. (see http://www.adherents.com/adh_rb.html#International) I assume LDS members would view these other groups as 'deceived', thus demonstrating that millions of people can be wrong. The number of adherents is not always a good way to determine who is right.

I agree, we need to look at 'good solid facts', not just emotional convictions. You will find plenty of facts on our web site.]

April 28, 2003

 "The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage but they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage neither can they die any more for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God." (Luke 2034-36)

Recently, when speaking to a young mormon women, she said this verse does not say that no one will be married in heaven, only that there will be no new marriages in heaven. Those already married will remain married....


[Sandra's Note: Lets approach this another way. The Introduction to the Book of Mormon claims "The Book of Mormon...contains, as does the Bible, the fulness of the everlasting gospel." Where is there any verse in either the Bible or Book of Mormon that says people will be married in heaven or that one needs a temple marriage for eternity? There is no teaching on this, yet it is one of the major doctrines of Mormonism. How could God leave it out of two of his volumes of scripture? Then they don't contain the "fulness" of the gospel.]

April 29, 2003


I'm really struggling with addressing a particular point that a LDS friend has raised to me several times and I'm hoping you can help.

Every time I go to the bible as a reference regarding an issue we're discussing, I'm told that the bible isn't that trustworthy because of all the "lost books". I know there are books mentioned in the bible that were never included because they were not considered scripture. I don't have a lot of knowledge on biblical manuscripts, so I'm struggling with how to explain this to my LDS friend. He's always trying to tell me that a lot of the doctrines of the church are not in the bible because they were more than likely in these "lost books". It's my understanding (and I may be wrong), that these are not "lost books", but rather books that were studied by the Jews and not considered scripture. If that's the case, how did they make that decision?

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated....The only hope that I've seen is one day when I asked him why he wouldn't look at anything I had to say and his response was "because maybe I don't want to see that what you're saying may be true....maybe it is pride". For someone who claims to love God, it seems his only priority is that he "likes" his church. One time I told him how Joseph Smith prophesized the return of Jesus and Gregg said "that's not true...the bible says nobody knows the day of His return" and he stormed out the door. Please keep us in your prayers. ...Thank you for your wonderful ministry and the many lives you touch every day. God Bless You!

[Sandra's Note: There is a good chapter on the formation of the Bible and the supposed lost books in Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons. See also the chapter on the Bible in The Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism, our book, Mormon Scriptures and the Bible, and Halley's Bible Handbook, pp.745-758. Below are a few thoughts on the topic.


The LDS Church uses the same books in their Bible as are in regular Bibles. If these supposed 'lost' writings were of such value why hasn't the LDS Church restored them? Where is the evidence that these writings, such as the book of Jasher and the book of the wars of the Lord, were ever intended to be a part of the sacred cannon? Simply because they were mentioned in the Bible doesn't mean they were intended as scripture. They could just be historical writings.

In fact, when Smith did his 'inspired translation' of the Bible, he didn't add any of these 'lost books'. His Bible was actually a book shorter due to his elimination of the Song of Solomon. So even by Smith's standard, these other books must not be important since he did not add them to his canon.


In Halley's Bible Handbook we read:

"There are hints in the New Testament itself that, while the Apostles were yet living, and under their own supervision, collections of their Writings began to be made for the Churches, and placed with the Old Testament as the Word of God....It was not a world of railroads, airplanes and radios, like the world we live in today. Travel and communication were slow and dangerous.... So, naturally, the earliest collections of New Testament books would vary, in different regions;...it will be seen that, for a while, there was slight variation as to what books were regarded as canonical. This was due simply to the fact that, on account of slow means of communication over the vast expanse of the Roman Empire, and on account of three hundred years of incessant and unrelenting persecution, there was not one single chance for the churches to make a fair and open and reasonable effort to come to general unanimity as to what books were of genuine Apostolic Authority, till Constantine, at the beginning of the 4th Century, issued his Edict of Toleration. ...

"Eusebius (A.D. 264-340), bishop of Caesarea, Church Historian,...lived into the reign of Constantine, who accepted Christianity. Eusebius became Constantine's chief religious adviser. One of Constantine's first acts on ascending the throne was to order, for the churches of Constantinople, FIFTY BIBLES, to be prepared, under the direction of Eusebius, by skillful copyists,..." (Halley's Bible Handbook, pp.743-745)

There is no evidence that Constantine caused any revision or doctrinal tampering of the existing manuscripts. In fact, the oldest copies of the books of the New Testament, which pre-date the time of Constantine, teach the same doctrines that are in the Bible today. Thus we see that rather than condemn Constantine (as many LDS do), we should thank him for helping to preserve the writings of the New Testament.]

April 29, 2003

Subject: Thank you Sandra

...I live in Lethbridge, Alberta Canada....and currently going to school. I was raised for the first 11 years of my life with my mother down in Arizona (she is a Christian), her mother and father are former Mormons (not excommunicated, they felt that something was wrong).

Every summer I would venture up here to Canada and go to the Church of Latter Day Saints with all of my aunts and my fathers parents. Finally, my mother gave custody of me to my father. The family pressed upon me that I must go to church and get baptized. Something inside me told me to research. If I was going to make this leap, to make sure I was leaping into the right pot.

Anyway, after six years of [LDS High School] seminary and 10 years of church I still couldn't decide, some things just didn't add up. Bishops and Missionaries alike could not answer my questions...these questions were the same that you had Sandra (a few more and minus the polygamy).

Needless to say my friends and family saw my struggle and accepted my decision to be true to myself and refuse the church. Anyway, thank you for helping me know that I was not the only one. Everyone that I grew up around that became a member of the church just accepted what they were being told. I wanted to find out for myself (I carry this into all aspects of my life). After all, in the end I don't think God will accept..."But they told me it was true!" The journey of life is solely our own responsibility.

April 29, 2003

Subject: Freemasons vs. Mormon Rituals

Dear Mr. and Ms. Tanner,

We all know that Joseph Smith started the first temple in Nauvoo and that if not all, but a large percentage of the ceremony was derived from the Freemasons rituals. My question that I hope you might be able to help me find the answer too, is this:

Is there any books, documentation or proof that Joseph Smith FATHER was a mason, OR A FAMILY RELATIVE OR A FRIEND OF EITHER JOSEPH SMITH OR HIS FATHER, that might have shared the Masonic rituals with either Joseph or his father OR even other Smith family members, WHEN THE FAMILY LIVED IN NEW YORK?

Did Joseph Smith know of the Freemasonic rituals BEFORE his family moved TO Nauvoo? ...My belief is that Joseph Smith knew of the Masonic rituals long before the temple was established, because he joined the Masons while in Nauvoo. ...


[Sandra's Note: The book The Mysteries of Godliness, by Buerger, states that both Joseph Smith Sr and Hyrum, Joseph's brother, were Freemasons in NY in the 1820's (see p. 44 & footnote).]

April 30, 2003

Sandra, ...Thank You for your last newsletter, I enjoyed it very much and I'm still reading it. The newsletters are like the book, "The Mormon Murders", I read at two sittings, they're so informative. My wife's relatives are LDS and they are pretty set in their ways, no matter how much I show them your articles. Thanks again,

April 30, 2003

Subject: thanks!

just wanted to drop you guys a line to say "thanks" for helping me (us) leave the mormon "faith"! now i am working on others in "the church" and through your site i will be able to show them how tricked the members are in believing in joseph smith and his band of merry men, who together founded this wacky "religion"! you'll be getting what i used to pay in tithing to "the church" to help further this great effort!!!

thanks again!

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