Aug. 1, 2003
"The Fundamentals", volume 4, chapter 10 cites the "Mormon Catechism."
What is that?
[Sandra's Note: Not sure which early LDS catechism would have been quoted. Lester Bush, in his chapter 'The Word of Wisdom in Early Nineteenth-Century Perspective,' mentions an 1854 LDS catechism by John Jaques, first printed in Liverpool, England:
LDS author Eugene Campbell mentioned another catechism:
Campbell continued the discussion of the catechism further on in his book:
BYU professor Thomas G. Alexander commented:
LDS historian James B. Allen, gave this information on the catechism:
I added the emphasis to the quotes. The LDS Church does not use a catechism today.]
Aug. 1, 2003
Subject: Please read my testimony.
...First of all, I want to apologize for my English if it is not correct, since my mother language is Spanish.
I have been member of the LDS church for almost eight years. This is my story: in my teens I was a very happy young man, and a devote catholic. I had a lot of friends. When I was nineteen, my father committed suicide with a gun, right at the room next to mine, and just in the moment my mother was praying to "virgin Mary". That terrible event brought such pain and confusion in my life that I started to take several wrong decisions.
In the next years, I left college, lost my friends, quit my job and finally, lost all hope to be with the girl that I loved because of emotional and economic problems. . . .
Four years later, just when I was in the middle of a terrible depression, I knew two girl missionaries from the LDS church who started to visiting me, giving me hope, and preaching me this wonderful new doctrine. It sounded so logical (you know, "do you think a son is going to become anything less than the father, well you are a son of God, you can become a God?")
The idea of making something for the good of the soul of my beloved dad through the "power of priesthood" captivated me, as well as the feeling of having the right counsel and guidance that I missed when my dad died and that led me to commit mistakes. I never really received an answer to my prayers when I asked God if the church was true, but I did feel comforted in the church and the idea of being baptized came to my mind, and I did it. I gave my "testimony" many times and served in different callings.
When I served as a bishop counselor, I started to realize that the bishop was not as inspired and good hearted as he was supposed to. At the beginning, I thought that he was the only one. But no, I found out of worse cases that I don't want to talk about.
Recently, my brother in law, which is currently a bishop ( I was "converted" at the same time he did), explained me the (real) process of selecting the new stake president of the stake of the area in which I live. Two members of the seventy came, and they made interviews to all the bishops of the stake. The purpose of these interviews was supposed to be inquiring the dignity of the bishops, but my brother in law told me that they asked him who in his opinion, should be the new stake president. And while speaking to other bishops, he found out that they did just the same question to the rest of them. My brother in law told me the name of the man he proposed, which was proposed for almost all the bishops. When I heard this, I asked: Why do they have to ask who shall be the one? Aren't they supposed to receive revelation in the matter? What surprised me more, was the fact that next day at the stake conference, they announced the name of the new president, which was of course the one that most of the bishops proposed, and they still had the nerve to say that he was called by revelation. But he wasn't. Some bishops proposed other names. That just can mean two things: they were "unworthy", or it was not revelation from God, but common sense.
That led me to conclude the real reason why they won't let you show your patriarchal blessing to others than your "inspired" leaders. Those blessings are full of words that fit to the guy which the patriarch is giving the "blessing" to, according to common sense, like fortune tellers do. Mine says that I have good brothers, the funny thing is that I don't have brothers, but the patriarch didn't listen to me well when he made me the preliminary interview that patriarchs do BEFORE they give you the blessing, in which he asked me all about my family, job, etc...but he understood that I had brothers when I told him I have three sisters (the words in Spanish are similar). The blessing also states that I was going to go out to the field in a full time mission. The rules didn't allow me to go out on a mission when I finally decided to send the application, because I was 26 by that time. The patriarch "felt" that I should go on a full time mission because I look much, much younger than I am and he forgot to ask my age.
Take a friend of mine, for example, her patriarchal blessing says that she was borned of good parents, which is totally false, since her mother was raped and got pregnant of her because of that. When you go to your leaders to ask them why such differences between the "inspiration" and the real facts, they just tell you to pray and keep praying until you understand the "true meaning" of the blessing, which they help you to understand with their own inspiration, telling you all kinds of fantastic interpretations ("maybe he was talking about your heavenly parents, not your parents on earth"). That is in the best of the cases, because you could be told that the blessing was not fulfilled because you are unworthy. Then you better don't insist, because the next step could be excommunication. The same happens with unfulfilled prophecies, health blessings, promises, etc.
I was harmed in my life very seriously once because of a wrong decision related to my job I took guided by the "inspiration" of my ex bishop. But that's not the worse damage the mormon church has made to me: when I had two years of being a member, my family and I moved to another neighborhood, where I met this beautiful next door girl, ... We liked each other since the first time. She was (and still is) a Christian, charming, goodhearted, tender, loving and beautiful woman. She invited me once to her Christian church and I rejected her invitation. Her mother advised me once to get away from mormons as much as I could.
By that time, an ex-mormon friend of mine told me once that he didn't mean to offend me, and was not going to tell me anything about my relationship with the church but this: "you are a smart guy, you'll find out for yourself someday" (and I did, but it was to late). Just by that time, some girls from the LDS church at another city called me by phone to introduce me to the new mormon girl in town, they told me she was beautiful and wanted to know me. With pain in my heart, I decided to give up [the Christian girl] and I moved to that city, because I truly believed that I was going to lose my exaltation if I dated and some day married a non mormon girl. And the commandment says that you shall love the Lord over all things. What in the world makes a man in love leave his love, family and city? I'll tell you what: religious manipulation. I read once in a book they gave me for Institute class, that an apostle of the LDS church said that marrying a non LDS church member was a tragedy compared to death. He even said that he rather see his sons dead than married to a non latter day saint. And of course, they are seers and revelators, that was the will of God.
When I came back two years later to my town with my new perfect, saint and worthy wife and a six months baby, I came to visit my mother and I saw [the Christian girl], ... with her Christian boyfriend. My heart got broken, "that could have been me", I thought. .... I lost the girl I love because of mormon religious manipulation, lies and promises. ... and like if it wasn't enough, they have stolen from me ten percent of my income for seven years, which I'm needing to much now to support my kids education. ...
Of course, after making a lot of research, I know today everything about Joseph Smith, masonry, mountain Meadows, racism, polygamy, the false "book of Abraham", false revelations and all the fraud, which in my opinion is one of the most clever even plotted.
Today I feel so confused, .... The process is painful. I trust no one now. I don't want anybody to preach me words that most probably are lies. I have even thought if there is really a loving God, or just a superior creator which doesn't listen to prayers. I have lost all hope. ...
I do really wish to dedicate my free time to publish my testimony in order to help young people to avoid being deceived by the mormon church before it's to late for them. I wish I could have all the books and newspapers about real mormon history to help good LDS open their eyes. Your wabe page is excellent, it's a shame there is not a page like yours in spanish, since latin america is being invaded by mormons.
I'm not using my real name, because I'm afraid to lose my job. My boss is the new stake president. He thinks I just have doubts, but doesn't know I'm trying to leave the church. There is nothing I want more at this moment that to find another job in order to get my family and myself rid of the mormon church without being afraid of losing my job. But I don't have enough faith anymore to pray to the Lord. I just think that He won't listen to me ... I don't even know now if it is correct to pray to Jesus Christ.
If you believe in the Lord and have faith in Him, please pray for me.
"God, please deliver me from your servants." (Bumper Sticker).
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for sharing your sad story with me. Yes, God is there and He will be with you as you rebuild your life on His truth and love. Focus on the future, not the past. You have a duty before God to care for your wife and child and to be the best husband and father you can be.
As for the past, God has promised forgiveness'For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God' (Rom. 3:23-25.)
As we seek Him, not a church, God will strengthen us to do His will in the future. Start reading the New Testament every day, focus on Christ. In time you may find a Christian church to attend, but in the mean time, the most important thing is to get closer to God. Just take one step at a time, one day at a time--keep reminding yourself: Today I will honor God in what I say and do.
Apostle John wrote 'And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment' (1 John 3:22-23).
You are in my prayers this day.]
Aug. 2, 2003
Subject: BOM pages changed?
Thank you for taking the time to read my email. I have a question/request that hopefully makes some sense to you. I am currently reading the on-line issues of the SLC Messenger and am half way through #39 when I come to the quotes in the BOM with relevent pages and verses listed for me to look them up.
The Book of Mormon is filled with the teaching that people with dark skins are cursed:
My BOM has a publish date of 11/2000 so when I looked on page 61 I could not find this verse. I did find it 5 pages later on page 66. So if I dare quote your Messenger to any of my Mormon friends, they may not find the information in the correct place unless they have the same version that was used to write your article.
Are there so many different versions of the BOM that it wouldn't be practical to list where to find the verses in current versions? I know there are thousands of changes, so it wouldn't surprise me to find out that there are many many versions of the book circulating out there. I just think it would be nice to be able to find the verse easily.
Believe me, I know this problem is not of your doing, it's because of the changes being made by the church, so don't think I'm telling you there's a problem with your information, I'm just looking for an easy solution to 'my problem'.
[Sandra's Note: From 1921 until 1981 all Book of Mormons had the same page numbers. However, the 1981 ed. was put in new type which changed all the page numbers (there were also some changes made in the text). Therefore, all our old references, prior to 1981, done by page number are now incorrect when using a current edition.
For a list of racial statements in the Book of Mormon see our page: Racial Statements in LDS Scriptures.]
Aug. 4, 2003
Subject: LDS Temple Marriage
On page 2 of the LDS Temple Marriage [at http://www.lds-mormon.com/veilworker/marriage.shtml] it says when sealings are performed for and in behalf of the dead only the proxies, officiator and two Witnesses are present in the room. On page 3 the proxy are acting for the dead. How can a dead person keep all the laws, rites, and ordinances pertaining to this Holy Order of Matrimony in the New and Everlasting Covenant? Whose name goes into the blank spaces? How could they do this of there own free will and choice if they are dead?
[Sandra's Note: The name used is the name of the deceased person.
Good question on the covenant of obedience. I know one former Mormon temple worker that was troubled by that very issue. All of the temple covenants deal with faithfulness in this life, not the hereafter.]
Aug. 4, 2003
your article on Joseph Smiths attempt to save the book of Mormon is excellent. I am a ex-Mormon I have been locking horns with a dye in the wool Mormon trying to show him that he is wrong. Keep up the good work.
Aug. 4, 2003
. . . Thank you for your brave stand against this culture. I am a former Mormon (in name only since I thought it would strengthen my marriage) who finally decided to take a stand even though it will in all likelihood cost me my marriage. But it won't cost me my kids, at least not all of them.
Aug. 4, 2003
I can't tell you how much I appreciate you and your husband's work - and diligence!
It is such a great feeling to know you are willing (and more than able) to answer questions we all have. Thank you for your time and hard work!
Aug. 6, 2003
Do you have any recollection of a blood atonement killing in Utah in 1988? Would have been a man and several children I believe. The victim's wife's name was Lillian. Her father (last name of LeBarre) was the perpetrator I understand. Whatever information you can send me will be appreciated.
[Sandra's Note: The killings were not in Utah, they were in Texas. Several members/relatives of the LeBaron cult left the group and were hunted down, then killed by their own relatives. The Salt Lake Tribune, June 28, 1988, p.1 & 3, had a story on the killings. Lillian's husband, Mark Chynoweth, was killed in the attack. Lillian was the daughter of polygamist/prophet Ervil LeBaron. All of this stress and fear for her family's safety, was too much for Lillian, who committed suicide in Jan. 1989 (see The Blood Covenant, by Rena Chynoweth, 1990, pp.361-366).
The new book, Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer, discusses the LeBaron group, among others, and their murders but doesn't tell about Lillian.
By the way, the LDS Church was so worried about Krakauer’s new book that they issued a four page response to it before it was even published. Krakauer has written a response to their attack which can be read at:
Aug. 6, 2003
Subject: about supposed spousal abuse in the Mormon
Mr.. and Mrs. Tanner; I am writing to get your take on spousal abuse within the Mormon church. . . . A couple weeks ago, I was talking with the pastor [of my church] . . . and somehow the discussion got onto Mormonism. I grew up in the Mormon church and was extremely active in it most of my life and in fact I still go to some social functions there (my family still goes there and I do still have a few friends there). Rev. . . . wife also grew up in the Mormon church and her first husband is still a Mormon. The problem is, her first husband, I understand, was abusive to her. Rev. . . . said that spousal abuse was rampant within the Mormon Church and the doctrines/teachings of the Mormon church make it easier for a husband to be abusive to his wife. I happen to disagree with Rev. . . . While there is spousal abuse within the Mormon church (as with any church) I just don't think it's rampant nor do I think the teachings/doctrines of the Mormon church essentially 'condone' such conduct. . . . we do have an obligation to be accurate in what we say about other people, whether or not we agree with them. I just have a hard time, based on what I know, that abuse is rampart within the Mormon church or that church teachings/doctrine encourage such conduct. In fact, I've heard such conduct condemned more than once at Mormon church meetings here.
Thanks for the work you do. I enjoy receiving the 'Messenger'. . . .
[Sandra's Note: Here are a few references on social problems in Utah and among Mormons.
1. RAPE. Utah does not have the highest rate of rape, but above the national average. In 1993 the Salt Lake Tribune stated:
2. SUICIDE. In 1996 The Salt Lake Tribune reported on Utah's high rate of teen suicide:
In 1998 The Salt Lake Tribune stated:
In 2001 the Provo Herald reported:
3. DIVORCE. In 1999 The Salt Lake Tribune reported on LDS divorce:
Here is a quote from a Mormon writer
4. SPOUSE ABUSE. The Salt Lake Tribune, in 2001 printed an article on abuse:
Aug. 7, 2003
First of all, let me just state how much I have appreciated the web postings that UTLM has made available. I have only read a few of them - mostly newsletters - and have uniformly found them to be very good. I was born a member of the LDS church in 1959 and remained a fully-committed, active member until stumbling upon the truth via the lds-mormon.com website about 20 months ago. At the time, I was serving in the bishopric - a position I resigned last September.
. . . Thanks so much for your tireless efforts in getting the word out about the LDS church. I have heard that Gerald's health is not the best these days. Even though I do not know any of you personally, I wish to extend my best wishes to you. If I were still a praying man, I would offer a prayer of thanks and ask a blessing on your heads. . . .
Aug. 7, 2003
...I grew up Mormon here in Texas. I have been away from the Mormon church now for about 8 years. I just however, sent in a letter to the bishop to get off the church records. My parents were devastated. We're still talking though.
So much has happened to me with my family. My husband, in-laws and our church body are extremely supportive and helpful, however, because none of them have ever been Mormon they don't really know how hard it has been. ... My husband and I are believing and praying for a absolute miracle from God to free my family for the deception of Mormonism. I know God is big enough to do that big of a miracle. Thank you for all your hard work and for doing it in a loving, Christlike way. ...
Aug. 7, 2003
I have been a member of the L.D.S. church since my baptism when I was eight (1969). I have never felt as though I "fit in" with the church crowd, and was always partying with the jack Mormons at school. I always went to church and seminary, (had to ) but always felt as though something was not right.
I found myself pregnant at age 17. I remember my mother telling me a baby deserved two loving parents, and I was being selfish to keep it, besides that, I would never find a man who would want me and my baby conceived with another man. After giving birth and putting the baby up for adoption through the L.D.S. Social Services, my parents sent me away to college where I fell away from the church, but felt guilty for doing so.
When I moved back to Phoenix, I decided I needed to start attending church again, so I went to my bishop and found myself in a church court and was disfellowshipped. Once again, not fitting in, I again fell away. (The baby's father went on a mission and never suffered any disciplinary action.) One more interesting note - my stepbrother who had sexually abused me for several years when I was growing up came home from his mission about a month b-4 my baby was due. He came into my bedroom one night and told me that my dad suggested to him that we get married! How sick is that? It makes me want to throw up just thinking about it. (My stepbrother is currently in the Bishopric in his ward.)
Fast forward to 1998, my husband and I moved to Wisconsin where he grew up to start over and raise our family in a more wholesome environment. I decided we needed to get on the right track and go back to church. I was gloriously happy. The ward members were so kind. However, after a few years of getting to know these people, the hypocrisy in their lives was unbelievable to me, I mean, why did they even bother to attend church ? My close friends and home teacher told me that you don't go to church because of the people, you go because it's the right thing to do.
I was called to be the second counselor in Relief Society. I had never had any responsibility greater than piano playing before that. I just loved it! ...And then about two months later, a new president was called, and I was released. During her welcome speech, she looked right at me and said she was sorry I was released, but Heavenly Father must have something else in mind for me.....Yeah Right !!! She didn't know me and wanted women who were her friends to be her counselors. This was my first clue that callings are NOT from our Father in Heaven. My last calling was teaching Sunday School to 13 & 14 year olds. You know, I think the most rotten kids in the class were the kids from the families that everyone in the ward looked up to, members of the Bishopric and such. There were a few kids I was very fond of and that were so wonderful. I understood the other ones - I was them once.
Anyway, I really began to study to teach these kids. The lessons this year are on the Old Testament. You know, I don't think we ever read anything past John. I thought that was rather odd. There were other scriptural things in the Bible that I noticed didn't match our gospel teachings, but it never occurred to me that the church was not true, until I was browsing in Barnes & Noble one day looking in the Religion Section and found "Mormon America" I couldn't put it down. This book opened my eyes and confirmed everything I had ever questioned. I had just been told so many times that to question the doctrine was questioning the Lord, and who was I to do that. I needed to pray and have faith!
Well, that leads me to today and my hungry search for everything I can learn about the church. I haven't been attending meetings for a while now, and the calls and questions are coming. I know how they will perceive anything I say. I am not yet brave enough to have my family's names removed from church records yet. I did tell one friend that I know longer felt the church was true. She is very genuine and very kind. She almost cried. She wanted to know what she could do for me and she was so sorry... Sorry for what? That I know the truth now? Or sorry that I am an evil person who is throwing away the opportunity my children have to be part of an eternal family? Oh Well! Another of my closest friends in the ward has always said if these are the people that are going to be in the Celestial Kingdom, she doesn't want to be there. I guess after this condensed but lengthy version of my escapades in Mormonism, I'm at a loss.
What do I do now. What do I believe in now? Do I need to find another church? What do I do with my tithing money? What do I teach my children? How do I tell my parents? On one hand, knowing what I know now is such a relief, but it has left a void, and sometimes I wish that I were blissfully ignorant again. It's kind of like losing your virginity, you can never go back...
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for sharing your story. I don't know what churches are in your area, but I hope you will visit some of them. You do need the support of other spiritual people around you. Your children will also need a religious environment, or the LDS part of your family will draw them back to Mormonism.
Some good books that might be of help are:
You might want to join the online discussion group at www.irr.org/mit ]
Aug. 7, 2003
To qualify myself I am LDS and I do not wish to debate issues.
I do have one question. You state that: "The purpose of this site is to document problems with the claims of Mormonism and compare LDS doctrines with Christianity". I am just curious what type of Christianity you espouse. I always though that anyone who believes in Jesus is a Christian. I know that the Catholics and Protestants and Easter Orthodox churches all disagree with each other on doctrine. Even Baptists argue with Episcopalians. So, what dogma to you compare the LDS church against? Thank you for your time.
[Sandra's Note: There may be some doctrinal differences between the groups you mention, but they are agreed on several basics that Mormonism does not embrace
Aug. 7, 2003
I have been witnessing to an ex polygamous who is currently talking to some Mormon missionaries. I informed him that the Mormon Church still believes in polygamy in heaven but he doesn't believe me. He asked his bishop and he told him no they don't do that anymore. Besides the Doctrine and covenants #132 do you have any other documents or information stating that an LDS man can be sealed to more than one woman for time and eternity? Thanks for your time and for your ministry.
[Sandra's Note: Even though the current Mormon leaders are very quiet about the matter of polygamy, Sec. 132 of the Doc. & Cov. still teaches the doctrine. While church leaders no longer allow the practice of polygamy here on the earth, they allow a living man to be sealed again after the death of his wife, or after divorce. This leads to the obvious situation of establishing multiple sealings on earth that will mean polygamy in heaven. President Joseph Fielding Smith remarried after the death of his first wife, and in his book, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, page 67, he remarked: "...my wives will be mine in eternity."
Harold B. Lee, the 11th president of the church, also remarried, and was sealed to another woman, after his wife's death and was looking forward to a polygamous relationship in heaven. He, in fact, wrote a poem in which he reflected:
The church leaders realize the quagmire their doctrine of 'eternal families' becomes with blended families, but don't have any good answers. Here is a quote from the LDS magazine, Ensign, on remarriage:
'Uniting Blended Families', by Robert E. Wells, Ensign, Aug. 1997, p.24:
I know that when my grandfather remarried after the death of my grandmother, the family certainly believed that the new wife, sealed to him in the temple, would be an equal wife with my grandmother in heaven. The official LDS Church Handbook of Instruction says:
Obviously, the LDS Church continues to believe polygamy will be practiced in heaven, they just don't want to admit it publicly for fear of looking strange.]
Aug. 8, 2003
Subject: Thanks for everything.
I just wanted to write ya'll and tell you what a blessing your information has done to me and my life. I was raised in the LDS/Mormon church and was a very faithful member. My family is very active and my father was even a bishop for almost 10 years.
I started asking questions at 14 and I was told that I should just follow the Prophet of God. And God appointed the Bishops and other leaders who we should also follow. I had some negative experiences growing up. I was raped in high school and my bishop told me that I had to repent and I wouldn't be able to take the sacrament, do my calling, go to the temple or even pay my tithing for 6 months and we would have an another interview then and see if further action should be taken. The bishop wanted to know every little detail of my rape and attack. Which was very painful and uncomfortable for me. Why would he have to know every detail? To what position(s) the man raped me? For a while, I blamed my self for the rape and attack. I began to wonder why I was the sinful one when I was the one taken, threatened and violated in unspeakable ways.
I began to come out of the church. I knew I believed in God and Jesus and that he died for our sins but I was so confused. I go married (almost 4 years now) (to a man who also raised LDS) and our parents began to pressure us into temple sealing. I began to really pray about this and other things about the doctrine. I began to study the Bible and started seeing things that I was ever taught or even heard of. I heard of the story Jonah and the Whale but I didn't know it was in the Bible. I began to see the truth and it began to set me free. On how (The Bible says) there will be no marriage in heaven, and I also started seeing things pop out from the Mormon doctrine that I've never noticed. That Joseph Smith was almost as great of a being as Jesus. How could anyone been even close to Jesus?
I also noticed how that they talk more about Joseph Smith, Brigham Young, Pres. Hinckley, Church doctrine, The Book of Mormon more than the Lord God and Jesus Christ. I began researching and came over to a number of your books. Through this research, pondering, & prayer I came to know the true Lord who created us, who sent his son Jesus Christ to die for all our sins. I was taught do what is right (Works, Temple work, Church callings and meetings etc..) and you will earn your way into heaven and to become a God. I know that now Christ isn't a religion, he isn't a church. He is the savior, he is the one. The one and only. Thank you for research and faith and time you have spent to bring others to the truth and find the wolf in the sheeps clothing.
Take care & God Bless.
Aug. 8, 2003
I'm just beginning to learn about Mormonism, I was wondering about short-term missions opportunities to Salt Lake City, or is that typically frowned upon as it really should be relationship building witnessing? I would love to get a group together over our spring break this coming school year. If you have any opportunities or know an organization that would take a few excited college kids please let me know!...
[Sandra's Note: Contact Russ East, former LDS, at—www.upfc.org This is a well-balanced Christian group that organizes outreach here in Utah.
You could also email Timothy Oliver, former Mormon, with Watchman Fellowship, at firstname.lastname@example.org. He and his wife also arrange groups to Utah.]
Aug. 8, 2003
Greeting to the Tanners and staff at ULM,
Just a few lines to let you know that your ministry has been a great wealth of knowledge to me. although I am a former 8th generation LDS and no longer a member. I use your info daily on keeping in touch with Mormon history. Recently I have been asked to write articles for a web page on Mormon history and hidden doctrine and that to the book Mormonism shadow or reality I am able to increase my work at a much faster rate. ... Again thanks for you well done work.
your Brother in Christ
Aug. 8, 2003
I find your site very un-Christian. Are you trying to convert Mormon's and others to Christianity through your negative website? I would suggest that you re-evaluate your motives and determine if they are of God.
Aug. 9, 2003
I joined the church while working on my MBA at Stanford University in the late 1989.
In the mid-1990's I read your newsletter, and it opened my mind to take a serious intellectual look at the church. It was then through a serious period of study and introspection that I began having serious doubts. It lead me to further investigate the bible, biblical prophesy, and christian origins. After taking off my emotional blinders, I found your ministry thought provoking, but guilty of the same mistakes your mormon subjects make. You talk endlessly about early mormon leaders murderous ways. I did not take long to find the same murderous leaders in the bible, who were likewise convinced they acted in God's name. ... But anyway thanks for the ability to look at faith with my mind.
Aug. 13, 2003
Subject: LDS Abuse Experiences
. . . About 1974 Orem, Utah:
I asked to have my membership removed from the LDS church. At that time there were no such provisions, only excommunication.
I told Bishop that was okay I just wanted my name removed.
The elders insisted they could not because I committed no major sins they recognized (Word of Wisdom, sex, etc.).
I told them I was an atheist and did not believe Jesus was Christ or son of God but a good teacher as were Buddha and chinese sages.
I had to come back to the LDS chapel for several meetings. At the last meeting the elders had a side conference. They finally emerged.
Elders, "We have decided you will be able to retain your membership in the church. It does not matter if you believe Jesus is the Christ or any of that."
"If you just promise to never say anything in public that would call into question the character or truthfulness of Joseph Smith, then you can retain your membership." I declined and removed my membership.
A few decades later I became a Christian and am really dumb-founded remembering the LDS dealings.
Aug. 13, 2003
I appreciate your web site and the good information that you give. I had a quick question. I've noticed that Mormons use the term "Heavenly Father" instead of "the Heavenly Father." Is that because they believe that there are many Heavenly Fathers and they are referring to the one that brought us earthlings into existence?
[Sandra's Note: I am not sure when 'Heavenly Father' passed from being a description to a name. But as early as the 1972 LDS Family Home Evening I found a couple of references using 'Heavenly Father' as though it were God's actual name. This manual repeatedly uses the term 'our Heavenly Father'. However, on occasion, it drops 'our' and just uses 'Heavenly Father.'
For instance, on p. 74 a game is suggested for the family to play. They are to spin the bottle and 'the person to whom the bottle points must state a fact he knows about ‘Heavenly Father.' On p. 78 we read: ...the mother should try to let the children see how her love is an expression of the type of love Heavenly Father has for them. ' On p. 91 the child is prompted to state 'I am Heavenly Father's child.' (Family Home Evening, 1972)
I think this emphasis ('Heavenly Father' as opposed to 'our Heavenly Father' or 'the Heavenly Father') became more popular as the Mormons have tried to build their children's sense of worth by stressing that they are literally, not figuratively, children of God.]
Aug. 14, 2003
Subject: Systematic theology of Mormon doctrine?
Dear Jerald & Sandra:
Recently, I have been engaged in an open dialog with a local "LDS missionary trainer". He is a very nice man who has been very open about LDS doctrine. The problem I am having though is trying to pin down what the LDS church officially believes. When I ask him if there is a publication or Internet location where I can find a systematic theology of the LDS faith, he always sidesteps the question and gives his own personal opinion. My question is this: Where can I find a central, systematic theology of the LDS faith that is basically universal and binding on all adherents of the Mormon religion? Does one even exist? Most of the info I have gathered on LDS doctrine has been from Protestant sources, but I want to get it from the horse's mouth, so to speak! Thank you for any information you can provide! God bless you and your ministry, God has used it to bless me many times over! Your attention to detail is certainly a gift from God!!
[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church does not have an official book stating their doctrine. The closest you would come would be the material that is published by the church for their priesthood lessons, missionaries and Sunday school classes. Such books would be current editions of
These books are all copyrighted by the church and approved by the prophet. They are also listed on our book list.
In Gospel Principles it states:
Problems arise when you analyses that statement. How does one know when a prophet's words are 'inspired'. Can a mere member determine this? On what basis is an elder to determine that a given prophet's words were not inspired? Can a woman, for instance, sit in judgment on her leaders and decide many of the things they have said about women not holding the priesthood were NOT inspired?
One wonders why they add the qualifier 'living' when defining prophets words that would be scripture? Are past prophets not to be believed? Then why read the Doctrine and Covenants? Mormons seem to want to cloud the issue of prophetic utterance due to past statements by their prophets, such as Brigham Young, which they don't accept today. But Brigham Young held the same prophetic office as Joseph Smith and today's LDS prophet then his words should be just as valid.]
Aug. 14, 2003
Subject: Westminster Confession in the Book of Mormon
I have been entertaining some LDS missionaries for the last couple of weeks. I have left them a message and they may be returning this evening. If possible, please advise me where the Presbyterian Westminster Confession is located in the Book of Mormon. I have some older information about anachronisms in the BOM but internet info casts some cloudiness; dating some isolated incidences in England where steel has been discovered dating to the 4th century. Early enough to cast some doubt which is all they seem to need.
[Sandra's Note: See our online book, The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 5.]
Aug. 14, 2003
Subject: Virgin Birth
Gerald, Sandra, or Whomever,
Could you please enlighten me as to the location of the Mormon teaching as to Elohim coming to earth and having a physical contact with Mary. I remember when I was a boy that was what I was taught, but now in trying to prove it I can't seem to remember if there was a specific reference or if it all revolves around the various references to Mary being overshadowed ?
God Bless you and your Ministry,
We sell a set of photos of various LDS references on this. See Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies.]
Aug. 15, 2003
To whom it may concern,
If you say you are the "TRUE CHURCH" then why do you put other religions down? That is not what God intended.
I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints. What you have written about me is not true. If you have questions about my church why don't you ask instead of twisting the truth?
If you want to truly know if your church is true why don't you PRAY? If you pray with true intent, ponder and wait, you will receive your answer with a warm feeling inside you will just know it. You will know how silly you sound.
How can you put me down or my church down? God says to love one another, doesn't he? I have read your articles and disagree with you completely. I belong to the true church. You can't take two religions and put them together. It doesn't work.
And you can't change your doctrines to fit your life style it doesn't work that way. God made the rules and he can change them he is GOD. You are mocking God!!! And by mocking him you have crucified him all over again. I am so sorry that you feel the way that you do. Instead of putting other people or religions down why not just worry about you and your church.
I know my church is true 150% it makes sense. I know I have Heavenly parents who love me and want the best for me. I KNOW THAT!!! I love them so much just the thought of living with them again gives me goose bumps I just wish you see with your hearts and not your mind.
Aug. 15, 2003
Subject: Utah Governor
On Tuesday 08/12/03, an article appeared in one of our daily newspapers. It was about the Utah governor, his name is Mike Leavitt. The article went on to say, that U.S. President George Bush chose him to head the Environmental Protection Agency.
The reason that I mention this to you, is I have a question to ask you regarding Mike Leavitt.
Is he a Mormon?! I guess I can't always assume that everyone out in Utah are all Mormons. ...
[Sandra's Note: Yes, he is a devout Mormon. In fact, his ancestor, as well as my own, participated in the Mountain Meadows Massacre. See American Massacre by Denton, p.xxii.
When some of the bones of the victims of the massacre were accidentally unearthed in 1999, a controversy erupted on how to handle the situation. The Salt Lake Tribune reported: "The studies, normally required by state law of all accidentally discovered human remains, were terminated prematurely after Gov. Mike Leavitt personally intervened." (See The Salt Lake Tribune, March 12, p. A1,2 & A16 and March 13, 2000, p.Al & A5.)
The Editor of the Tribune, James Shelledy, commented: "Perhaps Leavitt was battling his own ghosts. He is a descendent of massacre participant Dudley Leavitt, who, at best, was an accomplice to mass murder and, at worst, a cold-blooded killer of the frontier's first order." (The Salt Lake Tribune, March 12, 2000, p.A2)]
Aug. 18, 2003
Subject: Locating personal Church records so removal process can begin
For over a decade, I have pondered if getting my name removed from the LDS Church records was important or necessary. We are a family of converts and I was baptized when eight. We moved to Utah when I was a freshman in High School and I stayed in Utah for 10 years. . . . our family life was so horrible that the Church was the only stable environment around, it gave me a foundation that did not exist, and this foundation has proved to be very helpful to me in life.
However, as I got older and actually started reading a book or two . . . , I felt more and more uncomfortable with the Church. Because I have many good friends that are Mormon, I refused to be anti-Mormon. Living in New York City made it easy.
When my best friend from high school had her fifth baby and her husband walked out, I stepped in and did what I could for the past eight years to support this family. This association brought me in contact with Mormonism all over again. I actually attended a few missionary farewells and was so shocked by things said that I wanted to jump up and scream. I am no wiz with the Bible, but what fools are allowed to expound in a church meeting is freighting.
Today, I’m so repulsed by the Church that I can no longer have my name associated in any way with this organization. . . . To you, this may sound trite, because you have a lifetime of study behind you, but after reading this new book on polygamy, it was the final straw.
I see Utah as a state that is run by Mormons for Mormons and when the State does nothing to protect young girls because of their dysfunctional history and lies, this to me is the Church being enactive on something that really doesn’t matter because it involves women. If 14 year old boys were being forced to have sex with 30, 40, 50 & 60 year old men, believe me the Church and State would see that this was routed out. This is just one example of why I want out.
Even when I was young, when we use to drop pennies in a bank for a Mission, I always knew this was not for me. When I was a bit older, I use to say to non-Mormon (Gentiles) friends that the Church is great if you can believe that Joseph Smith story. Well, it?s more than that now. This is not only a Church, it is a political force that causes damage to many and I do believe that they are to be feared. I feel the mentality that caused the Mountain Meadow Massacre exists in Utah and Mormons today.
For a Church that pushes their beliefs on so many, they are not understanding or inclusive of others and I want no part of the lie. I’m writing because it has been so many years since I have been an active member of the Church that I’m not sure where to write to get my name removed from the records of the Church. . . . I have never received a call from the Church in New York City. However, those Living Scripture people got my name and they bug the crap out of me at least twice a year. . . . I don’t hate Mormons, I just want no part of their organization. . . .
[Sandra's Note: You can phone the LDS membership dept. at 801-240-3500, and ask them who has your records. If they have been sent back to the main office they may say that the records would need to be sent to the ward where you currently live for that bishop to handle it. Anyway, check with them on where you should send your letter of resignation. See How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.]
Aug. 18, 2003
Hi, I found a copy of a book called 'Expose of Polygamy' by Mrs. T.B.H. (Fanny) Stenhouse. It was published in 1872 . . . The book is fascinating. I'm sure you've heard of the author and her husband. . . .
I was interested in Mormonism from my childhood and even after becoming a Christian in college, I still believed it was an okay religion. About 1983, I saw Sandra Tanner on a show on the PTL network talking about "The Changing World of Mormonism". I read a copy. It was fascinating. Such thorough research! Through the years, I've recommend it over and over again to anyone who is interested in Mormonism. . . .
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the note. Both Mr. and Mrs. Stenhouse wrote very popular books. We have already done a photocopy of a later edition of the book, Tell It All: the Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism, by Mrs. T.B.H. (Fanny) Stenhouse, 1875 ed. We also do a reprint of her husband's book, Rocky Mountain Saints.]
Aug. 19, 2003
We understand that there is a L.D.S. concept that they have a goal of dominating the entire world. Please provide specific references if this is so.
Thank You in advance for your assistance.
[Note: Joseph Smith envisioned setting up the political kingdom of God, with the LDS Church president, under Jesus' direction, presiding over the world.
Also, read the books:
Aug. 20, 2003
Subject: Mountain Meadow Massacre
I recently read the Denton volume on this topic and am finishing the Bagley account [Blood of the Prophets]. My question to you is this. The plaque at Mt. Meadows says "Southern Militia" as if it were separate from other Militia which existed. From my limited reading it seems the whole state was essentially a closed society and protected from the outside as much as was possible. Is there any evidence that the Southern Militia acted independently?
I am very much aware of the evidence that it was an integral part of the Danites and am convinced that Brigham Young set in motion the machinery that murdered those people. I am not a Mormon but the more I read about this topic the more it bothers me. I just cannot get it out of my head; figuratively speaking it is like the 1000 pound gorilla on my back.
[Sandra's Note: Historian David Bigler writes:
Juanita Brooks tells "Much of the actual massacre was carried on by a unit of the Iron County militia..." (The Mountain Meadows Massacre, p.61, emphasis added)
These sites might help round out your information:
Aug. 21, 2003
Subject: changes to scripture
I've read about the changes to the Book of Commandments/D&C and felt that they were evidence that Joseph Smith was not a prophet. I was given Jeremiah 36 as an example that there's precedent for a prophet to add to revelation previously given (specifically Jeremiah 35:32b). Is this a valid argument? Are the revelations to Jeremiah comparable to those given to Joseph Smith? I know that some changes that were made to the D&C are pretty significant. . . .
[Sandra's Note: Jeremiah's situation was very different from that of Joseph Smith. When the king tried to destroy the prophecy Jeremiah was instructed by God to write the text again and add additional words of judgment. There is nothing in the chapter to indicate that it contained any changes to doctrine.
Smith rewrote his revelations to change previous instructions. Where is the evidence that God instructed him to altar the text? When his revelations were printed in the Book of Commandments in 1833 supposedly God put his stamp of approval on the printing (see section 1). Therefore, what would be the need to rewrite the revelations in 1835? See chapter 3 of our book, The Changing World of Mormonism and chapter 5 of Mormon Claims Answered. There is also a chapter on the changes in Smith’s revelations in our book MormonismShadow or Reality? For a complete study of the Doctrine and Covenants and its changes, see The Joseph Smith's Revelations Text & Commentary by Marquardt.]
Aug. 23, 2003
Dear Jerald and Sandra Tanner,
. . . My wife . . . found your site today 8/23/03 and showed it to me. I think you are brave people and admire your courage. I am not a Mormon. My wife was born into a Mormon family and tried to get out for years. . . . In looking into Joseph Smith I found in his first father-in-law a man who had been a treasure hunter and knew of a lost treasure. He hired Joseph to search after it. I would like to know if you ever discovered a list of artifacts that Joseph ever found or the name of someone who would know. . . .
Thank you and God bless
[Sandra's Note: I am not aware of any statement by any of Smith's associates that would indicate that he/they ever found any treasures while digging. There are several books on Smith's money digging
We also have a chapter on this in our book, MormonismShadow or Reality?]
Aug. 23, 2003
Subject: The things that you say are contradictory about what?
Because what I read did not indicate any faltering of truth on either the "MORMON" side or the biblical side, I mean the fact that they study it and follow its teachings it makes more sense that god would still talk to us or give us direction, You are telling me that in all the scandals and all the world that the bible is whole and not missing information, we are talking about the oldest book in the world arent we?
. . . the point is that the supposed contradictions that you think you see are not there, I ask you this have you yourselves ever felt the spirit of god so strongly that you could not speak a word? I have without a shadow of a doubt. . . . I only ask that you really look at the teachings [of Mormonism] and tell me that you cant see the good in them, . . . I see nothing evil in the LDS religion, they will help there members out whenever they need whether they pay tithing or not, the most wonderful people that I have ever known are members of the LDS church and some of them not so nice, but the point is we are here to follow the teachings of Christ and the Son of god didn't just stay in one place while he was on this earth, so why in fact could there not be other accounts or records of him?
Aug. 24, 2003
Subject: Can excommunicated Mormons rejoin the church?
I was curious about this after reading about Brian David Mitchell and how someone had encouraged him to return to the Mormon church.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, a person can rejoin the Mormon Church after excommunication. However, he/she would have to be interviewed by church leaders to prove that the person had truly repented of whatever got him/her excommunicated in the first place.]
Aug. 24, 2003
I just read your fascinating article on Mormonism and Negroes (Issue #39). I found it very informative and well written. But I must say that I find it somewhat odd that people who believe that the Mormon church is a false church from its inception (not just you, but all the others who were unhappy with the doctrine) would be wanting so much for it to allow Blacks to hold the false priesthood. It seems disingenuous to say the least. (I did note your passing comment that it might reduce discrimination in Utah.)
Just as odd, in a different way, is that members of the church who believe that it is "the true church" with all that that means would take it upon themselves to advise the "prophets" about that or any other issue. It would be like the Israelites voting on the 10 Commandments. (This observation could apply to "faithful" Catholics as well as Mormons.)
Other than that, thanks for all your hard work.
Aug. 24, 2003
Subject: Has their ever been any news of Mark Hoffman or his ex-wife Dorie?
I read on the net that he tried to commit suicide in prison after she divorced him. Does he attend any services in prison? Is Dorie still a Mormon?
[Sandra's Note: Yes, Mark tried to commit suicide shortly after being sent to prison. I have not heard of any attempts in the last ten years.
A Christian prison guard tried to talk to Mark when he first got to the prison but Mark made it clear that he was not interested. Mark is an atheist and will not talk to anyone about religion. In fact, he will not visit with anyone other than family. It is my understanding that Dorie is single, lives in Salt Lake and is still LDS.]
Aug. 25, 2003
Subject: Book of Abraham debunked ...sources?
The following comment was made to me regarding the evidence against the Book of Abraham:
"The problem with these supposedly reputable sources is that they are not widely accepted as being as "reputable", and their opinions as to the authenticity of the BofA is not authoritative and definite."
I am having a problem finding sources along with their credentials. I would like to provide a list of "reputable" scholars. Can you recommend a web link where I can find that? Or do you have that information?
[Sandra's Note: In our book, MormonismShadow or Reality? we give the references for the different quotes we use. Some quotes are from John A. Wilson and Klaus Baer, deceased, who were leading Egyptologists at the University of Chicago. We also quote from Richard A. Parker, Egyptologist at Brown Universitynot sure if he is still alive.
There was an article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Winter, 2000, by Egyptologist Robert K. Ritner, from University of Chicago. He is also interviewed in the film, The Lost Book of Abraham. You might want to visit the web site of the organization that produced the film -- www.irr.org/mit.
Also, the book Why Egyptologists Reject the Book of Abraham quotes from the leading Egyptologists of the early 1900's who rejected the Book of Abraham's claims. See the New York Times article "Museum Walls Proclaim Fraud of Mormon Prophet" as well.]
Aug. 25, 2003
To whom it may concern:
I was wondering; if the RLDS church is heading towards Protestantism, why hasn't the name and title of the church been changed? RLDS is continually connected with the LDS church, giving Latter Day Saints a "warped" name and reputation. As a mormon myself, I have experienced this. This is just a simple question, from a curious person.
[Sandra's Note: The RLDS Church has changed its name and is now known as the Community of Christ. For more information on this see our page The Reorganized LDS Church.]
Aug. 28, 2003
Subject: Word of wisdom
In light of recent medical evidence that tea is actually good for you, having several antioxidants, what is the church's stand on tea now? I know that this is not an earthshaking question, but I was just curious to know if they would hold fast to their position or flip flop as they have on other issues. Thank you.
[Sandra's Note: So far they are still requiring abstinence from tea and coffee in order to get a temple recommend. On a similar note, many doctors are now advocating drinking a small glass of wine every day. Joseph’s Word of Wisdom seems to be somewhat outdated.]
Aug. 28, 2003
Dear Jerald and Sandra,
Thank you for your commitment to truth and honesty, and for your incredible perseverance in your ministry.
You are a continuing source of encouragement and hope to those of us who have loved ones captured in Mormonism.
Aug. 28, 2003
Subject: Do you call yourself Christians?
Christ was never tearing down someone's religious beliefs. You guys are idiots for trying to tear down all the mormons. I am not one but I THINK YOU GUYS SUCK!!!
Seriously, I know the bible very well, I never once did Christ do what you guys are doing. I know that you will all be held accountible for what you are doing. "Misery loves company" Satan needs a few buddies!! I hope you guys enjoy the heat!! I heard it is hot there all year round!! Let me know how it is down there. You guys could probably setup a web site down there. Have fun!!
Aug. 29, 2003
Dear brother : ... I am from Honduras and I have lost my Patriarchal Blessing. What can I do to get a copy? Thanks a lot for your help.
[Sandra's Note: To receive a copy of your patriarchal blessing you will need to send a written request with $3.00 to LDS Church Archives, 50 E. North Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84150-3821. They will need to know your full name as it appeared on the blessing, date of birth, stake in which it was given, date given and, if possible, the name of the patriarch. It usually takes a month.]
Aug. 31, 2003
Subject: help with marriage
... My husband ... was born in mexico and raised a catholic and I was raised baptist. His sister, who is very religious, almost to where she is to religious has recently been baptized into the mormon church. My husband respects his sister very much and the mormons have been visiting our house the past few months and we both attended the church together.
Basically, I knew in my heart it wasn't true. I am not sure how to convince my husband the same. So I am asking for help. Can you help me locate some of the most controversial scriptures ... the meat and not the milk so I can show my husband. Scriptures in the book of mormon where is says you can achieve godhood, where it says god had physical sex with mary ... and where it says jesus was married to three women and had children with them. Please help. Thank you.
[Sandra's Note: Those teachings are not in the Book of Mormon but in some of their prophets' sermons.
We have a packet of photos from current LDS books on God being married, having sex with Mary, etc. See Godhead and Virgin Birth Photos.
A helpful book would be Where Does It Say That? This contains about a hundred photos from early LDS books showing some of their crazy teachings, like Jesus being married, etc.
Another good book is For Any Latter-day Saint: One Investigator's Unanswered Questions.]
Aug. 31, 2003
Subject: Your site
You are some seriously disturbed individuals. I don't know what happened to you and after reading all the lies you have purpotrated on the Mormon faith, I really don't care. Although 99% of your site is garbage, the one fact that always seems to get me is that all you Mormon Bashers claim that Mormons pratice polygimy.
This is an outright lie. There are people who "CLAIM" to be Mormon who do practice polygimy, but you have failed to state on your site that these people have been condemed for their actions by the true church. and are not recognized by the true church. Nobody told me I could have more than one wife! aside from that I don't think my wife would really apprictate me doing such a horrible thing.
Why have you not made this fact clear?? why do you only twist and inturpret gospil to your own service?
Your site only serves to strengthen my belifs in my faith. I KNOW the gospil is true. I also am now convinced that your site is the work of the adversary.
Happy trails on your road to perdition.
Aug. 31, 2003
Subject: Thank you, ..again!
Sincere and heartfelt thanks once again to you and Jerald for being
available and faithful to the Lord in putting forth a fullness
Beginning in 1978 the Lord led us to your publications. My wife and I had begun to study the Mormon church in depth, seeking answers to doctrinal questions originating in our examination of the Lectures on Faith, and in particular Lecture Five, which we had come across in my Grandfather's 1903 edition of the Doctrine and Covenants. "The Changing World of Mormonism," and then "Mormonism: Shadow or Reality" soon became essentials in our search to know the truth of Mormonism, revealing raw and little known details about Mormonism drawn from Mormon sources that we would never otherwise have encountered, even after entire lifetimes as Mormons.
Coming away from Mormonism, especially with family on both sides urging us not to do so, while refusing at the same time to even look at the evidence we set before them, was not at all easy, however it was the right thing to do if we were to be honest with God and ourselves. The Lord strengthened us to leave the Mormon church, together with our entire family, and we've thanked Him every day since for setting us free through believing faith in Him and His Way, His Truth, and His Life, as He is set forward Biblically.
May the Lord God continue to bless you and Jerald in all you do, and may you both be strengthened and encouraged by the Spirit of the Lord through every day to come.