Dec. 1, 2003
Subject: Question about Mormon End-Times
I was curious - what is the basic mormon doctrine on end-times/eschatology? Do they believe in the second coming of Joesph Smith? the return of Christ? What do they believe about the anti-christ, and all the material in Revelation/Daniel? I was checking out your site and couldn't find an answer to this. Thanks alot.
Keep up the great work! Also, if you could, please pray for my Aunt and her family, all of whom are devout temple Mormons in ... AZ. Thanks again,
[Sandra's Note: Mormonism teaches that when Christ returns the LDS Church leaders will be acting under his direction to run the governments of the world. When the Mormon prays "thy kingdom come" he is praying for the time when Mormonism will rule the world, under Christ. The Mormon teaching is that Christ's return will be post-tribulation, pre-millennial. The righteous dead will take part in the first resurrection at this time, the wicked will come forth in the second resurrection at the end of the millennium.
The Mormons do not have a concept of the rapture of the believer at the time of Christ's return. The wicked will die and those who are moral will stay on earth in a mortal condition. Some of the purposes of the millennium are to catch up on all the baptisms and temple marriages needed for the dead, so that they may have the same opportunities to accept Mormonism as the living. At the end of the millennium they believe Satan will be loosed for a short period. (See Mormon Doctrine, by B. McConkie, 1979 ed., pp.74, 492-501, 687-698 and Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol. 2, pp.737-739, 906-907.)]
Dec. 2, 2003
Subject: "What do Mormons Believe?"
First, I would like to thank you for your research, book store and website; you have given me a wealth of knowledge.
I have a question that may not have a clear answer. I am a Christian and I've been reading a lot about Mormonism lately, mostly book written by Christians. A Mormon friend lent me a book written by a Mormon, "What do Mormons Believe?" by Rex E. Lee (1992).
On page 27 he says,
I thought Mormon believed our heavenly mother and father created our spirits but he is saying our spirits are without beginning or end. Is he incorrect in saying this is what Mormons believe? I pointed this out to my Mormon friend and she just shrugged her shoulders.
[Sandra's Note: Rex Lee seems to be glossing over their belief in eternal 'intelligences'. First, you might want to read Joseph Smith's King Follet sermon: The Immortal Intelligence.
Mormonism teaches that man started out as an 'intelligence' and was then born to God and his wife as a spirit child. (Mormonism teaches that spirit bodies are actual matter, although more refined than mortal bodies, and have dimension.) After growing to full maturity a spirit person would be born on earth with a physical body. Thus the program looks like this:
Here are three quotes from LDS authors:
Hope this helps.]
Dec. 2, 2003
Subject: 2nd Cor. 12:1-6
Is this the actual verse that Mormons Base their belief in 3 Kingdoms of heaven ? If so what are the verses to refute this thinking ? As a Christian I find this very confusing and am very sure that their view of 3 heavens is wrong but then the scriptures speak specifically @ Celestial heaven in Rev.
Can you help me better understand ? Being an ex-mormon some of these things still come back to haunt me.
[Sandra's Note: They also use 1 Cor. 40-41. Here is a quote from Marvin Cowan's book, Mormon Claims Answered:
Dec. 3, 2003
Subject: Journal of Discourses
Do you know where I can get a copy of the Discourses without supporting the Mormon church?
[Sandra's Note: The 26 vol. set of Journal of Discourses is out of print. A used set (photo reprintnot originals) would cost over $400-600. And there aren't too many sets that even come up on the used book market. The LDS Church puts out a CD-ROM called GospeLink 2001 that contains the entire Journal of Discourses, plus dozens of other LDS titles. GospeLink 2001 can be purchased at most LDS book stores.
The Journal of Discourses is also on the CD-ROM New Mormon Studies. This is a more expensive program, non-affiliated with the LDS church, good source for research (many other great books on the disc). Personally, I use both of these CD-ROM's everyday for research.]
Dec. 3, 2003
Subject: PHYSICAL UNION BETWEEN GOD & MARY
My visiting LDS friends deny that D&C or B.O.M. states the physical union between God the father and Mary at the conception of Christ. Can you help me please.
[Sandra's Note: They are right, that doctrine isn't in their scriptures, but it is taught by their prophets. See LDS Leaders Define Their Concept of JESUS CHRIST. We also sell a packet of Godhead and Virgin Birth Photos from LDS sources.]
Dec. 3, 2003
Subject: Question on LDS neighbors of mine
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner,
My next door neighbors (going on 8 years now) are LDS. He has just recently been relieved of his Bishop standing --I guess the time was up he said you serve 5 years is all -- he is a prescription drug abuser and she is aparently an untreated manic/depressive. Oh yes, it is just really something to live next too and I considedered them friends until just recently -- actually they'll do anything for you -- I guess I have taken advantage of that to a great extent and always am thankful that they are there -- I have very mixed feelings a lot. . . .
I am a born-again; Bible-studying Christian who doesn't attend a local church since marrying my husband (also born-again Christian) -- he ... is parapelgic and doesn't like to sit in long church services . . .
My purpose to writing you in to communicate this to some one who understands and to ask you what do you think I should do -- try to share my Chrisitan beliefs more with them -- or just stay away from them . . .?
[Steve's Note: I think that as Christians we can not help but share our faith with those around us. We are either good ambassadors of Christ or we are bad ones. You now have the privilege of sharing your faith with your neighbors since you have first been their friend. There are a couple of resources online at our website that will probably be helpful to you. The first is Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints. I would also recommend Terminology Differences, Contradictions in LDS Scriptures, LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible, and Book of Mormon Overview.]
Dec. 3, 2003
Subject: How do I get the 1830 version of the BofM
I have been living in Utah for 25 years. While I have been around Mormons all of that time I can't say I really understand them. In my reading of "Mormon America" and "Under the banner of heaven" I have learned a thing of two. I have always known that Mormons look at the Book of Mormon as the work of Joseph Smith. It just never occurred to me that the church has been editing it as time has gone by.
In my 25 years in Utah I only consider one Mormon to be a close friend. He is a very intelligent person and it just baffles me that he does not question the fairy tale of Joseph Smith. I wanted to ask him about the changes to the original Book of Mormon. How do I get a copy of the real version as it was originally written by Smith?
[Steve's Note: We offer two books of the original 1830 Book of Mormon. The first is Joseph Smith Begins His Work, Vol. 1 by Wilford Wood. This is a photo-reproduction of the Book of Mormon from uncut sheets. The second is 3,913 Changes in the Book of Mormon. It is a reprint of the original Book of Mormon with the changes compared to a current Book of Mormon marked in the margins.]
Dec. 4, 2003
Subject: DALLIN OAKS
There was a quote attributed to the above that said believe in the faith and not in facts or revelations.
Can you supply me with the exact quote?
[Steve's Note: I think you are either referring to one of a couple of speeches that Dallin Oaks gave. The first is "Reading Church History" given on Aug. 16, 1985 at the annual CES Doctrine and Covenants Symposium at BYU. This speech is available in its entirety from the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah. It is located in the Manuscripts Division, Box 1- Mormonism Collection, Folder 5.
One quote from this address is
The other possible address is titled "The Historicity of the Book of Mormon." This talk was given for an Annual Dinner of the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies in Provo, Utah on Oct. 29, 1993. This speech can be found online via many search engines.
I hope that this information is helpful to you.]
Dec. 4, 2003
Subject: Plural Marriage
What does the Christian God think of Plural Marriage? I see the Old Testament allows for the practice. I am having a trouble finding clues in the New Testament that would say that the practice is not what God expects of men. Most of my search talks of wives are in a group sense ("They").
[Steve's Note: Several references that might be helpful to you are 1 Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6, Matthew 19:1-9; 22:23-33. For more information please see LDS Leaders Still Believe There Will Be Polygamy in Heaven.]
Dec. 4, 2003
Subject: PoGP question
I recently discovered and read your article on the controversy of Joseph Smith's "translation" of papyri that is now known as THe Pearl Of Great Price. I read this article w/ great interest. I am a Mormon, and have been one practically all my life. I have always had a hard time with the "blind faith" attitude of most Mormons, and have found it interesting that "God's" prophesy and doctrines seem to change to suit the times...
A few years back, I was researching anything I could regarding an early Mormon group that called themselves "Danites", and found it interesting that Church Headquarters was very tight-lipped regarding this subject. Actually, to say that I found it interesting, is somewhat of a mis-statement. I found it downright peculiar. As if they wanted to turn a blind eye to events that shaped the early Church. The way I see it, what possible harm could it do to discuss these events? They happened well over 100 years ago...and it is all water under the bridge, so to speak. Practically every culture has unfortunate circumstances in it's past...so what's the big deal? Well, to make my point on this...it never set right with me.
This brings me to your article on the PoGP/papyri...and I have a question. Has the Church addressed this at all? Maybe in the form of an "official statement"? My hunch is that they have not, but I figure you would know if anyone would. I've looked all over the web for a couple weeks now, and am coming up w/ no results.
Thank you in advance for a reply,
[Steve's Note: No, the LDS Church has never come out with an official position regarding this. They conveniently leave it to various individuals and groups to respond, and then hold them at arms length and say that these are only private interpretations and views and are not the official teaching of the LDS Church.]
Dec. 4, 2003
. . . I have a question. That is which book has the supposed first vision of Joseph Smith in the woods and would you have the book and how much is it? I appreciate your zeal . . . and I'll be praying for you as you try and reach your beloved Mormon People for Christ,
[Steve's Note: The official account of the first vision is found in the Joseph Smith History at the end of the Pearl of Great Price in the Triple Combination of LDS scriptures. We also offer a photo reprint packet titled First Vision Photocopies, which shows many of the conflicting accounts of the first vision.]
Dec. 4, 2003
Subject: THANK YOU FOR THE "FREE BOOK" BY S.I. BANISTER
Dear Sandra ...
Last month I ordered "The Essential Orson Pratt" and "The Essential Parley Pratt" ... They have been a fantastic help to me in my research. You were kind enough to send a "Free Book" by S. I. Banister, entitled "For any Latter-day Saint". I found this to be very informative. ... Keep up the great work you are doing. I'm so thankful you are there. ...
Dec. 5, 2003
My sister is a converted mormon ... She has 6 kids and has raised them all mormon. One thing I have noticed in the last few years is that they all cross their arms when they pray. I don't recall noticing this before. Is this something new or had I just missed it all these years?
Another question I have is regarding tannin. When I asked my niece, who is mormon, went on a mission, was married in the temple, has five kids, etc, why if she is not supposed to drink caffeine, she drinks coke, she told me that it is not caffeine she is not supposed to drink, but tannin. that is why she doesn't drink tea, wine, etc. My question is, doesn't chocolate have tannin in it? When I asked my niece she ignored my question. It is a petty question, I guess, but I am curious.
A little about me. I am a Christian who has been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ, the one true and only God. Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I found out about your organization years ago when a friend of mine found out my sister was mormon and refereed me to you. I have always taken great comfort in your work, as I have always been grieved by my sisters beliefs. ...
[Steve's Note: To the best of my knowledge Mormons have folded their arms to pray for a long time. Perhaps your sister has just recently adopted this position for prayer or she may have been doing it and it has gone unnoticed until now.
As for your question regarding the avoidance of either caffeine or tannins here is what I was able to find. I was able to get these by searching the LDS Church's official website. You will notice of course that there are opposite positions expressed by various authorities in the Church and that the Church itself is very careful to avoid committing itself one way or the other regarding whether it is the caffeine that is what should be avoided. As for the tannins various sources stated that it is a common but mistaken idea that the tannins are what is to be avoided. Below are some relevant quotes that I thought might be of help to you.
Hope all of this helps.]
Dec. 5, 2003
I found your site this week. I wanted to first state that I appreciate the format in which you have presented your information. It is very different than much of the out-right hostility shown on the matter. It shows sensitivity and an earnest desire to help those who are looking for truthful answers.
I have been a member all my life and yet I have never felt I "belonged" there. I have always had doubts. I have always had questions that I was unable to find real answers to. Answers that are factual and based upon cold hard historical foundations. The only answers I have ever gotten have been "Pray about it'" or "Why dont' you ask the Bishop or Priesthood holders". They can't or won't provide the answers I have been looking for. They are too deeply indoctrinated into the church to be able to give objective answers.
I found a quote in Mrs. Tanner's statement that I feel describes me perfectly. It is -- "Those who were born in the church in many cases "know" it is true but don't know why it is true. Many Mormons will stand up in testimony meeting and dogmatically assert that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that they belong to "the only true church," but very few of them check to make sure that their faith is based on reality."
I have even found myself on occasions standing in front of the congregation repeating the same words as if on auto-pilot. They really had no meaning and I didn't truly "feel" anything when I said them. As I reflected on it later, I found myself wondering why I had said them. I think it was because it was expected.
I am currently in my own personal search for my much desired relationship with my Heavenly Father (yes, I know that is what we are taught to call Him in the church, but it makes His presence in me even more close to truly think of Him as the Father He is.), Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit. I have a strong testimony of Their presence in my life and since I decided to begin this journey, I feel the love they offer to me greater and stronger every day. It will be a journey I will have to take alone.
My father and mother are both active members with my mother being the strongest. She has such a testimony of the church that I almost feel ashamed sometimes that mine is not like hers. I have wanted to have one such as hers but there are too many things that don't make sense. There are too many things that people don't want to discuss. I am sure there isn't a church anywhere that doesn't have a past that was unflattering. Take the Catholic church for instance. But, their history is their history and it cannot be changed. The same applies to this church. I have never believed in the "that's what God meant" statement regarding tea and coffee. It is specific in what it says in the Word of Wisdom and the thought of simply saying that God needs some one to clarify His word is ridiculous to me. He hasn't needed it before. He has always been very straightforward.
Anyway, thank you for helping me to know that there are others out there who are questioning the church and that I am not alone in this.
Dec. 6, 2003
Subject: I need help finding info refuting LDS apologetics
I know the LDS church's faults and it's falsities, but I still get daunted everytime I see a pro LDS site, like Jeff Lindsay's Cracked Planet site for example.
I need information on the poor scholarship methods that LDS scholars and organizations like FARMS uses, faulty tactics, rebuttals to their arguments, and how their scholarship in support of the LDS church has proven to be false, and how I myself can avoid being daunted by pro-LDS apologetics. Can you help me?
To confirm it for myself, do you know where online I can find the testimonies of people in other Mormon sects that claim that they, not the Salt Lake LDS church, are *the* true church of Jesus? Do you know where I can find claims by other LDS sects that they, not the Salt Lake LDS church, have the knowledge of the truth, the companionship of the Holy Spirit, the true priesthood, etc, and not the LDS Salt Lake sect? I need this info to confirm for myself and refute for myself the Salt Lake LDS claim that only they have testimonies.
Some additional information that you might find interesting and relevant is located on our web site at Topical Index: Apologetics.
Also Topical Index: Splinter Groups should help you get started with your search for other groups that claim to be the true church that Joseph Smith founded. There is an excellent book that we offer titled Divergent Paths of the Restoration by Steven Shields.
Hope all of this helps.]
Dec. 6, 2003
I know your busy and all that but I need some info. One of the witness in the front of the Book Of Mormon defected from the church.. I'm not sure who it was or what his name is. Could you send me that info or tell me where to get it. I can't seem to find it on your website. Thank your so much...
[Steve's Note: See online The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 5: The Witnesses, and also Topical Index: Witnesses.]
Dec. 7. 2003
With the (rumored?) Utah mega-intranet civic project on the horizon, do you think Utah state government will be able to censor sites like UTLM?
[Steve's Note: No, not too worried about that. As the plans for the project exist the government will build the infrastructure and then lease it out to competing companies to offer to the general public.]
Dec. 7, 2003
Thank you for the information on how to remove my name from the LDS records.
Thank you again
[Web-editor: See How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.]
Dec. 7, 2003
Do you people not have anything better to do with your time than to tear down others faith. It's ok if you dont want to share the same beleifs as mormons. It is also ok if you want to share with us about your own religion, and tell us why you believe in that. The mormons are good people. Wether their church is right or not every one can plainly see the effects of their lifestyles. The Mormon Church, all well as most churches, lead people to become better and happier people than they allready are.
The mormon church members may not share the same beleifs as you but their church has a positive impact on society. You will find that when you start trying to build peoples faith in God rather than tearing it down you will be a happier person too.
Dec. 8, 2003
Subject: Mormonism in Ghana
Feature Article -- The Untold Story Of The Mormons... God cursed black men and gave them flat nose ... See
Dec. 8, 2003
Subject: CNN.com – Dad sues to teach daughter about polygamy,
I just wanted you to be sure to see this article.
Dec. 8, 2003
1. As your work progressed, how did your numerous sources, especially the less-known ones, come to your attention?
2. If the LDS Church is/was supressing documents, then why doesn't/didn't it just destroy them?
3. What is the relevance/significance of the issues of money-digging and glass-looking?
....W/Respect & Best Wishes....
P.S. I am LDS, but see no excuse for those who send you rude/angry/sarcastic mail.
[Steve's Note: I will try to respond briefly to each question that you have here.
Hope all of this helps.]
Dec. 9, 2003
Subject: Thank You
Thank you very much for your quick and courteous reply to my questions.
1. Regarding LDS supression of documents, I'm still puzzled. Wouldn't the embarrassing content of such documents far outweigh any "value" they might have? Indeed, wouldn't those documents be a clear DANGER or LIABILITY to the Church's image? It seems that the Church, therefore, would destroy them (quickly!) if there was really something to hide.
2. Regarding money-digging and glass-looking (bear with me), I still don't see the damaging nature of these activities. In fact, I have read the text on them in Mormonism - Shadow or Reality?, also in The Changing World of Mormonism. But I'm still not sure about the point of it all.
Please offer further comment on these issues, as well as anything else you'd like to add. Thanks again.
[Steve's Note: In regards to why the church would not destroy these documents that they have, it would need to be said that the church is such a large organization now that problems like this can come just from the bureaucracy itself. First of all, the question arises as to who within the church would point out such "problem" documents to those higher up? Furthermore, just who up the chain would want to take the responsibility for the destruction of a document that may be a one-of-a-kind. And in so doing many historians might feel as though their future access or favorite materials might fall victim to someone else's censorship.
Then there is the problem that many of those who work with these documents have made their own private copies. Thus any future attempts to remove such material might not be fully successful and then as a result come back to embarrass the church if such an attempt was made to destroy any record of these documents. This situation (of private copies) came up again recently when the late Leonard Arrington's papers were placed in the holdings at Utah State University in Logan, Utah.
As for your question regarding Joseph's glass-looking, the heart of the problem is that Joseph was involved with that activity during the same time that he was supposed to be receiving visits from the angel Moroni in preparation to obtain the plates for the Book of Mormon. The fact is that God's word clearly forbids any involvement with any form of occultic activity. Glass-looking is the equivalent to what would be today called crystal gazing. For more information on Joseph Smith's glass-looking and the implications from it please read the information we have online#68 Messenger: Joseph Smith Guilty?]
Dec. 9, 2003
Subject: God Bless You
I just wanted to email you and praise you for all your efforts. Your phenomenal research and documentation has been invaluable to me. May the one true God continue to bless you in your ministry.
Dec. 9, 2003
Subject: Christ's conception as Mormon's see it?
I'm an exmormon looking for a bit of info for my grandchild who is still a member of that cult.
My question is "Where can I find the documentation for the Mormon concept that God impregnated Mary as any man impregnates any woman??"
Thanks for the help!
[Steve's Note: You can find info about this in our online book The Changing World of Mormonism, p.179. We also sell a packet of photocopies from various LDS sources. See Godhead and Virgin Birth Photos.]
Dec. 9, 2003
Subject: RE: PGP question
... I find it odd that the LDS Church would not at least address it [problems with Book of Abraham translation]. I mean, I'd think that they would at least come out and say that the "found" papyrus is not genuine or something of that nature.
My view is that if Joseph Smith's "translation" of the papyrus is a total fabrication (which is what it appears to be), then that throws suspicion on any and all translations, including the Book of Mormon.
Seems to me, they (the Church leaders) want to keep the members in the dark and ignore it, hoping that it will go away. Much like the "Danite" issue .... This is very disheartening to me...
Dec. 9, 2003
I received your tape and books this afternoon and listened to the tape right away then started reading. Started with the book on cults and after a few pages I started crying. I thought of all the years I've known in my heart the church was not true as they get up and recite in testimony meeting. Strange, but at 72 and a lifetime in the church I still could not get up and say I knew the church was true and am glad to know that there is nothing wrong with me.
Several years ago my husband finally joined the church and we had our marriage "sealed" in the Orlando Temple. He passed away [in] 2002, and now I wish we had been active in a different church before his death. However, he believed Christ was his Savior and never really went along with the church doctrine. I loved him so much that I wanted the eternal marriage belief to be true.
Thank you for your patience with me.
Dec. 10, 2003
Subject: best book
What would be the best book that you have to learn facts about the Mormon Church that are contrary to the Holy Bible? I need to learn more to talk to my daughter as she is being pursued by her Mormon friends. I need to present her with facts not just my feelings.
[Sandra's Note: This book would be a good basic one for teens.
AlsoThese help understand basic Mormon arguments and answers.
Dec. 10, 2003
My daughter and her husband just had their three girls baptised into the Mormon church. Can you tell me what kind of spiritural affect can this have on the children? They are going to be recieving the Holy Spirit next and I thought that the mormons did not believe in the Holy Spirit. I'm praying for God's protection for them. Any info would be appreciated.
[Sandra's Note: One of the biggest problems for children is that they are then entered on the LDS membership rolls, which means they will have people constantly contacting them and getting them involved with LDS friends. Mormonism is great at socializing their kids to keep them involved.
LDS believe in receiving the presence/indwelling of the Holy Spirit in their lives. But they equate it with LDS Church membership. Mormons would not consider someone like Billy Graham to have the 'gift of the Holy Spirit' in the full sense, as a Mormon would have. A non-member can be ‘influenced’ by the Holy Ghost but would not have the gift/fulness of the Spirit.
You might find these books helpful
Also, Concerned Christians has a good small booklet, Understanding My Mormon Friends Faith [off-site link], for explaining the differences on a kids level.
You will probably be restricted from talking to your grandkids about Mormonism, but hopefully, in time, you will find opportunities to mention the differences between their parents faith and your own. You might benefit from reading Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons.]
Dec. 11, 2003
i am a youth pastor of a c&ma [Christian and Missionary Alliance] church .... heard you speak at the LIFE conference we had in salt lake city several years ago. sure appreciate the ministry you and your husband have had over the years.
hey, i've got a question - wondering if you can refer me to any quality web pages (such as yours), but that would have info on jw's??
[Steve's Note: Some of the best sites that I am aware of for info covering JW's are www.irr.org, www.watchman.org, www.equip.org and www.ankerberg.com. These sites should have more information of other web sites that also deal with JW's.]
Dec. 11, 2003
Dear Bro. & Sister Tanner,
[I am a] Youth Pastor from ... Oklahoma. ... In 2004 we will be working ... in Utah. ... I will be bringing seven teens with my wife and I ... for two weeks. We will be doing a VBS, door-to-door, evening evangelistic services, etc. etc. ... Before we can evangelize world-wide, we need to evangelize locally (which includes our country as a whole). We are studying Mormonism and getting some of their background information. If you could possibly recommend some material that would be helpful in our studying about Mormonism and how we can be most effective for the Lord ...
Thank you for help.
[Sandra's Note: This book would be a good basic one for teens.
Also—These help understand basic Mormon arguments and answers.
Dec. 11, 2003
... I have heard you might be able to help. I quit attending The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints about three years ago. The reason was reached for personal and doctrinal issues that I experienced with the Church. It has been a very difficult process due to the fact that I was raised with the Church and it has really shaped the way I view myself. I have always been an open minded person and have always had issues with some of the doctrinal practices as well as with some points of the history of the Church.
I know you have helped others "recover" from the beliefs and practices instilled by the Mormon Church. I would like to draw upon a little of that support. I am not sure where to turn or what material would be useful for me to read as I desire to learn more about the church and it's history as I make this transition.
I do have to say, since leaving, I have really placed my faith in God and have been very happy to build a solid relationship with him. I feel this relationship has become stronger since I quit attending the Church. I am now looking into other churches because I do feel a need to continue to build upon my relationship with God.
I am very much interested in seeing the Church from a different prospective and learning more about the things that I was discouraged to learn about as a member. I am hoping you will be able to point me in the right direction to accomplish this.
I appreciate your time and consideration and I hope this email finds you doing well.
[Steve's Note: This is a long and difficult process for many people who decide to leave the LDS Church. We would encourage you to become involved with a Christian church in your area that can extend a welcoming hand, provide an accepting environment for you to heal from these wounds and that will give you the freedom to be able to ask the hard questions concerning your faith.
You might also benefit from reading the book Toxic Faith: Experiencing Healing from Painful Spiritual Abuse, Out of the Cults and Into the Church or Combatting Cult Mind Control. We pray that God will surround you with those who can help you in this process.]
Dec. 11, 2003
Does Mormon Church Display the Cross. In the Christian Book Store ( In my home town) their literature is in the area of the cults is this true. I am not a member of the Mormon Church but have friends that are and I have heard them complain about the display of their literature.
[Steve's Note: The Mormon Church does not display the cross since they feel that the cross is an inappropriate and morbid reminder of the cruelty of the method of death that Jesus Christ suffered.
The Mormon Church is a pseudo-Christian faith since it claims to hold to Christian beliefs yet its true beliefs are not in agreement with Christianity. Mormons use many of the same terms as Christians but with very different meanings. For more information on this, see Terminology Differences, General FAQ: Why don't Mormon churches have crosses on them?
Dec. 13, 2003
Subject: Laman and Lemuel
You helped me over 20 years ago as I was coming out of the LDS Church. Please help me find the following fact that I think I partially remember.
Isn't it true that Joseph Smith was sued for fraud or something like that by two men (brothers?) whose first names were Laman and Lemuel? Is there a source for this?
Thanks very much,
[Steve's Note: Joseph Smith was sued more than once. However, he was not, to the best of my knowledge, sued by anyone with the name Laman or Lemuel. Those two names are characters found in the Book of Mormon. A book that we offer titled Zion in the Courts would be helpful to you.]
Dec. 14, 2003
Subject: Help Us out of the Mormon Church
Me my wife and in laws want to remove our names from the LDS church records.
We want to be certain that they recognize that we asked to have them removed and that we were not excommunicated.
Do you have any suggestions or a sample letter?
Dec. 14, 2003
Dear Jerald & Sandra,
Please find a good use for the check ... We appreciate your work and your ministry a lot. Please keep revealing the truths for all of us.
God bless you and your ministry, and have happy and joyful holidays!
Dec. 14, 2003
Subject: Hey Sandra...
... I have a couple of questions....First, do you have a specific area where you actually defend attacks against the Bible? I've had several questions posed to me recently and can't seem to find any answers. Did God change his ways from the old testament to the new testament? Why does there have to be a sacrifice at all in order to be saved? Why did someone have to die? Some people think the idea of someone having to die for us is ridiculous...I dunno. I still believe though. Hey, do you know of anywhere (sites) that may help to present the gospel more effectively to skeptics?
I also have people ask me sometimes where all the people in Genesis came from...After Adam and Eve were formed, they ran in to another group of people...How is that? Another thing, is the whole idea of Noah's ark really feasible?
One more question. Could you please send me a copy of #77 Messenger please? How else could I receive back issues? Thanks in advance and please keep me on your mailing list as I will keep ya'll in my prayers.
[Steve's Note: There are several web sites that we recommend to those wanting more information concerning the Reliability of the Bible and the defense of Christianity. They are here for you in no particular order.
Dec. 15, 2003
Just a quick note to let you know I have been reading the books and it's amazing how many things that are pointed out as untrue are the same things I had thought the same thing about.
I don't know if anyone else has ever mentioned what I now believe to be psychosomatic illnesses; I've been seeing a psychiatrist for several years and have had terrible back pains. My friend from church asked me to go to the Christmas dinner with her Saturday night ... so I went and my back started hurting terrible and I even had to go to the ladies room because I felt sick at my stomach. When I go to Sacrament Meeting my back would hurt so bad I could barely stand it. Yet, when I went to the Singing Christmas Tree program at the Baptist church with my neighbor Friday night I had no back pains. I had heard an M.D. who is a back specialist talk about the pain being psychosomatic and I believe it. I've had other health problems such as ulcerative colitis back when I was very young and believe it's from the doctrine that we could never be good enough.
Wish you could be on the Coast to Coast A.M. radio program so that more Mormons would learn the truth. I could have heard it from non-Mormons and it would never have made the difference it has hearing it from you. I became defensive when non-Mormons criticized it.
My only question now is whether I should find a church that believes in baptism by immersion as they did in the day of Jesus and be rebaptised.
I love you for teaching so many of us the truth and pray for the health of you and Jerald.
[Steve's Note: We feel that you should find a church that fully believes in and teaches the sufficiency of Jesus' substitutionary death as fully satisfying God's requirements to have eternal life. Our baptism is an outward expression of an inner transformation. It is also a public declaration that we make to tell the world that we have become followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. While we believe that baptism by immersion best illustrates this identification with Christ we must also state that the method of baptism must not get in the way of what it is proclaiming in our lives.
Since the LDS Church does not recognize baptisms from other churches and Christian churches do not recognize LDS baptism as valid (this is because the LDS Church is not truly a Christian church), we would encourage you to be rebaptized. We would say this only if you have first become a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and are relying on his death alone to give you eternal life. Then we would encourage you to follow the Lord's teaching and be baptized in fellowship with a Christian church.]
Dec. 16, 2003
The Tanners, (and staff if any)!!
Thank you so much for all the hard work you have been doing for years. So many people are so grateful for all the long hours u sacrifice to bring truth 2 light. You have my love,
Dec. 16, 2003
What does the LDS church do for christmas. How is it celebrated compared to christian churches ...? Is there any information anywhere on line I can access such information?
[Steve's Note: Mormons celebrate Christmas very much like the mainstream culture in the United States celebrates this holiday. There is the same inclusion of the traditions of Santa Claus, exchanging of gifts, decorations both in public and private places, singing of carols, etc. It is really only in the doctrinal understanding of who Jesus Christ is and why he came that differs from Christian churches.
We have on our web site information concerning the Mormon teaching of Jesus and the virgin birth. These topics are located under the Online Resources: LDS Theology section of our website. I hope this helps.]
Dec. 16, 2003
I live in ... AZ....a very mormon populated town. I am dealing with a teenager who is being pressured by a mormon teacher to become mormon. She was put through what they called a "practice" baptism ceremony tonight...but says they told her she can't be baptized until she is confirmed in the church...which will be on Sunday. However, her baptism is scheduled for Friday night. Was she baptized tonight....or was it truly a practice run and what is their procedure for that? Thanks so much for your ministry.
[Steve's Note: I have never heard of a "practice" baptism ceremony in the LDS Church. If she was in fact immersed in water then she was baptized into the Mormon Church and would now be viewed by them as a member of the Church. The statement that "she can't be baptized until she is confirmed in the church" is not accurate. The Mormon ordinance of confirmation (which is the laying on of hands) follows baptism and would not come before one was baptized. I will give you evidence of this from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism which states:
Dec. 16, 2003
I have been reading recently about the Spaulding Manuscript and the question of whether it influenced the writing of the Book of Mormon. I have been aware of the Spaulding Manuscripts for some time, and had all but dismissed the idea that they had played a significant part in forming the basis for the Book of Mormon.
I checked your site to see what your opinion was regarding this issue, as I have always found your research to be fair and reliable. You too, it seemed to me, didn't think the Spaulding Manuscripts were all that significant.
However, I ran across a book: Forty Years In the Mormon Church... by [RLDS] Bishop R.C. Evans, Toronto Canada 1920 [which stated]
...Mr. Spaulding's brother John:-
Solomon Spaulding's Sister-in-law:-
I am at a loss as to what to make of it all. Do you think there actually was another manuscript which much more closely parallels the Book of Mormon, or could the testimonies of these people somehow have been manufactured or manipulated?
I sincerely look forward to hearing your opinions on this.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, we have a copy of R.C. Evan's book. But his section on Spalding/Spaulding has problems. He is just repeating earlier statements drawn from E. D. Howe's 1835 book, Mormonism Unvailed.
This theory usually rests on a supposed collusion between Sidney Rigdon and Joseph Smith. Rigdon is alleged to have stolen Spaulding's manuscript. But it couldn't have been because he planned to give it to Smith, who would have been only 16 in 1822 (the time usually given to the beginning of this fraud). How did Rigdon, who lived in a different state, come to meet Smith? Why would an educated minister think this teenager would be able to get the book printed and start a church?
These statements by family and friends of Spaulding were given some twenty years after seeing the manuscript and don't match up to Spaulding's known writing style. Smith and Spaulding would have heard many of the same Indian legends, which could explain any similarities. Spaulding's style isn't that of the Book of Mormon.
I don't know of a serious scholar, one who has actually read extensively in LDS sources, who finds this premise convincing. See such books as:
Dec. 16, 2003
Subject: mistrusting all
I have a question about 'knowing' what is true. You have presented detailed reasons of why the Book of Mormon can not be taken as truth...but using the same study and logic I find that the Bible is also only the work of man, a lovely piece of manuscript with no true connection to God.
It makes one think that all religion is a scam. Please give me references to be able to uphold the Bible as 'from the Lord'.
[Steve's Note: There are several good books available for you to see that the Bible is not only a reliable book but also that it bears the mark of God. The best of these are A Ready Defense, The Stones Cry Out and When Skeptics Ask. I hope this helps.]
Dec. 17, 2003
Subject: Missionaries and Depression
First of all, Mr. and Mrs. Tanner, I would like to commend you on the research that you do. It is deeply disturbing to me that the Church that is "true" would have such a need to veil and revise their history and doctrines.
As a former missionary, I understand the reactions of people who e-mail you and blast you for your "lies". I recall once speaking with an amazing Christian man at the beginning of my mission in the London area who raised some questions for me that had always lurked in the back of my mind, but had always been pushed back. He did so in a loving manner, encouraging my companion and myself to truly seek the true Jesus in the Bible. I remember just feeling this pit in my stomach, as though my intestines had been ripped out; but there was no pain, just an empty feeling.
Later on during my mission, when I encountered people who had studied the LDS church from a complete perspective, often relying upon your research, I'd feel that same pit in my gut. I realized then but didn't admit it, that I knew that their points were valid. The pit in my stomach came from intellectual and spiritually realing that what they were saying was true, and the emotional impact the realization of the depth of my deception by the Church. I always wanted to reach out and throttle the person's neck and scream, "Liar!!!! Stop telling lies! Stop reading those lies!" (fortunately, I never did.) The strength of emotion when facing one's own deception is literally overpowering, and I believe explains the many angry responses from LDS people you and websites with similar content and intent receive. But, as one who has overcome that emotional reaction, I want to let you know that you are reaching people!
As I mentioned above, I did serve a mission several years ago. While I was serving, I was overcome by depression, which plagued my throughout my mission and to this day. I am receiving medical and psychological treatment for it, and have made tremendous (by my own judgment) strides. My family has a history of depression, but I firmly believe that the mental dishonesty and repression of individuality of mission culture contributed to my depression.
In the three years I've been home, I've spoken with and heard of missionaries who suffered silently on their missions as I did, and those who came home early when the suffering became too great. As the mission experience is still relatively fresh in my memory, I'm trying to do some research on the issue, as I feel it is inadequately handled by the Church, and indeed, is compounded by many of its missionary policies. As I'm sure you're well aware, the Church will not share any data with the public that reflects the reality behind the rose-tint. I hope to get an estimate of how many missionaries per month, (or some comparable stat.) return home from missions early due to depression. Would you happen to know how such data could be obtained? Do you have any suggestions for my study? I'd appreciate any advice you can offer.
[Steve's Note: Unfortunately, this information is not made available since the LDS Church does not release this type of statistical data.
As far as I am aware any information that can be gathered will be only incidental and not give a comprehensive or scientifically complete picture of the situation. The one book that I can recommend to you that touches on Utah and Statistical data that we offer for sale is Utah in the 1990's: A Demographic Perspective.]
Dec. 17, 2003
I am sorry to read your interpretation of celestial marriage. It is indeed a higher law that you and many others do not have, at this time, the capacity to understand and accept. I testify that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday saints is true, and that Celestial Marriage is indeed a true principle of the Eternal Gospel of Jesus Christ.
We read in the Bible, old Testament of this practice happening. Look at the 12 tribes of Israel and their 4 different mothers. Jacob the prophet of old, who later became Israel exercised this HIGHER law and was blessed. And I am greatful, for I am a descendant of Ephraim the son of Joseph who is the son of Israel/Jacob.
This law was for those worthy to live by the law. It is a spiritual law and as human, we tend to look at the carnality of things. If God says we do it then we need to be obedient to those commandments. We dont know all things but God does, and we need to exercise faith in him and in his eternal principles.
You are a spirit child of our Heavenly Father and you have a Heavenly mother who loves you and wants to be reunited with you again, You need to have faith in the Gospel and live it to make your election sure in the eternities. May you continue in your seek for truth, and follow through with the promptings of the spirit.
Dec. 18, 2003
Subject: Mormonism is recking my family.
First I want to thank you time and your website. ... I have been married to a member of the L.D.S. church going on our 22nd. year. Her folks made me join the church for I could not marry if I didn't, so I did but could not accept its teachings. So I quit going and let my wife bring up our son and daughter in it. .... They along with my wife are very good people. I truly feel blessed from God that he has given me two such fine individuals.
I have done everything in my power to let my children know how much I love them and what they mean to me. My wife taught religon and I taught good work ethics. My wife has done a great job in doing what she knows is right also.
My problem is that just recently, my son has complained about how tired he is. I thought about it and it struck me how much the church demands of their young. First, they get up early and go to seminary monday - friday, then on wednsday night they go for an hour and then on sunday 3 hours or plus, meetings afterward etc. [Our kids] work after school and do homework till late at night. I thought that one problem is that the church demands too much of their time, so I decided to do some research on it.
After spending hours on the web with many sites and buying books on mormonisn and comparing it to the teachings of the Bible I honestly feel that mormonism is a cult just like one of books is titled. With prayer I have tried to show these phalse teachings to my family Ex. Adam-God doctrine, poligamy, Virgin birth and others and they can't see where the falseness is. I've told them if Brigham Young was a true Phrophet of God do really think he could teach such a thing. Also when the phrophet said now the blacks could hold the preisthood in 1978. It amazes me how so many people don't realize that God is not like man and is the only perfect being. Wow after all these years now we accept blacks.
I know that unless things change that this cult is going to wreck our family and would do anything to show them the truth. I have told them that the Bible spells out salvation in it alone and there isn't anywhere in it that says to go to heaven you must believe in Joseph Smith, poligamy or such, I point out that the bible does not even have his name in it, not once. They have their reasons for such and I can tell that there is doubt, but even my wife told me that if I could prove that Brigham Young did teach Adam- God doctrine that it would not change her belief.
I told them about you and your wife and printed off your story for them. With your and the Bensons up bringing and to leave your church, I'm sure it was not an easy thing to do. I know the only reason you did was for your own salvation. I am just torn apart inside and would bring my family down to salt lake to hear your story in person and also go to the church library to look up answers. ...
[Sandra's Note: Sadly, we sometimes have to stand by while loved ones make bad choices. Keep praying that God will bring some event or person into their lives that will wake them up and cause them to reevaluate their beliefs. God is there to take you through this, even though I am sure there is much pain and sadness. You might want to visit the discussion board atwww.irr.org/mit
Also, you could consider ordering the book Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith from the LDS Book store, Deseret Book, 801-328-8191. This is written by two LDS women historians so your family can't accuse you of reading an 'anti' Mormon book. Maybe you could get your wife to read it with you and discuss the issues. It would be a start. It deals with some of the historical problem areas in the beginning of Mormonism. Praying God's best for you in the coming year.]
Dec. 18, 2003
Subject: Something Interesting
I am an old fan of yours and I appreciate you both.
I have known for many years about the great religious revivals (in 1824) associated with JSJ's first vision (in 1820). Just recently, though, I was reading a Christian book which mentioned the revivals in upstate New York in 1824 and named the main preacher behind that great movement -- Charles Finney. I am happy finally to connect these two biographical bits. Charles Finney is truly one of the great men in United States Christian history -- and what a contrast between him and JSJ.
P.S. You web site is super and extremely easy to use.
[Sandra's Note: Smith's vision sounds similar to Finney's experience. See our book Mormonism: Shadow or Reality?, pp. 64-65, 150, 196. Also, there is some mention of Charles Finney in Mormonism and the Nature of God, Joseph Smiths Response to Skepticism, The Word of God and New Approaches to the Book of Mormon.]
Dec. 18, 2003
Subject: Dutton Family
I am curious about the Dutton Family of musicians out of Branson, MO. We have seen them on PBS a couple of times. Do you know if they are Mormons?
Their latest special on PBS tonight had credits including Utah Film (I think that was the name of the company). They seem to be very much like the Osmonds (only with more talent!)
[Steve's Note: Yes, the Dutton family is Mormon. I was able to find this information about them and other famous Mormons at http://morgannews.us/ent.html. Hope this helps.]
Dec. 18, 2003
I just viewed a tape of an old show you did with John Ankerberg on your research. I was married to a man who 17 years ago became a Mormon. I was born into the Lutheran (Missouri Synod) and have been through school, catechism, Sunday School Teacher, etc., and have never sought any other choice. He was never raised in any kind of formal religion. His mother was an experimenter in everything from dancing spirits to eventually Mormonism. She was very proud of the fact that she was a Daughter of Utah I think she called it -- one of the original pioneers.
Anyway, my husband took up an email correspondence with an old high school sweetheart (he is 60) and they reunited at a high school reunion in August. When he came back, I knew something was wrong as he was distant and cold to me. Come to find out, a number of his old high school buddies were Mormons and had wives and children who were Mormons. The old girlfriend asked if he was and if so, if it was good enough for him it is good enough for her and where does she sign up. Well, to make a long, sad story short, he filed for divorce from me because I refused to convert and couldn't understand why I couldn't. They are now living together waiting for our divorce to be final.
I don't know what to do as this has destroyed my life. He has taken up with this woman (committing adultery -- but never slept together); has lied to me constantly, to his children and others in his family, to his Mormon brothers, Bishops, and I would think even God. This is a man who had become a better person because of this religion. I don't know who he is anymore. In fact I have often thought that my husband was abducted and this is a clone who came in to replace him.
... I have been praying to God for answers. ... After listening to your discussion, I realize that God did not want me opened to this. ... I am at such a loss about this entire situation. There really is no one who I could talk to on this as my pastor is so totally against this religion and the friends we had in the Mormon religion are against other religions and can't understand why I didn't join. You are the first that I feel might understand this. ... When he left, he took all the money and left me in our business which has floundered over the last couple of months because I just haven't had the will to do anything.
I am thankful that I found this discussion you and Mr. Cowan had. A friend got me on to this. I have so many questions and no one to help with the answers until hopefully now.
Dec. 19, 2003
Subject: Refuting Echoes and Evidences??
I am about to embark on a lengthy discussion against the book "Echoes & Evidences" with a member of a local Bishopric. He has chosen it as his last defense against my assault on his now-crumbling world of Mormonism.
I have quite a few references (Shadow or Reality, Fawn Brodie's History, etc.), but didn't know if anyone had specifically undertaked a refutation, point-by-point, of the book Echoes and Evidences.
[Steve's Note: There is no work that I am aware of that responds directly to the book Echoes and Evidences. However, there are several good resources available to show some of the problems with the Book of Mormon. The first that I would recommend that you can access immediately is The Book of Mormon in the Light of Science by Thomas Key [off-site link]. This is a PDF file that you can download for free.
You might also like to know of several books that we offer that provide more information on the topic of the problems with the Book of Mormon. They are listed here in no particular order
I hope that this helps.]
Dec. 19, 2003
I am a 40 year old mother of 3 who comes from a very strict Mormon family (parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.). I am the "black sheep" that never bought into the Mormon religion. I jokingly call them all "morons", and they barely put up with me.
I am such a loving, giving, sharing soul that is in the world to make it a better place for everyone, but to them I am to be prayed for and pitied. It's hard to face that on a regular basis. I was surfing the web and found your site.
Thank you for being here. You have made me feel better about myself and what I believe. It's very hard to raise kids with Grandparents that have such strict and conditional values. ... I am going to have to have a serious conversation with my parents about not giving them any more CTR rings or teaching them about the Mormon religion.
This site has bolstered my courage. I often ignore the subtle mormonizing that they do with the kids, and I have to stop it for the sake of my sanity. I don't want them out of my life. But how do I tell them to stop indocternizing my kids. They feel sorry for me not being Mormon. And I feel sorry that they are so brainwashed by this religion. ... Thanks again for having a site like this,
[Steve's Note: You must let them see first of all that your problem is with the teachings of the LDS Church and not with them personally as individuals. It is critical that they see that we are not attacking them but the beliefs that the Church holds forth. For more information please see our web page Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints for more ideas on how to share your faith in a way that is God honoring.
As for the subtle things they are doing that you don't approve of, you can also remind them that their own 11th Article of Faith states "We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may." Consequently, they are obliged by their own faith to allow you as the parent of your children to determine the religious influences that they receive.]
Dec. 20, 2003
Subject: BYU and Adversion Therapy
Arising from the recent Mass. State Supreme court ruling on gay marriage debate I received information stating that BYU has participated in Aversion and Reparative Therapy where by electrical shock and vomit therapy was used on Gay BYU students in an effort to change their sexual orientation. Mainstream mental health organizations have issued statements against this therapy.
Can you provide me with any information to verify this actually happened. I called my local LDS social services and they advised me they promote the reparative therapy that mainstream mental health has come out with their statement because they are liberals influenced by the gay lobby. That LDS social services has never used the Shock or Vomit aspects of the therapy. The Affirmation URL has several articles that seem to contradict the LDS SS claim. I would appreciate any information you might provide.
[Steve's Note: Yes, there is information concerning aversion therapy being used at BYU in the book, Peculiar People: Mormons and Same-Sex Orientation. I hope this helps.]
Dec. 20, 2003
Subject: A Question of Degree
I am not often in agreement with the Tanners, but I recognize your right to express your views. It troubles me to see some of the venom cast your way, often by people so insecure in their beliefs that they feel the need to write DIRECTLY that they think you stink OR write long letters that can be distilled into that statement.
If the LDS Church would deal honestly with most of the issues you raise, the issues would go away. You would have to retire. Not much chance of that happening as long as ignoring and denial of any unpleasant issues works for the LDS leaders!
Despite what you think makes them non-Christian, I do not see them as being outside that definition as I do not accept your published premises. The branding of groups as "cults" is just silly if one reads what that term meant pre-Walter Martin. That is NOT the problem. Their problem is one of duplicity. Other religions deal with "controversy"; the LDS push it under the carpet.
You DO call them to task on MANY items they just do NOT want to deal with. Unfortunately, this attitude of censorship can have negative effects on some of their members.
That was the reason I left the LDS Church, not because they are outside the accepted "Christian fold", but because of their cool arrogance toward any members of the fold who dare to ask "But, WHY??"
Too much focus on OBEDIENCE, not enough focus on the SPIRIT.
Dec. 21, 2003
Subject: Baptism of the Dead and Personal Benefit to a Mormon
I have read about the Mormon belief in baptism of the dead. However, members seem to be so driven by personally participating in gathering names of the dead for baptism that they must benefit personally somehow. How?
My daughter is Mormon (much to my chagrin) but I can't get a straight answer.
[Steve's Note: There are several reasons why Mormons are so zealous in their efforts to baptize for the dead.
First, they truly believe they are effecting a great work on behalf of others who are now unable to help themselves. They believe that temple works are required for eternal progression but those who did not have the chance to have those works done when they were alive can not progress unless someone else completes the necessary ordinances for them. They feel that they are fulfilling this required work.
Second, there is an element of self-importance here with all of this temple work. Some Mormons feel that they are earning a greater glory for themselves if they are actively involved in temple works. John Taylor, the 3rd President of the LDS Church said:
Dec. 22, 2003
God bless you & your work. I’m Catholica fellow Christian, & read "MormonismShadow or Reality" 9 years ago. It took me 6 mo's to read; but I read it carefully, to retain as much info as possiblenot as reading entertainment. Here's a Christmas donation ...to your ministry. Again God bless the Tanners, staff, and all your families.
Dec. 22, 2003
Your ministry blesses my heart! I'm so thankful for true believers in a place like Utah to spread the true Jesus! I go to a Baptist church in Alabama and I love sharing the good news. I'm about the same age as the missionaries the LDS church sends out and my heart just goes out to them so much. May God bless your love for these people! ...
Because of Him,
Dec. 23, 2003
I know of some people that got hoodwinked into the Mormons. How can I help them see the light? They are deceived. Thanks.
[Steve's Note: We can help them to see the differences between Mormonism and Christianity by earning the right through our lives and our genuine friendship. Once they realize that we are truly their friends we can share what Christianity has always proclaimed.
For some other ideas on how to share your faith with Mormons please seeSharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints. I hope this helps.]
Dec. 23, 2003
Subject: Gods love for the lost
Hi I hope you are doing well and Merry Christmas to you. I am still a Latter day saint because I believe God wants me here. I love the people and they love me and I my prayer life is praying always where ever I am and I pray for Gods perfect will and truth to everyone and especially the leaders of the lds church that He will rein and anything that is not of Him that He would gently show them and draw them to His perfection so that their is no deception the only enemy we have is Satan and the demons. They want to confuse us and deceive us.
So I am glad to serve where I can and Trust God to Show His love and truth to us all and especially the lds church. So that their desires are perfect as God is perfect. If you would like please pray for me. God Bless and Have a Blessed Christmas and New Year!!
In Jesus Love,
Dec. 23, 2003
I watched a City Confidential about "The Salamander Letters" and Mark Hoffman and heard about you. I don't do a lot of research on the Mormon Church per se, but am a Christian myself and find their history of, shall we say, "deception" interesting. I also live in a heavy Mormon area ... and often find the Mormon religion here "oppressive". And it's no secret of course that polygamy is still practiced in AZ and Utah. ... I'm sure that young girls are being abused every day because of their existence.
Thanks for your work in Christ! ...
Dec. 24, 2003
Subject: Joseph Smith joining the Methodist church
Having your name put on the "class roll" and "joining the church" are two related but different things.
If you attend a meeting, your name goes on the roll. If you are accepted by some sacrament or ordinance, you've joined the church. I bet if you kept looking you'd find Joseph's name on a number of "rolls" as he was searching for more light and truth. But I don't see you finding his name on the list of official members and practicing members.
[Sandra's Note: See The Mormon Prophet Attempts to Join the Methodists. By joining the class Smith was initiating membership in the Methodist Church. It was not simply a matter of attending a meeting. Why would he be seeking membership there in 1828 if God had told him years earlier that he should not join any church?]
Dec. 24, 2003
Thank you so much for all that you do. The blessing that you brought me has brought light were there was darkness. Below I share a little about my background and hope that you have some additional light.
I found you site about six months ago, in particular your online version of "The Changing World of Mormonism." I would read a couple of chapters and felt guilty for reading something "anti" but at the same time found the research, and scholarship to be profound and refreshingly true. I started looking with honest curiosity, that became an internal crisis of faith.
I then looked for clarity and personal redemption by looking at the apologist's explanations. Without exception, their explanations disregarded the obvious, were long winded, biased, made illogical conclusions, or simply made the "faith or feelings" can trump anything else. Being so faithful all of my life how could have any doubt. In church it is taught that it is more virtuous to not have any doubts. How could I discuss this with my wife.
Next I went to a family friend, also a member of the stake presidency. I told him that I stumbled across material related to the Book of Abraham and Lamanite DNA. He gave no explanation to either, he just counseled me to have an eternal perspective, to avoid the temptation of "intellectual pursuits" and gave me a blessing. Behind the scenes he told the bishop.
Latter the bishop met with me, he related that his wife's brother-in-law in the mid 90's got caught up with Sunstone and the like, and nearly was excommunicated, lost his wife and place of employment. I received counsel to return to the basics, i.e. work harder in my calling, pray, and read the scriptures. He conceded that he as well as other church leaders have made mistakes but that the church in true in spite of its leaders.
During this process I tried to have faith in the church; but once I started to look critically at it, it came easily down like a stack of cards. Now I want to get out of the cult. My wife thinks this is a phase. I love her and my two young boys; they are my biggest priority.
I am the scout master and young men's second counselor. My wife has agreed that our family has suffered for too long under the burdens of these responsibilities and that I need to be released. I grew up with out a father and depended on some of my youth leaders. After finding out about the truth I wondered why they had not figured it out and told me earlier. I want to help my young men but if I say anything I probably get ex'ed. ...
For me the only part of mormonism is true is that J.S. was not satisfied with his church and prayed and sought an answer from God. We all need to find God's will in our lifes'. This ... does not come from a priesthood assignment but rather our personal search of God and his Son. ...
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. As far as your activity in the LDS Church, could you resign from being a counselor due to family/time issues, but stay on temporarily as Scout master? Tell them you can't do both. Then ease out of that? Not sure how all that is handled. We just up and quit so don't know the best way to back out without waves. There is an online support group for those leaving Mormonism at www.irr.org/mit.]
Dec. 25, 2003
Hello Gerald and Sandra,
Thank-you for the resources that you have made available. I recently discovered the online book entitled, The Changing World of Mormonism.
I am in the middle of preparing to dialogue with some local LDS missionaries that have come to my door. I would like to bring up some of the quotes that I have found in the previously mentioned online book, but do not want them to balk if they see me referencing a book that they perceive to be anti-LDS. ...
Thank-You so much for your time,
[Sandra's Note: Most of the original sources we quote can be seen at the Univ. of UtahMarriott Library or at the Utah State Historical Society Library here in Salt Lake, and most other university libraries in the state. You can always challenge them to check it out for themselves when they are in Utah.
Also, the LDS Church puts out a CD-ROM called GospeLink 2001 (order at http://deseretbook.com/store/product?product_id=100010644). This contains the entire 26 vol. of the Journal of Discourses, the History of the Church, plus dozens of other LDS books.]
Dec. 25, 2003
Please give me some specific Biblical scriptures to refute the mormon fable that at one point in recent history God removed His gospel from the earth and that the lds church is His "restored" gospel. There are several references I've found in OT & NT that say "I will never leave you". Can you cite others for me?
(ps- I left the mormon church -permanently - about ten years ago. What especially effected me was that the Bible clearly states - over and over - that there is only one God. Also a big issue of controversy for me was 'the fall'. Adam and Eve trying to be as God was the original sin and that's what mormons try to emulate! This to me is blasphemous. Truly, when I started to figure these things out was when I began to study my Bible in earnest. My heart aches for those following these ideas like lemmings. Many of my relatives and friends are mormons. It's taken me years to overcome the animosity caused by the realization of these lies that a few clever, power hungry, narcissistic individuals dreamed up over the years. I pray often for forgiveness of the anger this subject stirs up in me. This kind of deceit could well be broken if we could only bring more people to STUDY the Bible. Thanks for your patience, I was a little longer winded than intended.)
In Gods' love
[Sandra's Note: You will find some help in Marv Cowan's book, Mormon Claims Answered: Chapt. 7Universal Apostacy.]
Dec. 25, 2003
Subject: 2nd marriage
First of all I wish you Merry Christmas!
I wonder what's the official opinion of the Mormon Church about second marriage. I'm not sure about it. I've heard that mormons may marriage only once in their life and have to be enter the marriage virgin. What happens when a lady who has been already married and have 2 kids from her former marriage became and immersioned mormon this summer and wanna marry a former mormon missionaire. Is this allowed or not?
Thank you for your answer in advance!
[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church encourages its young people to enter marriage as virgins but makes allowances for those who are not, if they have repented. It allows for divorce and remarriage. The problem that arises on remarriage is if the woman's first marriage was a temple sealing. A woman can have only one temple marriage sealing on the books. A man can have multiple temple sealings. For one woman's experience, see this letter from our Letters to the Editor, Dec. 4. 2000:
Dec. 26, 2003
Subject: Question about the Tanners
Greetings, and happy holidays to you.
I read recently that the Tanners have retired. Is this true? Please confirm. I cannot find anything substantiating this on the Internet.
[Sandra's Note: Jerald has retired due to health problems. I am still carrying on the work.
Here is an article about us:
Dec. 26, 2003
Subject: new subscriber
...My wife is a Mormon and I am finding out more than I can stand about the faith. My fault for being "in the Not know." I am Lutheran. I have 2 kids that I am concerned about, ... I have spoken the her Bishop, and set up a 6 week informative session. I kind of know what the outcome will be, but still will be in a dilemma as to what my next step will be. Thanks
[Sandra's Note: You might want to get the book Understanding My Mormon Friends Faith and Mine from this web site:
It is a kind way of explaining the differences to children. Also, their book Witness to Mormons has a good side by side comparison of beliefs.]
Dec. 26, 2003
Good Morning, friends:
This is my personal experience and opinion.
That the absolutely bizarre temple ceremony and clothing is so embarrassing that this may be one reason why shocked and appalled LDS don't question it.
I was so astonished at the nonsense of it, but embarrassed to tell any non-LDS or even LDS how ridiculous it was, much less to describe it in detail. Only reading about it online have I come to terms with my horror of having submitted to it, been part of it.
I look forward to the day I see online, in print or on a screen a photograph of real life men and women dressed in temple garments. The fact that I've not seen this (or have I just missed them?) makes me wonder if the embarrassment factor is weighing on many ex-LDS to this day. Why do we only see rather badly-drawn diagrams?
I hope you'll go into this a bit more. We need to fling open curtains and shutters, let in the light. While the temple mystique lives on, you'll not be totally honest about your efforts to debunk Mormonism.
Can it be that there is some atom of fear left?
Thanks for hearing me out.
The revisions of the temple ceremony are detailed in our book, Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.]
Dec. 27, 2003
I came across your website quite by accident , my biggest concern is that you are persecuting mormons and its not fair, if you feel The Church is wrong then that's your view and it must be repected and I think it would be christian and respectful not to waste time bringing down otehrs beliefs but to study and proclaim your own religious belief without trying to harm other peoples.
You remind me of those protestors outside teh Temple at conference and its obviouse they are not christian , I live in The UK its its virtualy unheard of for people to set up such organiztions to hurt others religions maybe its just Americans i dont know, I am LDS and we had an interfaith carol service with catholics, baptists . methodists and others at our LDs chapel it was lovely why is it in America everyone has to be right.
Dec. 27, 2003
Subject: Star of David evidence of Mormonism?
I have a Mormon friend who was an LDS "missionary" in Honduras. She claims she saw a Star of David in Honduras that she says proves the people who once lived there were Jews, and that to her proves Mormonism to be true. I found the following site while trying to find out more about this: Voices of our Ancestors: Tkal, Guatemala and Copan, Honduras and this site certainly seems to be very pagan in nature, not Christian! This site that I found: BOOK OF MORMON LANDS REVEALED with Daniel Rona is saying what my friend said, that the ancient people in Honduras were Jewish. But I can't figure out how to prove this wrong. I looked for information on it on your site but found none. How can I prove that the people of Honduras in ancient times were most likely idol worshippers who used human sacrifice? And what can I tell my Mormon friend about this Star of David thing in Honduras?
[Sandra's Note: First, one would need to establish that the Star of David motif was used by Israel prior to 600 B.C., when Book of Mormon prophet Lehi reportedly left Jerusalem. I don't believe this can be demonstrated.
Second, one would need to establish that any use of that motif in the Americas carried the same type of religious meaning as is currently assigned to its connection to Israel. Or is it simply a geometric design that could have occurred independently? As for the religious beliefs of the Mayans, read The Maya, by the noted scholar Michael D. Coe. He sees no evidence in the Americas for the type of people, religion, or life style depicted in the Book of Mormon. See his article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol.8, no.2, 1973, pp.40-48.]
Dec. 28, 2003
Does the Mormon Church give a public accountancy for how tithing and other financial donations are used? If so, how does one obtain it?
[Sandra's Note: No, the LDS Church does not give out any financial statement. Some of their business transactions get reported in the newspaper but they do not report the extent of their donations or what they do with them. The best overview of their financial status is in the book Mormon America, written by Richard and Joan Ostling.]
Dec. 28, 2003
Hi Jerald or Sandra: (see above taken from your FAQ section of your website)
Is this stretching the actual doctrine they believe in? The B of M talks about one god but so does the present day congregation. The present day church worships the God of Earth. They believe other Gods exist over other similar "earths" that have nothing to do with this earth or solar system. Isn't the doctrine that Mormons can become Gods themselves separate from the doctrine that those on this earth believe, worship and pray to one god not to plural Gods?
_____, a questioning RM temple married truth seeker.
[Sandra's Note: The doctrine of God (eternal, unchanging, spirit, etc.) as presented in the Book of Mormon is very different from Joseph Smith's doctrine in his King Follett Sermon (God was once a mortal, progressed to godhood, man has same capacity, etc.). See our pagesLDS View of God Contradicts the Bible and Contradictions in LDS Scriptures.
Also, you might enjoy reading Mormonism and the Nature of God; a study of the development of LDS theology.
One cannot divorce the LDS concept of God from their concept of man. The LDS teaching that God was once a mortal who achieved godhood (and is just one of countless gods) is part of the whole concept that men and gods are the same species, but at different levels of progression. This doctrine is at the heart of Christianity's rejection of Mormonism.]
Dec. 29, 2003
Subject: Reflections on The William Law interview - Tribune 1887
I have read the W Law interview (Tribune) and got the impression William is a sincere and trustworthy character. Can you confirm that based on your research ? Do you have historical biographical notes on prominent critics of the LDS ?
It appears from your research, that J. Smith was deliberately forging his Mormon dream right from the beginning. In examining his character and motives it appears, that apart form spiritual gain (self-realisation) he won plenty of secular gain, such as fame, power, riches and pleasure. In a nutshell he has been corrupt from the beginning to the end of his public mission. He did not appear to act in good faith, rather it looks as if he deliberately mixed charisma with deception and hence was never innocent.
The above article however to my surprise also shows Emma in a bad light (owns many properties / an accomplice to J.S.). Can that be confirmed ? So far I have thought of Emma solely as a victim.
Would the book "Enigmatic Emma", which I have not read, reveal deficiencies in the character of Emma or does it depict Emma as a sole victim?
It's now more than 8 years ago, since my family and I became lapsed Mormons and reverted to evangelical Christianity. I have learned it's hard to convert long standing Mormons (my relatives remain staunch Mormons) and it should be much easier to prevent Christians from becoming Mormons, but so far it appears we are collectively loosing the war and this in the information age.
What puzzles me is that even today the LDS church is still growing, albeit with a decelerating growth rate (3%). The arrival of the internet has not worked havok on the Mormon dream as I have supposed it would. Even the US is still growing (2%). ...
It was interesting to read in the Messenger, that in Bremen 30 people left the church. [Web-editor: See #101 Messenger: Bremen, Germany: An Example of Apostasy] My brother in law is from Bremen. In my home town Stuttgart the former LDS-Bishop and his family left and became evangelical. Also two more of our closest family friends switched to the evangelial camp, independently from our transition in Australia.
[Sandra's Note: I think William Law was more honest than most of the early leaders. Not sure how to view Emmavictim, accomplice, some of both? The book Mormon Enigma is very well researched, pictures Emma as mainly a victim.]
Dec. 29, 2003
Dear Bro. and Sister Tanner.
I Have read much of your material in Mormonism for years and really appreciate the education I have received from your ministry. ... I'm a Pastor of a small Baptist church ...
While I'm writing to you how do you answer a mormon girl that is visiting her aunt, a member of our church. When I presented some of their unscriptural doctrine to her she answer to most of the material as a lie and with " That's not true I've never been taught that" or " I never heard those things you are telling me". Thank you so much for all that research you have done about Mormon doctrine.
[Sandra's Note: I am sure the girl was being honest with you. Most Mormons don't learn REAL doctrine until they go on a mission or go through the temple. You can order three official LDS books from our site that detail some of their strange doctrines. These would be handy to show a person that the Mormons do indeed teach very different doctrines from standard Christianity.
Also, we sell a packet of photos from LDS books documenting some of their strange teachings. See: Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies.]
Dec. 29, 2003
The sacred undergarment thing kind of fascinates me. This may seem like a silly question, but I can't seem to find a solid answer anywhere--what exactly does it look like, and what are the circumstances (if any) under which it can be taken off?
[Sandra's Note: You can find pictures at: http://www.mormonismi.net/english.html
Mormons can remove the garment for bathing and sports. My grandmother’s generation was told to never completely remove the garment. A person was to hang the dirty garment on one arm (dangling over the side of the tub) as he/she was bathing. Then, after getting out of the bath, put on the clean garment before removing the dirty one. My father insisted that my mother could not remove the garment on their wedding night (this would have been in the 1930’s). I suspect some Mormons no longer insist on this.]
Dec. 30, 2003
Subject: Knights Templar/Rosicrusians/Masonary/Mormons
First, I wish to respectfully represent to you my profound admiration for your relative [LDS] President N. Eldon Tanner. He is a great man and will be a great God.
Your research regarding the Mysterious of Mormonism and Masonary further strengthen my deep and profound belief of the truth of Mormonism/Knights Templar/Rosicrucians/Masonary. I hope that President Young and The Prophet belonged to the Order of the Templars. This is the true Order of the Son of God and not as the Protestant world shallow beliefs would betray. Jesus is truly the Christ and the Templar legends are true. The error exists in the arrogance of the protestant world.
I hope you will follow your ancestors example President N. Eldon Tanner and not the example of King Philip of France or Pope Clement on Friday the 13th.
Dec. 30, 2003
Subject: removal from records
About ten years ago, when I was born again, I sent a letter - to the LDS church records, the general authorities, and the bishopric of the local ward - requesting my records be removed from the LDS church. Is there any way to check that they were indeed removed, and without the term 'excommunicate' being used in the removal?
(I received the info I requested from you in the mail - thanks much)
[Sandra's Note: You can call directly to the LDS membership dept and ask them. Phone (801) 240-3500.]
Dec. 30, 2003
Subject: mormons becoming gods
I am Lutheran and have always found Mormonism a little strange so I have decided to research their beliefs and relationship with their god for an upcoming school project. I was wondering if the Mormons of today still believe that they can become god-like and rule their own planets. It seems like many of the old beliefs of Mormonism like multiple marriages seemed to have deteriorated, and I was wondering if the goal of becoming a god was still a common thread in Mormon beliefs. Any insight that you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, but this is a doctrine you come to understand as you progress through Mormon classes and temple ordinances. Young people and half-active/inattentive Mormons probably haven't put it together. In 2001 the LDS Church printed the manual Teachings of Presidents of the Church: John Taylor. In it we read:
See also their manual Gospel Principles, ch. 47.]
Dec. 30, 2003
I am an evangelical Christian and wondering about resources for reaching out to Mormon acquaintances and also what to say to Mormon missionaries (kids) who come to my door. It seems from the resources that I'm reading that many long discussions (and of course, the Spirit's prodding) are necessary. I don't want to blow them off but what can I say that might help them see the truth or tweak their interest if, in fact, they are open. I am still looking through the resource lists. The entries are geared to debunking the Mormon theology, which is fascinating. I live in Alberta where there are many, many Mormons and I work with several as well. Can you direct me to .. or post.. some resources/web links. Many thanks for your web site. Speaking the truth in love is not easy.
Also, just what is the attraction for women to stay in the Mormon religion - it seems they have no status other than as baby makers. Their salvation comes through men. What an incentive to keep their man on the straight and narrow. The church has an in-house spy with the spy's salvation at stake. Wow! Also, there appears to be no room for single or divorced women. It certainly accounts for the barefoot and pregnant mentality I"ve noticed in Mormon "culture".
God bless you and protect you,
[Sandra's Note: See Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints.
I guess I would just stick with asking the missionaries to define 'eternal life' (their 'exaltation') according to the Mormons and would/could you, without EVER becoming a Mormon (even in the millennium), have the same eternal life they are aiming for? Do they know for sure that they HAVE eternal life, or must they wait until they stand before God to know if they have 'exaltation'? Where in the New Testament does it teach that one must participate in a temple endowment in order to attain eternal life? If Billy Graham never accepts Mormonism, even during the millennium, will his faith in Christ be enough to get him the same exaltation a faithful Mormon will get?
If the Mormon claims non-Mormons can attain eternal life (exaltation/celestial kingdom) he/she either is uninformed (misusing the term 'eternal life' when he really means 'salvation'), or assumes the person will join Mormonism during the millennium. In the official LDS manual Gospel Principles, p.297 of 1995 ed., we read:
Thus, according to LDS doctrine, a Christian who never becomes a Mormon cannot enjoy the same 'eternal life' given to the faithful LDS couple.
Mormon women have found security and friendship in Mormonism. They tend to gloss over the fine points of LDS doctrine (eternal pregnancy) and just focus on the promise of having their current children with them for eternity.]
Dec. 30, 2003
It is too bad that those who leave the Church cannot leave the Church alone.
Get a real life.
Dec. 30, 2003
Hello Sandra & Jerald,
Once Again this year I’m pleased to send along a small contribution. This is not only for the fine work you do among the LDS, but for your faithful witness to a "nominal" Christian church group in Provo back in 1976. That visit helped me see God's Word in a new way and eventually led to my becoming a believer (even tho spending 2 years at BYU)!
God bless you all in your faithfulness to Him.