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June 2003
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

June 1, 2003

Subject: Israel

What do the Mormons believe about Israel as a nation, or about individual Hebrews? How do they deal with the prophesies about Israel?

Thank you.

[Sandra's Note: Mormons (at least those of European descent) usually consider themselves to be literal descendents of Israel, typically through Ephraim (see our web site under Patriarchal Blessings). They also believe Native Americans to be descended from the tribes of Israel (see title page and Introduction page of Book of Mormon). They believe there will be a gathering of Israel prior to the return of Christ, with some of Israel [Judah] gathered to Jerusalem, but Ephraim [Mormons] and descendents of Manassah [American Indians] will be gathered to "New Jerusalem" in Independence, Mo. (see Doctrine and Covenants, sec. 84:2-4). There is more material on the LDS view of Israelite descent in the book All Abraham's Children: Changing Mormon Conceptions of Race and Lineage, by A. Mauss.]

June 1, 2003

You must lead a very sad existence if you need donations to support your cause of defaming the LDS church and its beliefs. Your time would be better spent if you really did some self examination. Sad, sad, sad.

June 1, 2003

Subject: Greetings!!

...You guys are awesome!! I have to admire your courage in operating your Ministry at ground-zero of the Mormon church in light of some of the things that have happened to those who opposed the LDS church in the past.

The LDS church is getting a foothold here in our area...and many in the...area (... Wisconsin) think that the LDS organization is Christian.

My Pastor has given me the "thumbs up" to begin a Christian awareness/Apologetics Ministry in our Church, and network with other Christian churches in our area. So I really appreciate your web site and your Ministry as a whole. My wife . . . and I are adding you to a top spot on our Prayer list!!

God Bless You

In Jesus' Name,

June 1, 2003

Subject: errors in the Book of Mormon

I was just wondering how many changes and revisions have been made to the Bible? Does this mean the Bible is not true? Maybe we are all going down the wrong path.

I understand that there is a new revision of the NIV edition of the Bible. How many changes must there be in order for a book to be revised? Is the Bible the word of God? Did the prophets of long ago make mistakes? I'm confused. If the Book of Mormon is not true because of the 4000 changes, then applying the same logic to the Bible would mean that it cannot be true. How many changes have been made to your books? I guess you can't believe anything that you read. No more books for my family!

[Sandra's Note: You are confusing issues. The LDS Church claims the Bible is not reliable due to early Christian's deliberate altering of the text (see The Changing Articles of Faith) but hold the Book of Mormon to be an inspired translation. Remember, the Urim and Thummim were supposedly preserved to aid the translator and to insure a correct translation, since no one knew the Nephite language. Since God supposedly directed the translation of the Book of Mormon, and the witnesses claimed God even gave Smith the correct spelling, one expects the translation manuscript to be without error, thus no need for later corrections.

Also, new translations of the Bible are based on the compilation of earlier, better manuscript readings, or a better understanding of Greek and Hebrew. There are thousands of early manuscripts of the Bible to compare to arrive at current readings. However, the Book of Mormon plates were given back to the angel after Smith finished his work, thus no one can do a better translation as they don't have the plates. All that is available is Smith's manuscript. Thus no one can tell if a given Book of Mormon passage is translated correctly since it can't be compared to any other manuscript.]

June 2, 2003

Hello...Your website is great. I've just spent hours reading and studying it. I left the Mormon church about ten years ago after I read Fawn Brody [No Man Knows My History], and it's taken me ten years to come back to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

My entire family is LDS on both sides, as is my wife's family, and inevitably my nieces and nephews, and my wife's younger siblings will struggle with their faith. When I questioned my faith, my sense of morality, respect for family, respect toward society, and all hope in life fell right along with the religion that helped to build those needs. I've been seeking positive means to engage members of my family about their religion, and your website and literature will probably be the last stop I need to make in my search.

I regret to say that I have little hope for my parents, who are in their fifties, (and my father is a bishop) but maybe there are stories of older LDS members still being aided toward Christ and away from mormonism. There has to be. I now know how much I need God in my heart before I can even begin, and if we don't share our knowledge about Mormons and our love for Christ it will be our sin of omission.

We'll drop by the bookstore in the next week or two. I look forward to meeting people who are brave enough to fight for truth against all hope.

June 3, 2003

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JERALD ON YOUR 65th. We were both born June 3, 1938 in Provo, Utah. What are the odds that two people born on the same day in Provo, would both leave the church and embrace Jesus as our Lord and Savior.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the note. Just one slight correction, Jerald's birthday was June 1, same as Brigham Young (but not the same year :-) ]

June 3, 2003

Subject: Continuing Struggle

Jerald and Sandra,

I wrote you approx. 2 1/2 years ago about my struggle with the LDS church and their intentional intrusion into our family.

There was no warning, consent, counsel, or co-operation, when after 30 years, the LDS church simply dropped a bombshell into our marriage. My wife was literally swept into the temple in less than 90 days.

She had never read the Book of Mormon, Pearl of Great Price, or the Doctrine and Covenants, needless to say the Bible, the Torah, or the Koran. If you truly believe in any of the lineage of Abraham, then you ought to be familiar with at least one of these documents.

I was given one, 30 minute meeting (one minute per year of marriage), with local church officials. I immediately appealed this decision (of which I was NOT a part of) to church officials in Salt Lake City Utah. I have never received any responses to any communications from them or anyone else. Our family was destroyed by self-serving individuals who never gave our life together even a moments notice.

You have a very balanced WEB site that presents not only the extreme bias of the LDS church but tries to steer people back to basic, fundamental Christianity. Rather [Whether?] you believe in Christ or prefer the teachings of Islam or Judaism, at least these philosophies are based on fundamental truths. Something that Mormonism will never be based on. Truth is the basis of faith. Faith, that is not based on truth, is at best wishful thinking, at worst, just plain dangerous.

The final outcome of our relationship has not yet been determined, and how to hold the LDS church accountable for their actions is still also in question. But someone must be, and will be held accountable. Even in this country where religious rights are held in high esteem, no person or organization has the right to destroy a relationship or a life based on their religious views.

May you continue to be the beacon of light that provides guidance, knowledge, and leadership in a world that has lost it's values and responsibility to seek them out, understand, and nurture them.

God bless your efforts,

June 4, 2003

Subject: Latter Day saints and Asian students


Here at my University in Australia a lot of the Asian students go to the Church of Jesus Christ and Latter Day Saints because they think it is Christian.

I thought [Dave McCament's] testimony was excellent....


[Web-editor: A WAY WHICH SEEMETH RIGHT: My Experience in Mormonism by Dave McCament]

June 5, 2003

Subject: the "feeling" question

I have a sister and brother-in-law that I'm having a "discussion" with about their mormon beliefs. It always seems to boil down to her saying, "Well I've prayed about it and "feel" it's right". How or what is the best way to point out how feelings could be misleading.

Thank you and God Bless,

[Sandra's Note: You could always use the Elizabeth Smart case--David Mitchell and his wife were good Mormons, temple workers, prayed, felt God led them to polygamy and to kidnap Elizabeth. This is what happens when we go by emotions, warm fuzzies, visions, etc. without any checks and balances to the experience. For more on the case, see:


You need to point out that feelings can be wrong. Many people around the world 'feel' that their faith is right. That is why Muslims, who are moral and pray regularly throughout each and every day, are willing to die for their beliefs. Converts to all religions feel a peace about their decision, but that does not insure that they have made the right choice. Jehovah's Witnesses have given me the same testimony. I have had the same experience as the Mormons, only in reverse. I prayed about the LDS Church and the Book of Mormon and God gave me a great peace that they were wrong and I should go back to the Bible for my instructions. The difference is that I studied the Bible and Mormonism first, compared the two, and then prayed. Prayer alone is not the way to determine truth (since our own desires and emotions can cloud the answer), whatever belief we are considering must agree with the Bible.]

June 5, 2003

Subject: I have a couple of questions!

My friend has sent me your address because she has a lot of your booklets that claim to quote original sources with information regarding the church.

My first question is, do you have the original sources or are your booklets filled with copies of the original sources? That would make a big difference to me.

Second....i am wondering why you would publish something so sacred as the Temple ceremony.

Now i realize that you don't believe in it anymore, but in order to reach "lost Mormons" do you really think this is the way to do it. I mean honey attracts flies quicker than vinegar. We that are faithful Latter Day Saints with Temple Recommends find this hurtful that you would make so light a thing out of such a sacred thing to us. I don't mean to be rude or offensive...i am just curious on your reasonings. I will look forward to your reply. Thank you for your time.

[Sandra's Note: Here are a few thoughts.

1. We have some of the original books, many photographs of the references are in our files, and some photos are in our books. Most of the materials we quote from are in the Univ. of Utah library, the BYU library, the Utah State Historical Soc. Library, the Utah State Univ. library and Weber State library. Many of the references, like from the Journal of Discourses or History of the Church can be read on the LDS CD-ROM called GospeLink, sold at LDS owned bookstores like DeseretBook.com.

2. I can understand your concern relating to discussions of the LDS temple ceremony. On the other hand, I believe the Bible to be sacred and yet it is sold all over the world, even in the LDS Deseret Bookstore. I assume you feel the LDS scriptures are sacred yet the church sells them. I assume a Mormon would consider the LDS Sunday services as sacred, yet they are open to the public.

LDS General Conference is broadcast all over the world. Wouldn't these meetings be considered sacred? So why would it be wrong to publish the temple ceremony? The Jewish temple ceremony is printed in the Old Testament. God didn't seem to be concerned about it being written down or being publicly available.

While we certainly do not believe in the LDS temple ceremony we have tried not to be flippant in our treatment of it. With over 100 temples around the world there will always be articles exploring the ritual and its origins.

If the LDS temple ceremony, with its oaths and obligations, is truly necessary for eternal life, then people should be able to read it in advance to know if they agree with the terms before going through with it. Otherwise it is like signing a contract on a house or car without first reading the contract.

Communion (sacrament) service is sacred to me, but anyone can attend a Christian church and observe the service. "Sacred" should not be equal to "secret" but it seems to be with Mormons.]

June 7, 2003

I was wondering about a word that I think is about a Mormon being sealed in marriage called sodimized. my father was a mormon and I am wondering if this is right.

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: I think you must mean "solemnized" — which to a Mormon simply means that their marriage was performed in a temple by priesthood authority and is now recognized by God as being an eternal union.]

June 7, 2003

Subject: Just one request

I have been reading your works, and I respect your opinions. All I ask is that you make sure you know what you're talking about before you publish it. I have looked into your claims, and I advise you to be absolutely sure of your statements before you print them. I have not found one valid statement in any of your publications, or any other "anti-mormon" source.

[Sandra's Note: We have tried to be accurate and have looked into the matters we discuss. You ask me to be sure of our research but have you given me the same respect? We have looked up the references we use, researched for years in various libraries and have read all the LDS scriptures several times. Which is more than most Mormons can say.

Don't you think the statement "I have not found one valid statement in any of your publications, or any other 'anti-mormon' source is a bit exaggerated? In all fairness, you could have at least given me one example.]

June 8, 2003

Subject: prophet succession



[Sandra's Note: Currently when an LDS president dies he is succeeded by the apostle with the most seniority in the quorum, thus insuring that the next leader will be one of the oldest men in the group. He will then pick his two councilors.

This process was developed after Smith's death. Joseph Smith wasn't counting on dying at 38 and didn't have any well-laid plans. Here is a quote from Professor Robert B. Flanders:

"Most critical was the problem of leadership. The whole structure of authority was geared to Smith's pre-eminence as charismatic leader, and the vacuum created by his death was intolerable. Furthermore, the assassination was almost totally unexpected by a people who saw the activity of their church as the working out step by step of the Divine Will, and who expected therefore that divine aid would protect the Prophet. Smith was only thirty-eight, in the vigorous prime of life. He had survived sickness, accident, and constant persecution; and few, including Smith himself, seem to have seriously considered the possibility of his death. When it came, perplexity was added to shock and grief. There had been three in the quorum of First Presidency; William Law had apostatized, so Sidney Rigdon was the sole remaining member. Rigdon's standing with the people as well as his capacity were questionable, however, following his virtual repudiation by the Prophet. A man of both unquestioned prestige and ability was Brigham Young; but the Twelve stood next below the Presidency in the hierarchy of Mormon authority. The situation of the Council of Fifty was anomalous since the group was as yet unknown to the people and had been organized around the person of the Prophet. Finally it was remembered by some that Smith had at least twice publicly designated his eldest son, Joseph III, to be his successor in the prophetic office; but in 1844 young Smith was still only twelve years old.

"Almost all Mormon leaders were away campaigning when the Smiths were killed, but hastened back to Nauvoo when they received the news. Most of them arrived late in July or early in August, and they began to confer immediately about the problem of leadership. There seemed to be some consensus, expressed outwardly at least, that the new head should be no more than a pro tempore authority. But there was serious disagreement about who it should be." (Nauvoo: Kingdom on the Mississippi, by Robert B. Flanders, 1965, Univ. of Ill., p.311-312)

Young stepped in as a sort of temporary head, led the majority to Utah, and then later declared himself to be the president/prophet. At first he implied he would step aside eventually when Smith's boys came of age. But by then the RLDS church was formed and the Smiths went into it and opposed polygamy.

For more on this see Michael Quinn's The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power.]

June 8, 2003

Subject: My daughter is considering Mormonism...help!

My daughter was raised in a Christian home and understands the teachings of the Christian faith. She is now 17 years old and dated a young man who recently left on a mission. He has been writing to her and actively trying to convert her. He has convinced her to pray about what she has read and now when questioned about her beliefs says that she just has such a feeling that the Mormon church is right. She says that the most appealing things to her are families are forever and eternal marriage.

I'm looking for anything that will help me get through to her before it is too late. Do you have any suggestions?...

[Sandra's Note: Yes, the Mormons can make "eternal families" look very appealing. However, they fail to mention that the same revelation that announced eternal marriage is the same revelation that teaches polygamy. They have never renounced the doctrine, only suspended the practice during this life time.

I would suggest calling the LDS bookstore, Deseret Book, 801-328-8191, and order Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith by Newell and Avery, pub. by Univ. of Ill. Press. (We sell this book but if you buy it from the LDS bookstore your daughter couldn't accuse you of buying "anti" Mormon books.) This is the biography of Joseph Smith's wife, written by two LDS women historians. It is factual, interesting and revealing. It is not "anti" as such, it never denounces Smith. But it tells of Joseph Smith's early life and magic practices, how he entered polygamy behind Emma's back, how he lied to her. It could provide a good beginning point for discussion with your daughter and gives a great deal of early LDS history that most Mormons aren't aware of. It could be the start of opening her eyes. After all, if she is going to pray about whether Smith was a prophet of God she ought to at least be familiar with what he taught.

You might also ask her to read Smith's King Follett sermon on the nature of God, printed on our web site, and see if she is willing to give up the Biblical God for a man who achieved godhood? Be sure to see our Online Resources section.]

June 8, 2003


... To whom at the church's record department should I write to ask to see the records of my family members who have been baptized by my sister and her family? Are these records on-line?

Is it part of the Mormon procedural requirements that a public notice of the intention to baptize dead relatives, is required, much the same way that one is required to give notice of a baptism or an upcoming wedding ?

Again, thanking you for your response.

[Sandra's Note: The Mormons do not publicly announce the names of those for whom they intend to do temple work. However, you can find it out after it has been done. You would have to do an ancestor search on the LDS genealogy site for each deceased family member. I don't think there is any quick, easy way to find the information.]

June 9, 2003

Dear Sandra,

I want to thank you so much for all your work. Your site is amazing.

I'm getting married very soon to a Good Mormon Girl. She is truly amazing and a wonderful person. I felt it my duty to learn as much about the LDS church as I could with the hope of possibly finding it to be true and being able to join. I read the BM, PGP and D+C. I prayed to learn if they were true. I also read through nearly your entire site. I know that I can't be a member of the Church.

I am planning to go regularly to church with my soon-to-be-wife. I know that I will have to expect visiting teachers and others that will most likely make attempts to teach me about the church and if possible convert me.

My problem is that I'm not sure how to handle the situation if they ask me something like "What made you decide that the church isn't true?" I know my answers...pre-existence, multiplicity of gods, polygamy (side question: How can mormons say they don't believe in polygamy when they know that if a man marries twice in the temple both wives will be with him for eternity?)

The quandary appears when I try to analyze my motives for telling them this. The old "Know them by their fruits" line always pops  into my brain. What am I trying to achieve? If I begin telling them why I don't believe in the church I know very well that one possible result is for them to begin questioning the church themselves, however unlikely that is. I can't imagine the anguish and turmoil that could cause them. I don't want to be responsible for that especially since I don't have a better alternative to offer.

Could I get away with "I have studied the church doctrines and have decided they aren't true, but I'd prefer not to talk about what led me to this decision."? I could just imagine how it would go if they ask me why I don't want to talk about it with them. "Oh, because I don't want to be the cause of you losing your faith". yikes.

Any suggestions that don't involve me trying to convert them to true Christianity?

Thank you for everything.

[Sandra's Note: I am afraid you are heading for a big heartbreak. I don't see how this marriage would last if you do not join Mormonism, especially if you have any children together. The church and her family will really put the pressure on her to dump you for a good Mormon who can take her to the temple. It isn't going to matter that much that you didn't join because you were or were not a Christian. The point will be—YOU DIDN'T JOIN MORMONISM. It isn't fair to her for you to hide the fact that you have already determined that you will never join Mormonism. She is obviously hoping to convert you after the marriage. I know a number of atheists and agnostics that have gone through this and it has ended in divorce. Have you been to www.exmormon.org? They could share their experiences with you.]

June 10, 2003

Subject: Personal Gratitude to Tanners

Hi Jerald and Sandra,

I haven't been on your site for a while, but reading through some of the new postings made me want to express once again how grateful I am for your ministry, since coming out of Mormonism via Shadow or Reality in 1974, to appreciation for the resources you provide to the body of Christ today. As you move toward retirement and passing the torch, I pray for God's blessing on your family and ministry, and I hope you enjoy the wonderful fruits of your faithful labors!

With all my love and deepest respect in the Lord Jesus,

June 11, 2003

J.... met Sandra Tanner at your bookstore about 8 years ago. He purchased 8 books on Mormonism to assist in his studies in Bible College. J.... was raised Mormon and became a born-again Christian after much searching and questioning. We just moved to Utah several months ago, and are very happy to know that your ministry is still alive. We plan to stop by the bookstore on our next trip to SLC. J.... is anxious for me to meet Sandra.

God Bless you with your ministry. .....

June 11, 2003

Subject: book: Journey to the Center

Dear Mrs. Tanner,

Right now I am reading the above mentioned book [at www.exmormon.org].... All those years when I was studying the BOM and its other books, I could not comprehend the length to which it all would lead, namely: the proof of DNA who will seal your testimony and of all other members or ex-members to the knowledge that all those books were just fantasies by Mr..Smith.

Hereby do I speak out my gratitude of helping me out in my study this cult and freeing off my mind from this unbearable burden: the guilt of being a Mormon.

Kind regards,

June 15, 2003

Subject: Nephite system of weights and measures described by Alma

My wife came home from Relief Society excited recently with information that another sister had shared with the group regarding the Nephite system of weights and measures described in the B. of M..

Apparently, this sister had been on a tour to Guatemala and acquired a nested brass cup set from the local Mayan descendants. Each cup bears a name corresponding to its measure of weight: leah, shiblum, shiblon, senum, onti. Furthermore, this weight and measure system is purported to be in use currently by these people.

I find this rather remarkable (even miraculous), if true, that virtually no archeological evidence of the B. of M. has been discovered yet this system of nomenclature for measuring and weighing precious metals has somehow been overlooked by experts in the past and suddenly appears out of nowhere and is sold as a souvenir to tourists. Any information you might have on this topic would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: Sounds like some enterprising person realized he could sell a truck load of this stuff to Mormons [following the footsteps of Mark Hofmann?]. I have never heard of any authentic find of such items. If such a claim could be verified it would be written up in all the LDS manuals. Evidently the 'Brethren' aren't aware of any such artifacts.

If some people are using the Book of Mormon system it is solely due to exposure to the book, not ancient practice.

The Book of Mormon, Alma 11:4-20 speaks of a monetary system of measuring silver and gold: "A senum of silver was equal to a senine of gold..." However, the Mayans did not consider these metals as a form of payment. The Mayans used the cacao bean as money, and jade was their most precious substance (see The Maya, by Michael D. Coe, 1999 ed., p 146, 163,192-193.).]

June 15, 2003

Subject: Unpublished Revelations

Hello Sandra,

I came across a few photocopied pages from the church's "Unpublished Revelations." Have you heard about a volume of unpublished revelations and is it available?

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: Fred Collier, Mormon fundamentalist [polygamist], printed two volumes entitled Unpublished Revelations. We used to sell them but we are out of stock. You might be able to find a copy at Benchmark Books, www.benchmarkbooks.com.

Michael Marquardt did a good study on Smith's revelations, changes, etc. in the book The Joseph Smith Revelations: Text & Commentary.]

June 16, 2003

Subject: Mormonism and Jewish mysticism

I was wondering if you, in any of your writings, had addressed the topic of Mormonism and Jewish mysticism - to any degree? If you have to any extent, could you refer me to the book and appropriate page or pages?


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

The other article was 'Joseph Smith and Kabbalah: The Occult Connection', by Lance S. Owens. Dialogue is on the Signature New Mormon Studies CD-ROM.

Here is part of a book review, Dialogue, Vol. 27, No. 4, p.187:

The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844. By John L. Brooke (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

Reviewed by Lance S. Owens, M.D., who practices emergency medicine in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Joseph Smith's place in western religious history is on the verge of creative reevaluation. Two years ago American literary critic Harold Bloom's casting of Smith as a Gnostic prophet linked by vision to the occult tradition of Jewish Kabbalah gave wide notice that Mormon history was ripe for a rereading. The Refiner's Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844, by Tufts University historian John L. Brooke, offers just that, opening another startling perspective on Joseph Smith and his restoration.

Exploring historical data untouched by Bloom, Brooke argues from intricately marshaled evidence that Mormon doctrine and cosmology took origin not in Puritan New England, nor in the social stresses fostering the Second Great Awakening, but in the much less studied and understood intersection of the Radical Reformation with the hermetic occult. Hermeticism, the intimate companion of Kabbalah in the evolution of alternative Western religious aspirations from the sixteenth through the eighteenth centuries, was the precursor of Mormon theology and a central refining force in Joseph Smith's prophetic vision.]

June 17, 2003

Has anyone done an investigation as to how the money is used by the LDS? I am curious to see if it still looks like people are lining their own pockets.

Also, in the same light, has anyone done an investigation on how the cities of Kirkland, Far West and Nauvoo were created in such a short time with the members being so poor?

Thanks for your help.

[Sandra's Note: The best book on LDS money is Mormon America: The Power & the Promise, by Ostling. As for the early LDS towns, the members were commanded to give all their excess to the church. Also, Smith put the church in debt and got into all sorts of financial problems. See No Man Knows My History, by Brodie. There are also four pages on Smith's bankruptcy in the book, Zion in the Courts, by Firmage, p. 120-124.]

June 18, 2003

Subject: Maybe not plagiarism, but his vernacular


I am so thankful that you have this website. I am currently witnessing to a few of my Mormon friends and have brought mentioned to them the evidences I have found that Joseph smith plagiarized from the 1611 King James Bible.

their answer is that although the Book of Mormon was written before the King James, Joseph Smith, while translating the Book of Mormon, was permitted to translate in his own vernacular. They also deny the idea that he translated the B.O.M. word for word out of a hat.

Can you help me with a response for my friends?


[Sandra's Note: If Smith were writing in his own vernacular the book would not have 'thee' and 'thou'—those were not used in his day. At that time people were not saying 'belongeth' or 'doth' or 'thou wouldst.' Smith was deliberately mimicking the sound of the King James Bible. If you read the earliest LDS newspapers you will see they wrote just about the same as we do today, not in King James English.

As for the translation process, all of the statements by the people connected with Smith during the translation describe the stone in the hat. See p.80-83 of our book, The Changing World of Mormonism. David Whitmer, one of the witnesses to the Book of Mormon, and Emma, Smith's wife, both describe this process.]

June 18, 2003

Thank you for you excellent work. I was a Mormon for 10 years before I realized that I had been lied to and brainwashed by the leaders of the church. I now know that Mormon's worship their church, not God, and I am so thankful to be out.

When I was newly converted to the church, I received a blessing from my Bishop as I was leaving my home to go two thousand miles away to attend BYU. This bishop told me many things about my future - where I would meet my husband, etc. and I was too young and inexperienced in the church to know that I should not have had faith in this blessing.

Needless to say that the blessing did not come true, much to my concern. I questioned church leaders to try to resolve this issue, but I was given every excuse in the book - I had somehow sinned and God changed his mind (not true), that my future mate had changed and was no longer worthy of me (huh?), the blessing referred to my eternal marriage in the afterlife, etc. I just couldn't rationalize how God could give me a blessing through my bishop and tell my future and then have things change. Didn't the leaders of the church say that God was the same today, yesterday and forever? Where they saying that God could only see a short distance into the future? None of it made sense and I was hurt and confused by the whole situation.

The thing that amazed me is that I was given pat answers or brushed off when I questioned what happened - not one priesthood leader could give me an answer that gave me peace. The bottom line is that there is no accountability in the church. When there is a problem, it is always the members fault, never the fault of church policy or leaders. Duh! I finally got it - the members worship the church and not God. The church is more important than the members. I just couldn't justify how God could create a church that exists for the sake of the church, not the members. I was extremely devout and would have never believe that I would leave the church. I [know] that God, literally, that he led me out and that I have found such peace and happiness. I have a wonderful family and feel so blessed to be an EX Mormon.

June 19, 2003

How sad it is that you waste so much time in the pursuit of hate. Surely there are more devious things to investigate than Members of a Church. What if the Mormons are right? I know... but what if?

June 19, 2003

...You might be pleased to know that I accepted Christ as my personal saviour in 1983 after being in the world of Mormonism for 8 years.

I served as a member of the Elders Quorum Presidency, as Sunday School President, Elders Quorum instructor, Investigators class instructor (Gospel Essentials), Ward Inservice director, and Executive Secretary to the Stake Presidency.

The issue for me at the end was the issue of "What had I done with the blood of Jesus Christ and did it avail for me?" I had to answer no! and upon doing so, I immediately repented and left the church that very day.

God bless you!

June 20, 2003

Subject: thank you

Dear Editor,

I was just reading some letters that you have received and am very sad that some Mormons think that you hate them. I admire that you LOVE them enough to show them the other side of Mormonism that the LDS church doesn't. So I just wanted to say thank you for loving the LDS people. My prayers are with you and your ministry. God bless you.

June 21, 2003

Subject: Looking for other Egyptian funerary scenes similar to LDS book of Abraham

I'm looking for similar authentic scans of pictures similar to the one pictured in the 'Book of Abraham' that the LDS church publishes. As a current LDS member I find my faith lacking and am looking for more evidence weigh.


[Note: There is a long chapter on the Book of Abraham in our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? It also has extensive pictures of similar Egyptian documents.

Also see:


http://members.aol.com/egyptart/book.html (look at Book of Dead section—Hall of Maat)]

June 21, 2003

Subject: Confused

I feel saddened that people dedicate their entire lives to destroying the hope and faith of such an obviously Christian religion in the name of Christ.

I am curious to know the motive by which you seek to prove 'Mormonism' wrong instead of building up and teaching your own doctrine. It's a bit ironic that one of the few churches that claims to be the only true church is the only one I have attended that has not preached against other religions or tried to prove their doctrine false. This speaks very loudly to me.

I have heard that you (meaning the Tanner Family) at one time were active members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Please explain to me what happened or how bad you were offended to the point of desiring the downfall of a religion that teaches people to come closer to Christ.

Thank you for your time and thought.

[Sandra's Note: You can read more of our experience by reading About Us. No one hurt our feelings in the LDS Church. Our problems stemmed from study and comparison. When we saw that Smith gave several contradicting accounts of his first vision, rewrote his revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, changed doctrines, taught the secret doctrine of polygamy behind his wife's back, married women who were already married, etc. we could no longer view him as a prophet of God. Also our research into the claims of the Book of Mormon showed it to be a product of the nineteenth century, not an ancient record.

In the Oct. conference, 2002, Hinckley said "Our whole strength rests on the validity of that vision [Smith's 1820 vision]...It either occurred or it did not occur. If it did not, then this work is a fraud." (Salt Lake Tribune, Oct. 7, 2002, p.A6) Our research demonstrates that Smith's vision could not have happened in the manner he claimed in the Pearl of Great Price and is indeed a fraud.

Just as the LDS missionaries are on a mission to proclaim what they perceive to be true, so we are on a mission to tell people what we believe to be the truth—both as regards the falseness of Mormonism and the truthfulness of the Bible and Christ.

Many LDS people ask me why I don't give this campaign up and just let God sort it all out later. I might ask them the same question. Since Mormons believe almost everyone will go to some level of heaven, why are the LDS missionaries going to people who already go to a Christian church and disrupting their lives? Why not let it go and let God sort it out.

Joseph Smith claimed in his first vision, as told in the Pearl of Great Price, that God, himself, told Smith that ALL churches were wrong—

"My mind at times was greatly excited, the cry and tumult were so great and incessant. The PRESBYTERIANS were most decided against the BAPTISTS and METHODISTS,...On the other had, the BAPTISTS and METHODISTS in their turn were equally zealous in endeavoring to establish their own tenets and disprove all others. ...

"My object in going to inquire of the Lord was to know which of all the sects was right, that I might know which to join....

"I was answered that I must join none of them, for they were ALL WRONG; and the Personage who addressed me said that ALL their creeds were an ABOMINATION in his sight; that those professors were ALL corrupt; that 'they draw near to me with their lips, but their hearts are FAR from me, they teach for doctrines the commandments of MEN, having a form of godliness, but they DENY the power thereof.'

"He again forbade me to join with ANY of them... I then said to my mother, 'I have learned for myself that Presbyterianism is not true.'..."

Since Joseph Smith proclaimed that all other churches were in total apostasy and that only the LDS Church, and its ordinances, could lead a person back to the presence of God the Father, one can hardly be surprised that people of other churches would question his claims. Why should anyone accept his word or accept him as a prophet? We believe that the facts of his life clearly demonstrate that he was not such a prophet.

We believe everyone needs to come to a true faith in Christ, Mormons included. Mormon teachings lead away from the Bible (by saying it has been changed and is not complete) and depend on belief in Smith, his revelations, and temple marriage. This is adding to the gospel of Jesus. Christ paid it all. What more could a sinful person add? Salvation (ETERNAL LIFE) is by GRACE. If a person truly places his/her full trust in Christ and His atonement for eternal life they would realize that they don't need temple marriage. When LDS say a person can go to heaven and be saved but not have eternal life (exaltation) they are changing the gospel. To be saved is to have eternal life—the Bible never separates them into two different things as the Mormons do. I do not assume Mormons are saved (have eternal life), I obviously worry that they are not. Otherwise I wouldn't spend all this effort trying to reach them.]

June 21, 2003

Subject: i just want to say thank

I was just reading "mormon murders" and you are listed in it and I want to say thank for doing what you do.

June 23, 2003


Thank you so much for this information! What a blessing from God at just the right time. I just know the Holy Spirit took me to your web site.

I'm a pastor of a very small SBC in Virginia. The LDS have just built a large church here in our area and our members are being called upon weekly by LDS missionaries. ...

Thanks you again for this work of God and the help it will be for those of us who don't have the insight, resources or staff to compile this great work of truth you have done.

In Christ,

June 23, 2003

...My family (my husband, children and I) are in the process of leaving the church thanks to your web site. You have helped us find our way out of the false teaching of such a terrible cult.

June 23, 2003

Subject: Question About first vision versions

Hi, Could you please tell me where I can go to get copies of the various versions of the first vision? My husband will not accept if the source comes from a so called "anti-Mormon" site.

If there is a place like a library, or even using LDS books that I can purchase say from Deseret Bookstore, this might help to convince him. I am also looking for written documentation proving the falsity of the "Book of Abraham".

Thank you for any help you can give me. ...

[Sandra's Note: You can go to the Utah State Historical Society Library, at 300 W. Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, Ut. and photo most of the references we quote. Deseret Book sells Personal Writings of Joseph Smith by Jesse, and An American Prophets Record (Smith's journals). These contain Smith's 1832, 1835, and either/or 1838 and Wentworth letter accounts. The University of Utah Library would also have the reference material.

We also sell a set of photos on the first vision, from LDS sources. See First Vision Photocopies.]

June 23, 2003

Dear Tanners,

First off, thank you both for such a truthful spirit lifting website. Truth will eventually set all men free.

I've a question that I hope you will have an answer to. After spending 10 years in that most abominable organization, I left the LDS in 1997. During that time my then wife and I had 3 beautiful boys which were either blessed in or baptized into that organization. My wife left me for another member in 1997 and I gained custody of our boys in 2000.

Currently, my ex and I have "Joint legal custody" of our boys with them in my custody as I have said. My former spouse is still a member. . . Recently and after having one to many knocks on our door with the missionaries wanting to speak with our boys, I decided to send a letter to the ward bishop requesting that my children's names be taken off of the rolls of the church. To my surprise, and because "Joint legal custody" is in play here, the bishop contacted my former spouse about the matter and she said that she did not want to have the names removed.

I talked with the Bishop this evening by phone about this matter and I was told that the Church legal counsel told him that because of the "Joint legal custody", I can't have the children's names removed unless my former spouse agrees to it.

Can you give me any advice concerning this matter?

Thank you very much,

[Sandra's Note: Your boys would have had to be at least eight in order to be baptized a member. If they were younger than eight they were probably just 'blessed' or 'named' in the LDS Church, which isn't quite as formal, but it does enter them on the LDS list for future contact. You can at least tell the bishop to remove your family and address from any call list as you will consider it harassment to keep contacting your boys. You are the parent, you set the religious teaching in the home. Mention that they would not appreciate the local pastor continually trying to contact their children against the parent's will. Remind him of article eleven in the LDS 'Articles of Faith' (see back of The Pearl of Great Price) where they say they believe in allowing everyone the right to worship God "how, where, or what they may,..." Inform him that your boys will have their entire adult life to pursue Mormonism if they choose, in the meantime the LDS people are not to interfere with your parental direction.]

June 24, 2003

Subject: Thanks!

Jerald and Sandra you guys are terrific! I really appreciate the work you do. I've had the opportunity to stop in and meet you a few times and I know how hard you work.

As a local youth pastor in Utah Valley it breaks my heart to read all the hate mail you receive. I'm sure it must be hard for you to read as well, as I know you're heart is to reach out to these people in love, and they continually fail to make that connection.

Please be encouraged, and know that I will pray for you as often as I think of it. Your work is very special, and I personally have spoken with many people with whom your work has touched. Stay encouraged!

Your co-laborer

June 25, 2003

Subject: Removal from Records

I recently sent the LDS Church a resignation of my membership from the church. I was baptized as a teenager and was only active maybe two years tops. That was fourteen years ago, and since my beliefs are not compatible with those of the church I wish to have my name removed from the records.

Unfortunately, I was naive in thinking this would be a simple matter. ... I feel they should respect my request, as it is my life and my personal decision. I don't really have money to spend on legal fees, but it bothers me to be affiliated with the church in any way. It is a matter of principle, I guess. Now they are giving me the run around...which is very frustrating. ...

Thank you,

June 26, 2003


To Whom it may concern

I'm currently rethinking my membership in the LDS church. I have served a mission for the church declaring that "I knew the church was true" when in reality i didn't. I've read the BOM many times from cover to cover and never received a testimony of it's veracity. Your web site has provided me with enough empirical evidence to strengthen my conviction that the BOM was not inspired of God and that Joseph Smith was not His prophet.

My dilemma is whether or not i should share my findings with my spouse. Frankly, she's happy being a mormon. I, on the other hand, strongly believe that it's teachings are not correct. Any suggestions?


[Sandra's Note: You need to approach her through LDS sources. Two books by LDS historians are:

In Sacred Loneliness, by Compton (biography of 33 of Smith's plural wives)

Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith, by Newell and Avery (biography of Smith's legal wife and her struggles)

You should be able to order these from Deseret Book, (801) 328-8191. We sell them but in order to get your wife to look at them they would need to come from a more trust-worthy source.

These both deal with Smith's polygamy, how he went behind his wife's back, lied about it, married women who were already married and young teen-agers. These issues are usually more important to a Mormon woman than Book of Mormon issues.

You could even just get them and leave them lying around the house where she could look at them without feeling she was being put on the spot.

The biography of Emma is a good introduction to real LDS history, shows how Smith was involved in magic at the beginning, etc.

Another good book is An Insiders View of Mormon Origins by Palmer, a retired LDS Institute of Religion director. But your wife might not be ready for something that direct.]

June 26, 2003

Dear Jerald and Sandra

I don't usually write but am interested in . . . the concept of the fastest growing religion.

There was a recent posting on the internet with regard to current trends and activity rates among the LDS - perhaps you were able to look at that with the numbers being reduced from 11.8 million to an actual rate of 3.8 as an active membership vs raw statistics. I did some further calculations from the US census and am still integrating the Canadian census numbers on the LDS in US and Canada.

I came up with something like this out of 3.85 million active worldwide, 2.8 identified themselves as LDS in US no indication of attendance with 1.254 identified in Utah. That then with the adjusted total gives the US a total of about 72 % of identifiable LDS - in the world leaving 1.1 million in the rest of the world. 85 % live in western hemisphere leaving 15 % of all LDS living outside of the western hemisphere.

According to Rodney Stark who originated the "fastest growing " label they should have reached 30 million by this time. As the LDS stand in antithesis to Christianity the lack of success outside of Christian countries really brings this home. As the Marcionite movement of the 1st century was also a rejection it only succeeded in areas where Christianity had been established. Hence the European and Asian missions experience led to any growth despite a century and a half of missionary activity.

. . . keep up the good work and God bless

June 26, 2003

Subject: St. Cyprian, not Joseph Smith

Dear Jerald and Sandra,

In doing some research recently I came across this from a May 1, 2002 letter on your site:

<< I had read the New Testament, and was so impressed that Joseph Smith was inspired to fix what I deemed to be a glaring error in the Lord's Prayer. Let me explain: The King James' Version reads, "Lead us not into Temptation." Joseph Smith changed that to "Suffer us not to be led into temptation." >>

It reminded me that Mormons and Mormon critics alike seem to universally accept that it was Joseph Smith who first "translated" Matthew 6:13 "suffer us not to be led into temptation" (6:14 JST).

Actually, this is the St. Cyprian or North African Version of the Lord's prayer written in the 3rd century by the Bishop of Carthage. His reading appeared in the first liturgy published in English (1544) by command of Henry VIII. It appeared in the footnote to Matthew 6:13 in the Rhemes New Testament in 1582 and remained in English Catholic Bibles until Challoner's revisions beginning in 1748. In Elizabethen/James I times it was a point of controversy and at least two books gave the Cyprian reading in order to refute it (slightly earlier, some of Cyprian's works had been translated into English, including his Lord's Prayer). Later in the 17th century, noted Puritan Cleric Thomas Watson mentions that specific reading in his discourse on the Lord's Prayer. The 12th Glasgow edition of Watson's A Body of Practical Divinity was published in 1818.

Perhaps you could pass this along to that email's writer....

Best regards,

June 27, 2003

Unfortunately I have several family members that are Mormon. Being raised Mormon and all. My husband is a convert. He joined the church March of 2001.

We took the Temple classes. While doing that I was told about your website from my Dad. I still went to the Temple classes. My whole family was there at the Temple with us. We went to the Temple knowing we had our doubts about Mormonism but we didn't want to upset the family. Wrong I know. I never really wore my garments after we got home from Salt Lake. Only wore them when we went to church. I only went for the social reasons. The Temple ceremony scared the crap out of me. After attending I realized this is a cult and we need to get out.

We are now in the process of writing a letter to have our names removed from church records. ... My father left the church several years ago thanks to your website and Book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality? ... My kids are young enough where they won't be affected by all the negative reaction from family and friends. I have three kids ranging from 7 months to 6 years. ... Here is ...[one] family you saved.

Thank you so much. ...

June 27, 2003

... Would you please tell me (through e mail) what contemporary novel the Book of Mormon was based upon and whether or not copies still exist that I would be able to examine?

Also, I used to remember the Book of Mormon well enough that I recognized scriptures from Isaiah in it. I am embarrassed to say that I didn't record which they were, and now I can't remember. Would you please help me? I don't want to re-read the Book of Mormon.

Thank you in advance for your help. God bless you for your work!

Yours truly,

[Sandra's Note: There is a theory that the Book of Mormon is taken from an 1812 novel written by a minister, Solomon Spalding, who died in 1816. However, the minister lived in a different state than Joseph Smith and never published his novel.

So one of the problems is how did the manuscript fall into Smith's hands? Some have theorized that several years after Spalding's death (in 1816) Sidney Rigdon, a minister, had stolen Spalding's manuscript (around 1820-22). Since Smith would have been only 15 at the time Rigdon supposedly stole the manuscript, I assume Rigdon could not have had Smith in mind as a collaborator on his scheme.

The theory continues that Rigdon would have done some rewriting of the story and then gave it to Smith to publish. But why would Rigdon, a popular minister, trust his pet project to an unknown like Smith? When did they meet? How long had Rigdon known him? How old was Smith when they decided to work together? How could Rigdon have been sure Smith could pull it off, get Harris to finance the printing, etc.? (Rigdon later joined Mormonism in 1830.)

The manuscript material currently available from Spalding is not close enough to the Book of Mormon to demand any connection. They would have both been influenced by the same general ideas about the Indians of their day, hence some similarities. But nothing demanding plagiarism on Smith's part.

The Spalding connection is a THEORY—there is no evidence that Rigdon (the person assumed to have given Smith the manuscript) ever met Smith prior to the start of Mormonism.

Most researchers on Smith and Book of Mormon sources look to the popular book View of the Hebrews (which is not a novel, but a serious look at the possibility that the American Indians are from the lost tribes of Israel) by Ethan Smith, published in 1823 and republished in 1825, as a more likely source for ideas for the Book of Mormon. There were dozens of books at the time speculating that the Indians came from Israel.

As for the numerous Bible verses used in the Book of Mormon, see the following—

The Use of the Old Testament in the Book of Mormon, by Walters
The Use of the Bible in the Book of Mormon, by Marquardt
Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible, by Tanners]

June 29, 2003

Dear Gerald and Sandra,

...I was a Mormon from 1986 to 2002. I am so thankful to the Lord that there are people with so much courage and determination like you. God has put you guys on earth at this point and time to unmask Mormonism. You have been so far of great help for me to get out of Mormonism which has created a lot problem in my marriage since my wife and my 3 children...believe blindly in Mormonism. But I certainly hope someday the spark light of the Holy Spirit will come to their minds and hearts so that they too will help themselves test all things and see if Mormon Christianity will pass the test.

I am thanking you for such a great job you are doing.

June 30, 2003

Dear Sandra,

I haven't set foot in a Mormon church for 25 years, having long ago rejected the Mormon teachings. I have for many years wanted to remove my name from the LDS records, but haven't known how to do it until today, the day I discovered your wonderful website. I wasted no time in writing my own letter of termination. I only hope there is no further red tape involved in this.

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