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October 2003
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

Oct. 1, 2003

Subject: Please Help!!!!

Please Help!

I need you Help most Urgently! I want to leave the LDS CHURCH! I am finding it hard! Any Help or support you can offer would be great!!

I am 22 and ... I joined the church in 1999 from the Baptist church! I have hurt alot of friends and family and even lost the most Loving Christian Girl because of the church and the hold it has over me! I am a Huge Crisis and don't know where to turn! ...

All My christian Love

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for sharing with me. I am not sure what type of help you are looking for. You will find plenty of information on our site. Also, the book Out of the Cults and into the Church plus my tape no.4, Struggles of Leaving Mormonism would help. Also you need to spend some time reading the New Testament to rethink Christian doctrine compared to Mormon teachings. As you make Christ, not the church, the center of your devotion you will find a growing peace in your heart.

There is no way to change the past but you have your whole life ahead of you. Hopefully your family will welcome you back. You might want to check out the online discussion group of ex-Mormons at www.irr.org/mit.

Also see our page, How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.]

Oct. 1, 2003

Subject: Everything is an error

The Latter day Saints aren't hurting anybody in this world. We only help people. We don't critize anybody else's religions. You should make a website on how much good the mormon's do. I'm sorry you disagree with our faith. Thanks for your time

From _____ age 15

Oct. 2, 2003

Subject: The ever changing doctrine

I have a friend who is Mormon so I decided to look into it and get the facts. After discovering that it was not just another Protestant religion and that there are many contradictions, I decided to open up dialogue with my Mormon friend.

Rather than try to overwhelm him with negative information about his religion, I chose to stick with a few key issues that I knew I could back up factually. One of these issues was the Virgin Birth. I asked him to describe the Mormon doctrine of the Virgin Birth. He said that God was involved in the event and maybe even present in some way but that he did not have relations with Mary. I told him he was wrong about the doctrine and that His church believes that God sired Jesus in the flesh. We disagreed and left it at that for now.

Soon after that two missionaries for the Mormon Church showed up at my house. I asked them to describe for me the Mormon doctrine of the Virgin Birth. They said that Mary was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit just like in the Bible. I disagreed with them and asked them to look into it and get back to me. It was a very pleasant exchange but they were very eager to show me my misunderstanding of their doctrine.

After one week two different missionaries called and offered to come to my house and teach me about the Virgin Birth. I agreed on a meeting but only after they read certain Mormon scriptures which they agreed to do. Also they would have to discuss the results of our study with the original two missionaries who came to my house.

The scriptures I asked them to read were:

Doctrines of Salvation, vol.1 page 18 (Joseph Fielding Smith)
Journal of Discourses, vol. 1 page 51 (Brigham Young)
The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, 1988, pages 6-7

After three weeks the missionary called me back. He apologized for taking so long to get back to me but that it was harder to find answers than he had anticipated and that he had to go to many different sources and people. I was surprised at how open and candid he was with his answer to my doctrinal challenge. He said I was correct with my information and that he and the other missionaries were misinformed about the Virgin Birth. Still, I asked him to describe to me in detail his new understanding of Church doctrine. He said that the Holy Spirit was present only to comfort Mary and was not responsible for conception. I asked him specifically about Gods participation and he reluctantly agreed "God was the father of Jesus Christ in the Physical sense as a man with a woman."

The missionary told me that they try to stay with lighter subject matter like family, good living, etc. and not get into heavy doctrinal discussions. Based on my experience, some Mormons whether missionaries or just regular members, cannot have an in- depth doctrinal conversation. My Mormon friend told me he never really got too involved in Church Doctrine because he was usually busy with administrative duties and never really thought much about these things. I discussed the results of the study with him. Hopefully it will make him think.

Oct. 2, 2003

Subject: Has the LDS leadership advised Mormons not to read anti-LDS material?

Hi Sandra,

I am just curious if there is a specific article that I can locate to prove the censorship of the LDS church, by showing what I have heard to be true about the LDS leadership advising LDS members not to read material that is against LDS teachings. Some of my Mormon friends have told me this when I have shown them material that questions their faith, but I would like to find the source of it.

Thanks for your time,


[Sandra's Note: That is hard to pin down. I think a lot of it takes place during discussions at various LDS Church functions, like Sunday School or Priesthood meetings. Here is a quote from BYU professor Robert L. Millet which demonstrates that type of thinking:

Gaining a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ is a remarkable thing. It is a miracle, an instance in which the Infinite intersects the finite, in which the heavens touch the earth, in which Spirit speaks to spirit, in which God manifests truth to mortals. ... President Romney then related the following experience:

"My wife ... taught a class. There came to the class a nonmember of the Church, ... This woman had received a college degree from the University of Idaho. My wife, having not yet received her degree, was a little timid in the presence of this woman.

"One of the lessons in the course dealt with the First Vision of the Prophet Joseph Smith. ... She went to her mother, crying, and said, 'Mother, I can't teach this lesson. I don't know that Joseph Smith saw the Father and the Son. I know I have been taught it all through my life by you and Father. I have believed you, but personally I don't know it. This woman will ridicule me. I just can't stand up before the class with this woman present and teach this lesson.'

"Now, her mother ... said to her daughter, 'What did Joseph Smith do to get that vision?'

"'Well,' she answered, 'he prayed.'

..."This young girl returned to her room and there, for the first time in her life in fact, she went to the Almighty with a sincere desire to know whether he lived and whether he and the Savior actually appeared to the Prophet Joseph. Coming out of that room, she went to her Sunday School class and taught that lesson with joy, with knowledge, with conviction. She had been born of the Spirit. She knew" (in Conference Report, Oct. 1981, 18-20).

As a young missionary in the Eastern States I learned something about being at peace and entering into the rest of the Lord. My companion and I moved into a small town in New Jersey to find that the local Protestant ministers had prepared their parishioners for our coming. At almost every door we approached, we were met by a smiling face and the words, "Oh, you must be the Mormons. This is for you." They then handed us an anti-Mormon tract. We saved the pamphlets, stacked them in the corner of the living room of the apartment, and soon had a substantial pile of material. Out of curiosity we began to read the stuff during lunchtime. I can still recall the dark and empty feelings that filled my soul as we encountered question after question about certain doctrines and specific moments in the history of the Church. My senior companion was no different; he was as unsettled as I was.

For weeks we did our work, but our heart wasn't in it. ... I broke the ice at lunch one afternoon with the rather brutal query: "Elder Dyreng, what if the Church isn't true?" His response: "I don't know." I followed up: "What if the Baptists are right?" (There was a strong contingent of Baptists in the area.) He said: "I just don't know." Third question: "What if the Catholics are right? What if they have had the authority all along?" His response: "I've been wondering the same thing." Then, presumably in an effort to cheer me up, he asked, "Elder Millet, do you think we are doing anything wrong? I mean, even if we are not a part of the true church, are we hurting anyone?" I sheepishly replied that we were probably not doing anything destructive."...

I am ashamed to admit that prior to this time I had never prayed intently about my testimony. I was reared in the Church. Mom and Dad had a testimony, and I knew that they knew. That had always seemed adequate. But now I was up against the wall of faith, and suddenly what they knew did not seem sufficient to settle my troubled heart. I prayed and I pleaded. I begged the Lord for light, for help, for anything! These vexations of the soul went on for about a month. I had actually concluded (though I had not confided the same to my companion) that if relief were not forthcoming shortly, I would pack my bags and go home. It did not seem proper to be engaged seriously in a cause about which I could not bear testimony.

... As I began to reflect once more on my testimony problem, my heart ached. My feelings were close to the surface, and I yearned for deliverance from my pain. For some reason I reached to a nearby lamp table and picked up a copy of the pamphlet Joseph Smith Tells His Own Story. I began reading the opening lines. When I came to the Prophet's statement that he was born on 23 December 1805 in Sharon, Windsor County, Vermont, I was suddenly and without warning immersed in the most comforting and soothing influence I had ever known. It seemed at the time as if I were being wrapped in a large blanket as I began to be filled with the warmth of the Holy Spirit from head to toe. I wept as the spirit of conversion encompassed me, and I knew assuredly that what we were doing was right and true and good. (Robert L. Millet, Alive in Christ: The Miracle of Spiritual Rebirth [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 91. Emphasis added)

Also, in the temple interview questions one is asked:

"Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?"

Such a question could leave one with the impression that he/she shouldn't read anything controversial or that opposes the standard LDS viewpoint.]

Oct. 2, 2003

Subject: Book of Mormon in Deseret Writing.


... thank you for all of the great work you are doing to bring the truth out in plain view. After browsing and reading through your information for the past week I must say it is definitely one of the most comprehensive collection of works I have ever seen and praise God that your work could do so much in a persons life and you've given us great tools to work with in reaching out to those whom are still lost.

...I have only begun to research the Mormon Doctrine in hopes of presenting my church with the information needed to fully witness to Mormons. I thank you for all the work and dedication you've put into it. Praise God....thank you again.

Oct. 2, 2003

Subject: polygamy history

Thank you for posting the articles on polygamy, I am a fourth-generation Mormon and I love to read anything concerning the early history of the church, even the debates on the correctness of what is taught in sunday school. Sadly, I am not a active member and prefer to sit at home and read the bible and book of mormon due to some issues I have with our bishop on chuch policies. The articles are very informative and thought provocing. I do consider my self a christian as my main book of study is the bible and then the other religous books our church uses. Thank you again for the articles.

Oct. 2, 2003

Subject: blood atonement

I wanted to thank you for your article about blood atonment. It gave a name to something that's been going on in my family for years. I'm not talking about ongoing literal blood atonement, but the social, psychological, economical and other forms of neglect and abuse perpetrated against certain people for the exact same reasons as blood atonement. To me what is going on now is the just the modern and more civilized version of the same thing. They use the same terminology, the same lables, the same naming of sins, and the same reasoning. I now know why I see things the way I do. It isn't anti-Mormon sentiment. It isn't paranoia. I know why I take it personally when my father maniacally chops at the trees in the yard. I know why I have nightmares that I'm being chopped up like a tree or a log. It isn't just my love of trees or the environment, but I always suspected there was more to it. There is so much more I can tell you about the abuse and neglect I constantly suffer at the hands of my Mormon relatives, but you have probably lived or at least heard it all. I knew it was all tied together, and you just did that for me. Thanks.

Oct. 2, 2003

Subject: Mormons and Bible

Seems like many of your disagreements with mormons are based on different views the bible. Your view is of an inerrant bible, their view is of a bible that has been corrupted over time and must be interpreted correctly by their prophets. I think your core argument is that they fail to see the bible as the inerrant Word of God. All your arguments about how mormon doctrine conflicts with the bible are beside the point outside of this core argument.

Oct. 4, 2003

Subject: Thanks for responding

... I have used Fanny Alger and JS's revelations [with my son] as an example of how the beliefs were and are changed to fit the desires of man. I have told my son that his salvation in no way depends on a belief in JS and that if he were to believe--hell would be his eternity. ( we are Christians) I was shocked that [his girlfriend] had asked him to convert. He now tells me he feels differently about it. [She] comes from a long line of LDS. ... Her father is a bishop ...

I have come to the personal opinion that Satan wants to try to take over the world by this so called movement. I think that [she] is smart enough that if she was to read about the history of the movement she would be shocked. I do not know how to approach this since the church forbids their seeking out the history. So I have never brought this up to her. I tell my son of my findings, assuring him that I didn't make it up. I feel like a crusader that I must get the truth out.

I look forward to be able to get some of your work I have seen cited.

Thank you so much,

Oct. 4, 2003

Thanks for the info. I have another question: Why do Mormons believe that the atonement was completed in the garden of G[ethsemane] rather than on the cross. Why would they even come up with this? Does it serve a purpose in their doctrine? By the way I admire what you are doing and have ordered some books via your web site and look forward to receiving same. I spent 13 years in the LDS church before God saved me -- Praise Him! I never understood their teachings until God opened my eyes to His word. Again, thank you for your work.

Faithfully in His service,

[Sandra's Note: This came about due to a revelation of Joseph Smith's which emphasized Christ's suffering in the garden as part of the atonement:

"Behold, I, God, have suffered these things for all, that they might not suffer if they would repent; ...which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit" (D&C 19:16, 18).

See our page: Gethsemane and Christ's Blood in LDS References.]

Oct. 4, 2003

Hi friends,

Just checked out your site! love it. I was looking for a great site that would be great for christians, non believers and mormons - I had your book, 'Mormonism, shadow or reality' with lots of other literature from my times of research with 'Ex-Mormons for Jesus' in Orange, Ca......years back - I would like your current edition. Please send me your free stuff, literature, sign me up for your newsletter, and please a catalog!

.... Although I know of your expertise and knowledge about mormonism....it still appears there is controversy out there on you guys - from mormons and christian ministries

who minister to mormons alongside you - and that you are being too soft?????? Well.....I admire you being fair, competent, and well balanced.....compassionate and loving! (at least). How much harder did some want you to become? ... I am an ex-mormon......but still have my name on the church records - my whole family almost still does although only my Dad still attends regularly somewhat - He has opened his mind alot....since I went my own way to become a born-again christian.

Oct. 4, 2003

Subject: Lectures on Faith

To avoid "confusion and contention" the Mormon leaders slyly removed the Lectures on Faith from the Doctrine and Covenants, even though Joseph Smith had thought them important enough to be included. John William Fitzgerald states as follows on page 345 of his thesis, A Study of the Doctrine and Covenants: "The 'Lectures on Faith' were voted on unanimously by the conference assembled August 17, 1835 to be included in the forthcoming book of doctrine and covenants. The writer could find no documentary evidence that they were voted on by the general conference of the Church to be omitted in the 1921 and all subsequent editions of the Doctrine [and] Covenants." [Changing World of Mormonism, p. 185]

I'm trying to find a reference to the [vote on the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants, which included the Lectures on Faith]... and you don't have a reference to it on the page that contains this info so if you have the ref. ... could you please send it to me.

[Sandra's Note: See History of the Church, by Joseph Smith, vol. 2, p.243-251.]

Oct. 4, 2003

Subject: Women's Endowments

Hello! Once again I have a question. You have always been so helpful in the past. :)

I cannot recall or find the information as to when married women, whose husbands were not LDS...or if LDS, not Temple worthy, were allowed to receive their temple endowments on their own.

I can recall, I believe, around 1980's, this decision was made. I do recall a statement by the Prophet at the time saying something to the effect, that dedicated sisters, who had been waiting for years, are finally able to get these endowments on their own, without their husbands and attend the Temple sessions.

Could you please, let me know where and when the statement allowing this was made, and who the Prophet was at that time?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!

[Sandra's Note: I only have this one reference from Sunstone Mag., March 1985:

"Recent talks by General Authorities have made efforts to speak to women in all types of circumstances, whether never-married, divorced, employed etc. Last April, the LDS Church's General Conference included women speakers in each of the sessions.

"The Church's policy was changed a few years ago that opening and closing prayers in sacrament meeting could be offered by men or women. Bishops have been told they can issue temple recommends to both single men and women who qualify but have not served a mission." (Sunstone 10:3/50, March 1985)]

Oct. 5, 2003

Subject: Book of Mormon Debate.

.... Some time ago I [read] Grant Palmer's book An Insider's View of Mormon Origins (Signature, 1999). This book is a bombshell, because frankly it exposes in explicit detail why the Book of Mormon is not an ancient text, but clearly 19th century religious fiction. The ramifications of this could be, and I believe are, horrendous. Until I read Palmer I had kept perhaps a five to ten percent chance/hope that the BoM might be historical, in some way. Palmer demolished that for me, convincingly. I should add here that Palmer continues to be a practicing Mormon. I can't say a believing Mormon, because he does not accept that the BoM is history. He gives it no chance of being history, so he must obviously believe in some fuzzy, feelgood way not based on reality. I did, until he convinced me with a collation of sources, some I hadn't seen before, that there is just no possible way this book can be history.

... There is just no way to answer him, because his sources and the way he has put this book together has the ability to convince even the most staunch Molly Mormon that the BoM is a dud as far as its claim to be history is concerned. What makes this doubly effective is that Palmer is no anti-Mormon. He has calmly, rationally, and convincingly portrayed the BoM in its true light, that it is not what it claims to be, but is a product of the 19th century. Inspirational content aside, there could be a serious case for religious fraud here. ...Palmer... thinks it's inspirational, but he effectively calls it a myth as far as history is concerned, even if a religious myth. I believe too that it's inspirational, but with the information Palmer has provided my last hope of the BoM being a possible historical record, in any sense, was demolished. So I have had to revise all my thinking, and all my beliefs about the BoM. ... when I started reading Palmer, at the suggestion of _____, who mailed me her copy, I was, to say the least, dumbfounded at the impact An Insider's View had on me. ...

When excommunicated Mormon scholar and Biblical scholar Professor David Wright, a contributor to the Anchor Bible series, came to his conclusion that the BoM was not ancient, he had reread all of Nibley's volumes on the BoM and said he could not find anything to substantiate Nibley's view that the BoM was ancient. Yet Wright too continues to assert that the BoM is inspired, though I am not sure exactly what he means by that. I think Shakespeare is inspired too, and the BoM has inspired me like no other religious book. But I/we now have to face some facts here:

1) The BoM claims to be ancient.

2) The evidence does not sustain that belief.

3) If it is not what it claims then it could be a forgery, and also by implication, a fraud.

I suggest, after having read Palmer, that it is no longer tenable to accept the BoM as history in any sense, and therefore it will play upon the minds and hearts of generations of converts to Mormonism to come. Is it right that Mormon missionaries should be allowed to tell people that this book is "an ancient record" when we know it isn't? Something BIGTIME has to give here.

We cannot go on like this, because it is tantamount to telling lies. This is unjustified. It is plain wrong. For those who know, and are informed by people like Palmer, they have a duty to make this known. If the church eventually accepts that the BoM is not ancient, but that it is in some way religiously "inspired" but not binding as history or even theology (and in the book there is the claim that a dark skin is a sign of a curse from God, which Palmer also traced back to the 19th century), then they would have a leg to stand on. But this will diminish conversions to Mormonism radically, and that is the problem. Therefore it is my guess that they will never admit this, but in some wishy-washy way will continue to pedal the line that the BoM is "a history of the Indians". Frankly, as a pseudo-history it is no more valuable than a fictitious tale of Lost Atlantis.

This has been a long and very personal struggle for me, literally encompassing some 30 years. I was and still am deeply moved by the BoM, but knowing what I know now, I can no longer consider it in the same light. It's like the shine has completely gone, because, even with my major doubts about its historicity, I did hold out some hope that in some vague way it could be historical, as suggested by Brant Gardner, a Mormon scholar who continually talks about "translation layers". ... Palmer has confirmed to me that Brant is way off the track, and this is nothing more than fantasising on his part.

What is apparent to me, sadly, is that Mormons are in a deep bind. ... What alternative is there to the dilemma we face with the BoM? You tell me, "how shall we escape these difficulties?" We cannot. All the evidence points to the BoM not being historical, and therefore its claims in that regard are false. And if they are false then the book, no matter how inspirational, is a forgery, and if it is a forgery it is also a fraud. I never in a million years thought I would or even could say that, but how can I escape that logic? ...

Oct. 6, 2003

Thanks for including me on your mailing list & for the most recent newsletter. Keep up the great work. "This stuff is dynamite."


Oct. 6, 2003

Subject: mormons

dear Mr or MrsTanner. Our Son and Daughter in law are mormons and the other day they were talking about sending their three boys to the Missionary when they grew up. ... I have tried so hard to talk to my son but it seems that he is to taken in by their beliefs. I even told him he should your book Shadow or reality. Which I bought from you a long time ago.


[Sandra's Note: Maybe you could get the book An Insider's View of Mormon Origins by a retired LDS Institute of Religion director, Grant Palmer. This is possibly a book your son would be curious to read as it is not from an apostate (although Mr. Palmer no longer accepts the claims of Mormonism, he is still a member). But Mr. Palmer goes over the problems with the basic claims of Mormonism, such as the different accounts of Smith's first vision, problems with the historical accounts relating to their priesthood restoration, problems with the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham being historical, changes in doctrine and in Smith's revelations. After you read it you could give it to your son with a comment something like: 'if the boys are going to be LDS missionaries they should at least be aware of the problems their own educators are struggling with.']

Oct. 7, 2003

Subject: Beneath the Banner of Heaven...


What a great web site you've developed! It's good to see so much information online concerning mormons. I am the pastor of Curwensville Alliance Church, ... and wanted to ask you a couple of questions.

First, I just finished listening to the audio version of Jon Krakauer's book, Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith, and wondered about your take on it. I know that Krakauer is not a Christian, but I wondered about the historic authenticity of his work. Have you read it? Does he take historical liberties?

Second, I wondered if you had any concise outlines of what I might present to people ...here in the East. Mormon influence is small here -- just annual visits from young missionaries knocking on doors -- so in depth information is not necessary.

May God continue to bless your ministry.

Under God's Grace,

[Sandra's Note: Yes, we have read Krakauer's book. It is a good overview of the splinter groups of Mormonism. We quote from it in our current newsletter, #101 Messenger, WANTED: "One Mighty and Strong"

I will send you a packet of material—single sheets you could reproduce for handouts, like our Terminology Differences sheet. I usually go over their view of eternal progression (see chart) showing their belief in men becoming gods, our god not being the first god in the chain. See our section on LDS Theology under Online Resources. Many Mormons, especially in areas where you have a lot of converts, don't know much about real LDS doctrine. On our site is Smith's King Follett sermon. I use this as proof that they believe in multiple gods and men progressing to godhood. If you start with the wrong view of God every other doctrine will be off in some way, kind of like a row of dominoes, push the first one over and all the rest fall as well.

Hope this helps.]

Oct. 7, 2003

Are you familiar with the Name: Porter RockSwell??? If not, I suggest you read his Bio and be aware of his role in the LDS historical archives as a protector of the Church.

A Latter Day Saint

[Sandra's Note: Yes, we sell a very fine biography of him: Orrin Porter Rockwell: Man of God, Son of Thunder, by Harold Schindler, pub. by the Univ. of Utah Press. We have also mentioned him at times in various articles. Just type in 'Rockwell' in the search engine on our site.]

Oct. 7, 2003

Dear Sandra and Gerald,

Many thanks and admiration to you who have helped so many get off the Mormon unmerry-go-round. We all owe you much respect for the hard work you've done and are doing and the great courage it has taken to free so many minds, hearts and spirits. You are spoken of almost in reverence and we want you to know what a great pleasure and joy to know you personally. May our great creator ever bless you. ...

Love and God bless,

Oct. 7, 2003

Subject: Modern day revelation?

We have a Mormon sister-in-law who has opened the door for conversation about Mormons being Christians but have modern day revelations. That they pray for us daily and for churches like ours that condemn Mormonism and pray we will come back to GOD and know just how much He loves us. How do we respond with the WORD and hit a main artery for presenting TRUE Christianity?? Thanks

[Sandra's Note: No easy answers on this but here are a few ideas.

If we are to accept these modern day prophets are we to accept all of their teachings? You could ask her if Smith's King Follett funeral sermon is one of those revelations?

You could then suggest that Christians have a hard time with Smith's teaching that God was once a man and achieved godhood since it contradicts the Bible. See LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible, and Mormons Hope to Become Gods of Their Own Worlds.

Another question is how do we know when the revelation is from God? Is every doctrinal statement by their prophets true, revealed by God? If not, how are the flock to determine when the prophet speaks for God? See How Do We Test a Prophet?

Is Brigham Young one of those prophets? How are we to evaluate his false teaching (even by LDS standards) on Adam-god? blood atonement? polygamy should always be practiced?

Here is a page with a few ideas on talking with Mormons about their faith—Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints.]

Oct. 8, 2003

Subject: end times

I didn't see anything on your web page that dealt with the LDS view of the end times? Do you have anything on that? I am curious to know what they think of Revelation, the Tribulation, the Millennium, etc.

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: The Mormons believe that just prior to the battle of Armageddon Christ will appear at Adam-Ondi-Ahman (in Missouri) to meet with the LDS Church leaders (D&C 78:13-16; sec. 116). Then Armageddon will take place and Christ will set up his millennial rule, and Satan will be bound.

The LDS Church leaders will be acting under Christ 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.)]

Oct. 8, 2003





Oct. 8, 2003

Subject: Just Another Thanks :)


Just wanted to add my two cents to your pile of letters...

Thanks for your ongoing work to expose the truth. It amazes me that so many people will turn a blind eye, after all the facts have been laid out before them. They continue to walk in darkness and curse the light.

We all need to remember to never put our trust in man, but instead to place our trust in the Lord. That starts with God's original Word, the Bible. Had everyone done that from the get-go, they never would've been taken in by the all these cults. However, people will always believe want they want to believe. They continue to exchange the truth for a lie; choosing to believe a man made organization and a false prophet over God.

My prayers are with you that you open the eyes and hearts of the millions of people, who have been led astray by the lies of the LDS church.

Peace In Christ,

Oct. 9, 2003

Subject: innocent blood


The arrival of the Messenger this afternoon reminds me to ask for information I very much need to know. Can you tell me who was covered by the doctrine of innocent blood in the church's early days. Did it include only Mormons qualified to receive the Lord at His Second Coming and children up to age eight? Or was the designation wider than that? Or was it that specific at all? Your help on this either by sending a few words or recommending a source would be warmly appreciated. I send my best wishes to you both.

[Sandra's Note: Our books Mormon Kingdom, vol. 1 & 2 go into some of this.  There were several different types of LDS killings: blood atonement to save someone (like when someone broke their temple covenant), avenging the blood of the prophets (which wouldn't have to do with 'saving' anyone), and getting rid of dissenters.  The Doctrine & Covenants says children are accountable at age eight (D&C 68:25) so killing a child under 8 would be shedding innocent blood. But Mormon leaders were also considered 'innocent blood.'

In Mormon Kingdom, vol. 1, starting on p.32, we quote LDS references for reasons for various killings:

  1. Murder
  2. Adultery and immorality
  3. Stealing
  4. Using the name of the Lord in vain
  5. For not receiving the gospel
  6. For marriage to an African
  7. For covenant breaking
  8. For apostasy
  9. For lying
  10. For counterfeiting

Here are some LDS references relating to innocent blood—

Wilford Woodruff, Waiting for World's End, p.172, 1856:

[April] 15th I met with President B. Young at his office with G. A. Smith & T. Bullock. Red Church History to him. I am about getting inniciated into my office as assistant Historian. While reading the revelation upon the patriarchal marriage & While reading that paragraph relating to the sheding of innocent Blood President Young remarked that that was a vary nice point to distinguish between innocent Blood & that which is not innocent. Were we now Commanded to go & avenge the Blood of the prophets whare it would reach infants from the Cradle to the third & forth generation would they know what to do in such a case? They would not. But there is one thing that is a consolation to me And that is I am satisfied that the Lord will not require it of this people untill they become sanctifyed & are led by the spirit of God so as not to shed inocent Blood.

Heber C. Kimball, December 21, 1856, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p.140:

You read, in the revelation that God gave through Joseph the Prophet, concerning the plurality of wives, that all shall be redeemed, except those who sinned against the Holy Ghost by shedding innocent blood or consenting thereto, after having entered into the new and everlasting covenant. Thus you can see that a man or woman that consents to the shedding of innocent blood is partaker of the crime, and is just as bad as the one that committed the deed; and that the damnation is just as sure to the accessory as to the principal, which is also in accordance with the law of the land. Now suppose that one of our Elders will associate with the ungodly, with apostates, with adulterers, with whoremongers and liars, and will tamely sit and bear them damn brother Brigham and brother Heber and every thing that is pure and holy, without rising up and reproving them, I wish to know if he is not just as bad as the characters that conduct so wickedly? Yes, he is. And those that will quietly sit and hear such language are partakers of that sin, and will soon begin to curse and swear with those wicked persons.  If you do not repent of these things and stop them, there are many among this people that will be damned.

Heber C. Kimball, February 8, 1857, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 4, p.223:

And those that killed Joseph and Hyrum, and David W. Patten, and other Patriarchs and Prophets, I wish they were in hell; though I need not wish that, for in one sense they are in hell all the time; and if they have not literally gone down into hell they will go there, as the Lord God lives every one of them, and every man that consented to the acts those murderers performed. That is loving the wicked, to send them there to hell to be burnt out until they are purified. Yes, they shall go there and stay there and be burnt, like an old pipe that stinks with long usage and corruption, until they are burnt out, and then their spirits may be saved in the day of God Almighty. It is my feelings that they may be damned for their awful iniquity in shedding innocent blood, as also all who sanction their acts, both men and women, together with all who associate with them and partake of their spirit, for that spirit is opposite to God and His servants.

Brigham Young, August 3, 1862, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p.333:

The people in the States have violated the Constitution in closing their ears against the cries of the oppressed, and in consenting to shedding innocent blood, and now war, death and gloom are spread like a pall over the lined, which state of things will sooner or later spread all over the world. The world is at war against the truth, and against those who propagate it. Are they opposed to canting hypocrites in the garb of parsons? No. Will they ridicule a black-attired blackguard and pelt him with mud and rotten eggs even though he should lecture against God, Christ, and the Holy Scriptures? No, but they will fight against the truth which has been reveled from heaven, "and this is the condemnation that light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil." The wicked hate the light because it maketh manifest their evil deeds, and they love to dwell in darkness, thinking to cover their sins from the public gaze and from the eye of God; but in the due time of the Almighty their deeds will be exposed upon the house tops. This is the reason why the religious and political factions of this land united their energies to slay the Prophet Joseph Smith, and to banish the religion of Jesus, because they saw that it would instruct, inform, and unite the people.

Wilford Woodruff, June 30, 1878, Journal of Discourses, Vol. 19,  p.362:

It costs something to shed innocent blood, it costs something to shed the blood of prophets and apostles. And I have sometimes taken the liberty, before strangers as well as Latter-day Saints, to express my views in regard to shedding the blood of Joseph Smith and other prophets. It has cost this nation four years' war, laying in the dust nearly a million and a half of men, and it has also cost millions upon millions of dollars, creating a debt which it will never live to pay. This is the faith of Willard Woodruff, and I think I have a right to exercise my faith in this matter. I say then, it costs something to shed the blood of righteous men in this as well as in previous generations.

Hope this helps.]

Oct. 9, 2003

Subject: Did God Act Alone?

Dear Sandra Tanner,

On your webpage, "LDS View Contradicts the Bible," you wrote the following:


"I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself." Isa. 44:24

"By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth." Psa. 33:6

"Thou hast made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth, and all things that are therein, the seas, and all that is therein, and thou preservest them all." Neh. 9:6

The LDS god cooperated with the Council of Gods to create. I know Isaiah 44:24 says that the Lord did two things by himself, but where in the Bible does it specifically state that the Lord made "all things by himself"?

Furthermore, how can you say that the Lord made all things by himself, when God said, "Let us make man in our image" (Gen 1:26). Doesn't this verse indicate that the Lord did not act alone in the creation of man?


[Sandra's Note: The same God speaking in Isa. 44:24 said in vr. 6: "I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God." Verse 8 says: Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any." Then in ch. 45:5: "I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me." Thus Isaiah's God was not part of a Council of Gods. He alone is the creator of all things.

Read The New Mormon Challenge, ch. 3 & 4; The Counterfeit Gospel of Mormonism, ch. 2 & 3; Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons, ch.13 &14.]

Oct. 9, 2003

Thank you so much for the information. I have a letter that was sent by a Mormon councelor refuting some things and I will read this now and I will be able to use your info to share the TRUTH as you lead right to where we need to be in the BIBLE. We have bought your book Shadow or Reality and some other resources and they are wonderful. Thank you for your faithfulness to bringing the TRUTH to the LDS church. Pray for open hearts to hear. You will probably hear from me again. Thanks for your time.

Oct. 9, 2003


1. Are Mormons going to HELL? (Y/N)

2. Considering that question's fundamental importance, why is it not addressed on the website?

[Sandra's Note: People do not go to hell or heaven because they are Mormon, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, or Baptist. Heaven is for those who have put their whole trust for eternal life in the atonement of Christ. John wrote: "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him." John 3:36

You might find this site helpful:


Oct. 9, 2003

Subject: Thank you for your site

Dear friends,

I thank God for your website. My son is in the military and his girlfriend (who is also in the military - at another base) has become involved with some Mormons. She has attended church with them and is very attracted to their good lifestyles.

My son asked me about Mormonism. I bought Fast Facts on Mormonism by John Ankerberg and John Weldon, published by Harvest House. It listed your website as a resource. I was able to refer my son to it. [His friend] was not raised in a church. Her mom is a nominal Catholic. Our son was raised in the Christian and Missionary Alliance and the Wesleyan Church. Mike has been trying to tell Kim that Mormonism is considered a cult, but she isn't listening. She said he's just afraid of the unknown.

Well, since I bought the book, I have learned more about Mormonism than I ever knew. It frightens me. Anyway, I've told [my son] what I've learned and he is going to send your website link to [his friend]. I am praying for [her]. She is a sweet girl who is searching for something. Mormonism comes packaged in nice wrapping.

In Matthew 7:15-20 Jesus warns us of false prophets, who come to us in sheep's clothing. I am thankful to God that my son is trying to help [her] and is retaining his own faith. I am thankful that you have made this website available. I am praising God tonight because my son has finally told me that he had invited Jesus to be his personal Savior. I have prayed about this for years. Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!

Oct. 10, 2003

Subject: General Authority's falsehood

You are, no doubt, aware of the lies of Paul H Dunn, LDS general authority, a few years ago. I thought I would bring to your attention that one of Gene R Cook's best-known stories also appears to be a fabrication.

It's the story of an encounter he supposedly had with Mick Jagger. The story is very popular. I myself first heard it in about 1988 or 89. Gene Cook appears to have retold it on a number of occasions. It is available as a tape entitled "13 Lines of Defense", sold by Deseret Book. The following websites give the transcript of the story as Gene Cook related it in 1989 at Ricks College, Rexburg ID.


Notwithstanding the story's popularity, it always struck me as flawed and implausible. I recently spoke with Lucy Hopkins, the Rolling Stones' publicity manager. She had never heard of this supposed encounter, and was greatly amused by my verbal summary of the story. She asked me to e mail to her the website addresses that quote this story, which I did. I thought you might be interested in her response:

Hi _____,

thank you for your e-mail but I can assure you that this a complete fabrication and nothing more than someone having fun with their imagination!

Best regards,


(PR, TV & Radio Promotions, Marketing)

Oct. 10, 2003

Subject: Book of Mormon


I read a lot of what you had to say in the evidences against Mormon archeology. ... I am not a Mormon, and nor have I ever been or have any affliliation with the Church in Utah.

My question is that if you believe the Mormons are "in direct contradiction" of the Book of Mormon, do you then believe in the book, and just not the church?

Or do you disreguard the book because of the church? Because I disbelieve in the doctrine of the Mormon church because I know good and well it contradicts the book of Mormon. I however believe in the book of Mormon, because of the fact that I find no contradictions of the Book of Mormon and the Bible when put together. Besides if I don't believe in the Catholic doctrine that doesn't mean I don't belive in the Bible, right?

I've had experiences where I asked God, crying and pleading with him to show me the truth, and I opened up the Book of Mormon with tears running down my cheeks after this prayer, and the Lord gave me a scripture in Moroni 7:16 ... What I'm trying to get at is sure there 'may' not be much or any archeological evidences that co-incide with the Book of Mormon, maybe because it doesn't fit, or you don't want it to fit... I don't know, but what I do know is that for over a 1,000 years Christians took everything about the Bible of faith... After all you said the "earliest archaeological reference to the people of Israel" is a stele of the Egyptian ruler Merneptah which is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. In The Biblical World (pp.380-81)..." (page 145) ...

Where is there place for faith I ask you? ... However the Book of Mormon is so beautiful because it is a means to use faith. Not only am I stepping out on faith with the Book of Mormon, and the Spirit of God has confirmed it to me, but it helps explain God's plan where the Bible isn't so clear. If you think about it, I know you surely have read the Book of Mormon, because you know that the Mormons contradict the Book of Mormon, but you never mention that the Bible contradicts the Book of Mormon, or that the Book of Mormon contradicts the Bible.

Before I finish is that you bring up the argument of "Professor Anthon" about the plates. You mention "The second statement is still more objectionable-that there were found in the possession of a man by the name of Laban, a relative of Lehi's, and also a resident of the city of Jerusalem, certain brass plates upon which were engraven, in the Egyptian language," ... But later you go on to talk about and defend the artifacts of the Israelites being mentioned in "steles" found written in 'Egypitan'. "the existence of the Israelites is verified by many inscriptions dating back hundreds of years before the time of Christ. The "earliest archaeological reference to the people of Israel" is a stele of the Egyptian ruler Merneptah which is now in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo." (page 145 on your website) If there is evidences of Steles with Jewish history written in Egyptian (and you rightfully claim so) Why then do you dispute that Laban could have plates of Jewish history in Egyptian hieroglyphics? If it happend once before couldn't it happen again?

Besides the Steles were written before the history of Nephi even bares record that he went to Laban for the plates. So how could it not be possible for plates of brass to have Jewish history with Egyptian Hieroglyphics?

Last issue of discussion is that you mention this about Professor Anthon... "Martin Harris claimed that "Professor Anthon stated that the translation was correct, more so than any he had before seen from the Egyptian...""...In a letter dated February 17, 1834, Professor Anthon denied that he had endorsed the translation:" (page 142 of your website)

Later as history shows Joseph Smith continued to translate the plates of brass. Tell me what you think of this scripture in the Bible...(Isaiah 29:11-14) ...

This is all about the book of Mormon and their are plenty of other scriptures that lay out the Book of Mormon, and how they shall be one in thy hand... (Ezekiel 37:16-21 ...) The Chapter continues to go on, and is very clear as to what it is talking about... (Seed of Joseph, in corralation with the Book of Mormon)

May God bless you,

[Sandra's Note: Jerald and I gave up believing the LDS Church before we gave up the Book of Mormon. I did pray about the Book of Mormon and have read it many times. Not only did God give me the spiritual confirmation that it is not true, He led me to sufficient evidence to verify the story never happened. Simply because one can find spiritually uplifting material in the Book of Mormon is not enough to establish that it is a record of God's dealings with people in the Americas. Christian bookstores are full of inspiring books that no one would call 'scripture.'

We do have an article on contradictions. See: Bible and Book of Mormon Contradictions

As for the Bible, there were always evidences for the Christians. Unlike the Book of Mormon, many of the cities in the Bible were known. Christians through the centuries were familiar with the Bible lands and visited places like Jerusalem. The Israelites had preserved their scriptures in their temple and in their synagogues. The Christians had copies of these various writings plus the gospels and the early letters of the apostles to the various churches. These were handed down from one generation to the next.

There is no parallel in the Americas. There is no civilization descended from the Nephites and Lamanites. The ruins in southern Mexico and Guatemala were built by the Mayans, a pagan people with no connection to Israelites. Their buildings are covered with their writings. Joseph Smith gave us a supposed sample of the writing of the Book of Mormon people, which is very different from the Mayan script. Smith's type of script has never been found in any archeological excavation.

As for the Merneptah stele, here is a site with a picture of it and a good article on the issues.


Steles are stone monuments, not writings on metal. This particular stele contains a message by the Egyptians where there is a mention of Israel, but it is not written by Hebrews in Egyptian script. It is Egyptians writing their own history in their language.

As for the 29th chapter of Isaiah, LDS leaders have read their own interpretation into this and have failed to see that the whole chapter is a prophecy of the Messiah coming and setting up the kingdom of God. This was fulfilled by Jesus.

At the beginning of the chapter God condemns Israel and Isaiah prophecies doom to the city of Jerusalem. Mormons center in on the "voice" from the dust and relate it to the hidden Nephite record. But it is a word picture of Jerusalem's devastation. Then LDS focus on verses 11-12 as being fulfilled by Martin Harris when he took some of the Book of Mormon pages to Professor Anthon. But this section of Isaiah refers to the failure of Israel to listen to God's direction; their "learned" men were unable to understand God's prophecies. Mormons also try to tie into verse 14 about the "marvelous work and a wonder" that God is going to do, claiming it is a prophecy about the founding of Mormonism. However, this verse relates to Christ's coming and his establishing the kingdom of God. See Matt. 21:42. A good discussion of this chapter can be found in Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons, pp. 92-100.]

Oct. 10, 2003

Subject: Grateful thanks

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Tanner,

... I would like to commend you on your dedication to shining the light in the dark places. The fact that you have probably faced a lot of hardship in your personal and professional lives over the years and yet have persevered is a testament to you. You MUST know Jesus as your Lord & Savior. There is no other way that humans alone could stand up to this type of duress. It takes the love of our Savior and His strength to meet the challenges that you meet on a daily basis.

I want to thank you also for your dedication on a personal level since the materials you have produced over the years are directly responsible for my leaving Mormonism and educating as many people as I can about the "Church". Had your book The Changing World of Mormonism, not fallen into my hands, I would probably still be trapped in the web spun by the Church. I am eternally grateful to you both and look forward to the day in Heaven when I can meet you in person (unless I get to SLC someday before I leave this world!) and thank you face-to-face.

Thank you again for all that you're doing. Your reward will be great for standing firm in the true faith of our Lord!


Oct. 11, 2003

Hi...We are currently pastoring a Foursquare Church in ... OR... [My husband] was saved in 1984 out of the LDS Church...His family is 5 generations of Mormons...[He] & one other cousin is all we know that have ever come out...[My husband] & I were married in the temple & very active, both holding positions in the church... [He] was Ex. Secretary at the time of his conversion. He had a tremendous born again experience & was completely delivered from Mormonism. Anyway there's to much to tell...[My husband] was called by God when he was saved...3 years later we left for Multnomah Bible College in Portland OR...We have been pastoring since 1991...

Oct. 11, 2003

I want to address something that has made me ashamed to be included in today's world of Christianity. I am a Christian of evangelical faith and what I have witnessed my own people do has caused me to view them with distaste and the feeling that they are possessed of evil. I am speaking on behalf of attacks on people of the Mormon faith, now, I do not claim to agree with everything they teach but they do believe in Christ, that he is the Son of God and the only way by which we can obtain salvation.

Just because they are different in other ways does not give other Christian groups the right to attack them....where is the Christianity in that, that is merely mobocracy, the actions of people like the Klan, or in the early days of Christ the same hatred that the Roman's felt toward the Christians. Hate is hate and Christ preached against it, I could not see him mocking someone else, if he did not think something right he turned from it and has instructed us to do the same.

He did not say "Beware of false prophets, oh and by the way if you see one or one of his followers mock them, kill them, humiliate them, he just said "Beware of false prophets." It is not for us to judge anyone, especially if we do not understand their faith through our own eyes instead of through the eyes of bigots.

... At least the LDS people try more to be moral, family oriented people, who do you think Christ will pay more attention to, someone who lives that way or someone who turns one group of people against another... But people like you lead aggression, contention, put bitterness in people's hearts, the very opposite of what Christ did when he was on the earth. He didn't throw the stone at the woman, he told the brethren they could not throw a stone unless they were totally free of sin and then he showed compassion to the woman. Why are you throwing stones? Are you that perfect? Because according to the scriptures you shouldn't be throwing anything unless you are perfect, else judgement will be made upon you. I am sorry for you, I hope you can find the true Christian way, the way of Christ and not man.

[Sandra's Note: Hi, not sure what we have done that has caused you such distress. If your email is in response to the recent antics at the LDS conference where some ministers were mocking the LDS temple garments and waving them around, I agree that is not the way to demonstrate Christian love. We had nothing to do with that and have always told people to treat the LDS people with respect.

I have no problem with someone standing outside temple square handing out tracts, but I disagree with those who openly shout derogatory statements at people. We have never advocated any type of rude behavior towards them.

As to writing about the errors of Mormonism, even Christ and Peter warned about false prophets, see: How Do We Test a Prophet?

Most of the epistles in the New Testament address problems of false doctrine, like Galatians, not just positive teachings.

Yes, Christ was accepting of all but he also repeatedly denounced the false teachings of the Pharisees. (Matt.23:13) And yes, we should only be approaching people from a heart of love and concern. But part of seeking truth is understanding what is false.]

Oct. 11, 2003

Subject: Hello Tanners !!!

... I just wanted to let you know that I was cruising through your site, which I do from time to time, and I came across your messenger #100 portion. After catching up on some DNA evidence, I found some of the many e-mails that you receive posted there. My goodness, what a range of emotions you're asked to endure.

So I thought I would send off this letter of support as a small token of thanks for the work you do and the countless lives you have touched. I find it absolutely amazing that you can offer such irrefutable evidence as DNA and the J.S. papyri, and yet be called "evil" and "tools of the devil" by those who need to have a good long look in the mirror themselves. Do these people actually believe that you made these things up? Remarkable. Teach me how to plant DNA in a native american someday, won't you?

Sadly, these people are hard core to the tune of Linus and the Great Pumpkin. We're not talking theology here, we're talking actual, physical proof. How blind can they be? Never mind, I can answer that. They can be as blind as their family, friends, and church have taught them to be. But your site also proves that many of these people can think for themselves and make miraculous recoveries. Good for them. But more to the point, good for you and the work you do. Thank you again!!!

In Christ,

Oct. 11, 2003

Subject: Mormonism's power to hold.


I was active LDS for 30 years, including the mission thing and the other "must dos." Lots of serious research convinced me it just wasn't true.

Just thought I'd share with you a comment my former LDS wife made during an attempted discussion about our belief differences and a last-ditch effort at reconciliation. She looked at me and said. "I don't WANT to know what you know. It might change who I am."

So much for integrity...either intellectual or spiritual. Mormons are wonderful people, but they are not (as a group) noted for their craving of "truth at all costs."

Oct. 12, 2003

Subject: Morman marrige.

My grandson was recently married in the Morman temple. I am not a Morman and was not allowed to attend.

Please tell me where I can get information as to what took place during the ceremony.

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: The first step is to take out one's "endowment" prior to the actual marriage. Upon arrival at the LDS temple the men and women go to separate locker rooms. They then change out of their street clothes and put on a white covering, something like a poncho.

Each person then goes to a special booth where attendants of the same sex anoint the person's body with oil and water, repeating various prayers, and then assist the person with putting on the new temple underwear. This under-garment, produced by the LDS Church, is available in both one and two-piece styles. The man's is usually of cotton (like a tee shirt and briefs that come to the knee) and the woman's of nylon or other synthetic material (like a camisole top with short sleeves and panties that go to the knee). On the breasts of all styles (men's and women's) are small embroidery stitches in the form of a compass and square, and look like a letter L and V. These symbols were taken from Freemasonry. There is also symbolic stitching at the naval and right knee. The garment is to be worn day and night, except for bathing and athletics. The person will also be given a new name for eternity—like Peter, Paul, Mary, Elizabeth, etc.

After the person dresses in this garment he/she puts on a white outfit (long dress or pants and shirt), hat or veil, and white slippers. The person will carry a small bundle containing a green apron (representing Adam and Eve's apron) and white robe to be placed over one shoulder later in the ceremony.

They then proceed to the auditorium where they watch a film on the creation (LDS version) and see Adam and Eve being instructed by Peter, James and John on special handshakes and pass words needed to gain entrance into God's presence. Everyone is taught these same handshakes, passwords, and put under oath to obey the church and support it with all they have.

Each person is then brought to the front of the room to symbolically act out giving the handshakes and passwords to God, played by a man standing behind a curtain. They are then granted permission to enter the Celestial Kingdom, and pass through the veil into a reception room. The actual wedding could take place right after this endowment ceremony, or the couple could come back in a few days for the wedding service. They will again dress in the temple clothing, go to a small reception room, with a few friends or family, and kneel at an altar where they will repeat the temple handshakes and the attendant will say a short marriage ceremony, promising them that their marriage will last through eternity if they are faithful to Mormonism.

For more on this, see our book Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony. The chapter detailing the 1990 LDS temple ceremony is reproduced at http://www.irr.org/mit/endowment.html

Pictures of the LDS temple clothing can be seen at http://www.mormonismi.net/english.html

We realize that the publishing of this material might offend some Mormons, however, since they insist that participation in these secret rituals is necessary for one to enter God's presence, we feel people have the right to know ahead of time what they are being asked to participate in and what covenants they will be asked to make.]

Oct. 12, 2003

Subject: Deuteronomy & Revelation?

Our brother in law who is Mormon has asked us why we believe that you cannot add to the Bible? He brought up the verses in Deut. and revelation about not adding to the Bible but said that the Bible did after Deuteronomy so why can't they have the new revelation like we did in revelation? This has been a long awaited opening for this conversation so are need of some answers?

Thank you so much!

[Sandra's Note: Look at the verse: Deut 4:2—Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.

The basic principle is: Whatever God says, don't change it. These verses show that when God has spoken (like when he gave the ten commandments or gave his revelation to John), no one has the right to alter the words. I do not use the verse in Rev. to prove that the New Testament was ended at that point, even though it was the last book of the Bible to be written. The verses have nothing to do with saying the canon of the Bible was closed at that point, only that whatever God has reveled to Moses, Paul, John, etc. is not to be altered.

So the problem for the Mormon is why did Joseph Smith change his revelations in the Doctrine and Covenants, Book of Mormon and Pearl of Great Price? Mormons say the Bible has been changed so we can't trust it. But what about Smith's scriptures? He changed them. If God had truly spoken those scriptures, Smith had no right to change them. Also, Smith made changes in the Bible when he did his revision (even to the book of Revelation).]

Oct. 13, 2003

Subject: Question about the BOM


Does the Book of Mormon have quotes from Shakespeare's Hamlet or Macbeth? If so, what are the verses and quotes? It would really contribute to revealing the truth about mormonism! ...

Thank you for sending free pamphlets to my place by the way. Keep it up.

I'll contribute when I can.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, there is a phrase similar to Hamlet, Act 3, Scene l.


Book of Mormon, 2 Nephi 1:14
...from whence no traveller can return;...

Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 3, Scene 1
...from whose bourn no traveler returns...

For more on this see our book Mormonism—Shadow or Reality?, p.84.]

Oct. 13, 2003

Dear Mr & Mrs. Tanner:

...Congratulations on your important work. I came to know Christ over 30 years ago, and I left Mormonism soon thereafter as a result of what was the "Modern Microfilm Co." [Tanners' printing company prior to setting up Utah Lighthouse Ministry in 1983.]


Oct. 13, 2003

Greetings from Oshkosh, WI!

My wife and I have a large family (5 kids), so we are not able to support worthy ministries such as yours with much. We have enclosed ... to help with the cost of producing and mailing your "Messenger." Without going into details, your information has been used to instruct others about the heresies of the LDS "church." Thanks for "sticking by the stuff."

Oct. 15, 2003

Wow! What an awesome web site! Praise Jesus, and that you seeked the Truth out for yourselves. Thank you for all the work you have done in your Ministry. May it touch many people's lives because of Him!

Oct. 15, 2003

Subject: My Opinion

First of all let me start by stating, I'm a firm believer in the KJV and JESUS was, is and will always be the One and only Messiah. The Bible does state, {The Church of Jesus Christ}, is the true church! This is the body of Christ, not the name of a church and from what I've learned from studying and visiting of the Church of Jesus Christ of LDS, that's not at all what their name {LDS} implies. It seems as if LDS worship the memory of Joseph Smith and his doctrines more then GOD, himself. If the LDS want to be the Christian's they profess to be, maybe they should read the last few verse's of the KJV, {Rev 22:18-19}, as these scriptures should shed some light on the Book of Mormons. My heart goes out to those in darkness now and in the past!

I do believe Joseph Smith may have had a vision from God in the beginning as a small lad, but through the years he let his own emotions interfere and in the end I believe he turned his back on God! Never will I believe God gave him the words for the Book of Mormons because God would be contradicting Himself by what is stated in the KJV! {Even the LDS agree the KJV was written first}. Man may have translated the KJV, but who do the LDS think translated the Book of Mormons? The KJV has not been changed since it was translated, but the Book of Mormons has had many new changes throughout the years. Even Joseph Smith's first vision was changed from 1 to 2 figures that visited him in the woods as a small lad.

To the gang at the Utah Lighthouse, keep up the good work and may God richly bless you all.

Oct. 15, 2003

Subject: Can you help?

Hello, and thank you for your services that you provide in light of our lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Your services have been a blessing for my family.

My Husband recently put his faith in Jesus Christ, our lord and Saviour. We are now taking interest in removing his name from the LDS church. Our question is, Do we need to take action in removing my name and our infant daughters name also? My daughter and I have both never been a part of the church. I have often heard about their extensive records of family members and my mother-in-law is active in the genealogy research for the LDS.

Thank you

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for the note and glad to hear about your husband. You could send a letter to the bishop requesting that you and your daughter be removed from any mailing lists or visitation lists. If your husband has yet to send in his letter withdrawing his membership he could include a request to remove all of you from any contact list.]

Oct. 16, 2003

As an objective reader, I question why you waste such talent and effort on disproving religion?  I personally think the Mormons have made marvelous contributions to the world.  They are a good people and are taught good principles for living. Why don't you put this brilliant effort into finding a cure for cancer and make yourselves useful???

Oct. 16, 2003


My name is _____ and I have recently joined the Mormon church. I do not understand why there are so many anti-Mormon websites. Whenever I type in the word Mormon my screen is bombarded with website addresses of many organizations like yours. I have only been a member for a few months but feel that I have a very strong testimony.

When I was a child I used to attend many non-denominational Christian churches with the my parents. I learned by watching them and many other people in those churches that they say one thing and do another. I feel that I have found the truth and I feel that joining the Mormon church is the best thing that anyone can do for themselves. I just wish that "Christian ministries" like yours would leave Mormonism alone.

I do not mean to sound harsh I just want to make my point.

Oct. 16, 2003

Subject: comment

Dear Sandra,

I am impressed by the wealth of information available at your site. I have been visiting it for a little over a year now, and I find everything to have been well researched and delineated.

What I wish to comment on today is your "Letters to the Editor" section. I can't help but note that while there are many praises to you, requests for information from "investigators", etc, the comments from LDS members that you post are invariably inarticulate and childish sounding. Are these particular emails posted intentionally to promote a misconception of the generalized intelligence of the members of the LDS church, or are these just the only types of correspondence that you receive from people of my faith?

I would appreciate a response, if you could find the time. This is something that I have long wondered about and found, if you'll forgive me saying so, amusing. :)

Once again, I do want to praise you for the site. It's wonderful to have a place where information is so readily available.


[Sandra's Note: The emails on our site are the typical responses I receive. I do not select only the 'childish' ones. The ones used are typical as to quantity for or against and tone. I suspect a number of the LDS emails are coming from teenagers, which may account for some of the simplistic responses.]

Oct. 17, 2003

Subject: questions web site about mormonism

I am just curious how this deep search into mormonism got started. How did your story begin? Were you just curious about a group of you lived near, were you a family member of a mormon from the early days, were you a member of that church and found info that didn't seem to mesh? I am just curious about your ideas, motivations, where you get all of your info, etc.

Thank you

[Sandra's Note: Jerald and I are from fifth generation LDS families. We left Mormonism and turned to a Bible-based faith due to research we were doing during our courtship. See: Topical Index: Tanner, Jerald and Sandra.]

Oct. 17, 2003

Subject: Website

We hate Mormons, they'll rot in hell, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah...

Stumbled upon your site recently while seeking to learn the nuances of the Law of Chastity (I do believe you so-called Christians, as Protestants, believe in the Bible's command to follow this law). While your site may have effected me a month or so ago, I now realize, 36 hours from my second baptism, this one in the LDS church, that groups like yours exist solely to pervert the teachings of the LDS church.

After spending 18 years in five protestant denominations, being a victim of Assault 1 in one of them, having incompetent teachers without answers to serious questions, and generally having a pall of inauthenticity, boringness, and lack of caring from fellow "Christians", I realize the Mormon church is the sole alternative to the hate mongers of Protestantism. My mother is disappointed that I am being baptized, she wants me to "examine other churches". Too bad that, for my entire life, every one of those "other churches" betrayed me with hurtful people and shady doctrine.

The LDS doesn't condemn you, why must you rail on as if you had the authority to teach on this topic? Are you afraid that Catholocism and most Protestant sects are losing members, while new Mormons, those created by procreation aside, are growing rapidly and internationally? We practice what you practice, with the addition of a modern-day prophet, a question asked by so many, but unable to be answered by your inept teachers. You imply that we do not believe in Jesus Christ; I implore you to visit Temple Square in Salt Lake City and tell me that with a straight face. I have always believed in Christ, and for the first time ever, I attend a church where those around me are actually Christlike. The church is a family into and of itself.

Your attempts to create an Anarchist's Cookbook for ex-Mormons is getting a bit old. ... Please don't condemn people like me who have made decisions, based on the Holy Spirit in our lives, to choose between two directions at the fork in the road... continue in misery, lies, and hatred, or begin anew as followers of the Church with the most common sensical and Biblically supported answers.

Oct. 17, 2003

Dear Tanners

Thanks for the issue 101- Oct 2003. On page 15- the letter from the pastor in Virginia, maybe his people would be interested in door hangers I bought from Mormon Research Ministry [www.mrm.org]. They aren't really expensive.

Thanks for the newsletter. I loved the paragraph on p.12 - top, right - "whatever the prophet says, if he's not mistaken."

Enclosed is a small check. Keep up the true Gods' work!

In his service,

Oct. 18, 2003

I am in discussion with a mormon elder and he presented references in the Holy Bible which tells of the Book of Mormon. I.e. the sticks of Joseph. many mansion etc. Please provide me literature or something which gives me the real meaning of those verses.


[Sandra's Note: Read our Book of Mormon Overview. Also, see the Online Resources section, LDS Theology. Then read Cowan's book, Mormon Claims Answered. You would also find the book Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons helpful.]

Oct. 18, 2003

Subject: Please answer

Through research, I have educated myself out of the Mormon church. However, the same can be said regarding Christianity and all other religions. The flood of Noah never happened, nor the Tower of Babel, nor a 'virgin' birth, nor Joshua and the sun standing still, nor Adam and Eve, nor Jonah and the big fish, nor cud-chewing rabbits, and a zillion other contraditions. Science disproves the Book of Mormon AND parts of the Bible. So my 'one' question is-- Being the intelligent people you are, and the research that you do, and your accuracy in debunking Mormonism, where is your skepticism towards the Bible and its fallacies and your 'selective believing'?

[Sandra's Note: The Bible is on a completely different footing than the Book of Mormon. There are Israelites, there is a Jerusalem, Hebrew and Greek are real languages and there are thousands of ancient manuscripts for the Bible. None of these items exist for the Book of Mormon or supposed Nephite/Lamanite civilization. Granted, there are issues of disagreement among scholars of the Bible. The Old Testament poses more challenges than the New Testament simply because most of the historical material has been lost. But it is not a modern invention like the Book of Mormon. I would recommend reading The Stones Cry Out, The New Testament Documents, From God to Us and When Critics Ask.]

Oct. 19, 2003

Subject: How can a Mormon get kicked out for being a Christian?

I am an ex Mormon and would like to know how I can be kicked out of the church, i.e. have my name removed from their membership list. I would like to be kicked out for heresy because of speaking out against the lies and maybe get some Mormons to see the Truth in the process. Can you do research to find out how one would be kicked out for heresy or help me accomplish my goal.

[Sandra's Note: See How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records. You have to send a letter to the bishop of the ward you currently live in. In this letter you can state all your reasons for not believing Mormonism, etc.

Also see: http://www.exmormon.org ]

Oct. 19, 2003

Subject: life

I was raised in the Mormon beliefs and now attend the Christian Missionary Alliance church. I don't know what to think sometimes but I want to think what is right but mostly I want to know without a doubt that Christ loves me despite whatever I was taught and that I am not condemned for this. thank you

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. The wonderful thing about Christianity is that there is always forgiveness. (See 1 John 1:7-9) A good book to read is Out of the Cults and into the Church. A good tape is Sandra Tanner Tape No. 4 (two talks—'Struggles of Leaving Mormonism' and 'Obstacles to Leaving Mormonism').

A good online support group is at www.irr.org/mit

Hope this helps.]

Oct. 19, 2003

Dear Mr & Mrs Tanner:

I have followed off and on over the years your differences with the Mormon Church.

I myself do not agree with the doctrine they put out. I was born and raised in "the church" atmosphere, but the brain washing didn't take.

For a number of years I have wanted my name removed from their rolls, but have not had my wishes fulfilled. Could you help me in this matter?

I have heard that you know a procedure to accomplish this task. So before I pass on to what ever is there, I want to know I go with my own free will and spirit. ...

[Sandra's Note: See How to Remove Your Name from the LDS Records.]

Oct. 20, 2003






Oct. 20, 2003

Subject: Plagiarism

Looks like you totally plagiarized the Bible too...

" 'As we have' (Gal 6:10) already pointed out, Joseph Smith's Book of Moses is also 'filled with' (Ex 35:35) material that has been plagiarized 'from the' (Gen 49:32) New Testament. Moses 6:52, for example, has quotations 'from a' (Amos 5:19) number of New Testament passages. Below 'we have' (Num 12:11) set this verse in regular type and added similar material 'found in' (2 Kgs 20:13) ... "

When you attack something out of ignorance, and your case is so absurd, your entire argument is lost.

(and be baptized--Acts 2:38)
(which is Jesus Christ--I Corinthians 3:11)

I hope your joking??

Although, I would classify 'your' examples as asinine and absurd, I will give it to you that all the scholars of the Book of Mormon/Pearl of Great Price agree that 'yes', there are direct quotes from the KJV of the bible (I personally would not consider "and be baptized" as one of these quotes). These quotes come from the fact that Joseph smith (although not documented directly) more than likely had the bible by his side while translating/receiving inspired corrections. Where corrections were 'not' needed, the current wording of the bible was obviously used several times, thus saving him the extra work of rewording everything. (if you are familiar with translation, you will understand the great help the wording in the Bible must have been to Joseph)

If I had read the bible, and many of its verses were in my head, and I was asked to translate some passage that carried the same meaning - I would more than likely 'use' the wording from the bible as well.

Think about it.

[Sandra's Note: I am glad you read the newsletter. However, I find your spoof overly simplistic regarding our newsletter No.78, comparing the Book of Moses with statements from the New Testament. Your examples (such as finding the words 'as we have' in the Bible) trying to show that any words could be shown to be plagiarized are not on the level of the words Joseph Smith borrowed from the New Testament and then attributed to Adam, such as "baptized" and "Jesus Christ." Read our books Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible and Flaws in the Pearl of Great Price.

Anyone familiar with the Bible would see that Joseph Smith is obviously borrowing from New Testament wording and concepts in the Book of Moses 6:52—

"And he [God] also said unto him [Adam]: If thou wilt turn unto me, and hearken unto my voice, and believe, and repent of all thy transgressions, and be baptized, even in water, in the name of mine Only Begotten Son, who is full of grace and truth, which is Jesus Christ, the only name which shall be given under heaven, whereby salvation shall come unto the children of men, ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, asking all things in his name, and whatsoever ye shall ask, it shall be given you."]

Oct. 21, 2003

Subject: Thanks

Jesus is so good! I am 17 years old and until a month ago, I would run upstairs and hide if a Mormon missionary came anywhere near my house. Now I am anxious for their next arrival! I learned the basics about Mormonism ( through research at http://www.truthinlovetomormons.com ).

I learned why it has no tangible foundation ( through your website and critical examination of Mormon scripture ). My desire to know about the LDS has always existed, but it got put into high gear when I could not counter my Mormon friends the same," when my pastor said things like, "Mormonism is a non-Christian cult." I have learned so much and my heart aches for Mormons everywhere. I wish I could go to THEIR doors and ask THEM to read our Bible. I'd even ask them to research it! The truth will stand up to the facts.

Anyway, I am in my senior year of high school and at my church students are encouraged to take a year off and serve to just see where God leads them. I am seriously considering visiting Utah after I graduate, but I don't know how to go about that. I know it wouldn't be easy, but you know more than I do that serving the Lord isn't always easy. Can you help me or refer me to a place that can? I am searching for guidance in this matter from anyone who can offer it. Even your opinions and prayer would help me.

Thank you for all you have done for Jesus and for me personally. The tears and sweat you have poured out have not, are not, and will not be fruitless. God bless all of you and please, write back soon!

A Faithful Sister In Christ,

[Sandra's Note: We don't have a summer program but there are a couple of groups that do.


They are both former LDS.]

Oct. 22, 2003

Subject: Translation question

It was my understanding (which could be incorrect) that the word "Christ" was actually either greek or aramaic, with the same meaning as the hebrew word messiah. If I am correct in that belief, why would the pre-american Jewish Christians have called themselves that? Wouldn't they have to have left Israel prior to the existence of either greek or aramaic in their region?

This is simple curiosity - but your site has been useful to me, and I wanted to send you my thanks & prayers.

[Sandra's Note: Good question. I assume a Mormon would say the original probably said 'Messiah' and Smith translated it as 'Christ.' However, that does not solve the problem. Verses like Jacob 4:5-12 show Lehi's group (circa 544 BC) understood Christianity, the atonement and the resurrection the same as the New Testament authors.]

Oct. 22, 2003

Subject: missionaries


I am a Christian with hope. I married a wonderful woman that came out of the Mormon church. I was raised in a Baptist church and can easily see the problems with the Mormon church. I don't press my beliefs on her anymore, all it would do is make us fight and she has a lot of pressure from her family. Well anyways I don't know how the Mormon leaders found where we live and they come over more and more trying to talk with us. I was wanting to know what is the best way to show them or give them something to think about? I have been married for 15 years and have love everyone of those years. I don't want anything to do with the religion and I pray for my wife every night that she will see the truth. I give all the praise to the Lord for this great website it has been good to see.

[Sandra's Note: You could get the video DNA vs. The Book of Mormon and give it to them. Since it is mainly interviews with LDS scientists you could ask them to give you their evaluation of it. Or give them the book An Insiders View of Mormon Origins. It is written by a Mormon.

If that sounds too direct, try asking them questions about the teachings of the Book of Mormon. See Contradictions in LDS Scriptures.

If the Book of Mormon contains the 'fulness of the everlasting gospel' why doesn't it teach current Mormonism? (see Introduction to current Book of Mormon for claim that it contains the 'fulness') They try to minimize the word 'fulness' but God surely understands English and if the angel told Smith it contains the 'fulness' he must have meant it in the same way we would understand the word. Yet there is nothing in the Book of Mormon about temple marriage, work for the dead, three levels of heaven, men becoming gods, etc. Also see: Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints.]

Oct. 23, 2003

Good evening. I went to this site of yours comparing LDS beliefs with Christian beliefs.

I was wondering If any of you knew that Mormons are Christians?

Oct. 23, 2003

Subject: You guys are my heroes

I was raised in a very mormon household. Although my home and childhood were happy ones, the church itself caused some major problems in my life which are unrepairable. (It's a very long story).

About 6 months after the end of a hellish marriage, I started to doubt the church. It took me two years of doubting to finally feel comfortable looking at "anti-mormon" literature. In a matter of minutes, I went from doubting to knowing that the church is not true. The more I have studied, the more I realize that not only is the church false, but I believe may be criminal.

What I am trying to find now is whether or not the first presidency truly believe in this church. It looks pretty suspicious, but who knows? I want to thank you for giving me the information to set my mind free. I know I'm just another ex-mormon(not officially, yet), but you have changed my life. Thank you.

I also was reading about temple ceremonies. (I've never been). I read about a play act they do about Adam and one of the apostles. The play is supposed to take place while they are all still spirits. Anyway, in the play, I read that they shake hands. After reading some comments, I remembered that in seminary, I was told that one way to know whether a spirit is evil is to ask it to shake hands. If it is of God, it will not extend its hand. If it is evil, it will, but you will feel nothing when you shake hands. (This is in the D&C, by the way). I thought this was pretty chilling.

Thank You again,

[Sandra's Note: Yes, the temple ceremony has several handshakes. A person can read the entire 1990 LDS temple ceremony, plus several past versions, in our book Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony. The 1990 version can be read at http://www.irr.org/mit/endowment.html.

Below is Smith's revelation on testing angels by asking to shake hands.

Doctrine and Covenants 129:1-9—

Instructions given by Joseph Smith, Nauvoo, Illinois, February 9, 1843. History of the Church 5:267.
1 There are two kinds of beings in heaven, namely: Angels, who are resurrected personages, having bodies of flesh and bones—
2 For instance, Jesus said: Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have.
3 Secondly: the spirits of just men made perfect, they who are not resurrected, but inherit the same glory.
4 When a messenger comes saying he has a message from God, offer him your hand and request him to shake hands with you.
5 If he be an angel he will do so, and you will feel his hand.
6 If he be the spirit of a just man made perfect he will come in his glory; for that is the only way he can appear—
7 Ask him to shake hands with you, but he will not move, because it is contrary to the order of heaven for a just man to deceive; but he will still deliver his message.
8 If it be the devil as an angel of light, when you ask him to shake hands he will offer you his hand, and you will not feel anything; you may therefore detect him.
9 These are three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God.

One wonders if the Mormons really use this method to test spirits? Did Joseph test his visions this way? Does the current prophet use this method?

Wouldn't the devil know to just refuse to shake hands and claim he is a messenger that has not got a resurrected body yet, so can't shake hands? Surely even they believe the devil would lie to us, so he could easily deceive us on this test.

How can it be the 'three grand keys whereby you may know whether any administration is from God' if no one uses it?]

Oct. 23, 2003

Dear Brother and Sister in Christ.

My husband and I are both born again Christian's as directed by our Lord and Savior himself. I love your web site and have found so much more on the Mormon religion that I ever could have just alone.

I also have seen so many people write to you calling you ignorant names, and it hurts me to read these letters. It only goes to show that they have yet to read and understand God's Word. Now here is my question that I am so sure that you will be able to answer for me.

See neither my husband or myself believe in the Mormon records, we both feel that by being born again the old us died , and the new us came alive in Christ. There fore we feel that the Mormon church have no rights to us in any way shape or form. We both see it as a piece of paper with our name and baptism date on it , nothing more just a piece of paper. I would like your input on this if you have time to explain to me. We know for a fact that we have been saved , and that we will be in Heaven with Jesus one day for he is our Lord and Savior and he was the one himself who said that * no man comith unto the father accept through the Son. I am 110% sure there was no mention of any Joseph Smith mentioned in the Holy Bible we read, or else I have missed that part.

God bless you both and continue to do The Lords work, by spreading the good news and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

In His Name

[Sandra's Note: I don't believe it affects your standing with God whether or not your name is on the LDS rolls. The point of formally removing ones membership is to be a witness to the Mormon leaders who read your letter. Also, it makes one less on their count. Mormonism claims to have about 11 million members. If everyone who did not believe it anymore demanded that their membership be terminated it might cut the number in half. Just think what that could do to the PR department!]

Oct. 23, 2003

Subject: Joseph Smiths education

... What I would like to find out is if there is a listing of the books that were used in any of the schools Joseph Smith may have attended; libraries he may have visited or used; or Dictionaries and/or encylopedias readily available to him.

Thank you for any help you can give.

[Sandra's Note: There was a lending library, with at least 275 books, in Manchester, NY. However, existing records do not indicate the Smiths borrowed from it. Robert Paul, writing for the BYU Studies, Summer 1982, observed:

'Moreover, if Joseph had wished to explore the literary materials of the day, it would have been unnecessary to travel the five miles to Manchester when in Palmyra, only two miles distant, there were several book-stores and at least one library, the contents of which he would have been free to peruse. ... As early as 1819, and occasionally thereafter, book auctions were held in Palmyra. ... The availability of bookstores and libraries in Palmyra, together with the fact that the Smith family regularly obtained the Palmyra Register and later the Wayne Sentinel from the newspaper office which doubled as a bookstore, would have mitigated the need to travel nearly three times the distance to acquire literary materials from the Manchester area.'

Mr. Paul's article in BYU Studies contained a list of the titles in the Manchester library. See also Robert Hullinger's book, Joseph Smith's Response to Skepticism, Appendix 1.

Mr. Hullinger commented:

'View of the Hebrews circulated widely in New York. It was also condensed in Josiah Priest's The Wonders of Nature and Providence, one of the more widely circulated books of the Manchester rental library in 1827.' (Joseph Smith's Response to Skepticism, p. 186)

This page may be of help—Where Did Joseph Smith Get His Ideas for the Book of Mormon?]

Oct. 23, 2003

Subject: Temple Ceremonies

Has anybody on your staff ever been through the temple? If so, I know it is supposed to be secretive, but could you explain in detail, the actions taken in the endowment, marriage, and baptism ceremonies?

Do they perform signs of slitting their throats and disemboweling themselves? These are actions I read in Deborah Laake's book "Secret Ceremonies: The Diary of a Mormon Women". Maybe you could put this book on your site. It is a true autobiography that she was excommunicated from the church for. Thanks for your time.

[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church changed the ceremony in 1990, taking out the signs of slitting the throat, etc. Laake's book deals with the ceremony before 1990. See our Messenger #75 and Messenger #76. Also, we have a number of the past versions of the LDS temple ceremony plus the 1990 one in our book, Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony.]

Oct. 23, 2003

I just saw the movie "Book of Mormon" at my local theatre. In the movie Nephi supposedly leaves Jerusalem with his family and "the brass plates" from the temple(the brass plates are the 5 books that Moses wrote and the genealogy from Adam onward.) My question is : If Nephi and those who left to find the "promise land" have the written Law of God with them , then why did they not follow the Laws (i.e.; no altar, no sacrifice for sin. etc...)?

Thank you so much for you help,

In Christian Love,

ps. i am not a mormon, I am a Christian, but live in southern idaho where mormon influence is great.

[Sandra's Note: Good question. Since Lehi was supposed to be a prophet on the same level as Isaiah one would expect him to be following the Law of Moses.]

Oct. 24, 2003

I can never get a straight answer from any of the missionaries that come to my door:

1) Is it true that Mormons believe that God was once a man, like you and ME, and that he became God?


2) If that is true, then I would like to know where the man lived since he was already God when he created Heaven and Earth.

And Finally, I grew up in Conneaut Ohio, and lived in the house where Solomon Spaulding lived and wrote several manuscripts, and I want to know

3) Why LDS always refer to the manuscript at Oberlin College as the one that is said to be the plagiarized manuscript, when it is not even a completed work. Why would a Dartmouth graduate be stupid enough to submit an unfinished work to a publisher -- twice!!


4) If they have already "proved" the Spaulding theory wrong -- unquestionably - Why are there SO MANY pamphlets and writings and testimonies STILL vehemently denying any plagiarism? Why not let it rest if the issue really is dead? Or are they hiding something? ...

Thank you

[Sandra's Note: For LDS references on God/man see: LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible. In regards to the Spalding theory, see below.

The Solomon Spalding Theory

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.

One of the problems with this theory is explaining how the manuscript fell 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. Which leads to the question, what was his original plan? The theory continues that Rigdon would have done some rewriting of the story and then gave it to Smith to publish.

Some maintain that there were two manuscripts by Spalding and that the one used by Smith is no longer in existence. This is put forward as the reason the Book of Mormon doesn't contain the same names or directly parallel the existing manuscript. However, there is no evidence, other than the memory of relatives, that there were two manuscripts. Spalding's available manuscript is a very different style from the Book of Mormon.

But why would Rigdon, a popular minister, trust his pet project to an unknown teenager 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.)

Long after Spalding's death his family gave statements that they believed the Book of Mormon was produced by plagiarizing Spalding's novel. The Spalding family may have truly believed this to be the origin for the Book of Mormon but the evidence is shaky. When they saw the Book of Mormon it would have been about 20 years since they would have seen Spalding's writings. I think the family just saw some surface similarities, due to both Spalding and Smith being exposed to the same common ideas about the Indians, and jumped to conclusions.

The Spalding connection is a theory—there is no evidence that Rigdon ever met Smith prior to the start of Mormonism. Today most researchers on Smith and Book of Mormon sources look to the popular book View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith, published in 1823 and republished in 1825, as a more likely source for ideas for the Book of Mormon. For more on this, see Studies of the Book of Mormon by B.H. Roberts or Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon by David Persuitte.

I believe Smith wrote the Book of Mormon using bits and pieces of things he had read or heard (i.e. the Bible, local sermons, current events, etc.). But there is no hard evidence that Smith ever saw the Spalding material or met Sidney Rigdon prior to 1830.]

Oct. 24, 2003

Subject: Millions

I find it interesting that so many mormon defenders base part (if not all) of their testimony on the fact that there are millions of mormons. What!? On judgement day is God going to count the number of members in each religion, declare the one with the most members the truth and reject the others?

Oct. 24, 2003

Subject: worst academic books

Is there a handful of recent academic books (that is, published by university presses) that are the worst books on mormonism? By worst, I mean that accept the mormons' own stories as true? I would be grateful for your suggestions.

One such book that comes to mind is last year's By the Hand of Mormon, by Terryl Givens, published by Oxford University Press.

Keep up the great research, and thank you very much for sending me the SLC Messenger!

Best wishes,

[Sandra's Note: Don't have a list but that one would certainly be at the top.]

Oct. 24, 2003

Subject: bremen article

Dear Mrs Tanner,

First I have to thank you for sending the magazine, second, with great interest I was wading through the articles till I came at page 12 about what happened in Bremen, Germany. [#101 Messenger: Bremen, Germany: An Example of Apostasy]

Finally we see what is going on in the LDS Church, different streams of religious belief take places.

  1. the Polygamists who are trying to legetimate their status as the Fundamentalists.

  2. the Statics who defend of the LDS Church who like to have it like as it is or no change at all.

  3. the Reformists who like to get rid of the legacy of Joseph Smith and consorts and want to become a middle of the road Christian Church like the rest of all Christian Churches in America.

  4. Those who leave the Church and do not want anything to do with this cult anymore.

My Stake-President [in Belguim] have asked me by phone to leave things alone, for he was afraid for the Youth of his Stake: "At that young age they have little faith and with that DNA knowledge, they will leave the church."

Personally I don't have the that opinion, if they want to leave, let them, but if they want to stay, let them too. Because nowadays those youngsters are independant enough to decide what they want to do. If they want to believe, let them. The truth will reveal itself to them.

Oct. 25, 2003

Subject: Book of Mormon reference

Hi, We have a quick question. The BOM references where it copies the Bible. Did the original BOM show these references to the Bible verses (ex. 2 Nephi 16, Isaiah 6) or did it claim this was BOM only w/no references in italics before the chapters? Thank you for your answer. We are using this as a missionary tool and have just left the church ourselves.

God Bless,

[Sandra's Note: No, the first edition had no footnotes, chapter headings or verses. You can see the original at http://www.irr.org/mit/bom/1830bom-1nephi.html.]

Oct. 25, 2003

Subject: becoming gods themselves and having plural marriages in heaven.

where do you find this in mormon teachings.

thank you.

[Sandra's Note: Even though the current Mormon leaders are very quiet about the matter of polygamy, sec. 132 of the Doc. & Cov. still teaches the doctrine. While church leaders no longer allow the practice of polygamy here on the earth, they allow a man to be sealed again after the death of his wife, or after divorce. This leads to the obvious situation of establishing multiple sealings on earth that will mean polygamy in heaven. President Joseph Fielding Smith remarried after the death of his first wife, and in his book, Doctrines of Salvation, vol. 2, page 67, he remarked: "...my wives will be mine in eternity."

Harold B. Lee, the 11th president of the church, also remarried, and was sealed to another woman, after his first wife's death and was looking forward to a polygamous relationship in heaven. He, in fact, wrote a poem in which he reflected:

"My lovely Joan was sent to me:
So Joan [his second wife] joins Fern [his first wife]
That three might be, more fitted for eternity.
'O Heavenly Father, my thanks to thee' "
(Deseret News 1974 Church Almanac, page 17)
[I added the clarification on which was the first and second wife.]

My own grandfather outlived my grandmother and (in the 1960's) was then married in the temple to his second wife, a single woman who had never been married. According to the church and my LDS family, Grandpa is now with both wives.

Not only that, what was the point of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young having dozens of women sealed to them if they were not going to live polygamy in heaven?

For more information, see Topical Index: Polygamy.]

Oct. 25, 2003

Subject: Your Website & Work

Dear Madam(s) or Sir(s):

... I just now finished perusing your website. I read some of the statements, testimonies, evidences, and pamphlets. It is a well-organized, easy-to-navigate site. Sadly, it is full to the brim with false doctrine and slander.

Although I did not feel it was an overly vindictive or malicious site, which seems to be the general M.O. of anti-Mormon organizations, it still preaches falsehoods. It is sad for me to think that so many people spend so much time attempting to belittle, distort, and falsify the faith and beliefs of others.

... I will not pass unrighteous judgment. The Lord, in His wisdom, is our Judge. But may I, with all the fervor of my being, say that I believe you are wrong. You are spreading lies. Your heart(s) are far from the spirit of truth (see 1 Cor. 2:14).

No one in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is perfect, nor is any Christian or individual who now walks the earth. We both agree that Jesus Christ is the only perfect being who has ever lived on this earth. I love Him. I worship Him. I accept Him as my Savior. And I bare my witness that Joseph Smith was His chosen prophet. President Gordon B. Hinckley is His prophet today. ...

Truly, your site has strengthened my testimony of Joseph Smith and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (see JS-H 1:33).


Oct. 25, 2003

Subject: Prayer

Dear Sandra,

...My husband and I have both felt prompted to pray about studying the LDS church to prepare for the Kingdom work God would have us do. ... My husband and I have been thru almost all the material you sent us.

We heard Richard Abanes on the Bible Answer Man program last month. God truly prompted us both to tune in the first night Richard was on. We haven't listened to the BAM for months because of a schedule change, but that particular night, we both felt prompted to tune in. My husband was just leaving work and I was home. I excitedly called his cell phone to tell him to tune in and got his voice mail. When he got home, he told me he was calling me at that exact same time to tell ME to tune in. We ordered Richard's book One Nation Under Gods. It is incredible.

Time and time again we come across people who thank you and your husband for your work. You are both much respected and appreciated. We know God receives the glory, but we are thankful to you for your faithfulness and obedience to God. We minister on the shoulders of the work you've have done before us. I like that analogy. It's been used in regards to homeschooling-- we receive the benefits of all the hard work forged by those before us.

I shouldn't keep you any longer. It's 4 a.m. and I just couldn't sleep--something was on my heart. Thank you for listening (so-to-speak).

In Christ,

"Be on guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. Do everything in love." 1Cor 16:13-14

Oct. 26, 2003

Subject: Nephi Project?

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Tanner,

I am curious whether you have developed a response of any sort to the claims of the so-called "Nephi Project", run by George Potter. Their recent videos and books have sold quite a few copies and do present an impressive case, if it is at all true. For the moment, I have told my Mormon friends that Potter supposedly found his Arabian perennial river ten years ago, yet the 2003 update of the CIA world factbook still says there are no perennial rivers there. Obviously, there has been no federal review of the research and the CIA currently stands behind its findings. However, Potter's documentation seems extensive. I don't have money, resources, or contacts to investigate this myself. Any information or insight you can provide would be immensely appreciated.

[Sandra's Note: Don't have anything specifically on him or his book. However, for more on Book of Mormon problems, see these books:

You might read some of the articles on http://mormonscripturestudies.com]

Oct. 26, 2003

Subject: beliefs

hi, i think that it is interesting that people spend soo much time critisizing others and other peoples beliefs. many times it is people from other "christian" churches that are doing this research about the mormon church.

... Just an experience from my mission.............many times we would baptize people into the church. they were weak at first of course, but many times had changed there lives to be worthy of baptism. stopped smoking, drinking, keeping the law of chastity........started doing the things the savior taught. as missionaries we could see the light in them. The spiritual rebirth. they felt good, this was the spirit in them. they were clean. many times these overanxious people from other christian churches would keep a good eye on who had been recently baptized, and when we were not at the house of these newly baptized people, these "disciples of christ" would go in and do there work.

Not the work of preaching the gospel, but the work of destroying the beliefs these new converts had soo recently taken upon themselves. (many times using the anti-mormon books that we have seen a little about on the web-sight) the things that are said against the mormon church are strong. ...

These people who helped destroy the beliefs of the new converts were absolutely delighted. they had "saved one more soul"..."helped one more soul come to the light". they werent going to any church, and not living as the savior taught in hardly any ways, but they were out of the mormon church....."what a success".

this persons life (the one who had been baptized but fallen) was once again filled with nothing, and they no longer strove to follow the example of the savior any more, but they were out of the mormon church, and that was all that mattered. Do you think that the people talking bad about the church were really trying to help other people accept and understand more about the savior, or do they have other interests at hand? joseph smith is a true prophet......the book of mormon is true. i know this because through the book of mormon i have the desire to strive to be like christ..............if the book of mormon is true, joseph smith was true. satan would not bring about a book that would make us beleive more in jesus christ....his mission is to destroy our beliefs in christ. this is the true church. i wont go bashing others, i will simply go out and be a missionary........being a light to the world.

Oct. 26, 2003

Subject: Need reference to Mormon document(s) explaining their theology that deviates from orthodox Christianity

My wife has a Mormon friend who is appalled that we consider her faith not Christian. She believes the Mormon church teaches the same basic Christianity we believe in. She even gave my wife a book that I read. Honestly, I couldn't find the deviant theology in it I have heard about. Could you direct me to some Mormon documents that teach the things we have heard so much about that are wrong.


[Sandra's Note: That is the problem—they carefully hide their real doctrine. See Online Resources: Theology. Also read some of Joseph Smith's sermons on God here. Most Mormons haven't read these.

The LDS Church teaches that our God was once a mortal on another world, with his Father God overseeing it. This mortal and his wife died, were resurrected, and eventually earned the right to be a god and goddess over this Earth. They view gods, angels, devils and mortals as the same species and that man's ultimate goal is to become a god over yet other worlds. This belief contradicts the Bible and Christian doctrine.]

Oct. 27, 2003

...I just found the disturbing truth about the church aprox. a month ago. I want you to know you are in our prayers and we hope we can someday help you in your mission. We have made a personal decision to wage our own personal war against the lies. We will show the truth to whoever will listen (and even those who don't) regardless of how many friends we loose or what the church tries to do to us.

You are in our prayers:

PS: How did things get so out of control? do you think its the devil or some kind of mind control that keeps Mormons from listening to hard fact?

Oct. 27, 2003

Subject: Thank you

Dear Utah Lighthouse,

I want to thank you for helping find the truth. I had met the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ and had some questions about what they were saying, so I looked online and came to this site.

I read most of the points and then decided to ask the missionaries on our next visit. I was greatly puzzled to find that this site doctored the truth that the "Mormoms" believe. I put "Mormons" in apostrophies because it is not even the true name of the church. ... I don't doubt that Joseph Smith did some foolish things. ...

Long prior to my acquaitance with the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ, Jehovah's Witnesses had brought to my attention that the Book of Revelation was not even the last book in the Bible. When I asked my Pastor about this, he simply replied, "That is how God wanted it." That may be, but I don't think he wanted us to tell Him, He couldn't reveal His word to us, especially seeing how He revealed 3 other books after Revelations. What made sense, was that the Book of Revelation was not to be added to or taken away from, not the Bible. At the time John wrote that, the Bible didn't even exist. It was not until Constantine ordered that the writings of the Christians be gathered together that the Bible came to be.

What really hit me was how hard other churches have fought against the Church of Jesus Christ since its birth, yet it in return does not publish anti-literature about other churches. ... I actually became curious about the Church of Jesus Christ after they helped pay to repave the drive and parking lot to the church I used to attend, that sits next to the LDS church that I now attend.

Again, I thank you for your site. By posing questions in the hearts of others, you allow them to want to discuss the points of questions with missionaries or members of the Church of Jesus Christ. Had I not read your site and felt confident to know the "truth," I would have simply closed myself off to the missionaries.

Thank you

Oct. 28, 2003

Subject: LDS// Book Blood of the Prophets, by Will Bagley

Do you know anything about the book listed below.

Author Will Bagley will be honored by the Denver Public Library with the Caroline Bankcroft History Prize. For more information, visit www.denver.lieb.co.us/ <http://www.denver.lib.co.us/whg/bancroft.html>

2003 Bancroft Prize Winner Author Will Bagley is the recipient of the 2003 prize for his book Blood of the Prophets: Brigham Young and the Massacre at Mountain Meadows University of Oklahoma Press.

This author, "Bill Bagley" was interviewed today on Channel 7, Denver, Co. Mr. Bagley compared the LDS people involved in the Massacre at Mountain Meadows to the terrorists who flew into the World Trade Center, "Misguided, well meaning people who thought that they were doing Gods' work) This sickened me.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, Will Bagley is a well respected historian. He writes a history column in The Salt Lake Tribune. His book, Blood of the Prophets, is a great book on the Mountain Meadows Massacre and well worth reading. We have other material on the massacre, see Topical Index: Mountain Meadows Massacre.]

Oct. 30, 2003

Hey guys, God bless your ministry and your strenght in Christ. I wish I had your zeal and dedication.

I am up to that point where I just want to let things be as they are. You see I am married to a non-active mormon (but her parents are very much active in the LDS church). I have been a christian for about 11 years now... My wife gets very defensive when I try to learn about Mormonism from non-mormon books and speakers. I have gone to a church "open house" where I learned a lot and I also took some notes on some things.

I just wanted to ask you one question that I can not answer myself... At the end of the open house, one of the church leaders said to the people sitting there: Quoting Mat 7:15-20, then explaining how successful their missions were and how prosperous in bringing people to Christ. The gentleman asked this simple question: "How can a organization that does all this be considered bad fruit?"

I feel like I'm not making a difference in these people's lives, besides they seem very happy and content with all that they have already. Are mormons really not christian? Please help. Thankx!

[Sandra's Note: Let's look at a few of the verses:

Matt 7:15-18--Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?  Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

Joseph Smith would be like the tree in the passage and the fruits would be what his life and teachings produced.  Since Smith contradicted the Bible, changed his revelations, gave false prophecies, lied, had adulterous relationships (taking married women as plural wives), etc. we see a man who produced 'evil fruit.'

Matthew also warned: "Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. For false christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matt. 24:11,24).

Here we see that the false prophet will try to ‘deceive many.’  Even miracles are not sufficient proof one is truly a prophet.

Jesus' example and teachings lead to love, joy, peace, honesty, self-sacrifice, etc.  Joseph Smith's teachings lead to chaos, lying, adultery, challenging former prophets (contradicting the Bible) and lawless acts.

There are many fine, honest people in the Mormon Church.  We do not set in judgment on them: whether they have a genuine relationship with Christ is between them and God.  However, we can and should judge the teachings of those claiming to speak for God.  I do not believe Joseph Smith taught the gospel as presented in the New Testament and he will stand before the judgement bar of God to answer for tha.

See also: How Do We Test a Prophet? Hope this helps.]

Oct. 31, 2003

You are of the pure seed of Ephraim.... you shall live to receive a fulness of the priesthood and become an honored leader in Israel.... The angels will watch over you, and preserve you... you shall... be associated with apostles and prophets, and sit in council with the honorable men of the earth,... You shall see the redemption of Zion and the coming of the Lord, and see peace established in the earth. [From the Patriarcal Blessing of Walter Young, http://utlm.org/onlineresources/patriarchalblessing.htm]

Im sure I am not the first that has asked this from you but don't [you] think he will see this in the 2nd coming?

[Sandra's Note: The point is these blessings were promised to Walter Young as events he would see during his life. He did NOT live to become 'an honored leader in Israel' because he died in his forties of pneumonia.]

Oct. 31, 2003


Lighthouse Ministry

I purchased "The Keystone of Mormonism" by Arza Evans and read it in 2 days. It was absolutely marvelous. It was easy reading, understanding and most interesting. Please pass on my unending gratitude to the author. His research is excellent and details astonishing. I will be donating this book to our Public Library as it is a "MUST READ".

With great appreciation for this long awaited insight into Mormon history,

Kindest regards,

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