Sept. 1, 2003
First, thank-you for the incredible focus and drive. Your work was the first I picked up in exploring the true history of the religion I was born into and surrounded by.
Twelve years after I discovered the truth about Mormonism, I am still floored that one, gifted orator and a few cohorts could spin a lie that has lived so long and grown so big.
Even more shocking is that most of the people I know and love are Mormon, and I can never seem to get over the depth of the indoctrination or the complete irrationality that arises if engaged in civil discourse regarding the history of the church.
Only in the glazed eyes of a Mormon presented with visual, tangible, factual, irrefutable evidence of the lie they have been told, do I begin to see what true denial is. What brain washing really means. Its amazing. Its sad. And its sneaky. That awful church appears so innocent and innocuous on the exterior, and is filled with so many great and giving people. Controlled, tithe paying people.
Sept. 1, 2003
... I am a Baptist Pastor in Colorado and do some moderate study on Mormonism. My resources are mostly LDS publications dating back to the 18th Century. I do not buy replicas or remakes, but only the original books. Being raised in Idaho I have found that there is a very valuable way to find documentation on LDS people, since they are kind enough to have yard sales and estate sales where they get rid of old books. But my question I have not been able to find yet.
My question is this: Is there any truth to the raising the vail in eternity thing? I have heard from others that an LDS man will have the chance to raise the vail of his bride or not raise it, thus selecting her as an eternal spouse or not selecting her. If you have any idea on where this might be found, please forward that information, as I have not yet found it but do continue my search. I have a group of LDS members who talk to me on a regular basis and everyone of them are divorced, each of them currently seeking a spouse for 'eternity'. Even though Matthew 22 says they will not be married in heaven, they twist and contort it to fit their needs and desires. This information would be of great help to me and my studies. Thank you for your time.
Not finished yet...
[Sandra's Note: Yes, the woman is given a new name (like Mary or Elizabeth) in the temple that she is to repeat only to her husband. This is the name he will call at the resurrection so that she will come forth as his wife. When a Mormon woman is buried a veil is placed over her face, symbolic of the fact the husband will raise the veil and call her up in the resurrection. See How the LDS Husband Hopes to Resurrect His Wife According to the LDS Temple Ceremony.]
Sept. 1, 2003
Subject: MORMON TEMPLE ROBES ONLINE
Hi, hope you are doing well.
A nice girl from Western USA sent hers and her husband's temple robes for me to photograph and put online. So now I've done that, they are at http://www.mormonismi.net/english.html
Feel free to use/refer to them. love & hugs,
Exmo in Finland
[Sandra's Note: Warning to our readers—If you are LDS you might be offended by the above site. But for those who have never seen the LDS temple clothing, these photos are accurate.]
Sept. 3, 2003
Subject: interracial marriage
I so appreciate your site and all of the information I have obtained.
I have many questions, but the one foremost in my mind right now is what is the current official stance on interracial marriage among Mormons?
Personally, I have no problem whatsoever with interracial marriage, and my sister is happier than I've ever seen her. I read somewhere that it is still discouraged, but my sister and her South African husband were married in a temple ceremony about a year and a half ago. Any light you can shed on this subject is greatly appreciated.
Thank you and God bless,
[Sandra's Note: There does not seem to be any restriction in Mormonism now on interracial marriages.]
Sept. 3, 2003
Subject: resignation letter
We recently sent our resignation letter to the member and records department. Here is what they wrote back
Dear Brother and Sister ______,
I have been asked to acknowledge your recent letter in which you request that your names and your children's names be removed from the membership records of the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints.
I have also been asked to inform you that the church considers such a request to be an ecclesiastical matter that must be handled by local priesthood leaders before being processed by church employees. Therefore, your letter and a copy of this reply are being sent to President ______ of the ______ Oregon Stake. He will have Bishop ______ of the ______ ward contact you concerning the fulfillment of your request.
In view of the eternal consequences of such an action, the Brethren urge you to reconsider your request and to prayerfully consider the enclosed statement of the first Presidency.
... In my opinion it is harassment. ...
Sept. 3, 2003
... I hope you understand the need for me to not give out my real name as my wife is not aware of my doubts yet. I am a convert of 14 years and have developed many serious doubts as of late.
...I have read in the BOM in several places where there was horses and cattle when the Nephites and others arrived, yet according to the encyclopedia, those animals were extinct in the America's until brought by Columbus in his 2nd voyage in 1494.
There is also referred to in several places in the BOM of Chariots, obviously a Chariot would require an animal such as a horse to pull it.
How do you explain the existence or non existence of horses/cattle during a time where science says they did not exist. If these animals were not present in the america's at that time then certainly something is wrong with "the most correct book" ever written. Thank you for allowing me this opportunity and those to come in order to find the truth
[Sandra's Note: You are right, horses, cattle, chariots, etc., as mentioned in the Book of Mormon, are out of place in the Americas prior to Columbus. These are discussed in the books, The Creation of the Book of Mormon by Petersen, and The Keystone of Mormonism by Evans.]
Sept. 3, 2003
Subject: Personal Comment!
I read through the article about the church and how the people (Tanners etc) were trying to find fault with it.
If a man truly wants to know if it is true or not, he only needs to fast and pray about it. Once the spirit bears witness, as it has to me, the things that were mentioned in your articles become "sour grapes" and as an end result of one who never bothered to find out in the proper manner if it is really true.
One needs to remember one thing!!! The Gospel of the Lord is perfect but his people on this earth are humans. We are not perfect. The church was established for the "perfecting of the saints" not the other way around.
Sept. 4, 2003
Subject: Gordon B. Hinkley - Paid Ministry
A question arose recently about the salaries of ministers which in turn led to the big question, "Just how much in dollar value does President Hinkley receive for his full-time service each year?"
I have read your article "Do Mormon Leaders Receive Financial Support?" Is there any update since the Salt Lake Tribune article dated Dec. 8, 1988 stating that he lives in a $1.2 million condo? I don't believe the average Mormon would think that was "modest" living quarters in 1988 and to learn what the amount for "modest allowance for living expenses" would send them into shock.
Imagine, my minister makes only $27,000 a year for full-time service. Has a wife and two children, lives in a 1980's parsonage and is elated when he traded his old truck in on a 1980's pickup.
. . . Sandra, my prayers are with you both and through your faithfulness you will lead many souls to the true Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Thank you, "A worried Grandmother & Mother"
[Sandra's Note: Sorry, don't know of anything more current on the president's condo. The most current information on LDS finances is in Mormon America.]
Sept. 4, 2003
Subject: Dead Sea Scrolls
I have just returned from what I would term is the biggest con of all times. (Apart from the BOM)
The local LDS church held a fireside on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the restoration. They told the people that the Nag Hammadi documents proved the Church true as did the DSS.
Any comments on this.
[Sandra's Note: If you have access to the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, Vol.1, p361-364, see the entry on the Dead Sea Scrolls. Under the heading "LDS Perspective" it says:
If there were actually any material in the Dead Sea Scrolls or writings of the Essenes that supported specific claims of Mormonism one would think that it would have been highlighted in this article. The similarities mentioned in the above article, such as the Essenes having a leadership of twelve men, would prove nothing for LDS claims. It was obviously modeled on the twelve tribes of Israel.
LDS writer Boyd Kirkland, in an article dealing with the names of God, commented on the Mormons misuse of the Dead Sea Scrolls:
If the Dead Sea Scrolls were an obvious support for Mormon claims why are these articles minimizing their importance to the LDS position? Obviously they know that the scrolls were written by a group very different from Mormonism and that the parallels are superficial at best.]
Sept. 5, 2003
I am a non Mormon, with mormon family. Recently I noticed on the family search webste that my grandmother (deseased) and her second husband (also deceased) have been sealed together and my grandfather is no longer sealed to my grandmother. Also, the second husband is listed "from the SL Temple". Is this a special code? His first wife is not even mentioned. Do you think something strange is going on here?
[Sandra's Note: I assume your family thought they were a better match than to seal her to her first husband. Were either of them LDS before they died? Could one of them have left instructions to this effect? If your grandmother was LDS she could have got a cancellation of her sealing to her first husband and then been sealed to another man.
I am surprised the first wife wasn't sealed to the husband as well since he could have extra women sealed to him. I assume "from the SL Temple" means that was the temple where the ritual was performed.]
Sept. 7, 2003
Subject: "Marketing survey"
I've been a member all my life, and today saw a first. Apparently our ward was one of 70 chosen for what I can best describe as a "marketing survey."
All adults were directed to take 35 minutes out of the priesthood/RS block to fill out the survey, which was supposedly anonymous. However, the surveys were all individually numbered, presumably keyed to our ward. Given all of the demographics that the survey asked for, as well as all of the data the church maintains on our families, I'm more than a little doubtful about the survey's anonymity...
The survey seemed designed to determine how much time we spend on various church activities, and perceived value for our families.
One of our freer thinking bishopric counselors jokingly said, "well, I guess we should expect to see more doctrinal, errr, I mean programatic changes." I understand that such a survey was largely the impetus to sweeping changes in the temple ceremony, and told him so.
Seems more than ironic that church "doctrine" can be driven by a marketing firm from New York City (Edelman)...
I'm kicking myself for not grabbing the survey, or at least running to library to copy it off. I had the chance. Oh well.
Sept. 7, 2003
Subject: Thank you for your information.
I want to thank the Tanners for their book Mormonism Shadow or Reality. I has been LDS my entire life as well as my husband. Just after we were married my husband went through an ex-communication and I was disfellowshipped. I was pregnant when we got married. So like gook mormons we went to the men who determined our worthiness. I was humiliated in Relief Society and my husband wasn't able to baptise his son. His ex-wife wasn't kind during the baptism either. We still went through everything.
I finally went through the temple a year and a half later when I was 6 months pregnant with my second child. My husband was re-baptised. We then moved and went in to meet the new bishop. He told me he had spoken to our last bishop and as long as we attended "his" church we would never be sealed as a family. That was the last time I ever set foot into a mormon church.
My parents had left the church several years before and I had cut ties with them pretty much. But, out of the blue she sent me a copy of your book. I read it cover to cover and have read it another 2 times. I began to look up all of the passages that you indicated in your book. There were so many and everything I looked up was right on. I had been an active temple goer, 2 times a week and thought I new God. Thank you for everything. Please pray for us as we do for you and your work. My husband's family tonight just let us know they don't consider me part of the family due to what I have done to their son. Pray for them also. They are still mormon.
Again, God bless you and thank you.
Sept. 8, 2003
Subject: A word of thanks
...Just wanted to tell you that I appreciate your website, I have had a chance to read a great deal over the last week or so and I really value the research and information that you have compiled and allow access to.
I am currently leaving the Mormon church as I have finally quit blindly accepting everything and started researching the questions that I have had for years. Over the last couple of months I have found out that my suspicions were correct and that the church as we know it is, for lack of a better word, a Scam.
I once again would like to thank you for your work and hope that you know it has not gone unnoticed, I am still heavily into researching the church and will be reading throughout your site as time allows. ... Thanks again!
Sept. 10, 2003
I am not a Mormon but have been corresponding with an ex-Mormon who seems to not have shaken off all of Mormon doctrines. He asserts that "Bruce McConkie's "Mormon Doctrine" book is not and never has been accepted as official Mormon doctrine by the LDS Church nor by most Mormons. He also says that "The Journal of Discourses" has never been cannonized as scripture by the LDS church. He continues to say that official LDS doctrine states that Mary was a virgin and that the Holy Spirit came upon her and she was with child. The LDS church has also disavowed the Adam/God doctrine as heresy." Is this all true? ...
[Sandra's Note: Here are some thoughts on your email.
Regarding McConkie's Mormon Doctrine, he is right in a way. It was never accepted 'officially' as the final word on doctrine. However, it remains a popular book in LDS circles and most of his references are drawn from sermons and writings from various LDS Church general authorities. Also, he was an apostle. Can LDS apostles be 'true' apostles and teach false doctrine? So if his book isn't representative of LDS belief, what is? Problem is, they don't put out any 'official' book of doctrine.
I guess the closest to 'official' would be books copyrighted by the church, such as Gospel Principles and Doctrines of the Gospel. These two books still seem to be preaching the same things as McConkie.
In fact, I just looked through Doctrines of the Gospel, Student Manual, copyright 1986 by the Corporation of the President of the Church, and it quotes McConkie's Mormon Doctrine quit often. (I didn't go through the whole book but in the first 50 pages Mormon Doctrine was quoted on these pagespp. 5,10,12, 14, 23, 29, 34, 35, 36, 47, 48, 50). So if McConkie's book is so untrustworthy why is this training manual quoting from it?
While the Journal of Discourses was not 'canonized', the LDS leaders quote it all the time when it suits their purpose. It only gets challenged when the statements are something they are embarrassed over. (As with McConkie, the Journal of Discourses is quoted in the same manual. See pp. 7, 43, 47, 50 of Doctrines of the Gospel. Also see http://utlm.org/faqs/faqgeneral.htm#8)
As to Mary being a virgin, what is his source for 'official doctrine'? Conference talks? Then are all conference talks a source of 'official doctrine'? Or the writings of their leaders? How are we to know which conference talk or church manual is 'official doctrine'?
Page 6 of Doctrines of the Gospel explains that:
On p. 9 of Doctrines of the Gospel is a section titled 'Jesus Christ is literally the son of God the Eternal Father.' It quotes Apostle James E. Talmage (writing in the very popular book Jesus the Christ, p.81):
The manual Doctrines of the Gospel, p.9, then quotes from Apostle Heber J. Grant as saying:
In The Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.7, copyright 1988, we read:
In the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol.2, p.729, we read:
These quotes are from current LDS sources. Obviously the leadership currently believes God literally procreated Jesus through a physical relationship with Mary.
As for the Adam-god doctrine, both the Ensign, Nov. 1976, p.77, and the Deseret News, Church News section, Oct. 9, 1976, carried a statement by Pres. Spencer W. Kimball:
But the question remains, which prophet are we to believe? Can true prophets teach false doctrine? If Brigham Young was teaching a 'false doctrine' about the nature of God then he would be condemned by Deut. 13. It couldn't be true in the 1850-1860's and false now. If one says we are to listen to the current prophet, then church members in Brigham Young's day, listening to the 'current' prophet, would have accepted the Adam-god doctrine as 'true.' So how are we to know whom to believe? By the way, Pres. Kimball would have traced his priesthood authority through the line of Pres. Brigham Young.
Hope this helps.]
Sept. 10, 2003
What else do you do for fun?
Sept. 10, 2003
Subject: blood atonement going
I saw on CNN that Utah is abolishing death by firing squad. Our last vestige of proof of their old doctrine.
Sept. 10, 2003
I have come across your website which I have read with trepidation being a Mormon myself. As a convert I was no way going to commit to one religion without covering all the corner stones.
Without going into specifics I feel it is a shame that so much effort has gone into a site built on proving the Mormons wrong when so much needs 'fixing' in this world, what a waste of time, effort energy and well lets face it, life! I wonder if there are sites out there proving Buddhism is wrong? Or paganism? Mormons are not perfect, we all know that as mortal beings, but come on here, let us believe what we feel comfortable believing and if for some strange reason we find on the other side we can have comfort knowing that we stayed true to our beliefs for what we leant to the best of our ability. Interpretation is perception. I could read you a line from my journal and we would both read it differently. Does that mean I am lying? Or you would be? Hmm probably not.
I appreciate the testimonies of Jerald and Sandra Tanner, but if they are at all Christ like they wouldn’t find the need to prove the Mormon church wrong they would love unconditionally, because that is what the Saviour wants of us, regardless. We do not have the right to judge, only view what we think is right and wrong and do our best.
Sept. 11, 2003
Subject: Mountain Meadow Massacre
As I write this e mail KDXU Radio Station in St. George has Richard Turley the Family and Church History dept head and a BYU Professor Ron Healy talking about the Massacre. They are writing a book about the massacre. Tomorrow night there is a presentation at the Dixie Center.
They have already said on the radio there is conclusive evidence that Brigham Young had no role to play in the event. And that they are going to tell the Truth in their new book no matter where the evidence lies. And the book will conclude that there is a middle ground and that is where the truth lies.
Well, my point for writing this is whats wrong with the conclusion being the WHOLE TRUTH AND NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH. By their own admission they are trying to encompass all the evidences in one book and to find closure for the victims families and Mormons.
It will be interesting to see the outcome. I have to say that this will not bring closure, but it will give the faithful something to hang on to. As usual, this is not the LDS Church coming out with an official statement, but Mormon Apologist speaking out.
Sept. 11, 2003
Subject: Nephi's "Courage"
To the Editor,
I find it interesting that in order to obtain the brass plates, Nephi had to kill Laban, pretend he was Laban, then take the plates without Laban's permission. [Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 4] Killing, lying & stealing. That sounds more like life without parole than a prophet.
Sept. 12, 2003
Subject: Ebla & 100 Gods
Dear Sandra !
... Question, I am told that Joseph Smith named 4 gods by the name of Elkenah, Libnah, Mahmackrah & Korash in the translation of the book of Abraham. My friend says the City of Ebla was not discovered until the 1940 something. Then found plates that named 100 Gods, & those 4 names were there, which proves that JS was in fact a prophet.
He says when the Dead Sea Scrolls were translated it included a book of Enoch. True or False ? He also says there are 8 books of Enoch around the World.
[Sandra's Note: Smith could have easily gotten the name Elkanah from the Bible.
Elkanah is the name of eight Old Testament men (Ex. 6:24; 1 Sam.1:1-23; 1 Chr. 6:25,35; 1 Chr. 9:16; 1 Chr. 12:6; 1 Chr. 15:23; 2 Chr. 28:7).
While I didn't find a Korash in the Bible, there are several men with the name of Korah (Gen.36:5,14; Gen. 36:16, etc.)
Libnah is also a Biblical name of a city, but not of a god. (See Num.33:20-21; 1 Chr. 6:57, 2 Kings 8:22)
If similar names to those given by Smith were found in any ancient text it still wouldn't prove that he named the four deities pictured in the Book of Abraham correctly.
Facsimile No. 1 of the Book of Abraham is actually an illustration from the Egyptian religious text, Book of the Dead. It depicts a standard embalming scene with four canopic jars under the lion couch. Each jar held part of the internal organs of the person being embalmed. The lids were shaped to represent four specific deities, the four sons of Horus. Here are two links to pictures:
Joseph Smith did not give the proper name of any of these four deities.
The Book of Enoch, part of the Jewish Pseudepigrapha, was available in English in 1821, reprinted in 1828, updated in 1833. (See Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p. 191, for more on its influence on Smith.) In Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary, p.1050, we read:
The Book of Enoch was probably composed about 100 BC, and fragments of it were found in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Here are some web sites with information on the Book of Enoch.
Hope this helps.]
Sept. 12, 2003
Subject: We are all the same ??
I moved to Utah nine months ago. … In the time that I have been here I have had only two brief talks with Mormons on "religious" topics. Both times the parties stated that we were basically the same; such a sickening thought. I didn't disagree with them, I only stated that we lived our lives according to Bible teachings. How, or what, does one say in a situation like this?? How can you briefly, yet courteously, say that they are nothing like us; that their church is satanic - not Godly?
Thank you for your assistance,
[Sandra's Note: You will find a few suggestions in this article: Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints.
Another approach would be to print off Joseph Smith's King Follet sermon. This is his famous sermon on the nature of God. When Mormons say they believe like you, or that your faith isn't very different from theirs, you can respond with something like: 'Well, I would never make a good Mormon because I can't accept Joseph Smith's definition of God. I read his sermon on the nature of God and it doesn't sound anything like the Bible. Have you ever read it? How do you feel about his sermon?'
This could open up a good discussion. They can easily get a copy from their church but you could print it off our web site and have it handy. The History of the Church should be in any Utah public library where you could get actual photos of the pages.
Also see our page, LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible.]
Sept. 12, 2003
Subject: Pamphlet contents
In 1892 Joseph F. Smith wrote a pamphlet entitled, 'Another Plain Talk: Reasons Why the People of Utah Should Be Republican.' Can you tell me where the contents of that pamphlet might be found? Thank You.
[Sandra's Note: Two good sources for photos of rare LDS historical items would be either the Utah State Historical Society Library, 300 S. Rio Grande, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 (phone 801-533-3500) or the University of Utah, Marriott Library, Special Collections, Salt Lake City, UT. (phone 801-581-8864).]
Sept. 12, 2003
I was wondering whether the current number of mormons worldwide (approx. 11.2 Million) includes those who have died as church members, those baptised for the dead, etc? Does the 11.2 Mill. number include those members since 1830 to current, or just current? Thank you.
[Sandra's Note: No, the number is supposed to represent currently living people. However, it does include children and inactive members. The number would be far higher if they included all Mormons since the church was founded and the dead for whom they have done proxy baptisms and marriages.]
Sept. 15, 2003
Subject: what to believe
I am so glad I found your website. I got involved with mormonism after reading Betty Eadie's book Embraced by the Light about 6 years ago when I was 21. I had a question so I called the publishing company and talked to her friend. Thats when I found out she was mormon so I did some research. … Mormonism has upset and confused me compared to my Christian faith. I never actually converted but I did talk to an "elder" and I am filled with questions. … Do you know anything about betty eadie? ...
[Sandra's Note: You will find two articles on her on the Christian Research Inst. website.
Remember, we must judge prophets and visions by the Bible. We don't judge the Bible by people's visions. See Paul's statement in 1 Cor. 1:8-9even if an angel appears to us he must deliver the same message God has revealed to the apostles.]
Sept. 17, 2003
Subject: original documents
I was wondering what the best or lengthiest book concerning original documents, letters, papers, sermons, and exerpts from original articles or books is out there right now. Im talking about where they have photocopies of these actual documents concerning the begining of mormonism. I've read word documents that have a neighbor complaining about Joseph Smith's wierd family, but is this actual letter in existance? Or Spalding's Manuscript Found? Stuff like that.
We don't accept the Spalding theory, which first appeared in the 1834 book Mormonism Unvailed. However, the book has some valuable interviews with the Smith's neighbors in NY.
Two well-researched books on the beginnings of Mormonism are Inventing Mormonism and Joseph Smith and the Origins of the Book of Mormon.
The classic biography of Joseph Smith is Fawn Brodie's book No Man Knows My History. These are all listed on our book list on our web site.
A good book by a retired LDS Institute Director is An Insiders View of Mormon Origins. It's good to give to LDS as they can't say it's anti-Mormon. He is still a member.
Sept. 18, 2003
Subject: pleas read and respond to this
your an ideod fine don't finish reading this ya know im prety opean minded.
If any one gives me valid reason to question my faith, becaus something else might be true i take it. I have in the past and always will.
I take it you claim to be a christian. be honest dont't try to deceive people plees if your gona make claims aginst the mormon church try ro find something that at least holds a little water. try jeoflindsay.com there is some substancial evidence about the BOM docunted there
Sept. 20, 2003
Understand that Rulon Jeffs Leader of the FLDS passed away in 2002. Has a replacement been named, and if so who is and when did this occur.
Keep up the good work!
[Sandra's Note: Here are two articles on Jeffs and his polygamist group.
Sept. 20, 2003
I am looking for Picture's of Joseph Smith's Magic pieces, such as his Talisman extra... I want to show a friend...
Do you have (jpeg or gif) Picture's that I can show them?
[Sandra's Note: There are pictures at this site.
Sept. 20, 2003
Subject: Changes in BOM
You have helped me so much in my research about Mormonism and I thank God and you for your work.
I have a friend who is witnessing to a Mormon. My friend as adopted a little girl who is black, so she has been asking her Mormon friend about how Mormon's feel about black people. She hasn't hesitated to tell her that God doesn't love them.
I have heard that the Book of Mormon originally said that you have to have white skin to go to heaven but now says that you have to be pure in heart. My friend said this to her Mormon friend and needless to say, there is a huge feud going on. Which is bizarre because she said from the beginning how their god felt about blacks.
Anyway, do you know where I could get a photo copy of the original Book of Mormon where it says you have to have white skin to go to heaven?
Thanks for your help. God bless!
Your sister in Christ,
[Sandra's Note: I think you are confusing issues. The 1830 Book of Mormon, p.117, did say that when the Lamanites (dark skinned inhabitants of the Americas) converted to the gospel they would become 'white' and delightsome. In 1981 this verse (2 Nephi 30:6) was changed to 'pure' and delightsome. But this does not relate to blacks (Africans), it is about Indians. The Mormons have a different racial problem with blacks from their racial attitude towards Indians. See:
Sept. 22, 2003
Subject: mormon social stance
To whom it concerns:
I just came across your website for the first time today. In the past years I have done my own research on the LDS faith, and nothing I found compares to the information you have on your website. I find it thoroughly researched and informative to read. Keep up the good work.
As for my question, I want to know where the LDS church stand on social issues such as abortion, birth control, divorce, and euthanasia? Knowingly that Mormons are known for their family values and morals, How are they able to maintain that persona?
Thanks and God Bless
[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church allows for abortion only if it is medically necessary (see Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol.1, p.7). They encourage large families but allow a couple to make their own decision as to the size of the family. They are opposed to divorce, even though many take that route (Encyclopedia of Mormonism, vol.1, p. 391). A divorced person can be fully active in the LDS Church. Obviously they are opposed to euthanasiajust look at the age of their leaders!]
Sept. 22, 2003
I just thought you might find this a little amusing. I was in an LDS chat room ... and began asking questions about things that are in the Book of Mormon that are not consistent with historical facts.
One person began to try to explain about horses/cows/elephants etc and when I asked him if there was any historical archeological evidence he said sure those animals existed all over the world, then I said can you provide any historical archeological evidence for them existing in the Americas, along with chariots, because I have been searching for weeks and cannot find any.
He then promptly had me booted from the room and banned for 24 hours from that chat room. I never got rude or ugly or anything, I simply kept asking for anyone to provide proof so that I could rectify that in my mind. Seems like when someone cannot provide proof of something in the BOM the only recourse is to boot you from the site and ban you for asking a simple question about what is in the BOM. This did not help me to have continued faith in it, thats for sure. Thought this would give you a chuckle
Sept. 22, 2003
Subject: Thanks you for the article
It just reaffirms that you're so fulla shit.
Sept. 22, 2003
Subject: It amazes me
I just wanted to let both of you know that you are doing a great job, I have read many of the letters to the editors and there seems to be a prevalent theme among them by members of the Church. That being "if I don't know about it, it must not be true". They expect to argue with you and yet have not taken the time to see the GLARING contradictions and changes that have taken place. It is easy to bare testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet and that he restored the true church of Christ when you have not read statements by his own pen contradicting what we have today, when you have not seen the changes made to the Doctrine and Covenants that can bring a person only to one conclusion.
That conclusion being that if you give anyone enough time, and enough chances to change their stories, eventually it will become a great story. I have had this same dialogue with every member in my family and strangely enough every one of them wants to bear me their testimony about why they "think" it is true, without spending the time to find out that it is true.
I feel just like B.H. Roberts (noted Mormon Historian and Apostle) must have felt like as he was looking for answers from modern revelation to what he thought was a large problem with the Book of Mormon, but instead all he got was people sharing their testimonies, no answers, no proof, just a testimony. I have said myself that "I know this Church is True" my 4 year old has said it as well, that still does not change the fact that we live in a time where we have more information than has ever been available to man, we can put these things to the test, and I have found that the Church comes out looking like a fraud.
I really wish I could talk to all of the people who tell you that you are uninformed or lack the research that it takes to make certain statements. I have seen many sites in regards to the Church both positive and negative, and it amazes me the amount of time that you have put into yours. I have the Gospel Link program and have kept your site in check by checking references (where available) and have found your research to be impeccable. It is sad that the myriad of poorly done sites in opposition of the church give a site like yours a bad reputation. People assume that they are all full of lies and half truths, and although I have seen much that would give them that idea elsewhere, I have found that you provide references and stay away from opinion wherever possible. As a matter of fact, I read the FARMS articles in Gospelink that have to do with the "Tanners" and have acted as a 3rd party observer and have to say that for the most part I end up agreeing with the "Tanners" on most subjects (funny to me that I can almost see them squinting and making a mean face every time they say "Tanners").
Lastly, please add my thanks on top of all of those who have given it to this point to you and your husband, this type of research and writing does not appear overnight, I thank you for every keystroke!
Sept. 22, 2003
... Were you guys involved in masonry? Or is Mormonism closely related? also, Is there a printed Mormon Temple endowment ceremony?
[Sandra's Note: No, we were never involved in Masonry. Joseph Smith joined the Masons in the 1840's and used some of the ideas from it for his temple ceremony. The 1969 version of the LDS temple ceremony is included in our book MormonismShadow or Reality? Several other versions, including the current 1990 version, are in our book Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony. Another good book on the development of the temple ceremony and Masonic influence would be Mysteries of Godliness: History of Mormon Temple Worship, by Buerger.]
Sept. 23, 2003
Subject: Thank you!
...I'm also interested in something I've heard very little comment about: Egypt vs Ur... according to the text [Book of Abraham 1:8, PGP] the Priest of Pharaoh made regular sacrifices at an altar in "Ur".... does that mean he traveled to Mesopotamia? Or did Joseph think Ur was in Egypt? ...
Thanks again Sandra
[Sandra's Note: It shows Joseph Smith's lack of understanding of the region and the Egyptian religion. I doubt that any non-Mormon scholar would accept the idea that a priest of Pharaoh would travel to Ur, a considerable distance, to offer a sacrifice "unto the god of Pharaoh." Why would he need to travel to Ur "in the land of Chaldea" when he could offer his sacrifice in Egypt? Surely the Egyptians would not have considered another land as more sacred.]
Sept. 23, 2003
Subject: Marriage Ceremony
... I lived in Provo for six years, ... and have many good friends among the Mormons. One of my very best friends is a Mormon woman who admits to not knowing as much about her church as I do about mine and also admits there are many things she does not agree with in the Mormon belief system, but she says she is still a Mormon and she always will be a Mormon. She says she has to be because to divorce her husband would separate her from her children in heaven and she couldn't bear that.
I now live in IL where there is a large population of Mormons and I don't know how to witness to them. While living in UT those years I learned a lot about their belief system from them and from former Mormons. Another of my women friends there was raised in another denomination but, as a young woman, married a Mormon man and was sealed in the temple. Today she is married to another man in another faith but still will not talk about that sealing ceremony. As close as we are, all she will say is that it was the most horrible experience of her life and she wishes someone would have warned her about it.
My pastor is new to this area and he and his wife want to know what they are up against so I've told them things I've heard from non-Mormon people, who have lived in UT all their lives, and also things I've learned directly from my Mormon friends. They are having trouble imagining some of the beliefs that the Mormons adhere to as these are so contradictory to Christian beliefs.
Can you give me a description and/or an explanation of the sealing ceremony? I visited the American Fork temple while it was open to the public and saw the sealing room.
An elderly friend told me that her male cousin used to be a Mormon Bishop and he described the part of the ceremony in the Bride's room with the robe and the veil which I have read accounts of in other places and they were pretty much the same. Also the endowment ceremony. He also told my friend that, at least at one time, the altar in the sealing room was used for the first sexual encounter of the bride and it was not always with her groom. Was he being truthful or was he embellishing the truth or outright lying? Was this a thing of the past and is not being done in modern times? ...
[Sandra's Note: The LDS temple marriage is not consummated in the building and no one is required to have relations with anyone while there. I assume this elderly man was just repeating gossip he had heard. I think during the Nauvoo period, when the Mormons were trying to hide polygamy from the public, the temple may have been used for sleeping with plural wives. But I don't believe this was part of the ceremony. But it may have given rise to gossip like this man mentioned.
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 the letters 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 eternitylike 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.
Sept. 23, 2003
Subject: letter to the editor
September 23, 2003
I am a member of the LDS church. My mother and (step) father are strong southern Baptist and very anti-Mormon...in fact they probably frequent your web-site. I was raised Baptist for 15 years before I got baptized. My mother got baptized, went to the temple and then left the church. She has been totally against it for more than 20 years.
I suppose she (and her husband) find it their mission to "convert" me and my family. I have received several long letters telling me that I don't know what I believe and that they worry about my salvation. What I wonder is, would they feel the same way if I would have joined the catholic church? If they believe we are "saved by grace alone", then they should not worry, because I do believe in grace too! I just want to work a little bit too, is that so wrong?
And why are they not concerned with my sister, who goes nowhere and really has no claim of faith? I would think she should be getting letters of concern too! It must be just us Mormons that are doomed....yeah, right.
A Happy and Content Mormon
Sept. 24, 2003
Subject: Doctrine and Covanents
WE have been told that there was a section of the d&c that was removed around 1876, it had something to do with marriage to one wife. Have you ever heard anything about this?
[Sandra's Note: Yes, sec. 101 of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants condemned the practice of polygamy. This section was removed in 1876 when the church added sec. 132 commanding polygamy. We have a photo of the 1835 section at this web page, plus a discussion of the problem: Changing World, 1835 Doctrine and Covenants sec. 101
Also see #66 Messenger, Polygamy and Truth.]
Sept. 25, 2003
Subject: Daughter is believing in Mormonism
Help...my daughter was dating an LDS young man who has gone on a mission. Because of him she has been looking into Mormonism. She has just told me that she believes what she is reading is true. I need some help and advice. I know a lot about the LDS faith but she will not listen to me or my husband, who is a former Mormon. I want so much to help her. I've given her articles from your site. I've contrasted the Bible with their doctrine. She just keeps saying that it feels right to her and that she thinks that must mean something. I'm beside myself with fear that she will convert.
[Sandra's Note: You might want to order our set of photos called Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies. These will help you demonstrate that the LDS leaders are teaching some very false doctrines. You could even just hand her the photos and ask her to read through them and then ask her to think through if she would really be willing to accept all these teachings.
Or maybe you could call Deseret Book at 801-328-8191 and order the book Mormon Enigma: Emma Hale Smith by Newell and Avery. They are two LDS women historians so one can't charge them with being 'anti' Mormon. However, their book tells about Smith's involvement with magic when he meets Emma, how they had to elope since her dad objected to her marrying a guy with no visible means of support, how Smith took extra wives and how Emma struggled with that. In other words, it tells a lot of their embarrassing history but never says Smith was a false prophet. You could give it to her with the challenge that if she is seriously going to consider Mormonism she ought to at least read how it got started.
As for feelings, remind her that those Muslims that committed the murders Sept. 11th also 'felt' they were doing God's will and they prayed several times a day. Thus we see that we can't go on just feelings or what we felt after prayer, as people using the same method have come up with all sorts of different answers. For Christians, it must square with what Jesus and the apostles taught (see Gal. 1:8-9).
Another good book is The Mormon Missionaries about a college age girl that almost joins Mormonism.]
Sept. 24, 2003
Subject: RE: Swedenborg
Dear Mr and Mrs Tanner,
As a Christian who was once a Mormon I am trying to find out how much of Joe Smith's work was lifted from Emanuel Swedenborg.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, we are somewhat familiar with parallels to Swedenborg. When Jerald left Mormonism he had a LDS friend that was attracted to that.
Several books and articles have mentioned the parallels. Dan Vogel, in his book The Word of God, p.194, observed:
An article in Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, Vol.14, No.1, p.61-2, pointed out the similarities of dividing heaven into thee levels:
D. Michael Quinn, in his book Early Mormonism and the Magic World View, p.174, pointed out that "...the only pre-1830 advocate of three heavens was apparently Swedish mystic Emanuel Swedenborg."
George D. Smith, in Faithful History, p.ix, observed: "...similarities have been found between Joseph Smith's revelation of the three degrees of afterlife glory and the contemporary writings of Thomas Dick and Emanuel Swedenborg."
The concept of pre-earth life was pointed out in an article in Dialogue, Vol.29, No.2, p.29: "There is a parallel in Swedenborg to pre-existent matching of spirits, the doctrine Joseph taught Mary Elizabeth Lightner when he proposed to her 'Two souls which grew up together before life are bound to find each other again on earth.' "
An article in Dialogue, Vol.23, No.2, p.104, observed that "...ideas about the spirit world had been given an elaborate boost in the eighteenth century by the writings of Emanuel Swedenborg. Even more interesting is the fact that 'Mother Ann's Work' began among the Shakers in 1837. Through spiritualist phenomena, Shakers were informed that bands of Indian spirits as well as spirits of people from all over the world who had died long ago were being converted to Shakerism."
For more on Swedenborg see http://craigwmiller.tripod.com ]
Sept. 25, 2003
Subject: be in equilibrium
please take to sandra tanner.
you have to be honest in your [quote from Joseph Smith] front web page. at that time and situation j.smith was circucle by the most furious apostate of the church by that time. also, peter baptized 3000 in one day Our Lord never did so, that is not be offensive to Him. Paul took the church where nither peter nor Jesus did, i do not see any problem with these statements. are you making profits of these staff?. if so, i think your worst than j.smith was.
Sept. 25, 2003
Subject: what way should this Mormon Inc. go?
... I read the book of 'American Saints', and was appalled by the manipulation, wheeling and dealing of all those authorities of this Mormon Inc.
Also that after more than 150 years, it is still a full-blooded American Company Church/Sect/Cult, and no non-American outsider will ever be in the position to become a Prophet, an Apostle or a member of the 1st Presidium.
On top of that is the pushing of the American Way of Life, which destroys all other cultures by the missionaries doings.
We did not cancel our membership of the Church as a family for the sake of it, but stayed on as Jack-Mormons, non-active. I did warn though our Stake brothers and sisters about the DNA vs BOM by Thomas Murphy issue, but at the whole, nobody reacted.
The Stake president said only I had to stop writing those emails or I would be persecuted. Some were extremely violent in their remarks, as true fanatics, but, you have had your part in that too, I reckon.
About the ... change of direction by the Church away from Joseph Smith and his friends to the more middle of the road Christian Churches. Their focus is now more to Christ than to Mr. Smith & Co.
As I discussed this with Professor Thomas Murphy, the way the Church should be in the future, for he and his family also stay on as Jack-Mormons, this will be a very painfull and slow proces, by affirming all the bad things the Church did in the Name of Christ. More, what to keep or what to dump of Doctrines, Rites, etc.etc.
Thank you again,
Sept. 25, 2003
I just thought I'd express something that I find interesting and am going to look into. I am a college student and consider myself Christian.
I had some time on my hands and was browsing around when I found your sight. To tell you the truth I think I am going to really look into the Mormon church. This is the reason. You have a huge site seemingly on why the Mormon religion is bad or inaccurate and I looked all over for something that the Mormons wrote about you, and I couldnt find any. It seems that you are giving the Mormons the same treatment that the Church of Christ recieved in biblical days. Maybe there's something to that. It just makes me think. How can you spend so much time on the faults of another religion? It seems very tediouss. Anyway, that's my thoughts.
[Sandra's Note: I don't know how you didn't find LDS sites attacking us, just type in any search engine 'Jerald Tanner.' I assure you, you will find them.]
Sept. 26, 2003
Subject: The Veil in the Temple
I appreciate your website. It has been very informational and supportive for my family since we have exited the Mormon church.
I do have a question for you that I have never gotten an answer to. I have never gone through the temple myself, but understand that there is a portion of the ceremony where the temple-goers are pulled through a veil in a representation of passing on to paradise.
It is my understanding that men give their handshakes and symbols to someone on the other side of the veil who portrays God and pulls them through. The men then accept these symbols and handshakes from their wives and pull their wives through the veil. If this is the case, who would be the man who would pull a single woman through the veil when she dies? This was always a concern for me when I was a practicing Mormon, as I am a single woman, and remains an issue of curiosity for me now, as well as being a quandary for some practicing Mormons I have asked about this issue.
Thanks so much for any answer you might have, and thanks for your very helpful and intellectual website. Please continue the good work - it is a lifeline for many of us.
[Sandra's Note: When a single LDS woman goes through the endowment ceremony the man at the veil will not necessarily know her; in the ritual that day he just stands in the place of God or her future husband.
The LDS Church promises faithful LDS single women that they will be given the opportunity to be sealed in marriage to a good LDS man during the millennium (however, this could mean polygamy if there aren't enough good men).
During the 1900's a living man could have deceased single women sealed to him. An example of sealing deceased single women to living men can be found in President Wilford Woodruff's journal. Giving a summary of his temple work up through 1879, Woodruff stated:
Sept. 26, 2003
Subject: Mormons and Masons
I just ran across an article titled 'Mormonism and Freemasonry.' I do not know when it was written, being a Mason myself one paragraph has peaked my interest. This is what it says.
Temple ceremonies commence with the washings, anointing, and the assumption of garments which are white and of one piece with a "square" on the right breast and "compasses" on the left breast. According to Mormon doctrine, worn continuously, these temple garments will protect the wearer from all danger, whether spiritual or temporal. aprons worn by the men and the women are alike and have been accurately described as being a "square half yard of green silk with nine fig leaves worked on them in brown sewing silk".
What I want to know? Is this paragraph accurate particularly about the placement of the "square and compasses"? Thank you for your time,
[Sandra's Note: Yes, the LDS undergarments have the Masonic marks of the compass and square. See the site referenced in the Sept.1 letter above.]
Sept. 26, 2003
Subject: lds baby blessings
Hi, I'm a non-believer and was disfellowshipped about ten years ago. My question relates to whom is allowed in the circle, when a baby is blessed. I was told by someone that any male, LDS or non-LDS, with or without the priesthood, can be invited to stand in that circle. Without actually seeing a bishops' handbook, I can't seem to find the answer. You have certainly guessed, by now, that I have been omitted from such a circle, at a grandson's blessing. I didn't put up a fight, but, now another is going to be blessed, and I need to know if my presence is prohibited. The father's blessing, and the naming of the child, are done by the father--not by the others in the circle, so I cannot understand why there would be any injunction against the presence of a non-member, non-priesthood-holding grandpa. Let me know. I think it's important for many family members, who have left the faith, because of doctrinal and other issues.
Thanks for your help. I know that you have suffered, as I have, for coming to the conclusion that the LDS church cannot be true. It is a ever-changing, man-made church, and, as a former bishopric member, and temple worker, I have seen the evidence first hand. I applaude you for your open speaking on the subject. That can be a very difficult thing, when many of the family still have strong ties with mormonism.
[Sandra's Note: Evidently your family was following the letter of the law. The official Church Handbook of Instruction, p.22, states:
What a needless pain to impose on a loving Grandfather! (And Grandmother for that matterwhy can't the women family members stand in the circle?) ]
Sept. 26, 2003
... I have just read again Matthew 16:17-19 and Matthew 18:18. Could you explain to me what is meant by bound and loosed. I know the LDS Church teaches it is sealing of families for eternity but the Bible does not say that so what is the generally accepted interpretation of Bound and Loosed in these two passages.
Thanks again for your patience with me
[Sandra's Note: Here is a quote from Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary:
Sept. 27, 2003
Subject: Quick Comment
My Name is Jon Paull and I am 15 and the only member of my house hold in The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints. ...
Now Just to send you my thoughts about your website and about your Anti-Mormon "information". As a Member of Christ's Church, I do not think that it is right for you to be posting information against his church.
Number 1, It is not very Christ like and i know for a fact That if Christ was on the earth today, he would not be going around posting false information and anti information against his church. So, What gives you the right to do this? What is your purpose on trying to go against Christs Church? ...
Now I would like to speak to you a little concerning the Apostasy. And start out with a scripture: 1 Timothy 4:1-2—
In case you don't know, this scripture is talking about the Apostasy, which has happened and is why there are about 200 Christian churches In the world today. It says that In the Latter-days some people will depart from Christ’s church, by believing false spirits, and doctrines of devils. It also says that some will speak lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; which means that they will speak against Christ’s Church because they are jealous of the truth, and wish they could have it. But it also is saying that these people will no that the truth is in the church… Now to prove this right I would like to share with you 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-3 which says;
As you can see; This scripture is saying, that you should not let no man deceive you by any means and it says that the day will come when that will happen. But it says that there will be a falling away first, speaking of the apostasy, that the Church will leave the earth. To me and 11 million other members of The Fold of Christ, we believe that the Church has already fallen away, and has been restored to this earth through the PROPHET Jospeh Smith. ... I know it is how every Latter Day Saint feels when they hear the Prophet speak, and I know for a fact that it is how I feel when I hear the Prophet speak.
Anyway I Thank you very much for your time, and hope that you can have a better understanding of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-day Saints, and that you may have a change of heart, and I pray that Heavenly Father will soften your heart, and that you would change for the better...
Thank You For your Time,
Sept. 27, 2003
Please send me your news letter. Your site and information contain the most honest source of LDS info. I have come across, and I truly commend your integrity. You would be surprised how many members of the church have no information as to the "true history" of JS and BY.
I live in an area where people are still ashamed of their relations to mmm participants and have even changed their names. ...
Sept. 29, 2003
Subject: question of quotation
I am LDS and I have been doing research and a lot of thought about my religion. I have read a lot of your information and parts of 'Shadow and Reality.' I have checked many of the sources to make sure they are in the proper context. I have found many in context but some have been very much out of context. For example;
The original quotation:
How do you explain this? And I am sincere in my question. On the other side of the coin I have seen LDS apologists take things and rationalize them to death or just attack the author. And lastly if you were to give me three items that is the most damning evidence against Joseph Smith and the LDS church what would they be.
[Sandra's Note: I don't see a problemhow is this out of context? I get the same drift from the entire quote. Smith did hit him. Since there was conflicting testimony and Stoddard was 'satisfied' with Smith's apology and he wasn't going to press the issue, the court dismissed the case. But it doesn't change the fact that Smith struck him.
The three most damaging issues for Mormonism—
Read Palmer's book, An Insiders View of Mormon Origins for a good overview of the basic problems.
PS: The fourth one would be Smith's First Vision. Problems with the Priesthood restoration would be another good one.]
Sept. 30, 2003
Just A Quick Note:
I dont base my belief on the Church abotu Feeling... But what Heavenly Father has personally Revealed Unto me... That is how i know That The Church is True...