June 1, 2004
Subject: Spencer W. Kimball statement on BOM archeological evidence
I have heard the rumor that in the 1970's President Spencer W. Kimball made a statement that we (Mormons) should stop looking for archeological evidences for the book of Mormon because there is none. Can you direct me to where I can find it. It think it was published in the Church News but I cannot find a source.
Thank you and God bless you for helping me search for the truth and teach it to my family
[Sandra's Note: I think you are referring to the editorial in the Deseret News, Church News section, 1978. See: Where is Cumorah?]
June 1, 2004
... This is an email we [Larry and Tammy Braithwaite] received today [about our book Mormon Odyssey: Journey to the Center of My Soul]....
June 1, 2004
[Ex-Mormon temple worker] Bob Sacket wrote that "... In the early Mormon Temple ceremonies some of the marks were cut into the garment with a small knife while on the patron's body, thus knicking his flesh and shedding his blood into the garment" ... I already know about the penalties. Is there are any truth to what Sacket says that a knife was used in the early endowment to make the penalty signs?
[Sandra's Note: Back in the 1800's the Mormons may have cut the marks in the garments while wearing them, but not today. Here is a quote from Bancroft, a non-Mormon historian:
After this they receive certain grips and pass-words, and all are arranged in a circle, kneel, and the women lower their veils. Then, with the right hand uplifted, an oath is taken to avenge the death of Joseph Smith, jun., upon the gentiles who had caused his murder, to teach the children of the church to do likewise, to obey implicitly and without murmur or question all commands of the priesthood, to refrain from adultery, and finally, eternal secrecy concerning all that transpired in the endowment house is promised. Then comes an address, after which another room is entered, leading from which is a door with a hole in it, covered with a piece of muslin. The men approach this door in turn and ask to enter. Then a person behind the door reaches through the opening, and with knife in hand cuts a certain mark on the left breast of the shirt, another over the abdomen, and one over the right knee, which marks are faithfully copied by the women in their own garments after returning to their homes. (History of Utah, 1540-1886, by Hubert Howe Bancroft, 1889, Appendix 15, #17)]
June 2, 2004
why are you so bitter against the church. remember president [N. Eldon] tanner i was a good man you are evel sorry 4 you you are streghten my testimony
June 2, 2004
Subject: Darrick Evenson
Dear Utah Lighthouse Ministry,
I resigned from the Mormon Church in 1996, and for awhile I was a Baha'i (follower of Baha'u'llah who claimed to be the incarnation of the Holy Ghost) I believed that Joseph Smith prophecied of Baha'u'llah in his 1890-91 prophecies (where if he lived to 85--1890-91--he would "see the face" of the Son of Man). However, I became disillusioned with the Baha'i Faith as well. To tell you why would take a book. For Baha'is, Jesus is just a prophet who came to teach "peace and tolerance and to unite villages". That's all. They really don't have a CLUE Who Jesus was or is!
After many years (25 in fact) of trying to find evidence to support my belief that The Book of Mormon was ancient, I had to come to the conclusion that The Book of Mormon is a product of the 19th century. DNA is against it. Archaeology is against it. Internal evidences are against it. About the only "evidence" that Mormon Apologists can produce to support an ancient Book of Mormon is chiasmus.
The Book of Mormon has "chiasmi" (plural of chiasmus). However, that doesn't work, because the "Voree Record" of James Strang (who claimed to find these plates under a tree in Michigan), a man who claimed to be the true successor of Joseph Smith Jr., also has "chiasmus"; yet Mormons believe Strang was a false prophet! You can't have it both ways (though Mormons think they can).
I also discovered the Brigham Young stole HUGE amounts from the Tithing Office, and this is why he died a millionaire with today's equivolent of twenty million dollars. He stole millions of dollars from poor Mormon farmers and used the money to buy distilleries and tobacco farms and then would sell liquor and tobacco to Gentiles while at the same time he forbade Mormons from selling or buying from Gentiles on threat of excommunication! What a HYPOCRITE! He taught the Adam-God doctrine as a "revelation", yet today the Church teaches the opposite! How could anyone trust Mormon Prophets!
I also know that Gordon B. Hinckley has told the Office of the First Presidency and the Public Affairs office to "deny" that the Church ever taught that blacks were cursed or the decendants of Cain. If you call, and you are not a Member, they'll say, "The Church NEVER taught that!" If you call, and you're a Member, they'll say, "Ask your bishop!" and instead of the bishop answering you, he will "grill" you on your personal worthiness and then say, "Stop contacting the Brethren or the Church about this or any other question!" and if you don't obey that "counsel" you will have your Temple Recommend yanked or even your Membership threatened. That's simply NOT of God! The Church should either publicly repudiate the Curse of Cain legacy, or stop telling non-members "The Church never taught it!" What the Church is doing now is simply dishonest; lying in the name of Jesus for the sake of better public relations.
I think I knew that Church leaders were not "Living Prophets" after Mark Hofmann confessed to forging documents. He FOOLED them. He played them like a violin! I wrote an article about this on the Internet:
I went inactive from the Church in early 1990. I tried to go back several times after that, but nothing ever came of it. But all that time, even while I was a Baha'i, I clung to my belief that Joseph Smith was a true Prophet of God and The Book of Mormon was exactly what it claimed to be. I tried desperately to find "reasons" to hold on to these beliefs. However, the more I researched, the more it became obvious that The Book of Mormon is NOT an ancient history but a product of the 19th century.
For years I was in great depression because I had to come to a conclusion I didn't want to come to; that The Book of Mormon is not what it claims to be, and that Mormon Church leaders are about as inspired as a loaf of bread! Yet, I finally accepted this--came out of denial--and I've been at peace ever since. I wrote a book in defense of the Church ("The Gainsayers") and I spent my entire adult life trying to defend the Church and find answers to Anti-Mormon claims, but, at the end, I discovered the truth--the Church is not what is claims to be. At first, I couldn't accept that reality; it was too harsh, but I finally did, and now I'm FREE. As Jesus said, "The TRUTH shall make you free". Today, I'm an Indepedent Christian and couldn't be happier! You are more than welcome to publish this in your next newsletter, in part or full.
[Web-editor Note: We usually don't leave the name on the emails, but since many Mormons have given Darrick Evenson's book, The Gainsayers, to non-members, and his book was sold at LDS bookstores, we felt people should know Mr. Evenson's current position. For other background information on Mr. Evenson, see #79 Messenger.]
June 3, 2004
Thank you again for being there to educate those of us who were taught to believe in "the church" rather than the Bible. I haven't given up some of my friends and relatives from church and just don't talk about it to them. I have told my cousin ... to stop worrying about all the "man-made" teachings and read the Bible. ... I'm 73 now, raised in the church, and remember when some of the teachings and rules and regulations were different from now. Your article about the change of allowing Blacks to hold the priesthood because of Brazil made so much sense because those of us living in Miami knew many of the Brazilians are mixed. ...
June 3, 2004
I wondered if any early leaders taught Jesus was married?
[Sandra's Note: Yes, they taught he was a polygamist. Here is some information from our book The Changing World of Mormonism:
June 4, 2004
Subject: lds stuff
Hello....I am a member of the LDS church but I am inactive. Someone suggested to me that you might be some people for me to talk to. I have also been talking with James Walker from Watchman Fellowship [http://www.watchman.org/watchman.htm]. I am still feeling the pull from the LDS church and I am thinking of having my name removed. I feel I can’t get enough information on the truth about the LDS church right now and thought I would try to see if you had any suggestions on what might help me.
[Sandra's Note: A good book for you to read is Out of the Cults and into the Church. It helps explain the emotional ups and downs of leaving a false belief system. There is often an emotional tug back to that which is familiar, even when one knows it isn't true. Another book that might help is Judy Robertson's book Out of Mormonism: A Woman's True Story.]
June 4, 2004
Subject: Thank You
Thank you for your wonderful ministry. I have spent much time reading articles about Mormons and have been greatly enlightened about their ties to the occult. The occult is Satan's enchanted ground, and I believe that anyone who wanders into any aspect of the occult becomes the legal prey of Satan. This, I believe, explains why there are so many in the LDS church who are blind to the overwhelming evidence that Joseph Smith was not a true prophet, and that the Book of Mormon is fictional. ...
June 4, 2004
Subject: True Church?
So where's the TRUE CHURCH? With Prophets, Apostles, etc?
[Sandra's Note: Jesus said "Where two or three are joined together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." [Matt. 18:20] I suggest you read this chapter of Marv Cowan's book, Mormon Claims Answered, Chapter 7.]
June 4, 2004
Subject: Restored Church?
I actually have two inquiries (sorry). First, do you have any idea what education Joseph Smith had? Is there any record of him knowing Hebrew? I have found two Hebrew words that were used as names in the BoMo: Nephi(lim) and Alma. This may be merely coincidence and nothing more, but it is odd. It is possible there may be more.
My other question is about the "restored church." Was there ever a revelation in either the New or Old Testament that proclaimed it's coming? If so, what compelled people to believe it was the LDS church set up by Joseph Smith, and not one that is to be set up by Christ after his 2nd coming, which would make more sense?
I've searched endless sites and pages, but can find no answers to these questions. Please help.
My sincerest thanks,
[Sandra's Note: The word "Nephi" comes from the King James Version of the Apocrypha. See Changing World, p.114.
As for other names in the Book of Mormon, see:
The word Alma doesn't occur in the KJV of the Bible. However, it is the Hebrew word for a young woman, or virgin, as in Isa. 7:14. Alma is also an Irish masculine name. See http://www.irelandseye.com/irish/traditional/names/first/alma.shtm
Joseph Smith did study Hebrew in the mid-1830's, but this was after he produced the Book of Mormon. See the article 'Joseph Smith As a Student of Hebrew,' by Louis C. Zucker, Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought, vol.3, no.2, pp.41-53.
Smith's study of Hebrew did influence his writing of the Book of Abraham.
As for the restoration idea, there were many movements of the day claiming to be the restoration of the New Testament church. Famous preacher Alexander Campbell emphasized the need to return to New Testament teachings. The Disciples of Christ grew out of his efforts. Here is an article on Campbell.
The New York area was referred to as the 'burnt over' district as it had seen so many revivals. See:
The Shakers, Jehovah's Witnesses and 7th Day Adventists all grew out of that same period of unrest in the Christian community.
Thus Joseph Smith's organization was just one of many restoration groups started in the 1800's.
June 5, 2004
Subject: Early Proclamation from Twelve Apostles
I was doing some research on what early leaders of the church taught regarding who the Lamanites are and came across a fascinating article at http://home.comcast.net/~zarahemla/lamanites.pdf - even if you can't answer my question, I think you might enjoy the article if you haven't read it already. Okay here's my question:
On page 12 of the document, the author refers to a Proclamation regarding who the Lamanites are and that it was signed by the Twelve Apostles (to my reasoning this makes the statement binding on the church). I haven't noticed this reference anywhere else in my research and I don't know how to contact the author of the essay to verify his source or how he became aware of this proclamation. I was wondering if you were aware of this document since you have done so much research on early mormon documents, and whether others are able to view the full document.
Hope you can get back to me. Thank you.
[Sandra's Note: I read it some years ago but had forgotten how much it relates to the Indians. As you observed, it certainly identifies all of the American Indians with Lamanites. See the whole document on our site here: Proclamation of the Twelve: April 6, 1845.]
June 5, 2004
Sandra (God's faithful servant),
Thanks for the additional info! I sure do appreciate it. Walter Martin was really right when he referred to it as the "Maze of Mormonism." There are so many things that we need to be able to give an answer, a reason for the faith within us.
Our pastor recently played the video, "The Mormon Puzzle." Thank you for being an integral part of that film. It is very good and our LDS friends have to really reach to be offended by it. It is something that enables them to start thinking on their own about what they have been taught and what the Bible actually says. It is really a matter of authority for them. They have to come to grips with the fact that the Bible IS reliable and is the actual authority, not man.
God bless you in HIS work!
June 6, 2004
If people really want to know about Mormonism, why dont they ask and LDS member themselves? It seems kind of pointless to ask the enemy, dont you think?
[Sandra's Note: We have no problem with someone asking a Mormon what they believe. But people need to keep in mind that all members do not equally understand or have studied the teachings of the various LDS prophets. Also, those seeking to convert someone to Mormonism may deliberately downplay anything that might turn an investigator away. The missionaries do not usually give people the Doctrine and Covenants or Pearl of Great Price, only the Book of Mormon. Thus a potential convert does not read all of their scriptures or doctrine.
Jesus said "Ye shall know the truth and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32) We share with the Mormons a desire to follow God according to all He has revealed. But one must be careful to study the Bible and compare it with the teachings of anyone claiming to be God's representative. There is a reason for the warnings in the Bible against false prophets.
We view ourselves as a sort of religious "Consumer Report" service. Just as there are many unscrupulous business men and fraudulent schemes, so there have been many counterfeit religious leaders and groups. Just look at Jim Jones or the one hundred break off groups of Mormonism. (See Divergent Paths of the Restoration.)
If there is clear evidence, as in Mormonism, that the leaders have said one thing and done another then someone needs to make that public. Past LDS leaders have repeatedly stated that God was once a mortal who went on to achieve godhood. Yet when Pres. Hinckley was asked about this in 1997 he seemed to deny it. See http://www.irr.org/mit/hinckley.html for a good article on this.
Up until 1990 the LDS temple ceremony included a part that depicted Christian pastors as tools of Satan. Yet when most LDS people are asked about this now they either deny it or speak from limited knowledge, having gone through the temple only after 1990. Yet the fact remains, the earlier temple ceremonies were very condemning of Christian clergy. We have published numerous accounts of the ceremony and have documented the changes. See Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony: 1842-1990.
Our experience of talking with Mormons over the past forty-five years is that many simply are not prepared to discuss the issues, and often give answers that are not supported by the facts. We do not force anyone to read our material. We simply provide additional information to inform the public. Part of finding the truth is eliminating what is false.]
June 6, 2004
I have had the opportunity to observe the growth of several devout Mormon families. The boys go on their missions immediately after their freshman year in college. They return 2 years later from the ends of the earth, and within 2-3 months are engaged to a (always beautiful) young woman we never heard mention of before. Within another 4-6 months they are married.
I suspect that the system goes something like this: Boy returns from Mission. Boy and Girl attend LDS social event where they are introduced. Boy's parents tell him that he is getting the "cream of the crop" and he better get with the program. Girl's parents tell her that this is her one big chance to snare a young man who is well on his way to the big time, if not she will be thrown into the "2nd pick" pile. Within a week or two, they are engaged.
Please tell me how far off I am on this, and please advise further reading on this particular matter.
Thank you for all your wonderful work over the years.
[Sandra's Note: There used to be a general policy of telling young returned LDS missionaries to marry within six months. While that six month instruction is supposedly no longer given, the usual quick rate of marriage among returned LDS missionaries seems to show that the advice is still being given. Here is a quote from a Mormon study:
June 7, 2004
Subject: Original manuscripts?
My wife and I have recently started meeting with Mormon missionaries. Also, our neighbors are Mormon, and we've established a friendly relationship and hope to show them the true gospel.
In our meeting last week, we pointed out some changes that have been made in the Book of Mormon since 1830 (we've been meeting for almost three months and are still on the topic of the truth of the Book of Mormon as compared to the Bible). Their only response was the "official" one, that changes have been made to fit more closely the pre-publication manuscripts. Do you know of a way to get a copy of those manuscripts?
[Sandra's Note: There were two copies of the handwritten Book of Mormon: the original manuscript and one copy made to take to the printer. Only portions of the original are still in existence. However, the printer’s manuscript, retained by Book of Mormon witness Oliver Cowdery, has been preserved and is owned by the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (aka Community of Christ). A summary of this is in the Encyclopedia of Mormonism, under 'Book of Mormon Manuscripts,' p.185-186.
I have a photocopy of the printer's manuscript and could make a copy for $50 plus shipping. I also have a packet of photos of 11 pages from the manuscript, showing some of the important changes, for $3 plus shipping. Call us at 801-485-0312 to order.]
June 9, 2004
I apologize for not responding to the package you've sent, which was received several weeks ago. . . . Please extend my heartfelt thanks and deepest appreciation to the Tanner's family, the staff . . . of Utah Lighthouse Ministry. Words is not enough to express how grateful I am, for the immediate respond regarding my request. I'm so very thankful to GOD for he uses you to met the reading materials at no cost. Literatures are very helpful, thank you ever so much . . . I have profited greatly from your ministry, the pack of information you’ve sent to me, I read it from cover to cover. I really enjoy them, they have been a tremendous blessing to me in my newfound faith in Jesus Christ. . . . May God continue to open the hearts of His believers to provide the needed funds so that you may continue your ministry and bless you abundantly for your tireless effort in reaching our Mormon friends for His glory and the edification of the Body of Christ.
. . .
June 9, 2004
... I wonder if you could help me to find these publications. I'm on your e-mail list. Many thanks,
The Mormon Missionary Handbook: A Reprint with A Refutation by Hal Houghy (Concord, CA: Pacific Publishing Company)
Answers to the Mormon Missionary by Albert S. Hall III (Wichita Falls, TX: Western Christian Foundation)
[Sandra's Note: Sorry, the first one is out of print. I am not familiar with the second one. You would need to contact a used book dealer. Try one of these.
Sam Wellers Bookstore
Ken Sanders Rare Books
Enjoy your news letters. Thanks.
I read in one of your previous letters that the Mormons teach that God was a man at one time and that other gods taught Him how to become a God. Is this publication on your website? If not, could you send me a paragraph or two concerning that false and blasphemous teaching?
[Sandra's Note: Here are two pages where we deal with that.
Also read Joseph Smith's sermons on the godhead:
and our chapter seven in The Changing World of Mormonism: Godhead.]
June 10, 2004
Subject: Faith in the BOM
I am in touch with a pastor who has an accredited Bible school and ordains pastors. Recently he has sent out newsletters saying that the Book of Mormon is equal to the Bible. He says Joseph Smith is a fallen prophet (he doesn't endorse anything else by Joseph Smith--only the BOM.) I have let him know my opinion about the BOM, that although there are truths in it, I can't accept it on the same level as the Bible. In my correspondence to him, I mentioned you. He wrote back:
My question is: As Christians did you still believe the Book of Mormon was a pure word of God. If so, what changed your mind? Do you have any further comment to what he wrote?
Thank you for your work,
[Sandra's Note: How sad that a pastor is caught up in this!! No wonder Mormonism is growing. Yes, we believed the Book of Mormon even after we left the LDS Church. But after being challenged on the historical issues of the Book of Mormon we realized it was a nineteenth century novel.
This pastor seems to be going on the same emotional approach of a Mormon'I prayed about it, got a warm fuzzy, it sounds good, it must be true.' And what is his answer to the Mormon that uses his logic to determine that the LDS Church is indeed God's only true church? He should read such books as:
One by us, which he probably wouldn't read, is Joseph Smith's Plagiarism of the Bible.
Other books showing Smith's heavy dependency on the Bible are:
June 12, 2004
Subject: Doctrine and Covenants section 111
I know I read somewhere that D& C 111 was about Joseph Smith being told there was a old widow who died in another city and that she had hidden money in her house. Since the LDS church needed money, Smith traveled to the city and went through the woman's house but did not find any money. I can't find this account anywhere. The original source of my info was in a BYU D & C class in 1979 and the info was in the accompanying study guide we had to buy for the class. When I left the LDS church I did not keep this study guide book.
Do you know where I could find information regarding this incident?
Thanks for your help and keep up the cause!!
[Sandra's Note: In Sec. 111 of the Doctrine and Covenants God supposedly promised Smith he would find wealth in Salem, MA, to pay the church debts (the church owed multiple thousands of dollars to merchants and landowners). In verse 2 God announces "I have much treasure in this city for you, for the benefit of Zion,..." and in verse 5 Smith is promised "Concern not yourselves about your debts, for I will give you power to pay them." Below is the full text of the revelation.
Why did God give them a false hope, sending them on a futile mission that could have only added to the church's debts? Even the LDS Church heading on the revelation admits it was a failure.
Doesn't this revelation make God look a little deceitful? Look at verse 4"that they shall not discover your secret parts." They were to hire a house but not disclose the reason, so that they could secretly dig up a hidden treasure in the basement, and keep the treasure. Wouldn't it have belonged to the landowner? Why else were they to keep it all secret? Not only that, in verses 9-10 God promises to lead them to other such treasures, which were never found.
You can read more on this in our online book, The Changing World of Mormonism, p.87 For information on other false prophecies see our page, A Sample of Joseph Smith's False Prophecies. Also see irr.org's article located here: http://irr.org/mit/jsfalpro.html.]
June 13, 2004
Subject: a personal observation
All your arguments are built upon the idea that everything ever said by every Mormon leader who ever existed must unequivacably be true, or else the church must be false; that Mormon leaders (prophets, apostles, noteable Mormon scholars) may never speculate (and be wrong) as does everyone else in the world. This is not true.
The prophets and inspired characters of the Bible often debated, changed their minds and hearts, and struggled to find true faith just as all of us do. We know there are contradictions in the Bible, but sincere believers who have been touched by the Spirit of Christ know that this means nothing, and that someday all the righteous will be united in one faith in our one true Savior. There was only one perfect individual ever to walk the Earth as a mortal.
I know you are good people and I once had a pleasant, friendly visit at the Tanner home, and I believe you are sincere, but I fear that you are wasting some great abilities and efforts on a profession of fault-finding and criticism.
June 13, 2004
I had heard that Brigham Young was arrested for bigamy. Was this true?
[Sandra's Note: Yes, he was. Here is an extract from the book Strangers in Paradox: Explorations in Mormon Theology:
June 14, 2004
By no means do I knock any effort to bring people to Christ. What I find dissapointing is the fact that your whole purpose for existing (the ministry) is to try and dissprove, when no man can prove or disprove the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Many of your comments are disturbing, and coming from a man of 22 years old, I can say that my testimony of the Gospel came through the Holy Ghost, the spirit from which I only pray you have not driven yourselves too far away. There are many concepts that you are either altering/changing that you yourselves know how they are.
This email is to just to let you know that the reasons for which you condemn The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are the very concepts which seem to keep you afloat. You know that the Gospel brings unto Christ, how could you even say that?
June 14, 2004
Subject: MM visit
Dear Jerald & Sandra
Some twenty years ago I read a study that concluded the vast majority of Japanese high school students were unaware their country was ever occupied by the United States. They know nothing of the war. I have had to endure their honoring of General Obata in Guam by leaving flowers and bottles of sake at the entrance of the cave where he was entombed by American liberation forces.
History has been successfully erased in Japan. I tell you this because I have just returned from a visit to Mountain Meadows. The whitewash left me with a parallel sense of outrage. History has been successfully erased in the Mormon Church. Your mission may seem hopeless at times, but I pray God may bless it all the same.
[Sandra's Note: Thankfully, the recent books and film on the Mountain Meadows will help keep its history alive.
June 15, 2004
Subject: Just a Quick Question about Joseph Smith Senior as the author of Book of Mormon
...Some Mormons came to my door and got me to read the book of Mormon, last week. It appeared immediately obvious to me that it was written by a 19th century mentality. It was also quite evident that the first sections up until King Benjamin appears were filler, written last as a kind of lengthy introduction to what comes after.
Now, it seems to me that Joseph Smith Senior wrote the book rather than his son, with the possible exception of the first chapter, which he probably allowed his son to write and he just edited.
The many farewell speeches (with their constant theme of obey God and follow his commandments ad nauseum) -- seem to me to be the work of an elderly man rehearsing his own farewell speech. I assume other people have come up with the hypothesis before me that Joseph Smith Senior wrote the work. Can you tell me if it has been rejected for some specific reason?
[Sandra's Note: Interesting idea. However, the father was a drinker and seems unstable. He was also given to dreams--Joseph used one of them in the book.
I have not discussed this with anyone but I would guess scholars see the father as too undisciplined for such an undertaking. Joseph could be drawing on talks with his father, grandfather, uncles, ministers, for the farewell speeches. Also, other elements in the book seem to point to Joseph as the creator. See --
June 15, 2004
Dear Sandra and Jerald,
First, I commend you on your life's work to help bring awareness about the ugly truths of the Mormon church.
I was born and raised Mormon and share an ugly story with so many others. My priesthood father sexually abused me throughout my childhood and sold me to another priesthood member as rent payments on a house my mother wanted to rent.
I married a return missionary who was terribly abusive. Upon divorcing him my four children became brave enough to tell me how he had sexually abused them. Bishops went to court authorities in defense of my ex-husband. After a 3 year battle I obtained sole custody of my children, but only because a wonderful female attorney lead my ex to believe I would drop petition for child support if he signed over custody. No assault charges were ever brought against him. All this took place in the conservative Orange county of California.
Fifteen years have passed. My children and I left the church and are all happy, after many years of therapy. I am writing a memoir and am looking for current statistics of incest in the main stream Mormon church. I find a lot of material about the FLDS polygamists, but find it a shame that it is not mentioned often enough that the main stream Mormons hold all the same beliefs as the FLDS, only do not practice the same in order to build membership.
My question for you is, can you direct me to a source where I could find current statistics of child sexual abuse in the main stream Mormon church. ... Thank you for your time and all you are doing.
[Sandra's Note: The Salt Lake Tribune, in 2001 printed an article on abuse:
In 2002 the Salt Lake Tribune reported:
Here are some additional links to various sites.
June 16, 2004
My husband and I met with some Mormon missionaries for over 4 months back in 1997. We ordered many of your documents and resources, and also bought some things at the LDS bookshop at their Australian temple up in Sydney. It took a while for me to work out how best to use the great stuff we bought from you, as it was plain to us that the LDS organization was lying to them, but obviously, we have the spirit of God in us and they don't, so their hearts were hardened and their eyes were veiled. Your resources, and testimonies drove us to our knees in prayer for these men we met with. When we look back over the time we spent, we see many missionary rules they broke, mainly developing a more personal relationship with us than they should have. On their last visit to our home, one left in tears.
For ages, whenever anyone asked our pastors about Mormonism, he would direct them to us. This was because we had so many great resources from you to share, but also because of the way God taught and humbled us through the experience. Thank you for your ministry, not simply to those in the states who struggle with their own faith, but also to those of us who simply want to be better equipped to speak the truth in love to those we come into contact with.
We have now lost all the resources we bought through losing our home in severe bush fires, and have also lost all contact with the elders (their addresses were in our house, and their email addresses on our computer). God is teaching us to trust Him in His sovereignty. There is humanly nothing more we can do for those particular men other than what God has asked us to do all along - trust Him and pray.
A few weeks ago, our pastor directed someone else from our church to talk to us. She has a mormon friend, and other friends at her service of our church are curious as to how they should talk to their mormon friends too. Thanks to your ministry and the experience God gave us, we can meet these girls, encourage them and pray with them, using your website for info and inspiration.
We praise God when we re-read your testimonies, that He took the veil from your eyes, and led you to share with so many people the truth of Jesus as opposed to the lies of Mormonism. Keep up the faithful work, with the full armour of God. Fight the good fight, and we'll meet in eternity.
June 18, 2004
... I was forced to attend the church until I was old enough to think for myself. Thank GOD I woke up. Happy now, much to my families regret . My sister & her husband are on a mission now. When she comes to [town] she hardly speaks.
June 22, 2004
Subject: Journal of Discourses
Where can I find a copy or a copy online of the Journal of Discourses? Is it available at all anymore?
Thank you and God bless your ministry.
[Sandra's Note: There is a site on the internet, http://journals.mormonfundamentalism.org, that posts the text but not photos of the pages.]
June 22, 2004
Subject: Bible Study
I was just wondering if you knew of some Bible study groups about Mormons?
[Steve's Note: Hopefully, you can find a Bible study going on at a Christian church in your local area.
There is also a website where former Mormons meet up. Perhaps in or through one of these groups in your area you will be able to find the Bible study you are looking for and that will meet your needs too.
The link to the site to find other ex-Mormons is http://exmormon.meetup.com/
I pray that this will help you. If it doesn't, please feel free to contact me again for more assistance.]
[Additional note from Sandra: Hi, another thought would be to contact www.irr.org/mit. They have a bible study and an online support group.
Here are two sites by former LDS.
June 22, 2004
Found your Palmyra Revival discussion in your "[Mormonism-]Shadow or Reality" publication quite interesting.
Question: Has anyone inquired as to the local church records that would tell us just when the five Smiths (the mother Lucy, Samuel, Hyrum, Harrison, and Sophronia) joined the Presbyterian church?
[Sandra's Note: Yes, Wesley Walters researched this. However, most of the individual church records listing the membership in the Palmyra area have not been preserved for the time period in question. But we do have statements by family members that indicate they joined after the 1824-25 revival. Rev. Walters discusses these sources in his pamphlet New Light on Mormon Origins and the book Inventing Mormonism: Tradition and the Historical Record, by Walters and Marquardt. Also see Marquardt’s web site: http://www.xmission.com/~research/central/resth5.htm ]
June 22, 2004
Thank you so much for meeting with us at your bookstore last Wednesday. We appreciate your patient answers to our many questions and your willingness to delve into your files to locate further information of interest to us.
Enclosed is a check . . . which we hope you will be able to use to further truth and accuracy regarding the LDS Church, present and past.
June 22, 2004
Subject: Very Confused
I have been reading your website and felt the need to reach out for your advice. I have been studying with Mormon missionaries and attending a LDS church for the past 6 weeks and I wanted more information. I am so utterly confused at this point I do not know what to do.
I have not attended church for years because I cannot find a faith that I feel comfortable in and that is based in love rather than fear and this is what the LDS church seems to offer. The idea that everyone will have every opportunity to be reached even in the after life seems so very right to me but then so much of the contradicting things the have gone on in the church that I read on your website has me very worried.
I thought I had found a church that would provide a solid moral structure for my sons who are now 3 and 9 without making them feel the severe guilt and "sinner" mentality I had pounded into me as a child and which ultimately turned me away from church. I flat out asked the missionaries today what else is there? everything has sounded so wonderful up till now but what else is there I would need to know about the church itself and I honestly think they gave me the best answers they could but after reading your site about all the temple ceremonies and clothing, I am a little weirded out by it.
Our missionaries are very wonderful nice young men and we have joked and talked with them as "regular" people as well as had serious spiritual talks so I really wonder if they even know some of what you have uncovered and posted to your site. I can't imagine these guys would flat out lie, they have been very forthright about alot of things I have questioned, but I feel I have not gotten even a 1/4 of the story until now.
I have not once heard that God was believed to be a man and that others have the chance to be gods of their own worlds until your site. I guess my question is are there some churches within the Mormon faith that are more "easygoing" or something? Like there are the hardcore fundamentalists that are still practicing polygamy and blood atonement, are there others who are the far opposite and are more into the basic spiritual side and focused on Jesus? All I have heard from the missionaries has been totally about Jesus and being the need to accept him as a personal savior and be baptized, which is no different than I have heard from countless other churches.
The only big difference I have heard is the idea of the spirit world and another chance to atone there and then the 3 levels of heaven, none of which seem completely out there to me or seem bad or of the devil, etc. Or I guess my biggest fear is this is exactly what I am supposed to be hearing now only to be slammed with all the other stuff later. I am sorry to bother you with this, I am sure you are severely busy and probably will not even have time to answer but I thought I would at least write all this out and see what happens. This is the closest I have felt to God in a long time so I guess I don't know how to feel to find out it may be false, I can't really imagine where I will go from here, so I guess I would just greatly appreciate your thoughts and advice.
Best Wishes and Thank you for your time,
[Steve's Note: Thank you so much for taking your time to contact us. Your questions are very important and deserve very real answers. There are several things that need to be said regarding your experiences with the Mormon missionaries.
First, your story is a very typical one in that many people come away from meetings with the missionaries thinking that the Mormon church is not all that different from Christian churches. Unfortunately, however, that is due to the fact that Mormons are trying to deliberately downplay their unique history and teachings in order to continue to win your confidence. If they were to start off immediately revealing their true doctrines then very few people would be interested in their message.
It must be said too that many Mormon missionaries simply do not know all of the issues or the problems with their church and its teachings. They typically are too young and have no formal training in matters of religious studies. As for your question relating to different kinds of Mormon churches, they do not have that kind of variety within the LDS faith that would allow for such a thing. If they are part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints headquartered here in Salt Lake City then they must be in conformity with the structure and teachings that come from the top of the LDS church.
I would like to encourage you to continue to seek the truth and a church where you and your family can worship comfortably. You should not have to make a choice between love and truth. Look until you find both. True Christianity is not based on fear but rather it is understanding God's love for us in spite of our sin and then out of gratitude passing that love we have experienced to others.
If you have any other questions or would like additional information, feel free to contact us again.]
June 23, 2004
Thank you, Sandra, for your kindness and concern, ... I am just waiting on God for now, and praying for the Christians in our town who are afraid to speak up about Mormonism. They are good folks, by and large, just intimidated by the world's definition of "tolerance". Thank our God that Jesus had no such problem. We need to be motivated by love for the Mormons in their lostness, but we need to be uncompromising in our speaking the truth. God will honor us even though man won't when we do this.
God bless and keep you both, and your ministery team at Utah Lighthouse Ministry. Thank you so very much for standing boldly for the truth of Christ in what must be a very hard mission field.
June 23, 2004
Subject: Arrington Quote
I was reading your article on Brigham Young's estate ... Is there anyway you can provide me with the full quote ... from Arrington that was included in the article? ... Thanks,
[Sandra's Note: Here is the full quote from LDS historian Leonard J. Arrington:
"A third device adopted to straighten out church property relationships and systematize church accounts at the time of the appointment of the new trustee-in-trust. An interesting and importan[t] activity of the trustee-in-trust is here revealed to be that of serving as banker for general authorities of the church during a period when private banking was almost completely nonexistent in Utah. Brigham Young and other church authorities, when need required it, drew on the tithing resources of the church, and at a later date repaid part or all of the obligation in money, property, or services. No interest seems to have been paid for the use of these funds. The church justified this practice on two grounds: First, Brigham Young and other general authorities were consecrating their time and fortunes to the church and were therefore entitled to draw from the church treasury when need required. Second, the projects for which they borrowed funds were, by and large, projects which were beneficial to the community, such as the construction of railroads, woolen mills, canals, and gas works, and the drawings thus contributed to community welfare. In some measure these drawings represented a form of compensation in lieu of salary for work and time expended on behalf of the church and to the extent this was true borrowers were not required to repay them. This ability to draw, almost at will, on church as well as his own funds, was a great advantage to Brigham Young and was certainly one of the reasons for his worldly success. It also [page 8] contributed to the economic standing of other leaders of the church, for while Brigham Young was probably the largest borrower of funds from the trustee-in-trust, he was certainly not the only one. Some church authorities went so far as to deposit assets with the trustee-in-trust on the understanding that they could draw the equivalent value out of the funds of the church at a different time or in a different location. The office of the trustee-in-trust was thus a regional clearing house as well as a group agency for the consolidation, husbanding, and investment of group savings. In this way territorial trade and finance were facilitated.
"However, the straightening-up of accounts, and in particular that of Brigham Young, was not to be completed. When George A. Smith died, on September 1, 1875, the position of trustee-in-trust once more reverted to Brigham Young. It remained with him until his death two years later. In October general conference, 1877, John Taylor was elected trustee-in-trust to succeed Brigham Young. Young's death on August 29, 1877, had occurred without a resolution of the problem of the ownership of church property." ("The Settlement of the Brigham Young Estate, 1877-1879," Pacific Historical Review, vol. 21, no. 1, Feb. 1952, p.7-8)]
June 25, 2004
Thank you for all the material you have sent. . . . You may be interested in knowing how I heard about you. The mailman left it [our newsletter] in my mail box by mistake. Since it wasn't in an envelope and looked interesting, I read it and put it back in the mailbox so it could go to its rightful owner. Hope the check helps a little.
June 27, 2004
Subject: god bless you both
loved your seminar at calvary 2 yrs ago in kennewick wa. ived learned so much! keep the faith
June 27, 2004
I have been enjoying your web-site and also the Salt Lake City Messenger. It is especially rewarding to read of those who have been helped by your literature and web-site info and have been able to get free of Mormonism. No doubt many have been helped and we look forward to seeing them as trophies of the grace of God (like the rest of us) in eternity. Thanks again for your efforts.
June 28, 2004
Subject: Wonderful site!
I am teaching on Mormonism in my weekly women's Bible study/prayer group. This site has been invaluable for pertinent information which I will continue to share in my prayer group and daily life.
I have met an amazing amount of Mormons since moving to the Las Vegas area. What the Lord has put on my heart is to truly love these people as He does and not to judge. I have found the Mormon people as a whole just wonderful, loving, family oriented folks. The Lord has truly expanded my heart for them.
It doesn't surprise that their beliefs are so strong, traditional, and based on man's testimony. I know the Bible and believe Joseph Smith was completely passionate about the Lord as a youth. I do believe his loss of many siblings, his own health struggles, his father's carelessness with magic led him to such delusion. I don't think he meant to hurt anyone~but I do think he has hurt millions with such deception, enormous ego, and the lure of making money when he/his family had none.
Whenever I see a man or woman trying to stand in the gap of Jesus~I am disappointed and frightened for them and their followers. That is why I am doing my part by researching this cult and being equipped. Jesus is called the mediator in the Bible. He is and will always be THE MEDIATOR. We never needed Joseph Smith, Mary, angels, etc. to do HIS work. If HE wants to speak to us, HE will.
I will say this once again about Mormons~this is not an attack against you. I truly admire a Mormon's fervent belief(s). I believe they (Mormons) completely accept the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith's teachings as the TRUTH. I encourage you to think for yourself and read materials which share discrepancies with the Bible and the Book of Mormom. It is always a red flag when a 'religion' does not want you to read books, etc. which oppose their faith...
June 28, 2004
Subject: I appreciate what you do
... I have been studying Mormonism for about 2 years. I truly appreciate what you are doing and I have you in my thoughts and prayers. With the work of missions like yours, the body of Christ is winning this battle. Thank you for helping me to suit up (Ephesians 6).
June 28, 2004
Dear Mrs Tanner,
I am trying to find any info on the level of education of Joseph Smith. If you have anything or can send me to a web site that has info, it would be truely appreciated.
Thank you for your time,
[Sandra's Note: Due to the Smith's frequent moves and a lack of records or diaries for the period, it is hard to determine how much formal schooling was available to their children. However, they were desirous of giving their children as much education as possible. Dan Vogel observed:
However, that winter the Smith children all contracted Typhoid fever. Joseph, age 7, was left with a leg infection that required severe leg surgery to get rid of the resulting infection. (See #99 Messenger: Joseph Smith's Traumatic Surgery.) He was then sent to his uncle's home in Salem, Massachusetts for a period to recover. Thus his education was again interrupted. Vogel states that the Smiths moved again, "probably in the late spring or early summer of 1814" across the river to Norwich, Vermont (Joseph Smith: The Making of a Prophet, p.19). The Smiths encountered a number of financial difficulties, finally moving to Palmyra, NY, during the winter of 1816/1817. Joseph attended school sporadically in NY due to the family necessity of needing everyone that was able to work. However, Joseph's father had taught school at one time and the children were evidently home schooled. (See Inventing Mormonism, by Walters and Marquardt, p.43)
As a teenager Joseph Smith attended various church meetings and, according to an associate, was involved in the "juvenile debating club" and "a very passable exhorter in the evening meetings." (See No Man Knows My History, by Brodie, p.26) This indicates an active mind. Joseph Smith could obviously read and write. His 1832 account of his early vision not only demonstrates good penmanship but mentions his Bible reading.
Another evidence of the Smith family's desire to be informed is that they subscribed to the local newspaper. When Joseph and his father went south to work for Mr. Stowell, twenty year old Joseph attended school in Bainbridge, New York "during the winter of 1825-26." (See Inventing Mormonism, p.44)
In spite of Smith's limited formal education, I believe that he had the creativity to write the Book of Mormon. Even Mormon scholar B.H. Roberts felt that Smith could have written the Book of Mormon. After presenting material to demonstrate Joseph Smith's abilities, Roberts concluded:
June 30, 2004
Subject: TEMPLE PRACTICE
IN READING THE TEMPLE SECRET PRACTICES I WAS SURPRISED BY HOW MUCH THEY PARALLEL THE SECRET PRACTICES OF THE MASONIC ORGANIZATION. HAVING BEEN BROUGHT UP IN A MASONIC HOUSEHOLD (FATHER WAS A MASON AND A SHRINER, MOTHER A MEMBER OF EASTERN STAR.) I AND MY BROTHER AND SISTER WERE EXPECTED TO JOIN THE DEMOLE AND RAINBOW GIRLS.
I DO NOW KNOW THAT IT TOO IS A CULT, WITH IT'S SECRET PRACTICES AND DOCTRINE. THE PRACTICES ARE VERY MUCH LIKE THE ONES YOU MENTIONED IN THE TEMPLE. THE SECRET HAND SHAKES, WORDS, APRONS, AND SIGNS. I WAS JUST CURIOUS, WAS JOSEPH SMITH A FREEMASON? I AM BEGINNING TO THINK HE WAS AND MADE ALL THIS STUFF UP TO ESTABLISH HIS OWN CHURCH. IT'S WAY TO MUCH OF A COINSCIDENCE.
IT NEVER CEASES TO SURPRISE ME THAT INTELLEGENT PEOPLE CAN BELIEVE THIS RELIGION WITHOUT QUESTION OR FACT. THE BIBLE IS PERFECT IN IT'S CONTENT AND FACT. THE LDS BOOKS ARE RIDDLED WITH MISTAKES AND FAULTHOOODS. THE BIBLE STANDS UP TO QUESTION BECAUSE IT WAS INSPIRED BY THE ONE TRUE GOD. JOSEPH SMITH WAS A MAN AND ONLY A MAN AND WE ALL FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD.
KEEP UP THE WORK OF BRING LIGHT TO THOSE IN THE DARKNESS. GOD BLESS
[Sandra's Note: Yes, Smith was a Mason before he introduced his temple ritual. See:
June 30, 2004
Subject: Im looking for a certain type of book
... I am searching for a book that simply contains photo copies of the false prophesies of Mormonism. If something like this exists please email me back the author and title of such a book.
[Sandra's Note: The closest thing I can think of is Where Does It Say That? It contains many photos from LDS sources covering a number of topics.
We sell a book that lists a number of Smith's false prophesies, but it does not contain photos of them. See False Prophecies of Joseph Smith.
See also this site: http://irr.org/mit/WDIST/wdist-false-prophecies.html ]
June 30, 2004
Subject: Dates for the Second Coming of Jesus
Long ago I read that a religious group was lead by a "prophet," and that this prophet had predicted the date of the second coming. ... Presumably after a date came to pass and Jesus didn't return, a later prophet gave yet another date for the return of Jesus. I believe those are the prophets of the Mormon church. ... could you give me the names of the prophet and the date (and time) that each Mormon prophet gave? I know that Joseph Smith gave one of the dates in a round about way. ... Thank you for your time and effort, and God Bless you in your work.
[Sandra's Note: Joseph Smith predicted Christ would return about 1890, but I don't know of any later prophet setting a date. See item #10 on our page, A Sample of Joseph Smith's False Prophecies.]