May 2, 2004
Subject: The defenition of "priceless:"
The look on Jerald and Sandra Tanner's faces when they finally discover (most likely in the next life) -
1) The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints really is the Lord's true Church.
2) Joseph Smith and his successors really are all prophets of the Lord.
3) The Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price really are true.
4) After leaving the true Church themselves, they led or kept others away as they spent their entire lives slandering the Lord, His Church, and His servants in His name.
May 3, 2004
Subject: Unexpurgated LDS Scriptures?
Is it possible to buy versions of the D & C, Pearl of Great Price, & Book of Mormon that have not been "edited?"
When I first read about polygamy in the D & C, it was pretty clear that, if one wanted to be exalted, polygamy was required. We use the term "celestial marriage" today to refer to monogamous marriages performed in the temple. I believe Joseph Smith meant polygamy when he said "celestial marriage." Yet if LDS scriptures have been selectively edited to clean up the polygamy act, they will be of no use at all in demonstrating that polygamy was far from the little benign option we hear about in the modern church. It isn't that I'm interested in depriving my friends and family of their faith and the happiness it brings them. However, when I am called on the carpet for my disillusionment with Joseph Smith, it would really be lovely to have something to back me up other than highly-sanitized official church writings.
Thanks for any help you can give me.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, we sell photo reprints of the original editions of LDS scriptures. See:
The 1835 D&C did not contain the polygamy revelation. It actually has a section denouncing polygamy. See #66 Messenger.
Sec. 132 was not added until 1876 and reads the same, as far as I know, as the current edition. What has changed is their definition of "eternal marriage."
You might want to get one of these books, by LDS authors, where some of the REAL history of polygamy is given.
Another good book by a retired LDS Institute teacher is:
May 3, 2004
Subject: mormon friend
I am not mormon. I would first like to state that. Secondly, I have gone from just looking at mormonism as a "choice of religion" to a hateful and spiteful destroyer. Strong words I know, but I have my reasons.
Firstly, anytime I have ever raised a question to a mormon that seroiusly questions their faith they are rude, hateful, arrogant and flat out rude. (very nice people?)
Secondly, I recently lost a friend to this "religion". She went from being a basic athiest to a complete Mormon. She has threw away all her friends around her except for co workers, for the ELDERS and THE TRUE CHURCH. She apparently is exactly what they focus on as recruits. She is a single mother of two who was raised catholic and had a very hard childhood full of abuse and neglect. Prime planting ground for them I have learned. She has never been willing to sit down and discuss anything. Her opinion is that if we can't spout out scripture that fits what we're saying on the spot then we're ignorant and they aren't. She doesn't even allow for research. I'd love to sit down with her and go through the BIBLE, but oh no. not her. Never mind that they are trained for this. I have sent her info and places to check out, she goes to her BISHOP and ELDERS and then comes back with that info isn't from a valid reliable source. How conventent. It's their own sources, but then again they pick out little bits and avoid the big questions.
I also did a bit of reading on the site (which may even be this one that i am writing to ) and noticed that the bitterness, holier then thou attitude, arrogance, nasty comments come from LDS, hmm, odd, thats exactly how they act in person or when you question them. I invite any of them to question me on my faith. No hopes to jump through or secret hand shakes to learn, or someone who is a bigger sinner then me telling me I'm not worthy. (who are they?) It's based on the BIBLE. Gods WORD, and the fact that I cannot lean on my own understanding but to rely on GOD, far be it for the mormons to do that. Gotta earn their way in. Good luck. thank you for the oppurtunity to vent.
May 3, 2004
... One thing I have never understood about Mormonism is: from where does a Mormon claim to receive the power to become a god? Does it originate in a person, or is it granted from somewhere else? If it comes from the god they call "heavenly father," where did he get the power from? Wasn't he once a mere man?
[Sandra's Note: My understanding of this is that each LDS man who earns the right to exaltation and to be a god is ordained to that position by one already holding that position, much like their idea of priesthood chain of authority and ordination (god no.1 ordains his sons gods, who become no. 2,3,4 and 5. Gods 2,3 4 and 5 then go on to have their own worlds, and their sons who achieve godhood are ordain gods no. 6, 7, 8, 9. 10, 11, etc.).
By this reasoning, our god (say, no. 13) was ordained by his father/god (maybe no.6) , who had been ordained by yet another god (maybe no.3) who was ordained by no.1. No matter where we are in the eternal chain of men becoming gods, their theory would seem to mean that if we traced each god's genealogy we would eventually get back to the first god. So where did he come from? Mormons don’t seem to know. Some tell me that there were always men becoming gods. But if each god has a father and mother, who had a father and mother, it would seem, mathematically, that you would have to be able to get back to the first couple. See Mormons Hope to Become Gods of Their Own Worlds and Terminology Differences.]
May 4, 2004
Subject: Praise God for your ministry!
As an Ex-Mormon (Fifth generation) and now a born again Christian, I thank God for your faithfulness! You are a tribute to the Christian world. I know it must be hard for you, but God is supporting you mightly. I know that it is difficult as an Ex-Mormon Christian (especially here in Utah), but it is more than worth it to find Christ. God Bless you and care for you,
In Christ's Love,
May 4, 2004
A quick question, I've heard it said that women can only obtain salvation through their husbands. Is this a doctine taught anywhere in the lds church, if so where?
[Sandra's Note: You need to watch the wording. A woman or man can have "salvation" without being married or Mormon. But what the Mormons are hoping for is something beyond "salvation" (which is defined as resurrection to some level of heaven). They want "exaltation" or "eternal life" (which is something more than going to heaven or being saved) in the top part of heaven. They want "godhood." This requires a temple marriage and a faithful life as a Mormon.
The LDS husband calls the wife up from the grave, using her secret temple name, in order for her to be his eternal mate and go on to godhood (or goddesshood). She could resurrect without him calling her from the grave, but she would not be his wife.
May 5, 2004
you are wasting your time . . .
May 5, 2004
Subject: With fear and trepidation
I am not sure where to begin, ... I am a Mormon. Born and raised. A return missionary. Married in the temple. Up until a couple of months ago I was extremely active in my local ward. I was even 2nd Counsellor in the bishopric. However, work required me to work 7 days a week, that, coupled with a sick children etc, meant that my family and I did not attend church for a number of weeks.
We are now inactive, both by circumstance and choice. We made the choice this past weekend that we were officially going inactive.
Why? I am sure that there are a number of reasons, but this is the largest. There a very few people in my ward whom I would want to have my children associated with, let alone taught by. ... I am trying not to use other people as my "excuse" for going inactive, but it really comes down to that. It has been 6 years since I returned from my mission, and I haven't seen much of a spiritual progression since that point. My relationship with God has been stalled by the work I performed during the administrative portion of the church.
I am not a wicked man. I still live by the standards of the Church, at least those that are Christ centred. I really believe that the church has it's place and, given the right people living correct principles, that it will flourish. However, Mormons are not infalliable. I am disgusted by the denial that sin exists in the church, and the inability of the local leadership to adequately address grievous sins.
I have a lot of issues, I know. The strange thing is this -- when my wife and I decided that we were going to go inactive, I felt the most outstanding peace. It was a pure peace, something that I haven't felt in a long time. I was always taught that the devil could not mimic peace because he could not feel it himself. If the devil can not mimic peace, and I felt peace, does that mean I made the right decision?
I am sorry for rambling, I still have a number of feelings of confusion and doubt about our decision. The missionaries are calling, and I know that the bishop will be stopping by shortly. I am not ashamed of my decision, but I certainly don't feel the need to justify my decision to every Tom, Dick and Harry member who calls feigning concern for the fact that I am not attending church anymore.
... I don't necessarily agree with all of your views (nor do I have to!). I had a very unique experience a couple of weeks ago. My daughter likes me to sing "Heavenly Father" songs to her while she falls asleep. She asked me to sing one of my favourite hymns. The first one that came to mind was "I stand all amazed". As I sang the lines "I marvel that he would descend from His throne devine, to rescue a soul so rebellious and proud as mine" I began to cry. It was such a profoundly spiritual experience, that I knew that I needed to develop a greater relationship with my Saviour no matter the expense. Your personal recollection of the same hymn prompted my note.
Thank-you for being my sounding board. I'm not a bitter Mormon, just disillusioned.
May 7, 2004
Subject: hang in there!
. . . You both have been such a help to the Body by doing such good, reliable research. Your work will last beyond you, and still bearing fruit for the Lord, helping people out of the Mormons, and proactively preventing others from entering. The rest of the Body has to just USE it! Don't be discouraged. The last time the Mormons came here, I spent three hours with them, partly because the two of YOU have done such excellent work and I know I am not spouting mere hearsay, but researched material. So thank you!! . . .
Anyway, blessings and prayers with you,
May 8, 2004
After reading your reprinted letter from Professor Charles Anthon, I am not surprised that you didn't publish the other side of the story. As is normal with all Anti-Mormons you only publish your opinion, and part of the story.
In reality, Charles Anthon Was no more than a greedy person, who tried to con the plates so he could make himself rich.
In the beginning of the interview, Professor Anthon did indeed write a letter as to the validity of the letters, and their translation. Then Professor Anthon asked for the plates and Martin Harris told him that he couldn't bring them because part of the plates were sealed. To which Professor Anthon replied "I cannot read a sealed book." Professor Anthon then requested that Mr. Harris give him the Letter of validity, upon receiving it he tore it up.
If you claim to be open minded and in search of the truth then publish this so others in search of the truth can see both sides of the story.
Insodently, when you read this email, read Isaiah 29:11. Notice the scripture says "the words of the book that is sealed which men delivered to one that is learned" Verse 12 says that "The BOOK was delivered to one that is unlearned." Joseph Smith only had a third grade education.
It sounds like one of Isaiah's prophecies came true doesn't it?
But like all Anti-Mormons you will not look at the truth, and pray with an open mind and an open heart. You will continue to scoff and find apparent faults, that you can justify yourselves.
If you are interested in hearing the truth, email me. We can both learn together. If you just want to tell me that I am going to hell, save my time and yours.
Besides, the scriptures say "Judge not that ye be not judged. With what judgment ye judge ye shall be judged, and with what measurment ye meet it shall be measured again unto you" So if I am going to hell, as you claim, then I will see you there for judging me!
[Sandra's Note: If you will go to our page Anthon Transcript you will see that we have posted a picture of the Anthon script and quote from the Encyclopedia of Mormonism to give the LDS side of the event. We have discussed some of issues in our online book, The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 5, p. 141.
We do not have Martin Harris' account of his visit to Prof. Anthon, only Joseph Smith's second hand account. But here is the main part:
That the event could not have happened as described is demonstrated by the fact that the results cannot be duplicated. Show the Anthon transcript to any Egyptologist and he will not respond as Smith claims Anthon responded.
First, no one could read Egyptian at the time. So Anthon could not have verified the translation. If he could verify the translation, why couldn't Anthon translate the rest of the characters?
Second, no one can translate the Anthon script even today. Remember, the Book of Mormon record was supposedly in an unknown script and could only be translated by the power of God:
Third, the text of the Anthon page is not Egyptian, but various squiggles, symbols and characters that could more readily be taken from English.
Fourth, why would there be four different types of script used in the passage?
Also, in relation to the supposed fulfillment of the Isaiah passage, see Marvin Cowan's book, Mormon Claims Answered. He states:
Hope this helps.]
May 9, 2004
Do Mormons teach that God sinned ...?
[Sandra's Note: There are statements by their leaders that say Jesus was sinless. However, other statements would imply that God sinned. This is seen in Lorenzo Snow's popular couplet:
The wide-spread acceptance of this couplet can be seen in the numerous LDS leaders and books that quote his statement. In 1984 the LDS priesthood manual, Search These Commandments, referred to Lorenzo Snow's statement:
In order for the couplet to work, both halves need to be equal. Since we are sinners and God was once like us he must have been a sinner. They would say God is sinless. But is this referring to Heavenly Father once he achieved godhood, and not relative to his prior mortal existence? Mormons believe sinful men can achieve godhood so it follows that God could have once been a mortal sinner.
LDS President Joseph F. Smith said:
"We are precisely in the same condition and under the same circumstances that God our heavenly Father was when he was passing through this, or a similar ordeal." (Gospel Doctrine, vol. 1, Melchizedek Priesthood study manual for 1970-1971, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, p.54).
Read the following pages:
May 9, 2004
What about the Reorganized Latter Day Saints? I know it's all based on the same books and founder, but what about the differences?
[Sandra's Note: The Reorganized Church (aka Community of Christ) never accepted Smith's 1840's teachings in Nauvoo, polygamy, plural gods, temple marriage, Book of Abraham, etc. Their Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants are somewhat different from the regular LDS Church. They are moving away from emphasis on Smith and the restoration claims.
In fact, there is quit a struggle going on in that church over the recent efforts to downplay RLDS distinctions from other churches, even to the point of dividing the group. Many in the top leadership of the RLDS Church have moved away from claiming that the Book of Mormon is actually a historical document, viewing it more as inspired fiction. This page will give you some basic information.
See: The Reorganized LDS Church.]
May 11, 2004
... I just finished the book 'What mormons really believe' by john ankerberg and have just purchased some books from you. I had a possibly difficult question. I was wondering what the most devistating thing you have found about the mormon religion?... I know there are tons from i have seen thus far. I am very thankfull from your minsitry... I hope that you continue in the way the good lord would want you to. God Bless
[Sandra's Note: Your question is difficult because what is devastating to one is not to another. It could also be different for a non-Mormon or a member. A Christian looking at Mormonism is more concerned about its heretical doctrines that disagree with the Bible. However, a Mormon usually doesn't worry about these issues as much since he/she generally has a low view of the Bible's importance and views the LDS prophet as more reliable.
Those issues most fundamental to Mormonism's founding truth claims (Smith's credibility, various first vision accounts, historical problems for the Book of Mormon, Book of Abraham not a translation of the papyri, changes in Joseph Smith's revelations, etc.) would probably matter the most, but may not shake a Mormon committed to believe it no matter what. I believe we cover the major problems in our online book The Changing World of Mormonism.]
May 12, 2004
Subject: Website Articles
Dear Tanners, first of all, Thank You for all of your work on Mormonism. I left the Mormon Church in person, in December 2001, and was officially removed in March 2003.
I am currently working to complete my own website on Mormonism, mainly because my family members are all still active and I wish to help them. ... Most of the pages on my site are personal thoughts and experiences, but I want to include a series of articles on such subjects as Joseph Smith, Book of Mormon Archeology, Temple Ceremonies, Kinderhook Plates, etc... www.gospelhelp.com Thank you again!
May 12, 2004
Subject: THANKS FOR YOUR PUBLICATION
I JUST WANT TO WRITE TO YOU GUYS AND SAY WHAT GREAT RESEARCH AND EFFORT HAS GONE IN TO YOUR WRITINGS REGARDING MORMONISM. TO ME YOU ARE EXPOSING THE TRUTH FROM THE CHURCHES OWN DIRTY UNORGANIZED PAST..
I FEEL SICK TO SEE PEOPLE WRITE TO YOU AND SAY YOU ARE EVIL. ALSO WHAT CRACKS ME UP IS THAT THEY HAVE THE UTMOST RIGHT TO SAY "I KNOW THE CHURCH IS TRUE" THAT SICKENS ME. THEY DON'T KNOW CRAP..THEY DON'T STUDY OR REALLY GO AT IT WITH AN OPEN MIND. IT WILL BE THEIR DOWNFALL FOR CURRENT MORMON TRUTH...GOD BLESS THE LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY
May 12, 2004
Subject: Questions about Mormonism
Dear Ms. Tanner.
I had a couple of questions about Mormonism and I heard that you could possibly help me answer them.
[Sandra's Note: I believe Smith made some sort of dummy set of plates that he kept covered, or in a box, that he used to further his deception. I do not believe anyone saw these with the naked eye, uncovered.
The stone he supposedly used to translate the record on the plates was the same stone he used in his money digging and magic practices. See our chapter on Smith's stone: The Changing World of Mormonism, Chapter 4.
Of the eleven witnesses, all but the Smiths apostatized. See Changing World, Chapter 5.
I think if you will spend some time reading these links you will find many of your questions answered there. Also read:
And this extract from the book Inventing Mormonism by Marquardt and Walters:
May 13, 2004
Subject: LDS Public Relations
Where can I find information of the LDS Church's public relations campaign to be accepted as a Christian church?
[Sandra's Note: See the book Mormon America: The Power and the Promise.]
May 13, 2004
Subject: stumbled onto your site
Hi! I'm a member of the LDS Church, I'm originally from Cali. I just stumbled onto your site and started reading the letters to the editor, curious if any other members of the LDS church had found it, ... Well, I'm happy that someone found a use for your site. And seriously, I'm impressed that you would allow such open talk, for or against, about the Church, on your site. I've found the site's contents quite supporting.
And, I encourage ANYONE who will even consider it, to take the Book of Mormon and read it with an open mind/heart, and ask God if it's true. Just do it. If God answered me, he'll answer you too.
[Sandra's Note: From 1959 through 1962 I read the Book of Mormon cover to cover many times, studied its internal content as well as studied the historical issues relating to its claims. I was praying throughout this process for God's truth and enlightenment. As a fifth generation Mormon I sincerely wanted to find that there were reasons to accept the Book of Mormon as genuine, but God showed me that it wasn't true. There is no archeological evidence that Nephites or Lamanites ever existed. The Mormons can't even decide where the story was supposed to happen. I do not demand "proof" for every event or person in the book, but I do expect that there would be the same level of historical evidence as we find in Israel for Biblical languages and sites, during the same time period (ie.600 BC to 400 AD).]
May 13, 2004
Hi Jerald & Sandra !
You've done a very good job for the public in general, sorry your writings isn't in norwegian and other language, so its only the english reading people that is getting hold of your lifesaving writings.
As you now already have understand, I'm a Norwegian, also been a mormon, but God saved me out of it, but my family is still in, unfortunately. ...
May 14, 2004
I appreciate your helping to prove Joseph Smith as a true prophet of God. When he prophecied that his name would be known for good and evil throughout the world, how little did it appear that it would come to pass, but thanks to folks like you and me, it has come about. His prophecy was accurate to the letter, and he was a divine prophet of God. I thank the Lord for men like Joseph Smith and Gordon Hinkley. Wonderful and servants of God are they. I pray that you will have a wonderful day.
[Sandra's Note: Don't you think that the claim "his name would be known for good and evil" would be true of just about anyone claiming to be a prophet, who was able to gain some converts? It doesn't require much prophetic power for that one. As for his prophecies, see our page A Sample of Joseph Smith's False Prophecies. Also these sites pages:
May 15, 2004
Subject: thank you
I just wanted to say thank you for dedicating your life to this cause I recently lost my fiancee and love of my life to the mormon/christian conflict and my life has been torn apart by it. I appreciate you going out and doing this because maybe someday someone else won't be going through what I am. Could you please tell me some way to minister to him and his family I couldn't stand the thought of him going through his life without knowing the truth.
[Sandra's Note: Maybe you could give him the book An Insider's View of Mormon Origins.
It is written by a retired LDS Institute of Religion teacher who is still LDS but realizes that it doesn't add up. Sometimes a Mormon will read something by someone who is still a member when they won't read anything else.
Or maybe something like Studies of the Book of Mormon B.H. Roberts was a General Authority in the LDS Church and died in full fellowship, but he evidently saw the great historical problems of the Book of Mormon.
May 15, 2004
Subject: Question & Help Please
Wow!!! And THANKS!!!
I was reared a Christian....got dipped in the holy waters of Mormonism in late teens and returned to Christianity 25 years ago. Praise God! Left for mostly no reason that I can explain, beyond the Holy Spirit calling me home! Did not learn a great deal about Mormonism while involved-even though I taught Sunday School and Primary.
Was given your book "[Mormonism-] Shadow or Reality" by some friends as I was making my exit. Like the both of you, many of my reasons for original questions came from LDS itself. Although young I still had a great (GOD-given) sense of logic. Many of the things discussed in your book went over my head, because Mormons don't really know what they believe and I certainly was oblivious to most....just part of the corporate body!!
As my Christian walk continued my focus was never on the "ungodly" cause I had too much catching up to do.
In the meantime, I became unequally yoked, ...yes I know, but I keep praying. Never could I have imagined the heartache. He is a great man, the best thing that ever happened to him was leaving Utah and living amongst real people. Unfortunately, when we retired we came to Brigham City. I had only visited a couple of quick trips. Everything always seemed so charming.
Eight years ago I learned a hell on earth upon our transition. My husband's great-grandfather was Truman Angel [architect of the Salt Lake Temple and brother-in-law of Brigham Young], so you know that his maternal side think they walk above God and next to Brigham Young. My late mother-in-law despised me and my denying my grandchildren their rightful heritage by taking them to another church. I shudder to think of what each of you had to go through and probably still do.
My point is that I never really knew anything about Mormonism until moving to Utah!! WOW!! If only the world could see it as it really is practiced and interfaces with the world. I have to be very careful and covert in my work because of these things that I know you understand. I try to be a good wife and would never want to cause pain to my husband, whom I dearly love.
As a writer of History/Politics, I began a few years ago to do some research. My research brought up Joseph's creative side an his real plates, referring to the counterfeiting. Wasn't he setting up shop, so to speak, in every state he moved to (four), hence his arrests, not the alleged persecutions? I am looking for newspaper clippings, possible arrest records, etc. from the these accounts. Do you know of any.
Thank you for the work you do.
A sister in Christ,
[Sandra's Note: Had Smith lived he would have been indicted on counterfeiting charges. One of the reasons for the LDS leaders' winter exit out of Nauvoo, after Smith's death, was the pending charges against Young, Taylor and others for counterfeiting. See our book, Mormonism - Shadow or Reality?, ch. 35, "Speculation, Illegal Banking and Counterfeiting." These issues are also discussed in One Nation Under Gods, pp.216-217. See Brodie's book, No Man Knows My History, for more on Smith's arrests and financial problems.
A good book to give someone who won't look at anything "anti" Mormon is one by a retired LDS Institute of Religion teacher, An Insider's View of Mormon Origins.
Most of the documents used in these books, plus the ones referred to in our material are in the Marriott Library, Univ. of Utah; the Utah State Historical Society Library; Special Collections library at Utah State Univ. in Logan, or the BYU, in Provo, Utah.]
May 15, 2004
Over 15 years ago, you helped us more than you know. We were stationed in England with the Air Force. Only 1 week after our big day at the London Temple, God saved me and my husband. Our lives were so tore-up, but God was so good to us. You guys sent us all the info we needed, for the help we needed.
Question: I love reading novels about the women in the westward movement, on the trail. Can you suggest some authors and titles on this subject. May be Mormon women who were so unhappy and knew that needed out of it, Mormon trail time period or early Mormon days????
[Sandra's Note: While these are not novels, they are very readable accounts early LDS women. One of Brigham Young's wives wrote about polygamy and life in early Utah: Wife No.19. Another good one is Tell it All: The Story of a Life's Experience in Mormonism
Another one is Mormonism: Its Rise, Progress, and Present Condition. Embracing the narrative of Mrs. Mary Ettie V. Smith, of her residence and experience of fifteen years with the Mormons.
Two novels about John D. Lee's wives and life after the Mountain Meadows Massacre, are: The Ferry Woman, by Gerald Grimmett and Red Water, by Judith Freeman. You can find them on Amazon.com.]
May 15, 2004
My Comments on the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon [Messenger #72]:
As Mr. Smith wrote the Book of Mormon completely from his imagination, is what I think, he surely was afraid that this would come out open in full daylight of his deception of mankind by pretending it came from G_D.
Therefore he was flabbergasted say the least that his first brainchild (the 116 pages) was lost, cause Mr. Harris could not give them back.
So he figured out that he had to rewrite the whole thing from the beginning on with an explanation why his 1st brainchild was lost.
When he saw that the people around him swallowed all his imaginations and creations, he was bold enough to go on with his deceptive course.
At first he let nobody "see" the golden plates that he had "found", in the same way he had to cover up how he wrote this book.
As now it has been proven that no Israelite came from Old Israel to the Americas as he had claimed in the Foreword by DNA Genetics, the something similar will happen that will prove that the Book of Mormon, all his other books and revelations were creations of Mr. Joseph Smith Jr. himself personally...
What we have to do to save the LDS Corperation as a Church as a whole, surely will something be done drastically to say the least.
The problem is namely that the brainchildren of Mr. Smith are partly rooted in his brain as well in the Bible itself.
So if we split all the inventions out of this created church of his, what will be left over?
The KJV of the bible, and a story, nothing more nothing less...
As with the creed of the sixties about Elvis: "Ten Million Albums Can't Be Wrong...", so it also is with those naïve people who believe in the stories of Mr. Smith Jr. as we once did........
May 16, 2004
Is it true that Mormons are encouraged to distance themselves from non-members even though the non-member may be family members?
[Steve's Note: This is true, unfortunately, in some cases. One of the questions asked during the interview for the Temple Recommend is "Do you affiliate with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or do you sympathize with the precepts of any such group or individual?" In many cases this is taken to mean that in daily life that Mormons who wish to be "temple worthy" must not associate with non-Mormons.]
May 16, 2004
Subject: So what do you believe?
So do you have any beliefs or is the purpose of your website just to bash on the personal religious views of others? You dont sound like much of a follower of Christ if that is the case.
[Sandra's Note: If you will read our story on our site, Changing World, Testimony, you will see that our hope is that Mormons will come to see that Jesus is enough. They don't need temple rituals to enter Heavenly Father's presence.
If you truly want to read about our faith I suggest you read:
May 16, 2004
(Click on each image below to enlarge.)
[Sandra's Note: My response is to ask, "When will the LDS Church publish a critical letter in the Ensign or on its website?"]
May 16, 2004
Subject: just an opinion
Hi! I have read a lot of your articles on the LDS, and did send for some material a few years back. I have been in the LDS Church all my life, had many questions about the religion just after I was babtized, but I thought "it was just me" that was wrong. It has caused me many years of frustration over this, no happiness that I was supposed to feel. We went to the "temple" and everything. By the way, being married in the temple was the most beautiful thing I have ever experienced. But I had more questions than ever.
We finally stopped going to church and I would study many hours. Then I seen your inf. started to read it, and came to the conclusion that it wasn't just ME. I have never had my membership removed because my whole family is very dedicated to this religion and it would stir up a lot of hatred that we don't need. Anyway, if you don't care, I guess it isn't so important. However, I feel that you are on the wrong path, also.
I feel that there is but one GOD where you have faith in several gods, including Jesus, who was a great man, even though he was not "the son of god" like christians think. Since I started to believe in only "GOD" I have found peace of mind, am happier, contented, and I know who god is and where he is. When I tried to believe in the christion religion, I was never sure about any of it. If you would look at the old testiment, you would know how I feel. However I still believe like the mormons about that. It was written so long ago and people changed it around to fit the times. Same with the new testiment. I will continue to read your Messenger, but you are putting your faith in the wrong place. TRUST IN GOD, HE WILL NOT FORSAKE YOU.....
May 17, 2004
Subject: Where are the Apostles of Jesus Christ?
To the Editor,
Where are the apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ? Where is the doctrine of Christ preached that speaks of the glorious message that we are to be joint-heirs with Him? Where are the eternal blessings of the family preached? Where are the witnesses who testify of the divinity of Jesus Christ as Stephen, Paul, Peter, James, John, and other appointed special witnesses? ... Where are these men called of God? Where are men like Luther, Calvin, and Williams? Men who knew that the Gospel of Christ was corrupt and attempted a reformation of what they saw as an apostasy from the True Doctrine of Jesus Christ?
These men and even the founding fathers of this country gave a birth place for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be restored. On this day May 15th the Aaronic priesthood was once again restored to men. In no other part of the world could the work of the Lord gone forward? ... This Church of Christ continues to have revelations. The most recent being the Proclaimation of the Family and the Living Christ. These two records maybe added to the Doctrine and Covenants.
The work of the Lord will go forward. A strong heritage, legacy and foundation as solid as the Salt Lake City Temple is what this Church of Christ is built upon. In a few years the Tanners will go the way of all the earth. They will pass from this life to the next. UTLM may continue on. I do not know. I am just a man. A person who sees an organization attempting to the work of SATAN. ...
What is important is that when the Tanners are gone what will be their reward? ... Which books will I be judged by? What sin have I committed in believing Joseph Smith jr.? That he saw God and the Son of God. What crime have I done for you to attack the men who established this Church at the direction of the Son of God as I believe it? To keep the 10 commandments, love one another, pay my alms, offerings, and tithing to the most High God, read the Bible and His holy words, live worthily to enter into the Temples, the House of the Lord, teach my children to believe in Jesus Christ who died for our sins, and more which the Lord continues to reveal to his servents. ...
Good luck in your war, you will lose the fight. ;)
May 17, 2004
I have a Mormon friend that I, along with other Christians, have been trying to witness to for several years. She insists that Joseph Smith could not have actually written the Book of Mormon himself, that he had to have translated it, not authored it, because she says he was so very uneducated.
She knows about the poor grammar in the original BOM. Several Christians, myself included, have told her about the "amazing" similarities between the BOM and several other books known to have been available in the time he was writing the BOM. She claims there is no way he could have plagiarized these books because she says he lived in a time and in such poor circumstances that he would have had no access to getting many books at all. I have tried to find evidence online that he DID have access to the books that he probably used to form much of the BOM, but I can only find sites that tell what these books are, not HOW or WHERE he would have gotten copies of them. Can you help me?
[Sandra's Note: Even though we can't prove Joseph Smith read any of the books in his community, there were certainly plenty of books available in various libraries and book shops. The Manchester Library had 275 books by 1830. In 1982 an article in BYU Studies discussed the availability of books:
Smith does not have to be copying actual paragraphs from various books. He just needs to be exposed to the various ideas. This could even come from discussions, debates, sermons, newspapers, etc. His family subscribed to the local newspaper, his grandfather wrote a book and his father taught school at one time. I believe he was home schooled when he wasn't in the class room. His first account of his first vision is in his own hand, 1832, and it is well written. Smith had been in a teenage debating group with the Methodists. He obviously read the Bible extensively, and memorized sections, as there are hundreds of phrases from the KJ Bible plagiarized in the Book of Mormon.
Several good books are:
May 18, 2004
Subject: Relationship with God
After reading various letters posted on your website in which many of their writers describe how leaving The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has liberated them and allowed them to pursue a relationship with God, I cannot understand how membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints precludes a real and meaningful relationship with Deity....
It is obvious that there are good people of every faith everywhere. But The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints does have all of the truths and commandments and ordinances and divine sanctions that will enable us return to the presence of our Heavenly Father, made possible through the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
Think of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints like all of the pieces of a puzzle. It has all of the pieces required to complete the goal of salvation. Other faiths have some of the pieces, and that is commendable though not complete. We invite everyone everywhere to bring whatever truths they have with them and, if they are willing, discover that Jesus will add to them the missing pieces. I think you'll find that only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints...
[Sandra's Note: But couldn't any faith say "we have all the pieces just bring what truths you have and we will give you the rest of the pieces"? I could say the same thing to a Mormon.]
May 18, 2004
Subject: Finally an answer...
I am a 34 yr old African American female who attended the Mormon Church in my teenage years. I never understood why there were no other people of color attending the sacrament meetings. I never knew I was a possible embarrassment to my best friend and her family. Everyone was so pleasant in my presence. Soon I was not always able to attend certain meetings.
One day my Mom told me LDS was considered a cultivation of racism by many. How could this be? They let me play on sports teams. A church elder once told me 'It sure is great having a black player on our team. You and your friends are always welcome to join our sports. It truly is a great advantage for us'. That was the last day I attended The Mormon church.
In my later years I understood more behind the church. Some of their values of family, public speaking and education are good but much progress is still needed. Thank you for your website. Your newsletter on blacks in the Mormon church came addressed to a person who has not lived at this address for years. It was the only topic I never had answered and today God felt I was ready.
By the way, most Mormons say they KNOW Joseph Smith was a true prophet because it was so heavily ingrained even when I attended in the 80's. But with your extensive knowledge & research, I'm sure you knew this. If I only I knew then I could have had a better relationship with God sooner. Lucky for most, He is a FORGIVING GOD! Thanks you for your great work and findings
May 18, 2004
Greetings from Kansas and many blessings. Thank you for your Messenger 102; as usual, I read it from cover to cover. ... Your printings of radical Mormon correspondence reinforces a point which I have contended for years--that some people hate truth. Those poor people will receive quite a jolt come Judgment Day, when they realize that most of what they believed was fabrication. ...
Trying hard for Him,
May 18, 2004
I'v been witnessing to my cousin, She say's Brigham Young has never said anything about white people being better than black's. I remember when I was a young mormon, before i was a christian. my grandfather told me we were better than blacks. Do you have any references to Brigham Young saying any racist remarks?
[Sandra's Note: Here are three statements by Brigham Young:
May 18, 2004
Subject: Joseph Smith under the curse of Cain?
I was discussing some of the contradictions in Mormon Theology with some Mormons and came accross some interesting information. I searched your website and couldn't locate an article that dealt specifically with this issue. I have seen other arguments that try to link Smith to the Negro's curse through Hagar and Abraham accompanied with Smith's claim to be a direct descendant of Ephraim. However the quotes that I came upon li[n]ke Smith Directly to CAIN!!! ...
The long and short of it is that if you connect the dots with these quotes from leading Mormons, it would seem that Joseph Smith could be a direct descendant of Cain through Ham, Egyptus, Asenath and then Ephraim. I was wondering what you might have concerning this. So far the Mormons are trying to show that Asenath wasn't Egyptian and disprove Dr. Nibley. And they are also trying to say that Mormon Apostle Widstoe's comments were in regard to the language spoken in the home and not nationality or race. I don't know if this will help in assisting you or not. Please let me know what your analysis of this information is.
... My research isn't finished yet and there is still much to look through. The LDS Library CD that I have isn't very user friendly when it comes to searches. But this is what I have found so far on the subject from Mormon Scholars and Apostles concerning the matter and they show a direct link to the curse of Cain and the wife of Joseph, Asenath [Genesis 41:45]. ...
Here are the writings of well known Mormon Scholars that I thought were rather interesting, even some from an apostle or two.
Discourses of Brigham Young, p.279
Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 1, p.20
Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of Mormon, Semester 3, p.27
Hugh Nibley, Teachings of the Book of
Mormon, Semester 3, p.84
John A. Widtsoe and Franklin S. Harris, Jr., Seven Claims of the Book of
Just in case you weren't able to find it, I thought that I would post the passage from the Book of Abraham here for you.
The Book of Mormon states that Joseph Smith the Prophet was a descendant of Joseph, son of Jacob. By revelation we learn also that he is of the tribe of Ephraim, but it is evident that he also had some Gentile blood in him, for it is written in the Book of Mormon, that it came forth, "by way of the Gentile,"2 and it came by Joseph Smith. It is reasonable, therefore, to understand that we one and all have come through a mixed relation-ship, and that the blood of Ephraim and also of Manasseh could be in the veins of many of us, likewise the blood of others of the twelve tribes of Israel, and that none of us had come through the ages with clear exclusive descent from father to son through any one of the tribes.
Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 1,
Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.253
Joseph Fielding Smith Jr., Doctrines of Salvation, Vol.3, p.253 -
MORMONS WHO RECEIVE THE GOSPEL ARE FROM EPHRAIM AS WELL AND THEREFORE CURSED AS TO THE PRIESTHOOD BECAUSE THEY ARE DESCENDED FROM CAIN.
Joseph Fielding Smith
Jr., The Way to Perfection, p.123-124
Modern Mission of Ephraim
Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 1,
Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation, Vol 4,
[Sandra's Note: Looks like a problem to me. We have similar information in our new book, Curse of Cain? Racism in the Mormon Church.]
May 19, 2004
Why dont you guys find something better to do than bash on other peoples faith. I think it is very cheap and unChristlike what you are doing. .... Mormonism has gone through non stop persecution since it was founded and it is stronger than ever. ... Mormons never bash on any other faith... Just like the persecution of the early Christians only made the church stronger, maybe you are actually aiding us in converts? In that case, disregard this letter and please continue to publish and distribute your garbage!!!!
May 19, 2004
Subject: Book of Mormon
I broke the eighth commandment out of curiosity and stole a Book of Mormon from a motel room. I wanted to know what it was that so attracted people to this religion. I read the whole introduction and couldn't get past that. I could not believe that any intelligent person could reconcile this with what the Bible teaches (and according to commercials, mormons believe the Bible).
I had learned from an old western history book that Joseph Smith put magic pebbles in his hat and they reportedly led him to the gold tablets but I had no idea he uncovered them several times before it was the "right" time to remove them. Being a person of logic, this made no sense to me, but then maybe it was just a testing of his faith.
The other thing I couldn't get past was the language. How do people understand this stuff? Is that how people talked in the 1800's? Perisheth?
[Mosiah 3:18--For behold he judgeth, and his judgment is just; and the infant perisheth not that dieth in his infancy; but men drink damnation to their own souls except they humble themselves and become as little children, and believe that salvation was, and is, and is to come, in and through the atoning blood of Christ, the Lord Omnipotent.about 124 B.C.]
If he was translating this stuff for people in [his] era, wouldn't it be in a language people could understand? But then I guess ma and pa wouldn't sound very revelatory. It sounds more like something written in 1611.
I wonder if you scanned it into one of those plagiarism sites exactly how much of it was plagiarized from the Bible, or were those quotes credited? All the new translations into other languages, are they translated to how the people spoke 400 years ago or how they speak today? What the Book of Mormon sounds like to me is something that someone wanted to make sound "holy" so he tried to use the language of the King James Bible. Just doesn't work for me.
And why is a book dated before 100 BC talking about the atonement of Jesus like it already happened?
[Jacob 4:11--Wherefore, beloved brethren, be reconciled unto him through the atonement of Christ, his Only Begotten Son, and ye may obtain a resurrection, according to the power of the resurrection which is in Christ, and be presented as the first-fruits of Christ unto God, having faith, and obtained a good hope of glory in him before he manifesteth himself in the flesh.between 544 and 421 B.C.]
I thought I was reading a parallel to the gospels and then noticed the date. Prophecy? Why would it be prophesying that event if it ended up not working out anyway and Jesus had to come to the Americas to get it right? Why doesn't the book of Revelation just come right out and name names? And if Jesus came to the Americas, how come none of the Native American tribes saw him?
Zion in Missouri? All I have to say about that is, "Show Me." Just some questions I've been pondering. Great website
[Web-editor: Was The Garden of Eden in Missouri?]
May 19, 2004
I was searching the internet for information about mormons and their belief about prayer for healing and didn't find answers on their sites.
I have a friend whose daughter is very sick and the father is mormon and apparently did not want any women to pray for the child. Are women not supposed to pray? Are there only certain people who can pray for healing? If a Christian prays for the child is that a bad thing in a mormon's eyes?
Also, I have three girls ages 3, 5, and 7 who have neighbor friends who are mormon. They don't understand why the mom wouldn't let them come to our church for a kids activity. My kids are very inquisitive and will bring the subject up quite often, especially the 5-year old. She's a deep thinker. I tried explaining that they have different beliefs and I just see the wheels spinning in their heads and it seems beyond their comprehension. Is there a way to explain to young children the differences so that they can understand or a way for them to explain their beliefs to their friends in an objective way?
BTW, your site has been most informative. It was so objective, I honestly didn't know if it was pro-mormon or not from the first excerpt I was reading, just fascinating about the temple rituals.
Thanks, sorry so lengthy,
[Sandra's Note: Mormons believe that only LDS men hold the priesthood, thus their prayers for healing would be more powerful and apt to be answered than that of women.
LDS author Betina Lindsey discussed the Mormon practice of anointing the sick with oil and the exclusion of women from the practice:
In regards to explaining to children the differences between the LDS Church and their own, a good book is Understanding My Mormon Friends' Faith and Mine, by Judy Robertson.]
May 20, 2004
I feel sorry for the people on this website that reject the teachings of the true church and when the 2nd coming is here and Jesus reigns the Earth , how much awe you will be in and how much you rejected and twisted the TRUTH..
You were too ignorant and stiffnecked to even come to an understanding that you just go on and on and feel that you are "right". I suggest that you take in consideration to understand with an open heart and not with a closed one.
May 20, 2004
Subject: Leaving the Church
Thirteen years ago your ministry helped me to understand the Mormon Church. Through God's grace, my wife was led out of the church and is a born-again Southern Baptist Pastor's wife! Through all these years she never revoked her membership, until last October (2003), the Mormon Church tracked her down yet again. She said enough was enough.
At her request I sent out letters to the local ward and also the SLC Church. After 3 threats of legal action and 7 months, she finally got her letter that they accepted her resignation of membership. They requested her to come before a local council, but after reading your info on resignation of membership, she declined. Our letters remained firm and the end result was achieved.
... Well, I thank you for the blessings you have been to my whole family and thank God for you all. To Him all Glory and Honor and Praise! Amen!
God's Richest Blessings To You!
May 20, 2004
I always enjoy getting your newsletter. You guys are great. I am often perplexed by the responses you get from current members as they are obviously reading your newsletter and it must put doubts in their minds. They question why you find it so important to print your research.
Coming from a huge extended mormon family, I am very aware of the mormon church and the devestating effects it can have on all those who do not believe. Growing up with my single mother, the church and her extended family convinced her to let them raise 2 of my brothers and my sister, for they would be better off in a LDS home. These homes raised my brothers and sister as their children and they did not even know I existed until adulthood. The church is not only false, it can be very dangerous. They prey on the weak. It is still hard for me with my family, as they are always trying to get me back in the fold. Like thats going to happen....!!!!
I love getting your newsletter and believe that you are doing good works, regardless of how hard it is for the "members" to have doubts raised, which makes them angry. Ignorance is Bliss.....................
Keep up the good work!
May 20, 2004
Subject: Looking for McConkie letter
I'm trying to find a copy of McConkie's letter to rebuke Eugene England where is acknowledges that B. Young taught the Adam-God theory. The text appears on http://www.mrm.org/multimedia/text/mcconkies-letter.html, but I'd like to find an image of the original.
I'm in discussions with a Mormon co-worker who will write off anything that's not original as Mormon-bashing. But we actually get somewhere when I present scanned images of originals (for example, I printed many such images that I was able to find in BYU's online collection - things like images of the Millennial Star where the Adam-God theory was re-printed, etc.)
Can you help?
[Sandra's Note: The letter is photographically reproduced in our book, LDS Apostle Confesses Brigham Young Taught Adam-God Doctrine.
Another good resource is Where Does It Say That?]
May 21, 2004
I am writing a letter in response to the information pack you sent me a few weeks ago.
I still haven't gotten through the newsletter on the Book of Abraham, because there is so much to digest. I was a member in 2001 and ended up leaving in April 2002. ... I'll never look back at the Mormon Church like I did before. On march 25 Pastor .......witnessed to me and asked me if I wanted or rather was I ready to accept Christ as my Savior and Redeemer.
May 21, 2004
Subject: Kimball Quote
Where can I find the quote from Heber C. Kimball about how taking another wife was no different than buying another cow?
[Steve's Note: The quote you are looking for is found in the book Wife No.19, or The Story of A Life in Bondage by Ann Eliza Young. It is found in Chapter 17 p. 292:
You can read this online at http://www.antimormon.8m.com/youngchp17.html.]
[Additional note by Sandra: According to Stanley B. Kimball, author of Heber C. Kimball: Mormon Patriarch and Pioneer, Heber married at least 43 wives, nine of whom were in their teens, and fathered at least 65 children.]
May 21, 2004
Subject: final authority
what is the final authority for mormons or do they have one i have the bible as my authority and as i work in a ministry at fairs and festivals were we come in contact with many mormons would appreciate an answer to what they can say this is our one and final authority
thanks and god bless you all for your good work
[Steve's Note: The final authority for Mormons today is the living prophet of the LDS Church. The second of the Fourteen Fundamentals in Following the Prophets speech given by Ezra Taft Benson reads: "The Living Prophet is More Vital to Us Than The Standard Works."
May 21, 2004
yeah, i have a question for the Tanners....when are you going to grow up and come back to the truth? Stop doing what the Apostle Paul did for a while....fighting against the church. You guys are absolutely waisting your time and need to spend more time helping with world peace instead of scripture bashing with LDS people. We will pray for you "in the temple."
[Sandra's Note: Our motivation is the same as the LDS missionaryto share what we perceive to be the truth. As for "spending time helping with world peace instead of scripture bashing" maybe if the LDS Church didn't send out 60,000 missionaries to persuade people to leave their church and join the LDS there wouldn't be as much "scripture bashing."]
May 22, 2004
Subject: Question Why don't the LDS Church tell the number of people has left the church?
[Sandra's Note: Good question. The LDS Church is very concerned to put the best image possible out to the public. They boast about their converts but don't mention those who defect. Their PR department obviously does not see this type of statistic as "faith promoting."]
May 22, 2004
Why all of the secrecy about events in the temple???
[Sandra's Note: Good question. Jesus said in Matt 10:26-28:
If LDS temple endowments are supposed to be part of Christ's gospel, and essential for eternal life, why would they be secret? Why can't a person know the content of the ceremony before attending? You are asked to make certain covenants and promises in the temple but you are not informed in advance what these will be.]
May 23, 2004
One more thing. Have the Mormons ever taught that God was baptized FOR A REMISSION OF SINS?
[Sandra's Note: No, not that I am aware of. However, in Smith's King Follet sermon he argues that Jesus did what the father did, which could be used to imply that Jesus got baptized because his father did:
May 23, 2004
Subject: DNA vs. Book of Mormon
Dear Gerald and Sandra,
Thank you for all the sacrifices you make to get the truth out. I have been heart-broken since my daughter was married in the Temple and my grand-children are being raised in the Mormon Church.
I am hoping that DNA vs. the Book of Mormon might be the answer to the possible break up of this Cult. However, other than the article in the Salt Lake Tribune last August, I have heard nothing more. Has the Church made any comments or are members even aware of this information? I am hoping that you have some answers.
In God's love,
[Sandra's Note: Here is a link to the LDS response.
They try to say that there could have been other people here prior to the Jaredites and Lehi's arrival, but that contradicts all the early LDS leaders statements AND the Introduction to the Book of Mormon. The Introduction states:
In spite of this clear statement in LDS scripture, Mormon scholars are arguing for a small geographical area for the Book of Mormon story, thus allowing for other Indians to be in the Americans beyond any Lamanite descendents. For a few problems regarding the limited geography theory see:
You can read Murphy's article at http://mormonscripturestudies.com, click on Book of Mormon, then on essays, then on Murphy's article.
Also see http://faculty.edcc.edu/~tmurphy/
There is another book coming out on DNA/Book of Mormon issues in the Fall. (Web-editor: Now available! See Losing a Lost Tribe by Simon Southerton.)]
May 23, 2004
I have spent 10 years of my life dedicated to Mormonism. Only recently did I come to the knowledge that I believed in something that was not true. I am working through my feelings and have asked a Christian pastor to help me learn how to live without the church.
I understand that some people do not think that any type of brainwashing occurs in the Mormon Church but, I believe that it does. I am experiencing some of the same problems other people experience who have been involved with cults who brainwash their members. The public needs to be aware of this. I thank you for the information that have made available for people on the internet. Every day I get on the computer and read more about Mormonism. It helps me tremendously. Sometimes I have to remind myself that leaving the church was the right thing to do even though I already know it. God Bless!
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. Glad to hear you are in touch with a pastor. You might find these books helpful as well:
May 23, 2004
Subject: LDS Baptism for the Dead
How does one have their ancestors LDS proxy baptism removed, undone, reversed or what ever it takes to have done? I was recently informed that a cousin of mine had become LDS some time ago and either he and or his wife had my great grandparents baptized through the LDS. Neither my cousin nor his wife had this right and not only myself, but all of my other relatives want the names of our great grandparents and any other names of our family members, except for the LDS cousin who allowed this to happen, stricken from the LDS records. My ancestors living both in Norway and in America have always been Lutherans and if my great grandparents wanted to become baptized LDS, then it would have been their choice and not that of my cousin and or his wife. This really angers me and my other relatives to no end!
[Steve's Note: Unfortunately, right now there is no way to have any LDS Temple work undone. All you can do is let your displeasure be known to the headquarters of the LDS Church. Perhaps when they discover how this is creating problems for them, they will rethink their policy regarding this.]
May 24, 2004
what happens if he [the LDS prophet] is committed to a mental institute--sounds crazy. but if i ask some lds what will his answer be
[Steve's Note: Their answer would most likely mirror something like what Brigham Young said when he declared that "The Lord Almighty leads this Church, and he will never suffer you to be led astray if you are found doing your duty. You may go home and sleep as sweetly as a babe in its mother's arms, as to any danger of your leaders leading you astray, for if they should try to do so the Lord would quickly sweep them from the earth." (Journal of Discourses, Vol. 9, p. 289)
They may also simply follow their leaders regardless of what that may mean. This obedience is a long-standing LDS ideal as evidenced by the following examples:
May 24, 2004
Subject: great and noble
i know of two [LDS] persons here in scotland. these person are not active in the lds church. in both there patriachal blessings they have the wording great and noble. both these men were not born into the church. if only the prexistent faithful are born into the church covanant. why is it these men were not born mormons.
[Sandra's Note: You raise a good question. The whole LDS idea of pre-earth spirits earning their status and place of birth leads to all sorts of inconsistencies. If these people were "great and noble" in their pre-earth life one would think they would have earned the right to be born into a good LDS home here on earth. On the other hand, how is one to reconcile someone being good enough in the pre-existence to earn the right to be born into a Mormon home but to an abusive LDS father?]
May 24, 2004
THANK YOU FOR THE #102 MESSENGER, I AM CURRENTLY READING IT WITH GREAT INTEREST.
MAY GOD REWARD YOU WITH HIMSELF.
May 24, 2004
Subject: BOM & Pres. Hinckley
First, thank you for your website and the professional and loving format that you present scholarly information on a most difficult and peculiar people (Mormons) to understand. I am not a member and never will become one, but I am very interested in it's history and Joseph Smith and his ever changing religion. I have two questions:
One, Was the BOM always billed as "Another Testament of Jesus Christ" if not, when and why did it change? What were the circumstances that lead to the change?
Two, Now that Pres. Hinckley's wife has passed on, will he have to marry in order to be Prophet/President or does it matter? Thank you!
[Sandra's Note: Question No. 1At the Oct. 1982 LDS Conference Apostle Boyd Packer announced the addition of the phrase "another testament of Jesus Christ" to the title of the Book of Mormon. I believe this was a PR move to offset the criticism that the LDS Church isn't Christian.
No.2—No, it is not necessary for Pres. Hinckley to remarry. He only needs one temple marriage, according to today's teachings, to achieve godhood.
However, Brigham Young declared on August 19, 1866: "The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy" (Journal of Discourses, vol. 11, p.269).]
May 25, 2004
Subject: One More
The first time I noticed something odd was during my mission (1982-1984). An older sister missionary mentioned that the [temple] washing and annointing was different than when she first took out her endowments. It was just a passing comment and I really didn't think too much about it until 1990 when the endowment was changed - again!
Then I started noticing things that just didn't seem to fit into the gospel. I have talked to two bishops about my concerns, and neither even attempted to explain them. The first bishop told me that there are things we can't understand and that after this life we will understand everything. The second bishop acknowledged that my research was thorough, but that I needed to exercise faith.
Now I am in a new ward and will be talking to another bishop. I know what his first question will be, "Is there something in your life which has caused you to lose the spirit and your testimony?" They will attempt to make me feel like it's my fault that I found out the truth.
I have told my wife and parents about the things that I have found, and their different reactions are very interesting. My wife doesn't dispute what I have found, but seems to think that the Church is true no matter what. My parents, on the other hand, think that all these things are lies created by anti-mormons. It's ironic that "anti-mormon organizations (like UTLM) encourage LDS members to look up the information for themselves, but in the introduction of the LDS priesthood lesson manual, members are encouraged otherwise.
Looking at the church from the outside (while inside) is very different. Those "cute" testimonies in which the child says, "I'd like to bear my testimony. I know the church is true. I love my mom & dad, and my brothers & sisters too. In the name of Jesus Christ, amen." aren't so cute anymore. That child is just repeating what somebody else said. Repetition does not create truth. But that's what the church teaches, "A testimony is to be found in the bearing of it." (Boyd K. Packer [Ensign, Jan. 1983, p.54])
What!? If I bear testimony when I don't have one, then I am pretending to have one, which is bearing false witness. What did the Lord tell Moses? "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour." (Exodus 20:16) The history of the church is full of instances in which church leaders have lied to cover up the truth. Who is the father of lies?
Probably the most troubling thing to me is that church leaders leave all the difficult questions to the "apologists," who are responsible for their own answers - thus taking any responsibility away from the church. They make bold generalized statements over the pulpit, but refuse to discuss the real issues.
Thank you for all your hard work. Each time that I have checked your references, the information has been 100% correct. And still you have members writing to you claiming that your website is full of lies. How sad it is that they won't check for themselves.
May 25, 2004
Subject: Marriage and the secret name
Is the Mormon wife dependant on her husband whom she married and was sealed to in the temple to say her secret [temple] name when he resurrects? Does he have a choice to not say her secret name and call her to the Celestial Heavan with him and then she will be stuck in the lower heavan for eternity?
I need to know this because I believe I know a Mormon wife who is essentially being blackmailed into staying in an abusive and unhappy marriage with her husband for this reason, primarily. If she believes she will lose her place in the 3rd and highest Celestial Kingdom of heavan if she leaves him and divorces him she is staying under threat of eternal condemnation or even threat of losing her salvation entirely. Is my understanding of this accurate?
Thank you for any help.
[Sandra's Note: Yes, the LDS wife is taught that she is dependent on her husband for her place in the highest part of the Celestial Kingdom. See How the LDS Husband Hopes to Resurrect His Wife According to the LDS Temple Ceremony. I assume they would say that if her husband does not call her up, she could still go to the lower two levels of the Celestial Kingdom, but not as his wife. She cannot achieve exaltation without a husband.
I know one of my aunts was threatened in that way by her temple-going husband when she started to question Mormonism. He threatened her that if she kept studying with me he would not call her up in the resurrection. They eventually separated, but never divorced, and she became active in the Baptist Church.]
May 25, 2004
Subject: Praying for your ministry
Just to let you know that I'm adding you to my prayer list. May the Lord richly bless all those that minister and all those that are ministered to and for salvation to those who do not know the Lord.
Your sister in Jesus Christ,
May 26, 2004
Subject: Your court case many moons ago
Jerald and Sandra,
Hi. I've been a fan of your ministry work ever since I stumbled upon the original version of "The Changing World of Mormonism" in a Christian book store and purchased it back in 1990.
Today, while surfing for web references ... [I] saw a reference to a New York Times article I hadn't seen before-- http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/99/12/cyber/cyberlaw/10law.html
I was forceably dragged some time ago into the issue of electronic civil rights and our freedom to link, and have been trying to follow all the major articles and events. Your sad story I hadn't read of before, and was news to me [See: Under the Cover of Light: News].
I'm sorry to read that your felt you had to cave in to the evil folks of the Mormon church and their even more evil lawyers. I mean, your web site wasn't even linking, just merely displaying URLs! And both linking and displaying URLs are clearly legal behavior! ... Keep up the good work telling the whole world that Joseph Smith was a big fat liar.
May 26, 2004
Subject: luke 21:10-33
mormons say that the generation did pass (for a generation was about 40 years verse 31) in which i agree. Is this verse pertaining to the desolation of Jerusalem,or to the second coming of Christ?
The missionaries say if Joseph Smith in section 84 told a false prophesy then so did Jesus. Or that we might not fully understand then meaning. I know that they are very deseptive, but sometimes they "seem" to have a valid point. anywho, it seems to me that they always have an answer that uses the Bible to prove their point. I feel that this type of reasoning shows that they believe there are discrepencies in the Bible and their own beliefs as well. If you can can you show me the best way to stick them to a point?
Thank you for your time once again.
[Steve's Note: Scholars have differing thoughts as to how this difficult passage (and esp. v. 32) should be understood. Many scholars see Jesus referring just to the impending destruction of Jerusalem and the desolation of the Temple as what will happen before "this generation" would pass away . Others view "this generation" as referring to those who will endure until the very return of Christ (his second coming). There is basis for this thinking. The word "generation" comes from the Greek word genea and can easily mean "race," "nation" or "people". An example of this same Greek word being translated in English as "nation" is found in Philippians 2:15.
For the Mormon, however, this second option is not available since the clear meaning of Joseph Smith's prophecy is a generation as in the lifetime of those first receiving the prophecy. Those who were alive at this time also understood Joseph's prophecy to apply to those then alive. Read the following information from the book The Changing World of Mormonism by Jerald and Sandra Tanner:
For more information please see our page, A Sample of Joseph Smith's False Prophecies.]
May 26, 2004
I would like to thank you for sending us the messenger newsletter free which we have received for some time now. ...
I would like to say that i know that polygamy is something i believe is happening world wide. when my husband and i were not getting along too well when we were active in the church. The church had made him dominant towards me, we had a breakup.
I was introduced by a lady in the church to a male member of the church. I became very close to them. He was married and his wife accepted me and we became best friends. We all believed in polygamy and were taught that it was a good thing that would happen again one day. I wanted to be remarried, ...... the man whom i was seeing in the church wanted the same. To cut a long story short we were married at his place in a small ceremony There were others guest from different parts of the country involved that were practicing the same. I believe that polygamy is happening in places all over the world. ...
Thank you for listening
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. What a strange story of continued plural marriage. Makes you wonder how many other LDS couples there are out there that secretly practice polygamy.]
May 26, 2004
Subject: Please Help.
... i live in England. I am 17 years old and i am a Christian. I would like your advice on an issue i am facing.
Awhile back - in January i met a LDS Missionary. It was by no means my first encounter with any LDS, i have quite a few mormon friends and thru them i have met many missionaries, i sometimes go to LDS church activities for example their dances and B-B-Q's etc. Anyway, i became rather close to one particular missionary, his name is Elder ______, he's 19 and is a real nice guy, he's moved away now but i still keep in contact with him. I pray for him every day.
My question is - how am i to behave when with him? is there anything i can do asides pray for him or is there anything i must absolutely not do?
Please help me in this,
Thankyou for your time,
[Steve's Note: My only advice to you would be to continue to be an authentic friend. In other words, follow Jesus' words found in the Golden Rule to treat others as you would like to be treated. In so doing you will accomplish two things. First, you will let him see that you are his friend regardless of any differences that may come up. And second, you will earn the right to share your point of view with him. For some additional things to think about please read the paper on our website titled Sharing your Faith with Latter-day Saints. I pray this will be of help to you and your friendship.]
May 27, 2004
I just read your article and I felt that I should tell you that it made absolutely no sence. I now feel like I am more stupid and that I am going to hell for reading it.
Thanks for nothing
May 27, 2004
Hello, ... I have read through your site, and I appreciate your message. I am an X-Mormon who is also trying to witness to the LDS people. I have created a web site for this purpose, and am currently trying to get it known. ... You can find my site at www.gospelhelp.com ...Thank you and God bless your efforts,
May 27, 2004
I am a born again Christian who has run across a Mormon here in Nebraska. My daughter is friends with a gal who's father is Mormon. We have had a few conversations about "God" and I'm finding out rather quickly that Mormonism is "whacked"! Sorry. I know I could have chosen a more tactful word but I like that one.
Anyway, I went rummaging through my witnessing tools and found a pamphlet called "The Mormon Mystique" and your organization was listed on there as a resource. The pamphlet is very small but very helpful and now I just want MORE. There was a part in that pamphlet that said to use the book of Mormon to discuss God. It also said that the book of Mormon can NOT support a lot of what is taught to the Mormons. I was able to use 2 Nephi 11:7; 26:12; 31:21 to show this Mormon that his OWN book says that Christ IS indeed GOD! This was because of your pamphlet. Can you please help! I need more example like these. I want to be able to use their own material to expose this horrific LIE. I have all three of their materials but I just need to know where the core verses and doctrines ARE exactly.
I'm continually told that the bible has been through too many translations and is only 80% accurate or so. Or that it isn't totally God Breathed. And the salvation by works is strong as you know. ...
Here is a list of Contradictions in LDS Scriptures.
Also read Cowan's Mormon Claims Answered on our site.]
May 27, 2004
Subject: pain in my heart
[You are] A great-great-grand-daughter of Brigham Young....And [I] a man who was baptized into the church....Now I am a worthy priesthood holder .... I am 14 yrs old and first counsellor in the teachers quorum.
I respect your oppinions but it saddens me so much to see that you give it all up for the worldly facts....I recently watched a video from the church and in it a young missionary says.."Christ gives us thousands of reasons to belive and a few to not and then leaves it up to us to choose." I know you think you have found proof that the church is wrong but it is worldly facts shouldnt we look at what the church today gives us rather than what things you think makes it untrue? of course we will not be able to explain all the wrong things but when you sit their and speak against the gospell to others it hurts.
now as I said I respect your oppinion but couldnt you take it to a stake president and ask him what he thinks?
[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. I did ask many church leaders. I went to my bishop, to a BYU professor and to Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith and Apostle LeGrande Richards.
My bishop was a convert of six years and didn't know about the areas of my concern. The BYU professor did not have any reasonable answers as to why Joseph Smith changed his revelations or why Brigham Young taught the Adam-god doctrine. The apostles did not have satisfactory answers to my questions about the changing nature of Joseph Smith's first vision accounts.
My research led me to conclude that the LDS Church is not God's restoration. I hope you will continue to read and search. I can guarantee you that the more you research the history of Mormonism the more contradictory it gets. Almost all of the references we use can be seen at the various universities in Utah. My faith is now in Christ, not a church.]
May 27, 2004
did jesus not teach that man was a god. john 10;34;35 he said at this chapter and verse.s
"is it not writen in your law i said you are gods if he called them gods( unto whom the word of god came) the scriptures connot be broken. was jesus the word of god. the logos. it says so at john 1;1
was jesus quoting psalm 82;6 regarding john 10;34;35 i myself said you are gods you are all children of the most high. i see man is as god. or a god. genesis 3;22 behold the man has become one of us. plural.
the hebrew eliohim is just god to the hebrews. note thats a plural collective noun. more than one.
we have a family in the heavens. ephesians 3;14:15 i was loking at proverbs 8;22;31 solomon seems to be saying he lived with god before earth was created. so is there pre earth spirit selection??? jeremiah 1;5 job 38:1;7
kind regards to you. may jesus christ bless you all.
[Steve's Note: There are a couple of points that I would like to make in response to your email.
First, the word god [elohim] has several different meanings and the context will determine which meaning should be applied to any given passage.
Second, the historic fact is that the Jews never understood the scripture to be teaching that man either pre-existed with God or that man may progress to be a god (as God is thought to have progressed in Mormon thinking). All of this is completely foreign to Jewish thinking and would be considered a highly blasphemous and offensive idea. Consequently, there is another way to understand these passages you bring up without forcing the idea that the scriptures teach what Mormons typically would like to see in those verses.
Third, although the Hebrew word "elohim" is plural the verb associated with it in the Bible is singular. Jews have always been fiercely monotheistic and yet they obviously know the situation with the word "elohim' and how it functions grammatically.
Fourth, several of the examples you have given can only be understood as advocating the idea of a pre-existence if the clear context of the passages is ignored. In Proverbs 8 it is wisdom that is speaking in a personified form herenot Solomon. In Job 38 God is mocking Job and making Job realize that since Job was not in existence when the world was created that he has not right at all to presume to advise God on what should or should not be done with anything found in creation.
Several good books I can recommend to you that might help you with difficult passages like you are studying would be—
[Sandra's Note: Other good resources are:
You can also read more on this in Cowan's book Mormon Claims Answered on our site.]
May 28, 2004
Subject: need help
DEAR FRIEND I NEED HELP, MY NEECE JUST MARRIED A MORMAN A VERY NICE BOY . . . MY NEECE IS A CHRISTIAN (... A FIRM BELIEVER). HER GREATEST MISTAKE WAS MARRYING ONE FROM A CULT. . . . COULD YOU PLEASE HELP ME?
I WOULD LIKE TO HAVE A COPY OF THESE TWO BOOKS ( THE PEARL OF GREAT PRICE AND DOCTRINE AND COVENANTS) . . .
A good resource to use with this couple would be Understanding Mormonism: Mormonism and Christianity Compared. It has a side by side comparison of LDS/Christian beliefs.
You will also need to build a friendship with this couple in order to get them to listen to your concerns. See this page on witnessing, Sharing your Faith with Latter-day Saints.
Also, the book Speaking the Truth in Love to Mormons is good.
Second, the LDS Triple Combination: Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, Pearl of Great Price is available as well.]
May 30, 2004
Subject: A question
I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints for 29 years. I was converted to the gospel and wasn't led by anybody. I know what I have felt and experienced through all these years being a member of The Church and then I see you guys doing all you can to destroy the Kingdom of the Lord on Earth.
Oh come on give me a break!! How can I deny what I feel deep inside?? That's unbeliavable!!!! Even if I weren't a LDS I would NEVER use my time criticizing other religions. I have lots of non member friends and some of them have strange ideas about God and religion but they are. such good people. All of them know I'm LDS and do respect me as well as I respect them. We are very good friends although having diferent opinions about these subjects.
Tell me: Why don't you guys use your time and talents and money to REALLY HELP people in need. I'm sure God would appreciate it so much. Looking at your picture I see you are old people, no offense, I mean you should think it over.
I have NO DOUBT about what I know by personal experience and this is that Joseph Smith was the Lord's prophet and Gordon B. Hinckley is a prophet as well.
[Sandra's Note: First, I assume the LDS missionaries believe as we do that there is truth and error and it matters which one a person embraces. It seems a little shortsighted to pin all one's hope of being right on a feeling. Surely you realize that people of all sorts of different religions believe God answered their prayers and led them to the truth. Obviously they can't all be right. To separate truth from error takes study, not just prayer. Mormons are free to believe as they choose. I am not trying to take away their freedom of choice. But I feel they have made a decision based on false information and want them to see the other side of the story.
Second, one could ask the same thing of the LDS missionaries. Why don't those 60,000 missionaries spend their time and talents and money to REALLY HELP people in need instead of trying to convince people that their church and minister are not ordained of God and that only the LDS Church can get them back to the presence of Heavenly Father?
Also, just think of all the good that could be done in the world if the LDS people spent their time and money helping the poor instead to doing endless, meaningless genealogy?
God calls us to a relationship with Him, not to some church organization. Jesus said 'come unto me' not 'come unto the LDS Church.']
May 31, 2004
The Bible teaches: Baptism for the Dead (1 Corinthians 15:29)
Where church can i find this teaching in? Why are not any churches teaching this doctrine? Do they not believe in the bible and it's doctrines?
[Sandra's Note: No, Christians do not believe in baptism for the dead and feel the LDS Church is misusing this Bible verse. These pages may be helpful:
For a good treatment critiquing the LDS doctrine of baptism for the dead, see this article on Institute for Religious Research: http://www.irr.org/mit/baptdead.html
Hope this helps.]