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November 2004
(Names and Contact Info Removed)

Nov. 1, 2004


We love your web page! ... I am a pastor ...in Mission Viejo, Calif.... We are involved in a number of evangelical outreaches and we have launched a site called www.PleaseConvinceMe.com that we hope to use as we take mission trip groups to Utah and to non-Mormon communities right here at home! The site has investigative information related to Christianity, Theism, Atheism, and Mormonism. We add new material every week.... Thanks for your time!

Nov. 1, 2004

Subject: Something to look into, missing cumorah letter.

William Hamblin writes in his farms article, http://farms.byu.edu/display.php?table=transcripts&id=39 footnote 70, that he has "Correspondence from Michael Watson, Office of the First Presidency, 23 April 1993" that refutes your letter, http://www.utlm.org/images/cumorahletter.gif .

However in a recent discussion on the fair/lds message boards when this subject was approached he kept changing the subject and avoiding telling the details of this reference. See the discussion here: http://www.fairboards.org/index.php?showtopic=5178&st=0 .

Now all of a sudden he won't answer questions to him and says he not going to participate in the discussion board anymore. Now I could be wrong but if you read through the thread you may get the sense, like I did, that something about this letter doesn't smell right. Since it supposedly refutes this letter posted on the utlm site I thought looking into it more might be interesting to you.

Nov. 3, 2004

Subject: Hi there today.

Hi there just wanted to tell you guys thank you in working with Ron Rhodes and Marian Bodine book Reasoning from the Scriptures with Mormons. It's a great book, just wanted to tell you guys thanks for giving them information, so God Bless you and sharing the gospel with the cults. amen

Nov. 4, 2004

... I am curious as to why other Christians so readily accept the Bible to be the word of God and so quickly reject the Book of Mormon and, so, that is my questions to you. Why do you accept the Bible and reject the Book of Mormon?

You do not have to respond but if you wish to could you provide for me reasons as to why you believe the Bible is truth instead of telling me why the Book of Mormon is worng. I've read too much litterature on that already. ...

[Steve's Note: The Bible and the Book of Mormon are not accepted or rejected quickly by thoughtful Christians. They are to be examined to see if they are what they claim to be; namely, the word of God. The Bible is in a completely different category than is the Book of Mormon. While not all questions regarding the Bible have been answered, the Bible has much evidence to support it. This is untrue for the Book of Mormon. There has never been a new world find which identifies any person, place-name or event from the Book of Mormon. Much of the internal and external evidence speaks out against the Book of Mormon while the Bible gains increasing credibility with additional evidence that is discovered. Some good resources for you to acquire to help you see the evidence for the Bible are:

I trust this is helpful to you.]

Nov. 4, 2004

Subject: Mormons voting republican

I've always heard that there was an LDS church edict in the 1970's or 1980's essentially saying "you can't be a good mormon and vote democrat". Is this true? And where can I find it documented?

I brought it up in my recent laments about all religious groups voting straight Republican, even though most of the bible teaches more about caring for the poor, and not living for money (not exactly republican tenants). One of my LDS friends didn't believe my edict story. I'd love to have some documentation. Can you help?

[Sandra's Note: University of Utah Law Professor Ed Firmage commented on the Benson statement in the July 1981 issue of Sunstone:

Consider first the problem of schism. The Apostle Paul was vehement on the matter: "There should be no schism in the body; the members should have the same care one for another" (I Corinthians 12:25). But that is precisely what was threatened when Elder Benson told a reporter in 1974 that a liberal Democrat could not be a good Mormon "if he was living the gospel and understood it."32 ("A Church Cannot Stand Silent In The Midst Of Moral Decay," by Edwin Brown Firmage, Sunstone 6:4/44, July 1981)

Footnote 32 of the Sunstone article gives the Salt Lake Tribune, February 22, 1974, p.B1, as the source for the Benson comment. The Salt Lake Tribune and Sunstone are in most of the libraries in Utah.]

Nov. 5, 2004


...Do you mind telling me how I might obtain old "Dialogue" issues on CD Rom? Can I order them from the "Dialogue" staff, or are they filed away at public libraries?


[Sandra's Note: Dialogue is now cooperating with the University of Utah to make past issues available online. See http://www.dialoguejournal.com/search/

Past issues of Dialogue: A Journal of Mormon Thought are also available on the CD-ROM program called New Mormon Studies CD-ROM: A Comprehensive Resource Library.

However, it does not include the last couple of years. Dialogue is in the public libraries and universities here in Utah.]

Nov. 6, 2004

Subject: Good Work!

I myself am not a Christian nor an LDS. I am a student of Philosophy and religion and something about the LDS church that interests me. The history of it I mean. Not converting.

Though I feel your many references calling them "Mormons" is unnecessarily derogatory as they prefer to be called LDS. I think that if you at least called them that than you would get a little more (but not much more) respect from them.

I want to say Good job on the site and the information. You are very informative and correct in your sources. Keep up the good work. Very well done. Good luck in your future endeavors.

 ps-- The reason I made this statement is because every time I called one a "Mormon" they would always correct me and tell me "we call ourselves Latter Day Saints" and that they are offended by the term Mormon. That is just what I was trying to point out.

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing.  Since the LDS Church leaders still call their choir the 'Mormon Tabernacle Choir' and since one of their official web sites is www.mormon.org, I don't see how we are being disrespectful in calling LDS people 'Mormon.'

I was raised in the LDS Church during the 1940's and 50's and always heard my family and friends refer to us as being 'Mormons.'  And I never thought of it as a negative term.  I am aware that the LDS use of 'Mormon'  has greatly diminished since the 1980's.  With the church's growing emphasis that they are 'Christians'  they have tried to minimize the label 'Mormon.'  But it still pops up occasionally.  Here are a couple of LDS examples of them calling themselves Mormons.

From Hugh Nibley:

What is heaven like? What will Zion be like? We Mormons do not believe with Descartes that God is the self-thinking thinker who thinks only of thought. (Hugh Nibley, Approaching Zion, edited by Don E. Norton, Deseret Book Co. & Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1989, pp.2-3.)

Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley seemed to accept that people would continue to refer to them as Mormons:

Many of our people are disturbed by the practice of the media, and of many others, to disregard totally the true name of the Church and to use the nickname "the Mormon Church."

Six months ago in our conference Elder Russell M. Nelson delivered an excellent address on the correct name of the Church. ...

The Mormon church, of course, is a nickname. And nicknames have a way of becoming fixed. ...

I suppose that regardless of our efforts, we may never convert the world to general use of the full and correct name of the Church. Because of the shortness of the word Mormon and the ease with which it is spoken and written, they will continue to call us the Mormons, the Mormon church, and so forth.

They could do worse. More than fifty years ago, when I was a missionary in England, I said to one of my associates, "How can we get people, including our own members, to speak of the Church by its proper name?"

He replied, "You can't. The word Mormon is too deeply ingrained and too easy to say." He went on, "I've quit trying. While I'm thankful for the privilege of being a follower of Jesus Christ and a member of the Church which bears His name, I am not ashamed of the nickname Mormon."

"Look," he went on to say, "if there is any name that is totally honorable in its derivation, it is the name Mormon. And so, when someone asks me about it and what it means, I quietly say—'Mormon means more good.' " (The Prophet Joseph Smith first said this in 1843; see Times and Seasons, 4:194; Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 299-300.)

His statement intrigued me—Mormon means "more good." I knew, of course, that "more good" was not a derivative of the word Mormon. I had studied both Latin and Greek, and I knew that English is derived in some measure from those two languages and that the words more good are not a cognate of the word Mormon. But his was a positive attitude based on an interesting perception. And, as we all know, our lives are guided in large measure by our perceptions. Ever since, when I have seen the word Mormon used in the media to describe us—in a newspaper or a magazine or book or whatever—there flashes into my mind his statement, which has become my motto: Mormon means "more good."

We may not be able to change the nickname, but we can make it shine with added luster.

After all, it is the name of a man who was a great prophet who struggled to save his nation, and also the name of a book which is a mighty testament of eternal truth, a veritable witness of the divinity of the Lord Jesus Christ.  (Gordon B. Hinckley, " Mormon Should Mean 'More Good,' " Ensign, Nov. 1990, 51.  Italics in original, Bold added for emphasis.)

You will see on our web site that we alternate between using 'LDS' and 'Mormon.']

Nov. 7, 2004

hi there

i have found your articles very interesting. i am married to a wonderful lady who unfortuanately studies the mormon faith. she has presented me with a book of mormon in which she left a message for me to read the book. after reading the introducton i have found it to far fetched to continue. i have no desire to read the book or to become a mormon but instead i am more concerned in finding the truth whether this religion is genuine or not as my wife is now taking my child as well. any help you can give me on where i should start looking would be much appreciated.

many thanks

[Steve's Note:

I would encourage you to read several free articles we have online that should be helpful to you. They are:

You might also consider reading/ordering from us any of the books I have listed below that you find interesting.

Finally, be sure to ground yourself in authentic Christianity so you will be able to offer her a viable alternative. Some good books to help you with this would include:

Nov. 8, 2004

Subject: I need this a.s.a.p.

Sandra and Staff,

I need your help quickly... can you find a quote dealing with the LDS doctrine that husbands will resurrect their wives or that women need a worthy husband to take them through the vail into the celestial kingdom. I am looking for official LDS doctrine or quotes from an LDS general authority. Thanks, I know you won't let me down. Thank you for all your help and God bless!

[Sandra's Note: We have a whole article on the subject on our site. See: How the LDS Husband Hopes to Resurrect His Wife.]

Nov. 8, 2004

Just wanted to say "thank you" for all you do to forward the REAL truth about Mormonism. (I was rescued over 12 years ago with the help of many dear friends, family, and the 'Godmakers' movie).

My prayers are always with you.

God Bless you richly with continued health and strength to be a 'lighthouse' to many searching children.

Love in Christ Jesus,

PS: ... I will continue to pray for you and those thousands who are searching for true peace and freedom that only Our Lord and Saviour can provide.

Nov. 8, 2004

Subject: hypothesis

Dear Utah Lighthouse Ministry,

The Book of Mormon has fascinated me for some time, though as a Catholic Christian with a critical eye I believe it was a product of Joseph Smith's mind. I must say, I found Robert D. Anderson's hypothesis of narcissistic personality disorder in Inside the Mind of Joseph Smith quite plausible. After having read Dr. Anderson's book, I began wondering about possible explanations for other parts of the BOM. One that I've been pondering is the Ammonites of Alma 24. Of course, you know that Ammon and his brothers would not take up arms against the Lamanites. What struck me was the similarity between the name "Ammon", and the name of the founder of the Amish, Jakob Amman. The Amish, or perhaps Ammanites, are pacifists who will not go to war. I'm guessing that Joseph would have been familiar with the Amish and might have incorporated them into the Book of Mormon in this way. Has anyone else made this possible connection? Does it seem plausible? I know we'll never know for sure until the time when all questions will be answered for everyone and we share in the Kingdom, but it is interesting to think about!

Thank you for the information you sent along with the SLC Messenger. As I said, I've been interested in the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith for some time (as a kid, I went to Hill Cumorah as part of a family outing and can remember gazing up at the statue of Moroni), and I enjoy learning all I can. Rest assured of my prayers for your ministry!


[Steve's Note: This is one of several possibilities. Two others that have been suggested are the male name in Joseph Smith's day and the Biblical references to Ammon beginning in the book of Genesis. The Ammonites of the Bible were a tribe of people who were descendents of Lot.]

Nov. 8, 2004

Subject: Mormon cults and ritual abuse


I have been using your website to send information to my best friend who has recently found out that her daughter, and possibly her son have been abused in a cult setting.

In one of the articles where you have the memo by Bishop Pace, I read at the bottom that there is no evidence of such a widespread cult operating inside the LDS community, however, my friend who is now in her 30s, was abused by her neighbours and cousins, uncles etc... in a satanic cult, as were her 3 sisters.

Her sister in law has been diagnosed with DID, and has memories of satanic abuse by her parents. She fears that her inlaws, and perhaps her husband are also abusing her children. She fears her husband has DID and is abusing them unknowingly. These are all people who are "devout" mormons and grew up in Mesa AZ.

Simply from this, I would conclude that there is evidence of cult operations in the Church of LDS, since these people are all "Practicing mormons".

Thanks for all the information, it has been invaluable. I can only hope it helps.


[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. There are probably many LDS people who have been abused by other LDS members, whether in an occult ritual or regular types of sexual abuse. The problem is getting the evidence. We don't know how wide spread the practice is or who all is involved. But many counselors in Utah claim to have worked with LDS survivors of abuse in all its forms.

First, let me address the rate of sexual abuse in America. One researcher concluded:

Some 4.5 percent of all women are victims of incest by their fathers, an additional 12 percent by other male family members, rising to a total of 43 percent of all girls before they reach the age of eighteen, if sexual abuse within and outside the family is included. (Dialogue, Vol. 27, No. 2, p. 146 - p.147)

I assume the same rate would apply to Mormons. Then the question becomes, how many of these cases could be classified as ritual abuse? Here is a letter a counselor sent to Sunstone back in 1991.


AM WRITING to share my small weight of evidence regarding the furor over ritualized child sexual abuse within the LDS community ("Leaked Bishop's Memo Spotlights LDS Ritual Satanic Sexual Abuse," SUNSTONE 15:5). I have worked with many children who have been sexually abused as well as adults who were molested as children. Of the adults I have worked with, four reported satanic abuse involving LDS church members that was very similar to that reported by Bishop Glenn Pace of the LDS Presiding Bishopric. Six of my clients in cases of incest were daughters of former bishops. As Dr. Don Price commented in the Salt Lake Tribune on 26 October 1991, it is only to be expected that satanic abuse will imitate rituals of predominant religions.

What I have noticed, however, is the increase in children reporting ritualized sexual abuse involving groups of children and adults. These reports may or may not relate to satanic rituals and the more bizarre activities associated with satanic worship, but they generally seem to occur within LDS church-linked neighborhood groups.

A little over five years ago, at about the same time the Hadfield case emerged in Lehi, I, along with five or six other therapists, interviewed approximately twenty children from a Bountiful ward. In this same ward, other children had made allegations about Bret Bullock and other adults in what appeared to be a group sex ring. Bullock was subsequently convicted. Others were not charged. In this same neighborhood, totally different adults were named by totally different children. This, of course, sounds like an hysterical witch-hunt.

However, the children who reported the second, non-Bullock sex ring did not know what the children in the Bullock case had said and were too young to come up with the consistent, spontaneous, explicit detail and congruent emotional affect that they manifested. These two Bountiful sex rings were never linked by any children as far as I know. Both groups involved ritualized sex acts but to my knowledge, not satanic rites. The bishop arranged investigative evaluations for all the children in the Bullock case. None of these children reported being abused. However, they were seen only once by the therapists, and given the nature of the reported abuse (pornographic filming, animal killing, group sexual acts of all kinds, etc., and the threats for "telling" reported by the children who had "talked"), it would be surprising if a therapist could elicit information in one interview.

One aspect of the second alleged sex ring was that a daughter and son-in-law of a general authority were named as the main abusers by at least seven children. Explicit detail was given about this couple's activities by all of these children. When the couple's names surfaced, the Bountiful police, for all practical purposes, dropped the case.

Witnessing how the children in the then contemporaneous Hadfield and Bullock cases suffered, all the parents of the children who made allegations refused to allow their children to testify in court. At the time, the stake president and others in the Church system said they believed the children, but no Church action was ever taken against any of the alleged perpetrators.

The Church is in a legal bind in cases of this sort, no doubt fearing lawsuits by those who are disciplined or by future victims if further abuse occurs by previously alleged perpetrators now holding Church office. The Church is also in a difficult position when it comes to adults now seeking Church action against a perpetrator for abuse that may have occurred years ago when they were children. Nevertheless, Utah has one of the highest child sexual abuse rates in the nation, and much of the sex ring activity being reported allegedly has taken place within LDS congregations and is perpetrated by active LDS members. The Church must warn its members of the vulnerability of youth even to the Church's own youth leaders and to family members. Within the Salt Lake Valley alone, sex abuse rings have been reported in Midvale, West Valley, Salt Lake, and Bountiful.

In talking with colleagues, I have heard several factors mentioned that may place children at risk in the LDS culture. Utah's high birthrate in Utah and low per-capita income place extra pressure on family systems. LDS neighborhoods generally encourage a lot of adult/child interaction outside the family While this may create a supportive environment, it also puts children more at risk for abuse. The patriarchal system where the priesthood holder's authority is not questioned allows pedophiles a unique opportunity. Bishops often support the perpetrator because he is a priesthood holder. Unfortunately, children cannot trust everyone, including Church leaders. The Church needs to change its implied message that its leaders are morally infallible.

There is the LDS attitude that marriage should be preserved at any cost. LDS denial of anything being wrong within family or Church systems is exceedingly strong. I believe that a Church cover-up occurred in the case of the general authority's children, although I have little admissible evidence to support my opinion. If there has been a cover-up, obviously it is intolerable to Mormons and non-Mormons alike. Sexual abuse wilt decrease when the public becomes informed and acts to protect its children. I plead with LDS leaders to help make this information accessible.

MARION B. SMITH Former Director Intermountain Sexual Abuse Centers Salt Lake City. ("Readers Forum," Sunstone 15:6/6, Dec. 1991)]

Nov. 10, 2004

I have been told that the Mormons are making a new film about Joseph Smith. What have you heard?

[Sandra's Note: To commemorate the two hundredth year of Joseph Smith's birth the LDS Church is producing a film to show at temple square:

There is also a film done by Mormons, but not officially by the LDS Church, called "The Work and the Glory." See http://www.workandtheglory.com

For reviews, see http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/work_and_the_glory.]

Nov. 10, 2004

Subject: Praise God for you two...

Hi Jerald & Sandra,

First I just want to say thank you for doing what you do and for an AWESOME WEBSITE!!!!

My question to you is How does an average every day non-Mormon get these documents like The Journal of Discourses, Doctrines of Salvation by Joseph Fielding Smith and various Ensign articles? Can we check them out of the libraries? I need to be able to prove to my husband that what is written is really true.

Thanks for your help on this. I would also love to subscribe to your SLC Messenger if I could.

[Sandra's Note: Probably any college library in Utah would have these references, including BYU. You should be able to make photos at any of the libraries.

The Ensign can be seen on the official LDS web site: www.lds.org. Go to the section called "Gospel Library." Then click on "Church Publications." Also, Deseret Book has a program that you can subscribe to that allows you to search dozens of LDS titles. See http://gospelink.com/subscriptions I believe the titles mentioned above are on that service.]

Nov. 10, 2004

...Thank you for your November 2004 Messenger; as usual, I read it from cover to cover....

Thanks to your ministry, a young woman whom my son dated a few years ago renounced Mormonism, started attending our church (University Christian), and married a fine Christian man. ... you, your family, and your ministry are in my prayers for sustaining in every form.

May God bless you abundantly.

Nov. 10, 2004

 Dear Staff, ... my husband ... is a 30 yr. convert from Protestant church and very active although not yet a temple Mormon. ... I pray for your ministry and have ordered a book—Welcome All Wonders—from you. It was a wonderful book and I am praying about asking my husband to read it since music is a big part of his life. He is organist in his LDS branch, also and teaches music.

He is quite strong in his testimony and views anything historically true as anti-Mormon. He tells me he could never believe anything any apostate would say about the church. I have a copy of DNA vs. BOM and thought it quite interesting and factual. He thinks DNA and forensics is great but he asked me where I heard about the DNA issue—''the internet?"—he mentioned something about the tower or Babel and seemed to downplay this or, I guess avoid further conversation--I'm not sure. I just pray he will be led to the truth of the Bible and to salvation in Christ alone. I would like to have him look at this video, though.

He seems to be unimpressed with most things that we discuss regarding church history—stating it is anti. He really has answers for just about everything I ask him. We do not discuss much lately as it is so sensitive. ... I just feel that I can't stay silent—it is so hard when I know what he believes. I am born-again Christian and want him to experience the true freedom and close relationship with Jesus that he doe not seem to have-everything seems just dutiful and about church not Jesus. Thank you for your ministry—I am praying about contributing on a regular basis.

In Christ,

Nov. 11, 2004

Just wondering.....Supposedly when Brigham Young died, the last words he uttered were "Joseph, Joseph, Joseph". Why do you think he said that?

Thank you in advance,

[Sandra's Note: Brigham's last words were recorded in his daughter's book, The Life Story of Brigham Young:

On Wednesday morning symptoms of approaching dissolution were plainly evident, and on that day, August 29, 1877, he passed away in his seventy-seventh year.

The incidents of his last hours were written by his daughter Zina for the benefit of the writer who was not present: "It was with sinking hearts that we learned from the doctor that he feared father's illness was going to be fatal. He suffered much pain. His physician administered opiates to relieve the pain and which caused him to sleep during his last hours. He seemed so restless that Dr. Seymour B. Young, his nephew, thought it best for him to be removed from the canopy bed he occupied which stood in an alcove of the room and placed him before the open window where he would get the air and where his beloved ones could be around him.

"I can't remember all who were there, except that Uncle Joseph Young, his brother, was by his side, his son John W. Young, and several of his wives, and many of his children were there. When he was placed upon the bed in front of the window he seemed to partially revive, and opening his eyes, he gazed upward, exclaiming: "Joseph! Joseph! Joseph!" and the divine look in his face seemed to indicate that he was communicating with his beloved friend, Joseph Smith, the Prophet. This name was the last word he uttered. (Susa Young Gates, The Life Story of Brigham Young, New York: Macmillan, 1930, p.365.)

As to why he would utter these words, one can only guess. I assume it shows that his main religious focus was on Joseph Smith. I would think a prophet of God would be more inclined to utter something about God or Jesus. When Stephen, the first martyr of the Christian faith, was being stoned his last words were about the Lord:

Acts 7:55-60—But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul. And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep.]

Nov. 11, 2004

It is unfortunate that you have been so easily deceived Sandra. That same spirit you felt as you sang the song Oh it is wonderful resides in all aspects of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, including but not limited to His Prophets,

I know the LDS faith is True. The Rock on which Christ established his Church was not Peter nor any man, but revelation and God revealse his truths to his Prophets. Obviously if there are no Prophets God won't reveal anything (Amos 3:7).

And what about all the scriptures that talk about the Apostasy and the Dark Ages? Have you not studied history and the fullfilment of Biblical prophecies?

Also, The church has taught me who Christ is so that I can become more like Him... is that not what he has asked us to do? The Church nor the scriptures nor the Prophets, have hindered my personal relationship with Christ, but on the Contrary, they have inspired me to learn more of Him. The Church is centered around Christ and you know that, as do I.

It is interesting that you have left the Church but can't leave it alone. When you come to grips with reality and recognise the importance of PriestHood, Keys, Revelation, Scriptures etc. you are more than welcome to come back.

Though your points of view may continue to conflict with the LDS church I would recommend you to change them because the Kingdom of God was restored in preparation for the coming of Christ. It is very near and I doubt you are ready to stand before the Lord and explain what you have posted concerning His Church... for it is His.

Nov. 11, 2004

Subject: Quetzalcoatl

...I am looking for a good article(s) that address what the Mormon church says about Quetzalcoatl and what the reality/ history says....


[Sandra's Note: LDS leaders have pointed to the Central American Indian legends of Quetzalcoatl as evidence for the Book of Mormon claim that Christ appeared on the American continent shortly after his crucifixion. Speaking at the October 1995 LDS Conference, Elder Ted Brewerton declared:

...The Book of Mormon is a record of families that the Lord led to the Americas for specific purposes....Ancient American texts written by native Americans support this origin....Elder Mark E. Petersen, a member of the Council of the Twelve Apostles, wrote: "As the ancient Israelites suffered a dispersion which sprinkled them among all the nations, so the descendants of Laman and Lemuel [sons of Lehi] were sifted over the vast areas of the western hemisphere. They are found from pole to pole" (Children of Promise, Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1981, p. 31; emphasis added) .... Ancient American literature contains references to a white, bearded god who descended out of the heavens. He is called by many names; one example is Quetzalcoatl. (Ted E. Brewerton, "The Book of Mormon: A Sacred Ancient Record," Ensign, Nov. 1995, p. 30)

Even before Joseph Smith published his Book of Mormon there was speculation as to the importance of the Indian deity Quetzalcoatl. Rev. Ethan Smith, writing in 1825, theorized that the American Indians were Israelites and that Quetzalcoatl was Moses:

...the occupants of those high places in Mexico, originated from Israel, where all their high places were for sacred worship.

On the pyramid of Cholula was an altar dedicated to Quetzalcoatl, or the serpent of green feathers; as the name imports. Of their tradition relative to this Quetzalcoatl, the writer says; "this is the most mysterious being of the whole Mexican mythology." ... The character to whom their most noted altar was dedicated, whose name imported a serpent of green feathers, was at the same time (in their own description) "a white and bearded man." "He was high priest of Tula, legislator, chief of a religious sect who inflicted on themselves the most cruel penance." ... "The reign of Quetzalcotl was a golden age of the people of Anahuac. The earth brought forth without culture the most fruitful harvests. But this reign was not of long duration."

"The Great Spirit offered Quetzalcotl beverage, which in rendering him immortal, inspired him with a taste of travelling [sic], and with an irresistible desire of visiting a distant country called Tlapallan."

In passing "towards the plains of Cholula, and thence to the eastern coasts of Mexico," thus making his way from the north-west to the south-east, "he yielded to the entreaties of the inhabitants, who offered him the reins of government." He dwelt twenty years among them, taught them to cast metals, ordered fasts, and regulated the intercalations of the Taltic year."

"He preached peace to men, and would permit no other offerings to the Divinity than the first fruits of the harvests."

"He disappeared, after he had declared to the Cholulans that he would return and govern them again, and renew their happiness." ...

Though their ancient "legislator" is called by a name importing the serpent of green feathers; yet he was an ancient man, a white man and bearded; called by Montezuma, a saint, who led them to this country, and taught them many things. Who could this be but Moses, the ancient legislator in Israel? The Indians in other regions have brought down a tradition, that their former ancestors, away in a distant region from which they came, were white. (View of the Hebrews, by Ethan Smith, 1825, Ch.3, p.204 - p.206, emphasis added)

View of the Hebrews may have given young Joseph Smith his ideas for the story of the white Nephites and Christ coming to America.

It should be noted that Quetzalcoatl was just one of many deities. Also, a later Mayan leader took the name of Quetzalcoatl. The National Geographic Magazine for Dec. 1980, ran several articles on the Aztecs. On page 762 it is stated:

PANTHEON OF GODS—so intertwined that their complexities must have dazzled even the high priests—pervaded all Aztec life at least 1,600 deities, according to myth, but their forms were so intricate as to be countless.

Gods and goddesses of agriculture and fertility abounded, and of crops and flowers, fire, rain, and the underworld. Women who died in childbirth were transformed into the 'cihuateto,' spirits who accompanied the sun on its downward path. Each community had its god; craftsmen had their gods....

Tezcatlipoca (tess - kah - tlee - POH - kah)—supreme god and patron of the rulers—was formed with the creation....

The powerful Quetzalcoatl—adopted, as were many other deities, from earlier Mesoamerican cultures—bridged the gap between history and mythology. A human ruler between history and mythology. A Human ruler of the Toltec capital of Tula, he merged with an earlier plumed serpent god, who created civilization through agriculture and writing. Quetzalcoatl left Tula in disgrace because of drunkenness, tradition held, but was expected to return someday from the east. He did, some Aztecs believed, as Hernan Cortes." (National Geographic Mag., Dec. 1980, p. 762, emphasis added)

For information on the Indian legend from a non-LDS, non-religious point of view, see the article posted on the University of California, San Diego site: "Quetzalcoatl: The Man, The Myth, The Legend" http://weber.ucsd.edu/~anthclub/quetzalcoatl/quetzal.htm

For a non-LDS look at the Mormon use of this myth, see the pamphlet, Quetzalcoatl—Jesus in the Americas?

Brant Gardner, an LDS researcher, has spent years trying to understand the various legends of Quetzalcoatl and has posted some of his research at http://frontpage2000.nmia.com/~nahualli/Quetzalcoatl.htm

Mr. Gardner, who remains a faithful Mormon, has provided a rather extensive, balanced look at the various myths. He also wrote an article for Sunstone, vol.10, no. 11, 1986, pp.6-10, entitled: "The Christianization of Quetzalcoatl." Mayan scholar Michael D. Coe discusses the legends in his book, The Maya, 1999 ed., p. 165-168.]

Nov. 12, 2004

You are both so full of sh__. Always, always, always follow the prophet. Even when it is not in your interest. Once you start doubting the prophet(s) you fall.

[Web-editor note: Edited swear word.]

Nov. 13, 2004

Subject: Thanks helping to set me free!

Hi Jerald and Sandra,

It's been 21 years, now, since I resigned my membership from the "Church" in Logan, Utah as a result of a serious study into Church history. Thanks too, for your wonderful help. It was obvious to me that Mormonism proclaims a fraudulent theology.

I can remember back in 1983 being required to sit in the middle of a large room surrounded by 17 "High Priests" having to renounce Joseph Smith as a prophet of God. I remember their laughter, long and loud, as a futile strategy to intimidate. I also remember my "Bishop" telling me they could not remove the names of our four children from the roles of the Church, only to change their mind after I threatened litigation.

I remember the local church authorities wanting to speak to my wife in private, only to learn later it was to intimidate her and promote the idea of divorce. I remember our family being shunned by all of our Mormon friends in Logan. I also remember how difficult it was to discontinue wearing the garments, especially my wife who believed she'd be struck down. Finally, resigning our membership felt like being released from jail. We gained a new freedom to think and act.

Thanks to all those wonderful Christians in Logan at Calvary Baptist Church who welcomed us with open arms back then. Twenty-one years later, our family is stronger now then ever. We're happily attending the church of our choice, love Jesus and still haven't turned black as our Mormon brothers and sisters had warned would happen.

Bless you Jerald and Sandra,


Nov. 13, 2004

I just wanted to compliment you on the great deal of thought and effort you have put into finding the truth. I regard you and Richard Packham with great respect for your efforts. I have pasted the story of my involvement with Mormonism below. Thank you again.

. . . .

August 2004

I am a 26-year old female. I was baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints a little over a year ago and I have been going through some inner and outer religious turmoil within the past 6 months.

I was raised with very little religious training. My father is an atheist and my mother claims to be Catholic/Christian but knows very little about Christianity and they divorced when I was four years old because of my father's involvement with alcohol and drugs.

Approximately four years later my parents remarried--my father to a Jewish woman, my mother to a Roman Catholic man, both fairly inactive in their respective religions. I lived with my mother and stepfather and we didn't really discuss the topic of religion from what I remember because they did not believe in organized religion.

In my teenage years, I began to think for myself. I attended college from 1995-2000, graduating in 2000 with a B.A. in Psychology and then was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Army. I became an atheist in 1996 and then in 1999 I became a deist.

Then in May of 2002 I met an inactive Mormon man who is the same age as me and fell in love with him. I had dated many of the wrong men before him therefore I knew he was the right one and I would not trade him for anything. I still have not met anyone like him. His family is Mormon and generations of his family were Mormon. Through him I met a Mormon family. The wife and kids were active and the husband was not at the time but now has his temple endowments and is sealed to his wife.

While he and the other inactive Mormon were gone for three months on a military deployment, the active wife invited me to church. I liked the church and at the time I felt like I belonged. I was fellowshipped by the members and I thought it was great. I thought the church had wholesome principles and I liked how the church produced mostly upright citizens. I took my discussions and eight months later I was baptized.

However, it wasn't without gentle pressure by some members, mostly priesthood holders, because I guess eight months is an unusually long time to investigate. Eight days after getting baptized, the Bishop of our ward married us in a civil ceremony. Although I was encouraged to "make [him] wait for a temple marriage," I was not going to wait a year to get married. My husband put absolutely no pressure on me to join the church and my involvement in it actually brought him back slowly.

However, during the past year I woke up somehow and I've started to question my decision to be baptized. That started when I could not defend the church and lost arguments trying to do so. I wouldn't say I've had a bad experience with the church, but I've begun to notice how brainwashed the church members are and it's kind of frightening. It irritates me that I've been told I have to go to every church meeting (including firesides, sacrament, relief society, enrichment nights). I agree with the reasons behind the law of chastity, the word of wisdom, food storage, doing genealogy work and the fact that the clergy are not paid. Praying out loud has worked for me but other churches pray out loud.

Two beliefs I strongly disagree with are tithing and the fact that the church does not condone cosmetic surgery or permanent cosmetics which I have had before I joined and will continue to have regardless (I recently was told that by someone in the Relief Society). Imagine what beliefs I don't know about that I don't agree with. There is so much that I don't know--about the Mormon Church, about Christianity, about theology, about the world.

I was rushed into joining and the mere fact that church members were trying to steer me away from anything against the church has begun to bother me. People should be allowed to read anything and draw their own conclusions. When I told the gospel essentials teacher about my concerns, I was assured that I didn't need to thoroughly study Mormon doctrine before being baptized, that it was the spirit I was feeling and he "thought [I was] ready." I think he said that because he knew if I did research on the church from reputable sources, I would not go through with baptism.

Thinking about it now, I think I joined for acceptance by my husband's family, love and a good, sweet, honest spouse who was accountable to God, not just me, and because I wanted to believe. Our love for each other remains strong even after these last two especially hard years of frequent separation due to the military. (Several months ago my husband was burned and disfigured in a crash overseas, but he survived. I've been told he survived because he still "has to take me to the temple.") I feel like I'm being controlled.

Although my husband and I have had serious but loving discussions about this, I'm afraid of what my feelings will eventually do to my marriage and to my husband's relationship with his family. Through tears I told my husband that I was not sure what I believed and asked him if he still wanted to be married to and have children with me even if I didn't take my endowments and was not sealed to him in the temple. He said "yes" and for that I love him even more. Neither of us have taken our endowments yet for different reasons--my husband because he's been hospitalized, me because of my disagreement. We're getting gentle pressure from our stake president to "come see him" about going to the temple but I have not revealed my true feelings to anyone besides some of my family and my husband.

My husband and I are happily married and have no children yet. We would love to be married forever but not if I have to close my eyes and play along with the charade. My husband is not the critical thinker that I am and I'm not sure what he would say if I asked him to read the rebuttals of the Mormon Church's claims. He does not like to read and I can barely get him to read an article much less a book or books. I don't know if he plans on taking his endowments or not. If he did it would be because of tradition more than anything else. All he knows of Mormon church history is what he was taught by the church as a young man before he turned 18. We've gotten away with not attending church and not going to the temple because of my husband's injuries and inability to tolerate 3 continuous hours of church. However, I know I'll eventually have to face the bishop and stake president to tell them that I will not continue activity in the church. I'm just drawn to people who think critically and don't accept faith as a basis of defining truth.

In conclusion, I'm glad I woke up when I did instead of doing so years later to realize that the church is a fraudulent, mind-numbing cult. I haven't sinned and there is nothing wrong with me, unless you consider seeking knowledge from multiple, reputable sources and using my ability to reason "wrong." My husband and I have lost about $8,000 to tithing (which is a lot of money for me right now), and some of our time and effort. I never even received a calling. I can say that I've "been there and done that" and I've tried it out for a year, so no one can say that I didn't try it. I just hope I don't lose my marriage as a result of the myths these delusional religious fanatics are spreading. It will be interesting to see how my husband's family and other Mormons in our stake react to my decision to leave and what bizarre things they will say. ...

Nov. 14, 2004

Dear Mrs. Tanner,

I look forward to receiving my issue of the "Salt Lake City Messenger". The last one about the lamanites was very illuminating and interesting. Every issue is well based in fact and all Mormon doctrines are refuted with biblical references.

I have never been Mormon but I have lived in Wyoming all my life, a very Mormon state. ... at an early age I heard about Mormons but I really did not know, nor did I care, what they believed.

One day when I was in high school, in the 70's, I heard a girl talking to a group of kids and she made a statement that forever changed my way of thinking. She was talking about the mother of God. I turned and told her that she was crazy, and all she said was "Well God is the father, right? Then who was the mother?".

I did not know what to say to her, she kept talking about spirit children , and at that moment I realized that I needed to learn about this religion so I would know what to do or say when I was confronted with it. I finally read my dads booklet, but I needed more... and that was the first time I had the chance to open up your book "Mormonism, Shadow or Reality" talk about information.. more than I could ever digest. after reading if (I now own a new copy and have read it through a few times) I realized the exhaustive study that went into it, and how wrong the Mormon church was and how many people are being led down the road of eternal damnation.

Needless to say I have talked to Mormons for the past 20 years and each time I find the same reaction, first they deny anything, then they claim that I am persecuting them, and finally they become very very angry. I have lost friends because I would not bend and accept what they believe...

I see the same reactions in the letters that you print in the Messenger, sometimes some of the letters, I feel, should have been trashed and not printed. The questions that come to mind are, first why did these people that send you the "hate letters" never learn how to spell in school? are they so eaten up by hate and anger that they are blinded so they can not see what they are writing? Second, the letters are not constructive nor do they have any literary substance to them... just hate with no bases for that hate... most are ignorant to the point of being overly silly. And lastly, the "hate letters" do not use any scripture to back what they are trying to say, though most are not saying much of anything and any documentation they might be able to use would be totally useless and ridiculous to say the least..

I really enjoy reading the "Messenger" the letters page though is full of mixed emotions, some of blessings, some of hope for the Mormon people and some of irritation at the ignorant ones that can not say anything good..

Thank you for sending the magazine to me, and I hope to receive it for many more years.

May the Lord bless you in all things


Nov. 15, 2004

Subject: inviting mormons in

Hello From Alaska,

Thanks so much for this site, and for your ministry. I've been here many times, and spoken by phone once to Michelle (I think that was her name) and once to a young man, both of whom were very helpful. I have a question that keeps coming up in my dealings with Mormons and cult members in general. Maybe you can help clarify this.

I have been welcoming Mormons and many other cult members into my home when they show up on my doorstep wanting to discuss their doctrine. I have done this for many years, and I have a real heart for these people lost in their deception. As I have studied Mormon and Jehovah Witness doctrine for years, and once was a Buddhist myself (I have been saved for nearly twenty years now), I am generally well able to defend myself Biblically, since I understand how these cults operate doctrinally. I just invite them inside and we talk, sometimes for a long time, and with an open Bible in my lap I am normally able to point out serious errors in the cult members' presentations and plant seeds of the Word in their thinking, at least.

But many times I have had other Christians quote to me that verse out of 2 or 3 John, where it says that if anyone brings another gospel don't invite him into your home or bid him godspeed, or we will share in his evil deeds. I have a hard time thinking that I'm not supposed to invite cult members in to talk and share the true Gospel, so I'm thinking perhaps this particular verse is in a different context. But I'm not sure. I don't want to sin, certainly, but disobeying the Word here if it does mean not to let them into my home.

Can you help clarify this for me? ... Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you. Our Lord Jesus bless and keep you.

[Steve's Note: The passage is 2 John 10. This passage is counseling Christians against providing material support to those who deny a Christian concept of the person of Jesus Christ. All passages in the Bible must be weighed against not only the immediate context but also the whole of scripture.

God does not expect us to avoid all contact with the world around us. On the contrary, we are expected to make an impact on those who need to receive God's message of love and forgiveness. Examples of this would include Matthew 5:13-16, 43-48; 9:9-13 and John 3:1-21. Even Jesus himself did not refrain from associating with others (e.g. Matthew 11:19; Luke 5:1-2; 7:36-50 and 19:2). This, however, is a far different thing than Jesus supporting the work of those who are in error and who deny the basic truths of the person of God.

I pray that this is helpful. May God bless you in your efforts to reach out to Mormons with God's love.]

His response:

Thanks for the Biblical input about inviting Mormons into my house to witness to them. I have been doing this for many years and have also taken flak by some for doing so. It's so hard to get Christians to get involved in cult ministry. We as a body of believers are usually more than willing to donate to missionaries overseas and help them win pagans in a far-off land to Christ, but we generally ignore the mission field in our own back yards.

Even in our little, isolated Alaska town there are so many cult members--2x2s, Jehovah's Witnesses, Manifest Sons of God groups (the Farm), Bahais, The Way International, and of course New Age. The real Christians in this community are only a small percentage, and we need to recognize that here, too, the fields are white unto harvest. But we need reapers.

God bless and guide you and your ministry, and provide all your needs. Thanks for being there for folks like me, and for being a light to the greater Mormon community. I know it's a tough mission field where you are. Thanks again.

In Him,

Nov. 16, 2004

Subject: i'm not a mormon, but....

wow. nice anti-mormon forum. attention to all people with a desire for light and love in their hearts: this faith-bashing tends to spring from personal offense and hurt (usually committed by imperfect individuals, not institutions) and not from the love and goodness within. ripping on other religions is entirely a waste of time, if your true goal is following the teachings of Jesus Christ. ...

Nov. 16, 2004

Mrs. Tanner and/or staff

Looking back over the years of your work, why do you think it is important for Mormons to know about the teachings and theology of their past leaders when today's church member wouldn't believe or practice those teachings anyway? I'd be interested in your comments.

Also, I came across a website called "Mormons in Transition" aka "Institute for Religious Research [www.irr.org/mit].... It offered books and articles much like you do, even promoted the film "DNA and the Book of Mormon" plus Rev. Walters work on the First Vision. I'd be interested in your comments.

By the way, where and what church did Pastor Walters minister and how old was he when he went to be with the Lord and what year?

Happy Holidays to you all.

Yours in Christ,

[Sandra's Note: Since LDS members claim their church was founded by a prophet, seer and revelator, and his successors were also God's official representatives on earth, the only ones acting under and through God's authority, it seems to me the doctrines/sermons of past presidents and apostles should be just as reliable as the leaders today. They claim the early Christian church fell into total apostasy due in part to changing the doctrines of the apostles. Why aren't the LDS leaders held to the same standard? How can Brigham Young teach a false view of God (Adam-God doctrine) and yet be considered a prophet of God, holding the priesthood keys?

Wesley Walters was a Presbyterian pastor in Marissa, Ill. He died in 1990. His library collection was donated to Covenant Seminary in Saint Louis.

The Walters Library Collection
Covenant Seminary Library
12330 Conway Road
Saint Louis, Missouri  63141

For more on Walters, see:

Nov. 17, 2004

Subject: Lucy Smith's book

Can you tell me where, in Lucy Mack Smith's book, she said that Joseph Smith as a small child would "entertain them for hour on end about the ancient inhabitants of this continent". Or something like that?


[Sandra's Note: Joseph Smith's mother said that several years prior to Smith receiving the plates he used to entertain the family with stories about the Indians. The quote is in Biographical Sketches by Lucy Smith:

"During our evening conversations, Joseph would occasionally give us some of the most amusing recitals that could be imagined. He would describe the ancient inhabitants of this continent, their dress, mode of travelling, and the animals upon which they rode; their cities, their buildings, with every particular; their mode of warfare; and also their religious worship. This he would do with as much ease, seemingly, as if he had spent his whole life with them." (Biographical Sketches of Joseph Smith, by Lucy Smith, 1853 p.85; reprinted under the title Joseph Smith's History by His Mother.)

Since Smith's mother places this after the time the angel told Joseph about the plates, some have argued that he is merely repeating information he got from the angel. However, it is hard to imagine an angel spending his time telling Smith entertaining stories of the Indians' "dress, mode of traveling, and the animals upon which they rode" etc. It sounds more like a young man practicing his story.]

Nov. 17, 2004

In regards to June 1, 2004 letter to the editor. Were can i find the article from deseret news? I have come to Christ, however, my entire family is LDS, and I would like to send this article to my Mother. I would appreciate any help I can get.

[Sandra's Note: Here is the entire article from the 1978 Deseret News:


THE GEOGRAPHY OF the Book of Mormon has intrigued some readers of that volume ever since its publication. But why worry about it?

Efforts to pinpoint certain places from what is written in the book are fruitless because the record does not give evidence of such locations in terms of our modern geography.

Attempts to designate certain areas as the Land Bountiful or the site of Zarahemla or the place where the Nephite city of Jerusalem sank into the sea and waters have I caused to come up in the stead thereof can bring no definitive results. So why speculate?

To guess where Zarahemla stood can in no wise add to anyones faith. But to raise doubts in peoples minds about the location of the Hill Cumorah, and thus challenge the words of the prophets concerning the place where Moroni buried the records, is most certainly harmful. And who has the right to raise doubts in anyones mind?

Our position is to build faith, not to weaken it, and theories concerning the geography of the Book of Mormon can most certainly undermine faith if allowed to run rampant.

Why not leave hidden the things that the Lord has hidden? If He wants the geography of the Book of Mormon revealed, He will do so through His prophet, and not through some writer who wishes to enlighten the world despite his utter lack of inspiration on the point.

SOME AUTHORS have felt called upon to inform the world about Book of Mormon geography and have published writings giving their views. These books, however, are strictly private works and represent only their personal speculations. (Deseret News, July 29, 1978, Church News Section, p.16 )]

Nov. 18, 2004

A few years back I had a book about things people didn't want known. One of the sections had to do with the Mormons. It said that Smith was convicted in New York for being a con man. He even admited to it. I was wondering if you have heard of that and were I can go to read more about it.

Thank you.

[Sandra's Note: I assume they were referring to Joseph Smith's 1826 arrest for being a "glass looker." Here is part of the transcript from the hearing, as printed in Fraser's Magazine, February, 1873, vol. VII, p. 229-230.

State of New York v. Joseph Smith.

Warrant issued upon written complaint upon oath of Peter G. Bridgeman, who informed that one Joseph Smith of Bainbridge was a disorderly person and an impostor.

Prisoner brought before Court March 20, 1826. Prisoner [Joseph Smith] examined: says that he came from the town of Palmyra, and had been at the house of Josiah Stowel in Bainbridge most of time since; had small part of time been employed in looking for mines, but the major part had been employed by said Stowel on his farm, and going to school. That he had a certain stone which he had occasionally looked at to determine where hidden treasures in the bowels of the earth were; that he professed to tell in this manner where gold mines were a distance under ground, and had looked for Mr. Stowel several times, and had informed him where he could find these treasures, and Mr. Stowel had been engaged in digging for them. That at Palmyra he pretended to tell by looking at this stone where coined money was buried in Pennsylvania, and while at Palmyra had frequently ascertained in that way where lost property was of various kinds; that he had occasionally been in the habit of looking through this stone to find lost property for three years, but of late had pretty much given it up on account of its injuring his health, especially his eyes, making them sore; that he did not solicit business of this kind, and had always rather declined having anything to do with this business.

For further information on this, see our Topical Index: Joseph Smith: Money-Digging and Magic.]

Nov. 18, 2004

Dear Ms. Tanner: I have purchased much material from you, but I remain somewhat puzzled why you don't do certain things. There is now computer systems that can detect plagarism. You could take Spauldings writings and make word usage comparisons with the original Book of Mormon. This would prove that most of the Book of Mormon came from Spaulding. ...

You also reference one Shakespeare quote (I can't recall at this time) but you missed another; getting the guards drunk to pass by them in the night; this is found in MacBeth by Shakespeare; and the same story is in the Book of Mormon 3 times. I'm not a student of Shakespeare but it only makes logical sense that there is probably more Shakespeare in the B of M. Why? Because Spaulding was College Graduate!

The most popular book in the world, aside from the Bible, in Spauldings time was Pilgrim's Progress; the book of mormon has the same story and the "in the valley" ideas are the same as in the B of M; 4 sons [one named SAM, a wife who laments; he dreamed a dream [BofM; a vision]; it is obvious that the beginning of the BofM story is from Pilgrims Progress. A computer system could prove these ideas. No more subjective guessing. ...

Smith, and more likely, Rigdon, may have played with a few parts of the BofM from Spaulding and possibly Cowdery, but the major part of the transcript is clearly from Spaulding. Smith's consistent behavior is one of stealing, plagarizing, and lying. The guy was lazy and a big promoter; his whole family is characterized by these behaviors; so it isn't going to change. ...


[Steve's Note: Unfortunately, even the best programs have their limits in being able to establish literary styles with absolute certainty. The language and the words used in the Book of Mormon depends much upon borrowing from other sources (e.g. the Bible) and thus would not reflect a single author's style. When attempts are made to separate Joseph Smith's style from other materials he depended on, the judgements of someone will be a factor in which text to include in the analysis in the first place.]

[Additional note from Sandra: The theory that the Book of Mormon is taken from an 1812 novel written by a minister, Solomon Spalding [sometimes spelled Spaulding], who died in 1816, faces a number of problems.

One of the problems is explaining how the manuscript fell into Smith's hands. Some have theorized that several years after Spalding's death (in 1816) Sidney Rigdon, a minister, had stolen Spalding's manuscript (around 1820-22). Since Smith would have been only 15 at the time Rigdon supposedly stole the manuscript, I assume Rigdon could not have had Smith in mind as a collaborator on his scheme. Which leads to the question, what was Rigdon’s original plan? The theory continues that Rigdon did some rewriting of the story before giving it to Smith to publish.

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

But why would Rigdon, a popular minister, trust his pet project to an unknown teenager like Smith? When did they meet? How long had Rigdon known him? How old was Smith when they decided to work together? How could Rigdon have been sure Smith could pull it off, get Harris to finance the printing, etc.? (Rigdon later joined Mormonism in 1830.)

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

The Spalding connection is a theory. The Spalding manuscript is not close enough to the Book of Mormon to claim plagiarism. At best, it could have only supplied some ideas. But those same ideas could have come from other published sources. See Where Did Joseph Smith Get His Ideas for the Book of Mormon?

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

Today most researchers on Smith and Book of Mormon sources look to the popular book View of the Hebrews by Ethan Smith, published in 1823 and republished in 1825, as a more likely source for ideas for the Book of Mormon. For more on this, see Studies of the Book of Mormon by B.H. Roberts, and Joseph Smith and the Origins of The Book of Mormon by D. Persuitte.]

Nov. 19, 2004

how dare you. if you were born into the church why put such slander for everyone to read, why be false prophets to everyone. many have done research and many things stated on this site were false, why slander someone if u are not telling the truth.

if you grew up in the church why did u feel the need to leave, and why did you make all these false accusations. those are my questions.

i hope you realize that the information that you have shown is turning people so that they hate us, and reject us. joseph smith was a prophet of god, he NEVER in his life said such things, u of all ppl should know this. u grew up being taught this.

also i believe that ur talking more about the reorganized church, then the mormons. the reorganized church is a branch off from mormonism and is no longer considered "mormon". this is probobaly were u got ur factsd mixed up. again my questions are

1. why do u slander a religion
2.wyh did u leave the church
3. u seemed to have a strong testimony, wat changed taht
4. where did u get ur information

im sorry if i seemed rude but i was very angered by the context on this page. please email me back

[Sandra's Note: While I can appreciate your concern that people should be truthful in what they write, you have not identified a specific statement we made that you consider to be 'false'. What do you consider 'slander'? We have quoted from LDS books and authors (not RLDS).

We left the LDS Church after we studied the changes in LDS scripture, doctrine, and historical issues. Then we compared the Bible with Joseph Smith's teachings and found he taught different doctrines. (See Topical Index: Tanner, Jerald and Sandra)

The books and papers we quote from can be seen in the various university libraries in Utah, such as the University of Utah, BYU, Utah State University and the Utah State Historical Soc. Library.

While many of the issues we discuss would also relate to the RLDS Church, now known as the Community of Christ, our research has been focused on the LDS Church, using their own literature.]

Nov. 19, 2004

good morning tanners. today i opened up my newspaper and [found] an article talking about the fact that an evangelical preacher, philosopher and author has graced the pulpit in the tabernacle at temple square. the two mentioned are RAVI ZACHARIAS and RICHARD MOUW the president of Fuller Theological Seminary in California. it goes on to say the lecture where nearly 5000 evangelicals and lds. sat together on temple square, was heralded as the beginning of a new era. it continues with MOUW stating that evangelicals have wronged the latter day saints. by seriously misrepresenting their beliefs and practices.

It says Zacharias gave an hour long speech acknowledgeing the differances between the two groups. his sermon emphasized the aspects of christian doctrine which differ from the latter day saints. such as sin, salvation, and the trinity. do you have any more information on this? as i would hope a born again christian would give no quarter to the evil anti-christian doctrines of the mormon church.


[Sandra's Note: Unfortunately, something that was intended to further Christian outreach to LDS people has created as much division as unity among Christians. Christianity Today ran articles about the meetings. See:

Here is the web page for the ministry that sponsored the event: http://www.standingtogether.org/index.html

For more information on the event and its aftermath, see:

Nov. 20, 2004

Fifteen years ago, as a smart, faithful, active Mormon I committed the unpardonable sin: I started to think.

I didn't need you folks, literature, visitors, negative input, nor was I disgruntled. I just started to think and, examining each event in "the Church story" and church history, putting two and two together re: events I already knew about, I came to a totally independent, unbiased opinion that there was no way ANY of the entire Mormon story could have ever taken place. All it required was an open mind.

IT IS A VERY WEAK STORY LINE, poorly written and early church history events, commonly known, just don't pass scrutiny. Years later on websites I found so much material which, to me, seems like it would make any Mormon rescind his or her membership after just two hours on the internet. Cross checking and church statements only reinforce this conclusion.

You folks, and most others, are working from the present backward, a very complex undertaking in your search for minutiae. I'll tell your readers, not yet enlightened, that EVERY SINGLE QUESTION they have is answered completely if they start at the beginning and make the most simple of observations: that the entire matter is a hoax and a fraud, with some socialization mixed in. People like to be around people and my Bishop friend told me that he firmly believed that 95+% of the members didn't believe the church, nor even understand it. They joined for the missionaries and stayed for the potato salad, as it were, and not long at that as the attrition rate, I believe, is unparalleled in any contemporary religion or other organization for that matter. Missionaries leave and activity stops.

I think it's a bit humorous that you dedicated people have any work to do at all, as you're only proving that elephants can't fly, so to speak. My last word: I still feel violated to have been hypnotized from birth, with so many decades stolen from me by the Mormon church. I was given no other exposure and was a slave to them, even having to pay money so I could go to the only heaven I ever knew existed. It was a visceral violation and still hurts me terribly.

Nov. 20, 2004

Hello I really need to talk to a prophet. I prayed about something and i believe i got the right answer. There are some people who think its wrong. I need to ask a prophet. How do i get in contact with one? ... Please let me know either way.

Thank you.


[Sandra's Note: I am not sure if you are trying to be funny or if you are really sincere.

Assuming you are truly looking for answers, let me encourage you to compare any feelings you have received on a topic, whether in prayer or study, with the New Testament and the teachings of Christ. Was the issue one that is addressed in scripture? If not, you could seek counsel from a mature Christian friend. Since I have no idea as to the issue you were trying to resolve I can only point out that the Bible gives direction on moral issues but not on making choices about such things as where to move, what school to attend, etc. We will gladly share our thoughts on spiritual or Biblical questions, but we make no claim of being 'prophets.']

Nov. 20, 2004

Dear Utah Lighthouse Ministries,

...I am currently working on my historical research project as part of a requirement for my major in History. ... I was wondering if you happened to have a copy of an 1835 statement found in the Doctrine and Covenants respecting the Mormon practice of polygamy (or a copy of the 1835 edition itself). I have a copy of D & C but the statement is not in the new editions. According to Richard S. Wagoner, author of "Mormon Polygamy, A History," the church, through the pages of their scripture, denounced the practice of polygamy, and that in 1876, due to their reversal on this doctrine, the statement was removed.

The full statement reads:

"Inasmuch as this church of Christ has been reproached with the crime of fornication, and polygamy; we declare that we believe, that one man should have one wife; and one woman, but one husband, except in the case of death, when either is at liberty to marry again."

Since we need primary resources I was hoping that you could provide me with a facsimile of this section of D & C....
Thank you very much,

[Sandra's Note: A photo of the statement is included in our book, Changing World of Mormonism, Chapt. 9, p. 206. We also sell a photo reprint of the 1835 Doctrine and Covenants titled Joseph Smith Begins His Work Vol. 2.]

Nov. 21, 2004

... I was acquainted to your website while doing my own personal research on Mormonism on the web. I am a 45 year old female. I recently obtained my B.A. from ................ college in Los Angeles and am preparing to start my graduate degree next year in U.S. History. I have always enjoyed researching Mormon history. I thank God that I did not complete the baptism that was scheduled for me into the Mormon Church in 1976, however, I did attend the Sacrament meetings on several occasions - more out of curiousity than anything. The reason I did not join the church was due to my reading of Fawn Brodie's famous book [No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith], as well as a book called, "Why I am Not a Mormon." Since that time, I have been fascinated with Mormon history.

I want you to know that your website is great and I just purchased almost $250.00 of your books. Obviously God has called you to reach out to the Mormons, because unfortunately, even they (most of them) do not know their own history. Thank-you for doing this most important work.

Nov. 21, 2004

Your latest Messenger was good. Brought up good points of DNA and the Book of Mormon. My question how ever is how does a Christian deal with the problems DNA presents for the Bible? Thomas Murphy and others make it very clear DNA helps confirm evolution and confirms man is 150,000 years old. Much older than Adam and Eve. These are the same type of DNA studies that present problems for the Book of Mormon. So how is a Christian to deal with it?

[Steve's Note: The issue of DNA and dating is still a controversial topic among the experts. Determining the dating for DNA lineages is a far different matter than is the question of relatedness of peoples based on specific markers found. For more information on this you may want to look at Living Hope Ministries website. They are the ones who produced this video and they therefore have additional information concerning this challenge. This information can be found at http://www.thefieldworker.com/fal04txt.htm. Their home website address is http://www.lhvm.org.]

Nov. 22, 2004

Dear Sandra,

Thank you for the highly informative and scholarly article "Who are the Laminites?" You did a superb job in answering all of my questions. Recently while in SLC I picked up a copy of Book of Mormon: Student Manual, Religion 121 and 122. Salt Lake City, UT: LDS. 1989. In it (p. 2) President Benson is quoted as saying: "Mormonism . . . stands or falls with the truth or the falsity of the Book of Mormon." Thus, the Mormon Church feels they must continue to believe fables. . . .

Nov. 23, 2004


If you have questions about the LDS religion you should ask GOD. Praying to him you will get the true answer you are looking for. I did that and am currently a happy latter-day-saint.

[Sandra's Note: Thank you, I was raised LDS, my parents were married in the Salt Lake temple, I graduated from LDS Seminary, attended LDS Institute of Religion, taught Sunday School, attended the dedication of the LDS temple in Los Angeles, read the LDS scriptures, etc. I did pray about the truthfulness of the LDS Church and God led me to the resources that proved Joseph Smith was a false prophet. God also showed me that I should place my hope and confidence in the finished work of Christ on the cross, not temple rituals, for eternal life.]

His response:

Sandra, If you believe you have your true answer from God that is great. What is not great, is a website that degrades sacred "rituals". Realizing that such acts are not Christian would most likely help you current path of God and his son, Jesus Christ. I would hope that you respect as you wish to be respected.

Nov. 23, 2004

Dear Sandra,

While looking up some information on Martin Luther's "95 Theses," I came across this article. As it mentions you in several parts of it, I thought you'd be interested in looking it over. http://www.aomin.org/Mouw1.html

Best wishes,

Nov. 23, 2004

I have been reading a lot about Mormons and polygamy and would like to know if there are a lot of members leaving the church now that so much hidden history is coming forth.

a convert.

[Sandra's Note: We see a steady stream of people leaving Mormonism. However, the LDS missionaries seem to get people to join faster than we can get them out. But then there is the question of how many of their converts actually stay active in the church.

English speaking people, through books, films and the internet, are becoming more aware of problems in LDS history. However, most LDS converts come from non-English people, who have very little information on Mormon problems in their own language.]

Nov. 24, 2004

First of all thank you for your faihfulness sending the Messenger all these years. I save them all to hand out at the appropriate times. I was unsaved and studying with Mormon Missionaries . I am not a genius but I have this innate ability to detect things that do not add up. And so I did not fall for the distorted Gospel.

I have purchased 11 books Shadow or Reality--several people I gave it to left the LDS church. One man came up to me in the Supermarket and thanked me for my witness to him. He is now a youth leader in an evangelical church. Your efforts and thorough study of the word is the reason I can be more effective.

When I was first studying with the Mormons it was the Lamanites issue that I was most disturbed about . These fellows could not answer my questions. Go figure. I went to Bible Study Fellowship for six years to learn. Still learning. I especially liked the facts brought forth ie DNA etc. It is odd that the Israelites forgot there religion, How to write, make implements etc. ...

Thanks for all the work you do. Wishing Your Organization and all the people every success Possible.

Nov. 24, 2004

Subject: Ravi Zacharias address

Have you seen the events about the recent address by Ravi Zacharaias and other evangelical leaders at the Mormon tabernacle? It is a real concern to me, especially that Zacharias should have known better, having edited a recent edition of Walter Martins book "Kingdom of the Cults." In his address, he had very little that any Mormon could disagree with, as they redefine terms to their own beliefs. I'd like to hear any comments about it. Thanks.


[Steve's Note: I attended all three of the evenings lectures given by Dr. Zacharias. I enjoyed each of them very much. I was concerned with some of the comments made by some of the others who spoke briefly before Dr. Zacharias did on the evening at the Salt Lake Tabernacle. I felt that some of the comments were too broad and were said without realizing the full extent of the damage to others' efforts. I thought that Dr. Zacharias made it very clear that there are key differences which can not be ignored between Mormons and Christians. I particularly liked the way he articulated the exclusivity and the all sufficiency of Jesus Christ for our salvation. I also liked how he emphasized the necessity of the doctrine of the trinity.]

Nov. 24, 2004

Subject: To the Tanners


... I have recently visited your web site (on accident), and am very disturbed by it. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for my entire life. I have served a mission and have been married in the temple. I have two children and my life couldn't be better. .... I am always amazed at the lengths that people will go to discount our beliefs, while preaching, themselves, that they are "loving Christians who have found Christ". Yet you are the kind of people who stand outside of our conferences and temple dedications, trashing and slandering our faith. Isn't that alittle contrary to the teachings of the savior.

... All the quotes, and stories, and articles and links on your site are aimed to cause contention in our church and with our member, along with contention in communities. You do know where contention comes from don't you? It comes from Satan. It is not a good trait but an evil one, used to cause hate and anger, and stir people up to anger against each other. This is Satan's goal.

As I read both of your testimonies on your web site, I understand now that you are no different than every other ex-member who at some point was offended by or had their feelings hurt in one form or another and then took it out on the church because you were too proud too admit that they either made a mistake or were offended by someone and refused to forgive. You both mentioned that you fell into sin. Ya so we all do. So, what happened? Did you have sex before marriage, or get drunk, or commit a crime. ...

Most of the letters that you have posted are from people who at some point, were offended by someone in the church; or someone did something to hurt them or someone close to them. And as a result damaged their pride and they have nothing good to say about us anymore. You people need to get over yourself's and get a little tolerance. As much as this letter seems to show my disgust, I have no hatred or animosity towards you or anyone else regardless of what you say against me or my beliefs. The endless act of trashing my beliefs through these web sites and protests and printing things that are sacred to me and others in our church, does anger me. ...

We preach the savior in everything we do; Everything. Now this prophet kick that you and others in the world seem to be on. Ya, you know the one. It goes like this: Mormons don't actually worship God or Jesus, they worship these prophets that they have like, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and Gordon B. Hinckley, and that's all they care about. PHOOEY I SAY! This is crazy!!! First of all you would have to kill me before I would ever say that the prophet, or any prophet for that matter, was more important than God or Jesus Christ. ... The reason that we do hold the prophet so highly is the same reason why other religions hold their leaders so highly. Amos 3:7 tells us why. The lord will not reveal anything (I am not talking personal revelations from god) major unless he does it through his chosen prophet. THE PROPHETS SPEAK FOR GOD!! Don't you think that is enough reason to teach the importance of having one... we see that God does change and he does it through a called and chosen prophet. And he will continue to do so. Why is it so hard to believe that if he has changed things in the past that he won't change or provide new doctrine in the future? I mean that is what he did when he changed from the law of Moses to the New and Everlasting convenant that Jesus established. So why is it so hard for you to believe in a prophet today. I will tell you why because you have sinned and you didn't like being told that you made mistakes and needed to repent. ...

To anyone who reads this and has animosity towards our church, take a step back and ask yourselves; what is the real motivation behind my actions? Are you believing these things because you truly love God (because God would never condone Websites and protests that were aimed at destroying any religion) or is it because you were offended or hurt by someone, someway, way back when, and are not willing to let it go. ...

I am 27 Years old and have a strong belief in the Mormon faith. I, like many, did not always know if it was true. I made plenty of mistakes and was reprimanded many times for those mistake. So I had to change and repent and learn for myself about the truthfulness. And I prayed and asked God if the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was true. And I received and answer to that prayer. I didn't hear a voice or see and angel but I received and answer just the same, that it is true and I know that a person can come closer to God and Jesus Christ by applying and living by its teachings.

Contrary to what Jerald and Sandra have said, I have developed a close personal relationship with my Heavenly Father and I have overcome many of my weakness because I have yielded to his will. ... Don't take someone's word for it. If you are looking for information on the church, ask a member of that church. And if you have questions don't ask someone who only knows how to talk about hate and negativity, they will only twist the truth to fit there goal of spreading hate and leading others to feel like they do. Go ask your Heavenly father, get on your knees and pray with a heart empty of hate and anger and ask him. And then study the scriptures for yourself and look for an answer from God, because he will tell you through the scriptures... You probably won't print this but oh well, at least I have spoken my mind. Thanks.

Nov. 26, 2004

I am sorry that you had to endure the wrath of the LDS 'church' and their lawyers. After reading about the legal action, my heart sank. [See: #96 Messenger: LDS Church Sues Ministry.]


Ten thousand years from now, angels will still be rejoicing! Yes, you were mistreated, lied about, and no doubt punished [didn't Paul get the same treatment?], but at least one soul left the LDS!!!!

How many others will do this too because of your work. For years I've confronted Mormons with questions raised by your work. Now, my son does the same. So any soul that is saved by our efforts, you will receive jewels in your crown...Thank you for your service to the Lord.

Have a good day.

Nov. 28, 2004

Good day,

My wife became Mormon shortly before our marriage. Needless to say I have had a hard time, as I am Catholic. I have been on a minor mission to seek truth and find veils.

In short. I was reading the reasons behind why seven books and parts of others were removed from the Bible by the Protestant reformers. I started to read TOBIT and Judith, both missing from the KJV/NIV bibles.

Did you know that Judith slyed the "bad guy" while he was in a drunken stupor "for he was sodden with wine". It is a stretch, but more evidence then three or four words that sound the same. This being the evidence of KJV plagiarism. In Tobit the assistance of an angel Raphael in the recouping of family items. ...

I have been inspired and the similarities to the Slaying of Laban in 1Nephi 4. I read this because the missionaries asked me if I read the BOM. So I was requested to Pray, J then please read 1 Nephi. I praise God for his enlightened wisdom. He has pointed me to the above books.

God be with you.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, there seems to be a relationship between Smith's book and the Apocrypha, especially from the King James Version. See our #89 Messenger: Joseph Smith's Use of the Apocrypha.]

Nov. 28, 2004

... I found your website to be very informational in an attempt to witnessing to a mormon. We have talked about several topics, but we tend to talk a lot of "rabbit trails". I would love to receive a newsletter as I have limited access to the internet. Thank you for the time you all took to compile the many useful resources.

Nov. 28, 2004


Something I have found in my research that I have not seen mentioned elsewhere is that thin bronze sheets were often used as roofing material in the 19th century in the eastern U.S. (and sometimes still are). I found this info in an online catalog that noted that these bronze roofing sheets had been in common use for well over a hundred years. This is important, because it is a likely source for the material Joseph Smith used to create the "golden" plates used as props to show the eight witnesses. Joseph Smith worked on the farms of several fairly wealthy farmers, and it is not unlikely that he found a supply of such bronze roofing material in or around their barns.

[Sandra's Note: Interesting thought. We have a model of the supposed plates, made to the size given by Joseph Smith (6"x6"x8"), in our shop made out of lead roofing sheets.

(click image to enlarge)

It weighs about 117 pounds. Seems unlikely that Smith could have run home, over three miles, through the woods carrying such a compact load, fight off attackers and out-race them. You might enjoy reading these articles:

Nov. 28, 2004

Sandra, I'm sorry to bother you but I'm having a difficult time finding the reference to this statement by Brigham Young and wondered if you would know off-hand, where it came from so I can look it up. Was it the JOD? If so, when and what pages? Thank you so much. I'm going crazy trying to find it.

"I am the voice of God and anyone who doesn’t like it will be hewn down. God has revealed to me that I have the right and power to call down curses on anyone who tries to invade our lands. Therefore, I curse the Gentiles."


"We are gathered here to build up the Kingdom of God. It exalts God that he has planted this people in a place that is not desired by the wicked. Until this moment, I have protected emigrants who have passed through this territory, but now, I will loose the Indians upon them! And if any miserable scoundrels come here to our Zion, cut their throats!"

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, not familiar with the quotes. These are possibly paraphrases of his statements rather than direct quotes. We have a section on curses in our online book: Changing World: Chapter 19.

This is the only quote I found in the Journal of Discourses about 'cut their throats' by Brigham Young:

We have the proof on hand, that instead of the laws being honored, they have been violated in every instance of persecution against this people; ...

To diverge a little, in regard to those who have persecuted this people and driven them to the mountains, I intend to meet them on their own grounds. It was asked this morning how we could obtain redress for our wrongs; I will tell you how it could be done, we could take the same law they have taken, viz., mobocracy, and if any miserable scoundrels come here, cut their throats. (All the people said, Amen.)

This would be rooting out that treatment to wicked men, which they had measured to innocent persons. We could meet them on their own ground, when they will not honor the law, but will kill the Prophets and destroy the innocent. ...

Suppose I should follow the example they have shown us, and say, "Latter-day Saints, do ye likewise, and bid defiance to the whole clan of such men?" Some who are timid might say, "O! our property will be destroyed, and we shall be killed." If any man here is a coward, there are fine mountain retreats for those who feel their hearts beating, at every little hue and cry of the wicked, as though they would break their ribs.

... Now, you cowards, if there are any, hunt in these mountains until you find some cavern where no person can find you, ... then when the mob comes, take your wives and your children, and creep into your den, and there remain until the war is over. (Sermon by Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses, July 8, 1855, Vol. 2, p.311-312)]

Nov. 30, 2004

Subject: BOM Origins

I was perusing your list of hunt and peck, disjointed "exposé's" on the LDS faith (You've really compiled a rather random hodge-podge of topic threads on there).

The one I found most humorous, however, was the one dealing with the "spirit writing" of the Book Of Mormon. To suggest that Joseph Smith sat down one day and quickly churned out a text as complex as the BOM on a whim is rather far-fetched. Remember, this boy from rural 1820 New York only had a 3rd grade education and couldn't have known the first thing about the syntax of ancient scripture. ...

For all of your contempt for the man, you give Joseph Smith FAR too much credit as being the author of such a work as The Book Of Mormon. If, in fact, he did somehow manage to create such an immense volume of scripture, displaying unflinching command of the Shakespearean language of the KJV, then lets give the man his posthumous Noble Prize immediately. ... Are you seriously suggesting that a 3rd grader wrote that text? ... "Spirit Writing" my eye.


[Sandra's Note: Since a search on our site did not pull up the words "spirit writing" I am not sure what you were reading. Some people, not us, have suggested that the Book of Mormon is a channeled book. I, personally, believe the book is Smith's own creation. I do not believe Smith "quickly" wrote the Book of Mormon on a "whim." I believe he had been creating his story for years prior to dictating it to Cowdery. If you truly want to know why scholars look to Joseph Smith as the author I suggest you read such studies as:

Nov. 30, 2004

Today I had a very long discussion with a Mormon regarding Creation.

This person states that the Biblical account in Genesis Chapter 1 proves their point of view of God's creation of many worlds inhabited with mankind and Genesis 2 then goes on to recount a totally different creation of Adam on this world.

Frankly, the discussion got very ugly with this person shouting "Just read it and you will see what I mean." My own belief is that Genesis 1 is a general discussion of the creation and Genesis 2 gets specific, recounting the generations etc.. I am just not up to a screaming match in order to discuss Biblical interpretations.

Any suggestions as to how I can handle this in a Christ like fashion?

Thanks so much if you can.

[Steve's Note: There are many good resources to help you with some of the views that scholars have with the record found in Genesis. A few of those titles, which we offer would include:

There is more to Genesis chapters one and two than is being conceded by your Mormon friend. Chapter one records the creation of the heavens and the earth. In Chapter two "the generations of the heavens and the earth" (that is an account of what happened to God's creation) is given. Interestingly, this expression "the generations" is repeated ten times in the book of Genesis and breaks the book into sections. This does not mean that God might not have chosen to create life anywhere else in this universe; but, the Bible is very clear that there is nothing in existence anywhere that God did not create.

I would encourage you, as much as is possible, to be the one in the conversation who maintains an attitude of gentleness and respect since we are commanded in scripture to have an answer for our faith but we must never allow our commitment to the truth to grant us license to run over others in the process.]

Nov. 30, 2004

... Do you know where I can obtain a copy of the original HISTORY OF THE CHURCH before it`s sanitization?


[Sandra's Note: You can buy a set of the current printing from DeseretBook.com:


It was originally published in serial form in LDS newspapers, so it is not easy to put all of the original together. Our book Changes in Joseph Smith's History goes through the changes and lists the various LDS publications for the original text.

These early LDS publications are at the Univ. of Utah—Marriott Library, Utah State Historical Society Library, BYU, etc.]

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