January 2005
(Names and Contact Info Removed)
January 1, 2005
... I am a pastor in NW Iowa ... We lived in Idaho Falls for a while and had a lot of contact with Mormons and really have a burden from God for them. The area we live in now is nominally Christian but there is a great ignorance about cults that are in the area, LDS, 2x2's, Unification Church and Jw's for a few.

We recently took a survey of our youth and found a staggering amount that were ignorant about their own faith and had no ability to discern the truth from a lie. I am putting together a "cult awareness" day that our church will sponsor ... targeting the groups in this geographic area.... Thanks for your time and we are glad you're there!

January 1, 2005
Subject: Your too crazy...

After reviewing all your stuff, you guys are just too crazy to be true. I'm not Mormon, but, after reading your trash, I think I should be.

January 2, 2005
... Mormonism is the majority leading religion of Utah. There beliefs about the American Indian is what I have felt needed some time for closer attention. This specific belief states that the American Indians were punished by God and marked with red skin. And that the Indians were once fair skinned Lamanites from Israel.

A remnant similarity to the Bibles story of Cain who was punished by God and given a disgraceful mark of black skin. Why would a god do this. To make a statement saying that there are consequences to peoples actions? .... But those people who wrote the Bible then, did not take into consideration the mainstream social effects of how this would separate people and put them into categories. Instead of us all just being humans. Because such a condemnation does not show a god that forgives his people.

Having such a belief is harmful because it provides a wrong first impression when such a believer meets a darker skinned person for the first time. People have a pr-empted opinion about the person just based on their religious beliefs even before meeting the other person. These religions choose to believe that there is a tarnished people out there. That is a harmful stigma that doesn't give people the right to be looked at as equal. The equality of every human being is giant step towards us all finding peace and braking down new social barriers.

[Steve's Note: Unfortunately, the Book of Mormon contains many racist ideas. For more details on this you may want to read a paper we have online titled: Racial Statements in LDS Scripture. You may also be interested in the following books:

I feel I must correct some faulty ideas you have stated regarding the Bible and its teachings. The Bible doesn't say Cain was given black skin as a mark from God. He was only given a mark which would serve to uniquely protect him from being harmed by others. God did this for Cain as an act of mercy allowing him to continue to live out his days without the fear that he would fall victim to retaliation for his sin of killing his brother. All of this is recorded in Genesis 4.

The Bible nowhere suggests that Cain's mark was in any way passed down to his descendants. The Bible clearly states that "of one blood [are] all nations" (Acts 17:26) and "that God is no respecter of persons" (Acts 10:34). God even promises that Israel would be used to bring all nations unto God and that in Christ there is no difference between races [Jew and Gentile]. The Bible's view is not that races are inferior or harmful but rather a culture of false worship and idolatry is an abomination to God. Christ commanded his disciples in Matt 28:19-20 to go to all nations with the gospel, baptizing and teaching new disciples to obey all he commanded.]

January 2, 2005
Happy Holiday Tanners! and God bless you for the wonderful work you are doing in your efforts to provide the truth to so many people. May 2005 be a very fruitful year in reaching the lost.

My question is: My pastor told me that recently (within the last year I believe) that the Mormon church (I think the president) stated in one of his conference speeches that he admitted that the Jesus that the Mormon church believes in is not the same Jesus that Christians believe in.

I have searched your site but cannot find any RECENT statements and would like to share it with my Mormon friend who says I am wrong.

Thank you!

[Sandra's Note: President Gordon B. Hinckley made such a statement in 1998. See first quote: LDS Leaders Define Their Concept of Jesus Christ.]

January 2, 2005
Subject: Before 1978 would the church recognize ordinances . . .

Before 1978, would the church recognize ordinances performed by persons discovered later to have African ancestry? You have quoted from the Dec. 28, 1965, New York Times:

" 'The church moves slightly toward the Negro all the time. Proselytizing is heavy now in Brazil, where many persons of mixed Negro blood live and where many such have undoubtedly been taken into the priesthood.

'However, sometimes the church missionaries have been required to go to new priests and tell them they no longer may perform their priestly function—that research has shown they have Negro ancestry. Orders for this come from Salt Lake City.'"

Does that mean that priesthood ordinances previously performed by such people would have to be re-done? My siblings have recently discovered that our grandfather was 1/8 Sub-Saharan African. He was a Patriarch in the Manhattan area about 1920 and good friend of many general authorities over many years. Would ordinances performed by him, including my father's baptism, be considered valid by the church and were there specific instructions on the subject?

A related query: If ordinances were not required to be re-done, wouldn't that be a tacit admission that there was no priesthood involved in the process in the first place? Or at least that it doesn't really matter? Doesn't that have a rather profound implication for LDS theories of the "Great Apostasy," i.e. if persons without a claim to the priesthood can perform valid ordinances, were does it stop?

Forgive me if you have covered this subject. If someone hasn't, it might prove interesting to the growing number of people having such DNA tests, and be disquieting to more than a few.


[Steve's Note: Unfortunately, this is exactly the complex kind of example that the LDS Church has never officially issued guidelines to resolve. Although the LDS Church has now extended the priesthood to blacks it has never renounced its prior treatment of those of African ancestry nor has it fully explained why it required an official declaration where there was no historic doctrinal declaration which excluded Blacks from the priesthood. For much more information on this tangled mess you may be interested in reading Sandra Tanner's new book, Curse of Cain?: Racism in the Mormon Church. It was precisely this kind of awkward situation in the LDS Church that helped to necessitate the change in permitting Blacks to hold the priesthood.

As the LDS Church and its members increasingly use modern methods such as DNA testing for genealogical purposes, embarrassing examples like yours will undoubtedly occur again.]

[Additional note from Sandra: I have not heard of the LDS Church requiring any ordinances to be redone when it was discovered that the person's father or grandfather were from black descent, but ordained prior to 1978. It seems the church just wanted to get the whole issue settled and out of the news.]

January 3, 2005
Subject: get a life

Get a life buddy and quit worrying about everyone elses.

January 4, 2005
... I also want to thank you for your ministry. With the information I have obtained from UTLM, I was able to have an informative question/answer and witness session with my first pair of missionaries. I questioned and witnessed, they alternated between answers, testimony, and "gee you know a lot, you should get baptized."

Our next encounter was a little more tense because my wife was present. God has given her special B S detection ability, (discernment). She was not as prepared as I to hear the information presented, so when asked what she thought of Mormonism she flat out told them, it's a FALSE RELIGION. We managed to smooth that over, barely, and continued the meeting for a short while longer. We did manage to send the missionaries away with a container of cookies and an invitation to stop by whenever they are in the neighborhood.

I was able to plant some seeds of doubt during both meeting that I pray will someday set them free. Without your ministry that could not have happened.

Thank you,

January 4, 2005
Subject: Disappointed!

It is interesting that Ms. Tanner seems more interested in selling her book than in offer answers to LDS false prophecies [A Sample of Joseph Smith's False Prophecies]. I was disappointed that every time I clicked on a link to better understand her argument, it directed me to an order form to purchase her book.

[Sandra's Note: Evidently you failed to click on half of the references.]

January 4, 2005
GREAT JOB YOU GUYS!! I really admire your thoughtful, well-researched work. I admire you both.


January 4, 2005
Subject: reading the BoM

I am currently preparing myself to help (I don't even know what verb to use) Mormons. My grandparents and half my family is Mormon, and every so often they talk to me about it. Not until lately have I actually wanted to speak to them about it, and I want to do it well so they can see the truth.

My question is, should I read the Book of Mormon? I say yes, so I can honestly say I did read it, and to know what I'm dealing with. I know better than to let it decieve me, but I just don't know what to do. Please help me, any advice would be greatly appreciated. Your bookstore and website has helped me tremendously preparing for this, and I believe that I have finally found what God want's me to do with my life. God bless you.

[Steve's Note: I would encourage you to read the Book of Mormon for several reasons including those you have cited above. Not only will you be able you say you have read it and know what you are dealing with, you will then know the specifics as to why you do not accept it as God's word. You may be surprised to learn that the Book of Mormon can actually be used to help you demonstrate that the LDS Church is in error. Many of the ideas presented in the Book of Mormon are at odds with current LDS Church teaching. It can also be pointed out that the Book of Mormon (which is claimed to contain the fulness of the gospel) does not speak of many of the doctrines that the LDS Church today considers vital for eternal life. To begin your study of the Book of Mormon you may want to read the articles on our website I have listed below.

You may be interested in the books we sell that relate directly to the issues which surround the Book of Mormon. For a list of these resources see: Booklist: Book of Mormon.]

January 4, 2005
Subject: Kinderhook plates, Clayton account

The following from the FARMS people:

FARMS Review of Books Vol:2 Issue:1 "Are the Mormon Scriptures Reliable?"

"In order to debunk Joseph Smith's abilities as a translator, the authors bring up the old Kinderhook controversy (p. 56), which has been settled once and for all as a forgery by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Joseph Smith's supposed statement that the Kinderhook plates were authentic and that they were the "records of the descendants of Ham," came from the journal of William Clayton, who wrote in the first person, as though from the mouth of Joseph Smith. A first-person narrative was apparently a common practice of this time period when a biographical work was being compiled. Since such words were never penned by the Prophet, they cannot be uncritically accepted as his words or his opinion."

Apparently the FARMS people are arguing that we cannot accept Clayton's account. My question as follows: Was Clayton the only one to have recorded what Joseph Smith supposedly said?

At least we know that the Church has "once and for all" decided the KP was a hoax. Nice to know, huh?

[Steve's Note: Using the argument that FARMS has just used would open the door to rejecting the entire work of the Joseph Smith's History as unreliable. Although much of it was written in the first person for its printing in the History of the Church, it can be easily demonstrated that approximately 60% of it was not written during Joseph Smith's lifetime. (For more on this, see: Changes in Joseph Smith's History.)

It is not only information published from William Clayton's journals that give us a complete picture as to the history surrounding Joseph Smith's dealings with the Kinderhook Plates. Even in the Mormon newspaper, the Nauvoo Neighbor, in June of 1843, it was stated that Joseph Smith's work on the Kinderhook plates "will be published as soon as the translation is completed."

You may also be interested to read that the words in the History of the Church, Vol. 5 p. 372, was issued as a statement. Another paper of Joseph Smith's day, The Warsaw Signal, printed on May 22, 1844, stated that Joseph Smith was "busy translating the plates . . . [it] will be nothing more or less than a sequel to the Book of Mormon."

All of this raises the awkward question that if this is a spurious and unreliable account taken from Clayton, why was it then reworked into the first person and included in the History of the Church? You may also want to read several articles we have online relating to the Kinderhook Plates. The articles can be found at Topical Index: Kinderhook Plates.]

[Additional note from Sandra: It should be kept in mind that William Clayton was Joseph Smith's personal secretary and a faithful Mormon. It is hardly likely that Clayton would have invented such a statement. Here is some background on Clayton:

William Clayton was personal secretary to Joseph Smith, . . . . Over the course of thirteen years, Clayton kept extensive journals which provide an intimate portrait of the Mormon prophet and his new church . . . Clayton subsequently became one of Smith's closest confidants. (An Intimate Chronicle; The Journals of William Clayton, edited by George D. Smith, Introduction, p. xi)


January 5, 2005
Subject: The Wives of God

Did the Mormon Church ever teach that God has wives and if so where can I find this teaching?

[Steve's Note: The LDS Church has clearly taught that God has wives. You can find this teaching in many of the older books and sermons of Mormon leaders. The LDS Church today still believes this although they downplay it significantly, especially in the wake of Mormon Feminists who wanted to talk more about "heavenly mother." Some examples of LDS quotes relating to God having wives are listed below.


January 5, 2005
... I would ... inquire as to the general consensus of growing interest behind the DaVinci Code and it's "areas" of thought. And where I can find any studies of comparisons made between the Mason's and Mormonism - temple ceremonies, et al? I will continue to look in your book lists, and articles as well.


[Steve's Note: As a book of fiction The Da Vinci Code is said to be an entertaining and captivating mystery thriller. The Da Vinci Code has resonated with Mormon audiences in particular due to the fact that it repeats several theological ideas that the LDS Church holds several theological ideas that the LDS Church holds and are historically baseless. These include the ideas such as Jesus being married to Mary Magdalene and had children with her, the existence of a "mother god," and lost books of the Bible.

In contrast to popular culture serious scholars however, recognize the many errors involving history, art, theology and more that are littered throughout the book. The Truth Behind the Da Vinci Code is a good book, which lays out the major problems of The Da Vinci Code. Since it can be demonstrated that The Da Vinci Code is flawed, it would be pure foolishness to place faith in it for its other claims. The Da Vinci Code must be kept in the genre to which it belongs—namely, fiction.

Also see: http://www.apologeticsindex.org/d50.html

We offer several books relating to Masonry and Mormonism. They are listed below.


January 6, 2005
I am looking for information on whether the father of David O. Mckay, David Mckay... practiced plural marriage. He was a Bishop in Utah in the 1880's and it would seem he most likely would have done this. Do you have any information on this?


[Sandra's Note: I am not aware that David O. McKay's father practiced polygamy. His father was David McKay and his mother was Jeanette. Fawn McKay Brodie, author of No Man knows My History and niece of David O. McKay, was interviewed in 1975 and didn't mention anything like that. Here is a portion of the interview with her:

An Oral History Interview

The following is excerpted from a longer interview conducted by Shirley E. Stephenson as part of the Oral History Program at California State University at Fullerton, November 30, 1975.

"Mrs. Brodie, to begin, I would like you to tell me about your early background."

"As you doubtless know, my parents were devout Mormons and I was brought up in a small Mormon town of very great beauty in Ogden Valley which is just through Ogden Canyon and east of Ogden. There are three small towns there. One is called Huntsville and there is where my grandfather and grandmother, David McKay and Jeanette Evans McKay, built a house which is now over one hundred years old. Last summer [1975] we celebrated what would have been his one hundredth birthday, had he lived. He was born in 1875 in Huntsville, Utah. The children, grandchildren, and great-children gathered for this occasion. It was great fun. My grandfather was one of eight children. There were ten all together but two older sisters died of diptheria in an epidemic. So this was very much the ancestral home; a big, old farmhouse with fourteen rooms and no bathroom." (An Oral History Interview, Dialogue, Vol. 14, No. 2, p. 99)


January 6, 2005
Subject: D&C

My husband is LDS -- but really doesn't practice it anymore. He says he believes, but just doesn't attend church. I am Lutheran and still continue to attend at my church.

Of course the missionaries are faithfully sent to my door. Please help me understand how to answer the missionaries with regard to the BOM and D&C. In front of the BOM it states that it is the corner stone of their religion, yet it seems to me they actually put more emphasis on the D&C.

I've asked them to tell me where in the BOM does it state that God has a body; the priesthood authority; more than one God, etc., etc. When this happens, they fall back to the D&C and say that this is their foundation. Please help me understand. The way I feel -- if Joseph Smith translated the plates to the BOM, then the message contained in the BOM should equal that of the contents of the D&C....but it doesn't -- it's way out there in left field! But then I'm told the BOM is history documentation like the Bible....but most of us know the Bible is much more than that. So am I right in understanding that the driving force behind Mormonism is the D&C? This is so confusing.

Thanks in advance for your time and response.

[Steve's Note: You may want to start by reading some of our Online Resources I have listed below for you.

You may want to ask the missionaries, "If the Doctrine & Covenants is your foundation, why not give it to investigators to read and pray about?" There are several good books we offer for sale which might be of interest to help you understand Mormonism more and how to reach out to Latter-day Saints with God's love for them. They are:


January 6, 2005
Thanks for this information on your site. It raises many questions on important matters that I dont hear discussed by the church, regarding history.

A site i saw asked how could joseph see the face of God when he had not the priesthood? Because the smiths were of direct blood line to abraham or royal bloodline, Joseph had the Aronic priesthood by linage, this would permit him to see the face of God. Having the priesthood by linage.


[Steve's Note: There are problems with your suggested solution to Joseph Smith's claim to have seen God without the priesthood. First, if he really did have the priesthood by virtue of lineage then why would he have needed to have John the Baptist appear to him and Oliver Cowdery to give them the priesthood as recorded in D&C section 13.

Furthermore, if the lineage was what granted the priesthood to someone like Joseph Smith then there would have always been others who could also claim to possess the priesthood. Consequently, the LDS Church's claim that there was no true priesthood on the earth until restored through Joseph Smith would be wrong and thus their claim to being the only one true church on the face of the earth.

Finally, Joseph Fielding Smith Jr.in his book, Doctrines of Salvation, Vol. 3, p. 253, stated that "Joseph Smith was a pure Ephraimite" and not from another tribe such as Levi, who alone held the right by lineage to the priesthood.

All of this is of course irrelevant when the Bible makes it clear that no one has ever seen God in his fulness. God is not as the LDS Church teaches him to be. God is not a exalted man with a physical body. For more on this please read LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible and Mormon Claims Answered, Chapter 2.

For more information you may wish to read Chapter 6 of Mormon Claims Answered. You may also be interested in ordering the books LDS—Where Do You Get Your Authority? and Power From On High.]

January 6, 2005
...I have also found alot of contridictions in the mormon church and when growing up, i was always wondering why they all worshipped or appeared to worship a man instead of God. to me it was wrong. when i was 14 i started asking questions and during that sunday school class i got hit, called names etc. i didnt go back for a very long time. to me the mormon church is just a place for rich snobs to get together and talk mean things about others. i, back in May 2004, sent in my resignation and they still have not sent me a letter of confirmation that my name has been removed from the records.

May i ask this????? ---how did you all find Christ... the community i am in is predominantly mormons and i still get treated badly even though i am now 45 yrs old.

With my love

[Steve's Note: You can read the Tanners' testimony here. We will pray for you. Sometimes God allows us to be in places we might not choose for ourselves and yet we know that he is always there with us, never leaving or forsaking us. This gives us the strength to endure and to be a witness for God to people who might otherwise never see God's love at all.]

January 7, 2005
Subject: Startling discover of Hitler's temple work!!!!

As somewhat of an expert on the vagaries of the Family Search system, I was surprised at the hyperbole of your dissertation of sinister activity.

Brigham Young's temple work has been duplicated some 50 times. My own great-grandmother appears 7 different ways -but with the same birth date. My wife's first husband (deceased) has been rebaptized this year and is cleared for temple work. I can just fume over some of the errors that happen, but I suspect that 90% of the errors are just honest mistakes that get through the system. As for your delight in this meaningless expose', I can only conclude you are either one of Hitler's descendants or judges that objects to his work having been done. Keep having fun!

[Web-editor: See: The Mormon Church Attempts to Conceal Temple Records for Adolf Hitler.]

January 7, 2005

I'm sure you have seen the January 2005 issue of the LDS's Church magazine Ensign which is full of 'feel good' articles so have a question. Do you have any comments or suggestions to become more knowledgeable regarding the references cited on page 18 and 19 of Ronald O. Barney's article 'The First Vision—Searching For The Truth', especially any information on Dean C. Jessee and his book 'The Personal Writings of Joseph Smith'? Is this another attempt to white wash and sanitize of the early history of the church? I'm assuming the church must be feeling the pressure to have come out with so many articles in one edition of the Ensign to help members 'keep the faith'.

Thanks and keep up the good work.

[Steve's Note: I think this will be the first article among several this year that will prominently feature Joseph Smith since 2005 is the 200th year since his birth. This article is lacking in narrative substance and majors on eliciting an emotional response. It tells the reader little beyond what is printed in the Joseph Smith History in the Pearl of Great Price and relies heavily on artistic renditions of the event to increase its length and impact.

They tell the reader about the existence of multiple accounts of the First Vision as told by Joseph Smith—although they do so only in the endnotes. What they do not tell the reader is all of the problems that arise due to the discrepancies in the various accounts. These are not discrepancies which can be easily brushed aside. They relate to a single event coming from a sole witness and yet they disagree at critical points along the way.

It was also surprising to me that the Senior Archivist of the LDS Church so openly contradicted the official version of the First Vision. On page 14 Ronald Barney writes "As [Joseph Smith] searched for truth, he concluded that the religious world in which he lived 'had apostatized from the true and living faith and there was no society or denomination that built upon the gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in the New Testament,' something the Lord later confirmed to him." This is directly contrary to the Joseph Smith History, 1:18, where Joseph Smith is said to have written, "I asked . . . which of all of the sects was right (for at this time it had never entered into my heart that they all were wrong)—and which I should join."

You may also be interested in our First Vision Photos for more information.]

[Additional note from Sandra: Dean Jessee has produced a great collection of Joseph Smith's papers in his book Personal Writings of Joseph Smith, published by Deseret Book, 2002. This is an LDS Church approved book and contains Joseph Smith's different accounts of his first vision. Joseph Smith's 1832 account is on page 11, photos on pp. 16-17, his 1835 accounts are on p. 105 and 113. Smith's 1838 account starts on p. 228. The Wentworth letter, printed in the 1842 Times and Seasons, is on p. 242.

You might also want to look at these other pages on our site:


January 8, 2005
Subject: RELATED


[Sandra's Note: Jerald is a great-great grandson of John Tanner, through his son Myron, then through Caleb, then George (Jerald's father). Jerald is mentioned in the book "John Tanner and His Family" by George S. Tanner (different George than his father), on p. 13.]

January 10
Subject: Issue 103...shattering the Book of Mormon as historic truth.

I have just read this issue online and I am dumbfounded how anyone can still have any faith left in the farcical religion of Joseph Smith. It's like a Shakespearean tragedy, where someone writes a book in jest and people flock to it as gospel. It is just so sad.

I was first introduced to the Mormons through a wonderful women I met. Her family are Mormons, however she is no longer. She had done the right thing and married a returning missionary. The perfect husband they said. He turned out to be a wife-beater, wife-rapist and child molester(although he has never been brought to justice). When she finally had enough of him, she left him and demanded the church do something. They tried to ignore her but she was very persistant and pursued this all the way to Salt Lake via a letter to the president. They somewhat accomodated her by annulling her marriage to him (she wanted to ensure she was not sealed to him for all eternity).He has not been excommunicated, unbelievably, he has risen in the church. He was allowed to perform a baptism. If the church says he is worthy to perform a baptism, which is on behalf of God, what good is their word anywhere, is how she felt.

That was about 10-12 years ago. Since then she has drifted further form the church. Two years ago, her and I began dating and about 8 months ago, we married. At the time, I decided to look into the church(raised as Catholic but no longer) and see what it was about. The first place I went was to the official LDS site. I read their front line stuff, the First Vision, the gold plates, etc and I was dumbstruck. I thought to myself, what a load of bunk.

So I started searching through google and found your site. I am eternally thankful for you both. Although, I probably would never have joined the church, simply because it seemed to incredulous to believe, your research and knowledge has enlightened me greatly. How amazed I was to learn of 3 different "First Vision" accounts, all different. haha, that was really all I needed. If the whole church is based upon the vision and the vision is untrue, then everything else is moot. Whether or not old Joe's prophecies and revelations are true or not(which they obviously are not), the whole church is a fraud.

Of course, I found your back issues to be tremendously good reading, so I have continued reading them. They just validate my first instincts on the church. At this point, my wife & I have discussed only a bit of what I have learned, she needs no more reasons to no longer believe. I feel one day, she will ask for more of what I have learned and i will be happy to share your website with her. I could go on and on but I think you get the gist of my experience.

God bless you both, keep up the great work.

A "Saved" Canadian,

January 11, 2005
Subject: gilgal garden

Hi guys!

Just wondering if you guys had any information on Gilgal Garden downtown Salt Lake City??? I have heard rumors that this was a place where the LDS church performed blood atonement rituals? Is this true? Can you give me any information regarding either one of these topics??? Thank you!

In Christ-

[Steve's Note: I can refer you to the website at http://www.mediadivide.org/gilgal/history.html which has good general information on Gilgal Gardens in Salt Lake City. Also: http://www.viamagazine.com/weekenders/Salt_Lake05.asp

Photos can be seen at: http://pjf.net/interests/gallery/gilgal

There is no evidence that I am aware of that documents the location of the Gilgal Gardens in Salt Lake City as a location for the carrying out of Blood Atonement. For additional information on the topic of Blood Atonement see our Topical Index: Blood Atonement.]

January 11, 2005
Dear Sandra,

... You could not have sent me a Christmas present that I would have appreciated or enjoyed anymore than I did the materials that you sent to me...and I'm still enjoying them (some again! ) Thanks so very much! I have read every one of your newsletters from cover to cover, usually at one setting if possible. I have always been fascinated by the subject, and especially when it has been penned by you and or Jerald.

Best wishes to you in the weeks and months ahead. May God continue to bless and use your ministry in an ever expanding way.

Your forever friend

January 12, 2005
...I have always respected the work of Utah Lighthouse Ministry and the Tanners, even when I was in the LDS Church and didn't always agree with their conclusions at the time; NOW I realise that what I disagreed with the Tanners in the past I am now having to agree with(hey-how can anyone successfully argue with the truth?).I really appreciate the work Utah Lighthouse Ministry and the Tanners are doing because what they put out they can and do provide verification and documentation on. Keep up the great work!
January 12, 2005
Subject: plural marriage....

is there any CREDIBLE documentation to the proposition that LDS leaders were calling men to missions then cohabiting with their wives under the color of 'plural marriage' and/or 'celestial marriage'?

Exactly what is the documentation to the proposition that JS had more than one wife?

names, dates, children/offspring, etc....

thanks, i 'really' want to know!

[Sandra's Note: Joseph Smith seems to have taken advantage of a husband's absence. I don't know that this was wide spread among early LDS men. Have you read the entries on our web site under Joseph Smith and polygamy? See: Topical Index: Joseph Smith: Polygamy

See Chapter 9 of Changing World in particular.

If you will read In Sacred Loneliness: The Plural Wives of Joseph Smith by Todd Compton, a Mormon researcher, you will find that eleven women, one-third of Smith's wives, were already married to other living men when they secretly entered into plural marriage with Joseph Smith. Compton's book is even sold at Deseret Book and is not an 'anti' Mormon book. It contains the biographies of Smith's 33 plural wives.

The LDS publication Historical Record, edited by LDS Church historian Andrew Jensen, 1887, has an article on Smith's polygamy with various statements by Smith's friends and his plural wives about the introduction of polygamy. Jensen's book is in the various university libraries in Utah.

The article is also reproduced at the back of our book Joseph Smith and Polygamy.]

January 12, 2005
Subject: Refuting Mormonism

I was in a chat room one day and I was talking to a believer in the mormon faith. he used 1 Cor. 10:1-5 as a refernce to God allowing all people into heven. This is couldn't be true because this was in refernce to the Isrealites. but it still left me with out an ansewer I was wandering if you had any more ideas on refuting this argument. I looked through your web site and didn't see anything along these lines (the missreprisitation and taking the Bible out of context). if you do and I just missed I would love to see it. Thank you for your help. may our God strignthen you daly in him

[Steve's Note: This passage in 1 Corinthians 10:1-5 teaches just the opposite. Paul's argument here is that if God judged the Israelites after all he had done for them, what would make us believe that God might not judge us for our sin? Most of those in the nation of Israel had seen firsthand the powerful work of the hand of God and yet they still failed to obtain God's pleasure because of their disobedience. The fact that most of the nation of Israel did not make it into the promised land but died in the wilderness speaks loudly against the notion that this passage would support the idea that all will eventually be allowed into heaven.

In the same way we run the risk of seeing all that God has done to provide us our salvation and yet we may not get what we desire if we love our own sin more than God. We are called to take sin very seriously because the consequences will be just as real for us as they were for the children of Israel.]

January 13, 2005
Thank you for the work you do. I was raised a Mormon in a big family. Most of my family from my generation are devoted to the church. I left it after my shocking experience of being married in the Mormon temple in Los angeles in 1967. It took time to leave and to find my way into Christianity.

These many years later I realized I was "lifted" out of Mormonism. My family had a difficult time with it at first. But their love for me, my love for them is stronger & deeper than doctrine. For this I am very grateful. I eventually danced my way into the Roman Catholic Church. The beauty of the ritual initially drew me. Part of my conversion process was to choreograph a Catholic mass at one of the local religious colleges.

I am still overcoming some of the strictures of my upbringing, but that dance between the old and the new has deepened my spirituality and faith in a God that transcends culture, doctrines, and our limited thought. Hope this small contribution helps. I have experienced pain, loss and blessing in my journey.


January 13, 2005
Subject: Mormon heaven

I have a question no one has answered and that is Mormons say families are forever. So Say I made it to the celestial kingdom but my mother made it to the telestial kingdom. Can you go back and forth between kingdoms and if so where is this taught?

Thank you

[Sandra's Note: According to Apostle Joseph Fielding Smith, who went on to become president of the LDS Church, a person in the Celestial Kingdom can visit those in lower kingdoms, but people in lower kingdoms can't visit a higher kingdom. He stated:

HIGHER KINGDOMS MINISTER TO LOWER. Yet, through his abundant mercy, the Lord will do for all the best that can be done, and therefore he will give to all a place somewhere. . .where those who are not entitled to the fulness of blessings may be ministered to by those who have greater glory. For we read also here in this vision, where the glories are spoken of, that those who dwell in the celestial kingdom shall minister unto those of the terrestrial kingdom; those in the terrestrial kingdom shall minister to those of the telestial kingdom. . . .

Those in the terrestrial kingdom shall visit those in the telestial kingdom, and those of the celestial shall visit those in the terrestrial kingdom. Where the Father is these cannot come, . . ." [see D&C 76:112] (Doctrines of Salvation: Sermons and Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, compiled by Bruce R. McConkie, Bookcraft, 1955, Vol. 2, pp. 5-6).

Hope this helps.]

January 13, 2005
... I am near ready to prepare my letter to the Bishop to have my membership removed from the church records. I appreciate the information on your website to help me do this. Understand, this is difficult for me (I am a High Priest) but having met and talked with Sandra, and having now had the time to review a lot of material and cross-referencing this material to my own library (Journals of Discourses, History of the Church, etc.), it has become obvious that I can no longer live the lie.

Keep up the good work.

January 13, 2005
Subject: Quick question concerning mormons

I have a quick question. Last night in our church service, two mormons came in and sat down in the middle of the congregation. (I belong to an independant fundamental Baptist church). After a couple minutes, our pastor told them they were welcome to stay and listen, but they had to remove their pins [name badges]. They looked at each other, refused to remove their pins and got up and left.

I have never seen or heard of mormons coming into another churches service, let alone a fundamental Baptist service!

Why would they come into our church service obviously dressed as mormons? I thought perhaps they were going to try and disrupt our services, but it just perplexes me why they would do that. Any ideas?

Thanks for your time.

[Sandra's Note: LDS missionaries don't usually intend to disrupt the meeting. Occasionally, they will attend another church just to see what they are like.

Or it could have been an effort to meet people in the community and make it appear that Mormons were Christians just like the people at your church. They may have hoped that they would be invited to visit someone they met there. Also, when they go door to door and talk to people they can then mention that they visited some church in the area, or drop the name of the pastor, to make it seem like they are part of the regular Christian community.]

January 13, 2005
Subject: no103

Your recent newsletter indicates that Talmage's Jesus the Christ is recommended reading for missionaries. This was true with my mission, but is no longer true, (both Jesus the Christ, and Articles of Faith, according to my brother's recent mission call, has been removed from the list).

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. On p.viii of the new 2004 LDS missionary guide, Preach My Gospel, you will find Jesus the Christ listed as approved reading for the missionary's personal study.]

January 13, 2005
I am a graduate student . . . who is currently doing some research on the nauvoo temple pentagrams. I am looking into the possibility that the stars may be associated with the "Holiness to the Lord" parchment, and need a color photo of it. Do you have one that you could send me? If not, could you refer me to the owners of this document so that I may ask them for one? I would sincerely appreciate it.

[Sandra's Note: I am not aware of any color photos of the Hyrum Smith magic parchments. Retired LDS Church Patriarch Eldred Smith inherited the parchments through the Hyrum Smith family line. Since his death I don't know what happened to the parchments.

I assume Smith's use of the pentagram on the Nauvoo temple came mainly from his exposure to Freemasonry since the other symbols he used had that same source. See this article: Masonic Symbols and the LDS Temple.]

January 14, 2005
Subject: 116 Pages Lost

Dear Sandra or Steve,

. . . I know it may be a childhood fantasy of historians, researchers, and those wishing to expose the truth, to be able to locate the 116 missing pages of the original manuscript.

We know those pages were lost when Martin Harris begged Joseph Smith to be able to show the manuscript to family members to dispel skepticism of the translation. When Harris didnt return to Harmony, Smith was forced to travel to Manchester, where he learned that the pages were lost; either stolen from Harris home, or destroyed by his wife.

I was wondering if there has been any research into recovering these lost pages, or if the whole idea of getting them back is na, seeing that they are likely destroyed. Thank you so much for your help and your ministry. I have seen nothing but life-changing truth come from your research.


[Sandra's Note: Researchers have combed through countless libraries and personal papers of people connected with the early years of Mormonism with the hope of finding the 116 pages, but to no avail. We have some information on the lost 116 pages on our site. Topical Index: Book of Mormon: 116 Missing Pages.

There were rumors back in the 1970-1980's that the pages might still be in existence. I think this helped to give Mark Hofmann the idea to create his own forgery of those pages. In fact, he probably helped spread such rumors as a precursor to his planned upcoming forgery. He never completed this, but it seems that all his forgeries were leading up to such a find. See Tracking the White Salamander, Chapter 6, Part C

An enterprising Mormon, following in Joseph Smith's footsteps, now claims to have received the 116 lost pages and publishes them on the internet. See: http://losttruthfound.com

Not to be outdone, another one claims to have the sealed portion and to have personally conversed with Joseph Smith. See: http://www.thesealedportion.com/index.html

They can't both be telling the truth!]

January 14, 2005
Subject: Heartfelt thanks

Several years ago someone gave me a Track "Six things they won't tell you in the Temple Square" [from www.mormoninfo.org]. I read it when I got home as the brothers I was with thought it was trash.

I came to Jesus Christ this year and I think the seed you planted in this message helped me find my way to salvation. I found the track in the book I was carrying that day. I was clearing out my library of junk and found the book. I could not through out the paper you so patiently handed out that day.

I will never know who handed this to me. All I know is the seed was planted and held and studied until I finally left the church and then started looking for the real truth.

I go to Calvary Chapel here in Reno and am well founded in the Bible and being born again is a joy and a burden at times.

I'm sorry for rambling on. I really wanted to give you thanks and my prayers in your service to God. I am doing the same now. I have several Mormons at work and they really don't know how to handle someone from the "inside" who can answer every lie they hold. So far every time they get stuck they bring out the real bible (NKJV) and find the truth is bigger than all of us. My actual dealing with all Mormons goes right to the heart of the faith. Joseph Smith, he is factually and biblically a false prophet and nothing he said came true and when you study the bible and his history. It shows the faith of the LDS church is void.

From my heart thank you whoever you were who stood out on the street and boldly gave me this simple piece of paper that has brought me to the truth. Not exactly the way I would have thought God would have done things, but accepted just the same.

Thank you and May God Bless all in his service working as you do.

January 14, 2005
Has there ever been any documented evidence of current apostles seeing god or christ? And one more if you could, Why do some patriarchal blessings accurately predict or define the characteristics of the person?

[Sandra's Note: As to the first question, I think the closest any current leader comes to claiming visions is to affirm that he has 'absolute' knowledge of the truthfulness of Mormonism or that he testifies or knows 'of a surety' that Christ lives or that he has a 'personal witness'. They use words that would lead a believer to think they had a vision without actually making the claim. The Book of Mormon applies the phrase 'know of a surety' to those who supposedly touched Christ when he appeared in America.

And it came to pass that the multitude went forth, and thrust their hands into his side, and did feel the prints of the nails in his hands and in his feet; and this they did do, going forth one by one until they had all gone forth, and did see with their eyes and did feel with their hands, and did know of a surety and did bear record, that it was he, of whom it was written by the prophets, that should come (3 Ne. 11:1015).

Thus, when a leader echoes that phrase members assume that he is claiming a personal revelation of Christ or God.

As for Patriarch Blessings, the patriarch usually spends some time talking to the person before giving a blessing, or already knows something about the person or family. An observant person can tell a lot about a person from a short conversation. So they are merely doing the same type of character evaluation used by many claiming special gifts, like palm readers, psychics, mind readers, etc. After talking with me, the patriarch stated in my blessing:

Dear sister you have been rewarded with and excellent mind and a sunny happy disposition.... Your influence shall be for good... and you will develop the great gift of leadership and become a power for good both in the church and out.... your home will be adorned with the products of your own creation,... (LDS Patriarchal Blessings)

Also, I believe sometimes people read into their blessings a more specific meaning than the text carries. Notice he said my home would be 'adorned with the products of your own creation.' Since I was very much into art at that time, I assumed he was talking about paintings or drawings. But it would cover someone else who sewed or arranged flowers, etc. Most parts of a blessing are conditional on church activities and would probably apply to any good LDS member.]

January 15, 2005
Hi : )

A pastor in Utah asked me to try to find for him official Mormon literature stating either that, for a woman to go to heaven, she has to have a worthy husband or that her husband is responsible for her getting to heaven.

Can you help us?


[Sandra's Note: Mormonism teaches that practically everyone will go to heaven. However, the LDS Church teaches that heaven is divided up into three different kingdoms. The faithful Mormon hopes to achieve the highest level, the Celestial Kingdom. However, a Mormon can only enter there if he/she has been married in the temple and faithful to the LDS Church until death.

Also, the temple married husband must call the wife up from the grave in order for her to be his wife and enter the Celestial Kingdom. See these articles on our web site:


January 16, 2005
Our Adult Bible class in a LCMS church is reading thru the book, Fast Facts on Mormonism, and we keep coming across references to The Pearl of Great Price and Doctrines and Covenants as we work our way thru the book as a class.

Would it be helpful to order the Triple Companion so we can have it to compare to the quotes we come across in this book and to do further reading about it? We right now are into the section on Mormonism and Christianity and have really gotten into discussions about the Mormons concept of God as is taught and as is not taught to the average Mormon.

Have printed off your sight Joseph Smith's two sermons on the Plurality of Gods and the King Follett Sermon. My husband is an LCMS pastor and he enjoys helping me answers questions the class brings up since we do a group meeting on our own while my husband serves a vacancy in another town prior to our church service each Sunday. We have ordered books from you in the past and my husband does receive the messenger which the class and I are enjoying reading. Thanks for you ministry and any suggestions as to which books to also pursue after we finish this one. We do have Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? The Adam-God Doctrine, Changes to the Book of Mormon, Mormonism Exposed, Mormonisn Unvailed.

[Steve's Note: Yes, the Triple Combination of LDS Scriptures is very helpful. It is wise for Christians who wish to truly understand and reach Mormons to be familiar with all of the LDS standard works of scripture.

Perhaps your group would be interested in some of the books designed to help you reach out to Mormons. A few of the better resources we offer would include:


January 16, 2005
Subject: Thank you so much!

I just want to say that I deeply appreciate your website. I was joined the Mormon Church about five years ago. I joined because my high school sweetheart was a Mormon and leaving on his mission. I wanted to be with him so bad, and to fully understand his mission and why he was doing what he was doing, and why there were so many rules...

I joined the church. I waited, but casually dated for the two years and studied the bible and the BoM. When he came home the spark was gone, and so was his hair. Over the two years I had gained a lot of questions about the church and never really solidified my testimony. I have always known that the Mormon teaching were false, but practiced their morals.

Finally it is now 2005, and the questions that I had and asked my fellow church members were never really answered, they pretty much chastised me because I was questioning the church. I realized that I wasn't getting answers because the church is false and they (church members) were blind to logical thinking. I found your website and realized that I wasn't alone. Now, I am patient ally waiting for that letter that is as good as gold, the letter stating that I am no longer a member of the Mormon church, and my resignation will be complete. I would love to meet you guys so that I can thank you in person!

Thanks again,

January 16, 2005
Subject: God the Father

Are there specific quotes from general conferences that state that God was once a man like us? That seems to be the failsafe method for LDS when they hear something they don't like. If it isnt stated in general conference than it isnt doctrine.

Thank you

[Sandra's Note: First, read Joseph Smith's sermons on God on our web site:

Then read the article—LDS View of God Contradicts the Bible

Apostle Melvin J. Aston, speaking at the 1976 October LDS Conference, stated:

"We are children of God. We do possess God-given attributes. We do have the opportunity and obligation to learn to be leaders. Let us so live that it may be said of us, "He's well balanced. He knows where he is going and how to get there. He's a good manager of himself." By doing this it will be possible to better serve in the kingdom and have a greater appreciation for Lorenzo Snow's thrilling declaration, 'As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may be.' (See Improvement Era, June 1919, p. 656.) This is what proper self-management is all about." (Marvin J. Ashton, "Proper Self-management," Ensign, Nov. 1976, p.84)

In 1984 the LDS priesthood manual, Search These Commandments, referred to Lorenzo Snow's statement:

"President Lorenzo Snow recorded this experience that occurred when he was still a young elder: 'The Spirit of the Lord rested mightily upon me—the eyes of my understanding were opened, and I saw as clear as the sun at noon-day, with wonder and astonishment, the pathway of God and man.' Elder Snow expressed this new found understanding in these words: 'As man now is, God once was: As God now is, man may be.' Later the Prophet Joseph Smith assured him: 'Brother Snow, that is true gospel doctrine, and it is a revelation from God to you'..." (Search These Commandments, Melchizedek Priesthood Personal Study Guide, 1984, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, pp. 151-152)

You might also want to order our Godhead and Virgin Birth set of photocopies from LDS sources on their doctrine of God.]

January 16, 2005
My husband is an LDS convert of nearly 30 years, and I have had several questions in recent past that you have graciously answered. [He] said recently that, in order for Christ to have completely fulfilled the law, he would have to have been married since he says the Jewish rabbis were to be married. I know there were certain things which Jesus did as a young Jewish boy and young man which were required by Jewish law and tradition. I do not believe that Jesus was married. He says that we do not know every single thing about Jesus because everything He did was not recorded in the Bible. Is there any specific answer or other Biblical source for me to talk with him about? I would appreciate any help.

I pray for your ministry to the LDS that many will come to know Jesus as their Saviour. If I sometimes am frustrated by what [my husband] says he believes and have difficulty dialoging with him, I can't imagine the burden that you all have. It is a blessing to know the Lord is over all and still in complete control. Please pray that I will be a loving witness of Christ as I realize I get in the way sometimes.

He has not yet gone for his temple recommend interview but told me last summer that he was going to. He verbally maintains a strong testimony of the church and is active in his branch. Forgive me for talking on-I feel that I have friends in Christ in you all and just felt need to share. God bless you and the ministry and I am praying for Jerald, also.


[Steve's Note: The law which Jesus came to fulfill is the Law of Moses. This is another name for all that is contained in the books written by Moses. These are called the Pentateuch and include the books of Genesis through Deuteronomy. Those books and the Law which was established by God for the Israelites does not have a requirement for marriage for Rabbis. The word "rabbi" is a title and means "teacher." According to Alfred Edersheim's book, Sketches of Jewish Social Life, we read, "Marriage was looked upon as of religious obligation. Many passages of Scripture were at least quoted in support of this idea. Ordinarily, a young man was expected to enter the wedded state (according to Maimonides) at the age of sixteen or seventeen, while the age of twenty may be regarded as the utmost limit conceded, unless study so absorbed time and attention as to leave no leisure for the duties of married life." (Updated Edition, Henrickson Pub., 1994) So we see there was no marriage requirement for Rabbis. In fact, some Jewish groups such as the Essenes at Qumran did not believe in marriage at all.

I also found in the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia that while cases of celibacy are rare in scripture and were looked upon as abnormal during Old Testament times, the views of people during the time of the New Testament were somewhat different. Although they still saw marriage as a sacred institution, they did not view marriage as absolutely necessary. Some notable examples of life-long celibate individuals would include John the Baptist, Jesus and perhaps the apostle Paul. The Bible uses the image of a marriage to describe Christ as the bridegroom and the church as his bride. Paul, like Jesus, speaks of celibacy as a gift from God—one that is not more godly state earned but rather which God gives to whom he pleases. (see 1 Corinthians 7:7; Matthew 19:12 and Isaiah 56:3-5). Jesus himself taught that some become eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. (see articles titled Celibacy and Marriage). Clearly in all of Jesus' examples he would have been guilty of gross hypocrisy to say what he did about marriage and its importance if he had married and then left his own wife and children. While it is true that not all of Jesus' life is recorded in the Bible, something as central to his life and responsibilities as marriage would certainly demand to be mentioned. Your husband's claim that Jesus was married despite any ancient evidence is a very weak argument.

For additional information on this you may want to read the articles we have on our website called, Bible Verses Relating to LDS Teachings on Temple Work, and Mormon Claims Answered, Chapter Two.]

January 16, 2005
Subject: Thanks

I would like to express my thanks to you for your website and the information it provides on the Doctrine and ceremonies of Mormonism. I live in ............. Ky, a small town ........ In the past months we have had Mormon missionaries visiting our small community. I did not allow them into my home at the time they visited me but was curious about them and started to look more into their beliefs.

I was shocked at what I discovered. Like so many other Christians I thought they were just another, though somewhat different, denomination of Christ. Was I ever wrong! I am a Sunday School teacher in my local church and have been for about 12 years teaching a couples class of a wide range of ages.

I was burdened about the Mormon missionaries that were visiting our community and suggested doing a Sunday night study on their beliefs, doctrine, and how to witness to them. I was surprised to have 30+ people show up for the first night and most have been there every night of the study. They as I were astonished at what we discovered. Tonight we conclude that study.

I now feel that we were led to do this study more to tell others in our community about the false teachings of the Mormons than to try to witness to the Missionaries that are visiting our homes. Don't get me wrong. I would not hesitate to do so if the opportunity came my way to do so again now that I understand more about them and their terminology. But knowing what I know now I have also come to the conclusion that all I could probably do is maybe plant a small seed of doubt in them. Please pray for us as we try to pass on the knowledge we have gained to the unknowing in our community and the other smaller communities around us. Again thank you for the ministry you are doing and may God be with you and bless you. Our prayers are with you

Yours in Christ

January 16, 2005
Subject: Suicide rates

I am teaching a class about witnessing to Mormons, and had a question about suicide rates. The questioner had heard that suicide rates among Momon women was very high. I have found data for men and gays, but nothing on Mormon women. Can you help?

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: I don't know about the specifics of women suicide rates but here are some facts about suicide in Utah.

In 1996 the Salt Lake Tribune reported on Utah's high rate of teen suicide:

"Depression and death visited Utah teens at an unprecedented rate last year, prompting the Health Department to order a special investigation into adolescent suicide. The Utah Department of Health said suicide among Utahns ages 12 to 19 reached an all-time high last year. Forty-four Utah young people ended their own lives in 1995....

"Health officials say Utah has one of the highest suicide rates in the country sixth for people of all ages and fifth for adolescents. Between 1990-94, suicide was the leading cause of death among Utahns ages 15-44, according to the Health Department." (Salt Lake Tribune, May 7, 1996, p.B4)

In 2001 the Provo Herald reported:

"According to a survey done in 1997 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Utah's suicide rate has grown 150 percent in the last 20 years, and the state ranks as 10th highest in the country in suicides, with Nevada running first." (The Daily Herald, Provo, Utah, for Sat. April 7, 2001, p. A5)

On November 7, 2003 the Salt Lake Tribune reported:

"Suicide rates in Utah are higher than the national average—16.3 per 100,000—according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And a higher percentage of people in Utah's rural and urban areas reported having bad mental-health days than what is typical in the United States—42 percent compared to 33 percent, the Utah Department of Health found. ...

"The mental health problems in rural Utah are severe," said Don Beckwith, the office manager of primary care and rural health with the state health department." (Salt Lake Tribune, November 7, 2003, p. A9)

Here are links to articles on LDS women and depression:

Here is one on suicide: http://www.lifeafter.org/mormonsuicide.asp ]

January 17, 2005
Subject: what caused you to become anti mormon?


I bet you became an antimormon for one of these 3 reasons:

1. You were a member. You had a bad experience with the church. Maybe a bishop pissed you off. Or maybe it was just the fact that you couldn't live up to the standards of the church.

2. You never were a member, but you had a bad experience with a member. Maybe he/she was a coworker or maybe a neighbor.

3. You have a close relative, most likely a parent who was a strict antimormon. You were brought up in an antimormon family and you are just behaving the way you were taught.

Now of course you will deny all of these and you will give me a bunch of bull crap about your reasons for being antimormon. But it's okay. I am not expecting you to tell me the truth.(In fact, your whole website is a bunch of lies)

Now I could go through all of your lies and have comebacks for all of them. But it wouldn't do any good. I have tried that enough times with you liars that I have realized that whenever I try to ask a strait up question, you always find a way to sneak around the question without answering it because you have no answer for it.

Just to prove this point, I am going to ask you one question. Why is it that after Martin Harris and Oliver Cowdery had apostisized from the church (mostly because of disagreements on where their status should be in the church leadership), they still never retracted their testimony of the Book of Mormon? Now isn't it true that whenever someone willfully leaves an organization of any type, they will always badmouth it? Yes it is. Especially when it comes to sensitive subjects like religion. Why didn't they deny the truthfullness of the Book of Mormon? I'll tell you why. They knew it was true and they COULD NOT deny it.

Thanks for your time, I hope I took away as much time as possible from your ordinary lies you are telling,

[Sandra's Note: First, Jerald and I are both from fifth generation LDS families. We did not leave due to any problems with our bishops or anyone in the ward. We were both challenged by different people, before we met, to look into the beginnings of Mormonism, that it has been changed over the years, and that there is no historical evidence for the Book of Mormon. See: About Us.

Second, we have dealt with the witnesses on our website. All three witnesses were gullible participants in the local folk magic/treasure seeking of the New England countryside, and would seem to be easy people to convince that they had experienced something supernatural. Just read the interview with Harris on our site: Interview with Martin Harris in Tiffany's Monthly

Since all three had said they saw an angel and the plates, to come out and publicly denounce the Book of Mormon would have made them look like they were a party to the deception.

The three witnesses were also religiously unstable men. Harris was a member of a number of churches before he joined the Mormons, and joined a number after he left in 1837. He even joined the Shakers, another 'true' group with a woman prophet, totally outside of Mormonism. He accepted James Strang as the successor to Joseph Smith and went on a mission to England for that group. He later returned to Mormonism and came out to Utah. Whitmer and Harris both claimed religious visions that are not consistent with LDS claims.

Whitmer and Cowdery left Mormonism in 1838. Cowdery did deny the Book of Mormon for a period and joined the Methodists. Whitmer maintained his belief in the Book of Mormon but did not accept the revelations of Smith given after the printing of the book, viewing Smith as a fallen prophet.

After Whitmer left the Mormon Church he joined with William McLellin, former apostle under Smith. He even gave revelations in this group. Yet when he left the McLellin movement he did not denounce McLellin or the revelations he (Whitmer) supposedly received.

Also, Smith's statements about these men after they left the LDS Church does not encourage one to accept their credibility.

See the various entries on our Topical Index: Book of Mormon: Witnesses.

Especially Changing World, Chapter 5: The Witnesses, and Mormon Claims Answered, Chapter 4: The Witnesses of the Book of Mormon.]

January 17, 2005
Subject: Needing a history writtings reference

I would just like to know where in the Mormons Literature is the reference on Joseph and other drinking wiskey/wine, prophesising, ans washing each other. If it is not too much trouble, I would just like the history reference that I am refering to. Thank you!

[Sandra's Note: See: Changing World, Chapter 18.]

January 17, 2005
Dear Tanners,

... I want to thank you for your valiant ministry. It takes very special believers committed to a Great God Who works in and through them, to do what you are doing. Thanks so much for all your efforts....

In Christ,

January 17, 2005

Are any of the books that the LDS church no longer uses still available? I would like to "show" my husband some things I have been reading about, but if the books are no longer available, and cannot be proven that the do/did exist, he will never believe anything I try to show him. Also, the leader of the missionaries from the ward my husband attends asked me where did I get the information about Joseph Smith predicting the end of the world. I can tell him in their own History of the Church book, and Volume 2, page 182, but if that is no longer available, he will not be able to look at it for himself.

[Sandra's Note: The current version of the History of the Church is still in print and for sale at the LDS bookstore, Deseret Book:


It is also on the Deseret Book online reference system, by subscription. This contains the History of the Church, Journal of Discourses, and dozens of other LDS books. See: http://gospelink.com/contents

Most of the books we quote from can be seen at the various universities here in Utah, and the Utah State Historical Society Library. They will make photocopies for a small fee.

You can also see scanned pages of various LDS books, like the reference you were seeking, at this site:


Hope this helps.]

January 19, 2005
Why does this site attempt to take issue with, potentially sacred, aspects of this religion?

[Sandra's Note: I assume you are referring to the LDS temple and its ritual. Since the LDS Church maintains that participation in their temple ritual is essential for eternal life and exaltation, surely one should seek to be thoroughly informed on the issue. As a Christian I consider every part of my faith as 'sacred' but do not feel that places it beyond discussion or examination.]

January 20, 2005
What have you heard regarding the changes to the annointing and washings rituals that rumors state was changed on Jan. 18, 05?

In Christ

[Sandra's Note: The best information on the recent changes to the washing and anointing ritual can be found at http://www.josephlied.com ]

January 21, 2005
Dear Sandra,

Has anyone every published a psychological profile of Joseph Smith? I am curious to know what went on inside of his mind. How much of his theology did he actually believe, and how much did he know was fraudulent, and how much of it was mixed up or confused in his own mind. I am also curious about the psychological profiles of Brigham Young, Spencer W. Kimball, and the body of the General Authorities today verses 150 years ago. It seems that the General Authorities in the 1800's were much more charismatic in their calling as special witness. Many of the early LDS general authorities reported having heavenly visions and/or angelic visitations. I do not of one single modern LDS general authority claiming to have seen angels or experience the physical presence of Jesus Christ (Second Comforter), or of having visions, or anything extraordinary that would set them apart as a "special witness".

Thank you for your ministry,

[Sandra's Note: In regards to Smith's mental condition, see these books:

There is also some on this in past newsletters:

I don't know of similar studies of other LDS Church presidents. After Joseph F. Smith's dream/vision of 1918 (D&C 138) there seems to have been a lack of claims of supernatural visitors or visions. In fact, other than Joseph F. Smith's dream, every 'revelation' in the LDS Church from 1890 on seems to be subtracting from prior revelation, rather than adding to it. Mormons used to defend their additional scriptures by an appeal to the Bible, that God adds 'line upon line, precept upon precept.' But where is the claim or evidence of revelation in the LDS Church leadership today?

In 1890 they cancelled the practice of polygamy, a prior revelation (compare D&C 132 with D&C, Declaration 1). In the early 1900's they started a process of removing embarrassing parts of the temple ceremony, which supposedly was given by revelation. Then they started changing the temple undergarment, supposedly designed by God, to make it conform better to current fashion.

In 1978 they lifted the ban on blacks holding the priesthood (D&C, Declaration 2). Was the ban originally instituted by God? If not, why did it take a 'revelation' to change the 'practice.' It appears that blacks were originally banned from priesthood due to public opinion and the policy rescinded for the same reason.

Current changes in Mormon doctrine and practice seems to come more from public opinion, surveys and trial runs (such as when they went to the Sunday three-hour block of meetings, which was tested in a few stakes before full implementation). I believe the current leaders know they don't get direct 'revelations'. It appears they are fast approaching a closed canon, where the claim of 'revelation' has been replaced with a claim of 'inspiration.' What's next? decanonization of whole books of modern-day scripture?]

January 22, 2005
Subject: Please help

I am writing because as I was on the internet, I found audio of Sandra Tanner explaining her journey in leaving the LDS church. As I listened, I thought if the great grand-daughter of B.Young can have enough sense to leave the church, its possible for anyone. I am writing to ask you for all the help/advice you can give me.

When I was 18, my girlfriend . . . was a Mormon, but I was always told "we believe the same thing as you do, only ours is in addition to the teachings of Christ." So I never gave much thought. When we were 20 we got married, . . .

Though in the past, I was basically "forced" to hear the teachings of the missionaries, again I never gave it much thought. I was a member of my family church, and the pastor at the time, we were having problems with and he wasn't very good on cosulting. Then it was as if God was working, we got a Pastor who is excellent, I became more involved with my church and as time past, I got to study the Bible more and more.

It started a few questions has now lead to main hobby after family and work. I have done all the research I can up to this point, and have become very knowledgable in the Bible and the Mormon religion. Actually, my church and other churches in my small town, when they are doing a study on other religions, they discretely ask me to teach the class for a few weeks. My wife is still in the Mormon church.

Her parents are and she is very close to them. We started to do a study, and when I bring up points and show how the Bible states other than what they are saying, she gets mad and will not talk to me. Or she'll blow it off and throw something at me, she doesnt think I can disprove. (like no paid ministry). When again I show her and the missionaries what the Bible says, it gets twisted like crazy. Now her entire family but her is moving from the east coast to Utah. I feel that this is my chance to really show her, but the problem is and my question is...With all this knowledge, I don't know where to begin or how to approach it. I don't want to lose my wife, but I dont want my kids to grow up LDS. Any suggestions on how to handle this delicate situation? Your help and any resources would be a help that I can not describe.

Thank you

[Steve's Note: Unfortunately, as you now know Mormons do not believe the same thing as Christians. They have very different teachings when it comes to such core beliefs as their view of God, Jesus, the Bible and salvation.

I would encourage you to try to develop the situation into one where you can study Mormon teaching and Christianity together as a joint project instead of allowing it to remain where you are studying and reading against one another. By being willing to sit down and read the information together you can both learn a great deal more than you ever would apart.

In order to talk with your wife more effectively, you should first read our article online titled, Sharing Your Faith with Latter-day Saints. You may also be helped by reading any of the books which I have listed below.

As for your desire to have her read something which she might believe, there are several books we offer that are written by LDS authors and yet are eye-opening books. You can get these books either through us or in many cases through the LDS store Deseret Book [www.deseretbook.com].

[Additional note from Sandra: You might want to order the packet of LDS references. See: Godhead and Virgin Birth Photocopies. Then you two could read through them and compare them with the Bible and Book of Mormon.]

January 23, 2005
Subject: Authenticity of the Book of Mormon.

... Recent archaelogical evidence within the last year found in California with Hebraic writings found on a knife imbedded in a tree tend to confirm what I have always believed about the Book of Mormon.—That it is indeed authentic. What Joseph Smith didn't say leads me to as much of this testimony by what he did say.

To me there would be no reason for him to be fradulent with inventing the story of a Book of Mormon. All he would to have done is simply make up a better translation of the bible by itself. If he were to have been fradulent, I don't think that he would have mentioned the details of how some unseen power siezed upon him so as to bind his tongue so that he could not speak during his first vision.

The three wittnesses would have denied the Book of Mormon having been excommunicated from the church and that would have been the end of that. Never would three individuals have more reason to deny a fraud than they for they were excommunicated and cut off from the church.


[Sandra's Note: Even your own LDS defenders know the knife story is a hoax. See:


As for the witnesses, see:

Keep studying.]

January 24, 2005
Subject: Money and the Mormon Church

Reading your web site information about the Mormon Church Authorities getting paid, you might be able to get a lot better information if you would check the pay of Board of Directors of public Church owned companies where the General Authorities sit as board members. Back in the old days, they included ZCMI, Beneficial Life, and a number of other wholly (excuse the pun) owned businesses. They held stock in a number of other companies - in some cases enough to put leaders on the Board of Directors of those companies and to have to register with the SEC .

When I worked for ZCMI as a computer operator about 30 years ago, I remember printing Director paychecks for all the Board of Directors (who were the Council of the Presidency and the Twelve Apostles). It was a small amount, but I remember thinking that if all the Church owned companies were doing this, they were getting pretty good pay. At the time I was concerned about the Church teaching that they received no pay, and yet I was cutting check for them! And I know most of them didn't attend the Stock holders meetings, and probably didn't do their due diligence as ZCMI directors. I remember writing to President Joseph Fielding Smith about this and getting a letter back from President Nathan Eldon Tanner (Jerald - are you related to him?) saying that the Church was going to get out of most of its businesses. I don't think this has been the case and think the Time estimate of $30 billion net worth is understated.

How would one find a list of companies upon which the General Authorities sit and their pay? How would one determine how much the Church is worth? At one time I know they owned the biggest cattle ranch in the continental US in Florida (I think there was a bigger one in Hawaii at the time). The money and the Church would be an interesting subject for an extensive study and book. Has anyone done that recently? I don't believe that there is anything that Jesus was rich - but that is another story), but hidding the fact and preaching that is a lay ministry seems to me to be wrong. Perhaps they have got smarter now and compensate their leaders differently than they did then as to hide the method and amount. Perhaps they even practice the United Order now, but I doubt it! ;-) By the way, my great great-grandfather, John Blyth, was the leader at the only attempt of the United Order in SLC during Brigham's day. So much for that attempt!

Thanks for your site,

[Sandra's Note: Most, if not all, of the LDS General Authorities were told to resign from their business boards a few years ago. I suspect the church raised their 'modest living allowance' to compensate for this. The most recent information on LDS Church finances is in the book Mormon America.

Mike Quinn has some good information on church finances at:


Here is a Mormon site talking about the church holdings.


Also check out the section called 'MormonHoldings' at:



http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Meadows/1247/finance.htm ]

January 24, 2005
I recently did a name search on familysearch.org under Djugashvili which is Joseph Stalin's real last name and lo and behold, the temple work was done for Stalin! Are there any other infamous mass murders of hundreds of thousands or millions besides Stalin and Hitler whose temple work has been done?


[Sandra's Note: Yes, they have done most of Hitler's top aides.


Here are links to articles on the subject.

See the article on our site about Hitler: The Mormon Church Attempts to Conceal Temple Records for Adolf Hitler.

For those wanting information on Stalin's real name, see:

http://www.pwhce.org/rus/stalin.html ]

January 24, 2005
Subject: Are you related to?

I was surfing the web so to speak when I came across your web site and wondered if you were actually related to N. Eldon Tanner? Not that it makes any difference, but I did wonder.

Still afraid of dogma programmed within me, it does make a difference in what I read. Am really attempting to "desensitize" myself but also know it takes time. In fear, I have never spoken about the Temple rituals or other "oaths" I have taken to keep the Church as legitimate/pure as it wants to be.

I have a similar story to many of the women/or men who write online but am still afraid to state that at best, this religion is cultist and wrong. One day I hope to work through this. At this point, no religion holds any interest for me...I hope to get through this and discover I am at atheist.

Interestingly enough, even as a child I questioned the validity of the Joseph Smith story and all the prosecution the saints went through.

Thank whoever, I had some sense of sanity even at a child (although It was pretty much beaten out of me).

I hope to reprogram soon.

Thanks for listening.

[Sandra's Note: Yes, Jerald is a distant cousin of Nathan Tanner. (See my answer to the letter of January 8, 2005.) They both descend from John Tanner, who converted to Mormonism back in Kirtland, Ohio in the early 1830's.

You might find the following book and tape a help in your journey.

Combatting Cult Mind Control

And my two talks on the Struggles of Leaving Mormonism.]

January 24, 2005
Subject: Thank You!!

I wanted to take the time and personally thank you for your website. My husband and I have finally gotten answers to so many questions that we never dared to look up before. It was our nonmember friends who kept asking us questions. Our answers were weak at best.

We went to the web to find out a few truths and opened Pandoras Box. We are in a state of shock and I admit we are angry. The latter we are trying to let go of. My husbands ancestors came accross the plains so this is tougher for him. My mother was a convert when I was young. . .

The control of the church has taken its toll on us over the years. I have felt so overwhelmed at times trying to do everything that was asked of us. We haven't yet proceeded to take our names off of the rolls. I am fearful of what will happen since I have five children . . . My oldest daughter was to start YW this Sunday, of course that won't happen. I don't want to be excommunicated when we haven't done anything wrong. We have had current recommends for 13 years+. I have ordered some books which I know will be of some benefit to us. If you have any suggestions to help us recover let us know. I only wish there was a support group. It would be nice to know if others feel like we do. We are now attending a community church and I feel it's helping. I know it will take time.

Thanks Again!!!

With Love,

[Sandra's Note: Thanks for writing. This is a hard time of transition, but truth is always worth the pain. Here are the titles of some books that might be of help.

One woman's struggle in leaving Mormonism is given in Out of Mormonism.

A man's struggle in leaving Mormonism is outlined in Ins and Outs of Mormonism.

A good book dealing with the emotional problems of leaving one's belief system is Out of the Cults and into the Church.

Reasoning from the Scriptures with the Mormons deals with Bible verses misused by LDS.

As for a ex-LDS support group, contact www.irr.org/mit

Also you might enjoy these tapes of mine: Sandra Tanner Tape No. 2, Sandra Tanner Tape No. 4.

May God bless your search.]

January 26, 2005
Subject: The Cross in Mormonism

I am not a Mormon, but I am doing research on Mormonism for a potential article. Is it true that you do not find the Cross in Mormon temples and churches (or whatever their regular meeting places are called)?

Thanks, and God bless.

[Sandra's Note: Right, they do not use the symbol of the cross. See our General FAQ Question #11 and Gethsemane and Christ's Blood in LDS References.

Here is a quote from New Era, an LDS magazine for their youth:

Questions and Answers

Answers are intended for help and perspective, not as pronouncements of Church doctrine.

I have a friend who is a member of another religion and who asked me why we dont wear crosses or have crosses on our buildings. Why dont we?

We do not use the cross as a symbol on our chapels, temples, or on our scriptures or in jewelry.

President Gordon B. Hinckley explained the reason in a talk delivered in general conference. He told about talking to a Protestant minister following a temple open house. The minister had asked why there were no crosses anywhere if we say we believe in Jesus Christ. President Hinckley answered, I do not wish to give offense to any of my Christian brethren who use the cross on the steeples of their cathedrals and at the altars of their chapels, who wear it on their vestments, and imprint it on their books and other literature. But for us, the cross is the symbol of the dying Christ, while our message is a declaration of the living Christ.

He then asked, If you do not use the cross, what is the symbol of your religion?

I replied that the lives of our people must become the only meaningful expression of our faith and, in fact, therefore, the symbol of our worship (The Symbol of Christ, New Era, Apr. 1990, p. 4).

President Hinckley further explained, On Calvary he was the dying Jesus. From the tomb he emerged the living Christ. Because our Savior lives, we do not use the symbol of his death as the symbol of our faith. But what shall we use? No sign, no work of art, no representation of form is adequate to express the glory and the wonder of the Living Christ. He told us what that symbol should be when he said, If ye love me, keep my commandments (John 14:15) (pp. 6, 7).

Even though we do not believe in using the cross as a symbol in our Church, we do not criticize others for wearing or using the cross in their religions. We should understand that the cross is significant and sacred to them. In fact, the 11th article of faith says, We claim the privilege of worshiping Almighty God according to the dictates of our own conscience, and allow all men the same privilege, let them worship how, where, or what they may. [A of F 11]

We focus on the great atonement of our Savior, his sacrifice for us that makes eternal life possible. We think of his life and sacrifice every Sunday during the sacrament. Our testimonies become the precious things that we bear, along with our obedience, to show we are true followers of Christ. (Q&A: Questions and Answers, New Era, Sept. 1996, p. 17)

You can do a search on LDS magazines by going to the LDS site, www.lds.org, go to Gospel Library, then go to Church Publications, HTML.]

January 26, 2005
Subject: age & polygamy


I admire your work and guts!

I think I even plowed down your lamp post once when I was in highschool (30 something years ago)! My dad and I came back and fixed it up. Actually I wasn't driving but it was my car. I wasn't old enough to legally drive yet.

Anyway, I've always thought it would be interesting to see a study on "subsequent wives' ages" in polygamy. Not believing that this was all in a spiritual nature, my "gut" tells me that the ages, in general, got progressively younger.

Are there any studies that you can point me towards?


[Sandra's Note: We have a lot of information on Smith's polygamy on our site, see Topical Index: Joseph Smith: Polygamy. However, we have not put together a list of his wives for the internet. Here is a link to a site that has short, biographical information on thirty three of his wives:


The book In Sacred Loneliness gives biographical sketches, ages, etc. of the 33 most documented wives of Smith.

Brodie's book, No Man Knows My History has a list, as well as our book, Joseph Smith and Polygamy. Both lists are longer than Compton's.

I don't have a study on the ages of plural wives in Utah. However, since the census records show there were always more men in Utah territory than women, it seems logical that the demand for more wives would continually drive down the age.]

January 26, 2005
Subject: The Sealed Portion of The Book of Mormon

To Whom It May Concern:

I left the LDS Church years ago because of the brillant work of Jerald and Sandra Tanner.

Yet, after all those years of being out of the Church and reading many of your publications, I still held hope that God was real, and felt this every day of my life.


Not only has it taken me back to my roots, but I know it is the work of the Father.

Now I feel sorry that I gave in to your publications and trusted in you.

Miraculously I found this new website containing WITHOUT A DOUBT the sealed portion of the book of Mormon.

I read the whole thing and contacted Christopher Nemelka and met with him personally.

He has all the power, charisma, intelligence, even down to the extraordinary physical features of a TRUE prophet of God. His humility is masked by his handsome and young features, yet the power of his words thrilled me to no end.

I am afraid that Utah Lighthouse Ministries and the LDS Church have met their match, sent by our Father to confound both of your false doctrines.

I would like to see you confound Christopher Nemelka and The Sealed Portion, The Final Testament of Jesus Christ like you did Joseph Smith and The Book of Mormon. Luckily for the world, Christopher is alive and can defend himself and this work against your onslaught of half-truths. You have got to meet this prophet of God; he's like no other you could imagine for yourself.

His website is: www.thesealedportion.com


Good luck in finding truth. IT'S FINALLY HERE!!!!

[Sandra's Note: One must first establish that the Book of Mormon is historical before trying to convince people of a sequel. Since I believe the Book of Mormon is a novel written in the nineteenth century, then the "sealed portion" of Mr. Nemelka's would be a novel of the twenty-first century. I leave it to our readers to decide.]

January 26, 2005
Subject: Recent changes in the initiatory ceremony?

Have you heard anything about recent changes to the initiatories ceremony? Apparently no longer is a cape worn with open sides, but a jumper that zips right underneath the neck. In addition, each body part is not anointed but instead just one anointing is done on the head.

This change apparently occurred sometime in the past two weeks. Do you have any news on why?

Thanks for your help

[Sandra's Note: Yes, several changes were made. When members now goes to the temple for their washing and anointing rite (or for the dead) they are given the one-piece garment to put on in the locker area. They then place the white shield/poncho over the garment, then proceed to the cubical for the water and oil anointings. The attendant no longer helps the person put on the garment. The poncho is now sewn up the sides and the attendant does not touch the body as the prayers are being said, but only anoints the forehead. For more details, see www.josephlied.com]

[Web-editor: More information on the changes is now also available in our #104 Messenger, Temple Ritual Changed...Again.]

January 27, 2005
Subject: Why??

My question is this, why would anyone seeking to find out truth about Mormonism come to you, an apparent anti-mormon, for answers? That would be like going to a jeweler to find out why your car is not working properly expecting him/her to be able to fix the problem.

If you must, then why not disparage other religions, since they don't all agree anyway. And why don't they agree? Because all men do not agree on all things, there must be opposition in all things, 2 Nephi 2:11. But please turn your investigation of religion and truth to all religions and stop bashing just one. I'm sorry you feel the need.


A devout Mormon, continuing to do all the good I can without trying to deceive.

[Sandra's Note: A better analogy would be, why would anyone seeking truth ask the tobacco companies if their product is harmful? Obviously they have too much at stake to be honest. One must look outside the corporation's PR department for full discloser. It is the same with Mormonism. ]

January 28, 2005
Hello, I was looking for a quote from Brigham Young, where he says something like, "take the Bible and compare it to the book of Mormon and if there are differences get rid of the book of Mormon". can you give me this quote, I am looking to start a Bible Study . . . and would like this quote if you have it.


[Sandra's Note: I think you are combining the thoughts of two different quotes, one by Brigham Young and one by Orson Pratt.

Brigham Young, Journal of Discourses Vol. 16, p.46:

I say to the whole world, receive the truth, no matter who presents it to you. Take up the Bible, compare the religion of the Latter-day Saints with it, and see if it will stand the test. We preach the Gospel, gather the people of God from all nations [p.47] tongues and people, and build up the kingdom of God on the earth, and this calls for manual labor, the affections of the heart, and the devotion of all our powers. God bless you. Amen.

Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, Number 1:

This book must be either true or false. If true, it is one of the most important messages ever sent from God to man, affecting both the temporal and eternal interests of every people under heaven to the same extent and in the same degree that the message of Noah affected the inhabitants of the old world. If false, it is one of the most cunning, wicked, bold, deep-laid impositions ever palmed upon the world, calculated to deceive and ruin millions who will sincerely receive it as the word of God, and will suppose themselves securely built upon the rock of truth until they are plunged with their families into hopeless despair. The nature of the message in the Book of Mormon is such, that if true, no one can possibly be saved and reject it; if false, no one can possibly be saved and receive it. Therefore, every soul in all the world is equally interested in ascertaining its truth or falsity.

. . . If, after a rigid examination, it be found an imposition, should be extensively published to the world as such; the evidences and arguments upon which the imposture was detected, should be clearly and logically stated, that those who have been sincerely yet unfortunately deceived, may perceive the nature of the deception, and be reclaimed, and that those who continue to publish the delusion, may be exposed and silenced, not by physical force, neither by persecutions, bare assertions, nor ridicule, but by strong and powerful arguments—by evidences adduced from scripture and reason. Such, and such only, should be the weapons employed to detect and overthrow false doctrines—to reclaim mankind from their errors, to expose religious enthusiasm, and put to silence base and wicked impostors. (Orson Pratt, Divine Authenticity of the Book of Mormon, p.1)

A scanned image of Pratt's statement can be seen at:

http://www.irr.org/mit/WDIST/wdist-cm-dvnauth-bomp1.html ]

January 29, 2005
Subject: Some interesting info

I tried going to UtahLighthouseMinistry.org and came to realize that it is a COUNTERFIET of your site, sort of like Mormonism itself which is a COUNTERFIET of Christianity... Oh well. . . .

God bless you;

[Sandra's Note: Evidently there are several of these bogus sites. More on this later.]

[Web-editor: More information about this is now in our #104 Messenger, Ministry Files Lawsuit.]

January 29, 2005
It got to a point where I had to decide to make the final break or like so many others just "fence sit" - I am not a fence sitter by nature so the ideal opportunity presented itself when the Home Teachers visited and gave a lesson on "Peace of Mind and Peace of Conscience" - I realised I had neither.

I have since given my letter asking my name to be removed and thought you might be interested in my approach - because while I was ignorant about so much before I was also blissfully happy.

I am travelling a road that looks steep at the moment and while attending the Methodist church know that it will take a while to get rid of so much baggage. Thanks for all the information posted over the past few months which I have had access to - I would have been none the wiser had it not been for the internet.

January 19th 2005


I wish to place on record that I would like to have my name removed from the membership list of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, effective immediately.

It is with a certain amount of sadness that I have come to make this decision as the past 20 plus years have been some of the happiest times in my spiritual journey. I would like it to be known that my decision has not come easily and has not come as a result of what anyone in the church has done but because of my inability to now accept certain church doctrines, beliefs and history as being of God.

I am leaving the church without any animosity - some of the finest people I know are church members and I would like to mention at this point that I also believe that some of the church programmes provided, are of an uplifting and character building nature and I have benefited tremendously from them.

As I pack away the memories in the church corner of my ever grateful heart, I will do my best to keep a promise to myself - to use what I have learned which is good and let go of that which I feel is not.

I wish to express my thanks and gratitude to everyone who has crossed my path in the church who with a sincere heart loved me for who I am.

With Love,

January 30, 2005
Subject: Membership Status

If a Mormon converts to and is later baptised in another Christian church, what is his status in the Mormon Church?

[Sandra's Note: One is still listed on the LDS Church membership rolls, even after joining another church, unless/until one goes through the formal process of writing a letter to terminate membership and the bishop or stake president acts on the letter.

Since many people never go through the process of terminating their membership after leaving, the number of members claimed by the LDS Church becomes suspect.]

January 30, 2005
Subject: Land of Bountiul

I am a life long Mormon (39yrs.). I haven't always been active and married a non-Mormon. Never been to the temple (and now I'm not sure I ever want to). I have stopped attending church because I just have too many doubts of its truthfulness.

My question is that of a comment I read on the Jeff Lindsay web site today about how accurate Joseph Smiths description of the Land of Bountiful is. How could he (Joseph) have described it so well if he had no knowledge of it? Can you help me with this?

Thanks so much,

[Sandra's Note: Mormons often claim that there was insufficient information available in Joseph Smith's day for him to have invented the story of Lehi's travels through Arabia in 1 Nephi 16. However, the Book of Mormon is so vague as to be open for any number of guesses on locations.

There were maps of Arabia available in Smith's day. A common school book was Geography Made Easy. In it the author discusses Arabia and refers to the fertile area "Arabia Felix" (which would be the Yemen area):

"Arabia Felix is so called on account of its fertility with regard to the rest.

"The Arabs in the desert live in tents, and remove from place to place, partly for the sake of pasture, and partly to lie in wait for the caravans, whom they often rob, as they travel over part of this desert. Arabia Felix produces frankincense, myrrh, balm of Gilead, gum Arabic, and coffee, of which latter they export prodigious quantities." (Geography Made Easy by Jedidiah Morse, 1813, p.335-6)

(By the way, p. 356 mentions the "Comora Islands" off the coast of Africa. The capital is Moroni but isn't named in Morse's book.)

Bible scholars discussed the Queen of Sheba and Arabia in various commentaries and study guides. They discussed the various commodities available in the area. One of the Bible commentaries of Smith's day was one done by Adam Clarke, first published in 1810. It is still in print today. His section on 1 Kings talked about the queen of Sheba and mentioned "Arabia Felix" :

"Verse 1. When the queen of Sheba heard] As our Lord calls her queen of the south (Matt.xii.42), it is likely the name should be written Saba, Azab, or Azaba, all of which signify the south....Those who contend that she was queen of the Sabaeans, a people of Arabia Felix, towards the southern extremity of the Red Sea, find several proofs of their opinion 1. That the Sabaeans abounded in riches and spices....All sorts of trees their several countries know" (Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary, 1 Kings:10)

Adam Clarke further commented:

And they came to Ophir, and fetched from thence gold, four hundred and twenty talents, and brought it to king Solomon.

[And they came to Ophir] No man knows certainly, to this day, where this Ophir was situated. There were two places of this name; one somewhere in India, beyond the Ganges, and another in Arabia, near the country of the Sabaeans, mentioned by Job, <Job 22:24>: ... (Adam Clarke Commentary, 1 Kings 9:28)

At another place Clarke commented:

Isaiah 21:13—The burden upon Arabia. In the forest in Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies of Dedanim. (Adam Clarke's Bible Commentary)

Clarke commented on Psalms 70:10:

The kings of Tarshish and of the isles shall bring presents: the kings of Sheba and Seba shall offer gifts....

[The kings of Sheba and Seba] Both countries of Arabia. From the former came the queen of Sheba, to hear the wisdom of Solomon. And she brought exceeding great presents or gifts, but not in the way of tribute, for Solomon had no jurisdiction in her country. (Adam Clarke Commentary)

The Bible could also provide information to Smith:

Ezek 27:22-24—

The merchants of Sheba and Raamah, they were thy merchants: they occupied in thy fairs with chief of all spices, and with all precious stones, and gold.

Haran, and Canneh, and Eden, the merchants of Sheba, Asshur, and Chilmad, were thy merchants.

These were thy merchants in all sorts of things, in blue clothes, and broidered work, and in chests of rich apparel, bound with cords, and made of cedar, among thy merchandise.

I King 10:1-2—

And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the LORD, she came to prove him with hard questions.

And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

Another popular commentary of Smith's day was Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary. Below are his thoughts on 1 Kings 10:1-13—Visit of the queen of Sheba:

We have here an account of the visit which the queen of Sheba made to Solomon, no doubt when he was in the height of his piety and prosperity. Our Saviour calls her the queen of the south, for Sheba lay south of Canaan. The common opinion is that it was in Africa; ...But it is more probable that she came from the south part of Arabia the happy. It should seem she was a queen regent, sovereign of her country. (Matthew Henry's Bible Commentary)

Such references could give a creative mind plenty of ideas for a story in Arabia.

For further reading see:

You might find this pamphlet interesting:

http://www.skepticfiles.org/evo2/bomarche.htm ]

January 30, 2005
Subject: Sent letter

I sent my letter to withdraw from Mormon church. If they give me a bad time then I will resort to verbal abuse, but MY LORD JESUS CHRIST does not want me to do that.

The only good thing I will say about Joseph Smith is whatever mixture he put in his books it created an intense loyalty in members.

The bad things I will say, you probably know already. He was a documented pedophile, sharing 14 year old wives with their young husbands, called adultery? He was an adulterer, pedophile, liar, and all those other adjectives I am too angry to think of.

I tried to be 'good' but never could tithe as was so much in debt when I met the Mormons I have very small income, am 80, disabled can't work and who would give an 80 year old a job in preference to a 40 year old? Whatever, had a visit from 2 Mormon ladies, one was a lady, the other one I feel like called an evil witch, but the discussion was not uplifting, so I made a vow to myself as well as to MY LORD, I will never set foot in Mormon church again, no matter if they refuse to take my name from their lists. I have had it with this phony church and all the temple garments.

Sorry, I feel so mean.

January 31, 2005
Subject: temple sophistries

Greetings from Texas - we have recently been overwhelmed with construction of more LDS temples and I'd like you to tell me a source from which I could obtain transcripts of temple ceremonies.

Thank you,

[Sandra's Note: Here are some web sites with information:

On the most recent changes, see:

We also have a book with several of the different versions of the ceremony. See: Evolution of the Mormon Temple Ceremony: 1842-1990.]

[Web-editor: More information on the changes is now also available in our #104 Messenger, Temple Ritual Changed...Again.]

January 31, 2005
Subject: mormons/jews

Is there any correlation between Mormonism and ancient Judaism? I recently opened my family's New Era and found a short article on the apostacy. I still don't understand this doctrine. How did Christianity fall because all the apostles were killed. That means that real Christianity didn't exist after 100 A.D. I just don't believe that new apostles were not called. That is never, ever explained. It is assumed they didn't. Circumstantial evidence is given for all kinds of lost doctrines. Why are there no ancient books of Nephi or Alma found within the ruins of Meso-American temples. Because the Spaniards burned a lot of records. So ALL Nephite/Lamanite recorded histories were burned at that time? Or the Nicean council given as evidence that the false doctrine of the Trinity was set up to replace the true doctrine of three personages and a physical God. First of all, why would people be so negligent as to simply change doctrines to their whim (or let other's do so AND follow it.) Second, is there any correlation that ancient Jews believed in a physical God. I am tired of conjecture used to explain simple issues.

Thank you,

[Steve's Note: The correlation between Mormonism and Judaism exists primarily only in the thinking of Mormons. Many Mormons believe in the idea that they are part of the house of Israel.

In Mormon thinking the apostasy must have occurred otherwise Joseph Smith's claim to bringing about a restoration as a true prophet of God would be called into question. And since Joseph Smith is believed to be a prophet of God and said there was a complete apostasy, Mormons believe that it must have occurred. Obviously, this is a form of circular reasoning.

Unfortunately for Mormons there is no evidence that would support their claims that the early Christian church believed or practiced anything resembling the current teachings of the LDS Church. The idea that with the death of the apostles came the end of true Christianity runs counter to what Jesus himself promised when he said in Matthew 16:18 that he "will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."

There is no reason to believe that the Jews believed in a physical God as Mormons describe him to be. The Jews stood in stark contrast to the nations surrounding them and declared positively that no idol or graven image could accurately represent God. God himself stated in the ten commandments the idea that making God into any kind of image would be unacceptable to Him. The New Testament warns of worshiping the creature rather than the creator.

You may be interested in reading the following articles we have online.


January 31, 2005
Subject: Don't Get It

First off, thanks for all the great book choices. I am going to order some of the new ones on your site since we keep a fairly extensive "lending library" for friends who are interested in comparing Mormonism and Christianity.

Secondly, I check out the Letters to the Editor every month and I am totally blown away by the questions that you get from Mormons. They "don't get it" or, as we here in AZ say, they are "a taco short of a combination plate". They have no problem sending missionaries all over the world to try to convert the unsuspecting and uneducated ( religiously speaking ) and yet they have a problem with your website posting information that is not only verifiable, it's often from their own church!

Your site is fabulous and I recommend it to everyone with whom I discuss religious issues. God Bless!

January 31, 2005
Last year I read a book called "over the edge, death in grand canyon" It gave quite an account of two men from Powell's expedition of the Colorado river, who were murdered by mormon's in a ward building. If you are not aware of it I can give you more info, it was pretty interesting.

God Bless,

(great ministry you have)

[Sandra's Note: Sorry, haven't read the book. You might enjoy reading our article: 1869 Murder in a Mormon Ward House?]

January 31, 2005
Dear Tanners,

Thank you so much for your wonderful website and your passion to present the truth.

My wife and I were raised in the mormon church and lived along the Wasatch range. Four and five years ago we came to a saving knowledge of Jesus and now know what it means to have a personal relationship with Jesus.

We now belong to an email ministry (www.witforjesus.org) that responds to questions and concerns about the mormon faith.

The reason for my email is to find a copy of the August 2001 Ensign magazine that has an article addressing temple ordinances and how these ordinances should never be altered or changed. Our subscription stopped in June of 2001, thinking we would never want to read any of this stuff again.

If you can help us find a copy of this issue or some other official LDS source that addresses this statement, we would greatly appreciate any help.

God Bless you and your ministry

[Sandra's Note: The LDS Church has many of their past Ensigns online at their website. Go to www.lds.org, press on 'gospel library', under 'church publications' you can get the article either as text or as the page actually looked.]