473: Sandra Tanner Pt. 2 — LDS Apostles, First Vision, Books of Mormon and Abraham, and Mark Hofmann

In part 2 of our interview with Sandra Tanner, Sandra discusses challenges that she and her late husband had with Joseph Smith’s First Vision, the Book of Mormon, the Book of Abraham, along with her interactions with Joseph Fielding Smith, Legrand Richard, and famous Mormon forger and murderer Mark Hofmann.



49 comments for “473: Sandra Tanner Pt. 2 — LDS Apostles, First Vision, Books of Mormon and Abraham, and Mark Hofmann

  1. Cack
    May 22, 2014 at 11:15 am

    These are great stories. Thanks so much for sharing- enjoyed both parts 🙂 Now I can do a little more research regarding the books, etc mentioned. 🙂

  2. George2
    May 22, 2014 at 11:43 am

    The Hoffman story never ceases to fascinate me. Have read a lot about it, but hearing a first hand account from Sandra, makes it even more interesting.

  3. Bob
    May 22, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    So if I understand correctly, the Church has in it’s possession the actual seer stone Joseph used to “translate” the Book of Mormon per an interview you had with Grant Palmer which is not likely ever going to be put on display.

    Now we discover that the only ones who claimed the Hoffman documents were a forgery were the Tanners who on every other topic have been forthright and honest while the Church “leaders” have been trying for 5 decades to silence them. No doubt the Church was planning to buy these documents from Hoffman so they could display them for everyone to see just like the seer stone.

    Should we put this on the shelf of questions to ask that will all be answered in the next life?

    I shake my head at the thought I was so duped by such ridiculous nonsense for so many years. The only life that I know I get to have for sure and I got swindled out of it supporting an organization so fraught with deceit.

    All that time…all that money. And now my wife and children.

    To quote the famous Peanuts character Charlie Brown, “Rats”!

    Thanks for sharing this John.

    And thanks to Sandra Tanner for sharing her story. I too was one of those who had been taught that the Tanners were among the worst of worst “enemies of the Church”. I’m betting she never expected to see the Church having to come forward the way it has. Perhaps a little vindication here? Too bad Jerold is not around to see this.

    • WhyNot
      May 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm

      People should accept and live the Ten Commandments even if they are not likely to see the stone tablets on which they were written. We don’t have to see the seer stone nor the Urim and Thummim (two seer stones in a breastplate) to believe and accept the Book of Mormon.

      The Tanners were not the only ones who thought the Hoffman documents might be forgeries. They were the only ones who publically declared that suspicion, but Church leaders and scholars would have suspected that was the case because of the bizarre nature of the Salamander story. The Church only bought them after being assured by experts that they were authentic. Pres. Hinckley called it being tricked. But the Church would not have wanted to publicize that suspicion in order to avoid a catfight in public until other worldly scholars had had a chance to fully and carefully examine the documents sometime in the future with new technology.

      In this world of free agency, God allows his prophets to express a personal opinion now and again and even be tricked. Examples include Jacob being tricked into first marrying Leah instead of Rachel and Isaac being deceived into giving the birthright blessing to Jacob Instead of Esau, Prophets of the Bible also expression personal opinions that were not official “church” doctrine including Peter comparing gentiles to unclean animals until he received the vision to start taking the the gospel to the gentiles.

      Pres. Hinckley never said that the Hoffman documents were authentic. If he ever had, that was his own personal opinion analogous to Peter’s incorrect personal opinion about gentiles..

      • Paul M.
        May 23, 2014 at 5:39 am

        Nice mental gymnastics. This logic worked for me too when I was a teenager and first found aOut about the problem. The shelf finally collapsed for me after the book of Abraham, details on polygamy, polyandry, first vision variations, and translation methods of the BOM were discovered. Not to mention the steady flow of incompetences and bad decisions made by the “prophets” from JS to present day. If this line of logic works for you, great, best of luck to you. I can also see why people like Bob decide to no longer believe.

        • WhyNot
          May 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm

          The word “reasoning” is a better term to use rather than the off-putting term “mental gymnastics.” This better wording is consistent with the scripture “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 1:18).

          Your shelf collapsed because it had not been strengthened and protected by positive interpretations of the words, actions, and events which critics misinterpret and misrepresent, sometimes accidentally and sometimes deliberately, in order to tear down belief in Christ, the Bible, the Book of Abraham, polygamy in early Church history, polyandry, First Vision, and translation methods of the Book of Mormon. Your shelf fell victim to the termites and dry rot of one-sided criticism used by critics to accuse both ancient and modern prophets of “incompetences and bad decisions.”

          Each and every anti-Mormon criticism (e.g. the Book of Abraham, polygamy in early Church history, polyandry, First Vision, and translation methods of the Book of Mormon) has a logical, sensible, reasonable, and scriptural counterargument which is often a parallel. The following is an example of an abbreviated counterargument to a tired old anti-Mormon criticism: Joseph correctly translated the Book of Abraham originally written by the hand of Abraham on papyri. After translation, these sacred papyri were delivered into the hands of a heavenly messenger, possibly Abraham himself, as the plates of the Book of Mormon were delivered to the angel Moroni. Joseph retained possession of the Sen Sen “Book of the Dead: funeral papyri. Joseph and/or his scribe cut, pasted, and sketched the Book of the Dead facsimiles to represent the original facsimiles in the Book of Mormon papyri. These modified Book of the Dead facsimiles became visual aids for people to learn approximately what the original Book of Abraham facsimiles looked like.

          For further details about the Book of Abraham controversy and for detailed explanations and impressive evidences (quotations mainly from non-LDS scholars) of the truthfulness of the Church, see “1000 EVIDENCES for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Allen H. Richardson, M.Ed, David E. Richardson, Ph.D., Artisan Enterprises, 10787 S. Coral Dune Dr. (3970West), South Jordan, Utah, 84095, 801-446-2392, allenartisan.richardson@gmail.com VOLUME 1: “The Everlasting Gospel” (500 Evidences are presented in the following chapters:) The Greatest Evidence. Evidences from the Prophecies of Church Leaders. Evidences Concerning the prophet Joseph Smith. Evidences Concerning the Pearl of Great Price (including Book of Abraham). “By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them.” Doctrines and Ordinances of the Church. Organization of the Church. Miracles in the Church Evidences concerning the Temples of the Church VOLUME 2: “Voice from the Dust:” (500 Evidences are presented in the following chapters:) Witnesses of the Book of Mormon. Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Book of Mormon Prophecy. Historical Accuracy ((Horses, elephants, iron, steel, wheel, etc.). Book of Mormon Geography. Book of Mormon Culture. Names used in the Book of Mormon. Book of Mormon Literacy. Ancient American Science. Warfare in the Book of Mormon.

          • Paul M.
            May 23, 2014 at 7:52 pm

            Are you really saying you think JS correctly translated the BOA from papyri written by the hand of Abraham, but that a heavenly messenger came and took it???

            JS never said this, nor did anyone associated with him at the time.

            Wow, believing this is a PERFECT illustustration of “mental gymnastics.” This not using reason at all…

          • kinglamoni
            May 23, 2014 at 10:00 pm

            @Whynot. You are the one with the negative interpretation. If only you could see the facts and evidence in a positive light you would see that not every thing the church teaches is true. That is a positive view to me.

          • Ed Goble
            May 24, 2014 at 11:40 am

            WhyNot, I disagree with you. I fundamentally disagree with most apologists on the issue of the book of Abraham, but not on the fact that it is true.
            But the ex-Mormons are also dead wrong on this issue. I can be categorized as an “apologist” I suppose, but my research shows that the Sensen Papyrus is indeed the Egyptian Original for the Book of Abraham, and I have reverse engineered parts of it using Joseph Smith’s Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar, “broken the code” so to speak. It is everything Joseph Smith claimed it to be, and all you have to do is take him at his word. I would recommend that individuals interested in this subject intimately familiarize themselves with my research before you buy either apologetic arguments that dodge the issue from the establishment apologetic outfits, or before you by into the arguments coming from ex-Mormons. Both sides have things that they are right about, but both sides have things that they are fundamentally wrong about. The truth of the matter is actually a strange marriage of the facts on both sides. http://egyptianalphabetandgrammar.blogspot.com/

          • Lilli
            May 24, 2014 at 1:13 pm


            Even if what you say is true about the BoA, it still doesn’t make Joseph a true prophet. I used to be as TBM as anyone, but then I applied Christ’s teachings and tested so-called ‘prophets’ like JS, and he didn’t pass Christ’s test, and that’s even assuming he was innocent of polygamy like he said he was. If he really fell for polygamy then it’s utter nonsense to think he was a true prophet, let alone a follower of Christ, for Christ condemned all polygamy, or remarriage and abuse of women, not to mention lying.

            And even if Joseph Smith was a true prophet who was innocent of polygamy, all the other leaders from BY on to today were completely corrupt and anti-Christ and taught and lived completely contrary to Joseph and Christ.

            So no matter what road you go down the Church still isn’t true today and probably never was, including no real Priesthood restored.

            When you know how to tell a true prophet from a false one then it is as easy as telling the night from the day to tell them apart and Joseph clearly doesn’t convince anyone who truly believes in and follows Christ.

            If Joseph had been a true prophet, or the Book of Mormon was true, then he and it would be a whole lot different, Joseph and his scriptures are missing a whole lot of vital truths that only true prophets teach, thus it’s what is missing that reveals he wasn’t what he said he was or that the Book of Mormon Prophet weren’t what they seem to be.

            And believe me, I was hoping Joseph was a true prophet, I even give him the benefit of a doubt he was innocent of polygamy and didn’t abuse women like others say he did, but he still falls way short of what a true prophet would need to be like to get righteous people who believe in Christ to follow or trust him.

      • Chad H
        May 23, 2014 at 2:35 pm

        I haven’t expected LDS Prophets to be infallible for a long time. In fact the Hoffman story just confirms what is logical in my mind— that LDS leaders function as men who use their minds and experience to make decisions that are no better than anyone else’s. The story also makes it clear that there was really no one among LDS leaders that was very well versed in the particulars of LDS Church history.

        And the Tanners were among the few that seriously questioned Hoffman’s forgeries. Many in the LDS history community bought into Mark’s apparent incredible luck of located find after find. The desire for new and dramatic revelations overwhelmed healthy skepticism among many in the community. LDS leadership was concerned about what harmful things the documents would reveal and historians were just excited about shiny new things.

        • May 23, 2014 at 5:51 pm

          The most fascinating question for me is whether the apostles and first presidency believe. Do some of them believe and others don’t? What happens if you’re called to be an apostle and you start to realize it isn’t true? Do you decide it’s good for people anyway, so you keep going? Do you help cover up damning history?

          This was a real-life question for me because I lived it as Bishop. I can’t imagine what it must be like as a life-time calling, that high profile.

          I wonder what Sandra Tanner thinks about whether LeGrand Richards believed when she and Jared met with him?

          • Paul M.
            May 23, 2014 at 6:23 pm

            Tal Bachman wrote an article on mormoncurtain.com that addresses why he believes no apostle would leave. Well worth the read…

          • May 23, 2014 at 7:31 pm

            Yeah, wow, Tal Bachman’s article was compelling. Now the question is, how many of the apostles still believe?

          • Erica
            May 25, 2014 at 1:03 am

            I wonder the same thing! They are smart men, so how can they see all of this contrary evidence and still claim that the church is true? Either they are not as smart as I think they are or they have some serious cognitive dissonance going on. I think Uchtdorf knows and is trying to mediate.

          • Kevin
            May 25, 2014 at 7:26 am

            It would be a bit of a Faustian bargain, wouldn’t it, if you found yourself employed in a cause for which you had doubts or even disbelief.

      • May 28, 2014 at 5:07 pm

        To WhyNot

        “People should accept and live the Ten Commandments even if they are not likely to see the stone tablets on which they were written”

        One of the ten commandments says ” Thou shall not covet thy neighbours wife”

        So why was Joe Smith marrying his followers wives?

        Another commandment or two says I am Jehovah thy God, thy shall have no gods before me.

        Yet Mormon Theology teaches to put the God Elohim First as Father God (separate from Jehovah)


        • Lilli
          May 31, 2014 at 10:02 am

          Elder Joseph,

          I agree that Joseph (if he really did live polygamy, for I don’t believe he did) would have been wrong with all the other’s who took on wives who were married or divorced from other husbands, for Christ taught remarriage is adultery and that men should not look upon a woman (let alone live with her) with lustful desires.

          But we must judge the wording of even the 10 commandments against Christ’s teachings, for even Christ commanded us to pray to his ‘Father’ God and not him. So even Christ told us to put his ‘Father who is in heaven’ before him. Clearly Christ wanted us to put his Father before himself.

          • June 7, 2014 at 12:13 pm

            “(if he really did live polygamy, for I don’t believe he did)”

            Not sure why you choose to believe he didn’t as Smith had around 33 wives. What the heck was that all about if it wasn’t polygamy. And if Smith wasn’t living polygamy then why did he come up with the D&C 132 nonsense to excuse away and attempt to legitimise his extra marital behaviour and threaten Emma’s disquiet and dissapproval for it all? Why would 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball’s Mother Violate speaking of her daughters marriage to Smith as a yew Lamb sacrifice etc?

            “So even Christ told us to put his ‘Father who is in heaven’ before him.”

            Not sure he quiet said it like that?

            The point I am making is that Mormon Theology separates Jehovah and Elohim as separate Gods and create for themselves a massive problem/contradiction as a result.

            Mormon Theology says Jesus is Jehovah and Elohim is separately The Father. Mormons are then taught to worship only Their heavenly Father Elohim as their God yet in the commandment Jehovah (Jesus according to Mormon Theology) says don’t put any Gods before Jehovah(Jesus himself).

            So it creates a contradiction in Mormonism only.

            In traditional Christian Trinitarian Theology that puts Jesus and The Father as the same God(Jehovah and Elohim being the same God)it’s not as problematic.

            Jesus is God, The Father is God, The Holy Ghost is God but not three Gods (as in Mormonism). One God.

            My point was to highlight Mormon Theological Flaws by denying long held and historical traditional Christian Trinitarian teachings.

  4. Paul M.
    May 22, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    Loved this episode and can’t wait for the next part! I enjoyed Sandra’s thought on JS deciding to form a church AT THE END of writing the BOM. Adding all that stuff in Moroni the would help with his new church. One question though…If JS was going to start a church with the BOM instead of just selling the book for money (to get out of poverty) why did JS still try so hard to SELL THE COPYRIGHT to the BOM??? I mean the guy sent people to Canada and everything, trying to SELL, SELL, SELL.

    I think JS would be so proud of LD$, Inc. if he was alive today…

    • Jason
      May 22, 2014 at 10:27 pm

      Gotta remember that Canada copyright laws most likely wouldn’t apply in the states. Not sure about how long the copyright duration lasted during that time period, too. I don’t know much about 19th century copyright, particularly internationally.

  5. Kevin
    May 23, 2014 at 4:02 am

    The journal of LeGrand Richards’ great great grandfather mentioned in the interview, Joseph Lee Robinson, is available free of charge as a PDF file or in printed format. A classic Mormon pioneer journal covering Robinson’s life from Shaftsbury, Vermont to Farmington, Utah. http://planetnielsen.com/joseph_lee_robinson/

  6. May 23, 2014 at 2:04 pm

    Incredibly fascinating. I listened last night and couldn’t stop thinking about it today.

    • WhyNot
      May 23, 2014 at 8:42 pm

      All of the apostles and First Presidency do not just believe—THEY KNOW. You could ask your same questions about the apostles at the time of Christ. Did they really believe? They not only believed—THEY KNEW. The modern apostles have not covered up history any more than the prophets of the Bible and apostles at the time of Christ on Earth ever did.

      The modern apostles follow strictly the 13th Article of Faith: “We believe in being honest, true, chaste, benevolent, virtuous, and in doing good to all men; indeed, we may say that we follow the admonition of Paul—We believe all things, we hope all things, we have endured many things, and hope to be able to endure all things. If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things.”

      The First Article of Faith for some critics (Chris included?) seems to be: “If there is anything unvirtuous, unlovely, or of BAD REPORT or unpraiseworthy in Church history, we seek after these things. Their Second Article of Faith seems to be: “If there is anything statement, event, or incident in Church history that we or other critics can interpret or have interpreted to portray Joseph Smith and the Church as unvirtuous, unlovely, or of bad report or unpraiseworthy, we seek after these things. We savor them and proclaim them to the world.”

      Of course Elder LeGrande Richards believed when he talked with Jerald and Sandra Tanner just as I believed and continue to believe after the times I have talked with them and Sandra alone after Jerald’s death. I used examples like the above (about Christ and the whip) during our discussions and said they could have attacked Christ and the Bible the same way they attacked Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon, and Church history and that they were turning people into atheists (Chris included?) rather than pulling them into other Christian churches which they indicated was their objective.

      “Damning history,” like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. What you consider “damning history” is based on your negative, worse case interpretations of words, actions, incidents, and events which faithful believers in Christ, the Bible, and the true church of Christ give positive interpretations to.

      Example from the Bible: Jesus Christ drove money-changers out of the temple twice with a whip. Some critics (you included?) give a negative interpretation to this event–that Christ was just another in a string of militant messiah figures who, in his case, tore through the temple, smashing tables and physically whipping people trying to make a living to support their families. On the other hand, the positive interpretation of that event is that Christ was and is and always will be the “Prince of Peace” who, holding a whip as a symbol of authority, tipped over some money changing tables to dramatize the seriousness of defiling the temple and stealing other people’s money. “And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matt. 21:13). Contrary to what a typical militant messiah would do, Christ suffered and bled under the whip, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross in order to save all who are willing to be saved. Rather than being a militant messiah figure, he was the Son of God, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Firstborn of the Father, a divine teacher and leader who taught the Beatitudes, the Golden Rule, turn the other cheek, walk the extra mile, love your enemies, and do good to them who hurt you.

      • May 23, 2014 at 9:40 pm

        WhyNot, my gospel essentials teacher in the early 70s was Ron Rasband, now president of the 1st Quorum of the 70. Great guy, great teacher.

        I had grown up in Birmingham, Alabama, and East Oakland and I didn’t have any white friends growing up. Seeing how whites in those places treated us (me too, since I played with blacks in the streets), and having all my friends be black (well, and one Japanese boy), it was hard for me to feel good about the black doctrine when I was investigating. But Ron helped me through it, and I read many statements by N. Eldon Tanner, Bruce R. McConkie, Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, who bore testimony and penned scripture about why blacks were denied the priesthood.

        So I did everything in my power to look at it positively and defend it as Bishop, High Councilman, etc.

        But now the church denounces what they taught about blacks. Are you saying they are putting a negative interpretation of history and that they’re now critics?

      • Pat
        May 24, 2014 at 8:25 am

        Your reply is based on the truthfulness of the Bible and of the existence of Jesus. When I was active, I, too, believed all that, but once I found the truth about Church history, I began to investigate the history of Jesus and the Bible. I was not afraid to find truth. I discovered the geologic evidence that destroys the story of a worldwide flood. And, I learned of other ancient cultures, before Jesus, who had virgins and saviors of mankind. I learned where many of the mythical stories found in the Bible came from.

        Before I left, I believed that general authorities, especially the top 15 were much closer to God than I was, that they had all seen God, and that was why they “knew”. I believed that all the prophets in this dispensation had and have seen God. But then I read in Heber J. Grant’s personal diary–“I know of no man since Joseph Smith who has seen God.” You would just say that old Heber just made a mistake. But Brigham said in the JD that he hoped that by the time he was 80, he could say that he had seen God. He died at 77 and never said that he did.

        When the first 12 apostles in this dispensation were set apart by the witness of the BoM, Oliver Cowdery admonished them, “Your ordination is not full and complete until the Savior has laid hands upon your heads,” implying of course that they would see god. So maybe a lot of prophets were missing something.

        By the way, the golden Rule did not originate with Jesus. If you were to get out of your comfort zone and study other worldwide religions, you would find that treating others the way you wish to be treated is found in nearly all religions and has been taught way before Christ.

        All of your ideas seem to be based on your small circle of LDS knowledge. But, I can see why you believe that way. I did for 41 years and I was as active as a Saint can get. A recent internet quote sure sums things up–“That which can be destroyed by truth, should be.”

        • Lilli
          May 24, 2014 at 10:29 am


          I agree that upon closer inspection the Bible proves to be so riddled with error as to be totally unreliable to take seriously. Most of it is totally contrary to even the teachings of Christ, thus most of the ancient prophets are false or fallen prophets according to Christ’s teachings.

          Even the Book of Mormon is riddles with error when you compare it with Christ’s teachings.

          We cannot trust any man’s or prophets words, in the scriptures or anywhere, if they are contrary to the few simple words of Christ, which his few words prove to hold up to the test of time and truth.

          And I realize that Christ’s ‘Golden Rule’ is nothing new, but it is still a basic foundation in any age or religion of all fair and righteous principles and people.

          Righteous people throughout history, even before Christ, or those who haven’t even heard of Christ, would have realized that the Golden Rule is necessary to maintain a peaceful happy properous free society.

          But there is another more difficult and rare principle that Christ preached and practiced and proved, which shows he knew more than most anyone else, that of Charity, True Unconditional Everlasting Pure Love, 1st & foremost in marriage, which truly sets the righteous apart from the unrighteous. Christ said only those with such love, such Charity are truly his disciples or righteous and trustworthy.

          Even his Apostles didn’t understand Charity or seem to have it or any prophet since Christ or before, especially not any LDS prophets or leaders.

          Charity is almost impossible to gain and it’s even more impossible to find anyone, ancient or modern, who possesses it. I have never known of anyone even an ancient Prophet in the scriptures, that seems to possess such Charity. I surely don’t know anyone today, especially no one in the LDS Church or it’s leaders. Thus they can’t say they are true disciples of Christ, for Christ said that is how you know if someone is his true disciple or prophet, for they will have True Love, Charity.

          Charity is most easily seen and proven in difficult marriages with an unrighteous unloving spouse, but it is practically unknown, for there is hardly no such thing as true unbreakable marriage today, today is seems everyone believes in and allows changing marriage partners as easily and often as they do buying a car.

          So while the Golden Rule is an essential basic to Christ’s teachings, ‘true love’ is the real proof of righteousness, for even evil people can live by the Golden Rule most of the time, but they can’t have or maintain true love, it’s too hard, it takes too much sacrifice and service.

          Only those who are truly Christlike can gain and maintain true love over a lifetime, especially for a spouse who doesn’t return or deserve that true love.

          And again, Christ knew that True Love was the only real way to prove that someone really followed him. For anyone can love those who love them, even the wicked, but only the truly righteous can love those who don’t love them, especially in marriage to an unfaithful unloving spouse.

          The world today or even any Churches, especially not the LDS Church, don’t seem to even believe in Christ and his teachings of true Christlike love today, though they may give it lip service.

          All Churches seem to disregard Christ’s teachings on divorce and remarriage and that it’s adultery, and thus they allow it anyway, especially the LDS Church. At least the Catholics and the Baptists and some others still acknowledge Christ’s teachings on the subject, though they may not live by it.

          Try to find anyone or any religion that truly preaches and practices True Love, Charity, Christlike Unconditional Love, and there is where you will find true righteousness and truth. That is the one teaching or practice or proof that sets the righteous apart from the unrighteous in any religion or age.

          • kinglamoni
            May 24, 2014 at 10:55 am

            How can we trust that those few words we have spoken by Christ in the Bible are correct?

          • Lilli
            May 24, 2014 at 11:58 am


            By living them and by studying history. And I believe it is common sense also. But as we look over the past 6000 years, Christ’s words prove they are the only way to keep a civilization, or even a family, going in peace and prosperity and freedom.

          • kinglamoni
            May 24, 2014 at 12:53 pm

            Lilli, I appreciate your opinion. Though I disagree.

          • Pat
            May 24, 2014 at 10:38 pm

            You agree that the Bible is riddled with error. If so, how can you know if there even was a Christ? I believed in the Book of Mormon, because I never really studied it. When I did, I found it to just be unsubstantiated stories. As a Mormon and even before, I believed in the Bible because most everyone I knew believed in it. But then I read and studied the New Testament, its origins, and learned how the name Jesus would not have been used at that time. Now I don’t believe that Jesus, if he even existed (I believe that he is a myth.), was the Son of God or was resurrected. In this way I agree with Thomas Jefferson, though I would probably be closer aligned with Thomas Paine.

            You talk of marriage. I don’t see how Christian marriages make it any easier than other ones. I’m not a Christian and I have been married 46 years to the same lady.

            You talk about no other religion preaching true love, charity, and unconditional love, what about the killing during the Crusades, or between Catholic and Protestant in Ireland. Was that love? And can an atheist be good? Or do you think that a person must be a Christian to be good?

            If you had been born in Arabia rather than the U.S., would you have grown up a Christian or a Muslem? Would you have believed that Islam was the only true religion? And if you believed that, would you be a candidate for eternal damnation? Just wondering?

          • Ryan Wimmer
            May 25, 2014 at 6:48 am

            Hi Liily, your reasoning is very circular and rather silly. Testing his teachings like being a good guy and charitable was around before he was. What about his teachings in John that is different than any other gospel? Such as being the only way to heaven? Ever tested his teaching that you can move mountain? I would like to someone try. Or his teachings about ask and ye shall receive? We both know that is false. Matthew 5:48 he said to be perfect, what does that mean and is it possible? Oh, and no where did Jesus condemn any and all polygamy, not sure where you got that.

          • Lilli
            May 25, 2014 at 12:37 pm


            I didn’t mean to say that only Christians have true love or happy marriages, it seems most don’t. And I believe that the atrocities throughout history were only ‘said’ to be done ‘in the name of God’ or by ‘Christians’ but were not really inspired of God, nor were they ‘true’ Christians with true Christlike love.

            I believe it has always been very rare to find a true follower of Christ throughout history or someone who has true unconditional love for their spouse, it seems most people believe in walking away from a marriage when their spouse stops keeping their promises to love them and treat them right or they will stay and abuse their spouse in various ways.

            I believe people in all religions or no religion at all (atheists) can believe in and gain unconditional true love. It’s just harder to have such love when you don’t believe in God and an afterlife and heaven, for usually that is when the rewards for true love come, for here and now there are usually few rewards or incentives for having true love, especially in marriage when your spouse doesn’t have true love or far from it.

            I believe true love is what saves a person no matter what religion they may have grown up in. I believe I would have grown up questioning any religion I may have been raised in (just like I questioned LDS or Christianity that I was raised in), to make sure it’s really right and respecting women and teaching true love and it’s leaders really being an example of that love, which few ever are.

            Heck, Walt Disney taught true love also, but I don’t consider him a prophet, yet his examples of true love have effected the world in great ways. Even Star Wars used the idea of True Love to melt Vader’s heart.

            Anyone can teach or gain true love, and it’s the only thing that lasts or conquers all, eventually. But is seems you have to believe in a God or the force or fairy tales to maintain it, otherwise it’s too hard and there is not enough reason to, for true love usually requires alot of sacrifice (for who is going to stay in a marriage their whole life with someone who is unfaithful or unloving? and why would they, unless a God commanded it and had rewards for them if they do.

          • Lilli
            May 25, 2014 at 1:07 pm


            I agree that it seems rather impossible to become perfect in this life and maybe it is, but we can get close, especially if we have true love. I also have never heard of anyone, except Christ, who can move mountains, but it hardly seems necessary for our salvation, so I don’t worry about that one. Having Charity is a big enough thing to worry about gaining. But many do claim to have had their prayers answered many times, even immediately, so that is up for discussion.

            As far as Christ teaching against polygamy, he did, he taught the principle that married men (or women) can’t marry another person as long as their spouse is still living or it’s adultery. Matt. 19:9., etc. Even if they divorced their spouse 1st. For God does not recognize divorce and they are really still married and thus unfaithful if they remarry someone else. For Christ’s principle was ‘married’ people can’t marry other people, they must be totally faithful to their spouse, for their entire life. Even Christ’s apostles didn’t allow polygamists to achieve significant levels in the Church, obviously something was wrong with it.

            Also, Christ taught love, compassion, charity, etc. Polygamy is the opposite of love, it is abusive, degrading, unfair and disrespectful of women’s rights and equality and it causes children to lose trust and faith in the father for hurting their mother so.

            And it is completely contrary to the Golden Rule that Christ taught. For men would not want done to them what they do to women in polygamy. What man wants to or would ‘faithfully’ sit home alone all day taking care of all the children & chores and sleep alone most nights while his wife is off being wined and dined and sleeping with many other husbands, always dating even more men, and he hardly ever gets to see her?

            Men wouldn’t put up with it and I don’t understand why women do unless they are forced to, as many are.

            So on many different levels Christ condemned polygamy, as adultery, abusive and contrary to the Golden Rule and fairness.

            Have you ever lived polygamy to know how it feels? Have you tested it? Can you honestly say you ‘like’ living alone with all the child & home responsibilities yourself, while your one and only wife is always gone and off being loved and pampered by many other husbands and men?

            I have been forced to live a form of polygamy, in the LDS Church no less, all with the current top leader’s knowledge and approval and I know it’s wrong and I believe Christ condemned it for obvious reasons.

        • mike
          May 28, 2014 at 10:52 pm

          Pat, Do you know Where I can read this heber grant quote and the BY quote you referenced? I am interested especially to see if their reference is to God, or to Jesus.

      • Tate_T
        May 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

        I remember learning the 13th AOF, but after learning more about Paul (I mean Saul), it kind-of lost some meaning and just became more ‘words’. If I recall accurately (I’m sure most of you scholars will correct me if I’m wrong), Paul/Saul:
        1) persecuted and murdered Christians prior to his conversion
        2) didn’t face any punishment for his crimes
        3) rarely (if ever) apologized or showed remorse for his crimes
        4) was a self-proclaimed apostle (13th?)
        5) claimed to have seen the resurrected Christ
        6) had no contact, teachings, or guidance from the 12 apostles
        7) claimed all his ‘gospel knowledge’ came from divine revelation (some controversial to the law of moses)
        8) convinced many to follow his teachings
        9) claimed to be the ‘Father’ of his followers (the one and only true prophet?)
        10) died in Rome, later rumored to be a martyr.

        Does some of this sound familiar? Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against all teachings of Paul, I’m just not convinced he was what he claimed to be, nor am I convinced JS was what he claimed to be. And it’s not because of all the church history/man arguments (all that is just icing on the cake), I don’t want to believe in an imperfect (then exalted) man god who is apparently a bigot, racist, and polygamist. And who apparently abandoned all his ‘children’ for ~1800 years.


        • Paul M.
          May 24, 2014 at 6:21 pm

          Don’t bad mouth my names sake!!’

  7. Lilli
    May 24, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    I agree with the Tanners on most things, I don’t believe in the LDS Church anymore either, or that the BoM or most of the Bible is true scripture (far too many errors to trust it) or that Joseph was a true prophet (for he doesn’t seem to pass Christ’s test of true prophets, nor does any church leader who followed him or who lives today)

    I don’t even believe in most ancient prophets, for it seems most of them fell from grace and preached and practiced contrary to Christ and supported or committed whoredoms.

    I don’t believe there have been any known true prophets since Christ’s day, even his own apostles didn’t seem to pass Christ’s test of true prophets, they didn’t seem to have Charity or understand or live the Gospel, despite that they learned from Christ for 3 years.

    But whatever ancient or modern prophets/scriptures may say, including Joseph Smith (for they were all often very wrong about many things), Christ taught that there are at least ‘2’ separate and distinct Gods, him and his father. He would not lie, or he couldn’t expect anyone to believe in him. He clearly taught over and over that he had a father ‘in heaven’ separate from himself, that he wasn’t even as ‘good’ as and that even he ‘followed the will of’ and told all of us to follow him too and even pray to him and not to Christ.

    It is complete confusion and nonsense to think that Christ prayed to himself, followed himself, conceived himself, plead on the cross to himself, asked himself to forgive others, etc. It makes no sense at all to think that Christ thought he was the only God or was also the Father.

    If there are passages that seem to make it sound like Christ and the Father are 1 person, then we either just don’t understand what was mean’t or the passage was translated incorrectly, or the prophet or person who said it was just wrong. We have to take Christ’s words collectively and then we easily see he taught there was another God in heaven other then himself, his Father. But yes, Christ is the God of this earth, but his Father is an even greater God.

    We can’t, with any common sense, read Christ’s words and think he was referring to himself when he referred to the Father. And where there’s a Father there’s a Mother and a Marriage and a Family with Siblings and Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, etc. etc.

    It’s just common sense and if Christ was anything he was ‘common sense’.

    And if God could be a ‘God’ without a ‘physical body’ then ‘why’ did we all have to come down to this horrible earth and suffer? We obviously wouldn’t have needed a body to progress or be happy if God himself doesn’t need one. Thus no one would have come down.

    Also, we know we will have our physical body after we die, for like Christ we will resurrect, thus why would we, having a body, have that advantage over a ‘spirit’ God? Makes no sense at all.

    Only believing Christ’s words makes sense, that he has a Father who has a body who could conceive a child (Christ) and who could lead and direct that child. It takes a body to conceive a child.

    I served a mission in Italy and I heard enough of how God is everywhere and nowhere, and the utter confusion of such vague concepts. Most Christians teach the same things as the Catholics do about God, for believing Christ has always been harder then believing in vague imaginations about God.

    Most people seem to not want to believe in a real God with a real body, for that would put too much responsibility on them and be too real. They want to keep God some mystical person they can’t really grasp.

    But Christ was very clear for those who who are willing to accept his difficult teachings.

    • Pat
      May 25, 2014 at 8:01 am


      How do you know that Christ even existed? All we have in the Bible is what someone says about him. Is your belief any different than the existence of any prophet(Alma for example)in the Book of Mormon? You would probably say: “We know he existed because it is in the Bible.” And a good Mormon would say: “We know that Alma existed because it is in the Book of Mormon.” The existence of both characters can only be proven by by looking in one book. No archaeological evidence anywhere. I just finished reading parts of an article in the 2010 National Geographic Magazine concerning archaeologists who were trying to find evidence of the existence of David. Those who said they had proof said they had it because the Bible said he existed, but no clear proof has been found out of that one book.

      The New Testament is filled with errors and contradictions concerning Jesus. A couple of examples here: Luke places Jesus’s Sermon on a plain, but Matthew says was on a mount. Luke notes only 4 beatitudes, whereas Matthew gives 8. A good question regarding but a few discrepancies is offered by D.M. Murdock in her very recent book, “Who was Jesus”, “If all of the gospels were inspired by the Holy Spirit, as Christian doctrine professes, why would they [the gospel writers] need to copy each other? Could there not be another more rational, logical, and scientific explanation, such as that the gospels are man-made accounts written by fallible human beings who were not eyewitnesses? And what about the gospel of John, which sets squarely apart from the others–why is John’s gospel so different from the rest?

      If you believe in Christ then you should believe in all prophets. It is said in the Bible that the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus, so according to Christian doctrine, anyone who claims to have a testimony of Jesus is a prophet.

      You say that we all know that we will have our physical bodies after we die. If I don’t know that then your statement is definitely in err.

      You base all your truth on a book that was written by men whose names are not even noted in this Bible. You are just like active Mormons, following the words of men. You have no idea what will occur upon death. I sure don’t. But if some guy talks about the “afterlife” in either the Bible or the Book of Mormon,his ideas are no more believable than are mine.

      And, Christ didn’t write in the Bible. Instead writers talked of what he supposedly said.

      What was this man (Jesus) called when he supposedly lived on the earth? Was he called Jesus or a Hebrew name? Or a Greek name?

      • Lilli
        May 25, 2014 at 12:09 pm


        Good questions. No one on earth can prove Christ existed or that there is even a God or an afterlife, etc. We all choose to either ‘believe’ Christ existed and in his teachings or not. We all choose to either ‘hope’ and bank on the idea that there is a God and a perfect world in the next life or we give up ‘hope’ on that idea and do the best we can now. But I see very little reason for most people to go through this hard life if there isn’t a God and a heaven. What would be the point?

        But almost every scientist/expert who studies Christ’s existence agrees that Christ almost surely existed and lived and did many of the things recorded. Whether he was actually ‘divine’ or not is another matter.

        I myself believe he lived and taught what is recorded because in my life experience I have experimented with his principles and teachings and have found them to be the only way to maintain a happy marriage, family or society. He was pretty smart with what he taught, he seemed to really understand people and how to deal with every situation in life. Love really is the answer.

        Even if Christ didn’t exist I believe in the principles he supposedly taught, because they work better then any other principles I have ever heard of.

        I don’t believe that Alma actually existed, because there is no evidence like there is with Christ and because of all the things I know about Joseph Smith and how it is much more likely that he wrote the BoM himself and made up Alma. Alma did teach some true principles, but that doesn’t mean he really existed.

        Also, other so called ‘prophets’ in the BoM don’t seem to do and teach what ‘true’ prophets would have, thus they appear to be the imaginations of a fallible man who didn’t really understand Christ and the doings of ‘true’ prophets.

        And I have known far too many ‘false’ prophets to just assume that anyone who claims to be a prophet is really a prophet, ancient or modern. They have to ‘prove’ they were/are a prophet to get me to believe they really are, which none have so far. For a true Prophet or true follower of Christ will have Charity, the pure unconditional love of Christ, which is a pretty rare and almost impossible quality to gain. It is easy to see who has this quality and who doesn’t. And I have never known of anyone ancient or modern who has it, except Christ, assuming he really lived.

        If Christ didn’t live then whoever came up with his story sure understood Charity and women’s rights & equality, and since that is very unlikely it means it’s even more likely that Christ really lived, for what man back in those days (or ever) understood total respect of women, care of the fatherless, marriage and pure love? Not even Christ’s apostles understood those things or respected women, so how could they have made up Christ and his teachings?

        I know plenty of people around me who profess to be ‘followers of Christ’ or even on the level of prophets (like having had visitations by Christ, promised Eternal life, etc.), but they don’t have Charity and they don’t even follow Christ’s teachings, so they reveal their true selves and don’t know it.

        I agree that the New Testament is filled with errors and false doctrine and contradictions, but I believe they are the errors of translation or the errors of prophets or the writers, who were not perfect men like Christ but who may have wrote down their version many years later of their experiences with Christ and were too far away from each other to compare notes. These men all had different weaknesses and beliefs that clouded their writings and they remembered different parts to what Christ taught and did, so of course their writings would not all jive or be correct.

        So just because I believe in Christ and that he was perfect, doesn’t mean I believe prophets were perfect and didn’t make all kinds of errors in their life & writings or even fall from grace in many cases.

        Amazingly enough most of the words of Christ do seem to be preserved and translated correctly enough to help us understand them and see that they are the best principles ever known to maintain a free and happy society or family.

        As far as knowing we will have our physical bodies after we die, I was basing that on if we believe in Christ and his resurrection. No one can know for sure what comes after this life, unless they have seen God or Christ themselves, (assuming it’s the real Christ and not a false one appearing to them)

        And bottom line you are right, I only have a book written by very fallible men who got a lot of things wrong or were even unrighteous themselves, who told a story about a man named Jesus. But it’s the ‘principles’ that they said Jesus taught that I really cling to and believe in and the example Jesus gave of living those principles.

        For again, I have experimented with them and lived them and studied history and people, societies and relationships and have found that those few principles that Christ apparently taught are the best anyone I know of has ever come up with to maintain happiness or a free and prosperous marriage, family or world. Even if Christ never existed, his teachings still ring true and supreme above all others. But we have to really live his teachings to see this.

  8. WhyNot
    May 24, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    To kinglamoni: A better way to say it is that everything that the Church canonizes or teaches officially is true, but Church leaders have the free agency to express a personal opinion now and again. Some of these personal opinions are misinterpreted as official Church doctrine when they are not. It was more interesting in the early days of the Church when it was more common for Church leaders to express personal opinions that were not official Church doctrine.

    To Ed Goble: It is true that a number of amazing correlations can be made between the Sensen Papyrus and the original Book of Abraham papyrus written by the hand of Abraham. That has got to be one of the reasons why Joseph Smith felt justified in modifying the Sensen facsimiles to resemble and represent the facsimiles in the original Book of Abraham. Also there are correlations of the Book of Abraham with the Egyptian Alphabet and Grammar and conventional Egyptology.

    To Chris MacAskill: No scripture tells why blacks were denied the priesthood. But certain General Authorities of the past speculated on reasons which the Church has disavowed. The true reasons may have been similar to why the priesthood and the gospel itself were denied to the Gentiles and Samaritans during the time Christ lived on Earth. Those reasons must have had something to do with the Lord bringing to pass the greatest good for the greatest number of people in the long run. The positive interpretation of the statements disavowed by the Church are that the Church still has not completely censored or muzzled the General Authorities. They can still express (usually privately) a personal opinion now and again, even if it is wrong, as did the prophets of old. The other positive interpretation is the view that some situations here on Earth may have been a result of actions or agreements or arrangements or callings in the premortal life. The part that the Church has disavowed was to say that some people’s skin color was a result of neutral, lukewarm, or rebellious behavior in the premortal life. Admittedly that personal opinion was a negative interpretation.

    • Lilli
      May 25, 2014 at 12:37 am

      I believe it’s very clear why Blacks were denied the Priesthood by Brigham Young and most leaders since him, because they were very racist and wicked and didn’t respect the equality of Blacks like Joseph did. Nor did they follow the Gospel in hardly any respect, but preached and practiced contrary to Christ, as LDS leaders still do today.

      Joseph gave Blacks the Priesthood, but when Brigham took over he refused to continue what Joseph wanted to happen, and BY even believed in slavery too, completely contrary to what Joseph and Christ taught.

      So it’s easy to see why Church leaders didn’t respect the Black’s right to the Priesthood, no one needs any scriptures to figure it out. But despite what evil racist church leaders did, God still gave righteous Black people all the Priesthood & power they were entitled to, as he does to women also.

      And what’s interesting is that Brigham Young and none of the leaders of the Church since him have had an ounce of Priesthood themselves, because of their unrighteousness dominion in disrespecting Blacks, not to mention disrespecting and abusing women by things like polygamy, divorce & abandonment & refusing to honor women’s equal Priesthood power & positions also.

      • Pat
        May 25, 2014 at 8:16 am

        Your arguments are good to a point but you argue for your point of view, exactly like the active Mormons do. You base your truth on the Biblical Christ and they base theirs on the Book of Mormon Christ. Either way your ideas are based on what mythical and made up characters in a book have written.

        There is the Word of the creator (not some book written by men)of this earth and all that is on it, and that is the creation that is all around us. By viewing with the scientific eye we can see the grandeur and complexity of what is around us, of evolution of species, of the intricacies of migration, and so many things that we are only beginning to understand. And we can use our minds and hearts to discern how to improve our world and those living in it. Instead of being constantly at war and abusing women and minorities through religion, something that has been occurring for thousands of years, we should be trying to improve mankind. We have been given a mind that can reason and understand this great creation.

        • Lilli
          May 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

          Pat, Yes, you are right, my views are based on Christ, but also on common sense and the Golden Rule and love, which principles have proven to be the best way to maintain a free and happy and prosperous society even if Christ never existed and taught such things, even if you want to believe in evolution these principles are still the only way to maintain a successful society in the long run.

          Brigham Young and his followers were just controlling abusive men who did not have love or respect for the equality and rights of others, they just lived for their own selfish gain, praise and glory. Nothing new there, we see such men all throughout history. Such men may succeed for a while but they can’t maintain a happy peaceful prosperous society.

          • Ryan Elwood
            May 25, 2014 at 6:15 pm

            Ok Lilly let us play the common sense game. Can virgins magically have babies? Can anyone magically walk on water? Can people magically come back alive? Use common sense and seriously tell me it makes sense that due to a talking snake getting our first parents to eat some magical fruit that it was necessary for God to send the son piece of the one godly substance to earth in a suicide mission to die as a human sacrifice. The number one threat to Christianity and all mythology is common sense.

          • Lilli
            May 26, 2014 at 1:36 am


            Yes, it would seem easy for God to make a virgin conceive, even us mere mortals can do that with artificial insemination. I can think of ways God could do that without ever getting near the woman.

            And yes, I believe people can be brought back from the dead or resurrected according to natural laws, though we may not understand most of those laws yet, but doctors often see people who had been dead come back to life, why couldn’t God or Christ with their greater knowledge of natural law do such things.

            And if you really believe an actual ‘snake’, let alone a talking one, convinced Adam & Eve to eat the fruit then I have some land to show you down in Florida. The Bible is so full of falsehoods and fables that we really can’t rely on it to be telling anything truthful, except the principles taught therein, like Christ’s, which we can verify by living them, to see if they work or are true or not.

            The Atonement is harder to understand but I do see the need for a stronger person to save a weaker person, which often requires great sacrifice. Or the need for one spouse to maintain true love for a lifetime even if their spouse abandons them or is unfaithful & unrighteous, because divorce and remarriage leads to even worse problems for society.

            So if Christ had to come down and show us the ways of true love, which almost always requires great sacrifice, then that seems reasonable. For true love is the greatest power there is and it seems reasonable to me that on a world wide scale it could earn Christ the power to save us all over death.

    • kinglamoni
      May 25, 2014 at 9:03 am

      WhyNot, Was Polygamy doctrine? Was Blacks not being allowed to hold the priesthood doctrine? Is with holding rights to the gay community doctrine? I don’t think these are considered just opinions. Have you even read what’s in the canonized scriptures? I ask only because it sounds you believe it all to be true. Did you know that in the bible it states the world is unmovable? If you take the scriptures literally you will believe the earth stands still. Yet it goes around the sun. The scriptures are filled with this kind of stuff. Oh and Joseph did not correct the part in the bible where it says the world is immovable when he had his chance. So it must be true.

  9. Zack T.
    May 26, 2014 at 10:59 am

    I always listen closely to all interviews, I also listen closely to a apologist, taking note of the sincerity, intellectual approach, motive so I can assess credibility in my search for knowledge. Often I try to research and understand the background of the guest or presenter. I am dismayed at the tone in few spots with Sandra’s dismissive logic is telling some of stories, and some of her version of reciting historical issues. It takes away from her credibility, even though I believe she and Jerald have done the church good by their research.

    Finally john I also admired your style of interview, yet every now and than your bias shows through with your laugh and over pursuance of certain issues.

  10. Rachel
    June 2, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I feel like I was listening to a Dan Brown novel. Wow. How was I an active member for over three decades and had no idea that any of this ever happened? This stuff isn’t exactly discussed in Sunday School and seminary…. Thank you to the Tanners for their efforts and bravery.

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