474: Sandra Tanner Pt. 3 — Treasure Digging, Polygamy, Thomas Ferguson, Eugene England

In part 3 of a 4 part series, Sandra discusses several issues including Joseph Smith’s treasure digging, connections between the Masonic Lodge temple ceremony and the LDS Church temple ceremony, polygamy, the Mountain Meadows Massacre, blacks and the LDS priesthood, the Thomas Ferguson story, the Eugene England/Bruce R. McConkie letter exchange, the LDS church’s law suit against UTLM, and the Godmakers film.



61 comments for “474: Sandra Tanner Pt. 3 — Treasure Digging, Polygamy, Thomas Ferguson, Eugene England

  1. kinglamoni
    May 26, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Growing up as a kid in the early 80’s I was taught that the Tanners where evil, deceiving anti-Mormons. I was taught this by my TBM mother. I am grateful John has reached out to Sandra Tanner in allowing her to share her story. She appears to be an honest sincere person. I found the interview to be interesting. My understanding and heart has softened. I would love to share these interviews with my mother but she is still of the mind set that one can not trust a person who has any thing to say that is in opposition to what the church says.

    • WhyNot
      May 26, 2014 at 6:52 pm

      In defense of a faithful mother: kinglamoni, you said, “I would love to share these interviews with my mother but she is still of the mind set that one can not trust a person who has any thing to say that is in opposition to what the church says.” Your mother probably knows or feels that there are counterarguments, positive interpretations, and reasonable explanations for each and every anti-Mormon accusation or criticism of the Church Your mother probably thinks she has better things to do than argue with people whose hearts have become hard and whose minds have become dead set against the Church and who label, shame, and ridicule those who try to reason with them.

      Your mother probably wants to focus on “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (13th Article of Faith; also Philippians 4:8). Critics like the Tanners, on the other hand, seem to focus on “If there is anything unvirtuous, unlovely, or of bad report or unpraiseworthy in LDS Church history, we seek to find these things and publicize them to the world.”

      Your mother probably also knows that the same judgmental, one-sided, non-objective approach used by critics, such as the Tanners, against the Church of Jesus Christ today can be used against the church Jesus Christ established while he lived on Earth. She knows that Christ’s words and actions can also be misunderstood, misinterpreted, distorted, and misrepresented such as his saying “I came not to bring peace but the sword” and his overturning tables and driving money changers out of the temple twice with a whip.

      Your mother chooses to champion the beauty of the face rather than being distracted by moles or warts or wrinkles. She wants to focus on the beauty of the rose rather than getting hung up on the thorns.

      • Pat
        May 26, 2014 at 7:29 pm

        I agree with you kinglamoni. I’m only 20 minutes into this segment but I have sure had a change of opinions toward the Tanners. I used to think they were Anti-Mormon, but now know that they are mostly pro-truth. I may not agree with their move to mainstream Christianity, but they sure have it right on the troubling issues of Mormonism.

        And to WhyNot, if the church is really true then it should have no problem with making its history open to the public as well as members. And you will probably tell me that it is open to the members. Well, I was active for over 40 years and I knew very little of the true history of Mormonism found in church publications.

      • kinglamoni
        May 26, 2014 at 7:47 pm

        @WhyNot Wait…Do you know my mother? I did not think so.

      • b0yd
        May 26, 2014 at 9:07 pm

        I’m guessing you’ve never read a single word or book containing information anything other than complimentary to the church?

        If not, can I ask how you dealt with all the obvious problems with lds history…first vision, book of Mormon clear sources, book of Abraham problems, polygamy, marrying 14 year olds etc? (Nicely summarized in document called “CES letter”)

      • May 28, 2014 at 5:21 pm

        To WhyNot

        I was told by a lifelong BIC member of around 65 years that AntiMormons have lied to me about the garden stone and hat translation of the Book of Mormon.

        She further said it’s so stupid that it’s obviously a lie and is too ridiculous to even comprehend or bother investigating.

        She nearly DIED of Shock when she found out the truth.

        She must have felt like the most stupid person in the world when she realised the antimormons (her words) told the truth and her version was not quite how things happened.

        That’s a good reason for TBM Mothers not to look into things and stay ignorant instead and that’s not a big deal compared to wife snatching and asking for teeny girls into marriage.

      • Not afraid of information
        July 12, 2014 at 10:36 am

        The Bible tells us to ” Test all things” and to “Contend earnestly for the faith”. This is what Sandra Tanner is doing. You seem to advocate burying ones head in the sand . Truth will ALWAYS stand up to scrutiny. So I ask, why are Mormon Church members so afraid of any and all opposition? It’s because their faith is not built “on the Rock, but on shifting sand. “………

  2. Mark
    May 26, 2014 at 9:05 pm

    This is such a contrast to the Adam Miller interview. Here is one of the most famous “anti-Mormons” and Sandra comes across as a sweet, honest, compelling figure in Mormon history. Meanwhile, Adam Miller came across as dishonest homer that will lie at all costs to advance the Mormon myth.

    I’m going to make a visit to Ms. Tanners bookstore to personally thank her for sharing truth and insight into the deceitful workings of the LDS church.

    • b0yd
      May 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm

      Thankfully, in this day of quick and easy access to information, there is an easy way to find out if someone is lying or telling the truth about something such as religious history….just go to the source documents and research their claims, as tens of thousands are doing.

      Of course if someone wants to go on believing in Mormonism, I would_strongly_recommend against doing that. Very, strongly

    • Charles
      June 6, 2014 at 8:07 pm


      If you liked this interview, check out some of the others online. There’s another 2 or 3-hour interview somewhere (I can’t remember the link) that’s even better. Basically it’s Sandra telling her story around a fire in someone’s backyard. The advantage is that it isn’t an interview, she just tells her story — how she met Jerald, how they slowly worked their way out of the Church, etc. The same story, but even better, especially the details of what they found at each stage. I think one thing that many people miss is that the Tanners were not looking to get out, they were “forced” out step by step by what they found. At each stage they tried to stop there, but then some finding would push them further. I think you’d like it.

  3. Debbie
    May 27, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I really have enjoyed the interview so far with Sandra. I appreciate the work, turmoil, and sacrifices they (her and her husband) went through to bring these issues to light. It’s not a life I would have choose, it would have worn me down. I think Sandra is an honest person and sincere in her efforts and beliefs. The only criticism I have is, I really didn’t feel any real compassion for Eugene England and his family from her. I could not have brought that kind of distruction to a person’s life and not felt extremely bad and remorseful about it. No matter what the “scoop” was. Harming someone’s life/career would not be a price I was willing to pay. But that’s just me. I think the church also destroys people’s lives, careers, and families. And they don’t think a thing about it. So that may be where she’s coming from. Anyway, great interview, very enlightening. Thanks to both John Dehlin and Sandra Tanner for their time in doing this.

    • Paul M.
      May 27, 2014 at 4:46 pm

      In the podcast/video Sandra Tanner apologized to the family, and said it was not her intention to harm them. I blame the apostle for copying other people on the letter MORE than I do Mrs. Tanner. Once a bunch of people are copied, it is no longer a private document between two parties. Yes, it is very unfortunate that a career of a great man was harmed, but I a more upset with the church and their attitude about suppressing the truth from its members. The truth is was will “set you free.” I am so thankful for the internet!!!

  4. May 27, 2014 at 1:54 am

    As I reminisce the great detective work the Tanners have done over the years, one of my favorite stories has to do with Andy Ehat and the secret writings of William Clayton. I hope that story is addressed in the last part of the interview



    Great stuff!

  5. May 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm


    I assumed that all that was covered in part three was what was highlighted… guess I should have listened to the entire interview before posting.. it was covered, although, I would have enjoyed more details..

  6. Morning Glory
    May 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I joined the church in 1982. I remember my new Mormon friends telling me how evil the Tanners were and how they lied. I think around that time the movie, “The God Makers” just came out. My new Mormon friends told me that movie was full of lies. Thirty years later, (and I am leaving out alot of details) I have left the LDS church. It makes me sick to think the answers to my skepticism as I was investigating the church back in college (and, believe me, I had my doubts and questions)were there all along. I saw the God Makers for the first time a year ago. The movie is spot on. If I had taken the time to look at the Tanner’s information, it would have saved me and my poor family (the family I left who raised me and the one I created as a worthy Mormon)a lot of grief. I wish all people who research and disseminate historical evidence were as classy in their bearing and presentation and Sandra Tanner.

  7. small s steve
    May 27, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    WhyNot: Your mother probably wants to focus on “If there is anything virtuous, lovely, or of good report or praiseworthy, we seek after these things” (13th Article of Faith; also Philippians 4:8).

    Interesting how you cherry-picked the 13th Article of Faith and conveniently forgot the first part: “We believe in being honest, true…” If one were to interpret the 13th Article of Faith as a prioritized list, then one must put honesty and truth at the top. I hardly think virtuous, lovely or praiseworthy reports trump honesty and truth.

    • Charles
      June 6, 2014 at 8:19 pm

      Am I the only one who find it ironic that the 13th Article of Faith quotes the Bible, while the 8th undermines faith in it?

      • Charles
        June 6, 2014 at 8:20 pm

        The 8th Article of Faith has always allowed TBM to pick and choose Bible verses that support their view, while rejecting those that don’t.

  8. kinglamoni
    May 27, 2014 at 4:44 pm

    I’ll ask questions regarding just one issue. I don’t wish to be long winded. Where do you get this information that the papyri for the book of Abraham was handed over to a heavenly messenger? I did not know that the “Book of Mormon” had papyri facsimiles as you state. Please show me where? Unless you made a typo and are referencing the facsimiles found in the pearl of great price. Why would Joseph want to display the book of the dead with his error filled interpretations?

    • kinglamoni
      May 27, 2014 at 8:08 pm

      My response is in regards to this post by WhyNot: BOOK OF ABRAHAM– 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 Moroni. Joseph retained possession of the Sensen “Book of the Dead” funeral papyri. Joseph and/or his scribe cut, pasted, and sketched on 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.

  9. LukeAir2014
    May 27, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I’m probably what’s called a true believer but it’s fascinating to hear some of the stories from Sandra. I’m sure she puts a spin on everything but it’s still very interesting.

    • b0yd
      May 27, 2014 at 7:56 pm

      Hi luke. I do agree there is a spin on everything.

      Having said that, truth is truth, and facts are facts, however inconvenient they may be

    • Charles
      June 6, 2014 at 8:38 pm

      Check it out for yourself, LukeAir. The Tanners did not set out to leave the Church. At first they became RLDS, then they left that but kept the Book of Mormon. It wasn’t like they wanted to leave, but they just kept discovering things that could not be. Here’s one you can check out for yourself in the Joseph Smith Papers (an official Church website): D&C contains all of the Book of Commandments + extra revelations. The Book of Commandments contains all of Revelation Book 1, except for one revelation — number 23. Check out Revelation #23 in Revelation Book 1 in the Joseph Smith Papers. This was the ONLY revelation in RB1 not to make its way into the BOC. Why was it kept out? Isn’t it a bit odd to withdraw a revelation by Joseph Smith? The answer to this riddle is contained in the Comprehensive History of the Church, by B.H. Roberts, in volume 1, pp. 162-166. Long story short, it contains a false prophecy. Or arguably it doesn’t. But it was embarrassing enough that they elected not to recopy it in the Book of Commandments, although EVERYTHING else from RB1 made its way into the BOC (and D&C by extension). That one you can check out for yourself right there in the Joseph Smith papers.

  10. b0yd
    May 27, 2014 at 7:09 pm

    Eggnog thank you for making the effort to give a detailed and honest reply.

    My comments are equally considered and respond to each of your points collectively.

    2 points really.

    1. I know you somehow believe what you wrote, but do you truly, honestly, sincerely believe that a rational, thinking adult, would accept your explanations?

    2. Do you ever wonder why god requires well meaning members to go through all sorts of compartmentalised gymnastics to find an explanation to glaring problems?

    3. I guess 3. Do you ever wonder where these “prophets, seers and revelators” are in this? While members lose faith, lose belief in the official narrative (of the day)

    • b0yd
      May 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm

      Autocorrect name above was meant to be “whynot”.

      This was the post I was replying to.

      Don’t seem to see it here for some reason.

      >>>>>>bOyd asked: “If not, can I ask how you dealt with all the obvious problems with lds history…first vision, book of Mormon clear sources, book of Abraham problems, polygamy, marrying 14 year olds etc?” Here is my abbreviated answer to your question:

      LDS HISTORY—In addition to Church history published by the Church, I also study what critics say about it and consider counter-arguments, positive possibilities, and alternate reasonable explanations as any open-mind truth-seeker should do.

      FIRST VISION—It should not be troublesome that there are different accounts of the First Vision any more than it should be troublesome about the four different New Testament versions about the life of Christ (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and the two different versions of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus Did Paul have vision of Christ or did he only hear Christ’s voice? Joseph Smith emphasized different aspects of his first vision, depending on God’s inspiration for his particular listeners and readers at the time.

      BOOK OF MORMON—See Volume 2 of “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. (3970 West), South Jordan, Utah, 84095, 801-446-2392, allenartisan.richardson@gmail.com 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.

      BOOK OF ABRAHAM– 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 Moroni. Joseph retained possession of the Sensen “Book of the Dead” funeral papyri. Joseph and/or his scribe cut, pasted, and sketched on 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.

      POLYGAMY—Polygamy is an abomination as indicated in Jacob 2 except under certain special exceptions. Here is the main exception: “For if I will, saith the Lord of Hosts, RAISE UP SEED UNTO ME, I will COMMAND my people; OTHERWISE THEY SHALL HEARKEN UNTO THESE THINGS” (Jacob 2:30. The Lord commanded his people to raise up seed unto him during early days of the Church of Jesus Christ (of Latter-day Saints) in order to establish an unshakable, rock solid, iron clad foundation forged in the fiery furnace of affliction to establish and advance his restored Church on Earth. The “firm, steadfast, and immovable” cadre or inner core of that rock solid, iron clad foundation forged in the fiery furnace of polygamy in the early days of the Church included nine Church presidents from Joseph Smith through Heber J. Grant and at least the majority of their 225 of their descendants produced through polygamy. And of course there are many others and their descendants who must be counted as part of that firm foundation. The Twelve Tribes of Israel were mighty and powerful in large measure because they were founded on and/or fortified by the practice of polygamy. This is also true for Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and other Old Testament Prophets. The Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, now called Community of Christ, has never achieved the power and influence of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One reason is probably because they did not have a firm foundation rooted in the practice of polygamy under the direction of the Lord. One crucial reason by polygamous break off groups have not had and will never have the power and influence like the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is that they refuse to obey the commandment from God to stop practicing polygamy. The commandment to stop practicing polygamy is reflected in the final Manifesto.

      MARRYING A 14 YEAR OLD—(1) Helen Mar Kimball appeared to be older than 14 when she was sealed to Joseph Smith. She said, “I had grown up very fast and my father often took me out with him and for this reason was taken to be older than I was.” (2) The earliest age of a significant number of first marriages “depends on age laws, the onset of menarche (first menstruation), and traditional community standards. “…empirically this age was around 13.5 or 14.0 in the mid 19th century. (3) There is no evidence to support the accusation that sexual relations were involved after the sealing of 14 year old Helen Mar Kimball to Joseph Smith. This is also the published conclusion of the historian Todd Compton who criticized the anti-Mormon TANNERS for claiming that sex had been involved between Joseph and Helen Mar Kimball. Most likely it was a sealing for social, fraternal, dynastic purposes to link certain families together, especially in the next life. People in the days of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young were especially interested in organizations and associations for mutual protection, economic benefit, and social and fraternal associations with people they admired or with whom they were close friends. They talked about kingdoms, empires, principalities, thrones, powers, and alliances not just for this life but for the life hereafter. (4) The Virgin Mary was most likely a teen mom, but that was not taboo back then. Life expectancy was 45 to 50 years, and girls were married off as soon as they hit puberty. Some accounts say that Mary, a Jewish woman from Nazareth, may have been as young as 12. But the web site biblelessons4kidz.com puts her age at 14 or 15. According to the site, created by Christian parents who make Bible lessons kid-friendly, Mary was engaged to the carpenter Joseph when she was visited by the angel Gabriel. He told her she would be the mother of the Messiah. Joseph was later informed of the Immaculate Conception by another angel in a dream, who told Joseph to marry Mary. He did, and her son Jesus was later born in Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem

      • jman
        May 31, 2014 at 10:07 pm

        Okay, let’s get this straight: You are saying the Mormons are as powerful as they are because they practiced polygamy, the best way to raise up righteous seed and create a firm foundation. The non-polygamous offshoots failed precisely because they didn’t practice polygamy when they should have and the polygamous fundamentalists have failed because they continued to practice polygamy when they shouldn’t have. This is very enlightening.

      • jman
        May 31, 2014 at 10:11 pm

        You claim that polygamy is a great way to raise up seed and create a firm foundation, but then go on to make sure that we all know Helen Mar Kimball wasn’t having sex with Joseph Smith.

      • jman
        May 31, 2014 at 10:14 pm

        The First Vision accounts are troubling because they all originate from the same source: Joseph Smith. The different accounts of the Gospels are concerning, too, but not nearly to the same degree since the Gospels have four different authors. If one man can’t remember how many angelic visitors, nor even their identities, then something is screwy.

  11. Yogi
    May 27, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    Fabulous podcast. Thank you for the insight. I really hope the majority of lds members will learn about the entire true history of the lds church. It should make for more lively discussion at church. Thank you john and Sandra.

  12. May 27, 2014 at 7:55 pm

    I can’t imagine how Sandra made this her life’s mission and stuck with it, nor how my family can ever thank her enough. I feel like she’s like a kind grandmother who understood a deeply troubling issue our family had, and gave us the sage advice that got us on more virtuous paths.

    @WhyNot, there are so many great causes in this world where you don’t have to struggle with the founder’s polyandry and 14-year-old brides, forced to marry under duress. I did it for 35 years, but my conscience couldn’t do it anymore, not and feel virtuous.

    • Ed Goble
      May 28, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      I think this is the biggest issue I have with people that get hung up on Joseph Smith’s failings supposed failings. The message is not about Joseph Smith. Its about the reality of what Joseph Smith relayed/transmitted. It is only incidental that he happened to be the messenger. And so, it is ad hominem to hold something against his message when the imperfection of the messenger has nothing to do with the message.

      • b0yd
        May 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm

        Incidental eh.

        Hmm. Interesting

        Actually scrub that. That’s not interesting. It’s a bizarro comment in reference to a religious figure.

        We’re not talking about a lisp, a stutter, some bad breath or incontinence.

        We are talking outright plagiarist, list and what by most societies was define as a groomer and child sex offender.

        But I understand you. I was where you were before I decided I wasn’t violating “sacred covenants” by deciding to look at all this stuff honestly, and objectively.

        The rest, as they say, was history

        Not a single part of it stands up to close scrutiny

    • Morning Glory
      May 28, 2014 at 3:25 pm

      I don’t know about you, Chris, but for me, it was the “message” I started to question. Indeed, that message being the very doctrines of the church and the way the church conducts itself. There is too much to list here. So I won’t.

      The questioning of doctrines inevitably leads to research, which leads to history, which then leads to learning about Joseph Smith. Even as investigators we are taught to have this reverence for him as a prophet of God. Once all that comes up, its just all too much.

      So yes, I agree with you. If I want love, community and spirituality with a message that is inclusive (not exclusive, as with the Mormons) that especially has non-controversial leadership, I will go with that.

      In summary, to characterize what is happening here as shallow ad hominem attacks against JS the messenger just doesn’t float with me. Taken as a whole, the Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is not a good place to be if you want healthy spirituality. With or without Joe. But he doesn’t help.

  13. Morning Glory
    May 27, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    My point is, which I failed to say earlier, is that this woman just makes too much sense. She is so without guile. Nothing in her bearing, body language, eye movement, etc. suggests anything but honesty. Her presentation of facts from source documents and personal experience is amazing.

    Since I left the church, I feel my ability to discern has increased. In other words, my BS meter is easily tripped. I would have to say that the tactics of church leaders, and sadly members, in trying to make sense of the church, have to engage in explanations that are riddled with red flags; Exceptions to the rule, magical thinking, jumps in logic, thought-stopping, lack of common sense–to name a few that come to my mind right now–do not exist in anything Sandra says. Usually the simplest and straightforward explanation (Occam’s Razor) is the one that portrays “reality.” I no can longer use the word “truth” anymore since leaving the church. The word is ruined for me now.

    FAIR would have to write volumes of twisting and turning material to refute what Sandra says here. And that’s just the problem. And its frustrating to see the simple and straightforward not be seen for what it is. Its frustrating for those of us who have gotten out to see members who are still “in” seduced by the wordy, nonsensical narratives offered up by the church, when this woman makes more sense than anything spoken in General Conference.

    Critical thinking. Try it. It works.

    • Paul M.
      May 27, 2014 at 11:35 pm

      Well said Morning Glory! It is the difference between a seeker of truth, and allowing the facts to take you wherever they may as opposed to only looking for information that confirms your bias or to twist the data to confirm pre-conceived notions at all costs.

    • Zack T.
      May 28, 2014 at 1:10 am

      Ok, I can only read so much until I apply some of my own Critical thinking, although I do not believe Sandra is the evil anti Mormon, she not near as objective as some of the posters are painting her. Sandra interjects a lot of assumptions as she tells stories of William Clayton, she declares that Joseph uses domestic violence and he was constantly abusive towards Emma, all conjecture no proof. Go back to about to about 32 min mark and tell me she is being objective. Although I admire the the Tanners hard work and research, lets not make her into something that she is not. If you are going to call out the apologist for conjecture….intellectual honesty should apply to both sides.

      • Morning Glory
        May 28, 2014 at 7:52 am

        Sandra is very pointedly saying, once she asserts her assumption JS physically abused Emma, “I THINK Emma COULD have been an abused wife. I dont know that…” This as after presenting from source materials from Clayton’s journal about Joseph’s “harsh measures.” She is admitting she is making an extrapolation based on the evidence. I see nothing wrong with that.

        Polygamy is a psychologically and emotionally abusive system. When Joseph threatens a young girl or woman that she won’t go to the celestial kingdom if she refuses, that’s oretty sick. That is what he used to do. That isnt to say abuse doesnt happen in monogamous marriages, we all know it does. However, polygamy starts with an advanced degree of twisted mentality.

        Look at what is going on in the Warren Jeffs-type compounds. Those people say they are the “real Mormons” because they still practice the “fulness of the gospel” as it was lived in Joseph’s day. Don’t fool yourself that the stories coming out of there from the women who managed to get away are the exception. It is the rule. Brigham Young compared women to cattle. Think of what that implies.

        I am satisfied with the conclusion of abuse of women by early church leaders. It fits. That is what my critical thinking tells me.

        • Morning Glory
          May 28, 2014 at 8:03 am

          I meant to say I am satisfied with the conclusion that early church leaders COULD have POSSIBLY physically abused their wives.

      • kinglamoni
        May 28, 2014 at 1:15 pm

        @Zack T, I empathize with you. I think many true believing members of the church take things as all True or all False. When they hear something they think they have to believe it all or not believe any of it. I do not believe that is what Sandra is doing. She makes it known that she is speculating and does not give any indication that her thoughts regarding Joseph as being abusive is an absolute fact. She speculates.
        The difference with apologists and many others who look at the evidence is that apologists often times place 100% probability to their analysis. No matter how much they have to twist and turn to make the facts fit, their analyses has to be 100% true or 100% false. In the real world, many people assign a probability to a problem when the conclusion is in question or there is missing information.
        I am a faithful later day saint who supports the church but I do not believe every thing hook line and sinker just because some one says to believe it or because I get a warm fuzzy feeling. I assign probabilities.
        This is what Sandra and her late husband where doing when they debated weather it was more likely for a guy to consecutively find rare church documents or was it more likely that the rare church documents where forgeries. They came to the conclusion that it was more probable that the documents where fakes. I don’t know what method of discernment the first presidency was using when they looked at the same documents.
        It may surprise you what results you get if you applied this method to the religious beliefs of flying angels, a ghost that influences your feelings, gold plates being found in upstate New York, The book of Abraham and papyri.

  14. yvonne owens
    May 28, 2014 at 1:28 pm

    I’m really enjoying listening to all your podcasts as I walk each morning. Comments on a previous podcast – Peter and Mary Danzig, what a wonderful couple. John and Brooke McLay – wasn’t surprised to read they had divorced. I thought he was disrespectful to her during the interview, it was all about him, he couldn’t take the subject off himself and his experience.

    Really love listening to Sandra Tanner. Next time I’m in Utah, I want to go to SLC and their bookstore. She and Jerald seemed to have had a wonderful relationship of love and respect.

  15. Lilli
    May 29, 2014 at 2:32 am

    I agree with Sandra in most respects, I have left the Church also after finding out it wasn’t true nor it’s leaders. But I was disappointed to hear how Sandra believes Joseph was guilty of polygamy when there is no evidence of it, just a lot of hearsay, especially from people who supported polygamy and had every reason to lie.

    Whether Joseph was a true prophet or not, I believe he was very different then the likes of Brigham Young. Joseph just seemed to not have very good discernment though about who to trust with high office in the Church. He seemed to easily fall for wolves in sheep’s clothes, like BY and many others who became apostles and leaders in the Church.

    Sandra doesn’t seem to believe Joseph’s constant testimony, teachings and scriptures against polygamy and his declarations of innocence. I believe its easy to see how he was most likely framed by Brigham Young and others to make it look like he preached & practiced polygamy and came up with D&C 132, so Brigham could easier get others to support polygamy and him.

    It doesn’t make sense that Joseph would fight and teach against polygamy the way he did if he knew he was just going to have to openly preach & practice it someday, for he would have known few would believe or trust him once they found out he lied all this life to them.

    Joseph seemed to understand all too well how abusive and adulterous polygamy was, to think he was secretly living it. The more you look into all the rumors & hearsay the more they all seem to be completely false, including the ‘angel with the sword’ story, Joseph was way too smart about such things then to come up with such a ridiculous story like that, someone else came up with that one and just pegged it on Joseph.

    • b0yd
      May 29, 2014 at 3:45 am

      I. Um. Joseph. Err. Right. Yeah. Well.


      Ah forget it.

      Seriously? Like, for real?

    • Paul M
      May 29, 2014 at 11:24 am

      @Lilli, not sure what rock you are living under, but JS practiced polygamy. Sorry to be the one to tell you this. Maybe you should look into this one a little bit more…

      • Lilli
        May 30, 2014 at 12:22 am


        I have looked into it alot, but it doesn’t seem like you have. I can’t find any proof that Joseph preached or practiced polygamy, only tons of vile hearsay that I would expect from those who wanted to live polygamy.

        It’s interesting and telling how most members of the Church ‘want’ and ‘choose’ to believe Brigham’s and other’s vile hearsay about Joseph, instead of Joseph’s own proven testimony and teachings that he personally published while he was alive and had a chance to speak for himself.

        It seems most members would rather believe Joseph was an abusive adulterous liar his whole life then believe his own pure Christlike testimony and teachings.

        And then after believing Joseph did all those horrific things to women and his wife and children, most everyone still thinks he was a true prophet. Go figure. With true prophets like that who needs false ones.

        • b0yd
          May 30, 2014 at 1:52 am

          Lilli, with respect, I would suggest you need to step back from all this, and ask yourself why you need Joseph Smith to be the person you have built him up to be

        • Bill
          May 30, 2014 at 11:24 am

          So BY, JT, WW, LS, JFS and HJG were all vile liars? Because they all certainly SAID JS practiced polygamy and practiced polygamy themselves. I’m not sure what is the bigger problem–that JS practiced polygamy or that 6 of the first 7 prophets were vile liars…!

          • Lilli
            May 31, 2014 at 9:16 am


            It is very clear that either JS lied his whole life or all the others from BY on did, they couldn’t both be telling the truth. One side lied about very serious things and led the Saints completely astray to do evil. So who was it? JS? Or all the others?

            I believe it was Brigham Young and all who followed him and supported & joined him in his whoredoms.

          • kinglamoni
            May 31, 2014 at 3:35 pm

            Lilli, Maybe Joseph didn’t think he was lying. Maybe he thought every thing he said was true. That does not make him a bad person. Same for BY and the others. Maybe they all believed what they where teaching was true. I side with the many accounts of good reputable people who said Joseph lived polygamy. Its one mans word against many. One man who has a reasonable interest in keeping his practices secret. One man who has a history of stretching the truth.

            I would also ask the question boyd asked you. “Lilli, with respect, I would suggest you need to step back from all this, and ask yourself why you need Joseph Smith to be the person you have built him up to be”

          • Dzung
            May 31, 2014 at 10:31 pm


            What religion do you affiliate with? FLDS or RLDS? You clearly see Joseph as a prophet but discredit the “LDS Mormon” prophets after him. There’s no other way to explain your defensiveness of JS and contrasting hatred of BY.

        • Andie
          May 31, 2014 at 9:42 pm

          The thing is, he JS did LIE about being a polygamist…I’m sorry that his lies are still truth to you. Unfortunately you are not alone. Please keep reading and studying church history…for your sake.

          • Lilli
            May 31, 2014 at 11:14 pm

            It really doesn’t matter to me if Joseph Smith told the truth or not (though I believe he did) or if he lived polygamy or not, for I have left the LDS Church because it doesn’t follow Christ now or any time in the past, especially after Brigham Young took over.

            Joseph preached and practiced alot closer to Christ then Brigham but not close enough for me to follow or trust him to be a true prophet.

            I believe Joseph Smith was a good man though, who I believed showed he loved and was faithful to his wife, unlike most of the leaders who followed him.

            It appears to me that Joseph was about to excommunicate BY for all his whoredoms, but died before he could do it.

            And I do believe Joseph would have understood if he was lying about polygamy, for he very correctly condemned it and understood how abusive and evil it was. He also strongly condemned lying. He also taught the Saints to not listen to him or any prophet or person, if he or they preached or practiced polygamy or anything ‘contrary’ to Christ’s teachings. Which shows how serious and against polygamy he was. For he was setting the people up to reject him if he ever preached polygamy to them.

            Joseph was way too smart to not realize if he was lying or not and deceiving the people.

          • Morning Glory
            June 1, 2014 at 11:26 pm

            Here is an interesting summary of research of Joseph Smith’s polygamy:


        • Andie
          June 1, 2014 at 4:26 pm

          Joseph Smith was not faithful to his wife and lied to her many many times. He is not the good man you think he was. Sorry.

          • Lilli
            June 1, 2014 at 9:04 pm

            Well, Andie, I have studied it deeply and can’t find any evidence or proof that he was unfaithful or disrespectful to Emma in any way.

            But, if it turns out he did lie, he would just go down as just another abusive adulterous scoundrel like Brigham Young and company.

            But Joseph deserves to be considered innocent until proven guilty and even the Church leaders with all their hearsay couldn’t prove him guilty of polygamy in a court of law, nor have any historians since.

          • b0yd
            June 1, 2014 at 9:34 pm

            To Lilli @ 9:24.

            I cant help but understand you. I was there a year ago myself.

            As long as you are prepared to be honest with yourself and objective.

            I wish I could say I still believed Joseph Smith was what we were taught he was. Actually no, I wish he really WAS that personm

            I’m glad I now know what I know.

            He was NOT a good man

  16. Sherry
    May 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm

    Eagerly awaiting part 4. Thanks John and Sandra!

  17. Paul M.
    May 31, 2014 at 6:05 pm

    Lilli and “Why Not” should get together and speak nonsense to each other. I won’t be wasting my time reading any of their posts…

  18. Ryan Elwood
    June 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    To answer Sandra about why the Mormons felt that mountain meadows, tragically unlike many Christians the Mormons May have actually taken the biblical example and teachings of Yaweh seriously. Murder and genocide was no stranger to Yaweh, at least how it is written.

  19. Ryan Elwood
    June 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    Meant to say ” felt mountain meadows was a good idea”.

  20. Martha Knight
    June 29, 2014 at 9:26 am

    I see and hear no mention of Sidney Rigdon at this site. My experience with LDS includes some serious research into his life. After all, his young daughter Nancy was married to Joseph, and Sidney was not happy about that. Nancy is buried in Friendship, N.Y., as is Rigdon. I believe Rigdon was the “scribe” often referred to in connection with translating/transcribing the plates and papyri, or at least one of them. Rigdon was campaigning for Vice President and Joseph was running for President of the U.S. when Joseph was assassinated. A Mormon running for POTUS, imagine that! Rigdon had been imprisoned, and tarred and feathered, by angry mobs, right along with Joseph, as the sect and its leaders were persecuted. My research, conducted in numerous locations in the 1960s, led me to believe Rigdon had played a pivotal role in the founding of LDS. He certainly was a “founding father” in the economy and local government in the area where he settled after BY grabbed Joseph’s mantle. I have noticed LDS leaders and their supporters avoid mention of Rigdon, and I find this nearly as interesting as what they might say concerning him. I do know that someone used extensive manipulation and chicanery to steal boxes of notes and document copies that pertained to Rigdon, and Joseph in his “seeing stone” treasure finding career (along with his father).

    • Zack T.
      July 2, 2014 at 2:50 pm


      If you do your research properly you will find that Sidney did not come on to the scene until the Kirtland Era. The Book of Mormon had already been published and printed by the time Sidney joined the church. He was not “certainly” one of the founders, although he did have a profound influence on Joseph and the church starting in the Kirtland Era. In December 1830, Rigdon traveled to New York, where he met Joseph Smith. As far as your mention of Rigdon being a scribe he did help with Joseph’s inspired re-translation of the Bible. Hope this helps in your research, check reliable sources and you find this as accurate. Just to reinforce on March 26, 1830 the Wayne Sentinel announced that Book of Mormon was now on sale at Grandin’s bookstore. Grandin was the publisher. For what ever reason this is a common error that somehow Rigdon was connected to “the writing of the Book or Mormon” This is often to create confusion by those who want to rearrange history for there own benefit and narrative.

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