“We relied on the integrity of Mr. Hofmann…”

Looking through my files pertaining to “This Day in Mormon History” I came across this for January 14th.:

1983 – Mark Hofmann sold the [LDS] Church, through the agency of Gordon B. Hinckley, a forged letter from Joseph Smith to Josiah Stowell for the sum of $15,000.00. This letter, allegedly written in 1825, indicated that Smith believed in magical sticks, money digging, and buried treasure guarded by a “clever spirit”–at the same time as he was meeting with the angel Moroni. Believing that the document was authentic, Hinckley purchased it and placed it immediately in the First Presidency’s Vault, securing from Hofmann the assurance that no one else had a copy of the letter. (information from Robert Lindsey, A Gathering of Saints – A True Story of Money, Murder and Deceit, pages 103, 106)

In his book, A Gathering of Saints, author Robert Lindsey wrote that it is unclear “precisely when Mark Hofmann decided to blackmail his church.” Yet this is what Hofmann had in mind when he approached then-second-counselor-but-de facto-church-president Gordon Hinckley with the forged document. Lindsey wrote,

“To someone unversed in the controversies surrounding the church’s origins, the letter might have seemed a historical curiosity, but one not capable of threatening harm to a large and wealthy institution with millions of faithful members around the world. Nor did it seem on the face of it threatening enough to compel the leaders of the church, as they would do, to exact a pledge of secrecy from Hofmann regarding its existence. But as innocuous as it might seem, the letter raised an old and tender issue for the Mormon church: the possibility that Joseph Smith, the founder of the church, dabbled in black magic.” (page 101)

When Gordon Hinckley saw the document he agreed to purchase it if it could be authenticated. However, Church leaders did not want any of the Church’s document examiners or historians to see the letter. Only the First Presidency, the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles and two other Church officials were to know that it existed.

Mark Hofmann took his forged document to a respected documents dealer in New York, quickly thereafter returning to Salt Lake City with a note identifying the Stowell letter as genuine. With Gordon B. Hinckley acting as agent, the document was purchased for $15,000 and then “locked in the First Presidency’s Vault.”

It wasn’t until nearly three years later, after Mark Hofmann had sold additional forged documents to the Church and murdered two people, that Gordon B. Hinckley was informed by Salt Lake City prosecutor David Biggs that some of the documents he purchased from Mark Hofmann might be forgeries. Robert Lindsey described Mr. Hinckley’s reaction:

“The president of his church smiled paternally at Biggs and said he believed that Hofmann, as slightly as he knew him, was not a murderer or a forger. Then, in what appeared to be an afterthought, he said, ‘We relied on the integrity of Mr. Hofmann, and if we relied on his integrity wrongly, it’s to his eternal detriment.'” (page 266. Note that Mr. Hinckley was not “the president” of the LDS Church at this time, but was a member of the First Presidency)

In a biography written about Gordon B. Hinckley in 1996, Mr. Hinckley is quoted as having stated,

“I frankly admit that Hofmann tricked us. He also tricked experts from New York to Utah, however. We bought those documents only after the assurance that they were genuine. And when we released documents to the press, we stated that we had no way of knowing for sure if they were authentic. I am not ashamed to admit that we were victimized. It is not the first time the Church has found itself in such a position. Joseph Smith was victimized again and again. The Savior was victimized. I am sorry to say that sometimes it happens.” (Sheri L. Dew, Go Forward with Faith: The Biography of Gordon B. Hinckley, page 432; FAIR sets the date of Mr. Hinckley’s statement as October 18, 1995)

Mark Hofmann was able to deceive LDS leaders for many years, producing fraudulent historical documents and convincing Church leaders they were genuine. Some suggest this casts a shadow on the religious testimonies of these men. If these “prophets, seers and revelators” lacked the discernment (or direct revelation from God) that would enable them to recognize Hofmann’s deception, can their testimonies on other things, such as the Book of Mormon, be trusted?

Others suggest that, Gordon Hinckley’s statement notwithstanding, he may have known (by revelation) that the documents were forged, but bought them anyway to keep them out of the hands of enemies of the Church until such a time as they could be exposed as fakes.

What do you think?

For more information on the Mark Hofmann forgeries see Tracking the White Salamander by Jerald Tanner.

About Sharon Lindbloom

Sharon surrendered her life to the Lord Jesus Christ in 1979. Deeply passionate about Truth, Sharon loves serving as a full-time volunteer research associate with Mormonism Research Ministry. Sharon and her husband live in Minnesota.
This entry was posted in Gordon B. Hinckley, Mormon History and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

102 Responses to “We relied on the integrity of Mr. Hofmann…”

  1. mobaby says:

    I believe my comments reflect accurately what the LDS leadership did – and why Mark Hofmann forged those documents. No mind reading necessary – if you read the book, it is very apparent that they wanted this purchase to be on the low down, hush hush. So I stand behind what I wrote, even without extra sensory perception. It’s called extortion, and it’s what Mark Hofmann did.

    You don’t dispute my larger contention – that they believed the worst – they fell for a story of Joseph Smith writing a letter detailing occultic practices as the origin of the Book of Mormon.

  2. WJ says:

    gundeck, your comment was an impressive effort in interpretive acrobatics. But the point is quite simple. The key passage is Joshua 9:14, not Joshua 9:13, as you claim. In verse 14, Joshua himself, not the people, are deceived by the disguised men.

    As to the other example, in 1 Kings 13, the prophet is lied to by another man, and in verse 19, he does as the man asks, because he was deceived. You may read that to be a condemnation of those who follow false prophets, but that is largely irrelevant. The point being made is that the prophet was simply deceived. It happens.

    In either case, the deception made no difference as to the prophets’ standing as prophets. This whole thread seems to be much ado about nothing.

  3. WJ says:

    I meant Joshua 9:15, not Joshua 9:14. My apologies.

  4. WJ says:

    Berean, you stated “The Mormon god should have revealed to his prophet and the twelve this deception…. On a more sober note, those murders may have not taken place either. Where’s the spirit of revelation? Why didn’t the prophet prophesy and warn the people not only about this but everything else for that matter?”

    My question is why should God have revealed this deception to President Hinckley? Just because you think He should have? This is a highly arbitrary proposition on your part.

    The reason God didn’t reveal the deception could range anywhere from He did and President Hinckley missed the signal, to He simply didn’t care enough about the issue to do so, to President Hinckley was a false prophet. The answer is simply what one wants it to be, and you obviously want it to be that President Hinckley was a false prophet. But your rigged conclusion proves nothing.

    As to your last argument as to where the spirit of revelation is that could have prevented the murders and everything else that happened, this is patently absurd. Your argument is based on the false premise that if President Hinckley were a true prophet, God would reveal information that would allow him to stop all evil from occurring in the world. But because evil occurred, he must not have the spirit of revelation and must be a false prophet.

    Prophets are not super cops. Bad things have always happened on the earth, notwithstanding the presence of prophets.

  5. DefenderOfTheFaith says:


    I admire your patience. I think you will find it interesting that I was speaking to one of my Jewish collegues the other day about Jesus. He commented that he doesn’t understand why “us Christians” (Berean would be appalled) aren’t offended by the fact that Jesus single-handedly destroyed 4000 years of Jehovah’s dealings with the Israelites. i.e. “it has been said by them of old…..but I say unto you…..” Sounds exactly like Berean’s comment.

    “Joseph Smith in one sentence wiped out 18 centuries of Christianity.” Just substitute the word Jesus for JS, and this is almost word for word my orthodox Jew’s position on Jesus. I don’t blame Berean for defending his position. Nevertheless, those are the words of Jesus not Joseph Smith.

    As far as “Gods” are concerned. We have hashed that about as much as possible. I still don’t see how anyone can get past Genesis 1 without realizing there are at least 2 deity there. I would think that alone would be enough to convert Berean. I am wondering what Berean thinks of early Christian beliefs, such as Gnostics, about more than one God. I’m sure will get the same, “heresy” accusation, that has been the knee-jerk response by Orthodoxy (for generality and accuracy sake) of any Christian teaching (2nd and 3rd century) that doesn’t conform to the Nicean creed, regardless of the source (Jesus and/or the apostles themselves).

  6. mrgermit says:

    DoF: you are oh so right about FoF, he is as patient as Job, and almost as afflicted…..tho I’d hope that his wife would not tell him to curse God and die….

    you are also right about the Nicean Creed and the orthodox judgment of any group that seriously runs afoul of those beliefs…..that’s why we love them (those wretched creeds) so, they are actually useful, then and now

    Berean’t paragraph you quoted does a great job summarizing the animus between your religion and ours…..and as Berean noted, JS started it…… here’s hoping we can agree to disagree and act like christians, tho I know you aren’t just acting…..


    PS to Berean: that paragraph is reprint quality….good job per usual.

  7. WJ says:

    I think its worth pointing out that Hinckley’s motivation for purchasing the letters might not have been to hide them. There were multiple letters, after all. One of those letters provided information of a purported blessing Joseph Smith gave one of his sons. In the blessing Smith was recorded to have stated that his son would one day be prophet; pretty damaging information to the LDS Church, if true. But they didn’t hide it, instead they gave it to the Reorganized Church, which holds, as one of its central tenets, that the presidency should have remained in the Smith family.

    Likewise, Hoffman’s infamous “Salamander Letter” was published in the April 1985 issue of the Church News, the same month that Hinckley acquired it. It was caveated, of course, but published for all to see nonetheless.

    The Church often purchases historical documents/sites/artifacts, etc. that have some ostensible connection to its past. In light of that fact, there is nothing particularly nefarious or unusual about this purchase.

  8. gundeck says:


    You are partialy correct and I thank you for the correction. The key passage in Josh 9 is Josh 9:14 not Josh 9:13 like I posted it is not Josh 9:15. I should not have inferred the people of Israel were deceived, it was Joshua and the Men of Israel. But to contend that being deceived is just something that happens does not fit the passage. The point of the episode is that all involved “Failed to ask the Lord”. Why was Joshua deceived, because he “failed to ask the Lord” before making a major decision that went against the Law God gave His people. The sin of making a treaty was compounded not because Joshua was deceived, nor was the sin taken away because Joshua was deceived. The sin was worse because he and the “Men of Israel failed to ask the Lord”.

    You are aware I am sure that at this time each of the Tribes of Isreal were acting in a semi-autominious state. Joshua was the “successor to Moses” but he was not the King of a united Israel. Thus the importance of the “Men of Israel” or Tribal leadership was involved in the sin not just Joshua.

    Something you have neglected in your view of the Unnamed Prophet in 1 Kings 13 that may change your view on the “Man of God” just being deceived. Reread 1 Kings 13:21 you see he “rebelled against the Lord…” His rebellion cost him his life (1 Kings 13:26). More than that he was not buried with his people in his “ancestral tomb” a serious blow to an Israelite.

    Thank you for the opportunity to correct the verse and to clarify who was involved.

    By the way, is it your contention that every prophet who is deceived should be mauled to death by a lion?

  9. mrgermit says:


  10. Ralph says:


    I have said this a number of times in the past and this is the direct quote from the Harper’s Bible Dictionary –

    “The formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the [New Testament]”

    This means that the doctrine (ie description and definition) of the Trinity found in the creeds that were produced in the 4th and 5th century is NOT in the NT. I know Lautensack and Berean will disagree again as they did in the past – Lautensack even posted the full section about the Trinity. But what ever they say about this dictionary article they cannot get over the fact it says “…is NOT to be FOUND in the [NT].”

    So does this make the 2 Trinity creeds false doctrine? Does this then make the God described in these false? I have no problem with anyone wanting to believe in a Trinity, but if they base their beliefs on these 2 creeds then they are following false doctrine. If they have a definition of a Trinity that is dated from before these, then maybe they have it correct.

    I know of 3 other Bible dictionaries that say a similar thing about the Trinity not being found in the Bible and I have referenced them before. So who is right? The thousands of Christians out there, or the Biblical scholars that wrote these dictionaries?

    Just remember too that the Nicaean creed only defined God the Father and God the Son for at least 50 years (more than one generation) before they decided to incorporate the Holy Spirit.

  11. Ralph says:

    Yes, yes, yes RickB,

    All very well and good – It describes why Jonah ran from what God told him to do. But you miss the point – regardless of why Jonah ran, God told him to PROPHECY to the people of Ninevah IN HIS NAME that the city will be DESTROYED IN 40 DAYS (Jonah 3:1-4). This is rather specific in its details – ie what is going to happen and when.

    So question – Was the city destroyed in 40 days?

    Answer – NO

    Does this make Jonah a false prophet? According to your criteria after quoting Deuteronomy the answer is YES. So lets remove Jonah from the Bible! Oh, that means that we will have to remove either all of Jesus from the Bible or just the Gospel that references Jesus saying that the only sign to be given will be the sign of Jonah.

    You said tht he prophesy was fulfilled because the city was destroyed years later – I say NO. The prophesy was for 40 days thenn the city would be destroyed, not a few years.

    So what is correct? Jonah is a true prophet nd your interpretation of Deuteronomy is incorrect – OR – Your interpretation of Deuteronomy is correct and Jonah was a false prophet?

  12. mrgermit says:

    Ralph: thanks for the post

    the word TRINITY is indeed, not in the bible, neither is the word omnipresent (if I remember correctly) The definitions , per se, of the trinity, found in the Nicean Creed, are also not found in the NT; I’m guessing that this is what the Harper’s dictionary is talking about. Neither of these two facts preclude the CONCEPT or “structure” , for lack of a better word, from being biblical, I think you are nit-picking on the standard for something being biblical; It is my belief that all the particulars from which those creedal definitions were formed are to be found in the Bible, hence our claim that the creeds are built from the fabric of the bible. If you want to claim that the particulars are NOT in the Bible, I understand that argument, and we’ve seen A LOT ot threads go down that road.

    really, ultimately, the big deal ends up being, “is the DOCTRINE of the trinity to be found in the bible or not” Not ” is that specific set of definitions to be found word for word, in the bible” see the difference ???

    I’d be happy to check on the Harper’s quote to see what that’s about , but I’ll bet ya a vegga-mite sandwich , it’s something like what I typed above……


  13. Berean says:


    Harper’s Bible Dictionary again? Yeah, I thought we went through that already? Lautensack wrote a dissertation on this in past discussions. As my brother in the Lord, GERMIT, has stated like the rest of us, the word “Trinity” isn’t in the Bible, but the doctrine is there. I’ll be happy to show you from Genesis to Revelation the doctrine of one God who reveals Himself in three persons – Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Ironically, the doctrine of the Trinity is plainly stated in many places and hinted at in other places in the Book of Mormon and the D&C. We are way off topic, but maybe one day in the future we can go through this…again.

    James Talmage has a whole section in “Articles of Faith” (1981 printing) on the Trinity on pages 35-46.

    Why do I find the word “Trinity” in Mormon Doctrine? “The Holy Ghost is a personage of Spirit, he constitutes the third person in the Trinity, the godhead.” (Mormon Doctrine, page 753)

    I will simply ask you what I did last time: please look up in Harper’s the words “Mormon”, “Mormonism”, “Celestial Marriage”, “Kolob”, “Liahona”, “Golden plates”, “Reformed Egyptian”, “Endowment”, “Adam-ondi-Ahman”, etc., and tell me what the definition of those words are in Harper’s Bible Dictionary. I eagerly await your answers.

  14. DefenderOfTheFaith says:


    Thought this is an interesting project of translation from original Hebrew.


    Two key points: Genesis 1 the speaker is Elohiym. Genesis 2 speaker changes to YHWY of Elohiym. OK 2 seperate divine beings going by different names. One saying He is OF the other. So you say, this is just the Trinity (which I can’t fathom from the text that this can be argued). Nevertheless Genesis 3:5 YHWY of Elohiym speaking:

    “given that Elohiym is knowing that in the day you eat from him then your eyes will be opened up and you will exist like Elohiym knowing function and dysfunction”

    These are clearly two seperate deity. YHWY deferring superiority to Elohiym. Why if they are the same Being? So you have the Father and Son. Elohim and Jehovah. The most accurate translation is absolutely “The Gods”. Fortunately, JS translated the BoA text as plain as can be. Abraham knew the same “Gods” that Moses did. Elohiym and YHWY of Elohiym. The same two Beings conversing in John 17.

    I would love to take a trip to the Gold Coast for you baptism. Are you ready?

  15. DefenderOfTheFaith says:


    Do you really think that the 1st Presidency was concerned about another apparent JS/Magic story? Don’t you think there weren’t sufficient stories already circulating and that somehow this would be the one that would throw the church out of favor with the world? The Church is completely committed to collecting everything the prophet ever wrote/said whether is damages or brightens the image of the Church. In other words, there is nothing to hide.

    As far as magic itself. You can put whatever twist you want to. One either believes that God works through the elements (seer stones, urim/thummin, a staff, or clay) or that it is all devil hokus pokus. I just don’t see how a Bible believer can dismiss “the stone in the hat” story and call it magic. Doesn’t that destroy your own foundation?

  16. WJ says:

    gundeck, I’m a little perplexed by your statement that “…. to contend that being deceived is just something that happens does not fit the passage (Joshua 9).” Because after making that statement you then acknowledge that Joshua was in fact “deceived, because he ‘failed to ask the Lord’ before making a major decision that went against the Law God gave His people.” So we agree then, that a prophet of God can be deceived. That is my only point. The reason why he was deceived is not relevant to this discussion. Whether Joshua was deceived because he failed to ask the Lord, because he was too busy gardening, or because he was too enthralled with the latest issue of Popular Mechanics, does not matter. There could be any number of reasons why a prophet could be deceived, but the fact remains, that they can be deceived.

    My same point stands in the 1 Kings example. The prophet rebelled against the Lord, which in turn caused the Lord to allow him to be deceived. So there was a different reason for the deception in this case, but the fact remains that a prophet was deceived. This prophet’s inglorious death is an extraneous matter. Hinckley acknowledged he had been deceived. We don’t know the reason. But the simple point is that prophets are not infallible and can sometimes be deceived, whatever the reason. It does not make them any less a prophet.

    And in answer to your question as to whether it is my contention that every prophet who is deceived should be mauled to death by a lion, this is a silly question. My guess is, the theory goes that if one prophet was deceived and the consequence was death by lion mauling, then to be consistent, that should be the consequence in every situation. But this entirely ignores the Joshua example, who was deceived, but not mauled by lions. So no, lion mauling should not be the consequence for a prophet who is deceived, and I highly doubt the Lord intended to establish this as His unalterable pattern in 1 Kings.

  17. Berean says:


    I’m not appalled that your Jewish friend applied the “Christian” label to you (Mormons) and to people like me (Christian). I expect that and have heard it before. The Jewish people could care less about Mormonism and other non-Christian cults and how that compares to Christianity. Most of them are ignorant of what Mormonism teaches and it isn’t just them. Most of Christianity today is ignorant of what Mormonism really teaches. Heck, many of the Mormons sitting on ward pews really don’t have a clue on the deeper teachings of Mormonism and I can say that after talking to countless of them. The Mormon Church is the only one that I can think of that is out there constantly crying to the world that they want to be called “Christians”. I think the reasons why they are doing this are obvious – at least to me. You don’t see the Jehovah’s Witnesses, Moonies, Scientologists, etc, doing this. Mormons can call themselves whatever they want, but that doesn’t make them who they say they are. I’m sure penguins would much rather fly across the ice to their natural breeding area instead of wobbling in a slow walk to get there like the others do in the bird family. Fact is, they will never fly no matter how much they want to.

    Did you live up to your name’s sake “Defender of the Faith” (B.H. Roberts) in defending the Mormon religion with your Jewish friend? Did he tell you that he has as much disdain for you spiritually as he does for people like me in that he rejects any form of Jesus as being the Savior? Did he tell you that he is angry that the Mormon people are doing baptisms for the dead for the Jewish people that died in the Holocaust despite the Mormon Church’s promise not to do so? Did you warn him as First Counselor Henry Eyring instructed the Mormon people to do in the January 2009 issue of the Ensign on pages 5-9? Did you lead him through the scriptures in the Old Testament and show him the prophecies regarding the Messiah to come and how Jesus fulfilled those in the New Testament? Did you show him Matthew 5:17? Did you show you him the numerous texts in the New Testament where Jesus said “that the scriptures be fulfilled”? Did you warn him where he is going to end up in one of the Mormon kingdoms if he doesn’t accept the Mormon jesus, get married in the temple, accept Joseph Smith as prophet? If not, then B.H. Roberts would be disappointed in you taking on his nickname and President Eyring may not be happy with you either.

    I have a Jewish friend who is in his late eighties. He is from the World War 2 generation. He is angry at God, but still calls himself a Jew despite much of his language sounding atheistic. He can’t understand how Jehovah God would allow the slaughter of 6 million Jews by Hitler. He is a reformed Jew – very reformed. He has a live-in girlfriend, curses like you can’t imagine, doubts the existence of God and his rabbi is a female! It doesn’t get any more liberal than that! Now, he still calls himself a Jew. Would the Hasidic or Orthodox Jews be offended by him and be angered that he is calls himself a Jew with his apparent lifestyle, beliefs and having a female for a rabbi? You better believe it!

    He and I have had many discussions. We are friends. He has said to me, “Nowhere in the Bible did Jesus say that he was the Messiah?” I replied, “Sure he did. Let’s look at Mark 14:61-64. He refused to look at it and still won’t until this day. It’s become an on-going joke between us as I’m constantly trying to get him to look at it. Anyway, if you weren’t aware of that text you can bag it and show it to your Jewish colleague should the opportunity come up. I just ask one thing: make sure you point out to him that the Mormon jesus is different than the Christian Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:4). If that doesn’t suffice you can read him this quote from General Conference which makes it authoritative:

    “It is true that many of the Christian churches worship a different Jesus Christ than is worshipped by the Mormons. Christ followed by the Mormons is not the Christ followed by traditional Christianity.” (Bernard P. Brockbank, Elder, First Quorum of the Seventy, 147th LDS General Conference, Ensign, May 1977, page 26)

    As to your second point, yes, there aren’t just two persons in Genesis 1 – there are three! They are three persons and they are God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Bible says “God” not “Gods” (like the Abraham text). The first time Joseph Smith butchered Genesis 1 in Moses 2 he referred to God as singular “God”. The next stab at Genesis that Joseph Smith tried at Genesis 1 in Abraham 4 he then changed it to “Gods”. Joseph Smith couldn’t make up his mind and his ideas about theology evolved like the rest of his teachings early on. If there was more than one “God” there is one person that would have certainly knew about it – Jesus Christ. He confirmed what Deuteronomy 6:4 said in Mark 12:29. That pretty much settles it. By the way, to assume that He was talking about “unity in purpose” is a broad and fatal assumption by the Mormons. I see that nobody has taken me up on my offer on demonstrating to me from the Mormon scriptures the two things that it would take for me to convert to Mormonism. Okay, I’ll scratch one of them and just make it one: show me the word “Gods” (exactly like it is spelled in Abraham 4 & 5) in the Bible and that will do it for me. That’s all it will take – just one word. It’s really that simple.

    What do I think about the Gnostics and the belief in more than one God? Well, you are correct. I think they are exactly what the early church Fathers said they were – heretics! Defender, you’re starting to catch on. If the Mormon Church would redirect their vitriol for the Nicean Creed into other efforts (maybe opposition to Obama’s plan to cancel “don’t ask don’t tell” for military recruitment), why, we’d be a lot better off as a country.

  18. mobaby says:


    I have seen on ebay some Mormon seer stones for sale. This was a year or so ago, but the ebay listing seemed genuine. Do you own one? If not, why not?

    Where would you draw the line? Are Runes okay? What about an Ouija board? Past life regression – maybe this could give you insight into the pre-existence?

    I ask these questions in all seriousness. The Bible is clear on divination – it is an abomination and those who practice such things put themselves under the judgment of God. One should never trust the revelations of those who practice such things according to Christian theology – and I can see where this rejection of occult practices is drawn from the Bible.

    Saul went to the witch of Endor – and God did send Samuel to pronounce JUDGMENT on Saul – for things such as consulting mediums, and other displays of lack of faith and distrusting God – doing things his own way! The witch had great fear when Samuel appeared – it wasn’t the normal demonic spirits she was used to dealing with.

    I think it is completely possible that Joseph Smith had spiritual experiences that were not from God. (It’s also possible that he completely made up all the spiritual experiences.) It is apparent, to me, that the LDS leadership also believed that it is possible that Joseph Smith had occultic spiritual experiences. That’s why they believed and bought the letter.

    Interestingly, it was Jerald and Sandra Tanner who were some of the first who doubted the authenticity of the letter. Their pursuit of the truth again did them good.

  19. mobaby says:


    As I was thinking about it, one more thing occurred to me that I think undermines the idea “they have nothing to hide.” Why did this master forger CHOOSE to forge a letter about Joseph Smith and black magic? Remember, Mark Hofmann was looking to make as much money as he could. Why not forge a Joseph Smith letter encouraging the missionaries? I think the reason that Hofmann chose this subject was because he knew the LDS leadership would pay a large sum of money to keep additional info about Joseph Smith and the occult from coming out. Joseph Smith’s involvement with the occult is not as ho-hum common place accepted by every day Mormons as you think.

  20. gundeck says:


    Thank you again for the opportunity to better explain myself. I want to answer your statement, “So we agree then, that a prophet of God can be deceived…” directly and then I will break it down for you. Yes both of these passages show us that if a prophet of God acts in a sinful manner he can be deceived as a result of that sin.

    While you are coming dangerously close to getting my point, you also comment that “The prophet rebelled against the Lord, which in turn caused the Lord to allow him to be deceived. So there was a different reason for the deception in this case, but the fact remains that a prophet was deceived.” To witch I answer there was only 1 cause of the deception and that was the sinful acts of these men. No sin, no deception.

    You seem to be focusing on the deception of Joshua and the Man of God to the exclusion of their sinful acts. By doing this you are missing the point of both of these passages. Sin caused both deceptions.

    Sinful behavior, not asking God, not following the Law, caused Joshua to be deceived. He could have asked God what to do but sinfully chose not to. This is not a matter of spending to much time on his hobbies. Joshua and the men of Israel sinned and they were punished for it by God. In Chapter 10 Joshua was forced into a war to defend the Gibeonites. Now a merciful God did help Joshua achieve victory in that war but that does not change the fact that it was Joshua’s and the men of Israels sin that caused it.

    I don’t know why the Man of God sinned and was deceived. The fact that he was deceived does not change the point that he sinfully rebelled against God and was punished for it. Had he followed Gods command, no deception, no lion.

    In neither of these passages is deception or the fact that a prophet can be deceived the point that the writer is trying to get across. In both passages it is that these men sinned and pridefully neglected to do what they were commanded to do and thus were deceived. I am not saying that the deceptions caused the sins. I am saying that there sin allowed and caused the deception. Had Joshua sent the Gibionites packing as Exodus 23:32, 33 commanded him to do or consulted with God as was his right, there would have been no sin, and no deception. Had the Man of God continued on his way home as 1 Kings 13:9 commanded him to do there would have been no sin, no deception and no lion mauling.

    You see the question about the lion mauling was not silly it was aimed at driving home the point that the sinful acts of these men was the cause of their deception. It was not deception that caused them to sin as you imply.

    Now as to the connection between these passages and Gordon Hinckley being deceived by Mark Hoffman, first let me say that I did not bring them up to begin with. I would not use these passages to prove the point you are trying to make because even a casual reading of them contradict your thesis. Second while these passages do confirm that a prophet can be deceived they also show a direct causal relationship to the sinful behavior that proceeds and causes the deception, not to a burning desire to read magazines or pull weeds out of the garden. Third it is for God to decide if Mr. Hinckley was acting sinfully and trying to cover up embarrassing document and was deceived or if he had some other motive and was just tricked. Like I said, I would not have used these passages because of the link to sin on the part of the prophet causing his deception. I am not trying to link Mr. Hinckley to sinful behavior, I am just saying that these passages link sinful behavior to a prophet being deceived and punished.

    Finally I forgot to thank you for the compliment of my interpretive acrobatics. But humbly I submit that it isn’t that hard. All you have to do is read the verse in the context of the surrounding chapters, then book, then Testaments and always remember that all Scripture point to Christ (Luke 24:27) and Him risen.

  21. DefenderOfTheFaith says:

    Where to start?

    Wanted to be called Christian: Something you bring up often. Per your quote, we have no interest in projecting the idea that the Jesus you are preaching and ours are the same. Otherwise why Article of Faith #1. JS was clear that the Godhead as taught by the Nicean creed is incorrect. I do think that Mormons would like the world to know that they are “Christians” in every sense of what the word itself really means. Not that we hold the various doctrines of Christendom as correct. Desperation? No, just trying to fill the mandate given by the Savior “to bring the church forth out of obscurity…..”

    It doesn’t really matter that my Jewish friend knows that we believe in a different Jesus. It is a moot point. Both are false to him. Fools gold. Trading Jehovah, the one true God, for a man that made himself God (these are his words, not mine). What will convince him? Probably nothing. But, if anything will it will be the BoM. Truly another witness that this Jesus was indeed the Christ. Referencing NT scripture is of little value. Why won’t your friend read it? Because it is just another false gospel to them, apostates taking away the chosen race, like chasing the golden calf. They won’t do it!

    Gods: Another round at JS evolutionary theology. I have studied this in depth. It’s a smoke screen. From his earliest days, he taught 3 seperate deities. I have my theories why the Nicean council couldn’t promote Jesus’ teaching that He was also deity, in addition to his Father (seperate beings). They had to make them of one substance. I just don’t know why they didn’t throw out John 17. They couldn’t throw out Genesis. By the way, I am still interested in your explanation of Genesis 3:5 and John 17. I suppose that if Genesis 1 has one speaker and Genesis 2 has another speaker and Genesis 3 Jehovah defers superiority to Elohim….if that doesn’t show you that the correct translation should be Gods…I don’t know what will. But I’ll keep looking.

    Wishing I was surfing the gold coast.
    By the way, it doesn’t really matter to me if Roberts or Eyring would be dissappointed with me, although I doubt they would be. Jesus is the one that matters.

  22. DefenderOfTheFaith says:


    One last interesting note from the mechanical translation. What we have as LORD God is read in the original as YHWY of Elohiym. So your quoting of Deuteronomy would read “YHWY of Elohiym” is one. Much different meaning.

    I consider that the Gnostics had just as much truth as the orthodox folk. Both called each other heretics. The church fathers couldn’t accept that there was some “secret knowledge” that Jesus imparted to his apostles (temple ordinances). Why, because they didn’t have them. So just call these “Knowlege Christians” heretics. In addition, on what criteria did the church fathers throw out the Gnostic scriptures (works of Peter and Thomas) without challenging their authenticity? Simply…. it didn’t agree with their doctrine that they agreed was right (Trinity). Keep the books that we can work with and throw out the rest. By the way, JS knew none of this. I think he would be refreshed that the Dead Sea scrolls revealed the words of ancient apostles not found in the Bible.

    I don’t think the Church cares much about the Nicean creed, except to cite evidence of where the nature of the Godhead became a “mystery”. I may be wrong.

  23. Rick B says:

    When you stand before God and he tells you you are going to get tossed into the Lake of Fire for rejecting the truth, you can argue with Him how he cannot be real because He said He would Destroy a nation, but then Decided to spare them. If you want Him to Kill thousands then thats your Choice.

    I figure both my postions are still Correct. Jonah did not want to Give the message because He knew God would spare them. That is clear from the Book of Jonah. Jonah went anyway but not exactly by Choice, God brought him their via A great sea creature.

    Jonah gave the Message God told him to Give, Jonah did nothing Wrong. God even Got a little upset with Jonah for Jonah complaing that God spared them. Who are we to Argue with God, If He changes His mind then that is His Choice.

    But Since you seem to not believe me and keep bringing it up, Lets look at it like this, God decide to spare the People, thats on Him, plus that Shows His great Love for People, As Jesus said the the Gospels, I desire Mercy over Sacrifice, So God would rather show Mercy to us, But you would rather see Judgment from the sounds of it.

    But now stop avoiding this issue, How come JS said God spoke to him and told him a Temple would be built in Missouri in His generation, But yet over 200 years have passed, So it seems it is going on 2-3 generations now and their is no place in your Scripture that says God told JS that he decide to forgo the temple or even stop is completly. So How do you figure JS is a true prophet Since this is clearly a failed Prophecy and LDS do not even own the Land that the temple is supposed to be built on. Rick b

  24. mrgermit says:

    rickB: I share this as a friend and brother:
    (this is a response to your comment about “sarcasm” earlier

    when in doubt, ASK YOUR AUDIENCE IF THEY FIND SOMETHING INSULTING, they will probably tell you

    granted, SOMETIMES our message will get interpreted that way no matter what, no matter what package we put something in, but I find sarcasm, especially when pointed to AN INDIVIDUAL, to be a conversation stopper, most of the time.

    like your passion and love for your SAVIOR, keep reaching out


  25. gundeck says:


    You might be on to something if the Gnostics taught anything about temple ordinances but since they didn’t and since the Gnostic teachings don’t align with Mormonism your analogy falls flat.

    As to your consperisy theroy about the Gospel of Peter, I wonder if the magic talking cross or its late date (mid second century) or it’s pseudepigraphical nature had something to do with it being rejected from the canon.

    But wait there is the Gospel of Thomas to hang your hat on… But since his teaching on the resurrection of the body directly contradicts Christianity and Mormonism do you really want to add that to the canon?

    I’ll tell you what I would like to see is a book from our LDS friends documenting the Great Apostasy. Present a documented reason to change the current history of Christianity. There are hundreds of books on the early Church done by Christians and secular scholars. Where is the LDS chronology documenting the loss of the gospel?

    Charles Williams said in his work on Nicaea (325) “The nature of the Church had not changed, and only fools suppose that it had…It had Become a creed but it remained a Gospel.”

  26. Berean says:


    Thanks for the response. It’s always a pleasure to talk with the Mormon people. Thank you for allowing me that opportunity. What do I think about Genesis 3:5?

    Let’s state who is talking here. It’s Satan – the father of lies. Satan is tempting Eve with the fruit and then adding in the biggest lie of all – she can be a god just like God the Father if she eats it. Up until this point Adam and Eve didn’t know good from evil because they weren’t in a sinful state yet. That didn’t happen until verse 7 when “the eyes of them both were opened”. My point is: when Satan is talking one can be sure that it’s going to be a lie or some form of deception. There is no truth in him. He tells her that she and Adam will be as “gods” (notice the small “g”?). There are a lot of false gods out there, but there is only one true God by nature (Galatians 4:8). In my opinion, I think this is where the doctrine of exaltation comes from – Genesis 3:5 – from Satan in telling people that they can become gods.

    What do I think of John 17? Which part? Verse 11 (John 17:11)? Jesus prayed that all Christians would be united in the same way that He and the Father were united.

    Jesus praying to the Father? Jesus prays to the Father: they are both God in essence and nature, but two different persons.

    John 17:21-22? Our union with the Father and the Son is obtained and kept up only by the Holy Ghost (spiritual union).

    Question: Do you believe that members of the Godhead are “one in purpose”? If so, is it possible that the Holy Ghost would ever contradict what the Father or Son has already revealed? Please show me one passage in the Bible or the Book of Mormon where it says that the Father, Sonn and Holy Ghost are three separate gods that are perfectly united only in purpose? (John 17 shows that the Father and the Son are perfectly united in purpose, but never does it say they are separate gods)

  27. Rick B says:

    I agree to a point, I am fine with it in a certain Context, I believe it can be used with out insulting someone and while trying to make a point. But on the other hand, their are some people that will use any excuse not to hear what we have to say. The truth is, it is more So they do not want to hear the truth in general and simply make excuses as to it is something we said or how we said it. Like I told Ralph, When he stands before God, he can try all he wants to tell God, I did not believe you were real because I had an issue with Jonah. But thanks for caring enough to say something.

    I honestly respect people for saying something verses not saying anything. Rick b

  28. mrgermit says:

    Berean wrote:

    when Satan is talking one can be sure that it’s going to be a lie or some form of deception. There is no truth in him. He tells her that she and Adam will be as “gods” (notice the small “g”?). There are a lot of false gods out there, but there is only one true God by nature (Galatians 4:8).

    In my opinion, I think this is where the doctrine of exaltation comes from – Genesis 3:5 – from Satan in telling people that they can become gods.

    Berean, that last sentence is so on the money. This also explains, to me, why LDS would be so hesitant to flesh out or talk about the exaltation doctrine, I think most people know, even if only intuitively, that this idea is an affront to a holy GOD. Whatever being God’s “child” means, it does not mean this. Good work, bro.


  29. mrgermit says:

    RickB: thanks for taking my words as what they are: just a suggestion: if the Spirit wants to use them, they will come back around again, my goal (one of them) is to see you as effective as possible. Let’s give people as few LEGITIMATE reasons to turn off the channel as possible.

    look forward to seeing more of your posts,


  30. Berean says:


    In regards to the translation of Elohim, I would like to point out the following: The Hebrew word here is Elohim (God) which is a plural noun. In the Hebrew language this word Elohim is a majestic plural referring to his supreme greatness. This would show the pluralistic nature and majesty of God. The Hebrews will be quick to tell you that Elohim does not mean that there is more than one God. Make note of Jesus’ words in Mark 12:29 where He restates what is said in Deuteronomy 6:4. The Jews and Christians do have one thing in common: we are both monotheistic. They know that there is only one God. I refer you back to the scripture which is in Isaiah 43:10-12. Elohim is directly tied to singular pronouns. Examples of this would be words such as “I, he, me, his, my, himself and myself”. This takes place 99% of the time in the Old Testament. Here is a good rule to consider: Difficult passages that are unclear or confusing have to be referenced with clearer scriptures. The Mormons, like many other groups, do not practice the rule while taking many verses out of context. The flaw in this type of studying will leave a person sometimes with an embarrassing conclusion (God is a “chicken” – Psalms 91:4). We know that there is only one God because there are numerous passages in the Bible stating so. That means we have to look at Genesis 1:26 in that context of a singular God and go from there to determine what is being said there.

    The problem that we are having here is that you are making the classic mistake that countless (both non-Mormon and Mormon) have. They are trying to rationally understand the concept of the Trinity with the human mind. It isn’t going to happen. Anyone that tells you that they fully understands the Trinity is a liar. We cannot fully get our minds around that concept. Mormons try to rationalize and make everything make sense to them before they can believe it all the while not being able to answer some questions either (who was the father of the Mormon god (Elohim)? Who was the first god? What is the name of heavenly mother? What is the second level of the celestial kingdom, etc.). I don’t fully understand the concept of three persons that are yet one God, but the scriptures (Bible) clearly teaches it. If we were to fully understand everything about God, then we would be Him and that is never going to happen. We have human minds and we are limited. God holds some things to Himself (Deuteronomy 29:29).

    You need to ask your Jewish friend if he believes that there is more than one God? Ask him if Elohim means that there are many gods? He will probably spit before answering you sternly “Absolutely not!”. You’re problem isn’t with me. It’s with the Hebrew language and those that are trained in it. Translators do not translate the Hebrew word “Elohim” as “Gods”. It is singular just like it is note in Genesis 1:27. I’m not a Hebrew scholar. Are you? If not, then your opinion about how “Elohim” should be translated in the scriptures is a moot point.

    No, I’m not ready for Mormon baptism because you still have not proved to me from the scriptures (Bible) that one word – “Gods” (with a capital “G”). Speculation, wishing and hoping that the scholars would have done that for you since you think that is the way it should be and also your assumption, well, just doesn’t count. There isn’t a Jew on this planet who knows Hebrew that I know of that will tell you that there is more than one God. To do so would contradict Deuteronomy 6:4 and the Ten Commandments.

  31. Ralph says:

    Germit and Berean,

    I just want to know then why the Harper’s Bible dictionary says that the DOCTRINE of the Trinity is not found in the Bible? Then it goes on to say that it appears to be an evolution of thought from late NT to post-NT times. I copied the whole section that Lautensack pasted on the internet and I could post it back up if you wish to see what it says. It does give a few verses saying that people use these and interpret them to mean this to show there is a Trinity, but the main point is that these Biblical scholars – “experts” in this field – state that the DOCTRINE of the Trinity is not found in the NT.

    Its like you asking me why I believe in the BoM when the experts say that he DNA evidence proves otherwise.

  32. Berean says:


    I don’t have Harper’s dictionary so I can’t tell you. If he said the things you stated, then he is wrong. It’s that simple. The word “Trinity” is not in the Bible. The scriptures that teach of the doctrine of the Trinity are. It’s in Genesis to Revelation. There are three distinct persons, but they constitute a Godhead that is one God. We can’t fully understand it, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. The Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias that I have here in my library have a listing for the Trinity.

    I don’t know a lot about Harper’s book. I’d be curious to see what his definition for God, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit say. If they are defined as God and then he defines God as being one God, then Harper isn’t making much sense. Does Harper say there is more than one God? Is Harper a polytheist like the Mormons?

    If the doctrine of the Trinity is not found in the NT as you reference them and you want to “bang that drum”, then I want to know why Talmage and McConkie keep throwing the word “Trinity” around in their writings when they use definitions? In Christianity we do have liberals who are heretics. They’ve been around from the beginning. Arius is one of the most famous. Arius was the result of the council of Nicea. Arius has a lot in common with the teachings of the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons today.

    I’m sure the LDS Church has its liberals too that you reject fully. I know you reject the Community of Christ (RLDS), Church of Christ – Temple Lot, FLDS, etc., and they all use the Book of Mormon, but pervert it their own way which I know gets under the Salt Lake City Mormons’ skin. We have liberals like Osteen who are just as much a disgrace to the name Christian. I apply the same standards testing (1 Thes 5:21; Acts 17:10-11) to what those people say, what books they put out and so forth. If it doesn’t line up, then it goes out with the garbage.

    Here’s a brain teaser regarding the scriptures that teach the doctrine of the Trinity for you to think about during ward service this weekend: look at Zechariah 12:10 and let it sink in. Let’s talk about that some time. I want to see if you can catch the two key words in there that just jump off the pages and also the message in there.

    P.S. My Bible dictionary doesn’t have a listing for “Kolob”, “celestial marriage” or “reformed Egyptian”. Does Harper’s? I know I asked this before. I’m still curious.

  33. Berean says:


    Discussing the Gnostics and the Apocrypha is a whole blog/website on its own. We’re getting further off topic as we go along here and I hate angering Aaron and Sharon. I don’t like to ignore your questions and I don’t want to avoid you. With that said, we could discuss this in great detail, but I would like to know why any of this even matters? The Book of Mormon is said to contain the fulness of the gospel. D&C confirms this as well. Why aren’t any of the Gnostic works (Apocrypha) part of the LDS standard works? The answers are many, but I have found one very clear from D&C 91 where the Mormon god tells Joseph Smith to not bother translating them because “there are many things contained therein that are not true” (verse 2). That pretty well sums it up, right? The Mormon god cannot lie (Enos 1:6; Ether 3:12) so that means He is not the author of one word of any of those works. I agree with this. These works had truth and fairy-tale mixed together and that is why they were rejected from being part of the biblical canon. The process to determine which books were authoritative is another discussion on its own.

    Bottom line: The Mormon god told Joseph Smith not to worry about it, the Gnostic works aren’t part of the LDS standard works and the First Presidency today seems to be holding that ground. Your church doesn’t recognize these works so what is your point in bringing this to the floor in light of Christianity and the books of the Bible?

  34. WJ says:

    After reading your last post, I couldn’t help but think that this conversation is beginning to represent what is wrong (and sometimes entertaining) about these kinds of conversations. At some point we stop talking to each other and start talking past each other. I believe your entire argument, from your initial response to MDavis’s comment onward, results from your failure to understand the point MDavis was trying to make.

    MDavis simply cited Joshua 9 and 1 Kings 13 as examples of situations where prophets were deceived, but were still prophets who could be trusted. Neither MDavis, nor I, are making any allusion whatsoever to what might have caused the deception (nor was MDavis arguing that those scriptures are examples we should follow, which seems to be how you interpreted his/her comments by your twice-voiced response that those passages are no “excuse for us to do the same”). And I labeled your post interpretive acrobatics not because I disagreed your interpretation, but only because your scouring of the scriptures was largely irrelevant, and missed the original point. In fact, I 100% agree with you that in both cases, the prophet was deceived because they first sinned.

    Whether this means that President Hinckley was deceived because he had first sinned, I can’t say, because as you already noted, “it is for God to decide if Mr. Hinckley was acting sinfully….” But even if it were the reason, newsflash, Hinckley would have been the first to tell you that he was a sinner like the rest of us. There is nothing shocking here. Jesus is the only perfect person who ever has or ever will live the earth. We know it, He knows it, and He knows that those He calls to do His work are going to make mistakes. It happens. But just because His servants sometimes sin does not mean they are no longer His servants.

    You commented that I am “coming dangerously close to getting [your] point,” which seemed to be that in both Joshua 9 and 1 Kings 13, the cause of the deception was the sinful acts of those particular prophets, which could therefore mean that President Hinckley might have first sinned, which is why he was then deceived. I hate to be a downer, but there is nothing dangerous about this point. Even if it were true, you would have only proved that Hinckley sinned, not that he was a false prophet, for Joshua and the Man of God both sinned, but were still prophets of God. So Hinckley would be a prophet regardless. But again, as you noted, we have no way of telling whether President Hinckley did in fact sin in this case, because only God knows.

    You said “[I] seem to be focusing on the deception of Joshua and the Man of God to the exclusion of their sinful acts. By doing this [I am] missing the point of both of these passages. Sin caused both deceptions.” No, I’m not missing the point of the passages because, as discussed above, they both stand for the proposition that a prophet can be deceived and yet still be a prophet. These passages are worst case scenarios, and yet Joshua and the Man of God are still prophets.

    You said “in neither of these passages is deception or the fact that a prophet can be deceived the point that the writer is trying to get across.” I’m always intrigued by statements such as these. How is it you know the point the writer was trying to get across? Did you talk to him? In any case, it doesn’t matter, because whether indirectly or not, the passages still make the point.

    You said “you see the question about the lion mauling was not silly it was aimed at driving home the point that the sinful acts of these men was the cause of their deception. It was not deception that caused them to sin as you imply.” I’m not sure how you ever concluded that I was implying that deception caused the prophets to sin, especially in light of the fact that I repeatedly indicated that it doesn’t make a difference to me what caused the prophets’ deception, or whether they sinned, etc. This seems to be an example of you talking past me, rather than trying to understand my point.

    You said “[you] would not use these passages to prove the point [I am] trying to make because even a casual reading of them contradict [my] thesis.” These passages would only contradict my thesis if my thesis was that prophets don’t sin, which is a thesis I never came anywhere near making. This is a thesis of your own making, and is one that I believe you created because, as I indicated above, you misunderstood the point MDavis and I were attempting to make.

  35. Ralph says:

    Berean you said –

    “As to your second point, yes, there aren’t just two persons in Genesis 1 – there are three! They are three persons and they are God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Bible says “God” not “Gods” (like the Abraham text). The first time Joseph Smith butchered Genesis 1 in Moses 2 he referred to God as singular “God”. The next stab at Genesis that Joseph Smith tried at Genesis 1 in Abraham 4 he then changed it to “Gods”. Joseph Smith couldn’t make up his mind and his ideas about theology evolved like the rest of his teachings early on.”

    Maybe JS got it right. I have seen a few historical/archaeological shows as well as read a few books about the Bible and they say that the evidence shows that around the time of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Israel) the ancient Hebrews were polytheistic – meaning that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were polytheists. They go on to say that it was not until Moses that strict monotheism was imposed on the people. Now if (and I am saying IF for your benefit) this is true, then JS had it correct to put “God” in the book of Moses and “Gods” in the book of Abraham. Interesting hey? That’s something JS would not have known back then.

    As far as the Harper’s Bible dictionary it is written by the BSL, one of the largest Bible study groups in the world consisting mainly of Christians – look it up on theinternet if you want. And if you want the actual quote from the book here it is again – “The formal doctrine of the Trinity as it was defined by the great church councils of the fourth and fifth centuries is not to be found in the NT”

    I do have the full article, thanks to Lautensack, and I could post the whole thing to you if you wish.

  36. Ralph says:

    Sorry that’s SBL – Society of Biblical Literature. They have a website or for quick reference there is a small thing about them in Wikipedia. The Wiki article says they are ther largest and oldest American Bible study group and it was started by clergy and teachers from various organisations.

  37. gundeck says:


    I am sure that we are, at times, talking past each other. That is why I think it is important to clarify our positions to each other with an interest in bridging the gap in our understandings. For instance, on this issue, I thing we are coming to understand each others positions much better than was possible from the brief remarks MDavis made.

    I think that I have always understood that MDavis used the two passages to proof text that prophets can be deceived and remain legitimate. What I cannot understand is why a Mormon would use passages where the deception of a prophet was predicated on sinful and unrighteous behavior to prove that a Mormon prophet can be deceived and still be accepted as a prophet by the LDS Church.

    From my perspective this question of sin and deception of prophets would introduce more doubt into the LDS prophetic system. Simply this seems to remove the benefit of receiving the objective word of God from the living prophet by introducing the doubt of unrighteousness on the part of the prophet and turning the LDS prophetic system into a subjective spiritual experience for each individual believer more akin to modern charismatic beliefs than the Old Testament prophets.

    I see now that you have always understood that rebellion against God was the cause of the deception in both cases. I think that we even both agree that this was not sin in general on the part of the prophets but particular sins involved in each situation.

    Your question, “How is it you know the point the writer was trying to get across?” does sadden me. I cannot fathom why God would reveal himself in the Bible by inspiring the writers of the books and preserving the Scripture all so that we cannot understand what the writer intended. I imagine that this view of the Bible is why defending the legitimacy of your prophetic system is so important.

    Thank you again for taking the time to explain and re-explain your position. I hope that now you can see why I would not have used these passages to prove the “true-ness” (is that a word?) of a prophet.

  38. WJ says:

    gundeck, you needn’t be sad about my question regarding your claim to know what the writer intended. Yes, of course, God provided inspired verse to enable us to understand His will, etc. But lets face it, scripture can have multiple meanings to different people, or multiple meanings to the same person. In some ways, thats the beauty of scripture. You can read a scripture over and over for years, and then suddenly read it again and find new meaning in it. The purpose behind my question, however, was to point out the tinge of presumptuousness in your comment to the extent that you determined the passage could only stand for one proposition, and no more, when it self-evidently stood for both of our propositions.

    As to your question regarding why a Mormon would use these passages to support the position that a Mormon prophet can be deceived and still be accepted as a prophet by the LDS Church, I could ask you the same question. Why do you support the Bible, which is nothing but a compilation of inspired writings by men who committed sin, and who were to some degree creatures of their background and culture as the rest of us? Would this not introduce doubt as to the objective word of God from past prophets and turn the entire book of scripture into a subjective spiritual experience? I submit that this issue is no more a threat to LDS belief than it is to your own.

    On a different note, I appreciate the tenor of this conversation and the fact that the discussion has remained amicable. As I’m sure you’ve seen, a substantial amount of religious/political dialogue lacks this characteristic, so its refreshing to see every now and again.

  39. mobaby says:

    From my point of view, the reason the GA do not take on all the troubling matters in the LDS Church is that they can’t. It’s a losing battle and they know it. There’s no there there. Better to stay “above the fray” than engage arguments on which you know you will lose. Simple, truth.

  40. mrgermit says:

    Ralph: still looking for a “Harper’s” at the local Half Price Bood store, but while I look, Bereans comment below is really what I’ve been thinking…..

    I’m sure the LDS Church has its liberals too that you reject fully. I know you reject the Community of Christ (RLDS), Church of Christ – Temple Lot, FLDS, etc., and they all use the Book of Mormon, but pervert it their own way which I know gets under the Salt Lake City Mormons’ skin

    I mean there are LEGIONS of christian people and sources that I don’t agree with, just as there are LEGIONS of “mormons” (according to THEM, at least….) who do not agree with you….. this line of thought does not get us very far, it seems to me.

    fair enought to say that there are people who have spent a LOT of time studying the Bible who do not accept the trinity, and many of these people call themselves christian. I understand and accept that situation. I’d recomment that someone GO TO THE BOOK ITSELF and find out if this is so……my contention, like Berean’s , is that they will find the trinity from Genesis to Revelation, and that has been the orthodox position for thousands of years.


  41. mrgermit says:

    Ralph: sorry, I just caught that DNA comment….. well, the major body of current science goes against the LDS position (not that science can’t be wrong, but Id say they usually get it right) the major body of christian biblical study, really across most denominational boundaries hold to the trinity , and maintain that this is the position of antiquity. Yes, there are those who oppose that position, just as the LDS oppose mainline science on the DNA

    to me, the common thought between the two:: a fair reading of BOTH the NT and the scientific evidence regarding DNA will reveal the truth of both (because GOD does not lie about either one)

    thanks for your posts


  42. faithoffathers says:

    Ralph and McGermit,

    Had to respond to claims about DNA evidence and the BOM. The main “scientifitc” proponents of the idea that there is DNA evidence that refutes the BOM are two gentleman who are not population geneticists, and who did no primary experiments to “prove” their hypothesis. (one was excommunicated for adultery) They took research done by others and extrapolated the results to reach their conclusions. There is nothing wrong with using others’ primary data for such research, but it limits the power of the conclusions.

    Their work, and the conclusions made by the enthusiastic crowd who seeks to dismiss the BOM are based on some very large assumptions, which can be shown to be untrue.

    So I do not think it is reasonable to make claims that suggest there is a concensus of “experts” in the field on the topic. Reminds me of the “concensus” among scientists on global warming- such a thing is very much exagerated. Another topic.


  43. mrgermit says:

    FoF: you wrote

    Their work, and the conclusions made by the enthusiastic crowd who seeks to dismiss the BOM are based on some very large assumptions, which can be shown to be untrue

    the point of my post was/is: shown to be untrue by WHOM: in other words , are there ANY reputable folks in the field of genetics, not from your “tribe”, who will go to bat for you ?? I’m thinking precious few……. not to say you don’t have some good students in your corner at FAIR and FARMS, but come on, is there someone playing skeptic to the dominant view that your history of mesoamerica has no legs to it ?? Someone who, again, is NOT LDS ??? If you cant’ produce those people, then how exagerated are my claims ??

    thanks, GERMIT

    PS to all: interesting segeway (sp??) to HISTORY, the real theme of this thread; over on “I LOVE MORMONS ” are the testomonies of the Adam’s Road guys, and several of these young men have some interesting things to say about their experiences with Mormon history…. as they relate to instruction at BYU…. I thought it very pertinent to some of what we’ve talked about here. Worth checking out.

    PS to FoF; maybe someday we can revisit those kinds of “proofs” as a thread topic, and mabe agree that “chiasmus” is it’s own topic…….we’ll see

  44. faithoffathers says:


    Tanks for the reply.

    The majority of “scientists” who make the claims about DNA and the Book of Mormon have some connection to another ministry or religious organization. There exists a significant reason for them to arrive at the conclusions they do. It is not as if your average population geneticist is eagerly awaiting to investigate such religious questions. You are right, those scientists who defend the BOM have an interest in it, and those who claim it is a fraud also have an interest in it.

    It is like the claims made that the Smithsonian Institute’s statements regarding the BOM bare real weight. Who really thinks that that organization invests any real time or attention looking into such matters? Probably not anybody who competes for funding from corporations or the government and understands what that environment is like. In addition to saying that they know of no evidence that proves a link between ancient American civilizations and the BOM, they should add a comment on whether they would even see such a question as of interest to them, and how much they have invested to answer such a question. Make sense? I think it is naive to expect the Smithsonian to test questions that have religious and spiritual assumptions and conclusions. They simply are not in that business.

    My point above is that the bulk if not all of that research is based on untrue assumptions about what the Book of Mormon claims. It assumes the most global, enormous interpretation of those claims. For example, the typical research we speak of is based on the assumption that the BOM claims to be the record of the ancestors of the American Indian with little interface with other peoples. This is simply a crazy assumption. It also assumes a great deal about the lineage of the Nephites and Lamanites as well as the lineage of modern “Jews”, etc. etc. But if you start with such enormous assumptions, it is so much easier to prove the negative hypothesis that the American Indian did not descend from “Jews.”


  45. mrgermit says:

    FoF; nice post

    IF in fact the BofM has something to say to the world at large about history, then I think we can reasonably expect that OVER TIME, the facts , the evidence surrounding the study of that history (let’s assume meso-american only, for now) will GRADUALLY reflect that…..and that will include people who really had no particular interest in the BofM either pro or con……of course if the HISTORICAL claims of th BofM start to look like they have some merit, then interest in that book will pick up (understandably)

    My point is that so far we haven’t seen any of that. or so little as to not amount to much. Mention “BofM” and “history” in the same sentence who studies AnY kind of central or south american history and see what you get. IF they dont’ seem very incentivized, then why is that?? Is it because they have some kind of negative bias, or is there just nothing to pursue there HISTORICALLY ?? Again, the Tom Fergeson’s of the world don’t seem to help your cause either, but we’ve already blogged that , almost to death, it seems.

    granted there are MANY people who don’t think much of those claims, and maybe we just misunderstand them……but as the years roll on, your position will look weaker and weaker, while entire dept’s of archeology and anthropology dedicate themselves to the study surrounding the OTHER book……hmmmmmm. Really, the biases of nay-sayers shouldn’t stop you if you have truth on your side, and not just the product of some colorful 1800’s storytelling. GERMIT

  46. GB says:


    How many generations have passed since Jesus said these words?

    Matt 24:34 Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

    More than 2 or 3?

  47. faithoffathers says:

    Sorry- just call me windbags.


  48. GB says:


    Just Google “Genetic Ancestral Testing Cannot Deliver On Its Promise, Study Warns” and read what comes up.

  49. mrgermit says:

    GB: thanks for the tip…..interesting read, there are indeed formidable limits (so it seems) to the conclusions one can make from DNA testing, we can agree on that

    my favorite part of the article:

    The AncestryByDNA test also reads certain markers found in people from the Middle East, India and the Mediterranean region to be diagnostic of Native American ancestry, for which there is no historical, archeological or genetic evidence, according to the study.

    the DNA thing aside, it still seems like you still have a tall mountain to climb…….unless of course science, reason, and evidence, count for nothing in light of “faith”

    thanks again: GERMIT

  50. GB says:


    It is interesting that the main point you took from the article was “The AncestryByDNA test also reads certain markers found in people from the Middle East, India and the Mediterranean region to be diagnostic of Native American ancestry, for which there is no historical, archeological or genetic evidence, according to the study.”

    Wouldn’t “certain markers found in people from the Middle East, India and the Mediterranean region to be diagnostic of Native American ancestry” be genetic evidence?

    What expertise would these people have regarding “historical” or “archeological” information? Just because they are unaware of the historical and archeological data doesn’t mean that non exists.

    And yet you missed this;
    ‘Indeed, the article gives very little credence to these tests, which it concludes “cannot pinpoint the place of origin or social affiliation of even one ancestor with exact certainty.”‘


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