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Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism Shadow or Reality Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 7, 2021 8:27 pm

Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism Shadow or Reality Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 7, 2021 8:27 pm

Join us as Bill and Eric interview Sandra Tanner, cofounder of the Utah Lighthouse Ministry, on the subject of Mormonism: Shadow or Reality. This book was first produced in 1963 and more than 60,000 copies have been distributed, a book that may have led more people out of Mormonism than any other single volume.

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Deerfield your church is not true which churches didn't the Bible predict the apostasy of the Christian faith. These and 34 other questions often posed by Latter Day Saints are addressed in answering woman's questions published by Kriegel Schwing White MRM's Bill McKeever and Derek Johnson answering woman's questions includes a glossary of Mormon terms and questions for group discussions, answering Mormons questions can be ordered online@mrm.org or at your favorite Christian bookstore you ready to give an answer .1 Mormonism examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism. Mormonism is it a shadow or reality. Welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM, but we also have with us a very special friend Sandra Tanner who is with the Utah lighthouse ministry. We had Sandra on the show in the past and it's good to have you back. Sandra welcome hello were going to be talking about your book Mormonism shadow or reality, a book that you and Gerald put together back in the early 1960s, would you say that this is your well the Latin phrase magnum opus means great work with this be your magnum opus. Yes, I think at what I do remember reading shadow or reality. When I first became interested Mormonism many years ago and I think the last time we had you on the show. Like I mentioned that that we want to talk specifically about this book because Mormonism shadow or reality has certainly affected not only the personal lives of many Mormons, non-Mormons, ex-Mormons who have read it, but I would say that probably just about everybody who has done any serious research into the study of Mormonism, has used your book as a text because you cover so many areas we want to talk about the history of this and I don't think a lot of people realize just how young you were when you first started researching Mormonism and you were talking to Eric and I off air about this and I'm in a turn you loose on this. How young were you when you first started realizing there were problems in Mormonism knife first was confronted with problems that Mormonism would have been when I was 16 and my mother was having questions about Mormonism that she brought up to me but I didn't start personally looking into it myself until I met Gerald when I was 18 and he was about 20 at the time I met him and he had already been studying Mormonism for the last two years trying to resolve his own faith crisis. And then he started praying up all these different problems with early Mormonism to me and after a whirlwind romance we got married and together facing our faith crisis. We started studying all the early sources that we could come across on Mormonism trying to resolve the question was Joseph Smith ever called of God. Could he have been called of God to just bring out the book of Mormon is it just that we need to jettison everything after the book of Mormon and at that baby keep that as a Scripture. And so when we got married. Gerald was 21 I was 18 and we had come to faith in Christ that were still hanging onto the book of Mormon.

At that point and so one of the first things we printed was we went and bought a little mimeograph machine which is the crude form of duplication that they had back in the 50s family by little mimeograph machine and printed out a little two-page thing where I told about my conversion to Christ, and that launched our publishing career had so over the next year while we lived in California.

We did a number of little pamphlets that just had little research on a given topic likely might have to three pages on problems with polygamy and that we might do two or three pages on problems with the changes in the doctrine and covenants, or changes in the book of Mormon or problems with the first vision we were pretty dumb na´ve young kids, but we were trying to resolve truth questions of the faith we had been raised in all our family goes clear back to the early 1830s and Mormonism. So this was our personal quest to determine what was true and what wasn't.

That launched our printing career and then we went on to study it more in depth the whole rest of our lives now shudder reality comes out in 1963. So you are in your early 20s.

Yeah, that is just fascinating to most people in their late teens early 20s. The last thing there really thinking about is doing an in-depth critique of an pretty large religion in the United States, even at that time as you mentioned, you're both very young, if you had only a minute to give a synopsis of this book, including its purpose. How would you describe the purpose of the book was to show people that Mormonism was not based on a true calling of God that the whole history Mormonism shows that it was Joseph Smith's deception and that he presented a different gospel and our desire was that the Mormon people would be able to see the evidence and make a decision on their own whether they could still endorse Mormonism with our hope was that they was determined that it can't be defended, and that they would come away from it and go on to biblical Christianity.

So we saw it as a move that was honoring to God and trying to establish truth. People can make their own decisions while they were right or wrong, but we felt the evidence showed Joseph Smith invented at all.

Sandra in 1963 when you first came out with this book. It was titled Mormonism a study of history and doctrine. Do you remember how many pages were in that book and explain a little bit about how this became Mormonism shadow reality and grew to the size it is today. Like I mentioned we were putting out these little mimeograph pamphlets at first and several of those little two or three page pamphlets became chapters when we did the book in 1963. So you look at the table of contents and you'll see this is many times the same title that was on a little flyer we had done earlier and we just expanded it so it was a matter of growing the book from pamphlets to chapters that we then collated together to make a whole book and later the title was turned to Mormonism showed a reality tell us specifically what you meant by that title and why you made that change from a study of history and doctrine can't remember exactly how Gerald came up with that but I think he was trying to find what it wanted a new title because it was enlarged and he didn't want people think it was just still the same old book, and he wanted something that was a little more catchy Mormonism. A study of Mormon history doctrine sounds kinda try so he chased it to Mormonism shadow reality that he hoped would make people curious so okay, is it really reality and what they pick it up and look at the book board what that title than the other and how many additions have there been of this book over the past six decades, and when was your latest addition, we did five editions in the last one was in 1987, which pretty much set the book as far as the contents. We later breed type the whole thing to put it into a digital format so that we could make it easier to read a better type better photographs and we took out most all of the capitalization and underlining that everyone thought looked very amateurish and I'll grant you that did the back when we were typing stuff will if you wanted to emphasize something. There weren't very many ways on a typewriter to emphasize other than capitals are underlining. I think that something is lost a lot of our younger people is that of been raised in home publishing.

Yeah, I mean it's been around now for quite a few years, but back when you're doing this. That's not even available.

There are many computers. There's no way of doing boldface type, there's no way of doing italics. What was of the IBM Selectric typewriter may have been one of the first story had to change the little balls remember that one of those. I'm glad those days are over. Betsy to realize that when we started researching most libraries didn't even have a photocopy machine immediately got a big card catalog where you went and looked up titles of stuff and then add to turn call number into a librarian who had to go in the back of the building to get it out of print book so it was very cumbersome to do research and when you can't just make a photocopy of a page. That means you have to sit there and hand write it out to take it home to later type to put it into the book.

So is very labor-intensive. I'm confessing the two new how you were able to distribute this book. This was not published work by a recognized publisher right you are putting this thing together and you are going to distribute how did you do well in the early 60s when we were just doing the little pamphlets we were just giving them away.

At that point we weren't even charging for and a man that had a used book store here in town. Mr. Wilson at Wilson's book and he said if you put a little charge on those I can put them in my bookstore and I think it's also your material and you'd reach a larger audience and we thought about that wall would never even thought about selling our research whenever anyone would pay they get it anyway. So we put a little charge like $0.50 or a dollar on these different pamphlets we would do so.

Mr. Wilson was our launching pad for getting our books out to the public back in the early 60s there were people individually that were looking into different aspects of Mormon history.

You had the polygamist fundamentalist groups around here at Salt Lake and a lot of them were into research because they believed the old doctrines under Brigham Young. The polygamist AA doubting God a blood atonement in old right temple right and polygamy and all these things and so they had little pamphlets that they were writing up as well for their position and so at the different few bookstores in Salt Lake you would find if you knew where to look. A back corner of the bookstore that would have controversy old material we been talking with Sandra Tanner.

She's the head of Utah lighthouse ministry and she's the co-author of the book Mormonism shadow or reality which is been out for decades and so were learning a little bit of the history behind that book as well as little bit of the history behind Sandra Tanner herself tomorrow are going to continue this conversation with Sandra Tanner. Thank you for listening.

If you would like more information regarding this research ministry.

We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research.

We hope you'll join us again as we look at another viewpoint is looking for. I think I Mormonism from a Christian perspective for you have questions about the history or doctrines of the LDS church, Bill McKeever and Gary Johnson are once again volunteering at the Utah lighthouse bookstore and will be glad to speak to you on Saturdays from 1 to 5 PM Utah lighthouse bookstore is located right there at 1358 S. on W. Temple St. in Salt Lake City. Be sure to come by any Saturday from 1 to 5 PM and say hi to Bill for Eric


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