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Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism: Shadow or Reality

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 8, 2021 8:31 pm

Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism: Shadow or Reality

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 8, 2021 8:31 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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I'm prepared to engage Mormon missionaries would knock on your door. Perhaps the book Mormonism 101 will help Mormonism 101. Published by Baker look at your favorite Christian bookstore .1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a 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 so glad to be with us for this additional viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm 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 again Sandra Tanner. She is the head of the Utah lighthouse ministry runs bookstore at 1358 W. Temple across from the ballpark, but we were talking about what we determined yesterday is definitely Sandra and Gerald Tanner's magnum opus, a book that they both wrote together titled Mormonism shadow or reality and I was mentioning yesterday how much this book meant to me when I was first studying the history and theology of the LDS church, a topic that we ended on yesterday and yesterday show sander is the fact that this was not a published work by a recognized commercial publishing company.

This was something that you and Gerald put together and distributed yourself when it first came out in the early 1960s. Who would've even known that this thing existed and now so many years later I need to ask you how many copies of this book.

Do you know of have been distributed over the last six decades. Well, I try to figure that out. The last few days and with my staff leave concluded it has to be over 60,000 that there are some years where we don't have records and so were not really sure if Gerald were around that he probably could tell us bet it has to be over 60,000. As far as how people know about it.

But back in the 60s there was an underground information. Anyone seeking stuff about Mormonism would go to one of the bookstores and ask you know hey what's the latest and that they might direct you to the place under the stairwell where they kept all the controversy all staff on Mormonism and then you would encounter our research and our booklets sander. This is not an easy book just to read all the way through his 586 pages of your to your 2008 edition lot quotes it's not written, the way a lot of books would be on Mormonism that are going to be typeset in a way that would be easier to read.

This is this is photocopied and 0.5 x 11. Two columns back in front.

This book could be intimidating to somebody who doesn't know what it is with this, especially with back to back, back to front pages.

Why do you think this book that is so big is selling tens of thousands of copies. Well it's like buying an encyclopedia. It pulls together chapters on all of the main doctrinal and historical problem areas of Mormonism and someone going through a faith crisis may have questions about a number of the items in our table of contents but they didn't even know they had were going to have quiet problems or questions with a lot of other stuff that they see in the list so it has a broad appeal to people because whatever your questions work.

We probably got a chapter on it. I think we should talk about that because it is a huge volume. What I actually liked about it was you had so many quotes and I wanted to know what did these men actually teach what was expected of latter-day Saints to believe and I think you did a good job in putting a lot of quotes in there and that's what impressed me. It's not that I don't like your commentary.

I do love your commentary but I I was looking at it primarily for the quotes but let's just go over this this this is just amazing. I'm just gonna read a few of them and if anybody has never read this book before. This is what you can find you have a whole section on change censorship and suppression talking about changing doctrines, the censorship of their teachings itself and a person might ask, why would a religious organization, especially when that claims to be the only true church on the face of the earth. Why would they want to censor any materials of the past when I get it all out there and let people decide you talk about changes in revelations that Joseph Smith had an I remember being fascinated noticing yeah he claimed to say one thing and then later on, words are added to his revelations and his revelations only seem to be so precise.

How can we remember all these things years afterwards and such. Joseph Smith and money digging aspect of of Joseph Smith history that I find that even some Mormons today don't want to even admit that that was a part of his life, then you have of course a big section on the book of Mormon archaeology in the book of Mormon changes in Joseph Smith's history as a whole section on the first vision than the LDS guided without going through all of them. I think one thing we can take away is you covered. I would say all of the basics. Talk about that a little bit why why the subject's well in our own personal search. Those are the most fundamental claims of Mormonism. The areas that if they are true, we all should know what and if they're not true way to know what and there that there are the basic claims. What did Joseph haddock have first vision where the really gold plates.

Does the book of Abraham really translate what about out here in Utah. What was it like living here was their blood atonement did Brigham Young teach Adam God how many wives did Joseph Smith have. How did the Mormons handle their finances. I mean, they are all just the basic questions that if you're trying to determine its truth claims that would come up and what's amazing is a lot of those topics are still perplexing Mormons to this very day you responded to all this years ago and yet we still come across many Latter Day Saints debtors that are believing a type of Mormonism that the church now has pretty much admitted a lot of these things they been compelled to do so, but we still find, sadly, that there is a lot of that and I had to use the word ignorance because it such a pejorative term but I need it in the true sense of a lot of Latter Day Saints are honestly ignorant about a lot of their history because the missionaries being teenagers themselves. In our early 20s they don't usually know a lot of this information either. And if they don't know the information. How can they pass it on to potential converts and so this book I think is an excellent job in covering a lot of the basics here, though I like what she said, using the word encyclopedia because while you might not read this all the way through these different sections are important if you're studying that particular issue and if you have one book on Mormonism from a Christian perspective. This is the book to have because it's a great resource book and encyclopedias as Sandra has put it in fact it's such an important book that there was a gentleman by the name of Curt bench and he's the one who owns benchmark books in Utah and he put Mormonism's outer reality as one of the top 50 books written between 1830 and 1980 did this in a Sunstone article back in 1990.

Now that's an incredible accomplishment when your book Sandra is right along with the seven volume set of history of the church.

Orson Pratt's a series of pamphlets Lucy Maximus biological sketches of Joseph Smith the Prophet. Why do you think that Curt bench placed your book in the top 50 because we pulled together all of the important topics and put it into one volume in a straightforward manner that appeal to people, people that were questioning Mormonism were tired of reading Mormon apologetics that seem to just do a spin on the topics and not just laying out the facts so they hate to admit that we had an impact because it's such an amateurish published document, but when we started writing we knew no one would believe what we said if we just made a commentary on how Mormonism came about Noah's gonna listen to us to dumb kids, so we had to give five 1015 quotes on a given topic so that people would understand that this is the really the way it happened. It doesn't do something where pontificating on and so the popularity of the book came for the fact that people could see all those quotes and they can see that we had built a case that would stand up to the historical record, and that's that thing today. They come into our bookstore because they are counting on us giving them all the reference material to back up our claim that Mormonism in fact is not true. Bench called that book Mormonism showed a reality an anti-Mormon book you take that as a compliment or a criticism well. Coming from a Mormon. I am not surprised that he would categorize it that way. It's the same with Von Brody's book no man knows my history the life of Joseph Smith. Mormons would call that an anti-Mormon book, but I consider her book to be a very valid historical look at Joseph Smith's life and so I don't like the term anti-Mormon because it implies I'm opposed to the people which I'm not. I'm opposed to the Mormon church claims so you know it is what it is. The Mormons like to throw out anti-Mormon which I think is pretty funny because nowadays I don't he want us to use the name Mormon for them so I don't know how I'm anti-Mormon.

There's no Mormons now tender. You wrote a book called the changing world of Mormonism.

It was printed by Moody press in 1980. Is this a condensed Mormonism showed a reality yes and that's what's funny is people that were at the time we did the book, people would say all will that's too big. I didn't want something that big to read. Thinking well you probably wouldn't be interested in shadow that this is only 1/3 of the material that sin our full-size book and I want to point out that it is 587 pages about the same size but as far as paper, it's about half the size of what your 8.5 x 11 book as well.

In this book that you wrote the changing world of Mormonism in the introduction. This is what your friend Wesley Walters wrote my thought this was impressive what he wrote. He says hello this stuff is dynamite exclaimed a prestigious director of a Mormon Institute of religion I tell you, though you may not believe it. I have seen people get utterly crushed, almost devastated with some of the material that the tanners have reproduced I will tell you he continues there was an Institute teacher here not long ago, who lost his testimony and went out of the church on the basis of the stuff that description of the effects of Gerald and Sandra's publishing efforts on mass Mormonism is hardly an overstatement. That's an incredible statement.

I would agree with that. I have to ask you this, and when Wes Walters wrote that you had a few pretty good, I mean Wes Walters was an amazing researcher in and of itself.

He discovered some things that really became very important when it comes to the origins of Mormonism, especially Joseph Smith's history, I should say I want to continue with what Wes Walters had to say but were not can have time to do it today. So working to continue our talk with Sandra Tanner, the author of Mormonism shadow or reality. And if you've ever read Mormonism shadow were reality, you know, it is quite a work that covers a lot of important information regarding the church of Jesus Christ of A. Thank you for listening you would like more information we guarding this research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website www.mrm.org you can request a free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is looking for Mormonism from a Christian perspective for you have questions about the history or doctrines of the LDS church, Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson are once again volunteering at the Utah lighthouse bookstore and would be glad to speak to you on Saturdays from 1 to 5 PM Utah lighthouse bookstore is located right there at 1358 SW. 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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