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Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism: Shadow or Reality

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 9, 2021 8:33 pm

Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism: Shadow or Reality

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 9, 2021 8:33 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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Jim, your own words a collection of Mormon quotations compiled by women as research ministries Bill McKeever is a valuable resource when wanting to know what Mormon leaders have said on a given topic and pick up your copy to Utah lighthouse bookstore or MRM.org .1 Newman's commandment examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint. One more minute 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 are thanks out of the program for that musical introduction welcome to this edition of 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 a very good friend of ours Sandra Tanner Sandra Tanner is with the Utah lighthouse ministry also rends the Utah lighthouse bookstore at 1358 W. Temple in Salt Lake City. Sandra welcome back to the show and yesterday Eric was talking about a statement that was written by Wes Walters, Wes Walters had done a lot of research in the early years of Mormonism. He's the one that came up with the information basically proving that there was no 1820 revival as Mormons are led to believe, but he had some very positive things to say about your book Mormonism shadow or reality.

And he mentions in this comment that Eric was reading yesterday that there was an Institute teacher here now and Institute teacher would be more on a university or college level that Mormon students go to, as opposed to less than a high school level. They call it seminary, but there is this Institute teacher here not long ago, who lost his testimony and went out of the church on the basis of this stuff in the stuff of course is what you include in Mormonism shadow or reality, I'm sure. Let's happen for a lot of people who read it. It's devastating information. But what's amazing folks is it's all their information. So when you hear Latter Day Saints referring to Mormonism shadow or reality is an anti-Mormon book. You have to question that is it really anti-Mormon. When you're quoting their own material.

I would say that can't possibly be true. But what's your favorite story of Mormons who have read your book and decided that they wanted to leave the church I had one man tell me that someone in his family had given him our Mormonism black and challenged him to read it.

And so when he got the book calm and started into the book, listen getting uncomfortable with information that was unsettling and he is looking at the table of contents and contemplating all the topics that the book covers and he said to himself, if only half of this material is accurate.

I have a big problem that you read the book came out of Mormonism.

I don't remember if he became a Christian but he came out of Mormonism from reading the book only half I would go so far as to say if you take any of those sections that are within your table of contents if some of those sections can't be proven true or maybe I should reword that the problem is is a lot of those sections are actually true, but I mean if a Latter Day Saints was to recognize that information as being true, I would think it would be devastating, especially when you're dealing with the personality of Joseph Smith himself and the fact that the church saw fit to even change some of the things that he supposedly proclaimed the book of Mormon. You show that this book cannot be an ancient work if it's not an ancient work than what is that say about Joseph Smith's claim for the work but would you agree or give just one of these sections would be devastated and of itself. One of the sections and there is the book of Abraham. Now you have to know a little bit of the history of the book of Abraham papyrus that was rediscovered in the 1960s at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The church didn't really say a whole lot until 2015 when they wrote a gospel topics essay and admitted that the translation was spiritual and not literal. Tell us a little bit about your research. In the book of Abraham, and what you feel the information that you have in this book preceded anything that the church ever admitted to back and they mid 60s ancient history.

There were rumors going around at that time that type of tirade that Joseph Smith supposedly used for his book of Abraham. Scripture was still in existence somewhere and so everyone was trying to figure out where they were well then it came out in 1968 that the Mormon church had acquired some pyrethrum. The Metropolitan Museum in New York that were Joseph Smith's original tirade that he used for the book of Abraham, so that launched everyone into a study of Egyptian and we started riding on it immediately and work that Gerald did Claire back at that time on how the book of Abraham was put together. How the illustrations in the book of Abraham had been altered and the work he did. Claire back then is still valid today. Now the scholars through the years realized there was the problem, and they've tried to come up with rationalizations for why the papyri don't translate but at this point.

Most scholars are convinced that the book of Abraham is at best a revelation and at worst a fabrication of Joseph Smith that we laid out the groundwork of the case of showing that was the case clear back by 1970, we had laid out the groundwork on all of that. That's that research and shadow is still valid today on what we said. I'm rereading the changing world. Mormonism I talked about yesterday and I am fascinated in 1980 that still 40 years ago and for the most part everything is valid except for things that the church is changed in the recent years and I find that to be fascinating that you wrote this before there was a thing called the Internet. How in the world. Sandra did you find the information to be able to write what you did and to be accurate before you answer that, Sandra.

Let me just say for our listeners benefits on looking at your section on it's called chapter 22 follow the book of Abraham. You have photocopies facsimiles with whatever you call them back. Then from the original Egyptian writings and comes looking at at least at least three pages of of these photographs. Like Eric said nowadays a lot of stuff is pretty easy to find if you know where to look on the Internet but here were talking about the 1960s folks and you you already have these pictures in your publishing them while they Mormon church issued photographs of the papyrus fragments in 68 and the BYU studies came out with article and it included the photos of those different pieces so I believe our photos come from the BYU studies article so the church was putting out its defense of the book of Abraham. At that time and trying to grapple with the problems that presented because they can see it doesn't read Egyptian and they're trying to answer it. Our research took us to various libraries. Some friends of ours had fantastic personal libraries of all the original books on Mormon history.

So between what our friends had in their own libraries and what was at the University libraries that we visited.

We were able to pull together material from all these different sources, but it's very time-consuming, especially if you go to someone's house to read their book. You can't make a photocopy so you have to write it out loud by the late 60s. The libraries had photo machines to where you could go in and pay a dime or whatever they charged to make a photocopy which really helped in research but it did require tremendous time at different libraries did they know your name at the library, yes, but fortunately the University of Utah's estate institution and also the Utah State historical Society was estate institution so they did not have a policy of restricting access and they thought like public library downtown has a very fine special collection on early Mormon documents so those were the three main libraries. We went to, but we also went to libraries out-of-state as well, as much as we could afford Sandra.

We think that your book Mormonism shadow reality is probably the most important single book or work in the kind of history of Mormonism and I'm going to include find Brodie's no man knows my history house. Mormonism unveiled Grant Palmer's and insiders view of Mormon origins. I can name their books but in one descriptor.

Bill and I both think that your book is groundbreaking and I went admit that when Bill and I are doing viewpoint I Mormonism and were not sure of something. One of the first places that we go is Bill pull out and it's I mean it's pretty well colored with all the times he views it. 1972 edition of Mormonism shadow reality we want to ask ourselves what did the tanners write about this and will get information that we didn't have before.

So we think this is the most important book in the past six decades. What's your reaction to that I I'm really happy to hear that and I think that for an overview of the problem areas are for a single volume. I believe I book does that better than the other material.

Now there are many find historical studies that have come out that specialize in a given area of Mormonism like Larson's book bias on hand upon papyrus is a very fine book on the book of Abraham.

But that's just the book of Abraham, and there are two dozen important topics of Mormonism that are covered in that book my quince book on early Mormonism and the magic worldview is an important book, but that's one book just dealing with Joseph Smith's magic involvement, but we have a whole chapter on it, but we have chapters on everything else as well and that's why I think it's the most valuable work because you don't have to specialize in a book on polygamy or the book of Abraham. Whatever topic you're getting into. We can look at yours and in 20 pages you covered pretty well. Then we can go further and we can look deeper. If we need to, but like I say, Bill and I have often times use your book and gotten what we needed out of it in five minutes were able to use that information in a show that were doing or an article were writing so we think that so important what you think it would've been like to have had the Internet available to you when you were writing Mormonism's outer reality been fantastic just have photocopy machine. What has to take. I used to have to go up to the University of Utah evenings and make photocopies of different things and so finally we bought a photocopy for our own use at our house at our little bookstore we had in the front room and that was such a godsend just to have our own photocopy machine, but to have had the Internet on my goodness. We what I had to done volumes. We wouldn't just add one volume for shadow reality with probably edited volumes that I can imagine we've been talking Sandra Tanner she's with Utah lighthouse ministry and runs the Utah lighthouse bookstore which I might mention is where you can order a copy of Mormonism shadow or reality just simply go to you TL M.O RG. Thank you for listening you would like more information is 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 think I 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 will 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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