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Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism: Shadow or Reality

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 10, 2021 8:35 pm

Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism: Shadow or Reality

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 10, 2021 8:35 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.


.1 examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective viewpoint when 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 welcome to this edition of viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry with me today is Eric Johnson. My colleague at MRM, but we've also had the pleasure this week of having with us. Our good friend Sandra Tanner who is the head of Utah lighthouse ministry and also runs the Utah lighthouse bookstore at 1358 W. Temple in downtown Salt Lake City. We been talking about a book that Sandra and her husband put together and this was back in the early 60s, a book titled Mormonism shadow or reality, a book that certainly has been a huge help. I know to me personally, but also a big help to a lot of people who are researching Mormonism as well as many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, who were having struggles with some of the things that they were led to believe as members of the LDS church.

We talk Sandra about some of the chapters that you have in the book, and we've dealt specifically with the book of Abraham yell at a number of pages dealing with the book of Abraham. I think for today's topic I want to talk about how really ahead of its time. Yearbook was because you were talking about things that I'm sure the LDS church was a bit uncomfortable having get out into the public is not that the scholars didn't know about a lot of this stuff, but getting that out into the general public would not look all that great. I want to speak specifically to what you have in chapter 21. Again, this is a book written in the 60s and it's titled the Negro in Mormon theology. I remember when I read this chapter, years and years ago when I was first studying Mormonism. I was fascinated that a religious church could have leaders that said such horrible things and certainly a lot of these things have been embarrassing for the church. But let's talk about that because I think what you wrote here and I'm looking that my addition is 1972 and we know that just a few years later in 1978 the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was going to make a monumental course correction when it came to giving their priesthood to those of African heritage talk a little bit about the content in this chapter. Chapter 21 and where did you find a lot of this material well.

There were some few references to the Church's attitude towards Blacks at that time and there were a few Mormon books trying to rationalize why they didn't give priesthood to Blacks and like a man name Stuart wrote a book Mormonism in the Negro and so there were a few things out there from the Mormon side and very little of a critical nature had been written on the topic from the outside, but what we did know was that there had been a man alive to a bowl, a black man who had been given the priesthood back in Joseph Smith's day and then when they came out. The marmots came to Utah. Brigham Young developed a much more harsh attitude towards Blacks and they didn't can continue to ordain bikes to the priesthood under Brigham Young. While Elijah, a bald lived up into the 1880s, or when I cannot remember just when he died that we knew that he had come to Utah with the pioneers and that he had been ordained to the priesthood back under Joseph Smith, but that we didn't know much beyond that about him. The friend of eyes got curious and started researching the able family and found out who some of the descendents were. And so then we got curious about what was the story behind that children of April and found that his son and grandson also had been ordained to the priesthood out here in Logan. So I went to the genealogical library. The Mormons genealogical library and was able to get records from the wards in the area and newspapers in the area and started looking for any notices about the family and I was able to find a microfilm that had the story of Elijah a Paula grandson, who also had been ordained to the priesthood. While no one was talking about this and so I wanted a photocopy of the ordination certificate because it 1934 E. made a priest and so that's pretty late to still have black been ordained to the priesthood so I needed a photo of that document because no one would ever believe as we could just say that but marmots thought we lied about everything. So unless I do photo no one will believe that but microfilm's at that time were the only way you look to old documents and a microfilm reader was like a tripod and up on the top of the tripod you would had a film and you could, trying the image down onto a surface in front of you that would be like 18 in. and so then you roll the film and make these images on this white sheet on your desk to using this tripod.

You could go through these records of the old newspapers and so here was this photo of the ordination certificate. I didn't dare go up and ask the people at the genealogy library for a photo because I was afraid they would see that it was lied to eight. See the name able and maybe someone would recognize that and I did want to get in an argument with whether or not I was qualified as a culture person to get a photocopy at the Mormon library is not in think they give me permission. So Gerald and I talked about how we could get a copy of the film of this page and at the time our printing process used a paper master materials was a photographic kind of paper and we thought well if we shine that microfilm down onto that photographic paper.

Would we be able to burn a copy through that process and so then we had to try to figure out well.

How long would the photographic paper need to lay on the table under the film under this film, shining down onto it to burn that image and so Gerald figured out how many minutes he thought it would take approximately. So I went up to the genealogical library had rolls of film in my purse and then one by one.

I would lay a piece of this photographic material on the platform table of the reader and sit there for a few minutes so I thought it had been long enough to expose the image onto that film and then to put in my purse and put out another once we did several takes of this and then when I got home we had to develop than this microfilm paper and were able to get an image of the ordination certificate and is the first time this ever was brought to light was when we put it in our book, but research is very tactical and time-consuming, what David Silva is that different than pushing control P on our computer and having to come out look at the process that had to be done and I don't think most people would understand that. I mean, you tell me that now I'm amazed because I had no idea you had to do all of that to get to that that little piece of paper that says he he was ordained yeah right. Another area where I think your book was ahead of its time is dealing with the temple ceremony that we know that at that particular time in the 60s. Every latter-day St. who went through the temple endowment ceremony how to make blood oath if you will not to talk about a lot of what they learned inside the ceremony so getting information about it would be very difficult but yet in your book shadow or reality. You have the dialogue you have a transcript of the temple endowment ceremony.

How did you come about that and what kind of response did you get from Latter Day Saints. When this comes out in public because this is something that most latter-day Saints are real protective well. In 1930 timeframe, a minister by the name of Paden Paden had done a printing of the Mormon Temple ritual from that early time. But since then I don't know that anyone had done a full transcript of the Temple ritual well when we got to in our research we thought that to be updated and because a lot of things, a change in the Temple ritual since 1930 so we started talking to different former Mormons about trying to update that exposes that was done years before and along the way we ran across a researcher who was still a member of the church but didn't believe it anymore and he was a temple worker in Oakland that believe and she heard that we were working on doing an updated version and came to us and said he would offer his help in getting an accurate account of the Temple ritual and he actually was able to copy some of the temple records he had access to the as I recall, the temple president's office and was able to look at some of the printed dialogue that they keep in their file at the temple to make sure it all stayed on track and was being done right and he was able to get some material from their debate at WordPerfect for certain parts and then the rest.

He just went on number of different times to the temple to correct his script until he finally was satisfied that he had expanded that earlier expose to update it for that time in 1970.

Whatever it was that he had done that Temple ritual, so it was fellow on the way out of Mormonism that did the account. I think were pretty spoiled with what we have available to us now but really when you think about it. All the research that you did Sandra, leading up to where we are today and when this dialogue gets out. Naturally a lot of people are very offended by because in the ceremony and it makes fun of a Christian minister whose in the employment of Lucifer to preach false doctrine.

A lot of Latter Day Saints would probably be offended by some of this, who were not familiar with the ceremony.

Because many Latter Day Saints never even go to the temple for the temple endowment that's gonna change a little bit in recent years, but eventually in 1990. A lot of revisions are made to the temple ceremony. I remember when Eric and I were talking to an individual young Mormon who just gone through the ceremony for the first time she was a young missionaries was done on Temple Square. We were bringing up a lot of the things that you have in your book. She was completely oblivious to it, had no idea and I thought already we are seeing a brand-new generation of Latter Day Saints don't even know what the ceremony was about prior to 1990. We been talking to Sandra Tanner, co-author of Mormonism shadow or reality. And tomorrow were going to be wrapping up the session with Sandra Tanner. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information is research ministry. We encourage you to visit our website you can request our free newsletter Mormonism research. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint is looking for a woman is in 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 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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