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Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism: Shadow or Reality

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 11, 2021 8:37 pm

Interview with Sandra Tanner Mormonism: Shadow or Reality

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 11, 2021 8:37 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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Mormonism 101 is research ministries Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson has helped many more to understand what separates Mormonism from the Christian faith. Mormonism 101 is a privilege of Christian bookstore online@mrm.org .1 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 hoping you're having a very pleasant Friday. Welcome to this addition, the viewpoint on Mormonism on your host Bill McKeever Felder director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson my colleague MRM, but we are also pleased to have with us. Sandra Tanner was the head of the Utah lighthouse ministry and also runs the Utah lighthouse bookstore on West Temple across from the ballpark. Good to have you back Sandra I really enjoy this every time we have you on. I always learn new things, but today, as we been talking about your book Mormonism shadow or reality, a book that you and your husband, Gerald Tanner wrote back in the early 1960s. The information that you included in this book naturally is going to upset a lot of members of the LDS church, perhaps for different reasons, but it seems normal that something that is this groundbreaking is going to render a lot of criticism.

One of the criticisms that was made against your book was written by a Mormon by the name of Ian Barber.

Now we don't have his criticism in existence any longer. Apparently there it's not around. But what was the title of that critique Eric because I think that is noteworthy. He titled it what Mormonism is and was published in New Zealand by Pioneer books in 1981. What Mormonism isn't and the reason I wanted to mention that is because it's not uncommon for someone such as yourself, and even Eric and I have experienced the same thing that we are basically criticizing a caricature of Mormonism and not actual Mormonism but yet as we mentioned this week.

Most of what we find in Mormonism shadow or reality are quotations right from LDS sources. How does that support a title of this criticism what Mormonism isn't. Would you like to address that while the marmots have always tried to say that the critics of Mormonism have just done caricature of what Mormonism really is and I would say it's more a matter of Mormonism has tried very hard to hide what it really is.

They have Very tight control on all the records and their documents so that people wouldn't see how it all really developed in the changed through the years. Now today you'll find many of the Mormon historians admitting many of the things that we've written about, but they try to make it anymore faith promoting way so that while we say that the book of Abraham is Joseph Smith's invention, they would say well it's not a translation of the papyri they will concede that now they say well it was a revelation. He looked at the pump IRA and that brought to his mind the revelation of the book of Abraham, and I don't see that's a whole lot different than saying Joseph Smith invented it earlier this week we talked about current bench in the bookstore that he has here crew benches and latter-day St. Brent's benchmark books. He listed yearbook among the top 50 does it make any sense at all that a man such as current bench would list your book in the top 50 and yet it's talking about Mormon doctrine, that isn't really Mormon doctrine or Mormon history. That really is a Mormon history that doesn't seem to make any sense to me whatsoever. Sandra, let me ask you this question. 1977 there was a latter-day St. historian, that's what he called himself quote unquote a latter-day St. historian. He wrote a 63 page booklet and it was titled this similar to the book were just talking about Gerald and Sandra Tanner's distorted view of Mormonism I response to Mormonism shadow or reality. Now he didn't say who he was.

But you suspected right away this was LDS historian Dean Michael Quinn and Quinn and historian Leonard B Arrington both denied that that was the case, although later it came out that it really was the Michael Quinn how did you know it was the Michael Quinn that wrote that while Gerald had read so much of Quinn's research that he had pretty good feel for Quinn style and there was a phrase that Quinn used in that little book against us where he talked about post hoc ergo proctor hot Latin phrase and uses that yet that's out, but does and in his thesis. He has that phrase. Gerald thought well that the nail in the coffin that has to be Quinn because I've never read any Mormon historian who ever uses the phrase post hoc ergo proctor hot felt that just convince Gerald that it had to be Quinn and as I was doing some research on this. I found that Arrington said he felt bad about lying know Quinn ever felt bad about that. But why did he write it anonymously.

Well, I think there are several problems here.

The church did not want to acknowledge our existence or give us any Free Press or tell people even existed, so that we want angle second, the church historian's office would have gotten in trouble themselves for dealing with something so controversy all and to publicly name us as existing could possibly send Mormons to our store that wouldn't come otherwise.

So there was a real effort to not mention us anymore and they had to even Hugh Nibley when he was writing in response to some of the things that we had written about way back in the 60s and 70s.

He had referred to us in one of his articles as certain parties in Salt Lake have alleged so why would you not just say the Tanner's have said because if you don't know who we are. They didn't want to give you any help finding us so it was a real effort to avoid giving publicity to the other side. You wrote a response to the 63 page booklet and you titled it answering Dr. plan to sign a response to the anonymous LDS historian and let me just give a couple of the criticisms that Quinn gave Juan he said this. If you've waited through Mormonism shadow reality, with its more than 500 pages of closely written commentary and document excerpts, both of which are presented with such heavy-handed repetition that I would. I felt I was enduring a Chinese water torture when I read the book, then you should be able to get through this letter all right and we need to mention he's writing this because somebody is possibly leaving Mormonism based on your writings and so he's trying to convince them that your writings are not good and he calls it Chinese water torture. How would you respond to that there is a certain amount of repetition and I know what you want to understand how our book 1st came about. It was different pamphlets that were gradually put together to form a black so you didn't have the ability to easily change text like now when you have a computer generated book, you can easily go in and change edit all of that. But when you have to type every page of the book to make any corrections. It's a big process to go back and read type those pages and correlate them back into your book to keep all the page nation and so Gerald would repeat quite often like that when he talked about the three witnesses to the book of Mormon. He would say the three witnesses the book of Mormon Martin Harris David Weber Oliver Cowdrey and so all the way along line to keep being reminded that these men are the three witnesses the book of Mormon so yeah there's a lot of repetition in Sutton introductions to certain people and that's a technical matter of editing as we could have used an editor, but then you have to retype everything.

It was it was up part of the problem of the technology of what we were working with and for those who are listening who might not know what a typewriter is it was an instrument used before a computer that you didn't have the opportunity. Like you said, to be able to move text around to be able to take things out you would have to retype the entire piece all over again.

Let me just inject how many of our listeners even know what whiteout is. Yeah, I mean that that's something that I used all the time because my typing is horrible. I'm sure a lot of people don't even realize the difficulties that were involved back when you and your were doing this. Another criticism that Quinn gave.

He said this the most important comment to be made about the approach of Gerald and Sandra Tanner to Mormonism. Is there selective use of evidence and then he wrote this, a non-Mormon historian who has spent many years study Mormonism recently commented that the Tanner's choose only the most negative evidence to portray the reality of Mormonism and its history while ignoring evidence or entire issues that do not support their interpretations. What's your response to that criticism well. Think in terms of having a court case of a man that robbed a bank and the defense gets up and says all you presented is negative information about my client. You didn't talk at all about how nice he was to his wife or his children. I mean, is that really relevant if you're trying to prove the man robbed the bank his good deeds are not that important.

We felt it Mormon church did plenty of PR on their own to promote what they did good work trying to show that they're hiding all sorts of bad things they did their own PR on the good things. So yes is one-sided in that sense, but it's like in a trial.

Your lawyer is not going to spend time on the good things the bank robber did did you and Gerald ever have a relationship with this anonymous writer D. Michael Quinn know I have seen Michael Quinn that many historical functions and listen to his talks. I've even asked questions in from the audience at some of his lectures, but I've never had a personal discussion with him as we wrap up the segment. What would you say to an individual who will I I want to get the book. I don't know if I can read through nearly 600 pages. What are some of the strongest chapters you would recommend someone read who has this book, but I think foundational is the Joseph Smith's involvement in magic and money taking at the beginning of Mormonism because it sets a picture of the type of man he was and that he was already involved in deception before he started Mormonism. I think the chapter on first vision is really important because that's the foundational argument for God's call on its life and the chapter on the book of Mormon I think is pivotal because that is the launching of Mormonism to the world.

They want you to read the book of Mormon and pray about it. So those three areas are critical for the truth claims of Mormonism all the rest is evidence against his truth claims, but those are foundational now somebody wants to order this book or there's even electronic version of it right. How can they get that from you.

Wow they can go to our website at UT, LM.org and order it online then you can get either the digital format or the actual printed copy. People can call the bookstore that Utah lighthouse phone number is ordered line is 801-485-8894. Is this your most popular selling book in today's world.

I'm not sure what is the most popular one, but it's one of our steady sellers because it's like buying encyclopedia.

It is such a basic text of a little bit of everything we been speaking with Sandra Tanner. She co-authored the book Mormonism shadow or reality with her husband Gerald sent Sandra thanks again for being with a site like I said before, I always learn new things.

When we have you on. Thanks for giving us this time. Thank you, 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


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