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Interview With Sandra Tanner — Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
January 2, 2020 5:37 am

Interview With Sandra Tanner — Part 4

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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I'm prepared to engage Mormon missionaries may knock on your door. Perhaps the book is 101 will help Mormonism 101. Published by Baker 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 who was Mark Kaufman and how does it tie in with Jerald and Sandra Tanner.

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 and we also have with us. Our good friend Sandra Tanner, founder of Utah lighthouse ministries.

She and her husband Gerald have written a number of books on the subject of Mormonism and as I've been saying throughout the series. If it wasn't for the research that the tanners have done. I think a lot of us that are involved in ministry to the Latter Day Saints would be greatly hindered so we certainly do owe them both a great deal of gratitude, Sandra, yesterday we were talking a little bit about how you got involved in ministry in the early years with modern microfilm, but I don't think any conversation with you would be complete without spending some time talking about the Mark Hoffman case back in the mid-1980s when Mark Kaufman was selling a lot of documents to leaders in the Mormon church that had to do with controversy all aspects of Mormon history want you give us a little bit of background on that because in my opinion, I think, in the opinion of many people. This is where Gerald's integrity shone brightly because a lot of people were swallowing a lot of the things that Hoffman was producing at that time and Gerald was the one that was skeptical and you would think with his criticism of Mormonism that he probably would've seen it to be very easy to fall in line with everyone else.

What about Mark Kaufman.

Well, let me first bring up the on the time schedule out of our lives here with God more than 20 years, as researchers on Mormonism setting up just a little business out of our home and so when Mark starts doing his research and selling of Mormon documents and things starts and around the early 1980 time. At that point we were still modern microfilm company with little bookstore in our front room of our house and Mark had been faithful Mormon from old-line Mormon family, but evidently had lost faith in Mormonism and was at one point, going to college here in Utah and had got hold of our big Mormonism chatter reality book which evidently had a part in forming him on all the problem areas of early church history.

Mark came into the store at times when I didn't even know who he was, but I mean looking back now I know I can pinpoint times when he came in so we start hearing about this document. Dealer that is finding all these old archived documents of Mormonism that some families had tucked away for years or something and it started a big buzz in the early 80s, 1980s of him finding research on early Mormon topics that would be somewhat embarrassing to the way the church tells their story today, we would get these little rumors behind the scenes different on-site. Although if you heard about Mark's latest document he'd heard about this or that it would be things that would support a lot of areas of our research and things that would connect Joseph Smith to magic and money taking and so it was an exciting time we thought how how all this great evidence is coming forward now that proof many of the things that we said in our research for years. During this time we ought, then also set up as Utah lighthouse ministry which was in 1983 right in the middle of Mark given out all his documents was when we switch to a nonprofit that the rumor was going around that market. Found a document written by Martin Harris, one of the witnesses to the book of Mormon, where he described the beginning of Mormonism in a more magical setting of Joseph Smith going to the hill to get the plates and this salamander was down the bottom of the hole worry where the place rat and when he went to get the plates.

This magical creature jumps out of the hole and tax them and it put the whole setting in an magical framework. It didn't sound like the defined picture they tell that they were an angel comes and tells them where to find the plates and takes them to the hill to get the plates out of the hole, so this was the big buzz.

We were just hearing rumors about this. We hadn't seen the actual document and everyone was so excited because this sounded like it would really be a critical blow to the Mormon story of how they began the bit the finding of the book of Mormon, and whether it's through some magical means, or is it a divine heavenly messenger means enter SAYING to different people. I've got to see the text I got to see the actual text to evaluate it.

And finally we got a typescript of it and when Gerald read through. He got this uneasy feeling that it didn't strike court of authenticity.

To him that he had been reading ED house. Mormonism unveiled that was an expos, Mormonism done back in 1834, and in each house book. There are interviews with the neighbors of the Smiths where they tell of this salamander except the magical toad that was in the hole with the plates and they have these different kind of stories of dismissed early magic involvement and as Gerald compared that with this. Suppose that Martin Harris letter, he thought. While there are echoes in this letter that say to me this really is a modern composition using these old statements and drawing different phrases to put together this narrative, while here was the Mormon church historians all accepting Mark's documents and one of his documents he had was the aunt and transcript supposedly a copy of the book of Mormon characters that Joseph Smith had made. And so, in the desert newsletters this photo of Hoffman with the church's first presidency and the prophet Kimball at the time, holding a magnifying glass up to look at this at that transcript and so it's all this great promoting stuff to the Mormons that here's the prophet looking at the original answer transcript and yet he doesn't have the revelation that this is a forgery by Mark Hoffman when the salamander letter comes along. No one gets revelation.

This is a forgery and marks being accepted as a genuine document dealer in antiquity of dealing with early Mormon artifacts and his documents are being believed and Gerald starts doing deeper comparisons of Mark's documents with historical items that we had and he was became convinced that Mark was inventing these documents that they are not all documents they are modern documents utilizing phrasing and ideas from early interviews with the early Mormons so he starts writing up in our newsletter.

His questions and challenges to the historicity of Mark's documents. We became very criticized by everybody for coming out against his documents.

The Mormon church was accepting them.

But the Christian community wanted them all to be true. While I wanted them to be true because it would help show children dismissed deep involvement in magic that Gerald was very adamant he says no. I'm convinced that Mark is inventing these documents so he's David against the Goliath, the only one in town that sees a problem with Mark's documents and we published critical material on Mark's documents in 19 was an 84 and Mark and 85 kills a couple people because of trying to cover his tracks on his financial dealings and then the whole thing comes out that, in fact, yes, Mark was inventing these documents. They weren't real. They were an authentic Mormon church leaders had all been fooled. So how come the apostate Gerald knew a year ahead of time that they were forgeries, and the prophet it meets with Hoffman and he doesn't get the revelation that the guise of fraud because the Mormons did not perceive his fraud to people ended up dad that wouldn't have had to have died if the church would have paid more attention to what Gerald was saying and not been doing business with them. We should mention that would be Stephen Christiansen will the victims and Kathleen sheets Mark was trying to do a transaction with the church and they were going to have Steve Christiansen friend of Mark's and knows some of the been involved in docket. Early Mormon documents they wanted him to authenticate the collection. Mark was trying to sell them and Mark made up the story of this big collection to try to get a bunch of money from the Mormons, but he knew no one could look at it or that see that it wasn't what he had been pumping it up to be so. He evidently decided the solution was to get rid of Steve and then they wouldn't have someone to look at the collection so he goes to Steve's office in downtown Salt Lake and puts a box with a bomb in it full of shrapnel so that when Steve comes to work in the morning and picks up the pocket explodes and it was full of nails and meant to immediately kill you, and it kills him will in order for Mark to throw off the police from thinking it had to do with the Mormon document dealing Marcos implants a bomb added the sheets residence because the Mr. sheets had been involved at one time in business deals with Mr. Christiansen's weight so Mark must of thought that would throw them off the scent of the Mormon documents and make it look like it was some investment deal that went bad and some investor mad at both these guys were losing their money so Mark goes to the sheets home and put the box in front of the garage that has this mercury switch bomb in it again full of shrapnel and nails so that whoever picks it up to be shredded and killed immediately. While Mr. sheets had already gone to work in Mrs. sheets goes out for her morning jog doesn't see the box when she comes back from her jog and is heading back towards the garage. She sees the box she decides to pick it up.

Take it in the house and as soon as she picks it up, it explodes and kills her. So it was totally happenstance that she was the one that got killed. It it didn't really matter to Mark who picked up the bomb.

He's just trying to make the connection to the sheets home so that the people will think it had to do with failed business dealings of Christiansen and sheets of some were trying to say will maybe it's the Mafia and on they said no because the Mafia they they got better ways of doing it than just mercury switch bomb in your driveway that's too happenstance that put it under your car and blow you up or something in me know it would be effective. What brought it all out in the open wounds is that he had 1/3 bore we don't have a lot of time to go into this but yet 1/3 bomb.

The bomb went off prematurely and injures Hoffman and that's when now everything starts turning towards for Kaufman and eventually it all comes out that he had been dealing in these forgeries, and he was pretty good at it to the American people were experts in forgeries had difficult time seeing through what Mark Hoffman was doing because he had the recipe for ink. From that time. When he also tear pages out of books that would go back to that time. So the paper would match go to like the University of Utah and look at some old archived book from the time. And cut out the end sheets that have no printing on them. Then, he has paper from the time. Ink made to the formula used at that time.

So he made it very hard to figure out that they were forgeries.

So here a man who probably had everything to gain by Mark Kaufman being correct says no he's not his and his integrity in my opinion just goes up miles over this, but eventually he is proven to be correct. We been talking with Sandra Tanner. She and her husband, Gerald Taylor, the founder of Utah lighthouse ministry tomorrow were going to conclude her conversation with Sandra, but I find all this just fascinating and I hope that you'll return to listen to tomorrow show.

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 is research. We hope you join us again as we look at another viewpoint is


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