"Dear MormonInformation . . ."

Excerpts from e-mail exchanges in 2000.

Received October 31, 2000:

Despite the horrible accusations you or anyone else feels are necessary to make against the Mormon religion I respect your beliefs.

I try to make my site as respectful as possible.  What, specifically, are the "horrible accusations" you've found on my site?

I pray that God still holds an important part in your life.

No.  I'm agnostic.

And I am sorry, but nothing you or anyone else has to say about my personal beliefs can ever waver my faith in the Lord.

Your e-mail reminds me of the countless 18 year olds who fall in love and get married, no matter what their parents or anyone else has to say.  Sure enough, the honeymoon ends sooner or later, and the newlyweds begin the daily routine and eventually find out things about life and each other that convince them that they should have listened after all--they weren't right for each other, they should have waited, etc.  So, I'm glad that you're happy, but sooner or later your honeymoon will end too, and historical facts--as opposed to mere feelings--will become more and more important to you.  The clock is ticking, so enjoy this feeling while it lasts.

Received October 19, 2000:

What is it that makes people like yourself take the time to attack someone else's faith?

I make no attacks on anyone.  Were your parents "attacking" you when they told you that Santa Claus didn't really exist?  Yes or no?

One never hears of Anti-Catholic or Anti-Methodist websites.

That's because compared to Mormonism, membership in those churches doesn't entail nearly as great an investment of time and money.  Nothing is lost, so there's nothing to warn other members of.

I don't know what caused you to leave your church. I am sorry that you lost your faith or for whatever wrong was done to your that made you go away, but why spend the time you do attacking others.

Simple.  Sometimes a person's "faith" is in a false religion, and I believe people have a right to know if their religion is false.  Do you agree or disagree with that statement?

Would not your time be better spent building your relationship with your Father in Heaven than it is trying to destroy others relationship with him.

If Mormonism is actually false, doesn't it stand to reason that others' relationship with Him can be cultivated independently of it (assuming that a "Father in Heaven" even exists)?

I hate to bring it up my brother, but didn't we already have a brother that did all of that? Didn't Lucifer vow to lead us away from Father because things did not go his way?

I doubt it, since I no longer believe in Lucifer.  Even so, let me ask you this:  Should a hoax be exposed, or should it be allowed to perpetuate?

All I am saying is, make your peace with God and leave others to make theirs.

I do.  I don't force anyone to agree with me.

Isn't that what freedom of religion and choice is all about? Or do you wish to follow Lucifer's path there as well?

How can a website curtail anyone's freedom of religion and choice?  Do you personally feel that you have less freedom since you encountered my site?

Exchange #2

As an Ex-Catholic, I find it funny that the two organizations perceived by that church as a threat are the only two organization that seem to have this kind of attacks to deal with. The autocratic Church of Rome has used these tactics for over seven hundred years to try and crush Masonry and from its conception, the Mormons have had to face the same treatment. Could it be that there is a power influencing these people to attack those that only want to serve the Lord in a manner that they see fit?

I doubt it.  After having been taken in by a scam, it is simply human nature to warn others so they won't make the same mistake.

Your reasons do not justify your actions.

What are my actions?  Remember, information is something to be treasured and shared, not abhorred and feared.

Received August 03, 2000:

You really haven't learned much in those 20 years huh?

I learned far more than you.  If you don't agree, then I challenge you to show me where I'm wrong.

Exchange #2

Not worth my time, we each have to be converted our selves, and if you learned far more than I why are you asking me to show you that you're wrong......

You said I didn't learn much.  Therefore, I want to know what made you draw your conclusion, since my site proves the exact opposite.

have you forgotten about humble sincere prayer?

No.  Sincere and humble prayer about whether or not the church was true cased  [sic., caused]  a stupor of thought time after time after time over the years.  A stupor of thought means "No," so I finally decided to listen to the answer for a change.

Exchange #3

I'm sorry you're so bitter, if you are so sure the church is not true why are you so adamant about bringing others to your way of thinking......

I'm not adamant.  I made it perfectly clear on my "word of comfort" page that I fully realize that not everyone will agree with me.  All my site does is provide information.

let them judge for themselves.

I do just that.  Remember, however, that no one can accurately judge unless they have both sides of the story.

I did read your article, as untrue as it is if you've convinced yourself it is true there's no use to argue or discuss it because you can't shake my faith.

You said my "article."  I have several; which one did you read?  And how was it untrue?

There's no way I can ever deny the feelings I have when I'm in the temple, I know this is the true gospel and I'll pray for you to see the light.

I'm sure there's no way for a Roman Catholic to deny the feelings he or she has at the Cathedral of St. Paul.  So does that make Roman Catholicism the true gospel too?

Received July 02, 2000:

I think that as Mormons, and I'm sure you know this as well, but as Mormons, we believe that the spirit guides us. And Dr. Shades I know I can feel that spirit. I know I can feel it.

I don't doubt for a second that you feel it.  In my opinion, it is a psychological phenomenon by no means unique to Mormonism.  The Roman Catholics feel the spirit when they pray to the Virgin Mary, the Hindus feel it when they consecrate offerings to Vishnu, etc.

Now if you knew the person that I was before I was baptized, and you knew the person that I am now, I think that you would have to agree that I am a changed person since that time.

That is fine.  You changed because of your belief in Mormonism.  However, just because you believe in something doesn't automatically make it true.  For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses may believe that Christ has already returned to earth in spirit form, but that doesn't make it true.

I feel as though God is guiding me and telling me that what I'm doing is right.

The Southern Baptists and the Zen Buddhists feel the same way.

Now I don't know if you believe that I can feel it, or if you think that I would sit here and lie to you, and that's your opinion, but I know and feel in my heart that what I am doing is right for me in my life.

If that's what you feel, then by all means you should do what you think is right.  But remember that the Branch Davidians, too, felt that what they were doing was right for them in their lives.

So I just wanted to maybe give you a different perspective, and say that I'm not going to argue with you, but I will say that the church brings happiness into people's lives. And to me, that feeling is all that matters.

If that feeling is all that matters, and you don't care whether or not Mormonism is actually true, then by all means continue full speed ahead.  On the other hand, if you think it does matter whether or not the missionaries told the truth before you were baptized, then there's a much better website out there for you than my page.  It's at:


You can put any of this letter on your webpage, it really doesn't matter to me at all, but I just wrote this to you, to try to give you a different perspective on things.

Thank you for writing.  I was a missionary myself once, so I'm very familiar with your perspective.  In fact, it was my perspective too for a very, very long time.  I simply had to come to grips with the fact that it is indeed possible to feel the spirit while being a member of a false church.  Again, in my opinion, belief generates the spirit, not the other way around.

Received June 06, 2000:

You have obviously put a great deal of effort into the weakening of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Actually, I've put no energy into the weakening of the church.  It's a multi-billion dollar tax-free corporation; there's no way on earth that I could possibly weaken it one iota.  I simply supply information to individual visitors that they can't obtain through regular church channels.

Why do you have such anomosity towards the Church of which you claim inactive membership?

It's not so much animosity, per se, as it is my opinion that the church is not true, hence ultimately a waste of time and money.  We're all running the rat race of life together, so it behooves us all to warn each other about the traps and dead ends.

I know when I went away from the Church it was because of sin. Are you in need of repentance?

No.  When I withdrew from activity, I was in full fellowship.

The truth is that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God.

How do you know?

His Church is restored in this day and it is found in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

How did you discover this "fact?"  Was your method of discovery any different than the methods of discovery used by the faithful Jehovah's Witnesses, Moonies, Scientologists, or Branch Davidians?

Is your wife currently a mormon or was she ever?

Yes, she's currently a member, although like me she's an inactive non-believer.  In fact, I baptized her myself back in the days before we began seriously doubting.

Did you have an affair and that is why you left the Church?

No.  If all I had done was have an affair, why would I have bothered researching the history and doctrine of the church to such an extent?

You know guilt and stuff. Are you a homosexual?

No.  I'm probably the most heterosexual person you've ever met.  My wife for one would certainly concur :-)

Why do you feel so betrayed?

Because the church portrayed itself as true all these years when in actuality it was false all along.  In essence, I was lied to almost my whole life.

And is your mother still active and praying for you?

Active, yes; whether or not she's praying for me I have no idea.

If so listen to her for your sakes and repent of your sins.

The reason the church perpetuates the myth that everyone who leaves the church is a sinner is so the members will be afraid of leaving.  It's a scare tactic.  I was just as much a believer in that myth as you yourself currently are, so I was just as surprised as anyone to discover that nothing really changes when you leave the church.  Your moral standards remain intact.  In fact, I'm willing to bet money that I live just as moral a lifestyle if not more so than the average active member.  The only "sin" I've committed was the same one committed by Adam and Eve in the Garden--I sought knowledge.

Received April 22, 2000:

Reading your article on Hoffman while you are no doubt serious about what you have to say here has generated some questions in my mind.  In the 4th paragraph you say that Church leadership has all sensitive documents relating to Church history HIDDEN (as if they had something to hide) in the Church Archives and the first Presidenciy's vault.. Where else would they store valuable Documents?

People know they're there, so you're right, maybe "sequestered" would have been a better word to use--thanks for pointing that out.

Do you suppose that the Federal Government would just leave lying around or unsecured such documents of historical value as the Original copies of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights?

You'll notice that those documents are regularly put on display for all the world to see.  This is, of course, in stark contrast to the contents of the LDS vaults.

The Church has the right to protect it's valuables whether you think they have something to hide or not.

They can both protect their valuables and allow historians and researchers access to them at the same time if they so chose to do, but they don't.

Moreover, if these documents are damning, how would yo know that?

You're right, very few people know for sure what's there, but the fact that no one, not even legitimate historians and researchers (outside the church's strict employ) are allowed access speaks volumes in itself.

It flat doesn't make sense that the Church or anyone else for that matter would hide away potentially damning information or evidence in a vault when it would be easier, more cost effective and safer to destroy it.

You're right, it would be safer to destroy the offending items, but perhaps the leaders themselves want keep access to them due to their own curiosity's sake.  Or else they commendably refuse to stoop to the level of burning books.

You mention Church officials as taking Mark Hoffman's bait "hook, line and sinker" as if they were a bunch of "suckers".

No, of course they weren't suckers.  The LDS leaders as human beings are as normal as anyone else.  The entire point of my website is that Hofmann single-handedly virtually proved that the LDS "prophets, seers, and revelators" are anything but, since the power of discernment no longer works through them (assuming it ever did).  If you refuse to accept this, then your only other option of belief is that God Himself must be a "sucker" since he too was fooled by Hofmann and didn't bother to give the leaders inspiration that they were being drawn into a trap.

The only suckers I see are the ones who are gullible enough to swallow this fish story.

Like how the LDS leaders swallowed Hofmann's fish story?

You and the other critics and I have no true idea why the authorities wanted those documents and is nothing more than pure speculation.

It is clearly shown in the books I linked to that one of Hofmann's major selling points with the McLellin Collection, for example, was to prevent it from falling into "the wrong hands."  If this doesn't convince you, then what's your theory as to why they would spend thousands of dollars for fake documents?

In the Salt lake messenger #83 dated November, 1992 is an account of the prosecutors trying to badger Gordon Hinckley into testifying at Mark Hoffman's trial.  In typical Tannerese, of course the Hinckley's attorney is arrogant and the prosecutors are not and of course all this from a Church that dominates the city.

If the Church dominates the city, as you state, then it's not hard to believe that Hinckley's attorney would be arrogant.

This comment really makes me quite angry when I think that the Mormons were to SETTLE the Salt Lake Valley and just when BY [Brigham Young] got things going good there, others moved in to try to impose thier way of life and values on the Mormon settlers.

It seems that the Mormons have certainly gotten even, as seen by the recent imposition of their way of life and values on the voters in Hawaii, Alaska, and California.

Gordon B Hinckley was hardly Prophet, Seer and Revelator in 1985, yet he and the other Church leaders were critisized, mocked and scoffed at for thier lack of the power of discernment in not being able to identify bogus documents.

All members of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles are all sustained by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as "prophets, seers, and revelators."

Except for Jesus Christ, who can?

For your answer, see the entry under "Discernment" in Bruce R. McKonkie's Mormon Doctrine, or D&C section 46 verse 27.

By the way, could you or any of your critic Buddies effectively perform the Job of a Bishop including the power of discernment?

According to LDS doctrine, if I or any of my "critic buddies" were properly ordained as such, then yes.  Again, this is according to the Church, not me.

How about a Pastor without some training?

According to LDS doctrine, no, either with or without training.

In the FARMS segment of your site you critisize FARMS for thier outrageous methods of reviewing books critical to the Church and seem to be implying that because they're Professors/Mormons they can't quite measure up to scholars of other persuasions.

No, they are quite competent in their own individual arenas when not defending Mormonism.  Unfortunately, when they jump into the apologetics ring, their unprofessionalism is what makes them unable to quite measure up to scholars of other persuasions.

In other words, they are mean, spiteful and subscribing to the Mormon party line for fear of not being re-hired at BYU and you provide numerous links such as the Tanners in an effort to prove your point.  But this is typical as I've visited numerous other sites hostile and critical to Mormons.  You know what they say, so there isn't much use going into a lenghthy debate here.

No, there's not much use, since critical sites which stoop to the insulting and vitriolic level of FARMS are not viewed by me as legitimate.

Read your reasons for leaving the Mormon Church and some of the letters from Mormons sent to concerning this.  Some of them were quite judgemental of you for leaving and this isn't quite right, yet it seems that much of what you and other critics have to say is equally judgemental as well.  Quite hypocritical actually.

Hypocritical?  Hardly.  People can be as judgmental of me as they choose, for I am a firm believer in the 1st Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.  I also choose to excercise my own right to free speech.  In your opinion, is everyone who engages in debate and discussion a hypocrite?

"A word of comfort".  The way its written it seems as if I've seen the exact same thing somewhere else.  Might have been at MRM.  Hmmm!

No, I assure you that this came 100% from me.  Any similarities to other websites are entirely coincidental.

I noticed as an agnostic, you sure do worship a lot at the altar of Tanners and other notable critics as if these folks have a corner on the Truth market.

I don't "worship" anyone, I have simply discovered that the information they provide on LDS history and prior teachings is far more accurate, reliable, and complete than that which comes from official church channels.

One final thought.  I know you said that the internet is a vicious place and don't wish to identify your real identity and I agree and I couldn't care less if you had a moniker like "Joe Schmuck".  The fact is that far too many faceless people sit on thier butts hiding behind a computer screen cranking out drivel without fear of being detected or getting thier house blown up.

So are you saying you'd rather have people live in fear of being detected or getting their house blown up?

For most, a cowards safe haven indeed.

Call me what you will, but there are very few things on this earth for which I am willing to become a martyr.  One tiny website certainly isn't one of them.

Just wondering where we'd be if we didn't have the internet to use as a crutch to further our agendas.

We'd be complacent in our own comfortable little worlds, at blissful ignorance due to a lack of free and open information.

Received March 20, 2000 regarding my Meet Mark Hofmann page:

I read your summary of the Mark Hoffman story with some difficulty recognizing it because of the strange conclusions you reach from the unfortunate incidents that occurred.  I am somewhat familiar with the history of those events through reading two of the books you cite (both of the books I read had a decidedly negative slant with regard to the LDS church)

Which two books did you read?  I'm surprised you think neither one of them drew the same conclusions I did, since you called my conclusions "strange."

My recollection is that every single one of the Hoffman forgeries was published by the church to the world long before Hoffman's schemes were discovered and despite their negative implications.

The ones which weren't damaging to the Church's reputation were published.  The others were suppressed whenever possible.

Can you name one single Hoffman document that was suppressed by the church.

Yes.  The Stoal letter.  You can read about it at:  http://www.utlm.org/onlinebooks/trackingconfessions4.htm#SMITH'S 1825 LETTER

In fact, the forged Joseph III document that seemed to support the reorganized church's claim to authenticity over the LDS church was actually given as a gift to the reorganized church.  Does an organization so fearful of its history "getting out" give such potential weapons to its competitors?

Remember, part of his scheme was to leak news of the documents' "discovery" to drive up their asking price, and often the leak became "unpluggable" and the document was subsequently published.  Ironically, the very document you mention, the Joseph Smith III blessing, is one of the best examples of this.

And what about the Salamander letter? I remember well when it was published to the world by the church with very little explanation as to how such a letter could exist and the church still be true.  California headlines announced that bishops and stake presidents were leaving the church because their testimonies were shaken by the letter.  Does this sound like a suppression of negative history?

No, it sounds like another document which happened to leak out.

I have wondered since how those who fell away because of that letter feel now.

They probably feel the same way, for what the documents don't prove, the leaders' lack of inspiration does prove.

Perhaps they have returned.  Perhaps they, apparently like you, have found a justification to leave what they did not have a testimony of anyway.

Why do you not think I had a testimony?  I had a very strong testimony; I just found out that my testimony was incorrect.

Second, you describe the McLellan collection as if it surely contained some devastating revelations about the church because of McLellan's "intimate relationship" with Joseph Smith.  Yet the collection is now available in print and you could have easily proved your point with the actual text.

The McLellin controversy only became such due to Hofmann's false accounts of all the damaging material it [supposedly] contained.  The leaders' acceptance of his stories is what sparked the controversy, not the collection itself, since neither Hofmann nor any of the others had ever actually seen it.

Of course, you could not though, because it is not at all an indictment of the church.  To the contrary it is a very inspirational view of a devoted apostle before he apostatized from the truth.  You won't find it quoted by the anti-Mormons as fodder against the church.  Strange isn't it.  Yet you do not give that impression to your viewers.

Again, Hofmann created the controversy about the collection's contents, the collection's contents didn't create the controversy themselves (no alliteration intended).

You instead weave a tale around it that implies or out-and-out misrepresents what LDS historical documents really say.  It is not a light thing to call good evil and evil good.

The only tale woven was Hofmann's, not mine.  It's not my fault the LDS leaders bought into it.

I don't understand why you don't take greater care to preserve your own integrity and credibility by being more scrupulous.  Your own integrity is far more valuable than any points you think you might score here or there against the LDS church.

Integrity fully intact.  I don't score any points, I simply tell it like it is.  If you have a better theory as to why the LDS leaders spent thousands of dollars for fake documents, especially in light of how tragic the end result was, I'd love to hear about it.

I have often told the Mark Hoffman story to LDS youth as a wonderful example of how important it is to have your own testimony and to base it on the Spirit of revelation rather on the arm of flesh.  I must say you truly enlightened me with your perspective.

Perhaps you can start telling the Mark Hofmann story to the LDS youth as a wonderful example of how inspired the leaders are and how powerfully the spirit of discernment works through them.

It is a strange thing how a person's goal and purpose and prejudices govern his spiritual and intellectual ability to see things in their true light.

The same can be said for you, my friend.

I think the hurt and bitterness you feel in your heart have dimmed your view.  What to me is a wonderful lesson in human nature and the ultimate triumph of truth is to you a dark example of conspiracy and evil lurking in almost every particle of the LDS church.

Let's not be so melodramatic.  The Mark Hofmann affair is only the latest in a long line of semi-scandals.  Far from a "dark example of conspiracy and evil lurking in almost every particle of the LDS church," it is simply one more thread in the "Mormonism isn't all it claims itself to be" tapestry.

I am sorry you think that way, and I am even more sorry that you want to think that way.

The only way I want to think is that which most closely coincides with the facts.  This is certainly nothing to be sorry for.

I am sorry you chose to tear down and chide and darken rather than to build up enlighten and love.

Tear down, chide, and darken?  Since when do facts ever do these things?

I believe your attitude has and will reap bitterness for you.  Not from offended LDS, but from your own soul and a sense that somehow you have missed out contributing something good for other people.

I am contributing something good for other people.  I am providing factual information that cannot be had in Sunday School.

I hope you will to find something better to do, something that will bring you peace and happiness.  I don't think you have found it yet.

You may think this, but you think incorrectly.  Quite the contrary, the greatest peace and happiness comes when you let the facts speak for themselves and cease having to do mental gymnastics to make the Church make sense.

Received March 15, 2000 regarding my Kinderhook Plates page:

You challenged anyone on your website to explain certain issues. . . I have looked at the issue of the Kinderhook plates in detail. This is more than adequate proof against your rather narrow minded case, I think.

Although my case may look "narrow minded" on its face, I refer you back to the opening paragraph of my website which states that one of its three purposes is "to publish information that I have not seen elsewhere."   Nowhere else have I seen both the quotes I use compared side-by-side, hence my reason for such a short entry.  Since more detailed information on the Kinderhook Plates is readily available on the 'net, any further information on my part would probably be redundant.

Anti-mormons claim that Joseph Smith said (and they always quote this one) that he translated the plates, and they told of a descendant of Ham, out of the loins of Pharoah (or something like that). Now, they quote it as being said BY Joseph, but that extract was actually said by Parley P. Pratt, in his diary.

No, it was written by William Clayton, Joseph Smith's personal secretary, in his (Clayton's) diary.

When the History of Joseph Smith was being compiled, they changed that paragraph from Parley P. Pratts diary (which said something like "The Prophet J. translated.....etc, etc) to say "I translated.....". This was a common technique in those days, the compile the records of others, and edit them to sound like they were said by the person in question.

You're probably referring to the History of the Church.  I simply can't believe that the editing technique you describe was a common practice in those days, especially since the History itself in Volume I p. vi virtually claims the exact opposite: ". . . no historical or doctrinal statement has been changed."

Anti-mormons read this, and think that Joseph said that. He did not. He never did translate the Kinderhook plates. They were not in Nauvoo for long enough while he was there for him to do so. Impossible.

Remember, Joseph wasn't in the habit of publishing incomplete translations.  As the diary entry states, "President J. has translated a portion [emphasis mine] of them. . ."

Parley P. Pratt for some reason wrote this, probably because he wanted the plates to be translated, as many mormons did at the time.

William Clayton says nothing about wanting the plates to be translated.  He makes a simple and direct statement of an occurrence.

They hoaxers left it years before admitting. Why did they wait? Because they were frustrated in their hopes to get J.S. to translate.

They didn't necessarily wait.  It was only the sworn statement itself that came out years later, it being common knowledge in their town for years that the plates were fake.  As a side note, remember that the hoaxers had no access to William Clayton's personal journal.  They would have had no idea of what Smith had said to him, so they weren't necessarily "frustrated in their hopes."

It never happened. Can you see how much 'mental gymnastics' have been used by anti-mormons?

Not really, what mental gymnastics have been used?  Just because the narrative of the quote was twisted (by the Mormons themselves, not by anti-Mormons) from the third person to the first does not mean that the actual description of Joseph's action is incorrect.

My investigation is not over. This is just the first issue, but after hours of research today (and I looked at the FACTS totally impartially, on both sides) I have found nothing to cast any doubt over the church.

Then perhaps you can explain why William Clayton wrote what he wrote?

PLEASE FEEL FREE to post any or all of my email on your website. Of course, the gospel can stand against any amount of critisism, right? Thats why we have the fastest growing church on earth, despite your claims.

Actually, the Jehovah's Witnesses are growing faster.

Exchange #2

Firstly, I think that the main cause of misconceptions in the church is through people giving only 'some of the facts'. I feel that although you are trying to put things side by side, you are using the wealth of information on the web as an excuse. ALL the facts should be given at EVERY website.

So what's your theory as to why no pro-Mormon website does this?

You are using this to aid your cause. If you want a website that gives ALL the facts, read the one I did... http://www.lightplanet.com/response/kinderhook/kinderhook.htm

Indeed it does, for the most part, give many of the facts, but the conclusions it draws leave much to be desired.  Someone else has already brought this site to my attention, and here is what I had to say about it in a previous e-mail exchange (excerpt):

Another key item that is glossed over is the fact that a diary is admissible in a court of law as evidence.  Therefore, William Clayton's statement, "President J. has translated a portion," would be considered virtual fact--it happened as stated.

Yet another eyebrow-raising statement is the conclusion drawn from Parley P. Pratt's letter.  The article merely states that "there was considerable talk about the plates in Nauvoo."  The similarities in the accounts are so striking as to point to a common source--Joseph Smith, since no one else in Nauvoo claimed the power or authority to translate or otherwise have any idea what was written on the plates--but the inevitability of a common source, and its implications, aren't even hinted at.

Another misleading statement comes in the very next paragraph, in which the claim is made that "consideration of artifacts" is made by "examination for points of similarity."  While this is true enough in and of itself, it neglects to mention that no amount of mere examination would reveal the actual contents:  The history of the man with whom they were buried, and that he was a descendant of Ham.  This would require at least a partial translation, which no one other than Joseph would have or "could have (so the claim goes)" done.

Yet another item of eyebrow-raising ommission was the claim by John Taylor (I believe) once the hoax was revealed by the fabricators themselves.  So certain was he that the plates were genuine that he claimed that the "claim of hoax" was the real forgery, not the plates themselves.  This was a prophet talking, or at least an apostle.  Thus it is not likely that the stories circulating Nauvoo were mere unfounded hearsay, as they were considered to be fact by the very highest leaders of the LDS Church for decades afterward.  At the very least, acting in his official capacity as "prophet, seer and revelator" he could have laid to rest those false rumors and confirmed that the plates were, in fact, a hoax.  Yet none of this is even hinted at in the article.

It give 'all the facts, side by side', and made it very clear to me how ludicrous anti-mormon arguments on the subject are. You have got many of your facts wrong.

Which ones?

It is precisely your willingness to take the untruth as truth that makes me suspect your motivation to discover the truth in itself.

From my point of view, it is you who are taking the untruth as truth.  Suspect my motivation all you want, but I suggest you let the facts speak for themselves.

Yes, it must have been hard for you when you left the church, but I feel that it was only because you had to disprove the spirit that you know is true.

You may feel this, but you feel so incorrectly.

You wanted to do without the church, and it was hard to do this.

You're assuming again.  Quite the opposite of wanting "to do without the church," I wanted desperately to do with it, but my doubts had reached critical mass and I could no longer keep ignoring them.

But you succeeded in convincing yourself that it was all a hoax. Why did you not look at the sites I looked at?

Believe me, I've probably read them all.

I looked up the kinderhook plates for ONE DAY and I saw the twisting of facts that is going on. I was at some doubt when I saw accounts like yours of the plates. That is because you have not dug deep enough. I did, and I found this.

I dug too, and discovered that the only twisting has been done by the Mormons, as I outlined above.

No, it was not originally written by William Clayton. He also wrote something similar.

I'm afraid you're incorrect.  It was Clayton's journal entry which was the account eventually adapted for inclusion into the History of the Church.

But did you fail to see that the Parley P. Pratt version does not line up with the William Clayton version? One claims the bones were 15 feet underground, the other 6 feet. Also, one claims that Joseph translated a record of one of the Jaredites, and the other says it was a record of an Egyptian. They dont line up. So someone was lying.

The accounts of the depth of the bones may vary, but the far more important accounts, those of the plates' supposed content, line up nicely, pointing to a common source:  They mention that the plates contain "a geneology" and "a history," respectively, and both imply that the man had descended from Ham.  The Lehites were supposedly descended from Shem, not Ham, so it was only logical for Pratt to conclude that this other man must have been one of the Jaredites.  Plus, in spite of what the article claims, Pratt's account itself says it was written "in Egyptian language," and not that the man was an Egyptian.  So we see that the accounts point to a common source.

Joseph, however, did not ever say that he translated the kinderhook plates.

According to William Clayton, Joseph did say that he translated a portion of the Kinderhook Plates.

No translation was ever recovered.

You can translate a portion of something without committing it to paper.  When I was on my non-English speaking mission, I verbally translated at times for visiting Americans during church meetings.  No paper record was ever made, but the fact remains that I did, in reality, produce a translation.  Therefore, Joseph's partial translation may "unrecoverable" but just as literal and historical nonetheless--that is, unless Joseph simply lied to Clayton about his prophetic abilities.

In fact (and you also failed to see this fact), William Clayton recalled (and this also does not line up with his journal entry) that Joseph had insisted that the plates be sent for testing in Philadelphia, England, and France. They were never sent, so no translation was even commenced.

Just because they weren't sent doesn't mean Joseph didn't try his hand at translating them either before or after his insistence.  For that matter, if you're willing to discount his entry regarding Joseph's description of the plates, why don't you also discount his recollection of Joseph's insistence that they be sent for testing?

It seems that we cannot use William Claytons account as reliable. He cannot even get his own story straight!

If so, then why did the compilers of the History of the Church deem this account important enough to include?  And why did the Church, by and large, defend the authenticity of the plates right up until the single plate was recovered and tested?

The editing technique is fact. It happened. There are dozens of examples. How about the first vision story we read today in JS History? It wasnt even written by Joseph! It was done using the same editing technique. Fact. Very common practise. You have not researched properly.

You are right, it was (and perhaps still is) a common practice among the Mormons, but I don't believe it was common among the rest of the populace.

No, Joseph did not publish incomplete translations. He published no translation at all. Another error in your research.

When did I ever say he published a translation?  You appear to be dreaming up imaginary infractions and arbitrarily ascribing them to me.  What's the point of doing this?  If I were to venture a guess, I'd say that you're trying to invent excuses to ignore the points I raise.

You say that the hoaxers didnt necessarily wait. THEY DID! Many years! If they had seen the journal, then wouldn't they have tried to discredit Joseph at that time? Common knowledge that the plates were a hoax? Of course.

Remember, I said that the sworn statement was what they waited on, not the general disclosure.  It was fairly common knowledge in their own whereabouts, whereas the Saints were headquartered far away in Utah.

Why do you think Joseph would not translate them straight away? He was not fooled. Why did he not pray with the brethren about it? If it was to be a 'sequel to the Book of Mormon', surely fervent prayer would have been foremost. Did Joseph send the BoM to testers? no! He was not so easily fooled as you like to make out.

Let me answer your questions with questions:  Why did William Clayton's journal entry say, "President J. has translated a portion of them, . . ." instead of simply saying "President J. has examined them and declared that they are fake"?  And if fervent prayer had been foremost, what is your theory as to why the compilers of the History of the Church obviously believed the plates were genuine?

Remember, I'm no intellectual. I just have the facts at hand. I have dug deep about this.

You earlier said that you have studied for all of ONE DAY, and now you say you have dug deep.  How deep can you have dug after only one day?

You are doing precisely what you accuse Mormons of. You are omitting facts. What about Parley P. Pratt? What about Josephs request for testing? You have not brought these up. Why? I am trying to give all the facts.

Again, these things are found elsewhere on the Internet, so I didn't bother until now, but here you are anyway.  All these additional facts still don't shed any further light on the main point at hand:  Specifically, why does Clayton's journal say what it does, and why did the compilers of the History take it seriously enough to include?

We know that the journals were incorrect!

How do you know this?  The compilers of the History of the Church certainly didn't.  What makes you, after only one day, more knowledgeable than they, who had actually lived in Nauvoo and known Joseph Smith?

You are taking a defensive position on this now. I am not impressed to hear this from someone who has gone through so much research to find the truth.

I am not taking a defensive position, I am simply responding to the allegations you raise.

The narrative is not twisted. It is common practise for the nineteenth century. You have twisted that style into being FACTUAL. Every mormon scholar knows that IT SIMPLY ISNT.

Then why did it take them so many years to admit it?  Moreover, why did the Church claim the exact opposite for so long?

You have missed when I said that William Clayton wanted the plates to be translated. Of course he did! All members did! A hope for proof that the BoM is truth? Another set of scripture? Any mormon would jump at the chance. Funny that Joseph was not so enthusiatic?

I didn't miss it.  As you'll recall, I pointed out that his journal mentioned nothing about his wanting the plates to be translated, it simply contains his recording of an event.  As for Joseph's lack of enthusiasm, he had been fooled earlier, to some extent, by Reverend Henry Caswall during "the Greek Psalter incident (see No Man Knows My History, page 290)."  Hence, Joseph was unwilling to venture out on a limb publicly again, so his statement was most likely given to Clayton and perhaps one or two others in private, which was the genesis of what became the general consensus that the plates were genuine.

I would love you to put these letters on your website, if it is so dedicated to giving the truth to those who seek it. If you are not biased, then you will put both on your letter section. If it is the truth what you say, then it will be truth with or without my letters on your site.

I agree wholeheartedly.

Exchange #3

I read your email, and I could not beleive how many of your statements you were denying, how many of your points you were going back on.

Like what?  I challenge you to name one of them (of course I realize that you are unable to meet this challenge).

Someone told me once that people like you won't take clear answers. That was the truth.

You and I both know that it is you who refused to listen to clear answers, not me.  I responded plainly and straightforwardly to every allegation you raised, yet instead of taking my answers into consideration you made up things about me and invented utterly baseless assumptions and merely flung them at me in your reply.  It's almost as though you hadn't even bothered to read what I wrote.  Again, what clear answers have you given that I won't take?  I agreed with you on nearly every historical point, but I merely disagreed with the conclusions you drew from the same raw data.

I could have not made it more obvious that you are severely flawed in your case, but you have not been able to see it. I frankly have better things to do than talk to a brick wall, of sorts.

In what way was I flawed?  You and I both agree that the statement wasn't original to the History of the Church.  You and I both agree the plates were faked.  You and I both agree that the sworn statement didn't come out until years later.  You and I both agree that no written translation was ever recovered.  Need I go on?  With all this agreement, just how do you figure my case was "severely flawed?"

If you still think my case is "severely flawed," I will provide to you the complete and entire foundation for my Kinderhook opinion, which is twofold.  Perhaps you can dissect it.  If you refuse to give believable, realistic answers to these questions, we can safely conclude that it is you, not I, who are assuming the "brick wall" posture:

  1. Why did William Clayton write what he wrote?
  2. If he was just crazy or mistaken, why did the editors and compilers of the History of the Church, who had lived in Nauvoo and known Joseph Smith, deem it important enough to make public and preserve for future generations?

In closing, I'd like to (once again) put your own words up to you. Truth is of upmost importance, whether it be Catholic's belief of truth, OR mormons. The stakes are not lower unless you are looking at money and time. That was what you wanted, and I'm sure you will get it. I, however, still seek only truth, regardless of whether money or time are involved. Good luck to you...

You and I are basically the same person.  I, too, seek only truth.  However, like you, I am only allotted 24 hours for every day that I am alive, so after subtracting work and sleep, I have precious little time left over to research the things that don't really matter.  To me, Catholicism is one of them.  How about you?  Let's put it this way:  Person A is considering investing $1 into a money making venture, knowing he might lose all of it.  Person B is considering investing $1,000,000 into a money making venture, also knowing he might lose all of it.  Tell me:  Which of these two people, A or B, is most likely to research his venture beforehand?  In addition, if they both lose all the money they invest, which one is most likely to warn others about the losing venture?

Exchange #4

i told you - I have already answered all the questions you have asked again.

You told me that you answered them, but you didn't.  You used the "lawyer" approach to make a roundabout case that since Joseph (supposedly) wasn't fooled, then we can ignore Clayton's journal entry and pretend that it's not there--hardly an objective approach.  What you need to do is take the "scientist" approach and weigh ALL evidence according to its own merit, Clayton's journal included.

The fact alone that J.S. (or any General Authiorities since) never made a fuss about these plates shows me that they are no (or were never considered to be) sequel to the BoM.

Here's something from http://www.utlm.org/onlineresources/kinderhookplates.htm :

If Joseph Smith had not been murdered in June, 1844, it is very possible he might have published a complete "translation" of these bogus plates. Just a month before his death, it was reported that he was "busy in translating them. The new work which Jo. is about to issue as a translation of these plates will be nothing more nor less than a sequel to the Book of Mormon..." (Warsaw Signal, May 22, 1844)

The fact that Joseph Smith was actually preparing a translation of the plates is verified by a broadside published by the Mormon newspaper, The Nauvoo Neighbor, in June, 1843. On this broadside, containing facsimiles of the plates, we find the following: "The contents of the plates, together with a Fac-simile of the same, will be published in the 'Times and Seasons,' as soon as the translation is completed."

If this doesn't convince you that Joseph was fooled, I'd like to know why.

I could stay here for hours disproving all you have said, but you would not listen.

There is a difference between pretending you have disproved something and ACTUALLY disproving something.  We have seen that you are highly skilled at the former but sadly lacking in the latter.  Perhaps you are convinced that your accusations are somehow "true," but an objective look at ALL the facts--something you steadfastly refuse to do--will shatter this illusion of yours.

Even on your own letters page there are inconsistencies. I will not begin to explain them, you would always find some twisted 'gnat-straining' weak argument to prove yourself right.

You will not begin to explain them because you know that there are none.  What did you want me to do, answer some of your allegations but leave others untouched?  This may be your modus operandi, but it is certainly not mine.

What can I say? You have to be open-minded! (clearly your mind is already made up)

This verily describes you to a tee, my friend.

Received January 16, 2000

--why is it that alot of anti mormons use the "dr" thing--

A lot?  Besides me, I'm only aware of two.  The other two put these across as fraudulent credentials, while in my case "Dr. Shades" is nothing more than a 'net nickname, not to be taken literally, and I've always been upfront about this with anyone who's asked.  The roots of that nickname go back to High School (long story), and I liked the sound of it.

having worked in the medical field i am always kinda taken back when i read all the anti mormon sites and i guess some of the former mormons really want us to believe their credibility so they put "dr" before their names, i am truly not wishing to offend, but what is your level of education, may i ask?

In a potentially hostile forum like the Internet, anonymity is of the essence, I'm afraid, so until I get to know you better I'm afraid I'll be unable to provide more personal information than what's already on my site.

i am also a former seminary teacher (full-time,church history and doctrine and covenants) i've read countless anti mormon literature--

Somehow I really don't believe this.  Similar to your example of the anti's putting "Dr." in front of their names and falsely claiming the title is real, pro-Mormons often say "I've read countless anti-Mormon literature" in order to bolster their own claims.  Considering the examples you cited below, I think that scanning one or two anti-Mormon pamphlets is the most you've ever been exposed to.

and frankly my belief in the mormon faith is only strenghthened further by the bitter chip-on-shoulder agruements. . .

Then you're going about it all wrong.  To adequately assess the accuracy or inaccuracy of the claim, you don't analyze the author's tone, you examine the literalness, or lack thereof, of the facts the author puts forth.

and same ol "the church is whitewashing their history, emma was really an unhappy wife, and yeah,bloodletting people were bleeding to death in semitaries" stuff.

Since your faith is only strenghthened, why not tell me the real story behind the examples you give?  Is the Church whitewashing its history, or isn't it?  For example, Gordon B. Hinckley stated on national T.V. that polygamy isn't doctrinal, all the while knowing that celestial polygamous unions are performed around the world in LDS temples every day for men whose previous wives have already passed away who are now marrying new wives.  As for the second example, I am unqualified to know how Emma really felt about her marriage, but let's think it over for a moment:  How would you feel if your husband was entering into plural marriages (with girls who were often still teenagers) without your consent in defiance of his own revelation on the subject (Section 132 of the Doctrine and Covenants)?  Would you be a happy or an unhappy wife?  As for "bloodletting people who were bleeding to death in cemetaries, [sic., cemeteries]" or whatever it was you said, I am completely unfamiliar with this.  Will you please elaborate?

i have a genius i.q. i love to study and read,

There are many people with genius I.Q.'s who love to study and read who are Jehovah's Witnesses, Moonies, etc.  Does this make their religion true?

i've studied the book of mormon for 20 years (thats right, since i joined the church) and its scripture, the word of God--

Have you studied one side of the story, or both sides?  If only one side, how accurate can your views be?

it will be very interesting in the next life to see these former mormons who went on to persecute, or to a lesser degree, criticize and drive away weaker testimonies of members.

I am not persecuting anybody.  I am not criticizing or driving away weaker testimonies of anybody.  I am simply providing factual information that the Church will not provide so that thinking, rational people may get a better understanding of the opposite side of the coin so that a more informed decision can be made about the truthfulness, or lack thereof, of the claims of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

neal maxwell in '96 said "they(meaning former members, x-ed or otherwise) can leave the church, but they can't leave the church alone"--

I am leaving the Church alone.  I hinder the Church in no way.  I am simply providing information to the public.  Think of it this way:  "If the Church is NOT true, would you want to know?"  If so, then how would you gain that knowledge, other than by reading about it and learning facts that the Church itself will not provide you with for obvious reasons?

doc shades, i left the catholic church, i dont go around bad mouthing the pope, certainly i don't devout my time and a website to the idea--

That's because membership in the Catholic Church is much less involved than membership in the Mormon Church--there's less money to donate, less time to spend, etc.  Therefore, the stakes are much lower in Catholicism, so there is that much less of a reason to display the facts.

i guess i just really dont get you anti mormons--life is short--why not devout your time to visiting the sick, or the hopeless in prison, helping a child, teaching youth etc, why all the negative energy on a religion that you dont like anyway--

I think you missed the entire premise of my website.  The entire point is to "visit the sick," etc. by providing information through which they may make a better informed decision about the Church's claims, hopefully saving them many, many hours of lost time and many, many dollars of lost income--another way of performing charity, if you will.  I for one would certainly have wanted someone to lay out the same facts to me long, long ago.

Received January 06, 2000 regarding my Changes in the Book of Mormon page:

Now I am just an outside observer, as I am currently studying LDS ideology just out of interested. Unfortunatly, I have to argue that your whole book of Mormon argument is flawed.

A. Publishers frequently made errors on books in 1830. A book as large as large as the Book of Mormon would be easily open to typeset errors and possible word screwups. Frequently typesetters would read an entire paragraph and set it from memory. With the year and complications of book printing, and the mere size of the works, errors are common and forgivable.

This is true.  However, the Book of Mormon displays the same errors over and over again, such as "them which" instead of "those who."  Those aren't simply typesetting errors on the part of the publisher, they are grammatical mistakes on the part of the translator, which is God according to Mormons.  Also, there are key changes made to certain passages which show how the Church's doctrine has evolved over time.  For example, referring to the Virgin Mary, what used to say "the mother of God" now says "the mother of the Son of God" in three separate places [sic., once referring to the Virgin Mary, three times referring to "the Lamb of God"].  That's a key omission; to assert it happened in all three places due to typesetter error is to stretch credibility past the breaking point.

B. Many religions have made adjustments to their works in order to make it easier for people in our time to read. Some of your "changes" include word changes from Sayith (Sp?) to Said. Those are simple dialect changes. Sure they left in the Thees and what not, but that was also left in the King James biblical rewrite.

Joseph Smith also showed a lack of understanding of proper King James terms even in this respect, for he frequently mixed-and-matched "thee" and "thou," just to give an example.  If being easier to read had been a goal, the book would have been written in eighteenth [sic., nineteenth] century American English to begin with, not the outdated King James style.  Also, like I mentioned above, many changes were made to cover mistakes, not to make the book easier to read.

It seems you are some dislike of the Church and are using a very weak platform to attack it with.

I will readily admit that 99% or so of the changes are punctuation and grammar changes.  However, it's mainly the amount of changes which I want people to know about, since the LDS Church claims there have only been a few, but in reality there have been a vast amount.

Is there a reason you have so much hate for the church to provide an anti-church website? I am asking seriously as I would like to know.

I don't have hate for the Church, per se, since this would imply that I have something against the members themselves.  The only thing I hate is misinformation and deception, and having learned some of the facts about the nature and amount of the changes made to the Book of Mormon I feel obligated to share them with others so people can get an accurate picture of what's really going on.

Exchange #2

While I see your point, I don't honestly feel that it disproves the validity of the Book of Mormon. I just feel that if the Joseph Smith story were true, that simply God gave help to translate the book and that human error took into effect.

You might feel this way, but the eyewitnesses to the translation and early LDS leaders didn't.  Throughout the nineteenth century it was held that the book was given word-for-word and that human error was not a factor.

Just as a side note, I study the Mormon faith because it is the most "logical" of all the religions. . . Mormons seem to have a more logical spin on things.

Just because their spin seems logical on the outside in no way means that its claims are true.

There are non-Mormon reports about Joseph Smith and who he was. There are records of people discussing his honestly and faith for the Church. So either he was telling the truth or was mentally unstable and hallucinated it all, but I don't think he was a fraud.

Plenty of evidence exists which is sufficient to convince that Joseph was, in reality, a conscious fraud.  For example, it is well known to pro- and anti-Mormons that he vehemently preached against polygamy in public while practicing it in private.  He was even tried and convicted of fraud in 1826, the very time he was supposed to be awaiting the receipt of the golden plates.

Anyhow, there are much worse religions than Mormons. Take Scientology for example. That religion is far more dangerous than Mormonism EVER dreamed of.

I agree, but assuming a religion is true simply because there are worse ones out there is not a good method by which to determine truth.

All in all, the bottom line is that even if Joseph Smith is a lie, it is a good lie, and like Santa Clause and the Easter Bunny, it causes a lot of good intentions and good moral idiologies. And I would take 50 Mormon-like lies than one whole Catholic Church "truth".

I'm afraid I'll have to disagree here.  I'll gladly exchange 50 lies, no matter how warm and fuzzy, for one truth, no matter where it comes from and no matter how cold and prickly.  The truth always hurts, and ignorance is always bliss.  Have you seen the movie The Matrix?  It sounds like you would have taken the blue pill, while I would have taken the red pill.

By the way, how can Joseph Smith's story be a "good lie," if there is such a thing?  What good does the LDS Church do that isn't duplicated by non-Mormons all across the globe every day?  What values does it teach that one wasn't taught by their parents to begin with, or that one cannot come up with by simply exercising good old fashioned common sense?

Exchange #3

Do we have good documentation to this affect [that human error was not a factor]?

Yes.  Click on the links in the opening [sic., now the closing] paragraphs of my Book of Mormon Changes page.

I greatly worry about some of the documentation because of the poor quality of 1800's documentation and the true disgust people had for the LDS Church.

These are accounts maintained by faithful members.

I would be interested in reading negative "eye-witness" accounts. Even historians that don't take a pro or anti standpoint have various accounts of good friends stating that Joseph Smith did things that really supported his honest belief in the truthfulness of what he believed in. It seems there is a story for both sides of the fence.

I agree that Smith did things to support his honest belief in the truthfulness of what he was doing.  A good con man always pretends he has total faith in his scam.  As another example, Mark Hofmann did things that supported his belief in the authenticity of his forgeries, all the while knowing that he had forged them.

We go back to recorded events. I can drudge up just as many reports countering that information. I've seen evidence just as convincing that the whole "fraud" trial never happened. Anything before the 1900's is exeptionally poor in documentation.

Yes, but documentation does exist.

[Regarding there being worse churches out there than Mormonism] I guess my focus was that you put so much effort into a site disclaiming the LDS religion, I would feel that your time could be better spent attacking more destructive cults rather than a Church that at least provides good values like no smoking and drinking, and no sex before marriage, and promotes marriage as a high institute.

A false church needs to be exposed, no matter how benign.  Lies are lies, no matter how pretty a package they come in.  Besides, there are so many false churches out there, I don't have the knowledge or the time to write about any that I'm not already familiar with.  BTW, what church doesn't provide the same values you listed above, and how is providing information somehow an "attack?"

As much as you think the LDS Church has "altered" itself, it has altered itself the least.

The LDS Church has altered itself more than any other Church you can name.  From their scriptures to their doctrines to their policies to their temple ceremonies, all have changed quite wildly over the past 170 years.

Baptists, Catholics, etc. all change their religions based on political demands. Even though the bible clearly states that "If a man lie with another man, he is a blasphemy of God", these religious begin to back down due to political pressures. The LDS Church on the other hand at least has the "[word deleted]" to stick to their guns. I don't know... Just is an interesting point.

The Church didn't have the "[word deleted]" to stick to polygamy or Black people not being allowed to have the priesthood, just to name two examples.  Even now, Gordon B. Hinckley is backing down on the LDS position that God was once a man.

Anyhow... Good talking to you. Hopefully you see this as hearing out another opinion.

Oh yes, I heard out, believed, preached, and lived that other opinion for 24 years.  It's something I'm very familiar with.

Exchange #4

Do you have references on this backing down? God being once a man is a principle belief in the LDS Church and changing that would be much more severe than some of the two you mentioned.

I sure do.  See:




This is a controversy I'm well familiar with, for it's the first thing that shocked me to the very core back when I was still a true believer in the LDS Church.  I could hardly believe my eyes when I read the article in TIME.  Please let me know what you think.

Exchange #5

I'm making some calls. I have a friend that works for the LDS HQ Office. He is getting me an actual tape of the convo. It could possibly be simply a bad PR job.

Hmm.  One would think that God isn't into the PR scene, but I guess not?  Also, you said earlier that the LDS Church is the only one to stick to its guns and not change in spite of public opinion, but here you admit to the reliance upon PR jobs.

The Church is trying to get people to focus on key beliefs and off the hardcore stuff.

According to Joseph Smith, that was a key belief.

I'll get back to you on it. If it was just a PR job, Hinkley needs a better speech-writter.

I used to think that God is Hinckley's speech writer.  I guess not.

I am getting some more info on the Book of Mormon that does counter your claims well. It is references to the publishing company itself making changes from the written text of Joseph Smith.

I know what you're talking about.  The head typesetter in the E. B. Grandin publishing office was interviewed many years later about his part in the publication of the Book of Mormon.  He related that the script delivered to him had no sentence or paragraph breaks and was completely devoid of punctuation--it was just a stream of words.  He and his crew had to add all the above.  They later asked Joseph if they should correct the grammar, and after some deliberation with Hyrum he came back and said that the Bible isn't grammatical, so set it as is.

The publisher tried to make certain passages sound better. There is some historical documentation that shows the publishers version and Joseph's version were in fact totally different and some of the changes were to go back to Joseph's writtings. Changes made by the Church could then be attempts to correct those words back.

That is the Church's official line, but it isn't true overall.  That's simply a cover story so they can go back and make whatever changes are politically correct.  For example, "Mother of God" to "Mother of the Son of God" and "Behold the lamb of God, yea, even the Eternal Father!" to "Behold the lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father!" are not mere typos.  They are dramatic changes in meaning.

I am asking a historian from Berkley who knew my Grandfather and has done some studies on Joseph Smith. He is agnostic and doesn't side either way, but he seems to back up the idea that most of the errors were publisher related and not Joseph's fault.

Changes in punctuation and such [but not changes in meaning] might be forgivable seeing as they were originally placed there by the publisher, but this makes one wonder why God can't add punctuation to the words he was revealing the translation for.

Exchange #6

Have you seen some of the original publications of the Bible? :)

No, but no one has for nearly the past two thousand years, so I'm not alone :-)

Also, remember. Not everything Hinkley says is supposed to be of God. If Hinkley says "boy do I need to [phrase deleted]", I don't think anyone would argue that he means God needs to [phrase deleted].

Agreed.  But you'd think he'd have a little more divine guidance when it came to issues of doctrine and the nature of God.

Human desire to protect oneself and the things he holds dearly can take over any Prophet, even biblical ones.

This may be, but if so, then "following the prophet" becomes much less urgent than Church leaders would have us believe, seeing as he is both willing and able to flip-flop about eternal matters when someone merely raises an eyebrow.  The last time I checked, truth doesn't change, no matter what direction the winds of public opinion blow.

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