The author first became interested in researching the Mormon Church when he was given a copy of the “Book of Mormon” and was told that it had been translated from some golden plates that God had given to twenty-one year old Joseph Smith in the early eighteen hundreds in New England. According to the story, Smith had translated this book by using a seer stone that God had provided him along with the golden plates. The book which Smith had “translated” was a story about Nephi, an Israelite, who with his father and mother and other family members, from an ancient tribe from Israel, traveled to America about 600 years B. C. After they arrived in America, this tribe built cities and developed an advanced civilization.
After several years, according to Smith’s account, the ancient tribe was split into two groups, one called the Nephites and the other called the Lamanites. The Nephites were the God-favored group and endeavored to please God through their worship and clean living. The Lamanites on the other hand were enemies of the Nephites, who often lived in primitive dwellings and huts in the mountains and forests. The Nephites and Lamanites were constantly at war and suffered many deaths and casualties. At times the Nephites were victorious in these wars, and at other times, the Lamanites were the victors. Finally a great battle between these two opposing groups took place and the Nephites were defeated and annihilated with the exception of one survivor called Moroni.
Moroni was the son of one of the great leaders of the Nephites, and was given the task of protecting the historical records of the Nephites. He did this with help from God by burying these records on golden plates on a hill near Palmyra, New York. Joseph Smith, when a boy of fourteen, was told of these records by the angel Moroni and finally at the age of twenty-one was led to the golden plates which contained the seer stone needed to translate them.
The author could not accept the concept that a church claiming a membership of eleven million members and having a corporate worth estimated to be more than fifty billion dollars is using as its basis the highly improbable story of Smith’s “Book of Mormon.” Because the author believed that the story was unlikely he decided to investigate the “Book of Mormon” and the Mormon religion. This book relates the findings of the investigation that resulted in the author’s conclusion that Smith’s book is fraudulent and the Mormon religion which claims Smith’s book as its basis is also untrue. The church has distributed millions of copies of the “Book of Mormon” in many languages to all corners of the earth. And millions of copies of the book are kept in storage for future distribution by missionaries, members and by direct mail from central church warehouses. Various types of public media are used in advertising to encourage the public world-wide to request a free copy of this book.
Much of the evidence that discredits the authenticity of Smith’s “Book of Mormon” is discussed in the first chapter of this book and reinforced in later chapters. Smith’s contention that the American Indian descended from immigrants of ancient Israel is proven to be false by the DNA (genetic code of cells that have lived) study that compares American Indians DNA with people from Israel and from the Asiatic countries of Mongolia and China. This DNA study of over 2,000 Indians shows that their lineages were closely related to people from Southern Siberia near Mongolia in Asia and not from Israel. Another study at Brigham Young University of 3,000 Indians from Peru, also concluded that virtually all these Indians’ ancestors came from Asia. Those who did not relate to Asian ancestry, related to European ancestry, most likely Spain.
Smith’s “Book of Mormon” story contains much information about “the ancient Israeli immigration” which has proven to be false by DNA studies. Since this story and others, found to be false by the author, are still maintained to be true by Mormon Church teachings, and the church has great financial resources and an extensive missionary network to promote and expand this religion that may threaten free and independent life styles and our democracy, American citizens have a duty and responsibility to monitor this religion as well as to research its honesty and truthfulness. The author feels that we cannot sit idly by while these great resources are being utilized through a vast television and human resources network that is constantly at work with slick public relations and carefully-planned missionary programs to expand its membership. The Mormon Church is using all available means to increase its membership by obtaining converts and encouraging members to raise large families for the purpose of increasing its power and influence in the world.
Authority, power and influence are key factors of the Mormon movement. Joseph Smith’s reign as President and Prophet of the church from 1830 to 1844 created the basis for the authority, power and influence of the church leadership. This was strengthened and expanded by Brigham Young in his thirty-year reign from 1847 to 1877. In their forty-four year leadership of the church, Smith and Young held iron-fisted control of their congregations, not just over religious activities, but of their lives outside the church as well. In all possible ways, Smith and Young used dictatorial methods to control the church. Their dictatorial power was accomplished by maintaining that their authority came directly from God.
Several books have been researched and quotes from them have been used to reinforce and document the conclusions reached in this book. Especially notable among these excellent books are Janice Hutchinson’s “The Mormon Missionaries,” Fawn Brodie’s “No Man Knows My History,” Sonia Johnson’s “From Housewife To Heretic,” Deborah Laake’s “Secret Ceremonies,” Latayne Colvett Scott’s “Mormon Mirage,” and D. Michael Quinn’s “The Mormon Hierarchy, Extensions of Power.” Thanks to the charity of the authors of these books and their publishers, the author was able to employ some of their thoughts into this manuscript. Both Sonia Johnson and Fawn Brodie have special book collections at the University of Utah Library. To underscore the respect that scholars have for the classic work of Brodie’s “No Man Know’s My History,” that was first published in 1945, a symposium was held in Salt Lake City in 1995 to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of this great work.
In spite of the numerous attempts by Mormon Church writers to belittle, condemn and discredit Brodie’s book, it has withstood all criticisms and remains not only a classic, but the most credible biography of Joseph Smith not only when it was published in 1945, but to this present day. Laake’s book of which more than 500,000 copies were printed in 1993, rose to number eight on the best seller list and remained there for fifteen weeks.
Many of the authors of references used in this book have completed their works at great risk to their employment, as well as being able to remain in the good graces and respect within their Mormon communities. (The Mormon community is a closed society, and those who are not members of the church are not generally included in social and community activities sponsored by the church. Non-Mormons who are prospective converts to the church are temporarily embraced by the Mormon community, but when they do not join the church, they are excluded from the closed society.) In spite of these risks, these authors have striven to present their conclusions and research findings concerning the Mormon Church honestly and without restraint. Some of these authors, who have left the Mormon Church, were forced to leave their families behind since family members were so indoctrinated in church teachings that they refused to accept any findings, though true, that conflict with church instruction. There are numerous instances of ex-Mormons who decided that the church was wrong in its teachings, had their names removed from church rolls and found later that their businesses were boycotted and they were socially discriminated against by the Mormon community. Some of these ex-Mormon stories are summarized in this book.
Practices and beliefs of the church historically and of today are presented that the author believes reveal the fraudulent nature of the Mormon Church’s teachings. The close control that the Mormon Church has upon the social, economic, psychological and political life of church members is also discussed.
The author was dismayed at what he had learned about the church and felt an obligation to put down in writing these concerns, especially since they contrasted sharply with his understanding of freedom of thought, individualism, democracy and independence. Intensive reading and research brought about the discovery by the author that the history of the church was fraught with deception, authoritarian rule and leadership and was conspiratorial. Numerous deceptions and conspiracies were discovered that took place in the fourteen-year reign of Joseph Smith and the thirty-year reign of Brigham Young. The author discovered that these deceptions and conspiracies have continued to the present day. This is exemplified by a review of the Hofmann forgeries cover-up in the 1970’s and 1980’s and the continued propagandizing by the current Mormon Church hierarchy in other matters. The author believes that the Mormon Church hierarchy is well aware of the value of its propagandizing program to enhance its image and to expand its influence. Recent efforts have been made by the church to purchase additional radio stations (in the Chicago area) and newspapers. The most controversial attempt to expand its media control was the negotiations to control “The Salt Lake Tribune.” “The Salt Lake Tribune” (established in the 1870s) has been independent of church control and has been a competitor of the church-controlled Utah newspaper, “Deseret News.” The “Tribune” in the year 2000, carried a series of embarrassing articles about the Mormon Church’s involvement in the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre of 120 innocent members of the Fancher wagon train, and many see this as an attempt by the church to throttle the “Tribune” by buying it.
It is not necessary for the author to review the commendable aspects of the Mormon religion, since great resources of the church are used to extol the virtues and desirable practices of the church. However, in the opinion of the author, the commendable aspects of the Mormon religion are outweighed by the undesirable aspects as outlined in this book. Numerous spot advertisements appear on television promoting the family and encouraging viewers to obtain a free copy of a video tape and to request a free copy of the “Book of Mormon.” If you want to learn more about the church, they will happily trot over two young “missionaries”, usually nineteen to twenty years old, who will “explain” what the church is all about. Billions of dollars are spent every year to propagandize the church not only to their own members, but to prospective members as well. Therefore, the author feels obligated to present the documentation that he feels reveals the fraud and dishonesty that the church’s vast propaganda machine dispenses as well as its real threat to democracy and freedom in America and throughout the world.