Subject: The Hofman Affair. Unveiling the Mind of Upper Echelon Mormon Leadership
Date: Nov 06, 2007
Author: Chad (Swedeboy) Spjut

Thirteen years ago, I found myself a newly temple married man, a return missionary and someone who was fully committed to the cause of Mormonism. I had always been one to question, but only to question as far as I dared myself to go. I was raised in a home where open discussion was encouraged, but only as far as I did not cross certain boundaries. Everyone raised within the strict confines of Mormonism knows of which boundaries I speak.

Being married in August and taking our honeymoon in St. George, Utah poses several problems, not the least of which is the unbearable heat of Southern Utah in summer. Now there will be those who chide and say that a honeymoon regardless of location is bound to be filled with heat which of course is something I cannot deny, but that is for another discussion. Our honeymoon abode was at my Mormon grandparent’s second home in St. George. We had everything we would need for our few days there as newlyweds. Despite the strangeness of married life, it was a welcome respite from all of the hurly-burly in preparation for marriage and the beginning of our lives together.

Four days following our temple marriage, I found myself in the living room with a desire to read. I perused my grandparent’s bookshelves for something which would satisfy my desire for a little mental relaxation. As I glanced at the many titles which offered many interesting subjects, I discovered a strange title, ‘The Mormon Murders’. My inner warning bells immediately began to sound as I stared at the title, but in the end curiosity won and I found myself delving into the pages of this intriguing book.

As I read, I found myself transported back to the Salt Lake Temple as I attended an Endowment Session with Mark Hofmann (someone I had never heard of up to this point in my life) as the events were portrayed in vivid detail. My heart raced as I continued through the pages of boundary breaking material. I discovered that Hofmann was a master forger and with those skills was able to baffle and bluff the upper ranks of Mormon leadership.

Upon my discovery of the story and content of the ‘Salamander Letter’, I found myself spinning inside as I tried to grasp why Mormon leaders, including Hinckley, would be so anxious to purchase and hide documents which so clearly showed the origins of Mormonism. I could see that another story was being told by the Mormon Church, which was in clear contrast to the official story which I so proudly told as a Mormon missionary.

As I paused from my reading, I glanced across the room at my new wife. I was afraid to tell her what I was reading. It hurt inside as I thought about what these newly discovered facts meant for my new married life and me. I had to protect her from this information by not telling her. She asked about the book I was reading, and I told her it was related to Mormon history. Her inquires went no further, and I returned to my reading.

I soon found myself returning the book to the bookshelf all the while feeling sick inside. I went into the adjoining den to think about what I had read. As I sat there digesting the information, the question of “why?” continued to roll around in my brain like a hamster on a wheel. I continued to think about the book for the rest of our honeymoon. In the end however, I buried the hurt and the fear brought on by my discoveries and bowed my head in submission and continued on.

It was not until I was making my exit from Mormonism twelve years later that it actually donned on me just how important the Hofmann story really was. It was not the question of discernment, it was not the fact Hofmann was a forger and a conman, it was that Mormon leadership was so anxious to purchase and then cover-up the documents Hofmann produced. The documents were not ignored, they were EMBRACED and ACCEPTED by Mormon authorities as being authentic! Not because of the author or the time, but because of the story the documents revealed about the Mormon Church and its origin.

To me this understanding is a clear window into the mind of the upper echelon of Mormon leadership. They know the rest of the story, the complete story, the accurate story. They know. And that is why Hofmann could do what he did.


Subject: Congratulations
Date: Nov 06 13:39
Author: Stiffnecked

Glad to hear that it all finally sunk in. It's like the warning in the burning movie theater "Run don't walk to the nearest exit if you don't want to be burned alive"


Subject: Re: Hey Swedeboy, this is interesting story...
Date: Nov 06 14:01
Author: Quinlansolo

I love St.George in Fall & Winter.
Your DVD was great, I did enjoy listening everyone's story. [DVD by the]
It was fun to identify many of you in that DVD.
I do recommend it to everyone, very tastefully and professionally done piece of work.


Subject: Funny that you mention that book....
Date: Nov 06 14:20
Author: dit

I've been in and out of the church for over 20 yrs now and not once, up until last year, did I read anything having to do with the church. I decided to read that book in particular. I read with my mouth wide open to the very things you've pointed out. It was then that my decision became much more clear. I've since gone on to read Grant Palmers book and am now reading Fawn Brody's book.

It's quite astonishing that the leadership knows but does nothing.


Subject: Oh yeah! I remember reading that book as well as 3 others.
Date: Nov 06 15:08
Author: Fallible

I remember one called "A Gathering of Saints" but I can't remember the title of the other two. If I remember correctly, three were written by genuine authors (one being a newspaper reporter, I think) and one of the books was written by some church apologist.

Most of the members at the time really didn't grasp the significance of the Hoffman forgeries/murders. Hinckley, Pinnock, et al, buying up forged documents; 1st Pres and the 12 being deceived, etc.

Most members thought Hoffman was the only bad guy as the drama unfolded. But Hinckley and others were definitely enablers; several people would be alive today if it weren't for their actions.


Subject: Re: Oh yeah! I remember reading that book as well as 3 others.
Date: Nov 06 15:47
Author: Barry

That book flushes out a number of things....

-The complete lack of discernment of the leaders... isn't this supposed to be a trait of the priesthood? I like the photos of SWK and Hinkley inspecting the documents.

-The planned cover up of church history (although it ended up being forged!)

-Influencing the bank to loan money to Hoffman

-The indirect involvement in the deaths of two "faithful saints" -- I've always wondered how Hinkley could sleep at night.

-Finally the influence over the legal system in Utah to keep the leaders out of the police investigation.

I thought that "The Mormon Murders" was very enlightening.


Subject: Re: The Hofman Affair. Unveiling the Mind of Upper Echelon Mormon Leadership
Date: Nov 06 15:22
Author: slippery elm

Great post.

When I began to study I couldn't believe the extent of the cover up the church was involved in. Were they embarrassed by the teachings of the prophets? Did the teachings seem to hard for them to accept? Were they more interested in having members KNOW the church is true....than knowing what the church teaches? If I could accept through obedience & humility the teachings, even though I didn't fully understand, why not my leaders who were called upon by God to defend the faith?

Through my studies, I began to realize that the leaders of the church, including LDS apologists, seemed to be more interested in faith promoting propaganda than they are in teaching Mormonism! God's pure doctrines as revealed in these latter days.

The grand scale cover ups that the church is engaged in at every level was really the item that made me question if God would really run His church this way. Hiding history, twisting the meanings of doctrines to pacify the weak, etc.

I mean, wouldn't God want followers to "freely" come unto Him. Not sheeple who really had no clue what His church was all about. Come on! If I were God, I would want full disclosure so I knew my followers were really with me on ALL my bizarre doctrines ; o ) Remember free agency?


Subject: Re: The Hofman Affair. Unveiling the Mind of Upper Echelon Mormon Leadership
Date: Nov 06 15:25
Author: anon for this

I was serving my mission in Phoenix when the salamader letter story was broke by the Arizona Republic newspaper. I had a woman thrust that article in my face as we were tracting in Scottsdale that day. My stomach was sick at that point because I suddenly realized that I was out preach'in the gospel of some wisecrack. The only salve was that I later heard that the documents were forged. That made me feel better at the time....whew, the Prophet Joseph Smith wasn't a crack pot!! I can bury my doubts and keep my head down and keep pretending that I "love the work with all my heart" and can keep reciting Section 4 to myself all dayin order to keep myself motivated enough to keep up the charade. Man was I in it deep.

And here I find myself 20 years removed from that experience, catching a flight out of SLC early this morning with a bunch of new missionaries headed for the Valley of the Sun. I overheard one of them say..."hey, I actually am getting used to everyone calling me Elder". I had to wonder to myself how many of those young men would find themselves out of the church in the next 20 years. Funny how things change.


Subject: Why would they care about a crazy white salamander?
Date: Nov 06 16:14
Author: NoToJoe

I was 12 years old when the Hoffman thing happened……a new deacon eager to use my priesthood magic powers for good. Also, the Christensen family lived very near to my school and everywhere I went I would hear the adults talking in lowered voices about the Hoffman affair.

I remember asking my father what the ‘Hoffman affair’ was all about. As with most questions I asked at that age about the church, I received evasive half-answers that just raised more questions than they sastisfied. I did however manage to pull out that Hoffman was forging historical documents and had tricked the church into buying them. My father mentioned that Hoffman had written a ‘White Salamander’ letter which had been proven to be a fake and caused him to commit murder to hide his crimes.

As any curious 12 year old would do, I asked “What was the White Salamander letter?” My father said it was a false story about Joseph Smith talking with a little white lizard. My 12 year old interest was peaked and I asked, “Why would the church buy such a crazy story that any deacon could easily tell was a lie?” Upon hearing this question my father furrowed his brow and told me to go finish my homework.

Since then I have learned about peep stones, flaming swords, and treasure slipping away into the earth. Now I finally have the answer to my question.


Subject: You're Right Swedeboy! Thanks For The Thread. Of Course They ALL Know At The Top Of The Foodchain...
Date: Nov 06 16:17
Author: BeenThereDunnThatExMo

That's why I get soooooooooo frustrated and flustered when anyone starts one of those threads ie., "Do you think that the Brethren believe or know that it's true/not true etc., etc., etc.

Of course they ALL know it's a scam because of the way they have like you said been operating so covertly since Day 1 in either hiding or purchsasing with-the-intent-to-hide anything that will bring the game crashing down around them. IT IS SO BLATANTLY OBVIOUS.

And please...just a reminder...don't ask me how I really feel about all of those lying geriatric losers at the top of the good-ol-boys-club...


Subject: I think sometimes people forget where they came from
Date: Nov 06 17:26
Author: rt

The question "Do the brethren know it's a scam" was a big one for me. I'm just an ordinary guy trying to live an honest life and it was not easy to come to terms with the fact that the leaders of Christ's very own church (or so I thought) are a bunch of cynical deceivers.

Sure, looking back at it now, it's easy to say how stupid I was but I think whenever a person opens up to the possibility that a scam can be perpetrated on such a scale, it's an important step.

It's not a question to get frustrated and flustered over; it's a threshold out of mormonism.


Subject: I never thought of it that way--very good point! n/t

Subject: Amen to that! There is a lot of info in those vaults that they hope will...
Date: Nov 06 17:38
Author: brian-the-christ

..."never see the light of day."

I think there are smoking guns and maps to buried bodies.

I am praying for Council of Fifty minutes sneaking out of there someday.


Subject: mormon murders was the 3rd book I read....
Date: Nov 06 18:15
Author: rhonda

I read "Secret Ceremonies" first. I had never heard or read anything about the temple cerimony until that time. I remember being *so relieved* that I had never gotten my endowments. I read Fawn Brody next, and then the mormon murders. By then, very little surprised me and it all started to make sense.


Subject: a funny story
Date: Nov 06 18:36
Author: Terri Jo Lorz

I ordered "A Gathering of Saints" and ended up with a book about WWII and Germany. (luckily the book cost about 50 cents) so I reordered and got the right book.

I read both "A Gathering of Saints" and "Mormon Murders." I had some similar thoughts. Why did they care and go to so much trouble to both purchase the documents and then to cover up the whole affair?

What do they know that they are afraid will get out?

I think in "A Gathering of Saints" the author suggests that Hoffman also realized the Mormon Church's paranonia and that he could take advantage of it.

It was all believable to them!


Subject: The Hofman Affair and Gordon B.
Date: Nov 06 22:20
Author: Left and Never Looked Back

Gordon B. Hinckley was the GA actively involved in the purchased of documents from Hoffman. That should give a lot of LDS members reason to pause now that he's the "prophet, seer, and revelator."

Subject: Reading those books was MY "tipping point"
Date: Nov 06 23:01
Author: NumLock

Lack of discernment, an abundance of deceit on the Church's behalf, the blatant disregard for the "laws of the land" when the Church refused cooperate with the investigation, the big Church "press conference" that made the GA's look like total fools.

But perhaps the BEST of all was when the apologists jumped on the bandwagon with the "fact" that in Joe's time...A White Salamander was "code" for a heavenly messenger.

Last but not least, there were the Firesides presented by people who bought Hofmann documents, where throngs of attendees reportedly "felt the Spirit" when seeing the handwriting of Joseph Smith. "Hearts were softened and tears were shed" at those firesides as the warm fuzzies overwhelmed the audiences, just to be in the presence of a document written in Joseph's hand!

Apparently the Holy Ghost did not know those documents were forgeries either!

Related topics: 

322 Mark Hofmann's Forgeries  

407 Benson - What do Mormon Leaders Really Know?


Recovery from Mormonism - The Mormon Church

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