Mark Hoffman was a brilliant, self-educated forger and conman who clearly pointed out the General Authorities and scholars from Hugh Nibley, Gordon Hinckley, and Dallin Oaks had as much spiritual discernment as my pet spaniel.
From the Anthon document through the Salamander letter, which purported to cast doubt on early decisions of Joseph Smith about succession of the church, Mark Hoffman bilked the church of a not inconsiderable amount of money.
Dallin Oaks, especially, argued that the salamander could be reconciled with the Angel Moroni's ability to live in fire.
Ultimately, Hoffman was arrested and convicted of murder in pursuit of his forging career.
What was significant to me in 1985, was that while Hoffman may have been a brilliant and talented forger, The GA's were clearly clueless about the entire affair.
Dallin Oaks and Gordon Hinckley clearly had no discernment, and their testicles were clearly flapping in the wind.
I was already separated from the church, but had many great laughs about the stupidity, blindness, and mendacity of the leaders of the Church.
Inspired? If you think so let me tell you about the great pumpkin.
How did the Hoffman affair affect you belief in the church?
The Hoffman affair was huge in my world. The General A;s were exposed as idiots. The book I really enjoyed about the fraud was written by a journalist, if I recall correctly called Linda Silleto. That asswipe Hinckley had his picture taken with Hoffman and then later claimed he had never met him. The result of the Hoffman thing. was the church realized how stupid they were and turned the whole thing over to professional public relation firms and started the policy we have now, that the leaders essentially never say anything of substance.
I was TBM at the time, but knew nothing about it until a few years later when I came across and read "A Gathering Of Saints" by Robert Lindsay. I was shocked, horrified and disgusted at what I was reading, and naively kept telling myself it would all turn out right in the end, but of course it didn't. It was my first big realisation that the church might not be what it claimed to be, and though I tried to push it to the back of my mind and carry on, I could never forget it and it was a constant niggle for the rest of my church life. Every time I saw Hinkley and members fawning over him I kept thinking about his dealings with Hofmann and zero discernment.
> I was shocked, horrified and disgusted at what I > was reading, and naively kept telling myself it > would all turn out right in the end, but of course > it didn't.
This describes perfectly my reaction to a Hugh Nibley article in THE IMPROVEMENT ERA (forerunner to the ENSIGN). He was defending the BOA after the papyri had been rediscovered in the Met Museum and was reviewing the Spaulding "attack" from 1912. He laid out the claims of the "critics." I was flabbergasted because the claims were so clear and devastating. But I knew that before it was over Hugh would have pulled the rug out from under the critics and completely save JS and the BOA.
His "defense" was so pitiful that it shook me. The article ended and I thought, "that's it? . . . that's his answer?" I was so thoroughly TBM at the time that, even together with my concurrent reading the BOM and having "promptings" that it was fake (instead of the "spirit" testifying that it was true) that I figured the problem must be with me. It took me ten more years to finally allow myself to accept the obvious.
... Overlapping State and Federal jurisdictions are not unusual in major crimes and standard procedure is for the Defendant to be prosecuted in the jurisdiction that carries the most severe penalty first. Hofmann committed multiple capital murders in Utah and could have received the death penalty under State law. All the Feds had on him was a firearm (explosives) violation that could yield only a prison sentence.
The State of Utah had first shot at him, so to speak, and accordingly had no reason to turn him over to the Feds before they were done with him. As he got Life Without Parole (LWOP) in Utah as the result of a plea bargain, there was no need for the Feds to assert jurisdiction and pursue whatever non-capital case they may have had on him. ....
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 01/02/2017 06:29AM by Eric K.
F. Lee Bailey - there is no reason to have these personal attacks. If the original poster had some errors, they can be corrected without the nasty comments. Please refrain some such activity in the future.
F. Lee Bailey Wrote: -------------------------------------------------------
> As he got Life Without Parole (LWOP) in Utah as > the result of a plea bargain, there was no need > for the Feds to assert jurisdiction and pursue > whatever non-capital case they may have had on > him. > ....
IIRC he didn't get "Life Without Parole." He was sentenced to Five Years to Life and it was the later recommendation of the parole board that he serve the rest of his life in prison. His "remorse" at the parole-board hearing was some abstract philosophical thing that left the parole board chilled by his emotional indifference to what he had done.
To me, there is nothing remarkable in that from or among religious populations, criminals peddle their wares.
The remarkable thing about the Hoffman affair are the revelations of the levels of secrecy, lies and cover-ups employed by those in leadership to maintain the status quo - the authoritative force used against their own members in attempts (plural, repeatedly) to manipulate their own members.
Most peolple are susceptible to victimization at some point. This criminal successfully victimized not only Mormon leaders, but many others as well. The difference is that members trusted the GAs not for just guidance, but for honesty and moral authority. That the GAs erred in falling victim to Hoffman - okay, human beings, after all, but the lies, deceit and manipulation from the GAs? That was pure self-interest over the welfare of those entrusted to their care. Their morals were revealed to be very similar to those of Hoffman.
Admit your errors and make amends, and they become a part of your history. Lie about your errors, and they become a part of your future. (not my words)
Multiple GAs, even collectively, over time, were / are not morally informed enough to know this axiom, and, any attempt to claim "lying for the lord" turns their fallibilty into their god's fallibility. The idiomatic "We can't know God's plan" likewise lays the "fault" at god's feet, in a type of "He must not know what He's doing" reversal of speech, well known to Mormonism.
There is no "out" for what they "revealed" about themselves, and it really had nothing to do with Hoffman. Very tongue-in-cheek, one might even say that Hoffman was just god's tool.
My uncle was the official church spokesman during the Hofman affair. As such, he made a number of "official statements" for the church that were later shown to be flat-out lies, and that clearly showed that the church leaders had no "discernment" of any kind, certainly not any special, magical kind.
Years later, I was sitting next to him at a family reunion in Panguitch. We had a few minutes alone. He knew I had left the church, but oddly enough, out of all of my relatives, he was one of the most "understanding" and kind about it.
So I asked him: given that later exposed facts showed a lot of the official statements he'd made to be flat-out lies, how did he feel about that?
He looked at me and smiled. Thought for a moment.
"My job was to say what they told me to say. So that's what I said."
I just kind of shook my head, and looked down at the ground.
"Yes, I knew that not everything I was told to say was true, even at the time I was saying it," he added. "That's one reason nobody lasts long in the job of church spokesman -- it's not something you can do and feel good about yourself."
We then got talking about family and jobs and such. He would never discuss the subject with me again, even if I tried to bring it up.
Wow. That was a very telling statement: "Yes, I knew that not everything I was told to say was true, even at the time I was saying it," he added. "That's one reason nobody lasts long in the job of church spokesman -- it's not something you can do and feel good about yourself."
I have wondered how the GA's, members of the Governing Body of the Watchtower and other religious leaders can continue without self-destruction. They must have a genetic defect or personality that can defeat the desire to be a person of integrity. Religious leaders should possess a high standard of ethics, yet we observe they do not have much of a moral compass. People base their lives on the words of these leaders. We can only assume the money and the positions of power are far more important to them. Let the little people be damned.
I suspect that tacit acknowledgment of dishonesty was one reason my uncle was so understanding of my leaving the church. He himself, however, was and always will be TBM. Even having observed the lies of the leaders first-hand, and being asked to repeat them. I never understood how he could do that. And he'd never tell.
He fooled the mormons because they weren't very good at spotting fraud. The Tanners were better and saw through him although they also had no training or experience in police work or identifying forgeries.