Date: January 01, 2017 08:14PM
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?
Date: January 02, 2017 03:58PM
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.
Date: January 03, 2017 10:01AM
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.