Tanner, Jerald & Sandra - “Mormonism : Shadow or Reality?”

This is perhaps the most slanted, biased, and down right mean representation of the Mormon church there is. However, most of the stuff is true (although some of the conclusions and interpretations are a stretch). A more appropriate title for this book would be “Mormonism: Here are the Shadows”. Your average, active Mormon does not know about many (if any) of the things that are contained in this book even though they happen to be true for the most part. This probably isn’t the first book you want an active member to read to find out their church isn’t “true”. Most will probably throw it quickly into a fire thinking that Satan himself must have written it.

The authors really need to be fairer in their presentation of the church in a book with a title like "Shadow or Reality". They also should take a critical look at their own religion with the same amount of diligence they give to Mormonism. This book, although informative, ends on a far more sour note than it begins--with some Christian testimonials (even though they disregard Mormon testimonials). The last few chapters left a bad taste in my mouth. The Mormon church and its members aren’t nearly as “evil” as the Tanners would have you believe. However, this book is worth the price for someone who isn't already intimately familiar with the con-Mormon arguments. The book is also difficult to get through with all of the bolding, CAPITALIZATIONS, and italics. The problems with Mormonism are already painfully obvious just by reading the documents in context and don't need to be overemphasized as the Tanners tend to do with their highlighting of the text.

If you are interested in giving a Mormon friend a book to "de-convert" them (attempting to de-convert them is something I don't recommend if that person is happy with their faith and you value your friendship with them--I'm merely stating this since many people have asked me, "how do I de-convert a Mormon?"), I would not recommend this one. Try a fairer one, which lacks stretched conclusions and which doesn't also attempt to convert the reader to another faith-based religion, like Quest for the Gold Plates: Thomas Stuart Ferguson’s Archaeological Search for the Book of Mormon and/or Mormon Polygamy: A History.


Table of Contents

  1. A MARVELOUS WORK?
    Miraculous Claims - The Only True Church? - The Best People? - Updated Material

  2. CHANGE, CENSORSHIP AND SUPPRESSION
    Changing Doctrines - Rebaptism - Censorship - Changing An Article Of Faith - Key To Theology - Journal of Discourses - Lucy Smith's Book - Book Burning - Suppressing The Records - Dr. Nibley Refused - Apostles' Threats - Mormons Protest Suppression - Updated Material

  3. CHANGES IN THE REVELATIONS
    Book Of Commandments - Not For Reproduction - Other Changes - Study Of Changes - Important Changes - Unthinkable? - Updated Material

  4. JOSEPH SMITH AND MONEY-DIGGING
    Joseph Smith's 1826 Trial - Importance Of Discovery - A Common Practice - Peep Stones - Book Of Mormon From Stone - Embarrassed Over Stone - Relationship To Book Of Mormon - Working With The Rod - Affidavits And Statements - The Treasure Hunt Revelation - Updated Material

  5. THE BOOK OF MORMON
    The Witnesses - Character Of Witnesses - Apostasy - Strang And McLellin - Unreliable Witnesses - Martin Harris - Oliver Cowdery - David Whitmer - Angels And Gold Plates - Too Much Excitement - Harris' Shaker Book - Ancient Or Modern - Fits Smith's Environment - Revivals - Infant Baptism - Church Of Christ - Ministers And Money - Westminster Confession - Masonic Influence - Bible Influence - The Apocrypha - Old Testament - New Testament - List Of Parallels - A Real Dilemma - Alpha And Omega - Origin Of Indians - "Wonders of Nature" - "No Traveller Returns" - Vapor Of Darkness - Not Unique - "An Ignominious Death" - Joseph Smith's Father's Dream - Smith Probably Qualified - Changes In The Book Of Mormon - Lost Book Of Lehi - Making Up Names - Bible Prophecy - Beyond The Book Of Mormon - Updated Material

  6. ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE BOOK OF MORMON
    A Pagan People - A Lost Civilization - Mormon Scholars Face The Truth - Nephite Coins And Chariots - Anthon Transcript - "Deformed English" - Bat Creek Stone - Fraudulent Inscriptions - Kinderhook Plates - Falsification Of History - "Childish Forgeries" - Newark Stones - Tree of Life Stone - Lehi, Sariah And Nephi? - Geography - Hill Cumorah - Compared With Bible Archaeology - Updated Material

  7. CHANGES IN JOSEPH SMITH'S HISTORY
    Written By Joseph Smith? - New Discoveries - Film Supplies New Evidence - Over 60% After Smith's Death - Rocky Mountain Prophecy - Selected Changes - Conclusion - Updated Material

  8. THE FIRST VISION
    Vision Criticized - "Strange" Accounts - An Important Change - Revision Required - First History - Too Many Stories - Doctrinal Change - Source of Confusion - An Evolving Story - No Revival In 1820 - Lane And Stockton - Moving The Revival - A Changing Story - Joseph A Methodist? - Joseph Changed His Mind - Clandestine's Errors - Professor Hill's Speech

  9. THE GODHEAD
    From One To Many - The Heavenly Mother - Serious Changes - Removing The Lectures "Inspired" Corrections - Elohim - Hands Or Wings? - A Changeable God - The Holy Ghost - No Real Answers - Updated Material

  10. THE ADAM-GOD DOCTRINE
    Falling Upward - "Our Father And Our God" - Confusion And Strife - Updated Material

  11. THE PRIESTHOOD
    Added Later - Aaronic Priesthood - Aaronic Priesthood - High Priests - First Presidency - Age Of Ordination

  12. THE ARM OF FLESH
    Thinking A Sin? - No Revelation - Updated Material

  13. FALSE PROPHETS
    The Canadian Revelation - The Lord's Coming - A Temple In Zion - The Civil War - The Gathering - Joseph's Boys - Other Prophecies - Updated Material

  14. THE HEREAFTER
    The Universalists - Joseph Changes His Mind - Mormon Purgatory - Degrees Of Glory - Dissolved And Reorganized Spirits

  15. THE MISSIONARY SYSTEM

  16. PLURAL MARRIAGE
    Reason For Revelation - Breaking The Law - Contradicts Book of Mormon - Contradicts The Bible - Threatened With Destruction - Wives Before The Revelation - Leaders Puzzled - Sorrows Of Polygamy - Discord In Joseph's Home - Lived With His Wives - Number Of Wives - Taking Other Men's Wives - Polygamy Or Promiscuity? - John C. Bennett - Sarah Pratt Affair - Martha Brotherton - Nancy Rigdon - Strange Marriages - Polygamy And Courtship - Only 2% - One-Wife System Condemned - Adam A Polygamist - God And Christ Polygamists - Essential To Salvation - Updated Material

  17. THE MANIFESTO
    After The Manifesto - "Manifesto A Deception" - Polygamy In Utah Today - Taylor's 1886 Revelation - The Dilemma - Updated Material

  18. MORMONISM AND TRUTH
    The Mormon Battalion - Making God A Liar - Conclusion

  19. JOSEPH SMITH
    A Fighting Prophet - General Smith - "The Greatest Egotist" - Mixing Politics And Revelation - Destruction Of Expositor - Like A Lamb?

  20. THE VIRGIN BIRTH
    Conclusion

  21. THE NEGRO IN MORMON THEOLOGY
    Black Skin - PreExistence - Sons Of Cain - Through The Flood - One Drop Disqualifies - Negroes In The Priesthood - Negroes Unhappy - Objections To Doctrine - For Cain's Sins - Negroes And The Gospel - Nigerian Mission - Rooted In Prejudice - Slavery In Utah - Civil Rights - The Genesis Group - Athletes Protest - A Serious Situation - Church Rejects Violence - Appeasement - Dissatisfaction - A Burning Issue - A New Revelation? - Joseph Fielding Smith - An Honest Soution - Conclusion - Updated Material

  22. FALL OF THE BOOK OF ABRAHAM
    The Papyri Rediscovered - "Caught Flat Footed" - History Of Papyri - Deciphering Egyptian Spalding's Attack - "Dr. Webb" - Tragic Neglect - Not Out Of Date - A Suspicious Discovery - Other Papyri Suppressed - No Gift To Translate - Nibley Not An Egyptologist - Dr. Nelson? - Source Of Book Of Abraham - Book Of Breathings - Written In Hieratic - Finding The Key - Three Witnesses Against Book - Dr. Nibley Confused - Nibley Reverses His Position - Abraham's Signature - A False Translation - Basis For Anti-Black Doctrine - From A Hole In The Papyrus - An Unfinished Work - Complete Confusion - Just A Memory Device'? - "Bushels Of Nonsense" - Facing The Truth - The Facsimiles - Facsimile No. 2 - Falsification Proven - Part A - Part B - Part C - Part D - Part E - Part F - Part G - Part H - Part I - Parts J And K - Joseph Smith Responsible - "Cannot Be Revealed" - A Pagan Object - Facsimile No. 1 - Unfamiliar Writing? - Not Unique - The Interpretation - Changes In Facsimile - Facsimile No. 3 - Dressed Like Women - A Common Scene - Not Abraham's Drawings - Book Of Joseph - Joseph's Egyptian Alphabet - "Mere Imagination" - Nibley Repudiates Grammar - Master Of All Languages - Possible Sources - Imitation Genesis - Other Sources - The Moment Of Truth - The Browns' Attack - Nibley's New Book - Return To Old Facsimiles

  23. OLD TESTAMENT PRACTICES
    Wine And Curses - Animal Sacrifice

  24. MORMON SCRIPTURES AND THE BIBLE
    Paine's Influence - Evidence Compared - Dead Sea Scrolls - Isaiah Text - Evidence For New Testament - Papyri Finds - "130,000 Different Readings" - "Inspired Revisions" - Weak Points - Beyond The Text - "Drastically Changed" - Revising The Revisions - Conclusion - Updated Material

  25. BLOOD ATONEMENT
    Capital Crimes - Was It Actually Practiced? - Updated Material

  26. THE WORD OF WISDOM
    Origin Of Revelation - Joseph's Example - Joseph's Bar - Young's Distillery - Wine And Visions - Hypocrisy

  27. THE MORMON KINGDOM
    Council Of Fifty - Joseph Made King - Joseph For President - Brigham Young As King - Church And State One - No Democratic Elections - Moses Thatcher - Attack On America - Decline Of The Kingdom - Conclusion - Updated Material

  28. THE DANITES
    Attempted Explanations - Origin Of The Danites - Joseph Smith To Blame - Stealing From The Gentiles - Cutting Throats - "War Of Extermination" - Mormon Crimes - Joseph Surrenders - Trouble In Illinois - Using The Mean Devils - Bill Hickman - Orin Porter Rockwell

  29. TEMPLE WORK
    Baptism For The Dead - Endless Genealogies - Elijah The Prophet - All In Vain? - Temple Marriage - Connected With Polygamy - Sealing In Spite Of Sin - A Secret Ceremony - Updated Material

  30. THE TEMPLE CEREMONY - By A Temple Worker

  31. CHANGES IN THE TEMPLE CEREMONY
    Bloody Oaths - Oath Of Vengeance - Other Changes - Testimony On Ceremony - Sealing Men To Men - Conclusion

  32. THE TEMPLE CEREMONY AND MASONRY
    Joseph Becomes A Mason - Masonry In Temple Ritual - Only One Explanation - Embarrassing Questions - Conclusion

  33. THE MOUNTAIN MEADOWS MASSACRE
    The Utah War - The Massacre - After The Massacre - Lee's Excommunication - Trial And Execution - Responsibility For Massacre - Church Opposes Study

  34. MORMONISM AND MONEY
    Church Funds For Private Gain - Young Becomes Rich - Joseph F. Smith's Testimony - Over $1.000,000 A Day - Tax Problems - Control Of News Media - No Paid Ministry? - Church Or Business - Updated Material

  35. SPECULATION, ILLEGAL BANKING AND COUNTERFEITING
    Speculation - The Kirtland Bank - Disaster - Bankruptcy - Fraudulent Acts - Counterfeiting - Apostles Indicted - "Bogus Brigham" - The Whittlers - Government Records - A Rapid Exodus - Bogus Makers Go West

  36. BLOOD FLOWS IN UTAH
    Killing The Thieves - Parrish Murders - Young Indicted For Murder - No Protection In Utah

  37. MISCELLANEOUS HISTORY AND DOCTRINE
    Birth Control - Compressed Spirits - Vegetable Spirits - A Year's Supply Of Food - John Whitmer's History

  38. FACING REALITY
    Exalts The Pride Of Man - Church Not Lost - Our Own Testimony - Mormonism A Shadow

    APPENDIX - Questions About Our Work

    1. How Did You Begin This Work?
    2. Is Your Work Effective In Reaching Mormons?
    3. Is There Any Opposition To Your Work?
    4. What Is The Purpose Of Your Work And What Do You Hope To Accomplish?
    5. Is It True That You Were Excommunicated From The LDS Church?
    6. How Do You Feel About The Mormon People?
    7. Is It True That You Have Stolen Films From The Church Historian's Office?

D. Michael Quinn's response - the FARMS response (previously linked from this page) is no longer available for free on the internet


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