Mark Hofmann wanted to bring down the LDS Church. Why? What was his motive? Brent Ashworth lays out his theory for why Mark had a grudge against the Church.
Brent: It’s a letter to himself, like “I learned today,” kind of like, “here’s the evidence.” This is the motive, I think, for murder and for destroying the church. He’s going to pay back the Church for what they did to his family. Because this was a real black mark. I remember when his mother brought that suit over on his birthday, and we were talking, she even brought it up, about her father being exed as a mission president. Well, that would be a really embarrassing thing. Here he is, a mission president to Samoa and they [excommunicate] him. Mark is saying here, this was all authorized. A temple worker, Joseph Summerhays, who was authorized by Joseph F. Smith to do it.
Brent: I think this is all crap because if you read about Joseph F. Smith and what was going on he had Rudger Clawson undo a relationship the same year as this marriage was supposedly approved, if it wasn’t authorized.
GT: Well, because what I understand, you have the Smoot Hearings,
GT: Joseph F. Smith was called before Congress. They just grilled him.
Brent: Creamed him.
GT: So, that was why he issued the 1904 Manifesto.
GT: It was to say, “Look. We mean business now.”
Brent: Well, so, the marriage of Rudger Clawson, who was an apostle, in 1906, was a real concern. So they privately did a cancellation of sealing on that one.
GT: On Hofmann’s [ancestor]?
Brent: No, on Rudger Clawson, the apostle, who had an extra wife in 1906.
GT: Because, didn’t he get kicked out of the quorum in 1906?
Brent: No, he ended up being the president of the Twelve. He would have been the President of Church if he’d outlived Heber [Grant.]
GT: Because McKay became an apostle in 1906.
GT: They kicked out John W. Taylor and Matthias Cowley.
Brent: For doing [the same thing, taking a plural wife.]
GT: So Rudger Clawson got off scot-free?
Brent: Scot-free. Yeah. They just canceled the marriage.
Brent: But, see his grandpa–that was one of the things that disturbed Hofmann, is his grandpa claimed the marriage was [authorized.] There’s no way to really [verify this.] But it doesn’t make sense, because Joseph F. Smith, like you said, issued a Second Manifesto in 1904, and went out of his way to cancel apostle Rudger Clawson’s actual extra marriage, which was performed this same year, 1906. See what I mean?
Brent: So that doesn’t make sense that he would authorize another marriage in 1906. So, the fact that the marriage was done in Mexico and all that, tells me that probably there was no authority from the top at least. It may have come from a local leader, but not from the top, from the First Presidency for this marriage down there. But Hofmann didn’t take it that way. I think even his mother, it became a real embarrassing thing in the family because she brought it up to me too, just out of the blue, the first time I ever met her. I think that Hofmann grew up with that sense of “the Church has hurt my family by excommunicating Grandpa.”
Does this strike you as a motive to kill and forge documents? Check out our conversation….