We’re continuing our discussion of the Succession Crisis. Strang was known to translate the Voree Plates. How does that compare to Book of Mormon translation process Joseph Smith did? Michael Quinn tells his beliefs about the translation process of the Book of Mormon.
GT: Do you have an opinion on the Book of Mormon?
Michael: Yes, I believe it is written based on ur-text? I believe it’s tribal history. The way the Old Testament was tribal history originally told around campfires and that the Book of Mormon is based on an actual ur-text, written ur-text, Gold plates. I believe those. But I don’t think that everything in the published 1830 Book of Mormon derives from that ur-text, derives from that ur-text. That’s a German phrase: Ur-text meaning the original text. I don’t believe that. I mean, there are things in there you can see as Joseph Smith’s understanding of the Bible. You can see things in there that reflect attitudes of the people at the time.
James Strang was a big rival to the Brigham Young movement. He claims to have a letter from Joseph Smith putting him in charge of the LDS Church. Dr. Michael Quinn tells why he believes the letter was a forgery.
GT: So what do you think about Strang’s claim?
Michael: Absolute fraud.
Michael: Oh yes.
GT: Oh Wow. Why do you say that?
Michael: The document itself was hand-printed.
Michael: The signature was hand-printed.
Michael: Joseph never did that. No, it’s an absolute fraud.
GT: Absolute fraud.
GT: I know that some…
Michael: But he was a charismatic fraud, which is why people followed him because Brigham Young did not come across as charismatic even though he spoke in tongues and sang in tongues.
Check out our conversation… as well as our other conversations with Dr. Quinn!
There are many critics of the LDS Church’s wealth. Is the LDS Church guilty of serving God and Mammon? I asked Dr. Michael Quinn that question, and I think you’ll be surprised by his answer.
Michael: The accusation is there, but typically it comes from people who don’t recognize that the church makes no distinction between God and Mammon. The church is a money making operation, but it plows the money into the building of the Kingdom of God on Earth, which is a Mormon phrase that most members, even disaffected ones, will recognize. A member of the church, whether former member or current member in good faith, may feel uncomfortable with this huge portfolio that involves billions of dollars a day in transactions over the computer with only one of its investment houses.
It may be [that] members of the church and devout members and certainly ex-members of the church are uncomfortable, or may be uncomfortable with the commercial real estate that produces and the commercial investments in mines and oil, for a variety of reasons, not the least of which would be fossil fuels. For people who are concerned about that. And the Church has heavily invested in fossil fuels. Nonetheless, it’s a part of building the Kingdom of God.
We’re going to talk about the City Creek Mall. The LDS Church paid $1.5 Billion dollars to make it. Michael Quinn says that this enormous income allows the church to spend enormous sums of money to support LDS Church growth. It’s not just in poor countries like South America and Africa. Quinn says that the LDS Church has deficit spending even in rich countries like England.
Michael: In 2006, the LDS Church headquarters gave a cash supplement to the church in the United Kingdom of nearly half a billion dollars, $450,000,000 and change. And that was in one year to one of the countries in which the church has had a significant presence since 1837. It is an industrial country. It is not a third world country. Its members are generally thought of as being comfortable. This is not the case in any country. Mormons can be poor even in the United States and there are poor members of the church who live on government welfare and church welfare in the United Kingdom. Well, the tithe payers in the United Kingdom couldn’t pay all of their responsibilities, all of the building and the maintenance and the missionary work and everything else, the aid to the really poor that occurs in the United Kingdom. And so in one year the church gave nearly half a billion dollars. I mean, I don’t know the total number, but I know it’s more than 100 countries throughout the world the church is in.
In third world countries, and there are at least 50 and there could be far more than that. The church, and I have the reports to demonstrate this, is paying 90 to 95 percent of their expenses are being paid in cash from church headquarters on a year by year basis in the developing country or what in during the Cold War used to be called the third world. The church could not do this if it didn’t have billions of dollars, not only of tithing, but of commercial income from for-profit businesses, which the City Creek Mall is intended to be for.
Is it true that the City Creek Mall is subsidizing churches in poor countries?
GT: So let me ask this question. I’ll phrase it this way. Would it be accurate to say that the City Creek Mall, and maybe even Victoria’s Secret, is subsidizing some of these buildings in Nigeria?
Michael: Without question. I mean, in the book, I lay out those that I’m aware of through the Internet. And there is a remarkable openness on the Internet to the Church’s investments in a variety of areas, whether it’s land where the produce is primarily going for the welfare program. But what they can’t use for the welfare program would spoil if they didn’t sell it to the general public. And that’s for profit. So there are profits that even Deseret Ranches of Florida, which is a welfare outfit in its original definition, it’s also for-profit and it’s making millions, maybe billions.
What are your thoughts that the LDS Church is “a money making operation?” Is the LDS Church serving God and Mammon?
This was a fun interview! Check out our conversation….
Don’t forget to check out our other conversations with Dr. Michael Quinn!
As you can see from our previous conversations, Mark had a tangled web of interactions. In this next conversation with forensics expert George Throckmorton, we’ll talk more about Mark’s dealings with church leaders. What got Mark in hot water with church officials?
GT: He had an appointment with, I believe it was Elder Oaks, Elder Pinnock. I don’t remember who all.
George: Elder Pinnock was the one that was dealing with him quite a bit.
GT: Yeah. And so, so can you a little bit about what was the relationship between Mark Hofmann and Elder Pinnock?
George: Business. Elder Pinnock had a history. In fact, I’ve known him. He was my wife’s bishop when we got married and so I’ve known him. I knew him for a long time before this and he was, you know, as much a victim as anybody.
It turns out this Mark Hofmann was trying to give more credence to the Spaulding Theory, which states that Sidney Rigdon got a copy of the Spaulding Manuscript, gave it to Joseph Smith, and Joseph plagiarized the Book of Mormon from Solomon Spaulding. The problem has been, there has never been any connection between Joseph Smith and Solomon Spaulding. However, Mark tried to solve that problem with a forgery with a new collection known as the McLellin Collection.
George: There’s an old theory called a Solomon Spaulding theory. Are you aware that?
GT: I am aware of that.
George: Okay. But one of the problems, it’s never been given much credibility. They think that Solomon Spalding wrote it.
GT: Wrote the Book of Mormon.
George: And Martin just copied the Book of Mormon, but there was really no relationship between Solomon Spalding and Joseph Smith that could be found. So, it’s not given a whole lot of credit. I mean there’s always people that bring it up, but my opinion is not given credit because they never met until too late, until this land deed showed up. And it’s a land deed that was signed by Solomon Spalding and Martin Harris. So, it showed there was a relationship between Solomon Spalding and Martin Harris and the date was appropriate. And this is the document that Mark Hofmann showed Hugh Pinnock and Al Rust and some others, and he says this is part of the McLellin Collection.
Check out our conversation….and don’t forget our other episodes with George!