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Buying the Spalding Conspiracy

Mark Hofmann tried to create evidence of the Spalding Conspiracy.  There has long been a theory that Book of Mormon was plagiarized from a manuscript originally written by Solomon Spaulding (or Spalding.)  The problem with the theory is that there was never a connection between Joseph Smith and Solomon Spaulding—until Mark Hofmann came up with a document.  Steve Mayfield talks about buying this Hofmann forgery.

Steve: So, in January of 2000, the former owner of Cosmic Aeroplane sold it to Ken Sanders who used to work there. He now had his own bookstore there in Salt Lake, Ken Sanders Books. Well he had it on display and I’m just sitting there just [thinking], “Oh, oh, I love it.” But it was like $4,000 they wanted for it. Well, I had enough in a credit card, so I bought it from him.

GT: Oh my goodness.

Steve: In August of 2000. So, for four years I owned a Hofmann.

GT: You knew it was a forgery.

Steve: Yeah, Yeah. I mean he sold it as that. The minute he sold it after I bought it, I take it back to the office and show George [Throckmorton.] He showed some things on the document that only he and I know.

I guess this proves there is a market for Hofmann forgeries!  What do you think of Steve’s purchase?

Check out our conversation, as well as Steve’s other conversations….

Mark Hofmann forged a document that attempted to tie Sidney Rigdon & Solomon Spalding together.  Steve discusses why it is a forgery.
Mark Hofmann forged a document that attempted to tie Sidney Rigdon & Solomon Spalding together. Steve discusses why it is a forgery.

194: What is the Dead Lee Scroll? (Mayfield)

193: John D. Lee’s Role in Mountain Meadows Massacre (Mayfield)

192: Mormons & the FBI (Mayfield)

191: Steve Mayfield: Crime Photographer (Mayfield)

190: Mormon Connection in Patty Hearst Kidnapping (Mayfield)

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How Jerald Tanner Identified Fake Salamander Letter (Part 2)

Jerald Tanner was the first person to publicly question Mark Hofmann’s fake Salamander Letter.  His wife Sandra details how Jerald came to that conclusion.

Sandra:  Jerald, realizes this, there’s a story of a document out there that claim to be by Martin Harris about the magic involvement of Joseph in the coming forth of Book of Mormon in a magic setting. So he went back to E.D. Howe’s, “Mormonism Unvailed” that has statements by the neighbors that all talk about the Smiths’ involvement in magic. And so he’s becoming more familiar with getting this fresh in his mind what these affidavits all said. And there had been a BYU Studies article a year or two before that had talked about Joseph Knight, who was an early Mormon at the Smith home at the time that coming out of the Book of Mormon. And he had read that article so he was kind of getting prepped up on his research ahead of time. So when he get that copy of the letter, he’d be able to jump right into an evaluation of it. So he gets the letter–the type copy, not the original and he’s reading through this and the more he looks at it, he says to me, “There’s something wrong. This has got phrases in it that have to come from E.D. Howe and from the Joseph Knight letters. And so someone’s making this up.”

Now I don’t think he was sure that it was Mark, but someone was making up documents. So this is a forgery. And I’m like, “Jerald, everyone accepts Mark’s documents. I mean Dean Jessee at the Church Historians Office is not going to want to accept Mark’s documents that are critical of Joseph Smith that tie him to magic unless they feel they have to. I mean, why would they? Why wouldn’t they be asking these questions?”

Jerald says, “I don’t care. I’m telling you there’s something wrong. The similarities of wording is too much there.”

She also tells her reaction!

Sandra:  I’m telling Jerald we could get sued. You can’t just run around saying something’s forgery. Someone’s going to sue us. Mark will sue us for defamation or something, and Jerald says, “He’s not going to sue us.”

I said, “How can you be sure?”

And he says, “Because it’s a forgery. He has no background to prove this document.”

And I said, “Well please don’t lose my house.”

Check out our conversation…. and don’t forget part 1 describing how Sandra met Mark Hofmann.

Jerald Tanner was the first to determine the Salamander Letter was fake.
Jerald Tanner was the first to identify the fake Salamander Letter.
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How Hofmann Fooled Experts with a Toy Chemistry Set (Part 2)

We’re continuing our discussion with George Throckmorton. He is the expert who discovered how Mark Hofmann was forging documents. Did you know that Mark actually used a toy chemistry set? It’s pretty amazing.

George:  We finally found the chemicals and the chemicals we found over a year after the bombs. It was in November of 1986. The bombs were in October of ’85 and I was out Christmas shopping in a toy store and happened to glance down to the toy chemistry set. And right there was gum Arabic, Roman vitriol, green copperas, and a recipe on how to make iron gallotannic ink.

GT: No way, that’s crazy.

George:  Later on we found out that’s where he got the chemicals was at a toy store.

GT: At a toy store.

George:  And yet they fooled the biggest laboratory in the world, the FBI.

GT: So yeah, that’s crazy.

George: They were looking for a more sophisticated way of doing things today than what he used. He used method that was used 150 years ago. And we don’t deal with things 150 years old. We deal with modern, at the time forgeries on checks and stuff like that, credit applications. And we’re very proficient at that, but even in the field of document examination, we couldn’t go to anybody to get help because we don’t deal with documents over 50, 60 years old.

We will also discuss George’s role in the famous Howard Hughes will. (Is there anything this guy wasn’t involved with?) It’s really interesting.

George:  The Howard Hughes will, that was the big, if they remember that, the Howard Hughes will. He was the richest man in the world at the time and when they found the will, which they call the Mormon will, I don’t know how much you’re familiar with this story….I got involved in that quite by accident.

GT:  Really?

George: Yes.

George: But anyway, that testimony in court on Howard Hughes will, was a result of having the graphologists testifying against the document examiners.

Mark Hofmann used a toy chemistry set to fool the FBI lab.
Mark Hofmann used a toy chemistry set to fool the FBI lab.

Don’t forget to sign up for our Gospel Tangents Insiders Club.  First meeting is July 18 at 8 pm ET/6 pm MT on Google Hangouts.  Check this link for more information:

Check out our conversation, and don’t forget part 1!