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LDS Succession Crisis (Part 6)

Dr. Michael Quinn is one of the foremost experts on the LDS Succession Crisis.  He says there were seven legitimate succession claims following the death of Joseph Smith.  In a previous interview, John Hamer said Sidney Rigdon was the best option according to canon law.  I’ll ask Quinn that question, and we’ll talk about some of the other candidates.

Michael:  I would disagree with John Hamer that Sidney Rigdon was the most likely. He was the first publicly proposed alternative to the Quorum of the Twelve and he was voted down by the congregation that met in August of 1844. When their choice was only Sidney Rigdon or the Quorum of the Twelve, they chose the Quorum of the Twelve to continue in the Twelve’s position in its place of having all this prior role administratively within Nauvoo, the headquarters of the church. And they rejected Sidney Rigdon. But the fact that he was the first publicly proposed doesn’t mean that either one of them was the most likely. That was the choice that the Quorum of the Twelve and Sidney Rigdon had advertised. And this had been advertised before the Twelve was even back in Nauvoo. Most of the apostles, members of the Quorum of the Twelve were in the eastern states, and there were only one or two members in Nauvoo and two of them were wounded in and the attack on Carthage Jail.

We’ll talk about several of the possibilities during the succession crisis.  Check out our conversation, and don’t forget our previous episodes with Michael!

186: Quinn on Hofmann (Quinn)

185: “The Church Makes No Distinction Between God & Mammon” (Quinn)

184: Would LDS Church Income Ever Support a Paid Ministry?(Quinn)

183: Are LDS Church Revenues really $50 Billion/Year? (Quinn)

182: Michael Quinn Discusses Deseret Hemp Company (Quinn)

John Hamer lists several people with claims of succession. Dr. Michael Quinn weighs in.
John Hamer lists several people with claims of succession. Dr. Michael Quinn weighs in.
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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!