Homicide Among the many Mormons: What’s within the “Salamander Letter”?

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Murder Among the Mormons: What's in the


Homicide Among the many Mormons, Netflix’s newest true-crime providing, dives into not solely the 1985 Salt Lake Metropolis bombings but additionally the Mormon church’s dealings with scandalous papers. The perpetrator of the deadly bombings was a doc seller named Mark Hofmann. Outwardly unassuming, Hofmann maintained an intricate net of lies: he was a grasp forger, a scammer who penned the works of figures comparable to George Washington, Betsy Ross, and Emily Dickinson. His specialties have been controversial works that involved the Mormon church. Main as much as the bombings, Hofmann was finest often called the one who revealed the controversial “white salamander” letter, which challenged the muse of the Mormon church.

Earlier than folks came upon that Hofmann was a scammer, the white salamander letter shocked everybody within the Mormon neighborhood. As Hofmann offered it within the early ’80s, the doc was written in 1830 by Joseph Smith’s scribe Martin Harris to early LDS convert William Phelps. In response to the letter, Smith, the founding father of the Mormon faith, followed a white salamander to the golden plates that he would translate into the E book of Mormon. This narrative differed from the story that the Mormon church maintained for over a century — that an angel led Smith. The doc generated doubt about Smith’s religious encounter and launched people magic to the church’s origin story.

For some time, students purchased that the letter was genuine. (Hofmann, actually, had elaborate strategies to make paperwork seem older than they actually have been.) Hofmann was able to sell the letter to financial consultant Steven Christensen, one of his eventual bombing victims, for $40,000, and Christensen donated it to the church. Investigators regarded into Hofmann’s forgeries through the bombing investigation and came upon that the controversial white salamander letter was forged. Although Hofmann offered himself as a household man of religion, he later confessed that he was a nonbeliever who saw Smith as a fake who dabbled in magic. To grasp the extent of Hofmann’s scams, take a look at Homicide Among the many Mormons for the entire story.



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