Sandra Tanner, great-great granddaughter of Brigham Young, visited Nauvoo March 27-28th, 2007. Sandra was in town to film two TV shows on “Truth Outreach” with Rocky and Helen Hulse of the Nauvoo Christian Visitors Center. The two programs should air the week of May 14th and 21st.
Sandra Tanner and her late husband, Jerald, are foundational figures in Christian outreach ministry to Mormons. The Tanners, both born and raised in the Mormon Church, and from “First Families” of Mormonism, left the Mormon Church and were saved as Christians in the late 1950’s. Their journey out of Mormonism came as a result of their seeking answers to questions that they had about Mormonism and their research to answer those questions.
The Tanner’s research is foundational to most ministries which address Mormonism. Their research is voluminous and covers virtually every aspect of Mormon history and doctrine. Often attacked as “Anti-Mormon,” their research speaks for itself.
The Tanner’s gained a certain level of notoriety during the Mark Hofmann scandal of the mid-1980’s. Mark Hofmann, an active Temple Mormon and returned Mormon Missionary, found a lucrative market in the antiquities trade – specifically period documents of early Mormonism. Mr. Hofmann became a master of forgery and began to forge documents and offer them for sale to the Mormon Church. One document in particular the so called “Salamander Letter,” was brought to the Tanner’s by Mark Hofmann in hopes of having their interest inflate the price he could get for the document. Hofmann had been selling controversial documents to the Mormon Church for thousands of dollars, whereby the Church would place them in their vaults and remove them from circulation.
Hofmann’s plan to get the Tanner’s endorsement backfired. The Tanner’s, so meticulous in their research were not fooled by the “Salamander Letter.” The Tanner’s instead published a newsletter where they questioned the documents authenticity and first brought up the possibility of forgery. The current Prophet of the Mormon Church, Gordon B. Hinckley, and current President of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Boyd K. Packer, were advisors in the purchase of these forged documents and were completely fooled by Mark Hofmann.
Isn’t it ironic that the Tanner’s, derided as “Anti-Mormons,” were not fooled by Hofmann’s forged documents, and those sustained as “Prophets, Seers, and Revelators” of the Mormon Church were.