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New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related
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Author:  Blixa [ Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:46 pm ]
Post subject:  New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Here's an interesting story from the Utah State Archives:

http://history.utah.gov/events_and_news ... rgery.html

Quote:
A manuscript concerning the Mountain Meadows Massacre in State History’s collections has been identified as a forgery probably made by Mark Hofmann.

The document is an affidavit made in 1924 by William Edwards regarding his participation in the massacre as a fifteen-year-old. However, two experts consulting with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) have both stated that the document is a forgery.


It's a well known affidavit, and the material it covers is supported elsewhere in the record, but both Bagely and Turely et. al., cite it.

The range of Hofmann's forging abilities never cease to amaze me: not only the content he was able to produce, but his technical mastery of such a range of media (he forged coins as well as manuscripts).

I love that Polly Aird spotted the thing. I'm just now finishing her Mormon Convert, Mormon Defector, a fascinatingly researched narrative of her ancestor Peter McAuslan's conversion in Scotland and subsequent emigration and disillusion. The turning point for McAuslan was what Michael Quinn termed the "culture of violence" surrounding the Mormon Reformation, events like the Santa Clara ambush, the Parrish/Potter murders, the slaughter of the Aiken party, the murder of Henry Jones and his mother, the murder of Henry Forbes and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. McAuslan lived for a spell around Springville, a place that seems to be rife with the High Weirdness of early Utah history, at least to me.

Author:  Ray A [ Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Blixa wrote:
The range of Hofmann's forging abilities never cease to amaze me: not only the content he was able to produce, but his technical mastery of such a range of media (he forged coins as well as manuscripts).


Hofmann is considered to be one of the most successful forgers in American history.

Quote:
A master forger, Hofmann deceived a number of renowned document experts during his short career, and an unknown number of his forgeries may still be in circulation. But it is Hofmann's forgeries of Mormon documents that have had the greatest historical significance. In August 1987, the sensationalist aspects of the Hofmann case led Apostle Dallin Oaks to believe that church members had witnessed "some of the most intense LDS Church-bashing since the turn of the century." A student of Mormonism, Jan Shipps, agreed that press reports "contained an astonishing amount of innuendo associating Hofmann's plagiarism with Mormon beginnings. Myriad reports alleged secrecy and cover-up on the part of LDS general authorities, and not a few writers referred to the way in which a culture that rests on a found scripture is particularly vulnerable to the offerings of con-artists.
(Emphasis added)

Wiki.

The number of people Hofmann drew into his fraud, including the Church's First Presidency, is astonishing.

In an interesting twist, the Tanners were the first to publicly announce that Hofmann was a fraud.

Quote:
It now appears that both Lyn Jacobs and Mark Hofmann conspired to hide the truth concerning the origin of the Salamander letter. If Jacobs had knowledge that the letter was forged, he would be as guilty as Hofmann of "THEFT BY DECEPTION." Mr. Jacobs claims that Hofmann was willing to "share any profits" that came from the sale of the document and that he was involved in its sale to Steven Christensen: "...I met Steve for the first time at Coordinated Financial Services. By that time, the sale contract had already been written and Mark and I signed it along with a few witnesses. It obligated Steve to pay $40,000..." (Sunstone, page 15) Since Jacobs was deeply involved with Hofmann and was a party to an erroneous story concerning the origin of the Salamander letter, some have suggested that he may be a co-conspirator with Mark Hofmann in forgery. We find the following in the interview with Jacobs in Sunstone (page 19):

"SUNSTONE: So as far as you know, no one living can claim to have read it [the Salamander letter] before it came from Mark Hofmann's hands. You don't have any first hand knowledge of its actual origins.

"JACOBS: If you're suggesting Mark forged it, it is not possible. Mark Hofmann is not a forger....

"SUNSTONE: Some have suggested that you might be a forger.

"JACOBS: That's ridiculous....To my knowledge, such a thing has never been perpetrated either by Mark or myself....

"SUNSTONE: How do you suppose these questions of forgery arose?

"JACOBS: The reasons for that are difficult for me to ascertain except that people just simply don't like certain documents....It seems to me it's only when a document becomes particularly offensive to people or in any way controversial that people decide it's a forgery. What's the matter with everyone?...

"SUNSTONE: One of the most outspoken proponents of the forgery theory has been the Utah Lighthouse Ministry. One would think that with their anti-Mormon mission, they would not question the Martin Harris letter's authenticity without good reason, especially since it supposedly supports their case against the Church. What do they have to gain?

"JACOBS: I've always wondered that....So often such documents get stashed away; nobody talks about them anymore, and they just sort of fizzle out of public attention. That's really what started happening to the Martin Harris [letter].... Well the anti-Mormons may have wanted to keep the thing going by claiming it to be a forgery.

"The other possibility is that because certain individuals were crying forgery from the beginning, the anti-Mormons may have become apprehensive about using a document in their ministry which might not be authentic. If it were a forgery, it would make them look like fools."

Lyn Jacobs seems to imply that because "certain individuals were crying forgery," we were extremely cautious about endorsing the Harris letter. Actually, the truth of the matter is that we were the first to raise the question. Furthermore, Mr. Jacob's assertion that we wanted to keep the "thing going by claiming it to be a forgery" is absolutely ridiculous. In any case, Sunstone has done a real service for researchers in providing this revealing interview with Jacobs.


Salt lake City Messebger (1986).

Sunstone interview with Lyn Jacobs:

Stalking the wild document. (PDF)

Author:  Blixa [ Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Yeah, Ray, I've read most of that and anything else I can find on Hofmann. The book on his Emily Dickinson forgery was fascinating although it was one of the most execrably written books I've ever read. I actually like his Emily D. poem quite a bit, in fact. I wish I could interview him. I've never gotten around to writing to him, but, maybe I eventually will..???

Author:  Ray A [ Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Blixa wrote:
Yeah, Ray, I've read most of that and anything else I can find on Hofmann. The book on his Emily Dickinson forgery was fascinating although it was one of the most execrably written books I've ever read. I actually like his Emily D. poem quite a bit, in fact. I wish I could interview him. I've never gotten around to writing to him, but, maybe I eventually will..???


On the anecdotal side, Blixa, a friend of mine actually dined with Hofmann, and said he had no reason to suspect that he was anything other than a "straight Mormon", with family and all that, dressed up conservatively, and polite and reasoned in conversation. And of course Hofmann continued to play the "sweet orthodox boy" game. The interview where he confessed to all his deceptions is interesting. He's well worth studying at greater length, the "young boy who was destined to be a General Authority in the Church" (according to his parents' "interpretation" of his Patriarchal Blessing).

Author:  harmony [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:57 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Ray A wrote:
The number of people Hofmann drew into his fraud, including the Church's First Presidency, is astonishing.

In an interesting twist, the Tanners were the first to publicly announce that Hofmann was a fraud.


Maybe that's why Midgley was so obnoxious in confronting them on their own property: they'd publically shown that they had more discernment that the Brethren.

Author:  just me [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Blixa wrote:
I love that Polly Aird spotted the thing. I'm just now finishing her Mormon Convert, Mormon Defector, a fascinatingly researched narrative of her ancestor Peter McAuslan's conversion in Scotland and subsequent emigration and disillusion. The turning point for McAuslan was what Michael Quinn termed the "culture of violence" surrounding the Mormon Reformation, events like the Santa Clara ambush, the Parrish/Potter murders, the slaughter of the Aiken party, the murder of Henry Jones and his mother, the murder of Henry Forbes and the Mountain Meadows Massacre. McAuslan lived for a spell around Springville, a place that seems to be rife with the High Weirdness of early Utah history, at least to me.


It is fascinating stuff! I might have to read this. my husband has ancestors who converted in Denmark, went to Utah, lived there a few years and left "in the dark of night."
They thought BY was a nutter and didn't want their daughters to become plural wives.

Author:  AtticusFinch [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Hoffman is going to be a godsend to the LDS Church. Each time they find stuff that hurts the church, they can claim it is a hoffman forgery

Author:  just me [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 5:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

AtticusFinch wrote:
Hoffman is going to be a godsend to the LDS Church. Each time they find stuff that hurts the church, they can claim it is a hoffman forgery


LOL!! I can see it now:

LDS Church Announces that the Book of Abraham is a Hoffman Forgery

Author:  Willy Law [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Is the general consensus that Hofmann just went to the well one to many times? How exactly was he discovered to be a fraud?

Author:  just me [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Willy Law wrote:
Is the general consensus that Hofmann just went to the well one to many times? How exactly was he discovered to be a fraud?


My guess is that it was after he started killing people...but I don't know the story very well.

Author:  Ray A [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Willy Law wrote:
Is the general consensus that Hofmann just went to the well one to many times? How exactly was he discovered to be a fraud?


Here is the Tanners' account:

The Salamander Letter.

Excerpt:

Quote:
On February 11, 1987, the New York Times published an article by Robert Lindsey on the subject:

According to criminal investigators here and court documents, the 32-year-old Hofmann fooled not only senior members of the Mormon hierarchy but also scores of document collectors around the country and virtually all of the nation's top forgery experts.

“Mark Hofmann was unquestionably the most skilled forger this country has ever seen,” said Charles Hamilton, a New York document dealer who is widely regarded as the nation's preeminent detector of forged documents. Mr. Hamilton said Mr. Hofmann “perpetrated by far the largest monetary frauds through forgery that this country has ever had — He fooled me — he fooled everybody.”


And here is a longer account: THE Mormon DOCUMENT SCANDAL.

Author:  Blixa [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Willy Law wrote:
Is the general consensus that Hofmann just went to the well one to many times? How exactly was he discovered to be a fraud?


Hofmann was badly in debt and trying to flog the mother of all forgeries, "The Oath of a Freeman," (the lost first document printed on the first printing press in U.S. history). He was also trying to raise money by brokering a deal with the church for the McLellin papers (IIRC, he hadn't even created these forgeries yet). Creditors and backers were breathing down his neck and he wasn't easily able to sell the "Oath" since there were suspicions of it's authenticity. So he decided to bomb his way out and kill off some of his business associates. As you probably know he ended up killing one, the wife of another (a friend of my family) and nearly killing himself. During the investigation of the suspicious bombings, the church looked into the church archive and discovered the McLellin collection sitting there all along. During the investigation of the bombings and his attempt to sell the church a collection it already owned, evidence of his forgeries (equipment, unfinished work) was discovered in his basement.

Author:  harmony [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Blixa wrote:
Hofmann was badly in debt and trying to flog the mother of all forgeries, "The Oath of a Freeman," (the lost first document printed on the first printing press in U.S. history). He was also trying to raise money by brokering a deal with the church for the McLellin papers (IIRC, he hadn't even created these forgeries yet). Creditors and backers were breathing down his neck and he wasn't easily able to sell the "Oath" since there were suspicions of it's authenticity. So he decided to bomb his way out and kill off some of his business associates. As you probably know he ended up killing one, the wife of another (a friend of my family) and nearly killing himself. During the investigation of the suspicious bombings, the church looked into the church archive and discovered the McLellin collection sitting there all along. During the investigation of the bombings and his attempt to sell the church a collection it already owned, evidence of his forgeries (equipment, unfinished work) was discovered in his basement.


So the moral of the story is: stay out of debt.

Author:  sock puppet [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

harmony wrote:
Ray A wrote:
The number of people Hofmann drew into his fraud, including the Church's First Presidency, is astonishing.

In an interesting twist, the Tanners were the first to publicly announce that Hofmann was a fraud.


Maybe that's why Midgley was so obnoxious in confronting them on their own property: they'd publically shown that they had more discernment that the Brethren.


Yea, it must really piss off Emperor Midgley that Tanner has seen so much about Mormonism before his Seer Lords could.

Author:  Blixa [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 8:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

harmony wrote:

So the moral of the story is: stay out of debt.


...and don't bomb innocent housewives...

but, yeah, Hofmann could have done very well for himself for longer or forever if he hadn't gotten all greedy.

(I'm trying to remember how he racked up substantial debt. I know he bought a lot of rare books--he was an obsessed collector--but I seem to recall he also got into travel and expensive food and drink? I'm really drawing a blank.)

Author:  Ray A [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Blixa wrote:
--but I seem to recall he also got into travel and expensive food and drink? I'm really drawing a blank.)


That's my recollection as well. When he realised how easy it was to make money from forged documents, he found his new profession. According to his Wiki profile he incurred debt:

Quote:
...in part because of his increasingly lavish lifestyle and his purchases of genuine first-edition books.


He lived a double life, externally as a "straight Mormon", but he was an atheist.

Quote:
Like many young men in the LDS church, Hofmann volunteered to spend two years as an LDS missionary, and in 1973 the Church sent him to the England Southwest Mission, where he was based in Bristol. Hofmann boasted to his parents that he had baptized several converts; he did not tell them that he had also perused Fawn Brodie's skeptical biography of Joseph Smith, No Man Knows My History. While in England Hofmann also enjoyed investigating bookshops and buying old Mormon and anti-Mormon books. Hofmann later told prosecutors that he had lost his faith in the LDS Church when he was about fourteen, and a former girlfriend believed he performed his mission only because of social pressure and the desire not to disappoint his parents.

Author:  sock puppet [ Wed Sep 01, 2010 9:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Ray A wrote:
Quote:
Like many young men in the LDS church, Hofmann volunteered to spend two years as an LDS missionary, and in 1973 the Church sent him to the England Southwest Mission, where he was based in Bristol. Hofmann boasted to his parents that he had baptized several converts; he did not tell them that he had also perused Fawn Brodie's skeptical biography of Joseph Smith, No Man Knows My History. While in England Hofmann also enjoyed investigating bookshops and buying old Mormon and anti-Mormon books. Hofmann later told prosecutors that he had lost his faith in the LDS Church when he was about fourteen, and a former girlfriend believed he performed his mission only because of social pressure and the desire not to disappoint his parents.


Seems like the all too common Mormon boy story.

Author:  Brent Metcalfe [ Thu Sep 02, 2010 12:25 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Hi Blixa,

So you really want to interview a pathological liar who murdered to conceal his lies?

And to what end? So you can be heaped upon the pile of those who should have known better?

I vividly remember Hofmann's response to a pointed question I posed about one of his so-called discoveries:

Quote:

"Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies."


If ever he spoke the truth—that was it.

Cheers,

</brent>


http://mormonscripturestudies.com
(© 2010 Brent Lee Metcalfe.)
------------------------------
The thesis of inspiration may not be invoked to guarantee historicity, for a divinely inspired story is not necessarily history.
—Raymond E. Brown

Author:  Blixa [ Thu Sep 02, 2010 9:14 am ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Brent Metcalfe wrote:
Hi Blixa,

So you really want to interview a pathological liar who murdered to conceal his lies?

And to what end? So you can be heaped upon the pile of those who should have known better?

I vividly remember Hofmann's response to a pointed question I posed about one of his so-called discoveries:

Quote:

"Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies."


If ever he spoke the truth—that was it.

Cheers,

</brent>


http://mormonscripturestudies.com
(© 2010 Brent Lee Metcalfe.)
------------------------------
The thesis of inspiration may not be invoked to guarantee historicity, for a divinely inspired story is not necessarily history.
—Raymond E. Brown


Well, like many people I'm interested in the range of his forgeries, especially the Emily Dickinson which I wish had been handled in a better book.

Would Hofmann talk freely? Would he lie for self-aggrandizing purposes? Who knows. Such an interview might go nowhere, even if it were possible to conduct. In fact, the probability of that is high, as you suggest, and pretty much the reason why I've yet to even begin to pursue this minor interest. He certainly seems to have no interest in helping point out his extant forgeries, and so further knowledge about his work is likely to ever remain a closed book.

Author:  The Mormon Report [ Thu Sep 02, 2010 11:37 am ]
Post subject:  Mountain Meadows affidavit Hofmann forgery? - SLTrib.com

For your consideration:

Mountain Meadows affidavit Hofmann forgery? - SLTrib.com

Author:  William Schryver [ Thu Sep 02, 2010 1:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: New Probably Hofmann fogery uncovered---MMM related

Brent Metcalfe wrote:
Hi Blixa,

So you really want to interview a pathological liar who murdered to conceal his lies?

And to what end? So you can be heaped upon the pile of those who should have known better?

I vividly remember Hofmann's response to a pointed question I posed about one of his so-called discoveries:

Quote:

"Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies."


If ever he spoke the truth—that was it.

Cheers,

</brent>


http://mormonscripturestudies.com
(© 2010 Brent Lee Metcalfe.)
------------------------------
The thesis of inspiration may not be invoked to guarantee historicity, for a divinely inspired story is not necessarily history.
—Raymond E. Brown

How touching.

To be sure, you should have known better--and no doubt did. To the extent you were made a "victim," you were hardly an unwitting one. I'm sure you had your suspicions long before desperation transformed the cunning forger into just another banal murderer, and yet you enthusiastically shilled for the man and tacitly supported his ideological agenda. Still do, after a fashion.

So, while I'm sure the faux victimhood plays well among those who are either too young or too ignorant of the facts to know better, there are still many people who are aware of the role you played in the Hofmann affair, including me and my friend Bob Stott, who has been quite amused to learn how you spin the history of those days now so long ago.

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