Wednesday, July 10, 2013

President Hinckley - The Keys of the Kingdom

When the Mark Hofmann drama took place I was too young to appreciate how the church handled the situation and responded to his confrontational documents. While I had heard of the counterfeit artist in my youth, it wasn't until the mission field when I first encountered issues surrounding his forgeries. A friend from home had actually written me a letter wanting to know about the "white salamander" that Joseph Smith allegedly saw. This supposed vision was based on a letter from Martin Harris to W.W. Phelps that Mark Hofmann had forged in 1984, intimating Joseph's occult practices (money digging, etc.), and included a replacement of Moroni with a white salamander. Of course the letter was fraudulent with no basis in history or reality and should have been buried years previous, but of course these types of absurdities occasionally rear their ugly heads. The letter was the forger's attempt to tie Joseph Smith more closely with the occult, since a salamander in the 1820's could refer to a "mythical being thought to be able to live in fire." This was one of a number of documents that Hofmann concocted.