Making the Connection Between Mark Hofmann and Mauricio Berger

Mrs. Watcher and I just got back from a week long vacation.

During our travels we visited Catalina Island and Ensenada Mexico.

We had a glorious time.

Just before I left for the trip I was informed that the six witnesses had returned from Brazil and were unified in their belief of Mauricio’s claims about the Angel Moroni and the Gold Plates.

While on vacation I got a few interesting emails from readers on various topics. Some had to do with the Mauricio Berger drama-controversy. On the way back home I listened to the most recent Q&A featuring Bob Moore and Kelvin Henson.

A Really Bizarre Energy and Methodology to this Movement 

I must say, it strikes me as being odd that they did not have all six witnesses speak at this meeting all fired up and co-testifying. In fact, the vast majority of them did not even show up to the meeting… how weird!

I realize that some may have lived an hour or two away from the place this meeting was held, but my goodness, they are claiming that the sealed portion is being translated! As the chosen witnesses, one would think that they would want to be involved in the first public meeting since they had returned from Brazil.

Everything about this entire movement from the very beginning up until now just seems low-energy and very bizarre to me. I still remember how Elder Joseph F. Smith went off on a tangent about how good the food was in Brazil during his testimony about his trip to Brazil to meet Mauricio and hold the Gold Plates.

What the heck?

I was thinking to my self,

‘you are announcing to the world that the most important prophetic global event prophesied of in scripture has begun and one of the highlights of your visit to Brazil was the food?!?!’

Finally the six witnesses have been chosen and have returned from Brazil and yet only two of them are passionate and supportive enough to show up to the first public Q&A?

Something fishy is going on.

Anyway, I just get a strange feeling about the methodology of how this movement is rolling out and the strange, lethargic spirit of the people involved in this event and how they are representing what they consider to be the great last work.

Signs and Wonders

While giving his testimony, Kelvin told a story about a dream that Mauricio had had of him, which miraculously revealed that Kelvin enjoyed listening to rock and roll and had long hair as a teenager. In the dream Kelvin was hitchhiking and was picked up by Mauricio.

According to Mauricio, neither of them seemed to know where they were going. (frankly, that was the most inspired and revealing part of the dream that Mauricio had as far as I am concerned. )

I personally found Mauricio’s dream about Kelvin to be quite unremarkable.

Why?

Because the work of the adversary usually has these kinds of spiritual phenomena associated with it. In fact I recently made the comment to someone that miracles can be expected from this latest scam if it is being inspired by Satan.

French missionary apostasy of 1958

Case in point: Many decades ago a very close relative of mine was called to be the mission president of a mission in France.

When he arrived, a testimony meeting was held with the existing office staff including an elder who had been an assistant to the former Mission President.

During the testimony meeting that missionary stood up and bore a powerful testimony of the Savior and then proceeded to share a dream he had had in which he had previously seen the new Mission President and his wife and their home and various activities taking place in their lives just prior to his new mission call as the Mission President.

In his testimony he described in vivid detail what the home looked like and specific details about the new Mission President’s family that nobody could have known.

The dream and the magnetic personality of the Assistant to the President absolutely astonished and overwhelmed the new Mission President. He was impressed beyond words with this young spiritual giant. Naturally the new Mission President was only too glad to retain this remarkable visionary leader as one of his own Assistants. What the new Mission President did not know is that the AP had been secretly recruiting other missionaries into a secret inner circle of initiates.

To make a very long story short, this very charismatic Elder was secretly attempting to lead many of the other missionaries into a secret higher spiritual path which included the practice of spiritual wifery. Eventually, nearly one third of the mission accepted the heretical teachings of this person. Ultimately, quite a few Elders and Sisters refused to repent and ended up being excommunicated and sent home dishonorably from their missions.

Needless to say, my relative who was a humble, good hearted person who simply wanted to serve the Lord as a mission president was humiliated and heart broken. He had been deceived primarily because he initially accepted the “signs and wonders” of spiritual phenomena as the basis of his witness from the Lord for putting his trust in a certain person.

Although we know that there are valid signs and wonders that accompany the true Christian faith, Satan also provides lying signs and wonders to deceive people:

22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. (Mark 13:22)

8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

9 Yea, the Lord, even Jesus, whose coming is not until after there cometh a falling away, by the working of Satan with all power, and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. (2nd Thess 2:8-10)

One of the profound lessons we learn from the LDS apostasy into the dark practice of polygamy, is that the practice was introduced after the saints had rejected the fulness, and it was based on the evidence of “signs and wonders” instead of the authority of the word of God.

When people were approached to live this ancient practice that were skeptical, instead of providing scriptural evidence to validate the practice, they were simply promised signs and wonders… such as an appearance of an angel, or the delivery of a sermon with a cryptic narrative relating to polygamy, etc.

Frankly I am unimpressed with spiritual signs and wonders if they are not accompanied with sound doctrine from the holy word of God.

What does God’s holy word have to say about how the Marvelous Work and a Wonder will take place? That is my primary focus in discerning the claims of Mauricio Berger and I have already documented many of them.

I was Contacted by One of the Six Witnesses

Shortly before I went on vacation I was contacted by a person who informed me that they had read some of my posts on Mauricio Berger and his claims. They told me they believed the claims of Mauricio but they still wanted to know what the returned missionary had disclosed to me. Unfortunately I could not divulge that information to him. Even though I had never communicated with this person, his name seemed familiar to me. Finally I remembered where I had heard it.

One of my sources in Missouri had provided me with a list of the names of the six witnesses and his name was on that list.

I informed this person that I was aware that he was one of the six who had been chosen to be witnesses.

I am impressed that the person had the gumption to engage me and ask me for additional information, even though he was a believer in the claims of Mauricio.

We had a good exchange and he informed me that he remained unconvinced that the claims were false, but wanted to be informed about the issues as much as possible.

At the conclusion of our communications he said

“Are you offended if the work in Brazil turns out to be legit and all the experts are wrong?”

This was my reply-

“I will not be offended at any way that God decides to begin the Marvelous Work. He is the one in charge, not me.

That said, I have been studying this topic for three decades and if the Brazil narrative was true, it would negate all of the [unconditional prophesies and promises] God has promised about the Marvelous Work, so I don’t think I will loose any sleep wondering if Mauricio is telling the truth.”

So Far the Mauricio Movement Has Been a Real Yawner

I wasn’t really intending to blog about the Mauricio Berger scam again because it is such an obvious fraud and it has not been getting any serious traction. I also don’t want to give it any more publicity. Nevertheless, I have now decided to blog about it some more for two reasons.

One is that according to my wordpress analytics, there has been a significant jump in interest in the topic now that the witnesses have returned from Brazil and are claiming to be unified in their witness.

Secondly, one of my readers from the RLDS tradition has sent me some game-changing information linking the Gold Plates of Mauricio Berger to the forgeries of the notorious counterfeiter, Mark Hofmann. In my opinion, this new information provides conclusive empirical evidence that the plates represent a blatant forgery.

As amazing as this empirical evidence is that I am going to share with my readers, I want to emphasize that the most important evidence is found in the unconditional prophecies about the Marvelous Work which are contradicted by the claims of Mauricio.

A Brief Summary of the Mark Hofmann Debacle

To set the stage for the remarkable observation that was shared with me, I need to briefly review the story of Mark Hofmann for those not familiar with him.

Mark Hofmann was born in Salt Lake City, Utah on December 7 1954. As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints, he became interested in LDS Church history and purchased his first historical item: a five dollar Kirtland Safety Society Note signed by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon.

In November of 1976 he was called to serve and LDS mission in the England Southwest Mission.

hofman2

In June of 1978 he gave a photocopy of an account of a second anointing ceremony in the LDS temple to Sandra Tanner, a high profile anti-Mormon author and bookstore owner.

In April of 1979 he wrote a college essay in the form of a letter to his mother in which he is very critical of the historical policies of the LDS church.

(He would later admit during his trial that he had lost his testimony of the church when he was 14 years old.)

In April of 1980 Hofmann begins activating an elaborate plan to deceive the LDS church by claiming to have discovered the “Anthon Transcript” which had supposedly been stuck between the pages of a 1688 edition of the King James Version of the Bible.  He would be successful in selling the document to the LDS church by exchanging it for the following items valued at $20,000:

  • Five dollar Mormon gold coin minted in 1850.
  • A first edition of the Book of Mormon
  • Several examples of pioneer Mormon Currency

Below you will see what most people consider to be a credible depiction of the true Charles Anthon transcript which I have recently blogged about in conjunction with the claims of Blair Bryant. Following that, you will see the Hofmann Forgery of it.

In the forgery, Mark Hofmann creatively places random characters from the authentic document in a vertical pattern instead of horizontally. In a few places, he also deviates from the original characters and creates his own.

Hofmann eventually confessed to fabricating his document.

hofman4The Authentic Copy of the Anthon Transcript

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The Hofmann Forgery of the Anthon Transcript

His forgery was good enough to fool the Prophets and Seers & scholars of the LDS church.

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Mark Hofmann fooling the modern Prophets and Seers of the LDS Church

The finding and selling of that forgery made Mark Hofmann somewhat of a celebrity in Mormon circles and propelled him onto a remarkable career as one of the most prolific counterfeiters and forgers of all time.

On January 8 1981 Mark Hofmann was arrested for stealing a bag of slicked almonds from a grocery store in Salt Lake Valley.

In February of 1981 Hofmann shows a fabricated copy of the Joseph Smith 3rd blessing to both the RLDS church and the LDS church. Once again Hofmann sells a fictitious historical document to the LDS church for $20,000 in trade.

The LDS church turns around and trades the document to the RLDS church for an 1833 Book of Commandments. Shortly thereafter, President Wallace B. Smith of the RLDS church announces that a team of experts has tested the Joseph Smith 3rd blessing and established it’s genuineness.

The White Salamander Letter

Between 1982 and the end of 1983 Hofmann buys, sells and secretly produces a myriad of historical items. Soon after that, Hofmann donates a letter from Thomas Bullock to Brigham Young to the LDS church. He finally conceived the idea of creating the infamous “Salamander letter”.

The letter presented a controversial view of Joseph Smith that contradicted the orthodox view of the LDS church. It spoke of Joseph Smith’s involvement in “magic” and also challenged the commonly accepted storyline about Joseph Smiths’ recovery of the Gold Plates.

The letter claimed that when Joseph Smith dug up the plates, a salamander appeared to Joseph Smith and transformed itself into a spirit that refused to allow Joseph Smith to obtain the plates unless his brother Alvin was with him. Since Joseph’s brother Alvin was dead, that was a difficult request. It is believed that Hofmann conjured up that narrative based on a related storyline in another church history document.

Hofmann’s salamander letter also drew upon legends that various animals had supernatural powers.

It created much discussion and debate inside and outside of the church. It was accepted as authentic by some experts and collectors but rejected by others.

It was a brilliant idea by Hofmann who realized that the church was willing to pay substantial amounts of money for controversial documents to shelve them, rather than have them floating around and being scrutinized by the religious community and by anti-Mormons who are always looking for ways to embarrass the church.

Even the LDS Church was reluctant to pay a high price for the document. Because of this, Hofmann suggested that perhaps there were wealthy church members willing to purchase the document and donate it to the church. This idea was embraced by the church and the document was purchased by Steven Christensen and Gary Sheets.

Hofmann had asked $50,000 for the document by finally settled for $40,000.

That year in a general conference of the Church, Bruce R. McConkie gave a warning to members who conduct or support historical research which is threatening to the faith of other members.

The Salamander Letter and related incidents began a string of events that resulted in many more fascinating dealings by Hofmann, including the claim that he had one of the “kinderhook plates”. The transactions he became involved in resulted in millions of dollars although he always seemed to have financial problems. During this same period of time, some people are beginning to question just how realistic it is for a very young person who was new to such a sophisticated industry to come in contact with so many historical documents.

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Mark Hofmann on Trial for Murder

In hindsight, it seems strange that alarm bells were not sounding much earlier. Hofmann was taking a big risk to be kicking out so many document sales and purchases in such a short period of time. However his own ego and need for finances motivated him to create one scheme after another after another. This flame was fanned by a wealthy church that wanted to purchase and then hide the more controversial and faith challenging historical documents that surface.

It appears to me as if, as time went on,  a closer scrutiny of the ridiculously large volume of historical documents that Hofmann had become involved in, in such a relatively short period of time began to cause some doubt in the minds of some individuals.

All of this dealing in fraudulent documents led to the Hofmann’s 1985 desperate attempt to avoid exposure by creating deadly pipe-bombs and murdering  Steven Christensen and Kathleen Sheets. He would be arrested in 1986. A much more complete timeline of events can be found here.

It is remarkable that Mark Hofmann became so proficient in fabricating so many historical documents that were not detected by the so-called experts of our day. To say that his forgeries made a huge impact on those studying the life of Joseph Smith Jr and the LDS restoration movement, would be an understatement.

As a master forger, Hofmann deceived a number of renowned document experts during his short career. Some of his forgeries were accepted by scholars for years, and an unknown number of them may still be in circulation.

In the words of one journalist,

“His forgeries live on and his forgeries keep claiming new victims.”

Another journalist prophetically opined –

“One hundred years from now people will still be coming up with things from Hofmann.”

Is it possible that another deception is currently taking place based in part on the forgeries of Mark Hofmann?

I think the answer is a resounding YES!

In part two of this post, I will show pictures of the gold plates that Mauricio claims to have received from the Angel Moroni and will show that some of the character arrangements engraved on them were unequivocally taken from the Mark Hofmann forgery and not from the original.

Again, this connection between Mark Hofmann and Mauricio Berger was brought to my attention by another person that I don’t even know. I am simply providing it to my readers because I believe it provides empirical evidence that Mauricio’s claims are false and the plates he is showing people are fabricated based on the forgery of Mark Hofmann.

Mauricio’s plates that he is showing to authenticate his claims, actually testify against his claims and expose the fraud that is being committed!

Obviously, we already know the claims are false because they do not conform to the prophecies pertaining to the final work of restoration. Nevertheless, the physical evidence that will be provided may be helpful to those who are not as familiar with prophecy as they would like to be.

Keep Watching

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