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The Mormon Murders

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  540 ratings  ·  71 reviews
In October 1985, three pipe bombs shattered the suburban calm of Salt Lake City, Utah. Two people, a young businessman and a grandmother, were killed and one young man wounded. All three were Mormons, and when investigators began sifting through the evidence, an amazing story emerged that shocked the world and shook the foundations of the Mormon Church! A complex tale of G ...more
Paperback, 528 pages
Published June 6th 1989 by Onyx (first published 1988)
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I was so interested in reading this, as I only remember bits and pieces of these murders, but the first line turned me off completely. It began with mormon type bashing written as though they authors were in completes with the Sheets and their dead wife/mother. They told how Kathy Sheets felt, what she thought and what she believed. She is dead--they never even met her...I do not feel they have the right to do this--to her or anyone else who is deceased and they have never met. I did read about ...more
Religion, belief systems, cults, and the soul are always interesting material to read about. What attracts people to a particular belief system which other equally intelligent and educated individuals may revile or despise even though the core of that belief may stem from similar foundations? Most religions, fortunately for their followers, were created before print journalism became commonplace. Newspapers and the printed word preserve the less agreeable aspects belief in magic and the occult ...more
"To Fred Harmon (devout Mormon, chief ATF investigator), the real villain was President Gordon B. Hinckley. He saw no chagrin on Hinckley's broad, implacable face. No repentance. No apologies. No admission of wrongdoing. Just arrogance--plain unbridled arrogance. As far as he was concerned, Hinckley had fallen for Mark Hofmann's blackmail, bought up damaging documents and hidden them away in his private vault, and in so doing, indirectly contributed to the deaths of two innocent people.

"And then
This book is a bit disturbing and a little slanted I would say. There are some things that probably shouldn't have been published here (view spoiler). That being said, it's pretty crazy the extent to which Mark Hoffman went in order to make a few bucks and how blinding stupid people gave him money and took his word for things. I must say that it's great that Hoffman was willing to explain some of how thin ...more
Jim Whitefield
If this book had been fiction, I would have rated it one of the best crime thrillers I have ever read. The fact that it is a true story about real people, including murder and mayhem, forgery, bribery, surreptitious bank loans arranged by Mormon hierarchy, cover ups, and legal ‘deals’, along with Mormon Church leaders lying completely about even knowing Hoffman, it takes my rating to ‘beyond belief’. This is not a boring work about a legal process; it is a fast paced, gritty, edge of seat thrill ...more
Oct 29, 2007 Judy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: inquiring minds
I actually have the hard back - what's left of it. It took me nearly 2 months to finish it during a hectic period, (it was carried in my purse to Egypt and back) that by the time I was done, the book was as decrepit as if someone had bombed this book that expells the secrets of the bombings and murders by Mormons in the '80's. The story is told point blank - like an FBI agent giving a brief. (2 lawyers wrote it.) Yet, to it's credit, because it's to the point- with so many parties and so much BS ...more
Brett Bydairk
Jul 20, 2008 Brett Bydairk rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: true crime fans
A true-crime book that also reveals the true nature of The Church Of Christ Of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons): founded by a con-man, who possibly was killed by his brother Joseph Smith, another con artist, this is a fascinating account of
lies, murder, and Temple politics.
Hugely damning of the Mormon Church in general and Gordon Hinckley in specific. The crimes of Mark Hofmann, forgery/fraud and murder, play an interesting companion to the cover-up by the church and it's influence over the legal proceedings.
This is a really interesting book about crimes that somehow I had never heard of (though, in my defense, the major ones happened 25 years ago and who knows what I was paying attention to in the world then ... )

I did have some trouble following events in the book, because there are dozens of main "players," numerous documents and several different locations to keep straight. I didn't think these were handled very well, as the writing lacked some continuity and good transitions. At times it seemed
this book is awesome! it's the cheesiest of the cheesy true crime, recounting the mark hofmann case. hofmann was a disgruntled mormon who got into forging incendiary documents linking joseph smith to magic & money-digging. he would then sell his documents directly to the church of latter-say saints, where they would be shut up in the infamous vault, away from anyone who might use them to try to discredit the church.

but his ambitions outpaced his relationship with reality, as he continued to
Jun 29, 2009 Katie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Katie by: My Mother
Shelves: non-fiction
This is a true crime story about a series of bombings that Salt Lake City experienced in 1985, when I was two years old. This story, written by two Harvard graduates, delves into the life and lies of one man who single-handedly sought out to change the history of the Mormon church. Mark Hoffman, a devout mormon on the outside but a true closet atheist, learned early in life that that human perception dictates what is true and what is false, not what actually is so.

This story digs deep into the
Two pipe bombs killed two people in Salt Lake City, Utah, on October 15, 1985. The only link seemed to be that they were both members of the Mormon Church. However, the next day another bomb was detonated in a parked car of a Mormon churchman, Mark Hofmann. As incredible as it seems, Hofmann survived, and it wasn't until police investigators questioned the evasive Hoffmann that another, more shocking link among the victims surfaced.
This link was a historical document which had allegedly surface
Jill Jaracz
This is a mind-boggling account of the 1980's case in Salt Lake City in which Mark Hoffman forged a whole bunch of documents, claiming they were historical Mormon documents, the content of which could rock the church's very core and cause mass exodus from the faith. In the process of covering his tracks and making shady deals so that he could pay everyone he owed, Hoffman planted some pipe bombs, killing two people and injuring himself in the process. The case is incredibly complex, but the auth ...more
True crime and inside sleaze about the LDS church - how could it not be fascinating? I'll never forget the flight cross county in the early 90s where I had loaned a co-worker "Secret Ceremonies" and she was about 3 rows behind me, and every once in a while I (and pretty much the entire coach section) would hear "OH MY GOD" or some similar comment from her. That book was quite an eye-opener, and I have been interested in the inner workings of the church since.

Mark Hoffman was a forger and a liar
Adam Cornelius
This was a true crime page turner. Mark Hoffman is a bizarre and complex character. Part genius counterfeiter / master manipulator of people, including the leaders of the LDS church. He knew the sore spots and kept poking and prodding to get exactly what he wanted. He was also largely delusional and a wannabe secret agent.

The reason I deducted two stars has to do with the authors liberal attempt to show the thought processes of the characters. I would've preferred more actual details of the mur
Robert Bason
OOOOh, scary book. a book collector myself, it was impossible to put it down. I had heard about the "mania" for early Mormon literature, and that there was a scandal involved in the whole business - but I didn't know the details until reading this book. Like a good murder mystery - a real-life murder mystery? Read this.
Jill Crosby
Through the use of extensive interviews and research, Naifeh & Roberts bring to light the politics, the science, the theology, and the drama of the Mark Hofman forgery/bombing case, untangling the strange motivations and the investigation into those motivations by focusing on personalities along with a thorough sifting of the evidence in this case.
If you can get through the first 200 pages of editorializing and slander, intertwined with mind numbing name dropping and business deals that were clearly too good to be true, the trial was fascinating. Mark Hoffman was an evil genius.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was well written and researched and had some really interesting things about the LDS church (my church I am mormon) that I didn't know. However, I did have to laugh a little at how they talked about leadership positions in the church and how people just want to be a Bishop or Stake President or General Authority so badly. I dont think they realize these are not paid positions and I for one never want to be any of those things despite having been Elders qu ...more
Is it really too much to ask a "true crime" book to include a bibliography and leave out outlandish claims? I stopped 30 pages in after glaring lies and over exaggerations. Seriously, I thought TRUE crime was supposed to be true. There is enough intrigue and scandal in the mormon church (and in this whole forgery debacle) without the need for the authors to sensationalize stuff. Blech.

Ok an update. If you are interested in reading about the Hofman murders, read Salamander The Story of the Mormo
Angie crosby
I read this book awhile ago. The story was great. I learned a lot.
The case work is solid, but I think the authors tend to put a wee too bit personalization into the Anti-Mormon diatribes. This book covers the 1980s case of Mark Hoffman who planted bombs and killed 2 people in Utah before getting bit by his own bomb.
Larynda McKay
Unbelievable. This whole true story is completely unbelievable. I borrowed this book from our library years ago and not long after, bought it for my library. It's just one of those types of books where you turn page, after page, after page and continue to shake your head in amazement. However the hierarchy of the Mormon Church could be swayed to believe something so crazy, then to have the perpetrator of a fraud turn to murder to cover his secret... unbelievable. Worth a read!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
The authors do not begin with a neutral stance on the Mormon church; I would not recommend this book to my Mormon friends. On the other hand, it does show how psychopaths can hold people in their thrall and threaten those in power, as the bomber Mark Hofmann did with many in the Mormon and non-Mormon communities. It also shows the lengths that many religions will go to protect their reputation, even to the extent of lying and covering up.
I would not recommend this book to a non-Mormon or to a Mormon with a weak testimony. Mark Hoffman came up with some pretty convincing lies, and even though you know they are lies, it would be easy to start to believe his non-sense. But with that said, I absolutely loved the book. It was very interesting. It made me mad that someone would take advantage of the Church like that, and that is probably why I couldn't put the book down.
If you're into true crime stories, I think you'll enjoy this book. I read this book ~20 years ago when I was in college. I started it over the winter break and brought it with me back to school. Around midnight one night, a friend of mine asked me for something to read to help him go to sleep, so I tossed him this book. He chewed me out the next day - he couldn't put the book down and was awake until after 5AM.
Brian Lee
#7 THE MORMON MURDERS: A True Story Of Greed, Forgery, Deciet, And Death by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith: Durfee's top 50 non-fiction books countdown. Second book about Mark Hoffman's forgeries, murders, and bombings in SLC that made my list. Was obsessed with this subject whilst in college. Gordon B Hinckley and Dallin H Oaks true colors shine through here. Oh, and Mark Hoffman, a bit of a con-man too
The story told in this book is pretty interesting, and particularly if you try to imagine how this all actually happened back in the 80s. I'm glad I read it but found it could have used more editing. This presents the full story oftentimes in excruciating detail, but for someone looking for a good read on an interesting account in history, it could/should have been about 1/2 the length it is I think.
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