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The Mormon Murders: A True Story of Greed, Forgery, Deceit, and Death
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The Mormon Murders: A True Story of Greed, Forgery, Deceit, and Death

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  756 Ratings  ·  88 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
Hardcover, 458 pages
Published July 20th 1988 by George Weidenfeld & Nicholson (first published January 1st 1988)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jackie
Jun 02, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Matt
Sep 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"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
...more
Eric_W
Nov 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
JC
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
Ryan Crompton
Apr 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a good but somewhat flawed account of the Hoffman killings that rocked Salt Lake in the mid-80's.

Much like Jon Krakauer 20 years after "Mormon Murders" was written, Naifeh is a great author when he confines himself to facts in evidence but loses credibility when he speculates or otherwise exposes his coastal provincialism. There were two items in particular that bothered me -- the hearsay idea that Jerald Tanner's phone was bugged in the 70's (the basis for this claim is Jerald's cl
...more
Jim Whitefield
Mar 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nancee
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I would probably give this book a 2 1/2, but I didn't round up. I knew nothing about this story when I started. I really enjoyed the first part of the book that introduced all the characters and set the stage. It was pretty informative and interesting. I also enjoyed the last few chapters from the preliminary hearing forward that brought everything together. I would have given the book 3 1/2 starts for these sections. Theses sections were more of a factual summary with little personal interpreta ...more
Judy
Oct 29, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  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 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Kennedy
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.
Ciara
Nov 11, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
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
...more
Carla JFCL
Sep 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Katie
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
...more
Rachel
This was an intriguing read, although a difficult one to stick with at times. The authors grabbed my attention right off with the timeline and description of all three bombings. However, they spent the next 50% of the book detailing the financial affairs of a single character, without giving much detail of how the information related to the overall story. There were hundreds of names and scores of documents listed with varying dollar amounts flowing into and out of the plot, but only my persever ...more
Connie (Ava Catherine)
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
...more
Stephanie
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
...more
Adam Cornelius
Jan 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Jill Jaracz
Jan 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Michelle
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tbone
Jun 20, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Natalie
Jun 28, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
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
...more
Becky
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-books
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.
Ruth
Jan 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got totally wrapped up in this one. Although I'd vaguely known about the forgeries in the 80s, I hadn't known how much fallout had surrounded their discovery - and I hadn't known about the murders! The writing solid, and although the book's a hefty size, the writers keep the story zipping along. Thanks to mom for finding a book that bridges two of my reading obsessions: Mormon culture and true crime.
Jesse Markus
Feb 08, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in jail in 2003. It was how I first learned about the bizarre story of how Mormonism came to be. By now, we've all seen the South Park episode. But then this book goes into a story about corruption and scandal and cover-up and betrayal and violence and twists and turns and yadda yadda yadda... I don't remember much of it, nor do I know how true it is, but I know it was pretty fun to read.
Lacey
Feb 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Brian Durfee
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#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
Paul
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Matt
Jan 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-crime
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jana Gentry
If you choose to read this book I urge you to read with a very open mind. Not all that is written can be deemed truth. Unfortunately the author of this book took liberties describing the The Church of Jesus Christ as he saw it which to my dismay wasn't always the truth. I read with an open mind and while overlooking the attacks on my chosen religion I finished the book. Disappointed that more wasn't written about Hoffman and who he really was.
Betsy
Nov 08, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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