Skin Deep

Review of Rüdiger Hauth, Die Mormonen: Sekte oder neue Kirche Jesu Christi? Freiburg: Herder, 1995. 189 pp. DM 15.80.

Reviewed by Daniel C. Peterson

Skin Deep

For Christians, it is hardly possible to work up a positive attitude toward a system that presents itself in its public propaganda as “Christian” but in reality bases itself on unbiblical and unchristian elements, and on wild, rank human fantasy. (p. 188)

I have now been editing this FARMS Review of Books for the better part of a decade. At intervals over that time, I have examined a few of the books that emerge each year out of the ever-seething cauldron in which professional despisers of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints seem to dwell.

It is, I will confess, an increasingly wearisome chore. I have joked about the film that my colleague William Hamblin and I want to produce: Bill and Dan’s Excellent Adventure in Anti-Mormon Zombie Hell.
Like others who occasionally feel called upon to survey the dreary
precincts of the fundamentalist anti-Mormon demimonde, we are
growing tired of the tendency—very widespread among these
crusading ministries and publications—endlessly to repeat
arguments that have been answered years ago, to ignore counterevidence
and opposing interpretations, to proceed in blissful and sometimes
even defiant ignorance of crucial data. It is truly difficult,
for one who, like me, enjoyed spending an adolescent hour or two
watching old horror films, not to think of those black-and-white
Grade B monster movies, with their advancing hordes of mindless
zombies whom no number of direct hits could ever quite stop. A
new book has now appeared, for instance, that (incredible as it
may seem and surely is) resurrects the Spaulding theory of Book
of Mormon origins and reprints in toto the propaganda on the book
of Abraham produced by the late but still disgraced charlatan
Dee Jay Nelson.1 Is there no conservation group that can stop this? How many trees will continue to be slaughtered merely to print—and then, again and again, to reprint—such materials?

Evidence-twisting, neglect of relevant scholarship, astonishing bouts of illogic, double standards, and absurd exaggerations amuse for a while. Then they begin to pall. Consider Sandra Tanner, one of the most prominent representatives of the (relatively) “respectable” wing of the anti-Mormon movement. “Mormonism,” she declared recently in a video produced by and for the Southern Baptist Convention,

is truly a different religion. It isn’t just a brand of Christianity.
Its theology is so radically different that it is . . . Its
theology is as close to Christianity as Hinduism. It’s a totally
different view of man and God and creation. Everything about
it is different. They just use the same terms.2

Now, really. Is a person who can utter such nonsense—especially in a video designed for the official curriculum of a major Protestant denomination—to be taken seriously? How much credibility can such a person claim as an observer of the faith of the Latter-day Saints? One would
very much like to pose a few questions to Ms. Tanner: What, for
example, is the role of the Vedas or of the Upanishads in Latter-day
Saint devotions? How central is the concept of karma to
Mormon theology? What have the leaders of the church had to say
about reincarnation, or the transmigration of souls? Is there
any passage in Mormon scripture that advocates a rigid and complex
caste system? Has an atheistic form of Mormonism, analogous to
the Hindu atheist movements, been a fruitful element in Latter-day
Saint intellectual history? Which is closer to Hindu monistic
teaching, the Mormon concept of the Godhead or classical post-Nicene
trinitarianism? Can Ms. Tanner name any Latter-day Saint hymn
devoted to Vishnu? Would she care to comment on the rising bhakti
movement among the followers of Joseph Smith? On the chanting
of saffron-robed Mormon missionaries at American airports? (Hare
) How much can she possibly know about Hinduism, that she makes such silly remarks?

Ms. Tanner is, of course, and as one surely might expect, somewhat more familiar with Mormonism. But, even here, the work she and her husband have produced over the several decades of their peculiar careers in professional anti-Mormon propaganda is far, very far, from reliable. In the periodicals published by the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) alone, the following substantial critiques of their writings have appeared—and have gone, for the most part, without serious response from the Tanners (much less from any of their dependents):

L. Ara Norwood, review of Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon, by Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Review of Books on the
Book of Mormon
3 (1991): 158-69.

Matthew Roper, review of Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of
by Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Review of
Books on the Book of Mormon
3 (1991): 170-87.

John A. Tvedtnes, review of Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book
of Mormon,
by Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Review
of Books on the Book of Mormon
3 (1991): 188-230.

Matthew Roper, review of Mormonism: Shadow or Reality? by Jerald
Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Review of Books on the Book of
4 (1992): 169-215.

William J. Hamblin, review of Archaeology and the Book of Mormon,
by Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Review of Books on the
Book of Mormon
5 (1993): 250-72.

Tom Nibley, review of Covering Up the Black Hole in the Book of Mormon, by Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Review of Books on the
Book of Mormon
5 (1993): 273-89.

Matthew Roper, “Comments on the Book of Mormon Witnesses: A Response
to Jerald and Sandra Tanner,” Journal of Book of Mormon
2/2 (1993): 164-93.

Matthew Roper, review of Answering Mormon Scholars: A Response to
Criticism of the Book
“Covering Up the Black Hole in
the Book of Mormon,” by Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6/2 (1994): 156-203.

John A. Tvedtnes, review of Answering Mormon Scholars: A Response
to Criticism of the Book
“Covering Up the Black Hole
in the Book of Mormon,” by Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6/2 (1994): 204-49.

John A. Tvedtnes and Matthew Roper, review of “Joseph Smith’s Use
of the Apocrypha,” by Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, FARMS Review of Books 8/2 (1996): 326-72.

Matthew Roper, review of Answering Mormon Scholars: A Response to
Criticism Raised by Mormon Defenders,
Jerald Tanner and
Sandra Tanner, FARMS Review of Books 9/1 (1997): 87-145.

Remember that Sandra Tanner represents comparatively responsible fundamentalist anti-Mormonism. I have not so much as mentioned zany madcaps like
Ed Decker and his associates, whom Ms. Tanner herself quite properly
holds in disdain.3 But her loony
arraignment of the Latter-day Saints as more Hindu than Christian
is exactly the kind of charge that Ed Decker would make. Indeed,
he has made it. Repeatedly.4 So the question forcibly asserts itself: Is there any Protestant critic of the church out there who actually merits serious attention?

When first I heard that a German scholar by the name of Rüdiger Hauth
had published an examination of the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints entitled Tempelkult und Totentaufe (“Temple
Ritual and Baptism for the Dead”), I was intrigued. Confident,
of course, that the book would be skeptical, even negative or
hostile, as the great Eduard Meyer’s Ursprung und Geschichte
der Mormonen
had been, I nonetheless looked forward to a stimulating
encounter between Mormonism and the solid erudition of Teutonic Wissenschaft. It would have been a refreshing change. One does finally grow weary of raking through trash.

I have still not seen Tempelkult und Totentaufe. My enthusiasm for it
has nonetheless waned considerably. Following a recent lecture
in Salzburg, Austria, a non-Mormon scholar from the neighboring
city of Innsbruck engaged me and a pair of colleagues in a good-natured
discussion about the restoration. In the course of our chat, he
showed us a copy of Rüdiger Hauth’s Die Mormonen: Geheimreligion
oder christliche Kirche?
(“The Mormons: Secret Religion
or Christian Church?”) that he was working through in preparation
for a symposium on “American religions” to be held a
few weeks later in Braunau, near Austria’s border with Germany.
My curiosity was piqued, and I bought my own copy as soon as I
could do so. (Inexplicably, though, the subtitle Geheimreligion
oder christliche Kirche?
survives only on the title page of
my edition. On its cover, the subtitle now reads Sekte oder
neue Kirche Jesu Christi?
(“Sect or New Church of Jesus
Christ?”).5 I also managed
to pick up another book by Hauth, a more general one, entitled Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus (roughly, “Little Catechism
of Cults”), to which I will occasionally have reference in
the course of this review.6

Rüdiger Hauth earned a doctorate in the study of religion in Denmark,
at the University of Aarhus. Since 1971, he has served as
the officially designated authority on “Cults and Questions
of Worldview” (Beauftragter für Sekten und Weltanschauungsfragen)
for the established Protestant church of the German state of Westphalia.
As I mentioned previously, in 1985 he published a book about the
Mormons (possibly based on his Aarhus doctoral dissertation)
entitled Tempelkult und Totentaufe. Impressive credentials,
it would seem. My eagerness to read Die Mormonen nonetheless
turned very soon to intense disappointment. A nineteenth-century
wag once said of Richard Wagner that his music isn’t really as
bad as it sounds. Maybe, maybe not. But Die Mormonen and
the Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus offer nothing to suggest that Rüdiger Hauth’s scholarship is any better than it reads.

Die Mormonen
is a very shallow book. While not generally marked by the overt
nastiness that characterizes so much anti-Mormon writing, it is
an unashamedly hostile assault on the faith of the Latter-day
Saints. (I should have been warned by the fact that it appears
in a series on “Sekten, Sondergruppen und Weltanschauungen”
(i.e., “Cults, Fringe Groups, and Worldviews”) that
includes a volume entitled Satanismus.) Like many anti-Mormons, Rüdiger Hauth complains that the basic missionary lessons omit peculiarly Latter-day Saint teachings on such subjects as temple worship, baptism for the dead, the doctrine of eternal progression, and the plurality of gods (p. 10). It is his self-assigned mission, one presumes, to remedy the Mormons’ oversight. Still, he scarcely discusses the latter two topics and, as we shall have occasion to note below, gives the former two only the most dogmatically superficial of glances.

Shallow, yes. But Hauth is hardly subtle. “Is the critical observer not
forced to the conclusion,” he rhetorically demands on page
125, “that . . . false prophets in a false religion constantly
spread false teachings?” Sometimes Hauth’s antagonism is
evident in his choice of language, as in his use of the term “fantasies”
(Phantasien) to describe the teachings of Mormon leaders
(p. 58), his assignment of the Book of Mormon to the category
of “fantasy literature” (p. 172), and, on page
124, his description of an element of Latter-day Saint temple
worship as a “most curious gag” (kuriosester Gag).7
These are not mere passing lapses in taste and tact. The same
disrespectful language marks Hauth’s earlier Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus
as well: “Just as confused and fairy-tale-like (märchenhaft)
as the story of the coming-forth of this “American Bible,’
to be sure, is its content.” The Book of Mormon, Hauth writes,
is nothing more than “a fanciful adventure novel” (phantasievoller
), and the story it relates “freely invented.”8
Hauth cannot be bothered, though, to tell us exactly just what
it is in the Book of Mormon that he finds so ineffably ludicrous.
Why, precisely, the Book of Mormon’s account of Christ’s visit
among the Nephites is “downright fanciful” (recht
) (p. 82), while the New Testament narrative
of Christ’s virgin birth, many miracles, and resurrection is not, Die Mormonen does not even try to explain. This will not be the last time that we shall encounter Rüdiger Hauth’s manifest double standard.

Hauth’s hostility is betrayed even in the way he describes the shameful and historically undeniable persecutions of the Saints in the nineteenth century.
Or, perhaps better, in the way he glosses over them. Thus, for
example, he reports the mob-driven movement of the Mormons toward
the ever more distant frontier without any mention—much less
any condemnation—of the mobs: “From early 1831 on, the
activities of the Mormons moved in several stages farther to the
West” (p. 25). Instead, he rather gently explains that
the Latter-day Saints’ bizarre beliefs and practices made it impossible
for surrounding Christians to accept them, which led to “constant
unrest” and “hostile encounters with non-Mormons and
government officials,” all of which he blames firmly on the
members of the church. Indeed, his only criticism in this regard
is reserved for the Latter-day Saints, who have declined to acknowledge
their guilt for their own violent history (pp. 25-6). The
Mormons’ beliefs, he complains on page 161, deviate “completely
from Christian “common sense.’ This discrepancy was and is,
again and again, perceived by Christians as extremely provoking
[höchst provozierend].” So it is the Mormons’ fault. Their beliefs are irritating. Their very existence is an offense to their neighbors, and they evidently deserve everything they get.

Hauth plainly does not wish interreligious dialogue to become any more pleasant than it already has, and he defends his own aggressive polemical
style against those who would prefer a little more charity. In
his Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, for example, he praises
a certain Rev. Günther Siedenschnur, evidently a predecessor
of his in the profession of assaulting minority religions: “He
is to be thanked for having insisted on the concept of “Sekte’
[= approximately, English cult] as a means of differentiating
in the confrontation between clearly sectarian [i.e., ‘cultic’]
groups and the Christian community, even when various sides urged
[him] to give up this “defamatory’ term and to “overcome’
it.”9 (An observer of the American anti-Mormon scene can hardly fail to be reminded of people like Kurt Van Gorden, Ed Decker, and Robert Morey, and their very similar praise of the late “Dr.” Walter Martin.)

The main theme of his book, Hauth says, is to investigate whether or not Mormonism is a Christian church or a secret religion. I won’t keep you in suspense as to his ultimate answer:

Mormonism is a syncretistic, non-Christian religion [nicht-christliche
] that arose in America, at the core of which is a secret cult performed in temples. (p. 186)

Offering essentially no other support or substantiation beyond his own authority, such as it is, Hauth describes Mormonism as an eclectic and chaotic
stew of “patriotic American traits,” new revelations,
ancient Judaism, gnosticism, “Science-fiction/Fantasy”
(he gives these terms in English), esotericism, Freemasonry, occultism,
and magic (pp. 186-7). (“Christianity” is notable
among these “elements” only for its absence from Hauth’s
list. It was apparently not even a minor contributing factor in
the creation of Mormonism.) Although it is technically true that
Hauth does not actually use the word syncretistic, alleged
Mormon syncretism is clearly the sense and intent of his comments,
and is the best translation—and perhaps the only idiomatic
one available, since “mix-religion” scarcely seems English—of
the term he does choose to employ (Mischreligion). (Gerhard
Wahrig’s authoritative Deutsches Wörterbuch defines Synkretismus as a “Verschmelzung mehrerer Religionen,
verschiedener Auffassungen, Standpunkte, usw” [“an amalgamation
of several religions, various conceptions, points of view, etc.”]).10
In this regard, a comment from the illustrious French orientalist
Henry Corbin seems apropos: “Nothing,” wrote Corbin,
“justifies the use of the facile term “syncretism’,
a term only too often employed either in order to discredit a
doctrine or else to disguise the maladroitness of an unacknowledged
dogmatism.”11 If Corbin had not died in 1978, one might have imagined him to be addressing Rüdiger Hauth personally. “Joseph Smith,” Hauth says, “appears to have soaked up like a dry sponge everything that seemed interesting and useful to him for the construction of his new belief system” (p. 188). Therefore, Hauth decrees, the Latter-day Saints’ self-identification as Christians must be “energetically contradicted, from a biblical and Christian point of view” (p. 186).

In order to justify his hostility, and to encourage others to feel a similar emotion, Hauth furnishes a fair amount of supposed evidence against the Latter-day Saints. Unfortunately, though, his evidence is far too often purely rhetorical, distorted, or even fabricated.

For example, Hauth uses quotation marks liberally. Thus, in his Kleiner
, he declares that a common characteristic
of “cults” (Sekten) is their prohibition of criticism

One can scarcely name a cult that allows its adherents the possibility
of making any criticism of its doctrine, organization, or leaders.
In accord with its self-understanding as the “true, salvific
community,” criticism can logically be regarded only in
a negative light. The Mormons, for instance, describe critics
within their own ranks as “trees with decaying spots that
will someday become entirely rotten and fall off, if they do
not give up their criticism.” Membership in a cult must,
therefore, for the most part, be purchased at the cost of intellectual
submission—i.e., the surrender of individual freedom of

It is a damning point, of course, and one with which many opponents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would enthusiastically agree.
Even evangelical and fundamentalist Protestants have taken, in
recent years, to echoing the claims of secularizing critics of
Mormonism that Latter-day Saints lack intellectual freedom. It
is difficult to imagine, however, that their own seminaries and
colleges, with, say, their common insistence on the inerrancy
of the Bible, would be any more palatable to the secularists.
I rather doubt that a preacher who denied the deity of Christ,
or praised homosexuality, or rejected the four gospels as an accurate
record of the ministry of Jesus, or disputed belief in a life
after death and a final judgment, would last long at the pulpit
of any church of the Southern Baptist Convention. Nor, of course, should he. Churches have a right, and indeed a duty, to watch over such matters.

I will not go into the issue here, except to say that, based on my own rather
extensive experience with the church on four continents, including
years of teaching at the church’s university, the claim of Mormon
mind-control seems to me wholly misleading, if not utterly false.
I myself find the message of the restoration intellectually exhilarating.13
Besides, Hauth’s condemnation of the Latter-day Saints and other
targets simply echoes the charge routinely made against religious
faith in general by people who style themselves “freethinkers”
(Freidenker). It was a charge made anciently against the
early Christians.14 Thus there
is rich irony in Hauth’s accusation, coming as it does from an
official spokesman for one of the German state churches. But notice
furthermore that, in condemning all the “cults,” Hauth
cites evidence regarding only the Latter-day Saints. And just
where does he get his revealing Latter-day Saint quotation? (It
is a saying that I, for one, have never encountered in my life.)
Who knows? No footnote is given for anything in the paragraph.
Not a single source is mentioned. Which is to say that not one
piece of real supporting evidence is cited for his negative portrayal
of the Latter-day Saints on this matter, let alone for his sweeping
verdict on the widely disparate collection of religious and ideological
movements that he artificially groups together under the speciously
objective classification of Sekten.

Moreover, is it really plausible to label the Latter-day Saints mindless
automatons, when so many of them have distinguished themselves
as business leaders, diplomats, high-ranking government officials,
educators, physicians, scientists, and scholars?
15 Latter-day Saint prominence in the marketplace is well-known. In education, Mormons have presided over major institutions such as the University of California, Ohio State University, the Harvard Business School, and the United States Department of Education, to name just a few. Several have served at the cabinet level in the U.S. federal government, as judges and legislators, and as governors, and some have held equivalent positions elsewhere. Is Hauth’s not-so-implicit portrayal of Mormons as mind-controlled robots believable? Doesn’t so serious and insulting a charge as this require evidence? At least a little bit? The world’s ten million Latter-day Saints are distributed across every continent and can be found at literally every social, economic, and educational level. They interact constantly with non-Mormons in every kind of social transaction. Are they really, as Hauth implies, sociologically indistinguishable from a fifty-person apocalyptic commune hiding out in some remote mountain compound?

Hauth abuses quotation marks again when, in the title of a section of his Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, he refers to the “”Almighty’
Mormon Priesthood.”16 It is undeniably true, of course, that Latter-day Saints believe the priesthood loaned to them on earth to be akin to the power by which God himself framed the worlds. And they do, indeed, frequently refer to “almighty God.” But what Latter-day Saint writer has referred to the priesthood itself as “almighty”? And what did he or she intend by it? There is no way of knowing, since, once again, Hauth cites no reference.

Generally, though, Hauth seems to use his quotation marks as the typographical equivalent of a wink, a sneer, or a disparaging snort, rather
than in an effort to manufacture pseudo-evidence. Thus he consistently
refers to the Urim and Thummim under the rather pejorative term Prophetenbrille (roughly, “prophet spectacles”),
which, although it is used by no Latter-day Saint sources of which
I am aware, he places within quotation marks.17
On pages 54 and 108 of Die Mormonen, Hauth places the term
“temple Mormons” (Tempelmormonen) within quotation
marks, as if it were a common term among the Latter-day Saints.18 So far as I can tell, however, it is an invention of anti-Mormon propagandists; Latter-day Saints do not use it.

On page 65, Hauth explains that the First Presidency and the Council of the
Twelve Apostles are referred to by Mormons as, collectively, “The
Big Fifteen.” He not only places the phrase within quotation
marks but gives it in its presumably authentic original English.
I would like to see one source for it. If Latter-day Saints commonly
use the phrase, Hauth ought to be able to name at least one specific
Latter-day Saint who does so—and, preferably, refer us to
a published source. (This is scientific fieldwork at its best.
The back cover of his Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus reports that Hauth has actually visited the United States, among other exotic places, in the course of his research. I can only hope that the practical joker who supplied this laughable expression to the gullible Dr. Hauth will get to see it in print.)

Throughout Die Mormonen, over and over and over again, Latter-day
Saints worship not God but “God.” They don’t have theologians,
but “theologians.” Their sacred rituals are not holy,
but only “holy.” Similarly, they believe in the “Holy
Ghost,” in “translation,” “revelation,”
“prophets,” “apostles,” “bishops,”
“sealings,” and a sort of “gospel”; they have
“apologists”; and they practice mere “baptism,”
which grants them admission to what turns out to be not a genuine
church but only a “church”—from all of which the
simple fools nonetheless expect to receive “blessings.”
The effect of this punctuation style is to distance Hauth from
putatively absurd Mormon claims, but it is also demeaning and,
in the long run, rather like the Chinese water torture—wearisome
and extremely irritating.19 (Unlike Chinese water torture, however, it probably does no long-term damage to the victim.)

Perhaps the most outrageous example of his use of quotation marks comes, however, when Hauth discusses the former church policy of denying priesthood
ordination to men of black African descent. He cites page 527
of the 1966 edition of Bruce R. McConkie’s Mormon Doctrine
as saying, according to his own translation, “Die Evangeliumsbotschaft
von der Erlösung gilt ihnen nicht” (p. 42). What
does this mean? Literally rendered back into its purportedly original
English, it means “The gospel message of salvation does not
apply to them [i.e., to blacks].” In other words, Elder McConkie
seems to be announcing, blacks are fated to be damned; God, he
seems to assert, doesn’t care about them, and they have no hope
of salvation. But what does the passage really say? If one examines
the actual text of the 1966 edition, the supposed source of Hauth’s
quotation, one finds something rather different: “The gospel
message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them,”
reads the corresponding English phrase. There is no claim here
that, somehow, the gospel and the atonement have no saving power
for blacks; there is only the quite accurate statement that, at
that time, in 1966, missionaries of the church were not actively
and deliberately targeting people of black African descent for
conversion. Hauth’s misrendering of the passage transmogrifies
it from what it really was, a simple description of then-contemporary
policy, into a chilling theological prescription (or proscription).
One cannot, however, excuse Hauth’s error as merely the result
of incompetent translation. He has also yanked the statement quite
violently out of its full context. In the original edition of Mormon Doctrine, which Die Mormonen claims to be citing, the full passage reads as follows:

The gospel message of salvation is not carried affirmatively to them (Moses
7:8, 12, 22), although sometimes negroes search out the truth,
join the church, and become by righteous living heirs of the
celestial kingdom of heaven. President Brigham Young and others
have taught that in the future eternity worthy and qualified
negroes will receive the priesthood and every gospel blessing
available to any man.20

Small but significant distortions of Mormon teaching repeatedly make the
restoration an easier target for Hauth’s criticisms.
21 Thus, for instance, his claim that Latter-day Saint doctrine Americanizes the “salvation history” of the world is, at best, a serious oversimplification (pp. 81, 186-7). It must be admitted, of course, that better scholars than Rüdiger Hauth have seen the origins and appeal of Mormonism in an alleged American desire to provide a sacred history for their continent. It is also true that they have failed thereby to explain or even to notice the remarkable appeal the restoration had for nineteenth-century Europeans. (At one time, there were very likely more Latter-day Saints in Britain than in Utah.) One is reminded of the equally reductionist theory, once quite fashionable, that sought to explain Islamic monotheism as a product of Muhammad’s simple bedouin mind, hatched while he contemplated the simplicity of the desert sun as it beat down upon the vast, blank Arabian desert. Unfortunately for the theory, (1) Muhammad was not a bedouin, (2) the real bedouins were, in fact, notoriously resistant to accepting Islam, (3) the Quran was revealed in what was, by ancient Arabian standards, an urbanized environment, and (4) rather than using imagery derived from the desert sun and the vast emptiness that so enthralled romantic northern European orientalists, the Quran is replete with commercial imagery and vocabulary. Scholars of Islam have long since abandoned the notion. One wonders how long it will take people like Rüdiger Hauth to see the folly of their equally reductionist theory. I’m not holding my breath.

Hauth also attempts to refashion Latter-day Saint teaching with his assertion that, “In contrast to the Mormons, Paul was . . . of the opinion that flesh and blood will not inherit the kingdom of God” (p. 56). For his invented contrast to be valid, one must necessarily presuppose that Mormons expect flesh and blood to do just that. But, of course, Latter-day Saints are fully familiar with 1 Corinthians 15:20, and have never taught anything to the contrary. Hauth is refuting a straw man. Again, his account of one element in Latter-day Saint belief concerning the second coming of Christ and the onset of the millennium (p. 82) would have been less alienating to his readers—and, obviously, less useful to Hauth’s agenda—if he had bothered to mention its obvious roots in the Old Testament book of Daniel. And his contrived opposition between the Christian belief that one can be saved only through Jesus Christ, on the one hand, and Mormon insistence that the ordinances of the temple, on the other, are divinely instituted and divinely required (on p. 96) quite misleadingly suggests that Latter-day Saints imagine the ordinances of the temple to have value apart from Christ and his atonement. This is a grievous misrepresentation.

His summary on page 60 of “what Mormons think about Christ” grossly distorts actual Latter-day Saint teachings and emphases by downplaying their reliance on the four New Testament gospels, and focusing intently on concepts peculiar to Mormon doctrine, which, by displaying them out of their actual context, he hopes to make seem as odd as possible. He does much the same thing in his discussion of the sacrament, or communion (pp. 72-3). Thus he effectively shrinks the broad area of common ground that Latter-day Saints share with other Christians and simultaneously greatly expands the relative importance of the areas in which we differ. (This is perhaps the most beloved, and certainly one of the most practical, of all the polemical techniques routinely used by anti-Mormon propagandists.)

Hauth’s logic is often specious. His simple opposition of Mormonism and “Christianity” (as on pp. 49, 125-8, 134, 142, 148, 150, 160, 185), for
instance, is a staple of anti-Mormon writing.22
But he is incorrect in thinking that, if something is not “a
“variant’ of an element of Christian faith that is recognized
in an ecumenical context,” it must therefore be dismissed
as “unchristian” (p. 148), or that everything that
is distinct from “ecumenical Christendom” is, by that
fact alone, “nonchristian” (p. 160).23 He needs to argue for this proposition; it is not self-evident. For these are not the only two options. They do not exhaust the field, unless one wants to ascribe infallibility to modern-day ecumenical Christianity—a move that has no basis in either scripture, tradition, or reason.

Hauth attempts to rebut the Latter-day Saint claim of an apostasy from the primitive church by denying that there ever was a primitive church to be corrupted. His argument on this score is instructive:

From early Christian preaching . . . there is not a shred of evidence that Jesus expressly wanted, much less founded, a “church” in the modern sense. The unique ecclesiological utterance of Matthew 16:18f cannot, in the opinion of many New Testament scholars, be attributed with absolute confidence to Jesus himself, because, as a preacher of the dawning kingdom of God, he would hardly have thought of an organized “church.” One can first speak of such a thing much later, after various congregational structures and offices had evolved. (p. 164)

This is a fascinating specimen of reasoning. Notice that Hauth himself offers no evidence, merely the supposition of “many” modern (and obviously liberal Protestant) scholars of what was and was not possible for Jesus to think. Indeed, his position obliges him to suppress or eliminate one clearly troubling piece of evidence that seems to invalidate his claim, and so he attempts to remove Matthew 16:18 from consideration. (He is also implicitly forced to acknowledge, by the way, that his own career as a church official, and indeed the existence of that church, do not accord with Jesus’ views—which must, it would seem, have been wrong.) But, although his position manifestly rests on a tissue of suppositions and presuppositions, and although the most he can really say is that the evidence that is lethal to his argument cannot, “in the opinion of many [undefined] New Testament scholars,” be accepted “with absolute confidence,” he proceeds to dismiss the contrary Latter-day Saint position as if he had attained utter certainty: “If there was no “primitive church’ founded by Jesus, as the Mormons claim, it cannot, logically, have been “restored’ by Joseph Smith” (p. 164).

I hope Hauth’s other readers are precisely as impressed as I have been by such rigorous thinking. On the rather rare occasions when he actually
cites scholarly authority, as in the instance above, he does it
unconvincingly. Let us be ridiculously generous and assume for
purposes of argument that ninety percent of New Testament scholars
are ninety percent certain that Matthew 16:18 does not go back
to Jesus. By applying some elementary mathematics to these absurdly
inflated figures, we still arrive at only an 81% certain scholarly
consensus on the matter. There is plenty of room for doubt. And
why should we care, anyway, about any particular purported “scholarly
consensus,” in the absence of argument or evidence? This
is the worst kind of appeal to authority. Yet Hauth makes such
appeals in several places. For example, he dismisses the Mormon
concept of revelation as incorrect largely because it seems to
conflict with the view of revelation taught by the late Swiss
theologian Karl Barth and by certain contemporary Protestant thinkers
(pp. 166-9).24 But even
for someone who both loves Switzerland and respects the brilliance
of Karl Barth, the obvious question is, “So what?” Similarly,
in his Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, Hauth attempts to refute
Mormon teaching on theosis or human deification by pure
assertion—albeit by pure assertion grounded, first, in a
passage from Karl Barth, and, second, in what is essentially a
rejection of 2 Peter 1:4 as “Hellenistic.”25 Again, one wishes for real argument and analysis, instead of sheer dogmatic pronouncement.

Hauth more or less correctly summarizes the teaching of the New Testament,
that there is neither marrying (Heiraten) nor giving in
marriage (Verheiratetwerden) following the resurrection
(p. 154). But he improperly concludes that this implies that
there is no “being married” (Verheiratetsein) in the life to come. His conclusion does not follow from his evidence, for the same reason that one cannot conclude that a building in which no weddings are performed (say, a physics laboratory or an auto assembly plant) is necessarily a building from which married people are banned.

Very commonly, Hauth offers no argument at all—not even a poor one. Indeed, his preferred method of attack seems to be by naked authorial
fiat. Thus his description of the biblical concept of God as “solitary,
eternal, and spiritual” (p. 58), although it reflects
standard mainstream Christian notions, needs argument and evidence,
not mere dogmatic declaration, as does his rather complacent allusion
to “the Christian doctrine of the Trinity” (p. 63).26
So, too, when Hauth claims that Mormons absorbed central elements
of their beliefs from the “British Israel” movement
(p. 85), it would be nice to see some supporting documentation,
and at least a little bit of analysis. Moreover, Hauth’s confident
allusion to creation from nothing (creatio ex nihilo) as
an essential biblical doctrine is, to say the very least of it,
highly debatable. The best contemporary scholarship—much
of it in Hauth’s own native German—assigns the origin of
the doctrine of ex nihilo creation to the period following
the close of the New Testament canon.27
Likewise, in his Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, when he asserts
that, “For Christians, there cannot and dare not be any scriptures
besides the Bible,” the critical reader craves demonstration,
not mere pontification.28 Or
are we to assume that the post-Reformation Protestant exaltation
of the Bible as “the exclusive standard of faith (sola
).”29 is some sort of self-evident Kantian a priori, written in brilliant letters on the sky for Rüdiger Hauth but strangely invisible to Mormons?

Hauth repeatedly asserts, without analysis or argumentation, that this or that Latter-day Saint belief or practice must be classed as “non-Christian”
(e.g., at pp. 120, 186), although he has not expended the
slightest effort to define Christianity, much less to explain
on what basis or with what authority he presumes to do so. (To
simply say, as he does on page 121, that Latter-day Saint teachings
or ordinances have no basis in “general Christian practice”
(allgemeine christliche Praxis)—a proposition to which Mormon scholarship would enthusiastically agree—does not by any means logically entail that such teachings or ordinances are not Christian, any more than saying that the birth of twins is not typical of general human births—an obviously true statement—would prove that twins are not human.)

Hauth is also given to the kind of exaggeration that characterizes polemicists, and separates them unmistakably from genuine scholars. “It must be clear to every Christian,” comments Hauth, “that the “God’ propagated by the Mormons, even if Smith gave him a biblical designation, has nothing to do with the true God of the Bible” (p. 124). Nothing? Does the God of the Latter-day Saints not share the same biblical story as the God of German Protestants? Did he not create the heavens and the earth, place Adam and Eve in the garden, send the flood, call Noah and Abraham, Moses and Isaiah, chastise, punish, and restore Israel, and send his Son as the Savior of humankind? Is the God in whom the Latter-day Saints believe not merciful, just, and loving? Does he not listen to and answer prayers? Has he not promised to raise us from the grave and offered us the opportunity to live forever in his presence? With such a remark Rüdiger Hauth truly does sink to the level of Sandra Tanner, or, even, of Robert McKay.

I have already mentioned Hauth’s flagrant double standard. It is on revealing
display in his account of young Joseph and his family—which,
to put it mildly, is not designed to build reader confidence in
the Prophet’s claims.30 Echoing
an old anti-Mormon insult, for example, he suggests that Joseph
inherited his alleged “tendency to irrationality” from
his mother, Lucy Mack Smith (p. 11).31
We are, it seems, supposed to conclude from the fact that the
Smith family claimed occasional divine communications, including
significant dreams, that they were superstitious. Hauth, a Protestant
theologian, gives no indication about what he makes of Jesus’
family, all of whom—Joseph and Mary and Zechariah and Elizabeth,
to say nothing of his cousin John—could easily be dismissed
in the same way. And how many visions and revelations did the
apostle Paul have? Was he “superstitious” and “irrational”?
What of the distinctly weird visions of John the Revelator? What
does Hauth think of Martin Luther, who held bedtime dialogues
with the devil and imagined Satan to be pelting the ceiling with
nuts and rolling wooden casks down the stairs of Wartburg Castle?32 If we are to use the spiritual life of the typical contemporary academic theologian as the measuring rod that determines what is and what is not religiously acceptable, what portion of the Bible—or, for that matter, of Christian history—will survive?

Hauth’s double standard is again on view at page 124, where he faults an element of the Mormon temple ceremony for allegedly teaching that God
is ignorant—precisely the objection made by ancient gnostics
against the obviously parallel case of Genesis 3:9-13.33

Another point in Hauth’s book that betrays both his double standard and his
uncritical assumptions is the notion that what is secret cannot
be Christian, and that what is Christian cannot be secret. Hauth
scarcely argues for this idea; for the most part, he simply assumes
the disjunction as self-evident.34
Hence the other subtitle for Die Mormonen, “Secret
Religion or Christian Church?” Yet it is by no means obvious
that a Christian church cannot have doctrines or practices that
are not made fully public. Many strands of early Christianity
claimed secret teachings.35 What does Hauth make of Paul’s “boasting,” in 2 Corinthians 12:1-4, about “a man in Christ”—most commentators think that it was Paul himself?”caught up to the third heaven,” where he “heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter”? Was Paul a Christian? If Rüdiger Hauth is willing to grant that Paul, despite his evident acceptance of religious secrecy, was a Christian, then Rüdiger Hauth cannot, consistently, expel the Latter-day Saints from Christendom for having ritual practices about which they prefer not to speak openly.

Hauth’s failure to offer evidence of his own is paralleled by his refusal to acknowledge the evidence and arguments of the Latter-day Saints. Mormon temple
worship, for example, is a major focus of Die Mormonen.
(This portion of the book, I would judge, is every bit as dependent
upon promise-breakers and upon the violation of solemn oaths and
covenants as is the modern American culture of adultery, divorce,
and serial monogamy.) Hauth uncritically offers up criticisms
and contrasts with the ancient temple at Jerusalem without taking
the slightest notice of the voluminous literature that Latter-day
Saint scholars have produced on precisely the kinds of questions
he raises.36 For a person whose
claim to scholarship rests largely upon his alleged expertise
on Mormon temple ordinances, this is a stunning omission. Latter-day
Saint scholars have been extraordinarily active in the study of
ancient temples, and their contributions have been recognized
well beyond the boundaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints, if not by Rüdiger Hauth.37

It will not do simply to assert, as Hauth does on page 91, that the splitting
of the veil of the Jerusalem temple at the time of the crucifixion
of Christ rendered the temple meaningless for Christians. Other
views are both possible and anciently attested. Why, otherwise,
did Paul and other early Christians continue to worship in the
temple? (See, for example, Luke 24:53; Acts 2:46; 21:26; and many
other passages.) Nor is it sufficient to declare that early Christians
built no temples, as if that fact, by itself, refuted Latter-day
Saint beliefs. The earliest Christians built little or nothing
of any kind.38 (Similarly, when no temple was available, early Latter-day Saints not infrequently performed their rituals in other places; the room above Joseph Smith’s store in Nauvoo, and Ensign Peak in Utah, come instantly to mind.)

To explain the Book of Mormon, Hauth invokes Ethan Smith’s View of the
and Solomon Spaulding’s Manuscript Found (pp. 17-18),
betraying no awareness of the weakness of such explanations, which
has regularly been pointed out by Latter-day Saint and other scholars.39
Moreover, he chooses a handful “of the numerous inanities
[Ungereimtheiten], errors, and absurdities found in the
Book of Mormon” for the amusement and edification of his
readers (p. 173).40 But
each of his examples has been dealt with, again and again, by
Latter-day Saint scholars over the past many decades.41
As is common with fundamentalist critics of the Book of Mormon
(although somewhat unexpected from someone so willing to jettison
verses of the Bible when they seem to lend support to Mormonism),
Hauth overstates the archaeological support for the Old and New
Testaments and ignores the work that has been done in support
of Mormon scripture.42 “In
contrast to the Bible,” writes Hauth, “whose historical,
geographical, and cultural accounts have been confirmed by extrabiblical
documents or the results of archaeological excavations, nothing
of the sort can be said about the Book of Mormon” (p. 172).43
It hardly needs to be pointed out that, on page 83, when he criticizes
the Book of Mormon’s account of a sermon much like the Sermon
on the Mount as it is recorded in Matthew, Hauth seems unaware
of John W. Welch’s The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon
on the Mount,
which has been available for years.44

On page 172,
Hauth compares the Book of Mormon to three indisputably modern
apocryphal gospels, implicitly telling his readers that it is
really no better than they are and no different from them. But
it is significantly different. Over ten million living people of the most varied backgrounds and languages and nations believe it to be the word of God. It has given rise to a large and rapidly growing religious movement of historical and political importance. It has, albeit unnoticed by Rüdiger Hauth, stimulated the creation of a considerable body of scholarship. And much, much more could be said. Can anything comparable be fairly observed of Edmond Székely’s “Essene Gospel of Peace”? Of Gideon Ouseley’s “Gospel of Perfect Life”? Of Mr. Levi H. Dowling’s “Aquarian Gospel”?

In similar
fashion, Hauth brushes the book of Abraham off in approximately
two pages (pp. 23-5), without referring to the voluminous
literature written in support of that document’s authenticity.45
Indeed, attempting to paint the situation as utterly bleak for
the benighted Latter-day Saints, he cites Hugh Nibley from the
1 December 1967 issue of the Daily Universe, the student
newspaper at Brigham Young University. (This is, so far as I can
see, Professor Nibley’s only appearance in Die Mormonen.
Again, a striking omission, for a book focused to the extent that
this one is on Latter-day Saint temple worship, where Dr. Nibley
is universally acknowledged as a preeminent authority.) “This
discovery is an unpleasant surprise [eine böse Überraschung] for Mormon scholars,” says Hauth’s Nibley (p. 25), reacting to Aziz Atiya’s unexpected papyrus find at the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

Hauth’s Nibley
virtually confirms the impression that Die Mormonen hopes
its readers will take away from this episode: The Mormons were
and are devastated by the recovery of the papyri, which prove
both Joseph Smith and his book of Abraham to be frauds. But, this
time, Hauth has given us the original English, and, as could perhaps
have been predicted, it reads quite differently from his German
reinvention of it: “LDS scholars are caught flatfooted by
this discovery,” exclaimed Professor Nibley, more than a
little excitedly and in somewhat idiomatic American English. To
be “caught flatfooted,” of course, means to be taken
by surprise, to be found unprepared. (The image is probably that
of someone who is not poised and ready to run, but is simply standing
still.) It carries no necessarily negative connotations. Dr. Nibley
was merely alluding to the relative lack of Egyptological expertise
among the Mormons at the time and indicating that a great deal
of work and study would be required before we could properly use
and learn from the new materials that had just, without any warning,
been dropped into our laps. And, in fact, Dr. Nibley’s published
work of the last three decades, which has focused largely on the
book of Abraham and its context in Egypt and elsewhere, illustrates
vividly the enthusiasm with which he has devoted himself to his
task.46 There is not a trace
in it of the darkness and despair that Hauth’s mistranslation
would suggest to the German readers of Die Mormonen. (The burning question: Is it mere chance that Hauth’s mistranslations invariably make the Mormons look bad?)

Readers should
not, by the way, get the impression that Hauth’s research had
him combing the archives of the BYU student newspaper. He almost
certainly obtained this quotation from his readings in anti-Mormon
polemical literature, which serves him as an important source.47
Thus a cursory survey of Die Mormonen yields references
to such indispensable scholarly contributions by Jerald and Sandra
Tanner as Secret Writings of William Clayton (on p. 29), Mormonism: Shadow or Reality (pp. 32, 173), and The
Bible and Mormon Doctrine
(p. 61). Einar Anderson (or
Andersen; Hauth’s spelling oscillates between the two), a prominent
anti-Mormon propagandist of an earlier generation, is another
vital resource for Hauth’s scholarship (pp. 34, 139).48
William Whalen’s fairly hostile The Latter-day Saints in the
Modern Day World
makes its appearance on page 31.49 Hauth is unacquainted with legitimate scholarship on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so, undistracted by such writing, he has gone directly to the critics.

Hauth describes the founding narratives of the restoration as “a marvelous story,” but he does not intend this description in a positive sense, for, although he himself seems to accept such biblical notions as the claim that God came down to earth as a mortal baby and then rose from the dead after crucifixion, he proceeds to dismiss the story of Joseph Smith as one that, “to a great degree, has the character of a fairy tale, and is therefore not to be evaluated according to the standards of normal historical writing” (p. 11). Unfortunately, his book affords no evidence that Hauth is aware of the large and impressive body of work on early Latter-day Saint history that has appeared from very reputable Mormon scholars in recent decades—scholars professionally trained in the art of “normal historical writing.” So it is difficult to see on what basis he makes his judgment.

Nor does Hauth
seem to understand the dynamics of American history in general.
Or, if he does, he is unwilling to offer any explanation that
would mitigate his depiction of the Latter-day Saints as evil
and contemptible. Accordingly, when, in order to imply instability
on their part, he points to Joseph Smith Sr.’s lack of a steady
profession and to the Smith family’s frequent moves (p. 11),
he neglects to mention that, quite unlike the case in Europe,
such things were the rule rather than the exception on the fluid
American frontier.50 In similar
fashion, while treating the issue of priesthood and blacks (on
pp. 42-3), Hauth invariably puts the term Neger (“negro”) in quotation marks. I can only assume that he does so to highlight the supposed racism implied by the use of this now-out-of-fashion term by Bruce R. McConkie, Brigham Young, and others. He could have explained, but does not, that the word was generally acceptable in 1966, and certainly in the nineteenth century—even, so far as I can tell, among the majority of American blacks.

There is no
hint in Die Mormonen of the writings on the formative events
of the restoration of Prof. Richard L. Anderson (J.D., Harvard;
Ph.D, California [Berkeley])51
or Prof. Milton V. Backman, Jr. (Ph.D., Pennsylvania),52
or Prof. Richard L. Bushman (Ph.D., Harvard),53 let alone of the broad range of work by such professional historians as Thomas G. Alexander (Ph.D., California [Berkeley]), James B. Allen (Ph.D., Southern California), Leonard J. Arrington (Ph.D., North Carolina), Davis Bitton (Ph.D., Princeton), Stanley B. Kimball (Ph.D., Columbia), Grant Underwood (Ph.D., California [Los Angeles]), and a number of others. Although the Mormon History Association has established an enviable reputation for professionalism, as far as Rüdiger Hauth is concerned the MHA might as well not exist.

It is, no
doubt, easier to write in an information vacuum. To take just
one illustration from among the many that could be chosen from Die Mormonen, Hauth cites the famous 1826 Bainbridge trial
to establish Joseph Smith Jr.’s dishonesty (p. 11).54
The Prophet’s alleged lack of integrity is simply assumed thereafter—as
both an established fact and an extremely useful weapon to be
wielded against the Latter-day Saints.55
But Hauth’s claim that Joseph was convicted by the Bainbridge
court appears to be untrue, and materials casting strong doubt
on his assertion have been easily available since 1990.56
And when, on page 164, he sweepingly dismisses Latter-day Saint
arguments for an apostasy of the primitive church as “lacking
any evidentiary power [jegliche Beweiskraft],” he
does so, apparently, without having read any Mormon scholarship
on the subject.57

One of the
most disturbing elements of Die Mormonen is its use of
undefined terms to paint the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints as alien, evil, and stupid. He refers to the Urim and Thummim
on page 54 as a “magic stone” (Zauberstein);
on page 14, he uses the term Wunderbrille (“magic
spectacles”). He speaks knowingly of Mormon “amulets”
(pp. 97, 187). Repeatedly, Hauth describes the Latter-day
Saints as descending—particularly through their temple worship—into
the dark realms of magic (Magie) and superstition (Aberglaube)
(as at pp. 100, 122, 126, 135, 150, 187).58
He is fond of using words like occult and heathen
to characterize Mormonism (as at pp. 122, 124, 135, 187).59
But he never explains what he means by these terms, and they are
extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, to define. I spent
two months in a seminar at Princeton University in the summer
of 1994, meeting regularly with about a dozen scholars of the
classics, sociology, Hinduism, the New Testament, anthropology,
and literature, trying, among other things, to work out a definition
of the word magic that would include what we thought it
ought to include, and exclude what we thought it ought to omit.60 We could not do it.

Hauth doesn’t
even make the attempt. Rather than using them as tools for understanding
or explanation, which would require care and precision, Hauth
brandishes these words as weapons. Of course, he has numerous
precedents to support him in this; terms like magic, superstition,
and heathen have almost always been
used as weapons. (What you do is magic; what I do
is religion.) That seems to be their chief utility for polemicists,
though it makes them virtually unusable for serious scholarship.
Is Hauth unaware that early Christians themselves were frequently
attacked as gullible and superstitious by their disapproving neighbors?
Tacitus and Pliny, the first Roman authors to mention Christianity,
describe the new religion as exitiabilis superstitio, prava
et immodica superstitio,
and inflexibilis obstinatio—phrases
which hardly need translation.61

Not only has
Hauth failed to notice, let alone to master, Latter-day Saint
scholarly literature, but, on his major theme of “magic,”
he has apparently never even heard of the major critical works. Die Mormonen betrays not the slightest awareness of such
books as D. Michael Quinn’s Early Mormonism and the Magic World
or John L. Brooke’s The Refiner’s Fire.62
These volumes would have given him at least some (seriously flawed)
basis for throwing around loose accusations of “occultism,”
had he taken the time and effort to look at them.63
Nor is the simple-minded opposition of “magic” to “Christianity”
something in which contemporary scholarship would likely agree
with Hauth. Early Christians, and even Jesus Christ himself, were
routinely described as magicians by those around them. Furthermore,
at least a few modern scholars see little reason to disagree.64
And ancient Christians beyond the formative period were quite
frequently involved with what might plausibly be termed “magical”

Clearly, Rüdiger Hauth has not bothered to acquaint himself with, much less to master, the considerable body of writings available on such subjects as “magic,” Mesoamerican archaeology, and Latter-day Saint history. And perhaps a clergyman shouldn’t be expected to know much about such things. (Though, of course, one would hope that he would then stop writing books about them.) Surely, however, Hauth should know something about the Bible. This, at least, is where we can expect him to do well. But it isn’t so. For example, Hauth says that even a “superficial examination” (p. 55) of 1 Corinthians 15:40-2 demonstrates that the Latter-day Saint interpretation of the passage is incorrect. Unfortunately, though, a “superficial examination” is all he gives it, and his case is, at the very best, unconvincing.

his claim that all New Testament scholars are agreed on the proper
interpretation of 1 Peter 3:19, and that this proper interpretation
rules out Latter-day Saint notions of the gospel being preached
by the Savior and his disciples to the dead (pp. 143-6),
seems a serious exaggeration of the facts. Even the alleged scholarly
consensus, as he presents it, appears to rest upon a rather high-handed
rejection of the relevant biblical passages, and of the corroborating
apocryphal and pseudepigraphical data, as being merely dispensable
quasi-pagan mythology, which he then follows with an eminently
disputable exercise in Bultmann-style demythologizing. Again,
his claims are far, far, from convincing. One is reminded, rather,
of a definition of the term clergyman that has been attributed to George Bernard Shaw: A clergyman, said Shaw, is an interpreter of religion who does not believe that the Bible means what it says; on the contrary, he is always convinced that it says what he means.

In this matter,
it is Rüdiger Hauth, and not the Latter-day Saints, who clearly
stands apart from the long-established teaching of the Christian
tradition. It is not only 1 Peter 3:19-22 and 4:6 that seem
to refer to Christ’s visit to the spirit world.66
The Descensus, Christ’s “Harrowing of Hell,”—a
motif clearly connected with the subject of Joseph F. Smith’s
1918 “Vision of the Redemption of the Dead” (D&C
138)—was a standard theme of Christian writing and Christian
art for many centuries. “This topic was also identified as
the Descent into Limbo (literally the “lip’ of Hell, understood
as the place where the souls of unbaptized children and the righteous
born before Jesus rested).”67
The Apostles’ Creed, in the Forma Recepta as well as in
the versions given by Rufinus (ca. A.D. 390) and by Fortunatus
(ca. A.D. 570), mentions Christ’s spiritual descent into hell
while his body rested in the sepulchre. So does the Athanasian
Creed.68 In the Cathedral of
San Marco at Venice, there are two carved alabaster columns—dating
to the fifth century—that seem to be part of the booty brought
to the city after the sack of Constantinople at the end of the
Fourth Crusade. One of them features Christ in the spirit world,
where he is shown taking an unidentified patriarch by the right
hand while Hades, unable to prevent the rescue, bites his fingers
in frustrated anger (see fig. 1).69
From the fifth- or sixth-century Gospel of Nicodemus, as
Jacques Le Goff summarizes it, “we learn that Christ went
down to Hell and retrieved from its clutches righteous souls who
had not been baptized because they were born prior to his coming.”70
Notions of the triumphant and saving visit of the spirit of Christ
to the realm of the dead while his body lay in the tomb were,
says K. M. Openshaw, “a theme dear to the heart of the Anglo-Saxons.”
This is elegantly illustrated, for example, in the miniatures
of the so-called Tiberius Psalter, which probably originated in
the mid-eleventh century.71 But
it was not only the Anglo-Saxons who found the story fascinating.
So did their conquerors. A colorful scene of Christ’s invasion
of the spirit world can be found in the illustrations to the twelfth-century
Winchester Bible (see fig. 2).72
All three members of the Trinity are represented on a Norman baptismal
font in Herefordshire as participants in the Harrowing of Hell
(see fig. 3). Moreover, this very sculpture appears to be reflected
in the account of the Descensus given in the famous fourteenth-century Piers Plowman of William Langland.73

Figure 1. Christ, here portrayed as young and beardless, reaches from within a Roman arch for the hand of one of the righteous dead, probably Adam, to lead him out of the underworld. 450-286 A.D., San Marco, Venice

Figure 2. Christ drives his cross-staff into the open jaws of hell, while he grasps Adam, with Eve at his side. The devil lies bound on the shattered gates under Christ’s feet. 1150-1175, Winchester Bible

Figure 3. God the Father, holding a book, is approaching Christ, who has the dove of the Holy Spirit on his shoulder. Christ holds Adam by the wrist and strides over the shattered gates of hell. c. 1150, Eardisley, Herefordshire

writers and preachers and artists saw in such biblical stories
as that of Jonah in the belly of the whale, Daniel in the lions’
den, Samson opening the lion’s mouth, and David’s rescuing of
the lamb from the bear, prefigurings or types of Christ’s visit
to the spirit world and his delivery of those held captive there.74
Twelfth-century mosaics in Venice’s San Marco and in the nave
of the nearby cathedral at Torcello feature virtually identical
scenes of Christ leading Adam by the right hand as he tramples
the smashed gates of Hades.75
The Fourth Lateran Council proclaimed the Descensus official
Christian dogma in 1215. The dramatic event is also mentioned
in the Compendium theologicae veritatis, composed by the
Dominican Hugh of Strasbourg in or about A.D. 1268.76 It was reaffirmed as received Christian dogma at the Council of Lyon in 1274. The illustrious fourteenth-century Italian poet Dante alludes to it, when he has the Roman poet Virgil, who had died in 19 B.C., explain:

I was new-entered
on this state

when I beheld a Great Lord enter here;
the crown he wore, a sign of victory.

He carried
off the shade of our first father,

of his son Abel, and the shade of Noah,
of Moses, the obedient legislator,

of father
Abraham, David the king,

of Israel, his father, and his sons,
and Rachel, she for whom he worked so long,

and many
others—and He made them blessed;

and I should have you know that, before them,

there were no human souls that had been saved.77

The Harrowing
of Hell was a very popular subject in medieval English mystery
drama, and is featured, as well, in La Passion du Palatinus,
which, dating from the early fourteenth century, is the earliest
of the extant French passion plays.78
Also during the early fourteenth century, the Descensus
found depiction in one of the marvelous Byzantine frescos of the
church of the Chora (the Kariye Camii) in Constantinople.79
In the first part of the sixteenth century, the great Albrecht
Dürer treated “Christ in Limbo” as the subject
of a number of engravings bearing that title (see fig. 4).80
“As Christ died for us, and was buried,” says the third
of the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion of the Church of England
(1563), “so also is it to be believed that he went down into

There seems
little point in further multiplying references. “Most Christian
theologians,” says The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian
of the so-called Descensus, “believe that
it refers to the visit of the Lord after His death to the realm
of existence, which is neither heaven nor hell in the ultimate
sense, but a place or state where the souls of pre-Christian people
waited for the message of the Gospel, and whither the penitent
thief passed after his death on the cross (Lk. 23.43).”82

Figure 4. In this 1510 version of Christ in limbo, Albrecht Dürer shows Christ kneeling to extend his hand to those who sat in darkness. Adam, holding the cross, and Eve stand next to the shattered doors of hell.

when on pages 140-2 Hauth turns his attention to 1 Corinthians
15:29, there is little depth or historical awareness in his exegesis.
He admits that the verse is a difficult one, “not at all
simple . . . to interpret correctly”—in his Kleiner
, he concedes it to be “one of the
“darkest’ verses in the New Testament”83 —and even acknowledges that “there were certainly a few in the congregation at Corinth who practiced baptism for the dead,” but, undaunted, asserts immediately thereafter that we can surely know at least one thing about the passage: The Mormon view of it is invalid. “One thing,” declares Hauth,

can be said with certainty: The ritual of baptism for the dead was never an element in Christian teaching and therefore never found its way into Christian thought and practice. Quite the contrary: At the Council of Carthage in 397, this unchristian practice was officially condemned.

One might
wonder, of course, why a Christian council at the end of the fourth
century would have to deal with a practice that was never, ever,
an issue for Christians. And one might wonder, too, why an alleged
expert on Latter-day Saint temple worship seems to know nothing
of Hugh Nibley’s important scholarly article on “Baptism
for the Dead in Ancient Times.”84

In view of
the shallow, unreflective, and uncritical character of Die
, it is deeply ironic to see Rüdiger Hauth lamenting “the one-dimensional, uncritical thought patterns of Mormonism” (p. 134). Of course, as Abraham Lincoln once said in quite another context, for those who like this kind of book, this is very much the kind of book they will like. Propaganda is the kind of inaccuracy that often deceives your friends, while seldom deceiving your enemies.

But it would
be wrong to ignore Rüdiger Hauth simply because he isn’t
much of a scholar. I am confident that it is not in the rarefied
world of German academia that Hauth hopes to make his lasting
mark. (Although, even here, he appears to have had an impact:
Hauth-like references to Joseph Smith’s “prophet spectacles”
(Prophetenbrille) and to the Book of Mormon as an “adventure
story” (Abenteuer-Story) appear in the article on
the “Mormonen” in at least one major German reference
work on the history of Christianity.)85
We will probably understand him better if we see him as an activist,
rather than merely as a failed thinker. For his animosity toward
the faith of the Latter-day Saints has a practical side. He is
no mere paper warrior. And anti-Mormon activism has real consequences
in the real world.86 Still, Hauth
probably cannot really compete, at least yet, with a situation
of which I have recently been told: A Delaware-based anti-Mormon
named Richard Stout is currently engaged in a national effort
to drive a certain small business into bankruptcy, simply because
its young owner and the developer of its products are Latter-day
Saints. And he will probably succeed. (The little company has
designed its language-learning products for home schoolers, among
whom evangelical Christians—who seem, unfortunately, to be
susceptible to this kind of demagoguery—constitute a large
share of the market.) Real Christians, you see, should neither
trade with, nor patronize, nor hire Latter-day Saints. For, as
Mr. Stout says of the product developer, a noted expert on linguistics
and second-language acquisition, “at least 10% of whatever
royalty he receives from a Christian’s purchase of [the product]
goes into the LDS Church coffers [as tithing]”—which
is an absolutely perfect argument for segregation, for a “Christian”
crusade to exile all Latter-day Saints, however innocent
or secular their businesses, whether they are physicians, accountants,
or paperboys, into an economic ghetto.87 (Welcome to the Balkans!) This is, sadly, not the first such case that has been brought to my attention. And I am forcefully reminded of the fate of Jewish businesses in 1930s Germany.

On his own
level, nonetheless, and on his own native turf of ecclesiastical
politics, Rüdiger Hauth too is a man of action. It is not
unlikely, for instance, although he passes over it with commendable
modesty, that Hauth himself deserves much of the credit for the
decision made in 1989 by the German Protestant state church (and
described on p. 72) to reject baptisms performed by the Church
of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as inauthentically Christian.
In Die Mormonen—”for,” as he says, “theological,
pastoral, and also legal reasons”—he counsels the German
Protestant churches to deny Latter-day Saints the privilege of
microfilming parish genealogical records (p. 150). And it
would seem that he has indeed, or will have, had some success
in his efforts to thwart Latter-day Saint genealogical filming.
On pages 149-50, he reports that, between 1947 and 1980, eleven
of the eighteen states of pre-unification West Germany refused
the Mormons permission to microfilm their records. Three permitted
the filming, while the remaining four initially gave their permission
and then, after “theological deliberations”—perhaps
assisted in their meditating by Hauth himself—withdrew it.
(The majority of the Catholic dioceses of Germany had already
allowed genealogical microfilming during the 1950s.) Hauth’s apparent
actions place him once more in the august company of such people
as “Dr.” Walter Martin and Ed Decker. 88

The problem
is that shallow, poor thinking often results in inefficient or
misdirected action: In this case, for example, and for all his
talk of Mormon “magic,” it seems to be Rüdiger
Hauth, not the Mormons, who, if we use one common definition of
the term, takes a “magical” view of Latter-day Saint
temple and genealogical work. (That common definition, which I
suspect Hauth himself might accept, holds that an action or object
is “magical” if its power is thought to be inherent
and automatic, and that it only becomes “religious”
if the object or action’s effectuality is dependent upon the will
of a supplicated being. This definition has serious problems,89
but will serve to make my point here.) For Hauth warns his readers
that Christian churches should not assist the Mormon project of
making “the names of people who lived and died as Christians
and devoted members of their churches into objects of the magical
rituals for the dead of a foreign religion” (p. 150).
But, surely, if God does not authorize nor even recognize Mormon
temple work, vicarious baptisms can have no intrinsic power to
do anything at all to the dead, much less to their “names.”
Such ritual actions would then be purely a waste of the Latter-day
Saints’ time. Intriguingly, Hauth’s alarm could almost be taken
to imply that he fears them to be more than that.90 (Perhaps the Catholics, especially in preconciliar days, were less insecure.)

I’ve just about had it with this sort of writing. I think I can speak for many Latter-day Saints who occupy themselves with it from time to time, when I say that we are tired of religious bigots demeaning and caricaturing our most sacred beliefs. We are tired of the smug assumption that, if somebody has demonstrated that belief X differs from the opinions of mainstream Christianity (let alone merely of that small sector of Christendom going under the title of “evangelical” or “fundamentalist”), it has thereby been proven that belief X is wrong. We are weary of the notion that, if something is obvious to a critic, merely asserting it, without so much as a nod in the direction of evidence and analysis, is all that is required to carry the day. We are unimpressed with the use of unexplained terms to define us out of Christendom or, by arbitrary lexical assertion, to prove us wrong. We want it demonstrated that these definitions are reasonable and sound, or we want them dropped.

We are especially,
and heartily, tired of critics who seem to write more books
about Mormonism than they have read on the subject. One
might, of course, respond that, since Rüdiger Hauth lives
in Europe, he cannot reasonably be held to high standards. That
is fatuous. People who write on a given subject have a duty to
do the work and to learn whatever is necessary to make what they
write of acceptable quality. Otherwise, they should not write.
(Silence can serve, in many cases, as a perfectly appropriate
substitute for knowledge.) Even if a writer about Mormonism is
based in Europe, he can still get it right. The Catholic scholar
Massimo Introvigne lives in Turin, Italy, for example, but he
writes with remarkable knowledge and understanding about Mormonism,
anti-Mormonism, and many related subjects. His recent BYU Studies
article on “Fundamentalist Anti-Mormonism,” for example,
in the course of which he examines Ed Decker and Decker’s amazing
crony Bill Schnoebelen, among others, is both erudite and fascinating.91

The anti-Mormons
cannot go on like this. They cannot continue to boast of their
triumphs over Mormonism while running from the evidence and logic
that would defeat them. (Among the cognoscenti, since his sixty-laughs-a-minute 1992 correspondence with William Hamblin, this hilarious exercise is known as the “Robert McKay Maneuver.”) They cannot continue to pretend that Mormon arguments do not exist. They surely cannot persist in composing books and articles that leave us embarrassed on their behalf.

No. On second thought, they can, and they almost certainly will.

After sending this review off for what I hoped was the last
time, a colleague brought to my attention the latest issue of Dialogue, a journal of allegedly Mormon thought. It contains at least two pieces demonstrating all too clearly that it is not merely fundamentalist Protestants who “continue to pretend that Mormon arguments do not exist.”

In the first
item, a certain Brigham D. Madsen, of Salt Lake City, writes an
article against the historicity of the Book of Mormon. His entire
essay rests on the assumption that B. H. Roberts, a General Authority
and one of the greatest thinkers in the history of Mormonism,
died in 1933 as an unbeliever in the book.92 Mr. Madsen seems to think that everyone shares his assumption. He is wrong. And just a little bit of reading would have corrected his misunderstanding. The following are among the discussions of this topic that Mr. Madsen failed to cite or notice:

Truman G.
Madsen, “B. H. Roberts and the Book of Mormon,” in Book
of Mormon Authorship: New Light on Ancient Origins
, ed. Noel B. Reynolds (1982; reprint, Provo: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1996), 7-31.

John W. Welch., “Finding Answers to B. H. Roberts’ Questions” (Provo: FARMS, 1985).

Truman G. Madsen and John W. Welch, “Did B. H. Roberts Lose Faith in the Book of Mormon?” (Provo: FARMS, 1985).

Truman G. Madsen, ed., “B. H. Robert’s Final Decade: Statements about the Book of Mormon (1921-33)” (Provo: FARMS, n.d.).

John W. Welch,
“B. H. Roberts: Seeker after Truth,” Ensign (March
1986): 56-82; reprinted in A Sure Foundation, 60-74.

John W. Welch,
ed., Reexploring the Book of Mormon (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992), 88-92.

John W. Welch,
“Introduction,” in B. H. Roberts, The Truth, the
Way, the Life: An Elementary Treatise on Theology
, ed. John W. Welch (Provo: BYU Studies, 1994), xxiii-xxviii.

D. Michael
Quinn, The Mormon Hierarchy: Extensions of Power (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, in association with Smith Research Associates, 1997), 688.

Daniel C.
Peterson, “Yet More Abuse of B. H. Roberts,” FARMS
Review of Books
9/1 (1997): 69-86.

Matthew Roper,
“Unanswered Mormon Scholars,” FARMS Review of Books 9/1 (1997): 98-110.

Mr. Madsen uses a volume edited by Brent Lee Metcalfe, also of
Salt Lake City, as evidence against the claims of the Book of
Mormon. He seems to be ignorant of the lengthy and detailed responses
to Mr. Metcalfe’s book published by FARMS.93
In fact, he apparently does not know that there is such
a thing as the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies,
which naturally makes it easier for him to casually mention “the
overwhelming proofs of [the Book of Mormon’s] fictional character.”94 If nobody exists to question them, and especially if one is palpably eager to accept them, even the most flimsy of supposed proofs must indeed seem “overwhelming.”

a second article, by Ronald V. Huggins, attacks the antiquity
of the sermon presented in 3 Nephi 12-14.95
Its first footnote offers a bibliography of previous materials
that have some relevance to the matter—while conspicuously
failing to mention the only book-length treatment of the subject
ever published, John W. Welch’s The Sermon at the Temple and
the Sermon on the Mount
This is shameful. And it becomes doubly or trebly so when Mr.
Huggins says of one of his sources, an article by Stan Larson
in a Protestant theological journal, that, “Given the thoroughness
of Larson’s treatment, there is no reason to dwell on questions
relating to the textual criticism of the [Sermon on the Mount]
here.”97 This is disgraceful,
because a large portion of John Welch’s book is devoted, precisely,
to a substantial critique of Stan Larson’s article. One reviewer
of Welch’s book, armed with a doctorate in ancient Greek, summarized
the relevant portion of it by observing that “Larson’s somewhat
weak work critiquing 3 Nephi’s text is solidly countered.
One sees how Larson, aside from committing methodological missteps,
has overemphasized the importance of some supposed problems and
[note this!] has ignored textual issues that did not support his

Clearly Dialogue needs to do better. Its editors are free, of course, to continue their apparent campaign against orthodox Latter-day Saint belief. But they have an obligation, not only to their fledgling writers, but also to their readers, to see that authors have done their homework and that their articles fairly represent the actual state of the argument on the matters they discuss.

I wish to thank Dr. William J. Hamblin for his helpful comments on an early draft of this review, and Deborah D. Peterson, Dr. Stephen D. Ricks, and the incomparable Michael Lyon for helping me to track down several references. Professors Luther Giddings, Mark J. Johnson, Hans-Wilhelm Kelling, and Madison Sowell usefully responded to last-minute questions. All translations contained herein are mine unless otherwise indicated.


Leon Cornforth, Meeting the Mormon Challenge with Love: The
Book for Mormons
( by the author, 1997). For a hilarious
and utterly devastating exposé of “Prof.”/”Dr.”
Dee Jay Nelson that I once naïvely thought had put an end
to his pretensions (and should in fact have done so), see Robert
L. Brown and Rosemary Brown, They Lie in Wait to Deceive: A
Study of Anti-Mormon Deception
(Mesa: Brownsworth, 1981).
The definitive word on Solomon Spaulding’s purported authorship
of the Book of Mormon is probably Lester E. Bush Jr., “The
Spaulding Theory Then and Now,” Dialogue 10/4 (1977):
40-69. However, compare Fawn M. Brodie, No Man Knows My History:
The Life of Joseph Smith the Mormon Prophet
, 2nd ed. (New York: Knopf, 1975), 68, 143, 442-56, where a hostile critic of the Prophet also recognizes that the Spaulding theory is dead.

2 The Mormon Puzzle: Understanding and Witnessing to Latter-day
(Alpharetta, Ga.: North American Mission Board, Southern
Baptist Convention, 1997). According to Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s
newsletter, the Salt Lake City Messenger 93 (November 1997): 1, the Interfaith Witness Division of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Home Missions Board plans to distribute 40,000 copies of the video to local Baptist pastors and to translate it into six or eight foreign languages.

For those willing to wade through such materials, specimens of
Jerald and Sandra Tanner’s low opinion of Ed Decker’s work are
available in the Tanners’ newsletter, the Salt Lake City Messenger
67 (April 1988); as well as in Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, The Lucifer-God Doctrine: A Critical Look at Charges of Luciferian
Worship in the Mormon Temple, with a Response to the Decker-Schnoebelen
, enl. and rev. ed. (Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse
Ministry, 1988); Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Serious Charges
against the Tanners: Are the Tanners Demonized Agents of the Mormon
(Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1991);
Jerald Tanner and Sandra Tanner, Problems in The Godmakers
(Salt Lake City: Utah Lighthouse Ministry, 1993). Another
vocal anti-Mormon paints an amusing and astonishing portrait of
Mr. Decker in Wally Tope, “Poisoned” at Pizzaland:
The Revealing Case of Ed Decker’s “Arsenic Poisoning”

(La Canada Flintridge, Calif.: Frontline Ministries, 1991). I
myself have summarized some of Decker’s allegations and antics—many
volumes would be required to chronicle them in their breathtaking
fullness—in Daniel C. Peterson, “P. T. Barnum Redivivus,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 7/2 (1995): 38-105.

For references to the charge as it is made by Decker and his associate
Dave Hunt, see Daniel C. Peterson and Stephen D. Ricks, Offenders
for a Word: How Anti-Mormons Play Word Games to Attack the Latter-day
(Salt Lake City: Aspen Books, 1992), 13 n. 40; cf.
96-8. Dave Hunt, incidentally, is an ecumenical bigot.
A recent report has him claiming—surprise!—that Catholicism
is not Christian. See First Things 77 (November 1997): 81.

The German word Sekte has, however, a stronger connotation
than English sect—approximating in its force the more
obviously negative cult. It has been said that a cult
is simply a religion without political power. In German-speaking
Europe, for the so-called Sekten, that may be literally
true. Of course, it would also have been true for pre-Constantinian
Christianity. For a discussion of the pejorative word cult,
see Peterson and Ricks, Offenders for a Word, 193-212.

Rüdiger Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus (Wuppertal: Brockhaus, 1982).

He is fond of the word Phantasie, using it also at Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 45, to denigrate the faith
of the Latter-day Saints, and using the English words Science-fiction/Fantasy
to describe Mormon doctrine, at Hauth, Die Mormonen, 187.

Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 48-9.

Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 6.

Gerhard Wahrig, Deutsches Wörterbuch (Gütersloh: Bertelsmann Lexikon-Verlag, 1974), s.v. “Synkretismus.”

Henry Corbin, History of Islamic Philosophy, trans. Liadain Sherrard and Philip Sherrard (London: Kegan Paul, 1993), 154.

Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 14.

With others, I discuss this matter in Susan Easton Black, ed., Expressions of Faith: Testimonies of Latter-day Saint Scholars (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1996).

See R. Joseph Hoffmann, trans., Celsus: On the True Doctrine,
A Discourse against the Christians
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1987), 27-8.

Kenneth R. Hardy, “Social Origins of American Scientists
and Scholars,” Science (9 August 1974): 497-506, documents
the Mormon cultural region’s disproportionately high production
of scientists. (As I write, a graduate of the church’s Brigham
Young University has just won the 1997 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.)
Erich R. Paul, Science, Religion, and Mormon Cosmology
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1992) offers a good overview
of certain interactions between Mormons, Mormon doctrine, and
science. Had he read it, Leonard J. Arrington and Davis Bitton, The Mormon Experience: A History of the Latter-day Saints (New York: Knopf, 1979), 308-35, would have cautioned Hauth against his disparaging generalization.

Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 52.

So, too, in his Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 37.

Compare page 183; also Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 42.

His reference to Latter-day Saint belief in “resurrection”
(p. 53) is baffling; the Mormon concept of resurrection is
essentially identical to that held by large sectors of orthodox
Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. (The urge to sneer may simply
have a momentum of its own, carrying our author further than he
consciously intends.) Perhaps, of course, he rejects the concept.
But, by traditional standards of orthodoxy, that would put him on the heretical fringes, not the Mormons.

Bruce R. McConkie, Mormon Doctrine (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1966), 527, emphasis added.

This is the case with his discussion of temple clothing (p. 98),
into which I will not enter. Sometimes, it is true, the errors
have no evident motive. On pages 22, 58, and 187, for example,
Hauth informs his readers that, according to the book of Abraham,
God lives on a planet named Kolob. (Compare Hauth, Kleiner
, 51.) But Abraham 3:9 says that “Kolob
is set nigh unto the throne of God.” Perhaps the misrepresentation
heightens the perceived ridiculousness of Mormon theology. But
twice giving the title of the president of the church as “Seer,
Prophet, and Revelator” (pp. 25, 143), when it is actually
“Prophet, Seer, and Revelator,” and “Diego de Lada”
for “Diego de Landa” (p. 85), and “Wilford
Woddruff” for “Wilford Woodruff” (p. 139)
seem merely sloppy. On page 174, Hauth appears to insert the sword
of Laban into the story of Coriantumr’s beheading of Shiz, which
serves no purpose other than, perhaps, to confirm that Hauth’s
knowledge of the Book of Mormon is severely limited. And where,
precisely, in Doctrine and Covenants 132, does Hauth find a limit
of ten plural wives? (See Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 40.)

Hauth knows Stephen Robinson’s book Are Mormons Christians? (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991) in its 1993 German translation, but he seems not to grasp its arguments. Indeed, on page 166, Hauth rather haughtily dismisses Robinson, saying, “With his explanations, Robinson has made it clear that he understands nothing of either the Reformation or the doctrinal development of the historic church.” I will leave it to the reader to decide whether Rüdiger Hauth is competent to make such a judgment. But I note that Professor Robinson earned his doctorate in biblical studies at a leading American university, that he has taught religion at Presbyterian-related Hampden-Sydney College and at Methodist-related Duke University and Lycoming College (where he chaired the department of religion) as well as at Brigham Young University, and that he has published widely in prestigious scholarly venues. It seems highly unlikely to me, on the face of things, that Hauth could be correct.

Compare Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 56.

Pure assertion is also what one finds on this matter at Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 44-5.

Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 55-6. At Hauth, Die
, 179, he attempts—in my view, quite incoherently—to
evade Stephen Robinson’s patristic argument for the authentically
Christian character of a doctrine of theosis. For the argument
of an internationally prominent philosopher that approximates,
at many points, to the Latter-day Saint position on eternal progression
and the plurality of divine or divinized persons, see John H.
Hick, Death and Eternal Life (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1980). (Professor Hick and I had occasion to discuss the similarities during breaks in a small symposium at the beginning of 1994 in Jerusalem.)

On the very page (p. 63) where he equates Christianity with
ontological trinitarianism, Hauth himself cites a passage from
Latter-day Saint author Bill Forrest that, unanswered, represents
a major threat to so naïve an assumption. But he doesn’t
respond at all, and seems, indeed, not to have perceived his own
danger. (At Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 104-5, he
correctly admits that the New Testament does not clearly teach
a developed doctrine of the trinity.) On anthropomorphism, Hauth
should at least have noticed the positive appreciations of the
Latter-day Saint position published by the non-Mormon scholars
Edmond LaB. Cherbonnier (“In Defense of Anthropomorphism”)
and Ernst W. Benz (“Imago Dei: Man in the Image of God”)
in Reflections on Mormonism: Judaeo-Christian Parallels, ed.
Truman G. Madsen (Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1978),
155-73, 201-21. His argument against anthropomorphism on pages
179-81 (as at Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 51) consists largely of theologically motivated assertion and rhetoric, not analysis and evidence.

See the discussion and references given at Daniel C. Peterson,
“Does the Qur’an Teach Creation Ex Nihilo?” in By
Study and Also by Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley
ed. John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks (Salt Lake City: Deseret
Book and FARMS, 1990), 1:584-610; also Peterson and Ricks, Offenders
for a Word
, 95-6.

Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 49; compare 71, 128.

The phrase is from Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 16.

By and large, throughout his brief and superficial discussion
of the Latter-day Saint story, he emphasizes the historically
negative, to the point of exaggeration. Thus, for example, his
passing reference to “struggles for succession” (Nachfolgekämpfen)
following the death of Joseph Smith (p. 27; compare Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 39) is, in my view, too strong, and so rather misleading without additional explanation.

Compare Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 36.

See Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther (New York and Nashville: Abingdon, 1950), 193, 362.

See Hypostasis of the Archons 90:19-29. On the same page,
he criticizes Joseph Smith’s adoption of the common English form
of the divine name Jehovah as if it were somehow a mistake,
rather than simply a use of accepted contemporary language (analogous
to saying Solomon instead of the more accurate but rather
unaesthetic Shlomo).

34 The closest he comes to a serious argument on the subject is to be found on pages 184-5.

For a discussion of this question, with abundant references, see
Peterson and Ricks, Offenders for a Word, 110-7; also 36, 108.

Hauth does recognize some “outward” similarities between
modern and ancient temple practices on page 90. But Die Mormonen
knows nothing of Hugh Nibley, The Message of the Joseph Smith
Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book,
1975); Hugh Nibley, Mormonism and Early Christianity (Salt
Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1987); William J. Hamblin,
“Aspects of an Early Christian Initiation Ritual,” in By Study and Also by Faith, 1:202-21; Bruce H. Porter and
Stephen D. Ricks, “Names in Antiquity: Old, New, and Hidden,”
in By Study and Also by Faith, 1:501-22; Todd M. Compton,
“The Handclasp and Embrace as Tokens of Recognition,”
in By Study and Also by Faith, 1:611-42; Hugh Nibley, Temple
and Cosmos: Beyond This Ignorant Present
(Salt Lake City:
Deseret Book and FARMS, 1992); Donald W. Parry, Temples
of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism
(Salt Lake City:
Deseret Book and FARMS, 1994). Nor can any trace be discerned
of Truman G. Madsen, ed., The Temple in Antiquity: Ancient
Records and Modern Perspectives
(Provo, Utah: BYU Religious Studies Center, 1984), in which both Mormon and very prominent non-Mormon scholars address the theme. Other important discussions could easily be listed here, but space and patience demand a halt.

Note, for example, Donald W. Parry, Stephen D. Ricks, and John
W. Welch, eds., A Bibliography on Temples of the Ancient Near
East and Mediterranean World
(Lewiston, N.Y.: Mellen, 1991);
John M. Lundquist, The Temple: Meeting Place of Heaven and
(London: Thames and Hudson, 1993). A Latter-day Saint
classicist examines temple-related motifs in Todd M. Compton,
“The Whole Token: Mystery Symbolism in Classical Recognition
Drama,” Epoché 13 (1985): 1-81.

See Graydon F. Snyder, Ante Pacem: Archaeological Evidence
of Church Life before Constantine
( Mercer University
Press, 1985), 67. See also Hugh Nibley’s essay, “The Passing
of the Primitive Church: Forty Variations on an Unpopular Theme,”
in Nibley, Mormonism and Early Christianity, 168-208, for
a highly plausible explanation of the earliest Christian failure
to construct temples and other houses of worship. This essay was
first published in the non-Mormon scholarly journal Church
30 (June 1961): 131-54.

39 Manifestly unthreatened by Smith’s and Spaulding’s works, the Religious Studies Center at Brigham Young University has recently republished both of them. See also n. 1.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary (New York: Hill
and Wang, 1957), s.v. “Absurdity, n. A statement or belief manifestly inconsistent with one’s own opinion.”

Weariness, fear of boring my readers, and an overwhelming sense
of déjî vu prevent me from listing Hauth’s accusations and even a few of the many cogent responses to them that have been published. Interested readers should contact the Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies (FARMS) to learn about Book of Mormon scholarship and its answers to common criticisms.

On this point, see William J. Hamblin, “Basic Methodological
Problems with the Anti-Mormon Approach to the Geography and Archaeology
of the Book of Mormon,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies
2/1 (1993): 161-97. For examples of Hauth’s tendency to take a
relatively low view of the Bible, or to demythologize its content,
when such maneuvers suit his polemical purposes, see Hauth, Kleiner
, 56, 86; Hauth, Die Mormonen, 144-5.

Compare Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 49.

John W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990).

An easily accessible introduction to some of the data is Daniel
C. Peterson, “News from Antiquity [“Evidence supporting
the book of Abraham continues to turn up in a wide variety of
sources’],” Ensign (January 1994): 16-21.

See, for example, Hugh W. Nibley, The Message of the Joseph
Smith Papyri: An Egyptian Endowment
(Salt Lake City: Deseret
Book, 1975), and Hugh W. Nibley, Abraham in Egypt (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981).

It would be an instructive exercise to try to reconstruct Hauth’s
reading in anti-Mormon literature. We could perhaps call his source
Q,” representing the German word Quatsch.

Compare Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 57.

49 Sometimes, however, Hauth gives inaccurate summaries of Mormon doctrine (as in his explanation of the former policy on blacks and the priesthood, on p. 42, where blacks are falsely equated with the one-third of the host of heaven who sided with Lucifer in the antemortal existence, or, less seriously, his questionable account of Latter-day Saint eschatology on p. 81) without troubling to cite any source at all.

50 In the world of Germanic academia from which Rüdiger Hauth has emerged—which is, on the whole, rather more class-conscious than its American counterpart—I suspect the reference to Brigham Young as a “former carpenter” (p. 27) may well also serve to emphasize the undistinguished origins of Mormonism and its leaders. One should, of course, not forget the New Testament’s Joseph.

Among many other contributions, Richard Lloyd Anderson, Investigating
the Book of Mormon Witnesses
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1981).

For example, Milton V. Backman Jr., Joseph Smith’s First Vision:
Confirming Evidences and Contemporary Accounts
, 2nd ed. (Salt
Lake City: Bookcraft, 1980); Milton V. Backman Jr., Eyewitness
Accounts of the Restoration
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1986).

Notably, Richard L. Bushman, Joseph Smith and the Beginnings
of Mormonism
(Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1985).

Compare Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 37.

As in Hauth’s retelling of the story of the revelation on plural
marriage, on pages 28-9, and his casual equation of the teachings
of the Book of Mormon with Joseph Smith’s personal opinions on
pages 29, 35, 41, 56. (Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus,
39, simply declares the Prophet’s plural marriages to be “extramarital
relations,” thus, to at least his own satisfaction, settling
the question of the validity of Joseph Smith’s claim to revelation
by cheap and easy definition.) On page 41, Hauth blithely and
without supporting argument describes how the Prophet “used”
the instrument of ongoing revelation to further his plans (compare
p. 57). But, of course, it is not only Joseph Smith who cynically
cloaks his machinations with falsified divine authority. All Mormon
leaders do it, according to Hauth. Thus, and for reasons that
are not at all compelling, he gives considerable attention (on
pp. 43-4) to Douglas Wallace’s unauthorized 1976 ordination
of a black man to the priesthood. Wallace was promptly excommunicated,
but Hauth wants his readers to believe that the incident was a
major catalyst to what he terms a “”new revelation'”—note
the skeptical quotation marks—two years later. In Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 36, the existence of varying
accounts of the Prophet’s first vision is offered without analysis—and
without any apparent awareness of Latter-day Saint analysis—as
evidence of Joseph Smith’s lack of integrity. Backman, Joseph
Smith’s First Vision
, with its bibliography, is probably the best place to go for a first look at this matter.

See Gordon A. Madsen, “Joseph Smith’s 1826 Trial: The Legal
Setting,” BYU Studies 30/2 (Spring 1990): 91-108.
One might pardon Hauth’s ignorance in the earlier Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus
(1982), but Die Mormonen was published in 1995. Actually,
though, it is somewhat difficult to know precisely when Hauth
wrote Die Mormonen. On pages 9 and 64, for example, he refers to the eighteen-month service of Latter-day Saint missionaries, which, for the vast majority of such missionaries, accurately describes the period only from April 1982 to late November 1984. When, on pages 44-5, Hauth cites the “Official Declaration” extending the priesthood to all worthy males, he identifies it as existing in the “archive of the author.” This is a bit puzzling, however, since the document has been published in the Doctrine and Covenants since 1981. On pages 64, 66, and 89, he cites membership and temple statistics from 1994.

For starters, he should have read Hugh W. Nibley, The World
and the Prophets
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS,
1987), and several of the essays in Nibley, Mormonism and Early

Compare Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 56; also, in the context of a discussion of the Watchtower Society, 11.

Also at Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 52, 56.

Discussions of the problematic nature of the term magic
can be found in many places, including Stephen D. Ricks and Daniel
C. Peterson, “Joseph Smith and “Magic': Methodological
Reflections on the Use of a Term,” in “To Be Learned
Is Good If . . . ,”
ed. Robert L. Millet (Salt
Lake City: Bookcraft, 1987), 129-47; John Gee, “Abracadabra,
Isaac and Jacob,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 7/1 (1995): 46-71.

See Robert L. Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them
(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 98-100; Hoffmann, Celsus:
On the True Doctrine
, 24-6, for representative comments.

D. Michael Quinn, Early Mormonism and the Magic World View
(Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1987); John L. Brooke, The
Refiner’s Fire: The Making of Mormon Cosmology, 1644-1844
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994).

For a critical review of Quinn’s book, see Stephen D. Ricks and
Daniel C. Peterson, “The Mormon as Magus,” Sunstone
12 (January 1988): 38-9. Brooke’s book receives a thorough analysis
from William J. Hamblin, Daniel C. Peterson, and George L. Mitton,
“Mormon in the Fiery Furnace or, Loftes Tryk Goes to Cambridge,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 6/2 (1994): 3-58,
of which a shorter version appears in BYU Studies 34/4 (1994-95): 167-81.

Wilken, The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, 98-100.
Among the many references that could be given for modern scholarly
views, see Morton Smith, Clement of Alexandria and a Secret
Gospel of Mark
(Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973),
and Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1981), which as the latter title implies, wish to connect Jesus himself with the practice of magic.

See, for instance, Marvin Meyer and Richard Smith, eds., Ancient
Christian Magic: Coptic Texts of Ritual Power
(San Francisco:
HarperSanFrancisco, 1994). Henry Maguire, ed., Byzantine Magic
(Washington, D.C.: Dumbarton Oaks, 1995), offers various perspectives
on one important Christian magical tradition. Arguably Christian
magical texts are included in Hans Dieter Betz, ed., The Greek
Magical Papyri in Translation, including the Demotic Spells,
ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992), and John G.
Gager, ed., Curse Tablets and Binding Spells from the Ancient
(New York: Oxford University Press, 1992). Neoplatonic
philosophy as the common language of Muslim and Christian magical
theory is discussed in William J. Hamblin and Daniel C. Peterson,
“Neoplatonism and the Medieval Mediterranean Magical Traditions,” Incognita: International Journal for Cognitive Studies in the
2 (1991): 217-40.

Matthew 12:40, Luke 23:42-3, and Ephesians 4:8-10 may also refer
to the event. Leslie Ross, Medieval Art: A Topical Dictionary
(Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1996), 10, also cites, in this regard,
Matthew 12:40; Acts 2:24, 27, 31. Jennifer Speake, The Dent
Dictionary of Symbols in Christian Art
(London: Dent, 1994), 70, adds that Matthew 27:52 and Psalm 24:7 were frequently adduced by medieval Christians in support of the concept.

Diane Apostolos-Cappadona, Dictionary of Christian Art (New York: Continuum, 1994), 104.

For the Latin texts of these creeds, see Philip Schaff and David
S. Schaff, eds., The Creeds of Christendom (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1983), 2:45, 49, 69.

Walter Lowrie, Art in the Early Church (New York: Pantheon
Books, 1947), 184, 187, and pl. 100a. Compare the similar scene
from the altar frontal in Salerno reproduced at plate 124b. Ross, Medieval Art, 11, sees Byzantine roots for the artistic imagery that tends to accompany the theme throughout Europe.

Jacques Le Goff, The Birth of Purgatory, trans. Arthur
Goldhammer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984), 44. A
good English translation of the relevant materials may be found
in J. K. Elliott, ed., The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), 185-204.

K. M. Openshaw, “The Battle between Christ and Satan in the
Tiberius Psalter,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld
52 (1989): 14-33. The quotation is from page 19.

See Gilbert Thurlow, Biblical Myths and Mysteries (New York: Octopus Books, 1974), 56 and frontispiece.

For a discussion, with references, see R. E. Kaske, “Piers
and Local Iconography: The Font at Eardisley, Herefordshire,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 51 (1988):
184-6. Strikingly, the Norman sculptor depicted the Father and
the Son as identical. Compare 2 Corinthians 4:4; Colossians
1:15; Hebrews 1:1-3. In his well-known Wentworth Letter, Joseph
Smith recalled that, when they appeared to him in the spring of
1820, the Father and the Son “exactly resembled each other
in features, and likeness” (Backman, Joseph Smith’s First
, 169).

Apostolos-Cappadona, Dictionary of Christian Art, 104.

These images are reproduced at, respectively, C. R. Morey, Christian
(London and New York: Longmans, Green, 1935), 86, and
Sartell Prentice, The Voices of the Cathedral: Tales in Stone
and Legends in Glass
(New York: Morrow, 1938), 194. Critics
of the restoration frequently argue that the promise given in
Matthew 16:18-19, that “the gates of hell shall not prevail
against” the kingdom, proves that, contrary to Mormon teaching,
there can have been no general apostasy of the church. This is
incorrect. They are the gates of Hades, i.e., of death
or the spirit world. They bear no connotation of evil, as such,
but open to receive all the dead, whether wicked or not.
The Redeemer’s promise to Peter is that the saving power of the
priesthood keys he will receive extends even beyond the gates
of the spirit world. The stories and representations of Christ’s
smashing the gates illustrate this in dramatic fashion. (Perhaps
significantly, in the second-century pagan Metamorphoses
or Golden Ass of Apuleius [XI.21], devoted to Isis, “Both
the gates of death and the guardianship

of life were
in the goddess’s hands.” So the passage is rendered in Apuleius, Metamorphoses, trans. J. Arthur Hanson [Cambridge: Harvard
University Press, 1989], 2:333. By contrast, Apuleius, the Golden
, trans. P. G. Walsh [Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1995], 232, renders the Latin inferum claustra et salutis tutelam as “the gates of hell and the guarantee of salvation.” Strikingly, in the sentence immediately following, Apuleius describes a secret Isis temple ritual symbolically expressing that fact.)

Quoted in Le Goff, The Birth of Purgatory, 264-5.

Dante, Inferno, IV.52-63 (XXI.106-14 may also be connected
with the Harrowing of Hell). I use the English version of Allen
Mandelbaum, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri: Inferno (New York: Bantam Books, 1980), 32.

A play from the York cycle on this theme (York 37) is easily accessible
in its original Middle English at Peter Happé, ed., English
Mystery Plays: A Selection
(Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1975),
552-66. Happé correctly explains, on page 552, that the Descensus “is an article of the Creed,” but oddly remarks that it “has no Scriptural basis.”

Thurlow, Biblical Myths, 63.

See, for example, Wolfgang Stechow, Dürer and America (Washington: National Gallery of Art, 1971), 142, 177, 187 (with illustrations 53, 130, 182).

I quote from the 1801 American revision. For this text, as well
as for the 1563 Latin original and its 1571 English translation,
see Schaff and Schaff, The Creeds of Christendom, 3:488.

F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary
of the Christian Church
(Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1983), 395. Compare the extensive treatments given in Josef Kroll, Gott und Hölle: Der Mythos vom Descensuskampfe (Leipzig:
Teubner, 1932) and J. A. MacCulloch, The Harrowing of Hell:
A Comparative Study of an Early Christian Doctrine
Clark, 1930), which unfortunately cannot be summarized here. Zbigniew
Izydorczyk, “The Legend of the Harrowing of Hell in Middle
English Literature” (Ph.D. diss., University of Toronto,
1985), was unavailable to me. I might mention here that Elizabeth
Livingstone, the surviving editor of the Oxford Dictionary,
showed a commendable willingness to correct errors regarding Mormonism
when I pointed them out to her in correspondence some years ago.
(Compare the entry on “Mormons” in this second edition
with its error-ridden counterpart in the first edition. My letter
earned me the never-fading glory of inclusion in the lengthy list
of people thanked on p. viii.) Of course, the Oxford Dictionary was compiled by scholars, not debaters, and is designed to inform, not to defame. Time will reveal Rüdiger Hauth’s central intent.

Hauth, Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus, 57. His discussion of
the subject on pages 57-8 of the Kleiner Sekten-Katechismus
is characteristically shallow and without supporting argumentation.
Indeed, it is inferior even to the discussion in David A. Reed
and John R. Farkas, Mormons Answered Verse by Verse (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 1992), 85-7, which is bad enough.

Reprinted in Nibley, Mormonism and Early Christianity,
100-67. See also the references given in Peterson and Ricks, Offenders
for a Word
, 108-10. The Protestant philosopher Stephen Davis,
in his Risen Indeed: Making Sense of the Resurrection (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 1993), 159-65, suggests a position on salvation for the dead rather like that of the Latter-day Saints—to the point, even, of using 1 Corinthians 15:29 and the familiar passages from 1 Peter. Prof. Davis’s book is to be recommended for many reasons, of which this aspect is only one.

Hans-Diether Reimer, “Mormonen,” in Volker Drehsen,
Hermann Häring, Karl-Josef Kuschel, and Helge Siemers, eds., Wörterbuch des Christentums (Munich: Orbis, 1995),
836-7. Reimer cites Hauth in the article’s bibliography, from
which it would also appear, indeed, that he has elsewhere served
as Hauth’s editor for a piece on the Mormons. Incidentally, the
Tübingen theologian Hans-Josef Kuschel, one of the coeditors
of the Wörterbuch, participated in the same 1994 Jerusalem
conference during which I spoke with John Hick (n. 25, above).
One day of our meetings took place at Brigham Young University’s
Jerusalem Center for Near Eastern Studies. My hunch, from conversations
with him and from having interacted with him a year earlier at
a similar conference in Austria, was that Prof. Kuschel was impressed
with the facility and disposed to take the Mormons at least slightly
more seriously than he had before. Surely little in the Hauth/Reimer
view of Mormonism—the Wörterbuch‘s first edition
appeared in 1988—would incline anybody to take the Latter-day Saints seriously, except perhaps as a clinical problem.

During debate in the United States Senate about a proposed hate
crimes bill, Jesse Helms of North Carolina attacked it harshly.
Orrin Hatch, the powerful chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee,
who supported the bill, “responded by recounting his own
experiences with religious bigotry as a Mormon.” See David
Brock, “The Real Orrin Hatch,” The American Spectator 30 (November 1997): 40; see 36-41.

87 Memorandum from Richard Stout, dated 17 October 1997, to “Fellow Christians Providing Supplies or Advice to Homeschoolers and Those Involved in Planning Curriculum Fairs or Conventions.”

“Dr.” Martin’s and Decker’s political lobbying against
the Latter-day Saints is fleetingly sketched in Peterson, “P.
T. Barnum Redivivus,” 63-6.

Robin L. Fox, Pagans and Christians (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1988), 117: Ancient texts “show how hard it is to draw a line between “magic’ and “religion’ in terms of magic’s techniques of compulsion. Religion used them openly too, a point which weakens the study of magic as a new type of irrationality.”

And just what does Hauth mean, incidentally, by saying that Mormonism
is a “foreign religion” (eine fremde Religion)? Does he imagine that Christianity is Aryan?

Massimo Introvigne, “Old Wine in New Bottles: The Story behind
Fundamentalist Anti-Mormonism,” BYU Studies 35/3 (1995-96): 45-73.

Brigham D. Madsen, “Reflections on LDS Disbelief in the Book
of Mormon as History,” Dialogue 30/3 (1997): 87-97.

See, for example, Review of Books on the Book of Mormon
6/1 (1994). Entirely devoted to examining Mr. Metcalfe’s anthology,
it runs to nearly 600 pages. Thus pretending that it does not
exist must have required a truly heroic effort on the part of
Mr. Madsen and his editors at Dialogue. For later views
of the Metcalfe volume or of individual essays within it, see
Ross David Baron, “Melodie Moench Charles and the Humanist
Worldview,” Review of Books on the Book of Mormon
7/1 (1995): 91-119; Alan Goff, “Uncritical Theory and Thin
Description: The Resistance to History,” Review of Books
on the Book of Mormon
7/1 (1995): 170-207; Martin S. Tanner,
review of “Book of Mormon Christology,” by Melodie Moench
Charles, Review of Books on the Book of Mormon 7/2 (1995):
6-37; Kevin Christensen, “Paradigms Crossed,” review
of Books on the Book of Mormon
7/2 (1995): 144-218; William
J. Hamblin, “The Latest Straw Man,” Journal of Book
of Mormon Studies
4/2 (1995): 82-92; John Wm. Maddox, “A
Listing of Points and Counterpoints,” FARMS Review of
8/1 (1996): 1-26; Alan Goff, “Historical Narrative,
Literary Narrative—Expelling Poetics from the Republic of
History,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/1 (1996):
50-102; and Massimo Introvigne, “The Book of Mormon Wars:
A Non-Mormon Perspective,” Journal of Book of Mormon Studies 5/2 (1996): 1-25.

94 Madsen, “Reflections on LDS Disbelief,” 96.

Ronald V. Huggins, “Did the Author of 3 Nephi Know the
Gospel of Matthew?” Dialogue 30/3 (1997): 137-48.

John W. Welch, The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon on the
(Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990).

97 Huggins, “Did the Author of 3 Nephi Know the Gospel of Matthew?” 145.

Todd Compton, review of The Sermon at the Temple and the Sermon
on the Mount
, by John W. Welch, Review of Books on the
Book of Mormon
3 (1991): 321.