Mormon urban legends or folklore

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PERSPECTIVES MEDIA QUESTIONS RESOURCES 2014 CONFERENCE

    Mormon urban legends or folklore

This page is a summary or index. More detailed information on this topic is available on the sub-pages below.

Frequently Latter-day Saints receive email messages with faith-promoting stories that are difficult or impossible to verify. This article includes examples of these "urban legends," or other bits of LDS historical folklore that are difficult or impossible to verify.

TOPICS


  • Cain as Bigfoot?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Cain—son of Adam and Eve and the first murderer—still walks the earth today. (Click here for full article)
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  • Einstein and James E. Talmage
    Brief Summary: Some claim that Elder James E. Talmage (a geologist and author of Jesus the Christ) knew Albert Einstein, who called him the smartest man he had ever met. (Click here for full article)
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  • Frank Graham and hurricane relief
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that the Rev. Frank Graham, son of Billy Graham, told the media that the members of The LDS church are "truly amazing" for their efforts after Hurricane Katrina. (Click here for full article)
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  • Book of Mormon translated "back" into Arabic
    Brief Summary: I have read a talk written by Elder Russell M. Nelson in which he discusses a friend of his who translated the Book of Mormon back into Arabic. What are the facts behind this story and the talk? (Click here for full article)
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  • President Packer: 12 October 2008 talk?
    Brief Summary: A common e-mail circulated by some members claims to be a transcript of remarks given by President Packer in the Forest Bend Ward in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 12 October 2008. Reportedly, Pres. Packer is quoted as saying that a catastrophic event was looming in the immediate future and that we must get used to making do with what we have or doing without. He is also quoted as saying the world was too dangerous for us to let our children play outside alone. (Click here for full article)
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  • Boyd K. Packer: Youth generals in war in heaven?
    Brief Summary: One persistent rumor has Elder Packer claiming that today's youth were "generals" during the pre-mortal "war in heaven." (Click here for full article)
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  • Pandemic warning e-mail from Susan Puls
    Brief Summary: A frequently-forwarded e-mail purporting to describe a conference given by Dr. Susan Puls, medical coordinator for the Church's Humanitarian Emergency Response has been circulating. The e-mail purports to describe an impending flu pandemic and the anticipated problems associated with it. (Click here for full article)
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  • Those living in President Hinckley's time will be bowed to?
    Brief Summary: Boyd K. Packer and other Church leaders are quoted in a persistent chain email as having said to a group of LDS youth: "You were in the War in Heaven and one day when you are in the spirit world you will be enthralled with those who you are associated with. You will ask someone in which time period he lived in and you might hear, "I was with Moses when he parted the Red Sea," or "I helped build the pyramids," or "I fought with Captain Moroni." And as you are standing there in amazement, someone will turn to you and ask, "Which prophet time did you live in?" And when you say "Gordon B. Hinckley," a hush will fall over every hall, every corridor in heaven and all in attendance will bow at your presence." (Click here for full article)
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  • Prophecy of Catholic Priest?
    Brief Summary: A persistent rumor claims that Lutus Gratus, a Catholic priest, wrote the following in 1739 in his book Hope of Zion, which was purportedly discovered in the library in Bayd, Switzerland: "The old, true Gospel and its truths thereat are lost..." (Click here for full article)
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  • Paul Allen of Microsoft on the "Mormons"?
    Brief Summary: It is claimed that Paul Allen — co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers — wrote a letter praising Mormons that was published in a Santa Clarita, California newspaper. (Click here for full article)
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  • Brigham Young's hearse used in Disneyland?
    Brief Summary: A rumor has been spread that the hearse displayed in front of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion was the hearse used in Brigham Young's funeral. (Click here for full article)
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  • Rome Italy Temple and California Prop 8
    Brief Summary: An e-mail circulating has claimed that Catholic support for a Rome Italy temple is very high because of LDS efforts around California Prop 8. (Click here for full article)
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  • Elder Bednar on Persecution to follow Mitt Romney's nomination as Republican candidate in 2012
    Brief Summary: An e-mail circulating has claimed that Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve warned of persecution to follow Mitt Romney's nomination as Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2012. This claim is false. (Click here for full article)
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CONCLUSION


Never take faith-promoting stories circulated in chain email messages at face value. Check the sources carefully.

“I would earnestly urge that no such idle gossip be spread abroad without making certain as to whether or not it is true....As I say, it never ceases to amaze me how gullible some of our Church members are in broadcasting these sensational stories, or dreams, or visions, some alleged to have been given to Church leaders, past or present, supposedly from some person's private diary, without first verifying the report with proper Church authorities.” - Harold B. Lee [1]

As early Church historian and member of the Seventy B.H. Roberts noted:

I find my own heart strengthened in the truth by getting rid of the untruth, the spectacular, the bizarre, as soon as I learn that it is based upon worthless testimony.[2]

Endnotes

  1. [note]  Harold B. Lee, "Admonitions for the Priesthood of God," Ensign (January 1973), 105. off-site
  2. [note]  B.H. Roberts, original letter in Church Archives; see Deseret Evening News (26 June 1926); cited by Truman G. Madsen, Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1980), 363. GL direct link


Further reading and additional sources responding to these claims

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