Three pipe bombs exploded in Salt Lake County in 1985, killing two people. Behind the murders lay a vast forgery scheme aimed at dozens of other victims, most prominently the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Mark Hofmann, a master forger, went to prison for the murders. He had bilked the church, document dealers, and collectors of hundreds of thousands of dollars over several years while attempting to alter Mormon history. Other false documents of Americana still circulate. The crimes garnered intense media interest, spawning books, TV and radio programs, and myriad newspaper and magazine articles. Victims is a thoughtful corrective to the more sensationalized accounts. More important, Richard Turley adds substantially to the record with previously unavailable church documentation and exclusive interviews with church officials, giving this book greater depth and resonance. He also goes beyond the Hofmann case, illustrating how forgeries have hampered the church's efforts to document its history. Victims includes a complete appendix of every known document the church acquired from Hofmann, reviews of trial transcripts and police reports, as well as dozens of photographs, some never before published. Turley, who gave up the practice of law to become a historian, has managed the delicate task of exposing the myths and complexities of this case with skill and objectivity. His unique access to church documents and personnel, together with his understanding of the legal system and Mormon history, afforded him an unparalleled view of how the case affected the church as well as the many others who were involved. Victims will fascinate anyone who does archival work, who cares about the historical record, or who likes to read compelling mystery.
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