A GATHERING OF SAINTS: A True Story of Money, Murder and Deceit by Robert Lindsey
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A GATHERING OF SAINTS: A True Story of Money, Murder and Deceit

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The story behind the 1985 Salt Lake City bombings. The institutional paranoia of the Mormon hierarchy and the handiwork of a single ingenious schemer are deftly interwoven here by the author of The Falcon and the Snowman (1979) and The Flight of the Falcon (1983). When the three bombs went off, two people were killed, and one, a sixth-generation Mormon named Mark Hofmann, was badly hurt. Who was Hofmann and what was his role in this bloody affair? Years back, Hofmann had begun collecting ancient books--a not-unusual hobby among those of his faith: Mormons were officially exorted to keep journals, and masses of documents--some challenging orthodox versions of the church's historical roots--were in circulation. In 1980, Hofmann reported an exciting find: a document in which Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the church, had apparently recorded hieroglyphics from the famous ""plates of gold"" he had received from the Angel Moroni. When church leaders deemed the transcript legitimate, Hofmann was introduced to the temple inner circle--and to a new profession as a document-dealer. Soon he was turning up finds at an astonishing rate--including some the church wanted buried: letters that implied that Joseph Smith practiced folk magic, including one that referred to the role of a white salamander in the discovery of the gold plates. Always shrewd, Hofmann sold these to the church at a tidy profit. But as his notoriety grew, his debts mounted. Then came the bombings. Many of the giant team of investigators came to the same conclusion: Hofmann was their bomber. But what was the motive? Thus began a painstaking and creative investigation of the authenticity of the documents that had created Hofmann's fame. Lindsey charts the fascinating terrain where the church's anguished insecurity and Hofmann's brilliant troublemaking met, and spins tales of ace detective work. A thoroughly gripping page-turner just edging out Steven Naifeh's and Gregory White Smith's The Mormon Murders (p. 959), another solid report on this bizarre case.

Pub Date: Sept. 16th, 1988
Publisher: Simon & Schuster