Jerald Tanner--In Memoriam
If you would like more interactive discussion, then please see our Facebook Discussion page.
[October 1, 2006]
Jerald entered heaven's gates today at 7:20 pm. He was at Caresource, surrounded by his family and friends here in Salt Lake. He had been losing weight for some months, then stopped eating the end of July. He would only take Ensure. I enrolled him in Hospice the first part of Aug. He was listed as 'failure to thrive.' On Monday I realized he was too frail and weak for me to continue to care for him at home [understatement--I was physically exhausted]. He was down to 113 lbs. on Tues. but weighed even less today, literally skin and bones, and hurting. He went into a coma last night and didn't give any sign of knowing we were with him today. A memorial service is being planned for Sat. but not sure where--mainly because we aren't sure what size facility we need.
Pray for us as we grieve.
In Christian Friendship,
Jerald Tanner went to be with our Lord Jesus last night (10/01.06) at 7:20 PM. We have known, loved and respected Jerald and Sandra since the first time we met them in 1982. Their high integrity and uncompromising dedication for the cause of truth has been our example ever since. Please keep Sandra and family in your prayers.
Love in Jesus,
Rauni & Dennis
Jerald's Memorial Service will be held at Salt Lake Christian Center at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, October 7th.
Salt Lake Christian Center is located at 4300 South 700 East.
Church of the Risen Christ,
The Utah Lighthouse Ministry Announcement
In lieu of flowers the family has suggested that donations be made to Rescue Mission of Salt Lake, 463 South 400 West, Salt Lake City, Utah 84101-2202, (801) 355-1302. Condolences can be sent to email@example.com or directly to the bookstore at 1358 S. West Temple, SLC, UT 84115.
Evidence Ministries Blog
LDS By Common Consent Blog
Mormon Coffee Blog
I have greatly admired Jerald Tanner through the years. He was a very influential, but very "behind the scenes" man. I knew him, but not very well at all. I talked with him only a handful of times. He was a difficult man to get know. As one Christian apologist to the Mormons told me over 20 years ago, "Talking with Jerald is like talking to that wall over there." What Jerald lacked in normal one on one conversation with most people, he made up for by being a pre-eminent scholar of Mormon history. He was incredibly respected and appreciated for his work, even by the occasional hardcore, albeit honest, Mormon I would talk to off the street.
The last time I saw Jerald was the end of June 2006 at the Utah Lighthouse Ministry bookstore. I was with my girlfriend, Tara Nelsen, and we just happened to attend one of Sandra Tanner's many talks there to mission teams that come to minister in Utah. Afterwards, I saw Jerald in the back of the store. I knew his health was failing, and I really wouldn't be able to talk much with him, but I wanted my girlfriend to have the special opportunity to meet such an incredible man.
The last real conversation I had with Jerald was several years ago when I was asking him what projects he was working on. He told me he was working on a study of Joseph Smith's troubled psychological state that was induced from his probable bouts of epilepsy.
Jerald was a very soft-spoken and humble man, but God still used him in a very powerful way. The reality is, countless people--Mormons and non-Mormons alike--have come to understand the shadow of Mormonism as a result of Jerald's faithful work.
R. M. Sivulka
President, Courageous Christians United
October 4, 2006
"The righteous man perishes, and men do not take it to heart; And devout men are taken away, while no one understands For the righteous man is taken away from evil, He enters into peace;"
Jerald will be missed, but his legacy will survive long after him. Those who love him, family, friends, and all those who knew of him that will enter eternal life, because of his life long passion for research in the field of exposing the lies of Mormonism will mourn. Those who didn't know his name but came to salvation because of his work will thank him in eternity.
The world owes Jerald Tanner a debt of gratitude for he was a faithful solider in God's army. His work has restrained evil in the present day and will continue untill Jesus returns. That work has also warned many of the destruction that was to come, as well as equipped thousands to preach the truth to Mormons about the deception they are ensnared in. His work was love; he will be rewarded.
While I have only been privileged to meet Jerald twice in this life, once spending two hours over dinner and picking his brain on Mormonism, I will remember him and will look forward to breaking bread with him again in eternity. I thank him as his work has equipped me in helping to win Mormons to the Lord.
May the peace of our Lord give comfort to Sandra, his children, the extended family and close friends.
For to everlasting is His loving kindness and how sure are His promises for a day is coming when He says of those that mourn, those that hurt...
They will come and shout for joy on the height of Zion,
And they will be radiant over the bounty of the LORD--
Over the grain and the new wine and the oil,
And over the young of the flock and the herd;
And their life will be like a watered garden,
And they will never languish again.
'Then the virgin will rejoice in the dance,
And the young men and the old, together,
For I will turn their mourning into joy
And will comfort them and give them joy for their sorrow.
'I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance,
And My people will be satisfied with My goodness,' declares the LORD.
Wayne and I had finally "come out" and we were thriving on the once-a-month support group/speaker meetings held on Sunday nights at the Lighthouse. We had been coming for some time and knew Sandra well by then. One evening I asked why Jerald never came. Sandra pointed him out. He had always come but had sat in the back, wearing one of his zip-up sweaters (I always pictured him as Mr. Rogers). As far as I know, no one had recognized or talked to him. Sandra said he was shy. As we were talking to others we knew well, we mentioned this. From then on we and others always went over to him and acknowledged him for the great things he has done--all the hard research and writing and what it had meant to us. Finally, one night he went up and sat by Sandra. And, if my memory serves me, he stayed by her side right up front from then on.
Wayne and I loved him for his work and what it had meant to us, as well as his obvious gentle nature. We couldn't imagine what pain his gentle nature must have felt when he and Sandra were attacked in the press over and over again. We really didn't get to know him, but I'm happy that we prodded him into conversation on many occasions. His smile was so sweet and genuine and he just glowed as we talked.
How can I say what Sandra and Jerald have meant to us? We made it "out" (after being fully active with busy major church jobs), AND found the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Sandra and her sisters comforted us each time we thought our children were lost (they ALL have now found the saving grace of Jesus, each with a different story). And now we are a family sustained by His grace, with 10 grandchildren.
Thank you Jerald.
Carol and Wayne Jensen
Carol Jensen, Secretary
Dept of Soclgy & Anthro
Weber State University
1208 University Circle
Ogden, UT 84408-1208
Jerald's Obituary in the Deseret News
Deseret News Article
Bill McKeever's Correction of Deseret News Article
Religion News Blog
I want to offer my deepest sympathy to Sandra in the passing of Jerald Oct 1st. I know the pain of losing a loved one. God is faithful in the hour of need. He can heal the broken hearted. This is my prayer for Sandra!
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Mormonism Research Ministry's "A Tribute to Jerald Tanner"
I don't know if you'll remember me, but I think my wife Brunetta and I met you at Wade Dennis' house some time ago. We attend Arlington Presbyterian Church (PCA) here in Texas.
To recapitulate, we got to know Jerald and Sandra when we moved to Utah during the mid-'70s. In my "day job," I served as an Army Reserve technician (civilian during business hours, Specialist 5 during drills) for the 96th Army Reserve Command at Ft. Douglas, on the foothills just above the U. of Utah. In my spare time, I studied Mormon doctrine and witnessed to my LDS neighbors, a pursuit in which the Tanners provided not only material assistance, but fellowship and encouragement as well.
I also had a radio talk show on KTKK during extended summer hours and on weekends. On more than one occasion, when an issue concerned the LDS church, I went to Jerald or Sandra for help, including an occasional on-air interview (on the weekend show, it was with my co-host, Bill "Wolfgang" Gossett). Jerald was one of the few authorities critical of "the church" we were allowed to feature, principally because he never offered gratuitous criticism of Mormonism, his information was always well-documented, and he always presented his views in a very composed and dispassionate manner. By station policy, we stayed away from "anti-Mormon" topics -- indeed, from most religious topics in general -- but discussed such matters as reaction to events involving polygamist families (such as one prominent polygamist who had become a local celebrity and was shot and killed by law officers, some allege in the back).
One interview for which Jerald is probably best remembered dealt with the release of the book, Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon, 1977, by Howard A. Davis, Donald A. Scales, Wayne L. Cowdery, with Gretchen Passantino; Foreword by Dr Walter Martin. The work argued that the Book of Mormon was adapted from a manuscript stolen from Solomon Spaulding. It was making quite a splash in Salt Lake at the time, especially because of Walter Martin's endorsement. Jerald surprised many when he urged caution, suggesting that some were putting all their apologetics eggs in this one basket, always a dangerous approach. Moreover, he pointed out that much of the evidence used in the book ignored the fact that the text of Spaulding's book is wildly different from the BOM. Anti-Mormon writer Fawn Brodie had rejected the Spaulding theory for that reason. Typically, Jerald was more charitable, leaving room for future consideration, but suggesting that the jury was still out despite the book's publication. If he was still healthy today, I suspect he'd be pleased by new evidence set forth in a kind of sequel Who Really Wrote the Book of Mormon?: The Spaulding Enigma by Wayne Cowdery, Howard A. Davis, and Arthur Vanick (Concordia Publishing House, 2005).
Having Jerald on the radio always struck me as a bit ironic because, back at the bookstore, he was generally quieter than Sandra, appearing to be the more green eyeshade and printing press member of the family. That's not to say he was antisocial -- far from it. Brunetta and I can recall visits when we were treated to very personal accounts of their years in the LDS Church, how they first began to doubt, and how, at first, they held on to the Book of Mormon even after they were convinced that there was something not quite right with Joseph Smith's claims. Like Sandra, Jerald tried to give me a realistic view of what I was facing as I set out to win Mormons to Christ. The time from initial contact to conversion was years, and he pointed out that many who left the LDS church simply gave up religion altogether. You didn't notice them as much in Salt Lake, he said, because they usually continued to go through the motions in order to avoid repercussions at work or from friends and family.
Remembering the wealth of information he had at his fingertips, often including small details like names and dates, not to mention the names and dates of publications where you could find documentation for a point you needed to make, it's sadly ironic that Alzheimer's is the disease that took Jerald. My wife of 40 years has this awful disease, too. Like Jerald, she was once an "authority" -- in her case, on the subjects of computers, juvenile justice and orthoptics. Just as Sandra did, I've watched Brunetta lose memories and skills over time, although we've been blessed by the fact that she retains a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh that often elicit comments from folks about how it helps brighten their day. Despite an inability to speak more than a few words, she can also sing along with favorite songs (everything from oldies like Buddy Holly, Don Williams, bubblegum and Silverwind to well-loved hymns and country gospel). We sometimes play CDs in the evening and sing hymns together; she misses a words here and there, but really enjoys it nonetheless.
During our evening devotionals, I always close with the Lord's Prayer as it's one she can still say pretty well all the way through. Once in awhile, I'll say a few words that fit spiritual sentiments she's expressed in the past (it was her witness to me that first exposed me to the concept of a personal relationship with Christ), and then look to her for an "Amen." John Calvin emphasized that, since it is God who initiates all relationships with man, there is no reason He can't have a relationship with one of His children with dementia even if we can't perceive it. He also cautioned Christians against looking down on those with cognitive disabilities because, as he noted, from God's perspective, we are all disabled. Without the sense of comfort and peace that our Lord grants, we wouldn't be able to cope with this awful disease. As we pray for Sandra each evening, we draw a certain amount of solace from the knowledge that He was there for her, too.
We're also grateful that she has friends like you in her corner; knowing her, we're confident that your numbers are many.
May the Lord bless your efforts and give your ministry great success.
Rick (and Brunetta) Centner
I would like to send my condolences for Jerald Tanner's passing. He really was an influence to all of us. As a researcher, he was unbeatable and it should be example for many. I believe that his influence will be felt by many and forever. He was a courageous person that dared to speak the truth to a world that needs to know. I dedicate my prayers to Sandra Tanner, that the Lord comforts her.
Emerson de Oliveria
Central Mormon - Site about mormonism in Portuguese