A little known fact about me: I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah. Also little known is that there’s a fairly large Greek community there. My papou landed in Salt Lake because he was recruited to work in a Kennecott Copper mine at the docks in New York.
The recruiter was a Greek guy who showed my namesake pictures of Utah and it looked like the Peloponnesian region from which he hailed. He signed up and raised his family there. I still have some kin there and my parents are buried there as well. That concludes this leisurely stroll down memory lane.
The featured image is an example of how popular true crime is. I cannot fathom wanting a throw pillow with the Mormon temple and blood on it but I guess someone will buy it from Red Bubble. There’s no accounting for taste.
Hell, I don’t want a film noir throw pillow, not even a Claire Trevor one. I don’t want to confuse the cat. I’ll leave that to Monty Python:
Let’s exit this long and winding road of an introduction and get down to business. The business of forgery, deception, and murder most foul.
The latest Netflix true crime series Murder Among The Mormons is set in Salt Lake City during the 1980’s. Three pipe bombs exploded in a short period of time. Two people died from the first two bombs and Mark Hofmann was seriously injured by the third. He set the bomb himself. The why of the third bomb is less clear.
Mark Hofmann was a dealer in documents with a specialty in Mormon stuff. Not surprising for a guy who was raised in the LDS church by sternly pious parents. Hofmann turned out to be something of an LDS rebel, which had dire consequences for his friends and family.
Hofmann caused a sensation by “uncovering” the so-called White Salamander letter, which seemed to refute the church’s belief that the Book of Mormon was given to Joseph Smith by the Angel Moroni. That’s the dude on top of most Mormon churches. Instead, Smith was led to the fateful cave by a white salamander. It’s hocus pocus either way as far as I’m concerned and that was true for Hofmann as well.
The White Salamander letter was a fake. Hofmann was on the verge of discovery when he planted the bombs. The investigation was extensive and eventually led to him. He is currently serving a life sentence. He ducked the firing squad by telling his story to the Utah Parole Board.
Murder Among The Mormons tells this story in three parts. It was, of course, a huge news story in Utah and was covered thoroughly by the Salt Lake media. We see a lot of their work and they did a helluva job as did the prosecution team.
We spend a great deal of time with some folks close to the master forger: his ex-wife Dorie Olds, and his former friends Shannon Flynn, and Brent Metcalfe. They’re swell talking heads who we get to know over the course of the series.
Here’s the trailer:
Mark Hofmann’s goal was to make a fortune off his fakery and to blow up the Mormon church in the process. Instead, he blew himself up and destroyed his life and the lives of some good people close to him.
I give Murder Among The Mormons 3 1/2 stars and an Adrastos Grade of B+. It’s true crime at its finest. I’ll skip the throw pillows.
Let’s close out this bloody, bomby, and pillowy post with some music. The last word goes to Johnny Mercer and Bob Weir.