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FBI recovers rare first-edition of the Book of Mormon
The FBI recovered a stolen first-edition of the Book of Mormon.
June 14th, 2012
04:15 PM ET

FBI recovers rare first-edition of the Book of Mormon

By Carol Cratty, CNN

(CNN)–Law enforcement agents have recovered a rare first-edition copy of the Book of Mormon that was reported stolen from a Mesa, Arizona, bookstore in late May.

The FBI announced Thursday the religious book, first published in 1830 in New York, was located two days ago in Herndon, Virginia, and a suspect was arrested.

The Book of Mormon is considered scripture by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints, on par with the Bible.

Jay Michael Linford, 48, is awaiting extradition to Arizona, where he faces charges of theft and trafficking in stolen property.

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According to a court affidavit, the owner of the Arizona bookstore - identified only as Witness 1 - reported the theft to the Mesa Police Department on May 28.

The bookstore owner told police she had been in business with Linford, who brokered the sale of pages of the rare book on her behalf.

The woman said their business relationship had ended but Linford knew she kept the first-edition in a locked fireproof box in a file cabinet and had access to it around the time she believes it was stolen. According to the affidavit, Witness 1 said Linford had a key to the box and to the location where the book could be found.

The bookstore owner told police once she realized the book was missing - along with its fireproof box - she contacted Linford and he "denied having the book or having any knowledge of its location."

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The affidavit says the bookstore owner also reached out to people who buy and sell rare books to alert them that the book had been stolen.

A Texas man identified as Witness 2 replied that he recently had bought two pages of a Book of Mormon from Linford for $7,500 and that Linford said the book was owned by a family in North Carolina. The pages were shipped to the Texas man, who later determined they did come from the Arizona woman's first-edition.

The FBI's Art Theft unit and other agents investigated and found the book after locating the suspect staying with an acquaintance in Virginia, the affidavit said.

The FBI would not estimate how much this edition of the Book of Mormon might be worth. The Arizona bookstore owner placed the value at $100,000. However, the Mesa Police Department consulted experts who gave an estimate of $40,000 because pages had been taken out of the book and sold.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Books • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints • Mormonism

soundoff (2,069 Responses)
  1. Peteyroo

    It's just not fair that in the beginning at the dawn of time atheists were given the high IQs while the religious folks were burdened with low intelligence and a lack of imagination.

    June 15, 2012 at 9:33 am |
  2. mcbutter

    If there is an actual GOD do you think he lives on a Planet in our solar system? Come on wake up Morons!

    June 15, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  3. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Joseph Smith was called a prophet. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
    He started the Mormon religion. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
    Joseph Smith was called a prophet. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
    Many people believed Joseph. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
    And that night he saw an angel. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
    Joseph Smith was called a prophet. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
    He found the stones and golden plates. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.
    Even though nobody else ever saw them. Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

    I have, in my possession, an ancient book written on gold plates that tells of Jesus Christ's second coming. Here, in America.
    In America? That sounds kind of... Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

    June 15, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • kerfluffle

      I'll be needing those plates back Joe–hope 15 minutes was enough time for you to memorize a language that you've never seen before, and to transcribe it accurately.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Bill

      Since you don't know the church history or even read the first few pages of the Book of Mormon, where it states the testimonies of the witnesses who have seen the plates.

      I recommend you actually look into things before you inaccurately talk.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • kerfluffle

      If I have the ability to transcend the existence of 'god', I certainly have the gumption to question the verity of the pack of fools that fabricated this silliness in the first place.

      Take the blinders off.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:44 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumb.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  4. Religious dogma is not healthy for children and other living things

    Transcendence changes things

    June 15, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • If stupidity could talk

      It would sound like this guy

      June 15, 2012 at 9:17 am |
    • Peteyroo

      So does herpes. What's your point?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  5. JustPlainJoe

    This is a story of simple theft. The fact that one person places value on it as a collectable is no different that vintage barbie dolls.
    The Mormon angle is just to increase web traffic.

    June 15, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • Jared

      Thank you! That is like the most true statement I have heard, it also is true for all of these trolls

      June 15, 2012 at 9:18 am |
  6. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    Has anybody retrieved the golden plates yet? That would be a news story...

    June 15, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Peteyroo

      I have some ceramic plates in the kitchen.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Yeah but can you translate them?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:20 am |
    • Pics or it didn't happen

      They say made in China, use google translate.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • Peteyroo

      The plates have chickens on them.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  7. LynnAnn

    It was an act of God that retrieved the sacred book of Mormon.

    June 15, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • No Gods

      Lol, sure it was....

      June 15, 2012 at 9:13 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Does the FBI work for God?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:15 am |
    • kerfluffle

      Did 'god' forget a few pages too?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:17 am |
  8. Elder Price

    Hello! My name is Elder Price, and I would like to share with you the most amazing book! It's a book about America a long, long time ago. It has so many awesome parts! You simply won't believe how much this book can change your life!

    June 15, 2012 at 9:12 am |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Dumb dumb dumb dumb dumbbbbbb.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:23 am |
    • kerfluffle

      Was it America before Amerigo Vespucci?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  9. oh_come_on

    Ridiculous cult who will try to use the upcoming legalization of gay marriage to bolster their case for the legalization of polygamy.

    June 15, 2012 at 9:07 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Really? Explain your foolish comment, please. How are the two related? I mean in the real world, not your fantasy world.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:11 am |
    • Jeff S.

      Yeah, except that they are OPPOSED to the legalization. You're ridiculous.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • steve

      huh?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  10. Lester Singleton

    If we spent half the time looking at who we are and how we act as we are concerned with what others believe, this country would be a much better place.

    June 15, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Agreed!

      June 15, 2012 at 9:04 am |
  11. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    June 15, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Are you still praying for personal wealth and for your favorite sports team to win?

      June 15, 2012 at 8:55 am |
    • If stupidity could talk

      peteyroo would be the loudest voice on earth

      June 15, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Stupid Ditty, I have a megaphone hooked to a loudspeaker!

      June 15, 2012 at 9:00 am |
    • John

      Haha, what does Atheism have to do with this? Do you even know what Atheism is? It's a person who doesn't believe in God or Satan. dummy!

      The FBI should just burn that book.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:14 am |
    • If stupidity could talk

      You don't need a megaphone to be stupid and loud your stupidity is sufficient

      June 15, 2012 at 9:18 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Stupid Ditty, I hate to see you so confused. You should have stayed in school and finished the third grade. It's not your fault though. Times are tough, expecially for the less talented like yourself.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:25 am |
    • cedar rapids

      like rain dances change the weather

      June 15, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Madtown

      Maybe for you. For me, pizza changes things.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:09 am |
  12. If stupidity could talk

    it would be Mormon

    June 15, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Peteyroo

      It would be any and all religious nonsense.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • If stupidity could talk

      It just outspoke Mormon

      June 15, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Stupidity can speak as you have amply demonstrated.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:05 am |
    • If stupidity could talk

      Glad you are aware of your stupidity, recognition is the first step to healing

      June 15, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • steve

      WoW, the Irony.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:29 am |
  13. seantudor

    No offense to my fellow Christian "witnesses" on here, but your derogatory comments are embarrassing to those of us who understand how to act in public. You can disagree with something without sounding ignorant and uneducated. Please learn civility and go read the teachings of Jesus yourself, and listen less to what you hear from the pulpit and the television. Its that kind of ignorance that leads to prejudice. We all know that when someone attacks you in the same way, you would call yourself the victim. There's enough hypocrites in religion. Please do your best to make yourself less of one.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Bill

      Go f a r c k yourself.

      Is that civil enough?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:37 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Bill, how can you object to seantudor? He is the voice of reason. Do you torture puppies, push old ladies in front of buses, and/or burn down orphanages?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • hippie power 69

      jesus never wrote down one word of what he supposedly said. these were written down 100-200 years later by people who never knew jesus. so how much do you want to believe? what was said? what was written and by whom? i know we have to have faith to believe in this but do we also have to give up our common sense too? and how come if it is one book there are so many interpretation's?? maybe because for every language it was written in people had different interpretations? one word in greek and another in aramaic that had no meaning to the one in greek, so they (men) included the word their people would understand. it still goes on today. these bible stories go back to long before the jews, they are just very nice stories and each people had their own take on them. they were lessons to teach the masses. that's all.

      June 15, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  14. Age Of Enlightenment

    Amazing that people actually place value on this stuff.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • Detroit Guy

      well...it is an historic artifact of significance to lots of people so it would have value just as any rare historical artificat would have.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  15. purnellmeagrejr

    I wonder what my autographed (by God, of course) copy of the Old Testament is worth.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Or my photo of Jesus with a unicorn.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:52 am |
    • If stupidity could talk

      Theses two comments would be up front

      June 15, 2012 at 8:56 am |
    • Peteyroo

      There's no IF. Stupidity is talking my confused friend.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Pics or it didn't happen

      I got $3.50 on the pic of Jesus with the unicorn

      June 15, 2012 at 9:10 am |
  16. LiberaLIowan

    Just more bs in another form. Wake up, people.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • Pics or it didn't happen

      Sheeple haha

      June 15, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  17. biodan

    Did the FBI also happen to look into the case of fraud that produced the Book of Mormon in the first place?

    June 15, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Age Of Enlightenment

      Like!

      June 15, 2012 at 8:46 am |
    • Peteyroo

      Do you mean the fiction of God and Jesus?

      June 15, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  18. Peteyroo

    I thought the anti-gay rants were bad until I saw the anti-Mormon rants. Do these Christians like anything? If Jesus showed up on their doorstep one day, they'd probably shoot him.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • seantudor

      I'm a Christian and I agree with your statement wholeheartedly. The majority of my fellow "believers" aren't quite as intelligent as a bag of doorknobs.

      June 15, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Bill

      They would call him a liberal hippie and kick his ass.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  19. Dave

    Burn the GD thing, worthless pack of lies.

    June 15, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Peteyroo

      How is the Book of Mormon any different than the Bible?

      June 15, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  20. monarch811

    Good. Now we can go back to the beginning and see how all the lies began....

    June 15, 2012 at 8:38 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.