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. jimzcarz

    With the way they're parting out this book you would almost think they're trying to Copy & Paste a new religion...

    June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  2. baj99

    ok, ok, I have the golden treasure plates that Joseph found with his magical treasure-finding stick. Willing to trade for cash or a few wives (depending on model year, miles and condition)

    June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • DB

      I have 14 wives, and im willing to trade 7 of them for the gold plates.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:55 pm |

    Obviously not firing on all cylinders, but then you'd have to have a brain to use it!!

    June 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  4. TJ

    Interesting, the next president is a Mormon.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      only if Romney runs in 2016 maybe

      June 14, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  5. Super Station

    All "holy" books were written by men. The Sears catalog is just as sacred.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • derp

      At least the Sears catalog has some purpose.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • TheBob

      @derp and booooobies!

      June 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
  6. Xman

    Where are Smiths' magic undies!

    June 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  7. Ron D-

    I truly hope she gets a civil judgement against him for the $60,000 of lost value caused by his removing the pages. That, of course, on top of the criminal prosecution.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Binky

      I heard she was already doing that before it was stolen

      June 18, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  8. Mr. Mormon

    Mormons are so awesome. We get to tell everyone how cool it is to live a sheltered life believing a story a guy made up so he could cheat on his wife (polygamy)

    June 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Jake Lee

      I have read that he like them young. I think by todays defenision he would be a child rapist.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      hence 'bring them young' as one of the leaders. It all makes sense you see.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
    • Serious

      Just throw words around with zero proof.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  9. Sly

    Nothin' more amusing than one God-ster talkin' smack about another.

    Christians believe there is some fat white man in the sky, but they mock Muslims concept of 79 virgins?

    People who believe in the bible scoffing at the book of Mormon?

    Ho ho ho ... that is some funny stuff.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Gil Nodges

      LOL.....so true. It's like one person saying "Santa Claus" is real, and the other countering with "No, the Easter Bunny is real"

      June 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Jay

      but ...but....but....Santa Is REAL!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • DB

      Sly, have you ever read the book of mormon? It is the most ridiculous piece of stupid you will ever try and read. At least the other two holy books have had centuries to be edited and made more presentable.

      ALSO: History shows that Mohammad was a brilliant military genius. Both Islam and Christianity at some points held together some of the worlds largest empires, which their followers can talk about whenever they feel insecure about their religion. So.... the point I'm making here that its very easy for anyone with half a brain to realize how stupid the mormon religion is because it is so new.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Jay Dee

      I thought they only had 72 virgins. They got 7 more? Count me in!

      June 15, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • r martens

      ...7 extra virgins are "Frequent Martyr" bonus....

      June 15, 2012 at 10:07 am |
    • A little more complicated than the surface issues

      There have been many archeological discoveries that correlate with specific places and events in the bible.

      Nothing in the book of Mormon has ever been substantiated with archeological evidence.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  10. erich2112x

    I've got an unopened, still sealed since 1972 vinyl of Cheech and Chong's, "Big Bambu", – giant rolling paper still inside. Also Frank Zappa's "Ship Arriving Too Late To Save a Drowning Witch" -vinyl.

    June 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Pastapharian

      Now *those* are valuable!!! Very nice.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  11. vvaughn

    I love the Bible. AND...I love the Book of Mormon. Both books testify of Jesus Christ. I love that, because I love Jesus.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Gil Nodges

      and Jesus loves you, too!!!! Oh, wait, he's dead.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • derp

      I love sasquatch. He's was awsomer than jesus.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Jay

      Obviously you have not read either of them.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Chris

      This is the best comment on this page. ^

      June 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Jake Lee

      L Ron Hubbard wrote better science fiction and he has a religion too. Scientology.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
    • Canadian Bacon

      @ derp -yeah, maybe Sasquatch is awesomer than Jesus, but Steve Austin, the Six Million Dollar Man, is awesomerer than Sasquatch because he whupped Sasquatch in a fight, and tore his arm off, thus showing that Sasquatch was in fact a robot alien – or something like that. Hmm – that sounds a LOT more plausible than the stories in Mormonism and Christianity!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Sam

      Well said! Never give up your faith in the Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ and His restored gospel due to these people who would rather discount the most beautiful thing to have ever happen to mankind since the Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ gave His Life as an sacrifice for the sins of all the world.

      June 15, 2012 at 3:58 am |
  12. REC

    This is ridiculous.
    1. I agree that whoever in their right mind spends $7,500 on two pages of a book is completely retarded.
    2. Religion may save some people momentarily by giving a false sense of hope and community, but over time has shown to be a fuel for war and discrimination.
    3. No one likes spammers.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  13. SKYLAR

    You will never know the truth until you open your mind and take that leap of faith!! There are currently 13.5 million believers around the world!! No small task...

    June 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • AGuest9

      It proves that there are a lot of deluded people in the world.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Jarom

      That means there are 13.5 million stupid people out there....Great point you made!

      June 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Gil Nodges

      Um, yeah, so "opening up your mind" and "taking that leap of faith" are completely contrdictory........If you truly open your mind to the truth of the universe and accept the possibilities, you will quickly discover that ALL religions are created by humans...mostly for control, and fear of death.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • New Gawker

      there's a sucker born every minute.

      -Dude who made up the bible.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Thunder

      That means there are 6.7 billion non believers in the world. Hummmmmmm

      June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Joseph

      There are computer games that have more subscribers than that....

      June 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Jay

      A very common use of a logical fallacy called Argumentum ad populum. Just because so many believe something, does not make it true.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Chris

      I compleatly agree ,

      June 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      "There are computer games that have more subscribers than that...."

      brilliant response

      June 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Sam

      14,441,346 as of 31 December 2011 to be exact.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:00 am |
    • Rohan

      Let’s look at it carefully. If there are discrepancies in the book of mormon or the other “scriptures” accepted by them,or historical inaccuracies, then the whole thing falls apart.

      The book of mormon (the BM, for short) states that native americans are descended from the Hebrews. Genetic testing proves that to be not true.

      The BM mentions elephants. There were no elephants in the americas at that time.

      The BM mentions chariots. The wheel was unknown in the americas before europeans showed up (there is apparently a toy with wheels on it but they apparently never made the connection to use it for transportation or chariots)

      The BM mentions iron weapons. Iron was never used by the ancient americans.

      No mormon names have ever been found in any sort of inscription in the western hemisphere.

      The story is that jesus showed up in ancient america to spread the word. They equate that to quetzalcuatl, the aztec god. Quetzalcuatl was an aztec god who slept with his sister and left the area. He was supposed to return at one point. Not exactly the representation of Jesus I’d expect.

      The language the BM was written in, “reformed egyptian” doesn’t exist. Never has.

      Supposedly there were no records to tell Smith about cities in the ancient americas. That one is also not true. Do 5 minutes of research on the subject and you will find it to be false.

      In the “doctrine and covanants”, another book of scripture by Smith, et. al., God gives to Smith the right to perform a ceremony called “calling and election made sure”, or “the holy spirit of promise”, and very specifically states that only one person on the face of the earth at any time can hold the right/power to perform the ceremony. 20 pages later, he (god) gives the right to do so to Smith’s brother, Hiram. So either god forgot he made that right exclusive, changed his mind (?), or Smith just botched that one.

      The religion is a total fraud. That said, I admire most mormons. They are very often nice people who work hard, have a solid community, are charitable, and are all-around pretty good. So whatever helps you get through life is fine by me. But don’t go around telling everyone it’s all true. It isn’t.

      June 16, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  14. Jim

    The book of MORON...Pass the toilet paper....I need to wipe with it.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • timmy

      Its so soft and fluffy....just like what it has in it....ALL FLUFF!

      June 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • ME II

      I'm not a Mormon... but you sure seem like an idiot.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Jarom

      Yes, it is very soft.
      Where can I get more?

      June 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  15. Norman Strother

    I challenge anyone who; reads, studies history and philosophy and "thinks" to counter this Biblical paraphrase. As it was in the time of Noah so shall it be in the time of the end, the Earth will be filled with violence. War, uprisings, movies, video games, TV shows and music. Have we become desensitized to violence? Or is it a way of life now? You decide.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Gil Nodges

      Um, yeah, so the world has never NOT been violent......

      June 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • ME II

      I'm confused... did Noah have movies and video games?
      Not to mention that when the "end" comes, there most likely won't be any violence because in the heat death of the universe no one will be left alive.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      that was true before the bible was written, let alone after.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  16. Lardeau

    One thing that I have always wondered about. Where are the gold plates to-day that were found by Joseph Smith ?

    June 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Gil Nodges

      Same place where the 10 commandments are kept......The land of make believe.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • Jake Lee

      Yeah, and what about that magic seer stone he looked through to translate those gold plates. Makes you wonder if there is any more magic in mormonison. I do know that they can make 10% of your income disappear.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Chris

      I believe that they are where he recieved them.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Jake Lee

      He kept the gold plate and seer stone in his imagination.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Serious

      if you really actually want those answers and are not just spammers try mormon.org

      June 14, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Jake Lee

      It sounds like your a true beleiver. Maybe you should pick up a book by Jon Krakauer called "Under the Banner of Heaven", read it from cover to cover and then get back to me. It is a good resource but It might be one of those banned books the "church" orders you not to read under threat of being excomunitated.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
    • Sam

      The Angel Moroni took them back up to heaven.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:02 am |
    • Jay Dee

      The sear stones are real! So is his hat. He put the stones in his hat and put his face down over it and saw the visions. This has to be true. Noone can make up stuff like this. I wonder if this is where they got the phrase, "you got rocks in your head,"

      June 15, 2012 at 4:44 am |
  17. rybl101

    There is only one TRUE cosmic Jewish zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree...

    Silly Mormons.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • thewiz_71

      And you have no understanding of Christianity at all. Nice try, though.

      June 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • rybl101

      Feel free to highlight which part is inaccurate.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Norman Strother

      First of all He was not his own Father, and if you "symbolically" eat His flesh you are not a zombie nor is He. The symbolism is in reference to accepting Him as Lord. This does not remove the evil force, death does this, and only death.All this does is show your allegence to Him thats why it's "symbolic". When you are all alone at night with your thoughts, you know the difference between good and evil!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • TheJew

      Great analysis rybl101! Silly mormons and nutty christians!

      June 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • Jay

      sorry about the idiots commenting here. They obviously cannot deal with sarcasm.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • rybl101

      Oh thanks Norman...now it all sounds so plausible!

      You know what the difference between mythology and theology is Norman?


      June 14, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  18. ME II

    If the FBI had recovered the ficti.tious gold tablets, now that would be a story.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • johnB


      the cost of gold today would make it worth wild to melt down

      June 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Gil Nodges

      worthwhile, dude, worthwhile.......lol.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  19. gingerpeach

    People have so much to say about something they know nothing about. Find out about what you are talking about before you spout off. You look really silly talking about things you know nothing about. Be informed first.

    June 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • SKYLAR

      Imbecilic to be exact!!

      June 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      can we still spout off after we are informed? just wondering if we have your permission for that.

      June 14, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  20. Gods Shepard

    See the face of god at Imswinging.com and then know the true lord!

    June 14, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • ezo

      That's the sickest $#!# I've ever seen. Get some help, dude. And Fast!

      June 14, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • Flanders

      OMG is that your site your trying to advertise. Sic O , r u the one taking it or the one with the nub.

      June 15, 2012 at 2:29 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.