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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. Dikran

    sell pages from a cult book to support a drug habit that's just great

    June 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  2. DAVE, Ca

    Printed on the inside cover was a disclaimer: Note- this book is a work of satire.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Jake

      And edited by Bernie Madoff, expert con man.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  3. Jake

    Much to do about nothing. It's a book written by some crazy fool with too much time on his hands. So this crazy fool writes this BS and claims an angel spoke to him. There are plenty of people in psychiatric hospitals who speak to angels all the time, some with wings, some with jet engines, some just float around, and some with water skis. See, if this crazy fool was around today, he would be on some locked ward with these others who also claim God, Angels, or the Moon speaks to them. Nutjobs and the feeble and weak minds that believe this like the dog strapper extraordinaire and money hider, Mr. Mitt. And some would say this man is fit to be President, a man who believes this nonsense and that he will get his own planet to rule over when he dies. Just think about that for a moment...get his own planet. Sad state for this country when this crazy fool follower is the choice of many to be President. Tells you a lot about these folks.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
    • Jake

      And Magic Underwear....let's not forget the power of Mitt's Magic Underwear as it is written in the book of morons.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Pheadrus

      You *are* talking about Christianity, right? Or is it Islam? You weren't all that specific...

      June 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • escher7

      The majic underwear is to prevent men from cheating on their wives. Available in "Union Suit" version with trap door.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  4. Tekpilot

    I love how all the atheists hang out in the faith pages. The scorn doesnt detract from the fact that they are here! lol.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • sam

      So?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Bet

      Did CNN start restricting the belief blog to believers only? When did that happen?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • sam

      There must be a secret handshake we forgot to learn.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • phearis

      No, we just like to mock people who believe in an invisible immortal omnipotent wish granting zombie in the sky. =P

      June 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Jesus9076

      Why would we not be here? Everyone loves a good science fiction story.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Woo

      We don't hang out it. It's just that crap like this is always on the front page. Personally, I believe the only way to get rid of ridiculous supernatural beliefs is to ridicule those who attempt to keep them popular.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Goddidit

      God doesn't live in the sky..typical atheist lies

      June 14, 2012 at 6:54 pm |
    • sam

      I forgot. God lives under your bed.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Sam

      Too true, LOL!

      June 15, 2012 at 4:27 am |
    • cedar rapids

      its like passing a traffic accident Tekpilot. you cant look away at the wreck usually caused by stupidity.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  5. Mike

    Gotta love when people scoff at this as a fairy tale... then pick up their bible for a little "nonfiction"

    June 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  6. Dave

    Why do people who believe in the Bible object to the Book of Mormon as a fake? Have you read the bible? Unicorns, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, women being manufactured from ribs of another person, not to mention the Jesus zombie myth (you know, Jesus rises from the dead like a zombie...). Classic example of my myth is better than your myth.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • sam-e

      Their myth is home-grown, a truly American cult. I'm with you, but just think of the old adage "you can't go home."

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • TKO

      Unicorns in the bible? Where? Not particularly a bible-believer myself, but at least I've actually read it–

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

      TKO- If you read the King James version of the Old Testament, it has several references to unicorns.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
  7. cbinal

    OH I thought that said Book of Morons.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Duce

      It was supposed to originally. Typo gone wrong!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
  8. Duce

    Another silly book of 'faith'... When are we going to get past the foolishness of religion?

    June 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Sam

      First of all religion isn't foolishness, on the contrary faith in Jesus the Christ is wisdom. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will never go away, ever. It is His restored gospel, it won't ever falter and will continue to exist despite your lack of faith.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:30 am |
    • Duce

      Riiight...

      June 15, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  9. sam-e

    Joseph Smith was shown the plates by the angel Moroni, and he used special holy cipher stones to translate them into this other testament of Jesus H. Christ. They should, therefore, be called MORONS.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Duce

      Hahaha! Couldn't agree more. But the ridiculousness is equal in the other religions as well.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • sam-e

      The totality of my sarcasm must not be as obvious as I intended.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • Duce

      I was agreeing with you. Just stating that all of the other religions are practically just as silly.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • sam-e

      I know, I feel the same way. It's why I included JC's middle initial.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • dman

      Fortunately Matt and Trey have broken it down for us in both musical theater and cartoon form. Dumb, da-Dumb, Dumb!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
  10. rob

    Why is the FBI getting involved? Don't they have more important things to do? And the Book of Mormon is a joke. The sooner that bigoted cult disappears from the face of the Earth, the better off the world will be.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Duce

      As soon as all of the bigoted religions disappear from the face of the Earth, we'll be much better off.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm |
    • dman

      The Book of Mormon is not a joke! It's a Tony award winning musical, jeeesh...

      June 14, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
    • sam

      True, at least we can thank it for the musical.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  11. Dave

    Its' amazing how one little article about a stolen book of mormon can fire up so much pasion in people. there must be something to it.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Dzerres

      Yes, that's the logic to use in this case. Because of all of the negative comments there must be something to that Book of Fiction. That's like saying because of all the comments surrounding Jerry Sandusky he must be some kind of hero. Please. Joe Smith made that up and when a couple of chapters went missing he and his "seeing stones" (look that up its a real knee slapper) couldn't recreate those missing chapters. Some prophet. More like "profit" – that's all that "church" cares about is MONEY.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Dave

      That’s my point. It wasn't about religious doctrine, it was about a stolen religious book and some people take any opportunity to tearing down and belittle people for their beliefs.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • escher7

      Boredom !

      June 14, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
  12. Tom Mix

    Who cares? Burn it...

    June 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Bugs Bunny

      Why? Are you afraid of it? People usually want to destroy what they fear.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Jed

      That's pretty insulting to those who's lives have been blessed by the Book of Mormon. There are more rumors going around than truth regarding Mormons but I'm fascinated with the amount of uneducated people who have never researched Mormonism or even visited a Mormon church, and have terrible things to say about the church. Our country based on freedom of religion is now being dragged through the mud due to the rumors and uneducated people like yourself. Have a little respect Tom! Even if you don't believe some people do and it's offensive.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • sam-e

      Yeah, Tom! Have respect for the Morons, who believe Joseph smith found golden plates in the woods that told the story of Jesus coming to the Americas before he went to heaven. The story of how Indians were white but turned red after god cursed them for killing Moroni. Psych!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • cbinal

      @Jed Joseph Smith was kicked out of every church he was a part of as a teenager for being a heretic. And, as a teenager, he met this so-called Angel of Light that told him all of these things. The only Angel of Light (called out that way) in the Bible was Satan – the fallen Angel who's goal is to deceive. Hmm put 2 and 2 together, your "research" should have brought you to a conclusion, mine did.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • cbinal

      And as far as "visiting a Mormon Church" – would that be the part outsiders are allowed to see or the part that's kept secret to only the members? Or maybe the part that only the Elders are allowed to see?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
    • Stars

      @cbinal – There is a difference between a meetinghouse and a Temple. A meetinghouse (or Ward building) is used for the weekly meetings of the congregation. A Temple on the other hand, is reserved for those who are worthy to enter. And what they do inside is not secret, but sacred. Anyone is free to visit an LDS Meetinghouse and sit in their meetings...all who are interested in learning are welcome. To enter a Temple, one must receive what's called a Recommend from their Bishop, after being interviewed and found worthy to enter.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • Stars

      @cbinal

      Joseph Smith never belonged to any church, so it would have been difficult for him to be kicked out. He couldn't decide which was right, so he asked God for an answer. And God and Jesus appeared to him, not some "angel of light".

      In Revelation, we're told that another angel would fly in the midst of heaven having the everlasting Gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth. If the Gospel had never left (as most churches claim), why would an angel need to preach it again to the people of the earth?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • peter

      stars–joeseph smith your prophet was a cursed man as is the christ he preached and wrote about in the book of mormon,another testament of jesus christ. By his teaching and book he put people in darkness and slavery. Reject the claims of joeseph smith and break free of his cursed religion.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:02 pm |
    • escher7

      Hey Jed. I researched it at the " Recovery from Mormonism" website.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • Flanders

      @ Jed ...................... blessed by it ............... no buddy, enslaved by it. But what ever makes you feel good I guess.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:24 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "A Temple on the other hand, is reserved for those who are worthy to enter. "

      why would a religion have to specify that only certain people are worthy to enter places?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:39 am |
  13. HotAirAce

    He should be charged with stealing a comic book, or thanked for trying to rid the world of a myth.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Old Ironsides

      Even myths have power. And most re based in fact. So be careful what you seek to destroy.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • sam-e

      Of course this myth is rooted in the fact that joey smith was a charlatan that duped many ppl into giving him all their money and letting him do their wives n daughters.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      So, what are the "facts" of the jesus myth and what is its real power? We're looking for undisputed, verifiable facts here – not religious bullsh!t from The Babble or its alledged modern day sequel The Book of Moron.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  14. CMJ

    I was Mormon for the first 18 years of my life. Long story short, not any more. It is definitely a cult.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Barbie Hates Ken

      So, in other words, you weren't able to live your beliefs. Sucks to be weak, doesn't it?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Barbie

      Weak is believing whatever load of cr.ap some book of fairy tales tells you to believe, and paying for the privilege.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Duce

      Barbie has been bullied by religion to believe that if she doesn't believe in her 'faith', she is a loser...

      June 14, 2012 at 6:38 pm |
    • Barbie Hates Ken

      Never paid for religion in my life. You on the other hand, are probably paying by the minute.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Ken

      You mean that 1-900 number you keep giving out, for that 'side business' you run?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • escher7

      I wouldn't be too worried by the comments of anyone named "Barbie Hates Ken".

      June 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Bet

      @ barbie

      My mistake. You get paid for the pleasure of your "company". $5 for a bj,, $10 for insertion, $15 for insertion w/o a rubber, $20 for ass insertion.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Flanders

      A college buddy of mine Dad was a moron bishop. At 18 he also stopped following. His brother, who had been in the "sacred" rooms of the moron church renounced the cult at the age of 28. His brother age 19 at the time who was never deemed good enough to go in asked him one day. So what goes on behind the closed doors? Even years after renouncing the moron cult, he would still not tell his brother what went on. My guess is some sick $h!t, like get married and the people behind the doors get to slay your wife. Or maybe they inspect bodies, or maybe the men get together and play flag pole. I always found this to be very strange.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:36 am |
    • Flanders

      Barbie, you are just as plastic. Fake, uniformed and probably just want more kids, have 8 already. Haven't paid for your religion huh. You have paid your whole life and don't know it. You have paid so much, you will never be the same. Ruined for life, but this is your fairy-tale. You do what the church tells you, you will be better for it (hahahaahhaaha). Everybody knows you morons have to pay 10% of what you make. Stop being so DUMB and open your eyes.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:43 am |
  15. Terry G

    Its a cult work of fiction, along with Golden Underwear, Baptizing dead people, and having multiple wives, just to name a few.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • esmiranda

      The practices you named would never fly in an actual work of fiction – that is all so ridiculous it is beyond belief. I guess it may work as a farcical comedy. How can anyone have respect for organized religion anymore, considering the history of the atrocities committed in the name of a loving and merciful yet vengeful and punitive creator. Putting your faith in people is a dangerous practice.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • Shamrock

      Your ignorance is showing. But that's no surprise. You're ignorant about a lot of things in your life, aren't you?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • Duce

      Actually, Shamrock, I think they were fairly accurate with their statements...

      June 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • Shamrock

      Well, Duce...that doesn't say much about your education either, does it?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
    • Duce

      I think it does as I have graduated from SDSU with a BA in Political Science AND History... Thanks for your meaningless time.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Duce

      And just for future reference, Shamrock, sarcasm doesn't equate to ignorance or lack of education. Particularly, on wastes of news space such as this one, it is a sign of frustration.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
    • escher7

      Shamrock is Irish. Try and start a Mormon church in Dublin.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Sam

      @ Terry G
      "Its a cult work of fiction" – The Book of Mormon is true, and the Church is not a cult unless you believe Christianity is a cult.
      " along with Golden Underwear" – If you are referring to the Temple Garments, then no they are white, and garments.
      " Baptizing dead people" – Proxy Baptisms are just that, worthy Latter-day Saints being Proxies for those who have passed with the hope that they will accept the gospel in the next life.
      "and having multiple wives" – The practice of plural marriage ended in 1890 and any member of the Church that preaches or practices plural marriage is excommunicated.

      June 15, 2012 at 4:42 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "The Book of Mormon is true, and the Church is not a cult unless you believe Christianity is a cult."

      which it is of course, it a christ personality cult.

      June 15, 2012 at 9:41 am |
    • Duce

      @Sam – Yes, they're both cults.

      June 15, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  16. Durp

    I'm going to write a book about how I get to sleep with all the women and get to become my own god and you have to wear magic underwear and sell pages from it for $100,000.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • Mr Ed.

      You have to learn how to write first. And idiots have been writing about stuff like that for a long time. Too bad they don't have a clue about the things they write about. But, like them, it's easier for you to be ignorant and pretend to know what you're talking about than to really understand the subject. And in the end, you'll just be a penniless nothing, just like them.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
    • escher7

      I think I heard a talking horse.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Flanders

      Out of his A$$

      June 15, 2012 at 4:50 am |
  17. Felix

    What I don't get is why a bunch people who don't believe in anything bother coming to the religous section of this site. Oh, right, because they live in dark little Troll basements waiting for their mothers to bring them their next meal.
    The levels of attacks against religion here smacks of fanatisim as bad as any over the top religious response out there, taking Atheism to religous fever levels all in itself. I don't agree with the Mormons views, but they are their views, and unless they are going out their way to force them on me it's none of my business how they worship.
    Unfortunately, as of the past several years, a fanatical branch of Atheists are trying to force their so called lack of faith on everone around them. Most of the moderate, calm, Atheists I know are disgusted at these antics. Go back to your dark undersides of bridges and wait for the answer. Either you are right and when you die you just stop existing, or one of the religions are right and you get some form of eternal damnation.
    Argument over.
    Win/Win situation for the rest of us.

    June 14, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • DP

      When I die, I'm going to get magical powers and fly up into the sky and booogey oogey oogey all night.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Ramen

      When I die, I'm going to have my head attached to a monkey's body and then go around to schools in the south and teach evolution. BWAAHAHAHA!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • peter

      felix–i think the church of scientology and the church of latter day saints deserve to be attacked–They are cults that destory lives and put people in darkness and slavery-By the way, mormons do in fact "bother" people by knocking on their doors with their book of mormon

      June 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Ramen,

      LOL! too funny...

      June 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • mendacitysux

      Or they just want equal time which is impossible to do. The opinions of atheists pale in number to that of religious ones sending their messages every avenue they can. So don't whine when you hear the message they are trying to send. Its nice that you like the ones you know as long as they don't voice their opinon. And wishing their eternal damnation is very christian of you.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
    • rep

      Actually Felix, many religions DO go out of their way to force their views on everyone. They've been doing it for so long many barely notice it when it happens.

      I've never seen a commercial for atheism, but I've seen plenty promoting Mormonism (LDS). I've never had an atheist knocking at my door trying to convert me, but I have had lots of annoying Jehovah's Witnesses doing that. I've never run into groups of atheists chanting or ranting on the side of the road or at airports or subways passing out literature, etc., but I've seen that from plenty folks from various religious backgrounds doing that. I've never gone into a hotel room, opened the drawer and seen a book promoting atheism, but I have seen the Bible in plenty of them.

      And let's not even get started with all the "under God" stuff plastered all over our national identifiers (e.g., pledge of allegiance, currency, etc.). I've never seen "there is no God" attached to anything. Hell, prayer in schools was banned maybe 30 years ago, and it's STILL a sore point with Christians. In fact, Christianity is aggressively pushed in our public policy practically all the time nowadays!

      So if you don't like it when a few pssed-off atheists occasionally post smart_ss comments online in response to yet ANOTHER public religious discussion that (as always) ignores any provable facts, I'd say relax, because you're getting off easy!

      June 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • District 9

      @Peter, I'll bet not one of them knocks on your door with a Book of Mormon. They probably use their knuckles. You know what those are...they're the things that are hanging down at the end of your arms next to your ankles.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • peter

      district 9–liberalism like mormonism is a mental illness–Mormons do in fact have a book of mormon when they knock on your door.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:48 pm |
    • Flanders

      I used to have morons knock on my door all the time when I was in college. I would invite them in to my chambers, walls pasted with Led Zep, Hendrix, and other great stuff. I would never smoke in the house, but I would crack a beer, light up a smoke and say, OK, enlighten me. It was fun playing with there small minds. I was never forced, but in the states surrounding Utah, it can get pretty bad.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:04 am |
    • cedar rapids

      so felix, how do atheists force their lack of faith on people exactly?

      June 15, 2012 at 9:43 am |
  18. czar33

    Is this a sign that Romney will loose. I hope so. I wish Romney gets sick and dies long before November 2012!

    June 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • BK

      I hope that your grammar improves before November 2012.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Savoire

      Loose? OMG You are SO funny!! How many words of English do you know? Can you sign "Banana"?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:37 pm |
  19. Citizen Roy

    Did they find the golden plates?

    June 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • cbinal

      You mean the ones that don't really exist?

      June 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • escher7

      The plates that 3 men saw only in a vision and the other 8 denied having seen them later.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  20. Bad Religion

    Should of burnt it

    June 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • LinSea

      Too bad you weren't alive in Germany in the 1930s. You could have had a ball hanging out with the other goose-stepping facists. They loved burning books.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Mary, Queen of Spots.

      Should "HAVE" burned it, you twit.

      And LinSea's right. You're definitely not an American. Sieg Heil, Fascist Pig.

      June 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
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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.