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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. escher7

    My research continues:
    1. The Book of Mormon plagiarizes over 25,000 wods from the King james Bible even though it was supposedly put in the ground centuries before the King James translation;
    2. Joe was a polygamist with at least twenty- seven wives (some say over 60 wives).
    3. Joe (as he was known) was born to some rather strange parents in 1805. His mother, Lucy, was involved in occult practices and visions, while his father, Joseph, Sr., consumed much time with imaginary treasure digging (including the booty of Captain Kidd).
    4. Little known to most Mormons, Brigham Young was a rather rough and ruthless character. In 1857, he commanded Bishop John D. Lee to murder a wagon train of over one hundred helpless non-Mormon immigrants.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
    • Reality Check

      You know absolutely nothing!

      June 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • Frank

      You might as well spend your time researching the difference betweel Zeus and Thor.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Tallulah

      These facts are true. Especially the massacre part.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Flanders

      not sure about the first 3 but did see an hour show all about the murdering of hundreds of innocent people. I saw it on the history channel I think. They were trying to create there own country in Utah as well. The US army had to send troops to put the morons in there place.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:10 am |
    • cedar rapids

      "You know absolutely nothing!"

      then refute them with your own response, just saying 'you know nothing' usually mean you have jack all in response

      June 15, 2012 at 9:44 am |
  2. GAW

    It's a fraud but a very valuable fraud.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm |
  3. r00t4rd3d

    $7,500 for 2 pages. What a dope.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:38 pm |
  4. Robert Kent

    Where can i get some real authentic Mormon Holy Underwear? I want to wear some the next time I get a case of the Hershey Squirts.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Tom

      You and your squirts should just stay home.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  5. escher7

    exmormon.org – "Recovery From Mormonism" . Never saw a "Recovery From Christianity" site, not that I am religious.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Tom

      I'd like to see a "Recovery from Fraudulent and Moronic High School Teachers" group.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      And a recovery from recovery group.

      June 15, 2012 at 1:47 am |
  6. dman

    There are several sources listed at the bottom of the page. Knock yourself out.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
  7. Thinking Man

    "Logical Larry, you are mistaken. If you took the time to actually read the bible you would understand that everything in it is 100% true. Scientists have their theories but that's all they are–theories. Read the bible and you will see everything in it is true.. Have doubts? Well the bible says it is true. Your doubts are now shattered."

    I have read the Bible, Tora, Q'uran, and many of the books not included int he bible. I do not believe any of them have any truth in regards to their claims of anything supernatural. Science has it's theories, but they are only theories.... because science constantly tests and retests it's ideas in order to come to a greater understanding of our universe. If evidence presents itself that god or gods is/are real, then science will accomodate that, not rail against it.
    The truth does not require faith, it presents itself to the inquisitive. If you have any doubts about what I'm saying, that's good, go get some evidence. Until then I'm not going to try to prove the non-existence of god, for the same reason I don't try to prove the non-existence of faeries, goblins, and the flying spaghetti monster, which is that they all have no evidence of their existence outside of some stories. It's not our job to prove a negative, and a faith based argument is a cop out.
    I don't know if there is some greater intelligence out in the void, but until even a shred of evidence remains elusive, I will operate under the assumption that there is not. Any "god" that would punish me for doing so is a worthless one.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Flanders

      well said

      June 15, 2012 at 5:17 am |
  8. The Bible!

    For anyone out there who calls themself a Christian, ask yourself how willing you are to compromise. How can you vote for a self admitted believer in the cult Book of Mormon when a christian Obama is running. Twist it any way you want but Obama is a christian and Romney is a cultist. If you do vote for Romney then you'd better shut up about the other rules like gay marriage and abortion because picking and choosing which parts of the bible to believe and which to ignore makes you the worst type of hypocrite!

    June 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • disgustedvet

      Its really easy when you consider the option.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Duce

      Obama=the lesser evil...

      June 14, 2012 at 7:28 pm |
    • gold plated

      and you sound like a vetinarian who makes all his decisions based on the easy option.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • yeah i'm mormon

      what part of the bible are we actually ignoring

      June 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Mick

      What? Obama is not also a cultist? Does he not believe that a god sent his son down to Earth, who then performed magical deeds, and eventually rose from the dead? Joseph Smith and his sillyass gold plates don't have a monopoly on far-out beliefs.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • Robert Kent

      Obama is a Muslim. Anways, it doesn't really matter since it's all fantasy.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Tom

      Sounds like you joined the Obama Cult.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
  9. Rich Dix

    Now all we have to do is to get the FBI to dig up the Gold Plates.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • gold plated

      I think Elvis has the gold plates, doesn't he?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • escher7

      Of course the plates would be gold or Romney wouldn't be interested.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
    • Bobjohnjames

      No I have the gold plates. I use them to eat easter dinner on.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  10. disgustedvet

    All of you scoffers will soon have a Mormon in the Whitehouse. Much better than a socialistic atheist.

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

      Thanks for your service. No thanks for your silly rhetoric.

      Unless by 'vet' you meant 'veterinarian'.

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

      i will be sitting out the gen election than vote for a mormon. I suspect i won't be the only republican.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • anevenmoredisgustedvet

      The disgustedvet clearly doesn't know what he's talking about. Serving in the military, as I did for 8 years, is great but it gives you zero merit in terms of your political outlook.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • escher7

      Yes – Obama will need a janitor.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Tom

      At least the Mormon has had a real job.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • cedar rapids

      yes tom, so did Obama despite the bull you spout

      June 15, 2012 at 9:50 am |
  11. Berk

    Google "The Lost 116 Pages of the Book of Mormon" for an interesting little story about just how infallible this book ought to be considered.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Tallulah

      Now I just had to go look

      June 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  12. dman

    Yes because this thread merits that kind of scrutiny. Keep staring into the hat dude, it will make everything OK.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  13. FundaMENTAL

    Mormonism is just Scientology with a 200 year headstart. What a joke!

    June 14, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • peter

      130 year headstart–however hubbard never wrote or claimed another testament of jesus christ which is why it will be better for hubbard than smith

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

      wow your not all biased

      June 14, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Thinking Man

      Christianity is just scientology with a 2,000 year head start.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • Lol

      And a VERY long series of emperors and kings making everybody follow it or have their property seized and their heads chopped off..................................

      June 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  14. disgustedvet

    I'm sure the CNN-bots would be much more excited if a rare edition of Chairman Mao's book were found.

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

      I have one around here somewhere from my hippie days.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
  15. Logical Larry

    The bible is equally ridiculous in every way.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Day

      Logical Larry, you are mistaken. If you took the time to actually read the bible you would understand that everything in it is 100% true. Scientists have their theories but that's all they are–theories. Read the bible and you will see everything in it is true.. Have doubts? Well the bible says it is true. Your doubts are now shattered.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • disgustedvet

      How can a "logical" man comment upon a subject of which he is totally ignorant ? That 's "illogical ".

      June 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
    • Layla

      Larry, your comment is illogical

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

      @Day – it's all 100% true? Holy crap, that's amazing. I'm going to believe that because you said it so it must be true.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Harry

      Ok... so with that logic.... if say.... The Twilight Saga said it is true.. then it must be true... or the satanic bible... or the National Enquirer... just because a book says it is true does not mean that it is true.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Mick

      "Read the bible and you will see everything in it is true"

      Including the talking donkey?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:34 pm |
    • fair and balanced

      FOX News always say they they tell the truth. I'd better listen to them all!

      June 14, 2012 at 7:41 pm |
    • Flanders

      OMG Day, that is the funniest thing on this entire blog.

      June 15, 2012 at 5:25 am |
  16. hippypoet

    LOL

    June 14, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  17. Goddidit

    Not to offend any Mormon but this religion is made up..The founder of this "religion" took parts of Christianity and made up the rest..I watched the South park episode and I didnt even know what Mormons believed but I did research..it's a cult.A literal and real cult

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

      Oh, South Park. Bless that great equal opportunity offender.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • Shawn L

      All religion is made up.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Sir Craig

      Yeah, funny thing about christianity...it also borrowed heavily from many different religions, making it no better than mormonism.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • Thinking Man

      How is the Mormon religion any more silly than mainstream ones? Is it because it wasn't written by patriarchal goat farmers 2000 year ago? I mean really. A man walking on water makes sense, but the teachings of the book of Mormon don't? Stop pretending your religion isn't just a very popular cult.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • LinSea

      Well of course South Park is a reliable source! Come on, dude. And where did you do your research? Did you just go online and look at sites that don't like Mormons? Or, did you go the Mormon church website? Did you read even a few chapters of the Book of Mormon? Did you ask any practicing Mormons about what they believe? Before you handed down your judgment, did you bother to take 1-3 hours out of your life and attend services at a Mormon church?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • meppman

      what exactly is your definition of a cult. because i guarantee if you make a definition which includes the lds church your religion will fit into it as well.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
    • Tallulah

      Linsea, actually I did read some of the book of mormon. I ordered on off the tv so I could see what it was about and I was totally amazed by how ridiculous it was. Who could believe that? Who? Who would read that and think ahhhh yes! Here are allll the answers! sheesh.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
  18. Dr.Fritz

    And some people want to elect someone who believes this nonsense to be President.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • Tom

      The American People already elected a village idiot from Kenya, what difference does it make who they elect now?

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

      Troll harder, Tom. Failing so far.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:10 pm |
    • escher7

      People like Tom are even more frightening than Mormons. Village idiot to refer to Harvard Law School Graduate – nice. From Kenya? Born in Hawaii despite what the real village idiots say and educated in America. More than Tom has going for him I am sure.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:36 pm |
    • Tom

      Obama claimed in his original book about his life that he was born in Kenya. Do you believe the original lie or the new lie? Obama is just another knucklehead that never had an honest job till he got elected to office.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Ian

      @escher7. You realize Romney graduated with two degrees from Harvard (law and MBA) not just one like Obama right?

      June 15, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • uru

      @escher7. You realize Romney graduated with two degrees from Harvard (law and MBA) not just one like Obama right?

      June 15, 2012 at 1:30 am |
  19. Boyd KKK Packer

    100% fiction.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • LinSea

      Oooh, what an interesting name game. Let me see if I understand the rules. You take someone who has a "K" in their name, add two more 'k's and then you can insinuate they are racist and feel all clever and smug about yourself. There are lots of celebrities and politicians with a 'k'. Are the number of points contingent upon how famous the person with a 'k' is?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
    • escher7

      LinSea'd oil.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • LinSea

      Ok, that one's pretty good, escher7.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
  20. dman

    Here's a nice story about a man who seduced other men's wives and was eventually dragged out of a jail and beaten to death by an angry mob. His name was Joesph Smith.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Joseph_Smith

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

      You don't read before you post do you?

      June 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm |
    • dman

      I invite you to read the wikipedia page at your leisure. That's basically what went down. The mormons were considered a cult before Utah was even a state, and when it was included in the union they fenced the Mormons off. It has always been seen as a cult because that is what it is.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • Jeff

      Because clearly Wikipedia is always right!

      June 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • dman

      Well in case you don't know how a wiki works why don't you just try editing it? Add some of your 'facts' and see how long they last.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:13 pm |
    • Jeff

      If you trust it so well, try citing to it in any professional or peer-reviewed journal. See how long that lasts.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:17 pm |
    • dman

      Here's another charming tale of mormon love:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountain_Meadows_massacre

      June 14, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Tom

      He wasn't beaten to death, he was shot and fell from an upper window as a result. He wasn't beaten to death. Read all the words and you might just get it. And don't remember to vote for your Kenyan Village Idiot.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • escher7

      These facts are true and not just from Wikipedia. He did have many many wives and was killed by an angry mob.

      June 14, 2012 at 7:58 pm |
    • LinSea

      You should also look up the Haun's Mill Massacre. And the Extermination Order, where the governor of one state made it perfectly legal to murder someone just for being a Mormon. Oooh, and how Mormons' voting rights were stripped away? Is that on Wikipedia too? And does Wikipedia explain how Joseph Smith was beaten to death when he and his older brother had already been viciously shot to death?

      June 14, 2012 at 8:04 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.