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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. Dave Dawson

    Since you like me a lot – is there any secret you want to know?

    June 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  2. Mr Chihuahua

    Jewish Apaches having chariot battles in Alabama a thousand years ago, you say? Hey bro didnt I tell you to stay away from those opium dens? lol!

    June 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  3. ja-coffalotte

    ALL religious people are mentally ill on some level. Grow up, the Universe is much more connected than you know, religion has used up it's purpose, time to move on to bigger and better things.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:07 pm |
  4. Colin

    Which of the following is a silly story only a naïve child would believe?

    Harry Potter stared into the big black hat. Inside were magic gold tablets – which nobody else would ever see- which told Harry the secrets of the Universe, of life, death and the afterlife. They explained to him how, if he wore certain magic underwear, he would be protected from evil spirits in this life and in the end times.

    Joseph Smith stared into the big black hat. Inside were magic gold tablets – which nobody else would ever see- which told Joseph the secrets of the Universe, of life, death and the afterlife. They explained to him how, if he wore certain sacred underwear, he would be protected from evil spirits in this life and in the end times.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Frank

      Add this one: The creator of the universe rapes a poor Jewis girl about 2000 years ago but she's still a virgin who then gives birth to this god's son who is really himself. He hangs out as a rogue Jewis rabbie for 30 odd years doing magic tricks until he gets nailed to a Greek torture device, dies, rots in a cave for 3 days and comes back as a zombie who then is whisked into the sky. All this just to save all mankind because some bitch ate an apple after a snake talked her into it.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • TheBob

      lol Frank. You beat me to it and said it very well.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Joe

      Tell us more about the underwear.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • HopeResonates

      Neither one of them make any sense–neither reflects even close to anyone's reality. While I do get that you're trying to belittle Mormons and their founder, I don't get your point. You've got everything so skewed, it comes out as mere gibberish. Maybe you could get your facts straight and then try again?...

      June 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
  5. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • Duce

      Only in your mind...

      June 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm |
    • Number 6

      Yeah. Prayer changes your preacher's bank balance.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Frank

      You're back! Been missing your one-liner trolling on every page and watching everyone respond which I'm sure gets you all randy and all. Been on holiday?

      June 14, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • J

      I agree better to kill those who disagree with you.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • PepCap

      Taliban imams say the same thing.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • TheBob

      ...but brainwashing children into believing there's a magical invisible man in the sky that watches over them as they sleep *is* healthy?

      June 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
      Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just go to http://santorum.com to find out more.
      Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
      Prayer makes you fat, pale, weak, and sedentary.
      Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
      Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
      Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
      Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
      Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
      Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
      Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
      Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
      Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
      Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
      Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
      Prayer dulls your senses.
      Prayer makes you hoard cats.
      Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
      Prayer wastes time.

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

    Whatever your theological viewpoint, or lack thereof, I find it incredible that anyone, especially a professional dealer, would be stupid enough to cut up an extremely valuable historical artifact and sell it piecemeal. It's equivalent to selling Michaelangelo's David, one "appendage" at a time.
    Stupidity, and greed, know no bounds.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Maybe the professional dealer knows that it's not "an extremely valuable historical artifact." It's just another fucking book about fictional characters and there're lots of copies of it (the contents even if not in the same physical form). Paintings by Michelangelo on the other hand are true one-of-a-kind masterpieces (not trying to dupe the world with yet another cultish myth).

      June 14, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • Mayor McCheese

      It is done all the time in the map business. Frequently, individual maps people buy framed are pages that have been cut out of an atlas (a book of maps). The retail value of several individual maps exceeds that of the complete atlas. This unfortunately is also done with many illustrated, large format antiquarian books.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • No one gives a sh it

      What you think in Canada, keep it there ass hole !

      June 14, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Looks like someone isn't happy with this being the 200th anniversary of the USA getting its ass kicked in the War of 1812! :^)

      June 14, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
    • No one gives a sh it

      what happened in 1812 no one wants to hear from you now in 2012 ass hole!

      June 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Canadian Bacon

      @ HotAirAce – I wouldn't call it getting their butts kicked – I mean, all we did was burn down the White House. Hang on a sec – yeah, I guess that does qualify as a good butt-kicking.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I think you are forgetting about the 1 or 2 forts we took without hardly a fight. Not to mention causes a couple hundred of troops to exit Canada over a cliff into the Niagara when they did manage to almost get a toehold in Canada. But that was a long time ago, and the US is making progress towards ditching religion, so I won't bring it up again.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • to tell the truth

      in 1812 when the British and their lackeys the Canadians attacked Washington, God smote the invaders with tornadoes and drove them out of the area with severe casualties. The White House was singed, not burned by Canadian vandalism and was repaired with a few buckets of white paint.As to the entire war? America won.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      There's at least one American historian who disagrees:

      http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/11/27/canada-won-the-war-of-1812-u-s-historian-admits/

      June 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
  7. Ecclesiastes 7:17

    Cool that they found it.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • J

      I'm relieved now we can get to the bottom of it.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  8. escher7

    I have to go and tend to my five wifes now.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:28 pm |
  9. UtahSaint

    "You will have several wives, watch out for the big girls, and thou shall buy each one an iPhone" (SomeDude 6:122)

    June 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  10. The Dude

    I would normally cringe at the thought of cutting pages out of a book to sell, but in this case I care about as much as if it were a comic book.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
  11. escher7

    "No man or woman in this dispensation will ever enter into the celestial kingdom of God without the consent of Joseph Smith... Every man and woman must have the certificate of Joseph Smith as a passport to their entrance into the mansion where God and Christ are." (Journal of Discourses 7:289)

    June 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Incredulous

      Does that have to be 3"x5"... or 4"x6"... or 8.5"x11"... or should it be in round metric measures? It's all so technical. I would hate to get to the imaginary cloud realm and have the Great Faker say... "Ha! It was really supposed to be on a flash drive! Go to hell, go straight to hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200!!!"

      June 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • mainstream

      If God's mansion doesn't have a hot tub in the back, I don't wanna go.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • baj99

      "cuz ima bang those hoes, with my boy joe, up in da clouds someday JS and me, cuz y'all are whack if you don't believe like me, that joe's da man, who know God's plan, he's a pimp with mo' hoes than you understand; so outta shape please don't get bent, but it's to hell with y'all who got no consent" (new Kid Rock song)

      June 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • Alana

      The Journal of Discoures is NOT considered scripture. Or doctrine. So please don't quote it as if it is. If we want to quote every stupid thing ever written by all church leaders in all demonations around the world (i.e. the pope), let's do it. But don't make fun of the Mormon church as if they're the only ones who have ever said ridiculous things.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  12. disgustedvet

    Many of you posting here have sadly mistaken stupidity for wit.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
    • escher7

      many of you here have stupidly mistakenly wit for sadness.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Gods Shepard

      Many of you have mistaken a rusty trombone for a Cleveland steamer.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • sam-e

      Cleveland steamer! HAAAAA

      June 14, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
  13. Allan

    Those of us who have functioning intellect, logic, and full faculties are simply incredulous at the complete stupidity with which religious people rant about their *insert-mythology-here* belief. Therefore it is good fun to poke them (in this case, yourself) like one might tap on the tank of a fish to make it move (roughly the same intellect).

    June 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
  14. Linda Monroe

    Here is a great article showing differences between Christianity and Mormonism: http://www.examiner.com/article/romney-osteen-and-the-christianity-debate

    June 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Incredulous

      Is it "Dumb and Dumberer" ?

      June 14, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • PepCap

      Fictional fantasy to fantasy fiction.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  15. trollol

    Wow, that is some expensive toilet paper.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Incredulous

      Funny! Finally a sensible use for religious mythological deforestation remnants!

      June 14, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
  16. disgustedvet

    Will be soooo funny watching you folks squirm and listening to you cry for the next 8 years about that mean old Mormon in the Whitehouse.

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

      You can make predictions to favor your world view at present. But when the final tally is counted then it matters.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • Damo

      Romney being old and a Mormon are pretty much the only things about him I don't mind.

      That and the wonderful Health Care plan he came up with, that Obama tried to share with America.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • escher7

      The only way Mitt will get into the White House is if Obama invites him, to gloat.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  17. imeubu

    We are currently closing in on creating replacement organs and artificial cells that spontaneously and reliably divide. We've only been serioulsy "visioning" these and other "miracles" for 100 years or so. We think our little universe is 13.8 billion years old. Why is it so hard to believe that "intelligence" might include things about which we don't have a complete understanding.

    I've yet to find a main doctrinal plank in any of the three main religions that is "probably" not true... speaking in probability distribution terms only. We can doubt but we can't assert beyond what the math tells us. It turns out that the probability coefficient that our physical reality is "part" of "something"... is 1.

    June 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Tom

      I've personally known a number of very well educated (science not philosophy) people that really are dumb as dirt.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • escher7

      Tom is so smart he knows the meaning of non sequitur.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
    • imeubu

      I agree with you Tom... when I re-read what I wrote it was poorly written. BTW... we are all dirt... how dumb is that?

      June 14, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
  18. Jack

    Hello everyone, you are welcome to visit my web site – thestarofkaduri.com

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

      You need more articles to spam this bs of yours. Ask CNN for more articles, we know you are desperate.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • TheBob

      thanks Jack! I have been wanting to visit that site for ages, but just didn't feel right waltzing in without a formal invitation

      June 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  19. NoTags

    I'm a Christian, and believe in God and the Bible. I believe the Book of Mormon was written by a false prophet whose religion (the LDS Church) is a non Christian cult.

    That being said, whenever ANYTHING about ANY religion is written in this blog atheists viciously attack the writing. My question to the atheists who post on this blog is this. Why is an article on religion (any religion) such a threat to you so that you have to viciously attack the writing?

    Obviously, you must see religion as a threat or you wouldn't have a need to attack.

    June 14, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • 5thApe

      Your religion is a cult as well.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Tom

      Good for you Anonymous NoTags. I'm sure Jesus is happy with your example and your hiding behind some meaningless name so no one will know who you are.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Allan

      Those of us who have functioning intellect, logic, and full faculties are simply incredulous at the complete stupidity with which religious people rant about their fail in . Therefore it is good fun to poke them (in this case, yourself) like one might tap on the tank of a fish to make it move (roughly the same intellect).

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

      Maybe because the history of christianity is FULL of YOU guys killing us "non believers" with such vindictive glee and outright hatred? It's good to throw in some rational thought to a strand of comments to keep things reasonable. Truly, even today your radical christianity is dangerous to enlightened ideals of equality, justice and tolerance.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Allan

      Those of us who have functioning intellect, logic, and full faculties are simply incredulous at the complete stupidity with which religious people rant about their belief. Therefore it is good fun to poke them (in this case, yourself) like one might tap on the tank of a fish to make it move (roughly the same intellect).

      June 14, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • escher7

      Yes NoTags you hide behind your name. For instance we know that Tom is "Tom".

      June 14, 2012 at 8:17 pm |
    • Nah

      allan: "Those of us who have functioning intellect, logic, and full faculties are simply incredulous at the complete stupidity with which religious people rant about their fail in . Therefore it is good fun to poke them (in this case, yourself) like one might tap on the tank of a fish to make it move (roughly the same intellect)."

      Inarticulate, unintelligent, dogmatic and pitiful.

      You're a great representative for militant atheists.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
    • Joseph

      NoTags, the reason so many atheists are "viciously" against religion, is because you use it to influence your vote in a secular governmental society which we are apart of. Gay marriage? I'd guess you are against that based on your religious views. I could be wrong, but it would be a correct assumption to say most religious folk don't support it. That's just one example. Anytime you use your religion to justify a political opinion, you can expect the same treatment as political opponents receive.

      June 14, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • Frank

      Of course rational thinking people see religion and cults as a threat. It's the opposite of reason.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
  20. Reasonably

    Our cult is better than your cult. And we're willing to kill or subjugate you to prove it!

    June 14, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
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About this blog

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.