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. morrrrrrrrrmonmmonster

    Now each page may be used to wipe one's b u t t.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • DB

      You also have nothing of value to say and should go away.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  2. Dave

    I agree with his policies and the VAST amount of experience he has over Obama. But as for his regilous beliefs.A "First Edition" of the book of Morman from 1803? What about a first edition of the New Testiment? It would be closer to 2000 years old.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • nope

      you have nothing of value to add to any discussion because you're extremely stupid.
      go away.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  3. some mormon missionaries came to my house!

    they tried to tell me about the Book of Mormon, but then they walked by a mirror and there was no reflection.....
    so i said "Begone, you caucasoid vampires!!!!!!!!!" and punched them in the face and threw them out.
    and i said "begone and trouble me no more, you spawn of Dracula!!!!!!!!"
    then they rode away on their bikes in their nerdy white man outfits.
    i'm a cap they vampire a$$es next time, on the real!

    June 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  4. anonymous

    Actually a bible is encoded with deep deep knowledge, and if you take it literally(like a atheist does)and think that a sky daddy's going to come and save only the good Catholic, Christians Mormons etc...then you'll never get it, it actually relates a lot to science:)

    June 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • nope

      not really.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Peter Grenader

      oh please

      June 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Duce

      First of all, it relates to science less than this blog post does. Second, why don't you try telling the south and midwest that it's not meant to be taken literally? Have fun.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
  5. JJ

    What a waste of effort to recover another useless book of delusions and drug-induced hallucinations...

    June 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Andy

      The nest of atheist exists on the sounding board of CNN... Do you really think you are going to change anyone's mind on a message board? How about going out getting some friends, spend time with family (instead of neglecting them while getting your message board fix, feeling good about yourself and convincing nobody.) Do you really think we are going to find the world a better place because people were enlightened on a message board... nope! Crawl out of your hole, Oh message board dwellers and breath in the breath of life and bask in the sun light for which is blocked from the curtains in your mother's basement!

      June 14, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Duce

      Andy, and whose mind do you think you're changing on the message board?

      June 14, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Andy

      Why yours duce! No go back to outsmarting people... pronto!

      June 14, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Andy

      Actually Duce, you proved my point precisely!

      June 14, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
    • Duce

      A tremendous rebuttal Andy! Although, I'm in the living room of MY house, with my wife (model, yes really) and my daughter is asleep in bed. My mother has no basement. Thank you for your time and ignorance!

      June 15, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  6. SamTheTank

    Bible was written decades after Jesus had left this earth from stories compiled by those who claimed to have intimate knowledge of Christianity more than Jesus Christ himself. From that point on Bible portions were contnously updated to serve better agenda of those benefitting most from it and often took 360 degree turns on various issues.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  7. Xis

    Burn it before it is too late

    June 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  8. doug

    And this is the stuff believed by a potential President of the United States. Just do me a favor; Promise me you are all going to come out and vote for Obama and keep this mental case out of the White House.

    June 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • pupuelgirl

      I don't know what you do for a living but do speak with some reason and logic on a factual base before calling someone such a name. Please feel free to read this on find out how much you are mislead about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. http://www.insidehighered.com/views/2012/05/29/essay-about-prejudice-academe-against-mormons#.T82EPX5nFW4.facebook

      June 14, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  9. Christians (Mormons included) Worship a Dude With Severe Bipolar Disorder Who Had a Kindergarten-Level Education and Died (for good) A Very Long Time Ago

    LOL what a bunch of f'ing idiots!
    LOL JUST LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 14, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • baj99

      Jesus went to Kindergarten???

      June 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • Lol

      he rode the short bus of those days (the short donkey-cart)to it.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • anonymous

      God is Good!:)

      June 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      Atheists worship themselves.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Duce

      No, in Kentucky they said Jesus rode an Apatosaurus to school!

      June 14, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  10. Alex H

    I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of JesusChrist!

    June 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Canadian Bacon

      So then you know – your term – that it's fiction, right?

      June 14, 2012 at 9:50 pm |
    • baj99

      Yeah, I'm sure Jesus was up in heaven thinking, "man, this Christianity thing just ain't working. I know, I'll have Joseph dig up the gold plates that have been buried tor 2 thousand years and translate them into the BoM. Yeah. That'll show those haters." Whether you believe in Jesus or not, I think it's safe to say he didn't need any more credibility than the Bible gave him. Are there people out there that say, "you know, the Bible just wasn't quite enough for me. But then the BoM confirmed that Jesus is real, and that was all the evidence I needed." Please.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • GrandPa Tom

      sorry al, its a fairy tail just like the bible is...

      June 14, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  11. Dave Dawson

    Dear Lord, I'm always thanking You for the words.
    Dear Lord, I'm always thanking You for the actions.
    What have atheists got to say now?
    What have disbelievers got to say now.
    Dear Lord, I am always thanking you for your actions.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      What would atheists have to say about what?

      June 14, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Johnny

      Yeah, say about what exactly? Oh crap, sorry, we're not supposed to ask questions, right?

      June 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Questions, the bane of religions throughout the age.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Flanders

      Dear Lord,

      Please help this Dave Dawson, he is in dire need........of something real.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:13 am |
  12. sharoom

    If you're a Christian and you find Mormonism hard to believe, you understand why atheists find Christianity hard to believe.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • joseph

      Slam dunk point. Ill use that. Trademark!

      June 14, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
    • Andy

      Back your claim up... but do your research first... Troll!

      June 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Duce

      Best comment on the page with no follow-up comments...

      June 14, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Duce

      Um, Andy, a troll is someone who tries to rile people up (usually with mistruth or malicious intent). I don't think the research is on your side in this one bub.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Flanders

      Im going to use that too ! I am required to take a religion class@ a Christen school. I bet my teacher will love this one.

      Dear lord, Please help Andy as well. He is also in need of something .......

      June 15, 2012 at 6:17 am |
  13. N&W 1000

    Author and Publisher Joseph Smith Jr.

    So much for the angel story...

    June 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • baj99

      What the....I thought the rabbit in his magical hat wrote the book. Now I'm totally confused....

      June 14, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  14. N&W 1000

    AH HA!!!!!!!!!


    Smith wrote this book, there is nothing divine about it.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:31 pm |
    • jean-luc

      To be fair the bible was written by someone, or some people, as well..both are said to be the work of divine inspiration...neither are.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Camen

      In all honesty... have you read the book?

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

      In all honesty, why would I want to read this nonsense. Born and raise in the Pacific Northwest and being constantly around morons taught me enough. I didn't like them as a child, and really started disliking them as an adult.

      June 15, 2012 at 6:21 am |
  15. rhscnative

    Show me the gold plates! That whole gold plate thing was a made up crock of stuff. And people believe it to this day. That is incredible. Joseph Smith was a horn dog and started a religion so he could control people. And you know what? It worked!

    June 14, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • Dave

      +1 exactly

      June 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • baj99

      Only in America bro! Some kid forgets to take his meds and look what happens, he's a 19th century rock star.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Camen

      And for that he was tortured, lost his home, was arrested, his own children died, he was put in jail and an order to exterminate the Mormons was given by the Governor himself. Then he was murdered with his brother and the killers were celebrated by the mob. Sounds like Joseph had so much fun 'controlling the people'.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • joseph

      And why might he have gotten mobbed? Pretty sure their were other religions being practiced in this country, what was he doing they werent? What are they still doing that gets them raided by law enforcement? What I thought.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Duce

      Not taking up for Mormonism Joseph but Christians seem to be known for persecuting other religions...

      June 14, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Curt

      Show me the 10 commandments, dude..... Oh yeah, I forgot... they came from a burning bush..... ha ha ha. Give it a rest

      June 14, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
  16. J

    I heard a picture of Smith posing with Christ taken by A Kodak dry plate was missing from the book. Damn, so close.

    June 14, 2012 at 9:18 pm |
  17. Joseph

    5 Simple Thought Questions for Christians to ponder...

    1. Is God omnipotent, all loving, and did it create everything?
    2. If so, then didn't it also create evil?
    3. If not, then isn't it clearly powerless to stop it?
    4. If not, then how is it any of #1?
    5. If it's not any of #1, why waste time worshiping it?

    June 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • J

      “The Human Abstract”

      Pity would be no more,
      If we did not make somebody Poor:
      And Mercy no more could be,
      If all were as happy as we;

      And mutual fear brings peace;
      Till the selfish loves increase.
      Then Cruelty knits a snare,
      And spreads his baits with care.

      He sits down with holy fears,
      And waters the ground with tears:
      Then Humility takes its root
      Underneath his foot.

      Soon spreads the dismal shade
      Of Mystery over his head;
      And the Catterpiller and Fly,
      Feed on the Mystery.

      And it bears the fruit of Deceit,
      Ruddy and sweet to eat;
      And the Raven his nest has made
      In its thickest shade.

      The Gods of the earth and sea,
      Sought thro’ Nature to find this Tree
      But their search was all in vain:
      There grows one in the Human Brain


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

      1. Is God omnipotent, all loving, and did it create everything?
      Yes (and what you refer to as "it" is our mutual Father in Heaven)

      2. If so, then didn't it also create evil?
      Our Father gave us all free agency to choose for ourselves wether to choose righteous action or wickedness in any given situation.

      3. If not, then isn't it clearly powerless to stop it?
      He wont stop it because He allows us all the learning experience of making mistakes and correcting those mistakes through repentance and the Atonement of Christ.

      4. If not, then how is it any of #1?
      This one makes no sense.

      5. If it's not any of #1, why waste time worshiping it?
      It is not a waste of time. In any form, people who worship a "higher power" are better prepared to endure life's challenges. Consider the miners rescued from the collapse in Chile. As soon as they reached the surface, they knelt in prayer. The same holds true of any challenge and in any cultural belief system..... except atheism.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • N&W 1000

      1. Yes HE is.

      2. He creates evil by being good; if you did not know good, you would not know evil. Just as if you had never seen light, you would not know what dark was.

      3. Your premise is flawed, thus your points 3-5 are as well.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • DB

      please, please lets just focus on the story here. The more you turn this into a christian athiest battle, the more crazy lunatics will post stupid BS that has nothing to do with this story. THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE STARTING

      June 14, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
    • DB

      way to go @Joseph. Look what you did man. Now I wont be able to read any comments relating to the STORY. THANKS ALOT.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • Joseph

      @Nate who wrote:

      "4. If not, then how is it any of #1?
      This one makes no sense."

      Sure it does. If God didn't create Evil and he is either powerless or unwilling to stop it, then how can he be all loving AND the creator of everything? It's a very relevant question.

      Obviously, my 5 questions are a bit of a setup. Brainwashed religious folk can't technically answer them, because the logical conclusion is there is no God. It's just a case-in-point for those of us that know 😉

      June 14, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      It's a bit of a lay version of the Problem of Evil. I like it.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Johnny

      Trying to get a religious person to try rational thought without the "because God can do that" crutch has to be one of the most obnoxiously pointless things a person could ever waste their time on.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I never debate for the sake of the person I'm debating, I do it for those on the fence to show the illogical and attrocious parts of religion. Not to mention the complete lack of evidence for them.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Joe

      1. Is God omnipotent, all loving, and did it create everything?
      You got it. You also forgot some other character traits such as kind, just, patient, joyful, merciful, and creative, to name a few.

      2. If so, then didn't it also create evil?
      Incorrect. God created everything good (Genesis 1). Evil was introduced into the world by humans (Genesis 3).

      3. If not, then isn't it clearly powerless to stop it?
      Incorrect. In fact, he has already solved the problem. John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Romans 5:6-8, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

      4. If not, then how is it any of #1?
      The responsibility of the state of the world lies not in God's hands, but in human hands. Humans were given dominion over creation (Genesis 1:28), and led it down a terrible path and introduced evil to the world. God was gracious and merciful enough to come into the world and rescue it.

      5. If it's not any of #1, why waste time worshiping it?

      This reminds me of 1 Corinthians 1:18, "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."

      June 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • DB

      @joe I dont understand bro, I thought the devil was created before humans.... before Adam and Eve were cast out of the garden of Eden, was it not the pre-existing snake who tempted Eve to eat the apple?

      June 14, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      "I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things."
      Isaiah 45:7 KJV

      June 14, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • DB

      @HawaiiGuest oh snap

      June 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest


      LOL. How about that the supposed tree that was eaten from was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (or right and wrong whichever you want). That in mind, how is it that god blames adam and eve for doing wrong when they clearly weren't aware that it was wrong, since they didn't have the knowledge before that.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      One of two things will happen now. Standard apologetics, or completely ignoring the points made.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
  18. jcl

    And there is another "holy" book read, taught from, and used by hundreds of millions that teaches believers to slay infidels (those who do not bow before the same god as they.) I dare you to openly aim your wrath at them... or are you cowards?

    June 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • baj99

      so what's your point? That there are plenty of people out there that are just as dumb as mormons?

      June 14, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
    • DB

      @baj99 I think thats exactly his point....

      June 14, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Camen

      WHY?? ARE YOU SO RUDE TO MORMONS? We hurt no one with our beliefs. We respect YOUR freedom to choose or not a religion. Seriously!!

      June 14, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • DB

      @Camen If you are not allowed the ability to call out massive stupidity, what freedoms do you even have then? You can believe whatever you want, just know that smarter people are going to recognize how ridiculous it is....

      June 14, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • Duce

      Great answer DB! Why don't people get it?

      June 14, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  19. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things.

    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 post really stupid shit.
      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 9:16 pm |
    • Frank

      You been on holiday and away? Back in your Mom's basement?

      June 14, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
    • anonymous

      I agree!! Prayer is good!! God is good!! atheist's just need a hug!!

      June 14, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  20. baj99

    Maybe the funniest (but certainly not the most ridiculous) part of mormon history was when God decided it was time to let African Americans have the priesthood. What a joke. Of course, I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that the BYU football team was facing NCAA sanctions for their ties to a racist organization. So, I guess God is a football fan. Only a matter of time before they allow gay marriages in the temples.

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

      Bigot much?

      June 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Brian Gardner

      I think it's funnier that you sum it up to football, but you did no actual research to find out that when the church was first founded blacks had full equality in the priesthood. It had nothing to do with God or the doctrine, but racist church leaders.

      June 14, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • baj99

      @Nate : you're asking if I'm a bigot? I'm from Detroit, dude. I have plenty of black friends. My best friend is an Iranian Jew. So, to answer your question, no, I don't "bigot much."

      June 14, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • DB

      If you look at that first edition book of mormon, I'm sure you will find quite a few racist remarks

      June 14, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Curt

      Poor baj – doesn't even know what a bigot is? Spewing hatred towards another individual because you don't agree with or just plain hate them.... Just come out with it and tell us you HATE the MORMONS! That is pretty apparent on this blog, dude!

      June 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Duce

      Poor Curt – doesn't even know that people are just sick of religion. Not Mormons, not Jews, not Christians, not Muslims, not Sikhs, not Hindus, etc. Tired of all of the religions' division and war mongering.

      June 14, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Duce

      Sorry for the friendly fire Curt, just read some of your other posts. baj99 is on the right track, he just expressed it poorly...

      June 14, 2012 at 10:47 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.