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Mormon urban legends or folklore
Mormon urban legends or folklore
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- Question: What are Mormon "faith promoting rumors"?
- Question: Does Cain still roam the earth, and does this account for stories about "Bigfoot"?
- Question: Did Albert Einstein refer to Elder James E. Talmage as the smartest man he had ever met?
- Question: Did Rev. Frank Graham praise LDS relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina?
- Question: Did Elder Russell M. Nelson talk of a friend who translated the Book of Mormon into Arabic?
- Question: Did President Boyd K. Packer, in a talk given in the Forest Bend Ward in Salt Lake City on 12 October 2008, say that a catastrophic event was looming in the immediate future?
- Question: Did Boyd K. Packer say that today's youth "generals" during the pre-mortal "war in heaven"?
- Question: Did the medical coordinator for the Church's Humanitarian Emergency Response warn of an impending flu pandemic?
- Question: In the spirit world after this life, will those who lived in President Hinckley's time will be bowed to?
- Question: Did a Catholic priest write a book in 1739 that the true church of Jesus Christ would be restored?
- Question: Did the co-founder of Microsoft write an editorial praising Mormons in a California newspaper?
- Question: Was Brigham Young's hearse displayed in front of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion?
- Question: Was Catholic support for a Rome Italy temple due to Mormon efforts to pass California Proposition 8?
- Question: Did Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve warn of persecution to follow Mitt Romney's nomination as the Republican candidate for president?
Question: What are Mormon "faith promoting rumors"?
Frequently Latter-day Saints receive email messages with faith-promoting stories that are difficult or impossible to verify
Frequently Latter-day Saints receive email messages with faith-promoting stories that are difficult or impossible to verify. This article includes examples of these "urban legends," or other bits of LDS historical folklore that are difficult or impossible to verify.
Never take faith-promoting stories circulated in chain email messages at face value. Check the sources carefully
“I would earnestly urge that no such idle gossip be spread abroad without making certain as to whether or not it is true....As I say, it never ceases to amaze me how gullible some of our Church members are in broadcasting these sensational stories, or dreams, or visions, some alleged to have been given to Church leaders, past or present, supposedly from some person's private diary, without first verifying the report with proper Church authorities.” - Harold B. Lee
As early Church historian and member of the Seventy B.H. Roberts noted:
I find my own heart strengthened in the truth by getting rid of the untruth, the spectacular, the bizarre, as soon as I learn that it is based upon worthless testimony.
Question: Does Cain still roam the earth, and does this account for stories about "Bigfoot"?
The idea that Cain lived on and roams the earth today is folklore based on a claim by David W. Patten
A story is sometimes circulated that Cain—son of Adam and Eve and the first murderer—still walks the earth today. The notion that Cain somehow lived on, survived the Flood, and roams the earth today, is familiar to modern members mostly based on a single claim of David W. Patten supposedly meeting an unusual person assumed to be Cain:
As I was riding along the road on my mule I suddenly noticed a very strange personage walking beside me. ... His head was about even with my shoulders as I sat in my saddle. He wore no clothing, but was covered with hair. His skin was very dark. I asked him where he dwelt and he replied that he had no home, that he was a wanderer in the earth and traveled to and fro. He said he was a very miserable creature, that he had earnestly sought death during his sojourn upon the earth, but that he could not die, and his mission was to destroy the souls of men. About the time he expressed himself thus, I rebuked him in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by virtue of the Holy Priesthood, and commanded him to go hence, and he immediately departed out of my sight.
This account was published in a biography of Patten written by Lycurgus Wilson in 1900. Wilson had a letter from Abraham Smoot giving his recollection of what Patten said. In historical parlance this is what is called a late, third-hand account—the sort of thing most historians would dismiss. This kind of testimony is simply unreliable, tainted by the passage of time and the fog of memory.
In addition to the historical unreliability of the statement, it also conflicts with the scriptural record in a few respects. First, Genesis records that during the flood, "all flesh died that moved upon the earth, ... every man. ... Every living substance was destroyed ... , both man, and cattle. ... And Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark" (Gen. 7:21--23). No explanation is offered for how Cain would have survived the flood, or why he should be an exception to the widespread destruction.
Also, the described state of perpetual deathlessness sounds like being "translated," such as were Enoch's followers, Moses, Elijah, Alma the younger, the three Nephites, and John the apostle. For this notion of Cain being translated to be true, it would be the only example of a wicked person receiving this unparalleled blessing, when in every other instance, it is reserved for only the most righteous.
Note also that in Wilson's account above, Patten never identifies the mysterious figure as Cain. So even if we were to grant the account was accurate, it doesn't inform us in any way about Cain. The idea that Cain still walks the earth is simply folklore.
Scripture implies that Cain eventually died.
The Bible implies that Cain eventually died.
Nowhere in scripture, ancient or modern, is it declared that Cain would or did live beyond his mortal years. While no specific mention is made of his death, we do read of Lamech, Cain’s great-great-great-grandson, who made the same covenant with Satan that Cain did. This covenant is described as being had “from [or since] the days of Cain,” which seems to indicate that Cain was dead by this time. (See Moses 5:51.)
In any case, the scripture is ambiguous. If an apocryphal source can be trusted at all, the Book of Jasher does happen to give an account of the death of Cain:
And Lamech was old and advanced in years, and his eyes were dim that he could not see, and Tubal Cain, his son, was leading him and it was one day that Lamech went into the field and Tubal Cain his son was with him, and whilst they were walking in the field, Cain the son of Adam advanced towards them; for Lamech was very old and could not see much, and Tubal Cain his son was very young. And Tubal Cain told his father to draw his bow, and with the arrows he smote Cain, who was yet far off, and he slew him, for he appeared to them to be an animal. And the arrows entered Cain's body although he was distant from them, and he fell to the ground and died. And the Lord requited Cain's evil according to his wickedness, which he had done to his brother Abel, according to the word of the Lord which he had spoken. And it came to pass when Cain had died, that Lamech and Tubal went to see the animal which they had slain, and they saw, and behold Cain their grandfather was fallen dead upon the earth. (Jasher 2:26-30)
It is an odd coincidence that in the folklore accounts, Cain appears as some sort of hideous creature, even if he is just a spirit, and in this apocryphal account, his descendants mistook him for an animal. But this is nothing but coincidence. Whatever the case, Cain is definitely dead.
The folklore was perpetuated by being quoted in an apostle's book
The story probably would have been forgotten if then-Elder Spencer W. Kimball hadn’t included it on pages 127–28 of The Miracle of Forgiveness. Elder Kimball’s book has become a staple of Mormon reading, the book that many bishops give to members struggling with sin and many mission presidents assign their missionaries to read.
The passage where Kimball quotes Wilson is really unnecessary to the chapter itself, which is about unforgivable sins, including murder. He cites several examples of murderers in the scriptures, beginning with Cain. He then throws in, almost as a passing idea, “an interesting story” about Cain.
Matthew Bowman wrote that Wesley Smith, the brother of President Joseph Fielding Smith, was reportedly also almost attacked by a hideous being. He rebuked the entity with his priesthood, similar to the Patten story. He then related the story to President Smith, who naturally identified this character as Cain, basing that identification on the David Patten story. Even if we give Wesley Smith the benefit of the doubt, and grant that some evil spirit made an appearance, using critical thinking we can surmise that there is no justification for even making that identification of Cain. Any evil spirit theoretically could appear as a hideous being. Other folklorish stories are similar in their details.
The conflation of the myths of the wandering Cain and Bigfoot started around 1980 with some Bigfoot sightings in South Weber, Utah
It appears, according to Bowman, that the conflation of the myths of the wandering Cain and Bigfoot started around 1980 with some Bigfoot sightings in South Weber, Utah, and by 1990, those residents were associating their Bigfoot sightings with Cain. (Journal of Mormon History, Fall 2007, "A Mormon Bigfoot: David Patten's Cain and the Conception of Evil in LDS Folklore", pp. 62-82). An author named Shane Lester has even gone so far as to write a fictional book based on the conflation of these stories called the Clan of Cain: The Genesis of Bigfoot. However, oddly, Lester made the following claim, referring to the Patten story...
A recently uncovered document reveals a possible connection between the origins of the Mormon Church (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and Bigfoot. Searching through the archives of historical church documents the author, Shane Lester, uncovered an extraordinary story that becomes the foundation of a new theory about the origins of Bigfoot. "I uncovered an obscure historical document that sheds new light on the Bigfoot mystery. I used this encounter as the basis for a fictional story that links the mystical, legend of Bigfoot to the origins of Mormonism," says author, Shane Lester. 
He is he taking credit for "uncovering" some historical document from Church archives, as if the story is news. The story that he is referring to is unambiguously Elder Patten's story of the encounter with Cain in the first chapter of the book. Lester originally had offered a sneak-peek at that first chapter on his site.  But the story about Patten and Cain has been publicly available since Wilson's book on Patten came out in the year 1900 (a century before Lester wrote his book). Furthermore, the account is anything but obscure. It is well-known because of President Kimball's book. He claims the Cain-is-Bigfoot theory is "new" and that it sheds "new light" on Bigfoot. The theory has been around for several decades now, and it is very unlikely that Lester was the one to originate it. As we just saw in a preceding paragraph, Bowman documented where that came from. Thus, Lester is making claims that are utterly baseless. The Clan of Cain isn't Lester's only book that attempts to link Mormons with occult themes. He also wrote a book on Mormons and a theory linking them to extraterrestrials called The Conversion Conspiracy, which also features LDS folkloric themes. 
Why is it that some LDS people give these stories doctrinal credence? Does that not manifest a measure of gullibility? Is it only because President Kimball quoted it? They give Cain some kind of quasi-translated status based on the story alone, without question, as if he is some kind of hideous undead creature akin to a vampire or zombie that can appear and attack people physically. Why is no skepticism applied to the story, and to the new folklore that has arisen around it? Wasn't Cain a son of perdition, a liar from the beginning? Would someone believe claims from Mark Hoffman? Then why should they believe possible words from the mouth of Cain? As far as can be discerned from the folklore account, Elder Patten did not test Cain by shaking his hand to see if he was truly corporeal. What justification would there be to believe the words of a son of perdition? It doesn't make sense that any good-thinking person would give those claims credence.
Question: Did Albert Einstein refer to Elder James E. Talmage as the smartest man he had ever met?
This is a myth: There is no evidence that Talmage and Einstein ever met
Some claim that Elder James E. Talmage (a geologist and author of Jesus the Christ) knew Albert Einstein, who called him the smartest man he had ever met.
There is no evidence that Talmage and Einstein ever met, much less that Einstein was aware of Talmage's work in geology (which was unrelated to Einstein's field of advanced theoretical physics).
Question: Did Rev. Frank Graham praise LDS relief efforts in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina?
This is a myth: Graham praised praised Christians and followers of Jesus Christ for their response to the hurricane
The following email began circulating in late September 2005, following the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina:
I was watching Good Morning America this morning and they spoke with Rev. Frank Graham (son of Billy Graham), who is currently in Houston. He spoke of the desperation and devastation that is the "new" way of life in and around New Orleans, but he also had a different message for the country.
He told the media that there are many churches in the Houston area, indeed, all around America that have reached out to help the victims, but he said that the members of The LDS church are truly amazing.
He stated (that)..."those people are truly a charity driven people. In the scriptures, charity is defined as the pure love of Christ." He went on to remark how the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints have adopted individuals and families in the Astrodome and are helping them to find missing members of their families. They are keeping touch with their designated person or family on a daily basis, making sure the children are enrolled in and can get to school, taking them to Wal-mart and other retailers to purchase clothing and other necessities, and are taking people to job fairs and interviews to assist them in gaining employment. He stated that he has never seen such a love for complete strangers. This has even brought inactive members, according to Graham, "...out of their homes and back to the church because they want to help and they know that the church will be there, organizing and moving to assist those who have nothing, to remember that they truly are something."
He ended with a personal opinion that anyone in the Houston area who is an evacuee from New Orleans, who says they haven't been "taken care of" or "seen after", has only themselves to blame for refusing the assistance of the amazing LDS population who are volunteering without so much as asking for anything in return for their efforts."
A Lexis-Nexis check of the Reverend Graham's comments on Good Morning America shows that he made no such comments
Additionally, FairMormon contacted the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and received the following email from Jeremy Blume, their media spokesperson, on 28 September 2005:
I've received this same email from several people. There are many inaccuracies in it. Thank you for your desire to research the truth. We appreciate your offer to help let people know that it isn't accurate.
It is true that Franklin Graham was on Good Morning America and he praised Christians and followers of Jesus Christ for their response to the hurricane, but he never mentioned any denominations, specific churches, organizations, or groups. Whoever wrote this is adding a lot to his interview.
Thanks for checking with us. I hope this helps.
FairMormon received a second email on 3 October 2005 from Rosemary S. Moore, Administrative Services Correspondent:
Thank you for contacting us regarding Franklin Graham's appearance on "Good Morning America." We have received correspondence like yours from several people. There are many inaccurate rumors circulating about this particular interview, and we appreciate your desire to know the truth about it.
It is true that Franklin Graham was on "Good Morning America" on September 16, 2005 and that he praised Christians and followers of Jesus Christ for their response to the hurricane. However, he never mentioned any denominations, specific churches, organizations, or groups.
We appreciate your checking with us regarding the authenticity of these rumors.
Question: Did Elder Russell M. Nelson talk of a friend who translated the Book of Mormon into Arabic?
Elder Nelson had a neighbor named Sami Hanna, who was an Arabic scholar and a member of the Church
At one time Elder Nelson had a neighbor named Sami Hanna, who was an Arabic scholar and a member of the Church. Based on his knowledge of Arabic and his experience translating the Book of Mormon into Arabic, Sami thought there were numerous things in the Book of Mormon text that were consistent with a Semitic original of that book. 
Elder Nelson has alluded to Sami a few times in talks, but he has never given a talk specifically on Sami
Elder Nelson has alluded to Sami a few times in talks, as he has to others of his extensive network of friends who can read Hebrew. But he has never given a talk specifically on Sami. The internet article that circulates under his name was not written by Elder Nelson. 
Sami left the Church some time ago and is now some sort of a fundamentalist Christian. He now repudiates his former comments on the Book of Mormon
According to Sami's son, Mark, Sami left the Church some time ago and is now some sort of a fundamentalist Christian. He now repudiates his former comments on the Book of Mormon. 
Such a repudiation is not, however, terribly significant. Sami's material on the Book of Mormon was never a part of mainstream LDS scholarship on the subject. It was linguistically naive in a number of important respects. 
There is an extensive literature dealing with Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon. A good introductory article is John Tvedtnes, "Hebraisms in the Book of Mormon: A Preliminary Survey," Brigham Young University Studies 11 no. 1 (Autumn 1970), 50–60.*
Question: Did President Boyd K. Packer, in a talk given in the Forest Bend Ward in Salt Lake City on 12 October 2008, say that a catastrophic event was looming in the immediate future?
President Packer spoke that day, but any message that he wanted to give to the world would be given in General Conference, not in an individual ward
A common e-mail circulated by some members claims to be a transcript of remarks given by President Packer in the Forest Bend Ward in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 12 October 2008. Reportedly, Pres. Packer is quoted as saying that a catastrophic event was looming in the immediate future and that we must get used to making do with what we have or doing without. He is also quoted as saying the world was too dangerous for us to let our children play outside alone.
President Packer give did give a talk on the date cited. No approved transcript exists, and it is contrary to the counsel of the Church to circulate or rely on such unofficial accounts, which often distort or misunderstand (even if unintentionally) the intent of the speaker.
When prophets and apostles wish to communicate important information for the spiritual or temporal well-being of members, they will do so via official channels to the entire Church, not in small meetings from which we must rely on unverified accounts to receive their message.
A FairMormon member contacted Church Public Affairs, and received the following response (the words are the FAIR member's, not the Church's):
I was told that while President Packer did indeed speak at the meeting cited, no transcript was made and that the one circulating was done after the talk was given and should not be considered to be authoritative. The following statement was given to me on the matter:
The following First Presidency letter explains the Church’s position on these types of e-mails. The letter was issued on May 13, 2004 and to all Church units and LDS Church leaders. Its subject was:
Statements Attributed to Church Leaders From time to time statements are circulated among members which are inaccurately attributed to the leaders of the Church. Many such statements distort current Church teachings and are often based on rumors and innuendos. They are never transmitted officially, but by word of mouth, e-mail, or other informal means.
We encourage members of the Church to never teach or pass on such statements without verifying that they are from approved Church sources, such as official statements, communications, and publications. Any notes made when General Authorities, Area Authority Seventies, or other general Church officers speak at regional and stake conferences or other meetings should not be distributed without the consent of the speaker. Personal notes are for individual use only. [emphasis added by FAIR]
True spiritual growth is based on studying the scriptures, the teachings of the Brethren, and Church publications.
President Packer's secretary indicated further that President Packer's message for the world is in last week's [i.e., October 2008] General Conference. If members of the Church want to know what message he would have us hear, we need to listen to that talk, and throw this account of his talk away. President Packer's office cautioned that the talk given on 12 October represented President Packer's personal views, and should not be considered to be doctrine or a statement of the Church's views.
Question: Did Boyd K. Packer say that today's youth "generals" during the pre-mortal "war in heaven"?
Elder Packer said: "I did not make that statement. I do not believe that statement"
One persistent rumor has Elder Packer claiming that today's youth were "generals" during the pre-mortal "war in heaven."
In April 2001, President Packer released the following statement:
We continue to receive reports of the distribution of a quote attributed to me which begins, 'The youth of the Church today were generals in the war in heaven,' and ends with the statement that when they return to heaven 'all in attendance will bow in your presence.'
I did not make that statement. I do not believe that statement.
The statement, on occasion, has been attributed to others of the First Presidency and the Twelve. None of the Brethren made that statement.
- "Pres. Packer refutes quote," LDS Church News, 28 April 2001. off-site
- "Youth were Generals in the War in Heaven," shields-research.org. off-site
Question: Did the medical coordinator for the Church's Humanitarian Emergency Response warn of an impending flu pandemic?
This claim is false
A frequently-forwarded e-mail purporting to describe a conference given by Dr. Susan Puls, medical coordinator for the Church's Humanitarian Emergency Response has been circulating. The e-mail purports to describe an impending flu pandemic and the anticipated problems associated with it.
The CES released a bulletin debunking this rumor. Dr. Puls describes the e-mail as "totally misleading and false," which "was full of misquotes, half truths, and just plain falsehoods. It supported a fear based preparedness which is not a true and correct principle...."
The bulletin, which provides the e-mail text and Dr. Puls' response, can be downloaded from FAIR's wiki: PDF link
Question: In the spirit world after this life, will those who lived in President Hinckley's time will be bowed to?
This claim is false, and has been repeatedly disavowed by the Church
Boyd K. Packer and other Church leaders are quoted in a persistent chain email as having said to a group of LDS youth:
You were in the War in Heaven and one day when you are in the spirit world you will be enthralled with those who you are associated with. You will ask someone in which time period he lived in and you might hear, "I was with Moses when he parted the Red Sea," or "I helped build the pyramids," or "I fought with Captain Moroni." And as you are standing there in amazement, someone will turn to you and ask, "Which prophet time did you live in?" And when you say "Gordon B. Hinckley," a hush will fall over every hall, every corridor in heaven and all in attendance will bow at your presence. You were held back six thousand years because you were the most talented, most obedient, most courageous, and most righteous. Are you still? Remember who you are!
This claim is false, and has been repeatedly disavowed by the Church. A letter of 25 February 2008 reads:
A statement has been circulated that asserts in part that the youth of the Church today “were generals in the war in heaven . . . and [someone will] ask you, ‘Which of the prophet’s time did you live in?’ and when you say ‘Gordon B. Hinckley’ a hush will fall, . . . and all in attendance will bow at your presence.”
This is a false statement. It is not Church doctrine. At various times, this statement has been attributed erroneously to President Thomas S. Monson, President Henry B. Eyring, President Boyd K. Packer, and others. None of these Brethren made this statement.
Stake presidents and bishops should see that it is not used in Church talks, classes, bulletins, or newsletters. Priesthood leaders should correct anyone who attempts to perpetuate its use by any means, in accordance with “Statements Attributed to Church Leaders,” Church Handbook of Instructions, Book 1 (2006), 173. [Emphasis present in original]
- Office of the First President, Notice, "Subject: False Statement," (25 February 2008). This statement was printed in Deseret News on 8 March 2008.
Question: Did a Catholic priest write a book in 1739 that the true church of Jesus Christ would be restored?
This book has never been found and this claim is believed to be false
A persistent rumor claims that Lutus Gratus, a Catholic priest, wrote the following in 1739 in his book Hope of Zion, which was purportedly discovered in the library in Bayd, Switzerland:
The old, true Gospel and its truths thereat are lost. False doctrine prevail in all churches on the face of the earth today. All we can do is exhort the people to be just, fear God, shun evil, and pray. Prayer and purity may cause an angel to visit a deep distressed soul, but I will tell you—God will have spoken within a hundred years. He will restore the old Church again. I see a little band of people led by a prophet and persecuted, burnt out and murdered. But in a valley that lies on the shore of a great lake, they will build a city and make a beautiful land, have a temple of magnificent splendor and also possess the old priesthood with teachers, deacons, etc. From every nation shall the true believers be gathered by speedy messengers, and then shall the almighty God speak to the disobedient nation, with thunder, lightning and destructions such as man has never known."
This "prophecy" first appeared in LDS periodicals in both English and German in 1893, in a story by a returned missionary named Jacob Spori. One of the first to question the authenticity of the document was Rulon S. Wells of the First Council of Seventy, who unsuccessfully attempted to locate the book and its contents in Basel a few years after the story surfaced. Other leaders and missionaries also were unable to verify the statement.
Elder Wells wrote an article called "A Fraudulent Prophecy Exposed" which was published in the January, 1908 Improvement Era. A detailed historical analysis of the false prophecy was published in BYU Studies in 1985.
- Paul B. Pixton, "'Play it Again, Sam': The Remarkable 'Prophecy' of Samuel Lutz, Alias Christophilus Gratianus, Reconsidered," Brigham Young University Studies 25 no. 3 (Summer 1985), 27–46. off-site
Question: Did the co-founder of Microsoft write an editorial praising Mormons in a California newspaper?
The letter was written by someone having the same name as the co-founder of Microsoft
Paul Allen — co-founder of Microsoft and owner of the Seattle Seahawks and Portland Trail Blazers — wrote a letter praising Mormons that was published in a Santa Clarita, California newspaper.
(One example of this widely-circulated letter can be read in this Usenet post.)
A FairMormon volunteer contacted The Signal, Santa Clarita Valley's newspaper, and inquired about this. The general manager of the paper confirmed that a letter to the editor from a Paul Allen was published in the newspaper on 24 November 2000, and about a year after that someone started circulating it on the web without authorization or permission from The Signal. The version that has been circulating on the Internet appears to be a correct copy, other than the incorrect date listing of 25 April 2002 or 2003. The letter to the editor is not on The Signal's web site because they don't put letters online.
The letter-writer is not the Paul Allen of Microsoft and professional sports team fame. That Mr. Allen resides on Mercer Island, Washington, over one thousand miles north of Santa Clarita, California.
- Tim Whyte (General Manager, The Signal), "Have Faith: Letter Was Really Published"], 26 May 2002. off-site
- "Enough Is Enough," Snopes.com Urban Legends Reference Pages. off-site
Question: Was Brigham Young's hearse displayed in front of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion?
There is no truth to the rumor. In fact, no hearse was used at Brigham Young's funeral
A rumor has been spread that the hearse displayed in front of Disneyland's Haunted Mansion was the hearse used in Brigham Young's funeral.
There is no truth to the rumor. In fact, no hearse was used at Brigham Young's funeral. 
Question: Was Catholic support for a Rome Italy temple due to Mormon efforts to pass California Proposition 8?
This claim is false
An e-mail circulating has claimed that Catholic support for a Rome Italy temple is very high because of LDS efforts around California Prop 8.
The claim as circulated is false. Church counsel in Europe stated:
Please keep in mind that our efforts to obtain the necessary building permissions within the Rome City Administration have not come to full fruition and remain at a delicate stage. Consequently, we need to be cautious and judicious when we discuss what is happening there and should take care not to spread incorrect information.
Question: Did Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve warn of persecution to follow Mitt Romney's nomination as the Republican candidate for president?
The claim is false
An e-mail circulating has claimed that Elder Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve warned of persecution to follow Mitt Romney's nomination as Republican candidate for President of the United States in 2012.
The claim is false. A bulletin from Church Education System stated:
The following statements are being attributed to Elder David A. Bednar about what he purportedly said would happen if Mitt Romney wins the Republican nomination:
- That persecution to the Church would increase and be more intense than any yet experienced in our lifetime.
- That sacred elements of the Church would be disparaged.
- That our testimonies would be tested.
These statements are distorted and inaccurate and should not be used, repeated, or passed on to others. Kindly inform those who use them or send them to you that they are spurious. 
- Harold B. Lee, "Admonitions for the Priesthood of God," Ensign (January 1973), 105.
- B.H. Roberts, original letter in Church Archives; see Deseret Evening News (26 June 1926); cited by Truman G. Madsen, Defender of the Faith: The B. H. Roberts Story (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1980), 363. GL direct link
- Lycurgus A. Wilson, Life of David W. Patten [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1900], p. 50., quoted by Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness, pp. 127-128.
- Russell M. Nelson, "A Treasured Testament," Ensign, July 1993. off-site
- There are copies of the spurious transcript on various web sites which can be acquired using Google.
- A copy of Mark Hannah's email regarding his father is available here: off-site
- John A Tvedtnes, "Little Known Evidences of the Book of Mormon," FARMS Review of Books 2/1 (1990): 258–259. off-site The material relating to Hanna starts about halfway down.
- Snopes.com discussion of the Disneyland hearse. off-site
- To: All personnel from Seminary and Institute Administrators' Council, "Circulation of Inaccurate Information on Rome Italy Temple," (7 December 2008)). PDF link
- To: All personnel (U.S. only) from Seminary and Institute Administrators' Council, "Distorted Statements on Mitt Romney’s Nomination," (9 April 2012)). PDF link