Historian, author, and archivist at Brigham Young University. Photocopies of all known printed items relating to the Mark Hofmann case, including articles, transcripts, and newspaper clippings. Hofmann (1954- ) was a forger of documents relating primarily to Mormon Church history. He murdered two individuals presumably to keep from being shown a fraud. The collection also contains a biographical file on Hofmann, a chronological file from 15 Oct. 1985 when the individuals were murdered to 29 Jan. 1988, the date of the Hofmann parole hearing. Another section is topical and contains folders on each of the major forgeries as well as various offical and unofficial publications relating to the case. Popular and scholarly articles are included. A detailed chronology as well as a bibliographical guide to the Hofmann case are also with the collection. Craig Foster aided in creating the collection. Mark W. Hofmann was born 7 December 1954. He grew up in the Salt Lake Valley, eventually graduating from Olympus High School. He served an LDS mission to England (England Southwest Mission) and had serious thoughts about a career in medicine beginning as he did a pre-med course of study at Utah State University, Logan.Somewhere along the line he became first a coin collector, and then, by 1978, a serious student of Mormon documents. He sold his first Mormon document in October 1979. From then until 1985 he was active in both Mormon and American historical documents, month after month finding spectacular items. Historians and document dealers were in agreement that they seemed to be authentic.The prices and the publicity seemed to increase with each Ã¢--‚¬Å“discovery.Ã¢--‚¬Â Some of the documents purportedly challenged traditional stories of early Mormonism while others fit neatly into the generally accepted story but managed to add fascinating detail not known before.Then bombs exploded in downtown Salt Lake City. Two individuals were murdered; Hofmann himself was a third person bombed--although he survived the experience. Shortly thereafter official investigators began pointing to Hofmann as the bomber. Hofmann was officially charged with two counts of murder and twenty-three counts of theft by deception and communications fraud on 3 February 1986. It was, the police argued, to cover up his many forgeries that Hofmann was forced to murder.A preliminary hearing was held from 14 April to 13 May 1986, and much of 1986 was spent in the airing of charges and counter-charges mostly in the press. Finally, on 23 January 1987, as a result of a plea bargain, Hofmann pled guilty to two counts of communications fraud (re: the Martin Harris letter and the McLellin Papers) and admitted guilt for the bombings. Twenty-six other counts were dismissed, and Hofmann agreed to be interviewed about the murders and documents. He was assigned to Utah State Prison.On 31 July 1987 the County Attorney's office released the six hundred page transcript of the interviews its staff had conducted with Hofmann from 11 February to 27 May. In these, Hofmann confessed that all the documents listed on statement of probable cause were forged. He also described in some detail how he created the forgeries. The specter of forgery is always a nightmare for archivists and historians. For historians, fraudulent manuscripts undermine the very essence of their profession which depends on authentic primary sources in reconstructing the past. For the archivist, phony documents both undermine public confidence in their holdings as well as place serious questions in front of their greatest trust: to help assure the survival of a culture by preserving the best written products of that culture. Like counterfeit money, its presence in our society affects all of us. Thus, the activities of convicted forger and murderer Mark W. Hofmann have special meaning in American culture, and especially for students of American and Mormon history.This collection has been assembled to provide a basic source file for individuals needing access to a history of the Hofmann case. Much more information will become available with the passage of time, as with most episodes of recent history. For the immediate future, it is hoped this beginning compilation will fill a genuine need in the scholarly community. Copies of all known printed items have been collected, including a newspaper clipping history of the events as they transpired beginning with the first bomb blasts on 15 October 1985. In addition, copies of the transcripts of both the Preliminary Hearing and the Prison Interviews are in the collection.To assist the researcher, a detailed chronology of the Hofmann Case is attached (See Appendix A), together with a detailed container listing of the collection. Following a biographical file, the first part (Box 1, folder 2 to Box 5, folder 13) is chronological, allowing the researcher to follow the case as it was reported, almost day-by-day from 15 October 1985 to 29 January 1988, the date of the Hofmann parole hearing. The second part (Box 5, folder 14 to Box 7, folder 11) is topical, and contains folders on each of the major forgeries, (Box 5, folder 20 to Box 6, folder 17) as well as various official and unofficial publications relating to this case. Both popular and scholarly articles are included.A researcher should be able to find information relating to just about any aspect of this case. A detailed Bibliographical Guide (See Appendix B) to the Hofmann Case is also attached to assist the student. It is anticipated that relevant material will be added to the collection as it becomes available.
The collection is open to research once permission has been given by a member of the Archives Staff. It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.Permission to publish material from the Mark Hofmann Case Collection must be obtained from the Supervisor of Reference Services and/or the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Board of Curators.
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