Tanner, Mormon challenger and founder of Utah Lighthouse Ministry, dies
By Jeremiah Stettler
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Jerald D. Tanner never jay-walked, avoided driving faster than the
speed limit and always returned to the grocery store if the cashier
gave him too much change, family members say.
The Salt Lake City man, who family and friends regard as a person
of unwavering integrity, died this week of complications related to
Alzheimer's disease. He was 68.
Long considered a thorn to the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter-day Saints in his search for truth, Tanner gained notoriety
among Mormons for challenging their faith.
He authored more than 40 books, including Mormonism - Shadow or
Reality, and published reams of research papers and pamphlets
assailing the church's doctrine and history. He believed that an
accurate and complete history would prove the faith false.
"He felt driven by his quest for truth, to follow that path no
matter how hurtful, how sad or how challenging it was," said his wife,
The couple founded the nonprofit organization Utah Lighthouse
Ministry in 1983 to provide humanitarian aid and publish materials on
the LDS church. It continues to operate today at 1358 S. West Temple
in Salt Lake City.
LDS Church spokesman Dale Bills declined comment on Tanner's
death or the impact his ministry has had on the church.
While Tanner's religious advocacy captured the greatest publicity,
family members say this soft-spoken man also was prone to practical
jokes. His favorite gag involved a talking toy parrot. He would hide
the squawker around the house and in his bookstore to startle
unsuspecting passers-by. He also stashed a stuffed gorilla in his
wife's bed, in the refrigerator and in the freezer for a chuckle.
Tanner also devoted countless hours to the Rescue Mission of Salt
Lake, where he volunteered up to six days a week and conducted prayer
Yet Tanner's legacy is a lifetime of honesty, said his son Dennis
Tanner. The man once urged his daughter to approach a neighbor who
unknowingly was paying her electrical bill on a light fixture. "He was
a stickler on those kinds of things," the Taylorsville man said.
Memorial services for Tanner are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday
at the Salt lake Christian Center, 4300 S. 700 East in Murray.