Secret Mark Hofmann tape surfaces

Published: Friday, July 29 2011 12:00 a.m. MDT

Mayfield played a portion of the tape at the press conference. As audio played of the soft-spoken Hofmann telling Brunson about the manuscript he "found," Mayfield looked across the room at Ashworth and pretended he had a fishing rod in his hand and was reeling in a large fish. On the recording Brunson — like many other victims — is buying Hofmann's story hook, line and sinker. She asks what he wanted in return for the original. He shocks her by asking for the most rare and valuable of all historical Mormon books.

"I was hoping to trade it to you for one of your duplicate copies of the Book of Commandments," Hofmann says.

"Oh my! Oh!"

"This is pretty important though."

"Oh, well, yeah, it is, but good heavens!"

After a few more minutes, Mayfield stopped the recording.

"You can read a transcript, or read somebody's excerpts of it, but to actually hearing it going on. This is history actually happening right before you," Mayfield said.

Ashworth said the importance of it, for him, was its value for law enforcement officers, "This guy was one of the super conmen of Utah history. And this is him doing his con, doing his thing."

The forged blessing was eventually purchased by the LDS Church, which traded it to the RLDS Church for a copy of the Book of Commandments. The RLDS Church added the blessing to its scriptures. After it was shown to be a forgery, the LDS Church returned the Book of Commandments.

Three decades later, the forgeries are no longer being made. But Mayfield thinks more will be found.

"I would put money down that Hofmann probably did other (tapes)," Mayfield said. "One hundred years from now people will still be coming up with things from Hofmann."

EMAIL: mdegroote@desnews.com

TWITTER: www.twitter.com/degroote degroote

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