The authors of "Mormon Murders" remain undisturbed by the criticisms being hurled at their controversial book.
The fact that many of those they interviewed and portrayed in their book have called the book "fantasy," "a piece of junk," and "a forgery" does not alarm or surprise them.In a Deseret News interview, Steven Naifeh said that he and his co-author, Gregory White Smith, "have learned over the years of researching books, that people will deny saying what they said on tape." Seeing yourself portrayed in print is like viewing a photograph - no matter how accurate, it's always shocking, said Naifeh, paraphrasing the reaction of one of those quoted in his book.
Naifeh and Smith, both Harvard Law School graduates, interviewed 170 people for their book. They have written numerous books, including two New York Times bestsellers.
Every single word in quotation marks in the book comes from a taped interview or from the voluminous law enforcement reports and documents they used, said Naifeh.
Even though the interviews are tape-recorded, "that doesn't mean people will admit saying what they said when called upon," said Naifeh.
There are only minor errors in the book, he contends.
The reason people are changing their stories confirms the premise of the book. The power and control of the Mormon Church inhibits free expression - sometimes directly, more often indirectly. Criticizing the church or its leaders is not the politically smart thing to do in Utah, Naifeh said.
After the book was published, KSL-TV officials conducted a witch hunt, "with the explicit statement that whoever talked to us would be fired."
KSL-TV officials deny the allegation.
Surprisingly, many devout Mormons have called and expressed appreciation for telling the truth about Mormon leaders, he said.
Many sources are not named in the book. "It would have added marginally to the authenticity of our book to put the person's name in, but it was our strong feeling that it wasn't worth someone's job."
Naifeh denies that he and Smith came to Salt Lake with a preconceived idea to prove their theory of an LDS cover-up. They had initially thought the underlying story behind the Hofmann crimes was Coordinated Financial Services. But after numerous interviews, it became obvious that the "cover-up was the bigger story."
Asked if it bothered him that the families of bombing victims Steven Christensen and Kathleen Sheets were offended to have "Mormon Murders" dedicated to their loved ones, Naifeh said, "No, not really. We had to report it (the story) as accurately as possible.
"But it was painful knowing there were parts of the book that would hurt them. I have great affection for them."