Arizona woman says first-edition copy of Book of Mormon stolen

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  • DesertBrat60 Indio, CA
    June 2, 2012 11:33 a.m.

    Rights or no Rights, the book is invaluable as a piece of history! I agree CJB. She is probably not in her right frame of mind doing what she did to the book. Very sad & upsetting to hear what she did.
    I feel if someone were stealing it to "save" it from her damaging it more, that thief would have stolen the framed pages also, so as to have the book restored...

  • Nachtmerrie_in_Brugge Mesa, AZ
    June 1, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    I am pleased to learn that 90% of the original 5,000 copies of The Book of Mormon were used for their intended purpose: to be read, studied, implemented and eventually worn out beyond preservation.

  • Nachtmerrie_in_Brugge Mesa, AZ
    May 31, 2012 11:19 p.m.

    A person who burns an American flag in the public square should be charged with littering, illegal burning, maybe disturbing the peace and whatever other local ordinances apply, the same as if they had burned an old shirt or something. The flag itself is just a piece of cloth dyed red, white and blue, and is not sacred; that which it symbolizes is sacred.

    The real value of The Book of Mormon--ANY copy of the Book of Mormon, whether it was printed in 1830 or last month--is the intangible result of studying and applying its contents.

    Mrs. Schlie's book is valuable only as a historic artifact. It isn't any more "holy" than any other copy of the Book of Mormon, which leads me to snicker when I read that some people have actually shed tears when she has shown them the book. Please! I also seriously doubt that the Church ever endorsed or condemned her practice of selling pages from the book. It's her property to do with as she pleases.

    I could never express it better than Elder Jeffery R. Holland did in his scathing April 2008 General Conference address about continuing revelation.

  • JonathanPDX Portland, Oregon
    May 31, 2012 7:24 p.m.

    One might hope that whomever now has the book, that they needed the lessons in it much more so than its owner.

  • SLC gal Salt Lake City, UT
    May 31, 2012 10:56 a.m.

    Hopefully the thief will crack it open since missing 50 pages significantly impacts retail value. As I was reading, I thought "Is that lady nuts?" Displaying it is one thing. Taking it out so people can handle it and such is another.

  • CAP Grapevine, TX
    May 31, 2012 8:36 a.m.

    The reason that she was ripping pages out and framing them was because she sold them on Ebay. She has been doing it for years... That being said, stealing is still stealing! Even though I don't agree with what she was doing by selling the pages. It is her's to do with as she pleases.

  • Acegrace Lilburn, GA
    May 31, 2012 7:18 a.m.

    No one has focused on the fact that the bookstore owner/victim was showing everyone this book and letting them handle it regardless of whether they were strangers or not. That was well-intentioned but invited disaster sooner or later. I hate to kick her when she is already down, but she needed better security for the book since it was so valuable.

  • PAtoUT Sandy, UT
    May 30, 2012 11:58 p.m.

    I met this woman last year at a Booksellers convention in Sandy, UT and she let me touch the book. I didn't want to wash my hand. She told me I was touching the DNA of Joseph Smith. She was very charismatic and wonderful to let all of us handle the book. I hope she gets the book back so she can continue to be the Johnny Appleseed of the Book of Mormon...taking the book all over and letting people see it and touch it.

  • LValfre CHICAGO, IL
    May 30, 2012 10:53 p.m.

    It's a shame that book was stolen. Would like to see a line by line comparison to today's BOM edition ....

  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2012 7:41 p.m.

    If anyone thinks she was somehow justified, consider-

    It were a Gutenberg Bible, no one would be defending her. And if anyone did, they'd realize why everyone else was freaking out.


  • A voice of Reason Salt Lake City, UT
    May 30, 2012 7:37 p.m.

    "Schlie has been taking pages out of the book in recent years and framing them for display in various locations."

    AGH! The book deserves a better owner! Not the person who stole it of course. lol but still... agh!

  • Maibraina WEST JORDAN, UT
    May 30, 2012 7:21 p.m.

    @ Everyone

    Oh, well. At least she still has the framed pages.

  • LeAnn Saint George, UT
    May 30, 2012 5:32 p.m.

    I really hope it is recovered and I hope that someone who really has a sincere and honest caring for the book and for it's owner will take the time to advise her as to how to protect it and herself. It would be awful if, now that it has become such public knowledge, if someone went back to get it and hurt her too. I hope they find the person and exact the correct punishment on them. This is just sad. And I say to all those that are judging this woman and her intentions or reasons for the pages being framed should just quit assuming and be a bit kinder, unless you talk to her personally what purpose does it serve to judge her.

  • Lyle Springville, UT
    May 30, 2012 3:50 p.m.

    MaxxFordham, there are still people who bind books! I once found a reference book that had been used and abused by students in a study room to the extent that its cover was long gone, with perhaps a $100 replacement cost, and took it to a young lady who did bookbinding in her home. It cost $30 or $40 to do, and it came out looking great and ready for more use and abuse. I like books and felt like I'd rescued a friend from certain doom.

    By now, years later, she might be up to the task of restoring a first edition BOM, but I'm sure Mr. Ashworth would be able to point Ms. Schlie to somebody who is.

  • bob j Bli Bli, Queensland
    May 30, 2012 3:09 p.m.

    Rather than the interest in the book having been stolen, I am more interested in the statement that "No two editions are the same". Therefore which is the exact copy of the original writings and where is it ?

  • ulvegaard Medical Lake, Washington
    May 30, 2012 1:10 p.m.

    When the prophet had the plates, his enemies were after them, not for their spiritual value but for the monetary value - gold. And so it is here, the thief was wanting the financial value from the book.

    If this woman chose to remove pages, it was her book and her right to do so, falling out or not. I appreciate the historical value and have personally held a first edition copy of the Book of Mormon and shall remember that moment for the rest of my life. But when it comes down to the worth of a person and the worth of a book -- people too are worth a great deal. And historical value aside, a brand new, $2.00, paper back copy of the Book of Mormon has as much true value as does an 1830 copy of the book. The greatest value of any edition of the Book of Mormon is when it is read, prayed about and the principals it teaches are lived.

  • MaxxFordham OREM, UT
    May 30, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    Oh, Lyle, if that were true--the pages are already falling out, so let's just frame them instead of trying to repair the book, rather than deliberately cutting or tearing them out--then I would feel better about this too. I surely hope that's the case.

    But then still, if it were me, I would take the pages and the binding to a professional book repair company (if such exists) and ask them to do what they know to do to fix old historic books like that.

    I wish we could get Helen to come into here and send a comment about the details of what she was doing. (Oh, and I wonder if, and hope that, she's LDS. :-) ...)

  • MaxxFordham OREM, UT
    May 30, 2012 10:41 a.m.

    Huh, Suzy K. 1, "Maybe her carelessness was the reason it was stolen..."?

    Nahh... I don't think a thief would be thinking about that at the time of hunting the book down: "Oh, I should just steal this book because this lady has been removing pages from it. My job is to teach her a lesson."

    Thieves don't tend to think like that. They just want to get in there, get the stuff, get out as quickly as possible, and then either keep the stuff they stole for their own enjoyment or sell them and try to make a quick buck.


  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    May 30, 2012 10:13 a.m.


    I don't necessarily disagree with you. Those who steal from the elderly are particular scum, but those who steal from anybody are scum too.

    Unfortunately, the elderly are like a lodestone to iron-filings and they attract theives like moths to a flame. There have been quite a few stories in the last year or so of their having been fleeced by their fellow church members (not only the LDS, but other religions have the same problem). Religious elderly seem to be even more ripe for the fleecing - sadly.

  • Lyle Springville, UT
    May 30, 2012 10:13 a.m.

    Perhaps the book was in such poor condition that pages were actually falling out. I have an old dictionary, nowhere near as old as this first edition, and it has many loose pages. If that was the case, than framing those pages would be less egregious stewardship than slicing them out of the book with an X-Acto knife (which thought makes me cringe).

    If this was a movie, then detectives would be watching all 50 framed pages, waiting for the thief to go after them...

  • Brahmabull sandy, ut
    May 30, 2012 9:48 a.m.

    Cjb - I highly, highly doubt that somebody willing to commit a felony is concerned about preserving the book because it was being mistreated. If that were the case, wouldn't they have taken it 50 pages ago?? I doubt the book is worth anywhere near 100,000 now in a low economy and in low condition. Still, I would bet the farm that it is somebody looking for financial gain, and it will not work. Once it comes on the market, they will have their man(or woman). Greed is the reason.

  • Cats Somewhere in Time, UT
    May 30, 2012 9:02 a.m.

    I don't believe the thief stole it for any other reason than financial gain. I believe it will probably turn up on the market somewhere and eventually be recovered. It was probably someone she knew that knew where it was kept.

    It was a shame that she took pages out to frame, but I imagine they could be restored to the book by a professional.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    May 30, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    re Seposm
    Evanston, WY


    I see your point, ordinarily you'd be 100% correct, but this is a priceless artifact. It belongs to her, but it also belongs to history.

    If someone were some how to obtain ownership of the Declaration of Indepencence or US Constitution for example and decide to cut either of them up with up with scisors so they could frame parts of it in different places, it would be right that it be taken from that person so it can be preserved for the ages. If the law were not able to do it, I'd be hard pressed to say that a (Robin Hood) thief who did so would be in the wrong. Such a person would probably be remembered as a hero. (Perhaps years after they spend some time in prison).

    If you disagree, fine, we'll just have to agree to disagree.

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    May 30, 2012 8:42 a.m.

    @Ranch Hand: Well in my opinion, to steal from the elderly is more unconscionable because they don't have the time left as other people to recover what was stolen. Think about it. When you are 88 years old, you are way over the average life-span of a woman. Causing her to go to her grave without solving the mystery of who stole her BOM is very cruel. Causing her to go to her grave with a feeling of fractured trust in human kind is even crueler. The elderly are usually the easiest targets because they cannot defend themselves and they trust more than the young..

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    May 30, 2012 8:24 a.m.

    We have a copy here at Duke.... and I have yet to go see it. Makes me think I should. Sad someones greed would do something like this to an elderly lady. Who ever got it will have a really hard time moving it though.

  • Seposm Evanston, WY
    May 30, 2012 8:08 a.m.

    cjb. I don't think you are treating your car with the respect that it deserves, it is a miracle of modern engineering, so I am going to take it from you to treat it as it should be treated. After all it is the right thing to do.

    Sorry, I don't buy it. The thief is wrong no matter how you try to spin it.

    She was 88, maybe the value of it was not financial to her, she had a piece of history she wanted to share with others. After all she let people hold it and take pictures with it. Maybe she felt that by framing pages she could share it with more people.

  • MaxxFordham OREM, UT
    May 30, 2012 7:53 a.m.

    Oops, I worded one of my sentences somewhat wrong. Part of it was supposed to have said this: "...but at least she still treated them *with what* she thought was respect, by framing them."

    But then... maybe you readers already knew what I meant. :)

  • terra nova Park City, UT
    May 30, 2012 7:52 a.m.

    About fifteen years ago I looked into finding an early edition. At the time they were being offered at about $60,000. They are virtually guaranteed to grow in value as time passes. The growth of the church and the limited supply early copies makes it a foregone conclusion. But something about seeking out books like this began to feel slightly unsavory. Not bad really. But tainted in some way. Perhaps the best word for it is worldly and unnecessary. Photo accurate reprints are available for very little.

    Again, pity it was stolen. Very sad really, that someone would steal scripture. No doubt they were motivated by greed and a misplaced sense of protecting the book from further destruction by its owner. It is pathetic how often greed finds reasons that are good and holy to support insupportable actions.

    It was wrong in every way that the book was taken. But there is comfort in knowing its real value is found in the spirit that bears witness of its truth. And this is found in any copy ever printed. With luck her collection was insured and she will be compensated for her loss.

  • RanchHand Huntsville, UT
    May 30, 2012 7:35 a.m.

    "The book was probably missing about 50 pages at the time of its disappearance."


    Oh no, call the president, we need a new translation of the 50 missing pages.


    I hope she gets her book back.

    @Serenity; IMO, anyone who steals from anyone has no conscience, not just those who steal from the elderly.

  • MaxxFordham OREM, UT
    May 30, 2012 7:33 a.m.

    Ooh yeah...! I cringed when I read that she had been taking pages out of the book, but at least she still treated them as she thought was respect, by framing them. No, I don't think I would take pages out like that!

    But actually, she's wrong about the steps from the gold plates to the 1st-edition masters: 1st-ed.s aren't right next to the plates; they're two steps away. Between the plates and those we have the manuscripts.

    I surely hope the thief will grow half a conscience or get caught soon!


  • sflorman ANDOVER, MN
    May 30, 2012 7:21 a.m.

    I'm with RG. This woman owned a rare bookstore, but pulled pages out of a first-edition Book of Mormon to frame them? Did no one mention to her what a horrible idea that was, not only from a financial standpoint but in terms of the damage done to an irreplaceable piece of history?

  • Serenity Manti, UT
    May 30, 2012 7:18 a.m.

    Oh I certainly hope she finds it. The thieves who stole it must have no consciences. Robbing an older lady of such a treasure is cruel. It sounds as if someone who is very familiar with her habits of putting the book in the safe knew when to steal it. To learn when the safe was open, they must have been watching for quiet some time before they stole it. The article doesn't mention if she was insured. Wouldn't removig pages from the book decrease its value? I sure hope she gets it back - and soon.

  • Aggielove Cache county, USA
    May 30, 2012 7:14 a.m.

    I would give good money for that book.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    May 30, 2012 6:58 a.m.

    That Book of Mormon looks like it wasn't being taken care of as much as it should have been.

    If it hasn't already, it ought to undergo treatment for acid that may be in the pages, and then it ought to be stored in an inert atmosphere.

  • RG Buena Vista, VA
    May 30, 2012 4:19 a.m.

    I am really curious about how removing pages like she did affects the book's value. Do other 1st edition owners remove pages too? I know I certainly wouldn't.