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Hofmann, Mark



  • Existence: born 1954

Biographical History

Mark Hofmann (born 1954) is a convicted forger and murderer in Utah.

Mark W. Hofmann was born December 7, 1954 and grew up in the Salt Lake Valley, eventually graduating from Olympus High School and serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the England Southwest Mission. Hofmann seriously considered a career in medicine and he took a pre-med course of study at Utah State University in Logan.

Despite his original interests in medicine, Hofmann eventually became a coin collector, and by 1978 was also a serious student of Mormon documents. He sold his first Mormon document in October 1979. From then until 1985 he was active in hunting down and studying both Mormon and American historical documents, finding spectacular items month after month. Historians and document dealers repeatedly agreed that his docusments seemed to be authentic.

The prices and the publicity seemed to increase with each discovery. Some of the documents purportedly challenged traditional stories of early Mormonism while others fit neatly into the generally accepted history but added details not known before. Hofmann made a point of selling many of his discoveries to Mormon buyers.

While Hofmann's documents at first seemed legitimate, eventually their validity was questioned. In order to prevent his forgeries from being unraveled, Hofmann constructed bombs to murder several targets who could possibly speak out against him. He succeeded in murdering two individuals, but Hofmann himself fell victim to one of his own bombs, which ultimately caused the police to suspect him as the man behind the other bombings. It is argued that Hofmann committed the murders to hide his own guilt and fraud. Hofmann was officially charged with two counts of murder and twenty-three counts of theft by deception and communications fraud on February 3, 1986.

A preliminary hearing was held from April 14 to May 13, 1986, and much of 1986 was spent in the airing of charges and counter-charges, mostly in the press. Finally on January 23, 1987, as a result of a plea bargain, Hofmann pled guilty to two counts of communications fraud (for the Martin Harris letter and the McLellin Papers) and admitted guilty to 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 with a life sentence. He remains there to this day.

On July 31, 1987 the County Attorney's office released the six hundred page transcript of the interviews its staff had conducted with Hofmann from February 11 to May 27. 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.

Some forgeries made by Mark Hofmann are still in circulation, and he is still regarded as one of the most successful forgers of his time.

Hofmann Interviews, case of State [Utah] vs. Hofmann, February 11, 1987 through May 15, 1987, 1987: (t.p. Hofmann; p. 3 Mark Hofmann plea agreement accompanying LC copy)

Sillitoe, L. Salamander, 1988: p. 198, etc. (Mark Hofmann; Mark W. Hofmann; Mark William Hofmann; b. Dec. 7, 1954)

Practice to deceive, 2000: pages 295-342, June 2017 (Mark William Hofmann, born 7 December 1954; forger of early documents especially associated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, or the Mormons)

Wikipedia, via WWW, 25 March 2015 (Mark William Hofmann: born in Salt Lake City, Utah; became coin collector; served mission in England; started school at Utah State; interested in LDS Church history; long list of forgeries; bombings in 1985; will remain in prison for life for murder, forgery and fraud)

Found in 36 Collections and/or Records:

Articles and other material on Mark Hofmann Mormon-related forgeries, 1978-1988

 Series — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSS 1571 Series 4
Scope and Contents

Contains articles and other documents concerning each of Hofmann's Mormon-related forgeries, dated between 1822 and 1912. Numbers on folder titles correspond to those listed on the "Main Forgeries..." sheet in the forgery lists and indexes folder (Box 6, Folder 5). Materials dated 1978-1988.

Dates: 1978-1988

Articles and other material on Mark Hofmann non-Mormon-related forgeries, 1984-1987

 Series — Box 7: Series 4; Series 5; Series 6; Series 7 [Barcode: 31197232481223], Folder: 16-20
Identifier: MSS 1571 Series 5
Scope and Contents

Contains articles and other documents regarding each of Mark Hofmann's historical, non-Mormon-related forgeries, dated between 1638 and 1903 (Oath of a Freeman, Daniel Boone and Betsy Ross letters, Jim Bridger promissory notes, Jack London signature). Materials dated 1984-1987.

Dates: 1984-1987

Articles, clippings, and other material on Mark Hofmann rumored documents, 1985-1987

 Series — Box 7: Series 4; Series 5; Series 6; Series 7 [Barcode: 31197232481223], Folder: 21-22
Identifier: MSS 1571 Series 6
Scope and Contents

Contains articles, clippings, and other documents regarding the rumored Oliver Cowdery History and the William E. McLellin papers (undated since imaginary, but probably would have been in the 1830s or so). Materials dated 1985-1987.

Dates: 1985-1987

Biographical articles on Mark Hofmann, 1982-1987

 Series — Box 1: Series 1; Series 2 [Barcode: 31197232481116], Folder: 1
Identifier: MSS 1571 Series 1
Scope and Contents

Contains photocopies of newspaper articles about Hofmann published in Utah newspapers. Materials dated 1982-1987.

Dates: 1982-1987

Collection on Mark Hofmann

Identifier: MSS 1571
Scope and Contents

Collection contains articles, clippings, transcripts, biographical materials, and other materials on the Mark Hofmann case. Includes information on Hofmann's forgeries, as well as the murder case. Materials date from between 1978 and 2005.

Dates: 1978-2005

George J. Throckmorton case files, 1980-1990

Identifier: MSS 2408 Series 1 Sub-Series 1
Scope and Contents note

Case files for the various historical documents forged by Mark Hofmann, including the Anthon bible and transcript, letters from notable people of the early Church (David Whitmer, Joseph Smith, Lucy Mack Smith, Thomas Bullock, the White Salamander letter, etc.), pieces of historical currency, the E.B. Grandin contract, blessing of Joseph Smith III, Oath of a Freeman, etc.

Dates: Other: 1980-1990

George J. Throckmorton correspondence, 1986, 1999

Identifier: MSS 2408 Series 3 Sub-Series 5
Scope and Contents note

Correspondence with Charles "Bud" Hamilton and Richard P. Lindsey.

Dates: Other: 1986; Other: 1999

George J. Throckmorton criminal investigation files, 1980-1990

Identifier: MSS 2408 Series 1
Scope and Contents Series 1, “Criminal Investigation,” includes three sub-series. Sub-Series 1, “Case Files,” documents Mr. Throckmorton’s investigation of suspected Hofmann forgeries. Sub-Series 2, “Investigative Research / Notes” contains materials related to Mr. Throckmorton’s investigation of Mark Hofmann. Documentary materials include an audio tape of Mr. Throckmorton’s initial forensic examination of the Hofmann forgeries; materials and documentation relating to Mr. Throckmorton’s forensic testing of...
Dates: Other: 1980-1990

George J. Throckmorton interviews and public presentations, 1987-2000

Identifier: MSS 2408 Series 3 Sub-Series 3
Scope and Contents note

Tapes of interviews with KTKK Radio; presentation to a Sunstone Symposium panel and the Mark Hofmann jury, publicity pamphlets, and presentation of the Southwestern Association of Forensic Document Examiners.

Dates: Other: 1987-2000

George J. Throckmorton investigative research and notes, 1985-1987

Identifier: MSS 2408 Series 1 Sub-Series 2
Scope and Contents note

Audiotapes and transcripts, dictations on Hofmann documents, Hofmann cas chronologies, evidence lists, pre-trial documents, forensic examination result, articles on handwriting styles, handwriting samples, list of forgeries and questioned documents, Treasury Department reports, FBI reports, scanning electron microscope tests, typewriter examination results, etc.

Dates: Other: 1985-1987