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An American Fraud. One Lawyer's Case against Mormonism [Kindle Edition]

Kay Burningham
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)

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Book Description

AN AMERICAN FRAUD. One Lawyer's Case against Mormonism

"Each of us has to face the matter--either the Church is true, or it is a fraud. There is no middle ground. It is the Church and kingdom of God or it is nothing."--LDS Prophet Gordon B. Hinckley, April General Conference, 2003.

Many Mormons assume that this and other similar proclamations by LDS leaders are rhetorical statements. But what if the Mormon leaders meant something else?

"The Book of Mormon" is not a translation of ancient American history engraved in "reformed Egyptian," on golden plates buried by an early American prophet. Instead, this key Mormon scripture has been shown to be a 19th-century work of fiction authored by Joseph Smith and perhaps others. Historically, most members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints rarely read outside their scriptures and Church-approved literature. However, Mormons have recently begun to discover facts about LDS history that had previously been known to very few, mainly scholarly historians of Mormonism. Through the discovery of these primary historical sources, now available on numerous internet sites, intelligent and curious Mormons have reached a critical point. If they read, they have become disaffected and disoriented. Many are experiencing crises of faith.

The first third of "An American Fraud. One Lawyer's Case against Mormonism," chronicles the Author's journey out of the Religion. The second part of the book is an exposé, including an analysis under the law. The Author, an experienced civil trial attorney, places the activities of Mormon leaders over almost two centuries in their proper legal framework, analyzing not only the misrepresentations, but the resulting damages: political, environmental and especially psycho-social.

The fraud committed by generations of Mormon leaders is that they have consistently misrepresented the facts surrounding the source of their scriptures. Neither the golden plates, nor writings by the Old Testament prophet Abraham, claimed to have been inscribed on purchased Egyptian papyri, ever existed. Furthermore, the claimed visitations by biblical apostles to restore lost priesthoods to Smith and his colleagues never occurred. Yet for decades LDS leaders have at least ignored, if not suppressed and grossly misrepresented, what has been proven to be the true facts surrounding Mormonism's origins, reworking and re-packaging the founding facts and the theology as necessary.

Billions of U.S. dollars and foreign currency, donated by worldwide faithful members, have been used to expand the global commercial holdings of this corporate conglomerate. Meanwhile, deserving beneficiaries of the donations, the poor and distressed, admittedly receive just a small percentage of the Church's gross income.

Those who joined or continued on in the Religion reasonably relied on LDS leaders' misrepresentations about its origins, all to their significant detriment.  The Mormon Church must now admit the unflattering facts of its origins. In 2013 official Church historian Steven Snow revealed the Church's systematic suppression of information: "I think in the past there was a tendency [by the Church] to keep a lot of the records closed or at least not give access to information. But the world has changed in the last generation--with the access to information on the internet we can't continue that pattern. I think we need to be more open."   

Editorial Reviews


"An American Fraud is a lightning-fast and surprisingly smooth read that explores the relationship of one woman with the faith she was taught to love while documenting her methodical and pragmatic approach to the unraveling of a great lie." -  QSalt Lake

"An American Fraud," is an historically significant work that calls out the most insidious fraud of American culture for what it is. It is a timeless masterpiece, and will be associated with the beginning of the end of Mormonism in years to come. It is an essential work for any library on the subject matter of Mormonism to be considered complete.

Park B. Romney, Author of The Apostasy of a High Priest-The Sociology of An American Cult.

From the Author

Historically, Mormonism has made vast and substantial changes to its theology.  The Church's position on polygamy and racism were radically changed in 1890 and 1978, respectively. However, changes in gender roles and the Church's stance on LGBT issues have not kept pace with more progressive religions. For example:  Kate Kelly an LDS feminist was excommunicated for founding the Ordain Women Organization, "Mormon Women Seeking Equality and Ordination to the [LDS] Priesthood."  Additionally, the State of Utah (where all three branches of the government are led by a substantial majority of Mormons) appealed the 10th Circuit's decision to uphold the lower federal court decision that Utah's law denying marriage to gay couples is unconstitutional.

"An American Fraud" delves deeply into the historic disregard that the Church has shown its women. An entire chapter is spent on polygamy and issues of modern feminism in the Church. The agonizing choices made by true-believing Mormons who have same-sex attraction, all the while attempting to live the heterosexual LDS lifestyle, are also discussed in the chapter: Damages. 

It is hoped that those considering joining the LDS Church will see the unadvertised facts and question the information provided by missionaries prior to committing to the religion.

Product Details

Customer Reviews

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175 of 202 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The emperor is naked June 25, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
From time to time, we all come across a book that we cannot put down. This was just such a book for me, probably because Kay Burningham's experience with Mormonism parallels my own on so many levels.

There is, of course, one major problem with the book: few active Mormons will --most lamentably-- read it. As Burningham accurately substantiates in her analysis, to read anything that is not church approved, sanctioned by the hierarchy, is deemed... a sin, a heresy, blasphemy, sacrilege, unworthy, shameful. As "apostle" Boyd K. Packer explicitly told the seminary and institute teachers decades ago, "If it doesn't build faith, we don't teach it --even if it's true."

Burningham's book does convey the cold, hard truth about Mormonism, and backs it up with a wealth of documented sources and statistics, i.e., evidence that would stand up in a court of law. While reading it, I could not help but fantasize how very much I would like to watch the author cross examine Packer on the witness stand, sworn to finally tell, once and for all, "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

Most of the work covers a verifiable list of historical facts about the origins of Mormonism, its claims and doctrines, the past and present practices of its leaders, and the lamentable consequences in members' lives. Burningham introduces and summarizes these facts by relating how they influenced her own life through the years, thus adding an intimate touch that helps readers understand and empathize with the very real effects on real people in the real world.

Indeed, I must concede that the author's experience with Mormonism has been even more traumatic than my own, precisely because she is a woman.
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104 of 122 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THERE IS A WHOLE NEW WORLD OUT THERE! July 30, 2012
I am in my eighties and have been a Utah Mormon all of my life. I grew up in the LDS Church and have attended regularly. I was married in the temple at age nineteen. The ceremony was so repetitive. From that very first time, I never felt the "spirituality" that my friends claimed to feel. I thought the ceremony was silly and anything but spiritual. But I thought the problem was me.

A friend of mine gave me her copy of An American Fraud to read. It was a real page-tuner. Before I read Ms. Burningham's book, I rarely read anything but what the leaders in the LDS Church told us to read. It was always the same thing, reading the same scriptures, about the lives of leaders, year after year. I felt guilty if and when I read another type of book that wasn't approved by the Church. After reading An American Fraud, I realized that I had been denied access to most all the good books in the world. I followed up on some of the author's footnotes and found them to be true. I couldn't believe it--I was never taught any of these things in Church meetings or books. Many of her sources were written about the Mormon leaders by those who knew them personally. I feel that the author is writing this from her heart, trying to show the truth about Mormonism, which has been hidden from its people for so long.

The writer did a great job of presenting facts. I could relate to many things in the book. For years the Church has presented only the white washed version of the Church's history. This book shows the other side. As the reader, after hearing both sides, I realize that there are many other things out there other than what the Church teaches.

I feel sorry for my friends who don't want to take the blinders off.
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122 of 145 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An honest journey, a necessary book January 15, 2012
By Lane
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had this book downloaded in my Kindle for three months before I opened it, but then I couldn't put it down once I started it. I rolled my eyes when I realized I had to endure the first third of the book as Kay Burningham's personal history, before I got to the meat of it; only to find myself wanting to understand more about her life and those she has loved along the way. Kay's honesty, and forthright style, captivated my imagination and gave me greater insight into my own circumstances.

Interestingly, I graduated from BYU Law School in 1979, the same year, I learned from this book, that Kay commenced law school there. We had the same civil procedure professor, and for 30 years I could find no one at the law school to tell me what happened to cause his "disappearance" a couple of years after my graduation. Thank you, Kay, for clearing up this mystery. I laughed at your expense for several days over our professor's hubris, while mourning the pain and loss you suffered. Having said that, this anecdote serves as a small illustration of life's random, uncaring, almost perverse indifference to us. Any dignity we can cut out for ourselves seems to have to be wrestled away from the institutions that want to own us. For those of us raised as Mormons, it's the Mormon Church that wants to determine what level of dignity one may be entitled to. This book is a beautiful declaration of one person's independence, and as such, it is quite inspiring.

For anyone interested in a shorthand book on Mormon history, its foundations, the evolution of its doctrines, and the consequences thereof, this is a great book for you.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars FRAUD
This is a very informative book. Tough reading at times for a non legal mind but I could tell that Kay wanted the reader to finish without a doubt about LDS. Read more
Published 17 days ago by gmafaye
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed the read
Enjoyed the read. I'll admit, it started a bit slow. The writer Ms. Burningham, discusses her beginnings/personnel life in the church, but then lays the facts right out in an eazy... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eddie Ayala
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book
Well written and thought out book. The case is strong against the lds and the research the author did to write the book is evident. I am very impressed with the book.
Published 1 month ago by Brandy Knight
5.0 out of 5 stars Tremendous insight. Factual and historically based.
Tremendous insight. Factual and historically based.
Published 2 months ago by Bo
5.0 out of 5 stars An awakening!
I was shocked to read some of the facts of the Mormon faith. Sadly, it is founded on the deception and lust of several men and the deception continues to this day.
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Raging feminist liberal's case against Mormonism.
Raging feminist liberal's case against Mormonism. For being a lawyer, she seems very controlled by emotion, not fact. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Heeeers Jonnnny
5.0 out of 5 stars An American Fraud
I am so thankful to see and read about people discovering the real truth about the deception of the Mormon Church. Thank you Kay for sharing this story with us.
Published 4 months ago by Ruth Proctor
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Well done.
Published 5 months ago by Chase
5.0 out of 5 stars Kay Burningham tells it like it is
Kay Burningham tells it like it is. Without getting into heavy emotional luggage, she tells her personal experience as a young woman who grew up in the heart of Mormondom, who... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Paul Roberts
3.0 out of 5 stars Enlightening
It was an ok book. The beginning that told the author's story was interesting but when it got into all the detail about the church it was kind of dry and hard to follow. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Diana Strole
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More About the Author

Kay Burningham, author of An American Fraud. One Lawyer's Case against Mormonism, is a civil trial attorney with over 25 years experience in California and Utah, representing both corporate defendants and individual plaintiffs. She has litigated cases involving misrepresentation and fraud in the context of product liability warnings, health care disclosures, insurance coverage, employment, real-estate and securities litigation. Ms. Burningham is an active member of the State Bar Associations of both Utah and California and practices in both jurisdictions.

The Author was born and raised in Bountiful, Utah and was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for most of her life. In 2001, she officially resigned from the Mormon Church.

She was interviewed along with former Mormons, Park Romney, Jeff Ricks (founder of Postmormon.org), LDS Apostle Jeff Holland and others for the BBC documentary, "This World--the Mormon Candidate," about Mitt Romney and Mormonism. The documentary aired in the UK on March 27, 2012 and is now available on YouTube. She was also interviewed by the German Press, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.). Kay was interviewed by Doris Hanson, a former victim of fundamentalist Mormon polygamy, who is the host of the Utah-based Christian television program, "Polygamy, What Love is This?"

Munich's FocusTV aired a special documentary on Mitt Romney's Mormonism, "Romney's Glaubensbrüder" Nov. 5, 2012, just prior to the US presidential elections. Ms. Burningham is featured along with Park Romney and a former LDS family who lives in Utah county. Links to most of these documentaries, articles and interviews can be found by visiting: www.kayburningham.com

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