the thinker

Grant Palmer


This web page is dedicated to the accomplishments of Grant Palmer and his dealings with the Mormon Church.

Update: Grant has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. A celebration of him was held on February 15, 2017. A Celebration of the Life and Work of Grant Palmer This video of this can be viewed on mormonstories.

3 part Mormonstories podcast (episodes 697-699): Celebrating the Life of Grant Palmer

Updated Article: Jesus Did Exist (PDF). To be released As Chapter 1 in Grant's new book coming out in 2017 "Restoring Christ: Giving up Mormon Jesus for Gospels' Jesus."

Who is Grant Palmer?

Grant H. Palmer (M.A., American history, Brigham Young University) is a three-time director of LDS Institutes of Religion in California and Utah, a former instructor at the Church College of New Zealand, and an LDS seminary teacher at two Utah locations. Grant was employed by the LDS Church as a Church Education System (CES) teacher for 34 years and retired in 2001. He has been active in the Mormon History Association and on the board of directors of the Salt Lake Legal Defenders Association. He is the author of An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins and The Incomparable Jesus. Now retired, his hobby is pigeon fancying. He has four children and eight grandchildren. He and his wife live in Sandy, Utah.

Summary: More on Grant


Book authored by Grant: "An Insider's View of Mormon Origins". Published in 2002 and available at Amazon. It was sold at Deseret Books for several years and is still available there by special order. It's also still sold at the BYU bookstore.

Summary: Over the past thirty years, an enormous amount of research has been conducted into Mormon origins—Joseph Smith's early life, the Book of Mormon, the prophet's visions, and the restoration of priesthood authority. Longtime LDS educator Grant H. Palmer suggests that most Latter-day Saints remain unaware of the significance of these discoveries, and he gives a brief survey for anyone who has ever wanted to know more about these issues.

He finds that much of what we take for granted as literal history has been tailored over the years—slightly modified, added to, one aspect emphasized over another—to the point that the original narratives have been nearly lost. What was experienced as a spiritual or metaphysical event, something from a different dimension, often has been refashioned as if it were a physical, objective occurrence. This is not how the first Saints interpreted these events. Historians who have looked closer at the foundational stories and source documents have restored elements, including a nineteenth-century world view, that have been misunderstood, if not forgotten.

Excerpt: Excerpt from An insider's View

Reviews: Several scholarly reviews of An Insider's View

Response to FARM's critical review: A Reply to FARMS and the Joseph Fielding Smith Institute

Notes: on the "Golden Pot" Chapter. This is the most original and perhaps controversial chapter in An Insider's View.

Book authored by Grant: "The Incomparable Jesus". Published in 2005 and available at Amazon.

Summary: Grant Palmer closed his thirty-four-year career teaching for the LDS Church Educational System with the final thirteen years as a chaplain and the LDS Institute director at the Salt Lake County Jail. Distilled from his personal and teaching experiences, this tender testament to the incomparable Jesus describes a Savior who walked the halls with him, succoring those in need.

In this slim volume, Palmer sensitively shares his understanding of what it means to know Jesus by doing his works. He lists the qualities of divine character attested to by the Apostles Peter and Paul, and also those that Jesus revealed about himself in his masterful Sermon on the Mount, particularly in the beatitudes.

With reverence Palmer shares personal spiritual experiences that were life-changing assurances of Jesus's love for him--a love poured out unstintingly in equally life-changing blessings on prisoners whose crimes have not stopped short of sexual abuse and murder. Reading this book offers deeper understanding of the Savior's mercy, a stronger sense of his love, and a deeper commitment to follow him.

Review: "This book reminds me why I am proud to be a Christian; and it makes me want to be a better one. This slender volume provides a better insight into the atonement than anything I have ever read. Grant Palmer has given us a timely gem of a book, one that is focused exclusively on the Savior" Dee Benson - Chief Judge, U.S. Federal District Court of Utah.

Excerpts on each chapter of The Incomparable Jesus available here.


Grant's Other Writings

Sorted oldest to newest.

Salt Lake Tribune article from 2008: "Jesus’ Judgment of Humanity"

Sunstone article from 2007: The "Born Again" Saint

Sources for the Book of Abraham (2009): Five sources Joseph used for composing the Book of Abraham.

Sources for the Book of Mormon (2009): Six sources Joseph Smith used in composing the Book of Mormon

Visions (2009): What Joseph Smith’s Four Foundational Visions have in Common

Associated Press Article (2004): Former LDS Teacher Faces Excommunication for Controversial Book (Under News Stories about 3/4 of the way down)

Los Angeles Times Article (2004): Mormon Author Says He's Facing Excommunication (Under News Stories about 5/6 of the way down)

Associated Press Article (2004): Mormon Church Disciplines Author for Book (Under News Stories at very bottom of page)

MIDWESTERN JOURNAL OF THEOLOGY Article (2010): Religious Feeling and Truth

Article: Sexual Allegations Against Joseph Smith and the Beginnings of Polygamy in Nauvoo

Article: Why William and Jane Law Left the LDS Church in 1844

Article: Did Joseph Smith Commit Treason in His Quest for Political Empire in 1844?

Article: Three Meetings with a LDS General Authority, 2012- 2013

Article: Joseph Smith, Captain Kidd, Cumorah And Moroni

Outline of a lecture given at the SLC Library, 6 November 2013: Joseph Smith's changing view of God as seen in his First Vision accounts - includes photos from the lecture. (Youtube video presentation: "Joseph Smith's changing view of God" with Grant Palmer)

Article: Zechariah's Second Coming of Christ Prophecy (PDF).

Article: Jesus Did Exist (PDF). Updated - to be released As Chapter 1 in Grant's new book coming out in 2017 "Restoring Christ: Giving up Mormon Jesus for Gospels' Jesus."

Q & A about the New Testament Canon.

Joseph Smith and His Concubines (PDF) - 22 May 2016


Grant's Timeline of events

Grant kept a detailed journal of the events as they transpired after he wrote An Insider's View of Mormon Origins. The following shows his thoughts and correspondence he had with his local leadership all throughout his church disciplinary hearing till the present:

Timeline of events


Mormon Stories Podcasts - Grant Palmer was interviewed by John Dehlin of Mormon Stories for a four-part series on Mormonism. Episodes 30-33.

Mormon Expression Podcast - John Larsen talks with former Church Educational System Institute Director, teacher, and author about his journey within Mormonism and his view of Jesus.

Mormon Stories Podcast episodes 324-326 - In this episode Grant Palmer returns to Mormon Stories to discuss: Sexual allegations made against Joseph Smith during his early years The story of William and Jane Law, and An update on Grant’s resignation from the LDS church.

Mormon Stories Podcast episodes 697 - 699 In this three-part interview, we honor Grant Palmer, former LDS seminary/institute instructor, and author of “An Insider’s View of Mormon Origins” – which provides a plausible explanation for how the Book of Mormon was authored by Joseph Smith.

This interview has three parts:

Part 1: Grant reflects on his experience authoring An Insider’s View of Mormon origins, discusses his disfellowshipment and ultimate decision to resign from the LDS (after threats of excommunication).  Grant also reflects upon the impact of An Insider’s View on the LDS church.

Part 2: Grant discusses his new, yet-to-be-published book, “Restoring Christ.”  Within the book he discusses why he continues to believe, how he justifies belief in Christ and the Bible after losing faith in the LDS church and in the Book of Mormon, what the atonement does and doesn’t mean to him, how he deals with the God of the Old Testament, etc.  He also discusses in-depth his conversation with an LDS general authority who claims that modern LDS apostles receive $1 million once they become apostles, and that many of them do not believe the LDS church to be true (a claim that I challenge).

Part 3: Participants in the evening share with Grant what his work has meant to them.  In addition, Tyler Glenn (Neon Trees) sings two songs in honor of Grant from his new album, Excommunication.

Radio Station Interview

Interview with Grant H. Palmer, 2004
Gena Edvalson, "RadioActive," KRCL Radio FM 90.9

Click for: Audio version or Transcript

Documentary Appearance

PBS Special "The Mormons" - aired by PBS Frontline on May 1, 2006. Provided commentary in the second part. He appears about 45 minutes into the first hour of Part II, for about two minutes. Here's a one minute youtube video excerpt.

TV Interviews

Jason Wallace Interviews

Grant was interviewed Wed. May 18, 2011 and Wed. May 25, 2011 on live TV by Jason Wallace on Channel 20 in the greater Salt Lake area. Wed May 18, the focus was on An Insider's View of Mormon Origins and the future of Mormonism. On Wed May 25, the focus was on comparing the Mormon Jesus with the New Testament Jesus, especially their personality, behavior, attitudes and what their doctrinal emphasis is. The format each week was an interview for 30 minutes followed by questions from callers.

First Interview available online Part 1.

Second Interview available online Part 2.

Interview on 19 November 2014 with Jason Wallace on TV 20 here in SLC : The Ancient Paths - Grant Palmer on New Polygamy Statement

Interview on 22 April 2015 with Jason Wallace on "Why William Law opposed Joseph Smith in Nauvoo" during the last two years of Smith's life.

What Love Is This Interviews

Grant appeared 17 May 2012 and the following Thursday, 24 May on Doris Hansen's show called Polygamy: What Love Is This? The subject of the first interview was "Sexual allegations against Joseph Smith" and the following Thursday was on "Did Joseph Smith commit treason in his quest for political empire in 1844?" Both shows were live with call in questions.

First interview: Youtube Link to site.

Second interview: Youtube Link to site.

TV Program - "Encounters with Christ"

16 August 2012 interview with Grant Palmer: SacredGrovesOnline

Debate with LDS Institute director Alma Allred:

Jason Wallace interviewed Grant and a LDS Institute Director from the U of U Institute of Religion (Alma Allred) on the Implications of Joseph Smith's use of his stone for producing the BOM, the earliest (18 ) sections of the D&C, and treasure seeking between 1822-1827) that he reportedly used this stone for.

Youtube video of debate

The Ex-Mormon Files Youtube Videos

Episode 200 Grant Palmer part 1

Episode 201 Grant Palmer part 2

Episode 202 Grant Palmer part 3

Episode 203 Grant Palmer part 4

Internet Interviews

Grant did an 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) on reddit on 5 December 2013. Grant Palmer AMA (edited 12 December 2013)

Sunstone Symposiums

Recordings are available from Sunstone for these topics were presented by Grant and others:

The Ethics of Doubt. 2005

Mormon Contributions To Christology And Understanding The Atonement. 2005

How 'Christian' Should Mormonism Strive to be? 2004

Author Meets Critics: An Insider's View of Mormon Origins. 2003

What is Anti-Mormon? 2003.


Grant appears in several small clips in the DVD "LDS Transitions"

Ex-Mormon Conference Talk

October 2012 Ex-Mormon Conference Talk by Grant Palmer entitled “My Ah-Ha Moments in Researching Mormon History”

This was a great presentation by Grant that everyone really enjoyed.

Youtube Version - My Ah-Ha Moments in Researching Mormon History

Audio Version - Full List of 2012 Presenters audio only