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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended May 07, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 04May00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Saga Of A Hoffman Forgery May Be Made Into Film
Village Voice 3May00 A6
By Cynthia Cotts

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- The saga of a poem forged by Mark Hoffman could eventually be made into a movie, if author Simon Worrall is successful. Worrall wrote the story of a document Hoffman created and passed off as the work of famous poet Emily Dickinson. Even after Hoffman was jailed for murdering two LDS Church members in an attempt to cover up his forgeries, which centered around Mormon historical documents, the poem still appeared on the market, and was sold by the world-famous auction house, Sotheby's.

Worrell stumbled across the story of the poem in 1997, when it came up for auction at Sotheby's. Acquired by the Jones Library in Amherst, Massachusetts, a curator at the library became suspicious, and was eventually able to get the poem ruled a fake. Worrell then traced the poem back to Mark Hoffman through Las Vegas rare document dealer Todd Axelrod.

But even after he had spent six months researching and writing the article, Worrell had trouble selling it. The New Yorker said no eventually, after holding it for months, worrying that the lawsuit might cause a libel lawsuit. Harpers also struggled with it, eventually deciding it wouldn't work.

But the Sydney, Australia Morning Herald carried a version of the article [See Mormon-News' summary at], and the Manchester Guardian carried a version of the article on April 8th.Now, the Paris Review has picked it up for U.S. publication, after editor George Plimpton personally went over the text with a libel lawyer line by line.

Happy with how it has turned out, Worrell has agents Phillip Spitzer and Joel Gotler working on a book and movie deal based on the story. Undoubtedly, a book or movie would need to give some background on Hoffman and his forgeries of Mormon documents.

See also:

The Impersonation of Emily Manchester UK Guardian 8Apr00 A4 By Simon Worrel


More about Salamander : The Story of the Mormon Forgery Murders at


The Mormon Murders More about The Mormon Murders : A True Story of Greed, Forgery, Deceit, and Death at


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