Who is Mark Hoffman? What Murder Among the Mormons doesn’t show you about Salt Lake City bombings

The new documentary will explore the 1985 bombings which shocked the Salt Lake City Mormon community.

Murder Among the Mormons

Netflix are adding another true-crime documentary to their library.

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Murder Among the Mormons dropped on the streaming site on March 3rd, and explores the trio of bombings in 1985 that shocked the Salt Lake City Mormon community and threatened the historical foundations of the church altogether.

The three-part documentary takes viewers through the tragic event, which killed two people and left another severely injured.

Here’s everything you need to know about the true story behind Netflix‘s latest documentary.

How to watch Murder Among the Mormons

The docuseries dropped on Netflix on March 3rd. All episodes of the three-part doc are now available to stream on the site.

What is Murder Among the Mormons about?

In 1985, in Utah’s Salt Lake City, a series of pipe bombs killed two people and severely injured another, jolting the epicentre of the LDS Church.

The doc takes a closer look at the devastating murders, and how it led to further issues and exposures within the Mormon community.

The synopsis says: “The murders send further shockwaves through the community when a trove of early Mormon letters and diaries are found destroyed in the vehicle of the third victim, Mark Hofmann, a renowned collector of rare documents, including the infamous White Salamander Letter — an artefact whose contents threatened to shake the very foundations of Mormonism. As Hofmann fights for his life, investigators race to uncover the truth.”

Murder Among the Mormons
Murder Among the Mormons
Netflix

Directed by Jared Hess (Napoleon Dynamite) and Tyler Measom of An Honest Liar, Murder Among the Mormons is the first comprehensive look at one of the most shocking crimes to have ever taken place among the Mormon community and the criminal mastermind behind it all.

True story behind Murder Among the Mormons

Who is Mark Hofmann? And what did he do?

Mark Hofmann is an American forger and convicted murderer. He is especially noted for his creation of documents related to the history of the Latter Day Saint movement.

When his schemes began to unravel, he constructed bombs to murder three people in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The first two bombs killed two people on October 15, 1985, then when the third bomb went off by accident in his car the next day, it made him a suspect in the previous day’s murders.

It all started when Hofmann attempted to make a sale of the McLellin collection – a supposedly extensive group of documents written by William E. McLellin, a Mormon advocate who eventually broke with the LDS Church.

Hofmann suggested that the McLellin collection would provide revelations unfavourable to the LDS Church.

He decided to take on this project to pay off his debts from his increasingly lavish lifestyle, however, Hofmann had no idea where this collection was and he didn’t have the time to forge such a large document.

Those who he had promised documents to started to question him, so to buy himself some time he started constructing bombs.

On October 15, 1985, he killed document collector Steven Christensen with one of his bombs. Later the same day, a second bomb killed Kathy Sheets, the wife of Christensen’s former employer.

Police initially suspected that the bombings were related to the impending collapse of an investment business with Sheets’ husband.

The following day, however, Hofmann himself was severely injured when a bomb exploded in his car, indicating him as a suspect.

Murder Among the Mormons
Murder Among the Mormons
Netflix

Timeline of events

1973 – 75: Hofmann serves a church mission in England, where he develops an interest in Mormon history.

Oct 1980 – 1985: Hofmann makes his living through forgery, selling many purported documents to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These include the Anthon Transcript and the famous Salamander Letter.

Oct 15, 1985: Hofmann kills document collector Steve Christensen and Kathy Sheets with two homemade bombs delivered in packages.

Oct  16, 1985: Hofmann is injured when a third bomb explodes in his car, leading the police to connect him to the previous bombings.

Jan 23, 1987: Hofmann pleads guilty and is sentenced to life in prison.

August 1988: Hofmann’s wife, Doralee Olds Hofmann, files for divorce citing “irreconcilable differences”.

Sept 15, 1988: Hofmann attempts to take his own life in prison. He survives, but suffers tissue damage to his right arm.

January 2011: A four-page letter titled “A Summary of My Crimes,” written by Hofmann to the Utah Board of Pardons and Parole in 1988, is released to the public.

December 2015: Hofmann is moved out of maximum security prison at the Utah State Prison in Draper to the state prison in Gunnison.

Where is Mark Hofmann now?

Hofmann is currently incarcerated at the Central Utah Correctional Facility and is facing life in prison.

He was arrested in January 1986 and charged on four indictments totalling 27 counts, including first-degree murder, making or possessing a bomb, delivering a bomb, theft by deception, and communication fraud.

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Murder Among The Mormons is available to stream on Netflix. Looking for something else to watch? Check out our guide to the best TV series on Netflix and best movies on Netflix, or visit our TV Guide.