|The Lead Lee Scrolls|
In January 2002 a lead scroll was found at Lees Ferry on the Colorado River in Arizona. It purports to be written by John D. Lee.
Note: This is the transcript of a letter written by Steve Mayfield to Scott
Gordon, President of FAIR. The letter is reproduced here with the permission
of both Steve and Scott.
Per our conversation a few months ago, I am writing down a few items of information in reference to the John D. Lee lead scroll, also known as the "Dead Lee Scroll" (a title given to the scroll by author Will Bagley).
First, I want to correct some misinformation that was made about the "scroll" a few months ago on the FAIR message boards.
1. There is a rumor
that the police found, while searching Mark Hofmann's house, some lead
plates. Not so. What was found were copper plates. (This I was directly
told by some of the investigators involved in the search.)
George and I would like to have the scroll tested as to the oxidation, and we have made contacts with scientists at the University of Utah to do so. However, we never received an answer form the National Park Service people in Page, Arizona, as to whether or not we could obtain the scroll or samples from it for testing. So, at present, that project is on hold. George Throckmorton is planning on writing a report on his research on the "Dead Lee Scroll" for a professional forensic journal in the next year.
To give you a quick overview of why we believe the scroll to be fake, consider the following points:
1. Spelling. John
D. Lee's spelling was poor, but not as poor as that on the scroll. In
fact, some of the words misspelled on the scroll were not words that John
misspelled in his writings.
In July 2004 at a book signing in Salt Lake City, I asked Will Bagley two questions, since he knows and has reviewed all the writings of John D. Lee. First, I asked him if there were in the John D. Lee collection any writings on metal plates, and second if he was aware of anyone else in the American Southwest during the last half of the 1800s who might have written on metal. Will thought for a second and said "no," even though when the scroll was found in 2002 he had told the media it was common practice in the Old West to write on metal.
Now, as to whether Mark Hofmann had anything to do with the scroll, I have a hundred-dollar answer and a ten-cent answer. My ten-cent answer is that I don't really know. The hundred-dollar answer is that there is no conclusive evidence that would suggest or show that Hofmann had anything to do with manufacturing, creating or distributing the scroll. However, there is some circumstantial evidence that at present, I am not ready to eliminate Hofmann as the author or maker of the scroll. The circumstantial evidence is as follows:
1. The scroll is
Mormon-related and controversial.
A couple of additional tidbits of information:
In 2000 the US Department of Interior/National Park Service released a 400+ page study on the Lee's Ferry and Lonely Dell Ranch area. This included a history of the areas and sites as well as past and present photographs. One interesting piece of information is that in 1976/1977, the logs on the roof of the fort were taken down and refurbished (treated with epoxy) and the interior walls strengthened. This eliminates the idea that the scroll was hidden in the roof/logs and fell down due to an earthquake. Considering that the fort has had a steady flow of inhabitants and usage, it makes it almost impossible that the scroll was hidden or stored in the fort until discovered in 2002. Also, a photo taken in July 1999 by the author of the above study (Robert Graham) has a shot of the interior of the fort, looking east towards the fireplace. In this photo one can see the lead scroll, as identified by Allen Malmquist. Thus the scroll was in the fort at least by July 1999 before being found in January 2002.
So there you have it. Hope this long essay or explanation is understandable. Anyone with additional questions about the scroll or the topic of Hofmann can contact me directly; I'm in the phone book.