Hoffman profited because the entire history and founding of the LDS was and is b.s.
Hoffman got caught and tried for forgery but perhaps the greatest forger and conman of them all in this narrative was Joseph Smith himself. People have known this for a long time: Joseph Smith's criminal record, his sexual proclivities, unverified 'visions' (as if any visions could be verified); the evidence abounds but we act like the church elders in the article - afraid to peek to closely let we find the truth.
To be fair, this tendency to swallow up fairytales is not a restricted to mormons, it is probably the foundation of all religions, major and minor.
When grown men and women believe fantastic revelation stories uncritically and build great structures of worship and institutions around such beliefs, once in a while these sorts of events occur that expose the inconsistencies.
>Hoffman profited because the entire history and founding of the LDS was and is b.s.
Huh? Sounds like you are just itching for a chance to speak ill of a religion you don't like (or religion in general).
Forgers that are good, profit, regardless. Hoffman fooled many very well respected experts. As do many good forgers in many different fields.
Perhaps the most notorious of Hofmann's Mormon forgeries, the Salamander letter, appeared in 1984. Supposedly written by Harris to W. W. Phelps, the letter presented a version of the recovery of the gold plates that contrasted markedly with the church-sanctioned version of events. Not only did the forgery intimate that Smith had been practicing "money digging" through magical practices, but it also replaced the angel that Smith said had appeared to him with a white salamander.
After the letter had been purchased for the church and become public knowledge, LDS Church apostle Dallin H. Oaks asserted to Mormon educators that the words "white salamander" could be reconciled with Smith's Angel Moroni because, in the 1820s, the word salamander might also refer to a mythical being thought to be able to live in fire, and a "being that is able to live in fire is a good approximation of the description Joseph Smith gave of the Angel Moroni."
Edit: even as a former Mormon, I find this history fascinating.
How was Hoffman able to forge letters that were supposedly 100+ years old? Wouldn't modern materials dating techniques reveal the fraud immediately?