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First they came for the Mormons…

And then, we hope, they go after the rest. A British court is accusing the Mormons of fraud.

A British magistrate has issued an extraordinary summons to the worldwide leader of the Mormon church alleging that its teachings about mankind amount to fraud.

Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been ordered to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London next month to defend the church’s doctrines including beliefs about Adam and Eve and Native Americans.

A formal summons signed by District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe warns Mr Monson, who is recognised by Mormons as God’s prophet on Earth, that a warrant for his arrest could be issued if he fails to make the journey from Salt Lake City, Utah, for a hearing on March 14.

The judge cites the belief that Native Americans are the lost tribe of Israel, that the Book of Mormon was ever written on gold plates, yadda yadda yadda. Sure. I’ll be more impressed when a British court summons the head of the Anglican church to answer for their lies.

The Mormons, by the way, call the totally true allegations “bizarre” and Monson apparently has no plans to travel to London. The court order is kind of a futile gesture, so that seems reasonable — I’m more interested in the fact that “God’s prophet on Earth” has admitted that common Mormon beliefs are bizarre.

Comments

  1. A Masked Avenger says

    IANAL, certainly not a barrister, but I understand that “fraud” legally involve more than “lying.” Fraud is a lie that induces (or is intended to induce) someone to act to their injury, where “injury” is also a legal term of art.

    I haven’t read about the court case, but it seems to me that lying as part of an inducement to contribute financially to the church would certainly fit that definition.

    [Wanders off and reads up on the Fraud Act of 2006...]

    Yep, misrepresenting facts or the law, in order to gain at another’s expense, constitutes fraud. There’s the caveat that it must be done “dishonestly.” But according to what I read, British courts have increasingly defined “honesty” in terms of factual correctness, not whether the actor subjectively believes what he’s saying. So it probably wouldn’t be a defense for the Great Prophet to show up and swear that he really, truly believes he’s the Great Prophet. He’ll have to prove that he is, in point of fact, the Great Prophet.

    Nice.

  2. jamessweet says

    I’m not quite sure how I feel about this… certainly, I’d like all religions to be asked for proof, and I wish they were held to a higher standard about fleecing their members. But to single out the Mormon church, particularly in the UK, kinda sounds like persecution of a religious minority.

    How would we feel if a court in Alabama asked a Muslim to provide proof of Allah ascending to heaven in a fiery chariot? That’s kinda not cool…

    I would be much happier if this was being asked of the Church of England. ;)

  3. says

    The difference between the Mormons and the Anglican Church has to do with historical veracity. Anglicans do not make any historical claims that can be verified: at this far remove, there is no way of telling whether or not there was a historical Jesus, whether he performed miracles, the manner of his death or the facts about his supposed reality. Mormons, on the other hand, place the foundation of their religion quite firmly within the area of verifiable fact, and they fall miserably short.

    Some years ago, I was in upstate New York for my brother’s wedding. While out driving, we saw a sign directing visitors to Joseph Smith’s home in Palmyra. This was the former farm that held Hill Cumorah, where Smith supposedly had his Vision. We went out of curiosity and looked around, with the elderly couple serving as caretakers hovering nearby, ready to answer questions. I asked if this was actually the hill were Mormon watched the genocide of the Nephites at the hands of the Lamanites, and where he later hid the Golden Plates for Smith to find; they gave an enthusiastic, dare I say fervent, yes. Then I asked, How come there has been no archaeological dig on the site? According to Mormon chronology, the massacre happened in 385 CE. Scientists have dug up battlefields far more ancient: there are always coins, or bits of harnesses, or bones, or the remains of dropped weapons, or rubbish heaps, or cemeteries. If almost a quarter of a million people were slaughtered within sight of this hill, surely there would be SOMETHING, even after 16 centuries. So why is the church sponsoring digs in Mexico and Central America in their desperate search to back up its historical claims?

    The couple turned very cold very suddenly, and demanded that we leave — NOW — or they would call the cops and have us thrown in jail for trespassing.

    I get the impression that the LDS is a tad touchy when it comes to historicity.

  4. says

    Oh, and never mind that the actual papyri “translated” by Smith into the Book of Abraham were donated to the Smithsonian by Smith himself. The documents were later given back to the LDS church, who trumpeted far and wide that they would prove that Smith was a holy prophet, and set their leading Egyptologists to work translating them.

    The papyri turned out to be from The Book of the Dead, detailing a magical/religious ritual that would be performed by Anubis on the deceased — a priest named Hor — which would restore his ba and allow him to breath in the afterlife. Not only was there no mention of Abraham, the papyri were dated almost a thousand years AFTER Abraham would have lived.

    Never mind the fact that Native Americans (Lamanites, according to Mormon myth) have no genetic ties whatsoever to the Levant. Nor that there has never been any recording or record of the “Reformed Egyptian” that the Nephites supposedly spoke. Nor is there any evidence that metalcraft ever developed in North America before the coming of the Europeans. And never mind the fact that horses became extinct in the western hemisphere long before humans arrived. And never mind the fact that there is absolutely no trace of cows in the west until they were brought by Europeans.

    One can easily prove that, insofar as it claims to be historically accurate, the LDS is pure and deliberate fraud.

  5. David Marjanović says

    But according to what I read, British courts have increasingly defined “honesty” in terms of factual correctness, not whether the actor subjectively believes what he’s saying. So it probably wouldn’t be a defense for the Great Prophet to show up and swear that he really, truly believes he’s the Great Prophet. He’ll have to prove that he is, in point of fact, the Great Prophet.

    Nice.

    Seconded.

    The couple turned very cold very suddenly, and demanded that we leave — NOW — or they would call the cops and have us thrown in jail for trespassing.

    Frankly, that sounds like they knew they were lying.

  6. DBP says

    It’s actually not that interesting that he called Mormonism bizarre. In my experience, missionaries will admit to it and sometimes regular Mormons are ashamed of their teachings enough to not want to discuss them. Also, the church blatantly hides teachings that used to be normal doctrine. Like Adam-god.

    Mormons are in the vast minority and hold many unique views and they pretty much all are aware that they are fat from the mainstream.

  7. David Marjanović says

    horses became extinct in the western hemisphere long before humans arrived

    No, around the same time.

  8. Trebuchet says

    I would be much happier if this was being asked of the Church of England. ;)

    Complete with the threat of arrest for the titular head of the church, the Queen, if she doesn’t show up!

    Actually, if I was an attorney defending the LDS, that’s pretty much the line I’d take.

  9. sapperdon says

    @ David Marjanovic #9

    “Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is Michael, the Archangel, the Ancient of Days! about whom holy men have written and spoken–HE is our Father and our God, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later.”

    Prophet Brigham Young, April 9, 1852

  10. raven says

    and Monson apparently has no plans to travel to London.

    LIke that will ever happen.

    1. The LDS church is a true gerontacracy. Monson is 86 and there are persistent rumors that he is showing age related cognitive problems.

    2. Which wouldn’t be unusual. Most of the last 3 or 4 Mormon Popes eventually showed this.

  11. raven says

    One of the minor criticisms of the LDS church is their conversion script. Called milk before meat.

    They try to lure people in by hiding the kookier aspects of the religion until later. Of which there are huge numbers, magic underwear, 10% tithing, authoritarian mind control culture, endless meetings that take your free time, us versus them tribalism, and clearly dubious history.

    Retention rates of converts in the rest of the world are reported to be zero. They aren’t much better in the USA. People join the cult, find out it is pretty weird, and drop out.

  12. Thumper: Token Breeder says

    A British magistrate has issued an extraordinary summons to the worldwide leader of the Mormon church alleging that its teachings about mankind amount to fraud.

    Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been ordered to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London next month to defend the church’s doctrines including beliefs about Adam and Eve and Native Americans.

    This actually annoys me. Mormon beliefs are no more or less bizarre than the doctrine of any other religion out there, so by their logic any religious sect that demands tithing is guilty of fraud; but you can bet your left arsecheek that the judge has no intention of summoning the leader of any other religious sect.

  13. Bob Dowling says

    The court cannot summon the head of the anglican church because they are her courts.

    This one of the advantages the Americans have over us Brits: no established religion. Even if Britain takes the disestablishment path, the queen would get to keep the courts.

  14. raven says

    Mormonism has the problem that it was invented in the recent past, when literacy and history were well developed. History is not their friend. We even have records of Joseph Smith’s conviction for being a conperson in New England.

    It’s likely that all the other religions would have the same problem if they were invented a century or two ago.

    Still we do owe a whole lot to Joseph Smith and the Mormons, Scientology, and the Moonies. Thanks to them we know where religions come from. People just make them up as they go along.

  15. peptron says

    @ sapperdon #11.

    So wait, is Adam God or the Archangel Michael? If God has wives, what type of beings are they? Can trying to figure this out lead to brain damage? I can feel it hurting already…

  16. pacal says

    Gregory in Seattle no. 5

    Nor is there any evidence that metalcraft ever developed in North America before the coming of the Europeans.

    Actually by the time the Europeans arrived the natives of Mexico were creating gold jewelry and working in bronze and copper. Columbus noted that some of the Natives of the Caribbean were wearing small items of gold jewelry. Among the natives of the lower 48 states the Moundbuilders were at least by the time the Europeans arrived at least cold working copper into artistically designed plates. Also several thousand years earlier their had been in parts of the USA the so-called “Copper culture” which among other things fashioned arrow heads from cold worked copper.

    What there is no evidence for is that the Natives when the Europeans came or before were ever able to fashion iron or to make steel, despite the claims in the Book of Mormon.

  17. Nick Gotts says

    I would be much happier if this was being asked of the Church of England. ;) – jamessweet@3

    But what would take the place of the daft claims of the Mormons? Stereotypically, Anglican clergy can believe just about anything. They do still all have to pledge their belief in The Thirty-Nine Articles, but you’d be hard-put to get enough logically or empirically testable meaning out of these to challenge them.

  18. birgerjohansson says

    “Called milk before meat” -clearly Ron L. Hubbard r ipped of that part or Scientology would never have taken off.

    Wasn’t there a Charles Bronson lookalike that tried a B-film career in the late seventies, screen name something like “Monson” ? -It would be fun if it was a distant relative, since both professions are based on “wilful suspension of disbelief”.

  19. sapperdon says

    @Peptron #17

    By the early doctrine, God (Ellohim) was both Adam and Archangel Michael.

    God was once a man too, who did all the Mormon rites and rituals in his life (baptism, celestial marriage in a temple etc) to become a God. He had a God while he was a man, and that God had a God before him, and so on into an infinite regress.

    So yes, God has at least one wife. Early Mormon doctrine said multiple wives, as polygamy was the thing at the time, and was declared to be a core principal of the Church.

    “Now if any of you will deny the plurality of wives, and continue to do so, I promise that you will be damned”

    and

    “The only men who become Gods, even the Sons of God, are those who enter into polygamy”

    both said by Brigham Young, cited in the Journal of Discourses.

    Later, the doctrine was changed to where Adam is simply the Archangel Michael, because the Mormons were ridiculed for the Adam-God belief.

  20. says

    This has come about because a former bishop / stake something or other in the LDS has brought an action for fraud against the LDS. It is possible that if a former member of some other religion brought a similar action that the magistrate in question might similarly issue a summons against whoever the leader of that religion is, unless of course judges from superior courts reject this action.

  21. says

    Here is the full skinny on the charges of Fraud being brought against Monson:

    http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1166359

    A few excerpts from a much longer and more detailed presentation, which we have courtesy of Steve Benson, grandson of deceased prophet, Ezra Taft Benson:

    During the course of his case, Phillips [Tom Phillips, the former Bishop and Stake President that pressed the case] has had extensive and direct contact with the UK legal system, as it has made its way through the country’s Magistrates’ Courts. […]

    A Magistrates’ Court Is limited in sentencing powers, with the authority to impose on the convicted up to 12 months in prison. In the UK legal system, a Crown Court is a higher court than a Magistrates’ Court and is authorized to hand down stiffer sentences.

    All criminal proceedings commence in the lower Magistrates’ Courts. A Magistrates’ Court judge determines if there are grounds for a case to proceed. The judge for the Westminster Magistrates’ Court issued the summons for Monson to appear to answer charges of criminal financial fraud. This Court is the senior Magistrates’ Court in the UK, and handles such issues as terrorism, major fraud and extradition.

    Phillips anticipated that the judge would rule as he had hoped–and it did. Phillips notes that the Magistrates’ Court ruled in favor of 90% of what Phillips asked to be part of the summons. […]

    The summons requires Monson to appear, in person, in Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 14 March 2014 at 10 a.m., for the purpose of Monson answering seven specific charges of false representation by the Mormon Church (as listed in the summons), which are said to be in contravention of Section 1 of the Fraud Act of 2006. […]

    Under the Fraud Act of 2006, a false representation is any statement or representation that is either untrue or misleading. ([…]
    The axis of the criminal fraud case against Monson is as follows:

    1) Untrue statements have been dishonestly made by the Mormon Church with the intent to accrue financial gain for the Mormon Church and cause a financial loss to others. […]

    3) The Fraud Act of 2006 does not preclude the introduction of religious arguments into a case; nevertheless, one does not need to delve into the doctrine of religious arguments in order to successfully make the case of criminal fraud against the Mormon Church.[…]

    Two specific individuals were asked to submit written statements in December 2013, in behalf of the case. In order to be named as victims, they were required to agree to attend Court proceedings in order to give evidence against the Mormon Church. The issued summons is actually two summonses–one for each of these named victims. One of these individuals was born into Mormon Church, and as a Mormon bishop left Mormon Church in 2011, in his 40s. The other individual converted to the Mormon Church in his 20s and left the Mormon Church in his middle years after accepting statements presented to him as true, are in fact not true and the Mormon Church knows they are not true.

    […]To read their explanation as to why they agreed to join the case, see: “Joint Statement Concerning Summonses Served on Thomas Spencer Monson,” by Steve Bloor and Chris Ralph, 7 February 2014, at: http://journeyofloyaldissent.wordpress.com/joint-statement-concerning-summonses-served-on-thomas-spencer-monson/

    The District judge wished to restrict legal action to these two individuals who have joined the case.
    Phillips, on the other hand, wanted one summons to cover all the victims, including the 180,000 individuals that the Mormon Church claims as its members residing in England and Wales. […]

  22. says

    A bit more info regarding some of the details of financial fraud (these excerpts are also from Steve Benson’s presentation):

    The UK Treasury is a Victim of Mormon Church Acts of Criminal Financial Fraud Involving the Mormon Church’s Collection of Tithes […]

    In the past, it was assumed that if one was both “God-fearing” and a religion, then it was a given that the religion involved was for “public benefit.” But, under present UK law, this is no longer the case. Under Charities Commission requirements, a religion must demonstrate that it exists for “public benefit.” A recent ruling from the English High Court declared that even the state-established Church of England is no long automatically assumed to be a “public benefit.” […]

    Whether the Mormon Church actually serves as a “public benefit” in Great Britain is a matter for serious consideration, given how Mormon Church criminal financial fraud has victimized the UK Treasury. […] when a British citizen pays $100.00 in the form of a charitable donation to the Mormon Church, $80.00 of that amount is paid to the Mormon Church directly from the Mormon Church member making the donation. The remaining $20.00 is paid directly by the British government to the Mormon Church […]The UK citizen pays 80% of their charitable donation to the Mormon Church, with the British government paying the remaining 20% to Mormon Church. […]

    The Mormon Church operates a tithe-collecting company in the UK, which serves as its “charitable” arm. This company is registered with the UK Charities Commission as a charity, and is organized under the name of “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Great Britain].” I[…]

    The financial gains made by the Mormon Church through its collection of tithes–which are generated through intentional false representation of its “truth” statement– therefore constitute acts of criminal fraud committed by Mormon Church against both individual UK citizens and the UK Treasury.

    I’d just add that there’s been a lot of hullabaloo from the mormon side, reiterating that tithing is voluntary. The Church’s own records dispute this “voluntary” aspect. For example:

    In their General Conference, an LDS General Authority taught: “if a destitute family is faced with the decision of paying their tithing or eating, they should pay their tithing.” http://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/04/tithing-a-commandment-even-for-the-destitute?lang=eng

    And this was similarly taught as an object lesson in their flagship publication Ensign, December 2012 edition: “If paying tithing means that you can’t pay for water or electricity, pay tithing. If paying tithing means that you can’t pay your rent, pay tithing. Even if paying tithing means that you don’t have enough money to feed your family, pay tithing.” http://www.lds.org/ensign/2012/12/sacred-transformations?lang=eng

  23. raven says

    So yes, God has at least one wife. Early Mormon doctrine said multiple wives, as polygamy was the thing at the time, and was declared to be a core principal of the Church.

    Still is.

    You can’t become a god without a fleet of wives.

    In Mormon mythology, there are near infinite numbers of gods, all of whom are just people who have been around a while and climbed the celestial promotion ladder.

    We have a god who lives on Kolob. He has a fleet of goddess wives that keep pumping out spirit babies who cycle down to earth and become us. That is about 10-15 billion of us so far. In Mormon heaven, god spends a huge amount of his time fucking his brains out!!!

    Which means we are all literal children of god and one of his goddess wives. These goddesses are so important…no one even knows their names.

    The misogyny in Mormonism is bone deep. And you can tell the religion was made up by a horny, overaged adolescent.

  24. raven says

    The Mormon Church Takes In $7 Billion a Year – The Wire
    www. thewire. com/global/2012/08/mormon-church-gets…year/55755/‎

    Aug 14, 2012 – The Mormon Church Takes In $7 Billion a Year … We all know that Mitt Romney is rich, but just how much does his church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day … So there you go: the Mormon church brings in as much money each year as a … Ukrainian Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Turkey After …

    There are a lot of things that make Mormons and nonMormons nervous.

    1. Their finances are absolutely opaque. They take in an estimated $7 billion a year. No one knows where that money goes or what it does.

    2. They also own huge amounts of real estate and many businesses. IIRC, they have ranches in Florida that total 2% of the whole state.

    Know one knows much about these either.

    3. It’s likely to be corrupt, maybe a little, maybe a lot. Whenever you have huge unaudited cash flows, there is going to be some “diversion”.

  25. says

    A cousin of mine back in Ye Olde Countrie has been doing some geneology/history, and came up with this tidbit: Yorkshire was hit by a round of Mormon missionizing in the mid-19th century, and my great^N-grandfather converted, set off for Utah…and was never heard from again. Fortunately for me, his grown son stayed behind, and presumably stuck to the family’s ancestral Methodism. Or Things Would Be Different.

  26. Louis says

    Read more Jeeves and Wooster (the books are too historical documents!). Magistrates are always doing dotty things.

    Don’t trust them, like Aunts, they are not gentlemen, and ill-disposed towards people innocently pinching a policeman’s helmet during the boat race.

    Louis

  27. says

    Most Pharyngulites already know this, but just in case we have new readers: tithing to the mormon church is required if you want to get married in the mormon temple, or if, for example, your daughter wants to get married in the temple.

    Mormon leaders say that marriages in the temple are the ones that last for eternity. Marriages not sanctified in the temple are “for time only.” Better pay your tithing.

    If you are not a temple-worthy mormon, you cannot attend any marriages or other ceremonies held in the temple. If your mother is not temple-worthy, she can’t come to your wedding. Mother better pay her tithing.

    If you are not temple-worthy and you die, then you will not attain the highest level in the Celestial Kingdom and you may not be reunited with your family/spouse in heaven. Better pay your tithing.

    Mormons meet with their Bishops to make sure their tithing is up to date. God will not bless you if you don’t pay your tithing.

  28. David Marjanović says

    [...]

    Prophet Brigham Young, April 9, 1852

    Impressive.

    Actually by the time the Europeans arrived the natives of Mexico were creating gold jewelry and working in bronze and copper.

    Bronze is news to me, and should have caused a bronze age that didn’t happen; do you know any details?

  29. rinn says

    How can a British court claim jurisdiction over an American citizen living on American soil without some international investigation going on? Am I missing something obvious?

  30. raven says

    How can a British court claim jurisdiction over an American citizen living on American soil without some international investigation going on?

    Am I missing something obvious?

    Yes. The Mormon church has extensive business interests in the UK and even a few members. The head of LDS inc. is however in SLC, Utah.

    Still the issue of jurisdiction is dicey. I don’t see that the USA is going to let Monson be extradicted.

  31. anuran says

    jamessweet writes:

    I’m not quite sure how I feel about this… certainly, I’d like all religions to be asked for proof, and I wish they were held to a higher standard about fleecing their members. But to single out the Mormon church, particularly in the UK, kinda sounds like persecution of a religious minority.

    How would we feel if a court in Alabama asked a Muslim to provide proof of Allah ascending to heaven in a fiery chariot? That’s kinda not cool…

    I would be much happier if this was being asked of the Church of England. ;)

    First, you’re right. It certainly seems like persecution of a minority simply because they “ain’t from ’round here”. Agree or disagree with them that’s simply wrong. Next up it will be the beliefs, and not just the religious beliefs, of any group which falls out of favor. And since positive proof is notoriously difficult to assemble it’s a great way to bankrupt the powerless.

    Second, you might want to change your analogy a bit. That would be “Jews” and “Elijah”, not “Muslims” and “Allah”. And the inhabitants of Crackerstan are happy to force everyone to believe that particular story. They just appropriate it like they did the rest of the Jews’ religious texts like the spiritual carpetbaggers they are :(

  32. Holms says

    I’m more interested in the fact that “God’s prophet on Earth” has admitted that common Mormon beliefs are bizarre.

    I’m not convinced that this is an honest reading of his statement. When a religious jerk misquotes or twists the concepts of atheism, we rightly roll our eyes and call the person either intellectually lazy or dishonest. Let’s not do the same.

  33. says

    If anyone wants the long version of things they can find a nice write up by Steve Benson at this link:

    http://exmormon.org/phorum/read.php?2,1166368

    What I learned from skimming it: Apparently since 2006 religions have to prove that they are contributing to the public good to keep their status. They require it because money donated to churches is subsidized by the government. The mormon church has not done that and has raked in about 300 million dollars since 2006. They can’t demonstrate that they are contributing to the public good in any meaningful way because they spend less than 1% of tithes on charity. They really screwed themselves.

    What is super infuriating is that the local news media isn’t covering it. I learned about it by reading the ex mormon board. They are covering the fact that the church filed a friend of the court brief in the gay marriage fight, like they do every single time a LGBT issue is in court. Snore!

  34. pacal says

    David Marjanović no. 31.

    Bronze is news to me, and should have caused a bronze age that didn’t happen; do you know any details?

    It appears that the techniques of metal work spread from the Andean region to Mesoamerica by about 700 C.E. It appears that like the previous working of Gold and Copper bronze working came into Mexico from the Andean region apparently by c. 1200 C.E., In Mesoaamerica these techniques first came into use / were established in Western Mexico and spread from there. The techniques used were various and included the lost wax method and open mold casting. The metal workers created two types of bronze, copper / arsenic and copper / tin.

    A various assortment of items were made like bells, tweezers, sewing needles, awls, fishhooks etc. Bronze tools have been found in excavations of Aztec homes. Basically the Mesoamericans were entering the Bronze Age when the Spanish came. See The Aztecs, Second Edition, Michael E. Smith, Blackwell pub., Oxford, 2003, pp. 88-90.

  35. anuran says

    And copper artifacts were being traded from Meso-America at least as far away as what is now British Columbia.

  36. says

    See The Aztecs, Second Edition, Michael E. Smith, Blackwell pub., Oxford, 2003, pp. 88-90.

    Anyone interested in Mesoamerican metallurgy might want to have a look at Dorothy Hosler’s list of publications, and especially her 1994 book:

    http://dmse.mit.edu/faculty/profile/hosler

    The local metalworkers methodically experimented with all kinds of tin bronzes and “arsenical coppers” between the 13th century and the arrival of the Spanish.

  37. davehooke says

    jamessweet, #3

    I would be much happier if this was being asked of the Church of England.

    Practically atheists.

    Trebuchet, #10,

    Complete with the threat of arrest for the titular head of the church, the Queen, if she doesn’t show up!

    Actually, if I was an attorney defending the LDS, that’s pretty much the line I’d take.

    Not in the UK, as the Queen can’t take part in proceedings of her own court, and she can’t be arrested either. You could start proceedings in the US, I guess.

  38. JohnnieCanuck says

    It needs to be pointed out that this is not persecution of a minority religion. Neither the Church of England nor the Government is involved.

    Individuals have sworn that they are the victims of fraud by a religious organisation of which they are past members and they are seeking compensation. In some ways it is like a civil case.

    I have no idea what happens next, when inevitably Monson doesn’t appear. There has to be more to their strategy than just embarrassing him and his UK hierarchy a little.

  39. richardt says

    Setting aside the obvious point that Mormonism is unmitigated twaddle, surely it is a genuine good that one of its fundamental purposes is to separate the gullible from their money. By so doing they remove from them the temptations of greed because the elders of the cult shoulder the burden of sin by taking their wealth. Much like scientology really.

  40. Sili says

    jamessweet,

    How would we feel if a court in Alabama asked a Muslim to provide proof of Allah ascending to heaven in a fiery chariot? That’s kinda not cool…

    Given the Equal Protection clause, this would be the perfect way to open the can of worms.

    If a successful prosecution took place, there would be no legal way to deny a similar trial of the claims of Christianity.

  41. says

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/dispatches/hollywelker/7575/why_was_lds_president_monson_charged_with_fraud/

    Good coverage of the story, see link above.

    In the comments, mormons are repeating that tithing is not required. Repeating that canard does not make it true. (See my previous comment on tithing @30.)

    On February 7, Bloor and Ralph issued a joint statement arguing that “We have been taught that all hope of remaining with our loved ones in the next life, is contingent upon a lifelong monetary commitment to the church.”

  42. says

    From the comments section below the article linked in #45:

    The church clearly teaches it is better to pay your tithing first before you pay for rent or anything else or you can’t go to the temple. For people who cannot afford to give 10% of their tithing to the church you do not get to be in the temple club-no exceptions. If you do not pay your tithing then you do not get into heaven.

    Many people can testify to the blessings of paying tithing. And no one if forced to pay tithing.

    [..] no one in the LDS Church is made wealthy off of tithing donations, but the money goes to the work of building the Kingdom of God and paying a small income for employees — which makes no one rich in any worldly sense of the word, only Spiritually rich.

  43. says

    Another reader of the article in Religious Dispatches (link in #45) answers the mormons who are repeating LDS propaganda that the leaders in the LDS Church don’t get rich off tithing, that it all goes to humanitarian aid and “building the Kingdom of God.” (As an aside, it has already been noted up-thread that the LDS church in the U.K. spends about 1% of its intake on charitable or public good causes, not enough to meet the requirement in the 2006 law.)

    Why do you think the church never issues an annual financial report to it’s members? What are they hiding? Oh,….maybe 4-5 Billion dollars on City Creek (don’t quite see how that project helps anyone), multiple millions spent on land in Florida, making them the largest land-owner in that state (how does that help anyone and please don’t say raising food for Humanitarian Aid, cause that whole thing is a crock). They are at the very bottom of the scale when all church’s funds spent on humanitarian aid are calculated on a percentage of income basis. There are stats out there — look them up. And the mantra that the GA’s work for almost no money is also a crock. They live VERY well, and are put on multiple Boards of Directors of the church;s businesses, for which they get paid. I don’t expect to persuade you here, but it’s all true. It’s a financial corporation that takes in billions of dollars every year. For what? Perpetuating the money machine, and they can’t figure any way to get off that train. The church gets wealthier every year.

  44. says

    This is from ex-mormon “erictheex,” who explains how The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints operates as a business. The bottom line is that the top mormon leaders fleece the sheeple in more ways than one. Yes, they take the tithing, and then they take more.

    […] the church operates like a business in every regard. Every department must show a “profit”.

    Tithes are collected, sent to the COB [Church Office Building in Salt Lake City] and then the cob sends back money (per head) back to the ward. The ward must then use that money to buy supplies back from the COB.

    This explain why non revenue programs, where the money does not ultiamately come back to the COB are the ones that get cut first.