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LDS president ordered to appear in British court

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  • LDS president ordered to appear in British court

    A prominent ex-Mormon is suing the church for fraud in England, and a judge has seen enough merit to order the church's leader into court.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...court/5216645/

    Frankly, I'm shocked that the judge actually issued the summons, and it would set an awfully poor precedent if the government in a prominent country such as England started attempting to make rulings on religious matters. Then again... if this were Scientology, I might be of a different mind, so my exact position on the matter is on flux. But this seems to be bad news for Mormons and orthodox Christians alike.
    "I am not angered that the Moral Majority boys campaign against abortion. I am angry when the same men who say, "Save OUR children" bellow "Build more and bigger bombers." That's right! Blast the children in other nations into eternity, or limbless misery as they lay crippled from "OUR" bombers! This does not jell." - Leonard Ravenhill

  • #2
    Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
    A prominent ex-Mormon is suing the church for fraud in England, and a judge has seen enough merit to order the church's leader into court.

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/n...court/5216645/

    Frankly, I'm shocked that the judge actually issued the summons, and it would set an awfully poor precedent if the government in a prominent country such as England started attempting to make rulings on religious matters. Then again... if this were Scientology, I might be of a different mind, so my exact position on the matter is on flux. But this seems to be bad news for Mormons and orthodox Christians alike.
    I think the big problem here is ordering someone in court who resides in another country who hasn't committed an actual crime.
    A happy family is but an earlier heaven.
    George Bernard Shaw

    Comment


    • #3
      I think this is a case of somebody taking advantage of "the process", with no real hope of any resolution. I think it's all publicity.
      "Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl of Wolf Brand Chili?”

      Comment


      • #4
        It's intensely disappointing, is what it is. I've been keeping tabs enough on the ex-Mormon community to know that there's been excitement for months over Tom Phillips' hints that he had something massive in the works, which got dubbed the "October Surprise" (it was supposed to have been unveiled back in October 2013). Consider Tom Phillips' prominence as one of precious few ex-Mormons to have ever received the second anointing ordinance and to have dealt with the LDS Church's finances so directly at such a high level, there had been a lot of speculations as to what his lawsuit might entail. And it was all for this? I mean, I at least expected something interesting. This is like revealing that a much-awaited art exhibition consists entirely of origami swans made by elementary school children.
        "The Jesus Christ who saves sinners is the same Christ who beckons his followers to serious use of their minds for serious explorations of the world." - Mark Noll

        "It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading." - John Wesley

        "Wherever men are still theological, there is still some chance of their being logical." - G. K. Chesterton

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
          Frankly, I'm shocked that the judge actually issued the summons.
          It was not a judge, but a mere magistrate; magistrates are on the bottom rung of the judicial ladder, dealing with very minor and quickly dealt with offences such as traffic offences, being drunk and disorderly, or minor assaults; that a magistrate should be involved in a fraud trial, and one that I assess not as a criminal case (whatever the complainant's PR or hype) but as essentially a civil case, is a mystery to me, because a magistrate is completely out of his or her depth at this level.

          I note, too, that although the case involves alleged fraud, it is a private prosecution, not one brought to court by the Crown Prosecution Service (ie not at the instigation of the Police) -- so the complainant obviously did not convince the police there was a case to investigate or the CPS that there was a case worth pursuing; it obviously lacks official backing.

          I do not rule out that a High Court judge might possibly allow this case to proceed beyond the pre-trial stages, but I will be somewhat surprised if that does happen.

          Originally posted by KingsGambit View Post
          ...it would set an awfully poor precedent if the government in a prominent country such as England started attempting to make rulings on religious matters.
          It already does, although it has done so at the request of the Church of England:
          'In her statement to the House of Commons on 11th December on the Government's proposals for Equal Marriage, the Secretary of State said: "because the Church of England and Wales have explicitly stated that they do not wish to conduct same-sex marriages the legislation will explicitly state that it would be illegal for the Churches of England and Wales to marry same-sex couples. Mr Speaker, this provision recognises and protects the unique and Established nature of these churches. The church's canon law will also continue to ban the marriage of same-sex couples. Therefore, even if these institutions wanted to conduct same sex marriage, it would require a change to primary legislation at a later date and a change to canon law. Additional protection that cannot be breached."'

          Comment


          • #6
            Addendum to my previous post: I've seen it pointed out that the goal of this summons probably is not to convict on fraud charges. Rather, a likelier goal is to manage to get a case far enough that it provides grounds to move for document discovery, so as to ascertain whether the LDS leadership has access to internal information bearing on an awareness of the falsity of the claims specified. Given a number of legal factors, I very much doubt that things will turn out as Phillips hopes here. (For one, I'm told that, as this is a private criminal prosecution, CPS could simply take over the prosecution and then just drop the case.)

            I'm all for getting documents out there (and frankly, in my view, the fact that old minutes of meetings of the FP and Q12 aren't made available to the public, is itself a strong reason to be very suspicious of the organization), but I'm not convinced that this will work. Maybe I'll get a surprise. But I'm pretty skeptical of this move.
            "The Jesus Christ who saves sinners is the same Christ who beckons his followers to serious use of their minds for serious explorations of the world." - Mark Noll

            "It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading." - John Wesley

            "Wherever men are still theological, there is still some chance of their being logical." - G. K. Chesterton

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by JB DoulosChristou View Post

              I'm all for getting documents out there (and frankly, in my view, the fact that old minutes of meetings of the FP and Q12 aren't made available to the public, is itself a strong reason to be very suspicious of the organization), but I'm not convinced that this will work. Maybe I'll get a surprise. But I'm pretty skeptical of this move.
              I really can't think of a reason why the Church would make public the contents of old meetings. I am not even sure such records of these meetings exist. It would not be a normal practice for LDS meetings to record the contents of the meetings and I can't think of why they would keep records in these meetings as well. Also there simply is no push within the membership of the Church itself for it. It is not something members tend to care about and if they don't care about it, the GA are not going to be remotely interested in gathering to make public. In their minds, they have much more important things to do.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by carbon dioxide View Post
                I really can't think of a reason why the Church would make public the contents of old meetings. I am not even sure such records of these meetings exist. It would not be a normal practice for LDS meetings to record the contents of the meetings and I can't think of why they would keep records in these meetings as well. Also there simply is no push within the membership of the Church itself for it. It is not something members tend to care about and if they don't care about it, the GA are not going to be remotely interested in gathering to make public. In their minds, they have much more important things to do.
                On the contrary, I've seen the minutes of meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles cited a number of times in Mormon studies publications produced by historians who had some level of access during the "Camelot" period. So we know that they're there - and the Latter-day Saints do have an admirable tradition of recording meetings (see, for instance, how the Church History Library has so many sets of minutes taken even at sacrament meetings in wards and branches all over the place, though I'm given to understand that this practice has faded over the past few decades). And God help an organization that only does what the majority of its members happen to publicly advocate for. The majority of the membership didn't specifically request the new Gospel Topics essays - but there they are. The majority of the membership didn't specifically request the Joseph Smith Papers Project - but there they are. The majority of the membership didn't request the publication of Wilford Woodruff's journals - but there they are. And all rightly so. With archives as well-organized as the LDS Church has, there's no reason to completely restrict access from all historians to a set of 19th-century documents - well, no legitimate reason.
                "The Jesus Christ who saves sinners is the same Christ who beckons his followers to serious use of their minds for serious explorations of the world." - Mark Noll

                "It cannot be that the people should grow in grace unless they give themselves to reading." - John Wesley

                "Wherever men are still theological, there is still some chance of their being logical." - G. K. Chesterton

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by JB DoulosChristou View Post
                  On the contrary, I've seen the minutes of meetings of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles cited a number of times in Mormon studies publications produced by historians who had some level of access during the "Camelot" period. So we know that they're there - and the Latter-day Saints do have an admirable tradition of recording meetings (see, for instance, how the Church History Library has so many sets of minutes taken even at sacrament meetings in wards and branches all over the place, though I'm given to understand that this practice has faded over the past few decades). And God help an organization that only does what the majority of its members happen to publicly advocate for. The majority of the membership didn't specifically request the new Gospel Topics essays - but there they are. The majority of the membership didn't specifically request the Joseph Smith Papers Project - but there they are. The majority of the membership didn't request the publication of Wilford Woodruff's journals - but there they are. And all rightly so. With archives as well-organized as the LDS Church has, there's no reason to completely restrict access from all historians to a set of 19th-century documents - well, no legitimate reason.
                  Maybe some records exist. I don't know how much do exist and how much don't. If there is a need to publish such things if they exist, it will be done. I just don't think its a high priority. I think the church is more worried about people reading the scriptures and other basic stuff.

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