1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

British Man Sues LDS President

Discussion in 'Latter-day Saints DIR' started by Apex, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. Apex

    Apex Somewhere Around Nothing

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Messages:
    4,720
    Ratings:
    +574
    I got a chuckle out of this. Apparently a guy in the UK is suing President Monson for fraud on the behalf of two ex-LDS members.

    Disaffected British Mormon taking LDS prophet to court | The Salt Lake Tribune
    A Yankee Lawyer
     
  2. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2005
    Messages:
    30,183
    Ratings:
    +5,884
    Religion:
    LDS Christian
    Seriously, when I first saw this article a couple of weeks ago, I cracked up. What a nutjob! If they actually proceed and extradite President Monson to the UK, can you even imagine the circus that will follow? Sounds to me like somebody wants a little attention. That's okay, but why would anybody want attention for being an idiot?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Janadele

    Janadele New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Ratings:
    +0
    Thanks be to The Lord the case has been dismissed:

    Official LDS News Release:
    "A District judge in Westminster Magistrates Court in the United Kingdom today dismissed a private prosecution brought against The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for alleged fraud and described it as "an abuse of the process of the court."

    In throwing out the case brought by a former Church member, Judge Howard Riddle said: "I am satisfied that the process of the court is being manipulated to provide a high-profile forum to attack the religious beliefs of others."

    Judge Riddle said no secular court in England would allow religious teachings to be put to a jury."
     
  4. Janadele

    Janadele New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Ratings:
    +0
    Unfortunately, Tom Phillips, who remains an inactive member of the LDS Church, has announced his intentions to "forge ahead, regardless of today’s ruling, and continue to explore every possible avenue for redress, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.”
     
  5. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    5,083
    Ratings:
    +2,263
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox Christian
  6. misanthropic_clown

    misanthropic_clown Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    952
    Ratings:
    +111
    Hello,

    As an ex-Mormon who has followed the proceedings with interest, I would like to get some LDS opinion on the specifics of the case.

    At its heart, the main thrust of this argument is that the LDS church typically presents a whitewashed view of its history and teachings to new members - the recent spate of apologetic essays on lds.org being a welcome (albeit limited) change to this policy. Given that such members are expected to pay tithing as an element of being a member in good standing, and do so based on information that is arguably intentionally not representative of the whole story, the argument is that this represents a misrepresentation to induce financial gain, or to cause others to suffer financial loss.

    What specific elements of that do you contest? I know from my time in church, the phrase "milk before meat" is banded around quite often, the rationale being that new members need to gain a testimony of the church before they are exposed to deeper doctrines or elements of church history. Do you still hear this kind of attitude in church? If so, do you think it is a fundamentally honest way of interacting with investigators and new members, particularly while teaching that a 10% tithe is required?

    Another interesting element of the ruling to note is that the complainant was unable to produce evidence that Thomas Monson specifically and personally endorsed some of the contested points of the summons. These included that Smith translated the Book of Abraham from Egyptian papyri, translated the BOM from gold plates, that Smith was killed as a martyr and the YEC view that we are all descended from Adam and Eve. Do you know of any instances where Monson has endorsed these in his tenure as prophet, and if not, how do feel about the notion that the Prophet has not publicly made assertions on these points in his 6 year tenure?

    Now, I always thought these proceedings were doomed to fail on public interest grounds - the potential wider implications in terms of liability for making claims about religions would never be considered to be within public interest. I'm just curious to hear what you think about the "innards" of the summons and the result.
     
  7. Orontes

    Orontes Master of the Horse

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,183
    Ratings:
    +135
    Religion:
    LDS
    Hello,

    I do not know details of the case. I’ve not followed it as it appears in a word: comic.

    If the main argument is as you present, then it remains comic. Church membership is not compulsory. Tithes are not compulsory. There is no notion of inerrancy. Regret over voluntary contributions are not a concern of the state.

    Note: The evangelical thrust of Mormonism has been and remains for individuals to gain a testimony. A testimony is tied to religious experience, not any taxonomy of doctrine or history.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. misanthropic_clown

    misanthropic_clown Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    952
    Ratings:
    +111
    Thanks for your reply.

    I think, in UK law at least, the definition of fraud more widely covers misrepresentation of facts in order to induce financial gain, or cause someone else to suffer financial loss. Though tithes and membership are on a voluntary basis, if false statements are made that cause someone to become a member and give tithing, this would appear to be, academically speaking, covered by the law. I know things expressed as religious belief have a different status in other legal systems, but I don't think that applies here.

    I guess something to note is that it was a UK magistrate that issued the summons after reviewing the evidence supplied by the complainant - this indicates that the legal argument behind the summons must have been reasonably compelling from an academic standpoint, even if the case was dismissed for a mixture of public interest and poor prospect of success.

    Your second point is a more interesting one. If people pay tithing due to affirming religious experiences, then it would be difficult to argue that points of fact and history are the relevant points in causing someone to pay tithing. Unless you take a wider view that those spiritual experiences wouldn't have occurred had the person in question been aware of a particular fact that was withheld or misrepresented.
     
  9. Orontes

    Orontes Master of the Horse

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,183
    Ratings:
    +135
    Religion:
    LDS

    I am unfamiliar with law in the U.K. save for its general Common Law tie to the U.S. That a given magistrate may issue a summons to me is of no consequence. There are hordes of judges in the States that will allow a suit to move forward regardless of the absurdity.

    Attempting a fraud suit against a religious organization is comic. As long as one has charge of their faculties and is voluntarily giving over contributions, there just isn’t any substance to the issue. The case does not rise above a fellow who is anti the church and banging pots and pans about it.

    People pay tithes for any number of reasons: belief in the faith, wanting to teach their children some notion, because of their spouse, habit etc. The rhetoric of the Church though is tied to personal witness. People are told to seek out their own verification through religious experience. The onus is on the individual to know for themselves, not rely on authority, tradition or any other factor.
     
  10. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    6,297
    Ratings:
    +794
    It may be voluntary, but I can see where an issue might arise if people were fraudulently induced (either through material misrepresentations or omissions) to join the church and pay tithing. If someone truly felt they were defrauded, I don't think they'd see any comedy in the situation.
     
  11. Orontes

    Orontes Master of the Horse

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,183
    Ratings:
    +135
    Religion:
    LDS
    Church membership is not a commercial enterprise. There is no contract. There is no stipulation or fiduciary duty tied to the giving over of tithes. How one feels after the fact is not relevant. Feelings are not a criteria for determining fraud. The attempt to bring suit is comic, or if you prefer: absurd.
     
  12. misanthropic_clown

    misanthropic_clown Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    952
    Ratings:
    +111
    It seems to be your impression that fraud law only applies within a formal commercial framework, which is untrue in the UK. The definition, as I have supplied it in reflection of UK law, is very broad, which is what allowed the action to get as far as it did. I think perhaps the biggest difficulty is that the definition is so broad that it can apply in any religious context if one takes the view that the claims of that religion were false or misleading.

    Let's imagine I contemplate joining a church that claims to provide healing for its members. The pastor supplies me with a list of anecdotes which convince me that the claims of the church are true. In order to be a member of good standing, which I'm told is necessary for the healing blessings, I voluntarily supply donations to this non-commercial entity. Later, I learn that none of the anecdotes were based in fact, and that there are no examples of healing of any kind. I have been defrauded, and absolutely should be allowed to pursue action against those that have caused me financial loss by misrepresenting evidence relating to their church. It is my understanding that in the context of UK law, the conduct of this church amounts to fraud.

    I'm not saying that this draws parallels to the particulars of the case against the LDS church, but I think your claim that religious institutions are necessarily exempt from fraud because of a lack of formal commercial structure is mistaken. I think it is conceivable that a religious organisation could be brought to task under these laws, and I don't think that is absurd.
     
  13. Orontes

    Orontes Master of the Horse

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,183
    Ratings:
    +135
    Religion:
    LDS
    I do not assume that fraud is restricted to commercial enterprise. My earlier post was simply demonstrating all the areas where a fraud charge would not apply given the suit: not a commercial enterprise, no contract, no fiduciary duty etc. It is highly problematic to assert fraud against voluntary contributions where there is no stricture on the use of the money. This doesn't even take into account the suit's main argument, as you laid it out, utterly fails to present the rhetorical thrust of the Church. There is no formal catechumen status in the Church, no catechism, no history test for membership. The pre-baptism interviews are about base a understanding of the role of the Savior, adherence to a moral codes: chastity etc. and sustaining of the Church leadership etc. all with personal testimony (religious experience) which I have already described as the fundamental grounding. The suit was doomed to fail. This is why it is absurd.
     
    #13 Orontes, Apr 7, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2014
  14. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    6,297
    Ratings:
    +794
    There is no bright line (otherwise lawyers would be unnecessary). Religions are not immune from the law. There is a famous tort case involving false imprisonment (among other claims) and multiple cases have found instances where the religion owed its members a legal duty.
     
  15. Orontes

    Orontes Master of the Horse

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,183
    Ratings:
    +135
    Religion:
    LDS
    I don't understand your post. This thread is about a failed suit in the UK. A suit I think it's clear was doomed from the beginning. I think even the anti-Mormon(s) behind the suit knew it was doomed and this was more a way to gain publicity for their animus. They are simply banging pots and pans together. If you believe the legal authorities in the UK got it wrong present your argument. I will read it.
     
  16. Zardoz

    Zardoz Wonderful Wizard
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2009
    Messages:
    3,202
    Ratings:
    +350
    Religion:
    Abrahamic
    ...Or perhaps not. DIR forums are not the place to debate merit of legal actions.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  17. Watchmen

    Watchmen Well-Known Member
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    6,297
    Ratings:
    +794
    My posts have been general comments not specific to the UK issue. Are you interested in discussing my comments or do you wish to avoid them?
     
  18. Orontes

    Orontes Master of the Horse

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,183
    Ratings:
    +135
    Religion:
    LDS
    The thread is about a specific case. Do you agree with Judge Howard Riddle who stated in throwing out the case it was "an abuse of the process of the court." and "I am satisfied that the process of the court is being manipulated to provide a high-profile forum to attack the religious beliefs of others."?

    I don't understand your last post. No one has claimed religions are immune from the law. I don't know what the other comments are meant to relate to or accomplish. They seem disjointed.
     
    #18 Orontes, Apr 15, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2014
Loading...