Will England return to its onetime practice of criminalizing unpopular religious ideas?

 

With its recently issued summons to President Thomas S. Monson, will the courts of England restore their  glorious tradition of government-enforced religious correctness?

 

A recreation, not an actual photograph, of the execution of Edward Wightman for the crime of holding religious views with which an English court disagreed

 

Edward Wightman of Burton-on-Trent was executed by burning at the stake for heresy in England in 1612.

 

“The Embarkation of the Pilgrims,” by Robert Walter Weir (Brooklyn Museum, New York City)
Click to enlarge.

 

The Pilgrims landed in the New World aboard the Mayflower in 1620, seeking religious freedom after state persecution in England.  Does England intend to reenter the business of criminalizing unfashionable religious ideas and, thus, creating religious refugees?

 

 

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  • Lucy Mcgee

    Given that England is no longer a theocracy, I doubt if anyone should be worried.

    • DanielPeterson

      If this case goes forward, England will have taken a substantial step back toward some kind of theocracy. Or, perhaps better, to an atheocracy.

      • Lucy Mcgee

        Was England ever an atheocracy? Adding words to the dictionary?

        • DanielPeterson

          “Atheocracy” will be something of a novelty. At least in the English-speaking world.

          Hence the need for a new term.

          New words are added to the dictionary every month.

        • kiwi57

          Mr Lucy,

          It doesn’t matter whether England ever was an atheocracy; the point is that such would be a backward step for any liberal (in the true sense of the word) democracy to take.

          Not back in time. Just backwards.

          And while the word is new, I doubt you have much of a problem understanding what it might mean.

          Think the USSR under Stalin. Or Cambodia under Pol Pot. Or China. Or North Korea.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Perhaps religions, because they operate in an open marketplace of human thought and advancement, should do a better job of being open and transparent in order to hang on to the faithful and not turn them into “fanatical, bitter apostates”.

          • DanielPeterson

            The vast majority of the faithful don’t become fanatical, bitter apostates.

            One has to wonder what it was in this particular person’s unique psychology that led him to be such — and one can’t simply assume that it’s the Church’s fault.

          • kiwi57

            See Dan, someone decided to anonymously vote your comment down; yet everything you said is absolutely true.

            “The vast majority of the faithful don’t become fanatical, bitter apostates.” Well, that’s true; they don’t.

            “One has to wonder what it was in this particular person’s unique psychology that led him to be such — and one can’t simply assume that it’s the Church’s fault.”

            Precisely. One can’t.

            And that’s probably what Mr Lucy finds objectionable.
            It’s just that he’s lost for an argument as to why he thinks he can.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I was sarcastically using your own always lovely adjectives as you describe anyone who questions your faith. That’s why I used quotes. Got it? Or do you need to put on your little thinking cap?

    • Craig L. Foster

      Because England has become a secular society that is, in many cases antagonistic toward religious devotion, this could turn into something that should make every lover of religious freedom worry.

  • tprop

    Seems the concern is fraud.
    Not religion.

    • kiwi57

      In this case that’s a distinction without a difference, since the alleged “fraud” consists in holding certain faith propositions that the fanatical, bitter apostate now rejects.

    • Sven2547

      If it’s religious fraud, it’s allowed. Only non-religious fraud is wrong. Don’t you know?

      • kiwi57

        That is not the case. The reality is that only bigoted fanatics think it’s “fraud” to assert religious beliefs they don’t share.

        All rational, intelligent people everywhere — without exception — accept that it is possible for others to believe what they do not.

        • Sven2547

          All rational, intelligent people everywhere — without exception — accept that it is possible for others to believe what they do not.

          There are beliefs, and there are making claims on matters of fact that are laughably, utterly, provably, completely, false.

          • DanielPeterson

            1) You’re fine with beliefs, Sven2547, as long as they aren’t about questions of fact?

            2) Has it ever occurred to you, Sven2547, that anybody might disagree with your judgment that such and such a claim is laughable, utterly, provably, completely false?

          • Sven2547

            1) There is a distinction to be made between personal beliefs, and preaching lies to bilk people out of their time and money.

            2) You are conflating opinion with fact. Some people are of the “opinion” that Elvis is alive. Not all opinions are equally valid; some are just plain wrong. Opinions like “a 1st-century Nazarene Jew came to America and preached to the natives”, for example. Or when Joseph Smith pretended to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics (only to be later embarrassed when they were really translated).

          • DanielPeterson

            1) Correct. Which is one of the reasons this law suit is so risible.

            2) You’re conflating your opinions with facts.

          • kiwi57

            None of which are before us as actual LDS beliefs.

            Sven, I’m afraid you’re letting the side down. The party line from your fellow immoralists is that not only does the US constitution guarantee freedom of religion, but none of you would even dream of trying to abrogate such freedom if those constitutional guarantees weren’t in place.

            And now we see in a country that doesn’t have a First Amendment, someone tries to bring our religious beliefs under the scrutiny of secular courts — and here you are carrying on as if all your most deviant fantasies were coming true at once.

            So much for your vaunted commitment to religious freedom. It turns out that the First Amendment is the one and only impediment to your lot trying to force all believers everywhere to fall in line with your anti-family agenda.

          • Sven2547

            your fellow immoralists

            I’m confused by this statement. I think you’re trying to be insulting, but it’s a strange way to go about it.

            Monson has made a living on selling lies. Hilarious, ridiculous lies what require the abandonment of all credulity. It’s quite telling that this blog has not linked the legal complaint itself. That’s because there is nothing more embarrassing to Mormonism than listing what these people actually believe.

            your lot trying to force all believers everywhere to fall in line with your anti-family agenda.

            There you go again, saying things that make no sense. “Anti-family”? What is even remotely “anti-family” by anything I’ve ever posted ever?

          • kiwi57

            Sven2547: “Monson has made a living on selling lies.”

            That’s a malicious libel.

            He has done no such thing.

            Only the vilest of bigots could possibly believe that lie, and only the most unprincipled of liars could expect anyone to believe it.

            Which are you?

            Sven2547: “Hilarious, ridiculous lies what require the abandonment of all credulity.”

            I agree that it does not require credulity to believe the truth claims of the Church of Jesus Christ.

            Sven2547: “It’s quite telling that this blog has not linked the legal complaint itself. That’s because there is nothing more embarrassing to Mormonism than listing what these people actually believe.”

            The libeller has deliberately misrepresented what “these people” actually believe.

            Sven2547: “What is even remotely ‘anti-family’ by anything I’ve ever posted ever?”

            So-called “same sex marriage” is absolutely anti-family.
            And has never been anything else.

          • Sven2547

            So-called “same sex marriage” is absolutely anti-family.And has never been anything else.

            Forming families is… “anti-family”?

            I don’t even feel the need to explain how backwards that is.

          • kiwi57

            That’s because you assume, contrary to fact, that two gay guys are a “family.”

          • Sven2547

            Even IF you believe they’re “not a family”, they’re going from not-being-a-family to still-not-being-a-family. How is that “ANTI-family”?

            It has zero negative impact on anyone anywhere. It’s just an expression of liberty and the pursuit of happiness… and you’re against that.

    • Ray Agostini

      Only a fool would believe that. It is the *religious claims* of Mormonism that the Mr. Phillips is addressing and challenging. Didn’t you read the memo? He’s challenging the authenticity of the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham, which are – religious texts. And he’s claiming that because those religious texts are “fraudulent”, then it’s “deception”. How much clearer do you want it to be?

  • JustChuck57

    Dr. Peterson, I believe that fraud has always been unfashionable.

    As I’ve asked many LDS missionaries, “When was the last time you mentioned to someone that Joseph most often translated the Book of Mormon using a seer stone placed in a hat — and this stone was the same one he earlier had claimed was directing him to locate buried treasures?”

    In every instance, the missionaries admitted they never divulged this information. In many instances they called me a liar and declared this to be an attack on the church.

    I’ve also learned from a number of ex-Mormons that if they’d known upfront that this was the method used to deliver the Book of Mormon, they would never have joined the church. And there’s the rub. They were denied informed consent, and paid money to an organization that willfully withheld pertinent information. That’s fraud, pure and simple. The church’s coffers were enriched, and these folks were kept in the dark. And the church regularly attacked individuals who did little more than shed light on the truth.

    But the entire world now knows this is a true account, and Mormon missionaries worldwide have been ushering new members into the church by withholding significant information. Regarding the Book of Abraham, please pick up the missionary materials and show us where the use of a Book of Breathings text is mentioned as a source of the Book of Abraham. And the list goes on.

    There is no danger in this suit concerning religious freedom, and I have a sense that you’re fully aware of that. You demonstrate the bankruptcy of your ethics by choosing to respond to these allegations with exaggerated similes to burning at the stake or the pilgrims exodus from England.

    It’s time you recognize that fraud that is sending thousands of salesmen out touting the Book of Abraham as “written by his own hand upon papyrus,” but withholding the fact that the actual papyrus dates from a full millenium later than the “hand” claimed to have written upon it.

    Let’s agree to fight for religious freedom and preserve it all costs. But let’s also fight fraud wherever it is found, and hold in contempt those who would seek to drape the banner of religious freedom around the shoulders of a demonstrably fraudulent claim.

    • DanielPeterson

      I deny that there’s any fraud involved.

      I’m quite familiar with your talking points, but see little actual merit in them. (Setting out why here would require considerable time, and, anyway, it’s already been done. Orally. In print. On videos. Online. Over and over again.)

      And when was the last time that I taught about the seer stone and the hat? I don’t believe that I’ve done so since last week.

      The British judiciary should just chuck this case, and I’m confident that that’s what will happen.

      • JustChuck57

        As with your original post, you continue to skirt the actual issue. “Talking points” is a convenient way to dismiss this issue, isn’t it?

        If you taught about the seer stone and the hat last week, did you do so in front of a group of missionaries? Did you tell them this is important information for folks to know before they consider your truth claims? Is this information is being provided to potential converts? How many investigators are informed that this same rock that was discovered while digging a well was also placed in a hat when Smith claimed he could locate buried treasure with it?

        I’m sure you’ll dismiss the difference as inconsequential, but that’s why this needs to be heard. Missionaries tell investigators about the Urim and Thummim and translation via the “gift and power of God.” The church website displays glowing depictions of Smith sitting at a desk laboring over the gold plates in his translation work.

        Faithful LDS historians tell us of a common rock discovered while digging a well that Smith claimed could be placed in a hat to (at first) locate hidden treasure and (later) translate the plates. And these same historians tell us that the plates often weren’t even in the room while Smith “translated” them. Nobody recalls Smith _ever_ just sitting at a table with the plates in full view recording a translation (as all church artwork depicts). You’ve defended this so long, you’ve clearly become the frog in the kettle regarding your ethics. “Nothing to see here! Move along!”

        And the Book of Abraham is an even easier target. Let’s again check our missionary materials for any depth of disclosure regarding the clear fraud that this represents. How is it possible for Abraham to record by “his own hand upon papyrus” when that papyrus didn’t exist until 1000 years after his death? And would you care to pass around a couple of facsimiles in a room full of actual Egyptologists to see what they find there compared to what only a Mormon can see? And Not even a whisper of doubt is found regarding this in missionary materials. Your salesforce is trained to withhold information and shade the truth.

        And as significant as all this may be, the issue of the court case is about the money. Folks are being deliberately misled, and church is gaining monetary benefit from this. That’s fraud, pure and simple.

        But your kettle only feels lukewarm to you, so please continue your exercises in misdirection and obfuscation. You demonstrate why this action has merit.

        • http://plonialmonimormon.blogspot.com/ Stephen Smoot

          “How is it possible for Abraham to record by “his own hand upon papyrus” when that papyrus didn’t exist until 1000 years after his death?”

          It’s pretty simple, actually.

          http://www.mormoninterpreter.com/by-his-own-hand-upon-papyrus-another-look/

          But you won’t hear this from anti-Mormons, presumably because they are a salesforce that is trained to withhold information and shade the truth.

          • JustChuck57

            Stephen, your blog supports the arguments of the charges. You note, “‘I believe it is likely that many members of the church believe that the Book of Abraham is the result of a translation of a direct Abraham holograph’ Actually, I have to agree with this statement. It does seem to have been a common belief in the Church. ”

            You then argue against this commonly help belief. But LDS missionaries are not allowing people to make these same choices. They’re telling people what (you admit) is common LDS belief. And that belief is wrong according to you.

            The entire issue of the criminal charges has to do with the quality of the information being supplied to potential converts. If they are being supplied with bad information — and you seem to agree this is bad information — then they are being defrauded out of money.

            You’re free to post your arguments regarding the antiquity of the BOA, but until investigators are supplied with that information directly from the missionaries at their doors, the allegations have merit. False information is being supplied that results in the enrichment of the church. That’s fraud.

          • http://plonialmonimormon.blogspot.com/ Stephen Smoot

            I’m afraid your mistaken. The issue is not, contrary to your claim, “quality of the information being supplied to potential converts.” The lawsuit brought forth by Phillips claims that President Monson is deliberately perpetuating a fraud for money when he himself knows these claims are false. It assumes (A) that the claims of the Church vis-a-vis the Book of Mormon and the Book of Abraham have been irrefutably disproven and (B) that President Monson knows this but still perpetuates the “fraud” for money (tithing).

            Now, you assertion that the Church supplies investigators with “false information . . . that results in the enrichment of the church,” and that this constitutes “fraud” is begging the question. First of all, it is entirely arbitrary for you, of all people, to decide what the Church should or shouldn’t include in its missionary discussions for potential converts. Second, you must assume that the reason the Church is allegedly perpetuating “false information” is specifically for gain. You haven’t demonstrated that this is the case. You’ve only assumed this is the case based clearly on polemical/ideological motives. Third, you need to demonstrate that Church authorities are willingly and knowingly perpetuating something they know to be false. Hypothetically it could be that Church authorities don’t know any better. If this is the case, then it’s not a question of fraud but a question of ignorance. These are just a few of the issues you’re hasty and ideologically driven charges of “fraud” don’t account for.

            What’s more, my blog post does not support the charges. This is total rubbish. I admitted that it seems to be a commonly held belief in the Church (actually, I’m not sure how many members of the Church think this, since I do not presume to be a mind reader) but I never say this is because Church leaders have consciously perpetuated a lie. I think, rather, it’s just a common (albeit problematic) assumption. It’s you, Mr. Chuck, that has immediately jumped to the negative (and wholly unwarranted) conclusion that the fact this assumption exists within the Church is because missionaries are told to lie to people about it. I think that’s bogus, and it’s also a misreading of my post.

            Also, as an aside, notice that I was specifically responding to your question, “How is it possible for Abraham to record by ‘his own hand upon papyrus’ when that papyrus didn’t exist until 1000 years after his death?” You haven’t responded to the main point of my blog post, which is to demonstrate why this is not an issue. (Incidentally, considering that this is one the sticking points anti-Mormons often use against the Book of Abraham, it should perhaps cause one to pause and rethink just how ironclad Phillips’ arguments against the Book of Abraham really are.)

        • DanielPeterson

          Yes, I did it before a group that included several missionaries. But no, I don’t think it essential to tell investigators about this.

          I’m a real person, not the caricature you’re addressing.

    • ClintonKing

      When can I be summoned to the British court on charges of fraud? I teach the things you mention in your comment all the time. Further, I have no intention of ever stopping.

  • kiwi57

    When the dust settles from this, a few noteworthy points are going to emerge. One of these is that the fellow who, in a rush of blood to the head, decided this was a good idea, is the owner of a website called “MormonThink.”

    Perhaps he should be sued for fraud. After all, it is manifest that he’s not a Mormon and cannot think. There’s false advertising right there!

    Some regular commenters here have complacently recommended “MormonThink” as a source of good “information” about the Church of Jesus Christ; but now we have this silly publicity stunt.

    It seems to me that there is an awful lot of egg to be wiped from some rather smug faces right now.

    Someone else who enthusiastically boosts “MormonThink” is none other than Mister John Dehlin, self-promoting publicity-hound extraordinaire. I wonder how he will respond to this. Will he:

    - Take steps to put daylight between himself and Phillips? Or
    - Try to defend Phillips’ actions? Or
    - Yet again “Tailor his message to suit the audience,” i.e. show himself to be two-faced?

    Only time will tell.

    • Lucy Mcgee

      The information on MormonThink had been aggregated long before Mr. Phillips showed up and has nothing whatever to do with the summons. Why would you indict an entire body of information simply because of this? Well, you might but why would others?

      I’m pretty certain Tom Phillips and those involved in this matter have thought plenty about their actions as John Dehlin has thought about his. Given your easy willingness to throw your fellow LDS Church members under the bus, one has to wonder exactly what your faith teaches its faithful.

      • http://plonialmonimormon.blogspot.com/ Stephen Smoot

        “The information on MormonThink had been aggregated long before Mr. Phillips showed up and has nothing whatever to do with the summons.”

        You’re right. MormonThink simply came along and dumbed it down so that any unsuspecting chap with a keyboard would be taken in by it.

        It used to be that you’d have to go out of your way to get duped by sometimes 100+ year old anti-Mormon stuff (like a lot of the stuff brought up by MormonThink). Now you can do it in the comfort of your own home!

        I’m sure Phillips must be very proud of himself.

        • Lucy Mcgee

          Aren’t you “taken in” by the doctrines and teachings of your Church? Aren’t those of any religious sect? What about the isolated members of the FLDS? Don’t you think other information could be useful to them?

          Tom Phillips, as well as anyone involved with MormonThink should be happy to provide this site to those who are interested in the rest of the story. Why should those in positions of power within corporate religions hold all the cards? There was a time, not so long ago, when such a thing would get you killed, tortured, or imprisoned for life. Fortunately, we no longer live in that world in Western developed nations.

          • http://plonialmonimormon.blogspot.com/ Stephen Smoot

            Do you honestly think MormonThink is telling people “the rest of the story”? What’s more, do you honestly think MormonThink does such in an “objective” manner?

            “Why should those in positions of power within corporate religions hold all the cards?”

            Um, when did I ever say that? Please desist from the straw men arguments. I have positively no objections to non-Mormons participating in the scholarly discussion on Mormonism. In fact, I welcome it, and hope to see more (provided any potential commentator on things Mormon has first done his or her homework). For example, I very much welcome the work of non-Mormon scholars such as Paul C. Gutjahr, who has a wonderful book on the Book of Mormon published by Princeton University Press.

            Speaking of Gutjahr, how many times do you suppose that he, who was writing in 2012, cites MormonThink at all in his book, either positively or negatively? Conversely, how many times do you suppose he cites publications by FARMS and other Mormon scholars like Terryl Givens, Royal Skousen, John Sorenson, etc.? In speaking of one of these two groups (FARMS vs. MormonThink), which one do you suppose he said produces “advanced scholarship concerning the Book of Mormon” (p. 146) that is “often . . . elaborately reasoned” (p. 144)?

            The answer to that may help you understand just who, exactly, is in any sense taken seriously in non-Mormon academic venues.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Here’s the bottom line for me in all of this. People believed they were deceived. Something is wrong when you’re tempted into the fold by missionaries who do not tell you what the guts of the belief system is. But a person submits and builds a life around certain teachings only to later discover these clash with modernity. Tom Phillips is but one vocal voice among many. You’ve no doubt been more aware than I, that there are currents of dissension within your faith, which has nothing whatever to do with the kindness and purpose of the people who question and everything to do with doctrinal teaching.

            As an aside, ever read the journal of Wilford Woodruff? These frontier people believed in superstition that today would be laughed at by a teen. The doctrines produced reflected these superstitions which were created during a time of most heightened religious fervor and ignorance (not smarts). Joseph Smith wasn’t the only game in town. There was competition everywhere for the hearts and minds of the faithful. I’m sure you know this.

            When people in the modern age are confronted with impossible occurrences, some question. Tom Phillips is an extreme example…he is angry. I listened to his interview with John Dehlin, and wondered why he stuck around so long. I don’t have that mindset so I can’t relate, but some do.

            People believe all sorts of things offered up by a variety of religious or spiritual prognosticators. We humans crave answers and it seems the vast majority want some afterlife of bliss and repose for all eternity…..be it rivers of milk and honey and virgins, or sitting at the side of Jesus and having power, or creating one’s own universe and becoming as a god. People want to be told how to get there. Take your pick, anything is possible within the supernatural. And for those who start up religions, all one needs are believers who may eventually build a critical mass where human numbers and funds can expand the belief system into a religion. This is as old as when the beginnings of human thought were written.

            Sathya Sai Baba had a minimum of six million followers and up to one hundred million and was born in 1926. I’m not aware of any recent upstart spiritual leader who has achieved such a number of followers. The point is, there have been many religious figures and today, anyone searching for their history can attain it and study. Joseph Smith is but one of many.

            Look at the many Hubble deep field images, billions of galaxies each with billions of stars. Can you imagine any new religion sprouting up today given what we understand about the cosmos? It seems unlikely in our internet age where information is shared as never before in human history. Religion has no where to hide.

          • kiwi57

            Mr Lucy,

            Your sublime faith in the superiority of modern human thought is only matched by your towering ignorance of history. Long before Hubble was thought of, Charles Dickens said exactly the same thing you just spouted: Mormonism was ridiculous right back then: just imagine “Seeing visions in an age of railways!”

            And your ignorance continues. If LDS doctrines merely “reflected these superstitions,” as you so smugly announce, in the plenitude of your superficial glibness, then why on earth did Mormonism get such a hard time in its place of origin?

            I put your own question back to you: Have you ever read the Journal of Wilford Woodruff? I mean really read it, not merely chortled over a few cherry-picked snippets in an anti-Mormon website?

            Well?

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I read “Waiting for World’s End” twice two summers ago and truly enjoyed it. The book does not contain the entirety of Woodruff’s diaries of course since it is under five hundred pages. This was the second book I read about the Mormons during the summer of 2012….the first was “No Man Knows My History”. A few hundred pages of Woodruff’s diaries are available online in PDF form by Kraut Press I believe.

            Your rhetoric confirms my suspicion that you are a fairly rod iron type believer. Good luck in your exalted state. Hope you manage your own planet, solar system, galaxy or universe better than your online attitude….I’d hate to be under your control for all eternity…..Ha.

          • DanielPeterson

            “Good luck in your exalted state. Hope you manage your own planet, solar system, galaxy or universe better than your online attitude.”

            Stop the sneering at the faith that kiwi57 and I share, LM. Or I’ll delete your sneers and ban you.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            Please do Dr. Peterson, please do. You’d be doing me a HUGE favor. Seriously.

          • DanielPeterson

            Too bad. You were once a civil dissenter who brought a certain value to the comments here.

          • http://plonialmonimormon.blogspot.com/ Stephen Smoot

            Well, I have to say, you certainly know how to dodge an issue. Well done.

          • DanielPeterson

            I’ve been a missionary, and I know what missionaries teach.

            It’s ridiculous on your part, LM, to claim that they don’t teach the “guts” of our faith. They emphatically and definitively do.

            And don’t try to lecture me on what the “guts” of my faith really are. Don’t go there.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            I’ll tell you what Mr. Smoot, I’ll call or email Paul C. Gutjahr and ask him why he didn’t cite MormonThink….would that further the discussion? Would you judge a site positively or negatively based on whether one author referenced it?

          • kiwi57

            No, but some people who live under atheist totalitarian regimes do; and many millions more remember living in that world in their lifetimes.

      • kiwi57

        Mr Lucy: “Why would you indict an entire body of information simply because of this? Well, you might but why would others? ”

        The point, Mr Lucy, is that certain people have been actively promoting the fraudulently misnamed “MormonThink” as a source of “impartial information,” or something like it. It has been earnestly recommended to us as a trustworthy source.

        But now we know that this promotion is itself a fraudulent misrepresentation. The fact is that the “MormonThink” gang are not Mormons. They are a little coterie of vindictive apostates who cannot bear the thought of their former coreligionists happily enjoying the blessings of the Gospel in their lives.

        Mr Lucy: “I’m pretty certain Tom Phillips and those involved in this matter have thought plenty about their actions”

        Obsessing is not the same as thinking. People who think understand perfectly well that it is not only entirely possible but actually normal for honest, intelligent people to genuinely believe things they do not.

        I reject several key faith propositions of Roman Catholicism. I reject even more of the faith propositions of Islam. I reject almost all of the faith propositions of atheism. But it simply does not occur to me that those who hold those propositions are guilty of “fraud.”

        You see, I’m just not that much of a bigot. Nor am I an apologist for bigots.

        Mr Lucy: “Given your easy willingness to throw your fellow LDS Church members under the bus”

        I regret that you have no good-faith basis on which to claim to believe that accusation to be true.

        Mister Phillips is not one of my “fellow LDS Church members.”

        • Lucy Mcgee

          People who read MormonThink will read the references and make up their own minds. The beauty is that it exists at all, which wasn’t possible a few years ago, where those who questioned were labeled apostates and cast into outer darkness for eternity as sons and daughters of perdition….what a nice Christian thing to believe of those who dare question….Christian fascism anyone?

          You should save yourself some steps and just write, instead of copying my sentences. I’m aware of what I wrote.

          I’ve read many stories of those who find troubling issues with the Mormon faith. Some are very vocal and committed to bringing the issues to others. Ever read John Dehlin’s study? That may help you connect with the feelings of those who struggle. But given your constant adversarial discourse and serial denial, I doubt you’ll get what they express. Too bad for you.

          • kiwi57

            Mr Lucy: “People who read MormonThink will read the references and make up their own minds.”

            Which is the last thing the non-Mormon non-thinkers want; they want readers to be shocked and scandalised by their tabloidesque presentation and make up their minds without looking any farther.

            Mr Lucy: “The beauty is that it exists at all, which wasn’t possible a few years ago,”

            Websites didn’t exist a few years ago. But there were still these things called libraries. That’s where I first came across anti-Mormon propaganda.

            And recognised it for the worthless Dreck that it is.

            Mr Lucy: “what a nice Christian thing to believe of those who dare question….Christian fascism anyone? ”

            Faith communities, by definition, are based upon shared, um, faith.

            As you would know, if you’d ever made any effort to (to coin a phrase) “understand the subject.”

            Those who no longer share the faith are ipso facto no longer part of the community.

            And it takes no knowledge or intelligence to label that “fascism.” All it takes is a triumphantly ignorant jerk.

            And I’ll continue to quote portions of the comment to which I am replying. As the thread grows, replies become separated from their source comments.

          • Lucy Mcgee

            You’d do well in the company of any of the long list of religious bigots and haters (fascists) we have here in the states. You could easily share the same rhetoric and nonsense while believing in your self righteous superiority (looks to sky with outstretched arm). I’ll bet you’ll make a lovely “god” someday, all you need is a little help.

            Isn’t this fun….I do love being a “jerk”.

          • kiwi57

            Mr Lucy: “You’d do well in the company of any of the long list of religious bigots and haters (fascists) ”

            While you’d do well in the company of certain anti-religious bigots and haters (communists) who have done far more damage than all the “fascists” ever assembled.

            Mr Lucy: “Isn’t this fun….I do love being a ‘jerk’.”

            And you do it so effortlessly, too.
            Like it comes naturally to you.

          • kiwi57

            Mr Lucy: “You’d do well in the company of any of the long list of religious bigots and haters (fascists) we have here in the states.”

            So you say; but which one of us is defending the idea that religious beliefs should be subject to the scrutiny of secular courts?

            Hint: it wasn’t me.

            You’re the one defending a genuinely fascist notion — but then you call me a fascist!

            You really are completely irony-challenged, aren’t you?

          • kiwi57

            Mr Lucy: “I’ve read many stories of those who find troubling issues with the Mormon faith. Some are very vocal and committed to bringing the issues to others.”

            Yes, they are obsessed with proselyting for their anti-Mormon unfaith.

            Thank you for confirming this fact.

    • The Oracle

      By the way, Kiwi – if the LDS church had any guts, it would have booted John Dehlin out long ago.

      • kiwi57

        In common with most anti-Mormons, you see the Church as a big monolithic “they,” a single entity with a “hive mind.”

        The reality, of course, is quite different. Mister Dehlin’s membership is in the hands of local leaders, most of whom have little involvement with apologetics, and consequently little or no awareness of what he’s up to.

        And their own ideas about how to handle such things.

        Apart from that though, your criticism does have some merit.

        • The Oracle

          Kiwi:

          Local LDS leaders typically instigate, and handle, church discipline. However, General Authorities (or others at headquarters) can and sometimes do contact local leaders to alert them of possible problem members in their jurisdiction (and supposedly, in a few cases, have positively encouraged local disciplinary action for public apostacy). Not that I am complaining – I think LDS church leaders, local and General, have every right and obligation to boot out dissidents.

          You can observe this dynamic of communication between Salt Lake and local leaders at low-level play by simply writing a letter to the First Presidency complaining about some policy or doctrine of the church, after which the First Presidency, regardless of any request you might make for confidentiality, will send a copy of your letter to your bishop.

          In the case of John Dehlin, he has been openly critical of the church to the point of outright public apostacy for years. I don’t think there’s any question he should have been disfellowshipped or excommunicated for that. Perhaps it is the high profile he has created which makes church leaders hesitant. If the church booted him out, critics would have new ammo for accusations that the church is “anti-intellectual”, “authoritarian”, “intolerant of freedom of conscience”, etc. And John Dehlin would become some sort of martyr. Yet, apostacy is apostacy, and I cannot see why any self-respecting church should tolerate it only because they dislike negative publicity (supposing that is the reason).

          By the way, how is it that Steve Young and his wife are allowed to run around giving church firesides, while they are *also* out stumping for gay marriage, which the LDS church is against? The only explanation I can think of is, once again, Steve Young’s high profile. If so, that’s lame.

  • Guest

    The title of this blog entry betrays total incomprehension of this case. The fraud indictment against Thomas Monson has precisely *nothing* to do with the criminalization of “unpopular ideas”, religious or otherwise. It has to do with FRAUD. The author’s conflation of these two distinct concepts, funnily enough, results in an insinuation that the terms “Mormon beliefs” and “fraud” are intrinsically synonymous.

    But not even those pressing charges are saying that, and I doubt they ever would. Their case is actually very simple. It claims that the LDS church, in order to keep tithes coming in, deliberately withholds, or misrepresents, facts relevant to the veracity of its truth claims.

    I don’t think that even the author of this silly entry would dispute that the LDS church has a history of being, shall we say, “less than forthcoming” about its history. Indeed, even the church has admitted as much with its recent essays on http://www.lds.org.

    So…that’s the point: there has been deliberate misrepresentation for a long time, with a financial incentive to do so. That’s called “fraud”.

    • DanielPeterson

      See above.

  • The Oracle

    The title of this blog entry betrays total incomprehension of this
    case. The fraud indictment against Thomas Monson has precisely *nothing*
    to do with the criminalization of “unpopular ideas”, religious or
    otherwise. It has to do with FRAUD. The author’s conflation of these two
    distinct concepts, funnily enough, results in an insinuation that the
    terms “Mormon beliefs” and “fraud” are intrinsically synonymous.

    But not even those pressing charges are saying that, and I doubt they
    ever would. Their case is actually very simple. It claims that the LDS
    church, in order to keep tithes coming in, deliberately withholds, or
    misrepresents, facts relevant to the veracity of its truth claims.

    I don’t think that even the author of this silly entry would dispute
    that the LDS church has a history of being, shall we say, “less than
    forthcoming” about its history. Indeed, even the church has admitted as
    much with its recent essays on http://www.lds.org.

    So…that’s the point: there has been deliberate misrepresentation
    for a long time, with a financial incentive to do so. That’s called
    “fraud”.

    • DanielPeterson

      No there hasn’t.

    • kiwi57

      The Oracle: “The title of this blog entry betrays total incomprehension of this case. The fraud indictment against Thomas Monson has precisely *nothing* to do with the criminalization of “unpopular ideas”, religious or otherwise. It has to do with FRAUD.”

      The self-styled “Oracle” betrays total incomprehension of this case. There is no indictment, just a summons to appear.

      And that, in a jurisdiction to which he is not subject.

      The summons is a paper tiger. It has no effect, and only serves to bring the British judiciary into disrepute.

      But the alleged “FRAUD” consists precisely of promulgating religious ideas which are certainly unpopular with Mr Phillips and his little coterie of vindictive apostates. Claiming that those religious ideas precisely *nothing* to do with” the ridiculous summons is a brazenly counterfactual assertion.

      • The Oracle

        Kiwi:

        Great – it’s a “summons to appear” on charges of criminal fraud. (I’ll leave the “i” word until later, if you prefer).

        The point is that the British Fraud Act of 2006 does not regulate, and cannot be used to prosecute, “unpopular religious beliefs”. That is, IF this case were as you allege, it would have been dismissed almost instantly. And if it hadn’t been dismissed, of course you would be right – that *would* have brought the British judiciary into disrepute.

        But this case is not at all as you allege. It is about certain *actions* which, under the Fraud Act of 2006, might qualify as criminally fraudulent. That is why the case was not dismissed, and why it will be considered carefully by the district judge. You can keep on spinning this in a different way, of course, but the fact will remain that this case exists only because it is about allegedly criminal *behaviour*.

        As to your comment about jurisdiction, the relevant point is that *the Mormon church operates in Great Britain in an allegedly fraudulent manner*. That means that some party – if maybe not
        Monson, someone else – can be held legally responsible, in the same way that if American company Exxon perpetrated fraud in New Zealand, indictments or summonses from a New Zealand court could (and no doubt *would*) be issued to those ultimately responsible for the fraud.

        I recognize that your religious beliefs are very important to you. That is fine. It is just that they seem to be clouding your view of this case, which is about – and only ever will be about – alleged criminally fraudulent behaviour.

        • DanielPeterson

          I know perfectly well what it’s ostensibly about.

          But, effectively, it’s an attempt to criminalize religious disagreement.

          • The Oracle

            I understand how a believer might feel that this case is an attempt to “criminalize religious disagreement”. I am sure that is how Scientologists in France and Belgium feel about the recent fraud prosecutions of Scientology there (see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/28/belgium-prosecutes-scientology-extortion-fraud_n_2375823.html, and http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/france/10384877/Scientologys-fraud-conviction-upheld-in-France.html).

            And yet, however these cases might seem to followers of these religions, they are straight-up about one thing: whether evidence establishes that a particular organization has secured financial gain via misrepresentation of material facts. That activity is illegal. It’s called fraud.

            So…will Mormonism be found guilty of violating the British Fraud Act of 2006? Maybe, maybe not. It depends on the evidence. If the evidence is not there, I for one will be happy to see the church acquitted. If it *is* there, I will be as happy to see it convicted, as I would any other organization breaking that law.

            By the way, I think I can say with confidence that British judges overall couldn’t care less whether the people standing before them in criminal court believe in fairies, leprechauns, zombies, three wandering Nephites, or the chupacabra. What they care about is determining whether evidence warrants criminal prosecution and conviction in the case before them. That is what they are trained to do; that is what they are held accountable for doing.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “I understand how a believer might feel that this case is an attempt to ‘criminalize religious disagreement’.”

            Because that’s exactly what it is.
            Your spin-doctoring to the contrary notwithstanding.

        • kiwi57

          The Self-styled Oracle: “Great – it’s a ‘summons to appear’ on charges of criminal fraud. (I’ll leave the ‘i’ word until later, if you prefer).”

          You still can’t get it right. It’s a summons to appear — approximately equivalent to an American subpoena — based upon a private complaint. There are still no “charges.”

          The complaint is, of course, malicious and frivolous. And anti-Mormons love it.

          And so they should; it’s as worthless as they are.

          The Self-styled Oracle: “The point is that the British Fraud Act of 2006 does not regulate, and cannot be used to prosecute, ‘unpopular religious beliefs’. That is, IF this case were as you allege, it would have been dismissed almost instantly.”

          Which is precisely what eminent British legal minds believe should have already happened, and expect is precisely what will happen if the case ever proceeds to the next stage.

          Because that’s what this “case” (it’s not even a case yet, just a complaint) is about: unpopular religious beliefs.

          The Self-styled Oracle: “But this case is not at all as you allege. It is about certain *actions* which, under the Fraud Act of 2006, might qualify as criminally fraudulent.”

          The *actions* in question being that the Church actually teaches its unpopular beliefs, which Phillips’ complaint approximately resembles, to its members, and then has the temerity to accept donations from them.

          Sorry Mister Oracle. But Denial isn’t just a river in Africa.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – I think you’re missing the point.

            The point is (A) the law of the land in Great Britain is that organizations and individuals are not allowed to misrepresent material facts to secure financial gain, and (B) an allegation has been made (and accepted by a district judge) that the Mormon church is guilty of doing just that.

            What happens after March 14th, no one knows. I assume that if enough evidence of fraud is there, the case will proceed. If not, the case will be (rightly) dismissed.

            Fulminate all you want about “anti-Mormons”. Rail about how “worthless” they are (whoever they are). It really doesn’t matter. In the end, this particular case will be come down to evidence (or the lack thereof) of fraudulent behaviour on the part of the Mormon church.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “The point is (A) the law of the land in Great Britain is that organizations and individuals are not allowed to misrepresent material facts to secure financial gain, and (B) an allegation has been made (and accepted by a district judge) that the Mormon church is guilty of doing just that. ”

            Wrong again. You really don’t have any of your facts straight, do you?

            The summons was issued by a magistrate, not a district court judge. No district court judge has seen the LIBEL in question.

            The complaint containing the LIBEL (you’re fond of all caps, so I thought you’d like that) was laid ex parte. That means the magistrate has not seen anything except the complaint itself, and has heard nothing at all from the Church.

            However, the summons was not issued against the Church. No attempt has been made to prosecute the Church, which is what the libeller must have done had he really thought he had a case. The summons was issued against an individual, a citizen of another country, who does not live in the UK or any of its dominions, and as far as I know holds no property therein. The Church won’t be responding, because the Church has no standing to respond.

            Which is probably what Mr Phillips was after.

            Surely you didn’t actually think this was a genuine attempt at a prosecution, did you?

            How gullible could you be?

          • The Oracle

            Hello Kiwi

            May I suggest that your fervour is making it difficult for you to think clearly about all this?

            Consider your claim that the summons was not issued by a district judge. Yet the summons itself shows that it was issued by a district judge. (http://www.mormonthink.com/img/monson-summons1.jpg). I await your explanation of why the words “district judge” on the summons don’t mean “district judge”; and if you cannot provide one, I would suggest for your consideration my opening question.

            Consider also your complaint that the summons calls only an “individual” to answer the allegations. Does it not strike you as relevant that that “individual” is *the president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints*, and that that organization is named in the summons itself as the beneficiary of the money in question?

            You seem to be insinuating that legal attempts to hold the director of an organization allegedly guilty of fraud are by definition illegitimate; but that is nonsense, as
            is the insinuation that so long as that director personally resides outside the jurisdiction in which he has allegedly authorized fraudulent behaviour, he should be exempt from summons, indictments, or anything else. Those ultimately responsible for an organization’s fraud, or
            alleged fraud, are called to answer for that fraud all the time. Have you never heard of Jeffrey Skilling or Ken Lay?

            Consider also your claim of libel. As you might know, libel laws are relatively expansive in Great Britain (far more so than in the United States, for example). It is therefore relatively easy to convict someone of libel there. If the allegedly aggrieved parties in this case are indeed guilty of libel, I hope and expect that church lawyers would press charges.

            But they have not, Kiwi, nor will they. The reason is that the definition of libel in British law is straightforward, and nothing in this summons meets it. So why toss that word around, when it doesn’t apply? This allegation might be dismissed, or found lacking in substantiating evidence; that doesn’t mean it’s libelous. And of course it isn’t.

            Lastly, yes of course I think the point of this action is prosecution. I think that Tom Phillips is 100% sincere in his belief that the Mormon church, under Thomas Monson (and earlier presidents), has systematically
            misrepresented its history and doctrines, and reaped financial benefit from that misrepresentation, and therefore, might be guilty of violating the 2006 Fraud Act. I think he feels that he is one victim of that fraud. Many others have felt victimized, too.

            You see, not everyone is like you, Kiwi. Not everyone can play the sorts of mindgames on themselves you can play. Some people think that when Joseph Smith says he produced the Book of Mormon by reading “reformed Egyptian” off of real plates using decoding spectacles, that that is what he did – because they believe him. And when they find out later that he did not use plates at all, but rather, dictated much of the Book of Mormon while simply starting at a stone placed in a hat, that that constitutes a discrepancy relevant to whether they should believe in Mormonism or not. And when they find out church historians and leaders have known about that discrepancy, but have decided that rank and file members don’t need to know that, they are even more upset.

            One more example: some people think that the plain words “the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand upon papyrus” mean what they say. And when they
            find out that church leaders have known for going on half a decade that it was not Abraham who wrote on those papyrus scrolls, and that they are a common funerary pagan document which does not mention Abraham at all, and that they are in no conceivable sense a “translation” at all, they conclude that the Mormon church has deliberately misled them.

            That conclusion is not dispelled by 10,000 word apologetic essays intended to convince you that “the writings of Abraham while he was in Egypt, called the Book of Abraham, written by his own hand upon papyrus” means something else entirely. In fact, for most people, these essays look exactly like what they are: desperate, pathetic, mind-game-like attempts to keep on believing something that is not true.

            In any case, we will find out what happens next month with this summons. I expect if the evidence for fraud is lacking, it will be dismissed, and if it is there, the case will proceed. Either way, I expect justice to be done.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “May I suggest that your fervour is making it difficult for you to think clearly about all this? ”

            You may, if it pleases you.

            And I will reply with a tu quoque: your indecent enthusiasm for this malicious publicity stunt is making it impossible for you to think clearly about it.

            Yes, I do know who President Monson is. No, I don’t think it is illegitimate to hold individuals to account.

            But if your anti-Mormon hero and role model really wanted to bring a prosecution against the Church, he could and would have done so. Laying his complaint against an US citizen who is outside the jurisdiction of any British court means that he is safe: his “prosecution” will never get court time.

            He knows that.

            He intended that.

            No complaint has been laid against the Church, so it has no standing to respond.

            This was deliberate.

            This is a publicity stunt.

            A malicious and vindictive publicity stunt.

            And you’re fine with that.

            I understand.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi – I should like to point out that you have not made any coherent argument for the proposition that this summons is not legitimate and legally warranted. You merely repeat that it is a malicious publicity stunt, as though the mere repetition of a proposition should lend it more plausibility. That might be the case in a Mormon testimony meeting, but it is not the case in the realm of reason and evidence. And that realm – not your feelings – is what matters here.

            March will tell us whether there is enough evidence for this case to go forward. If there isn’t, I will be glad to see the Mormon church acquitted. If there is, I hope the case will go forward.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “Kiwi – I should like to point out that you have not made any coherent argument for the proposition that this summons is not legitimate and legally warranted.”

            Indeed you would like to.

            But if you did, you’d be lying.

            As you perfectly well know, I have pointed out that your false accusation of “FRAUD” rests upon exactly nothing but religious faith propositions.

            There is no fraud in view.

            As you perfectly well know, I have pointed out that the target of the summons is neither a British subject nor a resident of the UK.

            The summons is a paper tiger.

            As you perfectly well know, I have pointed out that your anti-Mormon hero deliberately avoided targeting his accusations against the Church as an institution in order to exclude the Church from responding.

            The conclusion that this is a mere publicity stunt flows rather irresistibly from these facts.

            The self-styled Oracle: “You merely repeat that it is a malicious publicity stunt, as though the mere repetition of a proposition should lend it more plausibility. That might be the case in a Mormon testimony meeting, but it is not the case in the realm of reason and evidence.”

            And yet you are the one who thinks you can prove your false accusation of “FRAUD” by mere monotonous repetition.

            Have you ever heard of irony?

            The self-styled Oracle: “March will tell us whether there is enough evidence for this case to go forward. If there isn’t, I will be glad to see the Mormon church acquitted. If there is, I hope the case will go forward.”

            Don’t bet your life’s savings on it.

          • The Oracle

            Kiwi:

            I don’t lie. A lie is a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth. Some of my views might be mistaken, and if so, I will be happy to hear your correction. But to express a sincerely-held, but mistaken, view is much different than to lie. Your words make you sound like an abnormally uncharitable man.

            Your nature aside, as far as I can see, you have not provided one single coherent argument in defense of your claim that the legal summons sworn out by a sitting (non-Mormon) district judge in Great Britain is legally illegitimate due to being merely an expression of malice or frivolity. (I’ll address your specific points below).

            Further, I think you would have a hard time establishing that. Elizabeth Roscoe has been in the thick of the criminal justice system in London for over two decades. She is a powerful, astute player who has been dealing with (and sometimes dismissing summarily) summonses just like the one at issue here for a long time. And while I can’t say for sure, I doubt she would jeopardize her sterling reputation by issuing a frivolous summons of any kind. (For a short blurb on Roscoe, see: http://www.londonlovesbusiness.com/the-london-100-secret-power-brokers-law/739.article). In any case, if she has made a terrible error here, we will find out soon enough.

            To address other points:

            1.) In legal terms, fraud consists of deliberately misrepresenting or hiding relevant facts to secure financial gain. As to the more specific question of whether evidence indicates that the Mormon church, under the direction of its president, is guilty of criminal fraud in Great Britain, that remains to be seen;

            2.) I am not sure at all that the current residence of the LDS Church president is material, since the organization he presides over operates in Great Britain, and that is where this allegedly criminal behaviour has taken place;

            3.) Judges can’t summon “an institution” accused of fraud to court. They summon the *people* who run that institution. So your complaint is ludicrous. Judges didn’t send “Enron” to jail; they sent Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling to jail – the humans responsible for Enron’s fraudulent behaviour;

            4.) I have described what fraud is. That is different than trying to prove here that the Mormon Church’s behaviour in Great Britain rises to the level of criminal offense, which I am not doing.

          • DanielPeterson

            “A lie is a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth,” says Oracle.

            Precisely.

            “To express a sincerely-held, but mistaken, view is much different than to lie.”

            Again, precisely.

            Thus, his support for this law suit in England makes Oracle sound like an abnormally uncharitable man.

          • The Oracle

            Daniel:

            A.) This is not a “lawsuit”. This is a summons to appear in criminal court to answer allegations of fraud. They are very different things. I’m surprised you don’t know that. And that you don’t undermines your credibility as a commentator on this issue;

            B.) I’m not sure it’s accurate to say I “support” this. I am in favour of secular as well as religious organizations obeying the laws of the land. In that respect, I completely support the LDS church’s Twelfth Article of Faith.

            And what I would say is that if evidence indicates that the LDS church, under the direction of Thomas Monson, has violated Great Britain’s Fraud Act, Monson and the church should be held accountable. If there is no evidence of such violation, Monson (and the church) should be acquitted. This is no more than any fair-minded person would say; and that you and others on here seem to take issue with that position makes you look as cult-addled as the Scientologists.

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “I don’t lie. A lie is a deliberate misrepresentation of the truth. Some of my views might be mistaken, and if so, I will be happy to hear your correction. But to express a sincerely-held, but mistaken, view is much different than to lie. Your words make you sound like an abnormally uncharitable man.”

            Is your irony meter completely broken?

            What did the worthless Mr Phillips accuse President Monson of?

            He accused him of teaching LDS truth claims (yes his description of them was distorted, but they are still recognisable under the distortion) “dishonestly” and “knowing them to be false.”

            Now what did you write above?

            “But to express a sincerely-held, but mistaken, view is much different than to lie. Your words make you sound like an abnormally uncharitable man.”

            If that is the case, then what of your anti-Mormon hero and role model?

            Hey, if calling you a liar for holding a “sincerely-held, but mistaken, view” is “abnormally uncharitable,” then what shall we say of trying to drag someone into court and put them in jeopardy of losing their freedom for holding a “sincerely-held, but mistaken, view?”

            Your bleating about how “uncharitable” I’m being might mean something if you were likewise taking Phillips to task. After all, I’m not trying to get you locked up, am I?

            Here’s the thing, self-styled Oracle: the notion that teaching religious beliefs that others reject can be prosecuted as “FRAUD” is a vicious assault on religious freedom.

            There are no good people anywhere who think it can or ought to be done.

            No good people.

            Anywhere.

            Your transparently dishonest attempt to separate the false accusation of “FRAUD” from the religious content of the ideas in view fails immediately. Remove the religious faith propositions from the accusation, and it’s empty; there’s no accusation left to be made.

            But you know this. Of course.

            Furthermore, as mentioned above, this is the nastiest bit of the whole nasty saga: the libeller (because that’s what he is, and you’re obviously lying every time you try to deny it) accused President Monson of teaching those things “dishonestly” and “knowing them to be false.”

            Leaving aside the straw-man (and fraudulent) misrepresentations of the content of those propositions: Absolutely every informed person recognises the fact that what President Monson teaches, he believes to be verily true. Only the most malicious and hateful bigot would fail to recognise this utterly non-controversial fact.

            That Phillips is such a bigot has been proven to my satisfaction. (Although I’m prepared to entertain the proposition that he makes the accusation knowing it to be false. Certainly I wouldn’t put it past him.)

            But he’s not here; you are.

            So, the only real question before us is: are you such a bigot?

          • kiwi57

            The self-styled Oracle: “Consider also your claim of libel. As you might know, libel laws are relatively expansive in Great Britain (far more so than in the United States, for example). It is therefore relatively easy to convict someone of libel there. If the allegedly aggrieved parties in this case are indeed guilty of libel, I hope and expect that church lawyers would press charges.”

            The fact is that the libeller Phillips has accused President Monson of not believing what he teaches.

            That is a malicious falsehood.

            He has no good-faith basis to believe his own accusation.

            He is a brazen liar.

            And his accusation is a libel.

            There are no good people anywhere who think it is “FRAUD” to teach religious tenets they disagree with.

            That’s the real bottom line.

            Tom Phillips is an unprincipled anti-Mormon.

            And his anonymous defenders are no better.

    • kiwi57

      The self-styled Oracle: “The fraud indictment against Thomas Monson has precisely *nothing* to do with the criminalization of ‘unpopular ideas’, religious or otherwise.”

      And this from someone who then has the temerity to say, “I don’t lie.”

      Every single one of the claims supporting the intentionally false accusation of “fraud” is a religious faith claim. Take the religious claims out, and there is literally nothing left to accuse President Monson of. Either you don’t understand plain English, or you are lying your head off when you try to deny this clear, incontrovertible fact.

      And as I cast my eye down this thread, it is abundantly clear that facts are of no interest to you. First you started off by trying to claim that President Monson had been indicted for something.

      When confronted with the fact that there is no indictment, rather than admit that you were wrong, you pretended to be magnanimous and tried to sneak in the claim that there were “charges.”

      If you want to impress us with your honesty, self-styled “Oracle,” then please be so good as to admit that there is no indictment and no charges.

      Thank you.

      • The Oracle

        Kiwi:

        What I think you are missing is that violation of the fraud act does not at all require the purveying of Mormon beliefs. That is, contrary to the implications of what you’re saying, Mormon beliefs per se do not legally constitute fraud, nor could they ever legitimately be imagined to.

        What fraud requires is that an individual or organization, religious or secular, deliberately misrepresent facts about itself for financial gain. The exact content of that misrepresentation is immaterial except insofar as it constitutes a misrepresentation.

        For example:

        If I sell a car under false pretenses, I could so by (A) changing the odometer, or (B) falsely claiming to have just put in a brand new engine, or (C) falsely claiming that the car has never had damage to the chassis, or a hundred other things. What matters is that a material fact has been misrepresented, not the exact content of any particular misrepresentation. Does that make sense to you? That is what is at issue here.

        It might be a stretch to say that the LDS church is guilty of criminal fraud when it teaches investigators that Joseph Smith read a text engraved on golden plates through spectacles attached to a breastplate, when in fact, he dictated the Book of Mormon whilst staring at a rock inside of a hat. Or, it might not be a stretch. I don’t know. But a well-respected, and fairly high profile, London judge thinks there might be a case. So, we will see.


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