British Court Charges The Mormon Church With Fraud Over Its Teachings

mormon churhcIf organized religions solicit money from the public while propagating factually untrue claims, do they amount to illegal marketing scams? A British legal challenge is putting Mormonism to the test, the Telegraph reports:

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

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

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

The summons suggests that asking members of the church to make contributions while promoting theological doctrines which “might be untrue or misleading” could be a breach of the Fraud Act 2006. It cites the belief that the Book of Mormon was translated from ancient gold plates revealed to the church’s founder Joseph Smith by angels and that Adam and Eve lived around 6,000 years ago.

The summons was issued in response to a private prosecution attempt by Tom Phillips, a disaffected former Mormon. The Church dismissed the it as containing “bizarre allegations” and signalled that Mr Monson has no plans to attend.

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  • Gjallarbru

    Holy Crap! If ever this sticks to Mormonism, there are consequences for every religion, as all of them make claims that are scientifically untrue, unprovable and historically false (some more than others). Although I’m no friend of religions, the social consequences of these proceedings could cause serious social problems all over the world.

    The British judicial system is threading on dangerous grounds. Not that I think this is “bad”, but it is dangerous.

  • OdinMcHaggis

    Banker fraud is sanctioned and mandated. Sounds like the Mormons missed a kickback payment.

  • davakins

    It is proof of cognitive dissonance for a person to profess this faith and at the same time hold a degree in science. Joseph Smith was just another false prophet, Mark Twain wrote that if it were not for the phrase ‘and so it came to pass’, the book of mormon would be a mere pamphlet.

    • Wyatt Earp

      Twain called the Book of Mormon ‘chloroform in print’…

      Apparently, Twain was not a fan…

  • Wyatt Earp

    You need to check your sources. The court is nothing but the current venue. Tom Phillips is making all the claims and “prosecuting” as an individual. (Which, according to him, will cost $2 million–money he admits he doesn’t have.) The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has no interest in this. CPS could take over, but there are three major findings in case law that prohibit courts in the UK of sitting in judgment on religious beliefs. This will go nowhere.

    The action worked well to associate the lds with thought of ‘fraud.’ And that is it.

    If Phillips were to prevail in this action, the resulting chaos and social cost would be frightening.

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