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  UK COURTS
Total Articles: 7
United Kingdom Courts - against the Corporation for the Mormon Church.
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Thomas Monson Issued Court Summons To Answer Allegations Of Fraud
Tuesday, Feb 4, 2014, at 09:55 AM
Original Author(s): Mormonthink
Topic: UK COURTS   -Link To MC Article-
The Prophet of the LDS Church, Thomas S. Monson has been ordered to attend court and face allegations of fraud.

A court in London, England has issued Thomas Spencer Monson with 2 summons (see below) containing allegations of seven offences in contravention of Section 1 Fraud Act 2006.

Mr. Monson is required to attend the court, Westminster Magistrates' Court, on 14th March 2014. The court will then almost certainly refer the case to Southwark Crown Court for further proceedings. Failure of Mr. Monson to attend the Court on 14th March may result in a warrant being issued for his arrest.

The maximum penalty for the allegations contained in the summons is ten years imprisonment and a fine, for each offence. (Section 3 (b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine (or to both).)

Mr. Monson is entitled to a fair trial and any comments that might prejudice the case should be avoided.

Further information about these allegations will be published shortly.


Note: These are two different summons. One on behalf of Stephen Colin Bloor and one on behalf of Christopher Denis Ralph.

For years we have asked Church Leaders for official answers to serious issues of concern that trouble thousands of Latter-day Saints. They have refused to reply, relying instead on their unofficial apologists to perform mental gymnastics and obfuscation. Even the latest 'essays' fail to address the core issues they are supposed to answer. They rely on misleading statements and still they are not signed by the Church Leaders. The authors of these essays are unknown.

At last the President of the Church, whom members sustain as a prophet, seer and revelator, will have the opportunity to explain at least seven statements of fact (although there are many other serious issues that members want answered as well). The allegations maintain these specific statements are untrue and this will be demonstrated in court by renowned expert witnesses.

President Monson, if he agrees to take the stand, will have to prove these statements are true and, if true, not misleading. This he will have to do under oath in front of a jury of 12 U.K. citizens, and be cross examined by a skilled barrister.

At last we may finally have the answers to these troubling issues or a formal admission that they are indeed untrue.

http://mormonthink.com/
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USA Today Reporting Tom Phillip's Lawsuit
Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014, at 07:31 AM
Original Author(s): Tristram
Topic: UK COURTS   -Link To MC Article-
Unfortunately, it appears that even British experts think this will be thrown out in a blink of an eye. I really hope there is a lot more to this than the initial report.
The leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been ordered to appear before a magistrate in England on fraud charges filed by a disaffected ex-Mormon who disputes fundamental teachings of the religion, according to documentation obtained by The Arizona Republic.

Two summonses direct Thomas S. Monson of Utah, the Church president, to attend a March 14 hearing in the Westminster Magistrates Court of London to answer accusations that key tenets of the LDS faith are untrue and have been used to secure financial contributions.

The criminal complaint was lodged by Tom Phillips, a Mormon who said he withdrew from the Church after holding positions in England as bishop, stake president and area executive secretary. He now serves as managing editor of MormonThink, an online publication that critiques the Church's history and doctrine.
See: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/na...
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Claims Filed Vs. LDS Church In UK
Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014, at 07:44 AM
Original Author(s): Azcentral
Topic: UK COURTS   -Link To MC Article-
From AZCentral.com:
The leader of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been ordered to appear before a magistrate in England on fraud charges filed by a disaffected ex-Mormon who disputes fundamental teachings of the religion, according to documentation obtained by The Arizona Republic.

But some legal experts in England say it is unlikely prosecutors would seek to have him extradited, and they are surprised the summonses were issued at all.

Two summonses direct Thomas S. Monson of Utah, the church president, to attend a March 14 hearing in the Westminster Magistrates Court of London to answer accusations that key tenets of the LDS faith are untrue and have been used to secure financial contributions.

The criminal complaint was lodged by Tom Phillips, a Mormon who said he withdrew from the church after holding positions in England as bishop, stake president and area executive secretary. He now serves as managing editor of MormonThink, an online publication that critiques LDS history and doctrine.

"The Church occasionally receives documents like this that seek to draw attention to an individual's personal grievances or to embarrass Church leaders," said Eric Hawkins, a spokesman at Church headquarters in Salt Lake City, who said he had not seen the legal document. "These bizarre allegations fit into that category."

Legal scholars in England expressed bewilderment at the summonses, saying British law precludes challenges to theological beliefs in secular courts.

"I'm sitting here with an open mouth," said Neil Addison, a former crown prosecutor and author on religious freedom. "I think the British courts will recoil in horror. This is just using the law to make a show, an anti-Mormon point. And I'm frankly shocked that a magistrate has issued it."
http://www.azcentral.com/news/article...

Warning: AZCentral will not let you read the article without Javascript or Cookies enabled.
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Perspective On The Monson Summons
Wednesday, Feb 5, 2014, at 08:03 AM
Original Author(s): Jesus Smith
Topic: UK COURTS   -Link To MC Article-
Media Blitzed Monson Summoned to Court on Fraud

The media announcement

As is about to be or has just been reported in the media, Mormon Prophet and President, Thomas Monson was ordered on 31 Jan, 2014 to court and face allegations of fraud. He reportedly received two summons on 3 February, 2014 at his 47 East Temple Street office in Salt Lake City.

According to the summons, a judge in the Westminister Magistrate's Couert in London, England has issued Thomas Spencer Monson with 2 summons containing allegations of seven offences in contravention of Section 1 of the Elizabeth II Fraud Act 2006 .

The summons requires Monson to "appear before Westminster Magistrates' Court, 181 Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5BR on 14/03 2014 at 10AM in Courtroom 6 to answer the said information."

Once Monson is processed by Westminister, the court will then almost certainly refer the case to Southwark Crown Court for further proceedings. The summons declares, "Failure to attend may result in a warrant being issued for your arrest."

According to the Fraud Act 2006, the maximum penalty for the allegations contained in the summons is ten years imprisonment and a fine, for each offence. (See Section 3 (b)on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or to a fine (or to both).)

The case details

I apologize for the length of this blog, and that this format may not be optimal, but the case details are many.

The summons indicates that "Information has been laid by Thomas Phillips" to "Thomas Spencer Monson" and before the magistrate, as such:
That between 3rd February 2008 and 31st December 2013 dishonestly and intending thereby to make a gain for himself or another or a loss or risk of loss to another made or caused to be made representations to [NAME], which were and which you knew were or might be untrue or misleading and thereby induce the said [NAME] to pay an annual tithe to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, namely that

i) The Book of Abraham is a literal translation of Egyptian papyri by Joseph Smith.

ii) The Book of Mormon was translated from ancient gold plates by Joseph 'Smith is the most correct book on earth and is an ancient historical record.

iii) Native Americans are descended from an Israelite family which left Jerusalem in 600 B.C.

iv) Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed as martyrs in 1844 because they would not deny their testimony of the Book of Mormon.

v) The Illinois newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor had to be destroyed because it printed lies about Joseph Smith.

vi) There was no death on this planet prior to 6,000 years ago

vii) All humans alive today are descended from just two people who lived approximately 6,000 years ago Contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006
Two names were given in two summons as the parties to whom Monson made false representations: Stephen Colin Bloor and Christopher Denis Ralph.

Stephen Bloor is a third generation Mormon, a podiatrist who served as a Mormon bishop until he discovered the LDS Church gave many false representations. He penned a resignation as bishop and now writes a blog, campaigning for openness and honesty in the Mormon Church.

Christopher Ralph is a Mormon convert since 1971, who served in bishoprics, and in 2012 helped write open letters to the European Area Presidency, LDS First Presidency (Monson) and the quorum of the twelve apostles, on behalf of many troubled members in the UK. These letters were met with silence. Chris also was the first blogger to break the story behind Grant Palmer's "undercover" Mormon General Authority.

Tom Phillips, the acting prosecutor, is a retired management consultant. A Mormon convert since 1969, he has served as a Bishop, Stake President and Area Executive Secretary. He received the unspoken and secret ordinance of the second anointing. He also served as the Area Controller for the British Isles and Africa as well as the Financial Director for the Church's U.K. corporate entities.

The name of the magistrate who signed the summons is unclear. The only indication is a signature and the designation LJA Code 2570.

Two of the sections in the fraud act 2006 are quoted in the case: Section 2, "Fraud by false representation" and Section 3, "Fraud by failing to disclose information".

The relevant parts of the sections texts read: Section 2 "Fraud by false representation"
(1)A person is in breach of this section if he-

(a)dishonestly makes a false representation, and (b) intends, by making the representation-

(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or (ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

(2)A representation is false if-

(a)it is untrue or misleading, and (b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading.
Section 3 "Fraud by failing to disclose information"
A person is in breach of this section if he-

(a)dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose, and

(b)intends, by failing to disclose the information-

(i)to make a gain for himself or another, or

(ii)to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.
Evidence supporting fraud in violation Section 2 (fraud by false representation) is almost entirely ideological, and claims that Monson made misleading statements to encourage Mormon members to donate money based on false statements that have been shown by science, the media, academics and other institutions to be incorrect and perhaps even slanderous statements with the intent to defraud by encouraging donations to the church on the basis of the false statements. An example of one statement in the prosecutor's case states that Monson has taught the Book of Mormon is a divine work given by God to Joseph Smith, and is "most correct book on earth, and an ancient historical record." However, the prosecutor will argue that academics have shown that "the Book of Mormon has been shown to be a work compiled in the 19th century by Joseph Smith with or without the help of others." And that "DNA evidence demonstrates overwhelmingly that the ancestors of Native Americans came from Siberia around 15,000 30,000 years ago.No trace has been found of Hebrews in either North or South America, and there's no archaeological evidence for any of the Book of Mormon people."

The prosecutor argues in his case, "These are not statements of mere 'beliefs' or opinions or theories, they are made as actual facts and their truthfulness can be objectively tested with evidence, unlike religious claims and beliefs." That the LDS prophet has "made statements of fact which are untrue and he knows, or should know, they are untrue" as an argument that he has perpetuated fraud on the British people with "The purpose . to facilitate the conversion of individuals to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to pay to said church 10% of their income on a continuing, permanent basis."

Evidence supporting fraud in violation of Section 3 (Fraud by failing to disclose information) uses LDS church documents showing that they know certain statements are false but continue to teach them and encourage members to pay tithing. For example, the claim that the Book of Mormon is an ancient record about Hebrews filling the lands in ancient America can be disputed by DNA evidence, and the church has acknowledged they know about the evidence, but have not taught this to members.

[ blog note: I would like to know that the recent essay release on the Book of Mormon and DNA studies alters the equation here. The timing of the release, on 31 January coincides exactly with the date the Magistrate signed the order.]

The evidence for the claims of fraud are laid out by Tom Phillips, as "statements have been made verbally and also published in various forms, including but not limited to: Church manuals such as Gospel Principles (2011), Church magazines such as `The Ensign', Talks by Church leaders, printed and broadcast by satellite and over the internet, Websites owned or operated by the Church."

As the summons states, the following frauds are represented in the case. With these are a few additional notes from the prosecutor's case, but do not represent the sum-total of the information to be laid out to the judge.

i) The Book of Abraham is a literal translation of Egyptian papyri by Joseph Smith. [prosecutor intends to state that "all experts in Egyptology agree the "Book of Abraham" is not a translation of the papyri the Church has in its possession. There are no references to Abraham and Joseph and the interpretations of the facsimiles reproduced in the book are not true. The papyri are, in fact. common funerary texts found on countless Egyptian `mummies'. The Church leaders have been informed of these facts, yet still state it is a translation. Rather than admit their founder (Joseph Smith) lied about this matter, they deliberately and dishonestly repeat the falsehood in order to deceive their Church members and potential converts."]

ii) The Book of Mormon was translated from ancient gold plates by Joseph 'Smith is the most correct book on earth and is an ancient historical record. [prosecutor statement is given above, and also includes "Not only is there no evidence of such civilizations, there is abundant evidence that they did not exist. Certain of the animals and working materials, supposedly used by them, did not exist on the American continent at the time (600 B.C. to 400 A.D.)."]

iii) Native Americans are descended from an Israelite family which left Jerusalem in 600 B.C. [prosecutor: "anthropology and DNA denote Native Americans are of Asian origin and came to America, some 15,000 to 30,000 years ago. No trace of Israelite DNA has been discovered in the study of Native American peoples."]

iv) Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed as martyrs in 1844 because they would not deny their testimony of the Book of Mormon. [prosecutor: "they died in a gun battle while incarcerated in jail on charges of treason against the state of Illinois. It had nothing to do with their defence of the Book of Mormon and Church historians know that."]

v) The Illinois newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor had to be destroyed because it printed lies about Joseph Smith. [prosecutor: "the claims made about Joseph Smith, in the newspaper, are true i.e. he taught and practised plural marriage (polygamy) and he was ordained a king."]

vi) There was no death on this planet prior to 6,000 years ago [prosecutor: "there has been death of living organisms on this planet for billions of years."]

vii) All humans alive today are descended from just two people who lived approximately 6,000 years ago [prosecutor: "anthropology, history and DNA studies prove this to be impossible. Our earliest common female ancestor is considered to have lived about 150,000 years ago."]

The prosecutor makes a case of general dishonesty against Monson, highlighting his education and ability to know the answers and facts contradicting his false representations, saying: "He has received formal education to masters degree level and has also received honorary doctorates. He is well educated beyond the level at which an ordinary person would or should know the representations are false."

The prosecutor outlines the following cases of dishonesty with little detail (as yet provided):
  • Found guilty on election fraud (proposition 8 in CA,USA)
  • Holland lied to BBC interviewer
  • LDS Church has been reported and accused of tax evasion in the UK (more below)
among others.

The prosecutor makes the case for why Monson perpetuated this fraud: "The purpose of these untrue and misleading statements is to facilitate the conversion of individuals to become members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and to pay to said church 10% of their income on a continuing, permanent basis. A second purpose is to mislead those individuals who are already members of the said Church, so that they will continue paying 10% of their income. This tithing income is paid in the United Kingdom to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Great Britain), an unlimited liability company and registered charity with its registered office in England. The President of the two corporation sole shareholders of this U.K. company is Thomas Spencer Monson."

For more information about the corporation sole and its structure with articles of incorporation, see my blog from 2012 with more details.

Addionally, the prosecutor argues that non-Mormon or non-paying Mormon family members "cannot attend the wedding ceremony unless they too are members of the Church and, among other conditions, pay a full tithe. If they have been amiss is paying, but are willing to pay the arrears of the past year, they may be allowed. Therefore, they have to pay to attend their child's (sibling's) wedding... Thus, they take away a normal parental right and then charge you money if you want the `benefit' they have taken from you. Nobody would agree to such a regime unless they believed the false representations to be true."

The information supplied to the court by the prosecutor claims, "As an example of the financial gain to the Church (and, therefore, loss to the individuals making the contributions), since the implementation of the Fraud Act 2006 (i.e. January 2007) the donations received in the U.K. in consequence in part at least of these false representations amount to approximately 224 million, according to the accounts filed with the Charity Commission from 2007 to 2012 inclusive . The current year (2013) could be a further 33 million making a total of 257 million."

Here is a table pulled from the UK Charity Commission website under the "Financial history" section.

Image Missing.

The previous year, I had reported these figures in this blog, just after reporting on the Mission President Handbook release.

Significant detail about the church's activities in the UK can be downloaded from the commission's website under the "View accounts" section.

The summons was signed 31 January 2014 and issued under section 1 of the Magistrates' Courts Act 1980, on receiving a formal Statement (described in that section as an `information') alleging that someone has committed an offence, the court may issue-
(a) a summons requiring that person to attend court? or

(b) a warrant for that person's arrest, if-

(i) the alleged offence must or may be tried in the Crown Court,

(ii) the alleged offence is punishable with imprisonment
Now, my personal take on this:

I applaud and support Tom in trying to call out the LDS leaders on perpetuating fraud. I believe it is true. I believe they know more than they are willing to teach to the average member. I believe the Topic Essay articles addressing issues that questioning members have raised recently (such as with Christopher Ralph's letter or the Swedish Rescue fiasco) show that they have been aware of these problems for many years. It is interesting that they are now dealing with these issues, just about the time Tom started filing his fraud case last year, and that the DNA essay arrived the day the summons were sent.

However, I approach all of this with skepticism on its success. The LDS Church is very wealthy, retains full-time about half of the 150+ lawyers at McConkie and has a team of lawyers in its own legal department. You can bet they will throw their full effort into defending against these charges and try to get even the summons dismissed. The LDS Church has considerable political weight in the US, with church members occupying positions on the judicial bench at every level in both state (UT) and federal branch. They have church members holding 7% of the US Senate, including the senate majority leader, the ranking member of the finance committee and more. This from a church whose US membership is just a hair below 2% and whose active members might peak 1% of the US population. That is a lot of political, judicial and legal might for such a fraction of a minority of the population.

Furthermore, I believe no judge, UK or US, will want the responsibility to set a precedence of finding a church leader as powerful as even the small church's Mormon Prophet guilty of fraud through "ideological" deceit. To most eyes outside of the LDS Church, this case will look mostly ideological, and that sets it up for problems because no judge wants to convict against free exercise of religion. At least, that would be the public perception, even if the fraud claims are about false representations made on facts of science and history, and not just about beliefs. But the public will not understand such nuances. The LDS Church PR machine will ensure that it appears victimized by ex-members and "anti-Mormons" who challenge its basic rights to free exercise.

This responsibility is probably too high for even a liberal judge in the UK or other parts of Europe.

However, what Tom (primarily) and the MormonThink team (supportive) have done is truly amazing. It forces the issues into the open record of the legal field, and may even go to trial long enough that Monson's legal team will have to clarify on the record the answers to these troubling issues. No more will the answers come from quietly released essay articles that are not dated, time stamped, authored or authorized by any names. The nameless, dateless and non-authoritative nature of the article responses to issues could be made a matter of legal and public record. That is a huge win, even if Monson is completely unlikely to be convicted on any counts of fraud.

Monson's age is a problem. He's in his 90s and a good legal team can make the case he is unable to stand trial for health reasons. However, that is not a concession the LDS Church PR machine wants to make. They don't want to represent their president as incompetent. Rest assured, the legal team has many other tricks to use first before pulling the senile card. And I'm betting against a trial even happening because of the amount of legal weight behind Monson.

Something better?

Now, if there were a financial smoking gun with documents showing clear fraud, then the case could make trial and even possibly conviction. Financial fraud is much clearer and more easily convicted than a fraud based on seemingly ideological issues.

In December 2012, I reported receiving a copy of the Mission President's Handbook from a church insider. This created quite a stir. And even the Intellectual Property LDS legal representative affirmed under penalty of perjury that it is a legitimate copy. Recall, in the MP Handbook Appendix B is detailed how the Mission Presidents were to keep payments to them quiet and not report them to tax authorities. Quote:

"do not share information on funds you receive from the Church with those who help you with financial or tax matters ... never represent in any way that you are paid for your service. ... do not list any funds you receive from the Church, regardless of where you serve or where you hold citizenship."

Mission presidents are told that they "should not open a local bank account for personal funds received from the Church . . . especially if the account would produce interest (and thus raise income tax questions)."

Instead of allowing mission president control over their personal funds, "a joint personal bank account at Church headquarters is established for you and your wife."

The handbook advises the mission president that "any funds reimbursed to you should be kept strictly confidential and should not be discussed with missionaries, other mission presidents, friends, or family members."

Here are the specific reimbursements dispensed out of the payment the LDS Church deposits in the Mission President's account.

"While you are serving as mission president, the Church reimburses the necessary living expenses for you, your wife, and your dependent children."

These "necessary" living expenses include:
  • Rent or lease or house payment,
  • Food,
  • Clothing,
  • Household supplies,
  • Family activities,
  • Dry cleaning,
  • Personal long-distance calls to family,
  • Modest gifts (for example, Christmas, birthdays, or anniversary),
  • Utilities,
  • Telephones,
  • Internet connection,
  • Gardening, (employed gardener)
  • Repair or replacement of household items,
  • Part-time housekeeper,
  • Part-time cook,
  • One mission automobile assigned exclusively to the mission president,
  • Other assigned mission vehicles (used by the wife or licensed dependents for"shopping, taking children to school, or other needs.)
  • Automobile insurance, registration and taxes on assigned vehicles,
  • Medical expenses (dental, eye care and medically necessary orthodontia),
  • One round trip fare for each child under age 26 to visit the parents' mission,
  • Elementary and secondary school expenses for tuition, fees, books, and materials,
  • Undergraduate tuition at an accredited college or university,
  • Financial support for children serving full-time missions
While most of those sound reasonable, many are seen as taxable, especially in the UK. According to their tax authority, document SA012M from Her Majesty's Revenue Customs (HMRC) on tax rules for "ministers of religion": Ministers are to report as income "fee" and "contractual payments" or any "gift or grants you receive because of your work". They even ask the minister to declare "salary" or "stipend" in "box 2". The stipend received by mission presidents makes it clear they are considered employees in the UK, and the amounts paid to them or reimbursed to them as a 'living allowance' is a salary. Add to that the cash equivalent of the benefit of housing, cars, medical insurance, college fees, cook, family travel etc. This needs to be "grossed up" and tax and employee national insurance contributions paid on it. Also the church as employer has to pay National Insurance Contributions (like US Social Security payroll tax) on the gross less a "lower earnings limit" at 13.8%. The church had in 2013 5 MPs in the U.K. (they used to have 8 in previous years). This kind of tax evasion has probably been going on for over 30 years. The amounts involved, plus interest and penalties will be in the millions of dollars.

Here then, is an estimate on Mission President "salary":
  • Food and Household Supplies 8,000
  • Clothing 4,000
  • Family Activities 3,000
  • Dry Cleaning, Personal long distance phone 1,000
  • Gifts - Christmas, birthdays, Anniversaries 2,000
  • Medical Insurance and other medical bills 6,000
  • Tuition Fees - school and university 3,000
  • Family Travel (from US) for under 26 y.o. 1,000
  • Utilities - heating, council tax etc. 4,000
  • Gardener and Cook 9,000
  • Mission costs if child serving mission
  • Term Life Insurance up to $100 per month 800
SubTotal 41,800

House taxable benefit at 4% (on 600K home) = 24,000
  • Car Benefit 5,000
  • Total = net pay 70,800
  • Employee's NIC = maximum of 4,430
  • 75 k grossed up = approximately 105,000
  • Employer's NIC at 13.8% of excess 13,722
Fraud can be reported, and now has been reported to the UK HMRC at their website. Tom Phillips, who reports that he worked as the financial director for LDS Church corporate entities has said concerning the unpaid taxes on Mission President account reimbursements and stipends:
"It was discussed at a First Presidency meeting with the Presiding Bishopric and they decided to continue not reporting and pay any fines when, and if, they were discovered. This is blatant tax evasion, a criminal activity in the UK. I never kept any documentary evidence but this hand book would be incriminating for them. "
I'll continue updating on the case and the tax evasion filing as time goes on.

Some have asked if I am happy to see Thomas Monson given this "black eye". No, I'm not. I wish the world were a place where we could all speak openly and honestly. I wish we could all sit down over a coffee or Pepsi and discuss the issues like gentlemen, work them out, admit our deficiencies and know that we are all in this world together. No one has a pipeline to God more than anyone else, whatever 'god' really is. Monson pretending to have that unique pole-position with god hurts a lot of people who spend a lot of their lives worried over activities, rules, lifestyles and donate a lot of hard earned money they could be using to better their lives, their children's lives or donate to causes that actually affect people of great need. Instead, Monson and his pals continue soaking good-hearted people for the benefits of their egos and to some extent, their wallets.

This act won't probably do more than put a slow-down in their land grabs and power purchases. In a couple of months, it will be back to secret business as usual. With one difference: More of us will be watching and so will the media.
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A Church That Teaches Unique Doctrine That Requires Its Members To Pay In Order To Receive Some Of Its Unique Services Isn't A Church--It's A For-Profit Business
Thursday, Feb 6, 2014, at 07:15 AM
Original Author(s): Zarb0z
Topic: UK COURTS   -Link To MC Article-
The accusation seems to be that the organization we call TSCC is a corporation, and this corporation takes money in a fraudulent manner.

Corporations are bound by different laws than churches.

The popular viewpoint seems to be that this corporation requires money in exchange for some of its services. Again, that's not necessarily illegal--for a corporation.

However, a church that teaches unique doctrine that requires its members to pay in order to receive some of its unique services isn't a church--it's a for-profit business.

If said church were somehow able to prove that its unique services came at a financial cost to it, it would be possible to say the church spends its income on those services. Because the services outlined in the summons cannot be exchanged for money, they need to be able to prove that those specific things are legitimate, that people are actually getting them.

Otherwise, this could be considered a one-man act in the middle of the desert, selling snake oil under the guise that, if you don't buy it, you will die and be ineligible for the benefits of never having heard of him in the first place. This type of fraud has a long history of prosecution.

In fact, Joseph Smith was convicted of it in 1826.

If the basis of the service is that it is originated in an authority defined by the storyteller, then the intangible items support the tangible.

Keep it basic, though: the temple ordinances are declined to those who don't fully tithe. Why does that matter? Because if it can be proven that the background is a lie, then the services are a lie.

Face it: if there were some way to prove Jesus Christ never rose from the dead, or any myriad other things in the New Testament, the Roman Catholic church would have been sued a long time ago. The differences, in this case, are that the RC don't flat-out refuse to give you sacraments if you don't tithe fully and the RC isn't a Corporation Sole.

Tithe because you want to, however much you want, to whomever you want. If someone else tells you how much, or says you can't have something if you don't tithe enough, then they'd better be able to show where that magic pixie dust came from. If they can't, then somebody else better not be able to prove that magic pixie dust is dehydrated bovine excrement.
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Joint Statement Concerning Summonses Served On Thomas Spencer Monson
Friday, Feb 7, 2014, at 06:48 AM
Original Author(s): Steve Bloor, Chris Ralph
Topic: UK COURTS   -Link To MC Article-
This present case is Tom Phillips' initiative. However, we were invited by him last December to submit to the District Judge letters outlining our own situations. Perhaps, in view of the many ideas which have been flying about since the news of the summonses broke, we could first state what this legal action, in our view, is NOT about:

It is NOT an attack on ordinary faithful Mormons. We have been long enough in those ranks to understand their outlook, and their need to believe in something to which they are committing their lives, and we also know only too well the pain of discovering, before we were ready to, the harsh realities of Mormon history.

It is NOT per se an attack on Mormonism as a belief system. We believe that as long as people are first made aware of all of the relevant historical facts which ought to inform their decision making, it becomes solely their choice and their business if they wish to hand over their money, time and efforts to the LDS church. When comprehensive disclosure becomes the normal practice, we will find no fault. We accept that some will choose to believe whatever they will, despite mountains of contrary evidence, and that is their inalienable right.

NOR, as far as we are concerned, is this a personal vendetta against Thomas Monson. We do not know him, and he has never met us. Unfortunately, he happens to be the man at this point who occupies the Church President's office, and so the summonses have been served upon him. On a personal basis we feel compassion for a man of his advanced years, allegedly not in the best of health, who has recently lost his wife. He has been part of our Mormon culture. We always enjoyed seeing him wiggle his ears to entertain the children. It is a rare gift. We feel no personal animosity towards him.

This is NOT being done out of anger, but out of concern for the many who otherwise, will perhaps one day feel hurt and betrayed, as we presently do.

This action is being taken over what we consider to be unethical and fraudulent practices. Our view is based upon our own experiences, and also those of others within the Mormon community. These practices are approved and implemented by the church hierarchy. Our argument is therefore with that system and whoever is ultimately responsible for implementing such practices.

When members of the church are formally taught from childhood that they will only be with their families in the next life if they pay a minimum of 10% of their income to the church, (tithing being a requirement of entering the temple, where the eternal sealing of families occurs), a pattern of lifelong financial sacrifice is established. We have been taught that all hope of remaining with our loved ones in the next life, is contingent upon a lifelong monetary commitment to the church, and we have been led to believe that the keys to this eternal sealing are vested in the President of the church, currently Thomas Monson, who has authority to grant or dissolve such unions. We have been repeatedly instructed by those in church authority that God requires us to pay tithing before attending to any other household expenditure, such as rent, food, fuel or clothing.

It follows that those who default on payments, start to fear that they will lose their loved ones in the eternities. In certain cases known to us, defaulting tithe-payers descend into a state of despondency, feeling utterly worthless, sometimes losing the respect and confidence of their family members who depend upon them to be obedient to the law of tithing. In many cases obedience is accomplished only through fear and coercion, and the fear is induced by constant reference to and emphasis upon the LDS scriptures. Yet those scriptures themselves fail the tests of historical authenticity. A growing body of evidence, (not disclosed at present to the average tithe-payer), clearly points to them as being the work of Joseph Smith, and his contemporaries, rather than texts of ancient origin.

We contend that anyone faced with making a demanding financial commitment to the LDS church, deserves first to be presented with the full evidence concerning LDS truth claims, so that they may make up their minds without being misled. In the UK, such onerous financial commitments are usually undertaken with appropriate warnings and additional information, otherwise they are deemed "mis-sold". We believe that any person seeking to join the LDS church in Britain, and all British members wishing to place their trust in the family sealing powers claimed for the LDS temple, first ought to be told, at the very least, why The Book of Abraham is not accepted by the rest of the world as an authentic translation, and why The Book of Mormon has much more in common with a 19th century novel than it has with 1600 year old Native American artefacts; they should also be informed of the real reasons which led to the murder of Joseph and Hyrum Smith, including the shocking details of Joseph Smith's polygamous and polyandrousextra-marital unions, in the name of God, with women and girls, some as young as 14.

If, knowing these details, candidates choose to proceed with their baptisms or temple ordinances, none will later be able to claim, as we now do, that they have been deceived. At present however, that is very much not the situation, for most tithe-paying temple-attending members have little or no idea about the true history of their religion, or the profound lack of evidence supporting many of their tenets.

We would like to see the church admit that it has erred grossly for many years in neglecting to address these matters openly and honestly as a matter of routine. We feel it should repent of its failings, apologising for misleading its members in the past, encouraging them in turn to mislead others in their missionary and teaching assignments. We would like to see the church taking steps to educate its members and prospective members fully in accordance with the historical record. We would also like to see full openness and accountability in terms of financial accounting and LDS archival holdings. We would like it to provide sensitive counselling and care for those who lose their faith when they discover the uncomfortable realities. There should be no more labelling of such members as "faithless", "dissidents" or "apostates" - as though there was something wrong with people having a desire to seek out the truth. Possibly the church leaders could work in combination with those of us who have already trodden this difficult path, so that rehabilitation into the wider world of belief choices would become smoother and less traumatic for spiritual victims of the system.

We are also anxious to see the church offer assurances about the position with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs of members and former members who now feel, as we do, that our tithing and other offerings were obtained by the church under false pretenses. For every pound paid to the church by LDS members in the UK who, (following leadership counsel), have availed themselves of Deeds of Covenant and Gift Aid, 0.20 has been added by the British Taxpayer to the church's bank accounts. The sum paid out by HMRC in this connection must now amount to tens of millions of pounds. It is understood that in most cases the resulting tax rebates made to individuals, were handed over to the church at its request. We seek an assurance from the church therefore, that in the event that at some future time these payments made by HMRC will be deemed to have been fraudulently obtained, the LDS church will offer immunity to those individuals, and ensure that such sums as were rebated will be returned with the due interest to HMRC.

Finally we hope one day to see a more compassionate church, in which those of us who still retain through habit something of a Mormon identity, may find acceptance within the LDS community, no matter what our perceived deficiencies or peculiarities or orientations might be, being valued simply because we place a high value on objective truth.

Steve Bloor,
Chris Ralph
7th February 2014
topic image
What Sort Of Fraud Are We Talking About Here?
Monday, Feb 10, 2014, at 05:32 PM
Original Author(s): Social Clash
Topic: UK COURTS   -Link To MC Article-
In the interest of full disclosure: I am NOT a British law expert. I'm a 23 year old dental lab technician. And Canadian. I'm just referencing material I've seen posted in this subreddit over the past few days, so if I get anything wrong PLEASE CORRECT MY MISINFORMATION. Thanks!

*From /u/ZisGuy [1] 's comment[2] on the Joint Statement RE: Summons...[3] thread, posted in this subreddit yesterday.

Quick explanation of gift aid, for those who are curious (please correct me where I'm wrong):

-In UK, the government will supplement the money you pay to a charity.

-This includes tithing.

-The amount the government pays is determined by how much you pay.

-The government will pay a percentage of what you pay, if you are paying 8% of your income. This means that paying 8% of your income and filling out some paperwork will result in the same amount being paid as if you were paying 10% of your income.

-IIRC, paying 10% of your income takes you over some threshold beyond which the government will not match to the same degree (diminishing returns.)

-Many members are uncomfortable with using gift aid because they aren't sacrificing the full 10%, so they will pay an additional 2% to humanitarian aid, missionary fund, or some other church fund. Other members avoid gift aid altogether for simplicity's sake.

-The church encourages using gift aid. I once went to an EQ meeting in which the topic of the entire hour was "how to set up gift aid".

Okay. So to me this is a HUGE deal. I think that it's one of the talking points that will persuade people to take the lawsuit far more seriously-- because it involves the government donating taxpayer money as a "charitable expense" to a religious organization.

Normally, fine, whatever, people can spend their money however the hell they want and while I may blink a few times I generally don't care.

But this is important.

This is the Mormon church utilizing a system set up by the UK government to encourage people to support charities-- the government will pay to the selfsame "charitable organizations" a percentage of what you donate, as long as you meet that 8% threshold. Pay 8% of your income to LDSCorp, the government will kick in 2% more to make it a round 10.

So government money, taxpayer money, is being sent to LDSCorp to be used for... what?

(Note: I don't know whether the Mormon church is required to report on their income in the UK, I'm fairly certain they are here in Canada though)

So the Mormon church receives this money from the British government, and rather than spending it on actual charity work, they invest it and spend the money on building malls. Not feeding starving children, not helping people pay their rent if they're in a bind the way they claim to... no, the money is invested and then used to fund malls. And to extort people in the Mormon church to pay tithing and fulfil an absurd list of requirements before getting financial aid from an organization that claims that it helps people.

This is the part that I find downright loathsome. The Mormon church is teaching it's members in the UK to deliberately cheat the system[4] --click the link to see an archived copy of the Gift Aid form from the lds.org.uk website! (remember how people make up that extra 2% in other "donations"?) and they come out on top with taxpayer money in their coffers.

It's sickening.

EDIT: Quoted from the lds.org.uk website (emphasis added is my own):

Making donations to the church through Gift Aid increases the value of your donations by allowing the church to reclaim basic rate tax on your gift. Donors must pay enough UK income tax and/or capital gains tax themselves to cover the amount of tax the church will reclaim. A declaration is necessary to authorise the reclaiming of tax and can cover future gift aid contributions.

further editing: From /u/PayLayAle:

The fraud comes in because they use provably wrong information to induce people in the U.K. to pay.

The LDS church knows the papyrus for the Book of Abraham was not "Translated" by Joseph as he claimed, they know the truth yet they use a lie to induce people to pay $$. And in part because the people are paying because of a fraudulent story the U.K. is sucked in paying $$ because these people were tricked by provable lies.

From my limited understanding, if the Morg was asking people to pay tithing for any reason that wasn't tied to fundamentally false and disprovable doctrine/origin claims, there wouldn't be a problem. But because you can prove their claims wrong, and those claims are centric to getting a temple recc, eternal salvation, etc, THAT is the fraud that is so important. I think?
 
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Thomas Monson Issued Court Summons To Answer Allegations Of Fraud
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What Sort Of Fraud Are We Talking About Here?
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