Comments about ‘'Bizarre' British summons roundly criticized by legal experts, religious freedom advocates’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 6 2014 7:15 p.m. MST

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Northern Lights
Arco, ID

Sharrona, yes, here we go again.

I don't believe that President Joseph F. Smith has anything to do about judicial showmanship in Britain. Were I a member of the British Government, I'd be just a tad embarrassed over this judge's ruling. Not good for international relations.

Second, anyone who argues your particular point has probably stopped on page 483 of the record of the Smooth hearings without proceeding on to page 484 where President Smith stated that he has had "impressions of the spirit" upon his mind "very frequently." To many LDS, that is a common form of revelation. I don't expect he could have expanded on that thought given the hostile nature of the hearing. In the meantime, I suggest we just leave the red herrings to the whales.

Kirkland, WA

"If we have the truth, it ought not to be harmed by investigation. If we have not the truth, it ought to be harmed." J. Reuben Clark, a respected apostle said this. All of the statements about like "these are the latter days, persecution will mount against us" and "the church would never lie" are ignoring the fact that this case is about a search for truth. The plaintiff's argument states a list of truth claims made by the church for which they can provide proof that they are correct. I think it's a great opportunity for the Prophet and the church to step forward with full transparency and confirm once and for all that the church is true. If they cannot do that, then it would lead a reasonable person to conclude they have something to hide. If they have something to hide, what is it? Why? What does it serve? These are questions every member should grapple with. We should all be capable of enough objectivity to not only be able to rationally point out the tenets of other religions we believe illustrate their falsehood, but to objectively examine those within our own church as well.

Here, UT

Religious freedom doesn't cover fraud. That is what the man is suing for: Fraud.

layton, UT

RE: Northern Lights, yes, here we go again.

(Reed Smoot)After years of hearings, the remaining charges of the opposition included:
That church leaders were still practicing(illegally) plural marriage. Apostles John W. Taylor and Matthias F. Cowley were still performing plural marriages in Mexico and Canada, though Taylor was later excommunicated for the practice.

That the church was exerting too much influence on Utah politics.
That members were required to take oaths in the temples to seek revenge on the United States. (See: oath of vengeance)

Kirkland, WA


Someone's account that they did something and writing it down does not make fact. I could no less claim "I invented cold fusion. I wrote it down right here." and expect people to believe me. Evaluate that statement against testable, repeatable methods of establishing whether a translation is correct. Many people even before the Rosetta Stone discovery could translate Egyptian characters so the language and its translation is a known science. Smith's translations do not match the Egyptian characters in Abraham at all. So, in short, it IS common knowledge that was not translated from Egyptian as Smith claimed.

Unreconstructed Reb
Chantilly, VA

So many comments focusing on the church's truth claims. That's a complete sideshow to the central issue.

To prove fraud, the plaintiff will have to show that President Monson obtained money from claims which he personally believed to be false.

Yeah, right. Good luck with that.

Russell Spencer
Boise, ID

Maybe we should put Phillips on the defensive.

He claims DNA disproves the Book of Mormon. It doesn't. His argument rests on faulty assumptions (that, per Book of Mormon, Tribe Lehi is the unique founding group for ALL indigenous Americans; in fact it teaches that a remnant of Tribe Lehi would be found AMONG the indigenous Americans--significant difference) and relies on outdated evidence (a common feature of anti-Mormon polemics).

A basic primer: The founding mtDNA haplogroups in the Americas are ABCD (all East Asian) and X--specifically X2, which originated in the Levant (the Galilean Druze, a DNA refugium, have all the various strands of X2). The American strand of X2 is almost uniformly X2a (with a little X2g), so the population that introduced X2 likely started out small (larger groups have more genetic diversity).

So mtDNA evidence suggests that a small group of people migrated to the Americas from the Near East at some point in time after the founding of the various X2 strands. When after? We don't know. Whether that small group of people was Tribe Lehi, we don't know. But the evidence certainly doesn't "disprove" that belief either.


What starts on the extremes becomes the norm. This case involves a bitter ex-Mormon and an extremist, atheistic judge in a small court in England. However, in another 15 - 20 years it could easily become common place for religion to be hauled into court by atheists. The current trend in the world, and the US, is moving toward the destruction of our most basic freedom - freedom of religion.

Disagreeing with someone does not negate their beliefs. The left does not understand this, and they will become what they have always feared - dogmatic tyrants.

Potsdam, 00

Thanks to DN for providing links.

Now I am searching the sources and do agree it is a big help for me to gain additional insides. That people of all kind of faith need explanations is clear, question remains, can they proceed to have answers beyond that what someone has taught them ?

That is the teaching of this church, you may receive if you knock and willing to prepare your heart for spiritual insides to the matter.

As far as I know, claims of the anti-BM or anti-BA are of thin margin since what comes first, a testimony of God or some educated logic of the Mind ?

If Lehi is guilty of fraud, or Abraham of deception, then I am willing to think it over again. But for what I know, there is more truth in what they said, then what you read.

The church is no fraud, since it is built on Christ, who is no fraud.
Christ did not tell me to be aware of the church of Jesus Christ but of it's people.

This is the testimony, after all we have heard, that He lives !

Russell Spencer
Boise, ID

Recent studies in Y-Chromosomal DNA haplogroups are also of some interest. The founding American Y-haplogroups (so far--Y-chromosomal decoding is at its beginning phases) are Q, C, and R--specifically R-M173. Q appears East Asian, as does C (though some suggest C MAY originate in Arabia, its migration at least tends eastward). R-M173, however, is not found in East Asia (at all). It is West Eurasian, most common to Europe, significant in the Central Asian steppes, and also found in the Near East. Who brought it to America? Who knows? But the old, tired theory, espoused by Phillips and others like him, that the founding of the Americas came from some monolithic migratory wave from East Asia is what modern genetic research falsifies. That research does not, however, falsify the Book of Mormon.

Provo, UT

Well, I fully expect this Magistrate to next summon the Queen of England to her court and answer the same kind of charges. After all, the Queen is the head of the Church of England. Just think how much fun they'd have over there by hauling the Queen in.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Let's stop and think about this for a second. This is a serious misstep by the British government, and serious missteps always present good opportunities. I say turn into the skid. The English (not British) have great animus for religion in general. I say Pres. Monson seriously consider showing up for the hearing. Then use the British legal levers and best British representation to show how religious bigotry is not only profoundly irrational, illogical, and fallacious, but also abusive and oppressive.

It's time that knee-jerk religious bigotry had a mirror held up to itself in a legal forum, and this is a great opportunity.


We are living in CRAZY times.

Houston, TX

If the crux of the summons is that Pres. Monson encourages the payment of tithing to a church that he knows is false, I suggest that this can be proved or disproved by a simple question: "Has Pres. Monson personally paid tithing?" If he has paid tithing throughout his life, which I believe to be the case, then obviously he believes the church is true. The fraud charge stands refuted.

Salt Lake City, Utah

There are specific tests for determining fraud. One is that it includes a transaction, not a voluntary donation. Not only are religious beliefs protected (making it basically state-sponsored religious persecution), but it also doesn't meet the most simple of prima facie requirements. It might be that the LDS church has good grounds for filing a civil lawsuit itself for harassment and abuse of process.

Springville, UT

Interesting that they didn't mention Mr. Phillips is the managing editor of mormonthink dot com, a prominent ex-mormon website describing many of the historical and other issues he has included as part of the suit. There is other interesting information about him personally and the extent of his prior involvement with the church, as well. He was more than a former bishop and stake president.

SÃo Paulo, Brazil, 00

I support Pres. Thomas S. Monson as a true prophet of God, as well as Joseph Smith. Faithful members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints pay tithing not because Pres. Monson tells them to, but because it is a law of God. In my 53 years as a member of the Church I have received the many blessings promised by the Lord to those who comply with this sacred law.To the dissenters we say: we love you and pray for you. Please set aside your grudges, repent and come back to the fold of Christ while there is still time!


No, it's just ridiculous, and Thomas Monson is outside the jurisdiction of a foreign court.

Nowadays all bets are off; we see absurd and unreasonable litigations all the time, here and perhaps it is starting up in British courts too.

If Britain is true to its traditions though nothing will come of this: LDS missionary work has always been legal there. One bishop sought to arrest some Mormon missionaries in the 1800's but he could not get anyone to carry it out. A bill was brought in parliament to outlaw proselyting by Mormon missionaries and it was overwhelmingly defeated.

I am amazed that this was taken seriously. Perhaps the judge was just weird; it happens.

London, 00

@RedWings "an extremist, atheistic judge in a small court in England"

Actually No. Elizabeth Roscoe is not some two bit judge from the outer boons. She is a very highly respected District Judge at Westminster Magistrates Court in London. Not a "small court in England" BTW.

She has overseen a number of very high profile cases there, including police corruption and those of the ringleaders of the London riots. She would not sign a summons without a reasonable case with suitable evidence being presented.

UK Law: "The court must not ‘sign off on’ and issue a summons that would amount to an abuse of the court’s process (R (Mayor of Newham) v Stratford Magistrates’ Court [2004] EWHC 2506 (Admin)) or is simply vexatious."

I've not found mention anywhere of District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe's religious affiliation. Perhaps you know something we don't?

Leesburg, VA

>> I think it's a great opportunity for the Prophet and the church to step forward with full transparency and confirm once and for all that the church is true.

The best way to stand up to hostile anti-Mormons is simply to deny them the audience they seek. Don't argue with them. Don't give them a public platform. Contention isn't the Lord's way of preaching the gospel.

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