Monson Fraud Case Dismissed

A senior judge in England threw out the Monson fraud case today. The judge’s ruling was apparently based on this statement from him:

“To convict, a jury would need to be sure that the religious teachings of the Mormon Church are untrue or misleading…No judge in a secular court in England and Wales would allow that issue to be put to a jury.”

That’s a rather odd and sad position to take for the judge. The Mormon church gets a free pass on potentially committing fraud simply because it is a religion? Why should a religion be able to collect money from adherents based on fraudulent claims, but not other type of organization would get away with the same thing?

Advertisements

15 thoughts on “Monson Fraud Case Dismissed

  1. Hey Macky, I think the issue is one of precedent. If a judge allows this to go ahead, where would it end? With all orthodox religions being sued out of existence? I don’t think he wanted that one on his head. Honestly I never thought the action would be successful for this reason. I don’t doubt Tom Phillips’ sincerity but he comes across as a bit naive sometimes.

    • The distinction should be made between unfalsifiable beliefs and those that can factually be proven false. It is easy to show that the Earth is not thousands of years old or that the Book of Abraham was not a literal translation of ancient Egyptian. Tom made quite a few mistakes in the whole affair, but I thought that argument was a sound one at least.

    • What exactly is your point, Lori? Deseret News, which is owned by the Mormon church, is perhaps even more biased on this case than Fox News is on politics.

  2. Question for you, Mark: why are you so angry at the Mormon church? Yes, I understand that you feel you were lied to, but were you substantially hurt in any other way? Is your life a mess because of what you learned in the Church? Are you psychologically or physically damaged? Do you have a good life? What about your family-are they hurt by the Church? Other than all of the alleged falsehoods the Church told you, didn’t they teach you how to be a good person, how to be honest, how to develop leadership skills? Perhaps it kept you from trying underage drinking, or smoking or even premarital sex, who knows? Just a thought.
    Also, since your parents were the ones who decided to use the Church as a vehicle to help them raise you and your sibs, why aren’t you equally angry with them? Shouldn’t they have checked the Church out thoroughly before introducing it to your family? They are intelligent people, why were they so fooled? Did they also lie to you?
    I just wonder why you seem to have so much glee when you find out something negative about the Church. For an institution that seemed to help you turn out to be a decent person, you have a lot of disdain and hatred. You’re “free” from it’s clutches now, why can’t you just let it all go and just move on with your life?

    Just wondering.

    • Fair questions.

      It is an organization based on fraud. It harms some people I care about. It continues to lie and maintain control over some of my friends and family members. I seriously regret wasting a huge amount of time and money on it.

      “Also, since your parents were the ones who decided to use the Church as a vehicle to help them raise you and your sibs, why aren’t you equally angry with them? Shouldn’t they have checked the Church out thoroughly before introducing it to your family? They are intelligent people, why were they so fooled? Did they also lie to you?”

      My parents didn’t lie to me. They believed it as well, or at least a good portion of it (I doubt my scientist father, for example, ever believed the crazy anti-science claims). My parents were provided with the same false information I was. For that same reason, I’m not angry with other church members. I particularly dislike the organization, the top leaders (who I do think are for the most part aware of the true history and choose to hide it), and apologists. But regular church members are not knowingly perpetrating the falsehoods for the most part.

      “For an institution that seemed to help you turn out to be a decent person, you have a lot of disdain and hatred.”

      Well I think my parents, teachers, friends, and family members deserve most of the credit for any positive aspects of my personality. The Mormon church did have some positive teachings, but it also taught me sexism, homophobia, and a completely incorrect view of the world around me. How many wasted hours did I spend in seminary, on a mission, in church, home teaching, doing callings, or in the temple? Surely it must be well over 20,000 hours. What else could I have done with those lost hours? Perhaps something actually productive.

      “You’re “free” from it’s clutches now, why can’t you just let it all go and just move on with your life?”

      Lori, I thoroughly enjoy this whole process of leaving Mormonism, studying its history, and following news about it. It doesn’t consume me. Mormonism will always, regretfully, be a part of me. I spent 30 years believing in it. I like deconstructing it. I like analyzing where I went wrong, why I failed to see through the lies all those years. Most of all, I love helping other people see the truth.

      Thirty years ago, most of this information was not freely available or easily accessible. Very few people were vocal about leaving Mormonism. There were a few like the Tanners and Richard Packham, but it was a scary thing for someone to leave. They risked losing family, friends, and sometimes even their jobs. That is slowly changing as the information becomes more accessible. More people leave and they feel more comfortable talking publicly about their reasons for their disaffection.

      The parallels to other social changes are fascinating. Gay teenagers are less scared of coming out of the closet to their parents. One of my friends was essentially disowned by her parents for marrying someone of a different race. Now that it is more commonplace, situations like that are becoming more rare. I look forward to the day when doubting Mormons feel comfortable and safe expressing their feelings about it. But if everyone either shelved their doubts out of fear or left silently and moved on, that would never happen.

  3. My turn, Lori. Why do you cherry-pick science? You use a computer and drive a car with a combustion engine. You’ll depend on science to figure out what temperature to cook something at. If you wanted to find out how a magnet works, you would look it up from a scientific source rather than ask a witch doctor.

    Yet while you watch the weather reports, you also mock the same science when it tells you that our world is warming. Your car is powered by fossil fuel from millions of years of organic processes, but you think the Earth is only a few thousand years old. You like cute dogs, but deny the evolutionary processes that made them appear cute to us.

    Science is interconnected. It all relies on the same fundamental model. If someone wants to prove an established scientific theory wrong, they have to deal with the observational data and propose a more plausible or accurate theory.

    For you, your smartphone clearly works. You accept the science involved in it because you can observe all the various parts functioning. But you don’t seem to understand that for a biologist, evolution is the same way. To a geologist, the fact that the Earth is billions of years old is just as clear as the fact that your fridge keeps things cold.

    So again, why do you cherry-pick science? On what basis do you deny climate change? Where is the data wrong?

  4. Why do you keep claiming that I believe the world is only 6 thousand years old? I think this was already discussed in a previous blog commentary, but since it appears you missed it somehow, I will explain again.
    I do not believe the world is only 6 thousand years old. When God created the earth, he didn’t do it in 6 24 hour days. He did it in 6 “creative periods” each of which could have lasted millions of years. Time has a whole different meaning to God. The creation probably did last as long as scientists say this earth is.old. We also do not know how long Adam and Eve were in the Garden before they were expelled. Death had not yet come to them, so they were in the same physical state for perhaps thousands of years. I believe if one starts marking time when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, then our recorded history is 7 thousand years.

    I don’t mock global warming, I just don’t happen to believe the science is completely settled on the subject yet. While many scientists claim it is a solid proven fact, there are many other scientists who do not believe in climate “change”. Until ALL scientists are in agreement on the topic, I will reserve my right to disagree.

    Personally, I believe God is the perfect Scientist. What we puny humans know is infentesimal (sp) compared to what God knows. He helps us gain the knowledge when we are ready for it, but He knows all. If He is the perfect Scientist with perfect knowledge of physics, biology, zoology, all the -ologies and sciences, then I think he is perfectly capable of creating a world (or worlds without number) and everything that is on them. Instead of us trying to tell Him how the world came to be, maybe we should pay attention to how He says it was created.

    • “Why do you keep claiming that I believe the world is only 6 thousand years old?”

      Because that’s precisely what you told me. I asked, “Do you believe the Earth is thousands of years old rather than billions of years old?” and you said yes.

      “He did it in 6 “creative periods” each of which could have lasted millions of years.”

      Surely you mean hundreds of millions of years? The Earth is 4.5 billion years old, Lori. But please, go read Genesis 1. It sounds exactly like how you would expect a stone-age man to describe the origin of things. God created light on the first day, but didn’t create the sun, moon and stars until the fourth day? What was the light for the first 3 days? We know the sun came before the Earth. That’s simply a fact. And why does it say that the moon is a light? The moon produces no light, it only reflects it. I could go on and on with how ridiculous the biblical creation story is.

      But you’re still missing the point. A literal Adam and Eve contradicts evolution and the fields of biology, anthropology, and archaeology. No death on the Earth until Adam and Eve contradicts the same things. The global flood myth that you and your church believe happened adds in the fields of geology, physics, and zoology. Even if you ignore and twist the scriptures that say the Earth is young, you’re still cherry-picking science on everything else.

      “While many scientists claim it is a solid proven fact, there are many other scientists who do not believe in climate “change”. Until ALL scientists are in agreement on the topic, I will reserve my right to disagree.”

      You’re welcome to disagree. But there is a very broad scientific consensus on it. There are very few things that every single scientist agrees on. Science is wonderful in that way: it not only welcomes disagreement and debate, it thrives on it. It’s not particularly difficult to become a scientist, so the fact that a small proportion of scientists disagree on things like climate change is not a real concern to climate change. If they found contradictory evidence, that would be important.

      Regardless, what actual reason do you have for not believing in climate change? Have you studied the science? Looked at the data? What evidence has led you to believe that it is not real?

      “Instead of us trying to tell Him how the world came to be, maybe we should pay attention to how He says it was created.”

      You seem to be leaning towards the God of the Gaps in a way. I’ll address this in a new post at some point. But I think there are a few fundamental points you’re missing:

      1 – Humans have invented countless Gods to explain things they didn’t understand. Think lightning bolts, floods, hurricanes, comets, etc. It took science for us to finally understand each of those and reject the supernatural explanations.

      2 – As science discovers more and more about the universe, religion has fewer and fewer claims it can make. For over 1,500 years, we thought that women had one more rib than men because of the story of Eve. It was hugely controversial when a scientist disproved that in 1543.

      3 – If the world and everything in it had been created by a perfect, omnipotent being, wouldn’t you expect more precision? Why is the human lower intestine wall unfinished? Why is our breathing passage combined with our eating and drinking passage? Nearly 3,000 people a year die from choking. Why do men have nipples? Why do we have a cantilever spine if we never walked on all fours? Science can answer each of those with evolutionary evidence, but that’s dependent upon humans having actually evolved, not having been suddenly created from nothing.

      Science tells us how the world works. It finally gives us evidence-based answers for where we came from, how the universe came to be, and how the world around us works. Science doesn’t have all the answers (yet!), but why must we continue to fabricate supernatural explanations?

    • Let me just add as well, Lori, that in 2013 there were 10,885 peer-reviewed climate articles. Only 2 of them rejected man-made climate science. This is according to geologist James Powell, who served on the National Science Board for 12 years. He backs up the numbers here.

      For me, I’ll stand with the 10,883 articles and the broad array of science organizations over the 2. But I would love to know why someone like yourself would stand behind the 2 instead.

  5. Maybe it’s because I don’t really care about global warming or change or whatever name they are calling it these days. I believe in God and I believe that He knows what he is doing with the Earth and all of us on it. If you don’t care to believe and would rather believe in scientific theories, have at it. Whether I give a fig or not about the climate is not going to change anything about it. In other words, if you believe in global warming, how is that going to hurt me?

    • How is global warming going to hurt you? Well, it depends on how long you live. But it will almost certainly harm your children and grandchildren. Current concern about climate change is mostly about selflessness. Are you personally going to suffer? Maybe, maybe not. But others already are suffering or will certainly suffer eventually.

      In the next decade, we may lose the Maldives. It’s a beautiful country more than 2,000 years old consisting of thousands of islands. They have already permanently lost items to the rising ocean levels. We are going to lose the entire country, its language, and its culture.

      Scientists predict increased heat waves in many areas of the world. Storms will increase in frequency and severity. Floods and droughts, like California’s current mess, will also become more frequent and severe. We could lose a quarter of Earth’s species to extinction by 2050.

      Your dismissive comments about it show that you certainly don’t care. But we are destroying the only home we have. There is an old proverb that says, “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” Meanwhile the World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people a year are dying as a result of climate change already. And you don’t care.

      The only way we are going to fix this, or at least start to reverse the trend, is for more people to start caring. The first step is for people to stop denying the very clear scientific consensus on it. Only then can we move forward with individual responsibility and legislative action.

  6. Uh huh, and just what do you think I should do personally to keep global “warming” at bay? What are you doing, personally? I notice you still drive two cars and a motorcycle. You fly on planes. You use electricity that is powered by either coal powered plants or hydroelectric power plants. I doubt you ever use public transportation, except for occasionally taking BART. You bike or jog to work but that’s because you are fortunate to live close to your work. Not everyone is close to where they work or where shopping, entertainment and other such things are. In my case there is NO public transportation where I live until I drive 10 minutes into town. No stores or entertainment, either. So what do you suggest-that we move? Easy to pontificate, but until EVERYONE is giving up EVERYTHING that causes “climate change” nothing is going to change. And it would require that we all go back to pre-industrial times where we didn’t use fossil fuels, or electricity, or very little in the way of natural resources. I’m not willing to do that and I’m pretty sure the rest of the industrial, high tech, interconnected world isn’t going to either. How about you? Even Al Gore, the Grand Poobah of Climate Change, lives in a big house, drives cars and flies around in private planes. He leaves a much larger carbon footprint than you or I do, yet he tells all us little people what we should be doing to alleviate global warming,(and making big bucks doing it.). When he practices what he preaches, then maybe I’ll listen in a bit.

    Frankly, I have a completely different read on “environmentalism” than you do. There have been natural disasters and calamities for as long as the earth has been in existence. Of course we don’t have knowledge of everything that has happened, only what we have been recording since recording methods came into existence. How do we know, for example, how many earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes have happened here on the North American continent before it was inhabited? How about droughts and famines? We have no knowledge of any of these occurances because there was no one here, or if there were people here, the did not leave records. (Of course, we do have the records left by Mormon and Moroni, but since they aren’t valid to you, then we really don’t seem to have any records). How do we know if there were or were not natural disasters here? We don’t, so we have no idea whether we are having more or less now. It may seem that they are increasing, but how do we know? It could have been a lot worse before there were people here and we actually are having less. And last I heard, just a couple of months ago, scientists have discovered that the polar ice caps have actually added ice instead of losing ice.

    Here’s my take (which I’m sure you’re are going to vehemently disagree with. Nonetheless,) God has created everything-the Earth and all the life on it. Everything he creates is both temporal and spiritual. Therefore, the Earth, His creation is both physical and spiritual-that means the Earth is a celestial, spiritual being, just as we hope to someday be. There is much evil on the earth-people doing horrible awful things to their fellow beings. Wars, rape, plunder, murder, deceit, cheating, stealing, etc, etc.;the list is miles long. The Earth, being a spiritual Being, is massively offended by all the filth and corruption going on all around it. It would be much like if you fell into a pit filled with all of the most disgusting filth imaginable. When you climbed out you would begin to do everything you could to rid yourself of the filth. You would try to shake it off (earthquakes), you would scrape it off (tornadoes and hurricanes) and then you would stand for a long time under a shower (floods) to complete the process of cleaning yourself from all the filth. That is exactly what the Earth is trying to do with all the natural disasters. It is trying to rid itself of all the filth and cleanse itself. And as long as man continues to produce the filth, the cleansing processes will continue.

    Also, The Lord uses natural disasters to get our attention. As I said, this world is filled with evil and wickedness. The scriptures are replete with stories of The Lord sending droughts, famines, floods, earthquakes, whirlwinds and all manner of other natural disasters to get our attention and remind us of his commandments to be clean, love our fellow man and to worship God. The natural disasters we are experiencing and will continue to experience is God telling us to “shape up”.

    So, now you see where I am coming from and why I don’t buy into all the global warming and climate change garbage. I know you vehemently disagree and that is your prerogative, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

    • “Uh huh, and just what do you think I should do personally to keep global “warming” at bay?”

      Here are three main categories of things you can do:

      1 – Stop mocking climate change and those who want to do something about it. Calling it “garbage” is not helping.
      2 – Stop supporting politicians who deny it, or at least let them know that they are wrong. Politicians tend to support whatever policies will get them elected. Right now, the Republican demographic overwhelmingly denies climate change.
      3 – Make changes in your personal life. Each little bit actually does help.

      “What are you doing, personally?”

      I run to and from work most days instead of driving. I hang my clothes to dry instead of using a dryer. I obsessively turn off lights and electronics when not in use. I walk my children to school, to the park, to the store, and to play at friends’ houses. When I buy new electronics and appliances, I make sure they are energy efficient. I drive efficiently. I write politicians about it and it’s a major factor in my voting decisions. I read about it and blog about it. I debate it with people like you in the vain hope that you will look at the science involved and change your mind about it.

      Should I do more? Absolutely. But at least I care and I make efforts to improve.

      “Easy to pontificate, but until EVERYONE is giving up EVERYTHING that causes “climate change” nothing is going to change.”

      That’s completely false. It’s so obviously false, I don’t think it even requires a response.

      “And it would require that we all go back to pre-industrial times where we didn’t use fossil fuels, or electricity, or very little in the way of natural resources.”

      False again. We need to put more resources and focus on renewable energy. We need to be more strict about environmental damage. We need to put pressure on countries like China to improve. We need greater incentives to purchase and use electric and hybrid vehicles. We need to improve public transportation and infrastructure. There are significant, meaningful improvements we can make without sacrificing our way of life.

      “How do we know, for example, how many earthquakes, tornadoes, or hurricanes have happened here on the North American continent before it was inhabited?”

      Science.

      “We have no knowledge of any of these occurances because there was no one here, or if there were people here, the did not leave records.”

      The Earth itself is a record. The fossils are records. We have this method of determining what happened and how it happened. It’s called science.

      “And last I heard, just a couple of months ago, scientists have discovered that the polar ice caps have actually added ice instead of losing ice.”

      You should probably read about what science has to say on the matter. Some areas of Antarctic sea ice grew, but others decreased dramatically. Overall, the effect was actually very bad for our planet. You’re cherry-picking the science again and drawing conclusions based on a very limited understanding of what is happening.

      “You would try to shake it off (earthquakes), you would scrape it off (tornadoes and hurricanes) and then you would stand for a long time under a shower (floods) to complete the process of cleaning yourself from all the filth.”

      That sounds like an uneducated adult trying to explain those phenomena to a 3-year old child. Lori, we know how those things happen. My father was a geophysicist and studied earthquakes extensively. I grew up hearing about how they happen. You saying that it’s the Earth shaking off sin is like trying to convince a car mechanic that cars are powered by unicorn farts.

      “[The Earth] is trying to rid itself of all the filth and cleanse itself. And as long as man continues to produce the filth, the cleansing processes will continue.”

      We have measurable, observable scientific evidence of what is causing climate change. We know exactly what the cause is. Why invent some supernatural explanation with no basis in evidence to explain it? The chunk of rock we live on does not care that two men have sex with each other. But it is affected by things like our massive mining operations and our production of greenhouse gases.

      “The natural disasters we are experiencing and will continue to experience is God telling us to “shape up”.”

      Of course. Your perfect, all-loving God continuously decimates his children with acts of genocide. Let me ask you, Lori: When the Haiti earthquake a few years ago killed 159,000 people, did you cheer? Were you happy? Was it a good event? Was it useful to remind people that God loves them?

      Let’s just say hypothetically that you had the power right before the earthquake to prevent it. Would you have done so and saved those lives? Or would you have let it happen knowing that 159,000 people would die?

      You can’t have it both ways. Either your perfect God caused it, and therefore it was necessarily a good event, or it was something else (like say, perhaps, a terrible tragedy).

  7. Wait- just to be clear Mom. You are proposing that the earth is a living being that is offended when people “sin” such as touch themselves inappropriately, or drink alchohol, or speak curse words but the earth does not seem to care when we rape it’s soil of resources, destroy the air with pollution, or pile up garbage all over it????

    No, no, the world is upset at us for cheating on our spouse or lying to another person and it responds with natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods?

    Wow, I don’t even know how to address that.

    First of all- If there is a god and he chooses to kill off massive amounts of people(not all of whom are even adults and have reached the “age of accountability”) then he is a not a god I would ever want to worship, nor should anyone else want to worship someone who is that vindictive, petty, and jealous.

    Second, please give me one shred of proof, one scrap of evidence about your claim that the earth is a living being with feelings that can get offended and cause natural disasters based on the state of the world’s righteousness?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s