Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Book of fAbricam

This is part one of my rebuttal(s) to the long essay at the LDS Topic site, called "Translation and Historicity of the Book of Abraham".  I am extremely busy at the moment, so please be patient with further responses.  

I follow my earlier format of claims first, and then the facts.

Essay Claim:  “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints embraces the book of Abraham as scripture.”

Facts:  In the beginning line, we have a definitive statement that will likely haunt the LDS Church for decades to come.  They reaffirm the book of Abraham (BoA) is indeed “embraced” as scripture.  Yet, when was the last time they spent much time discussing it in their general conference?  Since I no longer attend, I can’t say for sure, but my intuition tells me they have disregarded it as scripture by omission for a decade.

Essay Claim: “The book originated with Egyptian papyri that Joseph Smith translated beginning in 1835.”

Facts: The claim is that Smith “translated” it but the word translate is never nailed down in definition.   The essay moves from “Joseph Smith claimed no expertise in any language” to “The Lord did not require Joseph Smith to have knowledge of Egyptian.”  They leave it as a mystery how Joseph Smith “translated” the BoA.  They take at his word that he did it by “the gift and power of God” requiring extreme faith because of the facts that have followed over the century and a half since.   At one point later in the essay, they try to compare the process to how Cowdery was supposed to attempt translating the Book of Mormon from a stone in a hat with the plates removed from his possession (see the "Mad Hatter Translation" blog here) and imagine (i.e., study) the plates and translation of them in his mind:

“Neither the Lord nor Joseph Smith explained the process of translation of the book of Abraham, but some insight can be gained from the Lord’s instructions to Joseph regarding translation. In April 1829, Joseph received a revelation for Oliver Cowdery that taught that both intellectual work and revelation were essential to translating sacred records. It was necessary to “study it out in your mind” and then seek spiritual confirmation. Records indicate that Joseph and others studied the papyri and that close observers also believed that the translation came by revelation.” (from the essay)

However, Smith’s (and his scribes) wrote in his own words, specifics about the “translation” process that contradict the latest topic essay, including (emphasis added): 

“I commence the translation of some of the characters or hieroglyphics, and much to our joy found that one of the rolls contained the writings of Abraham.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 236 – July 1835).

“[July, 1835] -- The remainder of this month I was continually engaged in translating an alphabet to the Book of Abraham, and arranging a grammar of the Egyptian language as practiced by the ancients.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 238).

“October 1 [, 1835] -- This afternoon labored on the Egyptian alphabet, in company with Brothers O. Cowdery and W. W. Phelps, and during the research, the principles of astronomy as understood by Father Abraham...” (Ibid, p. 286)

“November 17, 1835 -- Exhibited the alphabet of the ancient records, to Mr. Holmes, and some others” (Ibid, p. 316).

“The record of Abraham and Joseph, found with the mummies, is beautifully written upon papyrus, with black, and a small part red, ink or paint, in perfect preservation.” (History of the Church, Vol. 2, p. 348—possibly attributed to Cowdery).

Clearly the writers of the latest topic essay have either ignorantly left out or purposely hid Smith’s own words about the translation process, saying there are no eyewitness to the mysterious process.  Joseph Smith, in whom they place the gift of God said some fairly precise statements about the process.  These words lead us to conclude that at the very least Smith believed he was translating in a usual process through alphabets, grammar and writing upon papyrus.   If he believed he was performing this kind of literal translation from the papyrus written upon by the hand of Abraham then either he was duped by himself or by God as to what was happening.  Either way, this opens some serious questions about trustworthiness in the process and 'translator'.

Essay Claim: “It is likely futile to assess Joseph’s ability to translate papyri when we now have only a fraction of the papyri he had in his possession... Since only fragments survive, it is likely that much of the papyri accessible to Joseph when he translated the book of Abraham is not among these fragments.”

Facts: This statement is very suspect.  They claim that we have only a fraction with only one statement from unnamed “eyewitnesses” who said he saw it unrolled on the floor.  In actuality, the eyewitness (from note 32) is actually a story attributed to Joseph F. Smith.  But this quote is known only from a casual comment by Hugh Nibley, who heard it from Preston Nibley, who heard it from President Smith, who was recalling a time when he was five years old or younger.  Hearsay.  I dare the LDS Church to show us otherwise.

Furthermore other studies have shown that we likely have the larger portion of the papyri.  For example, the following Dialogue (a journal written by scholarly Mormons) article goes into complex mathematical calculations in order to accurately estimate the total length of the original papyri using the recovered papyri and markings on the papyri. This winding analysis indicates how big of a scroll the papyri were originally rolled into when they were put in with the mummies. This way they can estimate how much papyri can possibly be missing from the papyri.  

The scholars using mathematics conclude: 

“...no more than 56 cm of papyrus can be missing from the scroll’s interior.  Shortly after the papyri were recovered by the LDS Church, Klaus Baer estimated the original length of the Hôr scroll to have been 150–155 cm. He arrived at this estimate by comparing the text to other copies of the Document of Breathing, particularly Papyrus Louvre... Baer’s estimate for the length of papyrus missing from the scroll’s interior, starting from the left edge of the innermost extant fragment, is 14+35+0.5+16+0.5=59 cm. This agrees remarkably well with the 56 cm obtained from our winding analysis. … The ultimate success of any existing or future theory will depend on its ability to account for all of the evidence, including the fact that there was simply no room on the papyrus for anything besides the Breathing text.”

The upshot of this is, we have about two-thirds of the completed scroll, of which never mentions Abraham, and whose translation is determined by dozens of scholars as the traditional, well know Egyptian Document of the Breathing.  The missing portion of scroll is very well accounted in missing portion of the traditional Breathing which leads scholars to conclude “the fact that there was simply no room on the papyrus for anything besides the Breathing text.”

When the essay says “fraction” they imply a tiny portion such that the remainder would have the actual source of the BoA. But scholars have mathematically measured the scroll and found this claim wholly wrong.  The LDS Church ignorantly or deliberately leaves this information out of the essay.

Essay Claim: “The loss of a significant portion of the papyri means the relationship of the papyri to the published text cannot be settled conclusively by reference to the papyri.”

Facts: Bullshit. And they know it.  They contradicted themselves elsewhere in their own essay.  Quote: "The fragments included one vignette, or illustration, that appears in the book of Abraham as facsimile 1."  They claim first we cannot test the translation because we have none of the actual fragments Smith used.  Then they claim it is "included" and "appears" in the BoA fascimile 1 (and we know #2 and #3 as well).

 We have literal translations of each facsimile which are printed in every copy of the BoA in the Pearl of Great Price.  If Smith translated these directly, as the notations provide in each member’s copy, and they almost entirely do not match scholarly translations, then the essay is wrong.  We can test the translation against the published text because a direct relationship between them exists. 

To wit, I will use Bart Pascoal’s wonderful infographics to illustrate:

Click on each above graphic to read the small text in larger size.  For an extremely thorough discussion of these and more issues about the book of Abraham, please visit this Mormonthink page

The upshot is, Smith attempted to claim he was translating directly from the characters on the pictorials of the facsimiles.  This direct relationship to the text (found in the surviving 2/3rds of papyri) show a complete failure at translating.  How then can one have faith that the rest of the text is correct?  Furthermore, if it’s shown with little doubt that Joseph Smith could not translate regular Egyptian in the papyri we do have, then how can we trust he translated something called “reformed Egyptian” on gold plates we don’t have?

The case of the Book of Abraham is tied to the authenticity of the Book of Mormon.  The essay writers plainly said so when they compared the translation methods between the two (quoted above) and left Smith hung out to dry.  He couldn’t translate Egyptian, reformed Egyptian or anything else except his own imagination.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Founding Fathers Would Jeer at Utah on this 4th

In past 4th's of July I would've wanted to raise a respectable mug of homemade root beer to the Doctrine and Covenants for giving me a civics lesson.  Discussing religious freedom and liberty, it reads in Section 101, verse 80:  
"I [the Lord] established the Constitution of this land, by the hands of wise men whom I raised up unto this very purpose..."

God said he raised up wise men to establish the constitution, so that "every man may act in doctrine and principle pertaining to futurity, according to the moral agency." (v. 78)

What were the morals, doctrines and principles of these wise men of Constitution establishment? 

According to Kevin Bleyer at the Daily Beast:  
"Our Constitution was written by men who owned breweries and imported whiskey—fine businesses both—but also imbibed those products to an astounding degree, and then humped cows in the streets. The amount of staggering was staggering."  (Life, Liberty and the Founding Father's Pursuit of Hoppiness)

Many of us have heard several of the founders had problems keeping it in their pants. In the book, The Intimate Lives of the Founding Fathers, author Thomas Fleming details infidelities by George Washington, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison.  Franklin, for example, led a polygamous life with  two "wives," -- one in London and one in Philadelphia. Washington carried a secret with Sally Cary Fairfax behind Martha's back. Hamilton and Jefferson had adulterous relationships, the latter with his black slave Sally Hemings.

What some of you may not have known are the excesses in drinking that raged at Constitutional Hall.  Bleyer states there is evidence that:
 "Almost all the Framers imbibed. Most didn’t just drink beer...the fact remains, they drank beer for breakfast. While writing the Constitution.  Don’t believe any claims they weren’t binge-drinkers and were just letting off a little steam—again, and I can’t stress this enough, they did so while delicately crafting our basic system of laws. After they finished the four months of drunken civic-mindedness, the 55 men who were about to sign the document piled into Philadelphia’s City Tavern on Friday, September 14, 1787 and guzzled enough booze to fell a stack of elephants: 60 bottles of claret, 54 bottles of Madeira, 50 bottles of “old stock,” vats of porter, cider, and beer, and what has been described as “some” bowls of rum punch. So raucous did the celebration get that City Tavern took the unusual step of sending along a bill for “breakage.” "

When God said he raised wise men for the purpose of framing the US Constitution, I think of God winking at us to raise a pint to and with the writers.  These guys would outdo most frat parties, by the sound of it.  Perhaps God likes him some partying.

So celebrate your 4th of July like the founders did if you will.  It's okay if you Mormons raise a mug of root beer, but the framers would laugh at you.

“The Government of the United States of America is not in any sense founded on the Christian religion.” 
--1797 Treaty of Tripoli signed by Founding Father John Adams

Thursday, July 3, 2014

$4+ Billion Free in Labor

Veilware--the new product of Wallstreet. 

Recently, the Deseret News accounted the LDS missionary sales force to peak at 88,000 missionaries. These missionaries work labor-free, at least 50 hours (more likely 60-80 hours) per week when you include weekends.  The larger percent of them pay for their own living costs, to the tune of (I believe) $450 per month, and are now asked, according to the Dnews, to pay for their own iPads at $400 each.

That's 88,000 missionaries working 50+ hours per week -- a total of 228,800,000 hours of free annual labor.

It's interesting that the DNews article mentioned iPads.  In 2012 I compared the LDS Corporation with Apple Inc, concluding that:  "LDSinc is a mind-boggling large, enormously well-fed, tax-exempt privately held company that seems to dwarf Apple Computer. "

I gave more numbers in that 2012 blog to show that, financially, LDS corp has asset holdings and liquid cash estimated to rival Apple Inc.  What the LDS corporation has that Apple doesn't shouldn't surprise you:  LDS Inc has $4+ Billion in free sales-force labor, if you consider each salesman is about the same age and competency as an Apple Inc store salesman.

How did I get that $4 Billion number?

...88,000 missionaries
x 50 hours per week
x 52 weeks per year
x 2 years per mission
x $10/hour wage

Each of these missionaries is hoping to hook new converts that will donate 10% of their lifetime income to the LDS corporation. In the USA, per convert that could total six-figures of donations over a couple decades, not to mention free labor of service by cleaning buildings, selling the gospel for free to new converts and counting the monies in the ward clerk offices.  Missionary free labor is still just a drop in the multi-billion dollar bucket when you include all the time individual members give to the promotion and up-keep of the LDS corporation.   

Apple wets their collective pants wishing for so much revenue per new customer with all the donated free labor.  They might net a few thousand dollars in sold products.  Tangible products that the customer can actually hold in their secular hands.  LDS products?  Mostly beyond the vaporous veil.

An insider at the COB has recently recounted to me that the LDS Corporation has about $15 Billion in liquid cash, not tied in assets, companies or properties.  That's a lot of cash to purchase new assets.  And they have mostly free labor to provide accounting and upkeep on the ecclesiastical (or sales) arm of the corporation.

Labor is the most expensive outlay for most corporations that produce tangible products.  For a corporation selling vaporous veilware, its labor is ... well, it's free.  They have nearly zero raw materials to buy in producing their doctrinal product.  And they pay no taxes on the promotion, sales and donations received for their veilware.

So where does all the money go?

The old Ogden Temple, torn down because it wasn't pretty enough.  Where does that money go?

Monday, June 30, 2014

New and Everlasting Curiosity

In LDS theology they preach the new and everlasting covenant through eternal monogamy that leads to omniscience and omnipotence.  How boring.

Almost a week ago, the LDS Church removed Kate Kelly’s covenants by excommunicating her in absentia. What a chicken shit move.  Instead of holding the hearing where and when she could attend, they did it behind closed doors and without her present.  Sure, she could have sprung $798 in airfare to attend.  Sure they could have postponed until she returned or moved it to where she was currently living.  They didn’t want to actually allow her to defend herself because the conclusion of excommunication was a necessary foregone conclusion.  The LDS Corporation can’t allow dissent to run rampant, and Kate is an example to “Morwomans” not to challenge the patriarchy of whom they solemnly covenanted in the temple to not speak evil.   Kate, I will tell you in a minute how you’re better off. Letting the LDS Sanhedrin move behind darkened doors in surreptitious manner is just the kind of history we needed to keep pointing at, so Kudos to you. 

Kate Kelly has called out the sexism in the LDS Corporation like no one has since Sonia Johnson.  The very fact that only a male can head the actual financial corporate empire topping $60 Billion in assets and liquid cash flow is financial and corporate sexism of class action suit status.  What I mean is, the Sole Corporate owner (Currently Tom Monson) of the Corporation of the President (and of the Presiding Bishprick) of the COJCOLDS (the equivalent of two Fortune 500 empires or a single Fortune 100) can ONLY BE A MALE because of the patriarchy of the men-only club of priesthood authority.  The best a woman can hope for in the financial empire is to possibly head up branch companies like Deseret Book.  A woman will not, under current policy and doctrine, ever reach CEO of the Sole Corporation.  This is complete and bold-face financial and corporate sexism that is illegal under any other US company of equivalent size.  

Another area of sexism in the LDS Corporation is how they treat the gays.  A gay or a lesbian can never experience with full acceptance of membership the same benefits of a heterosexual member in the church.  Why?  Do they engage in a different kind of sex?  Not really.  LDS heterosexual couples can (only recently without reprisal or temple-worthiness questions) engage in oral and anal sexual activities.  Do gays and lesbians love each other less?  Hardly.  Do they love their neighbors less?  Not even (my gay neighbors are the best on the block).  They can’t have children together?  Sure they can—adoption, in-vitro fertilization and more, which are all acceptable in LDS Social Services. Do they make worse parents?  Not according to the latest, accepted research.  So what is the difference?   The difference is gender.  Both members of a gay couple are the same gender.  That’s the difference.  The LDS Church discriminates against them because of gender. It's sexism of another kind.

Now to John Dehlin. They’re pulling a shit move on you buddy.  They are killing you softly.  They know to pull a bold move against you is to invite more fame and fortune for you. They want you and the public to believe that your folly is about your hype in favor of gay marriage. This is yet another tie between John and Kate—The LDS Corporation is disciplining them both over gender issues.  And while I applaud both, John’s stance is being used under false pretense by the LDS Corporation.  Fears that Dehlin’s stance on gay marriage will lead more members out of the church is not really the impetus behind their disciplinary action.  His Mormonstories elucidating the actual experience of many many members learning the actual history, revealing second anointings, showing how top CES educators cannot answer basic questions of thinking members…all of this is far more damaging to the LDS church members than John’s brave stance with same-sex couples.    The LDS corporate leaders do not want anyone realizing this.  They will work with you, John, and let your membership die a slow unacknowledged death.  That’s their best move.  And I hope you, John, don’t fall for it.  I was a nobody, and decided to take the personal empowerment path of resigning publicly and boldly at the exmormon foundation.  I hope that John is invited someday to speak at such a conference on the merits of his scrupulosity and great work in helping so many of us make a smoother transition across the PTSD incurred by leaving a cult.

When the LDS Corp removes your new and everlasting covenant, or if you resign it yourself, you will find that there is something much much better:  New and Everlasting Curiosity.

To know everything, have all power, glory and what not is boring.  The golden moments are the discovery moments and the pursuit of satiating our curiosity.  Take that away and most of us are in boring hell.  Heaven, according to the LDS, is a hell where you watch from your eternal throne while your children live the golden curiosity moments.  But you know, according to their teaching, all that will befall your spirit offspring.  This excoriating performance whose conclusion you know intimately is infinitely long and as boring as sitting through most Sacrament meetings.  That’s Mormon heaven. Or Hell.

You know that moment when you learn something profound for the first time?  Reading a well written blog or novel that fires off all kinds of new thoughts?  When you get a new app for your phone or tablet?  The Newness of the Everlasting Curiosity is exciting.  Love your wristwatch but want the excitement of a new one? You get a new band.  Love your pendant, but love to show off new style? Get a new chain.  Tired of your boring friends at church?  Find new ones.  Seeing the limitation of your inherited, family philosophy?  Search for a new one.

Leaving the LDS cult is like becoming a child who is merging into adulthood again.  All the fascination of a whole world opens to your exploration, of choosing new directions, of seeking new friends, learning new insights—it’s the candy store that continues to give when you remove the abundant limits placed on you by Mormondom.

John, Kate, celebrate your new lives.  Kate—yours was pushed on you.  John, take a bold step and go into the world on your own terms.  The respect you will earn outside is something you can never get inside the LDS church now.  They will never trust you with non-disclosure agreements and “eternal” corporate secrets to make you a general authority.  Why would you stay there when you can grow your rock-star status outside.  The flux of members is away from the church.  You should be there holding open the door now.

We greet both of you happily among our ex-mormon ranks.  We expect great things from you both, as you explore the candy with us.  There’s more than enough sweets for everyone.  

Friday, June 13, 2014

Paying Trons Revolt!

...the trichotomy of Dehlin, Kelly and Phillips...

It's been a while since I wrote here, but current events dictate that I write at least a short blog.  Most of you know from the New York Times and other newspapers that John Dehlin and Kate Kelly have been threatened with excommunication by the LDS theocorpocrisy for their views on cultural and political issues.  

I can empathize.  The LDS Church came after me in September 2012 for my writings, including political discussions, also reported in the New York Times by the same writer.

The LDS Church is caught in a hard place. If they excommunicate vocal members, they get negative press.  But can they afford not to discipline members of opposing viewpoints?  More and more members are breaking their temple covenant of "evil speaking against the Lord's anointed".  If they tolerate it, it will catch on like the internet and spread to a large majority of members.  These members will question policies like modesty, drinking tea and coffee, full tithing during economically difficult times, intolerant views against gays and atheists, and more.  

The more members vocalize their "disrespect" the less power the Church Office Building has over the lives of their patrons--paying trons. (Tron is a "tool or device" by some definitions.)  Temple patrons "donate" heavy dues for the privilege to attend a ceremony where they covenant to give all they own, all their talents and devotion to the church, to promise not to criticize the men receiving their devotion and payment.  Patrons are beginning to see that they're mostly tools and paying for the privilege is not worth it.

As more members see the LDS Church pressure Kelly and Dehlin to shut up about opposing views or else, I hope they also take note of another member who has done far worse than these mostly mild mannered activists, yet who remains untouchable by the LDS Church.

In February through March of 2014, Tom Phillips, still managing editor of Mormonthink, acting as an individual filed a summons in the UK Magistrate Court against Thomas S. Monson, Corporate Sole owner of the LDS Franchise, and 'prophet'.  Talk about "evil speaking of the Lord's anointed".  What John and Kate have said pales in comparison to the many things Tom filed in court against the highest official of the LDS Corporation.  Did they issue a disciplinary court for Tom?  No.

I'll repeat here what I wrote in February:  
Tom Phillips, a Mormon prosecuting the Mormon Prophet for fraud in UK, is claimed by some to be “bulletproof” against LDS Church retaliations because he received “a rare and secret ritual called the Second Anointing.”
According to Phillips, he is one of the very few people known to have received this secret ordinance and then speak about it openly.

If members thought much about it, they would realize that the LDS Church only goes after members it thinks it can bully into submissive silence when they begin speaking out against their church.  I don't think either Kate or John will go away silently.  Tom is a whole'nother matter.  The LDS Corporation is caught with its hypocrisy pants on fire as it ignores Tom because it can't really speak to the truth on the Second Anointing.  

In an online LDS instruction manual they prompt members: "Do not attempt in any way to discuss or answer questions about the second anointing."  Why?  Because the entire ordinance is meant to create secret elites who are even more invested to keep quiet everything they learn about top management within the closed halls of the church offices.  

Tom just didn't buy it, and the church is hoping everyone ignores him and his second anointing.  But they have pulled back the curtain again with their action against the latest critics.

When will they learn that even patrons can only be bullied so much?

The light is shining on the real reason for the temple ceremonies.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

God or Fraud: Chromo-chronistic spectral decay

Some of you know that I work in science and technology, and one of my degrees is in physics.  I have a colleague in physics who made an intriguing discovery regarding lepton emissions from the elemental isotope 197Au.  From quantum chromodynamics—“chromo” for color—my colleague determined that the 197-isotope of element Au emits leptons that prior to annihilation chronically (periodically) release a wide spectrum of electromagnetic radiance which he believes he can detect with an instrument he plans to build.  Most of you know that elemental Au is gold, and 197Au is the most stable isotope.  By detecting the lepton “chronistic” emission of wide spectrum electromagnetic radiance, my friend can find gold.  A lot of gold.  All the gold in the world, even.

My colleague needs funding to further develop the method of detecting 197Au through wide spectrum lepton chronistic emission.  He will split all the discovered gold with patrons who join his organization and donate an investment for a certain period of time while he continues receiving inspiration about his method to divine lepton-chrons down the colorful spectrum of light leading to a whole pot of gold.

Yes, you’ve guessed it.  My colleague is selling a method to find leprechauns and the end of a rainbow with pots of gold! Do you want to join us?

No doubt that language like that of the first paragraph, if sold by those with some level of scientific credentials in the kind of language I wrote above, and pitched sincerely to unwitting people—there are so many—could gather a gaggle of “investors” (even in the day of the internet) who want to join the Latter-day Gold Seekers non-profit charity we would establish.  Once we have collected a lot of kickstarter cash, we would skip town and find another place to pitch the scheme.

Our story of divining lepton-chrons emitting rainbows leading to pots of gold-isotopes sounds silly. If we took the cash and ran, then got caught and brought before a judge in the UK, we might actually get off.  Apparently, if you pitch “beliefs” and take money and insist it was all belief-based, some UK judges will call out your prosecutor on “abuse of process” as he withdraws the charges.  We would get off Scott-free, or Brit-free anyway.

You may shake your head at my silliness.  Stealing money from people to detect Leprechauns at the end of a rainbow with pots of gold!?  No judge would let that fraud get a pass.  But Mormonism?  Taking money based on a story about an angel on a hill with plates of gold!?  That’s legitimate!  Says Judge Riddle of the UK.  Riddle, what an apt name.

My “physictitious” colleague and I could couch our story with science about isotopes, leptons, quantum chromodynamics, wide-spectrum electromagnetic emission.  All fancy code words for leprechauns, rainbows and gold.  Mormons couch their story around, over, under and through ancient travels of pre-Hebrews submarines, of ancient Egyptian papyri, of ancient Kolobian astronomy, of unearthly matter elements so pure that you need a refined set of eyes to discern it.  To an 19th century frontier person, submarines, Egyptian papyri, refined matter and an ancient American super-race are the pre-modern equivalent to us preaching leptons, quantum chromodynamics, wide-spectrum emission, and so on.  Marks trust authority figures who sound intelligent and have a great story.  Through preaching the bounty of a heaven-sized award, a mansion and a world of forever peace with that sophistry of words, you can sell a lot of people on a perpetual scam; one that continued well past its prime to the 21st century and into the internet age.

And the Riddle here?  A Judge champions the silliness, fearing the baseless premise that religion deserves a special exemption on telling the truth when taking your money.  We would never get an exemption for taking money on a scheme of leprechaun-based gold-detection.  Why do they get a pass on collecting money with stories of angelic gold-plate doctrines leading to a heavenly mansion of gold at the end of your colorful life?

Stephen Bloor, one of two plaintiffs in the Mormon fraud case, wrote yesterday:
“At first sight I agree it looks like Tom Phillips' evidence in the case wasn't tested in court, but as Christopher Ralph pointed out to me, yes it was. Tom's evidence for the fraud being carried on by the Church was tested by a very experienced District Court Judge, Elizabeth Roscoe. She tested the evidence very thoroughly in Court for nearly 4 months putting every conceivable defense to Tom's legal team until in the end she had to accept 90% of the evidence and issue the Summons. She did not do this lightly, her own reputation was on the line.    Now it seems another Judge, or the legal/political system inthe UK, has decided it is not time to attack religion in this way.  Maybe they are thinking there are bigger repercussions for religion generally?”

Ok, so yes, the Monson-Mormon fraud case was dismissed. The lame, deaf and dumb Monson--a complete wimp and unlike the brave Abinadi, Alma and Captain Moroni in his scripture--sent lawyers to speak for him.  Him, the prophet who they teach is “the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys" let the Queens’ Counsel  (attorneys who are not even Mormon) declare LDS policy regarding its doctrinal foundation.  Tom Phillips succeeded in getting on record, legal record, a full day of ranting by the LDS church attorneys. The ranting will be priceless.

If and when the court transcripts come, we can find many concessions the LDS church made in its legal fight. For starters, 1) The LDS church teaches beliefs which cannot ever be viewed as truths (legally). 2) Mormon tithing is optional. 3) “Prophet” Monson is not the "only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys" because the lawyers do that now.

I'm sure there are more. We need to list them all and continue to point to them over and over. These have far-reaching implications. The ball is moving toward a more definitive court and the jello has begun to nail to the wall for them. The more they're forced to define themselves legally, the harder it becomes for them to wiggle out of their own trappings.

The careful strategy of nitpicking the LDS prophet's words will put him and future leaders in a doctrinal and speech-limited strait-jacket. The manuals, conference talks, books and more produced by all leaders will be vetted by lawyers.  Zeezrom (Book of Mormon Lawyer) runs the church. We thank thee, oh god, for attorneys!   The general authorities will no longer have the balls to teach strong words.  When they do, strong people will leave.

P.S.  I know that those who were once close to me in life (L & V & A) read my blog, and even search the internet over to find every morsel I write using pseudonyms on forums in order to find ways to "hurt" me.  Why?  Because I dare speak my opinion in a public manner.  If you are one of those former close relations, I wish you the best in your life, but do you not see the hypocrisy in expending so much effort and time coming after me when your complaint is my beliefs hurt yours, so you must find ways to hurt me through mine?  Perhaps you should be 100% personally honest at the deepest level of what you believe and re-examine your own truth if this is where it leads you.  Perhaps my message resonates at such a subconscious core that it causes you distress for a legitimate reason.  Perhaps you fear my message and have no defense except to attack the messenger. Yeah, whatever...

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Summons Withdrawn

For immediate release


Monson and LDS Church receive reprieve in UK fraud case

MARCH 20. LONDON--After almost a week of deliberation, a district judge today announced his decision to withdraw the fraud summons issued in February against Thomas S. Monson and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The announcement came almost a week after a daylong hearing in which Tom Phillips’ attorneys forcefully demonstrated the LDS Church’s complicity with a range of illicit acts contained in Fraud Act 2006. For the immediate future, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will not have to defend itself against fraud charges in a trial by jury.         

Tom Phillips, the British citizen who shed light on the Mormon Church’s alleged fraudulent acts in a magistrates’ court last fall, expressed both disappointment and cause for hope at the news, “Although this ruling represents a setback for our cause, we remain steadfast in our commitment to bring the LDS Corporation to justice. For people around the world, this case has brought to light the truth: the LDS organization has committed fraud, and fraud is a serious crime.” Phillips said he continues to believe that governments should “enact and enforce laws that protect victims of fraud and corporate malfeasance, regardless of the wealth, influence, or apparent religious motives of the perpetrator.”

David Twede, a spokesperson for MormonThink.com, said “One way of looking at things is that the Mormon Church dodged a bullet today. As soon as Tom and his legal advisors analyze the judge’s reasoning in detail, I’m sure they will re-evaluate their position and announce a course of action adapted as circumstances warrant. It’s my understanding that they will continue to explore every possible avenue for redress, both in the United Kingdom and abroad.”

Phillips promised, “My legal team will leave no stone unturned.”

In 2013, Phillips took over as managing editor for MormonThink.com. For almost a decade, MormonThink has been a resource for complete information about the LDS Church’s history, doctrine and teachings. Produced primarily by active church members, the site’s goal is to accurately convey the unvarnished truth about Mormonism in its comprehensive materials. David Twede, a previous managing editor, was threatened with excommunication in 2012 when his leadership role was revealed to Church authorities. Twede has since resigned from the Church and serves an at-large editor for MormonThink, and now issues his research, analysis and commentary on the LDS Church primarily through his blog, Mormondisclosures.blogspot.com. Tom Phillips remains an inactive member of the LDS Church.

Recently, the MormonThink editors issued the following statement concerning the UK fraud case: “The recent summons of Thomas S. Monson, corporation sole, by an English magistrate to address charges of fraud by two former Mormons was led by our managing editor, Tom Phillips. Although Tom acts on his own behalf in this case, we want to clarify our role and position.

“Since its founding, the mission of MormonThink has been to make public accurate knowledge of Mormon history, doctrine, and teachings so that current and potential members can make an informed evaluation of the faith. Our overarching premise is that transparency, truth, and full disclosure are the least members should expect from Mormon leaders, or of leaders of any religion.

“To the extent that this case will serve to uphold transparency, truth, and full disclosure about Mormonism, we support the spirit and intention of our colleague’s endeavor. Regardless of its outcome, we remain committed to our mission.”

Phillips, for his part, remarked that, “I look forward to the day, and it will be soon, when the LDS Corporation is brought to justice.”

He added, “While today we are disappointed, we draw hope from the knowledge that getting to this point is a victory few thought possible. And while today we are saddened, we draw strength from the outpouring of support and encouragement we have received from around the world. The thousands of people who stand with us give us fortitude to forge ahead, regardless of today’s ruling. We thank you all for your many expressions of support. I believe the future is a bright one for our cause.”

# # #

Note about MormonThink editorial staff:  Besides managing editor Tom Phillips and myself, there are many others who have contributed so much to MT.  MT Founder and Bill Johnson have contributed the longest; former CES director Ken Clark, editor Dianne Ormond, and contributors Grant Palmer, Richard Packham, Will Bagley, Jeremy Runnells, Avery Wright, Darron Smith, Steven Bloor, and others are all noteworthy of helping MT be what it is today. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fraud Case First Day Official Release

From the MormonThink Editors

For immediate release

Press contact: David Twede

Case may advance to Crown Court for trial; judge will announce ruling on Thursday

Saturday, March 15.   After a full day of arguments in front of a British magistrate yesterday, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ legal counsel failed to get dismissed fraud charges against the Church’s Prophet, Seer and Revelator, Thomas Monson.  Instead, Church leaders will wait until Thursday, March 20, to learn the next steps in the case.  On that day, the judge will announce whether the fraud case will proceed to Crown Court for trial.    

At yesterday’s hearing, Church attorneys attempted to discredit the case in two ways.  First, they argued that the fraud charges emanated from a grudge.  They claimed that Thomas Phillips, the British subject who instigated the fraud charges, was a “disaffected” Mormon whose problems with the church were personal, not legal in nature.  Second, the Mormon legal team declared that religious teachings and matters of belief are outside the sphere of criminal law.  They argue the charges against Monson are on the basis of his beliefs and not about facts which Monson may or may not have spoken.

Phillips’ legal team clarified that religions are not above the law.  They cited examples of lay and clerical members of religious institutions convicted of serious crimes in the United Kingdom.   Focusing in on the case at hand, Phillips’ attorneys showed how specific LDS Church representations, particularly its deceptive use of the term, “translate,”  are consistent with the illicit acts covered in the United Kingdom’s Fraud Act of 2006.  These particular representations, argues Phillips, are statements of fact by LDS leaders, including Monson, and subject to scrutiny under the Fraud Act.  The Act stipulates three types of fraud Phillips’ counsel affirmed that the Church carried out:  fraud by false representation; fraud by failing to disclose information; and fraud by abuse of position.   If the case proceeds to trial in Crown Court, Phillips’ team will need to further substantiate, corroborate and verify each charge in detail.

    David Twede, the Phillips case’s spokesperson, remarked that,  “Today’s hearing shows us that the British legal system takes those who violate its laws seriously, regardless of who they are and what kind of putative religious authority they speak from.  I’m glad we live in a day and age when certain governments can be enlightened enough to recognize that fraud is fraud.”

# # #

For further research, consult:
The Fraud Act 2006:  http://www.cps.gov.uk/legal/d_to_g/fraud_act/

“LDS UK Fraud Case” on MormonThink.com: http://www.mormonthink.com/monson-summons.htm

I want to clarify a couple of points:  
1) Tom Phillips is still a member
2) Tom Phillips is not paid for his prosecution on this case.

The LDS Church can't seem to get its trees in a row

Friday, February 21, 2014

Oh Buggers!

At question is whether a religious corporation should receive a pass (exemption) on speaking truth.

Media and LDS apologists at FAIRMormon have used catch phrases to describe the Mormon Fraud Case in the UK as an attack on religious belief.  In a blog, FAIR contributor and “US Civil Defense Lawyer”  aptly named Steve Densely Jr. opined that: "English law does not allow courts to adjudicate on issues of religious belief."

However, I believe the House of Lords (UK Supreme Court) would quite disagree with the media and FAIR that this a case about religious worship.  And they do adjudicate on these issues.  Have done so very nicely in fact.  There’s a strong precedent in a case brought to the House of Lords by the tax agent (Valuator) against the LDS Corporation.  The LDS Corporation argued unsuccessfully that its UK temple property should not be taxed.  See Judgments - Gallagher (Valuation Officer) V Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for the actual decision, quoted below. (hat tip to Christopher Ralph for finding and providing this link.)

In the decision that was on appeal (dismissed in 2008), the primary counsel for the LDS Corporation (Sumption QC) attempted to define for the Lords that the LDS temple is a public place of worship.  The Lords went through each of the candidate definitions of various structures owned by the LDS Corporation to categorize and define  the temple.  They ruled it is not as a charity (“it would be unwise to regard charity law as a paradigm of rationality” para. 7, 9), not a training center (para. 19-20), not administrative offices (para. 10, 19), not intended to support maintenance of the grounds and buildings (para. 21), not a hotel of “accommodations” to patrons (para. 21), and not a workshop, a daycare facility or cafeteria (para. 1).

So how did the Lords decide to define the temple?

Paragraph 5 is key:

“…the Temple is not a place of “public religious worship” because it is not open to the public. It is not even open to all Mormons. The right of entry is reserved to members who have acquired a “recommend” from the bishop after demonstrating belief in Mormon doctrine, an appropriate way of life and payment of the required contribution to church funds. Such members are called Patrons and the rituals which take place in the Temple are exclusive to them. These facts are agreed.” (emphasis added)

These facts are agreed:  not a place of public religious worship. Exclusive “patrons” -- not every Mormon (and certainly not the general public) -- must adhere to strict criteria to enter the temple, including demonstrating belief in Mormon doctrine and paying the required contribution.

The language in this House of Lords decision is a precedent.  The LDS Corp lost its appeal to define the temple as a place of public religious worship.  The Lords define it as a place of ritual exclusive to paying patrons. 

Lord Hope of Craighead tells the LDS counsel: “Temple is not entitled to exemption (para. 36) and that “I cannot accept Mr Sumption’s primary argument that the Temple is a place of public religious worship.” And this based on an earlier precedent (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v Henning (VO) [1964] AC 420) in which “Parliament has been content that the words “a place of public religious worship” should continue to receive the interpretation that the House gave to them in Henning.”  (para. 26)

Oh snap!

Sorry LDS Corp, your temple is not entirely exempt.  All the Lords agreed to dismiss, most of them using similar language.  It's not a charity either.  And worse, the House of Lords has ruled that payment AND demonstration of belief in certain beliefs are the basis for exclusive entry into this non-exempt, non-religious, ritual performing, patron house.    Not just the basis, but “required” was the word.

Once again, as I wrote in "Obey, Pay and don't look at Internet-Hearsay" and as Lord Hoffman elucidates a "recommend" giving "right of entry" makes the temple worthiness interview is a key part of how this fraud case comes together.  Exclusivity is dependent on accepting beliefs that Phillips argues have been falsely represented and payment is secured before you can go in.  The word “required” is used in Lord Hoffman’s decisive precedent.  Tithing is “required”.  

Mormons have argued that it is not a requirement to believe and tithing is not forced.  But the House of Lords seemed to disagree with the Mormons.

Oh double snap!

Oh buggers!

Sorry, FAIR.  Sorry, Monson. 

Bloody Brilliant, my Lords.  Praise the House of Lords!

Kay Burningham, an American lawyer, and author of "An American Fraud: One Lawyer's Case against Mormonism"  told me: 

"The UK has no real equivalent to the US First Amendment with regard to religious freedom. The freedom of religion clause has historically been used as a defense by religious organizations whenever fraud charges (whether criminal or civil) have been filed against them in the US. Not a barrier in the UK, though. Some have even characterized the UK as 'hostile' to religions. More accurate to say it does not give organized religions preferential status over other, secular, non-profits."

Also noteworthy is paragraph 13 of the House of Lords decision:

"In order to constitute discrimination on grounds of religion, however, the alleged discrimination must fall “within the ambit” of a right protected by article 9, in this case, the right to manifest one’s religion. In the present case, the liability of the Temple to a non-domestic rate (reduced by 80% on account of the charitable nature of its use) would not prevent the Mormons from manifesting their religion. But I would not regard that as conclusive. If the legislation imposed rates only upon Mormons, I would regard that as being within the ambit of article 9 even if the Mormons could easily afford to pay them. But the present case is not one in which the Mormons are taxed on account of their religion. It is only that their religion prevents them from providing the public benefit necessary to secure a tax advantage. That seems to me an altogether different matter."
Pay attention to the words "alleged discrimination" and the Lord's opinion that taxing (and thereby exercising government control over) the Mormons for their teachings and practices in the temple is not discrimination because they still have the right to manifest their beliefs.  

Even if the fraud case prevails in showing they use false representations, that will still allow them to preach their sermons from the Book of Mormon.  They can believe it.  They might not be able to tie a testimony in provably false information to requiring tithing and the temple, however.  That is reserved for Patrons of exclusive right, and as such, seems to fall into government scrutiny by this case.

It makes sense.  If you get involved in a diet plan, in an investment or any other system that claims to bring you some benefit through membership and strict adherence to its system, you expect that the information used to build that system is as truthful as can be.  If the company taking your money provides you with false representations and lures you into their diet or investment system with false information, it needs to be exposed and shut down.

Why should a religious corporation receive an exemption from speaking truth?  The House of Lords didn't see a case for tax exemption in the case referenced.  They won't see a truth exemption either.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Obey, Pay, & don't look at Internet-Hearsay

The temple is the invisible bindings on Mormons.  To them, it's the opposite.  They are taught from the earliest ages through primary posters of temples to look to those buildings for salvation.  Young women see it for a castle where they marry a prince.  Young men see it as entering the elite guard and knighthood where they will be given privy, key information regarding their rise in callings and status of the church culture.

(75¢ primary poster you can purchase to teach 
Jr. Primary kids how important the temple is to eternal salvation)

The temple is the keystone to the LDS Corporation earnings.  If the LDS Corporation can convince members of its essential nature in the highest of the highest treasures and mansions of eternal life in the upmost heaven, then they secure huge profits.  Because to get there, you must obey, pay and not look at internet-hearsay.  

The threshold to the temple is the temple recommend worthiness interview.  Looking at the worthiness test questions one must pass is enlightening in perspective of the Mormon Fraud Case Summons, put out by Tom Phillips.

To wit, here are the questions members must answer correctly to get into the homey of holies.

1.       Do you have faith in and a testimony of God the Eternal Father, His Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost?

What the church teaches:  The firsthand source about God comes from Joseph Smith and especially his 1820 first vision—which the missionaries teach, Sunday school manuals expound and seminaries instruct to teens—that Joseph Smith saw God the Father with Jesus Christ on his right side as separate personages.  D&C 130 is the most explicit in teaching the Father, Son and Holy Ghost as separate beings and was given in 1843, almost a quarter century after the first vision.

What the church has hidden:  There were multiple versions of the first visions, some of which only explain that an angel visited Joseph, not God.  Joseph Smith taught monotheism—especially in the Book of Mormon and Book of Moses, and that God is spirit in one place, then later that he is flesh and bone in another.  The teaching of the trinity—of separate personages in the Godhead—did not appear as a belief that Joseph Smith taught until at least 1832 (D&C 76) or perhaps as late as 1835—more than a decade after the first vision.  Why is this an issue?  Because it undermines the first vision as an actual event.  The multiple accounts vary greatly, as to how Joseph Smith defined God, and he founded the church on a very different premise of God, versus (later) a Godhead of three. 

If a Christian convert understood that Joseph Smith could not get his first vision correct, and that the definition of God evolved after the boy-prophet supposedly saw different personages, they might rethink whether Mormonism’s start was based on falsehoods. In the words of Gordon B. Hinckley, “If the First Vision did not occur, then we are involved in a great sham. It is just that simple.” (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley, p. 227.)

The LDS Corporation knows these problems exist, but they have not traditionally taught them to investigators or included the details of various first vision/Godhead inconsistencies in their gospel instruction manuals.  This might be willful deceit to promote black-n-white thinking and ignore flaws in their founding prophet’s sermons.


    2. Do you have a testimony of the Atonement of Christ and of His role as Savior and Redeemer?

What the church teaches:  The LDS Articles of Faith say that “We believe that men will be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam’s transgression. We believe that through the Atonement of Christ, all mankind may be saved, by obedience to the laws and ordinances of the Gospel.”  
LDS scriptures teach “if Adam had not transgressed he would not have fallen, but he would have remained in the garden of Eden. And all things which were created must have remained in the same state in which they were after they were created; and they must have remained forever, and had no end” (2 Nephi 2:22).  
If Adam and Eve had never fallen into mortality, then “they would have had no children” (v. 23) and no one but Adam and Eve would have existed.  
Furthermore because they fell, “the Messiah cometh in the fulness of time, that he may redeem the children of men from the fall” (v. 26).  
“For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive” (1 Cor 15:22).

The LDS scriptures also teach:  The Book of Mormon clarifies the tie between the atonement and the fall of Adam—that there were no other humans before Adam and Eve.  They say: Eve “was the mother of all living” (Moses 4:26) and Adam is “the first flesh upon the earth, the first man also” (Moses 3:4) and “the Ancient of Days and father of all” (D&C 138:38) who together “brought forth children; yea, even the family of all the earth” (2 Ne 2:20) and of “every soul who belongs to the whole human family of Adam;” (Mormon 3:20).  Finally, that the age of the “earth during the seven thousand years of its continuance, or its temporal existence” since Adam fell (D&C 77:6).

What the church has hidden from members and investigators:  The evidence of evolution is overwhelming against the concept of a literal Adam and Eve, and by implication, undermines the atonement they place so prominently in the order of their worthiness test.  Science shows clearly that humans arrived in America arrived before Adam and Eve were on the earth.   And yet, the LDS doctrine teaches clearly that Adam and Eve are the parents of all living people, only living for less than seven thousand years.  If as in all people arose from Adam and Eve and in them all people die, and because of sin and death, Christ atoned and resurrected to save mankind—then if Adam and Eve are fictional (according to science they tend to ignore or dismiss) then the atonement is at least undermined and at most even unneeded. 

Since the evidence that Adam and Eve are figurative is overwhelming, then the atonement may be unnecessary since whatever sin and impurity was introduced by God through evolution can just be dismissed with a change by God in evolution.  This is not dependent on so-called free agency and eliminates the mysterious sacrifice to atone for God's oops in evolution.  That, however, is not what the LDS Corporation teaches.  They hide this by proclaiming against scientific evidence that Adam and Eve are the parents of all humans, and thus, a plan of redemption came because of the fall (which never actually happened). Without the atonement, repentence and absolute law which they can use to judge us all as sinners, they don't have an offering to free you from the sin they say you freely choose to commit. 

The LDS Corporation can’t afford to truly clarify their stance on evolution because it would pull aside the curtain and reveal the man behind the premise of their case to keep you tied to them for salvation.

3. Do you have a testimony of the restoration of the gospel in these the latter days?

What the church teaches:  The main argument for the restoration is the coming forth of the Book of Mormon.  That the Book of Mormon is an ancient record about Hebrews arriving by boats, filling certain lands, warring with each other, having God destroy over a dozen major cities when Jesus was crucified across the world, and about a Utopian Christian society rising up from that destruction to fill the land with innumerable people in 200 years – all in ancient America.  This book is the basis of the biggest difference between Christians and Mormons.  The Book of Mormon is the main tool used by missionaries to convert new Mormons, by asking them to pray and believe the book is true, and if true, thus the entire LDS Corporation is also true by implication because its founding differences are based on the book that Joseph Smith copyrighted and called “the most correct of any book on earth, and the keystone of our religion.” (BoM intro)

What the church has hidden:  The bizarre claims of the Book of Mormon--the wars, dozens of cities destroyed in days, rise of vast centuries-peaceful Christian nations--can be disputed by DNA evidence, by archaeological, linguistic, anthropological and more scientific evidence.  The LDS Corporation weakly acknowledges they know about the contrary evidence, but have not taught this to members or investigators.  They have misled about the source of the Book of Mormon.  If the Book of Mormon is not all that Joseph Smith claimed it to be, as the keystone and most correct book, and it appears significantly flawed compared with many areas of science, then it undermines the credibility of Joseph Smith as founder, and the religion he founded.   Traditionally, they do not teach details about archaeology, DNA science, linguistics or other scholarly work unsupportive of the Book of Mormon to investigators or in their gospel studies classes.  Rather, they affirm over and over that “secular evidence can neither prove nor disprove the authenticity of the Book of Mormon” and that “the primary purpose of the Book of Mormon is more spiritual than historical.”  They prefer all investigators and members pray about it and feel in their heart it is true, against all the secular evidence that it is false.

The LDS Corporation can’t afford its members to view the Book of Mormon historical claims against overwhelming evidence in archaeology, anthropology, DNA science and other academic work that shatters the Book of Mormon assertions, because it would crumble their restoration foundation. 

Additionally, the summons raises two other issues (from so many to pick) that undermine the restoration.  The credibility of Joseph Smith is called into question regarding his role in the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor—the LDS Corporation claims that it was destroyed because it printed "lies" about Smith.  And likewise, the LDS Corporation raises the character of Smith to "martyr" but fails to teach that Smith engaged his jailors in a gun battle, not dying as an innocent in the way they portrait in their D&C or other historical documents.

4. Do you sustain the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as the Prophet, Seer, and Revelator and as the only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys? Do you sustain members of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles as prophets, seers, and revelators? Do you sustain the other General Authorities and local authorities of the Church?

What the church teaches:  The priesthood keys held by the current only authorized president, seer and revelator came directly through Joseph Smith, who claimed to have received them through a restoration by angelic visitation of Jesus’ apostles Peter, James and John.  In order to accept the current prophet as the only person with the priesthood keys, as a seer and revelator, it is assumed that you accept that Joseph Smith was also a seer and revelator, and the tradition carried forward in a line of succession.  

What the church has hidden:  Two ways in which that claim can be falsified: 1) a broken line of succession, 2) Joseph Smith never had the authority in the first place.  The latter, Smith as a seer and revelator, can be tested many ways.  One primary way it has been tested is Joseph Smith's claim that he could translate ancient languages and revealed foundational scriptures based on his revelatory and seer talents.  However, the test for this ability shows a grand failure in the Book of Abraham.  The summons claims 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.”

The LDS Corporation has been marginalizing the Book of Abraham for many decades and it may go slowly down the memory hole as less and less of its instruction refer to the book over time.  They prefer the members to just forget about it, and that investigators learn about it well after their baptism.

However, if Joseph Smith provably failed to translate regular Egyptian, then why would we trust he could translate "reformed Egyptian" of the Book of Mormon?  It's ultimately impossible based on actual evidence.

Likewise, the charges in the summons about the credibility of Joseph Smith as a martyr and his culpability in the ill-posed destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor are relevant to this worthiness question.

5. Do you live the law of chastity?

The LDS church teaches:  Chastity is directly tied to sex only within marriage.  They excommunicate members who routinely engage in sex outside of marriage. 

What the LDS Church has hidden:  The morality of their founder, Joseph Smith, who “married” multiple wives, including girls as young as 15 and wedded women who were already married and continued to stay married to other men (adultery by most Christian standards).  The founding prophet of the Mormon Church failed to live the standard of chastity required by those attending the temple in his day and in modern times.  In today’s world, Joseph Smith would be just like many players, with a pretty bizarre pick up line (“Hey, Baby, wanna see my angel’s flaming sword?”). 

Despite not directly discussing the details of Joseph Smith’s secret married philandering, the LDS Church expects that all of its young men are quite like Joseph, and unable to show restrain at the slightest temptation.  This is why in the March 2014 edition of the Ensign, in the article “The Lord's Standard of Morality” they have this quote by general authority Tad Callister:
"The dress of a woman has a powerful impact upon the minds and passions of men. If it is too low or too high or too tight, it may prompt improper thoughts, even in the mind of a young man who is striving to be pure. Men and women can look sharp and be fashionable, yet they can also be modest. Women particularly can dress modestly and in the process contribute to their own self-respect and to the moral purity of men. In the end, most women get the type of man they dress for."
Women, dress for the kind of man you want, says Callister.  By that reasoning, I’m surprised more women don’t wear Ben Franklin pasties.  After all, young men, even pure ones, cannot control themselves.  Something tells me this justification will extend to Joseph Smith’s inhibitions.  Apparently, the plural wives made Joseph do it.

6. Is there anything in your conduct relating to members of your family that is not in harmony with the teachings of the Church?

The summons does not address this one.  But, the LDS Church routinely has hidden abuse cases that come to a bishop, resulting in legal problems.  Please review this and this and this for more information.

It is interesting that family relations are of great importance regarding worthiness and, in a underhanded way, used as a crux to keep people worthy and paying tithing.  The summons says abou this that members “cannot attend the [temple] 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 LDS Corporation decides if you are not in harmony with teachings regarding your family relations and will hold that relationship hostage if you don’t obey and pay. 

7. Do you support, affiliate with, or agree with any group or individual whose teachings or practices are contrary to or oppose those accepted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?

The summons does not address this one directly, but, if you’re reading this blog, you probably might have put your recommend in jeopardy, given what the LDS Church teaches about doubting your doubts, or rather, ignoring your doubts, don't look behind the curtain, even to pretend blindness about that curtain.  President Monson, named in the summons, has taught LDS youth:
"Should doubt knock at your doorway, just say to those skeptical, disturbing, rebellious thoughts: ‘I propose to stay with my faith, with the faith of my people. I know that happiness and contentment are there, and I forbid you, agnostic, doubting thoughts, to destroy the house of my faith. I acknowledge that I do not understand the processes of creation, but I accept the fact of it. I grant that I cannot explain the miracles of the Bible, and I do not attempt to do so, but I accept God’s word. I wasn’t with Joseph, but I believe him. My faith did not come to me through science, and I will not permit so-called science to destroy it.’ "

He prefers you not look to science for any answers unless they agree with the LDS Corporation, because faith in falsehoods are more important to him.

Other LDS authorities (apostles) have taught fear of outside information, such as on the internet:

"Some have immersed themselves in internet materials that magnify, exaggerate, and in some cases, invent shortcomings of early church leaders. Then they draw incorrect conclusions that can affect testimony. Any who have made these choices can repent and be spiritually renewed." (Elder Quentin Cook, 6 Oct 2012)

"There have always been a few who want to discredit the church and destroy faith. Today they use the internet. Some of the information about the church, no matter how convincing, is just not true." (Apostle Neil Anderson, 2012)

"Those who were once with us but have retreated, preferring to pick and choose a few culture hors d'oeuvres from the smorgasbord of the restoration and leave the rest of the feast." (Apostle Jeffrey Holland, 2012)

And most recently, in its manual for paid ministers (seminary teachers):
“Much unreliable information pertaining to plural marriage exists on the Internet and in many print sources. Be cautious and wise with such information. Some authors who write about the Church and its history present information out of context or include partial truths that can be misleading. The intent of some of these writings is to destroy faith.” (p. 479 "Seminary Teacher Manual on Doctrine and Covenants and Church History", 2014.)

When members are commanded to avoid looking at unapproved source material, to not honestly examine contrary information, because their authorities have told them to beware of the internet, it appears very cultish to outsiders.  Members should ask themselves:  Do you think your elders have actually read the “unreliable information” themselves?  If so, then they should have very well articulated responses to them if they are so obviously lies/wrong and the brethren can see it.

Where are the well-articulated responses? At the least, Mormons can read their Elder-approved responses without fear of losing the spirit. But no, those responses don't exist. 

You know why?

Because the LDS Corporation is frightened of you even hearing about the issues.  They warn you not to go looking and they refuse to provide you cover with their own teachings.  Don’t look behind the curtain. You'll lose the spirit, and perhaps even your temple recommend.

8. Do you strive to keep the covenants you have made, to attend your sacrament and other meetings, and to keep your life in harmony with the laws and commandments of the gospel?

The summons does not address this one.  It’s clear that obedience is important to the LDS Corporation.  Obey, pay, and don’t look at internet-hearsay, could be a mantra.

9. Are you honest in your dealings with your fellowmen?

The summons does address the general honesty of LDS Corporate officers, such as Monson.  Details to be given during the case.  See this for now.

10. Are you a full-tithe payer?

The LDS Corporation requires a new convert to commit to paying tithing for baptism.  Active members must continue this to go to the temple.  This is the crux if the Mormon Church Fraud Case.  You are required to accept many misleading teachings (shown here) in order to pass a temple worthiness interview to get your saving/exalting ordinances.  And Tithing is tied directly to that salvation along with requiring that you accept the fraudulent teachings.

The initial filing of the summons has the following words:

 “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.”

I was asked by a journalist last week how acceptance of LDS doctrine was tied with tithing.  Because, I explained, you wouldn't pay a tenth of your money if you felt the LDS Church didn't have a monopoly on truth. The unique claims of restoration, new scripture and pedestal-high stance on family values are the unique motif attracting people to become Mormons.  But if the restoration and new scriptures were falsified, if the family values are founded in the first prophet's extreme adultery--how many would actually join?  They have to mis-represent all of these weaknesses to keep members in place and attract new converts.  Then, tithing is absolutely required for salvation offered by the "only person on the earth who possesses and is authorized to exercise all priesthood keys".  And that "only person" is Monson, the name on the summons.

11. Do your keep the Word of Wisdom?

The summons may well address this one, as there are claims in the Word of Wisdom that can be challenged by scientific studies.

12. Do you have financial or other obligations to a former spouse or children? If yes, are you current in meeting those obligations?

The summons does not address this one. But rest assured, the LDS Corporation likes to get into your financial affairs, but don't ask them to return the favor.  Financial secrecy is extremely important to them, and as a member, you have no business speaking ill of the Lord's anointed, or questioning how they use your donations.  The sole discretion on how they use your money is up to the LDS Corporation Sole.

13. If you have previously received your temple endowment: Do you keep the covenants that you made in the temple? Do you wear the garment both night and day as instructed in the endowment and in accordance with the covenant you made in the temple?

The summons does not address this one.  It is worth noting that in the summons, it mentions the desire of the church to keep members paying on a permanent basis.  In the temple, they put their members under life-long covenant to give all of their posessions, talents and time to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (which is effectively the name of the Corporate Sole).  The covenant in perpetuity will net a lot of time and income by keeping members Obeying, Paying and not Hearsaying.

Oh, and don't be gaying either.