For immediate release
JUDGE WITHDRAWS MORMON FRAUD SUMMONS
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.”
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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.