Well its all over many, many newspaper websites now, the Telegraph, the Salt Lake Tribune, and many more. President Thomas S Monson has been summonsed to British Courts on the accusation of fraud.
The mistake that many people are making and that I actually made initially, is thinking that the hope here is somehow to prove Mormonism false in court. To prove that the Book of Abraham is a fraud, to prove the earth is not 6000 years old (which of course many Christians believe) and so on. This of course would cause a whole world of problems for many religions in general if it somehow went ahead and the case was won.
This is actually not it at all, what is actually going on is stated on the Mormon Disclosures site and it says this:
“The underlying premise for Tom Phillips’ complaint is basically this: Young salespeople are being carefully groomed and trained to go out and spread demonstrable untruths among the British public in order to persuade them to pay over significant sums of money to a corporation. The transactions depend upon acceptance by individuals of certain “truth claims” which must be received on the basis of partial information presented. If members of the public were to be told the whole truth and still decided they would join up and pay up, that of course would be entirely legitimate. However, when the whole truth is deliberately concealed in order to project a false impression, and money exchanges hands, that is fraud… according to the 2006 Fraud Act, which is the relevant piece of legislation in this case.” -Christopher Ralph (plaintiff in case of summons 2)
This case is about money, but not in the sense that a few ex Mormons want their tithes back, but in the sense that the Mormon Church is selling a product through its young missionaries, and that this product is not being honestly sold, with all things disclosed that should be disclosed for the “investigator” to make an informed decision, therefore an accusation of fraud has followed on this basis.
Christopher Ralph, one of the people involved with filing this case said this in a Facebook discussion.
People seem to think that the idea is to disprove Mormonism in court, when actually the aim, (mine at least), is to show that LDS fundraising methods are unethical, dishonest, and perhaps criminal.
Mormon missionaries by virtue of their age (usually around 18-20) do not know too much about Mormonism. They sell a very basic version and focus heavily on the idea that you just need to pray and the internal witness you receive is all you need to know its true. This is sincere on the missionaries part, but potentially fraudulent on the LDS Churches part. Purposely sending people out with so little knowledge of a faith that has had much said and done in its relatively short time as a world religion.
So just as a reminder here is the summons letter sent on behalf of Chris Ralph.
So the issue here regarding the Book of Abraham is not to prove in court its a fraud, but rather to show that Chris Ralph was in a movement that required him to tithe 10% of his money, and they do require it, if you don’t tithe you don’t get in the temple and you do not go to celestial glory, Doctrine and Covenants 64:23 goes so far as to say:
23 Behold, now it is called today until the coming of the Son of Man, and verily it is a day of sacrifice, and a day for the tithing of my people; for he that is tithed shall not be burned at his coming.
So Chris Ralph was required to tithe to be a member in good standing, and was taught various things such as the Book of Abraham being a literal translation from Egyptian papyri , however he was not told that some of these papyri were found in the 1960s and were found to not be what Joseph Smith claimed at all in the literal sense. Apologists and Church leaders have claimed they are spiritually correct, but they are not literal translations.
Either way Chris Ralph was not clearly given all of this information to make an informed decision, on this issue and the others.
That’s the charge, that’s why it may not get thrown out as quickly as some think, this is not about disproving Mormonism, but rather showing a clear lack of openness with information to new members while still expecting their money and time.