The more I look at this, the more I think that the British might be risking having a headache on their hands.
…Well, you know what I mean.
The president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has been ordered to appear before a British court to defend the Mormon faith against charges that it used false teachings to defraud church members.
The court order is the result of complaints filed by Tom Phillips, a disaffected Mormon living in Portugal, on behalf of two men he says were induced to pay an annual tithing to the Church based on “untrue or misleading” claims. These claims include seven central LDS tenets, such as the belief that the Book of Mormon was translated from ancient gold plates by Joseph Smith and “is the most correct book on earth and is an ancient historical record.”
The problem here, of course, is that while most of the people reading this probably do not believe in the basic tenets of Mormonism they will nonetheless instinctively recoil at the idea that a religious faith might be forced in a court of law to try to prove its basic articles of faith. Which, by the way, Phillips is also doing with regard to evangelical Christianity:
Phillips challenges the biblical Book of Genesis, alleging it is fraudulent to assert that “all humans alive today are descended from just two people (Adam and Eve) who lived approximately 6,000 years ago.”
Come, I will conceal nothing from you: the odds that the British government will attempt to extradite LDS President Thomas Monson to appear before them in court are only slightly better than the odds that the American government would honor that extradition request. Which is to say, the Brits won’t and we wouldn’t*. But what happens if Thomas Monson decides to go? We forget that the LDS considers itself to be an (small-g) evangelical and missionary church, to the point where every Mormon is supposed to spend two years spreading the faith. The man is in his mid-eighties and spent a large portion of his life overseeing missionary work behind the Iron Curtain; looking very much from the outside, I can see a situation where Monson might feel called to let the British government decide whether or not to persecute his faith for their beliefs.
But it probably won’t happen: the reports suggest that the Brits are quietly horrified that one of their judges stepped in it to this degree. Smart of them.
Via Hot Air Headlines.
*We will now pause while some random person darkly mutters that of course the US government would extradite a man who has broken none of our laws, who has frankly broken none of Great Britain’s laws, and perhaps most importantly, who is the head of a respected religion whose adherents include the last Republican candidate for President and the Democratic Senate Majority Leader.