UK Judge to Mormon Leader: Defend Your Religion in Court

But it's unlikely Thomas Monson will have to do that
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 5, 2014 12:19 PM CST
UK Judge to Mormon Leader: Defend Your Religion in Court
Mormon leader Thomas S. Monson speaks during the opening session of the two-day Mormon church conference in Salt Lake City in 2013.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A former Mormon in Britain thinks his old religion is a fraud, and he thinks its leader should be held accountable. In a surprising twist, he's managed to convince a judge that he's got a legitimate beef, reports the Arizona Republic. The magistrate has ordered Mormon President Thomas Monson to appear in a London courtroom next month to answer fraud charges brought by a former bishop. That ex-bishop, Tom Phillips, argues that the church is violating the law by accepting donations while espousing tenets that are demonstrably false. (Like ones asserting that death didn't exist on the planet until about 6,000 years ago, and that the Book of Mormon was translated from ancient gold plates, notes Raw Story.)

“The church occasionally receives documents like this that seek to draw attention to an individual’s personal grievances or to embarrass church leaders,” says a spokesperson. “These bizarre allegations fit into that category.” The Republic story quotes several British legal experts who say there's practically zero chance Monson would be extradited. In fact, most can't understand why the order to appear got issued in the first place. “I’m sitting here with an open mouth,” says one. “I think the British courts will recoil in horror. This is just using the law to make a show, an anti-Mormon point." Phillips expounds on his views at anti-Mormon website called MormonThink. (More Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints stories.)

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