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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 11:06AM

I suggest that before anybody comments on the Tom Phillips case against Thomas Monson, they should read the exact wording of the law on which it is based, the "2006 Fraud Act":

Unfortunately, I am guilty of doing exactly that. I have made comments in forums and here without reading the law, and it caused me to misunderstand some basic things, since I was assuming (wrongly) that it was similar to what we Americans call "fraud."

First off, the name of the law is misleading for Americans, since in America "fraud" is a civil action, not a crime, and has numerous elements that must be proven before the court finds fraud (see my discussion at ). A better title - if I can be so presumptuous as to suggest this to the Brits - would have been "2006 False Advertising Act," since that is essentially what it is.

The UK law is very broad. It does not require a number of things that we think of as associated with "fraud":

- no actual damage is necessary;
- no actual victim is necessary;
- actual falsity of the claims is unnecessary, only that they are "misleading" or "might be false";

- no "reasonable reliance" by a victim is required;
- no causal relationship between the false statements and the victim's actions is required.

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Posted by: Richard G. Spot ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 11:21AM

It appears that many people tend to mix Section 2 of the UK 2006 Fraud Act with Section 3. They are distinct.

Section 2 is "false representations." Section 3 is "failure to disclose."

Tom Phillips' case is based on Section 2. It is very difficult to prove many of those points to be false, as is required by the prosecution.

This matter would have been better if Phillips could have proceded under section 3 because the failure to disclose is the real crime here. The only problem is proving a special relationship between Monson and the defrauded to establish a legal duty to disclose. Section 3 specifically uses the term "financial" when describing the obligation to disclose. That requirement was most likely the reason Phillips proceded under Section 2.

Phillips likely wins on the Book of Abraham. The others, including the BoM, I am not confident in a win. We'll see.

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Posted by: randyj ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 01:02PM

Like the BOA, it's represented to be a translation of ancient writings, but there are dozens of items within it which demonstrate that it's a fraud of 19th century origin. It contains numerous plagiarisms and ideas from recently-published works that Joseph Smith had access to. It doesn't matter that we don't have the original "source material," the text itself proves its fraudulence.

In my view, speaking as a layman, the BOM is easily proven in court as a fraud, according to the UK laws which have been detailed here. I think it's similar to the cases of the bogus Howard Hughes autobiography and the Hitler diaries which I cited a few days ago. And the perps of both of those frauds went to prison.

And I think that Tom Phillips is smart enough to not have even pursued the case if he didn't have a shot at winning.

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Posted by: Richard G. Spot ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 01:38PM

I agree on Tom Phillips and the gang being pretty clever. It was a great strategy and worthy of high praise.

What you have suggested about the BoM further bolsters the genius in Phillips' strategy.

Ignore that for a moment and think in terms of evidence to support a conviction. If we just focus on the BoM alone as the only false representation, the prosecution has difficulty proving that it was a fraud.

1. No physical evidence of the golden plates is equally pursuasive both for and against the books existence. One can't prove the book didn't exist. The other can't prove it did.

2. Likewise, no evidence of a language called "reformed egyptian" does not prove no such language ever existed. (even though common sense tells you it didn't b/c Jose Smith was a con man, but we're talking about evidence standards in a criminal prosecution)

3. No evidence of language ties is also not proof that language ties did not exist at one time and were lost. (not likely, but not enough to show "dishonesty" in making the representation)

4. Geological inconsistencies, and DNA evidence are, again, the lack of evidence, not proof of fraud. It's hard to prove "dishonesty" when several explanations are consistent with generally accepted theories of genetics. (again, it's not that reasonable people believe TSCC. It just show lack of "dishonesty").

5. The BoA translation is proof of Jose Smith's action in conformity with the fraud he is accused, but not proof of the fraud itself. This is a logical flaw/fallacy when charged ONLY with BoM fraud.

This illustrates the genius in Phillips' strategy. Alone, each of the 7 points can be explained away, which will negate the "dishonesty" element of the crime, but together, they show a consistent patern of false representations in the face of evidence to the contrary that TSCC and Monson knew "might be false."

I applaud the Tom Phillips and his team. I can't praise their strategy enough. Somebody is going down and I think the BoA point is key, with points 2-7 as support thereto.

Good job Mr. Phillips!!!

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Posted by: randyj ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 02:36PM

Items such as reformed Egyptian, DNA & geological inconsistencies, etc., can be argued, but I was referring more to items in the BOM which were plagiarized from other sources, both ancient and modern.

For instance, the book of Ether contains a story which is lifted from the New Testament account of Salome dancing for King Herod and asking for John the Baptist's head. Since Joseph Smith used the material, but he altered it and placed it in an alleged authentic incident which occurred in ancient America, that, to me, is plagiarism. (And of course, the entire Book of Ether's premise is a re-casting of the story of Noah and the ark.)

Another example is the snippet in the BOM which uses phrases from the "Westminster Confession".

Another one is the lifting of parts of the plot line from Ethan Smith's "View of the Hebrews."

Another one is the use of a quote from Shakespeare "from whence no traveller can return" etc. And there are many other examples.

I would think that the usage of previously published material, removed from its original context and installed into an allegedly original, authentic work, constitutes fraud. I again cite the Hitler Diaries case:

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Posted by: zenmaster ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 04:18PM


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Posted by: crom ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 02:22PM

Why is he limited to section 2? Why can't he use section 3 or 4? There is an "Explanation" section and it seems the judge can define these broadly if the judge chooses.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 04:01PM

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Posted by: P. Mason ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 11:30AM

On the matter of "false representations", let the Mormon President take the stand under oath and swear to the following:

Do the LDS "Prophets Seers and Revelators" literally see and speak with God as they claim.

Do the LDS "Prophets Seers and Revelators" NOT literally see and speak with God as they claim.

I rest my case.

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Posted by: anonow ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 12:13PM

Some have said they personally have done that some have said they have not had that experience. Not sure what case you are resting.

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Posted by: Tom Phillips ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 12:02PM

Thank you Richard. So many legal commentators have dismissed the case without reading the legislation.

It is a measure of the man you are that, having yourself allowed misunderstanding, you post this to clarify the matter.

Thank you,

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Posted by: Richard G. Spot ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 12:44PM

Thank you for the kind words.

I did initially believe the matter was dead on arrival, relying on my American legal training and understanding of general legal principles, even after reading 2006 Act. However, having read specific commentary from UK lawyers on the interpretation of the law, I cannot continue to be a victim of my own failure to seek truth, apply reason, and accept the conclusions. I did that far too long as a TBM.

I suppose my trouble with the case came from being distracted by several points aside from the BoA. Several have very little chance at success. But, considering the strategy applied in providing those other points as examples of false information, I understand why you guys presented the 7 points as you did. We only need ONE to succeed. The others lend support for the ONE. The BoA is unequivically a fraud straight from Joseph Smith's ass, and TSCC representes it as a translation of Abraham's writings. There is NO WAY AROUND THAT FALSE REPRESENTATION. Points 2-7 lend support by showing TSCC has acted in conformity with the allegations on other occasions, thus not likely to be a mere mistake, but "DISHONESTY" (as required by Section 2).

I questioned the strategy as well, but now I see the method in the madness. Very good work and well designed strategy. Props to the legal team.

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Posted by: Void K. Packer ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 01:01PM

Not that my assessment matters, but I agree the BoA is the strongest assertion of fraud as outlined in the 2006 Act. My question then becomes, what will "the UK" do about it? Do CPS swoop in and prosecute? It'd be difficult for Phillips to go it alone, wouldn't it? I mean, isn't one staring at a million+ bob legal fee alone?

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Posted by: Richard G. Spot ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 01:46PM

That's where the outcome is unclear to me. As I understand, the Crown Prosecutor must take on the prosecution if Phillips is to secure any conviction beyond a certain level of penalty (I think max 1 year incarceration). Certainly, Monson can be prosecuted before the current lower Court, and the damage will be done. I just don't know what standards (if any) govern a decision by the Crown Prosecutors to intervene and raise the max sentence.

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Posted by: Void K. Packer ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 03:49PM

I thought the Magistrates Court usually decided if the crime is of sufficient severity to be sent to Crown Court? As I understand CPS can take over at any time, and they have been alerted to this proceeding, but so far it seems it's all in a holding pattern till 14 Mar.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 04:44PM

. . . and can take action at any time with regard to its deposition. If it were to announce it was terminating the case, that decision is subject to appeal by the private prosecutor (meaning Phillips) and would be appealed.

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Posted by: thingsithink ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 04:07PM


the Book of Abraham is demonstrably false because the papyri doesn't say what Smith claims.

the Book of Mormon on the other hand is more problematic because we don't know what words appeared on the stone. Thus, the Book of Mormon is more difficult to prove false. :)

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Posted by: randyj ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 04:39PM

"the Book of Mormon on the other hand is more problematic because we don't know what words appeared on the stone."

I would counter that the plagiarisms, anomalies, etc., within the BOM prove that it's a modern-day fraud, thus there were no
"words appearing on a stone" to argue about.

In fact, I'd go a step further and argue that Joseph Smith's assertions that the BOM was an ancient record which he magically translated through a "stone" is further evidence of the fraud. To support that, I'd bring in the *documented* evidence that Smith ran his peep-stone fraud to skim money from ignorant locals for several years before he changed his scam to the "translating the golden plates" business. I'd also cite the fact that the church has edited the BOM many times since its original publication, thus the "translation" is bogus.

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Posted by: BeenThereDunnThatExMo ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 03:03PM

To Mr. Richard Packham...who's always a Class Act...and i concur via the meaning of the true measure of a MAN in admitting publicly that he had a misunderstanding.

Or so it seems to me...

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Posted by: Void K. Packer ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 12:17PM

RPackham Wrote:
> - actual falsity of the claims is unnecessary,
> only that they are "misleading" or "might be
> false"

I am curious about how this will be interpreted in the hearing. The exact wording is:

A representation is false if—
(a)it is untrue or misleading, and
(b)the person making it knows that it is, or might be, untrue or misleading."

I take this to mean falsity must be proved, but from (b), the perpetrator knowing it *might* be untrue or misleading also constitutes falsity as surely as outright lying.

Unfortunately, I think proving (b) is a difficult proposition. Defendant will of course deny having any idea, suspicion or inkling that what he said might be untrue or misleading. And surely the court has to accept that on face value unless prosecution can present strong evidence that defendant *did* have an idea certain statements were untrue, or at least misleading. How one can do that without incontrovertible written evidence escapes me. I don't think bringing in a parade of people citing prior conversations would cut it, and would make it even more muddled as now one must weigh their credibility and reliability of memory.

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Posted by: randyj ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 01:09PM

...that it should be Monson's legal responsibility, as CEO, to know whether or not the items are true? Meaning, shouldn't he be aware of the scientific/scholarly findings which demonstrate the BOM and BOA to be bogus? I don't see how he can just plead ignorance.

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Posted by: zenmaster ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 04:41PM

I couldn't agree more!!! If he was the CEO of a typical company (ie IBM, GE...stick any company name you can think of here), he would be fired or ousted by the board for not knowing information about their company that is so easily obtainable. Or, of course he would be prosecuted if he was involved in fraudulent activity (ie Enron)

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 12:20PM

. . . grasp that fundamental fact, the sooner they will realize the seriousness of the legal action that Phillips is mounting against the Mormon Church.

UK laws, together with UK Charity Commission regulations, impose burdens of behavior on religions that can legitimately be invoked in cases of fraud in order to demonstrate action on the part of the Mormon Church that is in violation of British rules governing legal vs. illegal behavior.

Edited 7 time(s). Last edit at 02/18/2014 04:24PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Interested observer ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 12:52PM

Monson’s defence may well be that he was not aware of any evidence that could cast doubts on the veracity of church beliefs but I doubt if there is a court in the UK that would accept it.
For Monson, as head of the Corporation, to claim ignorance of any evidence showing that the church might or could be wrong, & at the same time employ several apologist groups under the umbrella of the Maxwell institute to counter such views, would be taking credibility to the extreme. Unless of course he can also claim that he’s never heard of the Maxwell institute.
I cannot see any judge being so naive as to accept such a defence.

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Posted by: Richard G. Spot ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 12:56PM

So, why did Gerald Bradford remove Daniel Peterson from FARMS? I haven't been on this site long enough to know the details of all the Maxwell Institute controversy.

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Posted by: randyj ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 01:15PM

I wonder if the recent publication of the church's essays could be used to show that church reps are aware of the controversies, thus they can't plead ignorance.

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Posted by: vh65 ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 01:55PM

I thought that too. And the famous rock is in the first presidency vault, contradicting the idea that he may only know of the movies and pictures used to tell the JS story to investigators and members. The more I look at church materials - articles, manuals, speeches - the more clear, compelling evidence I see of lies and pressure to pay. And Thomas Monson has been high up in the LDS hierarchy for over 30 years. While he may be an old man in physical and mental decline now, it would be ridiculous to argue that one of the longest-serving apostles was always ignorant of the vast amounts of evidence disproving these 7 points. The leadership will clearly throw political pressure, money, and people at the problem. By trying to make this a challenge against religion they may succeed in getting it tossed. But I think there is a case here, on all 7 points (and Joe's still-secret sexual escapades) Go get 'em, Tom!

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Posted by: RPackham ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 01:47PM

randyj Wrote:

Verrrry interesting! Thanks for the link, Randy.

Maybe somebody should try to get the U.S. government to do the same thing to TSCC.

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Posted by: randyj ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 02:10PM

...I see very little difference between a TV infomercial pitchman making fraudulent claims to induce people to buy a product and LDS church corporate heads doing pretty much the same thing.

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Posted by: offradar ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 02:45PM

I agree, but in the USA religion gets a free ride, it's untouchable, the great I Am.
Not so in UK and Europe!
Although I believe that there may be a different judge on 14 March. How well versed in the nuts and bolts of the case will he/she be, compared to judge Roscoe?

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Posted by: amos2 ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 02:40PM

Bottom line is the church has to say they arent breaking the law.
Its a simple comparison of what the law says and what the church does.
They can call it persecution if they want to but it doesnt change the law.
And religious freedom is a red herring.
Even the church would agree religious freedom is limited to otherwise legal practices.

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Posted by: Interested observer ( )
Date: February 18, 2014 03:36PM

I mentioned the essays on a different thread last week, Randyj has also touched on them today & he’s right. I’ve come to the conclusion that the essays were the ingrained gut reaction of men desperate to cover their tracks without giving adequate regard for the consequences. It seems to me that they’ve really shot themselves in the foot this time,

Even if the apologetic, church supported Maxwell institute was left out of the equation, the LDS have handed gift wrapped evidence to Tom by pretty much admitting, through the publication of those essays, that previous information found on the LDS site & used for decades by church salesman was MISLEADING.

As far as I can see the case for fraud is pretty much cut & dried, the church, by it’s own admission, have been misleading people for many years.

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