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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: March 14, 2014 10:48PM

I asked a UK contact of mine to describe the proceedings that took place in the Magistrate's Court hearing today, as it all was brought to bear at the expense of the Mormon Fraud by a tenacious Tom Phillips and his able attorney. Below is a blow-by-blow account, sent to me from across the pond (and posted with permission).

Here were my questions:

"How do you think the hearing went, in terms of specific arguments from the Church's rep and from Tom's attorney? Were you actually in the courtroom? Why has the judge delayed further action until the 20th? Any prognostication you'd be willing to offer and, if so, based on what reasons?"

Here are the provided answers:

"I was in the public gallery. Although separated from the Court proper by glass screens, one can hear most, if not all, that is said. Most of the defence arguments were centred around the legality of Tom's case--basically, it was an attempt to treat it as an attack on religious freedom. Anderson, the [Mormon Church] lawyer who was quoted by most newspapers when the summons was first issued was present, I believe, although I'm not certain about this.

"One word constantly on the defence lawyers lips was 'vexatious,' and he referred to Tom as a 'disgrunted ex-Mormon,' something directly out of the Deseret News. He was obviously trying to show that Tom was motivated by revenge and that a trial based on such a motive was not to be permitted in an English court.

"Basically, his argument--one that lasted for nearly three hours--was that this was an attack on religious freedom, he gave several precedents for the case being dismissed. The lawyer's' defence against the seven charges was almost non-existent, consisting mainly of the assertion that LDS doctrine etc was merely 'belief' and therefore could not be used in a case against the Church.

"Several times it seemed that he was quoting directly from a Church manual. I could hardly believe they would present such a weak defence. They were, in fact, saying that the charges in this case had to be based on facts but religious belief was not based on facts; therefore the case should be dismissed, as it was dependent on things that could not be proven one way or another.

"Tom's attorney made short shrift of all this. He quoted several cases where religious freedom had been used as an excuse for lawbreaking. He used as an example the Rastafarian who claims that smoking cannabis is allowed by his religion and it would infringe on his human rights if he was tried for that--but, as the attorney then showed, freedom of religious belief could never be used as a reason to break the law of the land.

"He then gave a number of instances where religious freedom has to take second place to the law. Regarding the actual charges, the defence argument was totally put out to grass. Taking each charge in turn, Tom's lawyer proceeded to show that belief didn't enter into the argument, he showed that every charge could be proven as fact.

"I've talked to someone who has some knowledge of this type of case but not necessarily religious and he considers this delay to be quite normal, I can't say with any certainty why the Judge delayed his decision, that's something that he alone knows but I can hazard a few educated guesses.

"First, the time factor. The prosecution said they could hurry with their presentation but the Judge said no. He [the Judge] wanted them to have every opportunity to present the case. As it was around 4:30 p.m. when the lawyer finished, it gave the Judge no real time to consider any of the evidence.

"Second, a number of points were raised concerning technical and legal issues, I believe that he needed sufficient time to consider all those points and had to be seen to be fair and unbiased, I doubt very much from what I heard that there would be any problems with the actual fraud side of the case.

"Third--and this is a possibility that occurred to Chris Ralph [one of the two specifically-designated victims named in the summons]--the Judge may wish to approach the Crown prosecution servicer with a view to them taking over the case.

"So, what do I think the outcome might be? That's a tough one . . . . Probably 'cautiously optimistic' would be about right. Why do I think that? well, perhaps it's simply faith in English justice but more likely it's because (and I have to admit to a certain bias), the defence never really defended anything; they attacked Tom; they made the claim that this is an attack on religious freedom, all the while knowing that it isn't and, truthfully, they made, in my opinion, no real argument for the case to be dismissed. If that is the best they can offer, then, as far as I can see, it's simply not good enough."

Edited 9 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2014 12:08AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: Shummy ( )
Date: March 14, 2014 11:01PM

Goody goody.

We should perhaps expect a bit of gallows humor in future editorial page doodles.


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Posted by: Charee ( )
Date: March 14, 2014 11:02PM

Thanks for posting!!

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Posted by: summer ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 12:03AM

Thanks for sharing your contact's perspective, Steve.

Check out this thread:,1204253

Apparently three of today's lawyers for the defense are active LDS church members. One of those three just lost the appeal for the tax exemption case for the Preston temple.

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Posted by: donbagley ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 12:21AM

Thank you, Steve.

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Posted by: bentleye ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 01:04AM

Thanks for this. It is interesting that the defense lawyers' tactics were similar to apologist tactics. Attack the critic. Then throw up a bunch of diversionary chaff that doesn't really hold up on close examination. In this case the alleged procedural improprieties and the "religious freedom" argument are just such chaff. Maybe those are the only tactics left when you are defending the indefensible.

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Posted by: RealityCheck ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 05:03AM

To be certain, it is difficult to say at this juncture what is going to happen.

It is no surprise that sources quoted on this board see the defense as very weak. Predictably, LDS Inc. has stated that they are confident that the case will be dismissed. Again, they characterize the proceedings as bizarre mischief initiated by a disaffected member.

As difficult as it is, I have taken a "wait and see" approach. Predicting a ruling such as this can be precarious, indeed. Even though I want to see LDS Inc. go down in flames, I cannot really rejoice until I know for sure what the verdict is.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 05:07AM

. . . religions conniving to pose as public-benefit charities in order to protect their fraudulent multi-national business practices which they criminally conduct in the name of God.

Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2014 05:16AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: freddo ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 10:56PM


Thankfully, the church has sent Baldrick from BlackAdder there, who has just had a cunning plan (lets keep saying that because we are a religion we can say what we want)

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Posted by: nomoreguilt ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 05:16AM

it surprises me that the tithing was not more featured as that affects the British taxpayer because of the gift aid and could be the deciding factor for the judge to let this fraud case go ahead.

the lawyers did mention that paying tithing was optional, how dare they even say such a thing..

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 05:18AM

. . . the loss to the UK Treasury of funds that arguably did not deserve tax-exempt protection due to the financially fraudulent and knowingly dishonest business practices of the the LDS Church's Corporation of the President. That laying of fact (which I have read in its entirety) was, no doubt, referenced by Tom's legal counsel during the recent Westminster hearing.

Edited 5 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2014 05:33AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: nomoreguilt ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 05:23AM

Brilliant! If nothing else, this shows that it's not just a disaffected member stirring things up.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 05:26AM

"For his part, Phillips thought the day went well and is equally confident of an outcome in his favor.

"'I am certain at law we are correct,' he said. 'They tried to influence the judge from a religious-freedom argument; our answer is that a religion is not free to commit crime. Once they start to make false representations to make money, that goes into the area of fraud.'"

("British Judge to Decide if Fraud Case Against Mormon Leader Can Proceed," by Peggy Fletcher Stack, ""Salt Lake Tribune," 14 March 2014, at:

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/15/2014 05:27AM by steve benson.

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Posted by: oldklunker ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 09:21AM

Tom Phillips is a man of integrity. How easy would it have been to just walk away and leave mormonism to continue their blight on society?

Our lives in mormonism required us to be honest, faithful, obedient and pay tithing.

The leaders of the church, the big Q15, are not good examples of honesty and integrity. They whitewash history to gain Power and authority over humanity. They are attempting to flood the earth with a religion born from a con man.

There are many like Tom Phillips who have enough integrity and honesty to stand against a pack of lying deceitful corporate thugs. The corporation must be held accountable when they break the law. They should be held accountable when they lie to members about the history of the church.

In reality, every Member of the Q15 should be excommunicated by the standards they set for the members. They prey on the poorest of poor and take a portion of their sustenance in the name of God. How utterly corrupt can you get?

Thanks Tom, you are the type of person the world needs to look up to for support and honesty.

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Posted by: RealityCheck ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 09:38AM

"In reality, every Member of the Q15 should be excommunicated by the standards they set for the members."

Good points, oldklunker!

There is no way in hell that any member of the Q15 can state that he is honest in his dealings with his fellow man.

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Posted by: CA girl ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 09:44AM

Thanks Steve.

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Posted by: presleynfactsrock ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 10:05PM

Steve, Appreciate your posting and sharing what your courtroom contact gleaned, as well as words from Tom. Thanks.

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Posted by: Shummy ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 11:10PM

new episode of BlackAdder.

It's showtime folks!

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Posted by: Lavor smith ( )
Date: March 15, 2014 11:42PM

Thaks for the up days.

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Posted by: cecily ( )
Date: March 16, 2014 12:56AM

Someone has to create a meme for that.

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Posted by: randyj ( )
Date: March 17, 2014 04:46PM

...get your ducks in a road and don't take them for granite!

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Posted by: MexMom ( )
Date: March 16, 2014 03:31AM

Awesome, thanks Steve!

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Posted by: Crusader ( )
Date: March 17, 2014 02:07PM

So far so good, hope it goes all the way,seems like the church lawyers shot themselves in the foot,

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Posted by: Void K. Packer ( )
Date: March 17, 2014 02:16PM

If it does go to trial, are the arguments churchco lawyers made in the hearing admissible evidence? I'm sure I'm not alone at some of the astonishing claims presented, such as all is a matter of belief, TSM is not accountable for official church publications, etc. I would've sworn not a single one of the six present was lds because of such statements, and yet it turns out three of them were lds.? Baffling.

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Posted by: OregonBoy ( )
Date: March 17, 2014 04:39PM

Thanks Steve and @oldklunker - exactly spot on-

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Posted by: CrusaderX ( )
Date: March 18, 2014 02:41AM

Perhaps the church will send in there big guns on Thursday,this is going further than they expected and could get even more serious if UK inland revenue take an interest, I'm sure they will be watching closely, it's time to tell the truth and reform the church.

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