Nuisance lawsuits are a worldwide phenomenon. Every First World country, that is North America and the European Union, has people who would sue at the drop of a hat. Not many, but they damage the reputations of the people who really have been hurt and have no other recourse to fall back on.
For instance there are those people who have been victims of Catholic pedophile priests or a previous generation of Irish women who had been enslaved by the Magdalene nuns.. They sued. They had to sue; there was no other way to get justice.
Those being sued would sometimes warn that if such things continued to happen, that someday, someone would sue over theology. Not the results of theology, but over the doctrine itself.
The other day, this happened. Thomas Phillips, a former Mormon Bishop, managed to get a British judge to issue a bench warrant to the President of the whole Church in Salt Lake City in order to answer to charges of fraud. The fraud: The entire Mormon theology.
This is sort of like suing Grandma for lying about the existence of Santa Claus.
The facts in the case are this: Philips had discovered that the rumors that early Mormons, including Joseph Smith himself, were practicing polygamists were true. Shocked, he resigned his membership and started an anti-Mormon website.
Under a British law enacted in 2006 that makes false advertising illegal, Phillip managed to get Judge Elizabeth Roscoe to issue two summonses on behalf of former members who paid the church tithes, stating that if President Monson doesn’t show up on the specified date in March, a warrant will be issued for his arrest.
Few think that Monson will show up, but the judge may issue an arrest warrant. Palestinian activists had gotten a judge to issue an arrest warrant for former Israeli Minister Tzipi Livini over Operation Cast Lead in 2009, and other such actions had been taken.
But on it’s merits, the suit is based on a single accusation: Monson and the top leadership of the Mormon Church are a bunch of lying Atheists. They always knew that there were no golden plates, Jesus never came to America, and there is NO Mrs. God.
Now this actually plays into the Church’s hands. They are in a perverse way proud of the fact that they were persecuted in the early to middle 19th century, and this is just another example of what they’ve been telling their membership for nearly 180 years.
I think Monson should call Phillips’ bluff. The bench warrant names him as a representative of an organization, so on March 14th, he could legally just send a lawyer. If the judge issues an arrest warrant anyway, they could play the persecution card.
They could do it NOW. The fraud charge is CRIMINAL offense, and is technically brought on behalf of he Queen who, among other things, is the Head of the Anglican Communion. The head of one church suing another for fraud!!! It’s a win/win situation! For the Latter Day Saints!!!!
Even if there were a trial, it would be great publicity for the LDS. I hope they let it go on.