Solved? Why President Monson has not born testimony of the Book of Mormon since 2005.

Solved? Why President Monson has not born testimony of the Book of Mormon since 2005.

Today the Mormon Prophet and President Thomas S Monson was summoned to court in London on seven charges of fraud under a UK 2006 Fraud Act. The most complete account is currently on the front page of MormonThink.com.

In the summons (view here) delivered to the Prophet on 4 Feb 2014, seven charges are made against the Prophet for making claims “which were and which you knew were or might be untrue or misleading” and which were used to induce certain people to pay annual tithes.

The seven claims listed are as follows:

  1. The Book of Abraham is a literal translation of Egyptian papyri by Joseph Smith.
  2. The Book of Mormon was translated from ancient gold plates by Joseph Smith is the most correct book on earth and is an ancient historical record.
  3. Native Americans are descended from an Israelite family which left Jerusalem in 600 B.C.
  4. Joseph and Hyrum Smith were killed as martyrs in 1844 because they would not deny their testimony of the Book of Mormon.
  5. The Illinois newspaper called the Nauvoo Expositor had to be destroyed because it printed lies about Joseph Smith.
  6. There was no death on this planet prior to 6,000 years ago
  7. All humans alive today are descended from just two people who lived approximately 6,000 years ago

Note that these claims are not theological or religious claims, but rather claims that extend into the world of objective fact. For example, you couldn’t claim fraud if he said that Christ’s atoning blood can atone for the sins of mankind, because that is a theological statement that cannot be objectively proven. All seven of these claims deal with real world facts which bear scrutiny and directly relate to the issue of fraud.

It is particularly interesting to put this news together with an observation that about about the difference between Thomas Monson’s term as a prophet and his predecessors. At least one person, going by TruthIsReason, has noted and documented that since 2005 “Thomas S. Monson, the president of the LDS Church, has not borne testimony of any of his church’s unique foundational doctrines including the truth of the Book of Mormon or the prophetic calling of Joseph Smith in any of the church’s General Conference meetings” (see the full report in a better format here)

Note that the absence of direct statements of the factual truthfulness of these things started in 2005. The fraud act itself became law in 2006, however it was known to be in the works for some time, starting in 1998 when the Home Secretary asked the Law Commission to examine the law on fraud and provide an update to the body of criminal law. By 2005, the church had to have known that this was coming.

It is entirely plausible that the reason for the Mormon Prophet’s reticence in testifying to the truthfulness of these aspects of the mormon faith is so that he could avoid the exact fraud charges that are being brought forth today.

Remember, this is not having to do with metaphysical religious claims, which cannot be proven to be fraudulent, but about tangible claims which bear factual scrutiny.

In Joseph Smith’s time, summons and charges were usually avoided because of the protective nature of the charter of the city of Nauvoo which allowed Joseph to appear before a judge in his own jurisdiction (who happened to be  a member of the church) and obtain a writ of habeus corpus. When this failed, he could always call upon the Nauvoo Legion, his own personal militia, to prevent him from being held accountable to authorities which were over him legally and not under him theologically. (this ultimately was his undoing as the very act of calling up the militia for this purpose in avoiding accountability for the destruction of the Nauvoo Expositor led to the charges of treason which put him in Carthage – the site of his eventual murder at the hands of a mob).

President Monson doesn’t have the Nauvoo legion at his call, but he does have something better – a legion of lawyers. If this actually goes to any sort of trial, it will only be after a long process of legal sparring which will likely outlast the nonagenarian prophet.

Update:

A commenter by the name of Peter pointed out that Monson wrote the following in a 2011 liahona article:

“With other latter-day prophets, I testify of the truthfulness of this ‘most correct of any book on earth’, even the Book of Mormon”.

He makes an excellent point which might seem to disprove the thesis of TruthIsReason’s essay. Notably, the essay is dealing primarily with in person, personal testimony in general conference. Articles written in the church periodicals have less of an impact than personally bearing testimony in general conference before the view of the whole world. A personal testimony in General Conference is an unequivocal statement witnessed by all. An article in a periodical leaves open the possibility of a ghost writer (which has some precedent if the accounts in Daymon Smith’s “The Book of Mammon” are true) and as such potentially has less authenticity than an in-person testimony.

It should be made clear that the testimony of truthfulness referred to here is factual historicity, not truthfulness of principle. For example, you could bear testimony of the truthfulness of “Who Moved My Cheese” in terms of it’s message helping you to deal with change, but that is different from bearing testimony that the mice in the story actually existed. Similarly, bearing testimony of the ” truthfulness of this ‘most correct of any book on earth’, even the Book of Mormon” regarding it’s doctrinal ability to inspire one to live a Christ like life is different from testifying of it’s factual status as a history of an actual ancient peoples.

Update 2:

Other commenters have pointed out that the anecdote cited in the 2011 message by Monson which included the above testimony was a reprint from previous years Ensign – specifically citing March of 1989 where an article entitled “We add our witness” includes testimony from several general authorities, including Monson. The same anecdote was also included, almost verbatim, in an an April 2003 article titled “He is Risen“.

I don’t think that this is particular damning evidence. It appears that, like stories from the scriptures, anecdotes from the lives of the general authorities can be reused in different church publications in order to build faith. It should also be noted that while the same anecdote is used in each story, the words are very slightly changed and the actual testimony is only included in the 2011 article and not found in the previous articles. I think the observation about the difference between testifying to the truth of a book in principle being different from the truth of a book in fact is the primary distinguishing feature between this sort of testimony that we see from Monson in the last few years and the type of testimony seen from general authorities previously.

I have searched every official LDS web resource and can find no earlier testimony by Monson that uses the exact same wording as that cited above.

  • moya

    I’m having trouble locating this source anywhere on the internet in an actual news source (verses a blog type of situation). I realize that you have a copy of the document. With all due respect, I’m wondering if this is accurate and if it has been verified. But, let’s assume it is real.

    I feel for him. I do not feel that you can “prove” things of this nature. Let me say it another way, I think we can disprove most aspects of most religions. We can actually prove, more or less, that bible miracles either are unlikely or misinterpreted — based on modern science and historical records. I guess I don’t understand why he would be targeted instead of ‘false’ claims of other religions as well. Don’t think we need to prosecute any religion legally, that would get really foggy really fast. I realize Mormonism is new, historically, and easier to trace — but I don’t think that fact makes it fair to say it’s fraud, per se.

    I should say, if this helps with my own credibility, that I am a nonbeliever. So I’m not offended because I believe — I’m bothered that he’s being harassed for being a believer. I say live and let live. In this day and age, people with critical thinking and a scientific mind will surely discover the ‘accurate’ and muddled mormon history. I hope this makes sense — I don’t mean to be negative. Just found myself having compassion, if this is in fact truly happening. Leave him alone. That’s my two cents.

    • cj

      Monson “being harassed for being a believer” is hardly the case here. The man is the president of a sole proprietorship corporation that takes in billions and billions of dollars a year, tax free. These funds are coerced out of millions of members with the threat of eternal damnation over their heads. He does all this by claiming to speak to god and testifying of the” truthfulness of the gospel”.

      • http://www.theSTARforum.org theSTARforum

        Coerced? No. They are given by choice. It isn’t like the government that taxes you at threat of taking away property. These are tithes. People choose to belong to a church, and if they belong, they can also choose whether or not they are full or partial or non tithe payers. No threat of any kind. I find it interesting that when someone doesn’t believe as another, there only argument is coercion, threat, or brainwashing. It’s a decision. One of the best songs in the LDS Hymn book says, “Know this that every soul is free, to choose his life and what he’ll be. For this eternal truth is given, that God will force no man to heaven.”

        Billions of dollars tax free…… HARDLY. Those billions were already taxed as income from the donors that gave them. Or should we tax the Red Cross, the Catholic Church, et al? This is simply bigotry at it’s finest.

        • suzanne

          In order to be “worthy” in the LDS church you have to pay tithe. In D&C 119:3-4 tithing is considered a law, forever. Read it it the Tithing & Fast Offerings pamphlet the missionaries hand out. You want to get married in the temple? Better be up to date on tithing. & I say brainwashing because little children go up in front of the church, along w adults & gives their testimony saying” I know my church is right, I know my church is true.”

    • Heather
    • Suzanne

      You feel sorry for the guy?!? He’s a con artist who’s getting what’s coming to him. I hope he & the church go down w their false doctrines. I’m so happy this is happening! They’ve brainwashed my husbands side of the family & I hope this is all over the news& people wake up.

    • livia

      Well for one, the Book of abraham has been proven by all egyptologists (who are not lds) that it is a fraud and actually an egyptian papyrus about the book of the dead. Joseph smith even said abraham wrote it himself. Its ludicrous.

    • Breanna
  • Thinker of Thoughts

    I agree with your skeptic position regarding the whole thing. Right now I am taking the summons documents at face value and and awaiting verification in the press. I am certain that if the summons are legitimate that there will be mainstream media coverage.

    The reporters are probably all studying up on what exactly the Book of Abraham is right now so they can provide some background info…

  • http://don'thaveawebsite Bonnie Oless

    Ask your pendulum: Does God think of him as a prophet of God? Is he filled with light (as a true man of God should be)? When you look in his eyes, do you feel peace?

    • sarah

      The answers in order: No, No, and definitely no.

    • Chris

      Yes, yes, and yes

    • http://Google John Jacob Jingle-hiemer Schmidt

      Hell yeah I feel peace!!!!! Monson is a diamond!

  • http://gravatar.com/dbundy dbundy

    So now, it’s DNA evidence against human testimony that we are descendants of Adam and Eve? LoL. Now, it’s scientific consensus against human testimony that the creation, the beginning of man, was approximately 6,000 years ago? :)

    Can someone prove that the Book of Abraham is a fraud? Please see here, before you answer:

    https://rsc.byu.edu/archived/no-weapon-shall-prosper/egyptian-papyri-and-book-abraham-faithful-egyptological-point-view

    To be learned is good, but it becomes foolishness unto them, if they hearken not unto the counsels of God.

    So, sue me.

    • Jrd

      Muhlestein should not be taken seriously. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KLa8HYsfpM

    • Chris

      Please use a more biased source.

    • Thinker of Thoughts

      How do you distinguish between the counsels of God and the counsels of Men?

      Brigham taught that Adam was God – those who did not accept it were called to the carpet and corrected or else held their mouths shut. Was that counsel of God?

      http://mormonbookshelf.com/wiki/The_position_of_Adam_in_Latter-day_scripture_and_theology

      • livia

        Brigham also taught that blacks and other colored peoples shouldnt have the priesthood. Even after Joseph Smith gave the priesthood to several colored people. (Most likely because he was apart of the areas who wanted free states). Joseph smith was insane but brigham young is who created the whole racial idea in the church because it was what a lot of the rest of the new world was doing. He wanted to find friendly ties and he himself was proven to have racial qualities. Even mormons will say he wasnt the nicest of guys.

    • cj

      Thousands of egyptologists and the one you pick to support the book of abraham just happens to be a Mormon. And don’t think that guy has any conflicts of interest? Like his entire sense of reality crashing down on him of he were to acknowledge a falsity in his religion?

  • geeker

    This is so paranoid it’s hilarious. I love it. Thank you.

  • Peter

    Monson has not born testimony of the BoM since 2005? What about this message, from the October 2011 church magazine?:

    “With other latter-day prophets, I testify of the truthfulness of this ‘most correct of any book on earth’, even the Book of Mormon”.

    http://www.lds.org/liahona/2011/10/precious-promises-of-the-book-of-mormon

    I found this in 20 seconds using google. Nice due diligence.

    • Meaghan

      Good point Peter

    • Cynth

      Read the article you googled, Peter, then read the statements you are attempting to use the article to disprove. Lifting a single sentence out of context that was found in a google search without doing actual academic research is shoddy work.

      • https://www.facebook.com/leondberg Leon D Berg

        Peter … you point is addressed in the Blog’s final paragraph:

        Update:
        It should be made clear that the testimony of truthfulness referred to here is factual historicity, not truthfulness of principle. For example, you could bear testimony of the truthfulness of “Who Moved My Cheese” in terms of it’s message helping you to deal with change, but that is different from bearing testimony that the mice in the story actually existed. Similarly, bearing testimony of the “ truthfulness of this ‘most correct of any book on earth’, even the Book of Mormon” regarding it’s doctrinal ability to inspire one to live a Christlike life is different from testifying of it’s factual status as a history of an actual ancient peoples.

    • http://truthisrestoredagain.wordpress.com awakenedtoreality

      Peter, unfortunately the article you mentioned was not written in 2011. It is a “repeat” of a previous article. President Monson’s messages printed in the Church magazines regularly cycle through his past messages. There is a pattern if you look closely. The article you cited here, for example, was given in 1989 and later in 2003: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1989/03/we-add-our-witness?lang=eng

    • Thinker of Thoughts

      Peter,

      You make an excellent point. It might seem to disprove the thesis.

      Note that articles written in the church periodicals have less of an impact than personally bearing testimony in general conference, which was the main focus of the paper that first made these claims. A personal testimony in General Conference is an unequivocal statement witnessed by all.

      An article in a periodical leaves open the possibility of a ghost writer (which has some precedent if the accounts in Daymon Smith’s “The Book of Mammon” are true) and has less authenticity than an in-person testimony.

      Also, I have updated the post with this:

      It should be made clear that the testimony of truthfulness referred to here is factual historicity, not truthfulness of principle. For example, you could bear testimony of the truthfulness of “Who Moved My Cheese” in terms of it’s message helping you to deal with change, but that is different from bearing testimony that the mice in the story actually existed. Similarly, bearing testimony of the “ truthfulness of this ‘most correct of any book on earth’, even the Book of Mormon” regarding it’s doctrinal ability to inspire one to live a Christlike life is different from testifying of it’s factual status as a history of an actual ancient peoples.

      • livia

        Thinker of thoughts. That quote was from over 20 years ago. Its a repeat quote no one in the church would assume was a repeat. It was also used in 2003.

  • Andrew Winkler

    If I come to your house and tell you that I have a friend, who wants you to give me money, and is going to do bad things to you if you don’t – if my friend’s name is Mikey, that’s a felony. If his name is Jesus, it’s a tax deduction.

  • Gregory Downey

    One of many examples of Pres. Monson’s Testimony RECENTLY… http://www.lds.org/liahona/2011/10/precious-promises-of-the-book-of-mormon?lang=eng

    • https://www.facebook.com/leondberg Leon D Berg

      From the Blog’s last paragraph:

      Update:
      It should be made clear that the testimony of truthfulness referred to here is factual historicity, not truthfulness of principle. For example, you could bear testimony of the truthfulness of “Who Moved My Cheese” in terms of it’s message helping you to deal with change, but that is different from bearing testimony that the mice in the story actually existed. Similarly, bearing testimony of the “ truthfulness of this ‘most correct of any book on earth’, even the Book of Mormon” regarding it’s doctrinal ability to inspire one to live a Christlike life is different from testifying of it’s factual status as a history of an actual ancient peoples.

      From the article “penned” by Monson as you refer to:

      With other latter-day prophets, I testify of the truthfulness of this “most correct of any book on earth,”2 even the Book of Mormon, another testament of Jesus Christ.

    • http://truthisrestoredagain.wordpress.com awakenedtoreality

      Unfortunately this article was not written in 2011. It is a “repeat” of a previous article. President Monson’s messages printed in the Church magazines regularly cycle through his past messages. There is a pattern if you look closely. The article you cited here, for example, was given in 1989 and later in 2003: http://www.lds.org/ensign/1989/03/we-add-our-witness?lang=eng

  • karen

    He testifies of the message and power of the bom but not that it was translated from gold plates by a simple farm boy

  • http://truthisrestoredagain.wordpress.com awakenedtoreality

    The commenters here might have a better understanding if they looked into how the allegations relate to the tithe. An explanation of the 7 fraud claims is provided here: http://thoughtsonthingsandstuff.com/solved-why-president-monson-has-not-born-testimony-of-the-book-of-mormon/

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  • https://www.facebook.com/noraneil Nora Wareing

    President Monson is a real prophet of God! It doesn’t matter what others have to say. God called him and God is on his side!

    • livia

      I used to be too. I hope you dont go about your testimony with reality of the lies in the church. Because I assure you if you knew the truth of how the church actually started and the polygamy and polyandry and the total fraud of rhe BOA…and how there are over seven version’s of the vision in JS diaries and how the vision wasnt even incorporated into the churxh until over ten years after the group of people started gathering…youd think twice befire subjecting your family and money towards a church that would rather have temples of grandure than give to the poor. Not saying they dont give but their priorities seem a bit off. If jesus ran amoke in a bank how do you think hed feel seeing how the money is being used to make unneeded huge temples? Not to mention the stake presidents in your area living off of your tithing and being given the second endowment which promises eternal glory no matter what you do in life?

      The reason most Mormons become antheist in my opinion is because the church is so damning. And once you find out the faulty in the church which has it glued in your head by eight years old that its the only true church you are left with nothing except confusion.

      I purposely dont talk to some of my mormon friends about this stuff because of how damning it can cause in their life once rhey realize the falsehood of it all.

      Mormonism is a fad that spiraled out of control because they were left alone in utah for so long with controlling and dictator leaders (Imo). Its bizaar as well because one thing that is taught is the negativity towards the truth is taught as proof the church is real. The devil is trying to being down the church but in reality there is no devilry here except within the church.

      I feel really sorry for members who habe no idea what they are doing to themselves emotionally, financially and physically by allowing this church to run their lives. But then again who wants to leave a community of like minded individuals even though its all based on falsehood? That is what a cult does. (Imo)

      • livia

        Sorry for my spelling errors haha. :-p

  • mark

    I have to say as an ex-Mormon I wished I’d have thought of this great idea of bringing the Mormon church to trial for its fraudulent claims

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  • http://ploughboyfilms.com Tyndale

    I don’t get it. Why is this even being heard? All President Monson has to say is he believes it is all true and there goes the air out of the balloon. It is naive to think it will be otherwise. The last three claims ought to be dropped before the hearing because number 5 is inaccurate, and number 6 and 7 are believed universally by billions of the earths Christians, Jews and Muslims. It makes the entire list seem comical.

    • Jennifer

      The inclusion of money being required makes this legitimate to be heard in a British court. There is not a tangible, mortal benefit contingent upon payment of funds to a corporation among most other religions. In the Mormon church there is: Namely temple access as both a level of membership with the organization and a permission requirement to go to one’s relatives’ and friends’ weddings.

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  • Esther

    Dont worry about us because we know the book of Mormorn is true you dont have to prove to us we already ask God through prayer,and its our decision to pay our thithing or not, let Jesus Christ judge us not you,i know President Monson is a indeed true prophet of God,I know God LIVES he is our father in Heaven Jesus Christ is our Savour and Redeemer,Please leave the prophet of God alone..

    • Jennifer

      The president of the LDS corporation is beholden to the laws of the land just like every other human. Jesus will judge according to our level if knowledge, therefore I am sure he will be merciful to those who continue to remain in the LDS corporation due to reliance on human emotion instead of close examination. It’s the same reason those who stay with abusive spouses will have mitigating circumstances affect God’s judgement – frail human emotion is a difficult thing to contend with and often wins out when pitted afgainst harsh reality.

    • http://Google John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt

      John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt,
      His name is my name too.
      Whenever I go out,
      The people always shout,
      “There goes John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt!”
      Da da da da da da da da

      -If only I knew the one who i am named after. I never see him when I go out and quite frankly I never hear the people shout.

  • jam ie

    those Mormon lies brainwashed my family, direct action I like, Eastbourne uk, get ready, self prophecy soon come…. I must be satan ha ha ha (sic)

  • andi Kay

    In regards to statements here about the supposed dictators and coercion, brain-washing and false teachings. Why is it that people who have lived respectable lives, attended other faiths can hear the message and are actually converted not only by the doctrines of the Church, but the way that lives are improved. I was well over 8 years old, attending a number of churches before joining. I made my decision. Since then I have never been subjected to anything akin to force or bribery. Nor do I know anyone that has been. We are human and mistakes will happen, but I’ve seen much good done by people of this faith, practicing the way of the Savior. “By their fruits ye shall know them.”

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  • coastx

    Why does a prophet need a legion of attorneys, and why no direct redress of the allegations if LDS is the true church? Secrecy issues? Lies? Gullibility? Isn’t this Genesis 3?

  • Cache Kid

  • Doubting Thomas

    Just one question,noah was a prophet who predicted coming events,so please what has Pres Thomas S Monson told us that we don’t already know?,because without revealing the future he cannot be a prophet of God,or am I missing something?

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