It turns out not to be very surprising.
Some highlights from the report:
Two summons were issued to Thomas Monson, the president of the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, alleging that, by seeking money using “untrue or misleading” statements, he breached the Fraud Act 2006.
But the private prosecution by Tom Phillips was thrown out at Westminster Magistrates’ Court by Senior District Judge Howard Riddle, who said it was an “abuse of the process of the court”.
He added: “I am satisfied that the process of the court is being manipulated to provide a high-profile forum to attack the religious beliefs of others.” …
The summons, signed by District Judge Elizabeth Roscoe, ordered Mr Monson to appear at Westminster and threatened arrest if he did not.
However, Judge Riddle said today that the threat of arrest was “wrong” and should not have been made.
He described the attempted prosecution as “tenuous”, with no chance of ever making it to trial even if Mr Monson attended.
He said it was “obvious” that the case was aimed at the beliefs of the church rather than Mr Monson himself.
I’ve made a few unkind statements about Tom Phillips’ motivations, and I’ve apologized personally to Tom. I take him at his word that he really does want justice for people he feels have been victimized by the LDS church. But it’s clearly impossible to show intentional fraud by people who are simply teaching the religious tenets they actually believe.
The argument has been made that Mormon truth claims are different from other religious claims because they are falsifiable. For example, it’s quite easy to show that Joseph Smith’s “explanation” of Facsimile 3 in the Book of Abraham is far from accurate. Other religious claims, such as God creating the universe, are beyond human capacity to confirm or deny.
The problem, of course, is where one draws the line between objective “fact” and religious “faith.” Most people agree that humans cannot die and then suddenly come back to life after three days in the grave. But that’s what Jesus did, so is the resurrection objectively false (and therefore fraudulent), or is it a matter of faith? The evidence is likewise very clear that there was no Proto-Christian civilization of Hebrew settlers in the Americas between 600 BC and 400 AD, but again, that’s what the Book of Mormon claims. Is believing in Nephites a matter of fact or faith? Ultimately, these are issues that cannot be resolved in a court of law, as the judge made clear:
He added: “To convict, a jury would need to be sure that the religious teachings of the Mormon church are untrue or misleading. That proposition is at the heart of the case.
“No judge in a secular court in England and Wales would allow that issue to be put to a jury. It is non-justiciable.”
I realized a long time ago that I will never get back what the church took from me: my time, my devotion, my efforts, my money, my heart. All I can do is go forward and try to learn from the past rather than look back with regret, hurt feelings, or anger.