A British magistrate has summoned Thomas S. Monson, President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court in London March 14 to answer a charge claiming some of the church’s teachings are fraudulent.
The Telegraph reports that seven of the church’s teachings are listed, including beliefs that the Book of Abraham was translated by Joseph Smith, a Mormon prophet, as well as beliefs about Adam and Eve and Native Americans.
The complaint has been lodged by Tom Phillips, a former member of the Mormon church, who now runs MormonThink, a website that is critical of the church. He says the church asks members to donate while promoting doctrines that “might be untrue or misleading” and that could violate the Fraud Act of 2006. The complaint names Stephen Colin Bloor and Christopher Denis Ralph as victims who were tricked into paying 10 percent of their income to the church.
Among the beliefs being cited as fraudulent are that “Native Americans are descended from an Israelite family which left Jerusalem in 600 BC” and that “all humans alive today are descended from just two people who lived approximately 6,000 years ago” reported The Telegraph.
The church isn’t Native-free. Larry Echo Hawk, Pawnee, left the Department of the Interior in 2012 to take a position with the Quorum of the Seventy, the church’s third-highest governing body.
The church said Monson has no intention of attending the hearing in London.
“The Church occasionally receives documents like this that seek to draw attention to an individual’s personal grievance or embarrass church leaders,” said Malcolm Adcock, the church’s public affairs director for Europe. “These bizarre allegations fit into that category.”