Episodes

Radio Free Mormon: 212: Class Action Lawsuit Against LDS Church

John Dehlin and I discuss the history and merits of the ongoing class action lawsuit against the LDS Church.  As a special bonus, the lawyer suing the LDS Church phones in and shares some startling behind-the-scenes information on how the LDS Church used strong arm tactics to try to get her to drop the case!

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10 thoughts on “Radio Free Mormon: 212: Class Action Lawsuit Against LDS Church

  1. Many of us that served missions in the 90’s were confronted with some of these issues for the first time on our missions and were told directly and explicitly by our leaders that they were anti-Mormon lies. Do you think mission journals could be used as evidence in class action?

    Missionaries today still do not know the truth and write home about how they are saddened that their investigator heard anti-Mormon lies about Joseph Smith.

  2. You said in the episode that Joseph F Smith wrote an argument that if Joseph Smith was lying he would have said he only saw 1 personage. I have been looking for this source, Does anyone know where I can find it?

    • Hey there, Nathan.

      The following is an excerpt from The Improvement Era article with the URL at the bottom. Hope this helps.

      What evidences do we have to substantiate the First Vision of Joseph Smith? Can we prove that his story is true and that he was not deceived or a deceiver?

      (From an article first printed in the Improvement Era, Feb. 1960, pp. 80–81.)

      (President Joseph Fielding Smith, member of the Council of the Twelve for fifty-five years and President of the Church from 1970 to 1972.)

      President Joseph Fielding Smith:

      “It is well-known that the truth or falsity of a story lies mainly in the details. There are some details connected with the vision given to Joseph Smith the Prophet that may appear to many as insignificant and by many members of the Church are overlooked, yet they are of vital and of overwhelming importance.

      “We are all aware of the fact that in the year 1820, the Nicene Creed held almost universal sway throughout the Christian world—Catholic and Protestant alike. Christian ministers, scholars, and professors through the centuries had accepted this creed in the main as being true. Today the religious world ridicules the idea of an anthropomorphic God—whether they accept this creed or not—and look upon God as an invisible essence or power in the universe. Many, if not all, declare that he is without passions, is immaterial, and that the Father and the Son are merely expressions of one God or supreme governing influence of power.

      “It was the common belief in the days of the Prophet Joseph Smith that Christ was a manifestation of God in the flesh, but that after his resurrection, he shed his body and was again absorbed into the universal essence, power, or “immaterial” spirit that fills the universe.

      “It is unreasonable to think that Joseph Smith, at the age of fourteen years, could have found the error of this doctrine, which he had been religiously taught, and come out in contradiction to it if he were telling an untruth. The most natural thing would have been for him to say, when returning from the grove, that he had seen an angel. Moreover, he would have been most unlikely to have declared that the messenger had told him that all of the religious teachings and teachers were in error of the divine truth. Presumably he would have said that the messenger told him to join one of the contending religious sects; possibly that if he would wait, the Lord would call upon him to start a religion. Never in the world would he have declared that two glorious personages had appeared to him and had told him not to join any of the existing creeds and churches. Without question, this was the furthest thing from his mind when he went into the grove, and that was his expression afterwards. He would not have dared to come from that interview declaring that all of the creeds and churches were wrong. Young as he was, he had wisdom enough to know that such a thought would have been fatal and would have brought only condemnation upon his head.”

      https://www.churchofjesuschrist.org/study/ensign/1987/10/i-have-a-question/i-have-a-question?lang=eng

  3. I come here to hear some calming RFM material and I have to suffer through an annoying asshole yelling and speaking ninety words a second, asking money for five straight minutes and calling himself “doctor.” Can you possibly be more insufferable?

    • Isn’t sad that it isn’t the lawyer (RFM) that is the obnoxious loud mouth? I can’t sit through another one of John Dehlin’s interviews where he is constantly interrupting the guest, constantly making the conversation about himself, constantly reminding people how the “church” hurt him and how he gave up a 6 figure salary to go in debt through grad school in order to do a job that requires no higher education whatsoever, and trash talks Progressive Mormons as “sexual predator” supporters. Honestly I wish people just distance themselves from him so we can have more enjoyable interviews. It totally ruined the Robert Ritner interview for me (one that I was looking forward to) having John Dehlin totally have that conversation going into all sorts of random directions and doing more talking than Dr. Ritner. Had it been RFM alone, it would probably had been an interview I could get through.

  4. As many in the audience know, Tom Phillips tried to sue the LDS church for fraud in 2014. His legal strategy was flawed; he was alleging fraud for teaching religious articles of faith such as the global flood or Adam and Eve. Of course that went nowhere. However, there is a different case to be made which I think the church’s legal counsel identified, and I think this led to the publication of the lds.org essays on the church’s website, beginning in November, 2013. The church’s lawyers probably knew about Phillips’s lawsuit by then.

    The church’s legal vulnerability is this: the correlation committee actively purges information from all church curricula which could be used by potential converts to make an informed decision as to whether or not to join the church and pay tithing. The information that the correlation committee suppresses from church curricula is not in dispute by the church. So a lawsuit alleging fraud need not attack any religious belief. It only needs to show that the church is hiding things that it acknowledges to be true in order to increase membership and the associated tithing.

    The lds.org essays obviously weren’t intended to be read by anyone. They were put online in a way that makes them hard to find. They also consist, for the most part, of copy and pasted material from FAIR and other apologetic sources, which is not persuasive to people questioning. There is no intended audience. Why then do the essays exist? The lds.org essays give the church plausible deniability that they are hiding potentially damaging information. They exist for legal liability purposes. Of course, they actually make the church more vulnerable to a potential lawsuit by acknowledging difficult facts that were heretofore scrubbed from all the church’s educational materials, and it’s easy to make the case that if these facts are known, they result in lower likelihood of joining the church and paying tithing.

  5. The LaGrande Richards interview in 1978 talks about how the church doesn’t have the seer stone.

    WALTERS: Well I thought somebody said that Joseph Fielding had had Joseph Smith’s seer stone.
    RICHARDS: No. We don’t have that.
    WALTERS: You don’t have that?
    RICHARDS: No.
    WALTERS: Oh.
    RICHARDS:: We have got some of the early writings of the Prophet Joseph and things of that kind, and testimony of when Joseph Smith performed a plural marriage for them, but – things of that kind in the Historian’s office. But we have [unintelligible] church.
    VLACHOS: Is the seer stone in the historical department?
    RICHARDS:: We don’t have a seer stone. That went back with the plates when [unintelligible]
    WALTERS: Oh! Okay, I hadn’t heard that. I see. I thought that somebody said that it was still out there somewhere.
    VLACHOS: Do you know what it looked like?
    RICHARDS: What?
    VLACHOS: Do you know what the stone looked like?
    RICHARDS: No. I’ve never seen it. And I don’t think there is any living man who has seen it.

    Perhaps JFS hid the stone from Richards as well.

    • I have no reason to think Elder Richards was fibbing.

      I expect he didn’t know President JFS had said otherwise.

      And the stone was safely tucked away from even apostles’ view in the safe.

      Nice find btw!

  6. Can somebody, maybe you RFM as a lawyer, tell me why the church is allowed to still have your records after you resign? I e heard it’s because of financial laws but I still think its crap. My source is handbook 32.14.9

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