Thursday, April 02, 2020

Court Dismisses Claims That Mormon Doctrines Are Fraudulent

In Gaddy v. Corporation of the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, (D UT, March 31, 2020), a Utah federal district court dismissed on 1st Amendment grounds a suit alleging fraud by the LDS Church.  In the suit, a former LDS Church member alleged that several basic teachings of the Church involve misrepresentations.  The court said in part:
Each of these alleged misrepresentations directly implicates the Church’s core beliefs. Because a statement’s falsity is an essential element of fraud claims, adjudicating these claims would require the court to do exactly what the Supreme Court has forbidden—evaluate the truth or falsity of the Church’s religious beliefs. This court can no more determine whether Joseph Smith saw God and Jesus Christ or translated with God’s help gold plates or ancient Egyptian documents, than it can opine on whether Jesus Christ walked on water or Muhammed communed with the archangel Gabriel. The First Amendment prohibits these kinds of inquiries in courts of law.
Courthouse News Service reports on the decision.