I have elaborated on my thoughts below and came to realize that the fraudulent BoA actually propagates further disclosure of its revelations in secret temple ordinances and hence can be linked to mandatory tithes. This is a unique LDS feature without precedent ! It will be important to explain that to the legal professionals and general public. As we know the temple initiate is than bound by an oath to make lifelong monetary sacrifices to the LDS church.
Fraud allegations against Thomas Monson #1 - Antique papyri vs Modern translation of the Book of Abraham (BoA)
Many commentators believe that the allegations will not proceed in court, but maybe the first allegation relating the Book of Abraham indeed has a good chance to proceed in court. The Book of Abraham is offered for sale as a translation of an antique document. Here are a few points to look at
(A) Scripture is untouchable
(B) Test criteria for Fraud
(C) How would the LDS church respond if they lost a court case ?
(A) Scripture is untouchable, but is the BoA scripture ?
Any body of scripture, including the Book of Mormon and Book of Abraham, "is constitutionally protected in the United States," Gordon said. "Historical claims in scripture are not subject to judicial investigation."
Intresting. So I can create a novel and sell it as a historical non-fiction book as long as I organize a religion and declare it scripture ? And then it is beyond science and the courts ? If a translation is scripture than the original is scripture as well, but if the original source document is from a pagan religion how then can it legally still be claimed Christian scripture and sold as such ? This sounds like document fraud to me.
(B) Tests (BoA)
Quotes from Salt Lake Tribune:
The charges are based on Britain’s Fraud Act of 2006, meant to prosecute those who misrepresent themselves or their organization to get gain. Phillips’ case is based on seven supposed Mormon claims. These are matters that can be disproved in court, he said. "This has nothing to do with religion, theology or doctrine." To win the case, though, prosecutors would have to prove that not only are these ideas false, but that Monson knows they are untrue and uses them to "get gain," namely, members’ tithing money. Laws against religious fraud cannot be applied to "good-faith practice of religious convictions".
- Is it a translation ? If it is not, then the LDS claim is false.
- Does the LDS church knowingly claim it is a translation and hence act knowingly through the print in all BoA copies on the market ? Both scriptures do not relate in any way to each other, so the Church deliberately obfuscates the issue and chooses Josephs creative writings as normative over any antique scriptures or artifacts. Is fraud committed knowingly to get gain (spiritual, financial) ?
- What are the losses for those who where mislead to belief ? Primary losses relate to buying books, temple garments, travel expenses and lost time for temple work. But indirectly tides are an issue. The BoA promotes participation in a pseudo Christian temple ceremony, which in turn binds members to give money to the LDS church for life and the book promotes belief in racism in form of a divine revelation.
(C) LDS Response if case is lost or to pre-empt loosing the case.
How can the LDS church fix the BoA charges if they stick ?
(1) Declare the BoA to be mystical and recant all claims to a translation and remove all references from the book
(2) Ditch the BoA from the canon
(3) Remove covenants from temple ordinances that bind members to pay tithes or disclose the ordinances in advance