Park Romney Research
Requested Resource: The Great Lie - Excusing Religious Fraud - Park Romney Research
Wednesday, August 16, 2017
The Great Lie - Excusing Religious Fraud by Park Romney. May 19, 2013
On Topics: Religious Fraud, Excusing Religious Fraud, The Political Device of Religion, Cosmic Perspective, Primordial Awareness, Children of the Universe, Children of the Lie, Social Cancer, Mormon Fraud, Elements of Fraud, Utah Supreme Court, Elder Dallin H. Oaks, Canterbury Award
Each of us moves through life pursuing that which compels us until we die. We live, and then we die. What transpires between the moments of birth and death varies for each of us, based on a variety of factors. Biological propensity, philosophical orientation, psychological evolution, cultural demands and random chance all play their part in the reality that ultimately manifests itself as our lives. However the transient convergence of these collective factors might unfold for us individually, we cannot escape the overriding realities of the cosmos of which we are individual, subordinate manifestations. As the universe unfolds itself, the particular individualized waves of energy that are unique to our discrete selves are impacted and incorporated into a cosmic drama that is indifferent to any individual desire or achievement that might defy the greater order that transcends our individuality. To grasp and accept this cosmic perspective of the relative significance of our individual realities is to knock and inquire at the door of wisdom.
No matter who we think we are or what we may apprehend or achieve in the eyes of our fellow beings in this mortal state, and no matter what value we, or our adopted culture might place on those transient achievements; to the universe, we are only relevant and useful by its own standards and according to its own demands and timetable. Our happiness or sadness, then, may well be nothing more than an illusory function of our own transient perceptions. Our adopted value scale may or may not be consistent with the realities of the cosmos. Still, when our fundamental biological needs are met, we pursue happiness however we define it and make sacrifices and investments of time and resources in that pursuit. This is our nature. This aspect of our reality is entirely predictable, and, more often than not, entirely exploitable.
As the greater realities of the universe are what they are, and indifferent to our wishes, some come to accept that it behooves us to understand them for their actuality and reconcile our perceptions, desires and pursuits with that reality. For such individuals, a sense of satisfaction is derived from understanding the harmony of the universe and embracing the cosmic forces accessible for reconciliation with that harmony. This then, is their pursuit. The truth that these will seek is an understanding of reality. The pleasure that these will find is in harmony with that reality. The empowerment that these will experience will be derived from a proper understanding of causal relationships between discrete energy waves, including their own, and the discovery and engagement of harmonious methods of interface between those waves of energy. Their discipline will be derived from an increasing respect for the reality that the universe is an intricately balanced self-reconciling energy system in which all causes will have inescapable effects, and the reality that the object of each cause will ultimately become an object of each effect.
These are they who recognize that exploitive lies and contradictions will serve nothing that is sustainable, and, accordingly, nothing that they value. For these the concept of social justice is inseparable from the realities of the universe. They recognize that every abuse of the principles of justice is an abusive disruption of energy waves that will necessarily be reconciled with its causal connections. They recognize that their own power, as discrete manifestations of the universe, should be absolutely and necessarily limited to synchronized harmony with the universe and that to attempt to expend their own energy force in a manner that defies the synchronized harmony of the universe will make of themselves causes that must fairly and necessarily be contained and absorbed in reconciliation in the end. Accordingly, they do not reach for that which requires injustice, manipulative misrepresentations, or any abuse of the harmony of the universe to apprehend. The wisdom of their insight brings with it the respectful reverence of a universe they understand to be unforgiving in its natural laws and universal in the application of its justice.
Children of the universe, such as these, neither need nor seek any understanding of a God that defies the manifest realities of the universe as they are revealed to them in their pursuit of truth. Neither do they need any priesthood intermediary that professes to represent God in any way that is not directly and immediately accessible without such priesthood. Children of the universe such as these recognize the universe for what it is. They recognize their relationship to the universe for what it is. They recognize their responsibilities and obligations to the universe for what they are. They recognize each other as divine manifestations of the same reality, deserving of the same basic respect. They recognize that no authoritative intermediary between themselves and any aspect of the universe is required on any level. They recognize that they are responsible and answerable to the universe and each other. They understand that there is no escape from, or arbitrage with the cosmic reality of ultimate justice. This is their cosmic perspective.
Such children of the universe discipline themselves, instinctively, as an inherent part of their quest for an understanding of the realities of the cosmos. They come to recognize that their very capacity for understanding and insight is inseparable from a strict intellectual and spiritual discipline, unencumbered by egotistical self-delusion or the hopelessly circular efforts to reconcile their views with the false constructs of an exploitive priesthood or the philosophical corruptions of arbitrary cultures and traditions. These do not acquire the wisdom of their insight as the reward of arduous academic conquests. Rather, they awaken to the inherent wisdom and insight that is part of the reality of who and what they naturally are, as they come to recognize and reject their own ego based delusions and the world of contradictions and hypocrisies that are required to sustain them. This insight is not newly acquired; rather, it is re-discovered after having been lost or forsaken. The realizations that restore it, while sometimes painful, liberate and empower minds and souls. Once liberated, peace and happiness returns to be the question of individual choice it once was, no matter what their circumstances, because it is no longer dependent on the arbitrary approval of lesser beings. It is now a simple matter of the harmony and balance one chooses to maintain with the universe.
The wisdom of children of the universe is found in their quest to understand and believe that which is, no matter what they are told and no matter what their emotional inclinations might require. They strive to reconcile their hopes with an increasing understanding of reality. Children of the lie are another matter. They exhaust themselves with vain efforts to manipulate the perception of reality to conform to their hopes and self-centered ends. Their curse is that they abdicate their inherent gifts of perception in a quest to reconcile their beliefs with the arbitrary edicts of those they choose to follow, or with the social and emotional inclinations that call upon the comfort of self-delusion as an escape from the harshness of reality and the unsettling unpredictability of the road less traveled.
Children of the universe find peace in finding peace with the realities that they happen upon. Children of the lie exhaust themselves, anxiously promoting the various alternate perceptions of reality that they require to be shared in order to sustain the warped view of the world that nurtures the egos that have been granted dominion over their own intellects and souls.
An interesting paradox reflects a certain contrast between the children of the universe and the children of the lie. Children of the universe increasingly develop the wisdom and insight to recognize the lie for its inconsistency with the realities of the universe. Accordingly, they reject it. Inconsistency and contradiction are their clues. Children of the lie, having abdicated their own inherent powers of perception in favor of self-delusion, gradually relinquish those powers to intellectual and spiritual atrophy. Ultimately, they lose the ability to recognize the significance of inconsistency and contradiction for what they actually reveal, together with the insight that is inseparable from those revelations. They come to believe that a lie is truth, if it can comfort them or support their economic needs and that the truth is a lie, if it disrupts that comfort. They must embrace the lie that comforts as truth and they must disparage and marginalize those who would shine a light on the inconsistencies and contradictions that reveal the lie as fools, bigots or extremists. Whatever the charge, the credibility of those who challenge their delusions must be disparaged in their minds and the minds of the potential recruits for exploitation. This is inevitable and predictable.
The children of the lie, like the children of the universe, continue to yearn for peace. Unfortunately, they have pitted their allowable perceptions against the natural flow of cosmic energy by adopting, as an imperative, the need to reconcile their world view with an arbitrary and manipulative priesthood or social culture. Peace then, for these, will never be found in harmonious cosmic reconciliation, so it must be conjured with the counterfeit of cosmic harmony found in waves of social acceptance. Their resulting social order must expend enormous energy in finding converts and defaming and disparaging challengers to avoid the natural attrition with which the universe will constantly erode and challenge their vain aspirations. Children of the lie must expend significant energy to spread the lie to support a social system of self-delusion. This unnatural energy flow must be sustained. The energy required to sustain it must be harvested. The universe will not naturally contribute energy for unnatural purposes. Energy required to perpetuate the lie cannot be harvested from children of the universe because they will recognize it to be a wasteful cosmic disruption. So, this energy must be diverted from the natural universe in the form of an artificial wave contributed by new converts to the lie. The social sub-system that consists of the children of the lie, therefore, is not a self reconciling and self sustaining energy system. It is an energy system that must constantly prey upon new, vulnerable and unsophisticated victims to exploit the energy needed to perpetuate its appetite and growth and sustain its social order of self-delusion.
Children of the universe must be recruited into self-delusion and sustained in that state in order for their energy to be exploitable by the children of the lie. They must be converted, even if but for a time, to the lie. It is inevitable that many converts to the lie will come to recognize the delusions of the culture and abandon their transient alliance with the children of the lie. So, aggressive methods must be continually employed to lure new candidates into the exploitation. Similar methods must be employed to promote the perception that the exploitation of energy into a negative, wasteful, and counter-cosmic system is a benign practice that warrants social acceptance, support, tolerance, encouragement, and license. Equally aggressive methods must be employed to continually perpetuate the social call to disparage and discredit those who would expose the lie and the social system that supports it for what it is. The social order of the lie, like its biological equivalent, cancer, becomes an artificial, self-perpetuating, social cyst that absorbs and consumes its host culture in the process of its self-perpetuation.
At the onset of cancer, a mutation at the cellular level alters a gene that regulates tissue growth. Subsequent mutations inactivate genes necessary for self-repair. Once unleashed from self-regulation and self-repair, colonies of cells multiply out of control, absorbing and infecting their host cultures with the spread of the same mutations. Unregulated growth and self-perpetuation of colonies of cancer cells absorb the energy otherwise available for the healthy cells in the host. These colonies proliferate with their cancerous biological sub-culture and unhealthy mutations. They defy and break down the harmonious balance of the infected biological system. In an effort to survive the assault, a healthy biological system will attempt to quarantine the cancer colonies in isolated tumors. As the isolated colonies of cancer cells grow, the tumors grow, also becoming a threat to the health of the system.
The social versions of this cancer must develop an artificial hierarchy as part of their system of proliferation and self-delusion and a philosophical mutation to unleash the adherents from the natural regulation of a self-reflective intellectual discipline. Three primordial elements of awareness, inherent in the very cosmic substance of children of the universe, must be sufficiently impaired by a cancerous social mutation for the conversion of a subject into the culture of the lie. The awareness of the harmonic balance of the universe must be warped sufficiently to break down the individual’s sense of balance with the universe and displaced with an emotional dependency on the social acceptance and approval of the malignant sub-culture and its designated priests. The awareness that supports recognition of causal connections and relationships between energy forces and waves must be displaced with a warped notion of the “divine plan” of an arbitrary God that conjures up rules and incorporates the necessity of a priesthood agency of enforcement and self-serving discipline. The awareness of the guiding significance of inconsistencies and contradictions must be displaced with the abdication of the gift of reason and displacement of the reasoning process with the celebration of blind acceptance of mystical notions and arbitrary explanations of the absurd as evidence of worthiness and spiritual stature within the malignant sub-culture.
Once abdication of intellectual responsibility for reconciliation of oneself to the realities of the universe’s own manifest order is accomplished with the social pressure of the cancerous culture’s own counter orientation, the resulting cultural dependency gives rise to voluntary gifts of energy in the form of time, money and talents successfully extorted in exchange for approval, acceptance and safe harbor within the social cyst or cult. Some argue that this cancerous social model is, paradoxically, uniquely found among humans. Were this not so, they suggest, we would find that cows could be trained to milk themselves in exchange for admittance to the barn. Clearly many animals can be trained to perform tasks in anticipation of approval and comfort. However, something unique about the ego of our species lends itself to be easily warped and exploited. Displacement of the value of harmony with the universe is easily substituted with the value of progressive levels of approval within adopted sub-cultures through arbitrarily defined self-serving achievements. Demonstrated commitment and obedience to the edicts of “God’s anointed” become the basis for moving progressively through the ranks of priesthood hierarchy and social approval. Political parties, professional associations, and various other social orders develop their own versions of the same or similar systems of hierarchal support.
The relative ease with which the human ego is trained to reorient itself to dependency on social approval contributes to the ubiquitous nature of groups and associations organized for precisely that purpose. The model of human exploitation is probably as old as primeval man. As soon as man learns to cooperate for survival, a rudimentary social order emerges. Immediately thereafter, a hierarchy becomes the natural outgrowth of the clash of wills. With the accumulation of experience, time and knowledge, man relies less on brawn and more on wits to resolve disputes of will. Increased numbers in the social order give rise to the politics necessary to recruit support for divergent opinions.
Somewhere along the evolutionary path, the religious device emerged and modified, somewhat, the need for political lobbying. When priests are appointed to represent the will of an absentee God to whom the members of the social order have agreed to defer as a condition of acceptance into the order, the pinnacle of social power is achieved together with its temptations. So great are these temptations, that the incentive to employ the device becomes irresistible. Many find justification for deception. Misrepresentations are made to foist the religious device on the unsuspecting. Since economic support together with increased social deference is achieved by the leadership of such social orders, an increase in the temptation for self-delusion corresponds with the temptation for deception. Self-delusion now comes easier as deception is justified. Evidence of God’s approval and validation of one’s newly found authority is now observed wherever the desire to see it prevails and the continuity of the deference from the constituents of the social order contributes to the justification for misrepresentations that might otherwise have been condemned.
Acknowledgment of the inherent risks of this dynamic is clearly not sufficient to obviate it. The Mormon scriptures, for example, condemn lying and misrepresentation, particularly by the priesthood, and yet the fraud of the founding Prophet Joseph Smith’s claims of divine authority has been clearly established by a preponderance of indisputable factual evidence. Religious orders have become such an effective tool of social mechanics that political orders have entered into collaboration with them in exchange for supportive endorsements. A despot, once crowned as a divinely appointed king, enjoys a greatly enhanced and significantly reinforced mantle of authority. To challenge him before such a collaborative alliance was to simply challenge him politically. To challenge him now is to defy the order of God and his anointed priests. The social evolution of this alliance has now arrived at the point where patently obvious lies and motivated misrepresentations made in the name of God enjoy such political sanction that many believe them to be exempt from legal challenge as the fraud that they actually are. The object of exploitation is overlooked.
One of the great ironies of our generation is found in the definition of fraud by the Utah Supreme Court in 2001. In the case of Franco v. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Court re-asserted that to prevail in a fraud action…
“… a party must prove by clear and convincing evidence each of the following:
That a representation was made; concerning a presently existing material fact; which was false; which the representor either knew to be false or made recklessly, knowing that he had insufficient knowledge upon which to base such representation; for the purpose of inducing the other party to act upon it; and that the other party, acting reasonably and in ignorance of its falsity; did in fact rely upon it; and was thereby induced to act; to his injury or damage.”
In this case Franco alleged that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints misrepresented the qualifications of a psychologist recommended to her. The trial court found her allegations to be unfounded and this finding was upheld by the Utah Supreme Court. However, in the process, the Utah Supreme Court articulated the elements of fraud that would need to be proven in order to prevail in a fraud action. The Franco case did not address the overall fraud of Mormonism, but rather one specific instance of what the plaintiff believed to be an isolated fraudulent representation by an official of the Church. Ironically, the general leadership of the LDS Church has engaged in patently obvious and institutionally entrenched fraud for generations.
A preponderance of evidence supports the conclusions that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (LDS Church) as an institution, has willfully, intentionally and repeatedly made certain specific representations in support of its claim of divine authority. Those representations include the definitive assertions that certain uniquely endowed priesthood authority to represent Jesus Christ on Earth was conferred upon Joseph Smith, the original prophet of the LDS Church and that certain translations of “holy scriptures” that subsequently became the guiding cornerstones of the faith and doctrines of the LDS Church were made by Joseph Smith by virtue of the spiritual gifts incidental to this divine authority. The further representation is made that among these scriptures, the Book of Mormon is a true and authentic ancient historical record of the people of the American continent, including prophets of God, and that prayerful study of the Book of Mormon, as a true and authentic record, is a divinely designated method by which a spiritual witness from God may be achieved to the effect that it is, in fact true, and that the veracity of the book, constitutes reliable evidence as to the claims of divine authority of Joseph Smith, and the LDS Church.
A preponderance of evidence definitively and conclusively supports the conclusions that Joseph Smith was a fraud and an imposter; that the Book of Mormon is false; that significant assertions in the Book of Mormon are false; that the method by which the Book of Mormon is purported to have been translated is false; that another book of Mormon scripture known as the Book of Abraham is false; that the specific representation that it was translated from Egyptian papyri is false; and that the assertions that the Book of Abraham or the Book of Mormon are reliable evidence of God’s unique relationship to Joseph Smith or the LDS Church are false.
A preponderance of evidence definitively and conclusively supports the conclusions that at least since the recovery of the papyri from which the Book of Abraham was purported to have been translated, officials of the LDS Church engaged in reckless disregard of factual evidence of contradictions to specific fundamental claims of the LDS Church, rendering those claims unreasonable to make and unreasonable to rely upon in support of specific claims of and faith in the LDS Church’s divine authority. This evidence includes conclusive and irrefutable evidence that the Book of Mormon is false; that the Book of Abraham is false; that the representations that a just God would reveal the truth of these books to prayerful inquirers is false; that Joseph Smith was a liar and a fraud; and that the representation that a spiritually acquired knowledge of the truthfulness of these books would be a reliable basis for believing in the truth of the claims of the LDS Church to unique divine authority from God is false.
A preponderance of evidence definitively and conclusively supports the conclusion that the above referenced and invalidated representations have been made for the specific purpose and intent to induce candidates to become members of the LDS Church and to make specific contributions of money, time and talents to the Church, and that such contributions were represented by the leadership of the Church to be known to be a requirement of God by virtue of a their unique relationship with God that is entirely and completely dependent on the divine authority of Joseph Smith and the veracity of the Book of Mormon.
A preponderance of evidence definitively and conclusively supports the conclusions that millions of members of the LDS Church have relied upon these representations, in good faith, not knowing them to be false, as the basis for making enormous personal contributions to the LDS Church, which they would not have made but for reliance upon these representations, and that the contributions were made at an expense and loss of personal financial and emotional harm.
There is little question in my mind and the minds of qualified attorneys that any case, where the same facts and circumstances existed but where they applied to a business situation as opposed to a religious situation, could reasonably be expected to be found in favor of the defrauded victims. Some believe that the mere fact that this scenario involves a religion and questions pertaining to the claims of veracity of that religion changes everything. Some believe that the overwhelming preponderance of factual evidence invalidating and otherwise demonstrating the unreasonable nature of the claims of the LDS Church should be overlooked and granted a constitutional exemption from judicial jurisdiction to deal with the moral affront to society revealed by this situation. This argument seems to support the curious notion that the reckless disregard for the reasonable rights of the Mormon converts to be afforded a fair opportunity to come to their own conclusions about the veracity of the Church on the basis of factually truthful presentations, as opposed to obvious and willful lies, is somehow morally justified in a religious scenario, while still deserving condemnation where religion is not involved. The obvious moral contradictions reveal something telling about the philosophical discipline between the schools of thought.
The extent to which the absurdity of this social paradox has proliferated itself in American society is now punctuated by the recent Canterbury Medal awarded in a ceremony sponsored by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a public interest organization dedicated to protecting the free expression of religious traditions. The prestigious medal was awarded to Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church for his lifetime of service in promoting the cause of religious freedom. The medal was named for Canterbury Cathedral where Thomas Becket stood in defense of religious freedom against King Henry II. Some see this particular award, given the realities involved, as an insult to the memory and principles for which it was named which devalues the meaningfulness of the Canterbury Medal. Not surprisingly, Elder Lance Wickman, who is an emeritus member of the First Quorum of the Seventy of the LDS Church and general counsel for the LDS Church, serves on the board of directors of the Becket Fund. Elder Oaks is a former Justice of the Utah Supreme Court. The award was presented to Elder Oaks by Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago.
It is noteworthy that the Franco case against the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church) included claims of gross negligence, negligent infliction of emotional distress, breach of fiduciary duty, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud. The first three causes of action were barred on constitutional grounds protected by the First Amendment’s freedom of religion provisions. The remaining two causes of action, however, which include the fraud claim, were not barred on constitutional grounds. They were deemed to fail as a matter of law, the plaintiff having failed to prove her case.
Curiously, it would seem that many still believe that the Mormon fraud outlined in detail above, is still exempt from judicial jurisdiction on religious grounds. It seems fair to assume that Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of Twelve Apostles of the LDS Church and Elder Lance Wickman, general counsel for the LDS Church, would find themselves compelled socially and professionally to subscribe to this camp. It is not so clear that the articulation of the elements of fraud made by the Utah Supreme Court in 2001 and the decision of the Franco case support that conclusion.
We believe that reality is what reality is, whether or not the name of God is invoked in justifying contradictions that obfuscate it. We support the identification and prosecution of fraud as a manipulative deception that disrupts the cosmic forces of the universe and compels a just response. We condemn the justification or tolerance of fraud in the name of religion and the obfuscation of universal truth and justice in the name of politics as ignoble acts and abuses against the universe and our fellow man.
We believe that an insidious lie is an insidious lie, whether told in the name of God or as an inducement to personal sacrifice that supports a religious cause. We believe that any representation to the contrary is a great lie and that anyone who professes the name of God while supporting or contributing to such a lie is a great hypocrite and blasphemer, who insults the universe and brings dishonor on legitimate religious practice.