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British judge hears arguments in case LDS Church calls 'mischief'

By Tad Walch | Posted - Mar 14th, 2014 @ 4:20pm

LONDON — A British judge heard arguments Friday but did not make any decisions in the case of a disaffected Mormon who launched what has been characterized as a "bizarre" private prosecution against LDS Church President Thomas S. Monson.

The case was scheduled to be heard before Westminster Magistrates Court Senior District Judge Howard Riddle, with arguments presented by attorneys on both sides.

President Monson did not appear at the hearing in London.

“There was absolutely no requirement for President Monson to appear today," LDS Church spokesman Cody Craynor said. "The church was represented by legal counsel to contest the appropriateness of the summons.”

The church released a statement Friday afternoon after the hearing had ended.

"Unfortunately there is nothing to stop a member of the public with a personal grievance playing this kind of mischief with the legal system," Craynor said. "The church respects the judicial system and the law, and we are well prepared to see the process through. A court case which seeks to put a religion on trial for its theology has no precedent and we are ultimately confident that it will be dismissed."

The disaffected church member who initiated the proceedings is Thomas Phillips.

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