Ep 48 – The Summons: Tom Phillips vs. Thomas S. Monson – Part 1


Posted February 17th, 2014

Special guest Tom Phillips is joined by Scott, Matt, Bob and Glenn to discuss the recent summons against Thomas S. Monson and the LDS Church. Part one explores:

• Why the October Surprise became the January Surprise
• Why these allegations are for criminal fraud against a corporation – and why this is not an attack on religion
• The process Tom went through with the courts to issue this summons
• How Steven Bloor and Christopher Ralph became involved in this case
• What Response Tom has heard from the Church so far
• Why the church in this case is rightfully being looked at as a corporation
• The significance of Tithing in this fraud case


  • Chad

    Thanks Glenn. You’ve been teasing us long enough.

  • Chad

    I think the church should be scared.

    I also, regardless how it turns out, think the church will be changing the tithing/marriage policies.

    Yep. Our current tithing policies of requiring tithing to perform and receive ordinances and attend weddings are not good…immoral, certainly, and possible legally fraudulent…in my opinion of courseChange will happen…either voluntarily or mandated.

  • Listener

    First time listener here…enjoyed the interview…however background music while you were speaking was very off-putting. Music is fine…just not while you are speaking (especially during your intro). Otherwise, the content was so very worthwhile. Thank you!

    • Long Time Listener

      Listener, maybe the music is just something you aren’t used to, but we all see things differently, right? After my first time listening to “Infants on Thrones” (years of downloading podcasts that were primarily talking), I was totally impressed with how much the sound effects added to the listening experience. Give it a chance…maybe it will grow on you.

      • listener

        I don’t mind music and sound effects per se, just when these overlap the host’s narrative in such a way that I can’t hear or understand what he is saying (and I really value what he has to say…so that’s my issue)! My husband listened with me and had the same response…maybe there’s a way to keep the clever sound effects without competing with (overlaying) crucial content….

        • Kyle

          I agree here. It was hard to understand some of the narrative with the music being so loud. The music is a nice touch, but maybe tone the volume down while talking.

  • The Oracle

    The music and audio razzle-dazzle are absolutely idiotic. Just do the interview, for God’s sake.

  • chris w

    Tom Phillips, Is there any news article that in your perspective address the issue with the summoning correctly?

  • zardinuk

    Is there a transcript?

  • Morgnomore

    Bravo! You’ve scooped the story! I’ve been watching the many Mormon podcasts, waiting to see who would be first to break the story. Congratulations. This is a big feather in your cap. Can’t wait to hear the next segment. Let’s keep the momentum going on this fraud case.

    I, for one, appreciate the thoughtful interjection of pertinent music and sound bites. I feel this sets you apart from the other similar podcasts out there, and gives it a more polished flare somewhat like This American Life on NPR. Great stuff!

  • Silver

    Great job, I look forward to hearing the rest of the interview.
    I think the lawsuit is a waste of time and makes Tom look like a bitter apostate. While I totally agree with Tom on the 7 points of his claim, I don’t think the lawsuit will achieve anything. Yes the Mormon Church is based on fictional stories, but so is every other religion.

  • jeanbodie

    Just want to say…I arrive in London on March 13th. I loved the way you gave Tom the opportunity to explain this issue. Don’t let this story die; it’s vitally important to show the ‘coercion’ of the Church to its members. I have no end of respect for Tom to take this on of his own accord. This is very costly and I have heard that a gofundme has been set up to assist in this action.

    Incidentally, this is a free will offering, you will not lose your membership in the exmo kngdom if you do not make an offering 😉

  • Randy_Snyder

    You know what’s idiotic? Whiny bitching about our chosen style that, FYI, takes a lot of time and skill from Glenn. Not everyone likes their coffee black and those who like a little sugar and cream doesn’t make it idiotic.

    How about just appreciating the fucking free work you partook of and not making puerile statements that are merely you idiotically passing your subjective preference as an objective summation. I guess Radio Lab and This American Life uses an “idiotic” style.

    • Silver

      What makes Infants a great podcast is the personalities, the opinions, and the production style. If you want boring long winded straight forward interviews, go to Mormon Stories.

    • cwald

      The format and music and clips are just fine…. makes the pod unique. Don’t let one or two nay sayers scare you.

    • The Oracle

      My deepest apologies – I was under the impression that a “comments” section was for comments, including occasionally non-flattering comments.

      Like this one: do what you want, but your broadcast would be improved by eliminating attempts at comedy which are not at all funny (i.e., all of them) and using background music more judiciously.

      • Fair enough, The Oracle, you’ve shared your opinion. And you too can do what you want, but your criticism would be better accepted if you didn’t let anonymity be an excuse to act nothing like how I’m sure you act in person when sharing feedback.

        • The Oracle

          I act exactly the same way in person. I chose to use an alias on Discus because I sometimes post on Mormon blogs which require registering on Discus; and when I once used my real name in a discussion like that, the Mormon goon squad went nuts and posted the most malicious (and fabricated) insinuations imaginable about me, and my kids saw them online (which was no doubt their intention).

          In any case, I thought the “comedy” bits on this broadcast were incredibly lame, etc. So, ignore my opinion if you want, I couldn’t care less. If you guys think the hosts are comedy geniuses, knock yourself out. I think they should have stuck with doing a compelling, to-the-point interview with their fascinating guest. Just one man’s opinion.

          • Well at least we now have you acknowledging some level of subjectivity in relation to your opinion. Of course, now we need to work on the fact that the world doesn’t work in straw man extremes of comedy genius vs. incredible lameness. But we’ve definitely heard this one man’s opinion.

          • The Oracle

            You mean, if I hadn’t have included the words “just one man’s opinion”, you would have thought I was presuming to speak from a position of omniscience?

            What is the matter with you people?

          • 3GrandKeys

            Your comments would be better without the unfunny bits.

          • The Oracle

            At least they have the virtue of not trying to be funny, and failing…

            You people seem incredibly sensitive. What gives?

          • It’s not complicated. Sensitivity and dickishness are generally correlated.

          • Glenn

            What is the matter with us people? I thought it was the razzle dazzle and the unfunny bits — or did you change your mind?

            And since you are new to us, Mr. Luxton, you probably aren’t aware of the great connected interplay we have between listener comments (whether flattering or non) and our audio content — but I promise you — very soon you will be.

          • trollolol

            Was going to listen later, decided to read the comments first. After reading these guys’ comments, I’m just going to pass.

          • Your loss.

          • Randy_Snyder

            Don’t listen Troll. We prefer a more sophisticated audience.

            Here’s how your second inane comment sounds like to me, “I’m taking my ball and going home!!” Funny thing is you don’t own the ball and nobody gives a fuck if you go home.

          • The Oracle

            It’s hard to imagine grown men throwing such a tantrum over one comment about background music and failed comedy…

          • Randy_Snyder

            Tantrum. I do not think that word means what you think it means…

          • The Oracle

            Is “hissy-fit” better?

          • Randy_Snyder

            Lol. I’m not going to escalate. Sorry about the Mormon Goon Squad. Despite our exchange, that is fucked up.

          • The Oracle

            K, let’s just forget it. I’ll use softer language next time, no problem.

            (Does anyone else sense a “beer summit” brewing…?)

          • Silver

            I was going to comment later, decided to read trollolol’s comment first. After reading trollolol’s comment, I’m just going to pass on commenting.

      • Randy_Snyder

        Your deepest apologies indeed Oracle, if that is your real name. Constructive criticism is welcome. Your post was worthless bullshit behind the bravado of Internet anonymity.

        • The Oracle

          There was nothing “not constructive” about my opinion. You see, “not constructive” is saying things like “your post is worthless bullshit”. That’s what you said.

          “Constructive” is what *I* am saying: your broadcasts will be better if you lose the unfunny bits and use your background music more judiciously.

          By the way, I await your explanation about why an opinion posted using a real name would be worthwhile, but the very same opinion posted using an internet handle ipso fact is “worthless bullshit”.

          • Randy_Snyder

            Let me rephrase your original post as constructive: “Hey thanks for the interview but I have to say I don’t like all the razzle dazzle. I find it off-putting and don’t think it adds to the content of the interview.”

            Can you see the difference? If you come at us with the tone and attitude you did, how are you surprised that we responded in kind?

          • Glenn

            We really need to start a new segment — Lessons on Tact, with Randy. I think that would really add to your image as our main female draw. 🙂

          • The Oracle

            I’m surprised because the sensitivity level seems abnormally high.

            In any case, yes, I can leave out “trigger words” like “absolutely idiotic” in the future.

            Allow me to rephrase my comments. You tell me if they’re more to your liking:

            “Hi Guys!

            “Thank you for doing this interview! Tom Phillips was most informative. I must say that I feel this interview would have been far better if it had been more direct. You had a compelling guest on talking about an extremely hot topic. That being the case, digressions into what I imagine was supposed to be comedy were distracting and off-putting. Tom Phillips deserved Ed Bradley treatment, not something reminiscent of a children’s show”.

            Wait – that got bad again, right?

        • trollolol

          What’s with you and getting wet over the phrase “if that is your real name”?

          • Randy_Snyder

            Nice loaded question Troll. Short answer to your inane question is I hate Internet bravado which is emboldened by anonymity. Similar phenomenon with road rage. Hope this answer made you wet.

  • Pingback: The case of Tom Phillips vs. Thomas S. Monson, President of the Mormon Church – religion as fraud? | Positivism()

  • Utahhiker801

    Hey guys, great job on the interview. I’m also a very long-time listener to Infants on Thrones. Sorry there are some newbies that don’t appreciate your style. The rest of us do, and we value the character of your podcast.

    I always listen to the podcast in the morning when I’m at the gym. I just try not to bust out laughing because I’m afraid others will look at me weird. Perhaps I’ll overcome that insecurity.

    Can’t wait to hear the rest of the interview. It’s fascinating. Great scoop, and keep up the good work.

  • Bob

    Great job, guys. Thanks for all you do. It makes a difference.

  • Don Bagley

    Prophet of God or profit from fraud?

  • 85015242

    Most informative. I’ll definitely be back.
    And I liked the music/clips.

  • UtahLegal

    I really enjoyed this podcast and look forward to future installments. The only comment I would make about the interview is that although I am very interested in Mr. Phillips and his views, I am not at all interested in hearing the US trained lawyers expound on the US legal system which has zero relevance to this story. Please just ask questions guys.

    • Randy_Snyder

      Now that’s constructive criticism. Thanks. But unfortunately the whole interview is in the can so we got what we got. And my response would be that many people with the mindset of dismissing this case may be doing so bc they are thinking in the mindset of US law. I’m guessing you are a lawyer so it probably bores you but do you think there is no value in juxtaposing to illuminate differences?

      • UtahLegal

        Yes I am a lawyer, but I just don’t think the juxtaposition is helpful or interesting. I have done quite a bit of research trying to understand how this UK system works because, like you, I want to be able to speak intelligently about what the prospects for success are. I have concluded that the system operates so differently there, particularly with respect to the procedural and burden of proof issues, that it is very difficult for lawyers here in the US to even understand it, let alone speculate on the merits.

        I think Tom has done a great job so far explaining the system, and I am looking forward to the rest of the interview which you are holding onto (you bastards) so please get it out soon! And kudos to you all on getting this interview.

        • Randy_Snyder

          Fair enough. But the reason we broke it up was bc it was 3 hours of spotty Internet connection and we just couldn’t wait any longer to release part of it ASAP. It is taking hours of Glenn’s time to edit it into something coherent and listenable (well, listenable to people who don’t mind a little creative license and fun).

          But different strokes for different folks.

          • UtahLegal

            I am a frequent listener and have no complaints about the format, thanks for all the good work you guys do.

    • The Oracle

      Yup. Agreed.

  • Naomi

    This is my favorite Mormon podcast. Everything about it is enjoyable. I thought that the interview with Tom Phillips was superb. I can’t wait for the next installment.

  • Pingback: The seven allegations of the Tom Phillips vs. Thomas S. Monson case | Positivism()

  • I’ve gone from quite skeptical to quite intrigued. Excuse me while I go buy some more popcorn…

  • 3GrandKeys

    The articles of faith primary “songs” will always be hilarious to me no matter what the context. They’re so forced it was painful to me even as a believing primary teacher. Big kudos for dropping that one in.

  • 3GrandKeys

    Is that Oracle dude STILL acting surprised about the rise he got out of point blank calling the podcast style “absolutely idiotic”?

  • Cary

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I laughed all the way through this crap! But now I just want to cry, because it is so sad. This man is a liar from beginning to end. I’m not saying that he was never a bishop or a stake president, I’m just saying that its difficult for me to believe that he was a bishop or stake president, because his understanding of the church is just so weak! He is lying about the “second anointing”, because there is no such thing! I have been a member all my life, and I am a standing stake president. He is lying about this. From there it just goes down hill. It´s a load of crap. I am amazed that a respectable court anywhere outside of a banana republic would be silly enough to issue any such summons. And just as an aside, i pay a full tithing, I always have, I do it voluntarily, and count myself lucky to have the blessing of tithing in my life.

    • I suppose it was only a matter of time before we got a real “standing stake president” to come clear things up definitively and with such eloquence. I guess the case is closed.

      • Cary

        No Bob, the case is not closed. For it to be closed there had to be a case in the first place. This whole thing is silly, and will go a way rather quickly. President Monson will not appear, (as if that was ever a possibility!), church attorneys will contest, it and it will be dismissed. End of story. It’s amazing that people have so much free time on their hands to waste with tripe like this.

        • Randy_Snyder

          I’m glad you enjoy the blessings of tithing Cary but you really missed the point. If a member, for whatever reason, doesn’t pay tithing, the church holds them hostage from weddings of their loved ones. That’s what makes it different and not 100% voluntary.

          And as for the lame “free time” aspersion, do you not have a hobby? Do you not believe in them? Or could it be that one of our hobbies simply upsets you that you have to imply we have no lives?

    • BrianMel

      Uh, I have several great great grandfathers who received the Second Anointing according to their journals in my family history books.

      • K

        Me too. In fact I was just reading my great grandfather’s (and grandmother’s, although it wasn’t addressed to her) summons to go to the Manti temple to receive his second anointing.

    • Silver

      Just because you have not heard of the Second Anointing does not mean it’s not real. I was a member 30+ years without knowing about Joseph Smith “translating” the “gold plates” with a seer stone and his face in a hat.

      • Randy_Snyder

        Exactly Silver. Cary’s evidence that they don’t exist is an argument from ignorance and an appeal to authority (his own as a self-proclaimed SP). Arguments from your own authority are the lamest of fallacies. I guess he thought we’d all be impressed.

    • Glenn


      How are you able to state with such certainty that there is no such thing as a second anointing? Chapter 19 of the current “Doctrines of the Gospel Teachers Manual” instructs the teacher:

      “Do not attempt in any way to discuss or answer questions about the second anointing.”

      Why is this there? Well, because that ordinance is so sacred, right? Not because it doesn’t exist. If it doesn’t exist, it would clarify that, wouldn’t it?

      And there are more sources than Tom Philips to verify that it does in fact exist. So what are your sources to claim that it doesn’t?


    • IplayedJoe

      You’re just not worthy enough to have your Calling and Election made sure. It’s true…but Jesus doesn’t show up as advertised.


  • Brad

    Interesting. I hope this gets “legs” and goes somewhere. I would like to see how the church handles this topic.

  • Ryan Farley

    First time listening to the Infants on Thrones podcast. I really love the formatting, editing, background music/sounds, humor, and the commentary. I’ll definitely be sticking around. Thanks.

  • thinkagain!

    What a bunch of rubbish!

  • Dan

    This just sounds like a guy who upset with the church looking to get back at the Mormon Church. I think it will be thrown out. If this were to go through. All religion would then be put on trial for fraud. The Bible alone could be written off as fraudulent come on Methuselah a man that lived for hundreds of years. This case will eventually go down in flames and in so doing will give more credence to Mormons and their beliefs. Hey tom find something better to do with your time!