Today at 5:00 I will speak as part of a panel discussion at the 2015 Sunstone Symposium in Salt Lake City. The panel will examine “The Mormon Legal Mind.”
It doesn’t sound like a particularly interesting subject, but it is. LDS Mormonism is now subject to corporate organization and legal construction. There is really only one LDS Mormon, one member and one owner. It is the single individual who is the senior-most tenured member of the church’s 12 apostles. He owns everything, including the religion.
To make the legal construction understandable, an example shows how LDS Mormonism is the property of one individual: If instead of staying away from church, the roughly two-thirds of the baptized members were to come to General Conference and unanimously vote out the Church President, First Presidency, Quorum of Twelve, Seventies, and all other General Authorities as presently constituted–literally vote every one of them out and elect an entirely new slate of officers, this would be what happened:
The Corporation of the First Presidency, sole, could tell all LDS Mormons everywhere in the world that they could no longer use any LDS chapel. He could tell them to stay out of his temples because he was locking the doors. He could keep Deseret Book, Deseret Management Corporation and all its assets, all the church welfare farms, all its intellectual property including copyrights, its offices, condominiums, Temple Square, the Conference Center, Brigham Young University, BYU Hawaii, and all other church colleges, all the thousands of acres of property in Missouri, Florida and Hawaii, the Polynesian Cultural Center, City Creek Mall, and everything else. The entire LDS empire would remain his sole property, and the “church” would have no legal right to use or keep any of it. They wouldn’t even have the right to use the name “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints” because it is a registered mark owned by one man.
So the legal construct of LDS Mormonism is a topic worth at least learning something about. The panel today will discuss it at 5:00 p.m.