Saturday, August 4, 2007

Lawsuits and Motivations

From Cecil:

The topic of the day which seems to be occupying many on the Centerplace message boards and the Restoration generally is the lawsuit against the Raytown branch. The principal questions regard the motives for the C of C to pursue this action. Many have offered, or at least speculated, various reasons for the suit. Some are well reasoned and some are fanciful.

One of the strongest issues deals with financial liability. Justifiably, some in the C of C might anticipate, since they own the RLDS name, they would be the target of any suit against a body using the name. Anticipating this possible jeopardy would be sufficient to bring suit. The suit does not seek monetary damages but rather an injunction against the use of the name. As any corporate official will tell you, lawsuits disrupt corporations at many levels. They require time and resources to defend. They interrupt the timing of achieving stated objectives within the company. Suits also encourage disputations among employees (members?) whose energy would be better directed to the goals (Zion?) of the organization. Some assert that this is the actual goal.

Should we “follow the money?” Although, with our lack of record keeping, it is virtually impossible to reckon accurately what the collective worth of our various churches might be, I believe we are probably far better off than the CoC on a per member basis. Their responsibilities to real estate combined with support of a far greater leadership corps and missionary effort has left them short on funds. Despite not seeking money from the suit, some believe somehow this is their goal.

Now let’s drop the other shoe. This may well be a carefully orchestrated effort on the part of the collective hierarchy in Independence to relieve the CofC of the burden of the name. Since they have chosen to ignore the spiritual bonds which the historical RLDS represents, the name has become an anachronism. To the average member, the possibility of retaining the name which we all had come to love so much would be exhilarating beyond belief. To restore the name to the RLDS would represent a trophy on the shelf for the leadership. Would the membership then assign some special significance to those who were a party to recovering the name? To those who pay attention to such things, it is well known that the hierarchy and the CofC are in contact and have been for some time. Some committees have been devoted to reconciliation. Apparently others have discussed the use of the name.

To emphasize that the two groups have been in contact on the matter of the name please read the following which is in an email from Rudy Leutzinger to Joy Muir which was on the Centerplace message board in June 2007 and posted there with permission:

“We began using the name two weeks ago. There have been two
advertisements in the paper so far. The POZ have drafted a new
advertisement that has been forwarded to the branches that incorporates
the name in it. It will probably appear sometime in June.

The CoC has not granted permission but they have not disputed our claim
that we have a right to use the name. If there is a law suit, they will
initiate it. (I, for one, hope that there is some kind of legal action.
Our case is very strong.)

We are looking to negotiate several things with the CoC including the use
of the name. These talks will begin in earnest this summer. I do not
care to say more at this point but will be happy to keep everyone advised
as news comes.

Why claim the name? In two court cases, the RLDS church was recognized as
the successor to the original church of 1830. I was baptized in that
church and ordained under its authority. Twenty years from now, people
will look back on this time in the history of the church and realize that
RLDS is still the legal and spiritual successor – especially after the CoC
revelation of 2007. Any other organization will viewed as a faction.”

This is not a bolt from the blue. This matter has been on the table (or under the table) between these groups for some long time. If it is the will of our Heavenly Father, then, it will take place. Do remember please that modern courts are duty bound to abide by points of law and are rarely concerned with matters of the Spirit. If the plaintiffs mount an energetic plea in the secular atmosphere of the court they could very well prevail. If the court is sympathetic to the lines of succession and the articles of faith then we could very well win this suit.

Brother Rudy is certainly on the right track in encouraging the lawsuit. This matter cannot be settled with a “howdy and a hand shake.” It must bear the legal imprimatur which can only be obtained in a court of law. This is not “Court TV.” Many suits are initiated on a non-adversarial basis to clarify issues so that both parties can proceed with the business at hand.

My skeptical nature suggests that this is all preordained and will follow the script giving back the name to those who believe its principles. Meanwhile, I sincerely pray that we are not distracted from our goals and the wishes of our Heavenly Father.

Cecil Moon


Equally Coy said...

Just a curiosity; are you a lawyer?

Please don't take this wrong but you write like one, or I should say, your writing reads as if you might be a lawyer.

If you are,
What do you make of the "legal" points raised over on Someone over there was writing like a lawyer also.

Perhaps you and that person (who was it...maybe Randy or Matt or John) could litigate the thing and get it over with!

Seeker said...

Equally Coy:

This is from Cec, who is having major issues getting registered on Google so he can post comments:

Thank you for your comment.

It’s about time someone introduced some humor into this blog. Since the issues we address go to the soul of our feelings about our all-important faith, we tend to address them very seriously and often come off as pompous windbags. You caught me! No, I am not a lawyer but otherwise I
am guilty as charged.

Jan & I, and you as well, must be prepared to raise questions and examine tough matters which face the overall church. When arguing for the truth and especially for our Savior, Jesus Christ, it pays to have your ducks lined up. If our actions and words do not bring credit to Him, then what
are we about?

I do believe you are correct that one or more of the contributors to
Centerplace blog has either personal legal experience or has a drinkin’ buddy who does.(Whoops! There I go again; rolling the clock back thirty years.) In a litigious world the law touches every aspect of life. We are bound to be learning some of the language and procedures.

Thanks again for your interest in Zion Beckons and going beyond the role of “pew warmer” to understand what’s happening.

Yours in Christ