California Hits Mormon Church With Savage Four-Digit Fine

  but it bends towards justice

Ol Joe Smith was mostly broke; the current guys, not so muchHa, remember way back in 2008 when the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a tax-exempt religious organization based in Utah, poured a bunch of money and volunteer labor into the campaign that got gay marriage banned in California? And remember how a lot of people who were sort of startled when the proposition passed meekly said afterwards, “Uh, separation of church and state? Tax exempt status? Anyone, anyone? Hello?” Well, the Stalinist California Fair Political Practices Commission has deliberated on the matter, and has delivered an absolutely crushing blow to the church, ordering them to pay $5,538 in fines, which is roughly the amount the church collects every second in tithes. What specific vile crime did the Mormons commit to merit such a cruel and unusual punishment?

Here is the official statement of contrition from the Mormon Church’s own Web site:

The investigation revealed that the church unintentionally failed to file daily reports detailing approximately $37,000 in non-monetary contributions. The amount of contributions not reported represented the cost of staff time spent by church employees on activities to help the Yes on 8 committee during the final two weeks of the election.

Now, we aren’t lawyers, but: isn’t the point of fines not just to annoy people and add piddling amounts to state treasuries, but rather to serve as deterrents against law-breaking? So, if the Mormon Church illegally gave $37,000 worth of unreported in-kind contributions to a political campaign, shouldn’t the fine have been … more than $37,000? To offset the illegal contribution? Otherwise, why bother levying any fine at all? I mean, as it is it’s less a “punishment” than “the cost of doing business,” and next time around they’ll just do it again. Right? Right? Are we crazy?

But whatever, $37,000 is still chicken feed to enormous wealthy institutions like the LDS Church, and gays still can’t married, blah. The church probably just found their $5,538 in change under the couch cushions. “Oh, hey, this is like $200 too much,” the Fair Political Practices Commission said. “Whatever, keep it,” said the Mormons as they walked away. “Gays still are still second class citizens, right? Worth every penny.” [LAT]

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About the author

Josh was born and raised in Buffalo, New York, leaving him with a love of chicken wings and a tendency to say “pop”. He taught ancient Greek and Roman history to undergraduates before fleeing from academia in terror; worked for a failed San Francisco dot-com that neglected to supply him with stock options or an Aeron chair; lived in Berlin, where he mostly ate Indian and Ethiopian food; finished in third place on his sole Jeopardy! appearance (the correct answer was “Golda Meir”); and was named 2007 Blogger of the Year by The Week, for obvious reasons. Josh is the creator/editor of COMICS CURMUDGEON (which you should read) and does geeky editing and writing about geeky things such as "the Java programming industry for JavaWorld." He lives in Baltimore with his wife Amber and his cat Hoagie.

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88 comments

  1. fictional character

    nothing like manifest destinying themselves all the way out west so they’d finally have the freedom to regulate other people’s personal lives.

  2. druranium

    Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu. Thanks a lot Josh.

    I am now going to try to slash my wrists with broken IPA bottles…. :(((

    (California) (#FuckMormons)

  3. Terry

    “The amount of contributions not reported represented the cost of staff time spent by church employees on activities to help the Yes on 8 committee during the final two weeks of the election.”

    Church employees working on a political committee activities on Church time. Church and State are not only not separated, they are slow dancing and french kissing in the middle of the dance floor on this one.

  4. HedonismBot

    Something about that picture of ol’ Joseph Smith, I don’t know exactly, but it’s gonna haunt my dreams. That photo gives me the willies something fierce. Maybe it’s the unnatural spacing between his eyes. With his hair up in a bun, he kind of looks like a Japanese geisha, or a 19th Century pioneer crossed with the creepy kid ghosts from “The Grudge.”
    (Shivers..)

  5. dum librul

    I didn’t know the CFPPC regulates West Virginia’s mining business. That’s just bad logistics.

  6. Escape Goat Nation

    Which is totally weird because 5,538 dollars is the exact same amount that it costs to become a level 5 Mormon Melchizedek Elder.

  7. JMP

    Hey, the Mormons just had to make the definition of marriage would never include anything but one man and one woman. Oh, wait a minute…

  8. Mild Midwesterner

    Whenever the young, thin, and neat gentlemen come to my door promoting the great Morman bible, I usually invite them to come inside and speak with me. I offer them a scotch, and I listen intently while I allow my silk robe to slowly fall open. Awkwardness abounds.


  9. Post author
    Josh Fruhlinger

    [re=595229]HedonismBot[/re]: I have always been very weirded out by this picture, which is why I put it up here. It looks like some kind of 19th century photoshop job.

  10. Lazy Media

    Joseph Smith must have just about peed himself when his acolytes STILL took him seriously after he unveiled the angel Moroni. C’mon, 19th-century gulliblites, MORON-ey? Srsly, you didn’t pick up on that?

  11. JMP

    [re=595229]HedonismBot[/re]: You’d think a con artist turned cult leader would have an honest face.

  12. CrunchyKnee

    [re=595229]HedonismBot[/re]: Creeps me out because he looks like a version of an early 21st century Hollywood vampire character ala “Twilight.”

  13. Ninong

    The French government has listed the LDS Church as a dangerous cult that has to be monitored. The Mormons were not pleased. To get even, the Mormons will now look up the names of the deceased relatives of everyone in that French ministry, La Miviludes, and posthumously convert them to Mormonism, just as they did with Barack Obama’s late mother and all the Holcaust victims, starting with Anne Frank. They’re all listed as official Mormons, having been baptized in the church after their death and without the knowledge of their families.

  14. Manos: Hands of Fate

    [re=595229]HedonismBot[/re]: It’s also the only photo they have of him. Looks like Liza got some face work done.

  15. steverino247

    [re=595253]Rosie Scenario[/re]: I had those uncomfortable hunks of gold plate up my ass on that hellish journey across the plains to Utah. And now, I give them to you, little man.

  16. Darkness

    Ha ha, is that a picture of James “I walk on water until someone pulls out the pilings overnight” Smith?

  17. Darkness

    [re=595229]HedonismBot[/re]: Think PT Barnum instead. That’s what’s behind that smile.

  18. Darkness

    [re=595242]Lazy Media[/re]: Well, he got a way with the give me all yer young womenz for my wives. That’s how I get into heaven, um yeah, heaven, later, after I die. I’m sure he thought anything was a go after that.

  19. ThisIsNotAnAvatar

    The church formerly known as the latter day saints will henceforth be known as Four Digit Fire Company 6969 and their traveling revue will go from town to town performing felatio and granting public viewings of “The John Smith of Four Dicks.”

  20. cheeto_jeebus

    [re=595261]Ninong[/re]: I once had to share a flight from Paris to NY that was 75% French Mormons on their way to Salt lake City. It was an unpleasant experience. who would have thought they could be so uncouth? loud, rude..you half expected to see one with a chicken under their arm on the way to the bathroom. When my wife leaned her chair back, the woman behind us shoved her seat violently with both legs like it was a leg press. touts fun.

  21. Fuck Toad

    [re=595242]Lazy Media[/re]: Maybe they figured it out 70 years later, after the word ‘moron’ had been coined to describe the semi-retarded.

  22. TGY

    I am baffled, baffled why Jesus Christ doesn’t come again (in Independence, MO) and set these wrongs aright.

  23. Terry

    [re=595242]Lazy Media[/re]:

    It’s still more plausible than the bodies of space aliens being hidden in a volcano, which then erupts and put teeny space alien bits in everyone’s bodies. That, plus magic invisible cats running around the walls of the room.

  24. TGY

    [re=595280]ThisIsNotAnAvatar[/re]: Yes, it’s made up. “The church was not mentioned in the list of dangerous cults in the reports established by the Parliamentary Commission on Cults in France in 1995 and 1999.”

  25. JMP

    [re=595284]proudgrampa[/re]: …is always hot; that sexual repression leads to some extreme enthusiasm when they sin. And most Mormons, of both sexes, tend to be attractive.

  26. Lascauxcaveman

    [re=595236]Mild Midwesterner[/re]: Heh. I can’t decide whether your scenario would be funnier if you were a pretty lady or kinda gross typical old midwestern male schlub.

  27. Terry

    [re=595229]HedonismBot[/re]:

    Looks just like a man who thought that Native Americans became white upon religious conversion, oh, and that men should marry lots and lots of women, particularly really young ones.

  28. WhatTheHeck

    Of sourse marriage is between a man and his many wives.
    Besides, can’t you write off a fine as a business expense?

    Anyhoo, it wasn’t the church which got gay marriage banned in California. It was the many morans they persuaded to vote for said measure..

  29. WadISay

    [re=595261]Ninong[/re]: My solution: posthumously gay-marry every Mormon elder to each other.

  30. ThisIsNotAnAvatar

    [re=595283]ThisIsNotAnAvatar[/re]: Oh…Joseph Smith. Not John Smith. Duh. But what do I know from Moronism?

  31. JMP

    [re=595289]Terry[/re]: Even that’s still more plausible than a virgin becoming pregnant, and later staying a virgin but happily for the rest of her life; or a guy who has been dead and buried for three days suddenly magically getting better and walking around.

    [re=595293]Lascauxcaveman[/re]: Split the difference: a kinda gross typical Midwestern female schlub.

  32. hoosiermama

    Whew, glad I’m not the only one who thinks that image is disturbing. He looks like a shiny, strangely formed puppet.

    Will have to ask Mittens about that 5k fine the next time he runs for office.

  33. Ninong

    [re=595305]WadISay[/re]: Better yet, gay-marry them to Tom Cruise and John Travolta so that they will end up on a Scientology planet instead of a Mormon planet.

  34. Okie Dokie Dog

    Darn. I don’t get a home visit from the Mormans, just the Pentecost, who seem slightly taken aback when I decline their offer of telling me all about Jebus. I always have the urge to follow them back to their homes, so that I can knock on their door, disturbing their tv viewing of whatever the hell those people watch on the tv, and then tell them all about how I think their religion and every other fricken “My God is better than your god” religion is a load of crap. Oh course I’m sure that would be Christian bashing harassment and they’d call the cops and off to the pokey I’d go, where perhaps I would find religion. The Lord works in mysterious ways.

  35. Terry

    [re=595319]JMP[/re]:

    Yeah, in Ireland when a “virgin” became pregnant, they’d blame it on a selkie (a seal that could remove it’s skin and take human form and get up to mischief).

    Regarding the getting up after three days and walking around, I suspect that happened more in the old days that folks are willing to admit.

  36. Scottie

    So… the LDS, the epitome of institutionalized sexual promiscuity and perversion, has this passion for oppressing teh gays? What a surprise!

  37. Escape Goat Nation

    About 15 years ago I was a member of team at Cornell to peer review a paper submitted by Iowa State University to the, American Journal of Psychology.
    The study was named, “Mormons: Fucking Weird”

    We conducted the study 3 times over a 1 year period and we came to the same conclusion:
    Mormons are Pretty Fucking Weird.

  38. rastignac

    I had a wonderful experience with a Bible banger who came to my door to talk to me about my “relationship with God.” He was quite young, as they often are, and I noticed a wedding ring on his hand. I asked him to tell me all the intimate details about the last time he had sex with his wife. He bristled and informed me that that was an entirely personal matter. I said, “Precisely! Just like my relationship with God. What the fuck makes you people think you can show up at a total stranger’s house and ask them about their spiritual life, which is entirely personal?” He slithered away as I sprang a boner looking at his cute, tight ass.

  39. Hoplight

    [re=595236]Mild Midwesterner[/re]: Last time the Mormons came by while I was weeding my flower bed, they tried this schtick about how everything will be so rosy in the afterlife, yadda fairy tale, yadda. Their hearts clearly weren’t in it. Maybe too much repetition or something. I asked why it didn’t seem suspicious that those pushing others to hold off on justice until the afterlife were always the most powerful of the bunch and had the most to lose if people actually decided things should be evened out, like here and now. They moved along after that.

  40. meyotch

    As a multi-generation Mormon who has managed to keep the secret decoder ring, I have to declare: Absolutely everything you have ever heard about Mormons is true.

    The old let-the-robe-slip trick was about the only thing that kept me knocking on doors. Clean living has the advantage of keeping the sex drive high, from boredom.

    Folks seem to find the slicked-back buttoned-down thing very attractive. Like Nazis I guess. Awful world view, awesome uniforms.

  41. TGY

    [re=595320]Ninong[/re]: Couldn’t find anything about Mormons in the French agency ‘Miviludes’ 2009 report. Anything that wasn’t some sort of weird splinter group. So I’m still doubtful. Losing interest. Rapidly.

  42. steverino247

    [re=595445]Hoplight[/re]: Good one! I just ignore the door now when people knock or ring the bell. More fun to watch them slowly realize they’re being ignored and see how long it takes them to just go away (I’ve got that sunlight blocking stuff on the window). Half of them are Spanish-speaking Jehovah’s Witlesses anyway. I have a policy not to waste my time tormenting those who torment themselves with fear of backsliding, etc. Learned what a complete waste of life they are when I was escorting women past them at abortion clinics in town.

    [re=595417]Escape Goat Nation[/re]: I was once supervised at a psych internship by a guy with his Ph.D. from BYU. Very interesting year, to say the least. They are very fucking weird, but assume everyone who looks like them (me, for example) believes like them (very wrong in my case). He was the “official” psychologist for the Mormons in our area, too. Reported to the bishops on how his clients were doing and all that unethical shit. Also, talked to them about who had to be let go at the job so a guy coming in from Utah with his family of eight could take over the position. They are way into control, you know. Probably why they pray Nazi victims into their system, especially since they believe they’re the lost tribe of Jews.

  43. tribbzthesquidz

    I knew a woman many years ago who lured two door-to-door LDS missionaries into her apartment and fucked them both silly. I would like to see an organized effort to send hot guys/gals to convert Mormons to the ways of squirting/heaving orgasms.

  44. yellowdogdem

    [re=595291]JMP[/re]: Yes, indeed. Those 80-something-year-old elders are a handsome bunch. And the Fundamentalist Mormon girls with their weird hairstyles and prairie dresses are just adorbs. Seriously, though, I guess Mormons tend to be attractive if being white means being attractive.

  45. Prommie

    [re=595468]steverino247[/re]: They’re like parasitic wasps, if they get into an organization, they will take it over and eat it from the inside out with their mormon nepotism thing. They almost took over the FBI. I’ve read that they don’t consider it a sin to defraud gentiles, and that SLC is the white collar scam center of the universe.

  46. chascates

    In retaliation the Mormon Church will baptise everyone in California into their faith.

  47. GreenHalo

    Offering Mormons missionaries beer. Welfare queens buying steak with food stamps. NRA members turning out cop-killer bullets on a lathe and kissing each round before loading it into the magazine. Keep fucking that chicken, you magnificent bastards, I’d follow you anywhere, if only out of curiousity.

  48. Ninong

    [re=595457]TGY[/re]: Well, I think they’re talking about the 2008 report, which was issued in May 2009. It’s in French and I couldn’t find anything about Mormons either, other than something about the Fundamentalist LDS Church, the ones that still practice polygamy.

    I read about it on Wonkette and didn’t bother to check the original French report at the time. There is no English language version of that report on the MIVILUDES website that I could find and my French is very rusty but I didn’t look through it and found nothing specifically named the LDS Church, the one in Salt Lake City.

  49. steverino247

    [re=595484]Prommie[/re]: Ah, yes, the Ichneumonoidea. The worst spy in the FBI’s history was Mormon. They liked to recruit them because they look wholesome on the outside, but that shit they believe makes them susceptible to all sorts of stuff. I had some friends who lived “behind the Zion Curtain” and they told me some very interesting stories. One guy was the regional manager for a large car maker and he couldn’t get laid until he discovered the Mormon Underground about five months into his tour up there. When my family and I visited SLC in 1969 to inter my grandmother’s ashes next to her mom (her family were railroad people, not Mormons), we were refused service in restaurants and had a helluva time getting something hot to eat. Now, they play nicer because they know visitors=money.

  50. Ninong

    [re=595516]Ninong[/re]: I meant to say that I did look through it and found nothing specifically naming the LDS Chuch in Salt Lake City.

  51. What Fresh Hell is This?

    [re=595545]chascates[/re]: And this one is excellently documented. “No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith” by Faun Brodie.

  52. tribbzthesquidz

    [re=595297]Prommie[/re]: With two more hands one could add Bachmann and that Sikh lady from SC to the mix. Now it’s a party.

  53. GreenHalo

    [re=595564]What Fresh Hell is This?[/re]: “No Man Knows My History” is actually pretty good. Then there’s a century of pure crap, with “The Revenge of the Retort of the Temple of the God-Makers” as the low point, and then the LDS fucked up wholesale in the ’90s by kicking out a zillion thoughtful, articulate dissidents, who (having nothing left to lose) networked and spilled their guts right about the time the Internet became just another tool at the local public library.

    Along the way, a bunch of unfamous ex-cultists hooked up on the Internet and found out they shared almost exactly the same experience, which was inconvenient to say the least, at least for some people. For others, it was, well, a revelation.

    The Mormon Church has always had a secret doomsday weapon, namely, anyone who switches on his brain is alone in recorded history and fully responsible for any soul-wrenching consequences. (When I say “his” I’m using standard English and absolutely including her, hir, their, and his/her, for those who are just catching up.)

    In short: flash your boobies at missionaries! Oh, and offer them coffee. They’ve never had THAT one before! If you’re lucky you’ll actually see their skulls pop in unison.

  54. meyotch

    [re=595601]GreenHalo[/re]: Ah, yes. The night of the long knives. Boyd (Fudge) K Packer led a pogrom from within. He said that the greatest enemies of the church are: feminists, intellectuals and homosexuals. Fantastic!

    When I realized that I was a little bit of all three, the bloom was off the rose. Damn straight the consequences are gut-wrenching. The only consolation is that my family, while faithful, love me more than the dogma. There’s a stable peace on that front.

    The best part is that Boyd is next in line to become CEO of all the mormon shell corporations (oh, and the spiritual ‘head’. Spiritual head is the best kind. It takes more work, but the results are fantastic.)

  55. Tourettesorist

    [re=595236]Mild Midwesterner[/re]: I’ll be right over for a scotch and a show, then missionary position.

  56. ThisIsNotAnAvatar

    [re=595520]chascates[/re]: “The morg allows almost nonsensical Eagle Projects, such as carpet cleaning in the local ward or Stake Center.”

    I’d like a merit badge in claret shag, please.

  57. IonaTrailer

    When I was little my family went to Salt Lake City and took the tour of the Temple. They told my Dad that he should join the church and that if you were a good Mormon, when you died you got your own planet. And it was populated by all your spiritual wives. And their idea of heaven was being pregnant all the time.

    That was when my mother grabbed my arm and dragged us out of there.

  58. GreenHalo

    [re=595622]meyotch[/re]: If your family hasn’t blacklamped you out of the family tree, you’re definitely winning the Irish sweepstakes. Raca! But the best part? Pretty much this whole thread:

    “And this one time? At band camp? I saw a Mormon family.”

    (Spit take.)

    “And then I threw mud at them until I was a safe distance away. Whaddaya think band camp is? Can we make a few polygamy jokes, cause I’m startin’ to get a little antsy.”

  59. Words

    [re=595367]Terry[/re]: re: dead men getting up & walking around after 3 days—- see Tim Finnegan.

  60. rmjag

    [re=595236]Mild Midwesterner[/re]: a friend of mine did his mission in las vegas . he was recalled back to salt lake city to ‘explain’ himself for ‘things’ that ‘happened’ with some of the working girls/strippers . he’s embraced the pansexual lifestyle . he also likes to duct tape his ‘friends’ and watch them struggling n mmphphing while he proselytizes to them re the mormon . don’t ask . he’s also a plastic surgeon . very hot also …

  61. GreenHalo

    [re=595789]rmjag[/re]: Interesting. Surprisingly large sectors of Vegas are owned and operated by Mormons. Nobody goes anywhere unobserved. Think Texas Air National Guard. So… your friend was rich and influential, I wouldn’t die of shock if Grampa was a Seventy, and instead of being X’d he was recalled for consultation and now he’s… in real estate? No, a meat man, specializing in facelifts.

    That’s a stinging indictment of the Mormon Church as a whole, right there. If they trusted him that little to begin with and he was lower-middle class, he’d have gone to Boise or Seattle. Not to say he’s stupid, but just about anyone can learn Spanish at the MTC and there are some plush assignments in the Americas. But, again, why waste an assignment on someone who can’t keep his pecker in his pants and is therefore useless for an intelligence posting. Sounds about right.

    I went to school with a guy who disappeared for two days and eventually (i.e. almost immediately — what a bunch of kidders!) was tracked down at a hotel outside Disneyland, loaded with souveniers. He was rich, but they sent him home with a quickness. Money alone don’t buy anything but fake antiquities. Ooh, did I say too much?

  62. rmjag

    [re=595798]GreenHalo[/re]: My friend is crazy . but charming – very likely a sociopath . seriously , He is 2 distinct personalities . when he is afraid he is mormon . when he is not afraid , he is a fun-loving , happy and not-mormon-at-all kinda guy . and very kinky n exciting . I am not mormon .i am quaker . i came to utah ’cause of a dream where what i thought was god’s angel told me that the mormons had been ‘raptured’ ( wiped out ) and the coast was clear . however , the story re duct tape etc is true .

  63. Darkness

    [re=595601]GreenHalo[/re]: That won’t work. They suck down Mountain Dew like candy. The prohibition isn’t against caffeine. That would be scientific. It’s against coffee and tea, specifically. NoDose is probably also allowed.

  64. Beak

    Your story said, “…if the Mormon Church illegally gave $37,000 worth of unreported in-kind contributions…”. In fact, the contributions were not illegal. It was the oversight of reporting those contribution on a timely basis that was illegal. I hope you understand the difference.

    As to other comments, it appears that many have accepted as fact some ideas that are not germane to the actual beliefs and practices of “Mormonism.” Interesting how so many seem to get their “facts” from the wacko sites on the Internet rather than asking at the source.

  65. Beak

    [re=595457]TGY[/re]: You seem to be the only one who relies on facts rather than fantasy. Good job.

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