Sandra Tanner's Statement for
As a result of the many uninformed comments on various internet discussion groups relating to the LDS lawsuit against Utah Lighthouse Ministry we feel compelled to offer the following outline of events.
Early in 1999 a member of the LDS Church acquired a copy of the Church Handbook of Instructions. Someone then put the text of the CHI into electronic format. Someone (we dont know if it was the same person) then posted the entire CHI on the internet. Utah Lighthouse Ministry played no part in any of this.
Sometime prior to July 15th someone anonymously left a computer disc containing the CHI in Utah Lighthouses mail box.
On July 15th, 1999, we posted on Utah Lighthouses web site [www.utlm.org] a page called "How to Remove Your Name From the LDS Records." Included with this entry was most of chapter 10 from the CHI, along with a few quotes from other chapters.
As a non-profit organization concerned with providing clear and accurate information to people desiring to terminate their LDS membership, we posted this material free on our web site. We believe we were acting in compliance with the copyright laws.
In the meantime, the entire LDS Church Handbook continued to be circulated on the internet. Utah Lighthouse Ministry did not cause these actions nor were we associated with these other postings.
At 11:00 AM on October 13, without any forewarning, two representatives from the LDS law firm came into the Utah Lighthouse Bookstore and handed me (Sandra Tanner) a packet containing the LDS demands against the Ministry.
These papers demanded that we immediately remove any material from the CHI from our web site and post their statement regarding the matter by 2:00 PM of the same day. By 1:00 PM we had complied with this demand. This did not satisfy the LDS Church. Later the same day they filed their lawsuit against the Ministry. They made NO effort to discuss or negotiate the matter with us or our attorney.
On October 30th the Salt Lake Tribune printed an article about the case which included two URLs purporting to contain the CHI.
On November 2nd we posted various emails we received relating to the case. Two of these emails contained URLs purporting to contain all or part of the CHI. Note, these were never posted on our site as LINKS, they were simply web addresses.
On December 6th the judge disregarded our arguments against the Temporary Restraining Order and issued a Preliminary Injunction, which is to stay in effect until the lawsuit is resolved. Our next court date is set for January 4th, 2000, to hear our motion for dismissal.
Since the LDS Church has already stated that they will not sue the Salt Lake Tribune for printing and posting the URLs of web sites containing the CHI [and the Tribune has a far greater readership than Utah Lighthouse] they obviously are not as concerned about web addresses being contributory infringement as they are intent on damaging Utah Lighthouse Ministry. Also, we have been informed that the entire CHI continues to be offered at various sites on the internet. This is all being done by other parties. We have no connection or control over any such actions. As far as we are aware, the LDS Church, as of Dec. 16th, has NOT filed lawsuits against any of the people so involved.
We therefore conclude that the LDS Church lawsuit against Utah Lighthouse Ministry has little to do with our posting material from the Church Handbook of Instructions. Instead, we believe it has everything to do with an attempt to stifle our First Amendment right of free speech, bankrupt the Ministry and defame us to the public.
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