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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended December 01, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 01Dec00

By Kent Larsen

LDS Church, Tanners To Settle Lawsuit Over GHI

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- The LDS Church and its long-time critics, Jerald and Sandra Tanner, are poised to settle the Church's lawsuit over the Tanner's publication of 17 pages of the General Handbook of Instructions (GHI) on their website. The Tanners, who run the Utah-based Utah Lighthouse Ministry, posted the GHI chapter on church discipline to their website in July 1999, to aid those trying to leave the LDS Church, and the Church sued to get the pages, and links to the GHI elsewhere, removed from the website.

Now, the parties appear to be ready to settle the lawsuit. Attorneys for the LDS Church have drawn up a settlement agreement which requires the Tanners to destroy all copies of the GHI they have and remove links to and any mention of websites that contain the GHI. Under the agreement the LDS Church would drop the lawsuit and its claim for damages. The Tanners have signed the agreement, but the Church has not yet signed it.

The Tanners say they are settling because the lawsuit distracts from their primary purpose. "We have entered into this settlement only to end unnecessary, prolonged and expensive litigation," Jerald Tanner said. His wife, Sandra added, "Our resources are better spent for their intended purpose: to examine the claims of the LDS Church and contrast those teachings with Christianity." They maintain that they did not violate the copyright law, but an LDS Church statement says that the Church maintains "its position -- as recognized by the federal court -- that the Tanners illegally published church copyrighted materials."

After the LDS Church obtained an injunction last year forcing the Tanners to take the GHI material off their website, the Tanners then posted a reader's letter detailing other websites where the GHI could be obtained. This led to a new injunction requiring that they take the links off their website, claiming the links were contributing to the infringement of the Church's copyright.

This injunction against links caused a controversy on the Internet, as free speech advocates attacked the injunction. The San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation was just one of many groups to attack the injuction, calling it a threat to the free exchange of ideas and information on the Internet. The Tanner's attorney, Brian Barnard, says he thinks the ruling about links was a mistake, "Judge Campbell's decision we think was a mistake and could have a broad influence on the Internet.

Under the proposed agreement, the injunction would be vacated, and replaced by a permanent injunction that would keep the Tanners from posting the GHI or links to it on their website.


LDS Suit Nearing Settlement
Salt Lake Tribune 1Dec00 N1
By Ray Rivera: Special to the Tribune


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