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Appeals court rules that Mormon Church is outside of the Protestant Christian faith . . . . .

In a remarkable decision an appellate court ruled that the Mormon Church is outside of the Protestant faith. The decision came in a divorce decree contempt case by the Arkansas Court of Appeals on October 8. According to an October 9 Arkansas Democrat Gazette piece,

“Joel Mark Rownak and Lisa Monette Rownak agreed in their 2005 divorce to raise their children ‘in the Protestant faith.’ The decree bars them from promoting another religion without the other’s consent. In May 2007, Benton County Circuit Judge John R. Scott found Joel Rownak in contempt of that decree based on evidence that Rownak had ‘candidly acknowledged’ promoting the Mormon faith to his sons.”

Interestingly, Mr. Rownak, who is a Mormon testified that the Mormon faith is outside of the Protestant faith. The court, based on Mr. Rownak’s testimony and “evidence” of that effect from the [Mormon] church’s Web site” ruled that the Mormon faith was indeed outside of the Protestant faith and therefore found Mr. Rownak in contempt of the divorce decree.

The significance of this ruling of course is that both an active Mormon (Mr. Rownak) and an appellate court both agree that Mormonism is not a Protestant church. The other significant aspect of this ruling is that the court has made a ruling on a theological matter. While the ruling was technically on a divorce decree contempt case, the grounds for the decision were theological.

http://wfiprestoncondra.blogspot.com/2008/10/appeals-court-rules-that-mormon-church.html

HERE IS THE October 9 Arkansas Democrat Gazette piece

BENTON COUNTY : Court rules against dad in faith case BY CHARLIE FRAGO

Posted on Thursday, October 9, 2008 http://www.nwanews.com/adg/News/239705/

 

A Benton County father found in contempt for violating a custody agreement that barred him from promoting Mormonism to his two sons lost his appeal at the Arkansas Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

Joel Mark Rownak and Lisa Monette Rownak agreed in their 2005 divorce to raise their children “in the Protestant faith.” The decree bars them from promoting another religion without the other’s consent.

In May 2007, Benton County Circuit Judge John R. Scott found Joel Rownak in contempt of that decree based on evidence that Rownak had “candidly acknowledged” promoting the Mormon faith to his sons.

Rownak led his sons in Scripture reading and daily prayer, involved one son in Boy Scouts at a local Mormon church and had one son baptized at the church, according to an opinion written by Judge Sam Bird and agreed to by Judges John Robbins and Robert J. Gladwin.

Rownak argued the contempt finding violated his First Amendment rights, particularly the establishment clause that prohibits the state from discriminating against religion.

Bird wrote that the decree was a valid contract between parties and didn’t violate Rownak’s constitutional rights. He noted that Joel Rownak had requested the language to be included in the decree.

Joel Rownak testified that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latterday Saints wasn’t a Protestant faith, and the court also considered evidence to that effect from the church’s Web site.

Lisa Rownak had objected to her ex-husband’s promoting Mormonism to their children.

In light of this evidence, Scott was correct in finding Joel Rownak in contempt of the divorce decree, Bird wrote.

At the appeals court, the case is CA 08-193, Joel Mark Rownak v. Lisa Monette Rownak.

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One Comment

  1. But the LDS Church has never claimed to be part of the Protestant faith, in fact we claim the opposite, that being not Protestant.


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