Recently, while surfing the internet,I discovered I could open Book 1 of a two Book set of instructions to the male priesthood hierarchy of the Mormon Church. Reading it I discovered what I consider the most insipid collection of control mechanisms designed to render a Mormon member, man or woman to the absolute role of a duped obedient robot under the leaders of the church particularly the so-called First Presidency currently headed by Thomas Sterling Monson. The official title for Book one is CHURCH HANDBOOK OF INSTRUCTIONS.
While the document(s) have been noted "All rights reserved" the presumption is that it is copyrighted even though a symbol does not appear. Ten years ago a short legal skirmish over copyright infringement was held between the Church though it's Intellectual Reserve Corporation that holds all copyrights for the church and Sandra and Jerold Tanner and their Utah Lighthouse Ministry in 1999 and 2000, As I recall the issue was over an earlier publication which may not have been properly copyrighted.
The church asked for a temporary restraining and the U.S. District court judge coined a phrase "Contributory Infringement" later stricken from the Court Record by settlement. Such a term suggested that anyone who may pass on the link to another who might actually use the copyrighted material in a manner violating the copyright would be liable for "contributing" to infringement. Since the issue was settled and no appeal was taken to the appeals court ratifying the use of the coined phrase it no longer is a viable legal phrase.
As with any copyrighted material, merely reading it does not violate the copyright. Obviously reading the book is not a right reserved to the publisher i.e.; the church.
As a result of the lawsuit many angered members and ex-members of the church responded by posting the books on the internet for downloading. I found a site in Amsterdam!
There are numerous sites around the world where the book can be opened and viewed. I would not advise downloading. However it is not likely that one can use Microsoft Internet Explorer as terminal blocks have been posted to prevent access to many of the sites. I discovered even Goggle will turn a surfer in circles to prevent access to the download sites. Open source browsers such as Firebox will at the present get a surfer access.
The church claims that the publication of the handbook is neither for public consumption nor for open access to its twelve million plus members but rather only for use by the heirarchal order of the church priesthood because it contains "sensitive" instruction intended only for persons in leadership positions to direct the affairs of the church.
It is distributed in a need to know descending order of priesthood. Since Book 2 deals with auxiliary organizations which may include women or girls only those parts of the instructions are intended for use by them. And the priesthood is directed to just Xerox those portions from the books to give to female leaders and also to limited male leaders of male organizations, such as Aaronic priesthood Quorums, Boy Scouts and Young men's and Young women's Associations. Upon retiring from any church position , it is expected that the materials be given to a successor or to an immediate superior leader in order to keep the information out of unsuspecting hands of members.
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