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LDS Church urges leaders to not participate in ‘any type of court case’

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are questioning a letter that was sent to leaders last week reminding them of a policy that prevents them from getting involved in “any type of court case” without speaking first to the Church.

The letter, dated August 4, 2020, was addressed to leaders in the United States and Canada. It was signed by members of the First Presidency.

“We remind leaders and members of a long-standing policy that Church leaders should not involve themselves in civil or criminal cases regarding members in their units, quorums, or organizations without first consulting with Church legal counsel,” the letter reads. “However well intentioned, Church leaders sharing information in legal proceedings can sometimes be misinterpreted and even damaging. Following the Church’s policy also keeps the Church from being inappropriately implicated in legal matters.”

When FOX 13 reached out to the Church for clarification on the letter, a spokesperson indicated the policy exists to dissuade leaders from being involved in legal matters.

“(The Church) would encourage them not to get involved,” said Sam Penrod, a media relations manager for the Church. “That’s the whole point, is that local leaders shouldn’t get involved in any type of court case."

FOX 13 asked if leaders of the Church would still be discouraged from responding to a subpoena if they have information related to a case.

“I can’t speak to that,” Penrod responded. “They just don’t want the Church involved.”

FOX 13 has spoken to attorneys, members of the Church, and former members of the Church who have concerns about the way that statement could be interpreted as promoting “obstruction of justice.”

“To have the Church put out a statement like this… I’m really concerned about it,” sighed Joanna Smith, an active member of the Church. “If we’re going to be a church and not a corporation, we should be telling the truth in everything we say and do, just like our teachings teach us to.”

However,  Zambrano, (a California attorney) said he had grave concerns about any sort of blanket policy that might exist behind closed doors that would prohibit leaders from testifying or responding to a subpoena.
“That would be an obstruction of justice, to willfully not participate in the investigative process of a crime,” Zambrano said. “This is no different than the culture of silence that led to the abuse of these kids in the Catholic Church… It’s a form of coercion. It’s a form of imposing duress on people. It’s a danger to our society!”

Rocky Anderson, an attorney and former mayor of Salt Lake City, said he believes the policy indicates “cultish control of members.”


This has been a standing policy to seek advice from Church legal council.  Did anyone here question the letter? Are the concerns justified about it being an obstruction of justice?

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26 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Duncan posted about this last week I think?  Maybe his thread is still around (i haven't checked).

OK I see that from a couple of weeks ago. This article talks about it being an obstruction of justice which was not discussed in that thread.

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I think a general statement from the Presidency of the Church stating something to the effect that "statements from individual Church leaders are not considered binding upon the whole Church unless first approved by the Presidency of the Church" should do the trick.

And come to think of it, I think they have already issued a statement to that effect.

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2 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

The church provides free legal advice to leaders, and keeps them from getting personally in trouble.

What's not to like?

I called them several times as bishop.

Also remember that we have a responsibility to not reveal certain things that a penitent may bring up to us.

This is a good thing, all around 

I disagree that the legal advice is for the benefit of anyone other than the church and its interests.

I've also called the hotline numerous times as bishop and was quite disappointed in the responses I received. It was always about avoiding church liability. When a lady slipped on ice in the parking lot, went to the hospital and eventually had an appendage amputated because of the fall, I called. Even though I was a witness I was told not to be involved. As a side note the church insurance is terrible and didn't take care of the woman either. When a couple was beating their daughter I called in to verify that I should report the abuse. I was told to stay out of it. That dude was later called to be bishop. Pretty awesome.

The hotline is all about protecting church assets. It's not about protecting members or lay leaders.

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There are a number of people speculating this is about the Daybell/Vallow case and the Church trying to prevent members from testifying in ways that make the Church look bad. 
 

Now LVD’s attorney has gotten in on the act (how is not said yet).

https://mobile.twitter.com/AdamHerbets/status/1294050073534373889

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1 hour ago, Calm said:

There are a number of people speculating this is about the Daybell/Vallow case and the Church trying to prevent members from testifying in ways that make the Church look bad. 
 

Now LVD’s attorney has gotten in on the act (how is not said yet).

https://mobile.twitter.com/AdamHerbets/status/1294050073534373889

Lori Vallow Daybell’s attorney issues response to LDS First Presidency letter

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I am not impressed by Means. Is not it pretty typical of an attorney to tell a client not to say anything without checking with them first?  Is he going to describe that advice as “code of silence” and a “filter” as well?  I think this may be a play for changing venue, perhaps for a county with more nonLDS to choose jurors from. 
 

Quote

 the LDS Church has told approximately 26% of the residents of the State of Idaho to contact Church legal counsel to enter into a code of silence and to only discuss their potential knowledge of this case and any other civil or criminal case after filtering said ‘knowledge’ through the lens that is the LDS Church,” Means writes. 

 

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20 hours ago, JAHS said:

This has been a standing policy to seek advice from Church legal council.  Did anyone here question the letter? Are the concerns justified about it being an obstruction of justice?

Has the Church attempted to obstruct justice before?  Outside of the issue of confession and church liability, has the Church lawyers ever stepped into a case they were not involved in to persuade members to not testify as witnesses to crimes? 

This has iirc been the policy for decades.  How come this act of obstruction in ever working with LE hasn’t been reported before?

Besides bishops who have access to the hot line, how are other members even supposed to know how to contact church lawyers anyway?  
 

I think Fox 13 misrepresented the range of what the letter was addressing and probably intentionally given past behaviour doesn’t imo support the accusations of obstruction being made. We have had church lawyers giving LE information about abusers as one example. 

Edited by Calm
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18 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I disagree that the legal advice is for the benefit of anyone other than the church and its interests.

I've also called the hotline numerous times as bishop and was quite disappointed in the responses I received. It was always about avoiding church liability. When a lady slipped on ice in the parking lot, went to the hospital and eventually had an appendage amputated because of the fall, I called. Even though I was a witness I was told not to be involved. As a side note the church insurance is terrible and didn't take care of the woman either. When a couple was beating their daughter I called in to verify that I should report the abuse. I was told to stay out of it. That dude was later called to be bishop. Pretty awesome.

The hotline is all about protecting church assets. It's not about protecting members or lay leaders.

I don’t doubt your experience but your conclusion is wrong.  Attorneys on the hotline represent bishops—that’s the way attorney-client relationship works.  Accordingly, they give advice that benefits the bishop—not the church. Again, that’s the way the attorney client relationship works.

I get really tired of people jumping to conclusions about the hotline that fundamentally don’t understand the law.

In any event, my experience is the complete opposite. In fact, I had one of the hotline attorneys tell me that if someone was in danger due to information obtained through a confession, they’d instruct the bishop to go contrary to the priest-penitent privilege and report it to keep the person at risk safe—even if it opened the church to a lawsuit. 

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24 minutes ago, PacMan said:

I don’t doubt your experience but your conclusion is wrong.  Attorneys on the hotline represent bishops—that’s the way attorney-client relationship works.  Accordingly, they give advice that benefits the bishop—not the church. Again, that’s the way the attorney client relationship works.

I get really tired of people jumping to conclusions about the hotline that fundamentally don’t understand the law.

In any event, my experience is the complete opposite. In fact, I had one of the hotline attorneys tell me that if someone was in danger due to information obtained through a confession, they’d instruct the bishop to go contrary to the priest-penitent privilege and report it to keep the person at risk safe—even if it opened the church to a lawsuit. 

You've got that backwards. The bishop is not the client of the attorney (or paralegal or whomever is on the phone). The church is.

Please explain how I fundamentally don't understand the law and who the church's attorneys represent. Seriously. I must be super dense because I don't understand your position one bit. As a bishop I never signed anything to "hire" a church attorney to work for me. The hotline is for the church, not the bishop, not the members. It's to protect the interests of the church as an organization. Now, it's true that often times those interests will align but the attorneys for the church do not have the well-being of the individual bishop or members as their priority as an attorney for that person would. Their client is the Church. I assume you're an attorney so please explain how I'm wrong.

Edited by HappyJackWagon
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21 hours ago, JAHS said:

LDS Church urges leaders to not participate in ‘any type of court case’

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are questioning a letter that was sent to leaders last week reminding them of a policy that prevents them from getting involved in “any type of court case” without speaking first to the Church.

This is a manufactured controversy.  The letter pertains to local leaders getting involved in lawsuits regarding members in their units/quorums/organizations, and that such involvement should be preceded with "consulting with Church legal counsel."

This is not about members of the Church in general.  Just those in local leadership positions.

This is not about lawsuits in general.  Just those that involve members of the local leader's unit/quorum/organiztion.

This is not a categorical prohibition against becoming involved in legal disputes.  It's about local leaders - who represent the Church relative to the members of their units/quorums/organizations - potentially improperly involving the Church in legal disputes.  Do we really want to see a bishop testifying on behalf of a husband against the husband's wife in a divorce proceeding?  

This has nothing to do with not complying with the law.  Instead, it is about making sure that local leaders who may be called upon to testify or be involved in a legal dispute because of their church calling are receiving legal counsel.

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

The letter, dated August 4, 2020, was addressed to leaders in the United States and Canada. It was signed by members of the First Presidency.

“We remind leaders and members of a long-standing policy that Church leaders should not involve themselves in civil or criminal cases regarding members in their units, quorums, or organizations without first consulting with Church legal counsel,” the letter reads. “However well intentioned, Church leaders sharing information in legal proceedings can sometimes be misinterpreted and even damaging. Following the Church’s policy also keeps the Church from being inappropriately implicated in legal matters.”

When FOX 13 reached out to the Church for clarification on the letter, a spokesperson indicated the policy exists to dissuade leaders from being involved in legal matters.

Again, legal matters  "regarding members in their units, quorums or organizations."  That is a huge caveat.

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

“(The Church) would encourage them not to get involved,” said Sam Penrod, a media relations manager for the Church. “That’s the whole point, is that local leaders shouldn’t get involved in any type of court case."

FOX 13 asked if leaders of the Church would still be discouraged from responding to a subpoena if they have information related to a case.

“I can’t speak to that,” Penrod responded. “They just don’t want the Church involved.”

"We believe in being subject to kings, presidents, rulers, and magistrates, in obeying, honoring, and sustaining the law."  (AoF 1:12)

The Church doesn't encourage disobedience to the law.  But a local leader may have the right - even an obligation - to resist a subpoena through lawful means.  That would necessarily involve the Church's attorneys.

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

FOX 13 has spoken to attorneys, members of the Church, and former members of the Church who have concerns about the way that statement could be interpreted as promoting “obstruction of justice.”

Yep.  A manufactured controversy.  Fox13 must have been having a slow news day.

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

“To have the Church put out a statement like this… I’m really concerned about it,” sighed Joanna Smith, an active member of the Church. “If we’re going to be a church and not a corporation, we should be telling the truth in everything we say and do, just like our teachings teach us to.”

I think Joanna Smith should spend more time understanding the Church's position.  I think her concern is ill-informed and misplaced.

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

However,  Zambrano, (a California attorney) said he had grave concerns about any sort of blanket policy that might exist behind closed doors that would prohibit leaders from testifying or responding to a subpoena.

There is no "blanket policy ... prohibit{ing} leaders from testifying or responding to a subpoena."

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

“That would be an obstruction of justice, to willfully not participate in the investigative process of a crime,” Zambrano said. “This is no different than the culture of silence that led to the abuse of these kids in the Catholic Church… It’s a form of coercion. It’s a form of imposing duress on people. It’s a danger to our society!”

Sigh.  Posturing by a lawyer who is looking for free publicity.

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

Rocky Anderson, an attorney and former mayor of Salt Lake City, said he believes the policy indicates “cultish control of members.”

Rocky is an unserious voice vis-a-vis the Church.

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

This has been a standing policy to seek advice from Church legal council. 

"Seek advice from Church legal coun{sel}" when A) a local church leaders is B) called upon to get involved in a legal dispute C) involving members of his/her unit/quorum/organization.

21 hours ago, JAHS said:

Did anyone here question the letter? Are the concerns justified about it being an obstruction of justice?

No, the concerns are not justified.  By way of illustration: Have you ever heard of a story of a local church leader being charged with obstruction of justice?

And since when is it "obstruction of justice" to seek legal counsel from an attorney?

Thanks,

-Smac

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22 hours ago, Ahab said:

I think a general statement from the Presidency of the Church stating something to the effect that "statements from individual Church leaders are not considered binding upon the whole Church unless first approved by the Presidency of the Church" should do the trick.

And come to think of it, I think they have already issued a statement to that effect.

Not really.  Consider a "statement" from a bishop testifying in a child custody dispute between a divorced couple that previously lived in his ward.  Would the above "not considered binding" statement "do the trick?"  Nope.  Because it would not really be about the Church being bound by a statement.  Rather, it's about the substantial impropriety of a bishop - in his capacity as a bishop - taking sides in a legal dispute.  

Thanks,

-Smac

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20 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I disagree that the legal advice is for the benefit of anyone other than the church and its interests.

Really?  You don't think the members benefit from this?  I can think of all sorts of problems that could arise when local leaders are called upon to testify about things they learn in their capacity as leaders.  There are some very substantive reasons why there are various "privileges" against compulsory testimony.  Lawyers, doctors, clergy, etc. all have special access to the details of the lives of the individual in their care.  That special access is not intended to benefit the legal opponent of the individual.

20 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

I've also called the hotline numerous times as bishop and was quite disappointed in the responses I received. It was always about avoiding church liability.

"Church liability" can certainly be a big concern, and there is nothing wrong with the Church's attorneys being attentive to that.  To the contrary, that makes a lot of sense.

But your experience was quite different from mine.  "Church liability" was sometimes a concern, but most of the time the discussion centered on A) complying with legal reporting requirements, and B) the welfare of the individual.

I never had a situation where I was called upon to testify in a legal proceeding.  Did you ever face that circumstance?

20 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

When a lady slipped on ice in the parking lot, went to the hospital and eventually had an appendage amputated because of the fall, I called. Even though I was a witness I was told not to be involved. As a side note the church insurance is terrible and didn't take care of the woman either.

This is distressing to hear.  And again, quite different from mine.

A bishop as a percipient witness to a slip-and-fall does not seem problematic.  You weren't privy to any sensitive or personal data.  Your testimony would not have been in your capacity as a bystanding witness, not as "a bishop."

20 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

When a couple was beating their daughter I called in to verify that I should report the abuse. I was told to stay out of it. That dude was later called to be bishop. Pretty awesome.

I can't speak to this anecdote, except A) to again note that it varies quite a bit from my experience with the hotline, and B) to center on compliance with reporting requirements.

The times I was told not not report involved constraints associated with the priest-penitent privilege.

20 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

The hotline is all about protecting church assets. It's not about protecting members or lay leaders.

With respect, I disagree.

Thanks,

-Smac

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13 hours ago, JAHS said:

From the article:

Quote

“By way of issuing this correspondence on the second day of a preliminary hearing … the LDS Church has told approximately 26% of the residents of the State of Idaho to contact Church legal counsel to enter into a code of silence and to only discuss their potential knowledge of this case and any other civil or criminal case after filtering said ‘knowledge’ through the lens that is the LDS Church,” Means writes. “These LDS residents make up possible jury pool members, witnesses, judges, prosecutors, police officers, detectives, deputies, police chiefs/captains, and other elected and nonelected officials throughout the State of Idaho.”

Means says the church’s policy is “disturbing, and at worst, criminal” and goes against its own doctrine that a Latter-day Saint should “strictly obey every law of God, including the constitutional laws of the land in which he lives, and do it with a good and honest heart.”

Rank falsehood in some ways ("the LDS Church has told approximately 26% of the residents of the State of Idaho" and "code of silence"), with the rest of it shrill spin-doctoring and posturing.

Thanks,

-Smac

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3 hours ago, Calm said:

Has the Church attempted to obstruct justice before?  

It's pretty risible for an attorney to publicly declare that seeking legal advice constitutes "obstruction of justice" or submitting to a "code of silence."

3 hours ago, Calm said:

Outside of the issue of confession and church liability, has the Church lawyers ever stepped into a case they were not involved in to persuade members to not testify as witnesses to crimes?

I would think this would be a pretty rare event.

3 hours ago, Calm said:

This has iirc been the policy for decades.  How come this act of obstruction in ever working with LE hasn’t been reported before?

Slow news day.  People are sick of wall-to-wall news coverage about A) COVID and B) the presidential race.  The Vallow/Daybell story is luridly interesting, but it's also kind of slow going as a day-to-day matter (the legal process takes a while), so the Church's letter is the new angle.  News organizations get some extra clicks and traffic to their site.  Means gets some soundbites for a change-of-venue argument.  Rocky Anderson gets to vent his spleen.  Ignorant ark-steadiers get to express "concern" about this nothingburger.

3 hours ago, Calm said:

Besides bishops who have access to the hot line, how are other members even supposed to know how to contact church lawyers anyway?  

The letter is not directed at "other members" (except, perhaps, for RSP, EQP, etc.).  

3 hours ago, Calm said:

I think Fox 13 misrepresented the range of what the letter was addressing and probably intentionally given past behaviour doesn’t imo support the accusations of obstruction being made. We have had church lawyers giving LE information about abusers as one example. 

Yep.  I have first-hand experience, a few times over, in benefiting from the Church's lawyers giving sound legal advice.

The Church's bishops need this help.  They are working for free.  Are we really expecting them to either A) go without legal advice, or B) pay for legal advice out of their own pocked when the need for that advice stems from their church calling?

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, PacMan said:

I don’t doubt your experience but your conclusion is wrong.  Attorneys on the hotline represent bishops—that’s the way attorney-client relationship works.  Accordingly, they give advice that benefits the bishop—not the church. Again, that’s the way the attorney client relationship works.

Well, not really.  A bishop acting in his capacity as bishop is an agent/representative of the Church.  The Church's attorneys are giving advice to the bishop in his (the bishop's) representative capacity.

2 hours ago, PacMan said:

In any event, my experience is the complete opposite. In fact, I had one of the hotline attorneys tell me that if someone was in danger due to information obtained through a confession, they’d instruct the bishop to go contrary to the priest-penitent privilege and report it to keep the person at risk safe—even if it opened the church to a lawsuit. 

Yes, my experience was also very different from HJW's.  I found the helpline to be quite helpful.

Thanks,

-Smac

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2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

You've got that backwards. The bishop is not the client of the attorney (or paralegal or whomever is on the phone). The church is.

You've got it wrong.  The bishop and the Church are the attorney's "client."  The bishop is seeking legal advice in his capacity as an agent/representative of the Church.

2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Please explain how I fundamentally don't understand the law and who the church's attorneys represent.

I propose that you do a little reading about agency law.  The Church is the "principal," and the bishops are the "agents."

2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

As a bishop I never signed anything to "hire" a church attorney to work for me. The hotline is for the church, not the bishop, not the members. 

Your error is to differentiate "the Church" from "the bishop" relative to the attorney-client relationship.  The attorney represents the Church.  The bishop is an agent/representative of the Church, and hence is also covered by the attorney-client relationship with the Church's attorneys.

2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

It's to protect the interests of the church as an organization.

This sounds more like cynicism and spite.  It's simply not correct.

2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Now, it's true that often times those interests will align but the attorneys for the church do not have the well-being of the individual bishop or members as their priority as an attorney for that person would.

Patently untrue.

2 hours ago, HappyJackWagon said:

Their client is the Church.

And since the bishop, while functioning in that capacity, is an agent/representative of the Church, the bishop is also a "client."  But that does not mean the Church's attorneys are indifferent or hostile to anything except the interests of "the Church."  That's simply not so.

Thanks,

-Smac

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10 minutes ago, smac97 said:

Really?  You don't think the members benefit from this?  I can think of all sorts of problems that could arise when local leaders are called upon to testify about things they learn in their capacity as leaders.  There are some very substantive reasons why there are various "privileges" against compulsory testimony.  Lawyers, doctors, clergy, etc. all have special access to the details of the lives of the individual in their care.  That special access is not intended to benefit the legal opponent of the individual.

As I noted in another post I believe members and leaders may also receive benefit when their interests match the church's, but my point is that the individual leader or member is not the primary concern of the hotline. It is about protecting the church 

"Church liability" can certainly be a big concern, and there is nothing wrong with the Church's attorneys being attentive to that.  To the contrary, that makes a lot of sense.

I agree that church should be concerned about liability. I haven't said otherwise. And it makes perfect sense for the church's attorneys to be concerned primarily about their client's liability. The only thing I'm really disagreeing with is the claims that the hotline is there for the individual. I don't believe it is. The individual is not their client, the church is.

But your experience was quite different from mine.  "Church liability" was sometimes a concern, but most of the time the discussion centered on A) complying with legal reporting requirements, and B) the welfare of the individual.

I'm glad your experience was different. Mine was infuriating. I went around and around about it with the SP who was also an attorney. I had very little confidence in the usefulness of that hotline for any purpose other than protecting church assets.

I never had a situation where I was called upon to testify in a legal proceeding.  Did you ever face that circumstance?

I never did. Like a good soldier, I followed the handbook/hotline and avoided it. In my opinion I did so to the detriment of the members I was trying to help.

This is distressing to hear.  And again, quite different from mine.

A bishop as a percipient witness to a slip-and-fall does not seem problematic.  You weren't privy to any sensitive or personal data.  Your testimony would not have been in your capacity as a bystanding witness, not as "a bishop."

I agree. IIRC They said something about a bishop is Always a representative of the church so his testimony would be taken as such. I don't know if that's correct or not.

I can't speak to this anecdote, except A) to again note that it varies quite a bit from my experience with the hotline, and B) to center on compliance with reporting requirements.

In this instance they were very specific asking questions about the beatings. Did they use open palm or closed fist (for example). I recall telling them that they used the back of their hands (knuckles) as they knelt on the teen girl to hold her down and hit her repeatedly in the face. Because it wasn't "closed fist" it wasn't reportable. I suspect they were technically correct about that but IMO it doesn't change the fact that the couple abused their daughter. 

The times I was told not not report involved constraints associated with the priest-penitent privilege.

Mine didn't have that issue.

With respect, I disagree.

I know. I'm used to it :)

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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3 minutes ago, smac97 said:

You've got it wrong.  The bishop and the Church are the attorney's "client."  The bishop is seeking legal advice in his capacity as an agent/representative of the Church.

Would it be fair to say that the Bishop (representative of the church) is an extension of the church and is therefore the client, BUT HappyJackWagon as an individual is not the attorney's client?

I propose that you do a little reading about agency law.  The Church is the "principal," and the bishops are the "agents."

Well, I'm not going to be reading up about agency law so maybe you could explain in plain terms. I still maintain that the "representative" as an office may be the attorney's client by extension, but that doesn't mean the individual person in that office is the client. They may in fact have different interests. If I wanted them to represent JackWagon's interests, wouldn't I have to hire them?

Your error is to differentiate "the Church" from "the bishop" relative to the attorney-client relationship.  The attorney represents the Church.  The bishop is an agent/representative of the Church, and hence is also covered by the attorney-client relationship with the Church's attorneys.

The individual who serves as bishop is more than just his role as agent of the church. The hotline/attorneys, from what I can tell are only interested in his role as agent, not him personally. So again, the church is the client, not the individual who serves as bishop.

This sounds more like cynicism and spite.  It's simply not correct.

Or Realism

Patently untrue.

Disagree

And since the bishop, while functioning in that capacity, is an agent/representative of the Church, the bishop is also a "client."  But that does not mean the Church's attorneys are indifferent or hostile to anything except the interests of "the Church."  That's simply not so.

And what about when the individual bishop isn't functioning as a representative of the church? As a witness to a slip and fall, was there something unique about that experience that made me a representative that would prohibit me from being a witness? Makes no sense to me.

I don't really know if the attorneys are indifferent or hostile to anything except the interests of the church. They're human beings so I suspect there is some level of caring. But they act for the benefit of their client, not to make themselves feel good in helping a non-client.

Thanks,

-Smac

 

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I don't understand the criticism on this. I was once involved in a civil matter with someone in my stake, and the first counselor of the stake presidency was representing the other party, and the stake president asked me details in an elder's quorum PPP and advised me in a way to encourage me to settle or otherwise go along with what the other party wanted. It was totally inappropriate. There are many reasons for the church to give this policy. It's not just a CYA thing. 

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