The Riverside Superior Court has a history of cultivating Judges and Presiding Judges that have a Mormon faith and background. A prior federal lawsuit filed by Jon Clements revealed how pervasive the influence of the church was on legal proceedings. In his complaint he alleged that he received a phone call from one of the judges on his case specifying that his daughter would be fine as she attends the Mormon church, where this judge was a member. The case goes back ten years. Custody was granted on an exparte basis, based upon a move away exparte from the father to the mother, when a prior evaluation specified that due to her long term alcoholism she should have no overnight visits until there was extensive rehabilitation. The mother at that time had just hired one of the more favored attorneys in the court. The court banned Mr. Clements from filing any litigation to redress the situation, in another order that had no legal basis.
Some of the prior Presiding Judges in the Riverside Superior Court, are devout Mormons with the corresponding attitude that their religion teaches them. That is why patriarchy in this court runs rampant and mothers and children are treated as second class citizens with no rights, where invidious oppression is the norm in this court, and where women in particular are unable to obtain a divorce if they legally request one. Rampant abuse is accepted as the “norm” that women and children have to be subjected to.
Patriarchy reigns supreme in this court, stigmatized by the belief that the father in the clan or family is supreme where women and children are supposed to be legally dependent, fostering a culture where women are not treated as equals, rather as submissive vessels where abuse is perfectly accepted as it falls within the realms of subservience. HE knows how to handle them is the refrain that is bandied about by patriarchal judges who have no clue about the impact of leaving children in an abusive environment and what the long term repercussions are to these children and the mothers involved and that it TEACHES another generation that abuse is acceptable. Of course as litigants we are supposed to accept a Judge’s BELIEF as law; we are supposed to cater to the perception that we are possessions of the abusive ex-spouse deserving of years of abuse and that our children are taught the same behavior. After all in the mind set of the judiciary involved, mothers have to be subjugated at all cost and our cases have to be directed and controlled by the court to allow the relevant law not to be applied. Coercion is the norm to intimidate parents to agree to something that is against the law and proceedings take the vein of either you agree OR I will order an evaluation, appoint a GAL etc etc so parents incur an enormous costs forced by the court rather than applying the law as TESTIMONY and presented evidence is not enough. Orders are made that do not adhere to the law in any capacity when it involves children as it is just EASIER to leave them in the abusive environment rather than addressing the long term cost of such abuse and that it would not have been factor IF the court had actually acted when these abusive issued were raised years ago. Any mother who has been exposed to this situation knows how to DEAL with these children, and that raising another generation of children exposed to abuse is not in their interest; after all most of us raised our children in their formative years and there is a bond that neither the court nor the abusive ex can destroy. It is not normal to BELIEVE that children exposed to abuse are deserving of that abuse as is the other parent on the receiving end as the court BELIEVES an instigated and fabricated YOU GUYS scenario to cover up for their own corruption.
The Ruben Clark Law Society which several judges and attorneys in the Riverside Superior Court community belong to has a strong religious affiliation with the Mormon faith; where faith based community service of members of the LDS church is advocated. The LDS church refers to Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
The memorandum of this particular law society is filled with religious beliefs and prophecies and how belief can be applied to law, regardless of the fact that the U.S. has a strict separation of church and state. http://www.jrcls.org/clark_memo/issues/cmS07.pdf
“The Law Society strongly endorses one of the noblest traditions of the legal profession – the legal representation of those in society who otherwise do not have equal access to protection of the law. This tradition has special meaning for attorneys loyal to the Church of Jesus-Christ of Latter-Day Saints whose faith leads them to give freely of their time, skills and means to the Lord’s storehouse. “The Lord’s storehouse includes the time, talents, skills, compassion, consecrated material and financial means of faithful Church members. These resources are available to the bishop in assisting those in need.” ” http://www.jrcls.org/?folder=pro_bono&page=service_church
Events hosted by the Society advocate the influence of virtue in the court and were attended by members of the Riverside Superior Court judiciary, who have an LDS faith: http://www.jrcls.org/events/view_event.php?id=171
Justice Douglas P. Miller
Judge Sherrill A. Ellsworth
Judge Mark A. Cope
Judge Kelly L. Hansen
Judge Michael J. Rushton
Judge Gordon R. Burkhardt
Commissioner Bradley O. Snell
Former Presiding Judge Ellsworth commented at an event held this year that she as an LDS woman is more qualified to preside over child molestation cases due to her religious background.
“Who better than me, a mother of six, to sort out the complex issues of high-conflict custody battles? Who better than me, an LDS woman, to preside over child molestation cases where the victims and the juries need a gentle touch? Who better than me to handle domestic violence cases?
Mormonism teaches that opposition towards men is tantamount to arguing with God. The Mormon religion makes no distinction between clergy and laity, at least with regard to men (Laake 9). All Mormon men are ordained as members of the “priesthood,” with the absolute authority to preach the gospel, bestow blessings, prophecy, perform healings and baptisms, and generally speak for God. “Their priesthood gives them the right to advise and instruct the Saints (i.e., Mormons), and their jurisdiction extends over all things spiritual and temporal” (Snowden 134).
At age twelve, boys become members of the Aaronic, or lesser priesthood, and at nineteen become eligible for the Melchezedek, or higher priesthood. Members of either priesthood are higher authorities on everything than are non-members. Women are, of course, excluded from the priesthood. This practice in effect says that a woman’s prepubescent son is more qualified to advise her than she is to advise him.
Because of the doctrine of celestial marriage, it is very difficult for Mormon women to obtain divorces in the church. Women are told that “divorce is usually the result of one or both not living the gospel”, and that a woman who wants a divorce is “untrue to the covenants she has made in the house of the Lord” (Laake 176). Legal divorces are no problem to obtain, but they create many problems in the religious life of a Mormon; a church divorce is almost impossible. After a civil divorce, a woman’s temple recommend is rescinded (Laake 193). In other words, she is considered unworthy to enter the temple, until she can prove to the heads of the church that the divorce was not caused by adultery.
Mormon women today are still brought up to believe that the most important thing they can do is “to marry the right person, in the right place, by the right authority” (McConkie 118). Deborah Laake, who was excommunicated in 1993 for writing Secret Ceremonies, states that “it had been repeatedly impressed on me that if I failed to marry a faithful Mormon man…in a Mormon temple, I would be denied access to the highest level of Mormon heaven” (Laake 4). The temple marriage is so important “that a longing for romance on earth should not be allowed to interfere with it” (Laake 77).
Girls and boys are also told that a good and proper Mormon home is a patriarchal one. A handbook written for fourteen year old boys states that, “The patriarchal order is of divine origin and will continue throughout time and eternity” (Laake 39). Husbands conduct family prayers, bless their wives and children, and generally control the household. They also are in charge of “family home evening”, one night per week set aside for family prayer and togetherness. The Mormon belief is that Eve’s roles in life, those of help-meet and child-bearer, set the pattern for all of her daughters (McConkie 844). Girls are told that God wants them at home (Laake 153), and boys are never taught to clean up after themselves, since when their mothers stop doing it for them, their wives will take over the job. These ideas, at least, have not changed at all since the nineteenth century.
The Mormon church of today is still clinging to the patriarchal beliefs of the nineteenth century; ideas which are becoming more outmoded every day. A few women in the Mormon church are trying to make a difference, but they are usually swiftly excommunicated (Laake 342; Johnson 351). In Mormon magazines, which are full of advice for women from the heads of the church, the message has changed in response to the feminist movement. In 1964, advice on marriage and divorce was fairly dispassionate; by 1972, these topics were addressed with increasing panic and harshness (Laake 175). Feminists are described as “the Pied Pipers of sin who have led women away from the divine role of womanhood down the pathway of error” (Laake 176).
The oppression of women is intertwined with the Mormon faith and that is the pervasive belief that exists in the Riverside Superior Court, where a culture has been allowed to develop where attorneys and the judiciary who advocate the LDS faith are accorded preferential status in the court. The Supreme Court has already ruled that religious paraphernalia cannot be posted in a court house in its ten commandment ruling (MCCREARY COUNTY V. AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIESUNION OF KY. (03-1693) 545 U.S. 844 (2005), 354 F.3d 438), and has already ruled on allowing religious practices in a Court and has specified that the separation of church and state exists and that discrimination of one religious practice over another violates the first amendment establishment clause which certainly includes a presiding judge and judiciary who cannot separate their belief from judicial rulings and belief policies and procedures that have no bearing on the actual law.
The Book of Mormon. Salt Lake City, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1981. First English edition, 1830.
Fife, Austin and Fife, Alta Saints of Sage and Saddle. Salt Lake City, University of Utah Press, 1980.
Green, N. W. Mormonism: Its Rise, Progress, and Present Condition, Embracing the Narrative of Mrs. Mary Ettie Smith. Hartford, Belknap & Bliss, 1870.
Hoekema, Anthony A. The Four Major Cults. Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1963.
Johnson, Sonia From Housewife to Heretic. Garden City, New York, Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1981.
Laake, Deborah Secret Ceremonies, a Mormon Woman’s Intimate Diary or Marriage and Beyond. New York, Dell Publishing, 1993.
McConkie, Bruce R. Mormon Doctrine. Salt Lake City, Bookcraft Inc., 1966.
Smith, Joseph The Prophet Joseph Smith’s Testimony. Salt Lake City, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Snowden, James H. The Truth About Mormonism. New York, George H. Doran Co., 1926.
Wallace, Irving The Twenty-seventh Wife. New York, Simon and Schuster, 1961.