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Excerpts from the D e s e r e t   N e w s, Salt Lake T r i b u n e, others...
The  D e s e r e t   N e w s  is  owned my the Mormon church.

In Memoriam

"Corky" Rex Nowell a.k.a. Summum Bonum Amon Ra Died in January 2008.

He was born Claude "Corky" Rex Nowell and raised in the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints died at the end of January, said a Summum official. He was 63.

"Corky was infectious. . .always playful. . .and he was just an ordinary guy," said Su Menu, one of three officers appointed several years ago by Ra, who in 1980 legally changed his name to Summum Bonum Amon Ra. "But he was a taskmaster. He wanted people to become Spiritual group.

Corky Ra, founder of Summum, died in January 2008, aged 63. He is shown with his contentious "Seven Aphorisms". Click to enlarge.
(T r i b u n e   p h o t o)

His body is said to be submerged in a vat of mummification fluids in his Pyramid-shaped home / temple in Salt Lake City.

Corky Ra, founder of the homegrown Summum spiritual group, died at the end of January at 63. "Corky was infectious. . .always playful. . .just an ordinary guy," said Su Menu, one of three officers appointed several years ago by Ra.

"We're not weirdos. We're just normal people trying to follow a spiritual path," she said. "We aren't necessarily mainstream, that's for sure, but so what? There are so many people who are fed up with [the mainstream] anyway."

Even so, Summum has plenty in common with other religions, Menu said. "All religions, in some way or other, had a founder" who experienced visitations from someone or some power, she said. Why should Ra's encounters in the 1970s with "advanced beings," which he wrote about in his book, Summum: Sealed Except to the Open Mind, be any more suspect than those of, say, Joseph Smith? Plus, it's not like the adherents are hurting anybody, she added.

 The bookshelves in the Summum offices are lined with publications offering diverse teachings. There's one of Ra's books, Sexual Ecstasy for Ancient Wisdom, mixed in with The Tibetan Book of the Dead and The Egyptian Book of the Dead. Also prominent are books on meditation from Osho, or Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh [Wiki-Link; nwda-Link], a renowned Indian mystic and guru.

 The community is "organized as a church," but isn't a formal one, Menu continued. It doesn't require attendance, which makes determining membership numbers difficult. Menu estimated that there are "hundreds of thousands" of people globally who have tapped into Summum's teachings, "but once they learn the meditations, they're free to go live their own lives."

 Key to the Summum practice are the meditations, of which there are many. Some are in an ancient language Menu cannot name or translate, which she said is unimportant because "it's not about what's being said anyway. It's about the feeling." Others are in English. And still another variety, like the Meditation of Sexual Ecstasy, are about actions.

"It's a practice of sexuality that two intimate partners can do with each other . . . to establish an orgasm that will last a long time," Menu explained. "The mind is silent, and it becomes a meditation."

Su Menu, 57, longstanding Summum 
member,is one of three Summum

(T r i b u n e   f i l e   p h o t o ?)

18th Dynasty Egyptian religion and Summum teach that a human-bird chimera is the vehicle of the soul.

Ra used to travel to other pyramid sanctuaries in places such as California, Arizona and Florida. But as his PTSD got worse in his final years, he stayed in Utah, Menu said. The Salt Lake City pyramid, the only Summum sanctuary around at this point, draws about 10 to 15 adherents for Saturday meetings, which these days amount to readings from Ra's old lectures, Menu explained. The meetings are broadcast online, however, so she said others - from areas as far-flung as Georgia and Ireland - tune in technologically.

Another practice that grabs attention is the group's modern mummification process.  Behind Menu, on a metal counter and next to an unopened bag of chips, was Amber. The feral cat, adopted by the community, was hit by a car and died about eight years ago. She was wrapped in gauze and encased in resin, "a cocoon to keep her from drying out," Menu explained. The cat was positioned in half of the bronze mummiform, sculpted by Stan Watts, a well-known artist who's done work for the LDS Church, that will become her final resting place.

 Ra, however, is the first human to be mummified. Outside the pyramid are grave markers for Summum practitioners who passed on before the process was developed. One of them is Michael Burdell, the lawyer who was shot and killed in 1985 by Ronnie Lee Gardner during an escape attempt at a Salt Lake City courthouse. His is just one example of the variety of people drawn to Summum.

Each day, for 77 days after his death, Ra is being visited in the pyramid by at least one of his officers who sit with him to read his "spiritual will." The group practices "mummification and transference," and reciting the spiritual will, written by the deceased, serves as a guide for the spirit, a road map or reminder of where it wants to go.

Summum, a Latin term * meaning "the sum total of all creation," made national headlines Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal from the city of Pleasant Grove, which wants to block Summum from displaying its own monument beside the Ten Commandments in a municipal park. That monument, if erected, would include Summum's seven guiding principles [aphorisms as Ra called them].   

B y   J e s s i c a   R a v i t z   Source - completer article: <-- This site will try to put obnoxious cookies on your hard drive.
* SUMMUM does not appear in any of the online Latin dictionaries I consulted -- Ed.

The Seven
Aphorisms of Summum:

Cause & Effect

aphorism – noun a terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

[Origin: 1520–30; F aphorisme < LL aphorismus < Gk aphorismós definition, equiv. to aphor(ízein) to define

Monuments a Thou Shalt Not?   Wednesday, July 24, 2002

A Ten Commandments monument in Murray City Park may have to be removed after a U.S. Court ruling on a similar display in Ogden. (Ryan Galbraith/The Salt Lake Tribune)
B Y    E L I Z A B E T H    N E F F         T H E   S A L T   L A K E   T R I B U N E

A federal appeals court ruling has called into question the future of four Ten Commandments monuments placed on public property in Utah decades ago by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that Ogden must either remove a Ten Commandments monument from city municipal building grounds or allow the Summum religion to erect its own monument to its religious beliefs. Summum, founded 27 years ago in Utah, filed suit against Ogden in 1999 when the city refused to allow it to erect a monument displaying the religion's "Seven Aphorisms."

Now Salt Lake City attorney Brian Barnard, who represents Summum, said he will write the three other cities that have similar monuments on public property -- Roy, Murray and Tooele -- to put them on notice of the court's decision. The cities must decide whether to remove their monuments or allow Summum, which has its roots in ancient Egyptian beliefs, to erect its own, Barnard said.

Barnard called Friday's appellate ruling appropriate, saying such monuments do not belong on public property to the exclusion of other religions.
"This ruling . . . is a statement that the First Amendment is alive and well and that religious diversity is important," he said. "We are a diverse society now and that needs to be acknowledged."

The Ogden decision harks to the 10th Circuit's 1997 ruling in favor of Summum against Salt Lake County. The county chose to remove its Ten Commandments monument from the 3rd District Courthouse lawn.  Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey said the City Council will meet during the first week of August to decide what to do. "People are generally disappointed since we prevailed the first time around," Godfrey said Tuesday.

U.S. District Judge Bruce S. Jenkins had ruled in Ogden's favor. The city argued it was not discriminating against private speakers based on their viewpoints -- and even if they were, such discrimination was reasonable.

The appeals court disagreed. "The First Amendment compels the City of Ogden to treat with equal dignity speech from divergent religious perspectives," wrote Judge Robert H. Henry. "On these facts, the City cannot display the Ten Commandments monument while declining to display the Seven Principles monument."

Jim Sparks, secretary of the Ogden area Fraternal Order of Eagles, said he is especially disappointed with the outcome of the case. Sparks, 70, helped install the Ogden monument in 1966."If it comes out of there, we will set it in front of our lodge," said Sparks, a 48-year member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles. "It really breaks my heart to see it happen . . . they are put there for everybody to look at or to ignore -- there is no attachment to the government."

The Eagles first began donating the monuments, which stand about five feet tall, to communities in the 1950s as part of an effort to set an example for American youth. In recent years, the monuments have come under attack nationwide.

Judges have ordered Ten Commandments monuments removed from public property in states including Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The U.S. Supreme Court in February declined to hear an appeal from Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon, who wanted permission to place a 7-foot stone monument on the grounds of the state's Capitol.

Utahn Corky Ra, who established the Summum religion, said the appeals court decision supports the necessary separation of church and state. Summum claims 250,000 members worldwide -- around 10,000 of them in Utah.

"They are trying to exclude other religions," Ra said. "That is the bottom line."


Government May Not Play Favorites Among Religions
U.S. anti-bias group wants focus to be church-state


From: "Carol Gnade" <****>
To: ******
Cc: <*******>
Subject: RE: Breaking News10th Circut:Ten Commandments monuments have to be removed
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 11:56:32 -0600

Excuse me, but why should we get involved, when Brian Barnard is doing such a fine job on these cases? Often, we get complaints that we refer to Brian, specifically because of his valuable expertise on these issues. We do not have the resources to tackle all of the problems before us, much less, duplicate the efforts of someone as skilled as Brian. All of us in Utah should be thankful that there is a committed, independent, attorney like Brian to work on these cases. I doubt that the ACLU will ever run out of work. Chicken…not quite. Carol Gnade ED
From: KRP
To: 'Chris Allen'
Cc: Ra, Corky ; Ellen Johnson ; Flo Wineriter ; Rivers, Julia ; Rivers, Michael
Sent: Thursday, July 25, 2002 11:50 PM
Subject: RE: Breaking News10th Circut:Ten Commandments monuments have to be removed

Maybe we ought to induct Corky Ra into the "Honorary Atheists Hall of Fame"...
From: "Summum Ra" <>
To: "KRP" <*******>
Subject: Re: Breaking News10th Circut:Ten Commandments monuments have to be removed
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 06:27:56 -0700

All credit goes to Brian Barnard.

Corky Ra

  --- Summum Ra [...]  wrote:
 If you think yours [letter to the editor] is censored, our direct complaints on articles they write about us never get past the delete button.

 Example; Every time DN prints Stories about our Ten Commandments cases we win  they describe us,("Summum, the Church that believes in aliens and makes wine") Then in the same story they say the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints comes to the rescue and put the Ten Commandments monument on  their CHURCH property in Provo.

 Why not the Church that believes in Salamanders, angels talking humans, many wives in heaven. These statements would be just as valid to state, as what they say about us, neither statements, having anything to do with the story.

 Corky Ra

Mr. Ra is the "Chief Visionary" of Summum.  See  [Ed.] 

Reply to Summum:

I see your point and think that your church should not be described by saying "the Church that believes in aliens and makes wine", while the LDS don't describe themselves as "Church that believes in space aliens, angels talking to humans and many wives in heaven.".

 But you can't have it both ways, can you?  You’re complaining that the Deseret News is not honest, while all the time you're running a pyramid, UFO, etc. scams / nonsense. I know, because I attended your lecture [about UFOs] at the University of Utah circa 1974.

 But I like your "aphorism" fight, BTW!

From: "Corky" <>
Subject: RE: Summum and The Newspaper agency
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007

NOW that the Newspaper Agency (Deseret News & Salt Lake City Tribune are all owned by the LDS Church we all must concede that whatever the LDS Church want to be printed in the only two major newspapers in Utah must be totally factual.)

There is no need to have an open discussion with the Company that owns the Company store.

It is nice to understand the Mormon Mind, so that when you read their disinformation, it is easier to understand, than if their articles can from the L A Times, New York Times or of the many other publications, ( It seems to me that if Joseph Smith, the founder of the Mormon Church said that he did not have the golden plates that the book of Mormon came from, were not given to him by a Salamander, or even Gods and Angles; that the foundation of the LDS Church has some sort of contact with Gods Angels, and Salamanders.

Since Joseph Smith claimed that he was shown the golden plates by Salamander, or even Gods and Angles, why do these Mormon writers always try to say Summum received it’s teaching from ADVANCED BEINGS? Why do they continue to talk about UFO, when in all the writings of Summum UFOs are not mentioned.

I am trying to figure out is the difference between ADVANCED BEINGS, and Salamander, or even Gods and Angles. One funny thing about this story is that there are very few members of Summum than the 10,000,000 the Mormon Church claims to have. Most of the LDS Churches’ member are out of the USA, maybe looking for a passport to the good old U S A.

It just is beyond me why the Mormon writer keep telling their story as if UFO’s are a bad thing, when the statistics tell us that most citizens of the U S A believe in UFO’s and Summum has never claimed any connection with U F O’s

Corky Ra

Could this response be posted on this page?
Reply to Summum:

Re:  "... and Summum has never claimed any connection with U F O's"

You're certainly right about the newspaper impasse in Utah.  But be honest, Corky... YOU certainly claimed a connection with UFOs.  In '69 or in the early 70's I attended your evening lecture at the U of U ( ground floor of Orson Spencer Hall ? ) where you had claimed having been inside of a UFO, for Christ's sake 

Please correct me if I'm wrong.  Was this some other incarnation of Corky Newell (now Ra) ?  

Is a correction in order?

Ps: I posted your message.

From: "Corky" <>
Subject: RE: Summum and The Newspaper agency
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007

My name is spelled Claude Rex Nowell, not Newell, sometimes people want to hear something other then what was really. I may have answered someone questions about; do you believe in UFOs and my answered then and now is yes, but I have never gone on a ride in a UFO, and never claimed to be in any building that was a UFO.

I did not meet the Summum Individual until October 1975, and there were no UFOs

Thank you


[For the record -- at the lecture at the University, Mr. Ra said that he had actually been inside of a UFO -- ed.]

From: "Corky" <>
Subject: RE: Summum and The Newspaper agency
Date: Sat, 10 Nov 2007

Summum has claimed connection with advanced beings, not UFOs. Now there is a great difference from UFOs and Advanced beings. Here is the First Encounter, written back in 1975. Now if you find UFOs in there then let me know.

I claimed to be in a building that was full of crystals with advanced beings. The build never went anywhere like I think people say UFOs do. I think what happened is that that media in Utah then was slanted and wanted to make my experience with advanced beings look strange

My experience was very similar to Moses and many other down [to] Joseph Smith.

--- Corky <> wrote:

I understand, not all, but some of the many issues a good journalist has to comprehend, and all the information you have to sort through, to make sure
any story you write or edit it totally correct.

It seems as if, back when I was teaching classes at the U of U that some media started to write, in their stories that Corky was telling people that
he had gone on a UFO ride.

As it explains on our web site, I claim, but do not know for sure that I went through a teleportation experience to what I believe now to be a future
state in time and space on our planet.

This type of experience, I think has been mentioned throughout history? I do believe there is other life in all those universes out there, but have no
evidence of that belief. I do believe planet Earth, as we call it, has had many advanced begins visit our time and space on planet earth, even if they
are just from our future.

All these questions and answers; to the questions will maybe answered in the future, but it seems as if there will always be more questions than answers.

Thank you


Reply to Summum:
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2007 05:27:16 -0800 (PST)
From: KRP <*******>
Subject: RE: Summum and The Newspaper agency

Yes, I agree that your type of experience, has been mentioned throughout
history. It's quite common for people to hallucinate. I have had auditory
hallucinations. But I would not compare myself with Moses, If I were you, since
there were never any Israelites in captivity in Egypt. That is a hallucination
of sorts, too : )

As for comparing yourself with Joseph Smith, my guess is that
Smith's problem was similar to yours. Ditto for Mohammed. At your U of U
lecture, you did say you were aboard a UFO -- I was there. However I don't
think you claimed to take a trip in an alien spaceship and I never said that you
made such a claim, anyway. Good luck with your religion, and above all
compliments on the aphorisms!

From: KRP <*******>
Sent: Saturday, November 10, 2007 11:16 AM
Subject: RE: Summum and The Newspaper agency

Thanks Corky, sorry about not remembering the correct spelling of your name.
I added your books to that web page also.
Good luck!
From: "Corky" <>
To: "MAY" <*******>
Subject: RE: Summum and The Newspaper agency
Date: Sun, 11 Nov 2007 09:42

I have to agree with everything you have written in this last email.

Creation has given us, and all others that might be in Creation an understanding in our personal universe the Aphorism of "ALL POSSIBILITY".

This, in my opinion, my (belief) is what makes Creation the only answer, or the answer in all the parallel universes creation allows us to understand at
this moment in our evolution., creation is the Aphorism of ALL POSSIBILITIES.

Creation has also given us the Aphorism of "Opposition," to have you with a very sincere mind, perspective, to express to me that I could have had
hundreds of hallucinations, and your statement from you to me, is just as valid as anything I have ever written or stated from 1975.

There are very few real journalists in our present time; it seems as if there is always an underling motive in their work.

Thank you for corresponding with me

Corky Ra
From: KRP <*******>
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2007 4:57 AM
Subject: RE: Summum and The Newspaper agency

Hi Corky,

There's little for me to respond to in your last email because you couch
almost everything in such vague terms [...]

As for parallel universes that ANYONE understands, at this moment, as you
say - I think it's hogwash.  Nobody understands that

Parallel universes, time travelers and such are like elbows - everybody has one.

Friday, 22 February 2008
In Pleasant Grove case, a religious group wants to avoid U.S. high court
Jeremy Duda - DAILY HERALD

A religious organization is hoping to preserve its most recent legal victory over the city and keep a case regarding a monument in Pleasant Grove's Pioneer Park out of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Summum, a Salt Lake City-based religious group that follows tenets of Gnostic Christianity and ancient Egyptian teachings, including mummification, filed a brief with the Supreme Court on Thursday, asking the court to reject Pleasant Grove's request for it to weigh in on a 2007 ruling by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. That ruling granted a preliminary injunction to Summum, allowing the group to build a monument in Pioneer Park while it awaits the outcome of a federal lawsuit against Pleasant Grove.

Brian Barnard, an attorney representing Summum in the case, said that Summum should be allowed to erect a monument to the Seven Aphorisms, a set of principles that are central to the faith. Adherents of Summum believe the Seven Aphorisms are complementary to the Ten Commandments.

In the early 1970s, the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Eagles built a Ten Commandments monument in Pioneer Park, and after Sept. 11, 2001, the city allowed the Boy Scouts of America to build a monument to the firefighters and police officers who responded to the terrorist attacks. Barnard said Summum should be allowed to exercise its First Amendment rights, just as those groups were.

"Our basic position is, it's a matter of simple fairness. You let one group put up their monument in the city park, you've got to let everybody do it, and that's what the 10th Circuit said," Barnard said.

But Pleasant Grove disagreed with the court's decision and is hoping the Supreme Court will reverse it. The attorney representing Pleasant Grove in the case, Edward White, of the American Center for Law and Justice in Ann Arbor, Mich., submitted a petition to the Supreme Court in November, asking the court to hear the case.

"The 10th Circuit decision we view as wrong, and so we've asked the Supreme Court, since [the ruling] has implications not just in Utah but in the other states of the 10th Circuit ... that they should review it," White said. "It's something that the Supreme Court should consider and rule in our favor."

The case began in 2004, when Barnard filed a lawsuit on Sum mum's behalf against Pleasant Grove in U.S. District Court. Barnard felt the law was on Summum's side, but because the case could have dragged on for years, he asked Judge Dee Benson to grant a preliminary injunction allowing the group to erect the monument while the case proceeds.

Benson refused Barnard's request for a preliminary injunction, but the 10th Circuit later reversed that decision. If the Supreme Court grants Pleasant Grove's request to hear the case, Benson's original ruling could be reinstated.

White said on Thursday that he was reviewing Summum's brief and would submit a response to the Supreme Court. He said numerous states, cities and civic organizations have filed friend-of-the-court briefs supporting Pleasant Grove's petition to the court.  

"This is my report of an encounter with Beings not of this planet. It is a true story -- as true as I understand truth to be -- as true as I am able to describe it. I wish to report that I have had an unprecedented, modern day, personal encounter with advanced Beings."   more...

LinkOther Beings not of this planet.

Books by Summum Bonum Amen Ra  ( aka Claude Rex Nowell ):
Sexual Ecstasy from Ancient Wisdom: The Joys of Permanent Sexual Ecstasy 

Out of print:
Allah:           Sealed, Except to the Open Mind (1988)
Summum:    Sealed, Except to the Open Mind/Workbook (1988)
Shekinah -   Sealed, except to the open mind (1994)
God -           Sealed, except to the open mind (1994)

See also: The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions by James R. Lewis (2001)


Supreme Court asked to hear Utah commandments case
By G e o f f r e y   F a t t a h    D e s e r e t   M o r n i n g   N e w s   November 21, 2007
A legal group based in Washington, D.C., announced Tuesday that it has filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a decision allowing a Utah religious group to erect its own monuments next to two displays of the Ten Commandments in Pleasant Grove and Duchesne cities.

"Today we are asking the Supreme Court of the United States to review and overturn a lower court decision that would force local governments across the country either to dismantle a host of monuments, memorials and other displays, including long-standing patriotic and historical displays, or else let all comers install privately owned monuments or displays, regardless of content," stated a release by the American Center for Law and Justice, which is legally representing Pleasant Grove and Duchesne.

The statement said the petition will give the Supreme Court a chance to "rectify a lower court's very twisted interpretation of the First Amendment."

The move comes after the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals last April ruled that the group Summum had a right under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to erect a display of its "Seven Aphorisms" next to displays of the Ten Commandments. The decision upheld a Utah federal judge's ruling.

ACLJ chief counsel Jay Sekulow has argued that the 10th Circuit has confused public speech with private speech, and that such monuments should reflect the standards and values of the community.

Sekulow also argues that the 10th Circuit decision conflicts with other circuits, requiring the Supreme Court to review the case.

Summum attorney Brian Barnard says he doubts the Supreme Court will hear the case. The 10th Circuit decision is similar to one it issued in 2002 against Ogden, which forced city officials to remove its Ten Commandments display from city property and relocate it onto private property nearby.

"It does not require a constitutional scholar to understand simple fairness. If a government entity allows one group to erect a permanent monument in a public park expressing religious beliefs dear to that group, other groups should be allowed to display similar tenets of faith," Barnard said. "Pleasant Grove seeks to perpetuate a misguided policy that allows it to support and display one set of religious beliefs to the exclusion of others."

All three displays were donations from the Fraternal Order of Eagles many years ago.

If the Supreme Court declines to hear the case, the 10th Circuit decision will stand.

Justices to hear Pleasant Grove tablets case: Top court to decide city's monument dispute
B y C a t h e r i n e   S m i t h  a n d   P e t e   Y o s t
Deseret Morning News   Associated Press   April 1, 2008

PLEASANT GROVE — This small-but-growing Utah Valley city is getting a bit of national notoriety. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a free-speech case in which a religious group wants to place a religious monument in a park.

Officials in Pleasant Grove asked the court to step into the lawsuit brought by the religious group Summum, saying that if the group prevails, governments would be inundated with demands to display donated monuments.

Attorneys for Pleasant Grove say they're excited to be able to address the First Amendment issue.

"We're delighted that the Supreme Court has agreed to take this case," Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice, a constitutional law firm based in Washington, D.C., that is representing Pleasant Grove, said in a statement to the Deseret Morning News. "This is a critically important First Amendment case that focuses on the well-established distinction between government speech and private speech."

The dispute stems from Pleasant Grove's refusal to allow the display of a "Seven Aphorisms of Summum" monument in the same park that is the home to a Ten Commandments monument donated 47 years ago by the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

At issue is whether a donated monument displayed by a municipality remains the private speech of the original donor or is government speech; and whether placing donated monuments in a government-owned park creates a public forum or whether the government retains authority to select which monuments to display.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled in favor of Summum, saying the monument remains the private speech of the donor and that the park is a public forum.

Sekulow said that the Supreme Court can change the interpretation of the amendment and the decision by the appeals court.

"We're hopeful the Supreme Court will ultimately conclude that the appeals court got it wrong," he said. "This is an important opportunity for the high court to correct a flawed interpretation of the First Amendment."

In asking the Supreme Court to intervene, lawyers for Pleasant Grove wrote: "Government bodies are now sitting targets for demands that they grant 'equal access' to whatever comparable monuments a given group wishes to have installed, be it Summum's Seven Aphorisms, an atheist group's Monument to Freethought or Rev. Fred Phelps's denunciations of homosexual persons."

In response, Summum said government bodies always have the option of banning display of all privately donated monuments.

Pleasant Grove has treated donated items as private speech for decades, said Summum, a Latin term meaning the sum total of all creation, which was founded in 1975 and is headquartered in Salt Lake City.

Summum's attorney, Brian Barnard of the Utah Legal Clinic, said the group is trying to pair its monument with one promoting the Ten Commandments.

"Summum says, 'Our Seven Aphorisms are comparable and complementary to the Ten Commandments, so please let us put ours up,"' Barnard said. "It's a matter of simple fairness."

The Seven Aphorisms refer to a Summum belief that when Moses [Historicity of Moses - a conversation] received stone tablets on Mount Sinai inscribed with writings made by a divine being, he actually received two separate sets of tablets — the Seven Aphorisms and the Ten Commandments.

Legal experts are hesitant to predict how the court might decide the case because some public-forum cases are a bit murky.

"The U.S. Supreme Court precedent is not clear enough to tell what way this case will turn out," said John Fee, a law professor at Brigham Young University.

Besides no set precedent for cases such as this, Fee said the case was controversial while it was in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Several of the justices voted to have the case reheard, but the vote failed, and those justices filed dissenting opinions. Fee said the Supreme Court will take a fair look at the case and there is a chance it could be reversed, but it's hard to predict.

"We can't really predict," he said. "I doubt the justices themselves know. I think it's almost certain to produce a divided opinion in the U.S. Supreme Court."

Fee said that historically the Supreme Court has sought to have a sensible balance in public-forum cases.

"With these First Amendment cases where precedent is mushy, it really is a gut decision based on broader principles, not mechanical rules they've laid down," he said.

While this could be a landmark case, Fee said subtleties in the case may not apply to others, and whether the court will lay out clear rules in the written opinion will remain unknown until the opinion is written.

Pleasant Grove Mayor Michael W. Daniels said the city's objection is not with the content or placing of the monument but with the precedent it could set.

"It's about not letting just anyone walk in and say, 'Because you have this, we have a right to put this up,"' Daniels said. "Summum was pretty much demanding — and by law, trying to sue us — to allow their particular monument to come into our park."  


T r i b u n e  photo

The Seven Aphorisms of Summum:

Cause & Effect

aphorism – noun.  A terse saying embodying a general truth, or astute observation, as “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” (Lord Acton).

[Origin: 1520–30; F aphorisme < LL aphorismus < Gk aphorismós definition, equiv. to aphor(ízein) to define.

The Mummy of Lenin   
   Link: Lenin Mausoleum, Red Square, Moscow

God's Brothel
Andrea Moore-Emmet

The Extortion of Sex for Salvation in Contemporary
Mormon and Christian Fundamentalist Polygamy and
the Stories of 18 Women Who Escaped.

~ Pick up a copy for a friend! ~


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