Schizophrenic man who believes he is a prophet can donate thousands of pounds to the Mormon Church, Court of Protection rules

 

Social Affairs Correspondent

A man with schizophrenia who believes he is a prophet should be free to donate thousands of pounds to the Mormon church, a Court of Protection judge has ruled.

The man, known only as MS, wants to donate almost £7,000 of inheritance to the Church of Latter Day Saints. The 40-year-old, whose mother strongly opposes the donation, lives in supported accommodation.

Setting out his arguments in a 14-page letter to the court, MS described his belief that he was a prophet whose religious significance was second only to the Holy Trinity. He admitted that these claims meant he had “a Mount Everest of a credibility problem”.

MS inherited almost £70,000 from his late father’s will several years ago and decided that he wanted to pay 10 per cent of that inheritance to the Church of Latter Day Saints as a tithe. Mrs S said her son’s wish to pay such large sums to the church sprung from his delusions and would mean either his family or the state would soon have to pay for his care.

An unnamed county council acting as his deputy approached the court to rule on the issue because MS and his mother’s feelings on the matter were so opposed. The local authority also pointed out that the substantial donation would mean MS would need to claim state benefits 56 weeks sooner than had he not made it.

MS is not actually a member of the Mormon church, because the church will not allow it, though he refused to tell the court why that was. The court was first asked to intervene in the case last year and examine whether MS had the capacity to make the donation and decide his own financial affairs.

In his letter to the court, MS said: “Giving a 10 per cent tithe is an Old and New Testament principle that is practised in my church… We are commanded to do it! Yes, I am not a member of my church - in this world - nevertheless, I believe it is busybodyism of a gross and outrageous sort… to deny me the sacred privilege of giving to my church as I see fit, and in accordance with my church’s understanding of tithing.”

On his own religious standing, MS said: “I claim that only the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are greater beings than I am. Parenthetically, I have never claimed to wield as much as, or almost as much power as, they - this is manifestly not so. I do however believe, by revelation and inference, that if I prove faithful, I will after Judgement Day wield as much, or almost as much power as they presently do… In making this claim, I have a Mount Everest of a credibility problem.”

In a judgement published today, District Judge Anselm Eldergill ruled that MS was free to make the donation and manage his own financial affairs. “Good reasons are required to interfere in matters of conscience and spiritual belief,” he said.

Justice Eldergill said there was a risk in the case of “pathologising religious beliefs,” adding: “The fact that a person has a grandiose belief with a religious content does not demonstrate that the whole of their religion is delusionally based and caused by mental illness... Contrary to the opinions of the psychiatrists in the case, I have taken the view that he does have capacity to litigate the proceedings before me”

A certificate from a psychiatrist who examined MS in 2006 said the man had suffered from a schizoaffective disorder since around 1991 and as a result lacked the capacity to manage his own property and affairs. The psychiatrist said: “Mr S has always lived with his mother who has been his main carer. His beliefs include that he is one position below the Holy Trinity and so has special powers to change the world. Although he has never acted upon this belief, he has given considerable amounts of money to his church disregarding his own needs. He has periods when he feels he must starve himself.”

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 6 Teacher required - Cardiff

£100 - £110 per day + Travel Scheme and Free Professional Training: Randstad E...

HR Advisor - Camden / Kentish Town, North London

£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Advisor - Camden / Ken...

Year 5 Teacher

£100 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Year 5 class teacher vacan...

SEN Learning Support Assistant

£50 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you an SEN Learning Supp...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week