For the second time in two weeks, an evangelical minister has been arrested outside The Clarkston Pageant–Martin Harris: The Man Who Knew. The first arrest of Joel Kramer, 39, director of Living Hope Ministries, a nondenominational ministry based in Brigham City, was for investigation of disorderly conduct for videotaping the pageant. Based on the Living Hope Ministries’ website their sole purpose is to tear down the LDS faith through their lies, deceptions and half truths. Producing misleading videos is one of their chief methods of deception.

The First Arrest

The Deseret News reported Kramer’s arrest:

Joel Kramer, 39, was arrested and booked for investigation of disorderly conduct after he told a Cache County sheriff’s deputy he was not violating any laws by videotaping the pageant. The pageant depicts the life of Martin Harris, an early disciple of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

“These are free pageants, so there’s no copyright violation, and I’m within my rights to be on public land,” Kramer said. “I feel like it was the LDS Church influence. That’s the reason I was arrested.”

Kramer, who claims the entire incident was recorded on video and audio tape, said he was told by a sheriff’s deputy the LDS Church had requested Kramer turn off his cameras.

At the beginning of each pageant, an announcer asks the audience to refrain from taking photographs or video, Kramer said. “It sounds like law, but it’s a request,” Kramer said. “It would be like me announcing over a loudspeaker that I would like them not to show the pageant.”

Friday night, Kramer said he and three other men from Living Hope Ministries turned off their cameras and tried to reason with the sheriff’s deputy, especially when told the cemetery amphitheater had been leased by the city to the LDS Church. They also changed locations in the cemetery, moving farther away from the amphitheater, but Kramer was still arrested.

The Herald Journal, a Logan based paper reported:

Pastor cries foul, others smell publicity stunt at Martin Harris show

A 39-year-old Brigham City man who calls himself a “missionary to Mormons” was arrested Friday night at the annual Martin Harris pageant on a charge of disorderly conduct.

Joel Kramer, pastor of Living Hope Ministries, was booked into the Cache County Jail around 9:30 p.m. for refusing to stop filming the popular event held in the Clarkston Cemetery after being told to do so by authorities. He posted $280 bail and was released. . .

Although tickets to the showing are free, spectator rules include no photography, video or audio recordings. At the beginning of each pageant, an announcer asks the audience to refrain from taking photographs or video, but the pair continued to shoot video until approached by deputies.

Kramer’s Brigham City-based ministry aims to convert Latter-day Saints to his brand of Christianity and produces Web-based videos aimed at “people of the Mormon faith.”

Its Web site says members oppose Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints teachings and the promotion of them.

Kramer called the arrest unjust and religiously motivated, while a Cache County Sheriff’s Office spokesman characterized Kramer’s presence at the pageant a publicity stunt.

Although tickets to the showing are free, spectator rules include no photography, video or audio recordings. At the beginning of each pageant, an announcer asks the audience to refrain from taking photographs or video, but the pair continued to shoot video until approached by deputies.

“They moved to another location and started filming again,” Bilodeau said. “They were warned that they were welcome to stay but if they didn’t stop filming, they’d be arrested for disorderly conduct.” . . .

After being placed in handcuffs, Bilodeau said Kramer asked one of the three people traveling with him to call a lawyer and alert the press to his arrest.

“They want the controversy and they want the press,” said Bilodeau.

Kramer said his church uses clips of the various pageants as part of the videos it produces encouraging LDS Church members to leave the faith. Kramer said he has never himself been a member of the LDS Church.

The Second Arrest
Today, the Daily Herald reported on the second arrest:

SALT LAKE CITY — For the second week in a row, an evangelical Christian minister has been arrested outside a Mormon-themed pageant in northern Utah.

Daniel “Chip” Thompson, the 47-year-old director of Solid Rock Christian Fellowship, a campus ministry at Snow College in Ephraim, was arrested for investigation of criminal trespassing by the Cache County sheriff’s office Friday night at the Clarkston Pageant. The pageant depicts the life of Martin Harris, an early follower of Joseph Smith, founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Thompson was with eight others handing out religious tracts that compare Mormonism with the beliefs of other forms of Christianity. He said the Clarkston City cemetery’s amphitheater, where the pageant is performed, is public property, so he should not have been arrested.

I am pleased to see the arrests of these ministers. I am hopeful the prosecutors will have sufficient basis both factually and legally to prosecute and win. There are far too many of these fringe evangelicals who are nothing more than anti-Mormon trouble makers who will do and say anything to paint the Church in bad light. I am tired of reading about disrespectful protesters outside General Conference, and Temple dedications and now pageants crossing the line of appropriate religious expression or even protest. The reported court date for each of these, our so called Christian brothers, is for September 13 at the Justice Court in Clarkston. I hope to be able to post some follow up to that hearing date.