Moby Lives

Bankrupt woman will keep her rare Book of Mormon

The Book Of Mormon  An Account Written By The Hand Of Mormon Upon Plates Taken From The Plates Of Nephi
The Book of Mormon: not just a musical. Image via Wikipedia.

Saved! Image via Wikipedia.

In 2014, MobyLives provided a helpful primer for anyone intending to declare bankruptcy. Specifically, any pre-bankrupt individual who wants to know which (and how many) books are legally exempt from the court’s obligation to sell off a debtor’s remaining assets.

We posted this guide in light of the case of Anna Robinson, who was fighting to retain her rare edition of Book of Mormon, worth approximately $10,000. Robinson pointed to the language in Illinois law barring the court from seizing bibles, while the bankruptcy court argued that the book’s value should make moot its protection under the law.

After a district court ruled that the legislation concerning bibles was not value-contingent, the case proceeded to the appeals court, which once again handed down a ruling in Robinson’s favor.

Robert Patrick at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported:

On Thursday, the 7th U.S. Court of Appeals held the same, ruling that the “plain wording of the Illinois personal property exemption statute” allows the exemption for Robinson. The court said that “it seems clear” that the Legislature did not intend to set a dollar value limitation on a religious text.

Although it is clear that the exemption applies to only one bible, the three-judge panel said, they did not agree with the trustee that it should “limit Ms. Robinson to one Book of Mormon of negligible monetary value.”

Patrick McCann, one of Robinson’s lawyers, said that he and Robinson were “happy” with the decision.

The court ruled that the language of the statute was clear, and that a restriction based on the book’s value was unwarranted. McCann says Robinson has no plans to sell the book, which is probably wise in lieu of her repeated claims to its sentimental value.

Let this be a lesson to all bankruptcy-facing citizens of the great state of Illinois who wish to keep certain assets from the court; liquidate your assets, throw out all your books of worship (just to be safe), and replace them with a custom-printed worship book of your choosing printed on, and bound with, $100 bills. Here’s to you, Mrs. Robinson!




Liam O’Brien is the Senior Sales & Marketing Manager at Melville House, and a former bookseller.
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