South Jordan, Utah — Mike Norton, who often goes by the moniker New Name Noah, was sentenced to manual labor, restitution and eternal condemnation in a landmark case for trespassing onto the South Jordan temple grounds.
After consulting with Church headquarters, South Jordan city prosecutor Ed Montgomery pushed for the maximum penalty under current law. In spite of this, the judge had leniency and withheld incarceration. He explained that because this was Norton’s first offense, he would not be subjected to public flogging or imprisonment.
A band of abhorrent and apostate supporters gathered outside of the courtroom in what officers on the scene are describing as chaotic and out of control, though it felt rather like a large group of friends reconnecting and supporting each other. One officer called it a “fluid situation” as more officers arrived to provide support.
As Mike Norton’s supporters waited patiently for the trial to begin, they were met with continuous instruction to sit down or risk not being let into the courtroom. There were demands to shut off phones under the supervision of an officer, and the enhanced security measures included a metal detector and heavy police presence. Security confiscated multiple pieces of contraband, including a copy of the ces letter, a “Protect LDS Children” button, and flask containing an unknown “illicit” liquid of a dark color and a roasted, bitter aroma.
With the courtroom filled to capacity, the remaining supporters spent nearly three hours in the lobby sharing experiences and stories under the supervision of several South Jordan police officers. In what was reminiscent of a ward linger longer, some observers even brought food. There were joyful songs sung and young children gathered around the Christmas tree, playing games and sharing in laughter.
After a long deliberation by the judge, the court resumed 15 minutes later and the guilty verdict was delivered. Norton will face 40 hours of manual labor, be forced to pay 10% of his annual 2018 pre-tax income in restitution and be subjected to two years of probation. It is not clear if the probation will be administered by the church security department or the city of South Jordan. Given the close relationship between the two entities, there will most likely be a collaboration of sorts. Officers present were taken by surprise as they stood waiting to arrest New Name Noah and haul him off to jail. There was a visible look of disappointment as he walked out of the courtroom with his attorney and loved ones by his side.
With the results of today’s trial, Mr. Norton will be forced to give up his appeal to the first presidency for re-baptism and will be punished to eternal condemnation as an apostate. This prospect appealed to his apostate followers who were saddened at the news of his desire to return to active participation in the Church. Those in attendance, which included noted apostates Sam Young and McKenna Denson, were visibly intimidated as various general authorities and church attorneys paraded freely around town hall, using their cell phones to communicate in the phone-free zone. When asked for comment on this, an officer stated that the Lord’s business “was not be disturbed by administrative guidelines.”
The South Jordan justice of the peace and chief of police were not available or did not return a request for comment. The Deseret Expositor has requested a copy of the court proceedings and will share that as soon as it is available.