HEARD SOMETHING ABOUT ME LATELY?
By Jeff Belknap
Since I have begun to write articles regarding the “mental divorce” topic, rumors have begun to circulate about me. With this article (which I plan to add to, if such becomes necessary), I will address these “whisperings.”
RUMOR #1 -- The first rumor/accusation was posted to Mars List when I was not a subscriber:
“I don't know who is, and isn't on ML at this present time, but _________ readily admits to that position. And though Jeff Belknap and _________ do not appreciate the ‘race’ language, they would also deny the innocent spouse's right to remarry if the fornicator ‘legally’ divorced them. They believe the civil divorce document is the ‘putting away.’”
When the above charge was publicly denied and its author was challenged for proof, the partial ML response he gave was this:
“Jeff is correct, and Jeff, I do apologize for my having substituted civil ‘document’ for civil ‘action,’ or ‘civil procedure.’ You do use both of these expressions in your writings to describe the action of "putting away." My mistake. I equated the civile [sic] ‘document’ with the civil ‘action.’ I saw no difference between the two, but you are right. I should have been more careful.”
RUMOR #2 – The second rumor/accusation was sent to me privately on July 9th:
“Hello Jeff; I have come across your list of faithful preachers of MDR of late and wondered some things. First, I am not on it. Am I unsound on it? If so, what of______? ______? I believe as they do on it. In fact, you have one on the list of "sound" that believes civil court has NOTHING to do with MDR....yet he is sound and I am not??My [sic] problem with all this was the timing number one, when we were making progress on the Christianity Mag crowd (but now they have done as I predicted and are saying "see, you get factionalism if you dont [sic] put it all under Romans 14), and two that some of this was a misunderstanding.”
My partial response to the above charge:
“It seems that you have been misinformed as to a so-called "sound preacher list." A few months ago, I corresponded with another brother who was dealing with this issue. He was sending out information about this topic that I (and others) call "mental divorce" to many other brethren, and asked if I knew of any more fellows who would be interested in such. I sent him some names and e-mail addresses of other brothers with whom I have either spoken or corresponded on the subject, those who had expressed disagreement with the "mental divorce" doctrine, in one aspect or another, so that he could add them to his mailing list.
________ sent me this "list" on the 11th, and as I look at the names, there are some on it whom I don't even know. I guess it is possible that some of them had written to me at one time or another about my articles and I just don't remember their names. Or it is quite possible that they were original contacts of the brother who was initially sending information out to others. If I had actually created a list of preachers whom I believed to be sound on this subject, it most certainly would have been much longer than the one _______ sent to me for verification!!
_________, who told you that I had made such a list? (As you said to me about your letter, I say the same to that question - it is not rhetorical). For someone to put such a slanderous spin on something so innocent as that should make the hearer a bit more cautious.”
After the above brother was challenged for proof, the partial response he eventually gave was this:
“In earlier letters to Jeff, I inquired about a ‘sound preachers list’ which I had somehow assumed he had part in creating. Primarily, I was actually concerned with the establishment of such a list period. Jeff has informed me that he had no part in creating or sending of such a list. I take his word on that. He did say that he may have indirectly had a part, in that he may have given the names out [sic] names who commended his articles (Jeff can correct this if this isn't quite the case, but said something to that effect in our phone conversation of 7-25) but never was intended to be part of a ‘sound preachers list.’ I have also found that I was mistaken in thinking that the list had been somehow been attributed to him and have apologized to him for thinking this and this is why I went to Jeff directly about it. This note may be shared to any who might inquire about this. I have asked Jeff's permission to share this with you bro _______, as I had asked your advice in the matter.”
(Notwithstanding this apology, this brother still refuses to reveal the source of his misinformation.)
RUMOR #3 – The third rumor/charge (also shown in context, immediately above) was sent to me on July 25th:
“I recently talked to _____________ and he related that you had made contact with several West Virginia preachers encouraging them to have no association with him, discouraging them from attending his meeting, or having any fellowship with him (such as eating with him). Is this true?”
Please note a similar reference to this rumor in quote from Harry Osborne’s July 11th article in Gospel Anchor:
“People are being urged not to have dissenting brethren for meetings, hear them when they come to the area, or even sit down to discuss the issue with open Bibles. I have made such an offer to brother Belknap and he has refused it.”
(This false charge is answered in my rejoinder to brother Osborne article entitled: “Reply to Brothers Haile and Osborne.”)
My reply to the brother who wrote me privately:
“__________, there is absolutely not one shred of truth to this statement, and I will be contacting ________ immediately, to inquire as to the source of such slander. Did _____________ name names to you?”
This brother’s answer to the above question:
“I do not remember _________ mentioning a source. Ask him and he can give a direct answer rather than going through a secondary source.”
My subsequent reply:
“I was simply asking what ____ specifically said to you.
I do not see how that is a ‘secondary source.”
His subsequent reply:
“I thought you were asking what the unnamed person said to me about the list of preachers.
My remembrance of what ____ said is that some preachers in the area had been influenced by you not to have any association with him. As I recall he was specifically speaking about _________, but there may have been others as well.”
A portion of my reply:
“Your current remembrance has certainly been much altered from your first remembrance (of this rumor) in the few days since I have told you that the information you received from ____ was absolutely false.
Please compare your current remembrance (7/30):
"My remembrance of what ____ said is that some preachers in the area had been influenced by you not to have any association with him. As I recall he was specifically speaking about __________, but there may have been others as well." (emp. jhb)
with your first remembrance of such (of 7/25):
"I recently talked to _____ and he related that you had made contact with several West Virginia preachers encouraging them to have no association with him, discouraging them from attending his meeting, or having any fellowship with him (such as eating with him). Is this true?" (emp. jhb)
Twice now, after I have informed you of your misinformation, you have altered your synopsis of what you had heard and were questioning me about. First, in regards to the "list," (which you modified from "this list of sound preachers" to "might be a list of preachers 'sound' on mental divorce") - and now you have modified your remembrance of what _____ told you.”
On July 25th, I wrote to the brother whom the above brother named in his inquiry. Though there is proof that the named brother has been available to send other e-mails to brethren since that time, he has still not responded to my following request:
“Today, I received notification of a slanderous rumor about me. _________ wrote me and said, ‘I recently talked to ________ and he related that you had made contact with several West Virginia preachers encouraging them to have no association with him, discouraging them from attending his meeting, or having any fellowship with him (such as eating with him). Is this true?’
_____, as I told _________, there is absolutely not one shred of truth to this statement. Who told you this? I'd like to know where such an accusation originated, and who has participated, so that I can set the record straight with those involved. Would you not appreciate the same consideration if you had been slandered (Mt. 7:12)?
I will await your reply.”
(I am still waiting.)