For once, Ron Stone M.D., you are the master of …

Comment on Creation Debate in the Seventh-day Adventist Church by Jim.

For once, Ron Stone M.D., you are the master of the obvious . . .

Recent Comments by Jim

LSU, Pacific Union Conference and North American Division Sued
Bob Pickle:

You pose some interesting questions. However, you will have to find someone else to answer them (perhaps Holly will decide to chime in again), as under the current circumstances, I have decided to no longer participate in any way on this board.

On August 5 at 4:27 PM, Sean posted some information on this thread that I believe was, and is, incorrect. However, when I questioned the accuracy of his statements in a fairly detailed post a few hours later, and asked him to provide some evidence for his claims, he (or Shane) decided to delete my post, yet they have so far refused to either provide any evidence, or retract what I believe to be a false allegation, and one that can have significant bearing on pending legal action.

I have already communicated my concerns directly to Shane, but have yet to receive the courtesy of a reply, although he did reply to me Sabbath afternoon on a different matter.

Since Shane and Sean obviously run this board, and can arbitrarily post, edit, alter or remove any and all information at will–and in this instance have, leaving a false impression for all who may be innocently reading the thread–it would be particularly unwise, at least for me, to continue to participate here on any level.

I happen to be in a position to know more than most about the LSU situation, and Shane knows this, as we have had extensive private communications over the past year or so. But it would be sheer idiocy to continue to post here, or to continue to communicate with Shane privately, when Sean and/or Shane are willing to be so disingenuous and unethical in how they handle information.

I’m pretty sure any further so-called ‘insights’ into the LSU legal situation on this board will have to come from the likes of Holly, Faith and InChristBob, as I sincerely doubt that anyone who is actually involved in the case and truly knows the facts will come anywhere near EducateTruth, knowing the potential for misrepresentation and outright manipulation of information.

Again, Bob, I am sorry that I am not responding substantively to your questions. Best of luck in finding answers . . . and then trying to figure out if they are accurate or not.

LSU, Pacific Union Conference and North American Division Sued
Sean, thanks very much for that information. That particular Spectrum thread has been combed over quite thoroughly by legal counsel, but I’m not aware that the private conversation between the four individuals was ever referenced in any way prior to the forced resignations. It would be very interesting, and very helpful, if you could recover the specific debate you referenced above (or any other references to the private conversation between the four individuals prior to the June 10 forced resignations, on Spectrum or elsewhere).

I note that you made a somewhat similar reference on the Spectrum thread titled “On the La Sierra Resignations: The Privacy Issue (i)” on 06/21/2011 – 20:54. You stated the following: “The problem here is that this became general knowledge, with many referencing these recordings here on Spectrum in several blogs – – well before anyone was asked to resign. The recordings were posted online for quite some time. I wasn’t aware of them until someone here in a blog pointed out to me that these recordings existed and suggested to me that I listen to them (even though by that time they were no longer available online and I had yet to hear anything else about these recordings). I was told that these recordings were evidence against what the AAA had accused various professors of LSU saying during certain interviews – which the recorded individuals evidently denied.

“In short, these recordings seem to have been common knowledge and were, evidently, already widely distributed well before the GC or the Division leaders became aware of them. By the time these leaders, to include the leadership of LSU, did become aware, so many people had heard these recordings and had referenced them publicly that it was most likely very difficult to simply ignore what was said and done by those involved. The LSU board was, perhaps, forced to act since those involved had lost too much credibility in such a public manner, to remain effective in their positions of responsibility (as these recordings are now all over the internet yet again).”

In that post, you don’t explicitly reference the private conversation portion of the recording, although you appear to be referring to it indirectly.

However, to my knowledge no evidence of your claim (regarding the private conversation portion of the recording) has yet been uncovered. Yes, a link to the recording was posted on Spectrum on or about May 27, and yes, there were ongoing references to the semi-public meeting on the LSU campus between Jackson/Blackmer and the LSU faculty/staff prior to June 10. But that’s different than the private conversation portion of the recording.

If you are able to recall and recover any evidence of your claims, it would be most useful. It is my understanding that Spectrum has only deleted the one post that had the actual link to the recording; as far as I know, all other posts should still be available.

If you prefer to continue this offline, that is certainly understandable, and in fact preferable from my perspective. You should already have my email address, as it is required in order to post on your site (but I’ll also send it to your ‘Contact Us’ feature as well). And feel free to delete this post as well. Thanks.

LSU, Pacific Union Conference and North American Division Sued

You correctly raise one of the very real and valid legal questions in this lawsuit, and point out at least one of the reasons why a naive and simplistic reading of the law by some is simply that, naive and simplistic–and quite wrong.

I am certainly aware that some ET readers don’t apparently believe anything that I–a lowly law professor–write, and prefer to get their legal advice from Holly and a few of her supporters, but perhaps, Sean, your voice will cause them to think again . . . perhaps . . . ah, but now I’m probably the one being naive!

Your penultimate paragraph also accurately reflects the facts, although it does leave out several events that are key to a full understanding of the chronology leading up to the forced resignations.

However, it is not correct to state that it was “rather common knowledge of many as to what was on the recordings prior to the actions of the church in this case”. That is not accurate.

The only people who were aware of the full contents of the recording (i.e., the private conversation) prior to the forced resignations were Larry Blackmer, Dan Jackson, Karnik Doukmetzian, Ricardo Graham, Kent Hansen, and possibly one or two other individuals at the GC and/or NAD (some may notice the list does not include Randal Wisbey).

That was it; while others may have had a copy of the recording, they were not aware of the second half of the recording. And that includes Shane Hilde and Bonnie Dwyer, among perhaps others.

That said, though, Sean’s final question is still quite valid. At this point no one who is actually knowledgeable of the law can really be sure what the legal implications are, and won’t fully know until the legal case unfolds further. To rush ahead of the legal process and presume to know and understand how the law will be applied to the facts is, to put it charitably, childlike — besides being flat-out wrong.

And, for the third time, that’s why Shane pulled all direct references to the contents of the recording, once he received professional legal advice.

Again, though, the primary intent of my earlier posts was not to comment on the legal aspects of the private conversation. No one has yet said how knowing, and then publicly hashing through the details on a private conversation, serves any legitimate public purpose, let alone helps to advance the kingdom of God in any positive way.

Yes, it has taken a very long time for some sort of action to be taken, BUT THAT ACTION HAS NOW BEEN TAKEN. If you punish your child for misbehaving, do you then keep insisting on dragging out and incessantly rehashing all the details of the particular misbehavior, or do you focus on moving forward, with the expectation that a lesson was learned, and the hope that positive growth will occur as a result?

Is knowing, and then interminably discussing the details of a private conversation in public and on the internet really where you want to spend your time and efforts?

LSU, Pacific Union Conference and North American Division Sued
Sorry, Bob Pickle, but you are simply not correct with your assertions.

Yes, an initial complaint was filed, and that complaint is now a public document, but that does not make any potential evidence in the lawsuit automatically ‘public’ in nature.

You are correct that the plaintiffs “have put at issue the recording in question”. But unless or until a trial actually occurs, and the judge (or jury) makes a finding that the recording is not private (or in the interim, if a defendant convinces a judge in pleadings to find that the recording should not be considered private), then and only then would it be legally safe for it to be accessed in the manner Holly and a few others have been demanding.

In other words, at some point it’s possible that it may be found to be public in nature, but until then the only safe legal position to take is that it is a private recording under California and Federal law. There are numerous California and United States legal codes, as well as significant common law rights under California law, that appear to govern the facts in this case — notwithstanding the ‘legal findings’ of Holly, and perhaps a few other amateur ‘lawyers’. And if those laws are found by the court to apply in this matter, then anyone accessing, listening to, or disseminating the recording would incur significant legal liability (that means getting sued for money damages).

At this point, the issue has not even been argued by either side, let alone settled by the court, and it would be very irresponsible, and potentially very expensive, for non-parties to have anything to do with the recording. Again, why do you think Shane abruptly pulled down every direct reference to the recording, once he received professional legal advice?

That said, while I do teach law for a living, I am not about to argue the case one way or another here, and my main point to Holly was not a legal argument at all.

It was exactly what I said: the situation has already been dealt with by the Pacific Union Conference president, in close consultation with the North American Division president, the NAD Higher Education vice president, and General Conference and LSU legal counsel — and anyone accessing the recording, whether done in breach of or in accordance with the law, is not doing so FOR ANY USEFUL PURPOSE. What possible good can be achieved for the university, the church, or God, for non-parties to spend time dissecting and discussing all the minuscule specifics of the private recording?

Whatever was said, it was sufficient for the Union president to feel justified in demanding their resignations. Why shouldn’t that fact be sufficient for the rest of us? Are you really that much of a busybody and a meddler that you have to know all the specifics of the recording?

Explain to me why any of you think God would want people–individuals who have nothing directly to do with the situation–to pour over every tiny detail of the recording, and then discuss all the sordid details out in public for everyone to see.

Please, people–fellow church members–you’re a little better than that, aren’t you? Shouldn’t the rest of us be more about our Father’s business, and leave those entrusted with authority in this matter to deal with it, AS THEY ALREADY HAVE??

LSU, Pacific Union Conference and North American Division Sued
Holly, I kind of thought you might come back with something like that. Thank goodness that Shane is running this board, and not you, or others who apparently continue to think like you.

You think “the information should be the business of all churchmembers [sic] who have an interest in how La Sierra is being run”? Really?

In what possible way would it glorify God, or advance His message that we’re supposed to be taking to the rest of the world, to unnecessarily drag the recording out for everyone to hear (let alone listen to again, for people like you who seemed to think it was their business in the first place to eavesdrop on a private conversation)?

Holly, I’m pretty sure you know by now that La Sierra is being run by those who have already forced the resignation of those four individuals. In other words, IT’S ALREADY BEEN DEALT WITH, and presumably in a way in which you and others should approve.

Your obsessive and ungracious demands in trying to make the recording public once again can only be because of unholy and prurient interests, and certainly not because it will serve any useful purpose for God or the SDA Church.

Professors and administrators who each have at least 30 years of service to the university WITH NO PRIOR DISCIPLINARY RECORDS have now each LOST THEIR JOBS over this one incident.

I’ll shout it one more time for you, Holly, disciplinary actions HAVE ALREADY BEEN TAKEN against all four individuals on the private recording — and they have all LOST THEIR JOBS.

In other words, the university — and the church — have already, however imperfectly, dealt with the situation in the harshest manner possible. What more would you like to have done against these four people — drag their names and reputations publicly through the mud one more time? For what possible constructive or redemptive purpose?

Aren’t the forced resignations the type of action you and others have demanded of church and university leaders? Rejoice — and then move on; you and like-minded confederates have just won the battle, right??

By the way, as I pointed out earlier, there is the small matter of real and significant legal liability that rightly concerns Shane. He is well aware that screen shots were made of his site during the time he did have the recording publicly posted — and they are currently in the hands of attorneys; and he knows he and Sean still face the possibility, if not probability, of expensive legal action for publishing a private conversation.

And yes, Holly, I am aware you and perhaps others have scanned through some legal code, and have made your own neophyte determination that there are no legal problems with the recording.

Thank goodness Shane is not taking his legal advice from rank amateurs, for the situation is much more complicated legally than you obviously seem to think. I believe it’s safe to say that Shane will rightly NOT allow any written or audio portion of the private recording to be posted on this site, regardless of what you or others may clamor for him to do.

Holly, “. . . the facts and truth about what this situation is all about” have ALREADY been dealt with, and by people in actual positions of authority — and that certainly doesn’t include you or most of the rest of us.

Why don’t you simply accept reality, rejoice in it, AND MOVE ON to something more productive — like maybe something that God may want each of us to be doing with our lives to actually help spread His message of love and redemption to a fallen world . . .