January 24, 2007
To those this may concern:
Answering the request of 3ABN's Board of Directors , ASI agreed
to explore the possibility of forming a commission "to evaluate
and determine Danny's legal and moral right to divorce and to
re-marry". ASI's Executive Committee spent a considerable amount
of effort from late September 2006 until early 2007 exploring
that assignment. ASI's Executive Committee met January 4 to review
progress on establishing a commission. After a full discussion
the Committee voted unanimously to withdraw from the process
they had agreed to consider. A brief announcement was made without
stating any of the reasons for our action. We received questions
from both sides, ASI members, and several Church leaders. All
wanted to know the reasons for our action to withdraw. The committee
met again on January 9, 2007 and authorized an explanation. Our
decision to withdraw was not based on the merits of the divorce
and remarriage issues or any of the other issues we were urged
to consider. It was based solely on the barriers we encountered
in attempting to reach agreement on a process.
Here were the considerations:
- ASI believed it could develop a process fair to all parties
utilizing a panel of ASI members selected for their spirituality,
fairness and intelligence. The parties would be involved in
the panel selection process.
- ASI proposed a process assuring a fair due process to all
- ASI believed it was essential that we have the active involvement
of all parties.
By 12 10 06, Danny and 3ABN accepted the process proposed
Here were the barriers:
* Linda did not participate in discussions to develop an agreed
GM: Neither Linda nor Danny participated directly
in communications with all of us. That does not mean that she
did not participate. She did participate through us, in the
same sense that Danny participated through others. ASI did not
want us contacting Danny directly. From the same standpoint,
Linda did not contact ASI directly. The statement that Linda
did not participate is speculative, and without fact.
* Linda identified Gailon Arthur Joy as her representative
who in turn introduced Bob Pickle and Greg Matthews as team members.
* Linda's team -
- did not accept that ASI was capable of providing a
fair forum to decide the issues
GM: This issue was raised. But, it was never discussed.
This is where I was personally disappointed in the negotiations
with ASI. There were a number of issues that we raised that
ASI really never discussed with us. The reality is that in negotiations,
each side must be prepared to discuss whatever issues the other
side wishes to discuss, as long as they fit within the agreed
upon discussion. I was personally willing to accept ASI as providing
a fair forum in certain areas of discussion. But, I felt that
some discussion was needed on this, and in other areas. As I
said, ASI never really responded to our issues. I do not consider
the statement by Mr. Lance to be a fair representation of the
- insisted on including issues involving allegations
of management and corporate misconduct at 3ABN
GM: One major issue that we faced was an agreement
on the focus of the discussion. ASI and I were in agreement
that certain issues were outside of the ability of ASI to resolve.
That does not reflect badly on ASI. It was simply a fact of
life. Personally, I believed that ASI could only effectively
resolve certain marital issues. I proposed that ASI should be
willing to issue a public statement that there were certain issues
that could only be resolved in the civil realm, and that people
who took those issues to the civil authorities should not be
criticized for doing so. ASI never made any substantive response
to my proposal. I consider that it is not accurate to say that
we insisted upon the inclusion of management and corporate misconduct.
- would not accept the ground rules for the panel's
GM: We raised certain questions and objections
to the ground rules, while accepting others. In my opinion,
our objections were never substantively addressed. I am not
impressed that Danny accepted them. The ground rules need to
be developed with input from all parties. All in all, I believe
that we only had substantial objections to two of the ground
rules. Perhaps others will define it differently. But, ASI
should have spent some time in discussing those issues. My perception
is that they simply gave us a "take it or leave it" type of ultimatum.
- would not cease harassing email contact with Danny
or other 3ABN representatives
GM: Please show me where I had any contact with
either Danny or 3ABN. I may once have sent an e-mail to Dr.
Thompson in which I simply told him that I had prayed for him
that morning that the Lord would lead him, and that he would
follow. That e-mail was short, and to the point. But, I may
have sent it after ASI pulled out. I do not remember.
- would not cease circulating distracting comments about
the process under discussion with AS
GM: I do not consider that any comments that
I made were distraction. I consider them to have been helpful.
In any case my comments were positive, and very general.
* We never learned whether Linda approved of the positions
asserted by her team. Linda did not respond except to say that
Joy would be her representative.
GM: Well, we never heard from Danny either.
We communicated with Mr. Lance.
ASI was equally open to whatever conclusion the facts revealed
and was disappointed that our efforts did not result in a resolution
of the issues we agreed to consider.
GM: I made essentially the same public comment.
If you wish to know more, read on.
The ASI Executive Committee believes that 3ABN is a God inspired
and God led instrument for the effective spread of the Three
Angels Messages to the world and that it is a blessing to the
worldwide Seventh-day Adventist Church.
GM: I have made, publicly, the comment that I do
not doubt that God used Danny to establish 3-ABN. However all
of that is not important to the current issues that we face.
ASI is a member organization of businesses and ministries
that have a priority for the spread of the gospel in their market
place. 3ABN was introduced to ASI in the mid 1980's at our convention
in Big Sky, Montana. At that time their idea was just a dream.
ASI was intrigued by their audacious plan of a lay operated
ministry providing a world wide radio and television network
with "straight" Seventh-day Adventist programming 24/7. This
meeting was the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship
resulting in the growth of both organizations and positive media
exposure for hundreds of supporting ministries on 3ABN programming.
Both Linda and Danny Shelton were viewed as capable leaders,
deserving of respect and involvement with ASI.
Events around the break up of the Shelton's marriage brought
much public comment which came to the notice of ASI, the Church
at large and the viewers of 3ABN. "The 3ABN board of directors
voted unanimously on September 24 (2006) to request ASI to set
up a commission to evaluate and determine Danny's legal and moral
right to divorce and to re-marry".
As ASI leadership was considering 3ABN's request an email
message dated 10 3 06, was received by the ASI President from
G. Arthur Joy, saying in part: "...Dr. Thompson has informed
me that ASI has agreed to be the appropriate platform upon which
to hear allegations regarding 3ABN. While I agree that in theory,
ASI is the appropriate platform and clearly has some jurisdiction
here, and by voluntary assent would have full jurisdiction to
hear the allegations and make appropriate findings, I also recognize
there are some clear and serious conflicts that need to be clarified".
The memo from Joy included messages from other unknown/unidentified
people seriously questioning whether ASI was an appropriate organization
to be involved. Joy was unknown to ASI leadership. It was not
known what his interest was in the matter. That question was
clarified by Linda when she identified Joy as her representative.
Joy introduced Bob Pickle and Greg Matthews as also on Linda's
team. The three have been included in all correspondence sent
GM: Yes, I have been included in the correspondence.
Issues of ethics (ethics include conflicts of interest) are
important, and must be resolved. The issues that we raised were
not substantially addressed. NOTE: I have previously stated
that I felt that ASI could play a role.
On October 25 - the ASI Executive Committee took an action
authorizing the exploration of becoming involved and asked Harold
Lance, past ASI president, to lead out in the process.
October 31 - ASI circulated a document entitled "Procedural Suggestions" (below) to both
Linda and Danny Shelton, their representatives, and 3ABN.
BASIC CONCEPTS - We believed there were several basics concepts
necessary for the process to succeed:
- That the involvement of Linda, Danny and 3ABN was essential
to a successful agreement on a fair process and resolution of
- Widespread distracting interchanges on the web sites
and forums led us to believe the discussions between ASI and
the parties attempting to establish an agreement on the process
needed to be conducted with confidentiality.
- Both parties needed to stop direct critical comment
with each other.
# # #
ASI SUGGESTED THE FOLLOWING PROCEDURE AND PROCESS CONCEPTS:
~ The panel selected to hear and decide the issues should
be chosen by ASI in consultation with the parties.
~ Because of the sensitive nature of the issues we believed
the proceedings needed to be private, as in "executive session"
of a board of directors meeting within the Church or business
GM: Linda has been so "trashed" that it became
very important that there be full public disclosure. This was
a major issue. Again, ASI, in my opinion, did not properly respond
and discuss this issue with us.
~ Issues for consideration needed careful definition and mutual
GM: I fully agree. Unfortunately, the discussion
did not reach this point.
~ Parties would state in advance of the hearing their position
on each issue and their expected outcome of each issue.
~ Each party would in advance of the hearing furnish the identity
of their witnesses and their expected information as well as
providing copies of any documents to be presented to the panel.
~ All costs connected with the proceedings would be paid by
~ Proceedings would be held at a neutral site as convenient
as possible for the parties.
~ Input from both parties would be welcomed to establish the
ground rules on the process to be followed.
~ Questioning would be conducted by the panel under the direction
of its chairperson, with opportunity for the parties or their
representative to suggest questions.
GM: Aspects of this remained unresolved. Again,
I do not consider that appropriate discussion took place to resolve
this. Rather it seemed more to me to be "take it or leave it."
~ The decision of the panel would be based upon the information
presented by the parties at the hearing and not from outside
GM: Fine. Appropriate. But, this then requires
that outside sources be considered at the hearing. i.e. "Outside"
sources should present at the hearing.
~ The proceedings would not be conducted as a trial, with
a judge, lawyers, cross examination and typical court-like processes.
GM: Further clarification was needed on this
~ Within 30 days after the conclusion of the proceedings the
panel would announce its written findings on the issues, the
factual reasons for their findings, and recommendations to the
parties, which document would be available to the parties and
the interested public.
GM: As I have stated, Linda needed full public
disclosure. Further clarification was needed as to what, if
anything, would be kept secret.
# # #
What happened? Why didn't it succeed?:
There was significant interchange between Linda's team and
ASI, and Danny and 3ABN and ASI that lead to two additional documents
from ASI to the parties containing details and suggested revisions
to the process.
GM: Yes we had contact. I appreciate the work
that Mr. Lance put into it
We had no contact with Linda other than a memo to an ASI representative
stating that Joy was her representative.
By 12 10 07 Danny and 3ABN had accepted the process as proposed
On 12 13 07 we received an email from Joy advising that Linda
was preparing a careful thorough response to the process proposals
and a list of questions that he and Linda were preparing seeking
clarification. They never came.
The interchange with Linda's team centered around:
* Whether the proceeding should be open to the public or private;
* Whether ASI could be neutral and provide a "level playing
- Whether the proceedings should be videoed, recorded and broadcast;
GM: Broadcast is a new one on me. Yes, we wanted
full public disclosure.
* Whether the issues considered should extend beyond the Shelton's
divorce and Danny's remarriage and include for example:
a. That Danny and the 3ABN Board of Directors
were guilty of malfeasance;
b. That Danny should be removed as president of
c. That the Board of Directors of 3ABN should
d. That 3ABN should be restructured to create
a constituency based organization though they knew the existing
structure is lawful;
e. That any person who has contributed to the
support of 3ABN should be a constituent entitled to a voice in
the selection of the board of directors and the management of
the ministry, referring to donors as "stockholders in the pews";
f. That the 3ABN corporate by-laws needed to be
changed to allow censure, discipline and removal of the officers
and members of the board of directors (NOTE: In fact they already
provide for that possibility)
e. At least 22 other issues were raised in Forum
site references by her team urged for inclusion in the ASI process.
GM: All of these are issues, in my mind that
ASI could not be expected to resolve. Again, I wanted a public
statement from ASI that they could not resolve certain issues,
and that people should be free to take the issues that ASI could
not resolve to the civil authorities.
Early on Linda was provided telephone and email contact information.
She was also sent copies of all communications from ASI to her
team. In the two plus months of ASI's attempts to reach agreement
on a process she did not respond. We do not know if Linda shares
in a belief with Joy, Pickle and Matthews that the agenda should
include the matters asserted by her team. She chose not to participate.
It was clear that Joy, Pickle and Matthews had interests far
beyond the issues ASI agreed to consider.
GM: The statement that I had interests far beyond
the issues ASI agreed to consider is confusing, potentially misleading,
We affirmed to the parties that even though ASI supports the
ministry of 3ABN and wishes it to succeed and prosper; that we
could be fair and objective in considering the issues related
to the Shelton's divorce and Danny's remarriage. We also believed
that the panel selected by ASI in consultation with the parties
would be people selected with qualities of spirituality, intelligence
and fairness. However, we never reached that point. We affirmed
to the parties that ASI had no stake in the outcome and were
comfortable with what ever conclusions were reached by the panel.
GM: O.K. ASI's affirmation does not mean that such
concerns should not be discussed.
After a week or two into the process Danny and
3ABN ceased exchanging messages with the other side. That was
helpful. Because ASI declined to consider issues beyond those
of divorce and remarriage Art, Bob and Greg believed they were
free to continue contacts with Danny, Dr. Thompson and others
associated with 3ABN. Though couched in spiritual language their
messages were persistent, confrontational, argumentative and
harassing. Our efforts to stop their direct communications were
GM: This statement about me is simply false. NOTE:
I may once, and only once, have sent Dr. Thompson a statement that
I was praying for him. Frankly, I consider this statement to
be without foundation in regard to me.
We believe we have no jurisdiction to consider internal issues
of 3ABN management and the changing of its corporate structure.
Those issues must be left to its' board of directors. We believe
our inability to resolve the fundamental issue of the divorce
and remarriage is disappointing to many. We felt that without
agreement on fundamentals with no likely agreement in sight it
was necessary for ASI to withdraw. The parties and those concerned
are the losers in what could have been a healing clarification
of a divisive issue for all who are concerned.
GM: I agree. Resolution of these issues lies outside
of ASI, and potentially with civil authorities.
We confess that if we would have known how to resolve the
matter we would have done it, but we don't, but God does. We
urge that all who have a concern be respectful, restrained and
apply the Golden Rule as you would wish it for yourself.
ASI Executive Committee
by Harold Lance