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Tommy Shelton

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Round One: Gregory Matthews

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Due to the abrogation of the confidentiality agreement by Harold Lance, the following communications are provided for your perusal.

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Gregory Matthews
To:  Bob Pickle, Harold Lance
CC:  G. Arthur Joy, Linda Shelton
Subject:  My Response, # 1, Introduction
Date:  Sat, 2 Dec 2006 04:27:54 -0700

December 2, 2006


If I am going to be working with Harold, and ASI in attempts to find some resolution to this 3-ABN mess, I think it is important that Harold know a little more about who and what I am. So in the interests of openness, I intend to share about me, my background, and where I am in this. I may send this out in several posts, as long posts are often an obstacle to being read. My intention is to share in the following areas:

  1. Some personal perceptions as to how we who advice Linda are working together.
  2. Some more about my personal background, to include a statement as to how I became involved with this.
  3. Where I am in regard to the religious spectrum that exists within the SDA church.
  4. A further discussion in regard to confidentiality and this process. In my mind this is critical to the success of these efforts. Yet, I believe that confidentiality may be subject to some of the greatest misunderstanding that may arise between us. So, I plan to discuss this in some detail.


Mr. Joy, myself, Bob, and some others, such as Johann are an eclectic group of people who do not see everything in exactly the same manner. Yet, we have reached a common agreement as to our central focus. To briefly sum that common focus, we are united in is our belief that Linda has been wronged in some manner. And, we are united in our desire to discover truth whatever that truth may be, and wherever that may lead us. It is in more minor points that we may differ. E.G. My position on certain marital issues, such as Danny's remarriage is not the same as every other person.

We have agreed to work together to achieve our common purpose regardless of our differences on more minor matter. In this respect, I will suggest that our unity may serve as a model for what should exist within the SDA church. This denomination today is a diverse community of believers with differences in both theology and in life-style. If it could agree on a common purpose, act together in unity on those common goals, and leave other differences to the Lord to resolve, it might be much more effective in achieving God's purpose for it in these end times.

As I have worked with Linda I have been quite open and honest as to where I am, and in the advice that I have given her. She has not always agreed with such. However, she has clearly appreciated honesty as to where I am and what I thought on a subject. She has clearly informed me that she prefers my doing that to simply giving her advice that I thought she wanted to hear, but did not mean.

As a professionally trained (I will say more about this later.) counselor, I typically do not tell people what to do. Rather, I facilitate their decision making process. This is how I have typically related to Linda. I have helped her to identify issues. I have helped her to clarify the impact that her decisions might have on her life. I have attempted to help her to clarify what she waned to accomplish. In all of this, I have not attempted to push an agenda upon her. The decisions are Linda's. It is her life. She reaps the consequences of the decisions that she makes. I do not. Therefore, she is the one that must make the decisions that affect her life. I can not.

Gregory Matthews

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Gregory Matthews
To:  Bob Pickle, Harold Lance
CC:  G. Arthur Joy, Linda Shelton
Subject:  My Response, # 2, Personal Background
Date:  Sat, 2 Dec 2006 04:31:04 -0700

Personal Background:

As I have stated previously, I am presently a hospital chaplain employed by the Department of Veterans' Affairs, and a former U. S. Army chaplain. I am credentialed by the General Conference, and have been recognized by them since sometime in the 1960s. I am listed in the 2006 YEARBOOK, but my name is misspelled in that publication.

I have been involved with Linda, almost since the beginning—before the divorce. This was so long ago that I do not remember how it happened. It may very well be that I sent her a note telling her that I was praying for her, and she responded. I simply do not remember.

I have given to 3-ABN financially in the past. I once wrote them a check for $100, but I have not given to them on a regular basis. My point is simply that I have not come to his situation as a person who was their enemy.

While an Army chaplain, I was given the opportunity to obtain a MA degree in Counseling Psychology, at Chapman University (its present name) at Government expense. [I was later on the teaching faculty of the U. S. Army Chaplain School, an accredited institution, teaching in the area of Pastoral Counseling.] During my MA study I worked with a number of people who sexually molested children, as well as those who had been abused (sexually, psychologically, emotionally, and physically). Some of the people who came to our clinic were SDA, and had been abused in the name of God and the SDA church. As an Army chaplain I worked with the same people—both those who had abused, and those who had been abused, some of whom came from a SDA background.

In connection with this, I began to note common patterns. E.G. the professional engineer who blamed the 4-year-old female for seducing him—when he knocked on the door to her house, she answered the door naked. He was not responsible for what he did to her. She was. The SDA Elder who got a new convert pregnant, and then blamed her for seducing him. The SDA Elder who had his mistress installed at their house (for a while) was molesting his daughter, and blaming his daughter for the anger of God falling upon the family in some of its experiences. Enough of that. My point is that I began to pick up on common ways of relating on the part of both the abused, and those who abused.

Gregory Matthews

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Gregory Matthews
To:  Bob Pickle, Harold Lance
CC:  G. Arthur Joy, Linda Shelton
Subject:  My Response # 3, Where I am religiously
Date:  Sat, 2 Dec 2006 04:33:47 -0700

Where I am in the SDA religious spectrum:

I consider myself to be a middle-of-the-road Seventh-day Adventist. In my approach, I believe the SDA church should be a "hospital for sinners" who are walking the Christian way. It is because of this, that I am considered by some to be a liberal SDA. It is coming from this perspective that I do not criticize Danny for his remarriage.

As another aspect of where I am, I firmly believe that the SDA church should clearly call sin by its name, and take firm stands as to what is right. In other words, label something as wrong, and sin, but be open in accepting into church fellowship those who have not yet reached that standard.

NOTE: I do set limits, and there is a point where I believe that people should not be allowed to become SDA members, or should be separated from denominational membership.

Also, I firmly believe that people who hold positions of spiritual leadership, in some cases should be forever removed from such spiritual leadership positions due to sins that they committed while in that position of spiritual leadership.

By way of interest, in the Conference where I live, the Conference President and the pastor of the congregation of which I was a member, both consider me to be quite conservative. That is because of a stand I took in regard to a person in a position of spiritual leadership, and a previous incident of sexual misconduct that had involved that person.

I also believe that people in positions of spiritual leadership, while human, must be held to high standards of conduct. On a personal basis, I am divorced, and I have remarried. At the time of my divorce I was credentialed by the General Conference. Following that divorce I remained single for a number of years. During that time I was a single parent, with joint custody of two minor children that I shared with my ex-wife. At the time that I remarried, my ex-wife had been remarried for a year. As a spiritual leader in the SDA church, I felt it necessary to live a life in which I only married again after a time of public witness that I took the Biblical standards seriously. The General Conference agreed that I was Biblically free to remarry. By the way, my present wife and I have been married for over 20 years.

My next and final comments at this point will be on confidentiality of this process.

Gregory Matthews

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Gregory Matthews
To:  Bob Pickle, Harold Lance
CC:  G. Arthur Joy, Linda Shelton
Subject:  My Response, Confidentiality, error corrected.
Date:  Sat, 2 Dec 2006 05:31:32 -0700

Confidentiality of this process:

Confidentiality, in my mind, is one of the most critical issues that we face if we are going to work together in an attempt to resolve this 3-ABN mess. [NOTE: I also believe that there are several other critical issues.] During this initial process the discussions must be conducted behind closed doors, so to speak. All of us must be able to discuss freely, outside of public view. If this cannot be done, there will failure to establish any kind of a resolution.

However, in the end there must be considerable openness, and transparency. That also is critical to the SDA public accepting our end result, and putting a stop (at least to a degree) to the public discussion that continues. Resolution requires that the SDA public be convinces of the fairness and justice of the process.

As I have experienced denominational process, no one keeps confidentiality. Things leak out. Comments are made by both sides. I expect that this will happen if this process will take place. Frankly, I expect that there will be what are regarded as innocent leaks from ASI, those who support Danny/3-ABN, as well as those who support Linda. This is simply a fact of life, and I do not blame anyone more than any other. I will suggest that there are at lease two significant issues that will point in the direction of leaks:

  1. The issues here involve more than just Danny and Linda. Let me illustrate: Gloria X (I am simply illustrating, and making up a name, and a situation.) has charged William Y of 3-ABN of sexual misconduct. We collectively decide to consider this charge, and we call her to be a witness. We cannot prevent Gloria X from publicly commenting on the process as she experienced it. It will happen. We who participated in that process cannot be expected to remain silenced with no ability to comment on Gloria's comments.
  2. Simon Z, an employee of 3-ABN has been accused, and investigated by this investigative body. He is confused in regard to the conduct of the investigation, and the decision that was made. He comes to me to help him understand what went on. I have been involved in the process of setting this up. I may very well be able to help him to understand, and even accept what happened. Should I be expected to refuse to talk to him about this?

In the same sense, the SDA public is going to have questions. They are going to come to us for discussions. If we refuse to talk to them, this issue will never be put to bed. We can play a part in resolving this. I will give you an example. Yesterday I posted a comment in a public Internet forum. What I cite here is only a part of what I posted. As that forum is open to the public, you can read it in full in that forum. Here it is:

NOTE: I believe that there are honest and sincere people on all sides of this mess. I believe that I cannot automatically assume that one who objects to something in this discussion is simply attempting to obstruct the process. The above three questions are critical, and honest people may differ on the answers to those questions. It issue simply is: Can a process be crafted in which all parties can agree?

The discussions as to how to implement a process to resolve issues must go on in private, and cannot become a public discussion. I do not intend to get into such. I am only speaking here in generalities in an attempt to help you to see that it is exceedingly complex. In my personal relationship to the process (I am involved.) I have gone through the following stages:

  1. I have believed that an agreement could be reached by which some benefit could be gained. However, I did not believe that everything could be resolved. I have questioned as to whether or not agreement could be obtained by all involved parties.
  2. I have been cynical in regard to anything being accomplished.
  3. I have been encouraged to see people, on all sides of the issues, continue to work very hard to come up with some kind of an agreement that would be of some benefit. As a result, I have not given up hope that good may be accomplished, and I wait to see how it develops.

Folks, people are working very hard with people who differ with them to come into an agreement.

NOTE: In this citation I have corrected some spelling errors that were posted in the original.

Due to what some other has posted on the forum, I felt it would be necessary to make a statement. At the beginning I made some comment about GAJ, which I have not copied here. I made a few other comments, and then what I have posted here. The crucial points that I made in the above were:

  1. There are honest and sincere people on both sides of this issue. We should not conclude that specific differences of opinion represented a desire to obstruct the process.
  2. Bringing all parties to the table was going to be a very hard process, and this must be understood.
  3. While I have had my cynical moments, yet I believe that progress can be made to bring parties to the table, and some level of resolution achieved, even if not total resolution.
  4. There are people on both sides working very hard to achieve this.

Folks, in the above, I did not reveal any confidential information. Yet, I believe that my post was potentially a helpful response to what was being posted by others. It is from this perspective that I believe that all of us must be free to make general statements such as I made above. But, these general statements must be made in consideration of the time of those statements. In general, they should be made after this process has been completed, and not while it is going on.

This issue of confidentiality is so important that I may have comments to make later. But, time has passed. In need to prepare for my attendance at church. So, I will leave it for now.

Thank you, Harold for your efforts and the work you are putting into this. I wish you success, but I believe that your labor has only begun.

Gregory Matthews

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Gregory Matthews
To:  Bob Pickle, Harold Lance
CC:  G. Arthur Joy, Linda Shelton
Subject:  My Response, Confidentiality # 2
Date:  Sat, 2 Dec 2006 05:55:05 -0700

Confidentiality # 2

I knew there was additional material that I wanted to add:

We need to discuss further what we mean by confidentiality.

I have posted clearly stated positions. As two examples, I have publicly stated several times that I do not criticize Danny for getting remarried, and I have publicly stated that Linda did not, in my opinion, give Danny Biblical grounds to divorce her. Those positions of mine and more are a matter of public record. My participation in the process, and confidentiality should not prevent me from saying again what I have already stated. Or should it? What do the rest of you think? What can we agree upon?

I have received many e-mails from many people. These include such from Danny, Linda, the IL Conference President, a 3-ABN attorney, and more. Most of what I have received I have not publicly posted. I have posted some. And I have referenced some of this in public statements that I have made. It may be that during this process, some bit of information may come to me through this process that I already have, and I may or may not have publicly commented upon. As I already have that information, and may have commented upon it publicly, am I prohibited from commenting upon it again, if a situation comes up where I feel it necessary?

Let me give you an example: I have in my files a statement from Danny, that he personally sent to me that he had never publicly taken position X, and any statements that he has done so are false. I have publicly posted comments to the effect that he denies ever making such public statements. I also happen to have evidence that he has privately supported position X. Let us say that this becomes an issue for our discussion. Am I now prohibited from making any comment on this? If I am challenged by Larry P who says to me: Gregory, how can you say that Danny has never publicly stated X, here is proof that I have. Am I allowed to come back and say: Larry, that statement may have been made privately by Danny, but there is no proof that he ever made it publicly?

Folks, this entire issue is extremely complex. We all are going to have to work very hard to put it together. I ask the above questions as I think that confidentiality is critical. We must have some kind of an understanding as to what it means. Without this agreement, relationships will fall apart. I may have more to ask later.

Gregory Matthews

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Bob Pickle
To:  Gregory Matthews
CC:  Harold Lance, G. Arthur Joy, Linda Shelton
Subject:  Re: My Response, Confidentiality # 2
Date:  Sat, 2 Dec 2006 19:48:20 -0600


You have done very well expressing your thoughts, but I think you missed what the question really was regarding confidentiality.

At issue at present is only whether we agree to confidentiality regarding our communications about setting up and negotiating the process. There is no agreement presently being considered about confidentiality during and after the process, since what that will mean depends upon what gets negotiated.

At issue is the public trashing of individuals during the negotiation of the process itself. That is what the agreement is primarily trying to prevent, as I understand it.

And Harold, to clarify what Gregory said earlier about all of us, I will be approaching this from the standpoint that I have not arrived at an opinion regarding Linda's being wronged, since I have not personally seen conclusive evidence one way or the other. So Gregory's comments on us on that matter don't quite fit me. But I will say that I have established a pattern of behavior on the part of Danny on other issues that raises questions about Danny's claims of her guilt.

Perhaps the most damaging along those lines is the written claim by a definitely non-pro-Linda, non-peon individual that Danny after threatening them fraudulently manufactured evidence against them, and though a complaint was made to the board, no investigation at all was conducted. The fact that to this day they express themselves as thinking that Linda was at fault too gives their claim increased credibility, as well as the fact that when I asked Walt Thompson about this matter in the last week and a half, his response acknowledged that such a claim had been made and that they are still good friends with this individual, but he did nothing to offer an alternative explanation for the events.

I think we need to face the facts: If Danny and the 3ABN board are willing for every issue and all the evidence to be considered by an ASI panel, and/or follow the panel's advice, then the panel process isn't necessary at all. Thus far, even in the last week and a half, Danny has made it pretty clear that he isn't willing. Is the board willing to go over his head?


-------- Original Message --------
From:  Gregory Matthews
To:  Bob Pickle
CC:  Harold Lance, G. Arthur Joy, Linda Shelton
Subject:  RE: My Response, Confidentiality # 2
Date:  Sat, 2 Dec 2006 19:25:30 -0700

I may have missed the point. That is, in part why I have surfaced these points.

As far as Linda being wronged:

I am in a search for truth, wherever it leads.

I think it important for Harold to hear a clear statement from me as to where I am.

But, my perception that Linda has been wronged should not preclude me from participating in what is going on at this point.

Bob, thanks for your comment.

No, we are an eclectic group of people, and my position may not represent in totality where everyone else is.

Gregory Matthews

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