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Gregory Matthews Responds
to Harold Lance's January 24 Statement

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Gregory Matthews' Initial Response

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Gregory Matthews
To:  Harold Lance, G. Arthur Joy, Bob, Linda Shelton,
Walt Thompson, Danny Shelton, Gregory Matthews
Subject:  RE: Why ASI Chose to Withdraw
Date:  Wed, 24 Jan 2007 10:51:08 -0700


Thank you for sending me a copy of your published announcement as to why ASI withdrew from the attempt to resolve the issues.

I note that you have made a number of statements regarding me and my participation that I consider to be false. As such, I feel that I am going to have to rebut those.

I am disappointed that you did such. I do not accuse you of doing so intentionally. It appears that you must not have understood where I was coming from.

I previously had posted a public announcement as to my view as to why the effort failed. In general, I had been quite positive, and I had publicly thanked you for the efforts and energy that you had personally devoted to this. While your statement is measured, and likely does not fully reflect your personal disappointment with what happened, I believe that it is more negative, at least in regard to me than was reality.

Oh well, we tried. Whatever!

If we should ever meet, I will enjoy visiting with you, as I do not personalize differences.

My response to what I consider to be factual errors will come later.

Gregory Matthews

The Factual Errors Gregory Saw

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.

In summary,

Here were the considerations:

  1. 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.
  2. ASI proposed a process assuring a fair due process to all concerned.
  3. 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 by ASI.

Here were the barriers:

* Linda did not participate in discussions to develop an agreed process.

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 issue.

- 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 procedures

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 to Linda.

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 the dispute.

- 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.

# # #



~ 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 organizations.

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 agreement.

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.

GM: So?

~ 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 3ABN.

~ 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 sources.

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 point.

~ 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.

GM: So?

By 12 10 07 Danny and 3ABN had accepted the process as proposed by ASI.

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.

GM: ?

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 field";

  • 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 3ABN;

c. That the Board of Directors of 3ABN should be removed;

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, and unwarranted.

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 unsuccessful.

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

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