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Tommy Shelton

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Steps Toward ASI Panel Review Negotiations: #4

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A Church Leader Calls

Gailon was driving over the mountains when a high-level Seventh-day Adventist church leader gave him a call. That leader recommended that another course be pursued instead of taking the whole scandal to the media. The church should be given a chance to work it out first.

In the days that followed, Gailon wrote about his conversations with this leader:

-------- Original Message --------
From:  G. Arthur Joy
Subject:  RE: MAP
Date:  Tue, 19 Sep 2006 22:10:44 +0000


I spent nearly two hours with [the high-ranking church leader] today and he has agreed to work to develop a mixed forum to review all the evidence. This process is very preliminary, however, it is yet another step in the right direction. I continue to pray and trust that the Lord will open the way for the Board at 3ABN to see the light and implement appropriate reforms before we reach a point of no return.

I have this gut-wrenching feeling that the process could be the most divisive the Church has dealt with since John Harvey Kellogg. The difficulty here is that Danny purports to represent a theology that is clearly conservative, while living as though he bought into the theology of Ford, et al.

There is some comfort in the numbers I recently received that seemed to indicate that they have a rock solid support base of approximately 5000 that give systematically and monthly and about another 100,000 +/- that contribute annually, primarily project based giving. However, I keep receiving information that not only the 100k are cracking, but a significant number of the 5000 are beginning to wonder and turn their backs. Several regular campmeeting goers have indicated they are not going this fall. Although the curiosity factor could result in a lot of new attendance.

I will transcribe my notes and try to finish interviews with another three that I never have had time to get back to.


Gailon A Joy

3ABN Board Chairman Informed

And that high-level church leader contacted 3ABN as well, for 3ABN board chairman Dr. Walt Thompson was in the loop:

-------- Original Message --------
From:  Walt Thompson
To:  G. Arthur Joy
Subject:  Re: Still More 3ABN Info
Date:  Wed, 20 Sep 2006 16:35:11 -0500

Dear Gailon,

I received a call from [the church leader] this AM and he told me about his conversation with you. He said that you would be willing to speak with us further. I am sorry that we have not spoken previously. As I have gone back and looked at our last e mails I note that you offered to receive a phone call from me. Either I overlooked that comment or forgot about it. I don't find a phone number by which to reach you. My cell phone number is *** *** ****. I would appreciate a call.


Walt Thompson MD

Which Issues? How to Proceed

Things progressed rapidly at this point. Just four days later, Gailon wrote an Adventist chaplain named Gregory Matthews.

Roughly two years previous, Danny's obsession in running down his ex-wife Linda, even when the questions being asked of him had nothing at all to do with Linda, convinced Gregory that Linda had to be innocent. On September 21, Gregory sent Gailon around 600 pages of correspondence between he and Danny, Linda, 3ABN board chairman Walt Thompson, and Illinois Conference president Ken Denslow. Obviously, Gregory had been more than a little involved for quite some time. The Priority Mail package of documents weighed 7 pounds and 2 ounces, and arrived on the 23rd.

On September 24, Gailon wrote Chaplain Matthews, and CC'ed Linda Shelton as well as the high-level church leader that had negotiated ASI's investigation. This email gives us a glimpse of the broad range of allegations Gailon and that leader had talked about on the 19th, and it also gives us a glimpse of the type of investigative process that Gailon anticipated ASI would use in order to ensure that their work was done thoroughly and fairly.

-------- Original Message --------
From:  G. Arthur Joy
To:  Gregory Matthews
CC:  Linda Shelton, ******
Subject:  Re: Linda Shelton & ecclesiastical authority
Date:  Sun, 24 Sep 2006 23:00:36 -0400


Since the current clear allegation from Alyssa has hit the streets, 3ABN directors have expressed they would like proof that Alyssa was the source of the allegation and then, if she is the source, they would like to ask her to meet and discuss the allegations.

Since these are no longer the only allegations on the table for discussion, I am proposing that we accommodate the entire series of allegations by empanelling a panel to look at the Alyssa allegations; the Pastor Dryden allegations against Tommy Shelton; the allegations that Linda had an inappropriate relationship with Arild Abrahamsen; the issue that prior to, during and after the Linda/Arild allegations that Danny was clearly being observed having multiple inappropriate relationships; and other inappropriate financial allegations; that there have been several open and notorious inappropriate inter-staff relationships, some by allegation and some of which were clearly "caught" or "confessed"; all of which the local church has failed to discipline or the institution has failed to equally apply due process or any process at all due to clear and obvious conflicts.

The panel should be given all the powers of a tribunal/arbitration panel with appropriate counsel for both sides present to conduct direct and cross-examination of the witnesses, with the tribunal to have authority to make direct inquiry of the witnesses, with as broad a rule of evidence as the tribunal feels is necessary to find the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Provision needs to be made to allow the introduction of witnesses in executive session such that not only are witnesses protected from the peering eyes of various leadership, but can give open and honest and unimpeded testimony as Witness x, y, z et siq. I am proposing that the original parties, the 3ABN board and Linda/Alyssa each be allowed to have two observers sworn to protect the witnesses from retaliation by Leadership and others to observe the proceedings and to be able to certify the process as fair and appropriate.


Gailon Arthur Joy

The Board Has Agreed

It was clear that at this point in time, a number of people understood that the 3ABN board had agreed to ask ASI to put together an investigative committee that would look at all the evidence Gailon Joy had uncovered. For example, on September 26 Gailon wrote the following:

-------- Original Message --------
From:  G. Arthur Joy
To:  Bob
Subject:  Re: Hal Steenson & the tape
Date:  Tue, 26 Sep 2006 00:21:36 -0400


By the way, the 3 ABN board has agreed to allow an impartial panel to look at the 3ABN issues. Although, they feel strongly it should be under the auspices of ASI.

I have expressed that I believe that a properly constituted panel would most probably be acceptable, however, it must be completely impartial and have no taint of conflict. I have expressed strong feelings regarding the McNeilus family's participation.

The board has agreed to deal with the results, regardless of the outcome.

How do you feel about this process as a properly constituted ecclesiastical authority?

Gailon Arthur Joy

And Gailon was definitely not the only one with this understanding. Another high-level church official had spoken with the church leader who had negotiated ASI's involvement, and wrote the following on September 28 about what that leader had said. This communication clearly indicates that the Tommy Shelton child molestation allegations were to be on the agenda, according to the understanding of the very one who got the process going to begin with:

-------- Original Message --------
From:  ******
To:  Linda Shelton
Subject:  today
Date:  Thu, September 28, 2006 8:26 pm


He also talked to me about the ASI committee that is being set up to evaluate 3ABN, Tommy, Danny, etc. He hopes that you will not reject this committee, because since 3ABN is an ASI affiliate, that should be the governing body to decide on discipline, action, etc., rather than the GC, since the GC really doesn't have any authority over 3ABN. He thinks you will have more credibility with ASI if you accept this committee. I told him it will be important that the persons on the committee are neutral ....


Subterfuge and Secrecy

Little did any of these individuals realize that already on September 24 the 3ABN board had voted to restrict the investigation to just the issue of Danny Shelton's divorce and remarriage, a relatively minor issue considering the extremely serious nature of some of the rest of the allegations. That vote would be kept a secret until December 3, ten weeks later, and the date of the vote would continue to be a secret until Harold Lance's statement was issued on January 24, 2007. And yet Lance's statement would also make the audacious claim that the failure of the ASI effort was due to a lack of communication on the part of Linda Shelton.

Then again, whether that vote really took place on September 24, or instead took place during the regularly scheduled board meeting of October 1, 2006, is anyone's guess, for the dates and information contained in Lance's statement are unreliable, and the date of September 24 appears to have been inserted into a later 3ABN board action as an afterthought.

Seventh-day Adventists have taken a rather dim view over the years of secret societies such as Freemasonry, and that makes the secrecy attending the dealings of the 3ABN board and ASI all the more peculiar. Why was the 3ABN board decision kept quiet for so long? What were the individuals involved trying to hide?

But one thing was certain. A second period of limbo had begun.

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