Let's pretend I am a woman named Debbie. Let's also pretend that there is a young man, Wade Burleson, who is a quite popular Southern Baptist preacher who says he was converted out of the Mormon religious movement as a teenager. In our pretend story Wade is now serving SBC churches but is also known for his abilities in presenting himself forcefully at conferences as an expert on the Mormon movement and has, in fact, written his personal biography about his life and conversion to Christ which is selling like hotcakes at those conferences. Several things stand out to me [Debbie] and to others as truth about this popular speaker in SBC life.
One...Wade says he was born in 1961 in Salt lake City Utah to a Mormon father and a Methodist mother [He ought to know so I certainly believe him.] and was raised there [SLC] as a devout Mormon. He says there were times he traveled overseas as a young teenager living in Mormon camps where he was trained to be a Mormon missionary intending to give up his life for the cause. That was until he moved to Oklahoma as a teenager,  where he became a Christian. [I'm with the people who are really on the edge of their seats listening now.]
Two...Wade says since his conversion and subsequent biblical training he has debated many Mormons and, in fact, debated Dr. Daniel Selinski, who is himself a Mormon and a well know expert on Mormon beliefs and practices, in Little Rock Arkansas. [Who better to debate a Mormon expert than a former Mormon who was trained in all things Mormon?]
Third...Wade says he knows the secrets of the Mormons and even wore to school as a child some special clothing unique to the Mormon movement that caused many students to persecute him unmercifully even causing him to hide some of his religious activity by performing them in places that you wouldn't believe. [Those moments of doing his Mormon prayer in the restrooms to escape his persecutors speaks to me [Debbie] of his devotion that I'm sure it is now carried over into his new found faith. Who WOULDN'T see him as a bit of a hero!!] All this until finally one day one church accepted him and loved him to Christ.
Several other things are claimed by Wade Burleson which are too numerous to be listed here but his biography posted at the Baptist University where he now serves does list all the facts, as does his autobiography.
But then one day things began to be a bit suspicious. In fact, things began to fall apart.
For one thing... While it is true that Wade was born in 1961 in Salt Lake City, it is also true that at age FOUR he moved to Oklahoma where he began his school career. "I was raised there [SLC] as a devout Mormon though I also lived overseas in some Mormon camps where I trained to be a Mormon missionary to give my life for the cause"... was what was stated, but there is no evidence that this actually happened at all. In fact, the evidence supports something entirely different.
Another thing...Wade specifically said.."I debated Dr. Daniel Selinski, who is himself a Mormon and a well know expert on Mormon beliefs and practices, in Little Rock Arkansas"..but when questioned about that ,Dr Selinski said.. "I have never debated Wade Burleson, and, as far as I can recall, have never met the man."
Finally...While Wade WAS raised in Oklahoma from age four, not overseas in training for missionary life, and while one of his parents DID often required him to wear certain things pertaining to the Mormon beliefs, the other parent [his primary care giver] refused to allow him to be raised that way and there is no indication his talk or dress was anything but normal for teenagers at the time.
With the facts now told me [Debbie], I have to honestly say, I have questions about the veracity of the accounts being presented and written by Wade Burleson about his life as a Mormon. I don't know what's true and not true about some of the things which have come to my attention, but the facts above are facts that are demonstrable untrue. [This since I have absolutely no reason to doubt the integrity of the source of my new information which has been verified by documents and records.] Now this gives me considerable pause. And I'm not a gal that stands easy with deception particularly on the part of ministers.
I [Debbie] have been told that when he was asked about these things, Wade spoke of some possible "mis-speaking because of so many times of having spoken before people and if some things were mis-spoken factually he apologized for that mis-speaking."
I think I read that but went to read it again to make sure and found it was taken down. I don't know Wade Burleson personally, but have to say that I would be a bit uncomfortable going to hear him teach/speak without some sort of further explanation. I'm not his judge certainly, but I am his Kingdom sister and am deeply concerned. I hope he addresses it all properly. But I HAVE decided to write a blog voicing my concerns.
Now..in our pretend story...let's further pretend that, after writing her blog, Debbie happens to read some of Wade's friend's blogs where they condemed HER for even having a problem with Wade at all. After all, they said, "he's preaching the gospel and winning people to Jesus."
They ask her .."What minister hasn't mis-spoken about some mon-essential facts about his life in the pulpit?" Well she knows she has certainly mis-spoken on occasion but she's not in a pulpit. Also, she's of the opinion that that should NOT be done by anyone to this degree regardless.
Besides, it seems to her that what Wade said was going beyond factual mis-speak and was really perpetrating a story that is different than the real facts that are now becoming known. It is beginning to appear that he has deliberately sought to create an IMAGE rather than share honestly a LIFE actually/factually lived. Why he would do this is anyone's guess. That he has done it is clear to her.
But wait, let's pretend that his friends say, "It was a MORMoN who first reported some of these facts coming out and that means if you accept them you are choosing Mormonism over Christianity and that is a sin." But she thought documented truthful facts were true regardless of the religion of the revealer of the information.
Now let's pretend again that I'm Debbie and, since I don't want to offend those friends of Burleson or Burleson himself, I decide to say NOTHING else about it. After all, Wade Burleson is a great preacher and I [Debbie] am his sister in Christ. Besides.. I've never spoken to Wade Burleson myself. [Although Wade did speak with a close friend of mine who shared the conversation with me as requested.] He is probably a really nice guy truth be known. So I choose to remain silent...[let's pretend.]
Finally, let's pretend Debbie WON'T be bothered at all when she thinks of the time that she will stand before the Lord to share with Him PERSONALLY how she was quiet about those things that she knew to be untruthful and dishonest. Let's further pretend that she's not going to be bothered at all that the REASON she was silent was that she thought more of what people would say about her than what is truthful.
As I said..let's pretend all this.
You know, I think I'll quit pretending entirely now. I wish everyone else would too.
Michael Spencer [I-Monk] went home a little while ago. There is much celebration going on right now in heaven the likes of which I can only imagine. Pray for the Spencer family.