Sunday, April 04, 2010


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, [1976] 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.

*********************************************** 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.


Paul speaking...

You know, I think I'll quit pretending entirely now. I wish everyone else would too.

Paul B.


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.


Byroniac said...

Paul Burleson: excellent synopsis.

Paul Burleson said...


Thanks for commenting.

By the way, I was just "pretending" I didn't know how to spell "Mormon." :)

Thanks Mark for catching that and for the e-mail.

Paul Burleson said...

In fairness I want all to know that Meine Rechtschreibung ist manchmal lousy. ;)

Living Water said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Becky Dietz said...

I couldn't get past you being Debbie.

Paul Burleson said...


I know I know. The improvement would be incredible. ;)

Aussie John said...

Paul (Debbie),

According to your photo?????

I have been following the real pretend story, and come to the conclusion that the pretense presented, is very much like politics, where untruths are acceptable when they further the cause of the individual, or the party.

But why should we be surprised? Are we joining in the pretense, by pretending that it isn't happening on a regular basis?

In my younger days, as I became more and more involved in denominational workings, I saw this kind of behavior, over and over again,on both sides of the Pacific Ocean.

The one entity on earth,that which professes to be the church, which by nature,should be absolutely transparently honest about its fallibility, seems to be dedicated to pretending its perfection.

Recently Roman Catholicism has been slated for losing its credibility. That is true for the church in general.

And we wonder why we are not taken seriously!

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

Interesting that you should say this..."I have been following the real pretend story, and come to the conclusion that the pretense presented, is very much like politics, where untruths are acceptable when they further the cause of the individual, or the party."

It is the phrase.. "is very much like politics" that struck me.

Mary and I were talking as we walked our miles this morning and she said it similarly when she commented how much like politics denominations have become..where the end DOES, it seems, justify the means and you and I both know THAT is diametrically opposed to what we believe is true.

When God wanted to use Moses the method or means Moses used was as important as the end God intended. Hence the slaying of an Egyptian called for the desert experience because God is more concerned with the man and method than He is the goal or end.

The desert is preferred to a lie in achieving a desired end. Not so it seems with politics or denominational entities.

By the way, all my friends have told me the name change would be desired and now you are saying a picture change would help my blog.

I think all of you might be right. ;)

Aussie John said...


I didn't make myself clear. I was merely meaning that the photo doesn't look much like a Debbie :)

Paul Burleson said...

Aussie J,

I knew what you meant and I put words in your mouth to make a funny. Several of my friends have been joking with me and I added you to that list. You are a friend but you had your own joke. I messed it up didn't I!! Sorry.

You made a great comment that I don't want anyone to miss in the fun.

Mark said...


What's so interesting is some who have objected to the real story have overlooked the very facts that made the story.

Another point that many missed is the apology that was up and now gone actually gave credence to the Muslim complaints. If the Muslim was wrong simply because he is Muslim then why apologize for *anything* the Muslim alleged? And finally, there was much the Muslim alleged that was not even touched.

What a timeline!

Mark, formerly of a MOrmOn sect. :)

traveller said...

Paul, your story makes its point quite well.

Aussie John, I appreciate your thoughts.

I live in a community with many young people. They are abandoning denominations of all kinds in huge numbers. Why? It is this very lack of transparency, love and how denominations have become "political". They, rightfully, are only interested in what it means to be a Jesus follower. They are also concerned that they will be corrupted and complacent as they grow older. Good sign in my view that perhaps they will not.

Frankly, I am right with them. If denominations cannot correct themselves they should be abandoned. God's work will continue as will his church, with or without, denominations. From what I can see the indicators are not good for denominational health.

Paul Burleson said...


Great points you've made.

And I Owe yOu. ;)


I've always said that denominations don't have to hurt you but can even be of help unless you put too much creedance or emphasis on them. Even the SBC. [I know technically the SBC isn't a denomination but just saying THAT doesn't keep people from making it one in practice.]

But I'm not sure they don't, in fact, hinder today in a fashion that makes them detrimental in the long run and I would the have to concur with this... "If denominations cannot correct themselves they should be abandoned."

Rex Ray said...

There was another Paul that said “Let’s pretend something’, but he used the words, “Suppose ye…” (Hebrews 10:29 KJ) and went on to say how horrible the punishment would be deserved for someone who had trampled on the Son of God, regarded as profane the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and insulted the Spirit of Grace.

Byron, you told Paul: “Excellent synopsis.”
I wanted to ask you: ‘A synopsis of what?’

With Paul saying that Wade Burleson was born of a Mormon father and a Methodist mother; born at one place but grew up at another; I first thought Paul was talking about Obama.

Then as his real life fell apart from his story, I thought Paul was talking about a high profile preacher that eventually had a great downfall caused by sin.

When ‘Debbie’ said, “I think I read that but went to read it again to make sure and found it was taken down”; I related to the real Wade Burleson removing all comments from his blog as I was in hot water and wanted to prove something and couldn’t.

Now I see the synopsis is narrowed down to Mormons, SBC, and denominations with the main thing on telling the truth whatever.

How’s this for truth in the concern of a Congressman worried if the island of Guam gets overpopulated if might tip-over and capsize. My congratulations to the ones that heard that concern in keeping a straight face.

Paul Burleson said...


I have a number of friends who would probably join you as people who don't know what I was really referring to. I say that's probably a very good thing.

Rex Ray said...

I’ll join you in being a good thing if it’s not reported to a few friends of the hot water I referred to that’s causing lose of sleep.

Jeff said...

How many times should one say they are sorry before Christians forgive....let's not pretend...let's just be biblical.

Paul Burleson said...


Thanks for stopping by. I TOTALLY agree with you. Let's be biblical.

First, Wade [our pretend guy] doesn't owe me an apology at all. He hasn't sinned against me personally so I have no need to forgive him anything.

Second, If he [Wade OPG] apologizes he is to be forgiven by those wronged. Those to whom he apologizes aren't even allowed by scripture to test his sincerity since 70 times seven for the same thing seems to write that privilage off.

Third, if and when this is done, [his apology] sincere repentence would not permit anger on his part if some fail to forgive or to doubt his sincerity. A broken heart in a person because of sin will keep them from then judging others for theirs in the same breath IMHO.

Fourth, if and when all this is experienced by him and those he's wronged, it will not erase the record of the events as a reminder to all of us of our possible failure of the same thing if we aren't careful in our own walk with the Lord.

All in all, a lot of things will result from this kind of thing being done but none of the things done need rob us of a genuine respect and love for him, you, me, or others. But that love does NOT demand a refusal to admit by all the actual reality of the facts. Love is not blind or less than honest with what I, you or others do.

I think that's being biblical.

Rex Ray said...

Being biblical, why did John the Baptist prohibit Pharisees from being baptized?

Didn’t baptism show repentance? What happened to the 70 times seven?

I believe John stood his ground in believing Pharisees were only making a show of their repentance.
Instead of sorrow for their sins – it was ‘Look at how ‘Christian we are’.

John told them: “Produce fruit consistent with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8.)

If a person has a nature of a sin over and over and when accused, would John want him to say?

'After I’ve stopped this sin for a period of time, I’ll ask you to forgive me.’

But using the 70 times 7 rule the person could say, ‘Will you forgive me?’ (see how Christian I am)

IMHO, the ‘monkey’ is transferred to the one that was wronged to start.