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Unauthorized History of 3ABN

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Daryl Fawcett:
The Shelton Gang rides again... Part 2, life in "Little Egypt"


They call Southern Illinois Little Egypt for one of two reasons: either because it's fertile, a land of milk and honey for those running from the Reconstruction South, or because it's a locust-ridden, gaunt-cow wasteland to Chicago politicians annoyed at how backward the bottom of their state is. It all depends on who you want to side with, which is often the case with most things in this life.

For a poor boy, the son of migrant workers, born and raised in "Little Egypt", the opinion of the Chicago politicians seems to best fit the early years of little Danny Lee Shelton. But for Danny Shelton, president of Three Angels Broadcasting Network, Southern Illinois has become like it's ancient predecessor Egypt was for the brothers of Joseph, when their father was united with his lost son, "a land of milk and honey".

How did this boy from so humble a background, forget his own roots and, after he had obtained more material blessing then he could have ever imagined and have so many of his boyhood dreams come true, treat his workers like the English lords treated their lowly serfs in the middle ages? Why? And are all the workers treated equally? The answer to the last question is, "No!"

Now we don't want to forget about Danny's personal corporate jet, the cost of the fuel, airport taxes, hanger space and the salary of two jet pilots (of whom Danny is very proud because they flew missions in Desert Storm) and the tremendous cost footed for this by the ministry---we should just be happy that he hasn't hired a stewardess. But for awhile lets go away from Danny's personal perks and see what kind of perks he gives his friends.

Not everyone has a sacrificial salary at 3ABN, one example is the chief engineer—he makes $75,000+ a year. Now, I will not argue that he has an important job, but is it worth anywhere from three to (in many cases) five times what other workers are making?

And what about the head of the music studio, in addition to a good salary there is a beautiful apartment that she helped decorate for which no rent is paid and it is far above the standard of the average worker in southern Illinois. And there are the many vacations that she and her husband accompanied Danny and Linda on over the years. Like some other key personnel at 3ABN she and her husband are not SDAs and have no interest in becoming so. Perhaps it is from their long close association with Danny over many years and what they have observed as his example of what it means to be a Seventh-day Adventist and the head of a ministry. These are just two examples, there are many more...but you get the idea.

In the early twenties, southern Illinois was also called Little Hell because of the Klan, the gangsters and the prostitutes. You can go down the road a ways from 3ABN and come to the town of Benton, there is a museum there and on the outside of the building is a life-size gallows with the hangman's noose still standing ready for service. Fortunately, it is just part of the museum and no longer in use.

When the notorious gangland crime boss, Al Capone went to prison it was not for racketeering, but for tax evasion. Elliot Ness and his force of G-Men were unable to make any of the charges stick to Capone. The witnesses disappeared or remained silent—Capone had his hold on them. It took many years for this kingpin of crime to receive what he deserved, but in the end justice was served.

What was the downfall of gangland Chicago, could pull another "boss" from his throne way down in "Little Egypt". Which would only go to prove what the politicians in Chicago were annoyed with all along, "how backward the bottom of their state really is."

Stay turned for the next episode of CSI:Illinois...

Daryl Fawcett:
The Parable of "the high road and the low road"...

 In disappointment he realize that his former classmate from Emmanuel Missionary College did not share his convictions. For Walt Thompson believed Danny when he said that if he, Danny, were to admit his fault it would damage the reputation of 3ABN. So, Walt was willing to spread Danny's fictitious stories to save Danny's reputation. [/quote]

Just a slight correction. My major professor said so often, There is no substitute for accuracy.

Walt was at the college at the same time as I was there. We were not classmates. My brother-in-law was his classmate all through Wisconsin Academy and Emmanuel Missionary College, so they knew each other for many years.

Daryl Fawcett:
A Teaser or Previews of Coming Attractions...

It has been said "that it is impossible to know the players without a score card". Is that really true? Or just another device to increase program sales as spectators enter the arena? Well, "you pays your monies and you takes your chances"...

THE PLAYERS:

Danny Lee Shelton
Position: Always #1 in his book

Don't get in the way of his spotlight, you are likely to disappear: ask Kenny or Linda.

Molly Sue Steenson
#2 and gaining ground quickly

Over the years speculation in the Shelton clan has run high concerning the hold that Molly has over Danny. She is ever his "oracle of truth". Molly/Truth? That has the distinct scent of an oxymoron.

Hal Steenson
#3 and holding tight on Molly's coat tails, as long as he can remain publicly sober

Hal is a very charismatic preacher, he can hold a congregation in his hand and skillfully maneuver them into turning cartwheels as he charms them with his "good old boy" southern humor and homespun wisdom. His current assignment? Proclaiming the "godly" character of Danny Shelton. Like a master magician, Hal's verbal sight of hand is so persuasive that I almost believe him... Fortunately, I've seen what lies behind the smoke and mirrors.

Dr. Walt Thompson
3ABN Defender, twisting the truth, as long as it is for the "good of the ministry"

His most current letter, posted in another thread on BSDA, is graded USDA Prime Pork. If twisting does not suffice, than spreading Danny's falsehoods, "to save the ministry" is no longer a breach of his conscience.


As every basketball afficionado knows, there are always five players in the starting lineup. So who else will show up on center court?

Stay tuned...

Daryl Fawcett:
I'm leavin' on a jet plane, or "it's just nickle and dime stuff..."

On a pristine day in the southern part of Illinois a "baby jet" rolls onto the tarmac. As it glistens in the morning sun, fuel gauges indicate the tanks are full. The flight plan has been logged, before exiting the hanger in Marion, Illinois. This six seat baby taxis down the runway, with a roar of it's jet engines the pilot achieves lift off with his co-pilot seated at his side.

The destination? On this trip, another 3ABN beg-a-thon—oh excuse my French, that's what it's referred to when donations are sought out by other televangelists. When the source is a live 3ABN Sabbath telecast (SDA prime time), from an Adventist church, it is a "Rally". No matter what language it is framed in, it still remains nothing more than the mind set that changed a garbage man into a Sanitary Engineer. Either way it is expressed, at the end of the day he still hauls the same garbage.

The purpose? To separate donors from their hard earned cash. Conservatively estimating between one to one and a half million dollars a year to keep a private jet, with all its peripherals costs, standing ready in a hanger in southern Illinois, it takes more than some loose change jingling in a few people's pockets to pay for Danny's comfort and convenience. That definitely is not chump change. Are the personal flights, from which Danny, his friends and relatives have greatly benefitted, a compensation for no longer racking up all those frequent flyers miles earned through utilizing commercial airlines?

This brings to mind a biblical object lesson from the ministry of Jesus, Matthew 21:12, 13. Recapping this familiar narration, the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem has come to pass, then Jesus entered the temple of God. He drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple and said, "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves".

Wait a minute...applying that example to Danny publishing his own books and after receiving his royalties and paying for the cost of printing, marking up the price 200-400% ,before selling it to his own ministry, then generously making it the free weekly offer, is a more appropriate application. Just imagine multiplying that scenario by over five million times and you have the free pamphlets that 3ABN is giving away to be distributed for 10 Commandments Day. In addition to that, Danny has petitioned the viewers to send in their donations to pay for the printing costs. And all the churches have to pay is the cost of shipping. An easy way to feather a nest, if you can ignore your conscience.

I have heard it said in T'ville that there are some good old boys who feel a mite uncomfortable these days standing too close to Danny during a thunder storm. The bolder among them have weighed the odds, and quietly ease back and look up. You never know when a bolt of lighting from Heaven might strike. As I look out of my window, is that a thunder head forming on the horizon slowly moving in the direction of 3ABN? A jagged bolt of lighting streaks across the sky, as the clouds begin to darken, I start that age old count down, while waiting for the clap of thunder, one-one thousand...two-one thousand...

To be continued...

Daryl Fawcett:
Takin' care of business...

Leaving the bright Illinois sunshine behind, entering a corridor, my pupils fully dilate attempting to gather all the available light. Making my way into a cavernous expanse, the echo of my athletic shoes as they slap against the well polished floor, reverberate off a distant wall. The sound of a hand striking against a bank of switches signals the immediate blaze of lights that now illuminate the space before me. Instinctively, I turn my head and my hand springs up to shade my eyes, resting on the brim of my baseball cap. The thump of the basketball accompanies me as I dribble over to the free throw line. I stop. Turning my back to the basket, I raise the ball. In a split second it leaps backward over my head through the air, like a tiger springing for it's prey. A hush falls over the crowd that has gathered, the air is thick with anticipation. Contact! The ball bounces off the backboard echoing through the hushed gym, circling the rim it falls neatly through the net. The previous silence, so thick that you could cut it with a knife, erupts with astonishment as the crowd that has assembled in the basketball court at 3ABN witness "the miracle shot". But this is not my story, it is not I who stands poised at the free throw line. That place is reserved for Danny Shelton.

For a brief moment that particular impression of Danny traces a line across my memories. As I think back over the years at 3ABN, I must admit, it is a truly amazing shot. On how many occasions have I had the opportunity to witness this exhibition of basketball prowess; sometimes successfully executed, sometime not? More than I care to number... A singular thought begins to worm it way up into the foreground of my mind: just how much time has Danny invested endeavoring to perfect this feat of basketball artistry?

Question:
When Danny is occupied on his basketball court and at a myriad of other equally "important" activities that keep him from his office, who does the actual taking care of business at 3ABN?
Answer:
Molly Steenson.

If a bolt of lighting made a direct strike on Danny Shelton, leading to his immediate demise, very little would change in the administrative offices of 3ABN. Of course someone else would have to sign all the documents that lay waiting on Danny's desk, but, if like Danny they only sign the contracts and not read them, that is less than an additional hours work each week. Molly would to continue running the business of 3ABN, as she has done for many years. First as Danny's secretary, now as General Manager and Board member of 3ABN. Many of her responsibilities would not change, only the perks and the title. Hal and Molly Steenson could comfortably slide into the position that Danny currently occupies...at a moments notice.

Even as we speak, preparation is being made for this eventuality. And Danny has played right into Molly's hands. As Hal has often quoted Molly, "Make sure you have them smiling before you hit them in the mouth, that way you won't bruise their lips". Then Hal laughs and the congregation joins in with him. Around T'ville this only produces an uncomfortable silence, too many workers have been on the receiving end, by making the mistake of crossing Molly or getting in the way of something she wants. Ask Linda Shelton, I am sure she has realized the part that Molly played in her dismissal from 3ABN. Danny has been smiling and trusting in Molly for many years. Sister White has warned us about leaning too heavily upon the arm of flesh, but unfortunately for Danny, he is not a reader.

The major difference between Danny and Linda situations, is the lack of need for any trumped up accusations or other subterfuge to remove him from the throne of power. All it will take is no more secrets. And Molly holds the key to this Pandora's box. Unfortunately, for the ministry of 3ABN, exchanging Danny for Molly would be like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire.

Come with me behind the scenes at 3ABN and watch some of the preparations as they unfold: Hal has already published his first book, promoted by the ministry. Both Molly and Hal are logging in more on air time and becoming familiar faces to the viewers. Danny has touted Molly publically and in 3ABN publications as a woman of integrity...Molly/integrity? Around the water cooler that is definitely an oxymoron. Molly and Hal's attendance as featured speakers is steadily increasing at 3ABN Rallies. Both are accomplished orators. After spending the last two years being subjected to Danny's repetitious and clumsy attempts at homiletics, too often laced with his emotional venting; is crushingly evident, that he pales in comparison with Hal Steenson's masterful precision in skillfully holding an audience. As Hal demonstrates his verbal charisma, boasting a combination of homespun wisdom, good old southern boy humor and Biblical expertise, Danny has indisputably been outclassed.

Perhaps Danny should wake up, smell the coffee and start reading the writing on the wall, before he finds someone else raising "his baby". Of course, materially he would definitely leave as a wealthy man, all his financial needs provided for life, but like Samson when his hair was shorn, he would loose all of his power and influence. Power and influence are an addictive combination, dangerous as mixing certain prescription medications and alcohol, with the results being just as lethal. As in the case of Samson, the only cure was a true heartrending repentance and humbling of character. Should Danny choose to follow the road of redemption, he would still have to reap the consequences of his actions, but the angels in Heaven would be rejoicing over another sinner saved. (According to some members of the Shelton clan, if that event were ever to occur, it would be the real miracle story of 3ABN.)

To be continued...

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