This letter is taken from the Second Quarter 2002 newsletter. The writer refers to the letter from Elder Paulsen in the link above.
Dale Martin writes (in part): [regarding Elder Paulsen's letter - see our last newsletter] I have heard many people speak highly of Dr. Paulsen, and I am surprised and saddened that he apparently chooses darkness over light in this matter. It appears that rather than to get to the bottom of the story and learn the truth, he would rather keep truth in the dark and hope that the entire episode will quietly go away.
If half of all that I have read is true concerning the "Dennis" affair, I think the man has been treated extremely shabby. If Dr. Paulsen is the man of character and man of God that he should be, he should be happy to let the truth come out. Doesn't he know that it will one day anyway? Perhaps he underestimates the stamina and perseverance of the laity, and just as David grew weary, is banking that the majority of the laity don't know and won't care about this and the issue will slowly fade way.
Looking at it from Paulsen's side of the table, I have tried to find valid reasons why he would be reluctant to appoint this talked about "Blue Ribbon Committee". Let see, now..... we (as a church body) have spent untold thousands (anyone know how much?), to keep this lawsuit from the courts. This must have been something really important to spend all this money just to keep 12 honest men from hearing David Dennis's story. Now we won't spend just a little bit more time and money to get to the truth? Now, he says that investigating Dennis's story and getting to the truth will do more harm than good and detract from our mission? Getting to the truth will do more harm? I ask, to whom will the truth harm? Dr. Paulsen, you should try to understand that the members in our church know we are not led by saints. Getting to the truth will do nothing less than to begin to restore confidence amongst the members. Hiding the truth is what makes us question.
Since I have only been exposed to what Dennis and his supporters say, it is quiet possible I do not have the whole story and do not know the truth. To correct this, I would welcome an honest inquiry into the matter and can’t see how the entire cost would take much more than a few thousand dollars for travel. There would, most likely, even be some "seekers of the truth" willing to serve at their own expense. If the findings of this committee were to show that what happened to Dennis was the result of a few "not so good" men, the truth should come out. If it was found that he was fired and unfairly treated by his church without good cause, then it is real simple. The wrong must and should be recognized and to the degree possible corrected. Of course, nothing can or could be done to undo the harm to this man and his family.
"Coming clean" should have some very positive results. If an unbiased inquiry were to show that Dennis was railroaded, not only would a good man’s reputation be restored, but this could stimulate some long overdue changes in the way our church operates. Right now, it appears to me that our church is structured where one man has too much autocratic power and control over committees and jobs. We need leaders that are more accountable to the laity. Sadly, it appears that our church has been moving the opposite direction with leaders accountable to other leaders. This Dennis story seems to underline that point to me.
Dr. Paulsen, right now it appears that you are the man where the buck stops in our church. I would ask that you pray again about this matter. Then use the power that you have to establish an unbiased and independent committee of laymen to investigate the charges made by David Dennis. If the church has made a mistake and unjustly persecuted this man, it should be publicly acknowledged and somehow made right. There is far more shame in hiding the truth than in admitting the mistake. It appears that you have the unique opportunity to begin the restoration of one man's reputation and bind him and his family again to our church, while at the same time begin the restoration and confidence of many laymen in the organization of our church and leaders.
And you Dr. Paulsen, apparently have the power to do that at you fingertips. I will be praying that you seek God's will in your decision.
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Thanks for expressing your concerns. Just two comments. First, the guesses that I have heard of the cost to the conference of preventing the Dennis lawsuit to from going to trial have been in the millions. This is another example of information to which church members should have access. Second, members must be careful about an independent investigation if the GC were to surprise us and actually initiate such a study. We must look to see how independent it really is. It would be clearly possible to form a panel of people who already have their minds made up that Dennis was guilty, that his charges were invalid and that all is well. If the same panel that originally ousted him were given the task of judging his charges, one could be afraid that the outcome would be fairly predictable.