This would be Ted Mercer’s final post to his blog (if he had one in the 1950s). But, of course, the story continues without him.
In his final “post,” Mercer is plainly exasperated. Bob Jones Sr. has called him more than just “inefficient” and “disloyal,” more than just “criminally insane” and “demon possessed.” In numerous private conversations with students, alumni, staff, and constituency, Jones has called Mercer a homosexual. And in this document, Mercer is trying to set the record straight (pun intended).
It’s hard to imagine the weight of this accusation today. I’m not going to deconstruct it anymore than to say that Jones’ “poisoning the well” for Mercer’s reputation is despicable and shameful.
A few people to note:
- Mr. James H. Price was “a member of the executive committee” and “attorney for Dr. Jones [Sr.].” He still resides in Greenville, and his son is a local attorney.
- Mrs. Keefer, Dean Keefer’s wife, worked at the Dining Common.
- Glen Lockwood told Mercer the exact numbers of enrollment (in contrast to the published numbers in the Sword) and was subsequently expelled for “[supplying] information to an enemy of the institution” (20). I believe he’s preached recently at Reformed Presbyterian Church, Southside in Indianapolis.
- Another faculty member is mentioned as resigning — Mr. Warwick.
- Matt and Millie Weld resigned because of BJSr.’s accusations against Mercer.
Alice Mercer, Ted Mercer’s wife, provides an honest and shoot-from-the-hip rebuke of Jones Sr. She clarifies what have been only fuzzy glimpses of the Family for those of us who followed her.
- She describes the more Pentecostal ethic in BJSr. with his “biblical discernment of spirits and of character” claim degenerating into a simple and blatant accusation of his argumentative opponents.
- She points up the double-standard on the “beverage use of alcohol” among the administrators — specifically that “little bottle” that BJSr. “[carries] around and take[s] sips from” (14).
- She draws the obvious connection (for the times) between BJU and the USSR.
Ted Mercer’s most startling and eerily-resonant statement in the whole document:
Your failure as individuals to support what I and hundreds of others believe is a reasonable request (for Dr. Jones to retract and apologize or to grant an open hearing to determine the guilty ones in this controversy) will only serve to prolong and intensify the controversy. The alumni have spoken. I have more than a thousand letters which the Board may inspect under the conditions of a hearing. These tell abundantly what many alumni think about these matters (5).
This explains much of the BJU official reaction to the Please-Reconcile movement a year ago. It was completely an alumni-driven effort to coax BJU to apologize for what was clearly institutional racism. While BJU did apologize, their spokesman, Gary Weier, went to great pains to explain that the alumni had nothing to do with their statement. No one, of course, believed him. So the question becomes why does BJU work so hard at proving that the alumni and faculty are irrelevant?
Habit may be one explanation.