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tedmercer.blogspot.com — Post #3, 1954

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.

14 thoughts on “tedmercer.blogspot.com — Post #3, 1954

  1. Powerful stuff, and thanks for taking the time to locate as post all this stuff. Many of Mercer’s accusations sound all too familiar. At the very least, Sr. and Jr.’s diabolical slander and gossip-mongering, hidden behind their veil of supposed concern, smells like sulfur, not grace.

    I still wonder about Mercer a little bit, whether he has any other evidence for some of his accusations and whether he (understandably) got too carried away in his own crusade. But if Mercer is wrong about something, let the Administration, or someone else, come forward with *real evidence* and prove it. Somehow, I think the arrival of Godot is more likely.

    1. I *think* they would say that they did answer it in Turner’s chapter on the issue. Have you read it? It keeps the homosexual innuendo completely intact and simply on the level of innuendo. I find that deplorable, disappointing, and unprofessional.

      1. I did read the chapter on Turner’s book, which I found utterly non-responsive. Besides the innuendo of homosexual acts with students, Turner dismisses Mercer’s later letters by saying that if Mercer got his way, BJU would have been a more academic and less spiritual place.

        Even if there was evidence that Mercer was guilty of homosexuality (there isn’t), the Administration hasn’t offered much evidence that Mercer was lying about everything else.

  2. “So the question becomes why does BJU work so hard at proving that the alumni and faculty are irrelevant?”

    And they couldn’t figure out why, my senior year at BJ, I withdrew my membership from the alumni association! (In fact, they not only couldn’t figure it out, they called me into the Dean of Men’s office to make a “spiritual” issue out of it.)

    1. Oh, Will! Withdrawing your AA membership?! In the middle of the year?! Horrors! I mean, you might as well have drawn up a petition for better food in the Dining Common or grabbed a girl and had a make-out session in front of the Dean of Men’s office (or over BJSr’s grave!). You should have waited until the day before graduation so you didn’t have to deal with their antics… 🙂

      Camille — I learned very well from personal experience how the powers that be at BJU truly THRIVE on innuendo. It took a personal intervention from Dr. Gingery to get me a spot to sing in chapel as a senior voice major. Ironically enough, I had been bumped off the schedule my freshman year because an upperclassmen wanted to sing, so I didn’t catch the flack for singing one of your husband’s songs….

  3. Change the names and it could have been written in the 90’s. The practices are the same, the personalities not dissimilar enough.

    From Alice’s letter, this statement sums things up pretty well: “Your definition of loyalty is different in that it does not admit of any difference of opinion or real acknowledgment of imperfections…”

  4. Wow. I guess being a member of the alumni association is good for nothing more than the hotel discounts. I guess all of this alumni networking stuff that the university has been working on is purely cosmetic. I wonder if they lie about the membership numbers…

  5. You have worked diligently to bring up past injustices (if Mercer is to be believed), but for what edifying reason? You fail to question if Mercer used hyperbole or innuendo in his statements, but you have done so in your posts. You have not shown charity to those currently associated with BJU by assuming that they would be dismissive of evidence. And you have linked to a site that makes belittles other believers (even if they are wrong in many areas).
    So, enough of my thoughts. In what way are your actions and content “good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear?” (Eph 4:29)
    A humble reading of Proverbs 6 might be in order. And for the record, I don’t work at BJU nor do I attend a IFB church.

  6. Yes, Jackson. That is the standard response within a certain ethic that automatically defers to authority. “How could you?” “Why would you say such things?”

    At the root of that is a misunderstanding of the nature of sin. None of us edifies by covering up past sins. That is a pagan practice, not Christian. We Christians know that by exposing our sins, Christ is honored.

    I know “those currently associated with BJU” are “dismissive of evidence.” Dan Turner’s book proves that.

    We build up the Church by foregrounding where our true Strength lies. And it’s not in protecting the Powerful.

    1. I love the verse : “The Meek shall inherit the Earth.” my addition a la opinion: “And NOT the bullies!” Having read Ted Mercer’s ‘letter story’ twice already, I cannot forget the admirable calibre of this man’s character that I read about. The thought has come to me several times, that ‘a student scholarship in his name’ would be so appropriate. And if someone started one, I would want to be ‘first in line’ to donate. Pretty good for a Catholic! The low level of ‘character assasination’ and ‘reputation theft’ by the first two Bobs, in the early fifties, is so despicable and profane, that the unGodly behavior of these two dreadful men, should ‘rock any reasonable christian’s soul!’ Yet we still hear the lame comments suggesting that, the Two Bobs of fifty two, should be give ‘the benefit of the doubt?” They fire a ‘right hand man’ who had a wife and a new baby son to support, spreads a poisonous villification of lies all over the campus about Mercer, and people today still play the ‘benefit of the doubt’ pet rag mantra, of ‘making excuses for the Jones’ despicable sins?’ If Ted Mercer had taken Jones boys to court, and sued both of them for libel, that would have brought reproach to Christ, the Gospel, and to the good, remaining faculty at BJU. Such a cuort case could have unleashed a terrible witch hunt of backlash against any numbr of faculty members.Bob Sr. and Jr. wer so paranoid of ‘losing control’ over people’s lives, that their emotions and thinking became ‘out of control.’ Their behaviour became so imulsive, soirrational, that I don’t believe ‘any’ faculty members’ woulf have felt ‘safe’ alone in their company. After learning of Ted Mercer’s good character,from reading the Ted Mercer story,I ralize that he was not that kind of christian, who would take a secular route to get even or punish his former employers by intentially humiliating them. The Holy Spirit exposes sin for the purpose ofretsration. The evil one exposes sin for the urpose ofdestruction. The first two Bobs, basically ‘shot themselves in the foot’ by acting like they did.They sabotaged their insitution’s reputation, by ‘not giving a damn’ about ‘how’ they treated their employees. Chrostian employees looked down upon and treated like religious slaves, is a recipe for dosastor. And the proff in the udding was, that seventy faculty members quit, resigned, left their employ from ‘the same insititution’, all for the same reason. The atmosphere, environment, working cpndition, and the two ‘crazies’ in the ‘ the Bobs’menace – office’, made working their ‘unbearable’! A major turnover in staff from one institution tells a very embarassing story that the very people who ‘directly caused’ good faculty members to leave, those two Bobs, who blatantly sinned against good people, they ‘earned’ the bad reputation that the insitution has had ‘ever since’! ‘something was rotten in Denmark’ and ‘it sure wasn’t cheese!’ Ted Mercer never sinned against students, faculty, or employer. He did the right thing in exposing the details and the things dsaid and done, during those terrible years, and his last days there. In those days, there were no laws against office or insitutional bullying. So he could not rely on protection by laws that didn’t exist. And still don’t exist to this day. I highly recommend throughoy reading the Ted Mercer story letters, for anyone who hasn’t read them yet. The ohrase, ‘keep a record of everything’ necessary for employees to protect themslves from ‘false accusation’ in the case when they ‘may need to take a grievance’ to a union, or to someone in higher command, teachers and principle need to do that, to protect rhemslves from attack from superintendents and parents. who was there to protect Ted Mercer, when he came under attack? No one but God. A late minister of mine, once taight that, there are times when, we will need to take a stand on somethig, and no one will be there to stand ‘with us’ but Jesus. and it will be just us standing alone with Jesus, who will get us through the particular crisis. I’ve ben there in such situation, when it was just me and Jesus. i took a stand, I did not back down, and I protected my integrity by ‘not caving in to outside pressure.’ sin is sin. it is not alright. Sin needs to e exposed. but in a godly and doscreet manner. never to destoy people, but to either protect people, and if possible, to restore sinners to godliness and righteousness. In cacses where church leaders refuse to repent when confronted, if their sons end up on the front pages of the newspaper, such people have no one to fault but themselves. Repent now and pray, or reulse to repent now and pay later. Sin has consequences. I do not believe I have read about, heard about, or seen, the slightest evidence of any of the three Bobs or puppet son Stephen, ‘ever repenting anything’. They think and believe that they are ‘so pure in their pathetically superior doctrine’ that they cannot possiby do anything wrong! Such superior attitudes and false beliefs are deception of the worst kind. “God resists the proud. But gives Grace to the humble.”

  7. I don’t want to come across as ignorant, but which Dan Turner are you talking about? What book did he write that talked about Ted Mercer?

  8. Before I listen to the ‘sad swan song sermon’ of Bob Jr., I re- read the beginning pages of The Ted mercer Story ‘again,’ last night and today. I wanted to get a clearer picture, if such is possible, about ‘which Bob’ was the ring -leader and worst perpetrator / instigator, in the ‘get Ted Mercer’ fiasco of 1952? It looks like Sr. was guilty by starting the attack on Mercer. But because Jr went along with dad like he did, I wonder ‘how guilty’ jr. actually ‘was’ as in guilty by collusion, by ‘going along’ with what dad and his henchmen / enforcers, ‘demanded’ be done to Ted Mercer? The reason I look at this, is because, I wonder if Jr., at any time over the 45 years since it happened, ever thought about his dad’s deplorable treatment of Mercer and other faculty staff, that took place back in the early fifties? If Jr. ever let any guilt pangs about it, prompt him to ‘say sorry to God,’ for how he went along with his father, that caused so much hurt to Ted Mercer and Ted’s wife? If some of that past unacknowledged shocking treatment of the faculty, back in the fifties, ever came back to ‘haunt’ Jr. in his final years and months of his life? Like the protestant doctrines of eternal security and faith alone without works of obedience to Jesus commandments, as false security comforting they may have been for Jr’s lifetime, would not be of much spiritual comfort to a man who had a guilty conscience, especially when the man knew his ‘time was up.’ I think this is the first time I think I have ever felt any compassion for Jr., after reading about the post re this thought to be ‘last sermon.’ I have a hunch, from what I have read about Sr., that, Sr. may have been ‘the worst of the three bobs.’ I just attended a memorial private service gathering, late Tuesday afternoon, for a recently passed away very loving teacher. And there was a heart breakingly sad death by drowning accident, of a wonderful young man,husband and father, age 32, whose funeral was Monday, which I was too much of a coward to attend , as to be there grieving with the congregation, about the loss of one;s child, was more than I could handle. I think I will wait until I feel less vulnerable to listen to Bob Jr’s sermon. But it is very interesting to post such a thing. Makes us think about the priceless value of life, the precious time God gives us, and the importance of respect for the soul of one who has gone. I’ll post a comment aftesr I listen to the sermon. By the way, does anyone know how Bob the 3 rd. is doing health wise?

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