Extraordinary Hoaxes – William E. Wallace

William E. Wallace

A recent book by Quentin Reynolds tells a story, an extraordinary story, of the captivity and torment of a British Intelligence Service man at the hands of the Gestapo during World War II in Europe. I read a condensation of the book and was deeply impressed. I lay awake the night after and pitied the poor fellow and marveled at his being alive and in good health now. The story entitled The Man Who Wouldn’t Talk portrayed the height of endurance of one who suffered the greatest of torture. Indeed it is a story that brings to one’s mind awe, fear, and sadness. Yes, I was deeply affected by the story, told as fact.

But now it is revealed that The Man Who Wouldn’t Talk was an “Extraordinary Literary Hoax” deceiving Mr. Reynolds, and numerous editors who personally interviewed the individual who told the story. This character had duped his friends, his employers, all of his associates. He had made speeches telling the story. It appears that there was no monetary interest involved in this great lie, nevertheless, it was a lie. I was took by the story and I will not admit to being the most gullible individual in the world. And now that I have been enlightened in reference to the veracity of this tale, I am inspired to parallel this situation with similar circumstances in the religious world.

There was Mrs. Ellen G. White whose imaginary or non-existent visions are still proclaimed as actual true phenomena. Yes, Ellen went to heaven and obtained information to the effect that the sabbath day was still to be kept by children of God. Did people believe it? Yeah, and they still do, almost a million deceived folk who call themselves Seventh-Day Adventists. And of course Old Joe “Imposter” Smith had several visits from an angel called Moroni and by special instruction of God he dug up some brass plates on the little knoll over in New York State. Translating these plates (by some extra-ordinary unique power from God) Old Joe gave to the world a complete new revelation from God that supersedes all other. Anybody believe it? Yep, a whole gang of folks called Mormons. What happened to those plates? Oh, just a few select individuals viewed them before God saw fit to remove them from human observation.

Again, we see this deception of the masses resulting in the tales of Mrs. Mary Baker Eddy. Honest or dishonest? If she was honest she was a freak. If she was dishonest, she was what? Well, she had special revelations from above giving her the correct information about the devil, angels, sin, evil, disease, hell, et cetera — there ain’t none! It’s all in your mind. Anybody with good sense accept the theory? Yes sir, quite a bunch of high class folk follow her “revelations” and call themselves Christians—Christian Scientists!

Many others, masters of the art of duping the masses, have founded devil inspired religious organizations. There was Emmanuel Swedenborg of Sweden who declared: “I have been called to a Holy Office by the Lord himself, who most mercifully appeared to me, his servant in the year 1743 when he opened my sight unto the spiritual world and enabled me to converse with spirits and angels.” Anna Lee and Mrs. Ivanna Southcott were other deceivers of noteworthy deception and space forbids that we mention the many other prominent religious deceivers. Among the more insignificant ones are those one-horse, off-brand Baptist and Holiness preachers who control the thoughts of smaller groups with their tales of dreams, revelations and visions. Why, with the character and nature of these deceivers one could originate a cult of Sycamore Tree Climbers (Luke 19:4) or a Hospitality House Haloes patterned from Brother Simon A. Tanner (Acts 9:43), or in the case of some involved in these brotherhood squabbles: The Tinkling Cymbalites (1 Cor. 13A).

Woe unto these rascals and idiosyncrasies! “Beware of false prophets…there shall arise false Christs and false prophets…believe not every spirit, but try the spirits…because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (Matt. 7:15; 24:24; 1 John 4:1). They shall have their reward.

And in the meantime, church members, let us not be deceived by those among us who would gradually lead us away from conformity to the divine pattern. They may not be rascals or freaks (?) but the effects of their work will result in the same fate of that of any religious error.

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Author: Editor

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