AOH :: LARSON1.TXT|
A letter to Christianity Today on Bob "Send Money" Larson
From: "Scott.Mikusko" <21922SM@msu.edu>
Subject: Bob Larson - Smith's _CT_ letter
Date: Thu Sep 23 05:27:05 1993
The following is a letter sent to the editor of _Christianty Today_
regarding the Bob Larson controversy. In it are comments pertaining
to CT's previous printing of a story that more or less defended
Larson, even after _World_ and _Cornerstone_ magazines ran critical
articles on BLM and Bob.
----------( Forwarded letter 1 follows )---------------------------------------
Date: Saturday, 11 September 1993 12:19pm ET
Topic: Christianity Today L
CHRISTIAN PRESS REPORT - AN ELECTRONIC NEWSPAPER
~ Ken Smith's Open Letter To "Christianity Today"
May 20, 1993
The wicked man flees though no one pursues,
but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
-- Prov. 28:1
Mr. David Neff, Managing Editor
465 Gunderson Dr.
Carol Stream, IL 60188
Re: "Bob on the Block"
Dear Mr. Neff:
I respectfully submit the following statement for publication in
your magazine -- with the proviso that it be printed in its entirety,
and afforded exposure similar to that of the aforementioned article.
Moreover, it is not to be edited without my express written approval.
Considering that CT "quoted" me without ever bothering to conduct an
interview, I am certain that you will understand when I say that I am
not overly impressed with the competence of your editorial staff.
As you have indicated that Mr. Morgan left you "with the impression
that he had interviewed [me]," I will, for the moment, assume that he
was acting on his own, and that you are indeed committed to reporting
the facts (and saving CT's reputation). Hence, you should be willing
to do whatever it takes to redeem yourselves, and I fully expect that
you will afford me total and complete cooperation. But you ought not
forget that I will be making this information widely available within
the evangelical community; the eyes of Christendom are upon you.
Please be apprised that I will also send copies of this letter and
the supporting documentation to the _Washington Post_, _New York
Times_, _Los Angeles Times_, _Dallas Morning News_, and _60 Minutes_
... not to mention _Cornerstone_ and _World magazines_.
CT on the Block?
CHRISTIANITY TODAY. Founded by Billy Graham. Nurtured by the likes
of Harold Lindsell and Carl Henry. For decades, the name was
synonymous with journalistic integrity.
My, but how the mighty have fallen!
When I brought the Bob Larson story to _CT_ in July of 1992, the
evidence indicated three points of serious concern: Larson did not
write "his" best-selling novel, _Dead Air_; he was getting an
exorbitant compensation package from the Ministry, and he was grossly
misrepresenting the Ministry's financial needs. Still, despite the
fact that two Christian journalists checked my findings
independently, Tim Morgan's article, "Bob on the Block," scarcely
even alluded to them. Further more, Morgan steadfastly refused to
interview anyone with information which would be construed as harmful
to Larson. To say that Morgan performed a 'whitewash job' on Larson
would be a colossal understatement. But did he do so of his own
volition ... or was he _specifically_ ordered to write a pro-Larson
piece? That is the question which _CT_ must now answer.
Without question, the most glaring miscue in the CT article was its
blithe dismissal of Lori Boespflug's claim to the authorship of
"Larson's" best-selling novel, _Dead Air_. As _World_ and
_Cornerstone_ magazines both duly noted, it was buttressed by
a wealth of documentary evidence, including a letter from Larson's
own attorney. What's more, Larson authenticated that letter himself
... by claiming it was "stolen." After all, if he HAD written
_Dead Air_, that letter never should have been written in the first
place, and thus, could not possibly have been stolen. Hence, by
definition, Larson has to be lying about something, and any cub
reporter with the intelligence of a common garden implement should
have been able to recognize it. As such, it seems utterly
inconceivable that a respected senior reporter like Morgan could have
overlooked it. And even if, perchance, Morgan was unable to
recognize that fact on his own, it was spelled out for him in graphic
detail in my pamphlet, _The Two Faces of Bob_.
Although I would have preferred not to mention it, there is a
salacious aspect to this story which, in light of Larson's allegations
of sexual improprieties on Boespflug's part, must come to light.
While it is true that she was fired for living with a man, as the
following excerpts from an "employment contract" signed by both her
and Larson suggests, there was more to her dismissal than met the
MEMO TO: BOB LARSON
FROM: LORI BOESPFLUG
RE: EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT
It is my understanding at this date, that to remain employed
with Bob Larson Ministries that the following conditions be in
1. My cellular car phone be returned to the organization, and
I no longer retain sole usage. I also understand that any
phonecalls made to 469-**** are to be reimbursed by me as
personal calls, misusing organizational property.
5. All gifts and items of any merit or value [including, among
other things, a diamond frog broach valued at $2,800  that
you have extended to me for any reason have been returned to you
as of this date.
6. I will cease any outside friendship and/or contact with the
man that installed my carpeting [whose number, incidentally, is
listed in Paragraph 1 of said Agreement], due to the
confidentiality and secure nature of my job should my position
be re-instated [sic]."
That document, in confluence with others which _CT_ has had in its'
possession for roughly nine months, exposes a multitude of Larson's
sins. First, it is clear from Boespflug's stellar personnel
reviews and prodigious salary increases that Larson was
ecstatic with her job performance. Second, the 'business reason'
given in the contract for the need for her to break off the
relationship is facially ludicrous. There is thus only one
plausible explanation for those peculiar provisions: Larson was
hopelessly infatuated with her ... and insanely jealous, to boot.
According to Boespflug, Larson continued to insinuate himself into
her life ... writing passionate love sonnets, and calling her at all
hours to make certain that she wasn't seeing anyone else. He tailed
her to various and sundry locations, and even tracked her down at her
daughter's dance recital. There, he fired her -- in full public view
-- on a Saturday night. He called her a slut, a whore, and otherwise
totally humiliated her.
Even though I originally brought the story to _CT_, I was not
treated with any more courtesy. In fact, when I heard that CT was to
interview Larson, I called managing editor David Neff, asking to be
inter viewed. Shortly thereafter, I sent a letter to Neff,
insisting to have such an opportunity. Still, my polite
requests and veiled threats fell on deaf ears -- as did those of
Christian talk-show host John Stewart, who is known for,
among other accomplishments, his role in the expose of Jim Bakker.
It is difficult to imagine how any objective reporter could even
begin to be so obtuse.
The defamatory assault that Morgan perpetrated on my character was
more subtle than that on Ms. Boespflug, but it was effective. You
will note that unlike other individuals mentioned in the article, CT
neglected to list my credentials: I am a certified public accountant,
with some eight years' experience and a master's degree in taxation,
and thus am well qualified to render an opinion as to Larson's finan
cial situation. But by calling me a "Denver-area resident [who has]
made it his avocation to distribute material critical of Larson,"
Morgan makes it appear as though I am an ignorant stevedore with some
kind of mindless vendetta against him.
To correct _CT_'s litany of blatant misrepresentations would
require more space than their editorial staff has the courage to
grant. But suffice it to say that while Larson did not receive a
salary from his ministry during the early 1980's, the evidence
suggests strongly that he was quite well-compensated for his time.
For instance, he bought the building the Ministry currently occupies
from one David Kramer on October 2, 1985 for $1,415,000, and,
on December 31, 1986, he sold it to the Ministry for $1,800,000.
In less than 15 months, Larson earned a tidy profit of $385,000 ...
quite astounding, given the fact that the Denver real estate market
was in a general downturn during that period. This is
"public information": something that any competent investigative
journalist should have been able to find, had he been put on notice
of its possible existence. And I put _CT_ on notice myself. By the
same token, the evidence is painfully clear that Bob's "one-time,
Publications -- rewarding Larson's dishonesty with a contract for the
sequel to _Dead Air_. It is about Christian radio station owners,
like KLTT's Jack Mortenson, who censored the anti-Larson editorial
written by _Denver Christian News_ editor Joann Bruso. And
now, it is about respected Christian voices like _CT_ and the
_Evangelical Press_ -- which evidently have become willing
complicitors in a scheme to sweep Larson's malfeasance under the
proverbial rug. They have exchanged the truth for a lie ... and a
couple of dollars' change.
I do expect that you will take further measures appropriate to
rectify this unfortunate situation -- including, but not limited to,
the immediate and unconditional dismissal of Morgan, a profuse and
public apology to both Ms. Boespflug and myself, and the prompt
publication of a feature article concerning the Larson affair.
Please be further advised that, should this dispute fail to be
resolved to my satisfaction, I fully intend to vigorously pursue
any and all legal remedies at my disposal.
Kenneth L. Smith
P.O. Box 280305
Lakewood, CO 80228
Endnotes, enclosures; cc's listed in the endnote page
1 Jay Grelen and Doug LeBlanc, This is Me, This is Real," World,
Vol. 7, No. 32, 23 Jan. 1993, p. 9.
2 Jon Trott, "Bob Larson's Ministry Comes Under Scrutiny,"
Cornerstone, Vol. 21, Issue 100, Feb. 1993, p. 41.
3 Bob Larson, Radio broadcast, 29 Jan 1993. Tape on file.
4 Copy attached. (Included with the Open Letter)
5 Lori Boespflug, Interview, 16 Jun 1992; supporting document on
file; indepen dent witness available.
6 Copy attached. (Included with the Open Letter)
7 Copy attached. (Included with the Open Letter)
8 Lori Boespflug, Telephone interview, 13/14 Jun 1992.
9 Phone records on file.
10 Copy attached. (Included with the Open Letter)
11 John Stewart, Telephone conversation, 17 May 1993.
12 Tim Morgan, "Bob on the Block," CT, 17 May 1993, p. 41.
13 Copy attached. (Included with the Open Letter)
14 Copy attached. (Included with the Open Letter)
15 Basil Katsakos (certified appraiser), Telephone interview, 17 May
16 Morgan, ibid., p. 42 (allegedly quoting Ken Smith).
17 Copy attached. (Included with the Open Letter)
18 Copy attached. (Included with the Open Letter)
19 Joann Bruso, Telephone conversation, 29 Jan 1993; confirmed by
KLTT station manager Brian Taylor in a later conversation, and
evidenced by an out-of-place reference to 1Tim. 5:20 in the DCN's
March editorial page.
Global note: Ms. Bosepflug has requested that I not use her married
name, on the ground that she fears continued harassment from Mr.
cc: John Stewart, Lori Boespflug, Jim Dobson, Hank Hanegraaff, Harold
Lindsell, Harold Myra, Doug Trauten, others as listed.
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