I had never met or talked to anyone in their family except the three wonderful young kids. Around 2012, the girl mentioned that their mother had just gotten fired from her job, and within a few weeks, she got hired by a giant Chicago-area car dealership, Napleton's.
The twelve-year-old girl regularly got raped by the step-father, by several uncles and the older brother, and government officials always ignored her claims, always believing the older men. So she ran away from home to live in Florida with an Aunt, where she spent several days Testifying in a County Court about those terrible events. The mother had always been very broke, often just barely being able to pay their home's mortgage, but very suddenly, she seemed to have many thousands of dollars to spend. She paid many thousand dollars to one of the best Lawyers in Florida to DEFEND the men in her family from her own daughter! She also spent several thousand dollars more to sent three of the family males to Florida, with the specific purpose of running her own daughter over to kill her to stop her from Testifying in Court! The Local Police took the girl and her Aunt and a younger cousin into Protective Custody, to keep them alive regarding the actions of her own mother!
In any case, where for previous years, the mother could barely buy food for the family, she now suddenly was spending enormous amounts of money, for high-powered attorneys and to send her sons across the country to try to run their own sister down to kill her.
In any case, it dawned on me to try to do a Good Deed for that Napleton car dealership. So, during the Summer of 2010, I THOUGHT I was telephoning the Headquarters of Napleton, which was fifty miles away on the north side of Chicago. The Napleton phone system re-directed my call to their nearby dealership (in Lansing, Illinois) and when I asked to talk to the 'Supervisor', apparently the call was answered by the boss and a dear friend of the 'mother'. She was also apparently sitting nearby and listening to me. I never mentioned her name (or mine), but I told the man that there was the possibility that a bookkeeper in their Lansing Napleton dealership MIGHT BE embezzling from their company. He asked an odd question, regarding whether I was describing 'stealing new cars', and I said I did not think so. He became amazingly abusive toward me, and he ORDERED ME to never bother them again.
Less than an hour later, my phone rang. It was the older brother who constantly used guns to commit crimes (whom I had never talked to before). He announced some amazing things. He first screamed at me for 'trying to get his mother fired from her job'. How did he even know about my totally ANONYMOUS phone call to Napleton? Clearly, Napleton has CallerID software on their phones, and the mother apparently recognized my phone number (although I had never called her nor her calling me ever before). The 'criminal brother' then described MY HOUSE (which he had never been in) where he described a couch that I often watch TV from. He then INFORMED ME that I WOULD NOT SEE SUNRISE THE NEXT MORNING. He explained that that very evening, he would come by and shoot bullets through the wall of my house to kill me. (The family definitely does not have any reservation about killing their own daughter or a Christian Minister!)
And from his previous experience of dozens or hundreds of crimes he had already committed with guns, I definitely did not sleep that night (or for several more nights) and I avoided that couch for weeks. It turned out that later in the afternoon after he made his telephone death threat against me, he couldn't resist more crimes and he got arrested later that evening in using a gun to rob a convenience store. He was put in jail (at least for a few days). But I was still terrified for every day for the next two months, in KNOWING that he planned to murder me! And this was ENTIRELY because I had thought I was trying to do a GOOD DEED!
Napleton never bothered to try to do a Criminal Check on the mother. When I did, on the Internet, I found that she had more than THIRTY ALIASES, and her five years of prison time in the Indiana State Women's Prison was easy to find. But she apparently remained a highly trusted employee of Napleton's.
About a year later, the Chicago Nightly News ran a story that she had been arrested and put in jail by Napleton's. Apparently, either Napleton's got a lot smarter to do police background checks on new employees, or she stole too much money to not be noticed by Napleton's. The News story mentioned that she had previously spent five years in Prison for Counterfeiting, and they seemed to imply that she might (this time) remain in Prison for a long time. She may still be in some Prison (this time). The children's actual father had gotten out of a Florida Prison after his ten-year sentence, but he regularly got arrested for more crimes, and the girl mentioned that he is currently in some Prison (possibly in Illinois) now.
In July 2017, the older brother who committed all those gun crimes must have done one too many, as he was killed while trying to use a gun to commit another crime. POSSIBLY, my life might now not be in mortal danger due to that family. Sadly, all three of the children I used to know and admire, have now been put in various jails, so their family behavior pattern seems to endure. I no longer talk to any of those children (who are now each young adults).
Around 1992, when sitting among groups of young religious (Christian) people, I was often amazed at all the wrong ideas they sometimes expressed! Clearly, they had been told things by their Minister, or by other Christians (like participants in our talks) which they seemed to totally accept as true! I thought it was rather scary for Christianity!
I had long been a computer Geek, and I had recently attended some classes toward getting able to someday become a Minister myself! And so I had ACCESS to impressive numbers of articles which had been written by Christian scholars (specifically used in Bible Colleges to Teach future Ministers and almost nowhere else!) I decided to select around a thousand of those scholarly Christian articles and to assemble them into a computer Floppy Diskette, which I called BELIEVE. In order to get all those articles onto a single 1.44 Mb Floppy Diskette, I even had to invent a unique computer language, which 'compressed' the text. In any case, I spent about a year and a half of more than full-time effort in assembling and creating the BELIEVE Floppy Diskette. I then bought a lot of blank Floppies, at about 50 cents each, and I spent about ten minutes on each to record BELIEVE onto each Floppy. Then I always kept several in my pocket, and I gave away BELIEVE floppies to nearly anyone who I thought might benefit from it. That included a Chicago Traffic Cop who had stopped to help me when I ran out of gas along the Expressway, and another Cop in Florida who was very nice.
During about the next four years, summer 1993 through May 1997, I gave away around 400 of the BELIEVE floppies. They are probably valuable antique relics by now, as people today generally no longer even have any idea what a Floppy Diskette was! I did the entire project ENTIRELY for the Lord, and NOT for the slightest idea of ever trying to 'sell' any of the BELIEVE Floppies (which was often suggested to me, that I would probably 'make millions' if I mass produced and marketed them). I was quite comfortable that I had spent more than four years of my life, more than full-time, while not receiving a dime for the effort! At the time, I was still manufacturing and selling the JUCA Super-Fireplaces which I had invented in 1973, and that bought me groceries!
At the start of 1997, I had never even heard of 'the Internet' but AOL advertised a 'free trial of three months' and I signed up for it. Included was '2 megabytes of space on the Internet', for picture files or anything else that a person might want to present. I didn't have any pictures, and all I had was the 1.44 megabyte file that was on the BELIEVE diskette that I was giving out. I thought that maybe some distant person might want to take the several minutes it then took to download a 1.44 Mb file, and if even one more person got access to accurate information about Christianity and other religions, fine!
I never really used the AOL system very much, but during those three months, more than 400 people had downloaded the BELIEVE program file! That was as many as I had handed out over four years (and at hundreds of dollars of personal cost for buying Diskettes), all much more easily on 'the Internet'.
So when the AOL Free Trial expired, I created a DOMAIN (which I named after one of my many loved dogs, Meatball, so mb-soft.com) and I decided to upload each of the individual articles of BELIEVE (along with pages which I created from previous JUCA informational sheets and some additional informational web-pages. By being individual files on the Internet, I felt that if someone needed to try to access information on 'Baptism' or 'Salvation' or 'Eschatology', the then brand-new 'search engines' might be more easily able to find my web-page on the desired subject. The Internet was still so very new that NO ONE thought that anyone could ever SELL anything over the Internet, and most web-pages were rather random efforts, often centered around photos of dogs, cats or children! So my idea of actually trying to distribute important information was then somewhat unique!
In any case, BELIEVE quickly became amazingly popular on the Internet! By only around five years later, late 2002, BELIEVE was getting around 50,000,000 hits every year, around a million hits every week! Since I never included any pretty graphics or other decorative files, at that time, each 'hit' was usually a 'page-view'. All this enormous traffic caused 4,600 Churches to contact me (by e-mail) to request that they be allowed to tell their Church's Members about BELIEVE, which probably caused our traffic to increase even faster.
There WAS an inconvenient aspect to all this traffic. By 2002, BELIEVE was DAILY receiving between 100 and 200 e-mails! About 1/3 of them were Prayer Requests, but most of the rest were usually thoughtful questions. I felt an absolute responsibility to properly respond to all of them! Do you have any idea how much time is involved in answering 100 to 200 e-mails every day? I came to be happy if I only spent 8 to 12 hours each day, answering BELIEVE e-mail!
This had gradually increased over prior years, as in 2001, I had generally got all my e-mail answered in about six to eight hours each day! I started getting VERY concerned about what I might do in following years, as I am limited to 24 hours each day! And I must occasionally sleep! I did NOT see any obvious solution to that obviously coming problem.
As it turned out, in December 2002, a rather ignorant man took care of that issue, along with entirely destroying BELIEVE, TWICE during 2003! IF that man had just CONTACTED ME regarding a thought he had, he would have immediately understood the truth, and everything would have been fine. But he showed some spectacular ignorance, which is still adversely affecting BELIEVE today, eleven years later! The man THOUGHT he had recognized 'a paragraph' in one of the many thousands of scholarly articles presented in BELIEVE, and for some bizarre reason, he decided to contact a small Publishing Company rather than our Church or me. That small company apparently had never even heard of our BELIEVE site, and apparently had not even had any clue that anything they might (Copyright) be able to claim might be in BELIEVE, that company apparently totally took that man's comments as true and valid. And so IMMEDIATELY, that small Publishing Company sent me an amazingly vicious and threatening e-mail. That threatening e-mail never even mentioned any potential 'text' because their company had never even LOOKED at our BELIEVE site. Instead, they just started spouting the most vicious threats, all entirely based on the wrong assumption that the ignorant man had made. The small publishing company, Baker Books, even included their comments of their intention to entirely destroy our Church and to destroy me as a Pastor! I had never even said 'hello' and I was confronted with such amazing behavior. Their Publishing Company had always BRAGGED about being a CHRISTIAN Publishing company! Really amazing! With NO FACTS at all that they knew, they made the wildest and absolutely UNIVERSAL THREATS at BELIEVE and our Church.
I am a peaceful person, and even without knowing WHICH of the thousands of BELIEVE articles which even MIGHT have been in question, I felt forced to REMOVE BELIEVE ENTIRELY from the Internet!
In the following weeks, more than a MILLION PEOPLE were denied access to the BELIEVE resource which they had come to rely on! During this, a wonderful Attorney in Florida learned of our situation and he offered to try to help. Among other things, he informed me of the 'Fair Use Provision' of the US Copyright Law, where he pointed out that, even if I HAD any content that might have been liable regarding Copyright, BELIEVE had always been non-profit and even non-cash entirely, and he pointed out that the BELIEVE site was essentially identical to the activities of thousands of Public Libraries across the United States!
In any case, once he reassured us that we had not done anything even slightly wrong, I again uploaded all the BELIEVE files onto the Internet.
That little Publishing Company never bothered to try to learn any more, or even that we were totally within the Fair Use Provision of the US Copyright Law, they were simply intent on the total destruction of the BELIEVE site, our little Church and me personally. We received many amazing threats from that company, particularly from the President of their company. In any case, later in 2003, they discovered that even since they could not do anything more directly to us, in any Legal sense, they discovered that there is a Legal Provision where they could threaten the company which was the Server on which the BELIEVE files were made available to the Internet. With only about three hours warning, the Server called me and threatened me with having to entirely remove ALL of the thousands of BELIEVE articles. THEY had never been told by the Publishing company WHICH article that I might be forced to remove (apparently because the Publishing Company still had no idea what specific article the man had referred to in the previous December!)
So, for a SECOND TIME during 2003, all of the BELIEVE articles were removed, and more than another million more people were again denied the access they had come to rely on of BELIEVE articles.
It took some weeks before the Server came to recognize that the Publisher did not actually have any basis for forcing the Server to shut down all of BELIEVE, and again I was able to upload all the BELIEVE files onto the Internet. The people at the Server told me that they were REQUIRED to shut down ANY web-site upon receiving a complaint, and that they would again threaten BELIEVE with further shut-downs each time they received further complaints! Amazing.
I even asked the Server people if the General Motors web-site might be similarly shut down, based on ANY complaint from anyone, where NO PROOF OF PROBLEM was ever required to force such shut-downs. Only the WEB-SITE was then REQUIRED TO PROVE INNOCENCE! I pointed out to that person that that was exactly the OPPOSITE of what the US Constitution supposedly guarantees. He laughed as he thought that was funny, but he repeated that they were legally REQUIRED to force ANY web-site to immediately shut down, upon their receipt of ANY complaint. (He also mentioned that he thought that GM probably operated their own Server, and that such actions probably could not have effect against them.)
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Maybe the Baker Book House is proud of their efforts to destroy BELIEVE and our Church and me as a Pastor. Very bizarre that a company that claims to be a 'Christian Publishing Company' would behave in such ways! But I guess this is America and they are free to behave pretty much any way they wish!
But it actually turns out that they caused a POSITIVE effect by their destruction! Where in 2002, I was having to spend 8 to 12 hours every single day to read and answer e-mails, and it seemed clear that traffic was going to increase and increase, the viciousness of Baker Book House actually did me a FAVOR! Since then, I generally have gotten around 50 e-mails every day, and it has taken me ONLY 4 to 6 hours each day to read and answer those e-mails! I have actually been able to SLEEP and have a life!
It has never been clear as to HOW Baker Book House was able to cause 4,600 Churches to ALL stop using the BELIEVE resource. Did they make their Secretaries find e-mail addresses for all those 4,600 Churches and then send nasty e-mails to all of them? It is hard to see HOW they could have forced that Church traffic to drop to ZERO so suddenly in any other way! Wow! Seems like an immense amount of work and expense for them to go to, just to destroy a highly respected Christian organization as our Church and BELIEVE! But since we have had MANAAGEABLE amounts of e-mail since 2003, we are thankful!
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