Commentary: The Diggory Press Saga

Well yesterday I posted concern regarding Miriam Franklin and a need for prayer based on a post to her blog: http://endtimespropheticwords.wordpress.com. The blog has been an ongoing source of information regarding various threads of deception within the church.  Personally, I have found the blog a good source of information for tracking various issues since learning of the blog last year.  Now, I have not always agreed with the opinions expressed in blog articles or comments but found it to be a useful source even to the point of adding it to my blogroll.

Last spring, I had a forum member send me information to look into regarding Miriam Franklin and potential connection with being Rosalind Franklin of Diggory Press who was involved in a legal dispute primarily with a Dr. Stephan Manning.  So I did a little internet searching at the time. 

He is the author of Psychology, Symbolism and the Sacred: Confronting Religious Dysfunction in a Changing World among other works.  He has done scholarly work outlining reasoning toward shifting toward universality of religion and the concept that what one believes doesn’t matter, it is really about the path you choose. Of course does so with much more complicated language. The man clearly has an agenda against Christian faith and belief.

The other people who were behind the internet postings linking the claims are Patsy Eastwood of Rahab’s place and mtyokawonis from ilovetoddbentley blog.  Both clearly are strong supporters of Todd Bentley and clearly sought to discredit anyone speaking against him.  My personal exchanges with Patsy at the Charisma forum showed her to be set in her mind and unwilling to listen to any biblical examination where I reached the point knowing she was as I described in the Lakeland Analysis article as either The Connected: These are people who claim that based on personal knowledge of people involved and their own personal experiences with similar phenomena that they know God had to be working regardless of any evidence to the contrary.” or The Pushers:  These are people who have a theological investment in what they see happening. These are similar people to the The Connected.  These people value the theology and doctrine promoting the deception and have difficulty accepting any opposing view and fill look for ways to dismiss any presented evidence.”

So given the sources of complaints at that time it felt like things did not sit right in terms of the allegations since clearly there were people with an agenda to discredit Miriam Franklin.  Also reached the point that even if there was validity toward the charges against Rosalind Franklin had merit, that it is a legal matter. What was more concerning was if Rosalind and Miriam is in fact the same person.  If so, it brings lots of questions as to why someone serving Jesus would agree to publish clear anti-Christian material as well as material coming from the type of folks she spoke against on her blog.  It came down to the point ultimately that whatever is going on regarding the situation the truth will come out and it did not alter the truth posted on Miriam’s website.

Personally, I appreciate the work that was done on the blog. I didn’t always agree with the tact or the opinions but always felt a desire for the truth to be said. Regarding the prophecies on the site, some make me wonder but nothing as of yet as proven to be faulty.

Now having reviewed my understanding and thoughts regarding  background it leads me to where things are at today.  I never felt led to engage in any personal confrontation regarding the matter and continued to follow the blog. There was noticeable silence on the blog in June with a report the author was on a break.  She returned with a few posts and then went quite again with the exception of approving comments. Recently a “pardner” posted the post stating Miriam had been severely attacked with serious injuries. This prompted the request for prayer for the woman. It also brought up thoughts about spiritual warfare and the need to pray for those speaking truth.  As a result of that request, the court case matter has come up as well as suggestions that Miriam’s attack only is the court case and she likely is not really seriously injured.  The truth of that matter will be sorted out but felt it necessary to sift through the situation a little more in depth, resulting in this post.

Basically there are a couple different matters: the legal dispute, are Rosalind and Miriam the same person, and the accusations of the use of aliases and sockpuppets.  

First let’s look at the legal dispute and the online back and forth.  Both sides are waging an online attack against the other.  There is plenty of pointing fingers at the other.  No doubt both sides will state their case on this blog as well, since clearly the web is monitored for comments from both sides.  It is worth noting that the screen shots, the email postings, and such are not legal evidence and are things easily manipulated.  It is a matter of spinning the facts and stating case publicly. However, that being said there appears to be some veracity to Dr. Stephan Manning having a history of engaging in strong tactics to get his way as evidenced here: http://www.complaints.com/directory/2005/april/12/7.htm.  Fact is that the Publish on Demand industry is one ripe with potentials of abuse and fraud.  It also is one that can be easily manipulated.  Certainly well meaning business owners can run their business poorly.  Any business is going to have dissatisfied customers at some point. If not handle in an effective way the company’s reputation will take a hit.  So what the truth in this matter is for the courts to decide. It is not wise to step into the fray on such matters.  The truth of things is usually somewhere in the middle. 

Next is the issue of whether Rosalind and Miriam is the same person. Most of the evidence of such pertains to screen shots and other such evidence which may or may not be valid.  In reading the defense no where as Miriam flat out denied being Rosalind and has engaged in deflecting the question. Now my thoughts have been open to the prospect of Rosalind and Miriam being different but Sylvia, a “Miriam defender” has stated they are the same person. “For the record Miriam IS Rosalind of Diggory Press and she never actually denied it.” The question is if they are the same person than what is she doing and why?  Is there a case of severe mental illness? Is it a case of making money at a business and trying to separate it from advocating for God and His truth?   Fact is, if you take strong stands for truth, your own life will be looked at as well. The bible directs us to avoid even the appearance of evil.  Perhaps there is a bit of reaction formation going on, publishing works and making money off of things that are deceptive and evil and speaking against such evils in another public persona.  Whatever is the truth here as to what is going on, God will deal with the individuals involved.  It is not our words or actions that can bring any change, only God.  Only God knows whether Miriam has truly suffered a serious attack with lasting injuries.  The poster never claimed the attack was physical, just lasting injuries that prevent her further posting.

The third issue relates to the use of aliases and sockpuppets in general.  It seems to me a real easy way to try and discredit anyone who comes to the defense of another is to throw out this accusation.  Throw in heavy handed requests for identity verification not likely to be respected and you have instant discrediting.  Now, when a person actually goes about using aliases and sockpuppets in order to defend self from attacks it gives the person doing the discrediting ammunition.  Of course any evidence to the contrary can be easily dismissed as well through claims of use of “masking software” and the like.  The internet is a wide web where all sorts of deception can be engaged.  In general it is just bad practice to use aliases or sockpuppets and not glorifying of God, yet it is also not glorifying of God to throw around quick accusations and see an alias or sockpuppet behind any online responder. 

Now some may argue that you need to face deception with deception, there is no biblical basis for that.  Clearly as this situation indicates, if you change a name to present your side of the story, folks will catch on sooner or later.  I have observed use of changing identities back to when playing mafia/werewolf.  Folks that spend a lot of time analyzing your every word can and do pick of traits and tells but it is also easy to read traits and tells and to think of someone to be other than they are.  Yet, it is also worth pointing out that not every change of screen name or alias is meant to hide anything.  Some people use different screennames for different things, or change names per forum.  It is part of the internet world.  Now that is different than taking on seperate identies is a sockpuppet fashion.  The fact is there are a lot of reasons folks change names on the internet.

Now it is true that some people change names, use identies and such to promote self or to try and hide. Some change identies in order to try and get through to someone or defend themselves. As Christians we should realize that in spiritual warfare these kinds of things are depending on carnal means and defenses and not standing in the truth. And yes, sometimes standing in the truth results in false accusations and slander.  It happened to Daniel, it happened to Jospeh, it is part of what happens in the world.  And yes, people do walk in truth and yet walk in self-centered ways and commit great sins. 

So in regards to the saga around Miriam Franklin, Rosalind Franklin, Stephan Manning, and Diggory Press I advise folks to step out and let God work it out. If you felt led to confront, leave the confrontation stand.  There is not a single party to this situation that will not ultimately face consequences for their actions.  Also this saga stresses the importance of examining yourself before examining the errors of others.  If there is anything amiss in your own life, it will come to light.  Ultimately none of use can live two lives or serve two masters, if that is going on.  It is also very real that the Adversary is seeking to destroy believers and discredit truth.  God knows the truth of this saga.  The question is what does God require of us? 

 Biblically we have directions to first deal with our own selfishness and sin first.  After self-examination and being aware of the wrong actions of others we first need to pray and ask for wisdom as well as how to respond with both truth and love. Look for the Holy Spirits guidance.  I have learned recently it is real easy to use carnal means and ways of self to try and speak that which is true and even of God.  We sometimes want to play the role of Holy Spirit and sometimes we need to first give voice and then step back and let God work.  And ultimately, when others offend, falsely accuse, smear, defame, or other such actions we do need to forgive.  These tactics are used because they are effective. They are used effectively in politics and elsewhere because they work.  As such, for each believer serving God’s kingdom, we need to be continually moving away from sins and ways of building self and profiting.  If we say one thing and do another it will be exposed. If we have any appearance of evil it will be used against us to discredit what God may be doing through each of us.

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