DETRIMENTAL LETTER

(Investigator 43, 1995 July)


A letter to The Islander, the weekly newspaper of Kangaroo Island off South Australia:

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Dear Editor,

Since my first visit to Kangaroo Island in 1970 I wanted to live here. The scenery and people, friendly and helpful, attracted me back year after year. Talks with persons and ministers of several denominations also revealed exceptional tolerance between them.

My house at Nepean Bay now nears completion and this led to my first negative experience.

A local tradesman agreed to do a job on the house, gave a written quote, set the starting time and I came over from Adelaide.

Then he changed his mind. His reason was that I left his religion – 22 years ago!

He himself used to be Lutheran and I asked: "Would it be right if Lutherans treated you like this?"

In the early 1970s the tradesman's religion focused on 1975 for the end of the world. Old books of the religion revealed similar predictions for 1942, 1925, 1918, 1914 and other dates. Usually two dates were promoted simultaneously to avoid total disappointment when hopes based on one failed. For example, even before 1975 the book "The Nations Shall Know That I Am Jehovah" predicted Armageddon "within our twentieth century". (p. 216)

All this seemed like a farce and so I left. Indeed the religion teaches: "If a church goes contrary to the Bible should not honest hearted ones leave that church?"

A consequence so long afterwards is extra worry in finishing my house.

Jesus taught tolerance and associated even with the despised Samaritans. The tradesman could learn from Jesus' example as well as from the people of Kangaroo Island.

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Rob Ellson, Managing Editor of The Islander, replied by letter and agreed that: "it seems more than a little unfair that he has done the backflip that be has for religious reasons only." However, Mr Ellson also felt that: "it would he detrimental to all concerned if we were to publish something of this nature…"

Kangaroo Island is a popular tourist destination. It has a population of 4,000 of whom 1,500 live in the main town, Kingscote. The religion under discussion has about a dozen members on the island.



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