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"But the fanatics soon torment us with works, and profess to have a nobler spirit; they urge and insist upon our doing something first of all, and permit faith and love to be overlooked. This of course is not of the Holy Spirit. Christ first takes possession of the conscience, and when it is right in faith toward God, then He also directs us to do works toward our neighbor. But He first highly extols faith and keeps works in the background.:

Sermons of Martin Luther, 8 vols., ed., John Nicholaus Lenker, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1983, V, p. 200. Nineteenth Sunday after Trinity, Matthew 9:1-8


From Legalism to Lawlessness – G.A.


In my opinion, the rotten state of the Lutheran Church today is largely based upon the transition from the legalism of its recent past to the lawlessness of today. A false view of the Word lets people think that they are righteous through obedience to the Law, even if it is only ever-changing synodical law. In this atmosphere, the only sin is questioning what the synod is doing and teaching. The worst example of this process is the secret initiation rite known in the Wisconsin Synod as GA, the capstone of a series of abusive initiations in the WELS school system. The initials GA stand for Gemuetlicher Abend, a misleading term which translates as “friendly evening.” All the facts below are based upon my eye-witness observation of GA and a similar ceremony leading to GA, called Bonecruncher. I have also heard many different reports about the initiations in WELS. My initial observations, sent by someone else to WELS pastors, also elicited some interesting and revealing responses.

GA is the secret initiation rite for Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary, but the effort to create a cult begins much earlier. Although WELS is taking apart its education system, the ideal Wisconsin Synod pastor was once someone who began parochial school in kindergarten in the state of Wisconsin, went to prep school and college in Watertown, and then attended Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. Northwestern College is gone, but the old system continues to have its toxic effects. The ideal student who attended Mequon had already endured two previous initiation rites. Prep schools have a system called sechs-ing, based on the German term for first year student (Sechstaner). Older students in WELS prep schools are allowed to boss freshmen around, forcing them to carry lunch trays, and do odd jobs. The tradition is innocent enough, but many older students cannot control their sadistic attitudes and their need to get even with smaller students. One student was held out of the second story window by his legs, and then dropped accidentally, breaking some bones. One rule is absolutely enforced in WELS schools - no one tells. If various facts get back to the dean and he takes action, the male student who reported the infraction is picked up by his nipples, causing excruciating pain. When the wife of prep school board member Brownie Schmitzer heard about this tradition, her husband said, “That’s what we always did.” She did not want her children to attend a WELS prep school. Her husband, schooled in the Wisconsin Synod tradition of sadism, did not view it as a problem.[1]

Northwestern College also had an initiation rite for freshmen students. The older students could use the time for innocent fun, but they could also brutalize younger students. It depended on the class, not the faculty. The faculty did almost nothing to stop the abuse. One event involved having students run a gauntlet where older students socked the victim with pillows. Obviously, that would not hurt. But one older student filled his pillowcase with books, hit a student in the head, and knocked him out cold. Another tradition concerned the famous Sprinter statue, now at Martin Luther College. The older students forced every single freshman to simulate anal intercourse with the statue. Anyone who objected was shunned as a sissy and tattle-tale. One class stopped the physical brutality and deviant behavior, but a later class of students in charge of initiation was suspected of returning things to abnormal.

Amazingly, Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary even has an extra initiation rite just before GA. In the past, when the future seminary students were all at Northwestern College in Watertown, a short distance from Milwaukee, the seminary had a special event called Bonecruncher (which I observed). Once again, the idea could have been fun, but many seminary classes abused their power over the younger students. One perverted tradition was to give the students a new name, often an obscene name based upon his surname. For example, someone named Knollmueller was renamed “Hole-filler,” amid hoots of laughter and mock disapproval. The students were told to wear their best clothes to the dinner and basketball game, and then they were forced to ruin their best suits by sitting on food and performing various monkey acts for the amusement of upperclassmen, future WELS pastors all. Wives and girlfriends also attended. The students were told that cleaning bills would be paid, but no one was expected to be a sissy and complain.

The name of Bonecruncher is derived from another weird tradition. Each student is given a bone based upon the seminary students’ attitude toward him. If the man was a square-jawed athlete with an IQ smaller than his chest size, he was given a large bone amid shouts of approval. If he was a quiet, studious man, he might get a jar of water with bone powder dissolved in it. The future pastors are amazingly proud of how they inflict pain and disapproval upon their future colleagues, especially when they note who gets the jabs. The goal, as Church Growth leader James Huebner noted, is to have everyone “exactly alike.”[2] That tradition is why ELS pastors call Mequon “the sausage factory.”

This superfluity of initiation rites has several intended results. First of all, no one attending Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary is unaware of the initiation system and what happens to those who object. Secondly, the initiation system has weeded out those who do not wish to conform to sadistic and perverted acts. Thirdly, the faculty is pleased to have students who already expect to be beaten down and abused when they resist utter and mindless conformity. Those who puzzle over the strange attitudes of WELS pastors do not understand the secret initiation rite called GA.

The president of Northwestern College referred to GA in his history of the college, when he wrote about Dr. Martin Luther College defeating his school in football, below.



“In 1981 DMLC defeated NWC for the first time. The Northwestern team and its followers were crestfallen; they felt they had let their school down. Alumni at the seminary predicted that dire things would happen to the seniors at GA (Gemuetlicher Abend) the next year.”

            Carleton Toppe, Holding the Course, Northwestern College 125, Milwaukee: Northwestern Publishing House, 1990, p. 136.


If all has gone well, the first-year student at Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary enters with a vague and fearful concept of GA. All GA veterans are sworn to secrecy. When I observed GA, I was told repeatedly that I could not tell my son, my wife, or anyone about GA. Once, when I mentioned some little item in front of my family and a WELS pastor, he glared at me and said, “You have said too much already.” Although WELS leader Vic Prange called GA “our Masonic Lodge,” GA is actually far more secretive than the Masonic rites. I am publishing this information to help close down the sadistic system forever. Two times in the past, students decided to end GA because of abuses. However, others brought it back. Seminary professor, ecumenist, and GA pope James P. Tiefel wrote from his parish in Saginaw to express concern over GA being shut down. GA started again, thanks to efforts like Tiefel’s.

GA begins the school year for the entire school. No classes are held for a week. The first event in GA is a fake debate and vote on whether to hold GA. This debate happens every year, getting students to call their fathers (who are pastors) and say, “Dad, they may not have GA this year.” The fathers laugh over the fact that their sons are being fooled! One student was still in the dark at the end, saying that a former lawyer argued convincingly against having GA. “They even voted on it,” he said. This opening move of GA is very important for understanding the WELS compulsion for lying about everything. Missouri works with ELCA, supports Fuller Seminary, and admits it happily.

WELS works with ELCA, adores Fuller Seminary, and denies everything. One WELS pastor said, “It bothers me that our leaders lie even when everyone knows they are lying.”The second important aspect of GA is division of upperclassmen into “hards” and “softs.” The softs are also called Pietists. The hards constantly persecute and threaten the first year students, but the softs offer comfort and support. The students become increasingly reliant upon the softs for guidance and then finally realize at the end that everyone was lying. Hards were working with the softs all along and laughing about student reactions.

GA causes enormous family tensions and scandalizes those who have qualms about the Wisconsin Synod. As one Roman Catholic father said to his son, “You say you are against secret societies, but GA is a secret society.” Employers find men missing from work and unable to explain why they were gone. Although this is supposed to be taken care of, the upper classmen do not care about the damage they do to relationships.

Not surprisingly, GA involves both emotional and physical abuse. One pastor told me about how they knocked out someone’s tooth and then paid for the man’s dental work as a class. Every so often, they would ask to look at “the class tooth.” According to some, bones have been broken and blood has been drawn. This abuse is defended because it is like boot camp for Marines. GA leaders have students pull a hay wagon and various other useless chores. I saw men being forced to do push-ups while students poured beer down on their heads. One veteran of GA said that students put cigar ashes and filthy pond water in the chili and forced students to drink it. A pastor’s widow thought GA led to her husband’s ill health, which is not impossible if he got a strep infection from the sewage laced pond.

One great honor is to become the GA pope. The GA pope gets to dress up and order people around. I saw the GA pope demand that the students find his bowling ball, lost in the pond, an annual event. The students were expected to wade into the pond and go under water to find the missing ball. I saw this taking place. Behind me, Professor James Westendorf stood and grinned as he remembered the good old days. When the men returned from the pond, most of them took all of their filthy clothes off outside before going up to their rooms. Needless to say, I was a little shocked at seeing the first-year class buck naked outdoors. The WELS pastor who invited me said, “The cafeteria women always work near the windows when this part of GA takes place.” The windows of the kitchen offer an excellent view of the male strip show.

The GA week builds up to a climax where each student is certain that the hards will get him. Students who know this is not true are really given the business during GA. The student body waits in a lounge while each first year student is brought to the doors with the idea that this is his last chance to escape, if he only runs hard enough. A soft has guided him to this escape and he is told the hards are waiting to get him. Inside, everyone makes a lot of noise. When the door opens, the student runs in with a white face, truly afraid. Two or more seminarians catch him, tell him it is all over, and calm him down. Quickly he realizes that the entire week was an enormous deception. Individually, each student is captured until everyone is together and drinking beer. Afterwards, the GA committee has a party for students, faculty, and synodical workers.

One pastor noted that GA forever changes pastors, even those who hated every juvenile minute of it. Because most of the WELS ministerium has passed through this initiation (and several previous ones), an unwritten code unites them. A non-conformist must be driven out and abused. No one is spared. Once the Mischke backyard barbeque bunch decided to get rid of Northwestern College, no previous position or synodical seniority helped those who objected. The previous seminary president was “senile” because he opposed the amalgamation, as it was so delicately called. A senior pastor was denounced as brain-damaged for publishing a paper against Church Growth and amalgamation. In fact, he had a stroke after he wrote the paper. When I leaked the essay to Christian News, Pastor Tim Buelow phoned to rant at me for giving away “secret” information. Someone sent me the paper to leak, omitting the cover page which sought to restrict its readership.[3]

GA has many different consequences. WELS leaders enjoy criticizing all synods, especially the only one in fellowship with Wisconsin, the tiny Evangelical Lutheran Synod. (May God have mercy on the ELS pastor who openly criticizes WELS.) However, no one is allowed to say that anything is less than perfect within WELS. Anyone who points out an obvious wrong is disloyal, a trouble-maker, and worthy of being driven away. This oppression makes the ministerium the most timid in America. The WELS district presidents keep everything a secret among themselves, and no one is allowed to ask—“Because it is a secret.” The entire synod is run more like a little boys’ club, where the worst bullies are the most esteemed for their sadism. One ex-WELS member wrote to me that her former pastor, newly graduated from seminary, spent an inordinate amount of time bragging about the dirty tricks he had played on his classmates. This arrested state of emotional development is so obvious because the pastors get together and begin acting just like Cub Scouts who recently burned down an outhouse or two. We attended a WELS pastor’s wedding. One feature was throwing marshmallows at the groom during the reception. He got worked up and began throwing them back at everyone. He was elected the district secretary soon after, divorced and out of the ministry in short order. The divorced women in the congregation wept openly when he left the ministry.

Not all the WELS pastors suffer from the GA syndrome, but they cannot escape the consequences of serving in a synod where GA is cherished by the seminary faculty and where the editor of the synod’s hymnal was the GA pope. Two students went to the dean of the seminary, John Brenner, now a graduate student at a Jesuit school, and objected to GA in advance.[4] That tradition is the rule for WELS, and it has the benefit of identifying anyone who objects to anything. Dean Brenner, grandson of the last decent WELS synod president said, “The benefits of GA outweigh the bad side.” Neither student is a WELS pastor now. More than one student has avoided Mequon because of GA. They want no part of it.

One former victim of WELS clergy abuse asked me to write about GA. I did it with reluctance, because I had many previous experiences with WELS getting even with me and members of my family.[5] However, I believe that the truth will eventually break the back of WELS abuses, especially if a few lawsuits identify the culprits who have blessed abusive behavior which is clearly contrary to the law. My doctrinal bulletin went to Lutherans of all synods and one person decided to put it on the WELS clergy chat mail service. Suddenly I began getting abusive email from various WELS pastors. One person claimed that the faculty knew nothing about GA. The next one said GA was fine because it was faculty approved. Another person denounced me for writing about something I never saw, even though my bulletin clearly identified my eyewitness experiences with GA and Bonecruncher. My favorite email was already quoted in the chapter on false doctrine. It came from someone I knew. He did not know my motivation for writing the description, he said, but then said I was motivated by bitterness. I was amazed that this man could pretend to read my mind when he has had no contact with me for about 8 years. A number of people accused me of publishing the bulletin in Christian News when it was never sent to the periodical and never appeared there. But this was the sin of sins, the ad hermanem argument: anything published in CN against WELS was twice cursed.

In the aftermath of the GA email dust-up, one person sent me a packet of GA songs, gathered and reprinted by Pastor Jon Balge, a son of the seminary professor. The former WELS pastor kept his Balge edition of GA songs for years, leaving them behind in his office when he left his wife and children for his mistress. One of the songs is printed below.


G. A. Never Sleeps

“My, my; hey, hey;

Kinder, would you like to stay?

It’s better to endure than to run away,

My, my; Hey, hey.


A little bit blue, a little bit black

You’re afraid of this, afraid of that.

And once you start, you can never turn back

You’re in the lagoon, and the mud is black.


On a day that will not soon be forgotten

Last one in is an egg that’s rotten,

It’s do or die—no questions asked

On a day we call “Gemuetlicher Abend.”


Hey, hey; my, my;

Don’t worry, you won’t die

But you might throw up, and you might cry

Hey, hey; my, my.”[6]


When I first wrote about GA, I looked up information about another secret society, Skull and Bones at Yale University, whose members include former President Bush, Governor George W. Bush, and many other famous civil leaders, such as William F. Buckley. Certain parallels between GA and Skull and Bones amazed me, because one would never connect the two, except for their secretive nature. Both cults give new names to the initiates and have special songs that are sung only at their gatherings. Initiations include the new persons and the old veterans as well, who come back for the reunions. The rituals are kept secret, but they are very much like the Masonic Lodge, where one is born again into the new way of life. Loyalty is rewarded in both cults. Someone who partakes in the new paganism is sealed for life, even if he has the deepest regrets. There are homosexual overtones in both rituals. One WELS pastor wrote about GA: “Jackson has a point with regard to the homosexual jokes. They ought not to be. Homosexuality is a serious problem for some. It is even possible that at an all male school the problem can be triggered in some. ‘Avoid even a hint of sexual immorality.’[7]



“Having read Jackson's expose on WELS Initiation rites (this is a Latanism, [sic] isn't it?), I am shocked to read of the abuse suffered by our beloved Sprinter. Statue rape? I am appalled. Do such things actually happen? Let Synod appoint a special prosecutor to conduct a thorough investigation of this brutal deed, and if the perps be caught, I say,
condemn them to be ministers of independent Lutheran congregations.


PS. And no, I didn't rat to Jackson. I haven't told my wife much about GA. My dad won't even tell me what happened to him in 1941, except I discovered some really great photos of him, dressed up as the Pope, the mere mention of which gets him to smile. I guess August Pieper got a real charge out of it.”

Nathan R. Pope


From: Ryan Heiman <heimanr@wls.wels.net>

Date: Tuesday, November 03, 1998 8:29 PM

Subject: in christian love




I am not going to argue with someone that is saying lies and many other false doctrines, but I would just like to point how the correct way of doing things in christian love is not to go out and print some crazy article in a magazine but go to them and talk with them in privat [sic] first. Hopefully you will see your sins and repent to God that he will in his mercy show you the gospel truth and work the correct faith in your heart again.



Ryan Heiman



From: David E Koehler <koehlerd@juno.com>

Date: Wednesday, November 04, 1998 9:12 AM


Dear Mr. Jackson,


I recently received your piece on the WELS and initiation for the CN. I was just a bit curious as to your motivation for writing this excellent work. I can only assume that it was done purely out of Christian love. I am sure that a man of your exceptional moral fortitude would never blatantly break the 8th commandment. I am also assuming that you talked to the people involved personally before you turned the story over to a tabloid. I would definitely love to give you the benefit of the doubt. Although I would never accuse you of being a blatant liar or slanderer, I would definitely say you write with half-truths and exaggerations. It gives credence to "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing." You obviously possess a little knowledge on this subject. I was moved by your article in two ways. The first way was laughter. You knew so little about the actual events that I laughed out loud. It almost seemed that you were trying to blow the cover off of it, but in reality I think you enhanced the mystery. Way to go. The second way I was moved was to sadness. I was sad that you would blatantly attack the reputation of faithful called workers in God's kingdom. It was shameless. Like I said before, I am sure your motivation was strictly out of Christian love to help these men and they were not ad hominem attacks to settle personal vendettas. Believe me I am trying to give you the benefit of the doubt. I don't think it necessary for me to sit here and defend the practices of our synodical institutions. That would just give credit to your article of lies and exaggerations…


Well, I tire of you, but I have one last comment. Check your Bible for the commandments and see if the eighth has been removed from yours.


Vicar David Koehler

MLS Class of '92

MLC Class of '96

WLS Class of 2000


Effects of Lawlessness


Unfortunately, those who think they are escaping the Law-monkey of Pietism end up carrying it around with them in the form of hedonistic lawlessness. The Wisconsin Synod has had far more than its share of scandals, all covered up by the GA-trained hierarchy. Two church workers have murdered their wives, escaping any serious penalty. It is true that Al Just went to prison after being convicted, but he did not spend many years behind bars. He was recently seen with a WELS youth group. Pastor Taber joined the Wisconsin Synod with a group of people he took out of the LCR congregation in Cape Girardeaux, Missouri. He did not serve any time for the murder of his wife, which took place in his Milwaukee congregation, although his girlfriend did suffer the consequences of participating in the act. District President Ed Werner was arrested and convicted of molesting young girls in his congregation. He is currently in the state prison in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The sexual abuse had been going on for years. The pastors who kept electing him district president would not allow their wives or daughters to be alone in the room with Reverend Werner. The cloak of secrecy did not benefit Ed Werner’s soul, nor help the victims of his attention, nor his family. Retaliation against anyone who finds out such information and reports it has only served to protect the worst offenders. To this day most members in WELS do not know about the two spouse murders, the vicar and the district president in prison.

When I was serving a mission congregation in Columbus, Ohio, Pastor Fred Adrian chaired the powerful District Mission Board. During this time a married vicar, Scott Zerbe, had an affair with a minor girl, who subsequently took the congregation and WELS to court. Zerbe went to the state prison in Michigan for his offenses. The synodical lawyers pleaded their innocence. They knew of no other incidents in their entire synod, even though a district president was in state prison at that moment. The plaintiff’s lawyer presented evidence that WELS was not telling the truth. Finally the judge ordered WELS to produce evidence. The jury looked at the facts and found Pastor Fred Adrian, his congregation, and WELS guilty of poor supervision. The initial judgment was $400,000, which was immediately contested by WELS. The plaintiff’s lawyer was disgusted with her dealings with the Wisconsin Synod. When the jury announced the award for the plaintiff, the Michigan District kept it a secret from their own pastors, even though it was in the Grand Rapids newspaper. This is such a common pattern in WELS that more examples would be wearisome.[8]


The Holy Spirit Works Efficaciously Through the Law



"All Scripture ought to be distributed into these two principal topics, the Law and the promises."

Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article IV, Justification, Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 121. Tappert, p. 108.



"But the chief office or force of the Law is that it reveal original sin with all its fruits, and show man how very low his nature has fallen, and has become [fundamentally and] utterly corrupted; as the Law must tell man that he has no God nor regards [cares for] God, and worships other gods, a matter which before and without the Law he would not have believed. In this way he becomes terrified, is humbled, desponds, despairs, and anxiously desires aid, but sees no escape; he begins to be an enemy of [enraged at] God, and to murmur, etc. This is what Paul says, Romans 4:15: 'The Law worketh wrath.' And Romans 5:20: Sin is increased by the Law. [The Law entered that the offense might abound.']

Smalcald Articles, Third Part, I. 3. Of Sin. Concordia Triglotta, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1921, p. 479. Tappert, p.



“Thesis VIII In the fourth place, the Word of God is not rightly divided when the Law is preached to those who are already in terror on account of their sins or the Gospel to those who live securely in their sins."

C. F. W. Walther, The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel, trans., W. H. T. Dau, St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1928, p. 101.


When Lutherans speak about the efficacy of the Word, we should never neglect the power of the Holy Spirit in working through the Law. Although Christians in general seem to acknowledge the Law, and Lutherans often mention the concept of Law and Gospel, in practice the Law of God has been almost completely abandoned. Once again, it is because Lutherans have lost their trust in the Holy Spirit working through the Word alone. The evidence is all around us. Lutheran seminaries clamor for counseling expertise in their students. Counseling can be extremely valuable. The Christian faith has a long history of the Care of Souls, called Seelsorge in German. But the counseling which is advocated and put into practice today is a horrible hodge-podge of Freud, Jung, Masters and Johnson, Carl Rogers, and Reformed authors who vainly seek to Christianize a method plainly pagan and materialistic in origin. For instance, the analysis of dreams pioneered by Freud and his disciple Jung is nothing more than a rehash of Jewish occultism from the Kabala. Masters and Johnson, the dreary and sad looking sex experts from St. Louis, have turned the Scriptural revelation of “God is love” into “Love is god,” or rather, to be more precise, “Sex is god.” Carl Rogers, an apostate, bragged that he began a revolution by teaching all counselors to be non-judgmental. Some call his method “aren’t you counseling.” If a boy says he would like to kill his father, the properly trained pastor will respond, in a flat and non-judgmental voice, “You are angry, aren’t you.”

Reformed authors are even worse than the classical secular leaders. The case of the Journal of Pastoral Care is instructive. Clinical pastoral education began in part with the work of Anton Boisen, whose mental illness and divinity school background prompted him to work toward helping people by training ministers to be comfortable in the hospital setting. Boisen emphasized the Christian faith and influenced others to create organizations to promote the training of current and future pastors for hospital work and individual counseling. Seward Hiltner, Princeton Seminary, established the Journal of Pastoral Care with this idea in mind. In the 1970s, the Journal of Pastoral Care was written for ministers with an emphasis on theology. Later, the same periodical adopted the style and method of the psychological journals. The message was completely secular, because pastoral counselors look at psychiatrists the way socialists look at Marxists. A psychiatrist is the real thing, the expert who gains everyone’s attention. I recall a speaker in Cleveland stating quite bitterly that Elisabeth Kuebler-Ross got all the credit for grief counseling (from writing On Death and Dying) after working on the subject with two pastoral counselors.


[1] Usually reports about the abuse of students are met with this defense: “That’s an exaggeration!”

[2] He was speaking especially about anyone too interested in a given academic topic. The class would laugh at anyone who asked too many questions about one thing. He thought it bred harmony. I thought it bred mediocrity.

[3] I visited a WELS convention years later. The first order of business was to declare that no one could give news to any outlet without clearing the information with the official committee. I mentioned how controlling this was to a friend, who said, “That’s because of the essay leaked to Christian News years ago, the one Corky wrote.”

[4] Brenner is a student at Marquette University, named for the Jesuit missionary. Marquette boasts about its Jesuit tradition. The board is mostly Jesuit. The president of the school is a Jesuit. Many faculty members are Jesuits and most students are Roman Catholics. I wonder what Grandpa Brenner would have said, to see another John Brenner studying at the feet of Jesuits so he can teach at Mequon, a school largely built through the efforts of the elder Brenner.

[5] I was not concerned about attacks against me, since they roll through WELS all the time. I do not like WELS cowards going after my family, as they have many times. This time a WELS student claimed he had been harmed by my son during NWC initiation. Indeed, my son made him recite the Greek alphabet. When I asked the accuser how this hurt him emotionally or physically, he changed his tune.

[6] ORIGINAL: “Rust Never Sleeps” by Neil Young, WRITER: D. Sellnow, DATE: Bonecruncher in 1983. Collected by Pastor Jon Balge. Notice that the point of the song is to create a sense of fear months before GA begins. What a wonderful school, to have future pastors sing to younger students that they will be afraid, throwing up, crying, and bruised from their introduction to Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary. It takes real men to welcome future pastors with threats of abuse.

[7] The email was sent November 4, 1998. Some things were forwarded to me anonymously, because of fear of retribution.

[8] A widow had to take WELS to court for squandering money entrusted to them. She won $1 million. Paul Kuske’s response was that WELS had to be more careful about the gifts accepted in the future. It was a bad gift! When an Episcopalian treasurer used up $2 million in church funds for herself, it was national news and openly discussed in their denominational paper. KJV Isaiah 10:2 “To turn aside the needy from judgment, and to take away the right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless!”