The Great Gold Controversy
Controversy surrounded John Thiels decision recently, to buy physical gold with church money and bury it at the bottom of the garden.
Certain men of the Brisbane HASS franchise were none to pleased with this proposition as Ellen White specifically warned against Adventists indulging in speculative investments.
The men opposed the proposition in the business meeting, a thing hitherto unheard of, and there was a Mexican stand off. The rebellious men were urged to 'just obey John' and even told that they were 'delaying Christ's coming with their rebellious spirit'.
The end result was that Thiel returned to Perth and bought gold despite them. He now sleeps with it under his pillow.
Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days.
The Velcro scandal
In 2008 Thiel got caught up in a Nigerian phishing scam after being roped in by another worker 'Brother Velcro', who had been caught up himself.
This brother had received an unsolicited email from a Mr Winston Kodogo who acted on behalf of a deceased man, who had wished to leave a sizable fortune of millions of dollars to him.
Panting with excitement Velcro approached Thiel about his unexpected windfall, and soon Thiel, who loves 'filthy lucre', was panting away beside him.
With Thiel beside him, Velcro approached the local church for a loan of $87000 to meet certain 'expenses' related to releasing the money.
In return for the loan Velcro offered to pay a large sum of interest which amounted to $12000 dollars for the one month duration of the loan.
Thiel was foremost in arguing aggressively in favour of the loan.
Reluctantly the Church agreed to loan the money.
Luckily for the church, the treasurer was a young man with his brain switched on, he smelled a rat and made some enquiries before releasing the funds. He examined the documentation held by Velcro and quickly found the whole thing to be a scam. The email address didn't exist and the fee that they were charging ,'Margin Currency Fluctuation Difference' did not exist in the banking industry.
The treasurer reported his findings to Velcro and Thiel, and showed them similar scams on the Internet.
However Velcro's faith in Mr Kodogo wasn't shaken, he began borrowing money from individuals. He borrowed large sums of money from many individuals both within and without the church. Some of the people he borrowed money from were too ashamed to confess. Brother Velcro even asked one sister if she could put more money on her mortgage so he could borrow it from her.
Velcro's efforts to obtain the inheritance failed. In desperation he went to the United Kingdom to search for Mr Kodogo and the lost millions. Naturally he returned from the UK empty handed, yet he then continued to solicit more money from church members to mount another search.
Velcro began to work on Thiel to convince him of the veracity of the money scheme. Thiel requested to the church on behalf of Velcro that $19,000 of church monies be lent to him. When the treasurer said, “I wouldn’t lend him a cent.” Thiel retorted, “if I had the money I would lend it to him.”
Velcro claimed that he was absolutely certain of receiving the money and that a Member of Parliament in London was working in his behalf. He claimed that before the money could be released that certain charges must be paid for. He need to obtain a 'Job Completion Certificate' which would cost $19,000 to obtain.
The church rejected Brother Thiel’s proposal of lending Brother Velcro $19,000 of the church monies.
A widow lost her home investing in Velcro and Thiel's folly, and a man who was nearly blind lost the money he had saved to have treatment abroad to restore his sight.
Certainly Thiel is not the arch villain in this tale ,Velcro is, but it is telling the way Thiel threw himself behind this get rich quick scheme, and it is telling that his level of discernment was so degraded by his love of money.
Is this a man who can be trusted with Gods treasure?
5 While all the people were listening, Jesus said to his disciples, 46 “Beware of the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”