How Gullible Are You?

Mega Genius® Intelligence Briefing [8]:



The definition of hypocrisy is “the false assumption of an appearance of virtue.”

It lurks deep within the mental caverns of anyone who pretends to be morally right, ethical or free from guilt, but knows within his heart that he is not.

Peculiarly, it is not anything that one does that makes him hypocritical but, rather, what one fails to disclose.

For instance, Emmy-winning television talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell announced to her audience not long ago, “Anybody who has a gun should go to jail.”

Ms. O’Donnell’s emotional and irrational opinion was an example of momentary idiocy.

Unknown to her audience that day, from within her cloak of apparent righteousness, she withheld the fact that she personally enjoys the protection of armed bodyguards.

Her unwillingness to disclose that pertinent fact was an example of hypocrisy.

Ms. O’Donnell has subsequently explained her faux pas by opining, “Celebrities shoot their mouths off too much.” That was an example of self-enlightenment.

Nevertheless, it was not the loose-lipped Ms. O’Donnell’s condemnation of millions of other people that constituted hypocrisy. Rather, it was that she withheld the fact that she had pitched a rock from the doorway of a glass house.

Rosie O’Donnell does not deserve to be condemned as frivolously as she judged so many others, but there are innumerable individuals and organizations that choose to publicly assume positions of the highest virtue. Often they also assume the right to sit in judgment of you. To the degree that they claim to be morally right, ethical, or free from guilt themselves, they are responsible for practicing what they preach.

For example, in the 1980s, Assemblies of God televangelist Jim Bakker’s program, “The PTL [Praise the Lord] Club,” aired worldwide on hundreds of stations, collecting untold millions of dollars from “true believers.” Only when the public learned that the preacher had secretly betrayed his wife, Tammy Faye Bakker, by engaging in an extramarital affair with his secretary and paying $265,000 to cover it up, did some of his devotees finally begin to question the preacher’s virtues and, consequently, his continual accumulation of the vast funds he was raking in.

Soon a grand jury found evidence that the Reverend Jim Bakker had skimmed millions of dollars of his loyal followers’ donations. In early 1989, he was convicted of conspiracy and fraud, and sentenced to 45 years in prison.

The Reverend Jim Bakker’s unwillingness to disclose his own road of degraded morality was hypocrisy.

The Reverend Jimmy Swaggart, another renown televangelist, promptly decried Bakker’s scandal as a “cancer.” Unfortunately for preacher Swaggart, he was soon thereafter photographed romping with a prostitute, who opined that the Reverend Swaggart was a perverted “John” whom she wouldn’t even want around her children.

Regardless,the Reverend Swaggart soon thereafter tearfully confessed his repeated transgressions to television land, and claimed to have gotten his act together, with God’s help. Flying high again, he then returned to raking in the big bucks, as he continues to do today, despite the fact that shortly after his confession he was stopped while flying around in his Jaguar (I presume with God as his co-pilot) with another “hooker.”

The Reverend Jimmy Swaggart’s unwillingness to disclose his continual lapses of morality was hypocrisy.

By proclaiming their self-righteousness to the point of absurdity, stars of the electric church often beg from their pulpits for ridicule.

For instance, consider televangelist Oral Robert’s claim of wrestling with the Devil across the living room floor; or his revelation of a meeting with a fifty-foot tall Jesus; or his claim to have brought the dead back to life; or his proclamation that he will return after he dies to rule alongside Jesus Christ; or his insistence that God told him that if he didn’t raise $8,000,000 from his loyal followers by March 31, 1987, he would die.  (All the money had been raised and God had decided to spare the Reverend Oral Roberts’ life, according a subsequent announcement by the preacher … on April Fools’ Day.)

Or, consider the Reverends Jerry Falwell’s and Pat Robertson’s assertions that such groups as the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for Women, and pornography, the occult, and gays and lesbians were to be blamed for God having allowed the 11 September 2001 World Trade Tower catastrophe.

Or, consider the Reverend Jerry Falwell’s bizarre judgment that the amorphous “Tinky Winky” character, on the “Teletubbies” children’s television cartoon show, is gay.

Such self-appointed umpires of your morality don’t have to disclose that they are delusional. Their proclamations speak for them!

Most hypocrisy hidden within the pretense of great virtuosity, however, is less obvious. Take, for instance, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, commonly known as the Mormon Church.

In the 1960s, while taping a pilot for a television show at KSL-TV and granting a series of television interviews in the western states, I lived in the Ensign Downs section of Salt Lake City, Utah. My home was on grounds considered sacred by the Mormon Church, immediately above and overlooking the State Capitol Building and the Mormon Temple.

I had many business dealings with the Mormon Church at that time and became quite familiar with that religion.  The late LeGrand Richards was a member of the Quarum of the Twelve Apostles and, as such, one of the highest ranking authorities in the Mormon religion.  In 1965, I was introduced to him at a private party hosted by his son, Lamar Richards.  LeGrand and I became close friends and frequently discussed the Mormon religion for a couple of decades thereafter.

Many years later, in 1997, two clean-shaven, well-dressed, attractive young men appeared unannounced at my doorstep, on the island of Maui, with the benign objective of introducing me to the Mormon religion. I stepped outside my doorway and briefly discussed with them some of my conversations with LeGrand. As I did so, however, I noticed the more experienced missionary glancing several times beyond me into the interior of my home, which was none of their business. Sensing a possible interest on their part in more than just religious conversion, I politely concluded our conversation, closed the door, and decided to set a trap.

The Mormon missionaries returned twice throughout the next few days, apparently concluding each time that no one was home at that specific time of the day. Then, a couple of days later, they forcibly broke into my home early one evening and were caught in the process of searching it from room to room.

Minutes after the break in, the police told me that they had obtained a confession and had confirmed that the perpetrators were, in fact, Mormon missionaries who lived in a dormitory of the “Church of Latter Day Saints,” which the police subsequently documented on their police report, No. 97-36121.

Such lawlessness does not require the attention of an Apostle of the religion, but I did immediately speak with the highest ranking Church official within 3,000 miles. He repeatedly promised to call me back momentarily with an apology, just as soon as he verified the matter through the police.

The Mormon Church is not responsible for every sin of their missionaries, but it is responsible for addressing such illegal activities in an open and truthful manner.

Instead, according to the Maui County Prosecutor’s Office, the Mormon Church apparently promptly relocated the missionaries, probably thousands of miles away, so that they could never again be located by the authorities and would escape prosecution. Consequently, the police were never able to find the missionaries again and the high-ranking Church official never called me back.

I am still waiting for the apology he repeatedly promised.

The Church’s apparent culpability in whisking the perpetrators to a secret location beyond the reach of law enforcement was unethical.

The Mormon Church’s false assumption of a pretense of virtue, while being unwilling to face the truth and offer a simple apology, was hypocrisy.

Blatant examples of hypocrisy make the news continually.

For example, my friend and former business associate Alexander Butterfield, whom I know to be an ethical person, was Deputy Assistant to President Nixon and Secretary to the Cabinet, and later head of the Federal Aviation Administration. Alex blew the lid off the famous Watergate Hearings with his explosive Senate testimony that revealed President Nixon’s secret taping system at the White House that had recorded everything spoken in the Oval Office.

For many years, much of those recordings has remained secret, for reasons of national security. Now the public has just learned of the Reverend Billy Graham’s disturbingly anti-Semitic statements that he originated in a private conversation with President Nixon in the early 1970s.

Clearly embarrassed, the famous evangelist has now been forced to publicly apologize and allege that he didn’t really mean what he said, and reiterated, about his friends, the Jews, when he thought the Jews were not listening.

Even after his apology, the fire storm has been so great that a few days ago the Reverend Graham was forced to apologize again and attempt to re-explain that he was merely lying to the President.

The Reverend Billy Graham’s act of withholding the truth about his pretense of honesty is hypocrisy.

There is more in the news. The Holy Roman Catholic Church has now been seized by what Pope John Paul II has called a “grave scandal.”

More than 100 priests worldwide have already been convicted and imprisoned for sexually molesting children and dozens more forced to resign. Many appear to be serial deviants who preyed upon 100 or more victims in their parishes throughout the years.

The casualties of these atrocities have been both young girls and boys, although the molestations have been primarily homosexual. (Other homosexual scandals within the Church, that do not involve children, have also emerged around the globe.)

The Church’s response has been deceptive and agonizingly resistive, with minimal direction from the Vatican.

The disgrace broke in the predominately Catholic country of Ireland in 1994, when a priest, who had served throughout that country and at parishes in the United States, finally admitted to being a practicing pedophile. Then a major scandal erupted.

Finally the Church has struck a deal with Ireland’s government to pay $110 million to compensate thousands of children victimized in Church-controlled schools and orphanages. Settlements, however, are projected to total nearly $500,000,000.

Now a prominent bishop in Ireland is being accused of being a pedophile.

In France, dozens of priests have been convicted of pedophilia and a bishop there was convicted for concealing the malice.

In Australia, in 1996, some 200 victims of schools run by the Christian Brothers, an Irish teaching order, settled out of court for another $2.6 million.

Similar grievances alleging decades of child molestation at a now closed Christian Brothers orphanage in St. John’s, Newfoundland, are pending in Canadian courts. The government there has already paid $7 million to victims and the Christian Brother’s schools in Canada now face lawsuits totalling another $50 million.

In England, the archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, stands accused of covering up the child abuse by a priest who has subsequently been convicted of a series of sexual assaults.

In Poland, the native country of Pope John Paul II, an archbishop just resigned.

Now the atrocious extent of child molestation within the Catholic Church is finally being exposed in the United States, involving a Boston priest who stands accused of sexually abusing more than 100 children throughout various parishes, a bishop who has finally confessed to child molestation, and related allegations against a monsignor and another cardinal, shaking the Catholic Church to its core. Dozens of priests in the United States now have been suspended or forced to resign.

Digging in to protect its self-interests, the Catholic Church has not been cooperative. An archdiocese has even refused to give prosecutors any information about allegations against priests unless it is subpoenaed by a grand jury.

A federal lawsuit has now been filed against the Catholic Church, citing the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), which was written to combat organized crime. It alleges a pattern of financial payments to victims and a conspiracy by all the bishops throughout the United States to keep the crimes secret.

The evidence indicates that the Catholic Church has been obstructing justice for decades by hiding the crimes of its priests who prey sexually upon children, secretly paying off the victims, and quickly transferring the dangerous priests to other states where they could continue their pattern of child molestation and avoid extradition. (A technique similar to my experience with the Mormon Church.)

The Holy Roman Catholic Church has a major problem of public relations. It also has a severe problem of ethics.

I do not fault the Catholic Church for the sins of its priests, bishops and cardinals. Every person is responsible for his or her own actions. Although — since any religion is merely a proposed way to attain wisdom — if the Church knew true wisdom, as revealed in The Mega Genius® Lectures, it would never have floundered into this worldwide scandal.

The Church, however, is totally responsible for its own sin of systematically and continually hiding the evidence of child molestation by its priests and for betraying its youth, who trust in the Church for ethical guidance, by allowing these detestable crimes to flourish in secret.

The Catholic Church’s continual acts of covering up the truth to conceal these crimes against children, and permitting these crimes to continue worldwide for decades, thereby falsely maintaining an appearance of virtue, is hypocrisy.

Of course these sorts of betrayals of the public’s trust are not the exclusive domain of the “holier than thou.” One can discover them throughout many of the individuals and organizations that pretend to be particularly virtuous.

For example, while employed by a large corporation, I was once approached by a representative of the United Way during its annual fund drive. Although I was receptive to the idea, having contributed substantially to some other charitable organizations in the past, I remained cautious about donating so indirectly.

How could I be sure that the United Way would use my contributions for the purposes it promised?

Because I did not approve of every organization on the United Way’s standard list of recipients, the United Way told me that I could complete a short form on which I could designate any charitable organization of my choice. Whatever amount I chose would then be deducted each pay period from my salary and forwarded promptly by the United Way to that charity.

Unconvinced, but willing to take a risk just to test the United Way’s virtuosity, I completed the form, designated a specific IRS approved 501 (c) (3) charitable institution, and signed the form.

Time would tell.

The United Way kept its promise to continually deduct my contributions from my paychecks for some six months. But did it also keep the rest of its promise? I decided it was time to investigate.

The charitable institution that I had designated to receive my contributions told me that they had never received any of my funds, or anyone else’s for that matter, from the United Way. At my request, that designated institution then conducted an audit verifying what it had told me verbally, and provided me with an affidavit, so stating.

I repeatedly telephoned and wrote to the United Way, requesting an explanation of where all my funds had actually gone. The United Way neither returned any phone call, nor was willing to reply to any letter.

I was not surprised.

Nor was I surprised when William Aramony, President of the United Way, was subsequently convicted in 1995 on 25 criminal counts of conspiracy to defraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, transportation of fraudulently acquired property, engaging in monetary transactions in unlawful activity, filing false tax returns, et cetera.  The former President of the United Way is still in prison today. Some peoples’ donations to that organization helped pay for such luxuries as the $80,000 sun room for his girlfriend’s home in Florida.

Maybe some of those donations were mine.

Maybe they were yours.

The United Way’s unwillingness to care enough to offer any explanation of where my charitable contributions had gone was arrogance.

Its “false assumption of an appearance of virtue” is the definition of hypocrisy.

Maybe you should more carefully weigh the risk you take anytime you entrust either your beliefs or funds to any individual or organization that claims to be virtuous.

Maybe the best time to begin is now, on April Fools’ Day.


Mega Genius®

1 April 2002


Copyright © 2002 – 2012, Mega Genius®.  All rights reserved.