—MOOctober 15, 1971LTA No.121
DRAFT CASES TO BE HANDLED INDIVIDUALLY
Greetings in Jesus' precious name!
1. THIS IS A VERY URGENT EMERGENCY ADVISORY TO EACH OF YOU COLONIES REGARDING YOUR DRAFT CASES. THE DRAFT CASES OF EACH INDIVIDUAL COLONY IS THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY, since each Colony is supposed to be completely independent and indigenous: self-governing‚ self-supporting‚ and self-propagating according to the New Testament pattern. EACH INDIVIDUAL BOY IS SUPPOSED TO HANDLE HIS OWN CASE AND MAKE HIS OWN DECISIONS AS TO WHAT CLASSIFICATION HE IS APPLYING FOR, with only an explanation from his leaders as to what choices he has, as it is illegal and incriminating for anyone to advise or counsel a draftee along certain lines regarding the draft.
2. IT IS ALSO VERY DIFFICULT FOR US TO TRY TO QUALIFY AS A GENUINE BIBLE COLLEGE ACCORDING TO THE STANDARDS OF THIS WORLD AND THE WHIMS AND OPINIONS OF EACH INDIVIDUAL BOARD and their members, each of whom are virtually a law unto themselves, with a wide variance of views on such matters, resulting in greatly divergent interpretations of the Selective Service laws, rules, and regulations.
3. WE THEREFORE, SUGGEST THAT EACH COLONY INDIVIDUALLY HANDLE EACH CASE, BY EACH BOY HIMSELF‚ under the supervision of each individual Colony, with their help and information, thereby fulfilling both Scriptures: "Let every man bear his own burden," and yet "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." In other words, EVERY MAN IS GOING TO HAVE TO STAND ON HIS OWN TWO FEET WITH YOUR HELP. EACH CASE WILL HAVE TO BE HANDLED INDIVIDUALLY WITHIN YOUR OWN COLONY BY THE BOY HIMSELF with your assistance. Amen?
MINISTERIAL EXEMPTIONS AND OTHER ALTERNATIVES
4. We further suggest that now, our only hope, with the Lord's help, IS TO GET MINISTERIAL EXEMPTIONS FOR OUR BOYS BY VIRTUE OF THEIR ACTUAL MINISTRY IN FULL-TIME RELIGIOUS WORK. We therefore suggest that each Colony immediately recognize itself as a religious community or individual church with Colony leaders as Pastors, Co–Pastors‚ Assistant Pastors, Associate Pastors, Ministers of Music, etc., and its members—church members engaged in full-time religious ministry of preaching and teaching the principles of religion—horror of horrors it has come to this in order to comply with the Selective Service requirements and qualifications for ministerial exemptions! But don't knock it!—Use it! You are actual churches in the truest sense of the word, and all of you are genuine ministers of the Gospel as much, if not more, than most ministers, and you surely deserve recognition and draft exemption as such.
5. THIS DOES NOT ALWAYS MEAN THAT YOU WILL BE RECOGNIZED AS SUCH, BUT AT LEAST YOU CAN CLAIM THAT WHICH IS RIGHTFULLY YOURS according to the law: "Regular or duly ordained ministers of religion shall be exempt" from any form of military service. As the law later says: "He has a relation to a Supreme Being involving duties superior to those arising from any human relationship" (The UMT Act‚ Title 50, Section 456, Paragraphs G & J).
6. AS YOU WILL NOTE, YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE TO BE AN ORDAINED MINISTER, BUT SIMPLY A REGULAR MINISTER, as some denominations‚ like the Church of Christ, do not believe in man-made ordinations or "Reverends," and THE TEST OF THE VALIDITY OF YOUR CLAIM IN MOST COURT CASES HAS RESTED ON THE ACTUAL MINISTRY OF BEING ENGAGED FULL-TIME OR MOST OF THE TIME IN THE RELIGIOUS WORK OF PREACHING or teaching the principles of religion, as your principle vocation and life's work regardless of age, sex, creed, methods, ordination or education—which certainly includes you as a full-time witness, street preacher, Gospel Literature Distributor, soul winner, and teacher of the Bible—which if the board is honest and fair it should certainly recognize.
7. YOU CAN AT LEAST FIGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS TO EXEMPTION AS A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL. The laws on the subject are very clear and fair, but their interpretation and the board's or court's opinion as to your qualifications may vary according to the individuals' personal preferences and prejudices‚ so you have no guarantee but God, and you'll have to rest your case with Him—but He never fails, and if you truly trust Him, He'll see you through the way He wants you to go. Many very sincere young men, such as Jehovah's Witnesses‚ have chosen unfair prison sentences of two or three years, rather than to be forced into military service against the Will of God. They preferred the martyrdom of incarceration rather than to be sent to kill those whom they had been called to save!
8. OTHERS HAVE CHOSEN TO BE CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTORS‚ objecting to any form of active military duty either combatant or non-combatant, and have chosen rather to be placed in concentration camps doing civil conservation service, such as planting trees, fighting fires‚ working on road gangs, or as medics, hospital orderlies, and various other forms of public civilian service given to Conscientious Objectors.
9. The only difference between these two forms of Conscientious Objectors is that the one objecting only to Combatant service can remain in uniform, taking virtually the same training as the others, except for Combatant training, and then assigned to a non-killing job, although it may be right on the battlefield as a medic without a gun, to be killed. The other Conscientious Objector who objects to all forms of military duty, Combatant or Non-Combatant, is the one who is assigned to some form of civilian duty, which is compulsory for the same length of time as the usual two years of military service. Some of us have gone through this and it was not so bad, and there is not the reproach to it now that there was then, although now you have to prove it by filling out lengthy forms, writing lengthy dissertations on your convictions, furnishing witnesses, and personal appearances before boards or court, only one out of four qualifying!
10. About the only other alternative that there is to some form of service for those who pass their physicals and are called up‚ and which some have chosen, has been either prison or fleeing to Canada or Sweden, the only two countries in the world who are now refusing to extradite [U.S.] draft dodgers, although there are many other countries which don't bother them, as long as they have a valid visa and passport. Of course, even this can be very hazardous, as it's illegal and you may never be able to return home without facing serious draft evasion charges and a prison term. [HomeARC note: In 1974 President Ford instituted a program for Vietnam War deserters and draft evaders, requiring them to spend two years doing public service work as the condition for amnesty. Few took advantage of this program. In 1977 President Carter pardoned virtually all Vietnam–era draft evaders and permitted those living abroad to return without threat of persecution, but deserters were not pardoned.]
11. SO THE BEST WAY IS TO LEGALLY CLAIM YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS AS A MINISTER, and fight for those rights to the finish, whatever it may be. You also have a perfect right to claim to be a Conscientious Objector, as well, which will further complicate your case and prolong it on both counts. Most boys have found it safer and more rewarding to go the legal route, even through physicals, hoping to receive a medical or psychological disqualification before having to fight their way any further, such as after all appeals for ministerial exemption have failed, refusing to report for induction on the grounds of your rights as a minister to be exempted, or reporting but refusing to swear in, based on the same rights, and then having to follow the court route to prove it, or go to prison.
12. So far, thanks to the Lord, I believe that none of our boys have even had to go as far as court, and the Lord has miraculously protected us. But since it will now be difficult for any of you to now claim ministerial student deferment, your only alternative will be to claim your legal rights to exemption as an actual or "regular" minister, whether ordained or not. Of course, according to most state laws, the local church itself can even ordain you as a minister of the Gospel, with an appropriate ceremony of some kind and the granting of an ordination certificate, which you can buy at your local Bible bookstore for from ten to fifty cents each, depending on how pretty a one you want, and whether on ordinary paper or parchment!
ORDINATION CEREMONY AND CERTIFICATE
13. THE USUAL ORDINATION SERVICE—AND I'VE BEEN ORDAINED THREE TIMES, SO I SHOULD REMEMBER—consists first of a private questioning session where the candidate is grilled as to his qualifications, knowledge, and experience for the job. You who have finished the basic three months' course, have already had months of this testing, or you wouldn't be in your Colony. I don't think that anyone with less training than that should be qualified to receive an official ordination from your Colony.
14. THE ORDINATION SERVICE ITSELF—AT LEAST THE PUBLIC PART BEFORE THE CONGREGATION, usually consists of seating the candidates up front where the various ministers leading the meeting can preach to them about the seriousness of their new responsibilities‚ using lengthy passages addressed to elders‚ bishops and deacons from Timothy and Titus. Then one of the leaders gives the "charge" taken from the writings of the Apostle Paul in 1Timothy 1:3 and 5:21, and 2Timothy 4:1, etc. This is usually followed by the "laying on of hands," which can either be en masse by all the leaders and congregation, all laying on hands at once on all the candidates, while a leader leads in the ordination prayer. Although the most effective laying on of hands is usually one by one, so that each can receive Scriptures, individual prophecies, and encouraging prayers‚ the ordination service can then conclude with an official pronouncement by the principal leader that the candidates have been duly ordained according to the laws of your church and the state, and are now fully qualified and duly–ordained ministers of the Gospel, competent to perform legal marriages, communions‚ baptisms, burials, etc.—quite a ritual! A very effective addition to this, if you have time, is to have each candidate give a brief testimony just before the laying on of hands.
15. THIS IS ALL VERY SCRIPTURAL AND CAN BE MADE VERY IMPRESSIVE, BOTH TO THE BOY, REGARDING THE SERIOUSNESS OF HIS MINISTRY‚ AND TO THE SYSTEM, regarding the validity of the ceremony, so that each boy will be able to produce a valid ordination certificate bearing an actual ordination date to assist him in qualifying for ministerial exemption. We have done this with a number and have yet to lose one, thanks to the Lord, and the System's recognition. It is now your only hope of your young ministers receiving some form of ministerial exemption, which he certainly deserves.
16. SOME OF YOU MAY REMEMBER THE INTERESTING ORDINATION SERVICE WE HAD AT LAURENTIDE, in the early days, which helped some of you to get recognition of your ministry by your boards, and get you off the hook. We must have ordained nearly fifty at that time, and none of them have landed in the military or prison ! So it helps. We also had one at TSC, as you may recall, outside by the lake, and it was beautiful, and the Lord really spoke over each of you. Of course, IT'S MERELY MAN'S RECOGNITION OF GOD'S ACTUAL ORDINATION (JOHN 15:16)—but remember, that's what you're after to prove to the System your legal right of ministerial exemption from military service. You've been drafted by the Lord, into His Army, and His duties come first. Hallelujah! It's a precious experience, and something to be remembered as well as recognized, and I'm sure will be enjoyed by all. The congregation usually comes up and congratulates the new ministers afterward, and you can have a real love feast, and a good time can be had by all, including refreshments‚ if you have them. After all, it's a joyful occasion‚ so celebrate!
ADVANTAGES OF MINISTERIAL SYSTEM RECOGNITION—USE IT!
17. Because of all this, and other legal reasons for which you need the recognition of the System, such as tax exemption and other special privileges which the System gives to churches, we recommend that FROM NOW ON, WHEN DEALING WITH THE SYSTEM AND YOU NEED IT, CLAIM YOUR RIGHTS AS A LOCAL CHURCH, OF WHICH YOU ARE PASTORS AND MINISTERS—a very different kind of church, indeed, and very different kinds of ministers, but nonetheless a genuine church, after the New Testament pattern, with genuine New testament ministers and engaged in a greater ministry than most of the others.
18. If anyone tries to tell you that you're not a church or genuine ministers just because you have no church building‚ or you don't look like it, just let 'em sample one of your meetings and remind them that the Church was never a building, but a body of believers, and that they met in many different kinds of places in the days of the Early Church, from homes to upper rooms, and were nevertheless as much a church as a church can be‚ and that you therefore deserve the recognition that the System gives to churches.
19. It might also be wise, therefore, for you now to CALL YOURSELVES PASTORS, MINISTERS, OR EVEN REVERENDS WHEN DEALING WITH THE SYSTEM, reminding them that you are such, and compelling them to recognize you as the same. They may even invite you to join the ministerial association as such, if you impress them with this fact, and that might even do you some good‚ to get you a little more recognition, and to keep them from plotting against you at their meetings. It would be a little hard for them to do that while you're there. And you might even do them some good by your testimony, the spiritual power of your presence, reminding them continually of what you stand for—full-time service for every Christian, one hundred percent commitment to God' service, with a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day–a-week program of militantly active witnessing and soul winning and spiritual training for all of your members—your very presence therefore, being a constant witness against them.
20. YOU MAY THINK THIS SOUNDS LIKE A COMPROMISE WITH SYSTEM CHURCHIANITY‚ BUT IT'S NOT! It might really pay off. IT MIGHT EVEN WIN A FEW FRIENDS, AS THEY SEE YOUR SIMPLE SINCERITY‚ HEAR OF YOUR OBVIOUS FRUITFULNESS, AND ENDEAVOR TO GET THEM TO FOLLOW YOUR EXAMPLE. Both Jesus and Paul preached in their synagogues, as well as other Apostles, and that's where nearly every reformer started his Reformation, and it looks like that because of the draft and other reasons, to avoid unnecessary discrimination‚ we're going to have to avoid unnecessary segregation‚ and compel the System to recognize us according to its own rules, even if we have to invade the Sanhedrin itself and stand up as Gamaliel in our own defense. We have done this before, and we can do it again, whether it be in school board meetings, city council meetings, or even ministerial association meetings. It could defeat a lot of lies of the Devil by open confrontation and public refutation of all their false charges and false witness against us. Most of what they hear is just rumors anyway. You can be there to give 'em the facts. It's amazing how many people write and talk all about us, even books about us, who have never even met one of us personally! It might help them to meet you face to face. Remember, though we usually talk about the churches we were thrown out of, sometimes we fail to remind ourselves of the many who welcomed us, so we're now forced again to obtain such recognition in order to survive!
21. Immediately after the ordination service, have Photostat copies made of all the certificates (which certificates‚ by the way, should not only be filled in with the date, name of the newly-ordained man, name of the church‚ but as many Reverend signatures as possible of all the leaders who officiated—the more the better—fill it up!). Also, write a good letter to each man's board, if need be, stating the fact that he has just been ordained to full-time ministry and will be serving as a full-time minister of your church‚ engaged in the teaching and preaching of the principles of religion, beginning at once, and that you are therefore requesting that he be reclassified for ministerial exemption. Enclose a copy of his impressive ordination certificate with your letter, signed by you as Reverend So-and-so‚ and send both immediately to his home board, the sooner the better. It might also be good to enclose a completed Conscientious Objector form as well‚ so they'll know they're gonna have to fight you on all fronts and clear through the courts in order to get you in case they want to contest it, and this could help discourage them from doing so. We know that it has in some cases. You're just not worth the hassle, when they can grab some other guy a lot easier. SO STAND UP AND FIGHT FOR YOUR LEGAL RIGHTS‚ UNLESS YOU PREFER THE ARMY OF THE SYSTEM TO THE ARMY OF THE LORD! PTL!
22. OF COURSE, IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A GOOD DRAFT CLASSIFICATION, I WOULDN'T SUGGEST THAT YOU DISTURB IT UNLESS NECESSARY, but you are supposed to inform them of any change in your status, and they will find it out anyway on your next status questionnaire, which are sent to most men of draft age about every six months, at which time you should inform them of this change, along with your request for a new classification as a minister‚ as outlined above.
23. YOU CAN BEGIN TAKING CARE OF ALL FURTHER COMMUNICATIONS WITH YOUR OWN DRAFT BOARD AT ONCE, with the help of your Colony leaders and Colony secretary, if need be. This is vital and urgent. Each Colony will handle its own draft mail. Consult with your local Colony Pastor on any possible exceptions. We do not yet know the exact status on you who are overseas, so perhaps you should wait for further instructions‚ but it certainly won't hurt for you to get ordained as quickly as possible.
24. EACH BOY'S FILE OF CORRESPONDENCE ON DRAFT MATTERS SHOULD BE MOVED WITH HIM AS HE HIMSELF IS MOVED TO ANY NEW COLONY, and then handled by him in the Colony in which he resides. If you strike a snag, you can usually get some very good information also from local draft counseling agencies in your Colony's area. Be sure you have a good conscientious secretary helping your draftees with their correspondence. Be diligent and prompt!
SUGGESTIONS FOR APPEALING DRAFT CLASSIFICATIONS AND CORRESPONDENCE WITH YOUR BOARD
25. 1) You should appeal if a ministerial student deferment or exemption has been denied.
2) In writing your appeal letter you may quote any or enclose a copy of the laws to remind the board of your rights.
3) In your letter you should tell them that it is an appeal to your draft classification.
4) State some of the laws to back up your appeal.
5) You may state that you are a full-time student at the Bible School now and upon graduation will be ordained as a minister of the Gospel. If your board know you are already ordained you may tell them that instead.
6) Explain the type of youth evangelistic work you are doing.
7) Request that your present classification be withdrawn and ask for a new classification because of your ministry. You may also file as a conscientious objector to any form of military service.
8) Be firm in convictions. Let them know that you are serious about this and that you will go to any measure, including court, to receive proper judgement about your legal rights.
9) Be sure and give your full name as they have it and your Selective Service Number.
10) God bless you. Be very prayerful in writing your letter and God will guide you in what to say.
11) Be sure that no 2 letters are alike. Each boy must do his own letter.
12) Make sure that your letter is in before the date stated on draft board letter.
13) Use good stationary and have typed on good typewriter, making at least 3 carbon copies.
14) Make copies and keep two for yourself. Please do this because you'll need it for your records.
15) If you move from one place to another you must report a change of address to your local board immediately. It helps to stay on good terms with them.
16) Be prompt in answering all correspondence with them.
17) If your parents or other relatives are still living at your former home address and will forward your mail promptly, and you keep them informed immediately of each change in your present temporary address, you may continue to give your "permanent" home address as your address to your Board on all communications to avoid confusion and frequent changes. If not you must notify your Board immediately of every change of address‚ giving your Local Colony's Box number or street address as your address, each time you move! This is important!
18) REMEMBER: Delay in replying to Board communications can result in your being classified as "Delinquent" and being ordered to report for immediate induction! "Be diligent in business" and "render unto Caesar"!
PRAY! THESE ARE ONLY SUGGESTIONS: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO USE ANY OF THIS INFORMATION IF YOU DO NOT WANT TO. ACT ACCORDING TO YOUR OWN PERSONAL CONVICTIONS AND THE LEADING OF THE LORD AND HIS WORD.