Several years ago, when I was around nineteen, I thought to visit an old pastor my family had known for many years. He was respected of his peers and was a fine churchman and leader of several flocks in his nearly fifty years of ministry. I had in mind to eventually study for theology and ministry and surely this aged pastor, in his mid-sixties could steer me in the right direction.
Oh, sure, he
said, there is a great university you need to look into. They have a
campus here in Tyler, "Louisiana Baptist University" Go and see one of
my good friends, Dr. Mike Daniels, pastor of Landmark Baptist Church.
drove several miles out to the southeast of town to Landmark Baptist. I
went in, shook hands and introduced myself to Pastor Mike. He took me
to a long hallway, on which wall he had prominently displayed four of
his degrees. "This is my Bachelors." A little further and "These are my
two masters." And "This is my doctorate." I'm not aware that any of them
were from accredited schools. One is impressed that he is not simply
proud of his accomplishments, he has impressed himself. Every second of
it was enamour and pride with his credentials and it was obnoxious.
highly value education. I respect those who have made notable
accomplishments in higher education. But I don't recall anyone who so
obnoxiously advertised their own credentials as this man. I've never
been put off if someone spoke to me of their achievements. But this man
put me off.
We went on to talk about the demands of
Louisiana Baptist University, which is an unaccredited school that I
think has more prestige than a diploma mill but still is something I
would not advise you to touch with a ten foot stick.
left, unconvinced. I probably thought to myself there really are no
shortcuts in life. Everything has to be done right, if you want it done
well. But, this Dr. Mike was fascinating, but only mildly. I would have
to look into his background and see what I could dig up. And boy, did I
strike it big.
When I looked for the church's official
website, I saw something very curious. In connection with the ministry
school he hosts on the church site, he's involved in training up young
ministers to counsel with struggling folks. And what better man to
counsel and to raise up young ministers than the Executive Director of
the National Association of Family and Marriage Counselors.
Quite an austere name. How privileged we are to have such a noted psychologist among us.
the more I investigated, I found that there really was no such National
Association of Family and Marriage Counselors to speak of. Rather, from
what I could determine, it was among a variety of other corporations
using similarly prestigious-sounding titles, of which I only determined
that he was the only member.
And yet when I carefully
read the language, it's said so matter-of-factly as if he were voted in
as president by some distinguished council of public servants. So far as
I could determine, he wasn't "elected" president by anyone other than
himself, when he registered his corporation with the state comptroller.
Was he really certified as a professional counselor?
Daniels holds professional certifications with the National Association
of Family and Marriage Counselors and the National Association of
So we can see clearly he has a
secondary certification from his own organization which he founded,
the NAMF. But this NAPC? Who might that be? It's quite an austere
sounding name. Certainly it must be a prestigious accrediting council
of authorities in the area of psychology and psychotherapy.
alas, though I looked into this professional academy, I found scant
results (less than ten), and I found no such recognition among
professional societies such as the National Board of Certified
Counselors and Affiliates, or the American Counseling Association.
Nevertheless, I am convinced that such an entity does in fact exist and
that no professional demands are put upon any of its members, in my
estimation. Again, as is so often the case in this investigation, it
seems that this is merely another rubber-stamp operation, one that
accredits anyone willing to pay a fee.
I return to the church website, for I have only investigated a handful of links in the directory.
fine theologian such as Pastor Mike probably is quite a purist
doctrinally, I had in mind to study up on the church's positions. Under
the selection bar to the left, there is indeed an "Articles of Faith"
section under the Resources menu.
I find today that
there is nothing on the page! And neither was there anything on the page
when I looked there the better part of ten years ago! The more I read
the website, the more it seems like a subtle advertisement. It's merely
another shell in a long list of shells.
Counselors can receive a certificate by joining the National Association
of Family and Marriage Counselors and subscribing to NAFMC'S code of
counseling and conduct and submitting three references and the proper
How much? For a basic license, a counseling certificate is "$125.00 with a $25.00 annual renewal."
But if you want the real deal: "Professional Counseling Certificate is $175.00 with a $25. 00 annual renewal."
if you want to be a professional, it has nothing to do with how many
advanced graduate courses you take in your field of study, it merely
costs an extra fifty dollars. 
Elsewhere, we find a range of information on tuition at the bible college.
there are certainly an abundance of links and matter relating to fees,
accreditation, and advertising for the little business the "Chancelor"
[sic] of the Texas Baptist Theological Seminary has been profiting from
in many years. On the contrary, there is scant evidence that a church
exists at all. All that I've found confirms that there is certainly a
shady operation being run that pretends to endorse "professional
counselors" with no accredited training, for a small fee.
is certainly not the first time I've seen a person of such notable
achievement. I knew a young man in his early 30s who had been specially
recognized by the city for his quote, Work with the food and homeless
shelter and direct assistance to the needy. I spent months interviewing
this man and his family on a personal level. I found no evidence of a
homeless shelter. I found small evidence that he provided meals on an
irregular basis to some of the less fortunate he was directly affiliated
with. I saw him take plenty of donations for his personal gratification
but I saw no such good works, to deserve a commendation from the mayor
In the world of ministry, diploma mills, and
fundamentalist Christianity, very few of the pastors have real
credentials, and the only value of the credentials they have are not in
its intrinsic worth but that others pretend with the minister that they
have worth. Money is much the same way. At one point, it had a
designated value with respect to either gold or silver. Now, it's value
is by fiat, according to common convention, e.g. that we agree it has
value and businesses are willing to accept it as a valid object for
making transactions. If businesses on the border with Mexico agree that
pesos are a legitimate value for exchange, then they will exchange
pesos. If fundamentalists agree that paper credentials that in fact are
worth less than the paper they are printed on are worth something, then
it is by that convention that they are worth something.
it is agreed that one can pretend to operate homeless shelters and
orphanages, although no such facilities exist or have ever existed, then
it makes sense how a city government, or worse, the White House (and
yes, the individual I was speaking of received recognition from the
White House - for nothing), can mail out such letters to single out and
distinguish outstanding citizens in the community.
happens, in my experience, is these letters become just another
credential. When no food shelters are found, the formal letter of
commendation is drawn out. "See, I did used to operate a food shelter,
the mayor even commended me for it!"
Good old Mike.
Dean of Psychology. Chancelor [sic]. A bachelor, two masters, a
Doctorate of Theology, a Ph.D., an honorary doctorate, Executive
Director of the National Association of Family and Marriage Counselors.
is impressed that he is not simply proud of his accomplishments, he has
impressed himself. Every second of it was enamor and pride with his
credentials and it was obnoxious."
And it finally all made sense.
Again, the counseling certificates.
certificate comes with your name and qualifications with a beautiful
gold seal signed by our director and executive secretary. These
certificates are made for framing and to be placed where your
counselee's are able to view." [sic] [bold mine]
Of course, I look forward to hearing from some sycophants that I'm being mean and callous. So for you, I leave you this:
If you pretend to be a doctor and to have accomplishments on your
resume that you invented from whole cloth and thin air, then I reserve
the right to speak badly about you in public and expose you as a fake.