“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket- safe, dark, motionless, airless–it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable.”

CS Lewis




We apologize, once again, to the Bellevue folks.  Deb needed to get her blue suede shoes resoled so she can do a lot of walking through Memphis.  Who knows… she may even step on some toes with those fancy shoes!  She'll have them back by tomorrow.  However, today, we bring you another “comment” from the blog.  We think it raises all sorts of interesting questions and expect to get a few comments on what will most likely be a “controversial topic".  We wouldn’t have it any other way!

ANONYMOUS states – (You say-implied) "Mail theft is a felony."

So is taping someone without their knowledge.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 – 07:38 AM

At first we were frustrated by this comment.  It seems to indicate that the commenter plays fast and loose with some urban legend (s)he has heard and believed.  That legend goes like this: "It's a felony to 'tape' another person without their knowledge.”  Immediately, we realized that this individual must be from our generation (read “approaching dotage”) by the use of the word “tape”, as opposed to “record.”  This leads us to surmise that they may not be up on the current law in many states. Perhaps, this person, like us, has spent too much time watching old Perry Mason shows.  For those of you don't know anything about Perry Mason (oh to be so young…), here's a clip that will introduce you to this classic television series: 

 video to follow

Before we delve into the deeper issue that this comment raises, we would like to dispell this myth with fact.  There are 37 states in our great country that are “one party consent" states.  What does that mean?  Simply stated, it means that as long as one person involved in the conversation knows about the recording, then the recording is completely legal.  Don't believe us?  Check out this website: 



Here, Lawyer Lori answers the following question which pertains to the state in which The Wartburg Watch blog hosts reside:


Is North Carolina a one party consent state as related to recording a conversation between yourself and one or more other persons?

Here is her legal interpretation of the North Carolina General Statute that deals with this matter:

North Carolina is indeed a one-party consent state.  Below is the state law permitting such recording.  Hope this is helpful.

§ 15A-287. Interception and disclosure of wire, oral, or electronic communications prohibited.
(a) Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Article, a person is guilty of a Class H felony if, without the consent of at least one party to the communication, the person:
Willfully intercepts, endeavors to intercept, or procures any other person to intercept or endeavor to intercept, any wire, oral, or electronic communication.
(2) Willfully uses, endeavors to use, or procures any other person to use or endeavor to use any electronic, mechanical, or other device to intercept any oral communication when:
a. The device is affixed to, or otherwise transmits a signal through, a wire, cable, or other like connection used in wire communications; or
b. The device transmits communications by radio, or interferes with the transmission of such communications.
(3) Willfully discloses, or endeavors to disclose, to any other person the contents of any wire, oral, or electronic communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through violation of this Article; or
(4) Willfully uses, or endeavors to use, the contents of any wire or oral communication, knowing or having reason to know that the information was obtained through the interception of a wire or oral communication in violation of this Article.

The legal phrase "without the consent of at least one party to the communication" is what makes recording a conversation a felony.  In other words, if you are recording a conversation in which you are a participant, you have consented to said recording and are not in violation of this law.

Here's how someone would commit a felony in a one party consent state.  If we, Dee and Deb, wanted to record a private meeting between Paige Patterson and Darell Gilyard and stuck the recorder in a plant in the room where they would be meeting, then we would be in violation of the law.  So, the recording to which this commenter is most likely referring was in keeping with the law.  Several attorneys have confirmed this.

For additional information about one party consent states, check out this link and excerpt: 




"With so much great technology on the market these days, it is easier to record conversations than ever before, either over a land line, on a mobile phone or even in-person with a hidden recording device.

Recorded conversations (either tape or digital) are often very helpful in a variety of scenarios. These audio recordings may assist in an investigation of employee misconduct or in business or personal lawsuits, even in potential criminal investigations.

It is very important, however, to make sure that any recording, either of a phone conversation or an in-person conversation, complies with federal and state laws. Otherwise, you may very well open yourself up to criminal charges or civil suits. And it is unlikely that you will be legally able to use the recording for your original purpose.

So, if you're thinking about recording some phone calls or placing a voice activated recorder in a room to record conversations, you'll need to take a look at the applicable laws.

The first place to look is at the federal wiretapping statute, also known as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. Federal law allows phone calls (traditional, cellular and cordless) and other electronic communication to be recorded with the consent of at least one party to the conversation.
This means that if you are one of the people taking part in the conversation, it can be recorded because one person (you) has consented to the recording. If you are not taking part in the conversation, at least one of the people in the conversation must know about and consent to the recording.

You can't stop, however, after considering federal law and assume that your recording passes muster. Each state and territory has its own statutes regarding the recording of conversations. Most state wiretapping and eavesdropping laws are based upon the federal law and allow recording with the consent of one party to the conversation.

The 37 states which allow one party consent recording of oral communications are: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming."

We pride ourselves in having the most intelligent commenters in the blogosphere, and we want to keep it that way!  In the future, it would be extremely helpful if you would use the wonderful resource at your fingertips — the internet — and “Google” prior to commenting if you're unsure about a given topic.  This will keep us "on task" and focused on the topic at hand. 

However, this comment raises a sad, but important issue.  In some of today’s churches, pastors who believe that lying is just hunky dory if it preserves unity in the fellowship, have created mistrust.  In fact, there may be some who think lying is OK if it saves their sorry behinds!

Unfortunately, there may be some of you who think that pastors and church leaders would never lie.  Alice used to believe this as well.  When what to her wondering eyes did appear but the Cheshire Cat who admitted to spreading a lie that her marriage was in trouble.  (He even admitted it in a face-to-face conversation with Alice’s husband).  Even worse, she heard about a kinglet in Wonderland who lied to a family about an important meeting.  

In fact, said king initiated the meeting which took place in his office!  The topic of discussion:  flashing at a wonderland-sponsored camp.  Now the kinglet has conveniently forgotten that this meeting ever took place.  By the way, the mom remembers very specific details from the meeting because it was so shocking to her.  Have you ever experienced something so traumatic that you can remember every little detail because you have played the scene over and over and over in your mind?  

Someone who was in a position of knowing that this was a lie recorded a conversation with one of the kinglets.  Incredibly, said kinglet admitted that he might have been told the flashing incident, and his words have been caught on tape (oops — a tiny digital recorder).  Case closed.  Right?  Nope.  One of the kings denied that such a statement was made.  All of the non-kings were shocked.  How could this be?  But, unfortunately, it was what it was.

The church leadership have a bully pulpit.  They can say what they wish so long as they are surrounded by “yes” men who will not correct them.   However, we now have a way to make sure there is an unbiased witness.  Behold!  The witness is an exact recording of the event…  Imagine how wonderful it would be to have a recording of the resurrection of our Lord?  Yet He chose that day and time for His purposes.  However, He has allowed us to live in this day and time in which we have incredible technology to carry forth our witness into the world.  This requires pastors who lie as a matter of course to adjust their tactics.  My guess is there will be new ways to “get around” the truth, especially when it applies to them.

There is sufficient testimony in Scripture as to the need for witnesses to the miracle of Jesus, His blessed Resurrection, and other events.  Care is often taken in Scripture to point out false witnesses.  Here are a few examples from a great online resource.


John 8:13 (New International Version)

"The Pharisees challenged him, 'Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.'"

Matthew 18:15-17 (New International Version)
"If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one of two others along, so that 'every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses'. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector."

Acts 6:13 (New International Version)
"They produced false witnesses, who testified, 'This fellow never stops speaking against this holy place and against the law.'"

Acts 22:15 (New International Version)
"You will be his witness to all men of what you have seen and heard."


In the times of the New Testament, there were no recording devices.  The importance of a witness is to bear testimony to the truth of the meeting or event.  So here's the question of the day…  Why would any pastor be concerned about a meeting being “taped"?  One would assume that the leadership upholds the truth.  Jesus called Himself, the “truth.”  Could it be that the pastors are actually afraid that their own lies or attitudes will be exposed?

Benjamin Franklin reportedly said that one should “Always tell the truth so you don’t have to try to remember what you said.”  The church is supposed to be a light on the hill so that nonChristians will see their good works and praise their God.  Why would the church be afraid of the light?  I once had a friend who told me that she never put a fish symbol on her car because she was a wretched, rude driver and didn’t want to hurt the faith by her poor driving witness.  Is this the attitude of church leaders?


On the multiple Sovereign Grace survivor type sites, there is often discussion of leadership hiding recorders in all of the offices.  Here's a suggestion:  bring out the recorders, have all participants in meetings bring recorders, and lets get on with the business of telling the truth!  If everyone records the meeting, that would preclude “digital tampering” of the actual recording.  Minutes could be transcribed and signed by all participants.  Obviously, if the relationship becomes a counseling relationship, the recording would need to be approved and standard counseling confidentiality laws would apply.

Here is the real problem…  So many churches have done many things to cause a basic distrust in the leadership on the part of the membership.  Dee, for one, had her blinders forcibly removed in the past year.  She is now grateful for the experience because it has taught her a valuable lesson.  Pastors, elders, deacons, trustees, apostles (SGM started this) and other “leader names” are sinners and can lie.  Many have done nothing to command respect or trust and rely only on “the Bible says we are ‘in authority” so shut up and obey.  In fact, it is that experience that is “the wind beneath my wings”.

So, the question to our commenter is this.  Why do you think that someone might need to record you or your leader?  Doesn’t it make you sad that such an environment has been created?  Jesus made sure that there were witnesses to His miracles so the truth would be believed.  You should rejoice that the truth is revealed and not try to hide behind a fictitious law.

We would love to know your opinions on this important topic, and we look forward to your comments.

Comments are closed.