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Critics Corner





"Dr." Walter Martin passed away in 1989.  Since then, a myth has been circulating about his physical position at the time of his death. To the best of our knowledge, this myth was first made public by Ed Decker, of the anti-Mormon ministry, Saints Alive in Jesus, as apparently told to him by Martin's widow.  One or both of these two people know best why what appears to have been a rather common situation of Martin's death was modified into a myth the purpose of which seems to be that of boosting his flagging reputation.

In the Saints Alive newsletter for June/July 1989 (page 1), Ed Decker tells the following story concerning Martin's death:

    The news of Dr. Walter Martin's sudden death came to me in the middle of a noontime talk show on Seattle's KCIS.  The Engineer slipped a note to me asking that I announce his death, while I was talking live about Freemasonry.  I slipped my eyes to the note while I talked, thinking it had something to do with the subject.  I was stunned!  This had to be someone's idea of a very sick joke.  As I read the note over and over, I became aware that the broadcast had gone silent.  It took me almost several minutes to compose myself and speak again.

    Needless to say, that was the end of the Masonry program and we spent the rest of the time sharing about my good friend and counselor who was also a mighty man of God.

    Right after the program, Carol and I spoke to Darlene, Walter's wife.  She knew that Walter was with the Lord.  On June 26th, early in the morning, Darlene found Walter in the next room kneeling in a praying position.  After a while, she went over and to gently encourage him to return to bed.  However, Walter had quietly and peacefully gone to be with his Savior and Lord.

The police report from the Sheriff's department, Orange County, Santa Ana, California tells a different story.  In the "addiitional information" section of the report it states the following:

    I was dispatched to the Martin residence on Paseo Cielo at 0604 hours on Monday 6-26-89 Reference a Death.  Upon my arrival Paramedics told me that there was a male in the Master Bathroom who was dead.  I went to the Bedroom and observed the deceased, Walter Martin, Slumped on his head in front of the toilet.  He appeared to have died while on the toilet.

    I notified the Watch Commander and the coroner's office of the death.  Coroner Luck was dispatched.

    I spoke with the deceased's wife, Darlene Martin.  She told me her husband was a diabetic and had Coronary Artery Disease. She said that about four years ago Mr. Martin's doctor advised him to have a bypass, but Mr. Martin opted to change his condition by improving his diet.  She also said he had his arteries surgically "cleaned" about 5 years ago.

    Mrs. Martin told me that she "awoke at approximately 0600 hours.  Since her husband was not in bed she looked into the bathroom and discovered her husband's body.  Mrs. Martin then called Police.

    Sgt. G. De La Torre was notified and responded.

It is our understanding that it is not at all uncommon for people to die while on the toilet, and it is certainly no disgrace to "Dr." Martin or his family for this to have happened to him.   It seems that not only in life did "Dr." Martin attempt to build a myth about his understanding of the LDS faith, his relationship to Brigham Young, and his academic credentials, but with his death some of his family and/or friends felt the need to extend the "Martin Myth" to include a "holy passing."  Such a need is a sad commentary on the nature of those in what Dr. Midgley refers to as the "countercult industry," a major portion of the efforts of which go into criticizing the
LDS Church.