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Beliefnet News

Beliefnet Statement on Neale Donald Walsch Blog Posting

In a December 28, 2008 post to his blog, author Neale Donald Walsch posted an essay under his byline that had actually been written by another writer, Candy Chand. As a result, Mr. Walsch has decided to remove himself from Beliefnet’s blogging roster, a decision we support in order to protect the mission and integrity of our site and community. As a faith-based web portal, Beliefnet will continue to hold ourselves and our writers to the highest standards of trust.

  • http://Forgiveness Barbara Bell

    While I understand MS. Chand’s concern and Beliefnet’s policy to keep the highest standards of trust for the blog…Mr. Walsch has been a long time contributor and has apologized and taken responsibility for his error. The Bible is built around tales and parables that may have come from and been internalized by disciples and other story tellers to pass on orally the traditions and beliefs to other generations. The fact that an argument can ensue over the rights to the words Christmas Love is a sad telling of what is important in this story. More importantly, the entire Christmas message is about FORGIVENESS and if we cannot show forgiveness for one’s mistakes the what is the point of this entire website and everything written here means nothing at all.

  • Alex Samuel

    I am in agreement with Ms. Barbara Bell. I completely understand the issue of plagiarism and the implications thereof. However, the majority of those implications are based on financial reasons and should really take a backseat when it comes to matters of Christ and Christmas. If even Christians are so worldly-minded when it comes to copyrights, royalties and finances, what hope do we have to show the world a better way of living? – we are no different! Mr. Walsch has shown immense graciousness in dealing with the matter.
    So now does it mean that if I see a child do that same exact thing at a play, I will never be able to write about it just because Ms. Chand “copyrighted” it?? I will have to keep that in mind that she owns that life experience now.
    This is SO ironical to be happening over a story involving children and “CHRISTMAS LOVE”

  • Mary B. Ireland

    Walsch, who is excellent at stand-up comedy combined with spiritual insight, got lazy and needed “filler”. I loved the movie version of his life story, but am convinced he has gotten off the path because he has so much money now. Hey, it’s turned into show biz for him. His recent introductions in other folks’ books are well written, so it’s too bad he’s gotten lazy. Yeah, he knew he was stealing someone else’s material, absolutely no doubt.

  • aquayers

    I’m so saddened that Neale decided to remove himself from the blog roster.He has been a HUGE help for me for this 2 years.I’ve survived many crisis of my life because of his blog.I hope he’ll continue to blog again.

  • Jack

    Does anyone else see the silliness in this: “I said ‘Christwas Love’, so if you say it I’ll sue your pants off!”? I’m all for integrity amongst Christian writers and speakers, but this crap has reached the National News. I believe it should have been handled differently.

  • Your Name

    Forgiveness doesn’t mean that a person shouldn’t be held accountable. Walsch’s posting was flagrant plagerism — the story he claimed ownership of had already been published and documented by another author in a few different forms. He stole the story nearly verbatim; it wasn’t just a coincidence of shared experience.
    Whatever affection readers may have for Walsh, Beliefnet is right not to reward bad behavior. Believers do their cause a service to not harbor scoundrels, albeit charming and charismatic ones.

  • Carolyn

    Walsch has RECOGNIZED his error and he has REPENTED. Many readers now forgive him. But remember, the third step is PENANCE. Removing himself from the blog list is Walsch’s act of penance for an blatant wrongdoing and breach of trust.
    I don’t agree with those who pooh-pooh Ms. Chand’s concerns. The story, as written, is her creation and her intellectual property. Anyone who has a similar “life experience” can certainly write about it–you just cannot copy her work, nearly word for word.
    And don’t scoff at her “copyright.” Writing, for some, is their profession, the way earn money to put food on the table and send their kids to college. Suggesting that Ms. Chand is wrong to insist on her copyright is like suggesting that you’re wrong for expecting a paycheck at the end of the work week.
    Walsch could have used this story just as effectively with attribution to Ms. Chand. Instead he chose to “internalize” it and pass it off as his own. Whatever his reasons (or excuse), it was wrong.
    As I said before, we can (and should) forgive Walsch, but it doesn’t mean he should get off scot-free nor should Ms. Chand’s concerns be minimized.

  • Richard Baldwin Cook

    It’s a miracle! If you invert all the letters in Neale Donald Walsch, you get the phrase “NDW is a plagerist.”

  • Heather

    I understand and respect that Chand is a professional and takes her writing and its copyrighting seriously. However, her reaction to this situation appears to be based in ego and not at all in the spirit of her inspirational experience. Chand called Walsch on his plagiarism, and he has taken full public responsibility for his actions which is hardly representative of a “scoundrel.” But, Chand is being less than forgiving or magnanimous. In a NY Times article, she completely dismisses Walsch’s explanation, whines about her credibility, and accuses Walsch of coveting her work. It seems to me she’s coveting her own work and lacks enough introspection to see that her response is not rooted in the very love that she attempts to convey in her work. If she’s so concerned about her story about Christ being love, then why not be an example of it? To me, Chand loses credibility on that very point.

  • Colleen

    It’s surprising to me “Beliefnets” position to support the decision of Neale to remove himself from this post…but, it’s not surpirse that Neale has stepped up to the plate, admitted he was wrong, and do what he feels is the right choice by leaving. I no longer “believe” in, Beliefnet for their choice here. They easily could have handled this like say…Jesus (or Spirit always does). I will now go on and look forward to his very own blog site and no longer with “Belief” net, which, is an oxymoron of a name for a website, in this case. Isn’t it true that those of us who have any spiritual belief(able) bone in our body forgive those who admit when they made a mistake? No one is perfect on this Planet, if we were, we wouldn’t be here. The woman who is defending “her story” is the perfect example of this. If she were a woman of integrity…she most certainly could have made her complaints to Neale directly (out of the press), but had she done it with more humility, than hatred…she could have come out smelling like a rose instead of a insecure human being. It’s her way of getting “credit” for – perhaps an inner sence of not feeling like she has been given due credit in her very own life experience(s). She says she had to put a copyright on her “story” since she heard it used somewhere else without getting any “credit” for it. My goodness, this poor dear soul that she is…in my opinion, is a “young soul” because, if she were an old soul…she would have put this story “out there” just to make people feel good, and leave her name annonomous and not “needing” credit for any of it. Those that need a pat on the back for something (especially in this case, Christ”w”as Love) well, Helloooo… she has really lost the point. I sure hope that this woman realizes what she is doing (or now, has done). She’ll find out anyhow someday…it’s the Law of Nature, aka Karma. She’ll just have to come back round until she gets wiser in the way she choose to scorn someone who has helped so many lost “souls” on this earthy plane. I will surely miss reading the posts of Neale, but surely at this time he is in reflection. He’s a humble man, and a kind hearted soul. I look forward to finding his blog in another location.
    PS…Neale, I will really miss your posts. Your book Conversations with God changed my life for the best in ways I never could imagine. The reading was thought provoking, refreshing and inspiring. Thank you. I looked foward to reading them as much as I could living here in Italy the past 2 years as I am researching writing a book of my own to share with kindered spirits.
    With love,

  • Your Name

    God,Goddess,Spirit if he,she,or it exists at all can be credited at least with giving human beings the ability to think rationally. The problem with religious zeolotry (rampant with evangelicals) is that it is dominated by blind faith. Some want to believe so strongly in their own righteousness that it blinds them to their own hubris and allows them to believe falseness and irrationality. A call to all religious fundamentalists: use the mind that God gave you and stop believing in fairy tails, whether of your own making or those of people who you may be putting your blind trust in.

  • suzanne

    After all, we wouldn’t want people to think that Christ was love without giving proper credit to someone, now would we?

  • Elizabeth Facey

    It saddens (but does not shock) me regarding the unkind reactions to Neale’s apology. I have attended some of Neale’s events over the years and he is the FIRST person to tell you that he is not perfect.
    My observation is that in over 15 years in the public eye, this is the first time this situation has come up for Neale. Yet Ms. Chand is very convinced that he intentionally stole her story and does not believe his apology. I am not sure what Ms. Chand wants from Neale other than to get her “15 minutes” in the spotlight.
    While Neale may not be perfect, I have to say he has brought clarity and understanding to my world and several people around me. Isn’t that what life is supposed to be about? How can I assist another? How would I want to be treated if I made the same mistake? But then again as Neale would always say – my way is not the only way, mine is just another way.

  • Lee

    Apparently it is OK to lie, if you just simply forget this event didn’t happen to you.

  • From New Jersey

    I don’t understand defending somebody who steals somebody’s work.
    So basically it is acceptable if I use somebody else’s words, works, creations, experience with out permission or credit as long as I apologize when caught?

  • Your Name

    I am surprised that such a woman would cry over something so small. The fact that Neale admitted his error and pulled himself from the blog shows this person to me one of integrity. Ms. Chand, it would do you could to spread the word of Love, Belief, Honor, Faith and Christianity and you should be proud that the story was posted at all! It seems to me that your concern for credibility is more important than the message that was put out for all to see. I do not care where the story came from or who gets credit, I care that the story got so that it will help those seeking peace will find a bit of it through these stories and feel loved. Ms. Chand, I forgive your lack of faith and may God forgive your selfishness. AMEN!

  • Melodee

    To be perfectly frank I think the “Christwas Love” story wasn’t worth mentioning beyond a few family members. Who cares? I don’t care who did it, who reported it, who wrote about it and who printed it. It’s much ado about nothing.

  • no religion

    The moral of the story is:
    christ was not love

  • Richard

    Another Christian taking credit for something they did not do-what a surprise?! Christians have been taking credit for other peoples stories-they call them Myths-for centuries.
    Christwas best example. It was YULE to the Pagan’s-their word-at the beginning of the coming year. Bringing life back to their crops and so forth. The Christian’s stole it and gave Christ the credit and he wasn’t even born at this time. Is birthday is somewhere is March or April but not CHRISTWAS! Christians look at how your on bible came into being. Do your own READING AND THINKING!

  • Your Name

    Selfishness? This guy stole someone else’s work, intentionally passed it off as his own thinking he wouldn’t get caught, and when he did get caught he half-apologized– saying he was confused, and had “internalized” a story he had so often told. To call Ms. Chand selfish for calling NDW and Beliefnet on the plagiarism is absolutely off the mark.
    Just because Chand doesn’t want someone stealing her work for their own personal profit doesn’t mean she is being “un-Christian” or “isn’t showing forgiveness.” How do you know if she’s forgiven him or not?
    I think some people are a little too in love with the man they admire on the pedastal to understand the gravity of his error. We have no way of knowing, but I doubt this is the first time he’s stolen someone else’s story– it’s probably only the first time he was caught.

  • Love Everyone

    i think the main point is that instead of asking forgiveness for his mistake (or his sin), Walsch postulated that his mind and memory must have been “tricking” him into thinking he genuinely remembered it happening. It’s really not a stretch to say now that his mind may very well have been tricking him all those years into thinking he was conversing with God. That’s the rub.
    As for the comment by ‘Your Name,’ it seems you are willing to accept a rather cheap sort of ‘peace’ in order to feel loved. but i see it in others too. and that makes me want to throw my computer across the room and cry and cry and cry.
    i don’t even know you, but i love you. that’s right. i love you.
    hang in there, your name. the storm will pass.
    and the sun will shine.

  • Sheree

    I can’t believe this man would be let go because of this one little mistake. He has tried his best to correct it. What is wrong with this cynical world?
    Who is throwing the first stone here? Where are all those “forgiving” Christians???
    What’s next? Crucifixion?
    Coming soon enough…

  • suzy




  • melissa

    I interviewed Walsch many years ago when his first book came out. I was pressed three times by his secretary to read the book before the interview. I always read the book before interviewing the author. When I asked him to elaborate about aspects of the book, which most authors would be thrilled to get that detail on-air, Walsch’s response was, “We don’t have time to talk about the book it’s only an hour show.” I tried one more time to refer to the book and he responded the same. I then had to interview him about his book in a less direct manor. He also praised the war Gulf War. By the end of the interview, I decided his book Conversations With God was indeed a message from God as it couldn’t have been from Walsch. I loved the message not the messenger.

  • hello

    I am a writer and if you steal my work without permission and/or credit I will pursue everyone of my legal options immediately. This story isn’t about forgiveness…come on now…he is a grown man and a professional writer…he knows what is the truth for him and what is not! That story was a good story he didn’t want to let go of and he betrayed the readers…US! So, he needed to be removed…what really is the big deal about punishment? If there wasn’t any, we would be in chaos! He makes millions of dollars doing what he does…he is not an amateur. I am glad that woman searched for her story on the internet…good for her. Maybe Mr. Walsch will think a little more about this and have a little more truth to tell us. No one is ordering him to hell! They just booted him off the blogging…like a smack on the hand, if you ask me. He should be grateful, if anything, and so should his “followers”!

  • speaks from the heart

    I think what I’ve seen here and on NDW’s blog here is that authors are appalled people aren’t understanding what’s going on. At this point, for me, it’s not about Mr. Walsch – it’s that some people aren’t grasping that someone’s work was used in an unauthorized manner but somehow they’re being unchristian (and this isn’t a religious issue in the least) because they want their credit?
    That’s what writers/authors do. We write. We copyright and own our words. We have the right to protect the use of our work.
    Publishing in general has lost all credibility – and because of that – there is way too much laxness on blog sites – and any real writer knows to ‘how much’ to put out there vs. how much to keep back. Because of publishing houses laziness – memoirs are no longer gonna be published – their laziness in not identifying fraud, their laziness for not FACT CHECKING.
    Well, the same can be said of Beliefnet – I’m sure their contracts/agreements with their celebrities includes something about writing your own stuff.
    There is a precedence here that is larger than just NDW.

  • bonnie lou

    I agree that he said he made a mistake and said he was sorry. The original story writer has carried her vengance to far. Its a cute story and one to be shared as Jesus shared. WHo cares who gets the credit as long as progress is made. It takes a big person to be qietly alturistic in life. I rescued a puppy on the fast lane of I-17 in December and I call her Noel. Its a miracle how traffic stopped that was traveling 65mph and no one was hurt nor any cars rear-ended. Its a Christmas miracle and one to be shared…I dont need payment for it…just the message that people do care.!
    Beliefnet is a great site…

  • DaffydBard

    I don’t think a new plot line has been created for stories in at least two thousand years. I am old enough to often be bemused when I read stories and anecdotes published above a new byline that I remember from 40 or 50 years ago. To much is being made of Falliable memories.

  • DaffydBard

    As I just proved when I misspelt “too” and “fallible”. Check your dictionary on “misspelt”

  • Your Name

    ENOUGH! ENOUGH!! I am SOOOOO sick of the victim mentality being played out against Neale when clearly all that happened was a simple, victimless mistake. The same arguments could be made about the now famous “Footprints” story, which as it turns out, was written by one Mary Stevenson back in 1939. That hasn’t kept THREE OTHER AUTHORS from claiming it as their own, or altering the text.
    I know EXACTLY what Neale is talking about when he described this as something he “internalized” without deliberate intention toward slighting the original author. As a writer, I have done as much myself, on at least one occasion, and I am NOT a plagiarist.
    Neale has given a gift to the world with his series of books, all of which I own, and for Beliefnet to make the crass statement that they supported Neale removing his blog to “protect the mission and integrity of our site and community” implies that Neale is beneath that integrity. To me, this is the height of pompous hypocrisy and it will keep me off Beliefnet.
    Political correctness has NO PLACE in faith-based publishing, and if our Savior is capable of forgiveness of all mistakes, I think we can find a way to forgive Neale for this small slight.
    Beliefnet, SHAME ON YOU!

  • Shepherd

    Without the Conversations With God blog, I have no reason to continue to visit Beliefnet.

  • http://Opportunity LightinDenver

    What a great opportunity to forgive regardless of mistake or motivation. Does anyone else see the irony of this being such a dust-up when bombs are landing on the Gaza strip as we speak? Wake up. Forgive. Release. Move on.

  • Henrietta22

    I didn’t read the Dec. 28th blog of Neale, too much holiday! I can’t believe Walsch is the only blogger who has made an error on beliefnet. More like someone made a huge deal out of it because of what he writes that they don’t agree with, and all of us could do that about a lot of people we don’t agree with on beliefnet. I’ve never read any of his books, I will now.

  • Richard Dover

    Oh my goodness…the humanity of it all…Can’t we all just get along. Sounds like author Neale Donald Walsch failed to properly credit and must take some basic authoring and memory classes or am I remembering someone else? Maybe I’m internalizing myself – therefore I am, Sam I am……

  • PattiB

    Neale plagerized then lied to cover it up. What is so hard o understand?
    Beliefnet did the right thing.

  • n

    I feel he should be forgiven but Beliefnet did the right thing in removing him.

  • Kayla

    I am a professional writer, so I know a lot about the issue of plagiarism. While I give Neale credit for immediately admitting his error in judgment, plagiarism is theft of intellectual property, plain and simple. I have written over 30 books and have never “internalized” another person’s work. Neale obviously read Chand’s story, thought it was cute and poignant, and decided to repeat it. He should have repeated it while giving credit to the true author. That’s the way it works. Financial consideration is NOT a consideration in plagiarism. I know authors who have had their words stolen, and it is a tough experience for them. I know one who refused to go on THE TODAY SHOW because she didn’t want to exploit the story of what had happened to her (and I applaud her for that), but on a personal level she was devastated.
    I think far too many people don’t take the crime of plagiarism seriously, which is too bad. Children are taught (in some instances) that it’s okay to write papers with other people’s words, no problem. It *is* a problem.
    Neale knows the seriousness of what he did, which is why he’s leaving the blog. I am all for forgiveness in this instance, but just wanted people who don’t understand (or perhaps don’t care) to realize that plagiarism IS a big deal–especially to a professional writer.

  • paghat

    The lame vignette about the upside down “M” is something I first heard when I was a teenager in the 1960s. Like other urban folk tales they’re always told “as if” they happened to the teller. If there’s a real plagiarism it would be whoever claims they “really” wrote the story. But in any case, kicking someone out even though they made amends is extreme. if Jesus was about love and forgiveness, the proper spelling in this case is “Christ Was Revenge.”

  • Ike D

    Saving face is NOT more important than having intergity…say you were wrong, apologize and have the decency NOT to blame memory or seek to contrive any other convenient excuse.

  • Maureen

    How has the original author carried any vengeance too far? She doesn’t control what happens at this site. Personally, I’m happy they won’t tolerate lifting other people’s work. It isn’t a matter of being Christian, it’s a matter of legality, plagiarism, ethics and discouraging others from doing the same thing. Bravo, Beliefnet!

  • Mark

    They are both “internalizing”, I am a 50 year old man and I heard that story in grade school. And anyway, to retale a story is not necessarily plagiarising, it would have to be word for word. And anyway, if you are going to plagiarise, steal something better than that lame thing!

  • Your Name

    I have been very touched by Neale Donald Walsh’s stories and sentiments, and quite inspired, too. He is always good to give credit to various armchair philosophers, so I do think this was just an editing slip — that Mr. Walsh should have admitted rather than saying he internalized the story. And very true about the urban legends … I heard this back in the 1960’s, too. Someday these will all be studied by grammar school kids in literature — what do you think Tall Tales and fables were? Old-time urban legends!

  • Kat

    Uhm, yeah, I just did a little research and this woman will be very busy as I’m seeing this story (word for word) posted on about 10 or more different sites, all signed to other authors or with no author given at all.
    And as others have stated, this is a story passed onto other generations and has been for years. I hope she enjoys her 15 minutes of fame, as that’s all this seems to be, a desperate grab for attention and recognition for a poorly written story to begin with, a story not even belonging to her.

  • LJ

    Wow, this is like getting the electric chair for shoplifting.Overkill, folks, overkill. It’s too bad that the story was printed without correct attribution. However, it would seem from his history that Walsch is a man of ethics . Given his ethical history, I would imagine that it is true that he did indeed have a lapse of memory about the story’s origin. He would have to have been a fool to deliberately claim a story as his own which is evidently so well known. This must have been an error.So, once found and corrected , what is the problem? His writing has helped many people apparently. I fail to see the point in keeping him off the blog. He didn’t kill anyone.

  • Cody

    Plagiarism does not happen by accident. Plagiarism does not happen by “internalizing.” Plagiarism is theft. A “faith-based” writer is not exempt from basic ethical standards, even if he is your “favorite”. We expect high-school students to know better, so it is not unreasonable to expect the same of an experienced writer like Walsch. Even if this silly story has been handed down for generations, is Walsch to be excused for taking a fictitious story and telling it as if it were his own? Walsch’s apology has no merit. One might wonder if he even wrote it himself. If he is running out of original material perhaps he should have a few more conversations with God. The most difficult question for his fans to try and reconcile is this: What else in his writing is deceptive or untrue?

  • Jenni Lou

    This scandal brought me to this site, and I’m glad. This is a great site – even without Mr. Walsch.
    Mr. Walsch did something very wrong. He admitted it and gave a weak excuse. It’s possible that those who felt violated have forgiven him – we can’t possibly know what’s in their hearts. Forgiveness isn’t the issue. Trust is the issue. Will people continue to trust him as a writer? I doubt it. I wonder what else Mr. Walsch has read, internalized, and passed it off as his own work. I wish that he had attributed this story to Ms. Chand and written his own response. I have not read his writing, but based on Mr. Walsch’s fan-base I’m certain that his response to this story could have surpassed the original tale.
    I’m a professional comedian. I see comedians do this – often. They hear a joke, re-tell it to friends a couple of times, then soon they forget the origin of the joke and truly believe that it’s their own original material. I called a friend on this once. His sincerity was apparent. It was obvious that he believed he created the bit until I reminded him of the person we had seen do it before him. My friend thanked me for the reminder, took the bit out of his act, and accepted the consequences – knowing that some people would question his material in the future.
    Mr. Walsch accepted the reminder, removed the story from his repertoire, and he’s suffering the consequences. Perhaps over time he will regain people’s trust, but he deserves these consequences, and Ms. Chand deserves respect as a professional writer. Honestly, I doubt that the story is from her experience as recorded. However, her words, those to which she owns the copyright, must be respected.

  • Carol

    This really is Much ado about NOTHING. That particular story could have happen hundreds of times in the last 50+ years of Christmas Pageants. It’s a pretty simple story and so the words could be almost the same by any given author. I really think she’s an interloper. Get a life.

  • boredwell

    Had Walsch been more spiritual, he would have admitted he didn’t credit the author properly and, at least, he could be forgiven for being remiss but up front about it! Whenever someone convicted of a mismedeamor attempts to spin doctor the raveling binds him/her up in the whirl. His claim that he “internalized” the story is balderdash. Well, bah humbug to you Mr Walsch.

  • Your Name

    Perfect , and now all what’s left is for the people who over the years laughed over this window into lightness of being , to return their good cheer and the touch by an angel to Ms.Chand so she can properly package it to return in to these children , who with the help of Rudolf the R.N.R so beautifully defeated
    the Credit Card Christmas . Mr. Walsch should certainly offer to Ms. Chand that he will do her dishes for a week and by the same token she should certainly take him up upon the offer . I don’t claim to be a Christian ,but it’s all there as it is elsewhere .

  • Your Name

    Well, I for one can completely relate to Mr. Walsch’s explanation. I’m only 45, 20 years his junior, and I have had similar experiences with confused recollection. Recently, an old friend I hadn’t seen in 20 years visited. It was amazing how different our recollections of the past were. I think a little compassion and understanding might be in order here. I think Christians should give the guy the benefit of the doubt here, any other response seems rather petty to me.

  • Icedbun

    Are Christians wonderfully forgiving people? I’d say forgetting the origin of a story herd a long time ago would be quite easy – indeed who hasn’t done it? Yet in true Christian tradition we have to throw someone out for doing this. (OK, i know, he decided to go but on pain of being banned I expect.) This site and Ms Chand lose from this – the respect and credentials as Christians, forgiving sins 70 time 7.
    Let us hope Jesus doesn’t throw them from heaven for not forgiving.

  • Your Name

    Wow… there sure is some animosity being stirred up by this situation towards Christianity isn’t there? Why are some people commenting here assuming that anyone who questions Neale’s motives or speaks out against him has to be Christian? Why do you feel the need within yourselves to attack or to scapegoat? Religious belief shouldn’t inhibit a person’s ability to discern a person’s character or of whether plagiarism has taken place. As for consequences… that is down to the legality of the matter, not of a person’s faith or moral persuasion of right or wrong.

  • Henrietta22

    It seems like somewhere in the past I saw a cartoon kid holding a Christmas sign upside down, now which came first that or Ms Chands story???? Children do many funny things and to keep them all straight, and who said it first would be almost impossible for most people. It isn’t like this is a scientific theory that someone is trying to plagiaries.

  • RhodaGayle

    I would find Neale’s explanation much easier to believe if the “memory” hadn’t been verbatim of Ms. Chand’s book. Just log on to and look up the book Christmas Love, and click “Look Inside.” It’s easy to see the story was copied exactly as Ms. Chand wrote it.
    Those who feel Ms. Chand has wronged Neale by insisting on proper credit, should ask how Neale would respond were their positions reversed. Stealing intellectual property (plagiarism) is no different than stealing someone’s wallet.
    Over the years, I have heard Christian ministers tell published stories as if these stories had happened to them. Apparently these men (all were men) thought no one would know the stories were “borrowed.” The result was always the same: I lost confidence in everything these men had to say. That’s why Beliefnet, sadly, had to remove NDW’s blog from their forum: He’s lost credibility.
    And for those who use this sad situation as an excuse to bash Christians for being “unforgiving” (which has nothing to do with seeking justice), I am NOT a Christian, just a moral person who seeks justice in all situations.

  • Scot Swordy

    Hi, I produce an internet broadcast site and in doing so have interviewed many celebrities. I feel compelled to say that Neale Donald Walsch sticks in my mind as one of the most genuine open and sharing of all those interviewed. He shared his words and his material in a way that clearly demonstrated that what was important to him was the shared message. I believe his life has been dedicated to evolving the well being of humanity and that dedication is relevant to how we perceive this current situation.

  • susan

    what does this mean for pastors who regularly use little pieces like this in their sermons? often they personalize the story in order to make the sermon more real to their congregation. rarely, if every, do they take the time to credit an author. Most people aren’t concerned so much with who the owner of the words are, they’re concentrating on the message. And likewise, people are constantly plaguerizing in conversation, in blogs, etc. It shouldn’t be a problem except in the case of someone attempting to SELL something and make a profit off of it. Now if Neale had written this in one of his books for sell without crediting the author, THAT would be plaguerism. This is way, way blown out of proportion. People do this all the time.

  • susan

    OOPS! Sorry Shana, I did not mean to plaguerize your words, I was actually trying to quote you and comment.
    “what does this mean for pastors who regularly use little pieces like this in their sermons? often they personalize the story in order to make the sermon more real to their congregation. rarely, if every, do they take the time to credit an author. Most people aren’t concerned so much with who the owner of the words are, they’re concentrating on the message. And likewise, people are constantly plaguerizing in conversation, in blogs, etc. It shouldn’t be a problem except in the case of someone attempting to SELL something and make a profit off of it. Now if Neale had written this in one of his books for sell without crediting the author, THAT would be plaguerism. This is way, way blown out of proportion. People do this all the time. It seems to me that this is setting a precidence of limiting communication. We won’t be able to converse without quoting others and if we say something absent mindedly we risk losing our entire good name and livelihood. That’s ridiculous.”
    I just wanted to say that I agree, I have heard the same anectdotes not just in churches but in school speeches and other public speeches and forums. I don’t think people are intending to overlook giving credit in most cases, and again, when you are not profitting from it, it doesn’t seem like it should be a legal issue.

  • susan

    correction: Plagiarize.
    I didn’t mean to PLAGIARIZE your words. and by the way I found this in the legal dictionary at
    plagiarism n. taking the writings or literary concepts (a plot, characters, words) of another and selling and/or publishing them as one’s own product. Quotes which are brief or are acknowledged as quotes do not constitute plagiarism. The actual author can bring a lawsuit for appropriation of his/her work and against the plagiarist, and recover the profits. Normally plagiarism is not a crime, but it can be used as the basis of a fraud charge or copyright infringement, if prior creation can be proved.

  • Mike in NJ

    Good grief, what an intolerant overreaction to an honest mistake that came with a full apology. May you reap what you sow — I’m done with beliefnet.

  • Bob

    “It shouldn’t be a problem except in the case of someone attempting to SELL something and make a profit off of it.”
    If only high schools and universities were that understanding about it…

  • Sharron

    I must say that I agree with the post from Mike in NJ January 8, 2009 9:17 PM Good grief, what an intolerant overreaction to an honest mistake that came with a full apology. May you reap what you sow — I’m done with beliefnet.
    I as well have no reason to ever visit the site again.
    Peace. Sharron

  • Your Name

    So is holding someone accountable for their actions an intolerant action? Beliefnet has a clearly laid out policy for all of its visitors. As a prominent blogger, Neale would have been aware of this policy and chose to leave of his own volition. There are rules and agreements within any society, many of which are enforcable, that are for the good of all, and cannot be given an exit card because of someone’s popularity or social status.

  • Gina

    This is what I have to say to Neale:
    Well, to tell you the truth I don’t really care for the fact you used something that wasn’t yours as I do believe your explanation when you said: “…I must have clipped and pasted it into my file of ‘stories to tell that have a message I want to share.’ I have told the story verbally so many times over the years that I had it memorized … and then, somewhere along the way, internalized it as my own experience.” It does make sense what you said as it is perfectly normal for a human being to like something so much and believe in its truth so much that when you read it, think it and talk about it –it seams so real and feels that those are your own thoughts and words. Now, the truth is: how many times people have read books (like yours) that are so inspiring and contain so much true that when you read them it feels like they belong to them that they are their own thoughts, own words, and own work. That means all people “appear to plagiarize” (to use Ms. Chand’s words), which makes the statement “we’re all one” even more believable! We are all with you Neale Donald Walsch! Your books and words are so inspiring and contain so much truth (at least for those who feel that way– remember the feeling is the language of the soul) that make us all at fault, that we all plagiarize and we all pretend…Is this what Ms. Chan intends to say? Then, please Neale, stop feeling sorry for what you did, stop blaming yourself, stop apologising. In the end, you have done no harm to no one as your words, as any other inspiring words, are all welcome and enjoyable that does not matter who said them, write them or proclaim them as their own. What matter is, that they (the words) bring only joy, pleasure and love for the soul. And thank you for this! The words are there and reflect the truth no matter to whom they are belonging. Therefore, no one would feel confused about the truth they contain, or the credibility of what it’s been said. I am not confused nor did they hurt me as Ms. Chand insinuated when she said: “…they damage other writers’ credibility and they hurt the reader because they never know what to believe anymore”. This statement is false as I am one of the readers. Also, it does not make any sense when she said: “Has the man who writes best-selling books about his ‘Conversations With God’ also heard God’s commandments? ‘Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie, and thou shalt not covet another author’s property’?” I wonder if she has read any of your books. Maybe she did or maybe she did not get the message, or maybe she is not supposed to get it. If she did, she should know that there are no commandments set by God, that God is only love. And I’m sure there are many people out there who feel the same way as I do about this article. So again, don’t feel guilty about anything – bless it!

  • Seeing Through the Lies

    When Neale was first contacted about his blatant plagiarism he did not apologize. He instead stuck with the lie that the the story was his. When he realized that the New York Times was going to expose him for the charlatan that he is, then and only then did he decide to admit that the story was not his but had been copied word for word, letter for letter from Candy Chand’s story. However, instead of being a man of God, (and I say that tongue-in-cheek) and coming clean, he blamed it on a trick of his mind. Now he claims to have found a study that will get him off the hook. He says that what happened is called “inadvertent plagiarism, or cryptomnesia.” In other words, “I stole the story and claimed it as my own, but it is not my fault.”
    I found another medical study that may be of help and it deals with compulsive lying. You can read it here:
    When you continue to lie over and over it actually begins to change how your brain is wired.
    The first time you used her story without giving her credit in one of your seminars was your first step down this road. You willfully chose to make people believe that the story was yours. That is not only plagiarism, but a big fat lie. Each and every time you used it after that, you continued to tell a big fat lie. When you tell big fat lies over and over and over, you convince yourself that the story is indeed yours.
    Stop blaming this on other things and place the blame solely on yourself. Admit you purposely stole it and come clean. You will feel better having the guilt removed from your conscience. Your blind followers will have to see you for who you are, but that won’t affect their rabid devotion to you. As many of your followers have said, it doesn’t matter what sin you commit, they will continue to follow you blindly.
    But, the rest of the world will at least have a sliver of respect for you. As it is now, the vast majority of people see right through you and every time you make an excuse it is only making it worse for you.

  • sterling

    a college student is profitting from getting a degree with with to make money, Bob-o

  • Aaron

    There sure are some strong opinions out there. Thank you, Gina for your thoughtful words. I feel the same way.

  • jestrfyl

    OK the guy cheaped out and sleazed his way through a posting. He’s gone – I won’t miss what I didn’t read anyway. It is time to move on. If it stings him, then maybe – maybe he learned something. If it doesn’t sting enough, he may try it again. Fame is no excuse for laziness. So let’s let him go and move onto other more interesting news.

  • GeoMom

    It is entirely possible that Mr. Walsch internalized the Christmas story and came to believe it was his own experience. My sister has recently begun taking claim to a few of my childhood and teen experiences—when she is talking to me, no less. That happens in the telling and retelling of stories. People do that all the time. Our parents have been doing it for years, and I’ve caught young coworkers retelling my experiences to other coworkers in front of me. If you think it couldn’t happen to you, just give yourself more time.
    Walsch is too smart to knowingly commit plagiarism. Internet searches, blogs, and plagiarism software, leave little room for any person to plagiarize these days.
    I find it interesting there would be SUCH ILL WILL OVER A STORY ABOUT A SO-CALLED MIRACLE that spelled “Christ Was Love.” BEFORE YOU THROW THE FIRST STONE, ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS. What is your belief system? Does that belief system help you become a more understanding, compassionate, and forgiving person?
    MY NEW YEAR WISH: May we be granted the miracles of understanding, compassion, and forgiveness, when we need them the most. Peace.

  • Bruce La Fountain, Saratoga Ca.

    Dumb and Dumber
    This was a very unfortunate mistake by Mr. Walsch that he has clearly apologized for.
    I understand that Ms. Chand has received an almost double spike in the sales of her book as a result since the incident was aired.
    One only needs to ask this question to determine that the intent was no more or less than a mistake:
    Who received benefit from the event?
    Certainly not Mr. Walsch either before or after the mistake was uncovered.
    I doubt that any of you ventriloquists spewing your infectious venom here know anything about the intent of either party involved; let alone posses any objective information with which to arrive at such judgments.
    How could you have such information?
    Where would you have learned of it?
    Who are you anonymous geniuses?
    Where do you live?
    Moreover how do you live within yourselves?
    You all hide behind outrageously fear based thinking that would surely evaporate in the light of day.
    I would like to see the totality of such useless anonymous internet indignation be banned in its entirety from this website.
    If the operators of this site claim to have such high minded ideals and standards for their contributors then I would think in the interest of the same standards they should be applied to the people who comment here also.
    Put your name and city on your mouth and then let’s see how much unverifiable ignorance you will actually sign your name to.

  • Your Name

    Bruce, you said “I doubt that any of you ventriloquists spewing your infectious venom here…”. Remember that you are gazing into your own reflection – you might wish to read Neale’s blog entitled “Four answers to four questions” dated Jan 6. Its all an illusion anyway, right?

  • Your Name

    Right you are “YOUR NAME” and when that is completely clear to everyone here then the mirror you have refered to will give you the true reflection of God.
    Until then shaking the trees within the illusion is frequently a method that helps them to bear fruit.
    Thanks for the reference I will use it.
    Big Smile.

  • Seeing Through The Lies

    Check out the article at this web page.
    In it you will find that:
    “It was not until Beliefnet and Walsch learned that a New York Times reporter was working on an article about the incident that the post was removed and Walsch issued an apology”
    At the link above, you will also be interested to read that the researcher whose work Neale cited as an excuse for what he did (Lead researcher David McCabe, a psychology professor at Colorado State University) said this when he was contacted about Neale using his research as an excuse:
    “Inadvertent plagiarism is more likely to occur in older adults, he said, but plagiarized material more than a paragraph long is very unlikely to be copied by accident, he said.
    “If there’s a long passage, from a paragraph up, then it’s almost impossible that that could be inadvertent plagiarism,” he said.
    Once again, I might have some respect for Neale or Beliefnet if they both would have come clean when they were first contacted on January 2. But they chose not to. When you paint yourself in a corner, apologies don’t mean much after that. Besides, his apology lost all credibility when he stated that it wasn’t his fault, but a trick of his mind.
    That should scare the rest of you into thinking that his conversations with whatever god supposedly talked to him, was also a trick of his mind.

  • smitisan

    Inadvertent plagiarism more than a paragraph long may well be possible in Walsh’s case. I was a student editor of my college lit mag way back when, and we had a case of a student writing a long piece that turned out to be an exact, word for word, rewriting of a book she had known as a child. She was devastated when the problem was pointed out,, and so were we. We knew her too well to believe that she had deliberately done this. Between her childhood and her student years, however, was a long history of problems resulting in her admission to a psychiatric hospital and shock therapy treatments, under which her memories of the book may have been burned right out of her brain. It doesn’t sound plausible if you don’t want to believe it, but I knew this woman, and deliberate plagiarism on her part would be much less plausible. I know a little bit about Walsh’s bio, that he’s been through some rough times, and having been through some of my own lately and seeing for myself the mind’s power to play games with one’s reality, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt. And as for those who doubt what I’m saying, I truly hope you don’t get enlightened the way I did.

  • Brad Morrison

    Right out of Psychology 101. This is very basic stuff. If you don’t know what it is, think about it for bit. You’ll get it.
    The design of our minds prevents us from holding two ideas which disagree as true at the same time. As many of you know, it is possible to have profound knowledge about topics that we disagree with–as long as we maintain that these topics are wrong, flawed, misled, etc.
    When it is time to choose which of the dissonant ideas we will believe in, and which to reject, we tend to go with the ones in which we feel we have invested the most. Time, money, emotional ties have the most weight in this equation. Our individual personalities play a big part in this. Consider the mother who goes to great lengths to deceive herself in order to believe her son.
    To me, it is clear that Walsch plagiarized Chand’s work. It is also clear to me that he has a lot to lose in being honest and admitting the plagiarism. Such an admission calls all of his work into doubt.
    As for those of you who choose to believe Walsch, there is nothing wrong with your choice. He doesn’t represent any great evil. In fact, if what he claims is true–that he repeated the story for so long that he internalized it–then he has already internalized his story about the plagiarism to the point that he could probably pass a lie detector test.
    Aside from the greed or vanity or whatever it was that has led Walsch to claim this–and other authors’ works–as his own, the only thing he is guilty of is self-deception. Given that we are all sinners anyway, it doesn’t make Walsch a bad person. He’s a normal person.
    If only he had the courage to be a honest person. I can’t say that I always have.

  • Alice the Canine Messiah

    Trust? High standards? Faith based?
    You can’t trust that he may have made an error, albeit a serious one.
    Another Golden Opportunity from the Golden Rule folks, down the drain.
    Best of Now, always…

  • Direct Line to God

    What a riot–the fairytale crowd realizes that a heartwarming miracle story is a bunch of fabricated baloney… Isn’t there some third-world country you could invade in retribution?

  • Direct Line to God

    What a riot–the fairytale crowd realizes that a heartwarming miracle story is a bunch of fabricated baloney… Isn’t there some third-world country you could invade in retribution?

  • Your Name

    I have read all three of Mr. Walsch’s Books. The first was life changing….the second was a copy of the first….just more drawn out and the last was pure reitterating what the last two books said now with guidance and direction from Walsch. I wish Neale would have stopped with book one as it is very clear to readers that he wished to make a carrear out of a miracle. Forced books sometimes lead to forced deadlines and pressure to produce new and meaningful ideas even where no new ones exist. Neale, be grateful that God healed you and leave it at that. No pressure, no lies, just grattitude to your maker. Forget what the rest of the word thinks, what does God think?

  • D@ra

    ~BeliefNet~ I’m very disappointed in the position that BeliefNet has taken on this matter.
    This is silly. People make mistakes. Where are your ethics, your honor, your integrity and your willingness to permit this to play itself out and resolve itself without severance? That is what most of the columnists on this site preach, isn’t it? Forgiveness–ESPECIALLY something has been done unintentionally and without malice?
    NDW has apologized to and credited Chand for her article. She has been plucked from obscurity and now has the option (or opportunity) to pursue damages via the court system, if she deems herself so irreparably damaged by this incident that she can’t live without compensation.
    There is not one writer among us who would not be annoyed to find our work published under another author’s name. However, there is also not one writer among us who hasn’t incorporated the writings of other writers into our own dialogue and into our own writings, either unintentionally–or by design. It just happens. Wordsmith’s and scribes are fascinated by the power of words, and the stories they tell. **IT happens!
    I am appealing to you to ask Neale Walsch to return and continue to be a contributor to this blogsite. He has offered BeliefNet extraordinary service and it would be extraordinarily charitable of you to provide him with an opportunity to make this right again.

  • jan


  • MTO

    This case of the avowedly inadvertent plagiarism by Mr. Walsch, and the criticisms offered in response by Ms. Chand, offers all of us a fresh opportunity to inquire into, and to try to understand, what happens in such cases.  It is of interest because it has happened many times before, and will happen again in the future.  What goes on in such cases?  

    As Ms. Chand asserts: nothing less than the matter of truth is at stake.  There’s the issue of credibility: who can one believe? what can one believe? When can one believe what someone else says?  Also at stake is her identity, and Mr. Walsch’s.  Who is who?  Whose experience is being reported here?  In not acknowledging Ms. Chand’s work, and contribution, and presenting it as his own, Mr. Walsch has psychologically annihilated Ms. Chand. That’s a serious harm to her, and also to the public who have a right, and maybe a need, to know who is who and what might be the truth of the matter.

    How can this happen?  And why does it happen?  For the record, I accept Mr. Walsch’s account  that he did not realize, or somehow forgot, on any conscious level, that the story had originated with someone else, and was not originally part of his own experience, as he had reported in his book and in his talks.    

    Brad Morrison offered an explanation of what he sees as the basic psychology of such an occurrence.  He describes how some people choose which of two dissonant ideas they will choose to believe:

    We tend to go with the ones in which we feel we have invested the most. Time, money, emotional ties have the most weight in this equation. Our individual personalities play a big part in this. Consider the mother who goes to great lengths to deceive herself in order to believe her son.

    There is something right about this description, in my opinion, and something wrong. Yes, many do make up their minds in precisely this way.  

    But what he very well describes here is the way a psychologically immature, or narcissistic, person makes up one’s mind. Notice it is narcissistic in that the person in deciding turns for his/r frame of reference only to one’s own past and current experience.  One does not look beyond one’s own experience, to a world of reality that may still lie outside of one’s experience. There is no curiosity here, as in how could this be?  how could this happen? These two ideas seem contradictory, yet each person seems to be telling the truth as each experiences it.  There is no element of skepticism, as in: Might I have missed something here? Might one of the parties have missed something?  And what could that be?   

    Many people in our culture are “narcissistic” in this sense.  But when they decide what is true or not true in only this narcissistic way, they end up missing important parts of a larger reality.  They end up being relatively “closed” to, and incurious about, outside or larger realities. They end up having, as a result, a deficit in their perceptions of reality.

    The narcissistic person’s boundaries between self and other are not sufficiently clear.  They tend to be confused, or conflated.  For example, if I think something is true, it must be true.  A more mature person might start with a question like this: “I think this or that is true, but is it? How can I know if it’s true or not? Is there someway I can test whether what I think is true is really true?  Here one gets into the beginnings of a scientific attitude: let’s start what I think is true, and put it to a  test.

    Ms. Chand in this comparison seems to have clear interpersonal boundaries: certain things are hers or not hers, and she’s clear on which is which.  Mr. Walsch’s boundaries, or what was his experience or someone else’s, seem in this instance to have been fuzzy, not clear, confused together.  Ms. Chand perceives the issues involved in a clearly differentiated way.  Mr. Walsch now realizes his perception concerning this Christmas essay was “confused together” with hers.  And he rightly realizes now that was not right.  He realizes now there is a problem not only with what he said (was true), but with how he was perceiving the matter in his own mind.  This became a wake-up call for Mr. Walsch to learn to perceive his “reality” in a way that will be more clearly differentiated in the future.  It became for him a learning experience.

    And maybe for all of us, along with him, it can become a valuable learning experience as well.

  • pagansister

    Didn’t read the post that was “borrowed” from someone else. Obviously a mistake…so “Bye” Neale. Next time try and remember where your stories come from.

  • Gerry

    “Christmas Love” author Candy Chand cites the injunction “Thou shalt not steal” in her denouncement of Neale’s use of her story. What about “Judge not, and neither condemn”?

  • Neale Still Blogs…

    For those who enjoyed reading Neale’s blog regularly, he still blogs at SpiritLibrary dot com.

  • Your Name

    I’m so happy that Neale still blogs at THANK YOU! I LOVE YOU!

  • Melissa Massaria

    Wow, I love this stuff, please send me more!

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