Does Walter Martin Have A Valid Ph.D.?

FairMormon Staff

Does Walter Martin Have A Valid Ph.D.?

Walter Martin claims to have received a “Ph.D.” from an accredited non-mail-order institution of higher learning. But what are the facts?

Walter Martin claimed, in the CRI newsletter, 2nd Qtr 1977, Vol 1, #2, pg. 3, to have received degrees from Stony Brook School, Alelphi University, New York University, Biblical Seminary, and California Western University (which later changed it’s name to “California Coast University”).

Stony Brook School is a high school/college prep school, which does not issue college diplomas or degrees of any kind. Martin lied about receiving a degree from this institution, as is evidenced by a letter from that institution dated Sept 10, 1981, signed by James A. Adare, Director of Development.

Martin lied about receiving a degree from Adelphi University, when in truth he attended only 4 months as an undergrad, as is evidenced by a letter from Adelphi Univ. dated Dec 1, 1981, signed by Geraldine B. Cosgrove, Supv. Transcripts and Certification.

Martin finally earned a B.A. from Shelton College, an UNACCREDITED school. He used the then-existing practice of New York University to accept credits from unaccredited schools to transfer to NYU, and subsequently earned his M.A. there in 1956. NYU does NOT accept credits from any non-accredited schools now. NYU explained this rather odd policy, and reiterates the fact that Shelton College was non-accredited in a letter dated Jan 26, 1984, signed by Helen Harrod, Admin. Asst, Office of Graduate Studies.

As a curious side-note to his M.A., Martin lied under oath in a court deposition about doing a Master’s Thesis for his M.A. at NYU, claiming that it was completed in 1956. Martin later admitted on the BAM that he had not done a Master’s Thesis at all. NYU confirmed, in a letter dated Sept 22, 1982 that the course of study that Martin was involved in did not require a thesis.

Martin claims his third degree from “Biblical Seminary”, now known as the “New York Theological Seminary”. The truth is that he registered for some summer courses from this school within a month after receiving his M.A. from NYU. He lied about receiving a degree from this institution.

The most damning evidence of Martin’s fraud comes from his claim to having received a “Ph.D.” in “Comparative Religion” from California Coast University in Santa Ana, CA.

Martin lied about receiving a degree from “Biblical Seminary”, (now known as “New York Theological Seminary”), when in truth he bought a mail-order “Ph.D.” from an unaccredited mail-order diploma mill. Even though Martin claims not to have received this “Ph.D” until 1977, he repeatedly, fraudulently, referred to himself as “Dr.” Walter Martin on a number of documented occasions.

So, what of “California Coast University”??? The California Dept. of Education identifies it as an “unaccredited degree-granting.. correspondence school” in a letter dated Dec 3, 1981 and signed by R. D. Welty, Office of Private Postsecondary Education, State of California Department of Education.

Yet, Martin lies yet again about CCU’s status in the BAM broadcast of 2/16/85, wherein he states, “It isn’t a correspondence school at all, and it is accredited in the State of California”.

CRI desperately attempted to do some damage control in a pamphlet published titled, “Does Dr. Martin Have A Genuine Earned Doctor’s Degree?”. Everyone should read it. It is hysterical!

The second paragraph firmly establishes the credibility of this “explanation” by stating “Facts which are NOT disputed concerning Walter Ralston Martin are as follows: He is an ordained Baptist Minister and a member of the Southern Baptist Convention”. As we have already seen, this is blatantly false.

The “official CRI explanation” of Martin’s credentials indicates that Mormons “have flatly rejected the genuineness of Dr. Martin’s degree, and, indeed, have lumped him together with Dee Jay Nelson, a purported Egyptian scholar whose degree, it is AGREED BY ALL, Mormon AND NON-MORMON, is an absolute humbug, bought and paid for from an outfit in Washington State…”

The FACT is that the quality of Martin’s degree and Nelson’s degree ARE IDENTICAL. CRI crows about the supposed nod of approval that CCU has received from the “respected expert” Dr. John Bear, in his “Bear’s Guide to Non-Traditional College Degrees”.

I searched for a copy of this work, but quickly found that it is out of print. Bear’s CURRENT work is called “College Degrees by Mail 1998”, by 10-Speed Press in Berkeley, CA. It lists 100 schools that the esteemed Dr. Bear considers to be valid non-traditional educational alternatives. Is CCU in that list? No. It is listed in an appendix titled “69 books that are not included in this work”, because, says Bear, they “do not offer relevant degree programs”, and are “terrible places that you don’t want to deal with..” What a recommendation!

Evidence of the questionable status of Bear’s “recommendation” can be seen in the wholesale hatching they did of Bear’s own statement concerning the school. Bear clearly identifies the school as “non-accredited”, but somehow, mysteriously, this has been edited OUT of the CRI quote from Bear’s work.

CRI then continues to identify CCU as a “legitimate” institution of alternative higher education”, remarkably ignorant that *ALL* of the following respected guides REFUSE to acknowledge the EXISTENCE of CCU:

  • Baron’s Profiles of American Colleges (1998)
  • Peterson’s Choose a Christian College (1996)
  • Peterson’s The Independent Study Catalog (1995)
  • Kaplan’s College Catalog, 1998 Ed.
  • The College Board’s The College Handbook 1998, 35th Ed.
  • Cass & Birnbaum’s 1998 Guide to American Colleges
  • Guide to American Graduate Schools, Harold R. Dougherty, Penguin (1994)
  • Fiske Guide to Colleges 1997, Times Books
  • Peterson’s Distance Learning (1997)

What does CRI do to get around this obvious dilemma? Simple. They follow Martin’s example, and LIE. Their tag line is “For additional information SUPPORTING the ACCEPTED status of CCU and Dr. MARTIN’S DEGREE…”.. then they proceed to quote.. the California Education Code Section that identifies the standards by which ACCREDITED schools may offer degrees.. which has NOTHING to do with CCU, doesn’t mention it ONCE, and doesn’t mention MARTIN at ALL!!!

What then is their FINAL argument? That it doesn’t take an academic degree at all, to slander Mormons. CRI gingerly notes, “let us ask our second question in this outline, ‘What credentials are required to critique the LDS Church?’” The rest of their argument consists of attacks on the LDS Church, and the justification that it doesn’t TAKE any academic credentials to harass and persecute Mormons.

Apparently no one told James White, author of “Letters to a Mormon Elder”. When FAIR accepted a challenge to publicly debate him in Sacramento, CA, he declined because we somehow “didn’t have the academic credentials necessary to provide an intelligent debate”. And no, White doesn’t have a Ph.D either.

For more information, read They Lie In Wait To Decieve, Volume 3 by Robert and Rosemary Brown.

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