It appears Neale Donald Walsch has made a wee mistake.
Walsch, author of the megaselling "Conversations With God" series of books, recently posted an essay on Beliefnet.com, a popular spiritual website. In it, he wrote of an incident that occurred twenty years ago at his son's kindergarten Christmas pageant.
Or did it?
Turns out Walsch's essay was an almost verbatim copy of an article by a writer named Candy Chand which was first published ten years ago in the magazine Clarity, and has been republished several times since. When Chand became aware of Walsch's essay she contacted Beliefnet, who removed the article from their site pending an investigation.
Confronted with the evidence, Walsch apologized for the "serious error," but said his appropriation of the material was unintentional. He said he had written and told the story so many times over the years that he had somehow "internalized it as my own experience." "I am chagrined and astonished that my mind could play such a trick on me," he added.
His explanation, however, did not fill Candy Chand with the Christmas spirit. "I'm not buying it," she said, and added that she found it odd that the man who had engaged in so many conversations with God had forgotten the commandment, "Thou shalt not steal."
When Walsch offered to resign from Beliefnet's roster of bloggers, the website promptly agreed.
A New York Times article on the controversy can be found here. Beliefnet's statement on the matter is here.