BEYOND BELIEF When you're dealing with Michael Jackson, nothing is ever black and white. The unpredictable singer recently wrote a revealing essay that was supposed to be posted on the religious website Beliefnet.com on Nov. 29. In it, Jackson describes his ''missionary work,'' which had him ringing doorbells as recently as 1991. ''I would don my disguise of fat suit, wig, beard, and glasses, and head off to live in the land of everyday America,'' Jackson writes in an early draft. ''I loved to set foot in all those houses and catch sight of the shag rugs and La-Z-Boy armchairs with kids playing Monopoly and grandmas babysitting and all those wonderfully ordinary and, to me, magical scenes of life.''
Jackson also discusses the joys of the Sabbath as well as his difficult childhood (''Yes, singing and dancing were my greatest joys at the time, but I was rarely happy.... I had to accept that I would never be a normal little boy with an ordinary life''). ''This article shows a very human side...and also shows him to be far more self aware than I would have expected,'' says Beliefnet cofounder Steve Waldman.
Perhaps too self aware: On Nov. 27, USA Today printed excerpts from the essay, and Jackson apparently freaked out that the work in progress was made public. As a result, a Beliefnet rep says, the project has now ''temporarily been put on hold.'' It's enough to make you want to scream.