A Response to the Church’s Official “Statement on Transgenderism”

Dear Seventh-day Adventist Church,

I believe in love. This may be why it has taken me these past two years to write this letter. I have been wishing, hoping, praying that love would win. Unfortunately, as of today, it has not, so I am speaking out for love, with love.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/views/2019/response-churchs-official-statement-transgenderism

A brave and loving article! Thank-you for presenting this is such a manner that informs scientifically and addresses some biblical concerns. Hopefully this will enlighten others on the struggles and challenges of those who were born “differently”.


The Yiddish word CHUTPAH is a splendidly apt noun that depicts the despicable audacity, the brazen brashness, the toxic temerity of the Adventist theologians who pontificated on transgenderism in the church’s official statement.

The medical. hormonal, social, and psychiatric components of transgenderism are so complex that only a medical professional with years of specialist training can address them.

Yet these theologians, with zero competence in this complex field pompously pontificated, producing an unscientific statement that made them look ridiculous. And two years later, we still await a retraction or admission of regret.

The church’s stance on all LGBT issues is archaic, antique and antediluvian, as is their miserable medieval misogyny on the clergywomen ordination issue.


Thanks for a clear and coherent analysis of the statement. I hope you’ll come back soon even if official church statements on this and other science-fraught issues continue to fall short. To have a lover’s quarrel with the church will require for all of us continued engagement with it.


Lisal – Yes, if you sleuth out ALL the statements regarding Human Sexuality
that have come from Silver Springs, and prior places, you will find that ONLY
theologians [with NO Background in any of the sciences] proclaim “what is
The Truth”.
They have ALWAYS Refused to have ANY Specialists in the Human Sciences
on their discussion Committees.
By doing this they have Promoted a large EVIL in the church, and have FORCED
good members to become Unloving, UN-Christlike, and rejecting of God’s
Children that He loves.
Sunday in the Revised Common Lectionary Readings we will read Jeremiah
1:4-10. The Call of Jeremiah. God said to him, “Before I formed you in the womb,
I knew you. Before you were born I sanctified you.”
This mirrors places in the Psalms where the speaker says God saw how I was
put together in my mother’s womb.
WHO we REALLY are is No surprise to God. God loves. He wishes for Love in
return. That is all.
But, those in Silver Springs, and as it filters down to the local Pastors, and then
to the Local Laity, have DECIDED upon themselves, WHO God loves, and WHO
can be part of the Great Kingdom of Heaven.
And so the “Church” has come up with Rules and Regulation for G,L,T,Q’s
that have no Biblical Basis. And definitely go against Scientific findings.

there are some Congregations in the SDA church who discern WHO
G,L,T,Q’s REALLY are, and accept them as Children of the Kingdom of God.
Baptized, and treat them as Full-Fledged members of the congregation.
But they are few.
There is LOTS of FEAR out there. [Read some of the Fulcrum7 articles]
And this FEAR is promoted in the Laity everywhere.
BUT it has its Beginnings in Silver Springs Committees who have no idea
what they are discussing, but VOTE policy for the World Church anyway.
The WISE understand, and so many leave.
Praise to your parents, who instilled a Love for God in you, not dependent
upon Church Attendance. May God bless you as you minister to All your
Like yourself, I am still a life-long member of the SDA church.


Sorry to see you go.

That’s one less voice for us who have decided to seek change while still members of the church. By leaving, the church’s faction that “contradicts known scientific evidence“ is only emboldened and strengthened and makes it harder for us to “right the ship.”


Leaving an ‘.org church’ can be difficult, but it is not leaving Gods Church! I feel that many SDA’s are beginning to see the difference between the two. I/many were raised to believe they were one and the same. I have a friend, SDA, who married a Babtist. She has attended our church for a long time and enjoys its many functions. Not a member of the SDA church and I would not tell her she should become one. My observation is that she is a fine personification of a Christian. Nothering more needed.


Thank you, Lisal!

You are describing the conundrum for many of us who love the church and find it not in agreement with our values. My husband and I have been in a holding pattern ourselves about what to do. Should we stay part of a club where innocent people are scapegoated? This seems as far from what Jesus taught us as anything.

I’m also puzzled by several things:

  1. There are people who say, “Don’t look at the people in the church, but look to Jesus!” This is great advice if we have a petty disagreement with another person, but when the organization itself starts taking stands and making public statements that we disagree with and fail to see Jesus agreeing with–it becomes a much deeper issue than just looking to Jesus. As a matter of fact, the very reason you (and many others myself included) are feeling cognitive dissonance from these church statements is that we ARE looking to Jesus!

  2. In a denomination with such resources as Loma Linda University, how can the leaders of the church make such rash statements without taking the scientific evidence into consideration? Why are they not consulting professionals like yourself? It seems we have two Adventist churches–those who are educated and those who just make things up as they go to fit their prejudices.

  3. And lastly, why oh why, do we have so few men at the top making decisions for everyone else? I have recently been attending a Methodist church because a friend was a pastor there. I have learned their church has a lot more people making the choices of the denomination. It resembles congress with many educated minds coming together to discuss the challenges of the denomination. There is not one or two men at the top manipulating how the process happens. The Methodist are struggling too about these issues but the entire western half of the US has decided to buck what they decided at their General Conference about excluding LGBTQ people. In contrast, within Adventism, we have a few conferences who ordain women and they have been scapegoated and shut out. Sandra Roberts is the poster woman of the abuse given by the hierarchy of the patriarchy–she is still not in the yearbook and has been ignored since she took office and for what? Her gender!

There is a nasty thread of power over and control being dished out by the Adventist powers that be–it’s not right, it’s not fair and it is not Christ-like.

Now what to do about it? Where can sincere, loving Adventists meet and shake the dust off from the evil men who run our church? May God help us!


Adventist Today has a neat short article – Question and Answer –
regarding why the under 30 are leaving the church.
Has a bearing on this article and the one on “unity” posted on 8/23.

1 Like

Thanks Dr Folsom for writing this timely article. You state your case very well. I too am very sad at the careless statements the church makes about our LGBTQ community. The church is becoming more and more irrelevant in today’s world. These statements of exclusion overpower the original message and charge of the church.


Dr. Folsom,
It’s saddening that you decided to leave, though I understand perfectly that there are times when we must refuse to participate in groups that violate certain basic principles of human conduct. Especially when it’s a religious group.

Though more voices, no less, are needed to speak in favor of those who have a hard time in society due to gender issues, your decision appears irreversible. I hope you will continue committed to the cause of those who need understanding and support - and are not getting it from the Church they love.


Thank you, Dr. Folsom, for a clear witness to the gospel.

As to Silver Springs Statements … I have decided rather than to blindly follow policy, to stay with my conscience and not let my life be lived by someone else’s “recommendations” or world views. I am bound to the gospel of Jesus Christ, a gospel of love, peace, freedom and inclusion - nothing else.

Raising our voice against injustice will take various forms. I have great respect for yours. And will continue to monitor and question mine. Thanks.


It is not you leaving the church but the church which at its foundation on this and other topics that crumble around you. You find yourself wondering why others have abandoned reason for fear and knowledge for tradition.


Thank you for expressing yourself so well in this topic. The church is entirely wrong in its position on trans people, as it is also wrong on its stance toward LGBTQ+ people as a whole. I am sad to see you leave over this but fully understand and support you. Some of us have chosen to remain in the church regardless. I do so so that I can continue to minister to the LGBTQ+ members we still have in the church. Fortunately, in spite of official church policy, there are accepting and affirming communities within the church. It continues to be my prayer and hope that the church will change and become fully affirming.


I will have one comment on this. Society has a right to have an opinion and laws on LGBTQ and so does any church organization. And, often on many issues never the Twain shall meet.
I think that is fair.


Pat, what is “fair” about a “right” that diminishes the value of an individual because it runs counter to what God says that we are all created in His image? Especially when that “right” was formulated by a select group of individuals without any expertise on the subject.


It is fair in that they have that right to allow as members who they want. Just as any other church has. None of that precludes the necessity of kindness to anyone…including non members.

Society formulates rights and privileges as citizens of that society choose. LGBTQ has established many “rights”/ privileges there.

That’s what I mean as fair.
I dont want to enter a periphery discussion. Just clarifying that you. I can make that comment without even referring to a religious reference of any kind.


I thought we were talking about what is “fair” about “rights” when you sprinkle your post with “LGBTQ” and then conclude with “I done want to enter a periphery discussion.” Are you fishing for another discourse? :rofl:


The article is about LGBTQ and they do have secular rights.
Churches have rights to receive members who share their creed/ beliefs as does ( not by law the Rotary Club etc.)
Why is that hard to understand?
Christians are to be kind to all humanity but all humanity is not a member of the church of Christ…or Jewish…etc. Those are bilateral choices.
Why the laughter? Just common sense Elmer. Not fishing for anything. All I wanted to say. Clarifying my very first comment.


I find it insincere for a religious organization to endorse a “right” that destroys the very foundation in which it stands. That is what is “hard to understand,” although I guess you are right that everyone has a “right” even if it were to destroy their identity. After all, I see them in my psychiatric clinic where they ask me who is to blame for their miseries. I tell them to look into the mirror.