Adventism from the Morning Star Masonic Lodge to a Public Religion

A study published in 2021 by Lifeway Research—which was based on a telephone survey of 1,007 Protestant pastors in the United States—revealed that 49% of the pastors stated that they frequently heard members of their local church discuss conspiracy theories. With the rise of digital communication and the excessive consumption of social media to the extent that it would subject human behavior to the logic of a media life, the tendency of generalized sharing of conspiracy theories within churches has become more prominent and worrisome for the social role of the church as an institution, as well as for the meaning of the Christian religion in contemporary society. The massive “Internetization” of conspiracy theories keeps aggregating negative stereotypes that impact the credibility of religious institutions and culture, going so far as to question their own authenticity. Seventh-day Adventism is not immune to these theories and, therefore, is no exception to this trend, which is also the expression of a range of pathologies of mediatized communication.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11968
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I always wonder who determines a subject to be a conspiracy. Especially when some of them come to fruition.

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I am no academic. I hold no PhD’s. Only a lowly BA in a degree called, “Metropolitan Ministries” (because I have not completed Hebrew or Greek classes) so reading Ms. Tudor’s piece required my downloading the article by Stefan Bratosin her article is about. Plowing and plodding slowly through its very high academic level content I am more attuned and able to comprehend Tudor’s article. Until I do more digesting of the Bratosin article I have no more comment at this time. But I will say this: the article is worth the read.

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The official church still promotes the silly conspiracy theory about some papal plot to take over the USA, establish a “Sunday law” and persecute, chase and kill SDAs. It’s no wonder SDAs are prone to fall for conspiracy theories.

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The elephant in the room is not addressed:

Adventism is built on an eschatological conspiracy theory that posits a papal/U.S. collusion to enforce Sunday blue laws, possibly throughout the world, and persecute all seventh day sabbath keepers who of course would be aligned with SDA beliefs ( where this leaves observant Jews in this picture is a whole other story) in a time of trouble showdown over the sabbath and the law of God. This is the raison d’être of this denomination, all the protestations aside about how SDAs should be the foremost in proclaiming RBF, the gospel, etc., that came from the prophet and that are still said today. It is a sect built on a conspiracy theory, that is still trotted out in evangelistic efforts day after day, month after month, and year after year…worldwide. Just check out Amazing Facts and its denominational rock star, and the president of the GC and his planned 1 billion book distribution of the Great Controversy.

What kind of people are attracted to a group promoting such beliefs? Often the same that will start down the rabbit holes of Jesuit infiltration, the Illuminati, a one world government takeover, and on and on. Adventist eschatology helps breed this. Conspiracy theorizing is in the denominational DNA. I’ve seen over many years what this does to people, and who it draws. Adventism holds this in common with evangelical dispensationalism, and the whole left behind, coming anti-Christ, secret rapture craziness they promote.

Want to see this begin to change? Repudiate the eschatology. Come to grips with the reality that this has been trumpeted for 177 years, and it’s no closer to happening today. Promote a healthy, biblical gospel that is devoid of time lines and sign watching, the very things that Jesus warned against during his generation, and instead promote faith that expresses itself in outgoing love as the central value of the denomination. Not what the pope does, not the sabbath vs. Sunday, not forecasting end time events. IOW, get in line with the gospel of the kingdom, and away from such nonsense. This may cause some to leave. It may also put Amazing Facts and the like out of business. But, it would likely help create a healthier theological soil that would sprout these weed like beliefs a whole lot less.

Frank

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Some principles of conspiracy thinking (Taguieff, P. 2021. Les théories du complot. Paris. Presses Universitaires de France):

  1. Nothing happens by accident.
  2. Everything that happens is the result of hidden, invisible intentions or wills.
  3. Nothing is as it seems (an obvious reason or explanation is never the right one).
  4. Everything is occultly connected, part of a larger plan.
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If one accepts that there are evil people in the world, then it follows that the potential exists for those people to come together, thereby creating a conspiracy-or even multiple conspiracies-of evil.

To deny this potentiality, or to be demonize those who allege the existence of such, is not only silly and scary, it flies in the face of mountains of evidence in the form of human history where such conspiracies have been conclusively shown to exist.

I’ve done my share of critiquing SDA theology and eschatology and I am not about to recant any of it. However, one valuable lesson I learned from being raised Adventist was that it’s okay to deny the validity of majority opinion, to think critically about that which is considered “common knowledge” and to evaluate on my own any alleged truth claim.

(And okay, maybe that’s three different things!?!?:wink:)

But the point is…nope I’m pretty sure I’ve made the point that’s it’s not necessarily wrong to be cynical and that, as George Carlin said, “It’s not paranoia if people really are out to get you!”, in which case its time for me to get back to crushing the candy conspiracy which is threatening to take over my iPad.:crazy_face:

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The SDA church needs to fact check it’s own conspiracy doctrines. It’s really hard not to LOL when reading an SDA acticle regarding the conspiratorial thinking of others. Is this the epitome of the pot calling the kettle black?

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Now, that’s funny. I like your humor. Irony can cause a bit of a chuckle.

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Hello. Could you give me the location that you downloaded it from, please?

I personally know five freemansons, three of them top physicians, worldwide of high esteem. - - All by private informations, not because of their “policies in the background” .They are not to be found on our downtown avenues where others demonstrate fot their odd ideas , marching with fancy - coloured flags - -

Around 1800 the top men of Viennese culture and science were freemansons - - ( - also the SDA - accepetd composers of Vienna Classis)

Once upo a time in a sermon I asked the congregation who knew just some freemnason - - well, not one. But almost all knew bulks of horror stories about their present influence on politics, bankhouses, educational public matters, health economics - - - (Here in Vienna it would be better to kow about Marx, Kautsky, Tandler, Gloeckl - who, being Socialists, all shaped and still shape the whole public life here, succeded by the common perceptions of the Viennese maiority on lifestyle, desires, wishes, culture, policies - - )

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The link is embedded in Ms. Tudor’s article as the title of the paper she is commenting on. Click on the title of Bratosin’s article and it will take you to where you can access and download it.

I have read the article Ms. Tudor is deriving her short article by a Mr. Stefan Bratosin. I am going to try and succinctly cast about what I see the article by Bratosin saying.

William Miller, a Mason, began to preach about the time a member of his masonic lodge is murdered, and the lodge he was member of suspends activity (1832). Miller being a mason is intrigued with “secret knowledge” and out of that mental conditioning he starts to preach “secret knowledge” sort of things in what ends up being dated predictions on Jesus’ second coming. What gets his “conspiracy” material out into the broader public is the press (the mediatization of beliefs) by Joshua V. Himes publisher and talented promoter. Miller’s movement grows into this counterculture ideology, or a message of contrast to the then current culture of the time. Hence, Miller’s movement is a conspiracy itself occupied with secret knowledge to give to the world without giving secrets out on who is running the conspiracy (Masons?). Adventism has been promoting conspiracy ever since, and it isn’t any secret as to why so many members are conspiratorially minded.

This seems to be the gist of this article in a nutshell. Am I totally off base?

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I don’t think that the article is focusing enough on the fact that Adventism has been promoting conspiracy theories in general ever since, although I would agree with you about this. The whole eschatology is one grand conspiracy theory. It simply makes the connection between Miller’s Masonic roots and secret knowledge message and publication with the continued pushing of Masonic infiiltration and the Illuminati conspiracy theories today amongst Adventists. Maybes it’s using this as the chief example.

This assumes that this is the major conspiracy theory in circulation within the denomination, which may have been true in the 1990’s but something I haven’t heard for quite some time. Secondly, this doesn’t account for the thousand other conspiracy theories and theorists floating around, whether it’s respectively the pope backing climate change measures to promote Sunday laws, or someone like Walter Veith.

The picture that you paint of the article makes the connection. Keep the eschatology, and this will not change.

Frank

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It’s not who, it’s how. Here’s how you can recognize a conspiracy theory:

Just because a conspiracy theory indicates something will happen and then it happens doesn’t mean it’s not a conspiracy theory. If, for example, your theory says that immigrants are harming the economy, which is going to decline because of the immigrants, and then the economy takes a down-turn, it doesn’t mean the immigrants caused the economy to decline. The theory is still objectively wrong and uninformed. In fact, the USA was built by waves of immigrants since it’s inception, and that process has not stopped. On the average, immigrants add more to the economy than established citizens do, which is well documented.

Still, conspiracy theories often aren’t about the future, but about the past or present.

For example, there’s a conspiracy theory that indicates there’s a shadow organization that really runs the country, or perhaps the world. But there’s no evidence this is true. And does it really make any sense? No, it doesn’t.

There’s another that says “the government” is adding trackers (maybe “nanobots”) to the COVID-19 vaccines that would invade your privacy, letting the government watch you, and it was used to create a whole new batch of anti-vaxers. The idea was probably cooked up out of fear, and ignores facts like 1) There is no such technology, 2) There’s little to no reason to think the government would find such an ability useful (they’re really not that competent or organized, which is good actually), 3) If this did happen, and those behind it were found out, there’d be hell to pay. It just doesn’t make any sense.

There’s another conspiracy theory that says the country was founded by Christians who wanted it to be a Christian nation and the progressives (code for Jews, Muslims, atheists, brown people, and maybe those Catholics, who aren’t “real” Christians) are ruining the country by trying to take away Christianity, and even persecute Christians, which is the beginning of the end of the nation. Of course, this one is easy to falsify at the outset since the country wasn’t founded by Christians, nor did they want it to be a “Christian Nation”. They wanted exactly the opposite. They’d seen Christian nations in Europe, where they came from, and they didn’t want that. These are facts we know from history, often from the writings of the founding fathers themselves. Oh, and also, there is no evidence that anyone is trying to somehow take away Christianity. In fact, people are doing that all by themselves as they leave organized religion altogether.

Oh, and Chemtrails is always entertaining:

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Is it a conspiracy theory to claim that Jesus entered the most holy place in heaven in 1844 and is still rummaging around in there digging through old records making his naughty and nice list, and that’s why he hasn’t returned?

Just asking.

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Maybe not so silly as you think!

If we consider the time when this doctrine came up we can see everything is going in the “right” direction.

For example, at the time of EGW, the anti Catholic sentiment was very strong and the Catholics were a minority. So, if you had told the people at that time that a strong majority of the Supreme Court justices would be Catholic in the future they would have told you that it was impossible. If you had told them that the US would establish diplomatic ties with the Vatican and even ally itself with the Holy See (as it was done to fight Communism) they would have said that it was science fiction. Even worse, if you had told them that two American presidents would kneel in front of the body of a dead pope, you would have been tar-and-feathered and placed in the next train leaving town (and I am even not talking about the Red Mass, Georgetown university, the Catholic relics touring the country, the pope addressing Congress, etc).

So, if we analyze the situation, we go from a situation where the Catholics are a despised minority which is even persecuted at time to a situation where the Catholics have major positions of power and influence (and if you think that having a Catholic Supreme Court is meaningless, think again!), where the Catholic church is a well established institution and has so much confidence that some Catholic bishops allow themselves to publicly influence presidential elections, things which would have been inconceivable at the time when the Great Controversy was written.

So, seeing the preeminent position of the Catholic church today in the US, position that was predicted but that the Church didn’t have when the so-called “silly conspiracy theory” was expressed the first time…well…maybe it is not that silly after all…

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it’s definitely not that silly after-all…everything we see in our world today, from the increasing dominance of the U.S.; to the increasing influence of the papacy; to the tendency of denominations to minimize their differences; to the rise of climate change concern (where the pope, of all people, has certainly called for a Sunday Family Day of rest, of all days); and, i would argue, to the rise of evolution as an accepted world-view, is moving us into the direction of adventist eschatology…nothing is moving us away from it…and we don’t have to think that everything or even anything will be fulfilled in our life time, or that it will be fulfilled in a way we expect…

one point to remember is that part of end time prophecy is that it’s going to be generally disbelieved for a long time, possibly (and probably, in my view) for a very long time…it’s only going to be believed when it can no longer be denied, that is, when its final contours are actually happening…of course by then it will be too late for most…they’ll be too set in their thinking…they won’t be able to change, even if they want to…

in connection with this point is the undeniable fact that it’s strategic to believe in and live with reference to adventist eschatology…this is because it isn’t at all hard to be happy, content and successful in this life as a thinking, traditional adventist…the reality is that you can be happy, content and successful in this life whether adventist eschatology is true, or whether it isn’t…strategy comes in where if it’s true, you’re prepared…there’s no possibility you can be caught in some horrifying realization that you’ve been wrong, and it’s too late to do anything about it…

the other point to remember is that no-one can prove anything…people who believe in adventist eschatology can’t prove that it will happen, and people who disbelieve it can’t prove that it won’t…the best anyone can do is express what they think and feel…but there’s nothing in what they’re expressing that compels anyone to agree unless they agree to begin with, in which case their agreement isn’t contingent on what they’re hearing…like all things spiritual, everything’s a choice: some people believe one way, others believe another way…it’s just as the bible pictures it…

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A true scientist understands that the concept of proving anything absolutely is as unscientific as is the idea that one can prove a negative.

For example, it as impossible to prove that the technology to implant tracking devices in human via the vaccine hasn’t been developed yet as it is to falsify the prediction that Jesus will return next Christmas.

Thus, it makes no sense to argue with either conspiracy theorists, religious people of any sort, or with anyone’s perceived reality.

Instead, if the rational person perceives any nonsense in the thinking of another, he heeds the advice of Solomon and Samuel Clemons and avoids arguing with the fool in order to prevent the possibility of being mistaken for one.

(Not that I’ve always done so myself, but then again, the flesh is weak….

:wink:)

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