Annual Council Business Session Day 2 — Simplifying Things

I’m a multi-generation Adventist - membership going back to the 1850s. As our family says, “Adventist is in our DNA”! How can you question whether the Adventist church has hurt us? Only we know that - and the sad fact is that we are deeply, deeply hurt.

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Thank you, it’s reassuring when people are able to recognize that this kind of harm can happen, at least sometimes and to some people. And certainly the overwhelming majority of SDA members are well-intentioned and earnest believers. But well-intentioned people allow abuse to continue all the time, whether they are aware of it or not. And a lie repeated earnestly a million times is still a lie. Tradition and repetition only serve to entrench mistakes and give them the power to do generational harm.

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Matt,

I don’t - and didn’t - intend to invalidate your experience. This is unfortunate that you had to go through all this anxiety.

But as a Christian, we cannot ignore that the Bible says that, sooner or later, the end will come for our planet. This truth may be a cause of distress but it is truth nonetheless. Now, what is the church supposed to do with it? Hide it because it could disturb some among us? I don’t think that this is the solution (and I am not sure that God is asking us to do that).

Also, if you think that the Adventist doctrines are abusive what about the endtime doctrines of other Christian denominations? Have you heard about the Rapture doctrine that many evangelicals and other Protestants believe in? People being snatched away from the world, even from moving cars or flying airplanes (which will eventually crash causing a lot of casualties) this event being followed by a period of tribulation of seven years with intense persecution and demons roaming the world. Oh, and after that you go to hell forever if you don’t make the right choice.

I don’t know for you but that’s creepy!

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It is, indeed, quite painful to confirm from piling up evidence how ignorant and how self-centered are the leaders of the General Conference. They live in a bubble that is totally disconnected with life in the twenty-first century. This state of things, however, parallels the condition on which the United States finds itself. Donald Trump has already began his campaign to run for the presidency in 2024 because there are enough people in the country who are angry and confused. It is a significant number of Adventists who give the purveyors of obscurantism the finances to keep themselves in power. And this people are not going away.

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Ah yes, the last defense is always “whataboutism.” I agree that Christianity has many, many harmful doctrines. Most are not unique to the SDA Church, but the particular eschatology that I believed absolutely is. One wrong doesn’t excuse another.

And yes, truth should matter, including unpleasant truths. I was taught this as a child, and took it very seriously. This is part of why I feel so much resentment toward the church now. I discovered many unpleasant things I didn’t want to be true. I discovered that not only does the church teach clear falsehoods in many areas, they do not even have a coherent epistemology. The kind of “Bible and Bible only” views that are held by many SDAs are inherently circular, church leaders emphatically tell members that the church’s doctrines can’t be questioned, and it produces videos and printed materials that are outright deceptive to members. (There’s a very blatant example in the materials for the recent Creation Sabbath events.) These are not features of an organization that cares about truth. They are features of an organization that cares about control.

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It would be interesting to present some concrete examples. It is very easy to make these kinds of statements but saying something is not proving. If you have discovered that the church is teaching so many falsehoods, it should not be too difficult to give a few examples.

Oddly, in reading this newest Top Ten, I found myself wanting to add one more:

Either you understand the either/or fallacy, or you don’t.