The Adventist Church and Its LGBT Members — Part 1

Editor’s Note: In this four-part series for Spectrum, Adventist sociologist Ronald Lawson explores the historical and current relationship between the Adventist Church and its LGBT members. This article originally appeared in the Spectrum print journal (volume 48, issue 4), and will be reprinted online in full over the next two weeks.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

Thank you Ronald for this extensive, exhaustive exposé of the Adventist Church and its abysmal handling of its five percent minority LGBT members ——first to deny that any such members existed, and then to denigrate them, sexually exploit them ( in the Quest “ LEARNING CENTER” ) and woefully and inadequately deal with them.

Thank you also for detailing so transparently and openly your own journey and life experiences as a gay man.

Regrettably, as we exit the first fifth of the twenty first century, Adventism remains stalled in nineteenth century attitudes to both gays and women ( ordination issues).

Adventism’s misogyny and homophobia is unlikely to change soon so without hope, many of us have sought refuge with other Christian groups who welcome us with inclusiveness, not just to “ warm their pews” but to fully participate in all aspects of their congregations,
including holding church office.


Typically, when people in a religious organization wish to see major changes and nothing does change they practice their right to start up their own organization. Those wishing to live a different belief could simply start their own religious organization. There is nothing wrong with that. That was easy!

Why “ start your own organization “ when there are multiple Christian groups who will accept you with open arm inclusivity, without criticism nor denigration, and enfold you with love ?

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All religions must now come together and serve the “common good.” The “common good” embraces all individuals from every walk of this painful life. Fratelli Tutti calls for religion and fraternity. Leaders of the SDA church are already in communion with the leader of the new Fraternity. This communion is offered to everyone.

actually, the pope recently came out against gay marriage, putting a bit of a damper on his 2020 social encyclical, or fratelli tutti:

Oh, that is soooo christlike ! One dear of those you sat in childrens SDA Sabbathscool with, and after decades meet at the funeraal of otheonesr of this group, a dinstiguished elderly gentleman now, with a biography rooted in SDA Church, a carig, helping, dedicated man, friendly, service - oriented , is given one way in his dilema : "Leave the Church, join the one next door !, - we have and sitill do call @“Babylon” - -

The only solution for the tragedy in his lonely life !

One great grace : The Vardermolens and Thrutsifreedoms of his loca church did not uncover his camouflage.
@truthisfreedon and @ezbord, I am so happy for meeting this kind and lovingly understanding people here, it gives me such a warm feeling of “Belonging” !*

Today there are many, many different “types” of Adventists. The mid-size church I attend is somewhat conservative theologically (though they have no problem with women in ministry). Ellen White is often quoted in the sermons. But women often come to church with jewelry, fewer and fewer men wear ties or suits/sportcoats. They use both praise music and traditional music in their service.

Thirty miles away is an Adventist church that fights women’s ordination strongly and is very, very conservative in almost every way.

Between those churches is a church that some might call very “liberal”. It’s very informal. LGBT people are active in the church. It meets in a rented hall, not a church.

Now Truthis…, which of those churches do you propose to close down? Which church is the “real” Adventist church in your opinion?


I think you badly misread Robin, given the first comment it’s clear that he is not saying the church should force LGBT members to join other denominations, but that this is the best option many have since the church refuses to change. Personally, while I think we should work to make all churches loving regardless of our views on marriage and sexual morality, I think it’s a shame people who believe in same sex marriage or that there’s nothing sinful to homosexual acts, don’t join churches who already believe those things.

If all the progressives fighting to turn conservative denominations into carbon copies of mainline denominations would instead expend their energy on building up already existing mainline denominations, maybe they could help to reverse the steep decline of mainline Protestantism. But instead of expending energy on building up progressive churches, progressives inflict damaging civil wars on their own conservative denominations. I empathize with people not wanting to leave, and I’m the same say, it just seems unfortunate and counter-productive.

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No, I dream of a church that can deal in a honest way with human beings being anomal ( not “abnormal” !) . The SDA mainstream here - and otherwhere - is : "a man, well situated in his occupation, a woman, baking cookies for the family, and two dear and cute little children. . - see, we have right here the observations with millions of women - , born in the twenties of the last century, who just had to get along without a partner, because the men of their age are buried somewhere in Russian soil . As far as I know, nobody dealt with their problems of llifelong loneliness. And nowadays we have an SDA academy here and the teen girls are sent there - and at first they and their mothers ( ! ) check about the possibilities of as soon as possible getting hold on one of the boys minority for marriage a decade later - - -

I live in Wimborne, Dorset in England and M involved with Churches Together in Wimborne. I am especially impressed with the Quakers, who accept everyone without question. There are some homosexuals in their congregation, some of the most devout Christians I’ve met, and I wish our church was as open and welcoming to LGBTs as they are. I also have lesbian friends, one of whom studied for the ministry in the Anglican church and again, a devout Christian. It is for God to judge and for us to love.