Satirical "news" outlet the ONION ran a story that may hit close to home for Adventists. The tongue-in-cheek report, Cult Divided On Whether To Let Women Become Telepathic-Vision Clerics, announces that members of the "Seventh Light" cult are divided over whether to include women in leadership.
The story humorously depicts the imaginary cult's battle for inclusivity:
- "It is the Singular Essence's will that our holy prophet Raymond was male, as were the initial Six Believers whom he entrusted with the Inward Knowledge," read a statement issued Monday by the group's governing body, the Acolyte Council. "Therefore we cannot condone any trans-dimensional communications, tomorrow-visions, or human or animal castrations performed by a woman."
The harsh decree was reportedly directed toward Seventh Light members who see the ordination of women as the only way to manage the cult's current shortage of telepathic-vision clerics, a problem that has grown in recent years as more clerics are defrocked for engaging in sex with underage disciples who have not yet undergone the ceremonial Rite of Public Deflowering.
"Simply put, the telepathic-vision clergy is spread too thin," said Mary Rho, 39, whose views on the issue have resulted in her expulsion from the group's compound. "Their time is consumed by minor administrative issues, such as overseeing the daily distribution of catheters or tallying the week's offerings in the blood troughs, leaving them with almost no time to monitor AM radio for signs of the prophesied wormhole."
For some Seventh-day Adventists, tidbits of the story may sound strangely familiar. Adventism for many years struggled with the perception that it was a cult. References to the "holy prophet" could refer to Ellen White, who exercised the gift of prophecy during her many years of ministry to the church, according to official church statments. The ONION article makes reference to "tomorrow-visions," which might remind some of predictions Ellen White is said to have made based on her ecstatic visions.
The article also seems loosely aligned with recent events. Leading up to the 58th General Conference Session, the topic of women's ordination once again created rifts among Adventists.
Prior to the General Conference, Pastor Doug Batchelor of the Sacramento Central Adventist Church gave a lengthy sermon condemning women pastors. In the now-infamous sermon, Batchelor argued that women are filling a leadership vacuum created by a lack of strong male leaders.
The ONION article may have alluded to those statements with a reference to a shortage of "telepathic-vision clerics."
The ONION succeeds as a satirical news outlet because its bogus stories have strong corollaries in reality. The "Cult Divided" article may in the end simply bear coincidental similarities to Adventism. Even so, the fake report should give us pause. As the saying goes, "It's funny because it's [somewhat] true."
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/2576