Twenty-Six Years under Wilson Leadership: a Review (2 of 2)

In my last column, I reflected on Elder Neal Wilson’s presidency of the General Conference (GC) of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the 1980s. This piece concludes my assessment of the Wilsons’ combined 26 years at the church helm as I now examine his son Ted Wilson’s turn as top leader.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

To the willfully ignorant, ignorance truly is bliss. Facts are inconvenient distractions best dismissed by proud professions of faith. Where embarrassment should adhere to those who dismiss multiple lines of well attested knowledge regarding time and process, there is instead a naked emperor basking in the belief that his (invisible) clothes are beautiful and of great value.


This writer appears privy to much information that are hidden from the general public. Interestingly enough, he (Matthew Quartey) doesn’t find anything unusual about a GC president (Elder Paulsen) “nominating” someone, woman or man, to become one of his vice-presidents. Strange.

Matthew has given us a clear summary of the authoritarian rule the current president of the G.C. It rightfully highlights the assumed empowerment of one who is the son and the grandson of prominent leaders of the SDA church. His grandfather, Nathaniel C. Wilson who had been president of five different division around the world, was greatly disappointed when Ruben Fighur, rather than him was elected president of the G.C. in in 1950. But then Nathaniel C.(N.C) was somewhat relieved when his son Niel C. (N.C.) was elected president. As the dynastic heir. Ted, as well documented by Matthew Quartey, rose through the ranks rapidly and now seems to feel empowered by his heritage. It has surely become a tragic situation at a time when the church is in dire need to have something powerful to say to a humanity going through a most stressful combination of chaotic pressures. Instead he has been been giving the nineteenth century revivalist apocalypticism ultimate value. A totally misguided, irrelevant message for the twenty first century…


Even recognizing the issues, it is ultimately those sitting in the pews that have the power to make changes. They have chosen not to do that. There is a reason for time limits on leadership, sad to say the pew sitters have failed to care or in fact the pew sitters like what the leadership has and will continue to do. Either way it is a very sad condition seen only by a small minority…evidently.

What is strange to me is TW’s rapid ascension through the ranks to become president and remain as such for so long.

It’s almost as if he, his father and grandfather might have some unseemly inside information on the denomination or it’s founder(s) which might facilitate this process?!?!

Maybe a photo of EGW eating oysters, slapping an employee, or drinking vinegar to excess?!?!

Or is that too much conspiratorial thinking even for Adventism whose foundation is the theory that The Beast, abetted by the world’s governments, will one day soon conspire to kill “Sabbath Keepers”?!?!



Quartey is highlighting the researched consensus by worldwide appointed study committees that Scripture is neither for or against women’s ordination. Call it unusual or strange if you will but it is truth and thus should become the new ‘normal’ and ‘usual’ understanding despite Wilson’s personal opinion.
The article is a kind articulation of the Wilson regime. Paulson’s nomination of a woman is nothing compared to the underhanded and political manoeuvring characteristic of both Wilson presidents eg Neal & Glacier View and Ted with the orchestrated WM statement vote etc etc.

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Yes, it’s clear to anyone paying attention that the church establishment, as such has been slowly spiralling down the drain, with their hospitals failing, followed by the schools; and gaining speed as it goes downward. But, why are we surprised. If most people watching this are still hanging on to their membership, they must find some connection to what it teaches. One of the things it teaches is the forecast of the current situation - the failure of the “Laodicean church”, as it’s described as being blind and bland (irrelevant), and yet full of pride. Live with it, or change it.


Except, we pew sitters have little voice. The church governance processes only pretend to be democratic. Decisions presented to a vote have already been decided by the administrators and the vote is merely theatre. The votes are heavily biased towards church employees, who are motivated to maintain their employment by appeasing those higher in the tree.
I attempted to make representation to my local conference delegation when they went to vote on the creation fundamental belief, and was flatly refused. There was no real desire to represent, only to go on junket and rubber stamp.


Strange but not rare to pass on the baton to a progeny or protege. Look around. Those who know how the system works and work the system can rise to the top in short order.

I’m not sure I can buy that since we assume a democratic process in the choice of elected officials The African delegation reportedly booed Elder Paulsen on the one hand and supported the agenda of Elder TW on the other. Why? Does Matthew have any explanation?.

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There are two problems with this…one is simply that 3rd world constituents have a large majority. They are very legalistic as well as uninformed and easily manipulated. Second is the fact that the whole election process is a joke. If there were a true election of officers, there would be a slate to choose from. But, of course, this doesn’t even remotely happen. So, the church is going to continue to become more and more corrupted just like so many other denominations. I wish I could be positive. I guess we can be somewhat thankful that even Ted will not be watching his wife sleeping with the pool boy…at least I hope not.


There are two schools on management - “The Dairy” and “The Treatment Plant”. In the dairy school it is believed that ‘the cream’ rises to the top. In the treatment plant, something else rises to the top…


Money…money…money! GC can’t survive without ‘pew sitter’ monies!


First, pew sitters are mostly able to vote only with their money. Representation to constituency meetings at any level is dominated by employees, with the representative church members carefully chosen by church boards. And, as noted above, the administrators have usually outlined the decisions to be made before the meeting, so there needs to be a major group in disagreement before something else can be decided. Sometimes, votes are held when the full contingent haven’t all come back from lunch or a break. After all, meetings must start on time or we won’t get through the agenda before the end of the day.

The church does not call it a democratic process, but a representative one. Big difference, especially in terms on how delegates are selected at any level. There is a belief in some circles that pastors know how their parishioners think about issues and some administrators believe they know what their pastors think. So “representation” can include leaders, but not necessarily those quietly struggling with questions and beliefs.

Second, once the General Conference president is chosen at a GC session, that person attends the Nominating Committee meetings and suggests names for the vice presidents and others who will report to him. He might not get his way, but it’s highly probable he will.

Third, the TOSC report was not translated for non-English-speaking delegates to the 2015 GC session. So, the nuances of the report weren’t available to many of the delegates, who may not have known whom to ask about the full report. I believe some asked for translated reports but were not able to obtain them.

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Bad choice of words…they are never chosen, unless you count the back-room managers who put forth the list of who is up for being votes on. The vote is not a choice, it is a “yes” or “no”. Which is not a choice, it is just a rubber stamp of that back-room select group of people who think they know what is best for the rest of us benchwarmers. Nothing will change because nothing can change. Too bad God won’t actually come down a put the people He actually wants in these positions. I am not real happy that we don’t have a “hands on God”. We simply live with a human construct…which is corrupt.


Africa definitely booed President Paulsen…Paulsen was remonstrating with them over the reasonableness of WO, but they weren’t listening to his words so much as they were responding to his tone, which they felt was disrespectful to them…in fact Paulsen was addressing them as if they were all blonde Norwegians…he was talking to them as equals…but they registered the lack of exaggerated respect they felt they were entitled to, and took offense…

in general, my feeling is that Africa doesn’t respect the adventism going on in NAD…their no vote was their view on WO, but it is was also because they knew NAD wanted a yes vote…

Matthew’s perspective is actually quite interesting…it veers completely from where Africa appears to be…

One thing we can be certain of is that the Wilson dynasty will eventually come to an end. Ted has 3 daughters and no sons.


The Bible does say that those powers will attempt to wipe out Gods followers, like they have in the past

but he’s got 5 grandsons, the youngest being Joshua Paul, which sounds presidential if you ask me…so the dynasty may not be over quite yet…

The Bible says lots of stuff.