Saturday, November 28, 2009

Answering Objections to Our Book

Since I have had to answer many objections to our book, I thought I would send some of them to you, so you might use our answers to give you ideas in formulating your own.

Objection: Adventists do so much good with ADRA and their health institutions? Doesn't their good fruit prove they have the truth and are of God?

Our answer: All religions are active in charitable works and many charitable organizations have no religious foundation. All good comes from God, but not all good works prove a group has sound theology.

Objection: But if your book destroys Adventism, you will be destroying all those good works Adventists do!

Answer: God's people will continue to do good works no matter what denomination they call themselves. The benefits for others will just simply be changed to a different name--not disappear.

Objection: But you must admit you are trying to destroy Adventism?

Answer: The book is attempting to help heal those who feel Adventism destroyed them.

Objection: Your book is full of lies and is hateful.

Answer: (Most people who say this will admit they haven't read the book.) We did not anticipate that Adventists would agree with our analysis of the facts, but we did spend years researching it. If you did find something that was not correct, please let us know specifically so we can correct it.

(Usually people disagree with an analysis of the facts, not the fact itself. Some people then start talking about typos or how we spelled a name incorrectly.)

Objection: You made Adventism seem like a cult. Adventism is mainstream

Answer: Keeping Sabbath as the exclusive end-time proof of remnant-hood and true Christianity cannot be found in either the Bible or mainstream Christianity. Most Christians would be either highly offended or highly amused that your church prophesies they will come and persecute you in the last days. The Three Angels' Message and the Investigative Judgement is against orthodox Christianity.

Objection: You book is out of date. Adventists don't preach those things today.

Answer: You need to watch 3ABN or the Hope Channel. You need to attend a Adventist End-time Prophecy Seminar. A lot of these "older traditions" are still required beliefs when you sign a Adventist baptismal certificate.

Objection: You are a Jesuit.
Answer: (Don't laugh... you may actually be accused of this. We have been!) We just smile and tell them we love them and wish them the best. The are too gone at this point to be reasoned with.

Objection: Don't you realize you and your book are on the Devil's side?

Answer: It is the Devil who is the author of all lies. We have found many things in Adventist doctrine that cannot withstand critical examination by Biblical standards. That has nothing to do with our character.

Objection: This book and you are PROOF that EG White's prediction about Adventist "stars" falling in the last days are true! You have proved her a correct prophet!

Answer: We predicted in the book you would say that.....
So does that make us true prophets?

That is the nature of predictions. If you predict something obvious, it just simply is not a miracle when it occurs. Ellen knew very clearly that there would be people who rejected her bizarre claims. It is not rocket science to predict that. Rather it was a type of religious terrorism and manipulation to keep people confused and inside Adventism.

The number ONE objection to the book: You wrote it because someone in the church hurt you and you are attempting revenge.

Answer: (We have never found any answer to this that in any way changes anyone's mind. They simply cannot assimilate that someone would leave Adventism over doctrine. It causes a cognitive dissonance that would melt their brains if they accepted it.) If you do have an answer to this one, let me know!

In the end, we have learned to simply love people who are shocked by our move out of Adventism and our book. It is Christ who will ultimately have control over the situation. But it is nice to have a short answer ready so tempers don't flair!

God bless you all,

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is Adventism a Cult?

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary Online:

Cult: Etymology: from Latin cultus care, adoration, from colere to cultivate

1 : formal religious veneration : worship
2 : a system of religious beliefs and ritual; also : its body of adherents
3 : a religion regarded as unorthodox or spurious; also : its body of adherents
5 a : great devotion to a person, idea, object, movement, or work (as a film or book); especially :such devotion regarded as a literary or intellectual fad b : the object of such devotion c : a usually small group of people characterized by such devotion

Generally I don't think most people in America consider Adventism a cult. Walter Martin, famous for his book, "The Kingdom of the Cults" and was the foremost expert in cults, had done a lengthy research into the Seventh-day Adventist church and deemed it "clean."

However, before he died he was rethinking that status. He felt the leaders of the SDA church had not given him all the correct information. He warned Adventists if they continued to see Ellen White as a prophetess, he would have to put them in the cult category.

It is most confusing to label anything a cult because the word has so many different connotations. Many people believe a cult is the same thing as people in the occult. In America the word cult is generally a scary pejorative towards a group. Yet in scholastic circles the first two definitions are used and it simply means a ritualistic religious belief and Christianity is often described as a cult.

Since being out of Adventism, I have run across all different views. When a Southern Baptist Church was trying to get me to join their membership so I could become more actively involved, they insisted that I be rebaptized because the immersion I received into Adventism wasn't a baptism into Christianity. It wasn't a valid baptism. Though they never actually came out and called Adventism the "c" word they certainly acted as if I had been a part of a bizarre, snake handling, Jim Jones group.

Not all felt this way. Many Christians didn't even know what an Adventist was. Many of those I encountered thought Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses or Mormons were the same thing.

So I don't call Adventism a cult. There is no real communication going on when you use that word unless you really find out what the person believes a cult is.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Facebook Fan Page

The other day, I was invited to join a group started on Facebook called, Fans of the book, "It's Okay Not to be a Seventh-day Adventist." I was so surprised!

One of the first comments to a post was by a man named Rickie Currie. He told a very heartbreaking story of leaving Adventism. If any of you get a chance, read it at this address:

Since I didn't have a traumatic experience within Adventism, in fact quite the opposite, it is really difficult to hear stories like these. However, since leaving, I hear them all the time. I think it is especially important for current Seventh-day Adventists to read and hear these stories. Even though I know they will brush them off with some excuses, there truly are a lot of people out there who were spiritually wounded within their church.

It is just my humble opinion, but I think in many cases the wounds need to heal before they transition into another church. Many inactive Adventist no longer attend an SDA church because of an experience of abuse, sexual, spiritual, or physical. These people really haven't given up the doctrines, just have distanced themselves from the abuse. They still are attached to the prophecies and often fear opening themselves up to another denomination. For these people I think they need to heal with their Adventist past first before they can really transition. Now I don't mean in all cases. Sometimes if the abuse was severe, they don't need to ever go back.

However, it would be healing for both sides to confront the wound and heal it.

Hopefully, we can get a few current, active and generous Adventists on our fan page and they may facilitate in that healing process.

Please join us, everyone! It will be a venue for some interesting discussions.
God bless,

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Absolute Truth

The other night I was discussing with my father the idea of absolute truth versus relative truth and how one knows something is absolute truth. What is the measure by which we judge if something we believe is true or false? Our sincerity of belief cannot be the measure. It has to be something objective, something outside our own perception.

Many will argue that if God says it, that’s it, period. I do understand, but they are speaking within the worldview of Christian faith and belief that the Bible is the Word of God. So to a Christian the Bible may contain absolute truth, but it is because we have chosen to see truth through that worldview.

Premise for Argument:

Absolute truth must be recognized as logical and conclusive ubiquitously among all cultures and times regardless of personal beliefs. Generally, there would be a sense of guilt or disorder among anyone who would break them unless one was mentally dysfunctional. In a sense, absolute truth must be self-evident. (Just like gravity, a teacher explains why an object falls but no one needs to be taught that objects does indeed fall.)

Yet my father insisted\ that the Ten Commandments are absolute truth.

I have been pondering that statement. Are the Ten undeniably self-evident outside the context of scripture?

We can immediately see the problem with the Ten Commandments among non-theists. God was presenting Himself to Israel, so saying that it is natural state to worship Him above all other gods would be to make the command meaningless. No, God was introducing Himself and placing Himself above the other gods they were worshipping. Worshipping other gods, making images and bowing to them in worship, taking His name in vain was NOT a logical, natural or assumed state. It had to be taught. There was no guilt involved in NOT keeping these up until this point because they did not know who He was.

There was no natural state of guilt when one did not rest on the seventh day. So that again, could not be an absolute truth in the sense that it is not arguable and obvious to humans.

Though in most communities throughout history there have been general morality and taboos that would create a sense of guilt if one disrespected parents or would steal or tell lies, there is nothing in coveting that would cause guilt unless one were told it was wrong. There have been cultures that allowed for adultery and would even consider it an insult if you did not offer your wife to a male visitor. Randomly murdering innocent people is generally recognized as wrong, but in war when defending your home and country, killing anyone labeled “enemy” no matter how innocent they are, makes one a hero instead of a murderer. The Vikings were especially proud of killing innocent people. So even murder is not ubiquitously seen as a wrong. Therefore to submit the Ten Commandments as proof of absolute truth is still open to debate and interpretation taking it into the realm of relativism.

God was teaching Israel commandments that were not self evident.

Now having taken you through those steps I want to actually disagree with what I just wrote. The above premise that absolute truth is self-evident is incorrect.

I actually believe that ALL truths according to human perception are relative, in that, all can be argued with and none are self evident (even though they seem oh so self-evident to each of us individually). What I actually believe is that absolute truth (as opposed to something that can be found to be correct or true--such as gravity) must be taught and not found within human perception. Absolute truth is absolute ONLY because God said it. That is what makes it absolute.

Why take the time to argue the opposite at first?

Because it is extremely important that we analyze our own cultural assumptions first. We live in a rational, scientific and empirical culture that always premises truth upon what we can perceive. We rationally evaluate truth based on the assumption we can identify truth. I no longer believe that. Though absolute truth is recognizable by God’s grace, it must first be taught by God. The human mind was never designed with innate absolute (or complete, perfect, incontrovertible, infallible) truth. It may have the capacity to perceive facts, but because man’s mind has been clouded by sin, absolute truth must be revealed.

Though we see in part, as behind a veil, truth is clouded to the natural man. God alone reveals absolute truth.

So, in the end, though I still disagree that the sabbatarianism described in the Ten Commandments is required by Christians today, my father’s premise was indeed correct. Absolute truth is only that which proceeds from the mouth of God and revealed to man.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Sadly, Traditions have been getting a bad rap through the years because people have misunderstood the words of Jesus in Matthew 15 (Mark 7) where the Pharisees nullify the word of God because of the elder’s traditions. As well as Col 2:8, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” But what we don’t often speak about is that there are scriptures that back up traditions.

I Corinthians 11:2, “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything and hold firmly to the traditions, just as I delivered them to you.” 2 Thessalonians 2:15, “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6, “Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us.”

Traditions must not nullify the word of God, but traditions in themselves can be very good. To say that Christians must reject tradition would not be honest, because Protestants have plenty of traditions they keep that cannot be back up with a proof text in scripture.

Traditions Protestants accept:

  • Moses is the author of Torah
  • The use of the Cross as a symbol
  • Today’s religious wedding ceremonies
  • Christmas
  • Conversion experience
  • Anti-slavery
  • Sola Scriptura
  • Sola Fida
  • Individual interpretation of scripture
  • Trinity
  • Full Divinity of Christ
  • Guardian Angels

Traditions Fundamentalists accept:

  • Re-baptism
  • Church leadership term of office
  • Ordination service
  • Church board
  • Church records
  • Sunday school
  • Youth groups,
  • Church schools
  • Distributing tithe Open communion
  • Sermons in today’s form
  • Abstaining from all forms of alcohol
  • No smoking (If it was about health why isn’t there a there is no being overweight doctrine?)

Traditions Adventists accept:

  • Eve was not with Adam when she ate the fruit (Ellen got it from Milton’s Paradise Lost. The Bible says that Eve was with Adam when she ate.
  • Representative form of church government with General Conference as highest
  • Nominating committees and their surrounding protocol
  • The election of pastors/minister by conference
  • Separation of sexes during foot washing
  • ingathering
  • Healthy living practices like exercise, diet--including vegetarianism, dress, ventilation. Also traditions like no jewelry, no attending the theater as well as, Sabbath keeping traditions including--no TV or radio, no sports events, no swimming, etc
  • Divorce:

Under the “Marriage, Divorce, and Remarriage” in the Church Manual p. 205, SDA church: Scripture recognizes adultery and/or fornication as well as abandonment by an unbelieving partner as grounds for divorce.” At the same time the church takes authority to establish its own traditions and laws surrounding divorce and remarriage: “Acknowledging the teachings of the Bible on marriage, the church is aware that marriage relationships are less than ideal in many cases.” The official position of the SDA church is that incest, child sexual abuse, homosexual practices and physical violence are just cause for divorce. Also when the custody of the children, the adjustment of property rights, or even personal protection “may make necessary a change in marital status.”

  • Baptism Traditions (p. 30-33 Church Manual):
  1. Age/maturity requirements for baptism
  2. Mode of baptism
  3. A church vote is required for membership subject to baptism
  4. Public examination of candidate for commitment to all fundamental beliefs
  5. Baptismal Vow:

to observe “the seventh day of the week as the Sabbath of the Lord and the memorial of Creation, to believe that Ellen White’s prophecy is “one of the identifying marks of the remnant church,” to abstain from pork, shellfish (Levitically unclean foods), alcoholic beverages and the use, manufacture, or sale of tobacco. Finally number 13 asks, “Do you accept and believe that the Seventh-day Adventist Church is the remnant church of Bible prophecy and that people of every nation, race, and language are invited and accepted into its fellowship?”

  • Order of Worship Service Tradition (p. 96 Church Manual) include the following order in all SDA worship services:

Musical Prelude, Announcements, Choir and Ministers Enter, Doxology, Invocation, Scripture Reading, Hymn of Praise, Prayer, Anthem or Special Music, Offering, Hymn of Consecration, Sermon, Hymn, Benediction, Moments of Silent, Prayer, Musical Postlude

These are their TRADITIONS! They may be very good, but they are not found in scripture.

Friday, September 11, 2009

9-11 and Adventism

I had just left the Adventist church when 9-11 happened, but I still had an Adventist worldview.


It was because of sin that the World Trade Centers were targeted. They probably did very wicked things there. They were standing there as a symbol of Babylon’s chaos and greed. It was God’s justice. (Now I thought these things with a very sorrowful heart, not with any malice at all!) Then I figured this was just part of the Last Days events. Even if not specifically, these types of moments were foretold as part of the weary struggle towards a better place. Now I am not saying every Adventist thought these things, but I bet EVERY Adventist connected it somehow with the Last Days!

I still read and hear Adventists who see everything that happens as a dreadful sign of the Apocalypse. Every papal encyclical, especially this last one called “Caritas et Veritate,” as proof that the Catholics are about to mount a world-wide takeover! Every catastrophe, every new announcement that the sky is falling from the environmentalists, every new president is just fodder for Adventist paranoid prophecy tabloids.

Living on the edge like that can be thrilling, like a spiritual daredevil defiance of Satan! “WE STILL PRESS ON SATAN, you cannot get us Adventists!” I don’t mean to sound critical, I just remember what it was like to be one of their ranks for almost forty years. I thought those things like all other Adventists. I thought those things because I believed God had given Adventists a special end-time message and I was passionate about loving God, so I loved Him in the way I was taught to love Him, the ADVENTIST way.

Now, I realize that not every tragedy is God’s proof of Adventist prophecy. There is kind of a sickness about getting an unspoken thrill at catastrophes because they seem to affirm our beliefs.

I love Adventists. I really, sincerely do. They are my sisters, my brothers, my parents and in-laws. They are my dearest friends. I never, even for a second, let my feelings about the errors in their doctrines cloud my opinion of them as people. I know too well how much it took out of me to purge myself of the Adventist worldview. Judging anyone who cannot let go of Adventist doctrine would be the height of arrogance.

Adventists, in a strange way, are victims like those of 9-11. They are lovely people who are just busy doing what they believe is right. Each Adventist may at one point of their lives see the plane truth coming at them and it will be terrifying. The structure of their worldview will collapse and they may very well experience a trauma and aftershock every bit as catastrophic as the Twin Towers falling. They will experience what their forefathers felt at the Great Disappointment. I have seen it happen more than once.

Then amongst the ruins, a new light will shine and hope does return. The scars will always remain, but as all tragedies, time will heal the wounds.

Then one day you realize that no longer do black helicopters and tsunamis have anything to do with you or Revelation. All of a sudden, you begin to see that tragedies call you towards acts of compassion and relief, rather than towards judgement. You begin to live in a world where the pat you feel on your back after a 9-11 isn’t God’s affirmation, but His gentle pushing you towards charity.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Another Look at the Sacrificial System

The OT Sacrificial System for Inadvertent sins only?

I have never heard a sermon on this subject but I have often wondered about it. The question is resurfacing because my husband and I are currently reading Leviticus.

Starting in Exodus 20, God outlines Israel’s laws and commandments.

It also gives the punishment of those who disobey the laws. For example, lets look at Exodus 21:

1 "If a man steals an ox or a sheep and slaughters it or sells it, he must pay back five head of cattle for the ox and four sheep for the sheep. 2 "If a thief is caught breaking in and is struck so that he dies, the defender is not guilty of bloodshed; 3 but if it happens after sunrise, he is guilty of bloodshed. "A thief must certainly make restitution, but if he has nothing, he must be sold to pay for his theft. 4 "If the stolen animal is found alive in his possession--whether ox or donkey or sheep--he must pay back double.

16 "If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife. 17 If her father absolutely refuses to give her to him, he must still pay the bride-price for virgins. 18 "Do not allow a sorceress to live. 19 "Anyone who has sexual relations with an animal must be put to death. 20 "Whoever sacrifices to any god other than the Lord must be destroyed. 21 "Do not mistreat an alien or oppress him, for you were aliens in Egypt. 22 "Do not take advantage of a widow or an orphan. 23 If you do and they cry out to me, I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will be aroused, and I will kill you with the sword; your wives will become widows and your children fatherless.....

The “eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” type of law continues on until the beginning of chapter 23 and then takes a break for the instructions on how to build the Temple.

The Law given to Moses here is simple. Someone sins, he pays. It is a law of justice. God explains what is fair, but no more. He doesn’t give advice for mercy, He only details what a crime is and what is its punishment.

Then, an interesting thing happens in Leviticus. Leviticus begins the process of the sacrificial system. Very specific animals and rituals are to occur for offerings, investiture and communion sacrifices. But here is where it gets interesting. We have always been made to believe that the sin sacrifices were for deliberate sins. It doesn’t really say that in scripture.


Leviticus 4 begins the rituals for sin sacrifices (offerings of expiation and reparation that free you of your sin).

First for the High Priest:

2 "Say to the Israelites: 'When anyone sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands-- 3 "'If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the Lord a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.

Then for the entire community:

13 "'If the whole Israelite community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands, even though the community is unaware of the matter, they are guilty. 14 When they become aware of the sin they committed, the assembly must bring a young bull as a sin offering and present it before the Tent of Meeting. (vs. 26, “In this way the priest will make atonement for the man's sin, and he will be forgiven.”)

Then for Israel’s leaders:

22 "'When a leader sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the commands of the Lord his God, he is guilty. 23 When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering a male goat without defect. ...26 He shall burn all the fat on the altar as he burned the fat of the fellowship offering. In this way the priest will make atonement for the man's sin, and he will be forgiven.

For the individual:

27 "'If a member of the community sins unintentionally and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands, he is guilty. 28 When he is made aware of the sin he committed, he must bring as his offering for the sin he committed a female goat without defect. ...In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the sin he has committed, and he will be forgiven.

Lev. 5 for the person who sins unintentionally or sins of omission:

1 “If a person sins because he does not speak up when he hears a public charge to testify regarding something he has seen or learned about, he will be held responsible. 2 "'Or if a person touches anything ceremonially unclean--whether the carcasses of unclean wild animals or of unclean livestock or of unclean creatures that move along the ground--even though he is unaware of it, he has become unclean and is guilty. 3 "'Or if he touches human uncleanness--anything that would make him unclean--even though he is unaware of it, when he learns of it he will be guilty. 4 "'Or if a person thoughtlessly takes an oath to do anything, whether good or evil--in any matter one might carelessly swear about--even though he is unaware of it, in any case when he learns of it he will be guilty. 5 "'When anyone is guilty in any of these ways, he must confess in what way he has sinned 6 and, as a penalty for the sin he has committed, he must bring to the Lord a female lamb or goat from the flock as a sin offering; and the priest shall make atonement for him for his sin.....

15 "When a person commits a violation and sins unintentionally in regard to any of the Lord's holy things, he is to bring to the Lord as a penalty a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value in silver, according to the sanctuary shekel. It is a guilt offering. ...17 "If a person sins and does what is forbidden in any of the Lord's commands, even though he does not know it, he is guilty and will be held responsible. 18 He is to bring to the priest as a guilt offering a ram from the flock, one without defect and of the proper value. In this way the priest will make atonement for him for the wrong he has committed unintentionally, and he will be forgiven. 19 It is a guilt offering; he has been guilty of wrongdoing against the Lord."

Leviticus then goes on to further explain how each sacrifice is to be done. Later food laws, hygiene laws, clean and unclean laws and additional civil laws are introduced.

There is nowhere I found that gives a sacrifice for deliberate sin. Intentional sins are met with swift justice, not mercy.

So God outlines two systems while Israel is in the desert:

  1. Laws and punishment for consciously performed acts of breaking that law.

  1. Sacrifices for sins one did not mean to commit, but are still guilty for.

The sacrificial system in fact, cannot be for intentional sin. God gives us a story right in the midst of all this to prove it.

In Leviticus ten, Aaron and his sons, Nadab and Abihu, had been through the process of the investiture, consecration and were anointed high priests with these same sacrifices. Then, they fell to the temptation to evaded God’s commanded protocol! Against the law, they presented the Lord with unauthorized fire and the “flame leapt out from Yahweh’s presence and swallowed them up.” God killed them instantly. If the sin sacrifice which had been laid out for them as in the above verses for priests or leaders, were for deliberate sin they could have been the first priests to utilize this new system. After all, they could have excused, “We just started this, it is all new. We were just cutting a little corner!” But that is not what happened. Their use of unauthorized fire was intentional, so they received no mercy.

The system wasn’t set up for sins we excuse or were not strong enough to resist the temptation, or we may not have known were really that bad. No, excuses are not even in the equation. The sacrifice was effectual for those who were not aware they were sinning. All other form a line to the left and punishment is doled out.

If the system had been set up for purposes of mercy or for “whoopsies” or for people who were really, really sorry they committed a sin (even if they did know it was wrong) then I doubt scripture would have recorded that Nadab and Abihu’s father, Aaron, would have remained silent. He would have been demanding that his sons get to use the merciful sin sacrifice set up for them!

So, my question is: Am I reading this correctly? Was the OT sacrificial system set up for unintentional sin only?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Adventism is Bleeding

The SDA church had hoped the Former Adventists would just go away quietly. However, we seem to be making an impact, because lately they have been acknowledging us in their different publications. They are starting blogs to defend Adventism because they know the blogs out there by former SDAs are getting a lot of traffic. They are writing books defending their faith. They are no longer remaining passive. I don't blame them. They see this new generation of loud former SDA as fulfilling prophecy and gives them new fodder for victimhood and a new impetus for the cry of the Third Angel.

The are also admitting that up to 50% of their young people are leaving the church. Adventism is definitely bleeding and they are understandably panicked.

So how do we react to this?

One part of me is actually panicking along with them. Adventists are my family and friends, I hurt when I see them cry. I feel so much compassion for them when I hear their fervent prayer for us. I cringe in embarrassment for them when I see them battling with phantom enemies. I don't want to see them hurt or humiliated. Dear Lord, can't this be a death with dignity? Couldn't you just allow the happy Adventists to live their life out in blissful ignorance and when they die, then correct all the falsehood at one time? I don't want to see anyone get hurt in this struggle of truth.

Then I get letters/emails/facebook messages of people who were spiritually sinking in Adventism. Hearing the truth gave them a new life and joy they had never experienced before. And I then remember, there are unhappy Adventists out there. The false information they were given did not yield benign results in their lives. I have to keep telling myself that Satan is the father of lies and that no amount of error is of God. Darkness is where people stumble. We are to be the light of the world.

Adventism is loosing members because it does not give people correct information. Truth is becoming clear and so I really should rejoice and praise the Lord.

But I do want to say to those Adventists and former Adventists, when someone finally lets go of the falsehood, we should never be there to gloat or feel proud of the fact that we got it before them. Their tumble into truth is going to hurt. I want to be there in a great pool of love that lets them know we are so happy for them. We will be there to lay out the red carpet and welcome them into truth as kings and queens. We will join in with the chorus of heaven as the lost lambs are returned to the Great Shepherd.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


In response to Dale Ratzlaf’s former Adventist seminar in Huntsville, Alabama, a

columnist at Adventist Today recently commented, “Hell hath no fury like a Former Adventist [scorned].”


It concerns me when I read statements like the one above. Adventist doctrines can create a paranoid schizophrenic worldview with touches of megalomaniac delusions and that comment may reveal an inkling of it. Nevertheless, how do we respond to this and other SDA questions like, “Why do we hang around the edges of Adventism [apparently venting our fury]?” or “Why don’t we move on and leave them alone?”

Of course I cannot speak for all Former Adventists but I know I can speak for thousands and thousands.

Why do we dare talk to our Adventist friends and relatives about our new life outside Adventism and compare it with the old? The answer: the gospel of Jesus requires it. We are our brother’s keepers. Believe it or not, we LOVE them! We have been taught since Cradle Roll that we must be willing to stand up and defend truth--that one day we may have to die doing it! No wonder we are so strong in our positions, our characters were honed in Adventism to be Bible-believing, truth zealots!

For my Adventist friends:

Most of us truly understand your feelings about our leaving. We know your fears, your mindset, your prejudices, we WERE YOU at one time. Many of us dismissed and judged former Adventists. I personally remember worrying about the salvation of family and friends who left the church. Knowing that we know you leaves you exposed and vulnerable, so you go on the defensive and we understand that too. We recognize that it is hard to put down one’s sword when defending one’s religious beliefs. Demonizing us as opponents allows you to guiltlessly fight the harder.

But we do not consider you our enemy. Through all the inflammatory rhetoric coming our direction to try and divert us, we persist in gently (and sometimes not so gently) attempting to get your attention on truth. Truth makes people uncomfortable. It made US uncomfortable when we heard it too! So again, it may pain you to hear, but we know what you are going through and the why you may feel it necessary to throw into the debate ad hominem attacks. Truth is searing, truth cuts to the core. Having one’s false beliefs clash with reality is like getting hit with lightning.

I know you think that sounds incredibly arrogant and patronizing, and I apologize that I do not have the writing talent to say it with more meekly. But believe me when I say from my heart, truth humbles a person.

So where do we go from here?

I very much hope we can respectfully dialogue. There is much we can learn from each other. There is a lot of healing for all of us to do. So we hang around you because you are important to us. The more we long to be like Jesus the more we long to be with our family and friends. I cannot speak for anyone else but myself here, but I just get so incredibly excited about what Christ is showing me that I can’t keep my mouth shut. His ways are too good to keep silent about. So many Adventists do not have a clear and vibrant view of the gospel. We former Adventists just want them to see what we see!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Tribute to My Parents

Yeah, they won’t understand this but it is from the bottom of my heart and the depth of my gratitude.


My Dad (our family, coming home from church, when I was a child):

“I don’t think Pastor X understood that text.....” (Taught me not to believe whatever anyone said no matter what his title.)

“The Bible never says we actually have to go to CHURCH on Sabbath.... only rest.” (Taught me to analyze what the Bible actually says compared to additions people incorporate into it.)

“Why did they read Ellen White from the pulpit, she isn’t equal to the Bible, there’s a debate as to whether she is a prophetess or not?” (Taught me that some points are debatable no matter what your seventh-grade Bible teacher says.)

In addition to teaching me, “honey, don’t be spoonfed--use your brain--think about what they say and don’t swallow anything anyone says” my father drilled us with the idea of a very merciful, loving God who judges us on faith with His Grace. But my father not only taught us that with words but with his life and actions. He was merciful, He was loving, He was faithful... so I could easily believe in a God that was too. In fact, I almost am a universalist because I cannot see my father ever, ever rejecting anyone because he is so generous and kind and merciful a person. So I have a hard time not extending that same characteristic to my heavenly father.

So when I began reading the Bible and “thinking for myself,” I found that, if I was honest about what I read and was the child my father brought me up to be, I would have to reject his denomination. It was hard to break his heart, but to turn from what he taught me, how he lovingly spent his life as my dad, would be the greater heartbreak for us both. I always attributed my grit, my stubborn, relentless standing for truth no matter what the consequences and sacrifices, to my father.

But as I get older and really think back, my mother--to her everlasting annoyance and embarrassment-- should get a lot of blame too for my never-giving-in until you get to the bottom of what is really, truly true.


My Mother coming home from church:

(six kids all roaming around in a pre-child-seat-belt-law age, fighting noisily,)

“Mother! Heidi bit me, Heidi bit me!” So James takes his fist and rams it into the side of Heidi’s head. Heidi screams until my mother calms everything down--and spanks James for hitting Heidi.

“Heidi! Why did you hit James?” And my mother’s tenacity to get to the truth of what happened would commence. She would interrogate all parties thoroughly, exhaustingly--listening intently and analyzing every word and gesture for information. When most people would throw their hand up and just tell their kids to shut up and give their poor parents some peace, my mother’s Sherlock Holmes detective work would just kick in. She was thorough, excruciatingly thorough in her quest to find out what exactly happened and why and then administer fair, impartial justice. “I’m sorries MUST be said and healing must occur within the family and no one, NO ONE was going to get away with anything while she was mom.

It would be like a tennis match in our car--James would say Heidi stepped on his toe and then took his Little Friend he got in Sabbath school. (I would sympathize with James and think Heidi needed to get it.) Then Heidi said no that James left his Little Friend on the pew, and she stepped on his toe because he threw himself in front of her to get to the car seat he wanted first. (WOW! Heidi, poor Heidi! My twelve-year-old brain would switch sides with each sentence.) Mother would listen and listen all the way home to this.....

What I learned is that both sides of all stories need to be thoroughly researched and sympathies can swing, depending on who is telling their side, so don’t make a quick judgement. What you have heard for years can completely be rejected in an “ahah!” moment when you discover another side. Propaganda is passed on in all levels of life, so research diligently.

Thanks Dad and Mother! I know you look back and are confused at how your lessons of love of truth, of then standing for truth no matter if the heaven’s fall, has turned on you when your beloved children rejected Adventism. I do well understand your grief for I have grown children too. But I sincerely thank you, bless you and know someday that you will feel God's blessing too. The failure you feel now will one day be opened up as the biggest reward for a life well lived. Your children love the Lord and for that you can be proud you taught us the essence of what was important.