Though I usually prefer to speak only for myself, I am quite certain the following sentiments would be shared by a great majority of former Adventist:
Our feeling about growing up Adventist vastly differ. Former SDA attitudes about Adventist doctrines range from bitter rage, vehemently believing Adventism is an anti-Christian, doctrines-of-devils cult to the “can’t-we-just-all-get-along?” mentality believing Adventism is a benign, inconsequential denomination.
Adventists tend to see us who left their church as self or devil-deceived (perhaps we didn’t quite understand Adventist doctrines or don’t know our Bibles well enough). Many think we are Christian sell-outs, weak, petty or wanting to rebelliously indulge in things like Friday night hockey games or drinking wine. They may think we were brought up legalistically, hating the Sabbath. Or they believe we were hurt by someone in the church. The one I hear most often is: “You can’t look at people” as if our decision was based on the imperfect members rather than the doctrines themselves. Some even believe we are dangerous enemies.
In an Adventist periodical, someone was complaining that we never really give up Adventism, that, leaving the “truth” made it difficult to move on. What they fail to understand is that we aren’t spending our time hovering around Adventists after we leave because we are drawn back to the “truth.” We write blogs, we produce magazines, we spend years putting together books because we truly LOVE our Adventist family and friends.
Very, very few of the million of us (in North America) who no longer attend the SDA church are your enemies. Those of us who take the time to tell you why we left or help others who may be on the edges of the church, do it because we are truly concerned about you. We may come across zealously against the doctrine or irritated at what we perceive to be your stubbornness, but in our hearts we really simply want you to see what we see. Once the Ellen White glassed of scriptural interpretation are taken off, the sight is unbelievable.
We claim not only to see in stunning clarity the mistakes of the Adventist pioneers, the pride of the exclusive remnant doctrine, the fear of last-day prophecies, and the strange sabbatarian devotion---not only do we see them but those things have faded into the rear-view mirror. Appearing before us is a golden new life where pride and fear melt into the brilliance of a joyful peace. Like Christ did with us, we want to remove the dark glasses of falsehood but not to leave you empty, we desperately want you to live in the world of truth and light. The Kingdom of God we now live in is no longer shadows and conspiracies and paranoia. It is a kingdom of delights.
In the Agape Feast of this Kingdom there is no judgement or mocking of a past we held dear. We laugh mercifully at our old selves and the impoverished spiritual meal we served to others. We thought we had so much as Adventists!
We do not claim to have a special invitation to this new banquet, all are invited. We even saw your seat there at the table with your name on it. YOU have a very special seat and we don’t want to keep the lavish celebration of God’s love from you.
Our totally, sold-out devotion to Christ is not only why we left Adventism, but what fills us with so much passion to tell others about what we have discovered. This new world is, to us, too wonderful to keep from you. We wish to bless you with the endless, priceless eternal riches that have been poured copiously on us by God.
I know it scares and confuses you to hear an outsider talk about loving Jesus and the joys of Christianity. That is not how it was supposed to go. We were supposed to quit God when we quit Adventism. Maybe you think we are crazy. However, please accept that we are sincere. Please do not feel afraid or threatened by us. Do not feel awkward. If you are concerned about our salvation, ask questions! We are not bitter. We are not against Adventists, we hover about to, perhaps, share a drink of the fine wine of heaven with you and bless you as we have been blessed.