To say that some Adventist practices are unethical or downright immoral is really putting it quite mildly. Adventists take great delight in making fun of other denominations. They joke about card parties held by other churches and particularly make fun of Catholics with their bingo games. Hot cross buns denote a heathen flavor to them. Easter bunnies, Easter eggs, and Santa Claus are outright paganism. Early morning sunrise service at Easter is considered to be a heathen practice. Wearing a cross around one's neck and even wedding rings are considered disgraceful. They have numerous ways of building themselves up by scorning others and putting them down.
In this chapter I would like other Christians to become aware of some of the things Adventists do which can be classified as nothing less than disgraceful.
First I must mention a local practice which I am quite sure occurs in all Adventist churches. They pride themselves in community work and in some instances do give considerable help. However one must realize that their primary goal is to drag the poor victim into their church despite the fact that they claim they are practicing 'disinterested benevolence'.
Many of those who do community work spend considerable energy in patting themselves on the back. During their worship services, there is ample time allotted for one to make the other church members aware of his good works for that week. This is done with considerable pride and often with the intention of making other members feel guilty so they can get out there and get some work done also - and 'hasten' Jesus' second coming!
In this local church, community service is carried on in the church basement. Unsuspecting folks from other denominations donate large amounts of clothing to be distributed to the poor by these Adventist workers of good. At the moment, the lady who runs the operation gets first choice of all incoming goods. She jealously guards all articles until they have been picked over and then the other workers and the rest of the church members may make their selection, depending on their place in the pecking order of the congregation. Even the well to do members of the church may clothe themselves and their children from the clothing stores which were intended for the poor. This attitude in fact is what made these people rich in the first place possibly.
I am aware of two fairly large suppliers of clothing in this town. One is a shirt manufacturer who gives second-line products to the Adventist Church. Another is a clothing boutique which donates considerable material. Recently one church member made a drive about 80 miles round trip with a trunk full of new shirts. A friend was offered first choice of the valuable items. Whatever happens to be left over, in fact the cast offs of the congregation, are handed out to the poor with considerable ceremony.
Adventists used to refer to this community service work as the 'Dorcas'. This name no doubt was to honour the good works of a lady spoken of in Acts 9. This lady, Dorcas, "Was full of good works and acts of charity". She died and the apostle Peter prayed over her and raised her from the dead. Anyway to refer to this practice in the Adventist Church as 'Dorcas' is really quite an insult to the original saint. It is quite fitting that the name has been changed to community services. Adventists of course will be outraged when this becomes public knowledge and I will collect even more enemies. However, as stated elsewhere my purpose really is to "Expose the powers of darkness". You can rest assured that none of our material goods will ever again be donated to the Adventist Church to be dispensed to the poor.
Adventist pastors make considerable ceremony of visiting families in the congregation quite often. Like ministers of other denominations they take considerable license in showing up at any inconvenient time without warning and expecting to be entertained. If an Adventist pastor visits a non-Adventist home he will instruct anyone who happens to accompany him not to call him pastor in front of the people being visited.
During the visit to a home the pastor will usually suggest a group prayer. This in itself is quite fine but they seem to use this tactic as a weapon. If some non-Adventist relative happens to be present in the home, he will be expected to take part in the prayer of course. Despite being rather revulsed by the Adventist cult, they are there visiting their Adventist relatives. How could they be such a rat as to refuse to take part in prayer? After all the pastor is just going to say prayers for them too, and maybe chide them a bit publicly for not believing as they do.
While I was an Adventist this trick was pulled on me several times in my home. During a visit by one high ranking church official my father appeared to be slated for intimidation by this maneuver. Needless to say the minister was rather startled by our refusal, to' allow him to pray for us.
If you visit an Adventist home don't expect much in the way of hospitality. You certainly won't be offered a beer or a drink of tea or coffee. If you are 'lucky' enough to be asked to stay for a meal you certainly can't expect to be served any meat. But that is okay. You'll get a chance to sample some fake meats made from soy beans and of course you will be expected to compliment your hostess. Perhaps you might even be convinced to become a vegetarian and then you can buy the product from the Adventist manufacturer and support their missions. You might be told that it is less expensive than meat, but considering the ingredients you will find it very expensive indeed. You will also be told that it goes further and that is quite true as nobody will eat much of it.
Whenever Adventists hold evangelistic meetings they produce an all out advertising campaign. The sponsors of these meetings are never indicated in the advertising material. They fear that if their denominational name appears, people will not come to hear what they have to say. This certainly is true and Adventists will use some very outdated reasons for justifying their deceptive advertising.
The meetings which I first attended were entitled "Dead Men Do Tell Tales". You must admit that this would arouse considerable curiosity and almost guarantees a good turn out. In fact some attendees were extremely angry the first night when they found out that it was related to religion. This type of gimmick of course was intended for people interested in spiritualism and the occult. This type of deceptive behavior is very antagonistic to other denominations and sets the Adventists up to be 'persecuted'.
A lot of the cults will rather aggressively place literature in your hand in public places or even visit you at home to share their propaganda sheets with you. Adventists are a little 'smarter' than that. You will usually end up paying for their propaganda. They have professional travelling literature salesmen known as colporteurs. These people visit schools, libraries, doctor's offices, and homes, selling Adventist literature. Their biggest seller of course is the ten or twelve volume set called the Bible Stories by Arthur Maxwell. These books are simplified versions of Ellen White's interpretations of the Bible and packed with errors to be digested by your children. The main seller for adults consists of books written by Ellen White and with sixty nine books, that is considerable material to choose from. Other selections are souped up renditions of Ellen White's original materials. People actually pay Adventists for these books so that they can brainwash themselves. I hate to admit it, but I did just that!
Concerning people like colporteurs, we do have some instructions in the Bible. "After this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them on ahead of Him, two by two, into every town and place where He Himself was about to come." (Lk. 1O:1) Adventists do not follow this rule of two by two. After all that would mean splitting the money fifty-fifty and that just would not be efficient enough.
We have been treated by stories in the Adventist Church of examples of young defenseless ladies who would solicit almost any neighborhood by themselves. Boasting is made of the young lady knocking on a door to be greeted by some macho, heavily into the beer. Then she praises God for protecting her. God does not expect this type of behavior from anyone. He is not in the business of setting up situations which can lead to rape or worse. He even sent the men out in pairs.
There is no end to the pleas for money coming from the pulpit of the Adventist Church. So that you will have lots of chance to give, the collection plate is passed twice each meeting. Other churches are only half guilty of this as they pass it only once. We all would do well to learn a lesson from the practice of Jehovah's Witnesses who apparently hang the collection box at the back of the church. The giver then can either do his alms before men or in secret.
One doctrine of the Seventh Day Adventist Church is footwashing. This always precedes communion. They insist that since Jesus did it at the Last Supper, He had set an example that we should follow. In reading this occurrence in the Bible, it is obvious that Jesus is trying to teach a principle. He wants to point out that He who would be greatest among us would be the person who is willing to serve others the most.
When taking part in this practice the first couple of times, it is really quite impressive. However when one gets to know the members of the church and how one man violently hates another man, it is rather disgusting to see them washing one another's feet and harboring the hatred in their hearts. The practice becomes even more disgusting when the dirty water from the washed feet is dumped down the kitchen sink where they prepare the food and wash dishes for the church dinners! And they want you to be impressed that they are teaching health principles.
The practice of lngathering is another loathsome ritual carried out by Adventists. This is an annual money drive soliciting businesses and begging money door to door for 'God's cause'. A pamphlet is produced showing a hungry child on the cover to give you the idea that all of your donations will be going to provide some relief for the suffering. However if you study the pamphlet carefully you will notice that it also goes to support Adventist schools. Some of their colleges will boast such important courses as canoe making, guitar, and basket weaving. In effect the donations go to provide propaganda to non-Adventists so they can be educated in the ways of Ellen White.
Mrs. White certainly was quite happy with the Ingathering project. "The flow of funds into the treasury has been increased by ingathering campaigns". (Counsels on Stewardship p. 190) Not only other Christians are solicited but atheists and members of non Christian religions have a chance to give to Adventists 'charity work'.
Adventists apparently feel that everyone should donate to God's work whether they believe in Him or not. I don't think God ever intended Christians to beg money from unbelievers to support His work. There is no precedent for this practice in the Bible. Adventists justify this behavior by some rather strange explanations. They insist that it is not really the money they are after, but contact with the people so 'the message' can be given. I would suggest a message can always be better given when there is no plea for money. Adventists will also tell you that at least once a year, lonely people get a chance to talk to somebody. Unfortunately these lonely folks are often the biggest victims and pay dearly for this little chat.
A very repulsive practice to squeeze even more money out of the poor Adventist people is the con game called 'Investment'. This farce was heavily endorsed by Ellen White and all members of the church are urged to participate. This gimmick consists of setting apart some project to be under the special blessing of God and to give part or all of the proceeds from that to the Adventist Church. People end up putting their heart and soul into minor projects which involve a great deal of energy. Each tries to outdo the other and stories of accomplishments are heard in testimonials very frequently.
They really expect God to bless a specific project so that He can reap the benefits. Many miraculous stories are related. An investment corn patch will grow fantastically as compared to the poor farmer's own crop and those of his neighbors. Rain falls on the investment cucumber patch but the neighbors' gardens wither up in the sun. People begin to wonder if God is really serious when He says things like, "For He makes the sun rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the just and the unjust." (Matt. 5:45)
The idea of Investment is really another cleverly disguised deception to lead one away from true priorities. As Christians, our whole life, and all that we attempt should be invested in God's hands! We should expect His blessing on everything we do and return our offerings to Him with a cheerful heart. This idea of picking out one little comer of one's life and dedicating it to God is just another diversionary tactic to make us lose sight of the concept of putting all in God's hands.
In this chapter considerable sarcasm has been used so that you can become better acquainted with Adventists. Everything related here is true. Certainly some incidents are too private and personal to be exposed here. It just would not be fair to the persons involved.
The Adventist school system is really something else. Ellen White has indicated that wherever as few as six pupils are present, a private school should be started. This is done in communities where enough money can be leached from the members. Their own schools serve several important functions.
First it provides jobs for their people. And needless to say, an Adventist teacher is a specific requirement; outsiders just will not do. Adventists with higher education have a chance to get a job as a professor in their own colleges. Jobs are kept within the church community and therefore the wealth is kept at home in the church.
Little Adventist children are spared contact with the 'terrible world'. They can be protected from outside influences until they graduate from college and even stay in the system after that if they so desire. This attitude is a blatant contradiction to the teachings of Christ. "I do not pray that thou should take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil one." (Jn. 17:15) Jesus spoke this prayer on behalf of His disciples and I think that includes Adventist children. How can their kids be prepared to face the real world under the artificial circumstances of the Adventist school system?
One of the major functions of the Adventist school system is to thoroughly indoctrinate the children in the ways of Ellen White. After all, if they hear this from childhood, they will probably remain pretty much captive. And with all the ridiculous teachings from the mouth of Ellen White, the Adventist Church will need all the staunch supporters it can muster.
It is really heartbreaking to see poor Adventist families scraping to make ends meet and sending a great deal of their money off to support their child attending an Adventist institution. When one realizes that pastors children get forty per cent off their expenses for the first child and something like sixty per cent off expenses for any children after the first, the reality of it all becomes infuriating. Adventist pastors make a pretty good living; just notice the lifestyle of one you know. It is the poor people of the congregation who get milked dry to support the ministers' kids at reduced rates.
I am not sure what kind of tax break Adventists get for supporting their own schools. I suppose tuition is not tax deductible. However no school can be supported wholly through tuition and some of the funds must come from the church in general. These monies I would suspect are tax deductible. If that is the case then it means that you and I are supporting the private Adventist school system through our taxes. I do hope those income tax fellows have not left any loopholes there. I do not want any of my taxes supporting Ellen White, a false prophet.
The Adventist school system really, produces some genuine pearls. Let's just consider some of the practices of the local congregation's recent pastor. This man is a camera buff and visits the big city quite often for supplies. One day when accompanied by a friend he could not find a parking spot on a busy city street. He was well practiced in this sort of dilemma and simply solved the problem by double parking and putting up the hood of his car. He then nonchalantly went about his business and when finished appropriately 'repaired' his car.
Adventists of course are not to attend 'worldly functions'. This pastor often visited the horse races and justified his behavior by indicating that his purpose there was just to photograph some horses. After all, they are God's creatures. One day the church held a picnic at a public park. The admission price to the park was one dollar. This pastor happens to be the owner of a press photography card which he uses to gain free admission to many events including the horse races I mentioned above. This he does despite the fact that he is not employed by any publisher but is in fact the pastor of a church. Rather than pay the one dollar admission for the picnic at this park he craftily produced his press card and was granted admission free.
This pastor was born in Poland and therefore English was not his native tongue. One day while driving through a busy city he missed his off ramp and automatically said "Oh shit". His apology to his travelling companion, was, "Oh excuse please". He had learned to 'swear' in English.
All this behavior was witnessed by a young man, a friend of the pastor. This young man of course was expected to stay in the church and support it forever. When the pastor became aware the youth was becoming disillusioned with the church and was going to leave his advice was really somewhat classical. "Don't you know that you will lose your inheritance if you don't stay in the church. Look at how well I am doing. Why don't you just go along with things and don't rock the boat. You are foolish to give up all these wonderful goodies just for the sake of declaring that Ellen White is a false prophet, and leaving the church." This minister by his words and actions actually helped the young man escape the church. I welcome the chance here to thank him publicly.
Even a pastor is allowed 'a sin here and there' I agree. I have pointed out these specific examples though, to indicate the behavior of Adventists. Remember that these people believe they will reach a sinless state before Jesus can return. It looks like we are in for a long wait! But the Bible suggests otherwise.
I must say a word here to those people I victimized while I was a Seventh Day Adventist. My parents and close relatives did not need the added stress of our being caught in this mess. Their patience and secret prayers have not been in vain. They can now rejoice that we are free from Seventh Day Adventism. But our prayers must continue for other loved ones who are still trapped.
Colleagues, patients, and other friends whom I tried to indoctrinate, will forgive me I do trust. They will realize that I felt I was doing what I believed was right. I am concerned though that maybe all the damage might not be covered ... hence one strong motive for this book.
It will be more difficult for our children to forgive. The restrictions they suffered and the fun of life they were denied are not easy to forget. After all, it is a pretty mean trick to be forbidden to play with your friends on Saturday. Imagine all the sports events, fishing trips and ice cream cones that were missed in God's name. I hope they realize things could be worse. But for the grace of God, we would still be trapped. I believe that they learned from the uncomfortable experience too. The real worry is that they might hold this against God. Realizing that we are now free under God, and being thankful for that, I am confident that they can forgive in their own good time.