Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's Okay NOT to be a Seventh-day Adventist (or Sabbatarian)




Those of us that have left Armstrongism know that we have deep ties into other Sabbatarian movements.  HWA borrowed all kinds of stuff from Adventism and William Miller.  COG 'historians' love to link Armstrongism to William Miller and the Rhode Island Sabbatarians.  Even though HWA took a lot from Adventists he conveniently loved to ignore that part.

Teresa Beem has a great blog that is about her journey out of Adventism after 40 years immersed in it.  So much of her journey and her reactions are exactly like what many of us have went through. All we need to do is replaced her SDA names and places with WCG names and places and it could be our story.


She obviously grew up with a healthier version of Sabbath keeping than most of us did in Armstrongism with some of the foolishness that Armstrongite ministers had attached to it.  Like Armstrongism, Sabbath keeping was the identifying mark that kept her in the church.  Like her, Sabbath keeping was used to set us apart from the evil  world around us and to make us into something special in God's sight.  We were chosen, set apart, and special in God's sight.

Her comments in the last paragraph quoted below perfectly describes Armstrongite thought processes.


 "At night I would lay and imagine dancing with Jesus and singing with Him. I pictured the Second Coming. I prayed so hard that I would be able to be alive to see it. I would even go through having bamboo shoots shoved up my fingernails. I would be strong to death for Jesus’ Sabbath-- for I knew that I would someday have to be put in prison and tortured for the Sabbath truth. When our class read something like Project Sunlight, (I’m not sure that was the book) my fear of the last days went from hoping Jesus would wait to come back just until I got my first kiss to something far more horrible. In the last days, the Catholics would drag my family into court and torture them in front of me to get me to crack and go do church on Sunday! That was a pretty terrifying picture to put into a fifth grader’s imagination! Nevertheless, as creepy as that was, I didn’t ever worry about my or my families’ salvation.

 My dad was so liberal as to almost be a universalist. We were not into rules and my parents didn’t guilt us into sabbath regulations. We drank Dr. Pepper, went to movies, wore jewelry, danced--at home for fun. My dad’s music taste was conservative and he wasn’t too fond of the Heritage Singers. But over all, I couldn’t WAIT till Sabbath because I loved church and we would stop and get donuts on the way and go out to eat at a good Mexican food restaurant with friends afterwards. Sabbaths rocked in our house. Our parents made it the funnest of all days!"
 "I was as entrenched as an SDA can be and truly loved being Adventist. You see, I was especially blessed by God, I was an enlightened Adventist. Our intelligent, taboo-shunning version of Adventism was so far superior than those fundamental Adventists hovering around the periphery of truth. You know, those that actually thought Ellen a prophetess and still clung to silly beliefs such as the sanctuary message and the last-day prophecies. We believed in a non-judgmental, non-legalistic Sabbath--a Sabbath that was a blessing! The rest was for--you know--the conspiratorial crowd (we would smile sympathetically but condescendingly.)"
 "What kind of God could be so unthinkably cruel as to allow such nice, sincere people to be so deceived? Everything I trusted in, my whole world and worldview was submerged, steeped, marinated in and permeated in Adventism. My earliest thoughts had been formed around its paranoia, my hopes and dreams shaped by its restrictions and taboos. Liberal SDA or not, Adventism was the warm and fuzzy fabric of my life. My heart was made secure by its doctrines of what was right and wrong. I happily colored within the Adventists’ lines and the picture was really, really pretty (even if my color choice was shockingly bright for SDA standards!)

But then when I checked Adventist doctrine’s accuracy with the scriptures, the foundation of my life was wiped out. When finally I rejected the false doctrines of Adventism I felt like I had jumped off a cliff into a deep, black hole. I had looked down and realized that underneath what looked like the gentle, protective godly fundamentals of Adventism, was the diabolical smile of the Father of Lies.
How could my parents have bought into it? Was I in the Truman Show or in M. Knight Shyamalan’s The Village? Or better still--was that Rod Serling’s voice I heard and am I a part of an episode of the Twilight Zone? (My husband’s transition out of Adventism was a piece of cake because he had never been a part of it. He had always thought it was insanity and had kept his heart protected by being an Adventist atheist--like many of my generation. He--by the way--is now a believing Christian.)"

"All those years of participating in mind-numbing circular arguments with the SDA scholars--like an eternal swirl of a toilet flushing never actually going anywhere! Why didn’t God see our zombie-like devotion to a false prophet and our sincere but total brainwashing and rescue us!! Why did we not matter enough to Him to send an angel or earthquake or something to shake us from the stupor of our imbecility? How embarrassing to let such nice people give their lives and hearts over to, to, to such... senseless drivel. And how embarrassing that we actually believed it. Why would a loving God allow that?"


"After all, out there in non-Adventism land it is worse than inside Adventism. You know, they had a little error mixed with a lot of truth which was, of course, much worse--much more evil than.... a little truth mixed ......with lots of error .....like Adventism.... wait? Was that right? That didn’t make sense and yet that is what many Sabbath School teachers had said to our bright, innocent and gullible eyes through the years. They said that it was the 5% error mixed in with the 95% truth that was the most deceitful. Hmmmm....
No matter what, we had the Sabbath truth.... no matter how many babies our hospitals killed in abortion, no matter how many sexual abuse cases were covered up by the conference, no matter how many despicable things happened at the Adventist academies, no matter how much our SDA church school failed in educational standards, no matter how hypocritical, unloving, negligent or abusive our families were, no matter how dysfunctional and historically inaccurate our doctrine---in the end, none of that mattered for we were sabbatarians. Which, if the Sabbath IS the end times test for Christians, would be a very good argument. However, that is just a pure fantasy of the church’s visionary pioneers which takes a bit of twisting of scripture to arrive at."

Read her entire article here:

It's Okay NOT to be a Seventh-day Adventist: Obedience in the Darkness: "I haven’t wanted to do this. In fact I dread it. But perhaps it will be helpful to many former Adventists out there. I am not a big fan o..."

31 comments:

Anonymous said...

I felt much more secure in life, not materially but emotionally, when part of a Sabbath keeping Church. It appealed to my leave it all behind and regroup needs. I suppose I felt the same way when growing up keeping Sunday rather strictly in a Dutch Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Form and group hopes are very strong in the human psyche. I have to say I miss that sense of oneness.

In fact, if I keep thinking and writing, I'll get banging my head on the table wondering what happened to those much more secure and hopeful moments and practices.

So I will stop! :)
dd

Steve said...

When I started comparing Armstrong's proof-texting to what the Bible actually says, I confronted our "minister" about the first false concept that my eyes were opened to. He in turn gave a sermon on that very subject the next sabbath TRYING to refute what I had learned. His arguments were weak, and he failed miserably TRYING to prove me wrong. He even handed out an old, old article by Herman Hoeh, who wasn't even in UCG(he deliberatley left Hoeh's name off of the article). There was no Bible truth, just more proof-texting. I realized I couldn't be a part of the deception any longer. I tried, but things just got worse. I left. I wondered why others couldn't see what I saw. I was alone on my journey now. I wondered why God had let me down. Where was He? It still took me a few years to realize that He never was there in the first place. Sometimes, even to this day, I'll start crying for no reason.

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps someone could start a NONALOGUE Denomination which keeps nine of the ten commandments..."

As opposed to those who keep the ten commandments, but who ignore the rest of the law? Those who in their evil disobedience profane the law of god by separating it into components (ceremonial and moral), picking and choosing which commands they want to obey, while discarding all the rest- yet criticizing others who keep one less law than they do?

Lustful idolaters! You keep the Sabbath but refuse to cast a stone at the disobedient child! Evil whoremongers! You refrain from allowing crab dip to touch your lips but neglect the blood sacrifices! Hypocrites!

Cheers,
Paul Ray

Douglas Becker said...

The Seventh Day Adventists may look benign next to Armstrongists, but they are not.

Ellen G. White (EG White) was a nut case con artist, plagiarising from various sources while supposedly in a trance. Any examination below the top layer comparing with Scriptures will show that her silly ideas are not Biblically based. For those Christians with an ironic bent, there are some who might suggest she was possessed and made to write doctrines of demons.

Those outside the venue may assume that all the Sabbath keeping churches of God springing from that era of the mid eighteen hundreds all came from her. It did not. This is hard to explain to the non scientific types, but let me illustrate thusly: Segments of humanity come to the same conclusions at the same time independently in different parts of the globe. For example, a Russian performed the experiment with the kite and the key to prove lightening was electricity the very same week Benjamin Franklin did. Kids, do not try this at home: The Russian was electricuted to death while Ben was not. At least the Russian proved his point. In the same way, Leibnitz in Germany created The Calculus at the same time as Newton. Newton got all the credit.

It's the same with EG White. The Seventh Day Church of God (which keeps the Feasts) and the CoG7 may look like SDAs, but they are very different -- they don't have as many nutty ideas. The SDA persecutes the CoG7. The latest round is the SDA is threatening the CoG7 over its logo.

Herbert Armstrong came along and didn't just borrow -- he stole and made a new insane religion based on British Israelism. It's a stupid nutty idea disproved by DNA. The big deal is that BI is the root of the failed prophecies which so well define Herbert Armstrong as an abusive false prophet.

Allen C. Dexter said...

The borrowing and plagiarizing back and forth has no end. Each false teacher and would-be dictator has to find some way to claim he or she is special and that they bring a special revelation. They then bowl the chumps over by convincing them that they too are specially chosen. Nothing feels better than that. Ask any woman who has been overwhelmed by the attentions of a crafty but really abusive suitor.

It works because the people they deceived existed in their little world and weren't aware that someone else taught and preached the supposedly unique doctrine previously. HWA's success was built on the utilization of the new mass communiucation medium of radio. Radio is now "old hat." The next great successes will be built on more modern communicaation methods, and it's happening all around us.

Michael D. Maynard said...

If you want more information on the long and distinguished line of False Prophets that influenced Herb, who carried the False 'Profits' banner into the RCG and WCG, take a look at G.G. Rupert's writings. He was a long time former SDA elder who wrote before HWA started his research into religion. Rupert even operated in Los Angles prior to HWA.

According to Rupert's booklet , Consecutive Events, written in 1915 the end was to come in 1996 and the millennium to begin.

Here is HIS secret formula: 1915+4+77=1996.

So does that mean that any year plus 4+77=the end? Let me try a prophecy here; 2011+4+77=2092 is the end! Hear that James Malm it is 2092, maybe...

Seriously,

Whether directly or indirectly I believe the influence of Ellen White and her visions and false writings helped in some degree mold both of these men..into the prevaricators[1] they became.

Michael
TTDOCF

[1] A polite term for LIARS.

Michael D. Maynard said...

dd, The kinder, gentler me.

"prevaricators"


Michael
TTDOCF

Michael D. Maynard said...

Steve said;

"Sometimes, even to this day, I'll start crying for no reason."

Join the club buddy! It's Called cognitive dissonance....sob sob.

Here is one definition from Wikipedia;

Cognitive dissonance is an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously. The theory of cognitive dissonance proposes that people have a motivational drive to reduce dissonance. They do this by changing their attitudes, beliefs, and actions.[2] Dissonance is also reduced by justifying, blaming, and denying. It is one of the most influential and extensively studied theories in social psychology.

Catch the part about justifying, blaming, and denying which is what you are working to get past now as you write and study.

And crying is a good thing. You are not alone on this page there are a couple who have shed a couple tears in the past over this.

That is one reason I started the true doctrine of Christ foundation as my own personal quest for truth.


Michael
TTDOCF

Anonymous said...

Steve:
That sounds familiar. It's very difficult to realize one was "wrong" but , and I can only speak for myself, at the time, I had to be there and NOTHING could have dragged me away.

We have to draw our own conclusions which is why when others push us to believe something we resist. We also tend to take these kinds of losses personally as if directed against us, which they weren't

The other day I happen to hear the Hallejua, Haleiluya...Halaylue...however you spell that word! In the South here it is 'Halleluuuyer" :) Chorus. I got teary. Same things happens every time with "How Great Thou Art." These hymns are attached to both my WCG experience but also my growing up Presbyterian and the security I felt back then. That security is all gone now.

However, it was an illusion. I felt secure but it wasn't secure. I just didn't know that yet. Boy do I now.

I find the most sincere become the most disillusioned and skeptical when the bottom falls out. It's just how we process an inexplicable experience to ourselves. Still working on that part...

Anonymous said...

Michael:

We'd probably have a great time at lunch sometime :)

Anonymous said...

I like this self test:

One out of four people in this country is mentally unbalanced.

Think of 3 of your closest friends. If they seem ok.....then you're the one!

Or how about, every fourth child on earth is Chinese. That's why so many Americans stop at three :)

Byker Bob said...

Well, the Church of Satan only has one commandment "Doest as thou wilt."

The problem with many religiously inclined people is that they are still focussed on the physicality of it all, failing to realize that the Royal Law of Love is the "law behind the law", so to speak, or the fulfillment of the law and the prophets as Jesus taught. Most people who rigidly keep the letter of the law actually end up hurting others. You can't really keep the letter anyway. It is humanly impossible. The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit are much more desirable and fulfilling than the willpower-related keeping of ten physical laws. In actuality, one living in the spirit will automatically be fulfilling the law.

Steve, one comment to you. Tears? Yes. That is totally natural. But, it's much better to experience them during prayer, for positive reasons, than to have it happen to you because of depression or cognitive dissonance.
Believe me, I've been both places!

BB

Allen C. Dexter said...

"We'd probably have a great time at lunch sometime"

Ditto for me. Sincere questioners are fun to converse with. Wherever most of the commenters on this site are right now, I've probably been there during my journey. We all have a lot in common.

Michael D. Maynard said...

"We'd probably have a great time at lunch sometime :)"

Lunch, yeah we would, I can see it now... we break out in a round of 'Halleluuuyer" chorus, have a good cry in our beer, then start with an appetizer of eating our own words in nuclear hot sauce, and repeat. After that, the main course, a few rounds of very intellectual deny, blame, and justify, topped with shredded scriptures. Then for dessert, a double doubt sunday topped with
hot smug.

I feel better already! We have to do that again.

Hey Becker, how's that sound?

Here is my motto: I never met a man I didn't like, just some more than others. (I think Winston Churchill owns that one, I am just borrowing it.)

Oh, we need to pick up Steve along the way too.


Michael
TTDOCF

Michael D. Maynard said...

BB you stated;

", one living in the spirit will automatically be fulfilling the law."

PROFOUND! I like men who can get right to the bottom line...that IS the bottom line!I am trying to find a good way to get that across in my writings but can anyone see that unless they have the Holy Spirit, how many Armstrongites could have the H.S.?

Including me?


Michael
TTDOCF

Anonymous said...

"I am trying to find a good way to get that across in my writings but can anyone see that unless they have the Holy Spirit..."

Armstrongites will not accept your point, no matter how well written and persuasive, because it demolishes their very identity as God's Extra-Speshul Peeple. Armstrong theology is built around the core of salvation through law keeping (not the whole law, just HWA's Law Lite). It is what separates them from the unwashed masses of Christendom.


Asking them to accept the idea that the law was replaced/fullfilled by love and kindness, and all the subsequent actions that flow from it is asking them to cast away their special status in the eyes of their god. Cast away their entire belief system.

I came to this conclusion myself (law vs love), and at first just the idea of studying the bible on my own, and letting the text dictate my beliefs (not GTA) was frightening.
I loved Armstrongism mostly because I loved the idea of being better than the average Christian- no, that's not true; for we weren't better, we were the only Christians. It was the ultimate in hidden, special knowledge. The ultimate conspiracy. The ultimate appeal to the ultimate ego.



You don't need a "holy spirit" to see that- I am sure Armstrongites, JW's, SDA's, and Mormons would say the same of you. It's sort of insulting to be told that you'll never understand such and such subject because you don't have a ghost living inside you. It also takes the onus off the person trying to make the point- why bother trying to explain when the "pigs" would only trample your "pearls."

A more accurate way to describe it would be:
"How can they come to this conclusion when they refuse to study the bible with a critical, open mind, and disregard everything they have been taught at the feet of HWA?"

Paul Ray

Michael D. Maynard said...

Allen, I meant to say How does that sound Dexter not Becker,

But I exclude no one 'ya all come.

Michael
TTDOCF

Michael D. Maynard said...

Paul said;

"pigs" would only trample your "pearls."

Afraid you might be right, but I hope with everything in me you aren't.

"(not the whole law, just HWA's Law Lite)."

Hey I thought I was being original with "Armstrong's version 2.0 Law Lite". But that is exactly what it boils down to. And if you can swallow Paul's theory, it is all or none in that area. Grace and Faith in Christ Crucified or you become obligated to the whole law.

Herbert served predigested theology, like milk, easy to swallow rather than expending effort to actually chew the far more nutritious and satisfying meat.

I wrote once that I believed Herbert didn't even want to crawl up to the breast for the "Milk of the Word" but wanted to hide back in the womb, maybe he did believe in born again, and again, and again.

Michael
TTDOCF

Anonymous said...

"Grace and Faith in Christ Crucified or you become obligated to the whole law."

It all hinges on being able to accept at face value what is written in Romans (6-9?). If you go in with Armstrongite explanations, then it makes no sense whatsoever. In fact, it's incomprehensible.

In a nutshell (according, as you say, to Pauline theology):

The law is not your buddy. The law is not your friend. The law is not simply a set of rules to guide you into correct behavior. The law is law-giver, judge, jury, and executioner, all rolled into one.

If a human breaks one law, he is condemned to death. No excuses. Unfortunately (ha-ha) humans are hardwired to sin- they are born with a sinful nature. Therefore it is impossible for them to not sin. Therefore all human are all under the death penalty. The law itself aggravates the situation; once one is aware of the law, he is aware of his sin and once aware, finds more and more instances where he disobeys- the law perpetuates, stirs up sin.

The honest Christian will find this cycle of disobedience, sin, and the death penalty unbearable. He watches himself breaking the law, unable to prevent himself, is then aware of his rank disobedience, and ultimately his bleak future in the Lake O' Fire. Depressing. Hopeless. Oh wretched man that I am and all that rot. So what to do, what to do?

Armstrong's Solution: Jesus died so you can be freed from the penalty of breaking the law; this removes the penalty (only after you pray for forgiveness on a case by case basis) but doesn't touch the cycle of sin and death.
If the Armstrongite is honest with himself, he will be a wretched man indeed, because he watches himself break the law daily, fearful for again pissing god off and depressed because Jesus had to die for him, over and over because he can't stop breaking the law. I was like this myself. It was a miserable existence as an Armstrongite, an existence I didn't seem to share with the others...hmmm.

Anyway, this isn't biblical by any stretch of the imagination.

Apostle Paul's Solution: God got rid of the law. Given that Jesus clearly stated that love was the fulfillment of the law, the law as a guide to behavior was no longer necessary. Christ's sacrifice was a one shot deal. Sin existed, but not in the cold confines that the law spelled out. The law no longer existed to judge or condemn. Work out your own salvation. Be nice. Keep on believing. Etc. I can't remember the rest.

Anyway, this is like roach spray to Armstrongites. HWA and his SS men made sure not only to discredit the biblical model, but to mock it.
To this day Armstrongites react just as they were taught, as Captain Jackass has already stated on this thread:

"Yes, its also OK to...cheat on your spouse, murder, steal, lie and covet - Just as long as you have the LUV 'O JEEZUZZZZ in your wonderful heart!"

Of course, I have to agree with Dennis these days- it looks as if Paul is in opposition to the rest of the NT. But at least, in the context of Paul's writings, this model is what is described, and if a Christian claims that he only follows what the "bible says," then there is no other view to take- the Armstrong view simply doesn't exist in Pauline theology.


Paul Ray

Michael D. Maynard said...

"the Armstrong view simply doesn't exist in Pauline theology."

In referring to Armstrongism, Paul might use some of the following terms: Antichrist, Gnostic, dogs, evil workers, the mutilation, Judaizers, Legalists, and bewitchers, to list a few.

If Paul came back today to the COG's (Sabbath keepers) he would be like Christ in the Temple tossing out the merchandisers. All the pastors would be gone from the top down.

Michael
TTDOCF

Douglas Becker said...

Paul gave his opinions about the Armstrongists nearly two millennia in advance in II Timothy 3:

From such turn away.

No need for turning over booklet tables in rented halls -- just don't attend.

(We're marking the Armstrongists for causing division.)

And as for having lunch with someone, well, I've served up my cream of artichoke chicken after the Day of Atonement for none other than Wade Ewart Cox. I've fed my enemies. So now what?

Anonymous said...

"If Paul came back today to the COG's (Sabbath keepers) he would be like Christ in the Temple tossing out the merchandisers. All the pastors would be gone from the top down."

If Jesus came back he would not recognize the theology of Paul

Douglas Becker said...

If Jesus came back he would not recognize the theology of Paul

Which is curious, since Paul claimed to have been taught personally by Jesus Christ.

So many assumptions, so little data.

Michael D. Maynard said...

"If Jesus came back he would not recognize the theology of Paul"

I don't know if I agree there. I am writing an article about Jesus at the Well of Jacob with the Samaritan Woman, and after understanding what Christ taught there in John 4 about the old and new ways of worship. I feel that Paul and Christ were actually on the same page in more ways than not.

Michael
TTDOCF

Michael D. Maynard said...

Blogger Douglas Becker said...

"Paul gave his opinions about the Armstrongists nearly two millennia in advance in II Timothy 3: "

Exactly..and verse 6 is familiar to many,"....who creep into households and make captives of gullible women...was what HWA did with his seductive approach."

My mother was certainly one of them, and my mother-in-law, and many others I know of who drug their hubbies and families into Armstrongism.

I wonder if there are any statistics of how many women responded to Herb compared to men as a ratio. I'll bet it is at least 90% women.

Michael

Allen C. Dexter said...

Maybe more women responded than men, but not anywhere near 90%. There were just a lot of men, like me, who fell for it for one reason or another.

Just about as many men led their families down that disastrous road as did women. I knew too many of them, and I was one of them -- first my sister, then my parents. I'm thinking of men like Al Portune, Selmar Hegvold, Larry Carlson (who was a Lutheran Minister originally), Dr. Overton, who gave up a thriving pediatric practice and worked beside me in Letter Answering. He later had to go back and get his credentials all over again to serve as a doctor for the organization.

So, I have to take issue with that conclusion, Michael. Women may be a little bit more susceptible, but I'm not so sure in the final analysis. Let's not get sexist.

Steve said...

And then....after the woman, and/or man was duped by the creepers, many of them had to separate because of the false D&R doctrine. They had us by the proverbial balls. What a scam!

Allen C. Dexter said...

Yes, Steve, they did have us "by the balls," and they knew how and when to squeeze.

I love history and have studied and analyzed the rise and fall of nazism. The parallels to WCG and HWA are overwhelming.

As soon as Hitler came to power, he set about ruthlessly establishing complete control over everything and everyone. Armstrong did the same as soon as you sucumbed to his propaganda and went under the water.

Michael D. Maynard said...

"So, I have to take issue with that conclusion, Michael. Women may be a little bit more susceptible, but I'm not so sure in the final analysis. Let's not get sexist."

I am not sexist just a realist. If I am proven wrong I will be fine with that. But I go back to 1963 in the WCG and have known too many folks to count and listened for long hours to their stories. This same thread winds through many of them. If nothing else it was certainly true in my small world and many I know of first hand.

Still gathering stats.

Michael

Michael D. Maynard said...

"duped by the creepers, many of them had to separate because of the false D&R doctrine. "

Didn't you hear they changed that?

After lives were already wrecked of course.

Then there was the just divorce of Hebert from Ramona, naturally there are different rules for the Apostles and Prophets.

I have been damaged by inoperable, incurable cynicism...

Michael

Anonymous said...

"The parallels to WCG and HWA are overwhelming."

As I have mentioned before, there are strong similarities between the ministry of the WCG and the ranking officers of the SS.

Men (many times, thugs) with little ability were given positions of enormous responsibility, wielding incredible power over Germans and the state as a whole. Men were promoted based on loyalty to the leader (Hitler/HWA) and the party (Nazi/God's Church). Life in the Reich (WWCG) meant staying in the good graces of the leader and covering your ass (at the expense of the people and the state). WHen the leader began to unravel, no one spoke against him.

Paul Ray