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..."