As most of you know, I’m a writer with a background in communications and public relations. However, one lesser-known aspect of my career is that I used to teach English to Hispanics in Jamaica.
Recently, a Dominican requested that I revisit that old tutoring life, to teach him English. After agreeing, I returned home to see whether or not I still had all the old assessments, homework, and teaching notes I had written up all those years before.
While searching for those notes, I came across a copy of an old article I wrote about the Seventh Day Adventist Church, 6 years ago.
While it’s always fascinating to come across a writers’ old work, let’s keep the context in mind. I was raised in a strict Seventh Day Adventist household but believed that the faith failed to answer some of the most basic and fundamental questions I posed about religion.
My quest for answers, from the young age of about three years old, took me further down a path of disbelief. The more I looked for credibility to bolster the SDA faith my family espoused, the more I found the opposite.
Once I accepted that the SDA faith did not hold a solid enough foundation to attract my belief, Christianity as a whole became questionable to me. I touched on this before in Revisiting Religion: Refusing to be an Arawak.
The blog post I’m about to share was written much earlier, in 2012; between the aftermath of Harold Camping’s failed prediction of The Rapture and the doomsday prediction made for December 21st in 2012, as per interpretations of the Mayan Calendar.
The blog post addresses end-of-world predictions, my familiarity with one faith that sprung from a doomsday prediction, and why I believe that just like the Rapture and the Mayan’s End of Days prediction, this faith is groundless.
Do keep in mind that this was just a Tumblr rant, so not all sources were cited. I have, however, included a list of sources at the end of the article for those of you who want to look up some of the claims, for yourself.
The Tumblr Rant
Last year (2011), Harold Camping predicted that “the Rapture” and Judgement Day would occur on May 21, 2011, and that the world would end on October 21, 2011.
Most of the world watched and waited anxiously to see what would happen, but some of us weren’t content with just watching, so we chose to act. How did we act? Well, for starters, quite a few non-believers suddenly converted to Christianity.
Some of us RE-converted. Pastors and priests worldwide reported an increase in the number of baptisms performed in the week leading up to the Rapture. And still, of course, there were some of us who didn’t give a crap.
But nothing compares to the Christians on my Twitter timeline, who took it upon themselves to bash these Rapturists for their beliefs. I mean, I can forgive the Catholics, Anglicans, and other old denominations when they think the formation and beliefs of a new extremist-Protestant group is ridiculous.
But my goodness… along came the Seventh Day Adventists O_O …
I was shocked! Seventh Day Adventists (SDAs) are the last people on Earth who should so much as snicker at the Rapturists! So when the shock wore off, I did laugh. I laughed so hard, I was almost ashamed of myself — but only almost.
Now, for those of you who don’t understand why this is so funny, don’t worry. I promise you: I am getting to a point, and a good one.
We’ll begin here:
One SDA follower (let’s call her “Trina”) was brave enough to begin quoting the Bible to prove her point that the Rapturists were stupid. She called them “false prophets” (Revelations), and tweeted of Jesus’ return, “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (Matthew 24:36).”
Now let’s rewind a century and some change back to 1843 and follow the religious journey of William Miller, and the resulting Millerite Movement. Miller was a farmer and a Baptist preacher, who after reading the Bible for himself, concluded that Jesus Christ was returning to Earth on October 22nd, 1844. As we all know, no such thing occurred on that fateful day.
So what happened? Well, all of 14 things happened, actually. Firstly, some Millerites became disillusioned, and so quit the cult/movement altogether. Secondly, the remaining Millerites became divided as to what should be the resulting truth (aka Plan B), since Plan A, most certainly had not turned out as planned.
This led to the other 12 things that happened i.e. the formation of the following churches:
- Advent Christian Church
- Church of God (Seventh-Day)
- Church of God General Conference
- Church of the Blessed Hope
- Seventh Day Adventist Reform Mov’t
- Davidian SDA (Shepherd’s Rod)
- United Seventh-Day Brethren
- Branch Davidians
- Primitive Advent Christian Church
- Sabbath Rest Advent Church
- (and of course) the Seventh-day Adventist Church
NOW, do you see why I was laughing? These Seventh Day Adventists were ridiculing a group of people for doing the very thing that had led to the birth of their own faith. As we say in Jamaica:
Pot calling the kettle black.
Of course, they don’t always tell you these things in church. I would know. I was born and raised in a strict Seventh Day Adventist family for the first seventeen miserable years of my life, and attended about 8 different Seventh Day Adventist Churches throughout that time- 1 in Maryland (USA), 1 in New York City (USA), 1 in Eastern Jamaica, and 5 in Western Jamaica.
I was taught that Seventh Day Adventists were around longer than the Catholic Church, and that the doctrines of the Seventh Day Adventist church were the real doctrines passed down from Jesus Christ to his disciples. Ask almost any Seventh Day Adventist and, they will likely tell you the same thing.
See? I told you I was getting to a good point.
So if you ever wondered where the “Adventists” got their name, it’s from the word “Advent”, meaning “the coming or return of Jesus Christ,” which they, like the Rapturists, failed to predict.
But Wait – There’s More!
I’m not about to stop here, though. Not when there are still a few other things they don’t tell you in the Seventh Day Adventist Church that I thoroughly intend to. We only just covered lesson number one.
Lesson No. 2
Now, I didn’t hear this in the American SDA churches I attended, but in every Jamaican SDA church I went to, we were reminded that America was 666 – the mark of the beast. What they conveniently neglected to tell people in church though, was how their religion (denomination) began in America, and was founded by an American man i.e. William Miller.
Did I mention that our Quarterlies (the materials we used for Bible Study in Sabbath School) also came from the United States? And if you go on the Seventh Day Adventists’ Official Website, you will see that the Headquarters’ Address is:
12501 Old Columbia Pike,
MD 20904, USA
Funny – isn’t it?
Lesson No. 3
As I stated earlier, William Miller was a Baptist! — i.e. a Sunday worshipper. I don’t know if all SDA people tell their children this, but my biological father called Sunday worshippers “devil-worshippers”. Milder versions I heard in church was that Sunday worshippers worshipped the Sun, and were not true believers or true Christians.
Imagine my wonderful surprise when I found out that the father of the Seventh Day Adventist faith was a Sunday pastor, himself. Unfortunately for my parents, that was not all I discovered.
Lesson No. 4
My mother’s side of the family is Anglican and Catholic, and I was a child who read any and everything I could get my hands on – including an enormous Anglican book on the history of Christianity (censoring out the things they don’t tell you in Anglican Churches either, of course).
In that book, I learned that the Bible was put together by Catholic monks and priests – i.e. even more SUNDAY WORSHIPPERS! Aside from the claims made by SDAs against the legitimacy of Sunday-worshippers, why is this relevant?
One of the SDA’s strongest beliefs is the “the infallibility of the Bible”. In other words, Seventh Day Adventists do not question the Bible’s origins and believe that it is entirely true and wholesome as is.
When I asked about this, my father was too furious that I was reading Anglican material to even bother giving me a proper answer. He might as well have given me one, because the search for a real answer followed me into my adult years, and led me to discover the Arian Heresy.
(You can look that one up on your own, though. It would take a whole other blog post for me to explain it.)
Lesson No. 5
Another principle I was taught in the Seventh Day Adventist Church was not to wear jewelry. Once, a pastor told my mother she could not wear her broach to church, and another one tried to convince her not to wear her wedding ring. (I kid thee not!)
When I asked my family about it, I was told that God banned the wearing of jewelry because the Israelites, in distress, during the Exodus (the journey out of Egypt and to the promised land), melted their gold and built idols to worship; which was a great insult to God.
I took this as a good answer… until I read about King Solomon, who was made King long after the Exodus. King Solomon was the wisest man in the world and loved by God, and he wore jewelry — gold at that. I asked my family about that, too. They had no answers for me, so I decided I would start wearing jewelry.
Why? Because surely, King Solomon was wiser than my parents, my church members, and the Pastor.
There are a lot of other things I could tell you that they don’t tell you in Seventh Day Adventist Churches. I could tell you about being dragged to the final Seventh Day Adventist Church I ever attended — at 17 — to discover that a History Lecturer from my College was the church leader, and the pastor.
I could tell you how he stood there and lied to the congregation about the evolution theory: this College History Lecturer who knew better, stood in the House of his Lord and lied to his people to get an “Amen”.
Then, of course, he trotted off to college Monday morning, to teach us all about ancient civilizations. But if I told you these things, this blog post would never end. And I daresay, I’ve told you all enough already.
There is a big lesson to be learned here, though:
Do not accept “truths” simply because it is easier to believe, and more difficult to question. Find and learn the real truth and origins of your beliefs, or lack thereof. Do not be so quick to simply accept the interpretations of others.
Whoever said an atheist (or agnostic) is thus because they have not read the Bible and know little of religion, surely has never met me…
- Andrews University Press. The Second Advent [Excerpt]. Retrieved from: http://universitypress.andrews.edu/Second%20Advent%20Excerpt.pdf
- Everett, N. Dick. The Millerite Movement (1830-1845). Retrieved from: http://universitypress.andrews.edu/content/Adventism%20in%20America%20Excerpt.pdf
- Kaleem, Jaweed (2011). May 21 ‘Judgment Day’ Believers React To Being Alive On May 22. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/22/may-21-judgment-day-may-22_n_865298.html
- Lechleitner, Elizabeth (2013). Seventh-day Adventist Church emerged from religious fervor of 19th Century. Retrieved from: Seventh-day Adventist Church emerged from religious fervor of 19th Century
- Pappas, Stephanie (2011). Harold Camping predicts the end of the world. Again. Retrieved from: https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/1019/Harold-Camping-predicts-the-end-of-the-world.-Again.
- Taylor, Andrew. The Origins of Millerite Separatism. Retrieved from: https://aurora.edu/documents/library-archives/origins-of-millerite-separatism-andrew-taylor.pdf
- The Seventh Day Adventist Church (2012). Retrieved from http://www.adventist.org/
- *Wikipedia (2012), “2011 End Times Prediction”. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_end_times_prediction
- *Wikipedia (2012). “Millerism”. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Millerites
- *Wikipedia (2012), “Seventh-Day Adventist Church”. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seventh-day_Adventist_Church
Wikipedia articles were included because it was snooping around Wikipedia and reading the listed articles that originally pointed me in the right direction. If you question the credibility of the Wiki articles, then focus on the other sources.
121 thoughts on “What they DON’T Tell You about the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Sabbath School…”
I’ve grown up SDA, in the Adventist school system. I have never heard anyone teach that we were around before Catholics. Or deny that our church was founded in America. One of the things we learn early-on is what happened in 1844, and it’s not that they hide from you that a lot of the important people in our history weren’t sabbatarians—it’s just not really important. EGW’s visions never introduced theology, but backed up what people learned thru bible study.
Jewelry, vegetarianism, what you can/can’t do on Sabbath, all that is mostly cultural. It’s true that some of our congregations/communities get cultish, but that’s not what our church is as a whole.
i’m sorry about your experience. it is not universal.
Curious what the SDA has to say about adultery! A SDA had a 3 year affair with my husband and remained in a secret “friendship” with him after the affair. She now teaches Bible study at a SDA church. Just wondering if SDAs condone adultery!
SDA does not believe in adultery because it is clearly stated in the Bible that we should not commit it. Saying that, just like any church, the people in it are not perfect. All of these slanders on the church make it sound as if we are expected not to make mistakes. I am sorry you had to go through that and I do not agree with what that person did, but I do not believe you should have an opinion about our faith based on the affair of someone.
I do not believe in the SDA faith and don’t support its beliefs. But, I also agree that she can’t form an informed opinion on an entire denomination based on the affair one person had with her husband.
Very interesting! What do the SDA say about adultery? A SDA committed adultery with my husband for 3 years and remained in a secret friendship with him after they ended the affair. She now teaches Bible school at her church! Just curious to know what their views are on adultery.
Like all other denominations, adultery is a sin for the SDA. However, I do think your anger is misplaced. The SDA woman was undoubtedly wrong for interfering in your marriage and I hope karma finds her for what she did. However, she did not take vows of loyalty and faithfulness. Your husband did. I hope you divorce him. Whatever your decision, I wish you all the best.
Just came across your post looking for some insite on SDA beliefs…you did not disappoint me. Thank you for the time and effort it took to be so open about this subject. I also was born and raised in a cult. A small insignificant one, thank God, but still very damaging to me. I also was very aware at a young age…so questions turned into disruptions and 30 years later my father went to prison for most of his last living years, once again, thank God!
Fast forward 20 more years, I’ve currently finished a 3 plus year journey through any bibicle writing’s I could find…plus a world study of time periods from the beginning of anything found written on humanity till today. With that said ..my experiences with God during this journey have been mindblowing to say the least..
My only advice to you would be, if you really want to find God look for Him. I did and I did:)
But He/God has to be where you ought to go for answers to questions you have about Him..dont ask me or anyone else..think about this for a second..” if He made the whole of creation, couldn’t He , talk on His behalf?”
No one makes any sense when they talk about God to me..God makes sense..everything He says makes sense, they dont!
Talking with my husband throughout this extensive journey has been so helpful! But talking to God was more important! Since everyone seemed to have an opinion on what,how,when,where and why God thinks about everything and they have no problem offering thier thoughts, I thought someone should jump up for God!
I’m not a writer or a scholar, please excuse any errors.
This was to encourage you, please take it so.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and leave a comment. I wrote this when I was in college. I’m 32 now and my sentiments are the same.
I’m glad you found your own path to religion, found peace and was able to share that with your husband.
However, God doesn’t appeal to me. The older I’ve been around, the more I believe he’s either not all-powerful or he’s not a fully benevolent being. Consequently, I have no desire to worship something that might be either incompetent or a little evil.
I do commend your journey and wish you all the best on whatever lies ahead!
Ever considered that you might have to ask him to give you the reason ?, since if you had the reason to begin with – you’d have no real choice.
I choose to leave religion to the rest of you. I have never experienced peace this sweet and everlasting since giving up religion. I wrote this post at 18 years old. I’m now 32. No regrets.
All I can say I wasn’t brought up a Adventist but asked a lot of questions since I was a kid and still do this Adventist remnant message is rock solid and the devil is fully attacking us see Revelation 12:17 which includes the Spirit of Prophecy take some time and listen to prophessor Walter Vieth his personal testimony on google
I’m glad it resonates with you. I want nothing to do with the Seventh Day Adventist Church for as long as I live!
Sounds like your still blinded by Satan’s trickery I will pray that we not be deceived by the devil he is more cunning than you think remember Satan wants to be God
Remember God made Satan.
I read this post with interest, as well as amazement. Your experience being raised SDA was SO VERY different from my own. My family was quite conservative, but never made statements they couldn’t support from the Bible. In fact, I was told over and over to believe nothing that was not founded on the Bible. I attended SDA schools from first grade thru bachelor’s degree, and my perception was that Adventists were open-minded free thinkers. That’s one thing I especially liked about being raised SDA.
Eventually, in my twenties, I decided it was time to really study in greater detail the teachings of the church to determine, without input from parents or teachers, whether those teachings are REALLY supported by the Bible (and incidentally whether the Bible could be trusted). It was time to make the religion my own or to walk away. After a couple of years of deep study, I determined that this was a system of belief that was founded on a trustworthy Bible, was internally consistent with itself, and that was logical. It became my own and has guided me into a life of calm contentment. I am so grateful!
Alexis, please accept my apologies on behalf of those you encountered who were inconsistent, illogical, untruthful and unfounded.
Hello Kathy! I’m glad to hear you had a different experience and that your own questioning led you to believe the SDA church was compatible with your belief systems. That’s wonderful.
I admire your ability to read my little teenage rant from 10+ years ago without throwing a fit over it. If you check the comments, you can see many other people did not take it so very well.
I wish you all the best on your spiritual journey and hope you continue to find peace in the path you’ve chosen. Take care!