Friday, January 9, 2009

Seventh-day Adventism and Dishonesty

I thought I was all done with my "Adventist mini series," but guess what? I'm not. I have one more thing to say. If you really wanna put this deal in context, you've got to get into the directory and read the following post: 12/27/08, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/6. The last post of this series was my list of the seven things I didn't like about Adventism. It corresponded with an earlier one of 7 things I liked about Adventism.

But, I realize there is an eighth thing I REALLY don't like. That is dishonesty. Whenever SDA's hold meetings to get more members (evangelistic meetings???), they usually do so by blitzing an area with junk mail advertising the meeting. Needless to say, the response is low. However, they send out so much junk mail that they are sure to get several folks.

Whenever possible, Adventists hold meetings in a conference center, civic center, hotel, etc. Small towns do hold meetings in churches. However, when it can be avoided, it is. Neutral places are preferred.

The trend when I left (about 11 years ago) was to have a satellite link-up and hold many meetings in different locations simultaneously. Usually they call them "Prophecy Seminars" or something of the sort. You can often recognize an SDA event because the advertisement will include a whole bunch of eye catching sensationalism, often in the nature of pictures.

They also have door-to-door sales folks (called literature evangelists in SDA circles) that sell books like The Great Controversy or Desire of Ages. These books were written by Ellen White over a century ago. They are very Victorian in style (read wordy), and are sometimes sold under other titles or other pen names (often her maiden name). There are many, many EGW books for sale. Modern (and I might add very useful) books on diet and health are often also sold. All of them (at least 10 years ago) sell, usually in sets, for hundreds of bucks. They can usually be bought at an Adventist Book Center in paperback for about $5 per book.

The thing is, in neither the seminars, nor the book dealing is the "consumer" told they are dealing with Adventists. The plan is to "hook" folks through a prophecy seminar or book and THEN disclose that the dispensers of information are SDA's. This is done because SDA's (at least the leadership) believe this mild "deception by silence" is necessary to prevent bias from shrinking the convert pool.

I always wondered, If there is nothing to hide, why hide it? I was never ashamed of being an SDA. I left for other reasons. Adventists seem to be shooting themselves in the foot-- even as they try to live down the title cult.

NOTE: THIS POST IS PART OF AN "ADVENTIST MINI SERIES." THERE ARE (or will be) FIVE POSTS IN THIS SERIES. WHEN THEY ARE ALL "UP AND RUNNING" THEY SHOULD APPEAR ON THE FOLLOWING DATES 12/27, 1/2, 1/4. 1/6. 1/9. THE 12/27 POST IS REALLY A BOOK REVIEW. IT PROVIDES SOME BACKGROUND. THE OTHER FOUR POSTS COMPRISE THE ACTUAL MAIN CONTENT OF THE SERIES. THIS BLOG IS ABOUT FUNDAMENTALISM. THE ADVENTIST STUFF JUST SEEMED TO HAVE FOUND ITS TIME FOR TELLING. THE BLOG IS NOT MAINLY CONCERNED WITH ADVENTISM, EXCEPT HOW IT FITS INTO THE LARGER PHENOMENON OF FUNDAMENTALISM AS EXPERIENCED IN MY LIFE.



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