Adventist Exclusivness – Don’t Shun, but Avoid Non-Members

Well-known Adventist children stories

This article explains how Seventh Day Adventists have an exclusive culture, and it is one of the most important articles on the website. This is a topic for which I cannot find much discussion, but it is extremely important when understanding the Seventh Day Adventist church. This slips through the cracks to outside members, and it is very well hidden. Adventists are not barred from talking to non-Adventists, and the mainstream church does not engage in shunning. But just because it does not shun non-members, does not mean the church is not exclusive and insular.

 How the church became insular

The SDA church has silently created a system by-which its members do not need to interact in any meaningful way with non-Adventists. This is something very unique to Adventist churches- they have removed the need to engage with non-Adventist. Below is a typical example of many mainstream members lives, from start-to-finish:

  1. They are born in a Seventh Day Adventist hospital to Seventh Day Adventist parents.
  2. They then go to an Adventist preschool and make Adventist-only friends.
  3. They then head to an Adventist grade school and make Adventist-only friends. Alternatively if they belong to very exclusive parents they are homeschooled, and their only contact with other children is at their church.
  4. They then go to an Adventist high school.
  5. They then go to an Adventist university and college (and while there, most likely study to become either a nurse, a teacher of a pastor).
  6. They then get a job in an Adventist business/institution. These are particularly appealing from a practical perspective, because these businesses will forcibly be closed during Sabbath hours (or if they are a hospital, it is OK because they can work during Sabbath).
  7. They will then get married to an Adventist spouse, as an SDA pastor is not allowed to marry an SDA to a non-SDA.
  8. They then will eventually retire in an Adventist rest home, where they will live out the rest of their days.

Not only is this a common course of life, but it is greatly encouraged. The prestigious Adventist families live their lives in this way.  From personal experience, if you don’t engage in this exclusive world you will feel left out at Adventist meeting grounds such as church, as most Adventists get to know each other at school/work. All of these places/steps (school, work, partner) are where we usually come to meet our friends and form close relationships. If you are only surrounded by Adventists, then you will inevitably just become friends with them.

Article published in Adventist Review 07/26/12 - the flagship, official Seventh Day Adventist publication/magazine

Granted, at these institutions they will encounter non-Adventists. But their relationships with these individuals tend to be very fleeting. For example, an Adventist teen might become friends with a non-Adventist teen at their high school. But inevitably their relationship is doomed to be less meaningful from the start, because not only are they discouraged to become good friends with them, but they will spend less time with them than they will with their SDA peers. This is because in their spare time, they will engage in church activities and the Adventist kids will be forced together for large periods of time on Sabbath. Because the Adventist kids spend extra time outside of them and are apart of a unique culture, they will draw closer together.

Pathfinders in the SDA version of boy scouts/girl scouts.Look at the final message taught to the kids.

And this is how it happens; all of this is relatively innocent, but the consequences are obviously huge. And this is all incredibly mainstream, and occurs just as regularly in progressive churches as it does in conservative churches.

Adventists do not shun others

As mentioned earlier, Adventists will happily interact with non-Adventists. Nothing about the theology/beliefs require you shun someone, unlike Jehovah Witnesses, which SDA’s are unfairly compared to on a regular basis. In fact, the official church manual specifically notes that this is not to occur:

“When a person has been removed from church membership, the church should, where possible, maintain contact and manifest the spirit of friendship and love, endeavouring to win him/her back to the fold.” – Offical SDA Church Manual (p199, 17th edition)

But, just because the church does not go to such extreme lengths as shunning, does not mean the church does not purposely exclude other members in a way that is very negative and destructive. I would also like to note that the “endeavouring to win him/her back to the fold” can become very frustrating as a non-member, as all/most of your conversation with your family/friends still in the church becomes laced with pressure to return.

In part 2 of this article I will go into the two major reasons that Adventists choose to avoid non-members, but for now I will go into another major part of their insular/exclusive culture; the fact that they internally de-humanize non-members.

Many SDA's will only donate to ADRA

Adventists don’t just avoid non-members, they remove their unique identities

To the SDA church, nothing is more important than being a church member. This is because they believe the church is “chosen” and that it has “the truth”. They claim that they do not believe that SDA’s will exclusively go to heaven. This is only partially true and it is basically a white lie. They believe that, if you have not heard the SDA “truth” that you will only be judged on what you did know.

Once you hear “the truth”, you are then required to follow it. If you choose to not follow it – for whatever reason – then you are seen to be rejecting God. There are a lot of rules, and to be baptised you need to follow all of them. If you publicly break a rule, you won’t be baptised in a conservative church and if you break them while a member, many people will not consider you a “real” Adventist.

Because of their strict views on who will be saved and who will not be, it has resulted in them considering everyone but other Seventh Day Adventists as part of “The World”. They believe that “The World” is being lead by Satan. And so really – if you aren’t an Adventist, then it doesn’t really matter what your achievements are, it doesn’t matter what your personality is. Because the most important thing about you, is that you are not an Adventist, and you are going to experience an eternal death. Everyone in “The World” loses their unique identity and simply gets lumped into this group.

So not only do Adventists avoid people outside their faith, they also mentally devalue their worth. Their worth is no longer based on their achievements or their actions or their personalities, because they are simply part of “The World”. This lessens any incentive for an Adventist to get to know a non-member, because they are inherently wary of them (after all, they are under the influence of Satan). Now I will go into the two major reasons that they exclude non-members from their lives in any meaningful way.

This is part 1 of this topic. Click here for part 2.

15 Comments
  1. I feel real sorry for you. To be in so much pain and take it out on a church. Isn’t every church be it SDA or Catholic like a club with rules and regulations? Jesus said “if you love me keep my commandments.” Or are you doing away with the Bible as well.

    Do hope you find peace.

    Jenny

    • The Adventist church can be a very abusive organization and has destroyed many lives. You and your fellow cult members are the ones who are scared of having to face that painful truth, so you accuse those who have left of being the bullies. Cowardly.

      Many of us have found peace and truth by leaving Adventism and all religion behind, so no need to feel sorry for us (although I’m sure you don’t actually care, you’re just being a typical condescending Adventist).

    • Do away with the bible? NO.
      But just maybe you should crack it open and read that New Testament and see if what is spewing from the pulpit in the seventh day adventist church matches what is taught in the scriptures for yourself. Yes these adventists are a very arrogant clique culture. Just like talking to a brick wall. The standard our way is the only way and everyone else is wrong answer. I can see how beating this doctrine into people is very harmful. I guess the next thing they are going to say is there were no christians on earth prior to the 7 day adventist church!!

    • I suppose you really wouldn’t care about things that happen beyond the “rules and regulations” of the “church.” I grew up in the “church”, went to their schools, was sexually abused by a teacher, was not “helped” by anyone in the church or school, at the time or in adult hood. Went on to be accused of sexually abusing my own kids, by the very teacher who had sexually abused me, then was basically “shunned” by the “church.” So, defend your evil group as much as you like, people outside of your evil organization are kinder and more “christlike” than anyone in the Seventh Day Adventist Church!

  2. http://www.relativelyinteresting.com/a-few-problems-with-religion/

    The above link will make you think twice (I hope)about any religion. It is interesting to observe on this website how different Christian cults/sects/denominations get off on bickering and arguing endlessly about whose cultish doctrine is more true. America seemingly has an endless capacity for engineering new versions of old religions, the more bizarre the better.
    All Religion is based on imaginary and unfounded myth and should simply be dispensed with altogether for the sake and sanity of all life on this planet.
    The bible and other ancient scriptures are patent collections of fantastic stories hacked out by early primitives, they are full of terrifying ignorant and unscientific fictions.

    For example – Jesus imminent second coming back to earth, eagerly anticipated for thousands of years by so called true believers. Apparently he will emerge through a particular hole in the sky and he will be accompanied by hosts of alien winged creatures who will help him hoist 144k holy Saturday worshipping vegetarian zombies from their graves, together they will then gleefully cast all sinful non Christians (the rest of humanity from all ages)into lakes of fire.

    Can this delusional nonsense still be taken seriously or even tolerated by any sane thinking person living in the 21st century?

    We know that cruel outdated dogma and blind cultural prejudice fuels hatred and war and breeds fanatics capable of committing the worst human atrocities, try to imagine a world freed from of all this.

    • Chich, you forgot one thing, mate!!

      The billions of dollars that are pulled out of poor communities and those living from paycheck to paycheck:THEY GREAT TITHING LIE!!

      Even if you use THEIR OWN BIBLE (and the Adventist Church LOVESSS camping out in the Old testament, you will notice that the same God who gave the Adventist 10 commandments, NEVER required a tithe from his people while they were in slavery. Camping in front of the Red sea Gods people did not pay tithe, through the Red sea, NO tithe, Mount Sinai-NO tithe, Wilderness-NO tithe, River Jordan-no tithe. Tithe was instituted in THE LAND FLOWING OF MILK AND HONEY!! And then it was ONLY to FEED ONE TRIBE, the Levites. Only those who planted crops and those who farmed with Animals gave a tithe. Never professional people, trades people or anyone else. IT WAS ALWAYS PRODUCE, AND ALWAYS animals.

      Today, we have churches,of which the Adventist Church is one:BILLION DOLLARS rich and flogging poor people to death with tithes, which is CLEARLY UNBIBLICAL and A BUNCH OF LIES, even if you follow their Bible.

      Amazing how the Adventist and other Churches follow Hitlers words :

      “IF YOU TELL A BIG LIE AND REPEAT IT OFTEN ENOUGH, IT WILL BE BELIEVED.

      Chick, this “delusional nonsense” sure give Churches, especially the ADVENTIST CHURCH, a WHOLE LOT OF POWER AND CONTROL at the top of the PYRAMID to live Hollywood lifestyles, as Paul mentioned in another post, while those at the bottom of the pyramid is paid slave wages!

      And for those who do not want to believe what the Adventist Church is really all about, check out http://www.healthcarewhistleblower.blogspot.com/

      You better be out of there, mate!!They will terrorize you if they have too!!Phew, not even the Jesus that the Adventist Church follow did this crazy stuff!!

      As they say :SHOW US THE MONEY, AND THE ADVENTIST CHURCH IS FIRST IN THE QUE!!

      • Hello again, SAYITOUTLOUD,

        Thanks for your references on your other posts. I couldn’t find a reply button on them. Your startling news leads me to a mathematical conclusion: Since some SDA conference workers have become greedy, and have jumped into bed with government(s) on MDG/UN/IMF/WHO issues, they are in danger of bringing a large scale “Waco, Texas” onto their church…”Boom!Boom!, CRASH!!!,” just like you said! That would be a self-fulfilling prophecy for that church. Ironically, the worst enemy I have, my brother, went to Africa to be a missionary doctor. He is one of the most snobbish, Rockefeller types I know.

    • Hey, so I just popped in here curious about a church here down the street, and while I really don’t agree with Adventist views, still try to be respectful. There are people leaving the cult mentality, and you shouting “It’s all a myth!!” In the comments is probably not helping. It’s a bit disrespectful as well. I don’t want to argue my belief points with you, I’m not trying saying that your beliefs are either right or wrong, but if you’re going around websites that are trying to have people take the first steps to leave, shouting stuff they were taught was blasphemous is going to make it harder for them. Baby steps dude.

  3. Yep. Sadly, once again… The article is spot on. I am 3rd gen SDA – but proud to say I no longer consider myself an SDA member. So much pain and brainwashing has transpired. I’m angry and offer no apologies to anyone for my anger – including God.

    • Good for you Joe, embrace your independence wholeheartedly and have no regrets about throwing off the shackles of insidious indoctrination, your anger is actually very healthy, allow it to inspire you to discover more about the wider world around you and remember we are all children of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars above.
      Here is a link to a very beautiful perspective that will get you going.

      http://zepfanman.com/2010/11/science-saved-my-soul-transcript/

  4. i went to sda church and through the schools. i have 7 brothers 2 sisters .my ildest brother treets me like i am a brick wall. yes he still is a full blown S D A. i would put notes on public areas saying a live bully was here and again he also is a S.D.A. EX-(THE COWARDLY TYPE BULLY)

  5. I didn’t read all of this forum, but honestly, if you search the Scriptures you will find your answers.(tithe,marriage,children,death,life after death) It was placed on earth for guidance in Life. Do you realize all the people that made mistakes in the Bible? yes, of course you do. Even people that talked directly to God made some pretty bad mistakes. We should learn from their mistakes. Gods point of love is this 1 Corinthians 13:1-7. If we all believe in the same God, why are we arguing our opinion when that doesn’t necessarily even matter. You have a free will (your opinion), God gave you the option to either listen to Him and lead by Christs example or follow the prince of this world. No matter if you are SDA or not. Your journey with Christ is only between you and Him. All other opinions are just that, opinions.

  6. I watched a DVD discovering gods treasures Ron Wyatt excuse me if the name is wrong. straight bible archeology no denominational teaching. I believed his testimony the lord allowed him to find the ark of the covenant under mount Calvary. Jesus died the roman pierced his side the rocks rent open Jesus blood flowed through onto the mercy seat. The ten commandments were under the mercy seat. Those commandments will be brought out when the mark of the beast is enforced. I too struggle with my Adventist faith. I do know I’m saved by grace but I keep the commandments because Jesus said if you love me keep them

  7. I have written a small booklet about shunning within the SDA church. You can buy it on Amazon Kindle to download to any electronic device. It is only $.99.

  8. IN THE ADVENTIST HURT LOCKER!!!!
    This book relates my story as a father wrongly accused of pedophilia and ruthlessly smeared as a sexual pervert after my eldest daughter took part in RMT. She remembered me as a father who carried out satanic occult ritual abuse. Moreover, her accusations were taken as being true by leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church which had previously authenticated recovered memories in its deceitful, tabloid-type publications.

    For 25 years I myself was employed as a Seventh-day Adventist minister with service in England, Canada and the USA. In Adventism employee survival is pegged to exhibiting a sycophantic conformity to its authoritarian rule. Here is a church which blusters that its doctrines stand alone as the true gospel. At the same time it fiendishly derogates all other churches as Babylon to be avoided. At the same time nameless Adventist spin doctors are at work cunningly reinventing the church as, one big happy family ‘neath the sun. This veil of deceit becomes evident in my book. Be outraged at the shunning of my family by corpulent, irritable church administrators who lied for the Lord. Some laughed dismissively when I spoke of my family being reduced to an economic subsistence level.

    So the church I had served for 25 years imposed upon our family the traumatic experience known as The Memory Wars. Amongst my detractors was two denominational health educators – husband and wife. Both were holders of fraudulent doctorates in psychotherapy. The wife somehow obtained notes leaked from my daughter’s personal psychiatric files.
    END NOTE:
    The afore printed paragraphs are the initial blurb for my book. They are currently been viewed by some publishers.

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