What is a “Conservative” or a “Traditional” Seventh Day Adventist?

Doug Batchelor, Conservative SDA

Throughout this website, you will see references to “Conservative Adventists” being thrown around a lot. This is because there are two major types of Adventists, Progressive and Conservative. For an explanation on Progressive SDA’s, click here. It is very hard to describe the difference. For SDA’s, it is like night-day. They do not need this article to explain it to them. But as non-SDA’s read this site, I will do my best to describe them to you.

As I said, it is very difficult to give an exact definition. Some are more conservative than others; there is a lot of variation. Some families/churches have more “signals” and “identifiers” than others. With this in mind, these are merely guidelines and are to be treated as such. Most people will have aspects of both Liberal and Conservative SDAism. In the end, it usually comes down to their attitude.

EGW is quoted a lot in churchConservative Adventists (otherwise known as ‘Traditional Adventists’)

Traditional Adventists adhere strictly to the 28 fundamental beliefs. This doesn’t mean they necessarily keep them; they get broken all the time. But, in their heart and minds, they believe that they should be kept. They believe that we have a duty to God to keep these beliefs, and these fundamental beliefs to them are the church. They believe that once someone has heard the “the truth”, they need to follow it to be saved.

Conservatives would refer to themselves as Adventists, and many would not be comfortable being referred to simply as a “Christian”. Basically, they are Adventist before Christian. They usually believe that the fundamentals have no room to be wrong; hence they are “traditional”. These beliefs lead them to judge people in “The World” in an incredibly negative way.

Signals at Church

  • They speak about Ellen G White a lot. While most will call her “the lesser light, shining brightness on the greater light”, if pushed they will usually say they find her infallible and on the same level as the Bible. The really ‘conservative’ members don’t even need to be pushed.
  • At their church services, you will find similar topics being talked about. The sermons usually focus on topics where Adventists have unique theology; such as their prophecies, the Sabbath and the health message. They talk a lot less about “common” Christian ideas – there aren’t a lot of sermons on Sabbath.
  • They stick strictly to hymns, with only a little variation into “modern” songs. They do not approve of drums in the church (this is something they will be very vocal about).
  • Very extreme conservatives will walk out of a church service if a woman speaks. Usually they are fine with it, but are not OK with women pastors.
  • In regular, day-to-day conservations, they will use Adventist-specific phrases, such as calling non-Adventists “The World” and calling Adventist teachings “The Truth”. More examples of this can be found here.
  • At the very conservative meetups, their shared meals (potlucks) will be strictly vegan (this does not mean that they are privately vegan).

Books & literature are very important for conservative Adventists. Here are some influential books (vegan cooking & EGW)

Signals Outside Church

  • Heavy makeup is discouraged. Jewellery is never OK, except for wedding rings. This is somewhat changing; it is becoming more common for youth to wear some jewellery, particular earrings.
  • Clothing is generally kept reasonably modest. You would not be able to pick most Traditional Adventists out from what they wear (though females not having earrings is a good identifier); only in the offshoot cult sects could you do this.
  • If you asked a Conservative Adventist what they thought on “Liberal” Adventists, they would have long list of complaints.
  • Publicly, they will announce the virtues of being a vegetarian and around other SDA’s they will only eat vegetarian/vegan food. Privately, some do eat meat, but they would never break the diet laws; they even avoid caffeine (will not drink coffee). No alcohol, no drugs, no smoking.
  • They have conflicting views on media such as TV/books/music/movies.  In the past, conservative members would never have gone to the movies – that was an “evil” place. Now, they will regularly go. They will even watch R16 (though not usually R18) movies. They will watch sex on TV (though if asked, talk about ‘how evil’ it is and many will say they have thought about getting rid of their TV’s) and they will watch violence. They are a lot less likely to put up with supernatural shows, and dislike shows that explore religion other than their own. The very conservative SDA’s do not watch/read non-SDA material. If they have a TV, they will only watch the 3ABN network. If you know an Adventist that is like this – or even just an SDA that has 3ABN installed – trust me, they are very conservative.
  • While they will break the rules, they aren’t casual about it (it is very shameful and they would not wish to be caught). Unlike Liberal Adventists, they will keep the Sabbath and not be so openly bored during it. They will almost always say it is their favourite day, even if this is a lie.

The 3 Angels Message- important

How Conservative Adventists React to People Leaving the Church

In short; very badly, bar a few exceptions. Seventh Day Adventists believe they have “The Truth”, and that nothing in the fundamental beliefs is wrong. They believe that is you actively disobey God’s commandments, it shows you do not love God. If you do not love God/accept his gift of salvation and commandments, you will not be saved.

There is one issue, though; the SDA church is relatively new and there is no church that, previous to its creation, it can be compared too. Their answer to this is that previous to the Adventist church, there were “true Christians” but they hadn’t heard the truth. Thus, those who honestly loved God will be saved. However, now that the church has been created and has “The Truth”, there are no excuses anymore. Once you’ve been introduced to Adventism that is do-or-die. If you reject “The Truth”, you are condemned by God to die – and the churches mission is that everyone hears it. When they see one of their family or friends reject “The Truth”, the basically see them as losing eternal life – plus they see them as joining “The World” and judge them heavily for rejecting God. This is why leaving a conservative group is such a big deal and so scary.

In Conclusion…

Traditional SDA’s are exclusive, and they believe that they are special, unique and elect. This contrasts with Liberal Adventists who don’t focus on the doctrines of being elect, and instead draw their exclusivity from their internal social culture. Because Conservative Adventists believe so strong in their beliefs, they are extremely judgmental to “The World”, because they have rejected God. Most see them as being selfish and influenced by Satan. All of this internal pressure makes it very hard to leave a Seventh Day Adventist family that is conservative.

“Amazing Facts” is programing by Doug Batchelor. Part 1 of their video explaining how the world is going to end, and how only Adventists (or “true Christians”) will be saved.

  1. I remember as a wide-eyed new convert to the SDA religion, I was given the Final Events DVD by my church friends and encouraged to share it with people. I was told it was nicely produced and “safe” for outsiders as an introduction to SDA doctrine. I showed it to my sister.

    A few years later, when I began de-converting and talking to her about my issues with the church, she literally cried tears of relief. Shocked, I asked her why. She said that the Doug Bachelor DVD I had shown her had given her recurring nightmares and anxiety attacks. She was convinced I belonged to a dangerous doomsday cult that was obsessed with death.

    Wow, was I blind or what? As an SDA I would laugh at people who believed in the Rapture and read all those crappy Left Behind books, calling them paranoid and accusing them of worshipping a cruel and vindictive god. But hindsight is 20/20 I guess; I can see that SDA prophecy really isn’t that different.

    To be honest though, the laughably stupid acting and cheap production values kind of make it hard to take this seriously. Somebody should take all these Amazing Facts “films” and make fun of them like an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. 😀

    • Hi Kat, I have greatly appreciated your comments. This in particular made me smile. As a teenager I bought the ‘Final Events DVD’ with my own money as Sabbath ‘entertainment’. I showed it to my (albeit atheist) friends once I decoverted; they found the production values and out-of-touch messages/attitudes hilarious!

      • Amusingly enough, I’m told Amazing facts has recently been preaching that acting is sinful because they say it’s technically a form of lying. So “true” Christians should not make nor act in films. I haven’t heard this preaching myself, but was told about it from an SDA acquaintance of mine (who has done work for the ministry in the past, although they don’t agree with the “no acting” thing).

        Of course, their own DVD re-enactments are okay because they’re telling people the “truth” and there’s no speaking parts. *eyeroll*

    • Are you aware the Adventist church does not officially recognize Doug Bachelor and Amazing Facts? In fact, this is the cult my niece dropped out of high school to join!

  2. What if a person wants to remain an Seventh-Day Adventist but does not want to belong to a specific congregation anymore?

    An a Seventh-Day Adventist have membership in the denomination but not with a specific church ?

    • You can ask the church you are currently a member of to transfer your “official” membership to the conference church. That’s what Adventists do when they live out in the boonies, are invalid or otherwise isolated and aren’t able to attend a specific church on a regular basis.

      That’s pretty much your only option if you still want your name in their record books without feeling like you have to “belong” to only one congregation.

  3. So, Kate, fair enough you giving advice to people here, a personal question to you, have you read your bible intently and with help from the holy spirit page to page? If so please do before you mislead multitudes. From reading your articles it now becomes clear that you had strong outside forces that didn’t want you converted in the first place and they have WON. Soon or later if pride doesn’t prevail you will be haunted by the truth, my advice, let the truth stand and whilst you’re unsure keep it to yourself you don’t want to regret having said anything. I will pray for you.

    • Hi Vale,

      This is the Webmaster here – thank you for your comments, I welcome all sides. I just wanted to note that Kate is not me – she has left many interesting comments but she has not created the articles. I just wanted to clear that up, thank you.

    • Rationalize my apostasy and/or blame me for “backsliding” all you want, but the only time I ever felt “haunted by the truth” was when I was a devout Adventist praying constantly for the Holy Spirit to help me reconcile the Bible and EGW with, well…. the massive amount of problems with both. The Spirit didn’t seem nearly as invested in the struggle as I was, since clear thinking won the day. Alas.

      I have a lot less anxiety and doubt in my life these days without religion. If god exists, he knows where to find me. I’m sure an all-loving, omnipotent being doesn’t need your help trying to force me back into the church with fear tactics and empty, condescending threats.


    • Kate needs to question her beliefs, we should all engage in this, truth will stand out boldly in it’s own defense [EGW quote by the way,she to much that was amazing profound,] If we are honest in heart and want to do what is right and are intellectually honest, then the truth will prevail.

      Never assume anything is true until you can prove it. I like what Jefferson said once, loose quote, ‘question everything, government, authority, laws, etc and even God. Because if God exists He would prefer the worship of reason over that of blind fear.’

      • The truth prevailed and I have finally left Adventism. Thank you God for helping me see clearly!

    • I took that advice and that’s why I left!

  4. Right on Kate. I think when they start talking about being the “only true Church” to repent of your sin of denouncing/leaving the SDA Church etc, shows cult like tendencies.I see most Adventist leave gloom and doom responses to people here and elsewhere who don’t agree with them. And they become arrogant, nasty. Just the opposite of Christ. Even when they do say gushy things like “I’ll pray for you” and “I hope you see the light” and so on, it just reeks of condescending manipulative fear tactics. Did I say cult? lol

    • Oh ! I see. I bet if she was Catholic she would have a job but then again you are THE SENIOR ACCOUNTANT you can’t ramp with the Babylon Money. If you were a Ras Jah Jah would have excused you so you can hnadle your business but you is a BAWL HEAD HA HA HA so no can do,I just love them Church Girls. Anyway, on a serious note seek legal counciling my Dear, and stop talking about you leaveing it in God’s Hands. All the best, I am quite sure you will get victory.

      • Why is it that on every SDA-related site I see lots of very incoherent, schizophrenic-sounding replies from Adventists that don’t make any sense?

        • Because they are Kate!

          I had this online talk with some SDA chick awhile back, it was like everything I said or points proved, went right over her head!!!!????!!!! I could have had a better conversation talking with a concrete wall.

          Its the mystery of iniquity, it’s so crooked and false it makes no sense, and you will come off sounding like that if yo try to defend the indefensible.

          It’s just so much more easy and peaceful to just correct problems and change for the better, to turn around and go in a right direction.

        • Kate so happy to hear you have left the 7th day church. too bad I can’t say the same for my ex girl friend. I gave her walking papers around a year ago today this 7day adventist religion is just not compatible with new testament teaching no matter how you slice it. I was brought up in a protestant mainstream sunday church and find the adventist doctrine to be down right offensive. Like I told my ex I would never darken the door of this church. Too bad I never did my proper research before I dated her it would have saved me a lot of heartache. The manipulation and denials about what is actually taught in the adventist church was unbelievable. She did point blank confirm when confronted “we get the mark of the beast speach every year in church.” I Had a friend of hers (adventist of course) tell me “I could never marry a catholic girl I bleeping hate them”. Yep good qualilty christian church/people. NOT! I always wondered if she was bipolar, schizophrenic or just plain nuts to believe in this religion. Obvious to me some of these people should read the Lying For God 7th edition 2012 revision and maybe actually read the new testament and comprehend it. To sum it up it is A okay not to be adventist no shame in that at all. I do feel for my ex gf it must be hard being brought up in a religion with such unorthodox beliefs.

        • I’ve noticed that too. The ones who most don’t like us leaving say and do so much that confirms us in our leaving and not wanting to be around that mentality!

      • Leaving it in God’s hands, an excuse to do nothing, it’s so easy, let go and let God, ahhhh, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • I’ll pray for you, another excuse not to do anything of real value. I love the Unitarian saying, “Deeds, not creeds!”

      Here is another good line from SDA fanatic types, ” Your spiritually blind.” [Response to being proven wrong with no supporting facts to back you, last resort of bumbling, stupid scoundrels. Actually I’ve heard this from a lot of cult types including JWs.

  5. Just commenting on “final Events” clips. Doug said that we do not know exactly what will happen that will kick off the final events…(paraphrasing). Luke 21:20-24 says, “when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies…” This seems to be something that could happen in our generation. I know it happened in 70 AD, but personally..from reading other scripture, I think it will happen again. Also, it’s interesting that Doug doesn’t continue reading 1 Timothy 4:1..which it reads in verse 3…”forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving” and in verse 5..”for it is sanctified by the word of God…”. The “deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” are those doctrines that speak of verses 3-5, in my personal opinion, not necessarily spirits coming back from the dead and speaking through spiritual mediums..etc, otherwise, the chapter would have been specific to say that. Two of the biggest issues of our day,..these “latter” days, are the sanctity of marriage and veganism or vegetarianism. Also, Doug fails to mention 1 John 4:2-3 where it reads “by this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess….is the spirit of the antichrist”. I belong to a lovely Lutheran church and I can surely tell you that they confess Jesus as coming in the flesh at each and every worship service, together as a congregation. Last I heard, Catholics did too. I never knew this text existed until I was de-converting 🙂

    • None of the Sunday or other churches believe that Jesus came in the flesh, but rather he was a super human who was shielded from “original sin” by the immaculate conception, although Protestants don’t use that term, they still believe in this in a way. the scriptures are clear, Jesus took OUR flesh and humanity, not something different. [as a former Evangelical I reject the doctrine of original sin, its a falsehood,] Jesus was an example of what we can become through a connection [or as most like to say, a relationship, but it’s really an actual real connection,] with the Divine Spirit.
      A few Christians believed like this and were shunned and persecuted over the centuries for this. Most of what we believe today is purely Romanist and Catholic.

      • Mr Fortin, are you sure that “none of the Sunday churches believe that Jesus came in the flesh” or that “he was …shielded from original sin by the immaculate conception”????
        First, those that DO take the Bible seriously are committed to the reality of our Lord’s human nature. Second, as to the doctrine of original sin, if Gen.2 is read carefully the instructions given to Adam, though not called a covenant, bear all the hallmarks of one; it is usually called the “covenant of works”. Third, Adam was not merely the physical progenitor of the human race; he was—as a Puritan preacher put it—”a publick person”, much like heads of state are. Or as Paul puts it, “in Adam all die”(I Cor.15:22a). But, “in Christ all shall be made alive”(v.22b).

    • Former SDA,I never made it in the Seventh Day Adventist Church and you’re right. They do love to leave a lot of scripture out. It’s because the scripture does not support their doctrine. I too belong to a Lutheran Church. My Dad was raised Lutheran and his family is Lutheran. Dad joined the SDA Church a year before I was born. He still believes that gobbelty-gunk that is taught in the SDA Church. I’m glad I left the church and joined the Lutheran Church. And yes, we do have the Apostle’s Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed all of which confess Jesus as coming in the flesh at each and every service.

  6. I need to pick a bone with you, its a matter of fact and history,

    “..Traditional Adventists adhere strictly to the 28 fundamental beliefs…”

    This is not how I remember things when all of this controversy got started about conservative and liberal. Actually conservative meant you supported the leadership and the SDA Inc. Traditionalists were those who were bucking the 28 Fundamentals as “apostate” and “false doctrine” Liberals or progressives were the Desmond Ford types who were busy de-gressing back to worn out, long proven wrong, un-biblical Evangelical Christianity complete with original sin and papal Sunday veneration.

    I think we have been sold a bill of goods and are living in the Matrix, or a false landscape developed to keep us in the dark ignorant of the real issues.

    Adventism was originally liberal and progressive, not being stuck in the past but trying to follow “Present Truth” and progressive ideas as opposed to the traditionalist churches who still followed Rome in too many ways, the religion of the dark ages.

  7. Hi Thomas,
    just curious where you get that sunday churches say Jesus was “superhuman”. I don’t know about other sunday keeping churches, but Luther’s catechism says He is “true man” as well as true God. He was not shielded from sin, but was tempted and suffered in all points. Also, in Col 2:9 it reads, In Christ all the Deity lives in bodily form. What would your different explanation be as far as coming in the flesh? Do you believe he was born with sin as all humans are?

  8. I am reluctant to write. I find all such sites I stumble upon and the replies odd at best. I am a Christian and a seventh day adventist. Most of your material is biased and not of a good spirit. The main thing I wanted to comment on is attacking the characters of the more than 17 million SDA’s. We are all individuals (everyone) influenced by many factors of our environment and upbringing. No two people approach knowledge exactly the same. Nor do we all follow Christ exactly as we should. Just wanted to give a little coherent though to this interesting thread.

    • Amy, you can be thankful for this site. The moderators allow you, Amy, to comment, even if YOU DO NOT AGREE. Adventist sites, Amy, IS A WHOLE LOT DIFFERENT!In line with Adventism, THEY QUICKLY ban you from the site if you expose the truth about Adventist power and control, with corruption, its bed partner, following closely. The absolute brutality, mental, emotional and psychological abuse is plentiful and abhorrent.The moderators of even the so called “liberal” sites like Spectrum and Adventist Today is as bad. Worse still, they do not care,Amy, whether you are one of your “more than 17 million.

      Amy, please do tell me what is biased about the Adventist Church “enforcing” the millenium development goals onto INDEPENDENT developing nations. These goals, Amy, kills, destroys, robs, maims. Countries like India, Argentina, Haiti, Jamaica, New Zealand and continents like Africa, South America, Central America are EXCELLENT examples of this maiming, killing, robbing and destroying. Disease (you have witnessed it on TV and Adventist Church want us to believe that Ebola, for example, just APPEARED out of nowhere. Amy, poverty, unemployment, chaos, instability, havoc, 2,000% inflation, disease, death:That, Amy, it the result of Millenium Development goals aka structural adjustment programmes.

      Amy, prior to 2003, YOUR ADVENTIST CHURCH, signed up with the UN/IMF/WHO to ENFORCE mdgs on developing countries FOR AN UNDISCLOSED SUM!This is astonishing, Amy!The UN/IMF/WHO has NEVER claimed to give people life, spread tge Gospel of Jesus Christ!The SAME Adventist Church that warns against the UN NEW WORLD ORDER!!!The 2003 session saw delegates RATIFY the “enforcing” of Mdgs indeveloping countries!This makes EVERY SINGLE ADVENTIST, Amy, guilty of maiming, robbing, killing, destroying the VERY PEOPLE, who, according to Adventists, God created!This is astonishing! Amy, no two people approach knowledge the same: do tell me, if you rob, maim, kill and destroy, do you follow Christ or do you follow satab? The Adventist Church has SIGNED UP, for an UNDISCLOSED sum of money with the UN. Amy, I live in a country where those structural adjustment programs were ENFORCED. Amy, it ROBS, it KILLS, it DESTROYS, it brought a WHOLE COUNTRY TO ITS KNEES!

      Use your coherent thinking Amy, and to tell us: Based on the mdgs ALONE, who is the Adventist Church following? Amy, has the adventist church NO RESPECT for independent countries?Why “enforce” structural adjustment programmes aka mdgs dreamt up in WASHINGTON OFFICES on INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES? Is the ADVENTIST CHURCH A WORLD GOVERNMENT? Why is the Adventist Church SOO DISRESPECTFUL?

      You can read more other despicable behaviour of the Adventist church here:http://latestnewsinbrief.blogspot.co.nz. The Adventist Church is WILLING TO TERRORIZE others to protect their lies.

      Amy, you may have more than 17 million members. Most of these members live in developing countries. The Adventist Church is thus planning to decrease its membership by at least 50%: as mdgs brings death, disease, killing, robbing, poverty, chaos.

      So, yes, I agree that we are all influenced by many factors. I can tell you that the floodgates are open and people are STREAMING out of the Adventist Church. The Adventist Church ooenly admits that ADVENTISM IS IN ITS DARKEST HOUR!! Amy, you can minus 2 off the more than 17 million!!!

      I am a proud Ex Adventist!

      • Thanks for the reference, SAYITOUTLOUD! Wow! Look at you and Amy talking about 17 million members. There were only about 7 million when I left that church. Guess they know how to keep the ones who pass their “litmus test.” We need to start working on those numbers.

        • OK, your reference site didn’t look like much until I clicked on the highlights…that’s a legit, University of CA .edu/ goldmine of information. Thanks! Nice to meet you!

        • Paul,its my pleasure!! That more than 17 million, if it is correct, that membership is mainly in developing countries. So, keep your eyes on the numbers : if you look at the history of mdgs aka structural adjustment programmes, the SDA membership is destined for a nose dive! Boom!Boom!, CRASH!!!

          Here is another reference of just where NZ is heading post mdgs aka structural development goals:nznewsinbrief.wordpress.com. Even politicians agree that NZ is now a very different place, yes, indeed, a sad affair!!This is mdgs aka structural adjustments IN REAL LIFE!Now who would have thought that 8 goals with a number of targets, on two lowsy pages, could have destroyed and continue to destroy the lives of people!WHAO!!!!

        • The latest official,statistics from the GC are that about 50% of newly baptised people leave within a year or two.

    • Hi Amy,

      Thanks for writing! There are probably no two life experiences that are exactly the same, and, as you said, “No two people approach knowledge exactly the same.” That’s why this site may seem “…a little odd at best” to you. It’s full of life experiences (various knowledge…many of them hurt by the SDA Church. Just as no two people approach knowledge exactly the same, there are numerous approaches to logic. Human logic is a subject of many laughs among my engineering colleagues in the aerospace industry. It is a crying shame when we engineers don’t get our cold, true/false, digital logic right. As my Physics professor in college, who also considered himself to still be a Chinaman, said, “If a doctor makes a mistake, one-a-person die…engineer make a mistake…oh!…hundred-a-people die…hundred-a-people die!”

      Some of the facts on this site are that Ellen G. White was a literary thief. If you need references, we can supply you with plenty. White also told us that the Holy Spirit inspired her writings. In addition, how did White put it, “[Those of us who reject the truths of the SDA Church are lost forever]?” Consider a church established under falsehoods, and then consider the cold, true/false logic of where that “straight and narrow” SDA path may be taking its followers…

      We on this site will be praying for you, Amy. God bless you.

      • Ah, Paul, you spoke about engineering. That was one of the areas that mdgs aka structural adjustments affected directly!!hundreds if not thousands of aeronautical engineers were made redundant!!Of course, Academics suffered the same fate. Yet structural adjustments are still catapulting forward. Only this time, the Adventist Church is IN THE DRIVING SEAT!!!

    • Amy, thanks for your piece.
      I too am an Adventist and am baffled by comments left by former Adventists here on the site. Which makes me wonder if I attend the safe Adventist church they are speaking about.
      Nothing was ever forced on me at my church. Sometimes we blindly take things over and not question and at some point we become frustrated, but to leave the church and then try to destroy its image, isn’t the way to do it either. If you don’t feel at home in the church or any church for that matter , just leave and leave the church alone. Its that simple.

  9. I still attend church but I am increasingly finding it to be a waste if time. I began to question tithing and my research there. I concluded that tithing was not biblical. I realized that at least some pastors understand this . I then moved on to E G White. E G White is more troubling because the leaders of the church have attempted to crush dissent. White’s more troubling writings have been kept under lock and key. Sabbaths are no longer relaxing or refreshing . Pastors continue to preach the party line but they hold no credibility. They will be fired if they show a hint of dissent. I do not need the SDA church to make sense of my life or the world . Some people may need a strong religious belief to help them make sense of the world. I can respect that. For those who believe in tithing . There was money way back in the time of Abraham yet he never tithed money. The tithe was always livestock and produce .

  10. My mother embraced sad beliefs in 1944 when her own mother introduced her to sad teachings that she had encountered in a revival tent in South Africa. Grandmother died shortly after, an event that affected my mother very deeply and affected the entire course of her life.

    I and my 5 siblings were born and raised in central Africa, in what was then called a British Protectorate. Fortunately for us the British education we were exposed to involved classical subjects, Latin Mathematic, world history, scientific exploration and discovery, studies of early man, cosmology, mythology etc., the sad principles my mother adhered to closely and forced upon us were in conflict with what we were taught in school.
    At age 12 I began to ask her awkward questions which she could not answer, received a slap through the face or worse for daring to ask. I was frequently locked in a dark cupboard by my mother for hours on end, for some small innocent childish act, and endured many severe beatings with her shoe.
    I might mention in our early childhood and in our small town, my mother was the only sad person for a long while.
    As I grew up I felt completely estranged from my peers, forbidden to engage in school sports if they took place on a Saturday, competition of any kind was discouraged (I was a natural athlete and excelled in most sports) we were not allowed to attend the local cinema or theatre as it was deemed evil and detrimental to the purity of one’s mind.
    Any natural human activity, such as dancing, singing, (other than hymns), drinking tea or alcoholic beverages, eating meat, especially pork rabbit or sea food, reading anything other than bible or so called “religious” lit. (messages to young people), amusement of any kind, even making oneself look attractive would prevent ‘salvation” and expulsion from the chosen few. Anything to do with sex or sexual attraction was studiously avoided, and one was punished severely if enquiring into these matters, we were expected to embark on adult life with absolutely no knowledge of these matters. Small wonder many of my generation went wild in the 60’s.

    Associating with Sunday worshipers was strictly forbidden. Catholics were accorded the most excoriating slanders of all Sunday worshipers and we won’t mention what was felt about the unfortunate “Heathen”, Jews had rejected Christ’s teaching and were doomed if they did not convert.
    Sad people seem to be pre-disposed to viewing everyone different to themselves and their pious beliefs as lost, disgusting, sons of satan or worse. I have noticed that even dissenting or ex sads, still cling to the basic “otherness” of Christianity and distinguish themselves as morally superior to every other religious specie on the planet.

    I am inclined to think that all modern conspiracy theories originated with sadism. They do after all in the 21st century believe fervently that a Jewish man who died 2 thousand years ago will imminently reappear via the belt of Orion to collect them, the faithful few and thereafter annihilate the entire planet. Pure science fiction.

    My mother through some sense of grief stricken loyalty to her mother, clung to and gave over her former self to the management of an imported american fundamentalist organization who read the bible, not as a work of literature, but as the literal word of an all powerful god that arose in the imagination of Semitic peoples thousands of years prior to the colonization of the Americas.
    She rapidly morphed from a normal person into a joyless paranoid bigot of note, she became a stranger to my dad, a fearful, cold, sadistic narcissist, all her “love” was reserved for an almighty tyrant that she worshipped without question. Collecting money for lepers from all the sinful towns folk did not strike her as hypercritical, neither did paying tithes on my dad’s hard earned earnings (he was a miner) strike her as unjust or unethical.
    She apparently had very little affection left over for anyone else, including for my dad, a war vet and completely worldly and romantic in his outlook, his war experiences had deeply affected him as with so many others who survived the conflict
    My mother told us he would never join us in the kingdom of heaven when Jesus returned to rescue the remnant sad people, dead or alive, from horrifying imminent apocalypse, and she believed this to her dying day. The bible, especially the book of Daniel and Saturday, Ellen White and her deranged writings, and an entity called “THE GENERAL CONFERENCE” became her lifelong idols. Her religious Mania became extreme in old age, and she could discourse on nothing else but sad beliefs, a true believer to the end.
    Children seem to want to love their parents and be accepted by them, regardless of what they believed or how they treated their offspring and I loved my parents and cared for them both in old age despite our different outlooks.

    My mother I feel, was misled during the war years, what they lived through then was indescribable, and the search for truth and certainty in an unstable post war world must have been highly desirable to many, unfortunately “Truth” comes in many different guises and it’s wise to tread carefully through the deep waters.

    I could write an entire book on my early exposure to sad religion and it’s detrimental, tragic effects on my family, which include the suicide of my eldest brother at age 27, the early death of my youngest sister from alcoholism and mental illness, my parents violent separation in later life and my own painful psychological struggle in mid life to finally purge altogether from my mind the deeply rooted nonsense first placed in my grandmother and mothers minds by “well meaning” American missionaries. We became a divided family when sadism first entered our lives.

    My mind became free a long time ago, reading widely, almost everything under the sun, gave me understanding, there are no cows so sacred one may not question or investigate them. My helpless exposure to religious brainwashing from childhood has given me an edge, I feel, in spotting and laying bare and questioning faulty or flawed reasoning, I believe it’s now called critical or sceptical thinking.
    I raised my own family, who are well adjusted happy and successful adult human beings with absolutely no superstition guiding their thoughts or actions, they know how I was raised , and they feel themselves decidedly more fortunate.

    • Wow, bless you, Daffyduck! and thanks for sharing! I think a lot of people went through or are going through similar situations. I really hope your experience, however, did not drive you away from Christ! He is not anything the way your poor mom believed Him to be. There is something about believing that God’s love is conditional that will imprison a person and will drive them nuts. God’s true love is not conditional. He seeks the lost, that they may experience His Unconditional love and enjoy His freedom.

    • I am a British SDA(VERY British!). I have been an SDA for 52 years. My parents were Methodists – my father was an organist for some 40 years. Reading material in our home: 1 large pulpit Bible with the notes and comments of John Brown of Haddington. Also the New Book of Knowledge series and a 9-volume history of WW2 published soon after the end of that conflict. Both lots i read avidly. Also – I stumbled across book – more about that later – first in 1955, then it followed us to our new address in a neighbouring part of Coventry—a town that had suffered 2 heavy air raids in the war(1940 and 1941).
      Come the authumn of 1962 I was at a low ebb – unemployed, unusual in the Coventry of that time. Started reading TBS to pass time. It was an eye-opener! By following February I was convinced of the Sabbath. Then learned of SDA congregation in Coventry, and on last Sabbath in June ventured to visit it. My mum was aghast. “What!”, she exclaimed, “Not one of those AMERICAN churches!”. So began my walk as an SDA, with my baptism following on August 22, 1964. Must end here, as it’s getting late – will resume later.

  11. Hello. May God be praised for He has given us the freedom to reason with Him.

    I am an SDA and I will just share my thoughts. I was born an SDA to start with and my father was and still a denominational worker. Growing up as an “Adventists” made me see the many faults and mistakes of church “members”, especially those on the “leadership” positions both in local churches and in the missions/conferences.

    I can say that I backslid for 2 years in my college years because of the discrepancies I see on what the SDA beliefs are and what is actually seen through its members. I actually know the feeling of disappointment of some of those who commented here. I also questioned God on many things and it troubled me a lot. The main reason I wanted to comment is that I wanted to share what my father told me.

    He said, “The church will not save you, pastors will not save you, even I can’t save you from sin. Only by looking unto Jesus will you be saved.” And that is my stance until this day. I believe that the SDA church is undergoing a “sifting” time where members come and go.

    Looking at the history of Israel in the Old Testament, the whole country has rebelled against God and they are led by their own kings. Did God abandoned them because of their rebellion? Not entirely due to the fact that there are “few”, like Daniel, who remained faithful to the Lord. This is the reason why I haven’t left the SDA church even though I know it has many faults through its members and leaders. I’m not saying I am like Daniel but I don’t have to follow them instead I can serve God with all my heart.

    Whenever I listen to sermons, I try to read the whole context of the quote. Because like some of the comments here, “some pastors will quote something from the Bible or the writings of EGW to support their own opinions!”. And that is very dangerous especially to members who are just listening, which I think most Adventists are, and not really understanding the whole context of the passage.

    So thanks for letting me share my thoughts even though this site is for Ex-SDA’s. How I wish many of us Adventists have an open mind and not just condemn everybody who don’t agree with us. May God bless us all.

    • The more who sift out the better. Sifting out into health, wisdom and freedom of spirit. If SDAism works for you, great. But those who leave aren’t backsliding. Many are actually moving forward and progressing in very healthy ways. Of course some have been damaged and their leaving does not go well. Being in or being out doesn’t work because of the heavy price SADism has inflicted on their lives.

  12. I found it interesting that you stated that jewelry was not acceptable, except for wedding rings. In my experience growing up Seventh-Day, wedding rings were not acceptable because they were considered a Pagan symbol representing the sun.

    I also don’t remember heavy makeup being discouraged. I remember makeup not being acceptable at all. Even plain old foundation was unacceptable. When my sister ordered from Mary Kay, the representative allowed her to substitute a sunscreen for the foundation in the basic skin care set.

    I still do not eat pork or pig products and find myself saying “I can’t eat pork” or “I can’t eat gelatin.” My friend reminds me that I am no longer part of that religion and that I can, in fact, eat what I choose to eat.

    We were only allowed to watch movies rated G, and only carefully selected G rated movies at that. Disney’s, The little Mermaid was a movie considered too violent because of Ursula’s character.

    We were never allowed to play any games that used dice. We could play “Sorry” because it used cards to move. We couldn’t play chess because it was too violent. We mainly played bible games purchased at ABC (Adventist Book Center). The games we played were “Egypt to Canaan,” “Life of Christ,” and “Life of Paul.” There was also a game called “Acts of the Apostles” which used square paper cups with depictions of the apostles on them. The games relied on the memorization of bible facts to win.

  13. These quibbles seem quite petty really in light of the fact that there is so much trouble in the world. Two world wars killed multi millions and the world powers are trying hard as Hilary Clinton put it to have a third world war. But who really wants to know. Who will listen to the message from God the Almighty? Not seventh Day Adventists and not any organised religion. I have tried them all. There are so many ‘I believes’ that are false. I know what is true but the truth is trampled to the ground in this day. No one is prepared to listen to truth and innocent people are being slaughtered. It seems to be the atheists of this world that are fighting the fine fight to enlighten the world to the actual fatalities and the actual cause of affliction throughout this world. But on a spiritual level and an atheistic level no one is prepared to listen to the fact that God Almighty has again brought his Firstborn into the inhabited earth as written prophetically by the apostle Paul Hebrews 1:6.

  14. Critical thinking requires the absence of bias. It seems like all responders believe themselves to be absolutely right. You’d make great 7th day Adventists. Also, it seems as if you only allow comments that agree with only one point of view. Very lame!

    • Actually Haile we approve of all comments. We go through periodically and manually approve the non-spam comments, including yours.

  15. Seventh Day Adventist,Catholic,Lutheran,Anglican etc etc doesn’t matter. Its your relationship with God that matters not what church you belong to. You can miss out on heaven being a seventh day Adventist just as you can belonging to any other church.The 7th day will always be the Sabbath and we are called to ‘remember’ that.So whatever church you belong to make sure your relationship with the man the church is surpose to represent is strong so that you wont hear the words ‘I do not know you’all the while thinking your denomination will save you. Let us sing Im coming back to the heart of worship and its all about you its all about you Jesus Im sorry Lord…….

  16. I know this is an old article, but just wnated to make one comment for anyone else that stumbles across this page. Whoever the author is has no idea what they are talking about. They dont seem to have the slightest idea about the differences between the “historic” Adventist ( or what is called conservative in this article) and the “progressive” in the church. And it is clear they absolutely know nothing about conservative Adventism because so much of what is written here is way, way off. And I know because I am most certainly a conservative SDA.

  17. To put it simple. The SDA adds to the Atonement of Christ, The Investigative Judgement. That in itself is enough to run from them. When Jesus said “It is finished” That’s what He meant. Genuine faith in Christ before one dies IS the ONLY way you can be saved. Anything else says the Bible, is anathema.(Galatians 1:6-11) Ellen White has been revealed a fraud many times. Putting aside her plagiarism, her prophecies that did not come to pass in whole or part immediately disqualifies her as a prophet. Period. Yet the SDA leadership insist she is infallible and inspired. We have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit only who our True guides, not a crack pot theology called Adventism that will damn everyone who adds anything to Jesus and His Atonement. Yes, the SDA will tell you it’s Christ alone who saves, but if pushed those staunch entrenched Adventist will say 1. They are the only true Church, the Remnant. 2. If you do not worship on Saturday, the true Sabbath, you are in Babylon. 3. Ellen White is infallible and her writings and status is on par with the Bible and biblical prophets. If one is completely honest and would evaluate their unique, unorthodox teachings and what they believe about Ellen White and the manipulative behavior towards foods, dress, jewelry, etc.,lines up well with what a cult is.

  18. I was raised sda .the most horrific childhood. Had to go to san gabriel academy. Im a Pro trained dancer and tv and film actress with Imdb credits. I had to fight with my fanatic sda parentS to be a performer.I believe its a cult.my life is so full and blessed without all the insane practices of that sda cult.I wear makeup and jewlery,no church,person or religion will steal my joy or dictate how I chose to live my life.im truly blessed withmy connection with God. HE IS THE ONLY ONE ANSWER TO.

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