When I was in the church, I heard all sorts of talk on why people left the church. More often than not, they said variations of the same idea; people left the church because they wanted to sin. “The World” was appealing; and people “gave in” to sin and temptation. I would love to know where this so-called appealing world is; because the world I entered into sure isn’t that. Indeed, the hardest thing I have ever done in life is leave.
My Background Story
Every ex-Adventist as their unique story to tell and it is important to understand what their background is. For me, I was a third-generation Adventist. I grew up in a small family in the UK. Our family was conservative; but not so conservative that we would not watch TV/movies. I had the luck of going to non-Adventist schools, and I mostly had non-Adventist friends. I was very dedicated to the church. I believed in it whole-heartedly. I would try to witness to my (amused) friends on a regular basis. I would study the Bible, study Ellen G White (although I was somewhat sceptical of her) and I followed the Adventist rules as best as I could. Not just because it was what was done, but because I wanted to.
My family was your typical exclusively conservative Adventist family. Fortunately, my parents worked in a non-Adventist institution. Unfortunately, they kept their distance from their workmates, often commenting privately on some of the “worldly” things they would do (such as swearing and drinking alcohol). Their only friends were other Adventists. Their friends with a mixture of conservative and liberal; my parents were very fond of conservative ideals and always talked about how they should try to be more “traditional”. I remember one time they got rid of most of the TV’s in the house so that we only had one. At times they threatened or forcibly removed property of mine that they deemed “evil” and “Satanic”. They always looked up to other SDA’s that were more conservative, and would wistfully say that they should be more like them. As the years progressed, we got more and more involved in extreme offshoot sects, but we never fully joined them – we merely toyed with them. I was both excited by them, and sceptical of them.
We went to church every week and we were reasonably active. Every year we were assigned jobs at the church and we fulfilled them; jobs such as being a deacon, deaconess and Sabbath School leader. Everyone in our small, immediate family was a dedicated Adventist. Our family name was known to most Adventists in our region. My parents encouraged me to get a higher education and to be successful in life – but that was not all they told me. They reminded me, time and time again, that while they wanted me to have a “successful life”, that all they truly wanted was for me to remain an Adventist and being saved. As I type this, it brings tears to my eyes, thinking about the deep, searing pain that my father must feel on a regular basis because of my decision.