Losing Family/Friends When Leaving SDA Church

On this website, you may have noticed that I keep assuming that you will be losing your friends/loved ones that are Seventh Day Adventists – at least for awhile. Is this true? Will you really? It all depends on your situation. To help you figure out how they will react to your deconversion, read my thoughts below.

You are the best judge

Seventh Day Adventists are not all the same. Some of them are more dedicated to their faith than others. Some only attend church on occasion, some attend church every week. Some do not attend activities/groups/classes outside of the Sabbath service, others do. All of this will effect how they react when you tell them. Seventh Day Adventists that get their personal identity from being a SDA will struggle the most with you choosing to leave. This is for the following reasons:

  • Seventh Day Adventists are exclusive. This is very important to understand why they reject non-SDA’s. That article is one of the most important articles on this site; read it.
  • If your family identity comes from the church, then you choosing to leave is going to make it very hard for you to fit in. As one reader wrote in, his brother told him; “now that you are no longer an Adventist, you will never really be one of us, because we are Adventists.” This is what they are. You will be an outsider to the family.
  • Not only are you leaving something that is their personal identity, you will also be joining something that they have been trained to not like/not trust/avoid/reject. Think about it; you will now be joining “The World“. Think about all of the negative, bad things you have heard about “The World” in the Adventist church, and from your very own family! You are now all of those things. That doesn’t mean they won’t love you; but then again, it is arguable if they do. It is hard. But basically, you are now part of “The World”. How can light mix with darkness?
  • If your family/friends get their identity from the church, then they probably do a lot with the church, and this is likely how they spend their “family” time. You can no longer do these things with them.

The most important point though, is that you have now joined “The World” and they will now view you in a very negative way. For more information on that, I suggest you read this article. It is aimed at young teenagers, but it is very relevant. But now; it is time to figure out how your family/friends will react.

It is like being in-love

If you haven’t been in-love, then you don’t know what it is like, and you often wonder if your crush/lust is love or not. But, once you have been in-love, then you know that it was love! In the same way, you are the best judge. Try and picture telling your friends/family. How do you expect them to react? Do you know they will react badly? Or do you think they will be supportive (even if initially shocked)? Will they desperately try to reconvert you?

Your loved ones could react in multiple ways. Here are some common ways they could react:

  1. They could be cool with it. Imagine how most Anglican fathers would react if their son deconverted; “well son, I think that Anglicanism is the right way in life, but if you believe this is right for you I support your decision.” They will then be very nice about – take a interest in your new life, without being vindictive about it.They will smile, be casual, not be paranoid, and not criticize you – both to your face, and behind your back. It would be treated like you simply changing jobs. This is the reaction that most religious parents have when their kids deconvert. It is cult-like churches that react differently, and part of the reason they are so dangerous and scary.
  2. They could be terrible about it. They will criticise you both to your face and behind your back, and say nasty, hurtful things about you. They will not want to hear about your new life, or if they do, they will be vindictive about it (e.g. instead of asking how your week was, they will ask how was your weekend, because they want to hear about what you did on Sabbath to focus on how you now break it).They will be both openly and passively aggressive. They will not look at you the same, they will be crying/complaining behind your back (to other church members), saying terrible things (ruining your reputation) and they will make it clear that you are no longer part of the family, but are estranged (even if they insist you not cut yourself off). In the beginning, they will try to reconvert you, they will try to track you down and send literature/people your way. They will eventually give up somewhat but continue to try and reconvert you, always bitter about your choice. Yet they will still want to see you/associate with you – even if it isn’t pleasant. This gives you hope for reconciliation, but it will be a hard road.
  3. Your less-close Adventist friends will probably start to act like you didn’t exist. They will just start to avoid you/disassociate themselves with you. Expect them to stop calling you, to stop seeing you and to avoid talking to you. You might have expected some of your less close Adventist friends to try and win you back – but they won’t. They’ll just pretend you don’t exist.In many ways though, this will be largely your doing – if you have been following the action plan then you have been disassociating yourself with them as much as possible. To be honest, you wouldn’t have been a great friend to them, so don’t expect them to be a great friend back. You can ignore them at events where you are forced to be around other Adventists (such as weddings and funerals). They may think you are rude/a jerk, but don’t let this make you feel bad. You need to cut yourself off to regain your mind/non-SDA identity and to move on from the exclusive culture.
  4. If you are a teenager or a young adult, they could even kick you out. This is usually kept for the more extreme offenses, such as if you openly violate principles they feel strongly about or if you are not diplomatic about your beliefs.If you want to continue living at home, you may not be able to bring friends around during Sabbath (or home full stop), you may not be able to have your boyfriend stay the night, you may not be able to wear jewellery around the house or even keep it there. If you live away from home, they may choose to cut you from their life. This is a very extreme response but it is not unheard of.

Those are just 4 ways that they could react. One thing to keep in mind; if you are diplomatic, nice, and reach out, it will get better with time. It may take years (it has taken years for me to reconcile with my family, and things are still tense). After awhile, it is probably only going to get better, not worse. Of course, it is completely up to you as to whether you want to reconcile this relationship, and that is something I can’t help you with.

Whether you think the church is a cult or not, this is very relevant.

1 Comment
  1. I love this site!

    When this site went down the other week, I thought I would have to create my own.

    Having been through it myself years ago, I believe every one of your stories on here…When you decided to leave or didn’t pass the “litmus test,” some of your spiritual attackers did it to you knowingly and some did it subconsciously. Nonetheless, you were attacked. My friends, you may have been or may be up against more than just the SDA ”exclusion” mentioned on this site. There may be social Darwinism and Rockefellerism (i.e. God ordained some to be rich…and others…well) at work too. Why? You have SDA “conference workers” in Thousand Oaks, CA telling these pastors that they have to bring in tithe money. Remember, part of SDA witnessing is to show the rest that you are better…a bigger, better, stronger, smarter and more wealthy vegetarian!

    If there is any doubt in any of your minds, whether you have left or whether are thinking about leaving…It’s time to pull Ellen White out of the back of your mind, and slam her down deep into the sands of History’s discarded lies! That’s where literary thieves and frauds belong! At least Joseph Smith or Mormon fame didn’t steal.

    This site is great! Where should I start?

    I had the misfortune of moving to Wichita, Kansas and ending up at the Three Angles SDA Church. I wanted to go to college, and my Mother said my older, doctor brother needed company in the State of Kansas. My brother said I could stay with him if I followed some house rules, and one of them was the Three Angels Church. What I didn’t know was that my brother had become a very religious, bible-thumping man after his days of medical school in Loma Linda, CA…after his growth with this offshoot SDA church.

    Pastor OJ Mills took doctors and lawyers away from the main SDA Church in town to start the Three Angels Church. It was a place where the “ordained” could have a more Rockefeller type of existence, and not be bothered so much by the poor people at the main SDA Church. I found myself mowing the church lawn and doing other chores, mostly with the church “Work Bs” as they called them, while the other young people were getting to take part in more “spiritually mature” activities. “Spiritual” is usually not a word that is thrown around much in a main SDA church. Nevertheless, there I was, and then I heard it from a young woman at the church: I wasn’t “spiritual enough” to do the things the young doctors and lawyers were doing. I was doing chores and they were having special Sunday dinners at the pastor’s house…So, I verified this with the pastor’s wife, Millie Mills. Sure enough, I needed to “grow more spiritually” before I took part in some of the finer things in life. Since I was an engineering student and not a doctor who could pay 30 grand in tithe in a year, my spiritual growing could have taken a very long time. I’m trying to make a long story short. I was getting thumped over the head big time by big brother too…I was kicked out of the house shortly thereafter because he’d found a pebble under his shoe when he came home one Friday night, and found that his not so spiritual brother hadn’t even mopped the floor good enough. I’d also gone to the movies when I should’ve gone to a Saturday night special function…it wasn’t a Wednesday night prayer meeting…just something…

    Besides a part time job and chalking up the student loan debt I would’ve had anyway, that experience forced me to search for the truth, which was a good thing because, as the saying goes, “The truth will set you free.”

    Per one of the main discussions on this site, I cannot argue that the Three Angles Church, or any SDA church is a cult due to the weight measurement put on the word, “deviant,” by the Wikipedia, but I can argue for “false.” Oh, definitely false.

    What were some of the other things I heard at the Three Angels Church: “Accept the truth, and then close your mind like a steal trap.” Those of you on this site shouldn’t be thinking about “leaving” SDA, you should be running out! This is the information Age. Anyone on this site can get ahold of Walter T. Rea’s book, The White Lie, and find out how White stole from Wylie’s History of Protestantism. It doesn’t stop with Rea by a long shot. Someone’s great grandfather took White to court for literary thieving, and won! If that still isn’t enough to make you run, consider some of the things that Ellen White wrote, such as “God cannot take to heaven the slave who has been kept in ignorance and degradation, knowing nothing of God or the Bible…” (Early Writings P. 276). Since White was a fraud, the SDA churchgoer is on a straight and narrow path—and boring path it is—to the underworld of kernagis. I can’t say hell because SDAs don’t believe in hell. I hope that you get the point. Run! …Run!

    My run from the SDA Church and my search for the truth took me across a lot of boundaries. We’ll, the slump in the aircraft industry in Wichita, where I worked as an engineer after school, helped with that too. I ended up with a father-in-law who is a retired communist general. He still has 2 armed military guards at his front door and 2 at his backdoor. I’ve been married to his beautiful daughter for over 8 years. They are a very strong family, and they treat me better than my own family did.

    My search for the truth…I’ve found certain things to hold true in this world, such as the old saying, “Babylon is the Mother of all religions.” God did not create religion, man did. If you don’t believe that, consider Hebrew nationalism and the Atrahasis (an ancient Babylonian title to a creation and flood story, meaning “Extra Wise”).

    When you find the truth, it will set you free. It might be stranger than science fiction. It will probably hurt, just like my Ancient History professor said…but most importantly, it will set you free.

    Oh, and one more thing. Just like the owner of this website said, SDAs will tell you that things not put there by the SDA Church is the devil’s. Ah! The devil’s writings! That is another SDA lie.

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