Commentary: A Christmas Story
By Brother Anderson, December 17, 2005
I hate to admit it, but my parents tricked me. Every year my dad would put up a Christmas tree in the living room. As a little child I loved to help put on the bright-colored lights, tinsel, and ornaments. There were no presents beneath the tree, but my parents assured me that if I was a good boy, while I slept on Christmas Eve, Santa would bring beautifully wrapped packages and set them beneath the tree. So I waited with high hopes for Christmas day. Finally, when the day arrived, I would awake early on Christmas morning to find everything I wished for. I really loved Santa for all the toys he brought me every year. And I was also fond of those elves that helped him, and of course, who could forget the reindeer that whisked Santa from home-to-home on Christmas Eve?
But one day, my fantasy world came crumbling down as fast as one could devour a gingerbread house. I went to bed as usual on Christmas Eve, fully expecting Santa to arrive in the middle of the night with his special delivery. I dozed off, but was awakened late in the evening by noises in the hall. My door had been shut, but I could see a light on in the hall. Could it be that Santa was in our house? I sneaked out of bed and went over to the door and cracked it open ever so slightly. With trembling I looked out through the crack. And what did my innocent eyes behold? My father lugging out brightly wrapped packages from his bedroom toward the front room. I watched in amazement as he brought out package after package. The unwelcome truth forced itself upon me--Santa and his elves were simply a myth! It was a only a story told to children who trust everything their parents say to be the gospel truth. It was a story that the story-tellers did not even believe themselves.
Unfortunately, that was not the last time in life I encountered people telling me stories. Later in life, as a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, I was told the story of Ellen G. White. I was told how she was given wonderful visions of the past, present, and future. I was told how she performed supernatural feats during her visions, such as not breathing and lofting heavy Bibles with her weak, frail body. I was told how God showed her the secret lives of other people. I was awestruck. I really loved Ellen White for all she had gone through to share her visions and guide the "remnant church" on its path toward heaven. I began devouring her books. I read nearly every day, sometimes for hours. I wanted to obtain all the precious light from heaven that I possibly could. I even went so far as to construct a web site to share with others the truth about Ellen G. White.
But one day, my fantasy world came crumbling down. Someone challenged me to look on the other side of the closed door. I cracked the door open and looked at that stuff they tell you never to look at. I dared to sneak a peak at what the critics had written about Ellen White. Of course, I planned to prove the critics wrong. I went on a mission to refute every argument the critics made. But amazingly, the more I studied into the history of the matter, the more evidence I examined, the more I realized that the critics were actually correct! The overwhelming burden of evidence proved that Ellen White did not pass the Biblical tests of a prophet.
I was confused. Bewildered. I turned immediately to those I trusted. The story tellers. The first was a professor at the local SDA University. When I told him of my discoveries, he said he had learned of those problems back in the 1960s when he was in the Seminary. His advice to me? Keep it to myself. In other words, don't spoil the fun for the other children who still believe.
Next I went to a local SDA Evangelist that I did some writing for. I told him I couldn't go along with the charade any more. He candidly admitted that he disagreed with Ellen White on Bible prophecy, then kindly let me know my services would no longer be needed.
Finally, after receiving my resignation letter, our associate pastor came over to my house to discuss my leaving the SDA Church. He made the mistake of asking me why I was leaving. He appeared bewildered when I told him of my discoveries. Unlike the other two, apparently this man still believed the story. He told me he would check into these issues and get back to me with some answers. That was early 1997. I never heard from him again.
In 1997, I changed my web site and revealed to the world the other side of the Ellen White story. Over the last 8 years one thing, more than any other, has amazed me. SDA pastors, professors, evangelists, teachers, and doctors who have studied these issues almost universally agree with our findings. It is the lay people, the every-day church-going SDA believers that oppose our findings. You see, the story tellers know, for the most part, that they are telling a story. They know it is a farce, but they've seen good results from telling the story. People are joining the church, paying tithe, purchasing those little red books. Unity is maintained and theological controversies are avoided because everyone has to conform with what the prophet said. Besides, if they were to suddenly admit to everyone that it was all just a big story, the church would probably disintegrate and they would lose their jobs.
As one SDA professor told me, "Why rock the boat?" So, they have some good reasons for telling the story. Besides, the people are delighted to hear it. It makes them feel good to know they are part of a special remnant church under the guidance of a specially chosen messenger of God. It is comforting to know that God has taken a particular interest in your church, and that your church is the true church and every other church is Babylon. And what is to be said of the church members who believe the story? Why do they persist in believing the story? There are two reasons: (1) The story is being told to them by people whom they implicitly trust, and (2) they are only being told part of the story about Ellen White--the part that makes it appear that she was indeed a prophet.
Sooner or later, every child grows up and realizes that Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy are myths. It is not our fault we believed those fanciful stories. We were told by the ones we trusted to believe in them. As a child, whenever I lost a tooth, I put the tooth under my pillow and went to sleep believing the Tooth Fairy would take my tooth away and deposit a coin in its place. And sure enough, every time I woke up in the morning I would find a bright shiny quarter.
One day, however, the tooth fairy stopped coming. Why? I had grown up. My knowledge increased. I was no longer so gullible to believe in such silly stories.
When you started reading this web site, you may have been a believer in Ellen White. You believed what you were told by those whom you trusted. You believed something because you had only been told half the story--the half that made it appear she was a prophet. Now you know the full story. You have grown up. The time has come to walk away from the fairy tales of childhood. They served you well, for a time, but when the truth comes, the fairy tales lose their luster. You are no longer satisfied with fairy tales. You want the truth!
You may be upset. You may be disappointed. You may be asking yourself, "How could I be so gullible to believe such stories?" Remember, it is not your fault. You were doing the best you could do based upon the incomplete information you were given. You cannot change the past. But you can change the future. You can share with others the truth you have learned on this site. You can continue studying to find out how many more of your beliefs are based upon myths. Jesus promised, "You will know the truth and the truth will make you free."
Brother Anderson, Editor