Beware This Cult!

Chapter 4 - The Threat of Seventh-day Adventism

By Gregory G. P. Hunt, M.D., B.Sc., F.R.C.P.

As already stated the Adventist's main goal is to get you into his church.  Great preparations and plans are laid to accomplish this and are carried out with remarkable success.  They tend to take a little too literally the statement from Jesus to two fishermen, Peter and Andrew, whom He had chosen to follow Him.  To these two brothers He said "Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men" (Matt 4:19).  Adventists take this as a license to do almost anything to hook people and trap them into their ranks.

Somehow you will come into contact with Seventh-day Adventism if you haven't already.  You may attend a service out of curiosity or necessity.  You may be invited to take part in some Bible studies which I must admit are very impressive.  You may be solicited by mail to attend a crusade or you may be asked to donate to their cause.  You may have attended one of their Five Day Plans to Quit Smoking which by the way is quite successful or you may have been involved with Meals on Wheels.  Classes are offered in vegetarian cooking and in this age of stress, they now offer a course on how to better handle stress.  These may well be noble works, but the basic motive is to make a contact with you, get your name, address, and whatever other information that might be available so they can follow you up later and get you interested in one of their crusades.  You may have watched one of their television programs such as It Is Written by George Vandeman of Search For the Truth with Laverne Tucker.  These productions may have had considerable effect on you and you may be drawn to attend a Seventh Day Adventist function to see what is going on.

Evangelistic crusades are presented with professionalism and power.  They generally last for a period of four weeks almost nightly.  The Bible is used so forcefully and the material is so well presented that their powers of conviction are overwhelming.  Climbing into the baptismal tank means many more commitments and promises than just coming to Christ.  Baptismal vows are much more demanding than Bible prerequisites for baptism.

What does the Bible have to say about the necessary conditions for baptism?  In Acts 16 we find the story of the jailer who witnessed some of God's miracles and found all of the jail doors wide open.  He was so worried about this for his own sake that he was about to commit suicide.  Paul prevented him by indicating that no prisoners had left.  The jailer responded by asking the question, "What must I do to be saved?" and they said "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.  And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and all that were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds and he was baptized at once, with all his family". (Acts 16:30-33)

Apparently this jailer was a Roman and knew very little about the Christian background.  Within one hour of making his decision for Christ he was baptized. There was no big long list of things for this jailer to agree to before he was allowed to be baptized.

Looking at the list of prerequisites for baptism in the Seventh Day Adventist Church we note the following.  Number 8 indicates that the baptismal candidate believes that "the Spirit of Prophecy is one of the identifying marks of the remnant church".  The term used here as Spirit of Prophecy actually means the personage of Ellen G. White, the prophet of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  Here you are asked to give your destiny into the hands of a prophet about whom you to this time have heard very little.  What you may have heard at this point seems very impressive.  Not until you climb out of the tank are you to be indoctrinated with her teachings.  In the case of the jailer, we didn't find Paul asking him to swear that he believed Moses to be a true prophet before he was allowed to be baptized.  This baptismal condition is absurd in that it makes one render a judgement and make a promise which can't possibly be responsible.

Number 7 reads in part "I am to honor God by caring for my body in abstaining from such things as alcoholic beverages,... and from unclean foods."  I will have much more to say later about these particular subjects but it seems that Seventh Day Adventists are asking a baptismal candidate to follow some rules that cannot be substantiated in the Bible or follow some rules of the old Jewish covenant.  No matter what they are asking in this statement, they are going far beyond the simple prerequisite of "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved".

Number 6 specifically insists on your keeping the Sabbath day holy, that is the seventh day of the week.  Again much will be said about this later.  Does it seem fair, that should you refuse to follow this belief, that you be prevented from publicly expressing your belief and acceptance of Jesus Christ by baptism?

Many of the other baptismal vows are superfluous and there are many specifications present in this document which in fact makes it very difficult for people to come to Jesus Christ.  Biblically it is intended to be a very simple step of faith.  At first glance it seems that Seventh Day Adventists are asking you to promise to never, ever, sin again in the future before you are accepted into the house of God.  This is certainly asking people for promises that just cannot be kept.  It sets one up for a lot of misery and suffering in the near future.

The Adventists seem to have this all backwards.  My impression from the Bible is that, first one accepts Jesus and comes under His care.  Them he begins to experience victories and be cleansed of his sins and bad habits.  Adventists would like you to be totally clean and then approach Jesus to join his family.  This untruth is one of the greatest errors that keeps people from coming to Christ.  The feeling that I am not clean enough or not worthy to talk to God is prominent among many people.  It is the devil's way of keeping them from approaching God.  It seems the Seventh Day Adventist Church uses much the same tactic as the devil.

Generally Seventh Day Adventists insist that they are the right church for these last days.  They expect that that in itself will impress you.  They hope to project a lifestyle or an image of peaceful existence to you so that you will want to have what they have.  This is particularly evident in their health message in that they feel they have great revelations to offer the world in this department.  Of course most of the health revelations are based on the writings of Ellen White, their prophet.  You will shortly see that the advice of Ellen White is undependable and in fact quite ridiculous.

Adventists have an advertisement stating the Mormons have a life span seven years longer than that of the general population.   They go on to indicate that Seventh Day Adventists have a slightly longer life expectancy than Mormons; so they are one up on the Mormons.  These facts have been well proven in controlled studies in California and no one can deny these findings.   However the reasons for living longer are quite self evident.  Neither group will touch alcohol.  That cuts one of the top killers in our society, cirrhosis of the liver.  It also protects them from at least self inflicted car accidents involving drinking and driving.  As nonsmokers they are protected against cancer of the lung, another significant cause of death.  However they would like you to get the idea that meat eating has a lot to do with their longevity.

About 50% of Adventists are, more or less, vegetarians.  This is strictly on the counsel of Ellen White.  Often people are coaxed into the church through vegetarian classes as they have many reasons for vegetarianism.  However Adventists make it a matter of doctrine and according to Ellen White's writings you cannot be saved unless you give up your meat eating.   There is much more to come on this later.

Many Adventists like to play the game, 'Mine is better than yours'.  This game, first learned in childhood, is exemplified by the conversation between two small children; 'My daddy can lick your daddy'.  This game is carried on through life by most people.  It is responsible for the attitude of 'keeping up with the Jones's'.  If you know any Seventh Day Adventists you will quickly recognize what I am talking about.  These people can radiate an air of self righteousness that would wilt any monk.  They are the best church, have the best schools, have the best hospitals, etc.  Just ask a Seventh Day Adventist, he will tell you!

What kind of people are at high risk for falling into the trap of the Seventh Day Adventists?  Obviously anyone who is searching for further Biblical truth will no doubt run into Adventists and will be very impressed by explanations of some of their theology.  One impressive truth leads to another and soon your confidence has been won.  You are then set up to believe almost anything they will tell you.

If you are a young person having trouble with your parents, involvement with a cult such as Seventh-day Adventism is one way of getting back at your parents, showing your rebellion and expressing your independence.   Anyone going through a painful or stressful period in life will search around for something better.  In this state one is at extremely high risk for taking the bait.   You may be interested in one of their vegetarian cooking classes, you may be a smoker and want to kick the habit at one of the Five Day Plans.  These shows of interest will give Adventists considerable license over you.  You may be under great pressure from one parent, spouse or other relatives of friends to join the church.   You may just go along to keep the peace without realizing what might lie ahead.

An Adventist crusade is something very powerful indeed.  In tables 2 and 3, note the types of topics which are liable to be covered. This will give you a complete indoctrination of the church's beliefs.  Anyone who spends the four weeks going to this crusade will become quite convinced that all they are saying is true.  Questions which may arise will be easily put to rest by indicating to you that you are questioning the Holy Spirit.  Once you have learned what the Bible really has to say about such subjects as baptism, the state of the dead, the truth about hell and Jesus' second coming you are very impressed.  You will be quite vulnerable for the other topics which will be even more compelling.

If you are at all searching, you must admit that many of these topics are very conscripting.  You may not be able to deny your curiosity.  You need to overcome only a few inhibitions and you will then find yourself in the auditorium with the other crusaders.  You may now be well on your way to becoming a Seventh Day Adventist.

The crusade which brought me to the Adventist church was very powerful indeed.  We knew very little about Ellen White when we were baptized.  In fact, my wife was informed about Ellen White the day before her baptism and told that she would have to profess Ellen White a true prophet.  Knowing nothing about the woman, there was really no decision to make at that point except to go ahead with baptism.  It is much like signing any contract without reading the fine print.   There is always something there that the seller has for his benefit and your loss.

Ellen White certainly is a personality not to be taken lightly.  Her influence on the people of the Adventist church down through the years and her indirect influence on non Adventists cannot be totally appreciated.   Consider the startling fact that she is the most prolific female author of all time.  She has more books in circulation than any other female writer.  One of her books currently is handed to each new recruit in the armed forces of the United States.  This book, called "Steps to Christ", is boasted to be the third most widely distributed book in the world.  It is topped only by number one, the Bible, and number two, the propaganda book of the Jehovah's Witnesses, called "The Truth that Leads to Eternal Life", often referred to as the 'blue bombshell'.

Notice that I did not claim that she is the biggest seller of all times.  This would be misleading as many of her books are given away as gifts in an attempt to influence people and draw them into the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

As a consequence of the teaching of Ellen White the Seventh Day Adventist Church boasts the world's largest Protestant education system totaling 442,000 students in 1976.  Adventist missionaries have penetrated 193 countries.  Adventist material is printed by 46 publishing companies and is issued in 266 different tongues.  Adventists have two large universities and 460 colleges which encircle the globe.  There are 4100 elementary schools and you can bet that a great deal of their studies involve the teachings of Ellen White.

The Adventists church operates at least 138 fully equipped hospitals, many clinics and dispensaries around the world.  Loma Linda University in Southern California has respected medical and dental schools.

Ellen White was born in 1827 and died in 1915.   She experienced over 2000 'religious visions' during her lifetime.  She claimed; "As the Spirit of God has opened to my mind the great truths of His Word and the scenes of the past and future, I have been bidden to make known to others that which has been revealed". (Ellen G. White, Letter III, 1847)

Ellen White had 37 books published before her death and another 32 books were published later.  There are more to come, her estate is making a fortune.  Her books total 24,375 pages.  She also wrote 4,500 articles appearing in various denominational journals consisting of about 20,000 pages in addition.   There were also many thousands of pages of manuscript which were not published because of personal character.  Her multiple visions and prophetic dreams have resulted in a vast array of pages and publications which have kept many publishing houses in business for decades.

These voluminous writings are really quite remarkable when one realizes that Ellen White never got past the third grade.  She had to quit school because of poor health.  This resulted from a head injury suffered when she was struck in the face by a rock hurled by an angry school mate.  She apparently was knocked unconscious by this blow, recovered long enough to be helped home by her twin sister, and reportedly wavered between life and death for a period of three weeks.  The after effects of this serious head injury and a terribly disfigured face resulted in a broken, nervous little girl, who could no longer carry on at school.   She remained sickly for sometime but found meaning in life within a few years when her religious visions began to fit in with high flying emotionalism of her day.   Suddenly there was now a reason for living and not only that, but a chance for fame and power.  It is little wonder she experienced over 2000 'visions'.

It is notable that three important cults arose during the 1800's under the guidance of female prophets.  Modern Spiritualism was sparked by two sisters Maggie and Kate Fox.  Christian Science arose from the babblings of Mary Baker Eddy.  Seventh-day Adventism flourished under the charismatic visions of Ellen White.  The influence of these cults on our current day philosophy and lifestyle should not be underestimated.

Consider the professions open to women in mid 1800's.  Mrs. White could not teach school as she didn't make it through grade three.   She was not the type to become involved in prostitution, and the only other popular profession for a woman of her day was that of a prophet.  This was to be the answer to all her problems.

Seventh-day Adventism is one more divisive element threatening Christianity.  By faith we know that Christianity will survive, but the devil will wreak havoc and many should will be drawn into his camp.  Seventh-day Adventism like the others, misrepresents the word of God, the person of Jesus Christ, and throws up stumbling blocks for those who are honestly seeking the truth.

There is no joy or peace in Adventism or any of these other cults.  There is however the emotional 'high' which accompanies the deluded state and the all consuming self-righteousness.

Do Adventists pose much of a threat?  I believe their threat is generally underestimated by the rest of Christianity.  How many of you know former church members who have been proselytized by the Adventists?  If you know some, you will recognize how different and distant they have become and how they seem to be completely different people.  I am not suggesting that they seem to be better people; it is that they exude an attitude indicating that they are better than you are.   All Christian churches are at risk for losing members to the Seventh Day Adventist cult.

Perhaps the threat of Adventism has been closer to home for you.  Maybe someone from your family has been whisked off into their ranks and you have felt the heartache that produces.  Seventh Day Adventist theology is probably closer to that of traditional Christian churches than any other cult.

In essence Adventist theology is even more protesting than that of Protestants.  In fact they believe they are furthering the Protestant Reformation.

Their doctrines are extremely deceptive and their members are very serious about making converts.  This is really their goal in life and the thing that keeps them going.  Adventists call this witnessing and their hope is to 'win souls'.  However, most of their energies are directed towards people who are already in another Christian Church.  Unfortunately people who are going through sever troubles usually end up being their victims.  This is extremely frustrating as these poor folks really don't need anymore troubles.  Certainly there will be many other troubles if they join the Adventist cult.

Let me give you an example.  The Adventist Church in my community was recently involved with sponsoring four 'boatpeople'.  They were young Vietnamese Catholics.  As I have mentioned elsewhere Adventist love to have Catholics as their target.  Unlike other church sponsoring groups, the Adventists made sure that these Vietnamese refugees stayed with an Adventist family.   This kept them out of contact with other Christians and the poor refugees felt they had to attend Saturday church with their Adventist hosts so as not to hurt their feelings.   After a year of hearing the same old Adventist theology over and over, it is impossible not to become brainwashed.  Somewhat to my horror, a couple of these young Vietnamese refugees recently climbed into the baptismal tank of the Seventh Day Adventist Church.

It came out in a meeting one time that some of these young Vietnamese needed transportation.  One member spoke up and indicated that they were Catholics and some Catholic neighbors could just pitch in and do their part.   This was unthinkable to the lady housing these young chaps.  Catholic neighbors had previously dropped around to give them a ride to Mass a few times and this obviously had been quite a blow to her pride.  She insisted that no one was going to ask the Catholic neighbors for help in providing transportation as this might damage the overwhelming influence to join the Seventh Day Adventist Church.  This is how these people operate.

Let us theorize for a moment what might happen if North America became predominantly Seventh Day Adventist.  If they had an important law to put through the legislature, what do you think it would be?  In a very short time you would see a Saturday law passed which is exactly the opposite of what Adventists claim to be the Mark of the Beast.  I have little doubt that Adventists would insist that all other people within their territory observe the seventh day sabbath and worship God according to their directions.  Intolerance towards those who did not follow with great zeal in fact would be unbelievable.  A return to such tactics as burning at the stake and hanging of witches would be quite possible.

I am not exaggerating; I have been symbolically burned at the stake several times by members of the Adventist Church.  In fact I was physically attacked in the church parking lot by a macho fellow who had not even yet become a member of the church.  he could not tolerate my criticism of Ellen White and the resultant commotion this was causing in the church.

When I began asking questions about Ellen White I was barraged with accusations that I was committing the sin against the Holy Spirit in questioning the validity of Ellen White as a prophet.  This manipulation by guilt was attempted for quite some time but when my evidence became stronger it became obvious that something more appropriate had to be done. An envoy was sent from the executive board of Ellen White Estates.  Let me assure you that this is a strong, rich establishment.   This man's function was to assure everyone in the church that Ellen White was in fact a true prophet and that I was just causing trouble.  It seemed that a debate was going to be allowed in the church.

However this man very effectively used up all the time by telling stories about Mrs. White having visions of stolen hairnets and other nonsensical anecdotes.  I was allowed a couple of minutes to speak publicly but really wasn't given any hearing.  What I had to say was felt to be too threatening.   The debate was cut very short, as this goodwill ambassador had something more important to do.  He herded everyone downstairs to show them some slides he took of a visit to the Middle East.  The whole exercise turned out to be a big farce but was quite instrumental in assuring me that my accusations were in fact true, and that I was not going crazy.

Following this episode I produced a short booklet pointing out to members some of the errors of Ellen White.  This was read and accepted by a few, immediately thrown in the wastebasket by others, and simply ignored totally by the remainder.  I received very few attempts from the members to try to explain away these difficulties.  I received some rather bitter letters telling me that I was heading straight for hell since I was attacking Ellen White.  By the grace of God I received a couple of letters which lead me to discover a lot of the material you find in this present book.  We all know that prayers are often answered in very strange ways.

As my evidence mounted, my presence in the church was becoming intolerable to many of the stalwarts.  A meeting of the Board was called, in secret I may add, and the subject of my excommunication was discussed.   Despite the deep-seated hatred most members had for me, they could not bring themselves to vote my excommunication.  They realized this would be very damaging for them, my being a doctor in the community, and carrying considerable weight, they feared I would cause considerable damage.  Needless to say I was excommunicated in the hearts of many of these people but they didn't have the courage to make it official on paper.

Since the church elders had not followed the instructions from the big bosses, another envoy was sent to feel out the situation.   He spent some time preaching about love, did an excellent job at that, and had a couple of visits with me just to find out how serious I really was.  He was to report back to his bosses his opinion as to whether I should be excommunicated.  Whatever the decision was the excommunication never really came.  I suspect the local executives did not have the courage to follow the orders anyway.

All of these occurrences which obviously were much more involved than I have related were a tremendous emotional drain for me and my family.   Not a few of the church members were convinced by me that Ellen White was a false prophet.  Several met a life crisis and had to make some serious decisions.   Despite repeated efforts to get at the hard core of the church I realized these people were becoming more deluded by my attempts.  As my convictions grew stronger I realized that I could no longer have my presence and what little influence I might carry appear to be supporting their cause.  I had fought the difficulties within the church long enough and I reached a point where I felt I could be much more successful outside.   I could not take the risk that my influence of remaining in the church might draw someone else into their ranks.

My wife had the overwhelming urge to get out of the cult quite some time before I did and she filed her resignation with the elder of the church.  Sometime later I indicated my resignation.  Some fancy footwork was done by the pastors to try to reconcile our differences.  After all it would not look good for a doctor to resign from their community church.  Nor would it look good for three names (my daughter also resigned) to be stricken from the church books.  These names in the church books could not be classified as having been transferred to another Adventist Church of having died.  They would have to be marked 'apostatized'!   Also this would lower the growth rate of the church which is an unbearable statistic for Seventh Day Adventists.  In fact, formal ministers are kept few in number so that baptisms per year per minister will be relatively high.

How do Adventists remain so strong?  They have several methods devised to protect their church.  They usually get rid of Ellen White critics very rapidly.  In my few years in the church I saw several come and leave, stirring up a minimum of trouble.  Many just could not be bothered and moved on to churches with more reasonable beliefs.  Others could not tolerate the rejection and guilt trips laid on them and sorrowfully disappeared.  Some left not being quite sure and remain haunted by the thought that they may have done the wrong thing.  There are many people with these heavy doubts.  It is my hope that they will receive considerable release from this book.

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