How Some Adventist Officials
in Official Meetings
is the name of magazine published by Seventh-day Adventists, many of them highly educated, who believe it is time to move beyond the 19th century and question some of these beliefs and practices, and indeed if it is deemed necessary improve on them. On their web page is a BLOG, a modern web-site feature that allows write-in comments from viewers, and if deemed thought-provoking and appropriate, SPECTRUM publishes some of them and elicits comments from viewers.
| Eddy Johnson
The Closing of the Adventist Mind
In Allan Bloom’s seminal work The Closing of the American Mind, published in 1987, professor Bloom argued that American youth were in danger of passing by their collective destiny because, pressured by a number of factors which he described at length, they were fast losing the ability to think for themselves; that is if they had not lost it already. Almost overnight the book became a best seller and Bloom’s work was acclaimed by many and soundly criticized by many as well. This post is not about assessing the merit of the book or the lack thereof. However, revisiting it some twenty-five later has created some uncomfortable trepidation as I look at what is happening within my beloved church. I observe clear signs of something similar to the closing of the Adventist mind occurring within our ranks.
As an observer of this phenomenon over the years, I have come to the conclusion that the general trend in our church leans more toward the closing of the mind than toward taking the risk of openness. It has been my experience that Adventist leadership does not deal well with thoughtful members who disagree with an official position or issue of concern to the church. In actual fact, intentionally or not, much effort is put into making sure that the church as a whole accepts whatever the leadership determines is valid. I am reminded of a Union President who would simply stand, when he wanted an idea of his to be voted, at which point no member of the Union Committee would oppose him, even if the idea had clearly been shown not to be wise during the preceding discussion.
Whenever a threat to officialdom is perceived, the members of the inner sanctum tend to form a defensive circle that is ready to take on the "enemy", sometimes willing to use means that will maim intellectually and emotionally if not physically and will attack reputations. This has produced an ethos of silence, which effectively prevents church employees or members from expressing their true opinions about issues. It has also produced a kind of intolerant conservatism in some sectors that feels free to judge, criticize, and often vilify anyone who does not follow the party line on the following topics, for example:
ADDED NOTE by Dr. Bob Holt, MD -- I have no problem with not having the time nor energy to read everything EG White wrote, nor even with the idea that she had trouble separating her own opinions from her genuine paranormal conversations with divine beings. Once I became acquainted with the Essenes and Bible Codes I discovered that her first visions were indeed genuine and predicted actual historical events that took place 40 - 100 years later. When Adventists strayed from the "path" Jesus had laid out for them to follow, Jesus, through her, led them down paths of their own choosing. See Isaiah 66:4 "I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not."
If you missed the link on James and Ellen White's separation and want to read it, click: "The Marital Separation of James and Ellen White."