Saturday, February 7, 2015

What do you remember about Sabbath? - SDAP Episode 35

Abby and Ami talk about the Sabbath, focusing on the non-church aspects. This is a mostly positive episode, along with a big dose of weird. Uncle Dan and Aunt Sue, anyone?

Check out this episode!


  1. So, I'm 63 and my favorite Sabbath books only overlap with yours at Secret of the Cave. My other faves were "Brush Valley Adventure" and "Smoke in the Sky."

    Both had little or nothing to do with church but were good SDA children's fiction.

    If you're ever looking for program topics, it might be fun to compare and contrast generational reasons for leaving church.

    If you're interested, I'd be happy to share the story of "Backslider's Campmeeting," held for 20 years by my dad's cousin. My wife and I started attending about 15 years ago when I shared with the organizer that we were done with church.

    Until last year, as many as 30 people, ages 55 to 85 showed up for drinks and "fellowship." Ask me a about the cross-dressing architect that designed SDA churches all over Southern California. He also had a thriving business selling his rather explicit art work. :)

    His generation quit because they were the first generation of highly educated SDAs who couldn't deal with the intellectual gyrations they had to perform to stay in the church.

    Baby Boomers, my oft-maligned generation, quit because we couldn't deal with the emotional sterility of the church. Enduring the normal traumas of broken marriages and troubled kids, we could find no useful model for dealing with the issues.

    Prayer, as you guys have very clearly pointed out, was completely useless. And, this was often the only option available to our troubled souls looking for sunshine and rainbows! :)

    All the best to you both and to your guests. Having binged my way through whole series, I now have something to look forward to Sabbath! Keep up the good work! LOLOL

    1. I'm glad you're enjoying it, Warren. I love the idea of a "backsliders campmeeting." As you can tell from our campmeeting episode, we have pretty fond memories of those. Add drinking and cross dressing and we're still in! :)

      If you ever have a story you'd like to share, do call in and leave us a voicemail at 425-606-5336. We play those messages in "feedback" episodes and respond to them, and we love hearing our listeners' voices.


    2. It's interesting that you bring up generational reasons. I've never really thought about it before, and I'd be interested in learning more about it.

      My grandma was born in 1939, and she hasn't actually left the culture, but in my opinion she hasn't been as mentally Adventist as she used to be. I think at this point leaving the culture would be more traumatic than it's worth.

      All my aunts left the church, and I think for at least one aunt it had a lot to do with the fact that Arthur white died in their lifetime, and so people had a lot more access to the archives. (There's rumored to be a letter to our family in there that I'd love to see.) This was also around the time Ron Numbers wrote Prophetess of Health.

      Me personally, I was born in 1988, so I grew up a good 10 years behind Abi and Alex. So there is differences in our upbringings, but as for me personally, I left Adventism when I started reading Ellen White at around the age of 14/15. I left Christianity when I started reading the bible, REALLY reading the bible, I mean, at about 23-24.

      I actually remember telling someone giving me bible studies "I could be a Seventh Day Adventist if only I could stop thinking and using my brain so much."

      I actually prayed to god to stop my brain from thinking, to make it go only along the thought grooves it was supposed to go on.

      So for me it was very much a rational thing, whereas for a lot of my peers it's a rebellion thing... they want to have premarital sex and wear jewelry but they still don't think they should.

      I think anyone wanting to come out of Adventism should read Ellen White, then they'd be very convinced it's BS.

    3. City, I'd love to talk with you more. It sounds like we have a lot in common! Let me know if you want to exchange email addresses...

  2. Interesting discussion, guys! What I see (as a late gen Xer) is the WWII generation knowing what Adventism was about, reading the "little red books," and giving the full dose to their kids.

    The Boomers were traumatized by this. There's some pretty traumatic stuff in there. Those who stayed in the church pulled their punches with their own children. They brought them up SDA, but books like “Messages to Young People” and “Adventist Home” were not mandatory reading. In fact, they were often hidden and obfuscated. “Steps to Christ” and “The Great Controversy” series were safe, but everything else was kept at a blurry distance.

    So my generation (Gen X) was less traumatized, but also more ignorant. Those who didn’t make a concerted, private effort to understand the history and underpinnings of their church just never learned. Our parents knew, so we could ask them if we wanted to, but they did not volunteer the information. I think for many of them, there was this weird idea that they would keep us in the church by protecting us from its more unpalatable teachings.

    Now, you’ve got Millennials coming up. And not only are many of them completely ignorant of the objectionable portions of both the Bible and Ellen White, their parents are ignorant as well. (Unless, like I said, they’ve made their own private effort.) I don’t know where this will lead, but I am fascinated by it. I personally think that a lot of Millennials will grow up, take a closer look at their church, go “Ew,” and back away as quickly as possible. They’re not being properly indoctrinated to accept the racism, violence, misogyny. That indoctrination needs to happen in early childhood in order for people to just accept that stuff without question, and it’s not happening to a lot of the Millennials.

    So I think those who stop to educate themselves will be out the door like a shot. But what will the rest do? Maybe they’ll just soldier on, creating gentler doctrines that diverge more and more widely from original Adventism, improved by cheerful ignorance! Or, without their peculiarities to protect them, they may unfortunately be absorbed into the mainstream hateful, suspicious, conservative Protestantism. It’s interesting to watch.


  3. Right... I think that makes sense. Not sure if you'd consider me a Gen X or a Millenial (I've read different from different sources, born in '88). But a lot of the more... interesting things I learned about Adventism were from making a concentrated effort to learn more.

    This was spurred by a conservative SDA pastor, the first I'd ever been exposed to, telling me all this stuff first though, so, while I know I would've figured it out eventually because reading is like a drug to me, it wasn't exactly something I ran across randomly. It was like, "theatres are wrong because EGW said so." And I was like, "what page?"

    My grandma's mother was... I think typical of her time. (My family goes back to 1844, for the record, but not on this particular branch of the tree). Great grandma Y was the first generation in her family to convert, she and her husband were the ones who first converted in this particular family branch. In order to get baptized, she had to take off her wedding ring, and she cried. She was also not very happy when one of her sons came back from the war with a TV set. My grandma said she used to sneak upstairs and watch TV with her brother, and she loved it, but great grandma wasn't happy, because "we don't go to theatres, why would I bring that stuff into my house?"

    My grandma (born 1939) was technically not a baby boomer, but she was kind of in that age range, and, while she did have all these EGW books in her home as an adult, they weren't very important to her, at least, not by the time I was old enough to pay attention. (In fact, I remember cousin M and I pulling out Messages to young people and The Adventist Home and reading through and snarking on them in the presence of grandma, who rolled her eyes and didn't say anything.)

    I get the feeling she probably read them growing up, because at that time the indoctrination was a lot stronger.

    I think grandma was more conservative when my mom was a little girl, because my aunts report things like not being able to take toys to church and being spanked for fidgeting in church (one aunt got spanked every single week, mercy!) and grandpa refused to let his daughters do anything he perceived as masculine. However, grandma never treated me and my cousins this way, so I believe she has relaxed a lot over time.

  4. My mom, (1961, daughter of said grandmother) was as much of a reader as I am, so I have no doubt she would've found those books on her own. I do not know (and wouldn't get an answer if I asked) if grandma would've taught her some of the more objectionable things about EGW, but everyone in my family things books are like crack, so all my aunts would've found out regardless of whether or not they were taught. Why my mother stayed in the church is kind of a mystery, because none of her sisters did, and I think you could be right about why.

    For me growing up, Ellen White was talked about frequently in school, but not much at home. I remember once I asked mom how we could know EGW was a real prophet, and it's the first time I ever remember looking things up on the internet (it was just becoming popular, we were the first on our block to have it). So she gave me all these materials and talked to me about how EGW was a prophet, but then when I got older (14) and started telling mom how we should do all these things because EGW said so, she was like, "well, um... ok... you can do that if you want to, but it's not really important..."

    So I was left with very conflicting messages about her. I know mom reads EGW now, but I've never seen her read anything but the Conflict of the Ages series or Steps to Christ or some other "safe" literature.

    Whether I am a Millenial or not, my friend J who's a few years behind me is, and his ignorance about EGW and church history is just mind boggling. He lives in Ohio, and I'm not aware of Ohio being particularly liberal, but he says that even though he went to church schools, and only a few years behind when I did, he had no idea about a lot of stuff. "What do you mean the password is 1844? How could you possibly have guessed that if no one told you?" And I looked at him like... you said you grew up Adventist.

    I'm thinking his particular church and school were just very liberal, because no one else I've talked to within the range of 2-4 years younger than me had that experience.

  5. I should find an Adventist teenager to talk to and ask them, but Michigan is, from what I've heard, the most conservative conference in the US, so I might get different answers than if I asked someone raised elsewhere. Also, I'm quite estranged from the SDA community at this point and don't have a non creepy way of FINDING an Adventist teenager. (It would have to be a teenager because I'd want someone at least 10 years younger than me and I'm still fairly young myself)

    I know the schools in MI are definitely more conservative than most parents, seeing as how I learned all this stuff at school but at home my parents let me have a lot more leeway. In fact, I used to think my family was flaming liberal, till I visited California, and then met my friend J from Ohio who REALLY grew up flaming liberal for an Adventist.

    I'm trying to think if my other SDA peers had more leeway from their parents than at school, but I didn't really have any friends until I went to Academy, and you don't get to observe peoples' home life there.

    Sorry to be writing small novels in your comments section, but this stuff is fascinating (and, honestly, I never was good at sticking to word limits anyway.)

    Oh, one more thing, Abby, I think you're right about the future of Adventism. This is just speculation, but I've been going through old copies of The Youth Instructor (I once visited a pastor and his wife who had hard bounded their copies from 1930 something to the last ever subscription, I was in HEAVEN!) and comparing them to current copies of the Review and Herald, the Michigan tidings, and occasionally youth magazines like Insight and Guide, but the latter 2 I can barely stand to read anymore.

    And the differences I see are astounding. That's a whole nother novel I'll get into if you want, but for now I just want to say that yes, one of the things I did notice is that the further you go along the time line, the more current the publications are, the more liberal they all get (among other things.) Articles written in the youth instructor back in 1970 something would be laughed at by the editors of today.

    I think we will see interesting things happen when we hit the year 2044. I read the 1944 anniversary edition of the Youth's instructor, and the attitude was somewhat "I can't believe we're still here after 100 years!" (though you kinda had to read between the lines to catch all that.)

    I think that once we hit the 2 year mark, and that IS coming in our lifetime (Just like Jesus, hah!) I think that today's generations are a lot more skeptical and well informed than they were 100 years ago, and I think we will see a big change. If Adventism exists at all after that, it will be extremely liberal, and honestly I don't see the church lasting till 2144 at all.

  6. I meant 200 year mark, not 2 year. Don't know how to go back and edit through.

  7. City - Wow, that is some impressive research you're doing! Thanks for sharing! I don't have time to respond to all of it, but I just wanted to say - if you were born in 1988, you are totally a Millennial! In fact, you're smack in the middle of the cohort. Wear it proudly! I like you guys. :)

    My brother Hughes always says that I am a GenXer, and he's a Millennial. I always respond that this is absurd. We're siblings. We're in the same generation. But he's right according to most of the charts. I was born in 1977. He was born in 1981. Most definitions of Millennial are some variant of "Kids born between 1980 and 2000." Sometimes they trim it off at 1982 or say the generation ended in the mid 90's or they include kids born all the way up to the mid 00's. But 1988 is dead center.

    I do understand why people chose those dates. I sent my first email (to Hughes, of course) my freshman year in college. That's when I first encountered the internet at about 17. Hughes was using it in high school. I became an adult just as the net was coming on-scene, while he had it for most of his teens.

    Before and after the internet - that is a watershed. It changed everything. I can see why it created a generational cut-off.

    Presumably, the kids who are not yet adults at this moment are not Millennials. They're something else, but we haven't gotten enough of a sense of their character to give them a name.


  8. Interesting, I didn't even know the Millennial generation had ended. Shows how much I know. (I propose we call the next generation "post millennials, as boring as that is, it's accurate.)

    My brother was born almost exactly 7 years later than I was (6 years and 363 days exactly) and it seems like he is totally a different generation than me, but from your math he's a millenial too. That seems weird to me, because his upbringing was WAY different form mine. Even from a non SDA perspective this is fascinating to me...

    Thanks, but I haven't really learned much over the years. I intend to do more digging. I think one of my ways of seeking... closure? Is figuring out the question why. Why did my family get into this. Why did I have to suffer. I mean, my dad's family is Ukrainian. I'm only 4th generation American. Why did my aunt Faith marry someone who was a hard core catholic when she was raised Adventist? Why did my great grandma do the same? Marrying a non SDA was verboten in those days... even more so than it is now.

    Hence all the research into family history which, of course, ties in closely with Adventist history. Unfortunately, my questions aren't always met with answers. People seem to get impatient when I start asking, and sadly, most of the people I really need to talk to are now dead. Still, there's nothing I like better than to find a really old Adventist person and get them to talk. (Or a really old non SDA person, because comparing is fun.)

    I just wish I could get into the EGW archives to find the letter that was apparently written to a family member by her. Until then, I'll have to content myself with hunting down old copies of The Youth Instructor, and doing more research. The only problem is that it's hard to find books or articles on SDA history written by someone not Adventist, or at least an Adventist who didn't let his or her bias get in the way. Also not having much luck finding old instructors. old copies of the Review or the Michigan memo would be good too, but unless EGW wrote the articles those are mostly lost to the mists of time.

    However, I do have like, 5 old Youth Instructors, all dated from the year 1966. If you want I could pull up some interesting articles, if I find any. I just got them, and haven't gone through them yet. There might or might not be anything particularly snarkable, and you might or might not care (either way is fine) Just let me know.

  9. Well, I'm an oldie who tells SDA people "I never was"...just raised in it. My dad was an eternally faithful pastor so I've seen this cult from the inside out. Have really enjoyed the few websites I've found which rag on SDA...just found this one today. They deserve every punch. My dear sweet pastor's wife mom just passed away and while going thru her memorabilia have found every letter I wrote them while in academy! This would be the early 70's but they are priceless in revealing the horrowshows that SDA high school was. I cracked myself up reading them a week or so ago. The podcasts I have listened to from the hosts who went thru academy in the 90's have NOTHING on the 70's!!! (To be honest, well, yes, there is a thread...) And my dear auntie who suffered thru the same school in the mid-50's has even better/worse horrowshows! I am thinking about a way to display them. If you podcasters are interested feel free to email me. What I wrote home was no was often a cry for help that could not be fulfilled because my dad's job depended on me going there. I'm pretty sure times have changed and changed again as those schools are closing at (what SDA members would call but not me) alarming rates. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

  10. Sorry to hear that. I hope our show gives you some catharsis. I can sympathize with seeing family members who have been warped like little bonzi trees by this insular subculture. You can kind of see what they might have grown into, but they never will.