A Realy Old Draft

I was looking in my drafts folder and found this gem. I post these not to endorse the canvassing program,  but to show where I was, and how far I have come. There’s no point in hiding that I was one of those annoying door knockers. But annoying doorknockers are people too, and people can change. 
You will notice that my own canvassing stories are noticeably absent until the bitter end. I’m not sure if I just didn’t have any in that time frame, or if it’s because I was struggling in my faith and didn’t want to talk about it.

The thing at the bitter end that is my story, I put a positive slant on it. But the truth is, this would continue to bother me throughout the next semester. This may be why I didn’t publish it 4 years ago. 

And so, old canvassing stories. 
I’m sorry.
August 6 2012

Mason— Yesterday was a rough day. My first book was late in the day. I had to do these apartments, and it just looked like so many doors, and I didn’t want to knock on them. My 2nd to last door a guy got a cookbook and I was really surprised because their apartment was really really messy: Pop and beer cans and cigarette butts everywhere. I had an Naturally Gourmet and a 7 Secrets. He decided he liked the 7 Secrets a lot better because there were a lot more recipes.

LaTasha— I thank God for yesterday. It was a hard day for me too. I prayed to get at least one book out In the morning, and God did it at the last door. The phone rang at the same time I was knocking, so I thought she’d answer the phone, but she told me to wait for a bit and I waited. I saw kid stuff outside, so when she got off the phone I handed her a storytime. She said she liked the book, but she didn’t have any money because of having to pay bills. She asked if I could come back, and I told her I couldn’t. she decided to try to scrounge for money, so she told me to wait. I saw her searching everywhere for money. I prayed while The abominable snowman played with the dog, Kipper. The lady came back outside with enough money for a Storytime.

Mason— The other book I got out was when James put The abominable snowman and I on this super long street for 2 hours. I had to comb 2 combs and walk all the way around. In my first comb this Chinese guy came to the door. Usually Chinese people are very nice to me, even if they want nothing. He wasn’t interested in cookbook because his family made Chinese food. Then I showed him Storytime because of kid stuff in garage. He said his son was too young to read, so I showed him My Friend Jesus, and he asked if I was a Christian. When I said yes, he got the moey and we started talking. It was a blessing to meet him.

Sheena— Yesterday those hills were ridiculous. I was getting to my 4th comb, my 4th hill and I saw this lady in a park, and I went over and got to rest and sit with her. She ended up getting a My Friend Jesus, and said that her oldest son who is 3, she’d been thinking of introducing him to Jesus. The family is Catholic and her husband is a pilot in the army, so they’re in Japan, and haven’t found a church. She said MFJ would be exactly what she thought would help. Sometimes we emphasize getting out certain books like the GC, and other books, you’re not as happy about because they’re not as hardcore or whatever. But yesterday the Lord was showing me that every book is important depending on what that person needs at that time.

I also had a last door experience. This lady was trying to push me aside to a later date, but I have had bad experiences with that, so I was not going to let her. She had just had a hip surgery and she was very weak and now was not a good time. I knew she was serious when she said, “give me your address and I’ll mail you a donation.” I told her that if she mailed a donation she wouldn’t get a book. So she decided to take a look at my books. She ended up getting Peace Above the Storm.

Glory–  This one house looked like no one lived there, but I knocked anyway and a woman came out. She was on the phone and looked at my books and looked at me and then said “hold on just a moment. I can get one book and then you can go.” She hung up the phone and asked me to come inside. I showed her Lessons of Love. She said it was a really nice book. Then I showed her the cookbook. I showed her Naturally Gourmet. She said they were all really nice. I showed her Peace Above Storm and the dvds. She ended up getting 4 books and since she overdonated I gave her a GC and she gave me 2 muffins.

August 7, 2012

Latasha— I thank God for yesterday. In the morning it was so hard, really hard, and I was praying the whole time and James was praying for me. I was praying to get one book out before lunch, and God did. This lady got a 7 Secrets last year and I told her that we have another cookbook and she said she’d get this one and she asked her daughter for the money. Before the end of the day I went from zero books to 9 books, so the Lord blessed. He was just bringing me people who were interested in a lot of stuff.

I showed the cookbook to this man, and he gave it back to me and he asked if I had anything on healthful cooking. I handed it right back to him and said, “This one.” I told him my testimony about how I lost weight by eating healthier, and he got the cookbook.

 I showed a man the cookbook, and I usually don’t do that for old people, especially old men. He invited me in, and showed his wife the cookbook and she was friendly too. They were not looking at the cookbook. I thought they wanted it but they didn’t, they were interested in the kid’s books. The lady got Peace Above the Storm.

Mason—I met a lot of people yesterday who already had our books. We’ve redone territory before and not a lot of people have already had books. It was a blessing to see that our work had been successful last time. Usually we don’t get to see that.

Sheena—I went to an auto parts store and the people at the counter weren’t interested, and he said I could come talk to a lady who would be interested. Just from my past experiences, whenever one person says no and gets another person, the other one says they’re not interested. But this time the lady turns out to be a Christian. She gets a cookbook and Peace Above the Storm. While we’re doing this there was another girl sitting there. As I’m getting ready to go, she says she wants a cookbook too. So I showed it to her and we started talking. The girl writes a check for $20, and I’m waiting for James to come and get me another cookbook, because I’m all out. It turns out the girl is going to a college in Lansing. We made friends, I showed her Lessons of Love, found out she was a Christian, and she took back her check and wrote another one for $5 more so she could get the message book as well.

Glory— In my last house, I entered the screen porch and knocked on the door. There was no response. It started raiinging. I knocked on the door 4 times and no one came out. It was raining so heavily that I just waited inside the screen porch for pickup, and I heard someone walk toward the door. He started talking to me, and I started canvassing. He’s not a Christian, and I don’t know why he got the books, but he did. He let me wait for James in the screen porch. We talked while I waited. I found out he was a fishermen. I thought wow, he is like Peter.

August 8, 2012

Latasha— Yesterday I went to this lady’s house and I met her bushad first, he was outside on the porch. I started canvassing the cookbook and the wife came out of nowhere and she was drinking. He showed her the cookbook and she was like, “you’re not a Jehova’s Witness are you?” I told her no, and she asked who I was. I told her I was Seventh Day Adventist, and she said, “oh I know them.” She started asking me questions and I answered. She asked if we clap and dance and raise their hands. I told her no, we just prayed. She told me that she was Native American, and she told me how she knows the bible and spends time with God every day. She wanted to know why the Sabbath was changed to Sunday. I gave her the the GC and Peace Above the Storm. She said she’d always wanted to be an evangelist but that she had a drinking problem. She also did Marijuana legally. She loved the Lord and wanted to know about the truth, but hasn’t been going to church because she couldn’t find a church up here. She said she’d been waiting for someone to give this too, hold on. She went back inside and brought me a little plastic bag. I thought she was going to give me drugs, because it was in a little plastic bag. Instead it was a diamond from her engagement ring. She said it was real, and I’d given her the books for free (having had donations to cover it) and said, “you mean such a blessing to me that I am going to give you this.” She and her husband are truly seeking.

Mason— Yesterday, I went to this one house. There were two doors, and I went to the one I thought was used more. The dude came out of the back door and asked what was going on. I heard a thump when I rang the doorbell, and when the man came out he said it was because he dropped his cat cause he’d been startled. Normally when I show the GC they just look at it and give it right back. He looked at it and asked how much. I told him, and he just paid for it. He was the first guy that was easy to get a GC out to, at least in the up. I told him I was Seventh Day Adventist, and he said he’s got family that are Adventists. He doesn’t drink or smoke, but he says he wants to get closer to God. He loves to read, and he said he reads 6 to 7 books a week.

Latasha— Glory and Sheena and I were put on the same street. I was going one way and Glory was supposed to meet me. I was walking up to the house, and the father was outside fixing a snowmobile. He was on the phone, so I waited on him, and he was like, “oh you came here last year.” I told him it wasn’t me, but probably somebody else. He said every year he buys a book. He said his son had cancer and was in remission but it could come back. He told me to wait. I had the GC and cookbook in my hand, and as he was going into the house I saw Glory coming out of the house. I asked if he got any books out. He said he’d just sold a GC. I was like, “no!” But it was cool because the husband came out and gave me an extra donation for a cookbook and a D2. He almost had all the books we have.

Sheena—I don’t know if you’ve had someone who’s smoking at the door and you give them the survey which includes stop smoking programs, and they’re just sitting there smoking, and it’s awkward. Yesterday I met a woman who was smoking, and she didn’t have any money though she really liked the books. She said she was interested in the stop smoking program, and asked if I was Mormon or Jehovah’s Witness. I told her no, and she said, “ok good. I haven’t found a church yet but I’ve been to those churches and had bad experiences.” She’s turned off to church but not to the point where she’s shut it out completely. She’s just cautious because of her experiences. She asked if we did the stop smoking program from a biblical perspective. So even ethough she didn’t get any books, that’s the first time I’ve met someone all summer who wanted to stop smoking, and from a biblical perspective. She said she and her husband are both looking for help so I hope the church will put something together for them cause they’re really desirous of quitting.

Glory— So, on this one street, I met only 3 people. I met this lady whose house was so messy, and her life was messed up. I asked her if I could come inside because it was so hot.  When I started canvassing she said she was divorced and always babysitting…she had no money. I kept going with my canvass. I asked her if she was a Christian, and she said she was a catholic. I asked if she wanted to learn more about Jesus, and she said yes, so I showed her Man Of Peace, GC, and Peace Above the Storm and Lessons of Love. She got 5 books.

On the last street James put me on, I was running. The lady said that 2 years ago there was a young lady here, and that she got two books from her. I showed her books newly printed and said that this time you can get more books. She said she was a bookaholic, but she just bought a whole lot of books and didn’t have money. I showed her the Peace and Love set, and showed her also Prince of Peace and Storytime. she said she wanted the books for her grandchildren. She overdonated, so I gave her Peace and Love. She was so thankful.

August 9, 2012
Latasha— I thank the Lord for getting me through the ten weeks. Just him walking with me and helping me to have courage when I did my first worship in the morning. I’m not used to being up and talking in front of people. I thank the Lord for changing me since I’ve been here and meeting a lot of people. I also thank God for being able to go to school this fall.

James—I want to prase God for yesterday. I thought we were going to die because I made a bad turn. But God sent an angel to protect us.

I also want to praise God for how he worked here in H—–and I—-. For the most part the summer has been a struggle as far as being the leader but here in the last 2 weeks God really blessed and I saw him move in mighty ways.

Sheena—I met the owner of a sewing shop and it turns out she was Christian. She loved books but was in a financially hard place. She wanted to get 6 boosk but didn’t have the funds. Her son got married, had 9 kids with this woman and she left him and then he remarried and had  2 more kids with another woman who is now on drugs. So he’s just alone and a single father. Peace Above the Storm would be really good for her son, so even though she didn’t have much money she scraped up some money for it. before that she said Revelation was her favorite book and was really interested in the GC. Even though she was impressed to give only $15 I was impressed to leave her with the GC as well. She was thankful, and gave me this really tight hug. She was so grateful for the book. I know that was the book she needed and the Lord sent me to her. I know she’ll read it and benefit greatly from it.

On houses in the afternoon I met a doctor and I thank the Lord for showing me right away that he was a Devil’s Rabbit. He was an old man, who came and saw me and asked if I wanted to sit down and come inside. I decided I’d stay outside so he brought a chair. We were talking and I said I had to go. I did that 7 times and eventually he asked if someone was with me, and I said my partner was a boy. He seemed relieved after that. Then he said he’d give me a small donation, but all he did was talk more. That’s when I called James to get me. At the next house the person got 6 books. That man could’ve held me up for 30 minutes and I would not have been able to get out the 6 books.

Glory— Yesterday was a bit slow for me. I thought my last day would be my highest day. After the group finished and was having smoothies, I asked James to take me to one more street. I was hoping for a dump bag, but I didn’t get out a single book, and I realized one thing: through the entire canvassing program when I got books out, it was by God’s power, not by my effort.

Abominable Snowman– I’m thankful that I lasted the entire ten weeks. I almost left at least 9 times. Even at the end I wondered whether or not it was worth it. Was what I lost worth more than what was gained? I thought that, when I finished the whole ten weeks, I’d feel like I really accomplished something, and that I could handle anything. Instead I just felt exhausted. Like I’d spent the summer holding my breath, and now I could finally sigh in relief. I spent the next few days alone with a bible, and then God showed me. The point of staying the entire ten weeks wasn’t so that I could feel like I had accomplished something and could do anything. The point of staying the entire ten weeks was so that God could show me that He had accomplished something, and that, if I cooperated, He could do anything.

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Heather, and Adventist Girl (1889) Book 2 Chapter 6

Chapter 6

New Beginnings

 

We left off as Mr.Hart walked into the tent, spotting his wife and small daughter. He has observed them giving their lives to Christ. Heather has no idea how he will react.

Mrs. Hart’s reaction, though, is telling.

Suddenly, she saw him right in front of her!

“Oh, dear!” Mrs. Hart clasped her hand to her chest. “Daniel, I didn’t expect to see you here.” She smiled broadly, but Heather thought that she looked nervous.

I don’t agree with Mrs. Hart’s choices here. I think Mr. Hart is absolutely right not to get involved with the Adventists. However, Mrs. Hart should be able to go to church without being afraid of her husband. The fact that his appearance makes her nervous is telling.

Mr. Hart asks where Mr. Gibson is, and Heather tells him. He calls Addie “Peanut” and kisses her on the top of the head. Addie informs him that he hasn’t called her “Peanut” since she was 6.

This… is a clunky bit of exposition. I’m also not sure what it’s supposed to demonstrate. Spoiler alert, it’s supposed to demonstrate that Mr. Hart is a changed man. Ok, but, even atheists call their daughters “Peanut.” Atheists aren’t all assholes, you know.

Mr. Hart comes up to Mr. Gibson and says,

“I owe you an apology. I didn’t mean to go crook on you the other day.”

Heather and Addie have a whispered conversation, in which Addie informs the audience that “to go crook” means: “he didn’t mean to be unpleasant to your father.”

Except that I’m pretty certain he did, but, moving on.

Mr. Gibson accepts Mr. Hart’s apology. Mr. Hart doesn’t stop there.

“I have something to share with all of you,” he said, looking around at the group. “This has been an incredible few days.”

….

“After I left home a few days ago,” he began, “I started on the road to Alice Springs. I thought that maybe I could find some work shearing sheep. Well, things didn’t go as I’d hoped. With the recession and drought and all, there were more blokes like me out looking for work than there are sheep to be sheared.”

Heather asks Addie what a bloke is. “A Man,” replies Addie hurriedly.

I feel like “bloke” is a common enough term most Americans don’t need an explanation for it. But let that pass.

“The second night a bunch of us set up camp. There was this one bloke there who started talking to me about Jesus all of a sudden. He kept talking and talking. I didn’t want to hear any more about religion, so I got angry with him. Real angry.” Mr. Hart looked down at his hands. “I punched him square in the jaw.”

Go Mr. Hart! Er, provided it was your last resort. Asking him to stop nicely may or may not have worked….

All joking aside, this is probably another reason why Mrs. Hart was nervous. It looks like Mr. Hart is prone to violent outbursts. Combined with the guilt trip he gave Mrs.Hart earlier about going to camp meeting, this is a red flag.

“The funniest thing happened. He was a real big bloke and could have easily knocked me out. But instead he just said, “You must be runnin’ from God to have that much anger pent up inside.'” Mr. Hart wrung his hands together.

Atheists don’t really not believe in God. They’re just really angry at him. Or they’re running away from him. Telling them this totally won’t just royally piss them off.

If the author was going for “1800s version of Jonah,” she failed miserably. Mr. Hart, here, isn’t running from God. He’s running from the Adventists.

“I suddenly realized that he was right.” Mr. Hart was quiet for a moment. “I spent the whole night praying to God and asking for his forgiveness. The next morning I felt more refreshed than if I’d had a full night’s sleep. I realized that if I follow God, He’ll take care of me and my family and their needs.”

  1. Not a realistic reaction to being told, “you must be running away from God.” If someone told me that, my response would be to roll my eyes. Or, if I was prone to violent outbursts like Mr. Hart obviously is, I’d punch whoever said that in the face. In this case, again.
  2. Adventists will tell you that they don’t know of anyone who’s needs the Lord doesn’t provide for. Because there are absolutely zero homeless Christians….
  3. Relying on an invisible sky daddy to take care of your family? Bad plan. I give Mr. Hart a pass only because he doesn’t use this as an excuse to stop job hunting.

“I’m a new man,” Mr. Hart said, tears streaming down his face. “I still don’t have work, but I have Jesus, and I believe he’ll take care of the rest.”

The author gets .05 bonus points for Mr. Hart not getting a job immediately upon his conversion. That’s the only way this possibly could have been worse.

We get a section break, and it’s time for a baptism! In Dora Creek! I wonder if the water is cold? Heather doesn’t really say one way or the other. Heather, Laura, and the Harts are getting baptized. Their baptismal robes are beige. Huh. Our modern baptismal ones were a dark blue. Sometimes they’re black.

They all giggle over how long Heather’s baptismal robe is. Yawn.

We get a line about Mrs. Gibson feeling stronger than she used to, before Mr. Gibson asks if the Harts have arrived yet. Apparently he let Nathan drive the buggy to pick them up. Heather’s mom tells her how proud she is of the “Christian Woman” Heather is becoming. It’s a realistic sort of thing to say, but really awkward to read.

Heather is excited when Nathan pulls up. Apparently it’s been one month since campmeeting, because that’s how long we’re told it’s been since Heather has seen Addie.

And, surprise! Addie’s wearing glasses, the same kind Heather has. Addie tells the other 2 girls that her father has a new job at a biscuit factory.

“He says at least it’s honorable work, and he always brings home lots of these.” [Addie] opened her hand. Inside were two cookies with sweet red jam centers. She handed one to each of her friends.

It is to her credit that the author does not feel a need to shoe horn in an explanation of why they make cookies at a biscuit factory. Most American children already know that in some countries “biscuit” means “cookie.”

Addie puts on a baptismal robe. Mr. Gibson is just about to pray when Mrs. White arrives. She joins the circle, winks at Heather, and tells her how happy she is to be there.

After a prayer, the candidates for dunking step into the river.

Now, baptism can be a very exciting emotional experience. I well remember how I felt during my own baptism. The feeling I experienced can only be compared to being high on marijuana. It was an emotional rush. And yes, it is totally normal for one to be nervous before a baptism, because it is traditionally done in front of a crowd.

As Mr. Hart gets baptized, tears run down Heather’s cheeks. She’s not the only one. Laura is also crying.

“Heather,” Elder Palmer called soothingly. “It’s your turn.”

Heather’s stomach felt like it was full of buterflies.(sic)

Dear Adventist editors,

DO YOU EVEN CARE?

love, the Abominable Snowman.

Elder Palmer squeezed her hand. Heather…. grinned.

“I’m privileged to be in the waters of baptism today with Heather Gibson,” Elder Palmer began. She loves Jesus and wants to follow Him. Heather has decided this day to pledge her love and commitment to him publicly.”

Heather shivered and shook with anticipation.

“Heather,” Elder Palmer said, and leaned her back against his left arm, “Because you love Jesus Christ, I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost.”

Heather took a big breath and pinched her eyes closed.

Very important to take a breath right before he pulls you under. For me, this was practiced in private before hand. Usually the pastor will put a cloth over your face, so that water doesn’t get in your nose. Baptisms are actually pretty well choreographed.

Gently, Elder Palmer lowered her under the water. The cool water washed over her face, and then Elder Palmer gently lifted her back out again. Heather blinked the water out of her eyes.

“Amen,” everyone said at once.

Heather smiled at them through the water droplets. She felt wonderfully happy and close to heaven.

Eh, close enough. I would rather have this than have an author try to over describe it and fail. Which is what authors usually end up doing. So, 1.5 credit points to the author.

Everyone sings a hymn. We don’t get to know which one.

Nathan shuffled over to her. “Hey Heather,” he mumbled. “That was pretty fine.”

Aunt Rachel tells Heather she’s very proud of her. I don’t honestly see why. Yes it’s a big step for an Adventist, but the thing is, it’s also quite normal. At some point, there will be raised eyebrows if Heather isn’t baptized. I would expect the average age of baptism in the 1800s to be different, but at least in my generation if you made it all the way to Academy without being baptized, there were raised eyebrows. What Heather is doing today isn’t so much taking a stand for what she believes in. What Heather is doing is going along with the flow of her culture.

Laura points out Ethel and May, who are watching from the other side of the creek.

Ethel Reynolds and May Evans stood together looking down at them. Ethel seemed to notice Heather looking back at them and quickly locked her arm with May’s. In a moment they disappeared.

Head canon: Ethel and May are so over this shit.

Aunt Rachel reminds Heather and Laura that school will be in session again soon. She asks Heather whether or not she plans to wear her new glasses to school.

It seems like a weird question. I feel like enough time has passed in the book that Heather would have gotten used to the glasses, and it wouldn’t be a big deal anymore. The glasses haven’t really been mentioned much at all throughout the story, and hearing about them again kind of jolts me. Like, I thought this issue got resolved in chapter 2?

Heather adjusted her eye glasses on her nose. “I’ll wear them proudly,” She answered confidently. “Just like Addie does. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I know that Jesus loves me just the way I am.”

The book ends with Aunt Rachel smugly saying, “I just knew it!”

I don’t have an issue with “Jesus loves me just as I am.” That message is fine. What I don’t understand is why it was shoe horned into the last few pages. Was Jesus loving Heather ever an actual issue? We never saw Heather sit there wondering whether Jesus would approve of her new eye glasses. We only saw her worrying about what Ethel and May would think. If  Heather had slowly come to realize, over the course of the book, that what Ethel and May think doesn’t matter, that I could get behind.

But that’s not how this book goes. This book starts out with Heather’s anxiety over her new glasses, gets wrapped up in the conversion of the Hart family, and then at the end it’s BAM–OH YEAH THE EYEGLASSES I FORGOT ABOUT. It may be nitpicky but it’s kind of jarring.

Anyway, that’s the end of the second book. We’ll pick up the 3rd book….soon. After I get my homework done.

 

 

 

 

Tell The World Part 1 Reluctant Preacher

Surprisingly, this movie is on YouTube. I’m not going to link to it, because last time I linked to a YouTube movie it was taken down.

YouTube has it conveniently split up into 4 parts 6 parts, so that gives me nice starting and stopping points for posts. Each post will be one part, good lord willing and the homework don’t rise.

Unlike most movies we watch, I am actually very excited for this. History is one of my favorite things to read…sometimes. Adventist history in particular is interesting. I almost wish Adventism was more popular just because I would love to know what medical science thinks of Ellen White and her condition. I would also love for a group of psychologists to weigh in on the mind set that would have been running rampant throughout The Great Disappointment.

This movie was put out by the Adventist church, so we are having none of that. However, this movie still has the potential to be interesting. On their website, they say that it was reviewed for historical accuracy by 3 people who I’ve never heard of, one of whom is from The White Estate.

So, it will probably be historically accurate… but it is still going to be a very skewed perspective.

I go into this movie with high hopes, but also knowing that it will be heavily biased and the truth, whatever that is exactly, will be swept under the rug.

Let’s begin.

THE RELUCTANT PREACHER

We open with some shots of hot air balloons with signs saying “Jesus is Coming” on them. Like seriously can anybody even read those from the ground? Can they read them from other hot air balloons? Why are there hot air balloons? How popular was hot air balloon travel in the 1800s? Is this some kind of hot air balloon festival?

The words “Exeter, New Hampshire-1844” flash across the screen. Well, logical place to start, I guess.

A boy trying to sell newspapers is shouting, “Read all about Christ’s return!” Two ladies walk by and look up at the hot air balloons. We get a shot of a blue hot air balloon.

Lady 1: I’d like to see the view from up in those clouds

Lady 2: You will soon enough. We all will.

Does that mean that hot air balloon rides are being offered to the general public? No, of course not. It’s clunky exposition. They’ll all be in heaven is what she really means.

To make my life more difficult, subtitles have not been included. I apologize for the confusion this is inevitably going to cause.

A man buys the boy’s newspaper. He says something about people finding… word I can’t make out in the story of Jesus’ return.

Paper Boy: People want to read about the end of the world, sir.

Yes. Yes they do. This is why doomsday books and movies are so popular. This is probably the truest thing they will say all movie.

The man (spoiler alert: he’s William Miller) makes some interesting facial expressions as he buys the newspaper, and then we cut to the opening credits. I kinda like the music. We are told this movie is “based on actual events.”

After the opening credits we cut to the Miller family farm–28 years earlier, in 1816.

Really? Did we have to go that far back? I feel like a good portion of this could have been cut. It’s not particularly interesting, and we easily could have started in 1844 and missed nothing. If they felt a need to go back and explain, they could have made like, 2 minute long flashbacks throughout the movie.

In any case, We are shown William Miller in bed, tossing and turning. He’s having a nightmare about his time in the war. We see a bomb explode really close to him, while someone calls out, “Captain?  CAPTAIN!”

His wife tries to comfort him as he wakes up, panting.

Ok, so William Miller had some PTSD from his time in the war of 1812. I could believe that.

Now we are in Low Hampton, New York, 1816. Still on the Miller farm? I think so. William Miller is reading the bible as he walks trough a field. Sheep walk by. Mrs. Miller comes up and asks him to spend some time with the children. He gives kind of a non response.

Mrs. Miller: And what are we thinking about today, Mr. Miller?

Miller: Voltaire. Voltaire believes in a supreme power, but not that God has anything to do with us personally.

Is this the Voltair to which Miller is referring?  He is quoted as saying he believes in a supreme being, but the all knowing Wikipedia says that Voltair favored Hinduism. An odd choice to quote in a Christian movie, but let us not get hung up on it.

At first it looked to me like there were snowflakes whirling around this farm in the middle of summer, but it’s probably just pollen.

Miller: I survived that battle at Plattsburgh Lucy, and I have to know why.

Because you got lucky. Sometimes, that really is all there is to it.

In any case, I wanted to know more, so I looked it up. On William Miller’s Wikipedia entry, this is what it says about his time in the war.

At the outbreak of the war of 1812….. Miller spent most of the war working as a recruiter and on February 1, 1814, he was promoted to captain. He saw his first action at the Battle of Plattsburgh, where vastly outnumbered American forces overcame the British. “The fort I was in was exposed to every shot. Bombs, rockets, and shrapnel shells fell as thick as hailstones”, he said. One of these many shots had exploded two feet from him, wounding three of his men and killing another, but Miller survived without a scratch.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Miller_(preacher)

Sometimes, when someone has an experience where they could have (maybe even should have) died, and didn’t, we as humans want to know why. Why did everyone around me die, yet here I am? Why aren’t I dead?

These are very normal questions to ask, and these are absolutely normal reactions, even 2 years later. However, to me these things are proof that God does not usually interfere in the lives of humans. Miller survived, but what about all those other people? Did God not care about them? Did he sit there and think, “screw those other people, I want Miller to live so he can lead millions of people to believe I’m coming back in 1844, even though I’m not?”

We cut to a shot of Miller in the local bar with his friends, who say pretty much the same things I do.

Man1: God coming down to the battlefield to interfere with the lives of men? It’s not logical

Miller: If you’d seen the bombs… that day, you’d know the only explanation for our victory was some kind of divine intervention.

You’ll notice that, throughout history, a lot of people have gone to war saying, “God is on our side.” You will also notice that this is said by people on both sides of the conflict, often talking about the same God.

To me, the only divine intervention that doesn’t make God look like a colossal asshole would be if God took away all your weapons, put all of you in a corner, and made you talk it out like rational adults.

Abner: And what of the men and boys who died around you? was it the hand of god that put them in the grave?

Abner has a point. I am surprised this point was allowed to come up at all, and I would like to see it better addressed. Instead we get Miller saying he doesn’t have a good answer for that, all he knows is that he should be dead and he’s not, and he has some angst about it. He’s also a terrible actor.

One man says that the bible is a book of fairy tales, that there’s no evidence the stories are true. Miller says that no one has any proof that the Bible is not true, either. Both views, he says, require a leap of faith, and deserve equal weight.

All of which might have been true in 1844, but in case you haven’t noticed, it’s not 1844 anymore. It is almost 2044, and there are people who still use this argument, despite the fact that the historical accuracy of certain bible stories has been called into question.

Adventists here aren’t trying to show the mindset of the time period of the movie. They are inserting this conversation partly with the idea of reaching the unsaved. They think that a heathen is going to sit there and think that these are good arguments and that Miller has a point. And that’s just not how people think anymore.

Anyway, Abner says that, while Miller seeks answers, he seeks another drink. I like Abner.

Next we are shown Miller and his family in church. Miller is asked to read the sermon, which is apparently written in a large book which is kept on the pulpit. I am a tad confused. Did pastors just write down their sermons in books, and then have people read them to the congregation? I’ve been to Baptist churches before, and visiting pastors or speakers just gave their own sermons, which had usually been prepared well in advance. They didn’t just read something that the regular pastor wrote.

In any case, Miller starts reading, and it’s something about comparing parenting to God’s relationship with his children. He gets about two sentences in, stutters a bit, then gets off the stage and sits down with his family. Everyone in the teeny tiny church starts talking and looking at him. Like, what the fuck Miller, really? Miller looks like he wants to hide, and I honestly don’t see why he doesn’t just walk out of the sanctuary.

It’s been a while since I’ve read an SDA history book, so I had to look up what this was about. Per the all knowing Wikipedia:

Suddenly the character of a Savior was vividly impressed upon my mind. It seemed that there might be a Being so good and compassionate as to Himself atone for our transgressions, and thereby save us from suffering the penalty of sin. I immediately felt how lovely such a Being must be; and imagined that I could cast myself into the arms of, and trust in the mercy of, such a One.[6]

There’s a montage of scenes of Miller reading the bible, with voiceover of him reading the passages. The verses he reads are the parts that talk about love and Christ’s death on the cross. Lots of shots of the children.

Then the montage ends and we have a scene where the little girl finds a dead bird. Miller and the girl give the bird a funeral, and we get a conversation that, at some point, all children have.

Girl: Papa, I don’t wanna die

Miller: Oh my precious one. *hug* You will yet live for many many years.  But each of us must one day pass from this earth.

Girl: Aren’t you afraid of death?

Miller: No, not anymore, for I have found a friend in Jesus.

10 points to Adventism for not turning this into a “you will never die because Jesus is coming in your lifetime” conversation. They lose 30 points, however, for thinking that having Jesus as your best friend doesn’t make you scared of death.

As a Christian, I knew what death was. However, I was still terrified. Not of dying, mind you, but of being dead.

I am still afraid of being dead, because I never came to terms with my own mortality. Thanks, Adventism.

It’s now 1818. Miller has been studying for 2 years. We get a voiceover telling us how he now believes that most of the prophecies in the bible have been fulfilled. This… is ok. It’s still a bit of clunky exposition, but it’s better than them spending like, 2 hours watching Miller study the bible, which they probably saw as their only alternative.

We cut to a scene of Miller reading the Bible out loud to the family. The part about the 2300 day prophecy in the book of Daniel. I get distracted trying to figure out how many years that would be before giving up and going back to the movie. Miller says he thinks it’s longer than 2300 days. He thinks it’s 2300 years.

The way he figures it, the sanctuary represents the earth. I don’t know where he is getting that, so moving on. The cleansing of the sanctuary, Miller says out loud, must refer to the cleansing that will happen at the second coming of Christ. Again, citation needed.

I get that the whole point of this film is that Miller was wrong. However, Adventists don’t believe that Miller was wrong about the date, just the event. So when he says, “each day represents one year,” it kinda jolts me. “The sanctuary represents the earth…the cleansing represents the second coming…oh and one day represents a year.”

Adventists, today, believe that last one, but not the other 2. It is, therefore, kind of odd that they would lump in something they believe is fact in a list of “facts” that, clearly, Miller pulled out of his ass.

As to what Adventists believe the sanctuary is, we’ll get there, I promise. By the end of this 2 and a half hour long movie.

“If each of Daniel’s days is one year and then the 2300 days will be 2300 years till the second coming of Christ… and the time period begins in 457BC as indicated in Daniel 9 and confirmed by historians, then that brings us to…. 1843.

Christ is coming in 1843!

In case you are wondering where Miller is getting this day to a year principle, here’s an explanation. Why would verses scattered throughout the Bible, parts of which may not have even been written in Daniel’s day for all I know, apply to Daniel? Because God coded the bible, that’s why. He didn’t mean for people to figure this out until the time drew near, so he encoded the Bible, scattered a few verses throughout to explain the code, and then revealed the explanation to certain people (Miller being one but not the only one) at the beginning of the 19th century.

It’s all very confusing. To be honest, this is one of the things I never really understood. How did we know that a verse in Ezekiel applied to Daniel 9? Every time I asked this in bible class, I was chastised for having a bad attitude. Either that or the teacher suddenly decided we were changing the subject.

So back to the movie. We get a rather pointless scene of Lucy telling William to come to bed.

“God’s word has endured for centuries. It will still be there in the morning.”

The camera fades to black, and the words MANY YEARS LATER, EARLY 1830S pops up on the screen. I am irked that they will not give me precise dates, but set that aside.

Miller is ranting to his wife about Jesus coming at the beginning of the millennium foretold in revelation, not the end. I’m only halfway positive I know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t clarify so let’s move on.

Lucy tells Miller that he needs to spread this message. Miller argues that he is only a farmer, pushing 50. What he doesn’t say in this movie is that he also didn’t have much in the way of post secondary education, Which may have contributed both to his reluctance.

Miller finally ends his argument with Lucy by saying,

I shall make a covenant with God: I shall speak if I am asked.

Lucy isn’t satisfied and storms off.

The very next scene we are shown, a teenage boy comes over and says his parents were hoping Miller could give the sermon at the local baptist church while the preacher is away. Specifically, they are hoping to hear about the prophecies Miller’s been studying in the Bible.

Miller immediately runs out of the house and into the woods, screaming, “No! God! No! I CANNOT PREACH! I’M NOT QUALIFIED! NOR AM I A WATCHMAN! I BEG YOU DO NOT PUT THIS BURDEN UPON ME SEND SOMEONE ELSE!”

In his defense, this is probably how I would’ve reacted if anyone ever asked me to preach the sermon.

But Miller has made a promise, and a promise he will keep. So come Sunday morning, he preaches that Jesus is coming soon–1843, to be exact.

The faces of the crowd look…interesting. Most of them look ready to get out the pitchforks. One of the men whispers that Miller has gone mad.

We then get a montage of Miller preaching in various bible study groups and churches.

I accidentally inhale a fly and have a coughing fit. Also, GROSS.

The music fades, and we get a scene of Lucy and Miller having a meal. Lucy asks Miller if it’s really necessary for him to be away from home so much.

Miller: Are you disappointed in me?

Lucy: How could I be? You are answering God’s calling.

Miller says he wishes that things were different sometimes, and Lucy says that heaven will be vastly different. The scene fades to a church in Exeter-1839, where Miller is preaching about the 70 weeks prophecy.

When he says, “the 2300 days prophecy will be fulfilled in 1843,” the audience erupts. One woman shakes her head and says, “no!” loudly. She gets up to walk out. Several people follow her.

Why are people walking out? Do they realize that Miller is talking nonsense? Do they think he’s right but don’t want to acknowledge it? Do they think he’s outright wrong and are enraged that he is preaching nonsense in their church? Of course the movie won’t tell us, because the movie thinks it’s that middle one.

After the sermon, Joshua Himes* comes up to Miller and asks him to preach at his church in Boston.

Himes: How soon can you get to Boston?

Miller: Boston?

Himes: Very well, we’ll make it 3 weeks. The good pastor here knows my background.

Miller: But I’m just a farmer

Himes: a farmer with a message that must be heard!

Peter was a simple fisherman with no higher education. In fact, if I recall correctly, most of Jesus’ disciples were uneducated. Why is no one bringing this up? You don’t need a theological degree to be able to share the Bible.

The good pastor, who’s name I don’t know, says that Himes’ church in Boston is important because Himes has been at the center of the temperance movement, among other things.

Pastor: [His church is] a sight to see. Calvinists and dunkers, muggletonians and agrarians, Quakers mixed with Unitarians and philosophers. They all come to seize their moment. It’s a place where people come to preach, pray, and……protest.

Don’t ask me what all those things are, because I don’t know and I don’t actually care.

The scene flashes 3 weeks forward to Boston, where Miller is sharing his message with the congregation that Jesus will return “in 4 short years.”

Himes comes up afterward and tells him how great he was. We cut to a scene of Miller dining with Himes’ family. I get that the movie wants to be as historically accurate as possible, but the clinking of the cutlery in this movie really grates on my nerves.

Himes’ little boy asks Miller to tell him about the war of 1812.

Miller: A shell exploded no more than 3 feet away from me, about as close as I am to your mother right now. I thought certainly it was my end. But when the smoke had cleared, I was spared by the power of the loving God.

Himes’ daughter asks if the story is actually true. Himes is offended, and Mrs. Himes sends the children to bed. As they leave the room, Himes asks Miller if he actually believes what he preaches. Which is a really odd question to ask, because why would he be preaching it all over the place if he didn’t believe it? Is he receiving money for doing this? We aren’t told one way or another. If he was getting money out of all this I could see why you would ask that, but if he’s doing it for free…

Miller says he believes, and Himes ask him why he’s sticking to small town churches. This message is so important, why hasn’t he tried to reach the bigger cities? Miller admits that he needs help. His words, not mine.

Himes: On the strength of your conviction, I am willing to lay all I have on the altar of God to help you, only answer me this: will you stand right at my side if I take this on?

Miller: Indeed I will

Himes: then prepare for the campaign. If Christ is to come in 4 years, there’s no time to lose!… it is here, brother Miller, that I begin to help.

So, here’s the thing. You should never base your beliefs on the conviction of the one who tells you things. Because it is possible to be very very sincere and very very wrong at the same time. Exhibit A: William Miller. Always read the word of God for yourself.

My second thing is: Why do people need to prepare for the 2nd coming? Christians are always supposed to be ready for Jesus to return. Every single second. As a Christian, your heart is always to be ready to receive Jesus the moment he comes. And if there’s some sin that you forget to confess before you die? If you get hit by the hypothetical bus? Well, that’s where God’s grace comes in.

The minute that your readiness for the 2nd coming depends on that second coming being in the near future is the minute that you’re not really ready.

And that is why Jesus has said “no man knoweth the day nor the hour, not even the angels of heaven.”

We get another montage of Miller preaching, this time with Himes at his side.

This is where episode 1 ends. Join us next time to see how young Ellen Harmon (who looks way hotter than she ever did in real life) reacts to hearing the message.

I have to say, all this was…rather long and kinda boring. I feel like a lot of this could have been cut, but I also feel like perhaps a lot of it was cut. I have a feeling there’s a lot more footage they cut for the sake of time, which is why, despite the fact that it’s long and boring, it also feels short and choppy.

Whoever they got to play William Miller was cast well, though. He looks just like him (or at least, I think he does. With prosopognosia(sp) it’s hard to tell.) I can’t post pictures right now because photobucket is down. If it’s back up by the time I make my next post, I’ll do a comparison photo so we can see if the actor looks as much like the character as I think he does.

 

 

*I literally thought it was “Vimes,” because there are no subtitles and I’ve been reading too much Terry Pratchett.

 

 

 

 

Heather, An Adventist Girl (1889) Book 2 Chapter 5

 

Chapter 5

An Australian Christmas

The chapter does not begin where we left off. What did the Harts think of camp meeting? Did Mrs. Hart give her life to Christ at the altar call on Sabbath evening? (It was Sabbath in the last chapter, right?) No idea. The last chapter just sort of ended with them coming into the tent.

The chapter begins, instead, with Heather opening a Christmas present. Of course it’s her very own copy of The Desire of Ages. Because Heather doesn’t have a personality outside of being Adventist. Actually, none of these characters really seem to have personalities. They’re all mostly cardboard cutouts. I could switch the names around and not have any idea which girl I was writing about.

In any case, we are actually still at Campmeeting. Except now it’s Christmas, which feels weird to Heather.

“I like it better this way,” Nathan said, buttoning up his new vest. “We get to have Christmas and camp meeting all at the same time. What could be better!

What little I have read about Nathan makes this seem very out of character. I also wince a little because this is not how people talk.

I could also think of a ton of things better than having Christmas and camp meeting at the same time. Like not having all of your presents come from the ABC.

Aunt Rachel and Mrs. Gibson talk a little bit about Nathan after he goes to put away his vest.

“Nathan sure is growing up quickly,” said Aunt Rachel.

“Yes,” Mrs. Gibson agreed. “Working with his father this summer has certainly matured him. He is practically a man now.”

Ignore the fact that Nathan is still only 13. Notice how the adults are saying that going door to door selling books really caused him to grow and mature. I’ve heard this argument many many times: canvassing will help you to grow. It will help you to grow spiritually and mentally into a young man or woman of god.

I would just like to say that it was my experiences in canvassing that made me an atheist. Because it did help me to mature and grow mentally and spiritually. Just not in the way literature evangelism propaganda would have you believe.

I have some hope for Nathan.

Mr. Gibson asks Laura if she wants to go home for Christmas, but she says she’s fine. Mr. Gibson says to let him know if that changes, and then Addie and Mrs. Hart come in. They are here to invite the Gibsons and Laura to the beach, which is apparently an Australian tradition on Christmas.

I have to agree with Heather on this one. Christmas at the beach? How weird. Cool, but weird.

Just as they’re about to ask Mr. Gibson if they can go to the beach, he comes up and asks them if they want to go to the beach. Yawn.

When they get to the beach, Heather once again reminds us of how strange it is to have Christmas in summer. This cannot be over emphasized.

Mr. Douglas surprises Laura by meeting her at the beach. Laura’s very excited to see her father.

Addie and Nathan play tag. Addie wins, and everyone talks about how fast she is. Addie informs them that her school has races, and she always wins.

Poor Addie. If an Adventist education is in her future, there go her dreams of being a runner.

Nathan tells her that his school doesn’t have races, but that if they did, he’d win. Then he tells the girls he thinks he sees a shark. Nobody believes him, so he runs away.

Addie tells them she did see a shark last summer, but she wasn’t scared. She just left the water until it went away, then waded back in. “We Australians wouldn’t let a little shark keep us out of the water!”

After that pointlessness, Addie asks Heather what it is like to go to an Adventist school.

My answer to this question was always, “I don’t know.” Upon being asked why I didn’t know, I would reply, “I don’t know what it’s like to go anywhere else. I can’t compare it to anything because I don’t know how. What’s it like to go to your school?”

Growing up, I had an obsession with school, because even then I knew my way of life wasn’t normal. So I read all the books I could get my hands on that had stories about children going to school. I wanted to know, so badly, what it was like to go to a real school.

I’m not sure the author has any more of an idea than I do about what it is like to go to a public school. Here is the author’s idea of how a ten year old would respond to this question.

“Well,” Heather began, “It’s like going to school with your whole family. We read the Bible and pray together, and we all believe in most of the same things…..There are a few girls who are not very friendly, but I imagine that is the same in other schools, too.”

This is not at all what it is like to go to an Adventist school. I mean, I guess it could be, some schools are different than others. Adventist education really does run on both ends of the spectrum as far as class size goes. I’ve gone to fairly large (for Adventist) schools that have roughly 250 students in the entire school. I’ve also gone to teeny weeny one room schools that have exactly 8 students. (I was the 8th grade. Literally. My father always used to brag that I was the smartest person in my class. He conveniently left out the fact that I was the only person in my class.)

Even in the smaller schools, though, at no point did I ever really feel like I was going to school with my family. I felt like I was in a fishbowl, going to dinky little schools with lots of drama, bullies, and a really tiny pool of potential friends.

The rest of it though? Yeah, spot on. Adventist education involves a lot of prayer, bible readings, and almost everyone there believes the same things you do.

Addie seemed to be thinking about what Heather had just told her. “I wish I could be an Adventist,” she said.

No, you don’t.

Heather felt a surge of joy. “You can be,” she said. “Just ask Jesus into your heart, and He’ll show you the rest.”

I will admit that, mentally speaking, Addie can be an Adventist. But just because she’s an Adventist does not mean her parents will allow (or will be able to afford to send) her to go to an Adventist school. Which seems to be what Addie really wants when she says she wishes she could be an Adventist.

Just then Laura calls to Heather and Addie, telling them that she and her family are going home now.

“My father has to work tomorrow. He is right in the middle of building the new College Hall building. They want it to be ready when school starts.”

It really is too bad there’s not a section at the back of the book that explains more about the history of the school. I really would be fascinated.

Heather and her family hurry to clean up so they don’t miss the evening meeting. They need to hurry to get good seats because Ellen White is speaking. Of course. Who else would it possibly be.

Ellen White talks about salvation “that warm Christmas night,” and I can’t think of a worse way to spend Christmas.

At the end of the talk, Mrs. White gives an altar call.

“….I ask all who would like to be in heaven with our God who loves us so much to raise their hands now.”

Heather quickly raised her hand while her eyes were still closed….Heather couldn’t help but peek out of one eye. All around her, people’s heads were bowed and their hands were held high in the air.

Heather sneaked a look at Addie. Her hand was up as high as it could stretch. Heather looked through squinting eyes down the aisle. Mrs. Hart held her hand high in the air, too. Tears of joy streamed down her cheeks.

A couple of things here. First, yes, this is a type of altar call. The pastor (or speaker) will ask everyone to close their eyes, bow their heads, and raise their hand if they want to accept Jesus/stop smoking/fill in the blank.

The pastor (or speaker) always has their eyes open and is staring out at the congregation. That’s rule #1. Rule #2: everyone in the audience is totally peaking. Rule #3 is that there will be talk about this later. Who raised their hand, who didn’t raise their hand, why Sister Susie raised her hand during the altar call to stop smoking when she doesn’t even smoke, why Brother Benjamin didn’t raise his hand when asked to give his heart to Jesus…. etc. I always thought that if you want people to respond, let them do so quietly in their hearts. Jesus is magic, he can read minds.

Heather prays a thank you prayer, and the chapter ends with this:

“Amen,” Heather said, and opened her eyes. Then she blinked to be sure that what she was seeing was correct. A man with a very serious look on his face rushed down the aisle toward them. Heather looked again to be sure and then grabbed Addie’s wrist. “Addie!” she whispered hurriedly. “It’s your father!”

Oh no! Heather’s father just saw his wife and daughter pledge to join a cult! Will he be pissed, or will he join too? I’m sure we already know the answer to that, but join me next time anyway as we roll our collective eyes at the whole thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather, an Adventist Girl (1889) Book 2 Chapter 4

 

Chapter 4

Newcastle Campmeeting

 

Oh boy, a historical view of Campmeeting. This will be fascinating. I have actually always kind of wondered how these things used to be done. I was actually kind of excited to read this chapter.

For those of you who don’t know what camp meeting is… Oh god how would I even explain it? I think I’ll do a post explaining it eventually. But know that it pretty much is what it says on the label. You go camping and there are meetings. Historically these meetings were held in large tents, but nowadays they’re usually held indoors. At least, our campmeting was.

The chapter starts with Laura Douglas climbing into the wagon just as the Gibsons are ready to drive off. Nathan asks why he couldn’t have brought his friend, and Mrs. Gibson replies, “You didn’t ask.”

Fair enough, I suppose.

Heather babbles on to Laura about Addie Hart.

“You’ll just love Addie,” she told Laura. “She’s lots of fun– not like some of the girls in our class.”

“Like Ethel and May, you mean,” Laura said grinning.

Are Ethel and May the only other girls in their classroom?  How big is this school? I feel like Ethel and May are the only other girls ever mentioned besides Laura and her sister. And our protagonist, of course.

Heather comments on how strange it will be to have Christmas in the middle of summer. Laura says that a winter Christmas would be weird to her. She’s only read about that sort of thing in books. So, Laura was born in Australia, then? Or did she move here when she was very small?

They stop off at Addie’s house to….I’m not really sure. Mr. Gibson says he wants to remind them about the camp meeting, so it wouldn’t seem he’s here to pick anybody up.

Mrs. Hart opens the door and tells Mr. Gibson that it is a bad time to visit. He turns to leave, but Mr. Hart sees him and informs his wife that they are here. Well no shit asshole.

Mr. Hart stood up straight. “I see that you have come back to invite my wife and daughter to that camp meeting again,” Mr. Hart said to Mr. Gibson.

Heather held her breath.

“Yes,” Mr. Gibson replied confidently. “I came back to invite all of you.”

Mr. Hart patted the full bag with one hand. “I have no use for camp meetings or religion,” he answered angrily. “My family needs more than that right now.” He turned and kissed Addie on the forehead. “I am on my way to find a job so that I can be a good father and provide for my family.”

In the 1800s, it would have been a huge deal that Mr. Hart had no job. It makes a lot of sense for him to be embarrassed about this. And he’s completely right. His family needs real help right now, not religion.

And then his next words to his wife are

“I won’t tell you that you can’t go to the campmeeting, but I hope you will make the right choice. If you don’t take in any laundry this week, then you are giving up money that we desperately need.”

Ok, why is he saying this in front of Mr. Gibson? That sounds really mean, unless he wants to impress upon the nosy bible worker that he is doing the family a disservice by pressuring the Harts to go to camp meeting. And if Mr. Gibson knows that such a thing will affect the family income, he really needs to go away and try again at the next campmeeting. Maybe in a year Mr. Hart will have a job and can afford to take time off.

Fortunately Mr. Gibson doesn’t offer to pray for him again. Mr. Gibson tells Mrs. Hart he won’t try to get her to go against her husband’s wishes.

Right. Because it’s still all about the husband. He didn’t say, “Jee I’m sorry that I tried to get you to do something that will affect the family income. Maybe next year.” Nope. It’s still all about not going against Mr. Hart’s wishes.

I know, I know, 1800s sexism…

“I apologize for the rude welcome,” [Mrs. Hart said.] “This recession has left so many without work, and my husband can’t stand the stress much longer of not having a job.”

What recession? Where did it come from? What caused it? How many people is this affecting? Why does it only seem to affect the Harts? Don’t tell me the recession wouldn’t affect the Gibsons. My dad is in publishing, and I well know what happens to book sales when the economy tanks.

Mr. Gibson leaves, saying that if Mrs. Hart does come to camp meeting, he’s sure the Lord will bless her. No pressure at all to go…

We get a section break, and Heather and Laura are at camp meeting washing dishes. Ah, yes, the fun part of camp meeting. Washing dishes in an outdoor sink waiting what seems like hours for your turn.

Heather wonders whether the Harts will come. Laura points out that there are a lot of people here, so Heather might have missed them. Laura’s estimation is “Perhaps as many as a thousand people.”

I can’t recall off the top of my head how many people attend Michigan campmeeting each year. I know it’s a very high number, though. The overflow rooms are always full.

Heather shook her head. “No,” she said. “I would have seen them. I was looking all through the sermon.”

If there are a thousand people there, then there really is a good chance that you just haven’t seen them yet. Especially since, unlike me, Heather didn’t have a balcony to watch from.

We get a line about how Mrs. Gibson has been feeling much better lately, though is still very weak.

Mr. Gibson says they might get rain. Nathan says that it hasn’t rained in weeks, just as a gust of wind comes along.

By the way, there will be a tornado at camp meeting. There is always a tornado at camp meeting.

(Bonus points if it goes through your camp site. Apparently that qualifies you for a free meal from the cafeteria on Sabbath afternoon. I may or may not know this from personal experience…)

“It may be only a wind storm,” Mr. Gibson said, looking up at the sky thoughtfully. “But, I’m praying that it’s rain. There have been bush fires a few miles from here. If we don’t get some rain, the fires could be on our doorsteps.”

Well that would make for an interesting camp meeting! I’ve never had a fire at camp meeting before.

Heather and Laura find a seat in the big meeting tent, near the door, so they can watch for the Harts.  This is apparently the last Sabbath of camp meeting. That means that there will be more people than usual, because a lot of people who can’t come for the whole ten days will still come on the weekends, especially the last one. If there were roughly a thousand people during the week, that number could easily double or triple on the weekends. Well, this is the 1800s so, maybe only a few hundred extra people are here. Travel was more difficult back then, so my estimate could be way off.

In any case, it starts raining, which means they have to put the tent flaps down. That sucks, because it’s going to get hot and humid in there really fast. But on the bright side, those bush fires Mr. Gibson was talking about? They may as well have not been mentioned. I never get the sense that the people at Campmeeting are in danger. I almost want to say it’s an unfired Chekhov’s gun. In fact, now that I think about it, it is an unfired Chekhov’s gun.

It would have been much more interesting if the fires had gotten close, and the Pastor had prayed for divine intervention. Men were forming a bucket brigade when just then, it began pouring. I would still find this cliche and bad writing, but it would be better than having an unfired Chekhov’s gun.

If the bush fires aren’t going to cause any trouble, don’t include them in the narrative.

In any case, Elder Daniells gets up to start talking, but no one can really hear him over the sound of pounding rain. I guess microphones haven’t been invented yet. After Elder Daniells says something, everyone sings the doxology. As they are singing, Laura points out to Heather that Addie and Mrs. Hart are here.

Heather grinned. “I’m so glad you decided to come,” She said.

Mrs. Hart smiled. “We wouldn’t miss this for anything,” she said. “Not for the world.”

Why? I can see why an Adventist would feel that way, but the Harts are not Adventist. They have no fondness for Campmeeting ingrained in them from birth, sooooo why would they not miss this for the world??

The chapter ends here. How do Addie and her mom like camp meeting? Well, I’d say tune in next time to find out, but, we actually don’t get told. We get told the Hart’s response to an altar call, but we all knew that was coming and it still doesn’t tell us how the Hart’s react to the idea of tent meetings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heather, An Adventist Girl Book 2 Chapter 3 (1889)

 

Chapter 3

The Visitor

The chapter starts out with Heather and Nathan in the garden. It’s still very hot outside, but when Heather accidentally sprinkles Nathan instead of tomato plants, he gets mad at her. Dude if it was that hot outside I would be happy to be sprayed with water dangit. Anyway, Nathan gripes, and Heather tries to make friends with a rabbit. She feeds the rabbit some of the peas from the garden before Nathan comes up and asks her what in the hell she thinks she’s doing.

“You can’t let him in our garden,” Nathan said. “He’ll eat up all of our vegetables. Rabbits are the worst pests in Australia.”

Really? I would have thought the poisonous spiders, snakes, and other poisonous creepy crawlies would be far worse than rabbits. But maybe I’m wrong.

“They’ve already destroyed so many plants in Australia that some are extinct.”

Really? Which ones? Why is the rabbit population out of control? Why hasn’t Heather been told this from the very beginning? Why don’t the Gibsons have a rabbit proof fence around their garden? Do the Gibsons eat rabbit? Is rabbit a clean meat? You know what, nevermind.

Aunt Rachel comes along and insists the 2 children take a break. Nathan asks to go down to the creek to go swimming with James, but Aunt Rachel won’t let Heather go along, because Mr. Gibson doesn’t approve of her swimming with boys. I can’t figure out why. Are they swimming starkers?

Heather begs Aunt Rachel to at least let her go wading with Laura when someone comes to the door. It’s Ellen White, of course. Who else were you expecting the visitor to be?

Heather gets self conscious about her messy hair and apron, but Mrs. White doesn’t seem to notice. Mrs. White asks after Mr. Gibson, who has apparently stepped out.

“I am sorry that I missed your husband,” Mrs. White said, smiling. “We have both been waiting eagerly for this to arrive.” Mrs. White handed Mrs. Gibson the books.

Heather watched curiously as her mother turned the first fat volume over in her frail hands. “The Desire of Ages, in 2 volumes,” she whispered. “What a beautiful title for the story of the life of Christ.”

Hang on, what? Two volumes? Why is this not explained? I googled, and I still can’t find the answer. For those of you who don’t know, the reason this is confusing is because, for as long as I can remember, The Desire of Ages has only been one book. I know that some of Ellen White’s books got changed as she wrote more. I think The Great Controversy was originally 3 or 4 volumes, and it’s now called The Conflict of the Ages series, which is a series of books that contains The Great Controversy in it.

The history of Ellen White books can be super confusing, and it would have been a great opportunity, here, to educate young readers. If not in the text, at least include an explanation at the back of the book.

Anyway, Ellen tells Heather to go wash up, and then she will let her peruse the books. Heather quickly changes her clothes and washes her face and hands, before going to the kitchen and excitedly informing Aunt Rachel that Ellen White is here.

Aunt Rachel was pouring water into a tall drinking glass. “Yes, I know,” she said setting down the water pitcher. She handed the glass to Heather. “This is for her; will you please take it to her?”

There’s a lot of ways you could read that comment, depending on what tone of voice you use. I’m going to go with the interpretation that Aunt Rachel is being snippy, and Heather fails to notice. There’s not really any textual evidence for this, I just have to think that someone in these books has half a brain.

And here we get to a part of the book I was expecting.

“I’m sorry you have not been well,” Heather heard Mrs. White say to Mrs. Gibson.

“Thank you for your concern,” Mrs. Gibson replied. “I’ve been very weak and ill, and generally unable to do what I’m accustomed to doing, for quite some time now.”

Mrs. White sipped the cool water. “I have known many who suffer as you do to have had some success by getting into the out of doors in the fresh air and sunshine. The sunshine is God’s doctor.”

Yes, Mrs. White was one of those people. You know the type. The people who find out you have cancer and insist that you can get rid of it by drinking cranberry juice. The people who find out you have fibromyalgia(sp) and tell you that that can be cured by lavender oil. People who think that some whack-a do new “health” fad is going to cure whatever it is you have.

To be semi fair, sunshine and fresh air are good for us, and it’s not going to hurt Mrs. Gibson if she spends time outside, provided that the weather isn’t too extreme. However, I can’t think of any illness that can be cured with fresh air and sunshine, except maybe a vitamin D deficiency.

Mrs. Gibson, to her credit, doesn’t punch Ellen White in the face.

Mrs. Gibson looked thoughtful for a moment. “Perhaps,” she said respectfully.

Probably the best way to deal with health fad whackadoos.

Aunt Rachel comes to sit with Mrs. White and Mrs. Gibson, and the women talk about Campmeeting. They’re hoping to have one in Newcastle soon, right before Christmas. The Gibson family decides to go. They discuss inviting the Harts, and Heather says she’s not sure if Mr. Hart will let Mrs. Hart and Addie go.

Ellen White tells Heather to keep studying with and praying for the Harts.

“…pray that his heart will be open to the voice of God. If his family is happier learning about Jesus, then Mr. Hart may want to learn what they are learning, too.”

Ah, the old “let them see how happy you are and get jealous” trick. Does this ever actually work in real life? Because the only way it worked for me was in reverse.

Mrs. White leaves the 2 books with the Gibson family and leaves to go meet her son, Willie, at the train station.

Willie White is a very interesting character with a very interesting backstory. At least he would be, if he hadn’t repented, and basically turned into a slave of his mother’s.

When Aunt Rachel tells Heather she can go play in the creek now, Heather declines. She’d rather read the desire of ages.

Aunt Rachel just shrugged her shoulders.

I kid you not, that is how the chapter ends.

Heather’s going to be very disappointed, though. 10 year old me could not get through a single Ellen White book. They are so difficult to understand.

This was a really short post. I’ll try to do another chapter tomorrow, or perhaps Sunday. I was told I should do a Harry Potter interlude before moving on to our next book, which I’m almost done with. We’re still doing the magazines first, then I hope to be able to post biweekly; one Adventist Girl post on Wednesday and then a Saturday post with the new book.

Those are my goals, anyway. Who knows if I’ll actually reach them…

 

Guide: 9-24-16

Today we will be discussing an issue of Guide magazine. Guide Magazine is a weekly magazine circulated at SDA churches. It contains the week’s Sabbath school lesson, along with some stories and puzzles.

Guide is given to the Juniors. I probably need to backup and explain what that means.

So, Seventh-Day Adventists have Sabbath School classes for children of all ages. They changed the ages up a little bit since I was a kid, to make the Sabbath School classes line up better with school grades. So instead of advancing with age you advance with your school grade. Here are the divisions of Sabbath Schools as I understood them growing up:

Cradle Roll: Really really little kids. Think Babies and toddlers. I believe Cradle Roll goes up to (or used to go up to) age 4.

Kindergarten: Approximately ages 4-7. Give or take. The weekly magazine for this age group is called Our Little Friend

Primary: Approximately age 7-10. 10 is the cutoff point for Primary, at least, it was when I was a kid. The magazine for this age group is called Primary Treasure

Junior: these are your pre-teens, ages 10-12. This is the target audience for Guide Magazine.

Teens: teenagers from 13-16 or 17 ish. These unlucky lovelies are unfortunate enough to put up with Insight magazine as their serial publication. I was unable to score any issues of Insight, so I will not be reviewing them.

All churches have at least these divisions, unless they are teeny tiny churches with like only 5 children. Some churches will also have a Young Adult Sabbath school class, an Earliteen class, or a collegiate class…. But not all churches have that. Some churches just kind of expect you to start going to the adult classes once you hit age 16-18ish. This is particularly true of smaller church who may not have a whole lot of children.

The particular issue of Guide Magazine that we are snarking on is the September 24th edition of this year. Here’s a picture:

 

Oh boy, a story on Amethysts. I’ve been studying rocks and gems lately so I actually read that article first. But we’ll get to it.

First, we have a one page article written by a woman who’s picture is shown. I’ve decided I’m not naming names. In any case, this lady got a message at 6am that there was severe weather in Michigan….when she lived in Arizona. She thinks the computer thought she still lived in Michigan because her old house was in her name. Ok, but don’t most phones nowadays only show weather alerts from places you actually are? When I visited Arizona, it only showed severe weather alerts in AZ, not Michigan.

This incident somehow led the writer of this article to think about “the big picture” instead of a small puzzle piece.

 It can be a crazy, mixed up world when you get a tiny bit of the truth, but can’t see it in a whole, big picture. But please, always remember that God truly does see the big picture. And it is all about the fact that he loves you like crazy and wants you to spend eternity with him.

Don’t worry kids, if you move to Arizona, God will know.

Now we come to the cover story. I don’t see why it’s a big deal that Connie never owned an amethyst? I mean, they’re not exactly something that everyone owns. However, they’re also not something everyone couldn’t own. Amethysts aren’t really that expensive. They used to be, and then some large mine in Brazil was found. You see, amethysts are really just a purple variety of quartz. They sell them at the local New Age Bookstore for $10.

Guide acknowledges this in a small box at the bottom left corner of the page:

 Until Brazil’s large deposit of amethysts were discovered in the 19th century, amethysts were as expensive as rubies and emeralds, and at one time were available only to royalty. Today it is the most valued variety of quartz and is a very popular stone.

I’m not sure about it being the most valued variety of quartz, but it is extremely popular.

In any case, all hype aside, this is actually a cute story. So, this girl and her family went camping, and a man comes up and asks if they know of a place he can pan for gold. This girl had apparently found a really good place last year, so she told him. The man, James, thanks her, and tells her that he is a jeweler, and that as a reward for telling him where the gold is, he would give her a gem of her choosing. The girl’s favorite color is purple, so she picks amethyst.

Ever since I could remember, the rich purple of the stone had always caught my eye, but I had never been fortunate enough to own one.

Probably because you never asked. Either that or your parents had hangups with buying anything from the local new age bookstore because ZOMG NEW AGE. But really, if someone wishes to own an amethyst, there’s nothing substantial stopping them.

James goes and gets the amethyst, but then his wife comes up and insists on charging the girl $10 for it. Here is where I wish I knew what time period the story takes place in. $10 isn’t that much to us, but if this happened in like, 1970 something, that would be a substantial sum for a child.

The girl’s dad coughs up the $10, and James goes back to the van to put it in a box, then brings it out to her. Everyone goes their separate ways. That night, the girl opens the box with the amethyst.

I wanted to look at the stone, so I took it out. As I did so, some of the cotton came out. I started to put the cotton back in the box when I gasped in surprise. I could scarcely believe my eyes. Instead of an empty box, I saw 3 stones that had been hidden beneath the cotton –a large smoky topaz, a square cut emerald green stone, and a brilliant round white one. They were all faceted to perfection.

So James found a way to pay the girl for telling him where the gold was, even if his wife wouldn’t let him give away free gemstones. I bet the wife hit the roof when she found out that James had given the girl stones that were actually valuable.

Next is a word puzzle. We’re skipping over it.

Our next story is Dashee and the Mud God, part 2 of 8. Part 1 was in the previous week’s Guide, which I do not have. We will be going over part 3 in another post.

The story so far:

Dashee, a young Hindu boy in India in the late 1920s, takes part in the festivities surrounding the forming of the mud god for the year. In the middle of the ceremony 2 missionaries appear. What they say raises questions in Dashee’s mind, but he tries to forget them in the excitement of the ceremony.

Hang on a second… the missionaries interrupted a ceremony? That’s so rude. Do they want these people to hate them? If you want to preach, don’t do it in the middle of a ritual. Respect the culture around you. Jeez.

 “Dashee, look! The elders are gathering to choose the devil man now.”

Yup, very promising start there. Also, I know this was probably explained in last week’s issue, but, Devil man? I thought we were talking about a mud god. 

Dashee looked up. He’d been so deep in thought, he hadn’t realized that the old elder had finished forming the bird out of the sticky black mud…he had been thinking about the clean missionaries and their words about the God of heaven. He wished that he could learn more about the God they had spoken of.

Clean missionaries? Really?

And maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t the term “old elder” a little redundant? Maybe not. Maybe it’s a cultural thing. We’ll let it slide.

Why does Dashee want to learn more about these missionaries’ God? What exactly did they say? I know, I know, I’m missing half the story…. moving on.

Dashee watches as a man is chosen. Chosen for what, I don’t know. Everyone dances around him as music is played. And by music I mean drums, and everybody knows that drums are evil.

The villagers began to pass around toddy (a drink made from the sap of the palmetto tree)

Gee, good thing you said something. When I hear the word “toddy” I think of something completely different.Actually, reading on, I still think you mean something different, because the story goes on to say that the more toddy they drank, the louder they got.

Per the all knowing Wikipedia:

In India, palm wine or toddy is served as either neera or padaneer (a sweet, non-alcoholic beverage derived from fresh sap) or kallu (a sour beverage made from fermented sap, but not as strong as wine).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palm_wine#India

I learn something new every day. This sounds fascinating, I want to try it.

Anyway, so there’s drums, drinking, and dancing. They call upon “the spirits” to possess the man, who I’ll just call V. V eventually starts jerking around and says, in an abnormal voice:

This bird is our god. He will bring us good crops this year. He will make our children healthy and keep sickness from our animals.”

Sounds pretty vague… like something you’d make up if you wanted to please those who had chosen you.

The villagers bring out “a little thatched hut on a platform” and cart “the devil man” around the village as they sing and chant. Instead of following this procession, Dashee goes home to help his mother prepare food. The residents of the village spend the next 3 days and nights feasting. We get a description of some of the food:

  1. Mettie–a candy made of raw brown sugar
  2. puffy rice balls
  3. curry

The last night of feasting everyone goes to bed early, because the next day they have to go to work. Most members of the the village work in the bizarre as “coolies.” I have no idea what that means, and the writer isn’t going to tell me.

Dashee is thinking, this entire time, about the white missionaries. He decides that if they don’t come back soon, he’ll head on over to their compound.

The missionaries decide to spare Dashee a trip. They come to the village and ask if they can tell stories. The villagers, much happier now that their ceremonies aren’t being disturbed, sit down and listen.

What stories are the clean white missionaries telling? You’ll have to come to Sabbath School next week to get the next issue of Guide to find out. I happen to have next week’s edition, we’ll be getting to it in a later post.

Mud: Off road discoveries with RA.

There’s a caption that says:

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS YOU WERE ABOUT TO ASK ME (maybe).

RA tells us that he usually lets the kids ask the questions, but today he wants to answer some of his own.

Translation: not enough children are writing to me, but I still had to come up with an article.

Question 1: How do animals know where to migrate to? How do they know where they’re going? …..How do they even know when it’s time to go?

Scientists aren’t actually sure, says RA. He says that they might use cues about the weather, or perhaps they are guided by the earth’s magnetic field. Perhaps they navigate by the sun and stars. All he really knows is that God created some amazing creatures who do things we can’t explain yet.

Question 2: why do my fingers and toes get wrinkly when I’m in the water for a long time?

This is pretty interesting. Apparently our skin is covered with its own oil, and when we stay in the water too long, this oil comes off and our skin absorbs water. Some scientists say that when this happens, it is easier for us to pick things up when our hands are wet.

Translation: we evolved the ability to do this because the wrinkly skin helped us to be able to pick things up with wet hands. Which I’m sure is a handy skill that came in handy at some point as we evolved.

Question 3: Are cats the only animals that purr?

No. Here’s a small list. I already knew about elephants, because I’d read a book about them recently. But I did not know about:

  1. Hyenas
  2. chickens
  3. rabbits
  4. squirrels
  5. raccoons
  6. gorillas

RA goes on to say that purring has been known to lower blood pressure. He leaves out the fact that purring can release feel-good hormones that release depression. I read about that in a book recently, too.

Question 4: Why do I yawn when I’m sleepy?

 

RA basically uses an entire paragraph to say that scientists aren’t sure.

I am pretty sure that it has something to do with the lack of oxygen in the brain, but I could be wrong, I don’t even remember where I read that.

He concludes with a small paragraph saying that he can’t wait to ask God all these questions. I may or may not have just yawned.

Out Of This World Storms.

First the article discusses hurricanes on earth. Then the writer moves on to talking about storms on Saturn. Apparently Saturn has great white spots, which are really huge storms that pop up every 30 years or so. Then we move on to talking about Jupiter’s red spot, which is a really big storm that’s been going on and on for… well, as long as we have been observing Jupiter. Then the article moves on to the meat of the matter:

We see storms on earth and other planets, but sometimes the storms are right at home or on the playground or at school. I’m talking about storms between people.

This is usually the point where pre-teen me would stop reading and start skimming.

Most fights between people are because someone did or said something that hurt another person.

Wow rocket science!

When we get mad, our sinful reaction is to do or say something hurtful in return. (That’s how Satan wants us to react), and all this does is to cause the storm to go on and on.

I don’t exactly think it’s a sinful reaction to want to punch someone in the face, especially if this person is being especially bigoted.

The author goes on to say that we need to be careful with our words, because God will judge us. If we want to know how God wants us to react to storms, read Luke 6:27. Mercifully it is not quoted, so I looked it up.

27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

Be good to your father, little Snowperson, even when he is screaming and shouting at you. Yeah, fuck that.

On the next page is a caption: DID YOU KNOW?

This is a brief article about a paragraph long, talking about all the junk that’s up there in space. It would actually be interesting to read about what all that junk is and how it got up there. Instead the writer says that there’s not much we can do about the junk we put up in space, but we can do our part to take care of the planet God has given to us.

I like this. I wish this article had been…. I dunno, longer and more fleshed out. A lot of conservative Christians don’t think it matters how we treat the planet, because Jesus is coming soon and why should we bother when we have an apocalypse to prepare for?

But you know what? If I was God, and I gave someone an entire planet to look after, and I came back and found out that they had completely trashed it, I would be pissed. And you know what happens to entire races of people when God gets pissed…

Christians should be the most staunch environmentalists in existence. After all, they are the ones who believe they will be held accountable for how they treat the planet.

FUN, FREE, AND DEADLY

No, the next article is not talking about vaccines. The sub caption reads, “the innocent flyer offered a dangerous opportunity.”

So, the Adventists put out flyers for their next Revelation seminar?

In any case, the little girl in the story, who I’m calling Casey, notices a flyer on the windshield of their car and asks her mom about it. Casey doesn’t know what a “free psychic reading” is.

“A psychic is someone who says they can tell another person’s future,” mom explained.

Citation needed. I feel like psychics actually do way more than this, but whatever.

Casey thinks that that sounds like a fun activity, and that since it doesn’t cost any money, they should give it a try. But mom says that psychics are not fun, they’re dangerous.

When Casey asks her mom how that could possibly be dangerous, Mom starts talking about a bible story in acts 16. She summarizes it, but I’m going to skip that and quote straight form the Bible.

16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:

17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.

18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,

20 And brought them to the magistrates, saying, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city,

21 And teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.

22 And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.

23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:

There you go. Messing around with Psychics is dangerous because if you expose them, people will beat you. Or…. something…. actually I really have no idea why the mother in this story tells this particular Bible story, because she totally leaves out everything after verse 18. All she says is, “When Paul and Silas cast out the spirit, she was no longer able to predict the future.”

Um, ok, and? That still doesn’t explain how psychics are dangerous.

Besides, the girl in the bible story wasn’t predicting the future. She was calling out Paul and Silas for being apostles of Jesus. So, by your definition, was she really psychic?

Casey wants to know if all fortune tellers have spirits in them. Well, no, the mom admits. Some of them are just clever fakes. Unfortunately, she doesn’t go into all the ways someone could fake being psychic. I think this is unfortunate, because, even if one believes in evil spirits, most psychics really are just “very very good at reading people.” It would be way more interesting to read about the various ways people do this than to hear more fear mongering about evil spirits.

Casey asks her mom if it’s wrong for a Christian to see fake psychics. Casey’s mom then tells her that the Bible forbids witch craft, because seeing a psychic is totally a form of witch craft.

I bet if I actually talked to an actual psychic, she would be offended at being lumped in with the same category as witches. Not because it’s wrong to be a witch, but because “witch” and “psychic” are not synonyms.

Mom and Casey get out their iPhones and look up Bible verses about witchcraft. Mom goes on to talk about another thing that seems harmless but isn’t–the Ouija board.

I have heard lots of horror stories about Ouija boards growing up Adventists, and really really wish my friends, D and S, would find one so I could play with it. I want to see if there’s anything to this nonsense.

Casey admits that her friend Sally had a Ouija board at a sleepover once. Casey tells mom she didn’t participate, of course (yeah right) but that she felt weird about it.

“Nothing really scary happened, but I just felt weird. Like something wasn’t right.”

That’s because you’ve been told your whole life that it’s wrong to play with a Ouija board.

According to this story, however, I am wrong. The mom in this story explains that Casey felt weird about it because that was God warning her to stay away.

Casey thought for a moment. “Sally wanted to have a seance, too. Is that witchcraft, too?”

Oh good god. How old is Casey? These questions she’s asking sound like they are coming from someone very young. It is not possible to get that old on Planet Adventist without knowing that seances and Ouija boards are “Wrong.”

I also kinda want to call bullshit on Casey clearly having a non SDA friend. If this was the case I am guessing that Casey and Sally were not allowed to remain friends after this conversation.

In any case, here is a list of things that have to do with witchcraft, according to the mom in this article:

  1. Psychics
  2. Seances
  3. Tarot cards
  4. Palm readings
  5. Astrology

Casey asks what astrology is, and the mom explains that people who read horoscopes in the newspaper are practicing astrology.

Ummm or they are just reading them for shits and giggles?

Casey wants to know what’s so wrong with reading horoscopes for shits and giggles, except she doesn’t use the phrase “shits and giggles.”

Her mom did just explain that it was witchcraft, right, which the Bible says to stay away from? I’d think that would be her answer now, but no, instead she says,

“Because we don’t’ want to read something that predicts our future. The Bible says that our future is in God’s hands, and we should trust him to take care of us…Jeremiah 20:11 says “for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future…. God promises us that his plans for us are good, so we don’t need to worry about it. We can just trust Him with our future.”

And look where that fucking got me. It wasn’t until I stopped trying to figure out what the fuck God wanted me to do that I was able to move forward in life. But I had to take control of my own future, because there isn’t a god to do it for me.

The article concludes that God’s plan is the best plan, and that’s where this ends. There’s a word search at the bottom of the page, and I pull out a pen because I love word searches.

After that, we have our Bible story:

THE FUGITIVE HEIR

You can all skip this story if you want and just go and read 2 Samuel 9. I’ll summarize:

King David thought one day about his good friend Jonathan. Jonathan was dead, but did he have any relatives? David sent his servant, Ziba, to go find out. It was found out that Mephibosheth was Jonathan’s son. So David takes Mephibosheth back to the palace, where he gives him all of Saul’s old stuff and treats him like his own son. Oh and Meph is a cripple, which is illustrated in the accompanying comic at the end of the magazine. This illustration bothers me for reasons I can’t put my finger on.

Taking Meph under his wing is supposed to demonstrate what an awesome king David is, because most kings only search for their predecessor’s heirs so they can kill said heir, but David did it so that he could treat this person with kindness. Isn’t that just like God? This story helps us see how much God loves us. Like David loved his enemy, we are supposed to love our enemies.

Then comes the Junior Sabbath school “lesson,” which is really just a list of things you’re supposed to do throughout the week. Nobody actually does these. At least, no one that I  knew ever did…. Here’s a picture:

 

CROSS TRAINING

The writer in this article talks about how, as a child, he had a tangerine tree. He was very proud of his tangerines, and loved to give them away and show them off. At this point I’m wondering how he’s going to lose said tree, because stories that start out like this usually end that way.

But this story is different. The story ends with the writer growing up and planting his own tangerine tree, only to wonder why it won’t grow. Finally he notices the tag that it came with, which reads, “Dwarf plant.” Silly pastor, it was never meant to grow.

This story is a good example of why you should always read the labels before you buy something. Whoops, that’s not the moral of the story…

The moral of the story (Wheel of Morality turn turn turn….)is that unlike this plant, we are supposed to grow. We need to give ourselves the same attention the pastor gave the tree when he was trying to encourage it to get big already.

We need care and exercise–spiritual exercise. Cross Training.

Pastor T.

That’s the end of the article. And…. ok? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get it.

On the next page is the Earliteen Sabbath School Lesson, for those churches that have an Earliteen division. Please don’t ask me what the fuck that is because by that point I was in Academy, and we all went to the same Sabbath school.

I’m not taking a picture of it. It’s just like the above picture, only with a slightly different lesson, which seems to be about growing in Christ. Not growing as a person, mind you, but growing as a Christian. Which is totally more important.

On the very back page of the magazine is a comic illustrating this week’s bible story. Here’s the part I don’t like:

 

On the back cover of the magazine, there are little interesting facts about random stuff. They call this the FACTory. Get it? Heh.

In any case, that’s the end.

So, what did you guys think? Do you want more articles like this or is this not something you would be interested in reading?  I have only one more Guide to get through, and also some other magazines that I think may be of interest.

Actually, unless someone still attending a church sends me any, I’m not likely to do any more of these. I just happened to have nabbed these on a recent mission to the local church. These magazines were generously donated. I even made sure to ask before I took them, and they said I could have them. There, consent.