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.

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.

 

On Becoming A Woman Chapter 19

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Chapter 19

What Of Religion

Every person has a philosophy of his own. Even those who claim they are not religious have their ideas of the relation of the human race to the universe.

I don’t actually think much about my “relation to the rest of the universe.” I guess if I did think about it I’d think that we were just tiny specks on a planet the size of a period at the end of a sentence.

Atheists, who claim there is no God, make a sort of religion of their atheism and build their personal philosophies around their atheistic theories.

My atheistic what?

Notice how the author doesn’t say “Atheists don’t believe in God.” He says “atheists claim there is no God.” It may sound nitpicky at first, but words mean things. “Atheists don’t believe in God” and “Atheists claim there isn’t a God” are two different sentences. The latter kind of implies that the speaker doesn’t think atheists actually believe there is no God. They just refuse to acknowledge his obvious existence.

This chapter is very long. I think it may even be the longest chapter in the book. I’ll try to keep this post fairly short and summarize, but it’s a bit difficult.

When a person enters their teens, they start noticing the religion of others. They notice that people who believe differently than they do believe with the same sincerity that Christians believe in their God. The teenager looks around, scratches his head, and thinks, “huh. What am I going to believe?”

When we are children, our parents are responsible for our physical, emotional, and spiritual welfare. When we grow up, however, we become responsible for our own well being.

When he reaches 21 years of age he has to make a decision on how he will vote.

Interesting. I thought the voting age got lowered in the early to mid 60s. A quick google search tells me it was actually 1971.

I learn something new every day.

His parents might have been Democrats or Republicans, but once he enters the polling booth and the curtain closes behind him, it is he alone who decides how to vote. He may have been influenced by his parents, but they do not go with him at the time he marks the ballot.

No, but if you brainwashed your child properly, he’ll vote correctly. Note the pronoun “he.” I wonder if this chapter is another that was copied exactly over from OBAM. Usually this book uses feminine pronouns. We’ll get to it when we do the rest of OBAM, which we will get to, I promise. Some day. Eventually.

Anyway, just like voting, when he reaches adulthood, a person must make his own decision about his relationship with “his creator.”

Note that the author here is assuming that a teen even believes he has a creator. He doesn’t say that the teen must decide which God to follow (or not follow), just that he must make a decision about his relationship to the god that Shryock believes in.

This choice of a religious philosophy is the most important decision that the individual will ever make. It determines, in large measure, the degree of happiness he will enjoy in the present life. And, inasmuch as it pertains to eternal values, it also determines his welfare for the life to come.

But hey, no pressure or anything.

I will say that I am a lot happier now that I’m an atheist than I was when I was a Christian. However, it was nowhere near the most important decision I ever made. The person who reads and believes these words is going to get a very skewed perspective on life.

In the case of a young person who has been reared in a home where Christian ideals have been consistently taught and followed, the problem is not difficult.

HA. HA HA HA. HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. Ahem.

Yes, it is very difficult. In fact, I would venture to say that choosing a religion is more difficult in a home where Christianity, especially Adventism, is the dominant way of thinking.

Reared in such a home, a young person has already had the opportunity to judge the effects of his parents’ religion.

Yes, but that doesn’t mean he is able to think critically about them. Adventism isn’t really known for producing critical thinkers.

I want to be careful here to note that I am not saying that people who have thought critically about Adventism wouldn’t be Adventists. That’s not the case with a lot of people I know. A lot of people have thought very long and hard about religion and still wound up Adventist. But the thing is, a lot of people don’t. A lot of people think they do but really don’t. It’s complicated. Just because someone was raised in a Christian home doesn’t mean it’s simple. And just because Christianity has produced loving parents (it often doesn’t, but set that aside) that doesn’t mean that Christianity is the truth.

If the effects of this religion have been to promote kindly understanding among the members of the family, to provide a spirit of forgiveness for mistakes, to emphasize the finer things of life, to develop a faith in the Lord’s kindly dealings with his human children, to point out the obligation of each human being to live in harmony with the divine commandments, and to inspire faith in the Biblical promises of an ideal hereafter for those who accept the provisions for victorious living–then surely he can find nothing better for his personal philosophy.

That was one helluva run-on sentence.

It’s also kind of a stupid argument for Christianity. Consider Muslim families. (You’d have to replace the word “Bible” with Koran (Qur’an?), but work with me.) I’d be willing to be good money that there are a lot of Muslim families out there who fit exactly this description. And yet the author would have an adult sized cow if such a teenager used that argument to become a Muslim. Replace the word “Muslim” with “Jew” and “Bible” with “Torah,” and you’d have the same thing.

I truly cannot believe anyone finds this argument convincing.

It gets better.

Practically the only danger confronting the young person who has grown up in such a home is that he may become carefree and allow himself to drift away from the religion he has learned.

Actually, I have a lot of sympathy for those who merely “drift away” from religion. It is usually the case, then, that those people still believe that Adventism has it right, and that they should be living up to SDA standards, but for whatever reason, they don’t. These people do not make up the majority of ex SDAs, but they do exist, and they are some of the saddest people I know. It is far better to make a conscious choice either to leave or to stay than to just let yourself drift. Ask me how I know.

The author knows people like this too. He’s going to tell us all about….I’m going to change his name to Harley, because I suspect the author is using real names here. Harley’s home was “almost perfect.”

He found himself attracted to interests outside the home. The glamour of worldly pleasures temporarily overshadowed the peace and security provided by the religion his parents had taught him. He did not lose faith in religion, but he allowed other interests to consume his time and energies….he participated in card playing, dancing, and using tobacco.

For a long time, I was like this too. I haven’t believed in Adventist ideals since I was 16, but I still believed that God was real and that the Bible was true. However, I swung wildly back and forth over whether or not I was going to follow Jesus and be a Christian. Knowing I should be, but not wanting to be. Not wanting to give up earrings for Jesus, but Still believing I should give up earrings for Jesus. And so these people have my utmost sympathy. Losing my faith was hard. Keeping it was even harder.

Harley, despite getting “the talk” from his parents and the pastor, knew he was going down the wrong path, but figured he’d come back to religion eventually.

Anyway, Harley met this non religious girl and they married.

Then came the 2nd world war, and Harley became a pilot in the air corps. He completed many dangerous missions and eventually received an honorable discharge. During the course of his service in the Air Corps his conscience had begun to trouble him and he longed for the peace of mind he had enjoyed when his religious experience had been active.

Well, of course. I mean, he never fully lost his faith in the first place, and then he went off to war. War does things to people, and I’d bet that there are a lot of soldiers out there who either do believe in a God or wish they could believe. War is terrible, and I can’t blame someone for wanting a higher power to turn to while he was on dangerous missions trying to stop the Nazis from committing mass genocide. In times of distress, I too wish there was a higher power I could cry out to.

After the war, however, Harley went right back to his old way of life without religion. He didn’t have the strength to follow his conscience.

Another example we will turn to is someone with a first and a last name. I’m deciding to call her “Natalie.” Natalie grew up in a Christian home, and had never really thought about her religion much, until she went to Academy. This story is familiar to me, Academy was when I started thinking about things, too. Anyway, Natalie was 16 and went off to Academy where she met a friend.

This other girl planted certain doubts in Natalie’s mind and kept telling her that religion was old fashioned and that “smart people” didn’t go in for church activities.

I think by “planting doubts” the author actually means “ridiculing.” They are two totally different things. Was Natalie’s friend merely telling her church was for stupid people, or was she informing her why the world couldn’t possibly be 6,000 years old by showing her books written by real scientists?

In any case, Natalie’s friend influenced her away from religion. Natalie’s conscience bothered her a bit, but she liked being a non Christian too much.

She became very much interested in current styles of clothing and modern interpretations of etiquette, popular music, and in other things that indicated she was “up to date” as measured by worldly standards.

I have no idea what the author means when he says “modern interpretations of etiquette.”

Adventists nowadays are a little more relaxed on this, but it used to be that Adventists would frown on wearing modern styles of clothing and listening to secular music. So to his audience, this paragraph is shocking, whereas someone more normal would be thinking, “ok? And?”

Natalie obtained a certain thrill from shocking people and from reciting her “modern” views,

Yeah, I’ll bet she did. Seriously, have you ever gone up to an Adventist wearing earrings, drinking coffee, and talked about how the bible doesn’t actually ban homosexuality? It’s kind of fun to watch the look on their faces as they can’t take their eyes off your coffee cup, and you can tell they’re just trying not to look at your face because then they’d have to see your piercings.

I have zero idea why the word modern is in scare quotes.

But this thrill was superficial and offered a poor substitute for the peace of mind that she had formerly enjoyed.

Adventism did not give me peace of mind. Believe me, I tried. Really tried, not fake tried, as so many have accused me of doing. In the end, I only found that Adventism gave me more things to worry about, and that being away from it helped me find peace of mind.

But then I read on and discover why Natalie truly didn’t have peace of mind.

She did not entirely forsake the high principles which she had learned at home…

If Natalie still believes it’s wrong to drink coffee, allowing herself to drink coffee is not going to give her peace of mind. Natalie must either stop drinking coffee, or discover for herself that it’s ok to drink it.

When one leaves Adventism, there can be no indifference. Therein lies madness.

And although she continued to be indifferent, she still chose most of her friends from among those of the same religion as her parents

That’s probably because Natalie doesn’t know how to make non SDA friends. For years after I’d mentally left Adventism, I continued to make SDA friends, because I needed friends, and I simply did not know how to interact with someone outside the cult.

Still haven’t completely figured it out, actually….

Anyway, Natalie got married and then there’s a few paragraphs about how her husband was more religious than she was. And this is why I still believe that when you marry, your spouse should be the same religion (or lack thereof) as you are, because otherwise you’re setting yourselves up for fights and conflicts.

Then tragedy came. Their little child became seriously ill and passed away.

Having a child die is no small thing. I don’t think the effect of having a child pass away can be underestimated. In cases like this I could see why a parent would turn to religion. Adventists may not believe that their dead child is in heaven, but they do believe they will see that dead child again, and I could absolutely see someone desperately clinging to that hope.

What I can’t understand is this:

Finally Natalie said, “Harry, I am convinced that the Lord permitted this tragedy to come to us for our own good. We have been coasting along without really recognizing His claim upon us. I now realize that it is all my fault. It goes back to the time when I was 16. I made a mistake in choosing my chum at boarding school, and in allowing her to lead me into attitudes that were contrary to what I knew to be right. What I have needed all this time is an active religious experience of my own.”

“The Lord allowed our child to die because I made a mistake when I was 16.” I have a very hard time understanding why your next words would be, “so let’s go back to church and start worshiping him.” I mean, that sounds like a really shitty god you’d want to stay away from.

I am truly sorry that their child passed away. But religion may not have made a difference. They could have been the most staunch Christians ever and their child still might have died. Religion doesn’t prevent you from getting sick and it certainly does not prevent your children from getting deathly ill.

Shryock describes Natalie’s and Harley’s homes as an ideal upbringing. Not all homes are like Harley’s and Natalie’s, however.

There are homes in which there is a profession of religion but in which the parents are inconsistent in living out the religion which they profess.

So, every single home, then. Because no place is perfect.

When his parents profess one kind of religion and practice another, it is quite natural for him to conclude that religion is a farce.

For a long time, this is what I thought was wrong with my parents. My dad believed in Adventism, yet he drank coffee, screamed and swore at me and called me worthless. I used to think his problem was that he wasn’t religious enough. Surely if he was more religious, he’d be a much kinder person.

The author gives us an example of Jerry, a boy who’s father was religious, yet in name only. Jerry decided that if all religion was like his father’s, he wasn’t having any of it.

Unfortunately, Jerry assumed that it was because of his religion that his father was cross and overbearing. Actually the trouble was that Mr. D— had never known the transforming influence of a genuine Christian experience. But Jerry failed to realize that the trouble was not with the father’s religion but with the father’s refusal to allow his religion to permeate his life.

Is…. is Jerry me? This was me at age 16. I read books like this and thought immediately of my father.

But you know what? My father’s religion feeds his anger. My father’s religion feeds his hair-trigger temper. If you take religion away, my father probably wouldn’t be a kinder person. But he might be willing to consider that he has a problem he should seek professional help for. And he might be way more accepting of people with different sexual orientations and gender identities. He might love me.

In any case, Jerry went to the army and got captured and put into a prisoner of war camp. All of this gave Jerry time to think, and he decided to to go back to his parents’ religion.

This just shows how uncritically Jerry thought about religion. We are told that in the POW camp he had time to think, and yet, it seems here that Jerry returned to the religion of his parents because he was bouncing back to what he knew. He doesn’t seem to have compared and contrasted different religions and decided to try them all out. Nope, just “I’m going to be SDA again.”

Some young people come from homes in which there is no religious profession. They do not even know as much about the meaning of religion as Jerry knew.

In the United States of America in the 1960s? I doubt it. Even in atheist homes people would have known the basics of the Christian religion. Even in the 21st century children have very little choice about this. In the 1960s I imagine Christianity was much more pervasive in the culture.

Such a young person is entirely on his own when it comes to formulating an adequate philosophy of life, and has only his experience as a guide.

Seriously? Children of non religious parents get zero help from said parents on forming a philosophy on life? Does he think non religious parents are all assholes who don’t talk to their children?

Then the author goes on to talk about teenagers who converted to Adventism, as well as teenagers who converted their friends to Adventism. It’s a very long tangent. He gives examples.

I’m not going to get into all of them, and I’m absolutely not going to get into them in the depth that the author feels is necessary. It’s just showing examples, basically, of the various ways people come to Christ.

We have “Edward” who’s father was an alcoholic, so he went to live with his aunt and uncle, who put him in a church school. Edward grows up to be a minister, and the story ends with Edward’s brother being puzzled over Edward’s being happier than anyone else he knows.

Then we have the story of “Jamie,” who has a religious mother and a non religious father.  Jamie couldn’t make up her mind what she wanted to be, so she decided to postpone making a decision.

The decisions to postpone is equivalent to deciding against religion.

Adventists have this very black and white way of looking at things. If you don’t decide for them, that is an automatic decision against them.  There can be no “live and let live.” You either are an Adventist, or you are against Adventists.

Right after this sentence, we get this:

We are built in such a way that some decisions have to be made when they have to be made.

What do you guys think? Is the author wrong or is he right? Discuss.

Jamie’s story ends with the phrase,

Consequently, the time never came when she was willing to decide in favor of religion.

Ok, but did the time come when she made a decision against it? Did she just never decide? Hope you weren’t curious, because we don’t get to know.

Then we get to read about Robert. Robert came from a home similar to Jamie’s, but he had “the courage” to decide to be religious.

This chapter is long, and I’m not sure what the point is. I get that Shryock assumes his readers will be Adventists, but why does he assume they will be from Adventist families? By the time one hits one’s teens, lots of Adventists are converts. If this chapter was meant to help an Adventist teenager develop his religious philosophy, the chapter fails spectacularly.

If this chapter was meant to show how witnessing to your friends could work, it sorta kinda doesn’t fail.

I’m honestly not really sure why we just went on all those really long really unnecessary really boring tangents.

In the middle of these tangents, he says something potentially useful.

Sometimes a young person says, “I just don’t feel religious. I have no desire to be bad, but I am naturally not emotional.”

Actually, however, genuine religion is not based on emotions. It is based on convictions….

Yeah, I would agree. There are lots of people of lots of different religions out there, and I’m sure that not all of them feel emotional about their religion. That doesn’t mean their religion is unimportant to them, mind you.

Often the Lord permits some shocking experience to come into a young person’s life simply to bring him to his senses, as it were, and to impress with him with his need of God. This was the case with Natalie, and it is also the case with Justin Smith.

Justin never really had time for religion, because he was interested in motorcycles and automobiles. God this book is dated. Who calls them “automobiles” anymore?

Anyway John let his friend borrow his motorcycle. This friend swerved to avoid a car, crashed the motorcycle and died. Naturally, this messed with John’s mind quite a bit. Only, not in the way that I expected.

This circumstance brought a total change in Justin Smith’s life. He seemed to recognize that in the experience the Lord had a personal message for him. He kept asking himself the question, “why is it that I have been spared and my friend has been permitted to die?” This question finally forced him to the conclusion that his friend was ready to die and that the Lord had spared his own life for a purpose.

Does this passage ever not scare the shit out of Christians? I feel like if I was a staunch Christian reading this, who loved the Lord, I’d be terrified the Lord was going to kill me just so he could make me an object lesson.

But set that aside. Justin Smith is torn up because his friend died. That is normal. It is perfectly normal for him to wonder if his friend died because he borrowed the motorcycle. It is perfectly normal for Justin to maybe feel a little guilty (even though it wasn’t his fault, it’s still a human reaction.) But I’m not really seeing the logic leap from “My friend would still be alive if I hadn’t loaned him my motorcycle” to “I would have died if I’d been driving that motorcycle.”

It’s not like it’s a 100% sure thing that Justin would have died if Justin was driving the motorcycle. Perhaps Justin wouldn’t have needed to swerve to avoid that car. Perhaps he would have missed meeting the car entirely because he drove a different route, or needed to stop off at a gas station, or maybe he drove a bit faster or slower and so avoided ever meeting that car.

I mean, there are eleventy bajillion different ways this all could have gone. So I’m not really sure where the logic leap is coming from.

In any case, all this lead to Justin surrendering his entire life to God. Instead of living for himself, he began to direct his energies into helping others.

And, as is always the case, John found greater satisfaction in spending his energies this way than he had by startling people with his daring exploits.

No, that is not always the case. When I was a Christian, I read things like this, and I did things for others and I did things for others and I did things for others…. and eventually I realized that I was miserable, because nothing I did was ever for me. I do believe in helping other people, but I also believe in helping yourself. Because sometimes there’s more satisfaction in that.

The author then goes on to talk about how lovely it is to serve others, especially since it could lead people to Christ. He gives examples. This one woman was impressed to try and witness to her uncle, who was a vulgar man who hated religion, drank, swore, and, bla bla bla. So the young woman invites him to church meetings, and he goes along to be polite. So this lady, who’s name isn’t mentioned, does this every single night of the meetings.

Potential converts out there, listen up: do not go to a meeting with an Adventist just to be polite. They will manage to rope you into going every night. Be rude if you have to, say no.

In any case, by the end of the meetings, Uncle was going of his own accord, and when there was an altar call he gave his life to God.

This experience wasn’t just good for Uncle, it was good for his niece. Bringing her uncle to Christ brought her a lot of joy, and she decided to dedicate her life to witnessing to others.

I’ve often wondered about this joy that comes from bringing someone to Christ. I have to admit, I’ve never experienced it. I’ve come close a few times, but I never did manage to convert anybody.

Good. Gives me less guilt to feel now.

In any case, another story illustrating the same thing is the story of Brock. Brock wanted to join the church choir, but there weren’t enough people to have a choir, so Brock invited some boys from school to join. The boys enjoyed the singing, and it took them a while, but eventually they grew to enjoy the preaching as well. One of these boys decided to join the church. All because Brock invited them to be part of the church choir.

Now that we are done with the tangents and case stories, we are getting to the meat of the matter, why the reader should choose Christianity.

The young person who chooses to build his personal philosophy around an active Christian experience has many advantages over one who remains indifferent.

Like constantly feeling like sky-daddy is watching you, being frustrated sexually, and feeling guilty all the time because almost everything you enjoy is somehow sinful?

According to Shryock, Here are the advantages of living a Christian life:

  1. Christianity provides a proper means for the forgiveness of a mistake. When a christian makes a mistake the Bible tells him how to correct this mistake and how to pray [for forgiveness].

Because non Christians have NO IDEA how to forgive someone. Non Christians have NO IDEA how to make things right when they make a mistake.

It’s no wonder I used to think of non Christians as not really people. They’re portrayed, at times, as rather stupid.

The Christian need not be haunted by his memory of previous shortcomings. He can make actual progress in his character development from day to day and from year to year.

The Christian need not be haunted by the memory of all those girls he raped. He can just ask for forgiveness. No, the author doesn’t bring up rape, but I do because too often this is how all this is used. For the rapist, mind you. Not the victim.

Contrast this with the experience of someone who is not religious. When he makes mistakes the memory of these mistakes continues to cause him chagrin and humiliation. He does not have faith in a Redeemer. Therefore he does not claim access to a higher power that will give him victory over all this human frailties. Such a person is in danger of discouragement simply because he is struggling alone in his attempt to get along in the world.

I’m kind of done dissecting this, I’m just going to let it stand on its own. Because fuckit.

2. Prayer

Because a Christian has the ability to pray, he can seek God’s guidance whenever he is confused.

By taking advantage of the privilege of prayer, he may ask for providential intervention in those problems that are too great for him to solve.

Got a problem that’s too hard? You don’t have to try and solve it on your own. Ask your sky-daddy! No need for character growth as you overcome challenges on your own. Your character growth comes from turning it over to Jeebus.

3. An active Christian experience enables you to look to the future with full faith and confidence.

Really? I was looking to the future with constant fear. I was always trying to figure out what the heck God wanted me to do, worrying I’d choose the wrong thing. Then I would experience the Lord’s displeasure.

The Christian’s future welfare does not depend upon a large bank account or upon title to real estate or even upon the favor of friends. The Christian’s faith permits him to look beyond present hardships and disappointments to the overwhelming rewards promised those who make Christ the center of their personal philosophies.

That’s it. That’s the end of the book. That’s the concluding paragraph, we’re done. Holy shit I was beginning to think this day would never come.

A few thoughts before we close.

  1. The author has a tendency to ramble. So do I, which is why I need an editor. Authors have editors. Where was this one?
  2. This book was not updated before being reformatted for the kindle. The original publication date is nowhere in the kindle edition. I had to look it up online. If a teen picked up this book and looked at the copyright date, he might conclude it had been published in 2013 originally.

    Most people don’t google original publication dates on the internet. Would a person reading this book, therefore, even know the science was out of date? Some poor teenager is actually going to think that the answer to her masturbation problems is a clitorectomy.

    I can’t believe the conference didn’t at least edit that part out, along with maybe updating the rest of the science.

  3. At first I was a little upset that this book won, but I’m glad I re read it. It gave me a chance to go back and look at some of the ideas I was raised with, and now I understand where some of my problems came from. Now I can move forward.

 

A few housekeeping things. There will be a brief interlude before I start the next book, in which I will be snarking on the material generously donated by the local church. I do eventually plan to finish OBAM, but probably not till Christmas vacation at the absolute earliest. It will get done, and it will be a while.

After we’re done snarking on the various magazines I was given from the Local Church, at which point I will start the next book.

And we are doing that book, despite some hangups. But we’re doing it with a twist, and I will absolutely not be as hard on it as usual. For obvious reasons. Which will be obvious when we get there.

I will be doing the next book and Adventist Girl at the same time, probably going back and forth between the two.

So, that’s what we have to look forward to these next few months. Until then, head on over to the Facebook group wherein I throw a virtual party over being DONE with this horrible book!

 

 

Journey, Interrupted Q and A Part 2 (Conclusion)

We last left off with the panel of 4 talking about the various factors that “led them to choose the gay lifestyle.” We next pick up with what I believe is question 8 (honestly I lost track of the numbers after a while).

My done levels with this crap are pretty high, so I’m mostly going to let the panel speak for themselves.

Trigger warning: Contains discussion of childhood sexual abuse.

Question: How many years with christian counseling/therapy can it take to be able to break off from the lifestyle?

 

Oldman: I don’t think you can put years on it. When a person is born how long does it take? Laughs. It’s different for some than it is for others. It’s a matter of changing direction. We come into this world oriented to self.

We hear a lot about orientation. Society today would want you to believe that sexuality is an innate orientation. As we have developed our thinking in this area we’re coming to realize that everyone is born oriented to self. All we think about when we’re born is our tummies and a dry diaper. You know, self. We’re not oriented sexually when we’re born. So we come into the world oriented to self and that’s why every single person that’s ever been born, at some point in their lives, has to make a choice whether to be born again. When we’re born again we change directions. It can be an instant decision. We are oriented to Christ. How long does it take to make that decision? It doesn’t take you a lifetime to learn to be obedient, or decide to be obedient.

The man goes on to compare leaving homosexuality to learning to walk. When a baby falls, we  come over and help them get back up so they can try again. We don’t criticize the baby for falling.

Danielle: to use another illustration…. it’s different for different people. The experience of establishing yourself in victory is different for some people. Person A decides to stop smoking, and that’s it. They never again pick up another cigarette. Another person tries to quit and really struggles with it, fails a couple of times, then quits again. For some people it’s a struggle for the rest of their life. That doesn’t mean that person A is different from person B.

 

Baldy: Jesus was tempted in all points like as we…he resisted unto blood striving against sin until the cross….

His main point seems to be that Jesus was tempted, and yet we don’t remember him by his temptations. We don’t remember Jesus as “that guy who was tempted to turn stones into bread in the wilderness.”

So we shouldn’t refer to those who struggle with homosexuality as “the gay guy.”

Question: How can you have a successful marriage when one or both come from sexually impure pasts?

What exactly is meant by “successful marriage?” How exactly are you measuring that? I feel like each person has a different definition of what makes a marriage successful. Some conservatives I know will only consider a marriage successful if it lasts until one of you is dead. But unless you’re planning on going on a murder spree, you can’t really measure that very well.

Oldman: by being born again.

Oldguy and his current wife have been together 20 years. She was told she was crazy for marrying an ex gay, but she figured all marriage is a risk. It doesn’t really matter if a man leaves you for another woman or for a man, he still leaves you.

I…. think it makes a lot of difference. If your husband leaves you for another man, then at last you know the problem isn’t you.

Danielle: I can understand why it’s challenging… I have a broken past and this person who God leads me to could have a broken history as well….

If I get married, I’ll have to have a wedding night and I would not want to bring the baggage of my history into that marriage. As I was telling God this a thought from the Holy Spirit said “well, you pray before you eat don’t you? You pray before you start driving don’t you? Before you get up to speak? why would you have to worry if, on your wedding night you prayed first?”

Oh. My. God.

I’ve had enough, can I go home now? This has been overwhelming for me. Wonder if I can convince Danny to come rescue me.

Question: how do people born with both sex genitalia figure into this?

Oh God….make it stop….

Baldy: we’re not talking about people with ambiguous genitalia. We’re talking about people born with specific male or female origins. It’s important to differentiate between these two. Ambiguous genitalia, that’s a medical issue. What we’re talking about is working with the word of God and how he’s calling us to live. Hermaphrodites are an issue that would be more directed to medical community. Transgender issues comes into play and we’re sensitive to that.

The translation of the word “Sensitive” here is, “we acknowledge that this is a thing that exists.”

One of them says that he and “Wayne” both have gender identity issues, or at least, used to.

Man: Even if I were to get a sex change, still the bottom line is that my DNA is male. My DNA will always be male. I’ll never be able to give birth to children. The suicide rate is 40% among the transgender population, and that number comes from people who have had the sex change surgery, not from people who want it. We’re getting bombarded by transgender people like Catelyn Jenner (sp). Someone that I know of went through [female to male surgery] and was so disgusted with her body that she petitioned to have assisted suicide and the government approved it.

I wondered if there was more to the story, and found this:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2440086/Belgian-transsexual-Nathan-Verhelst-44-elects-die-euthanasia-botched-sex-change-operation.html

It sounds like the man’s sex change operation was done by a surgeon who didn’t really know how to obtain the best results. The operation was botched. I agree that this is a sad story, and it shows why we need more research in this area so that this outcome is not repeated.

In any case, one of the men says this:

We need to differentiate between someone who was born ambiguous and someone who dislikes their gender.

It’s not that they don’t like their gender, it’s that they are not their gender.

Question: How do the worldly churches make this an acceptable way of life?

The “worldly” churches don’t make anything.

Man: With a new hermaneutic(sp). There’s a drive to interpret scripture based on today’s culture. If we’re interpreting scripture based on culture then what’s our rule of faith and practice? Culture. Culture should be seen through the lens of Scripture so that we can identify culture for what it is. As it was in the days of Noah….

As we stick to word of God, we’ll see that we’re living in the time just before the coming of Jesus. With all this confusion and violence and things you read about, these are just like in the days of Noah and Lot.

Many denominations are focusing upon love and acceptance. If that’s their doctrine they can accept anything. This love and accept theology circulating through all churches, look how ecumenical that is. Every church believes in love and wants acceptance, so all of a sudden you’ve got this ecumenical movement where everyone can come together….when you do that there’s no longer any faith and practice, God’s rule is disregarded…

Here the man talks about one of the key SDA beliefs: that we are living in the end times. The bible says that the last days of earth’s history will be just like the days right before the Noatian flood. I believe the reference for this is Matthew 24:37.

Man: If we believe that we can sin till Jesus comes, how do you convince a gay person they can’t sin till Jesus comes? Our theology is important.

I’m confused. I’m done trying to figure out confusing, so let’s just move on.

Wayne: some man took infants and manipulated them to the point of orgasm

—ew–

and he decided that since the infants could orgasm, that we’re sexual from birth. Public schools then decided they needed sex education in schools. Christians were timid till they saw sex ed being promoted in public schools and decided to educate their children too. So all of a sudden what should’ve been left in parents’ and the bible’s hands was suddenly taken out of their hands. Research was shown from Alfred Kinsey. Sex ed then began to take place in mixed gender classrooms. Abortions and premarital sex were on the rise along with euthanasia (not a typo) and homosexuality.

That’s how we got into this mess. “Sexual orientation” is not mentioned in the word of God.

If you google Alfred Kinsey, you do get a bunch of hits for infant orgasms. Of course, I can’t tell how reliable these sources are. Honestly, I still have a lot to do for school and so I don’t have time to comb the internet for reliable sources. Also, reading about this is kind of gross and I don’t want to deal with it so let’s move on.

However, I am absolutely positive that the Kinsey experiments are not the reason we have sex education. The reason we have sex education in schools is because someone, somewhere, no doubt noticed that sometimes parents don’t do their job. They don’t teach their children about the birds and the bees, And because (some) parents don’t do their job, their children are easier to manipulate and abuse. Children who don’t know what’s going on are less likely to even realize they’re being abused in the first place, let alone tell an adult. Abusers recognize that, and they will absolutely exploit that lack of knowledge. This is one of the many very good reasons why sex education needs to be in schools.

Also, I went to public school for 7th grade. That public school was the only time I had sex ed in gender segregated classrooms. All the sex ed classes I ever had in Adventist schools were mixed gender, with a male teacher, who’s son was later arrested for molesting a 6-8 year old boy.

I’m not sure why he’s talking about Euthanasia. I know some countries have approved it but the US isn’t one of them, and I really doubt it was caused by sex education…

Euthanasia is another rant entirely, so Moving on.

Question: Do the majority of LGBTQ have trauma in their background? If so, how do we help an LGBTQ see that?

I…don’t think it really takes any effort to convince someone they’ve experienced trauma… most people who’ve experienced trauma will be able to freaking tell you. If they so choose.

Baldy: I think the numbers are very high. Something we’ve found in our own experience: generally when a boy has been molested by a male they tend to have homosexual attraction. When a girl is molested by a male she tends to have homosexual attraction.

Oh God… these people are monsters.

I know the rates are very high. Muslims will kidnap young boys and force them to be young prostitutes.

I’m sure there are some Muslims out there who do participate in this, however, I know that a lot of other people do to, and I believe that the amount of non Muslims in the sex trade is less than the amount of Muslims who kidnap children so can we please stop blaming it all on the Muslims.

They interviewed these prostitutes and these prostitutes, even said they didn’t have same sex attraction before being kidnapped and molested. The behavior became normalized or even an attraction for them. This all just shows that you can train people to have a homosexual attraction.

Huh. I wonder where he is getting this information? I would be willing to look into it if he would cite his sources. Provided said source is reliable.

Question: How do you restore a former relationship, like an ex spouse, and a relationship with children from that former marriage?

By “reconcile with,” I don’t think he means “get remarried to.”  I don’t think the person who answers was ever trying to get back together with her.

Old man: My family was devastated when I broke up that marriage. There were years of pain and heartache.

The word “bitter” is mentioned.

When I came back to the Lord, it was my duty to God to reconcile with my ex wife. I tried to do that. We’d had many years of bitterness and resentment between us, and as I began to take these steps to reconcile with my wife my heart totally changed towards her, and her heart changed as well. To this day we are now good friends.

Church Member: amen

My ex wife and my present wife are good friends as well. We all sit at the same table and do things together without any pain and any hard feelings. God’s way is so good. His plan of reconciliation is the best.

He’s forgotten about the second part of the question. Someone reminds him.

Question: what about the children?

 

Man: The children as well. I wasn’t able to see them often as they were growing up. We didn’t have that bond we should have had. My son and daughter do very well when we’re together. Neither one are practicing Christians, unfortunately. That’s part of the consequence of breaking up a marriage.

Is he seriously implying that his kids would be Christians if he’d never left his wife? If so, why? It is my opinion that if your kids are not religious, it’s not necessarily anything you did or didn’t do. But I don’t know the details, so maybe I should just move on.

The damage to children in a broken home is, a lot of the time, more than we can comprehend. We’re praying earnestly that the Lord will interrupt their journeys and bring them back to the foot of cross. Overall my children and I have a very good relationship.

Is that why film’s title is “Journey, Interrupted?” Because silly me thought they intended to rip off the “Girl, Interrupted” movie title. Question for those of you who might know: Is this similar enough that Hollywood could sue these people at any point in time, especially if they try to actually get this film to play in theatres? Discuss.

Brian (moderator of tonight’s discussion and producer of the film) tells us we have time for 2 more questions, and I’m glad because at this point my done levels are through the roof. And I’ve probably still got a small socialization period to get through before I can find someone to take me home.

Question: What’s the biggest thing the Christian community can do to help?

Realize it’s not a sin to be who you are. Accept people and love them as they are without trying to change them. Get over your prejudice and embrace– oh who am I fooling. The day that happens is the day pigs grow wings.

Baldy: well, here I go. So, I have this analogy.

He quotes 1 Corinthians 6:9-10

Or do you not know that the unrighteous[a] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[b] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

I am quoting from the English Standard Version (ESV). I don’t remember if this is the translation Baldy used or not, and it does matter because not all translations have the word “Homosexuality” in them.

Baldy:  For the last 50 years we took homosexuality out of these verses. We’ve put it on a new pedestal and the message we’ve had in Adventism was that homosexuals would burn in a hotter hell.

Adventists do not actually believe in different hells. They believe that a person will burn according to how bad they were, and then they die. So Hitler would burn slowly and for a long time before finally dying (again), but someone who lived a good moral life without knowing Jesus would burn really fast and die quickly. So when he says “a hotter hell,” he does and doesn’t meant that literally.

Mostly homosexuality wasn’t talked about, but if it was, it was portrayed as the worst sin that ever was. The LGBTQ community took that and decided they wanted “special rights”

EQUAL rights Baldy EQUAL. EQUAL EQUAL EQUAL EQUAL. Gay people do not want special rights, asswipe, they want the same rights straight people have.

and to be recognized as a “minority status.” The Christian community has done more to help get LGBTQ rights than the LGBTQ community has. This is because Christians are against LGBTQ, so LGBTQ can say that the Christians are persecuting them, and then people get outraged on their behalf.

I am not explaining those last 2 sentences well. Do they make sense? If not, and you have managed to figure out what I mean, could you help me to rephrase them?

If I’d had any ounce of sense, I’d have pulled out my phone and started trying to record this. I’ll know for next time.

Someone starts to ramble about abused Children feeling neglected, and I lose track of what’s going on for a while. I will be generous and say I think he’s saying that abused children need to be cared for. Which I agree with… but in this context you manage to make it sound icky.

The place to start is to start asking for forgiveness. [of homosexuals] If we throw homosexuality into the pot with other abominations–

church member amen

–we’re all sinners in need of a savior. That would be more invitational rather than this condescending attitude of “oh you poor homosexual.”

There’s apparently a documentary out there called “Lord, save us from your followers.” It sounds interesting, I’ll try and watch it.

Wayne has an analogy. Or so he says. He keeps using that word and then not telling us actual analogies.

How high is that wall between you and the same sex couple that lives next door? How quickly do you try to get in your house without saying hello? I have a project for you. I want you go knock on their door and invite them to dinner.

Wayne goes on to say that when people tell him that they could never invite their gay neighbors over for dinner, he says, and I quote:

Stop imagining what goes on behind their bedroom door

This is the 2nd 100% true statement you guys have made all night. I’m too busy celebrating  the fact that you realize this to catch most of what comes next.

But he does say to treat them normally, like friends, and not bring out the bible, like, at all, till they see the love of Jesus pouring out from you. Just be their friend.

Ah, yes. Don’t get to know your gay neighbors because it’s the right thing to do, and because you’ve realized that you need to get off your high horse. Get to know the gay couple next door because Jesus told you to because that’s an opening you have to hopefully use to convert them.

A few weeks later, invite them over to dinner again. Don’t be too surprised if one or both of the same sex couple might say, “aren’t you guys Christians?”

Why would they be asking that unless it was the first time they’d seen people behave the way God intended Christians to  behave?

Sorry to break this to you, Adventists, but the only reason your neighbors might ask you if you’re Christians is because you have eleventy bajillion Bibles scattered throughout the house. Otherwise, inviting your neighbors over for dinner is a perfect normal thing that normal people do.

If you mean that the gay couple next doors’ minds are going to be blown when they find out that you’re Christians being nice to gay people… this also is not impressive. Many Christians today do believe that homosexuality isn’t a sin, and so the idea of Christians and homosexuals getting along isn’t exactly revolutionary.

Don’t be surprised if they also eventually ask if you, as Christians, are ok with homosexuality. When this happens, don’t flood them with criticism. Invite them to a bible study.

Right. Don’t tell them outright that you believe they are an abomination. Invite them to a Bible study that will tell them so.

Actually, he probably means you should invite them to a Bible study about Jesus and his love. Ok, but that’s rather evasive, and your gay neighbors are totally going to notice that. They will notice that you are being evasive and giving them bullshit answers and they are going to figure out for themselves that no, you’re not ok with it.

And then we’ll see who’s trying to avoid who when you both come home from work.

Final Question: One figure states that less than 3% of us adults live a healthy lifestyle. Do you think that the LGBT grows in part from living an unhealthy lifestyle or is it just general confusion of sex roles?

I feel like this question is actually addressing 2 things: homosexuality and transgender. And you really do need to differentiate here because they are not the same thing.

Wayne: I want to address the term, “lifestyle.” Please refrain from calling it a lifestyle. The Gay community has asked us not to refer to them as a lifestyle and I think that’s legitimate.

Then why didn’t you address this at the start of the Q and A session? It’s come up more than once and really you should have said it then.

When I grew up, the phrase, “the gay lifestyle” was associated with night clubs, bars, sex clubs, gay parties, etc and so on. Today, because we’re much more open about this, there are genuinely 2 individuals that come together and are attracted to each other that don’t frequent clubs and bars.

So, before the 21st century all those gay people weren’t really attracted to someone of the same sex, they were just… ?

So if you refer to it as “the gay culture” like you refer to it as “hetero culture” but that doesn’t mean you participate in all things that are “hetero culture.”

I’m confused.

but when you say “lifestyle,” that kinda lumps everybody into one thing. I hope that not using this term will bring greater respect for gay community, and it’s an easier beginning place to have a conversation with someone.

I agree with him here. If gay people do not want us referring to them as “living the gay lifestyle,” then we absolutely should stop calling it that. Even a stopped clock…

Baldy: In the gay culture there was a lot more pressure to stay in shape. I had to make sure I stayed healthy and looked good or I’d be gone before 30.

I’m a bit confused…is he referring to AIDS, or did he want to look good because that was the best way to pick up men? Because I don’t know a whole lot about AIDS, but I’m pretty damn sure you can’t prevent AIDS through exercise and nutrition.

I don’t think that that’s an accurate assessment in differences of health between the gay community and Christianity. Lots of Christians are morbidly obese and don’t live healthy lifestyles at all, yet still follow Jesus. We tend to make assumptions about the people who stand out the most. Not every homosexual is obvious about it. Could we try to move away from some of the stereotypes that continue to portray the ideas in our heads of what homosexuality is?

Yes. That would be nice.

One thing we talk about is that there are no rules for someone who is gay. There’s no formula for what makes a person homosexual. You’ve heard 5 different stories about how we got derailed. The first rule in homosexuality is that there are no rules as to why someone becomes that way. Let’s try not to catch on to stereotypes and make assumptions.

For those keeping track at home, that’s three whole things these men (with their token woman) and I agree with. We should have a drinking game.

Brian: These were all very very good questions. I want to go back for a moment, one thing we can do as Christians is to pray. Pray for that child, friend, etc. You know prayer goes a long long way. We see 4 people up here and each have, in their testimony, friends and family that were praying for them for many years.

The pastor gets up, says a short prayer, and that he hopes this evening has been very helpful.

It has. It very much has.

There was a merchandise table outside in the church lobby. I checked it out, but all the materials cost money, and I haven’t quite mastered the art of shoplifting while a dozen people are watching. So I won’t be reviewing any of their other materials unless someone wants to make a donation.

This is the end of the Q and A. I will add my closing remarks and then I will be done with this series of posts. Those of you who don’t want to read posts of a personal nature can skip this next part.

The way people were talking, I think they thought I was back for good. One guy tried to invite me to Bible study on Wed (I work) and insisted on giving me a flyer in case I changed my mind (about working?). Another guy kept giving me hugs and saying things like, “the lost lamb has returned to the fold!”

I wondered how difficult it would be, now, to establish that this was not going to happen often. This weekend, I almost expected someone to call me and ask if I wanted to go to church.

No one texted, no one called. I don’t know how I feel about this. Glad that I won’t have to deal with church, and yet…

It hurts. It hurts that no one feels the need to reach out to me, even though I don’t want them to.

Confusing? Yeah, well, that’s the nature of things.

However, I did not regret going to the event. This night has been so helpful, for the following reasons.

  1. It was good to see people I had missed
  2. The food. Oh God the food… I should’ve brought Tupperware containers.
  3. I got a lot of good material for a series of blog posts (please tell me you appreciate this; it took a lot out of me)
  4. These people do not love me. Not really. They love me as a means to an end. They would love me as a way to convert me, and then once they converted me, they would love me only as long as I fit into the tiny box they wanted to put me in.
  5. Freedom isn’t the reason I left the church. Don’t get me wrong, freedom is nice. But I didn’t leave the church to seek freedom. I left to find love. The real love, not the fake kind. I left to find, if they are to be found, people who would love me for me. Not the expectations they had of me, not the idea of me, and not me without my flaws. People who would love me because of who I am, not in spite of it.
  6. I read this book once about this girl who was told that love isn’t the most important thing. At the end of the book she discovers freedom is more important than love. “After all, if you’re not free to love whom you choose, what good is love?*” These people do not love me, cannot love me, because they do not have the freedom to choose not to love me. Their religion says they must love me, because God said so. And that’s not real love.
  7. I did, in a way, leave for freedom. Not the freedom to wear Jewelry or drink coffee or take ballet class. I left to find freedom to not believe in nonsense. I left because I wanted to be able to accept people for who they are without trying to change them.
  8. And so I have concluded that I can not go back. Not for good, anyway. I have long passed the point where I can even pretend to believe in nonsense.
  9. A rare visit now and again, though, is possible. They have no power to hurt me, I am not afraid.

Going to this event was not a mistake. Going back was necessary. Sometimes, it is only as we look back that we are able to move forward. Sometimes, just once in a while, it’s ok to look back. Contrary to Biblical evidence, you won’t turn into a pillar of salt. As I look back on where I’ve been, and where I am now, I feel satisfied. I am stronger now, smarter, and braver. And so I turn around and walk forward away from the church into an unknown future.

 

 

*Behind the Bedroom Wall by Laura E Williams, last page exact quote.

 

 

 

 

 

Journey, Interrupted Q and A

A few disclaimers.

With live Q and A I feel like it’s harder to get a concise response to a question, because the participants are put on the spot. If you don’t know the questions ahead of time, it can be hard not to ramble.  So I kind of don’t blame them for taking like, 4 paragraphs to explain something that could have taken them 4 words. However, I might have chosen to edit what they said in a way that it doesn’t take 4 paragraphs to say what could be said in 4 words.

Also, keep in mind that the written word and the spoken word are totally different things. The way people speak is often not something that would make sense if I were to copy it down word for word. Unless otherwise noted, answers are edited, and summarized. This is done to make things more understandable to the reader and to keep things on topic. I do not intend to deceive. If someone feels I’ve accidentally misled, send me a recording you took of the conversation in question and I’ll look into it. (I know you all were recording this shit because I saw you pull out your cell phones and take video.)

All the people from the movie were here except Anna. I don’t know why, and didn’t feel it was necessary to find out. I don’t feel like it’s necessary to speculate, so let’s move on. The Anna I refer to in the this post is NOT the Anna who appeared in the movie, but one of the producers.

As the end credits played, my first thought was this music sounds like Melissa Otto. The lights came on, the music turned off. The pastor got up to speak:

Pastor: wasn’t that a well done film?

Congregation: Amen!

I try to keep my facial expression neutral.

Wasn’t that a Christ centered message?

Congregation: Amen!

Well, at least we can all agree on something.

Pastor: We approach the subject of homosexuality knowing that it’s not the easiest subject to have conversations about. I’m thankful that we have a team that’s traveling around the world to have this conversation. I want to support them however I can. How many of us can commit to pray for this ministry?

Hands go up around the church.

The pastor prays, then passes around the offering plate. I cringe inside, knowing that the money is for Coming Out Ministries. So many people wish to support this nonsense.

Questions were asked anonymously, written on cards which were then handed in to the producers, who are here tonight.

I have prosopognosia, but I think I recognize Navyshirt and Baldy. Of course I recognize Danielle, because she is the only woman on the panel.

Brian: Thanks for being here this evening. This is a very important message. We hope this short film allows some discussion to start happening.

Oh yes. You will start discussions, alright.

Live Question: Will this movie hit theaters. This is really really–

 

Brian: Yes we do have plans. We got it down to 60 minutes so we could get it on 3ABN and other networks… I don’t know about theatres, but we are working with a marketing group on a hard release. Our Plan is to go around doing viewings… in 3 or 4 months you’ll start to see this online and on DVD. We don’t wanna not get this out there.

So, the short answer would be no.

Adventists are isolated, but they’re not that isolated. An Adventist would know that the court of public opinion has already voted. The supreme court has already voted. Any movie theater that chose to play this movie would, rightfully, get absolutely slammed by the public. The theater’s name would be dragged into the papers and get all kinds of negative press. Nobody wants that, and so no mainstream movie theater would touch this movie.

I learned later from C that what the producer meant when he said he cut this down to 60 minutes is that this movie was originally 2 hours. No, I will not be reviewing that version.

Now, for the anonymous card questions.

Question 1:

Is it possible to reach a friend who is not a Christian and who seems to love his lifestyle and is my dear friend? I’m Praying for him, though I don’t know what to pray for. I try to lure him with potluck.

This question was repeated, so the wording is quoted directly.

First off, if you are trying to lure him with potluck, you are probably doing it wrong. I like Adventist food. However, If this friend has not been raised Adventist, then I’m sorry, but potluck food isn’t going to appeal to them. You see, people who haven’t grown up with Adventist food think it’s weird. Special K loaf? What’s that? And what is that glop over there that I think just moved?  What do you mean the hotdogs aren’t real, why is there no coffee, and why does that thing that looks and smells like a chocolate brownie definitely not a chocolate brownie?

Really, you shouldn’t wonder why your methods aren’t working.

In case you were wondering, this will not be addressed, and I didn’t bother bringing it up.

Man: We don’t need to approach a friend about their open sin. We need to approach our friends about Jesus Christ. Open sin may be far down the list of things needing to be addressed. Jesus is the only one who can save us. If [Jesus] is the way, then he needs to be introduced. So maintain that friendship, be a loving and lovable Christian. Help that friend of yours see in you something they don’t have that they’d like to have.

Basically, keep being this person’s friend while trying to badger them for Jesus.

Danielle: I’d encourage you by saying…. it’s good you’re praying for them. By doing that you’re right on track. Sometimes….. We tend to use prayer as a last resort instead of our first offense. ……[When trying to reach a gay friend] usually the last thing you want to do when you want to teach them  about Jesus is to point them to bible verses that talk about homosexuality.

She doesn’t say why this was so, but does tell us that there was one exception to this rule that she knows of. Sometimes God tells you to tell your friends about the anti-homosexuality parts of the Bible.

I don’t have in my notes the reason she said you usually shouldn’t tell people about these verses. I don’t remember if she said it and I didn’t write it down, or if she didn’t explain. So moving on.

If they don’t know you love them and have their best interest in mind, they’re not going to be too interested in anything you have to say. People need to know they can trust you before they’re going to listen to you about God.

Slowly gain their trust. Then spring your wacky beliefs on them.

Question 2: For youth ministries where kids go on camp outs with their parents, would you recommend the kids stay by themselves in tents in small groups, or that there be an adult in the tent with them, so that the kids will not be introduced to inappropriate things.

I personally would say yes… but there must be a complete and thorough background check on said adult. And you should probably have more than one adult to a tent, in case adult #1 is the one who would be introducing the inappropriate things.

Man: Yes. I was a willing victim when I was in pathfinders. It was from a couple of classmates in Pathfinders with me, and on a camp out we went into the exploration of sex together.

I have zero idea what this means; he didn’t elucidate.

This exploration should not take place. Parents should have conversations about sex with their children as they’re growing up. Society today is taking that out of Christian parents’ hands. Pathfinders is not a good place to be throwing kids….

I’m not sure what followed that statement and I’d really like to know.

 Things are changing today right on time with what the enemy proposes,

How do you know? Do you have a copy of Satan’s agenda? Perhaps he is seriously behind schedule.

and it’s very important for families to be completely Christ centered. Advice given from Ellen white is that we shouldn’t be having kids involved in sleepovers….

Ah yes I remember reading that. I can’t remember the reference atm, but she does talk about how children shouldn’t be allowed to sleep in the same bed together or have sleepovers because they might teach each other how to masturbate.

While I do agree that it would be inappropriate of someone to masturbate while sleeping in the same bed with someone else, I think that you could, you know, talk to your child about how that sort of thing is private and that there are boundaries.

Kids do what comes natural according to feelings, and if not supervised you can have abuse taking place….abuse doesn’t just happen from someone older than you.

I do agree with that. Children can abuse other children, so I would agree with having adult supervision, with the caveat that sometimes the adults in the situation sometimes can be the one doing the abusing.

Question 3: How do you forgive yourself or others for sexual experimentation as a child with same sex, if you’re trying to live a heterosexual life. Does that experience make you gay?

All 4 of them look at each other.

Badly: no pressure

Everyone laughs.

Baldy: it’s not that we don’t want to answer, we’re not resistant…we’re trying to be polite and let each other answer.

Sure. Whatever.

Baldy: One homosexual event doesn’t make you homosexual.

Yes. Thank you. This is the only 100% true statement that has been made all night.

Baldy: Sexuality in the teens is very fluid. Sometimes it flip flops around between heterosexuality and homosexuality. One homosexual experience at age 4 doesn’t mean you’re gay, and by the time you reach adulthood you’re heterosexual. The world is clamering to tell you is that that is what happens and that you were born that way.

No. No no no no no no that is not what the world is clamering to tell you. Gah.

One homosexual experience does not make you gay. Two homosexual experiences do not make you gay. 500 homosexual experiences do not make you gay. What makes you gay is the attraction you experience. A gay person can have sex a woman 500 times and enjoy it, but he still will not be attracted to a woman. It is the orientation that the world correctly tells you you can’t change, not your actions.

Teens are known for experimenting, it’s true. Their actions can flip flop between same sex and opposite sex. They may indeed realize they are one or the other by the time they hit adulthood.

If the teen is truly bisexual, then that’s not flip-flopping from heterosexuality to homosexuality. It’s the actions that flip flop, not the orientation.

Baldy goes on for a while about forgiveness of sin. It’s nothing we haven’t heard before, we’re skipping it.

Other man: our role isn’t to forgive ourselves. Our role is to confess and have Jesus forgive our sins. To be contrite to have remorse and trust that we are forgiven.

Yes…. and no. Even after confessing things to Jesus, people will still beat themselves (and each other) up for shit. There is a very legitimate need to learn to forgive yourself, as well as letting Jesus forgive you.

Question 4: My sister is a lesbian. I know her lifestyle is wrong, and it did put a tension in our relationship when I’d talk about her lifestyle being wrong. How do I start helping her? Our relationship is better, but I want to be able to help her.

Help her do what, exactly? Be straight? I mean, it sounds like your sister is just fine and doesn’t need your help?

I mean, ahem. You can pray for her.

Old man: It’s important to be patient towards your sister. Sometimes we may hold up homosexuality like it is the worst of sins, but all sin is repulsive to Christ. Lift your sister up in prayer, and look for opportunities led by the Holy Spirit.

Let your sister ask the questions.

But until your sister opens up the door, don’t get the baseball bat out and try to clobber the truth into her. Most people know the truth, even if they don’t have practical Christianity. When you develop love for Jesus, your drawn to him and want to do his will instead of your own will.

Draw her to Christ, then he will make her see the error of her ways.

I… ok whatever.  Moving on.

Danielle: My mom didn’t pray for my stability and peace. She prayed God would interrupt me and help me see that what I was doing was wrong. While we’re praying those kinds of prayers, we develop a relationship where we can come to someone and say, “I’m struggling with X, can you pray for me?” since you’re open with them, they will feel they can be open with you.

Gosh, what a slick manipulation tactic. Open up to them in the hopes that they will then feel like they could (or even should) open up to you. It’s a great way to get information out of a person, if you’re careful to do it properly.

I don’t think Danielle realizes that’s what she’s doing. I’m sure she doesn’t consciously sit down and and think, “how am I going to manipulate this person into being open with me?”

And yet, that is exactly what she’s doing.

Question 5:

2 part question:

a) how big of a role did masturbation and porn play in your experience?

b) if we’re addicted to these things how can we overcome?

Oh fuck are you fucking kidding me?

Baldy: I think it’s powerful. Every time you indulge in masturbation or porn, it’s just an automatic assumption that that’s an inclusive part of it.

I think he meant, here, to say that masturbation is automatically assumed to be an essential part of porn watching. Yes, it is possible to not be aware of this fact, ask me how I know.

There’s some research done that breaks it down… every time you indulge in masturbation and pornography it breaks down the brain.

What studies? In what peer reviewed scientific journal were these studies published? Who did these studies? How were they conducted?

I’m serious, I want to go look this up. Do not point me to a website, because you know you can always believe everything you read on the internet. The only source I will look at is a peer reviewed scientific journal that doesn’t have a reputation for publishing kooky pseudoscientific bullshit.

One of the things they’ve shown is that a brain is fully developed by age  28. If your first exposure to porn occurs after about that age, you tend to find it repulsive. But in someone younger, what happens is it creates this drive, this hook. Like seeing an accident that you can’t take your eyes off of.

You can’t look away from a train wreck. This is why I am here, in a church, listening and typing out your bullshit.

I think I do recall reading in my psychology textbook that the brain is fully developed by age 25, give or take. That much, unless I’m recalling incorrectly, is true. I wonder how much the rest of it is. I wonder how much is correlation vs causation. These people do know they’re not the same thing, right?

Hope you weren’t curious, because we don’t get to know.

My notes may or may not contain the word “fuck” at this point.

Danielle reminds him of the second part of the question. How can one overcome an addiction (it is always an addiction, don’t be silly) to porn and masturbation?

Badly: key bible texts really helped me. One day, stepping into the shower, someone took Phil 2: 5 and really broke it down for me and as I was standing in the shower….hang on,what?

This is a really good example of why writing things down as they are spoken is a terrible idea. The live audience understood that, obviously, no one gave him a bible study in the shower. Clearly, someone earlier had broken this verse down for him, and now he’s going to tell a story about stepping into the shower. This is the type of stuff I mean when I say I edit these. I do not intend to make you look stupid.

The rest of this is as directly quoted as possible.

I was struggling with my sin, as I was standing there in the shower. I wondered why this thought was coming through my head. Jesus was saying “Mike surrender yourself to me.” As I was standing there in the shower, I was very frustrated. “Ok lord I give you permission to take these thoughts, because if you don’t I’m going to indulge in it right now.”

In case you were wondering, “it” is masturbation. I think…

I didn’t have time to step out of the shower and do a 2 hour bible study, I needed help right away. I claimed that promise and my next conscious thought was about baseball. I hate baseball (everyone in church starts laughing) and that was really powerful for me.

He quotes

Philippians 2:5

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

 

Another 2 part question:

a) what are your views on homosexuals adopting children?

b) Will the children choose the gay lifestyle?

Look Adventists. Even if you disagree with a homosexual couple being ideal to adopt, sometimes in this life we can’t get ideal. If the choice is between allowing children to languish in an orphanage receiving no love and a barely basic standard of care, how can you not think they’d be better off with loving people to take care of them? (I  personally think Seventh Day Adventists are not ideal candidates for parents, and yet I’d rather a child be placed with you than remain in one of those orphanages. That’s saying a lot.)

The panel does not agree with me.

Old Man: studies are coming out that are amazing.

What studies? In which scientific reputable peer reviewed journal will I find them?

[Studies about] Grown children of homosexual parents. It’s really something… I remember a lady…..openly talking about how she grew up loving both of her mothers, but there was a void because her friends had a father and she didn’t. She had this haunting thought: why did my father never want to know me? And even though she had very loving parentage with 2 mothers, that was never resolved for her and more and more grown children of gay families are expressing this very thing.

So, I believe I’ve actually read the article this guy is talking about. Unfortunately, I can’t find it. Because of this I won’t say as much about it as I’d like, but I will say this.

It is only natural for this woman to wonder why her father wouldn’t want to know her. But you know what, many adoptive children probably wonder that at some point. If this girl had been raised by heterosexual parents, she probably still would have wondered why her father didn’t want to get to know her, and she would have wondered that about her birth mother as well.

The same man is still speaking: 2 men cannot take the place of a mother, and 2 mothers cannot replace a father. Though they want children and love kids and do the best that they can, it just goes back to God’s plan: Father knows best. He created marriage between man and a woman and the plan was that children should have a mother and father… it’s not the best plan for children.

Remember how I said the best wasn’t always what you can get in life, so you have to choose the lesser of two evils? They have an answer for that, too.

Whitehair: I think it’s important to keep the focus on God’s ideal. We try to justify these things by saying, “it’s better for them to be raised by gay people than being in an orphanage.” but it’s still not God’s ideal, so its important that we look at God’s ideal. Let’s aim towards God’s plan. Because the enemy is just trying to sell you a counterfeit. We need to redirect our minds to what Jesus desires, and that’s what we should strive for.

Straight from the horses mouth, folks. These people would rather have children languishing in orphanages than have them be adopted by loving gay parents.

Because I know I have at least one SDA reading this I am trying to keep it relatively civil…. (my regular readers will note that I haven’t dropped as many F bombs as usual) but C, I’m sorry, these people are fucking monsters.

Question 7: why do they label us homophobic?

Because you are?

We’re not afraid of them, we just disagree with what we consider a sinful choice they have made.

In the technical sense of the word, this question isn’t wrong. The word “homophobic” literally means “fear of homosexuals.” In our day and age, and in our country, most (not all) people are truly not homophobic. They’re not afraid of homosexuals. That doesn’t mean they like homosexuals, mind you, but the attitude has shifted from one of fear to one of hate.

The panel pounces upon this fact.

Man: No one on this platform is homophobic. Homophobic means “fearful.”

If you’re using the word “homophobic” to mean “someone who hates gay people,” then we are still not homophobic. If we’re homophobic meaning we hate, we wouldn’t be here. If we were homophobic, would we even care what happens to gay people?

But you are here because you hate gay people. You think gay people shouldn’t exist, you think it’s an abomination, and you want to make sure everyone else knows it. You may not have what you recognize as hatred, you may not think you have any malicious intent, and yet the above things I’ve written are kind of the definition of “hate.”

Let’s face it, you guys are here because you hate yourselves. 

“But Mr. Abominable Snowwoman, we don’t want gay people to not exist, we just want them to exist without their gayness.”

If I wasn’t asexual, I wouldn’t be the same person I am today. By saying you want me to exist, but with a different sexuality, you are saying you don’t want me to exist.

Man: I’ve been accused of being homophobic. I’m not homophobic, I’m “homoagapic.” We have gay friends, we have gay family, we love them, that’s why we’re doing this. We want them to find what we have found in Jesus Christ. God’s way is the better way

We love our gay friends so much, we’re going to tell them they shouldn’t exist, that they are an abomination, and that if they turn their lives over to God, he still won’t make them straight.

So moving on. Because I’m just…done.

Question: I have an 8 year old grandchild asking questions about what he observes in regard to alternative sexual issues and relationships. How do you advise a young developing and perceptive child?

You could, I dunno, talk to your damn child? It’s called “being a parent?”

Knock me over with a feather, the panel actually agrees with me. One of the men says,

If they’re old enough to ask the question they’re old enough to get a godly answer.

Fair enough, though I would replace “godly” with “age appropriate.”

Another man: We live in an age now where they [academy kids] ask broader questions than adults. They’re getting this sort of an education at a much earlier age [than we did]. Even though you try to protect their innocence, they [the government, I think.] are pushing an agenda as early as daycare. My client has a daycare and she was told she could get government funding if she let the boys and girls cross dress and put up posters on the wall showing gay parents, and this was 10 years ago. The younger we can tell people the truth and act like we’re not afraid of what is going on, we can help our young people understand compassionately this issue that is being promoted.

A day care was told to be more accepting of homosexuality for government funding… in 2006? I don’t want to say I don’t believe this, but with the way the government is right now, I kind of am taking this story with a grain of salt.

I want to believe this story is true, though. It kinda gives me hope for humanity.

Wayne then tells us that if we educate our children and teach them to love homosexual people but realize that they are not living according to God’s plan, our children will be fine.

Question: What are the various factors that led you to choose that lifestyle?

Seriously? Did you not watch the same movie that I did? I’ll give them a pass and decide this question was submitted before the movie was played.

Oldman: we probably could all say several…..Some people, if they don’t have loving fathers, they’re sponges for male affirmation, male acceptance, male affection. They’re very vulnerable to the wrong kind [of male attention]. So we need, as fathers and parents, to have plenty of healthy wholesome love. Even physical love like hugs. Boys crave physical affection from their fathers even though a lot of men think they’re too macho for that. There’s no real cut and dried answer. Sin is a mystery, but those are some factors.

I didn’t leave anything important out. He rambled quite a bit before coming up with exactly one factor.

Danielle: a lot of people struggling with same sex attraction have experienced some kind of sexual abuse. I wasn’t molested, it was consensual, but it was like a second hand kind of abuse. …. It’s not a natural thing for our mind to become sexual when we’re that young, and when sex is introduced prematurely it allows confusion to come in and grow in the mind of a child. Some people say they were never sexually abused. Satan plants his lies anyway he can. For a lot of people it’s through some kind of abuse, and for some it’s just suggestive thoughts from the enemy. He gets in which ever way he can that will be effectual.

I think that’s a good stopping point for now. This post is getting really lengthy, and I have stuff to do. We’ll answer the last few questions in the next installment.