Coming to terms with Anger

Posted on: March 20, 2023 | By: exsda | Filed under: Adventist Culture, Growing up Adventist

There is anger and resentment Question 28 reads, “To what extent do you hold anger or resentment toward the Seventh-day Adventist Church?” The response options are “Very,” “Moderately,” “Somewhat,” Not at all,” and “I just don’t think about this.” One of the reasons for including this question in the survey was to test what I recall (and still do perceive) as a general sentiment among still-Adventists that ex-Adventists are angry. Angry at God, angry at The Church, angry in general. And, well, the data so far indicate that the still-Adventists might be right. The two highest rates of response are for “Somewhat angry and resentful” (33.9%), and “Moderately angry and resentful” (21.76%). If we include the 15.17% of respondents who selected “Very angry…”, 70% of respondents to the survey so far say they harbored some anger or resentment toward the SDA structure at the time they took the survey. Females…

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Leaving the Church: An Individual Story

Posted on: March 16, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

Leaving the Church: An Individual Story   Many leave their faith home Many people, for whatever set of reasons, leave their church. A substantial subset of those also leave their faith, that is, they become atheists or, at least, agnostics. Many who have abandoned their church no doubt wonder about the experiences of others who have quit. Such an individual may ask, Did they suffer the same feelings of oppression, doubt, and skepticism that I felt? And what of those who remain? Do they experience these feelings and suppress them? Or do they not experience them at all? How many who remain in the church are on the verge of leaving? How many are just paying lip service when they go through all the rituals and so forth? How many remain for fear of being stigmatized if they show signs of non-conformity to the group? What are the church leaders…

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The cult question

Posted on: March 15, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Tom

“The SDA cult needs to be comprehensively exposed to as wide an audience of SDAs and non-SDAs as possible, and then be roundly and formally denounced by as many people and institutions as possible. E.G. White was likely a psychopathic con artist who may someday be viewed as one of the most impacting con artists in recorded history.” -male Millennial survey respondent The cult question Strong words of accusation Reading through the comments has been difficult and fascinating. As a sociologist I find most of the comments inherently interesting, of course, but reading some offerings has been difficult knowing that a real person spent time thinking about and writing those words. This comment from a Millennial male from the United States was particularly striking in its passion and deep conviction. In response to Q27 “In as few or as many words as you like, please tell us about your process…

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Some preliminary data

Posted on: March 12, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Tom

“Thanks for doing this survey for us ex SDA. It is a rarity, never done anything like it, so specific, before.” -male, Millennial, Ex-Adventist Some preliminary data ‘Data teasers’ We opened the survey nearly two weeks ago on March 1 and are both pleased and thankful that so many ex-SDA folks have responded. Our research team was recently interviewed by Santiago, host of Haystacks & Hell, and we had the opportunity to provide some deep background behind our survey. We are happy that our modest efforts have generated some interest among ex-SDA people and that the survey is providing a cathartic experience for many. Below are some ‘data teasers’, very preliminary results and comment on same. Enjoy! Remarkable response rate As of this writing (3-12-23) we have 336 responses to our survey with a remarkably high 100% completion rate. That means every person who started the survey made it all…

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Adventist Food

Posted on: March 9, 2023 | By: exsda | Filed under: Adventist Culture, Growing up Adventist

For the past few days I’ve been reading some of the comments in The Survey (take the ex-Adventist survey). Particularly those under Question 32: Are there any Seventh-day Adventist cultural practices that you continue, even though you no longer believe? (Check all that apply.) You can see the spread after 227 responses to the question: 51%, or over half of respondents to this question said they continued the food tradition of Adventism in some way (almost 15% higher than the next most commonly selected option: “I don’t continue any practices” at 35.2%). This rings true for me on several levels. Some of my earliest food memories are of specifically Adventist things like Nuteena and Tuno. Beyond the actual food itself, memories of my formative years growing up Adventist involve settings where food would have been consumed with other Adventists: potlucks, social events at or related to the church, the cafeteria…

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One size does not fit all

Posted on: March 3, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Tom

One size does not fit all [Updated 4-21-23] Group positionality statement As an elaboration on how we describe ourselves on The Research Team page, here is our collective positionality statement. All three researchers are middle class, straight, cis, white, and able males from and living in the United States. One of us is middle aged and the other two are older. Hence we all experience many privileges based on these ascribed statuses and even more due to our individual achieved statuses. All three of us are professionals, working in fields that thankfully hold a respected place in our culture. We are demonstratively not perfect in any way, but especially in terms of being fully aware of the many biases we hold. With grace, we strive both in our personal and professional lives to embrace the principles of diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. That said, our current work, this survey, is…

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Leaving the church

Posted on: March 3, 2023 | By: Tom Arcaro | Filed under: From Duane

Leaving the church by Duane McClearn I have spent considerable time over the past many years pondering religious believers and religiosity, atheists and atheism, and, of particular relevance here, former believers, their reasons for leaving their faiths, and the consequences of doing so. My knowledge comes primarily from extensive reading and conducting surveys on these subjects. I came away with many messages from a survey that I conducted several years ago with Tom Arcaro (colleague on the current ex-Seventh-day Adventist project). Thousands of atheists wrote of their experiences, many of whom were recent converts away from Christianity of one denomination or another. A large number spoke of the emotional conflict they had within themselves trying to come to terms with the fact that they felt they were losing belief in their religion—many thought of themselves, at least in the beginning of the process, as traitors to the cause, to their…

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Outside the Fold

Posted on: February 8, 2023 | By: exsda | Filed under: Growing up Adventist

It’s been nearly 20 years since I began the slow, slide away from Adventism. My departure was a quiet, gradual disentangling. I can no longer remember exactly when I stopped going to church, stopped paying tithe, stopped pretending to care about the dramas and intrigues of the Adventist community. But at some point in the early aughts I could simply no longer take the cognitive dissonance, and set myself free from any Seventh-day Adventist-specific diet or lifestyle injunctions. Since then I have gone on to live what seems to me a “normal life.” A life of school plays, going to work, grilling in the backyard on nice days, and being part of a suburban community. Despite being taught in Adventist schools that true happiness comes only from Jesus and that I’d be lonely and miserable outside the fold, I have found meaning and contentment and fulfilling relationships. My journey away…

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