An Adventist News Network story titled "La Sierra field biologist takes home new species of gecko" has been removed from the main church site.
A young Adventist blogger noticed this and contacted the author of the ANN story, Elizabeth Lechleitner. She replied to his inquiry:
We were instructed by General Conference administration to pull the story.
Who in the General Conference was so offended that the the article was published that they sent “instructions” to ANN to pull an excellent article about an Adventist academic’s work. And why?
. . .what does this tell us about the editorial independence of ANN? Should we trust ANN to be providing “objective coverage,” as they claim to “strive for” in their stylebook, while someone at the General Conference, the very entity they cover, can have any article they dislike pulled at will? This doesn’t seem to be a good situation for reporting, let alone objectivity or independence.
The original news item about the La Sierra University biologist was widely reported in both Adventist and non-Adventist media in Southern California. And as far away as The Times of India.
Of course any institution can control what news to report on, but to remove a story appears sloppy, particularly since the story is still visible on the Trans-European Division's site. At least for now.
This move fits with a growing pattern of heavy-handed top-down approachs at the General Conference and highlights the petty lengths some will reach while reinforcing their negative narrative about La Sierra University. (Just imagine being the scientist and trying to point your family and friends in the church to the now missing ANN story.) Apparently to some at the GC, the laity is not worth an explanation.
It oddly mimics Orwell's 1984. But here church leaders erase a recent past that apparently doesn't fit with their plans for the future.