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Seventh-day Adventists and Conspiracy Theories

It is 1998, two years before Y2K.  A young man and his wife, with their five young children, have been searching for land—no close neighbors and as off the beaten track as possible. It needs a spring on it for gravity fed-water. They find fifty acres tucked away in the mountains, in the middle of Nowhere, WV. It is a little house in desperate need of repair, with no electric or running water but very desolate—their only priority.  

It is now November 1999. They sell their home, leave their business, pack up the U-Haul with all their belongings, along with hundreds of jars of home-canned fruits and produce, and head for Nowhere, WV. President Clinton had signed into law the Anti-Hoarding Bill, so it is of the utmost importance that no one, especially the neighbors, distant as they are, knows the amount of food in that U-Haul.   

It is snowing and blowing, and the roads are so icy as they almost reach their destination. If you have ever been to West Virginia, you know that as you are going around some of those bends, the front of the vehicle nearly catches up with the rear of the vehicle.  Suddenly, the vehicle is slipping and there is no way to stop it. Two seconds later, the U-Haul is in a ditch. A car goes by, stops, backs up, and a man gets out and offers to help. As the local wrecker is probably too small to pull the loaded U-Haul out of the ditch, the man leaves to collect the neighbors to help unload the truck. But, oh no! The neighbors are going to see all the food in the truck!

Twelve years have now gone by since that fateful day, but little has really changed. Y2K did not happen…the world barely skipped a beat, let alone came to a screeching halt, but when you are an Adventist with a conspiracy mindset, your mind automatically accepts a conspiracy-based reason as to why things did or did not transpire the way you thought they would.

So why are Adventists attracted to conspiracy theories? The ones most attractive to Seventh-day Adventists involve religion, especially the subject of Last Day Events. If the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy writings give some details, they want more. But curiosity can be a very dangerous element. Adventists are especially vulnerable to theories of a New World Order because they want so badly to see any signs that might confirm their belief that Jesus is coming very soon and the dreaded Mark of the Beast is just around the corner. In my view people believe in New World Order because it is what people with their “itching ears” want to hear.

The fact is, conspiracy theories sell. There is a lot of money to be made if a ministry is willing to promote them and independent ministries are usually in desperate need of money. The last thing they want to do is to preach and teach something that will cause their supporters to stop sending in the money.

Walter Veith is the leading conspiratory voice within Adventism, followed by Bill Hughes and others. Veith has produced hundreds of hours of DVDs that keep his listeners sitting on the edge of the couch. Some viewers are anxious to hear his latest speculations; many are filled with anxiety for the future. Like a drug addiction, the more people view the videos, the more money they spend on these theories.

I believe the Spirit of Prophecy points to another reason why Adventists are so attracted to conspiracy theories: 

Although priding themselves on their enlightenment, they are ignorant both of the Scriptures and of the power of God. They must have some means of quieting their consciences, and they seek that which is least spiritual and humiliating. What they desire is a method of forgetting God which shall pass as a method of remembering Him. (Great Controversy, p. 572)

Many conspiracy-believing Adventists appear to be very religious people, constantly talking about the end of the world. But their main focus is physical preparation, not spiritual transformation. I believe this will be eternally fatal!

One day, my mother asked my husband why he didn’t believe that the New World Order was about to take place?  He decided to write her a letter and try to explain, and when he was through, we decided he should put it all in a little book, which we called The New World Order: Is it Part of Adventism? We decided to donate the first edition of the book to several Independent ministries to give them out at their upcoming campmeetings. Two of the largest, most popular ministries, Steps to Life and Hartland, were very impressed, and asked for 5000 copies. But some others on both of the boards, who were big believers in conspiracy theories, said that if they dared pass this book out, it would be the financial end of the ministry. Neither group had the courage to distribute the book, even though they had said that it was “just what the people needed to hear.”

Once a conspirator, always a conspirator? For the most part, yes. We’ve met very few who have been able to break away from the conspiracy mind-set, once it had a hold of them, especially if they had been indoctrinated for a long time. The leader of another independent ministry we know told us that when he first became an Adventist he was brought into the faith by people who were big proponents of various conspiracy theories and he thought that was Adventism. But as time went on, his eyes were opened and he realized true Adventism has nothing to do with conspiracy theories. He said he saw the homes that were divided, the strife caused between husbands and wives; those who once loved each other came to be suspicious and untrusting of each other. Thankfully, this man was able to separate the errors he had been taught from the wonderful truths of the Seventh-day Adventist message.

My husband and I believe that, according to the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, there will be no New World Order and these conspiracy theories are nothing more than a huge distraction from Satan to keep people from making the necessary preparation for the soon coming of Jesus. Our only goal is to get the truth about this out and warn others to not fall into this trap.

Tammy Roesch, is a Master Herbalist and co-owner of Choose the Narrow Way Ministries, based in Kingsville, Ohio.

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