How the Church Became Insular
Source of Article: http://leavingsda.com/adventist-exclusiveness-1/
The Seven Day Adeventist (SDA) church has silently created a system by-which its members do not need to interact in any meaningful way with non-Adventists. This is something very unique to Adventist churches- they have removed the need to engage with non-Adventist. Below is a typical example of many mainstream members lives, from start-to-finish:
- They are born in a Seventh Day Adventist hospital to Seventh Day Adventist parents.
- They then go to an Adventist preschool and make Adventist-only friends.
- They then head to an Adventist grade school and make Adventist-only friends. Alternatively if they belong to very exclusive parents they are homeschooled, and their only contact with other children is at their church.
- They then go to an Adventist high school.
- They then go to an Adventist university and college (and while there, most likely study to become either a nurse, a teacher of a pastor).
- They then get a job in an Adventist business/institution. These are particularly appealing from a practical perspective, because these businesses will forcibly be closed during Sabbath hours (or if they are a hospital, it is OK because they can work during Sabbath).
- They will then get married to an Adventist spouse, as an SDA pastor is not allowed to marry an SDA to a non-SDA.
- They then will eventually retire in an Adventist rest home, where they will live out the rest of their days.
Not only is this a common course of life, but it is greatly encouraged. The prestigious Adventist families live their lives in this way. From personal experience, if you don’t engage in this exclusive world you will feel left out at Adventist meeting grounds such as church, as most Adventists get to know each other at school/work. All of these places/steps (school, work, partner) are where we usually come to meet our friends and form close relationships. If you are only surrounded by Adventists, then you will inevitably just become friends with them.
Granted, at these institutions they will encounter non-Adventists. But their relationships with these individuals tend to be very fleeting. For example, an Adventist teen might become friends with a non-Adventist teen at their high school. But inevitably their relationship is doomed to be less meaningful from the start, because not only are they discouraged to become good friends with them, but they will spend less time with them than they will with their SDA peers. This is because in their spare time, they will engage in church activities and the Adventist kids will be forced together for large periods of time on Sabbath. Because the Adventist kids spend extra time outside of them and are apart of a unique culture, they will draw closer together.