Commentary: How Yarns are Spun
By Skip Baker, January 18, 2005
Now (IN 1980) 133 years after the Bates Letter was written, the SDA Church was putting Dr. Des Ford on trial over many of these issues and everybody was digging into the history of Adventism to find out what the “Investigative Judgment Doctrine” was really based on, the Bible or Ellen G. White. That debate would in the end see every thinking Seventh-day Adventist leave the church once they could clearly see the issues at hand. The problem was how easy it was for “The Church” to cover up the facts and how well they did just that. At every point they misled the laymen reading the Adventist Review, so that most thinking Adventists had to turn to “Spectrum” an unofficial magazine that was published by the church’s scholars. Suddenly, what would have been a dry and difficult to read journal, became “must reading” for those who really wanted to know what was going on.
Dr. Raymond Cottrell, who was an Associate Editor to the Adventist Review, was one of the 120 scholars sent to Glacier View Camp in Colorado to attend the hearing of Dr. Ford, and thankfully Dr. Cottrell knew shorthand and could write it as fast as people talked, giving us a total outline of what went on in secret behind closed doors. That was at once printed in Spectrum magazine, Vol. 11 #2. What it revealed was the outright duplicity and fraud the Church’s leaders used to mislead the laymen. First, the scholars voted in favor of Des Ford’s stand based on his thousand-page outline typed up as his “defense paper” that was by then made available to laymen who wanted to read it.
It was shocking to see that when the professors voted in favor of Dr. Ford, the administrators flew back to Washington DC, and printed just exactly the opposite of what happened, in the Adventist Review! Those of us who had kept abreast of what was going on were horrified to see our Church Leaders LYING about what was done and said at that lynching of Dr. Ford behind closed doors. They couldn’t dare tell the truth because the truth was that the Investigative Judgment Doctrine could NOT be supported by Scripture alone, and required the statements of Ellen G. White. It was only HER writings that saved the doctrine, because it was her writings that had forced the “Shut Door Doctrine” onto the church when it was born, and then to hide and cover up the Shut Door Doctrine, she used the borrowed work of another scholar of the 19th Century to “Hide” the Shut Door by changing” it into the Investigative Judgment doctrine!
It was that fatal mistake that the “Secret Bates Letter” that I photographed that day in 1980 proved, and shed light on what had really happened so long ago when Adventism was formed. Here, the leaders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church had a chance in 1980 to accept the BIBLE above the work of Ellen G. White, and rejected it like that always had before the 5 other times it had nearly come to a head behind closed doors.
In the Bible Conference of 1919 the General Conference men and leaders of the Seventh-day Adventists nearly accepted the “truth” and come clean on the Investigative Judgment. Then years before that in 1905, at the trial of Albion Ballenger, the President of the Conference in Ireland, they also rejected the Bible and put Ellen G. White’s writings above scripture. And each time they held these ‘behind closed door’ meetings, they mislead the members and told them that “the heretic” had been found wrong, when that wasn’t the case at all. How many other “cults” have done the same thing each time their “sacred cow” was threatened?
It’s how cults keep their members thinking that their faith is based on solid scripture, when in fact it’s so often based on lies about their history. Because I had a front row seat I was able to watch the Adventist Church control “the facts” in such a way that the laymen never had a chance of learning the truth, and once your eyes are open to the deception around you, it’s hard to miss seeing it all around us. In so many ways we “the public” or “the members” are being mislead in so many ways, that learning how to see the lies is urgent for any Christian who wants to avoid the pitfalls of cults in America.