Pickle Publishing "Pressure Tactics" Research Papers

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A Response to the Video:
Seventh-day Adventism, the Spirit Behind the Church

by Bob Pickle

Answers to Questions Raised by:
Mark Martin, Sydney Cleveland
Dale Ratzlaff, The White Lie
. . . and
Others

Discern Fact from Fiction


Wrapping Up the Case

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#199, #200, #201, #202, & #203: " 'Point 3: Each cult uses pressure tactics to coerce members into submission.' "—Narrator.

"Ellen G. White knew how to pressure people into submission. First she would claim to receive a reproof from God for the person, which she would air publicly through her testimonies. Usually the person conformed under the pressure. 'I have uttered reproofs... because the Lord has given me words of reproof... for the church.' The Remnant Church; Its Organization, Authority, Unity, and Triumph p. 6."—Steve Cannon.

#199: She pressured people into submission. Remember how she, unlike others, refused to push the reform dress or not eating suppers on people (#123, #128, #132)? Where was the pressure?

Mrs. White set before her readers God's own example of how to treat people we do not agree with or who are erring:

The government of God is not, as Satan would make it appear, founded upon a blind submission, an unreasoning control. It appeals to the intellect and the conscience. "Come now, and let us reason together" is the Creator's invitation to the beings He has made. Isaiah 1:18. God does not force the will of His creatures. He cannot accept an homage that is not [p. 131] willingly and intelligently given. A mere forced submission would prevent all real development of mind or character; it would make man a mere automaton. Such is not the purpose of the Creator. . . . It remains for us to choose whether we will be set free from the bondage of sin, to share the glorious liberty of the sons of God.—Steps to Christ, pp. 43, 44.

She advocated the taking of these principles manifested in God's government into the home and the classroom:

To direct the child's development without hindering it by undue control should be the study of both parent and teacher. Too much management is as bad as too little. The effort to "break the will" of a child is a terrible mistake. Minds are constituted differently; while force may secure outward submission, the result with many children is a more determined rebellion of the heart. Even should the parent or teacher succeed in gaining the control he seeks, the outcome may be no less harmful to the child. The discipline of a human being who has reached the years of intelligence should differ from the training of a dumb animal. The beast is taught only submission to its master. For the beast, the master is mind, judgment, and will. This method, sometimes employed in the training of children, makes them little more than automatons. Mind, will, conscience, are under the control of another. It is not God's purpose that any mind should be thus dominated. Those who weaken or destroy individuality assume a responsibility that can result only in evil. While under authority, the children may appear like well-drilled soldiers; but when the control ceases, the character will be found to lack strength and steadfastness. Having never learned to govern himself, the youth recognizes no restraint except the requirement of parents or teacher. This removed, he knows not how to use his liberty, and often gives himself up to indulgence that proves his ruin.—Education, p. 288.

Would not the world be a better place if preachers, parents, teachers, and public officials sought to put into practice these simple principles Mrs. White advocated?

#200: She publicly aired reproofs. Obviously, Mr. Cannon must not be too acquainted with her writings. Most of the time, as the documentation package under "Point 95a" indicates, the person's name was never used when a personal testimony was made public.

Under "Point 95a" there are three "publicly aired reproofs." Of these, two were personal letters that were not published until the 1980's or 1990's, so they were never publicly aired.

The third "example" represents a selection from volume 3 of Testimonies for the Church. It talks about Brother B. Who is Brother B? Did his name begin with B? Not at all. Brother A is referred to two pages before and Brother C is referred to four pages after. Letters were assigned to replace the people's names in the order in which they appeared in the book.

The specific city or town where Brother B was from is stated to be——- on pages 339 and 340, thus protecting the guilty as far as possible. In other words, even where he lived is kept a secret. Only those acquainted with both the man and his problem might be able to guess who Mrs. White was talking about.

Why would she "air publicly" the reproof if she left the name and address out?

I have given some personal communications in several numbers of my testimonies, and in some cases persons have been offended because I did not publish all such communications. On account of their number this would be hardly possible, and it would be improper from the fact that some of them relate to sins which need not, and should not, be made public.

But I have finally decided that many of these personal testimonies should be published, as they all contain more or less reproof and instruction which apply to hundreds or thousands of others in similar condition. These should have the light which God has seen fit to give which meets their cases. It is a wrong to shut it away from them by sending it to one person or to one place, where it is kept as a light under a bushel.—Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, pp. 631, 632.

So not all were "aired," for that would have been improper, but many were, with the names and places usually deleted to protect the guilty. Usually? Well, there were some exceptions, and one such exception appears in the very same chapter:

In this testimony I speak freely of the case of Sister Hannah More, not from a willingness to grieve the Battle Creek church, but from a sense of duty. I love that church notwithstanding their faults. I know of no church that in acts of benevolence and general duty do so well. I present the frightful facts in this case to arouse our people everywhere to a sense of their duty.—Ibid., p. 632.

Why this exception? What was the problem? As an unmarried missionary in Africa, Hannah More accepted the Sabbath truth and was consequently dropped from employment by her missionary society. She came to Battle Creek, Michigan, but no Adventist took an interest in her. Ms. More actively sought employment, for there were quite a few Adventist ministries there at the time, but no one wanted to [p. 132] hire this intelligent and devoted lady. She therefore lodged with friends in northern Michigan who were not of her faith. Unaccustomed to the winters of northern Michigan, Hannah More died that very winter.

Because of neglect, someone died! Do you think this might be reason enough to get more specific about people and places? Would you call this an unwarranted, cultic pressure tactic?

As the result of Mrs. White confronting this issue, the denomination started an association which had the primary responsibility of aiding widows and orphans. Praise the Lord! The possibility of future neglect causing such problems was therefore lessened.

Here is what she wrote about the public exposure of naughty students. The principles expressed in this quote would be applicable in other settings as well.

Great care should be shown in regard to making public the errors of students. To make public exposure of wrong is harmful in every respect to the wrongdoer and has no beneficial influence upon the school. It never helps a student to humiliate him before his fellow students. This heals nothing, cures nothing, but makes a wound that mortifies.—Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, p. 267.

Wise counsel, wouldn't you say? And she did her best to practice what she preached.

#201: Usually the person conformed. Since this matter has been quite oversimplified, let's add a few details regarding a problem Mrs. White had to address, and how she addressed it.

One of the "publicly aired reproofs" under "Point 95a" in the documentation package, the one not published until 1991, is a letter written in 1886. It was addressed to a very prominent Seventh-day Adventist leader named J. H. Waggoner who apparently did "conform." Yes, Mrs. White comes down pretty hard on this minister who was guilty of adultery:

Had you, Elder Waggoner, an elder of the church, looked up, you would have seen yourself a spectacle to God and to the pure angels who veil their faces and turn away from your pollution of soul and body. My words seem tame as I pen them when I think of the wonderful truths we profess and the great light that shines upon us from the Word of God. The Judge of all the earth is standing before the door, and every case must pass in solemn review before Him. I inquire, How can anyone with this light shining upon them dare in thought or word to deny the Lord God who hath bought them? Make haste, my brother, to cleanse your hands. Jesus is still pleading as your Intercessor. Commence the work of forsaking your sins without delay. Do not rest till you find pardon, for no soul can enter the paradise of God who has a single spot or stain in his character. Make thorough work for eternity.—Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, p. 387.

Now that we actually read it, it doesn't sound like she came down all that hard. After all, this gray-haired man wasn't just having an adulterous affair in secret. He had gotten to the point where he was even putting his head in his mistress's lap at public church gatherings (Letter 10, 1885, as quoted in Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, p. 182, and Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, pp. 243, 245). Such grievous sins must be dealt with firmly. What else should the prophetess have said instead?

That incident at the public church gathering probably occurred on New Year's eve in 1882, though it may have occurred two years later (Arthur White, vol. 3, pp. 209, 288; cf. Evangelism, p. 315). On November 4 of 1885, she wrote a letter to Waggoner about that incident. Still he did not repent of his grievous conduct. So ten months later, she wrote the letter quoted above to plead with him further to cease his affair with another man's wife. This man, in the sunset of his life, was allowing too much time to go by before he made his peace with God. Yes, he finally did "conform," but he should have "conformed" much sooner.

#202: This was because of the pressure. Actually, Mrs. White was present at the gathering where J. H. Waggoner had his head in the lap of his mistress:

The very things that transpired at the Piedmont Sabbath school reunion, I would not have [had] occur for thousands of dollars. You, a gray-haired man, lying at full length with your head in the lap of Georgie S. Had I done my duty, I would have rebuked you there. Many saw this and made remarks about it.—Testimonies on Sexual Behavior, Adultery, and Divorce, p. 182, italics added.

So she later felt that she had not rebuked Waggoner as duty required. At the time, at this public religious gathering, she didn't say anything. Pressure tactics?

While Waggoner finally did "conform" under the "pressure" of Mrs. White's earnest entreaties, along with the entreaties of his brethren, she never made his case known to the general Adventist public. Most today still don't know that this man had such a severe problem.

It is apparent from both this situation and others like it that Mrs. White didn't just write about the character of Christ. She ever sought to emulate His lovely character:

Christ Himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He exercised the [p. 133] greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes.—Desire of Ages, p. 353.

#203: This type of pressure is one of the marks of a cult. If such an idea be true, then the prophets of the Bible were just as cultic as Mrs. White. Consider what Nathan told David when he had committed adultery and murder:

And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master's house, and thy master's wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. (2 Sam. 12:7-13)

Looks like David "conformed" under the "pressure." And let's not forget Elijah:

And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. (2 Kings 17:1)

That was only the beginning of Elijah's "pressure tactics." In the New Testament we have more of the same from Peter:

But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things. And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him. And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in. And Peter answered unto her, Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much? And she said, Yea, for so much. Then Peter said unto her, How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out. Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband. And great fear came upon all the church, and upon as many as heard these things. (Acts 5:1-12)

But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me. (Acts 8:20-24)

To cite every example in the Bible of prophets and apostles using the same kind of "pressure tactics" that Mrs. White used, we would certainly have to reprint a large portion of the Scriptures.

A Response to the Video

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