Not true! Adventist Church says it does not prevent independent thought
DOVER, St Mary:
Over the last three months, Family and Religion has published interviews with three young St Mary Christians, who each claim to have developed a deeper and more meaningful relationship with God since leaving the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (SDA).
Theologian Phillip Washington, fine artist Shaun Reid, and entrepreneur Kadrian Thomas accuse SDA leaders of trying to censor independent thought and complain that the organisation and its members are largely reluctant to discuss and incorporate new ideas.
Earlier this week, the parish's SDA leaders responded to the criticisms during a press conference at the Northeast Jamaica Conference (NEJC) headquarters in Dover.
Family and Religion spoke with seven key members of the NEJC's hierarchy, including the Director of Education, Sabbath School, and Personal Ministries, Doreen Morrison, who refuted the men's claims.
She said: "It is alleged that young people in the SDA Church are not free to disagree or come up with their own ideas, but everyone has freedom of expression, and from time immemorial, persons come up with various ideas of their own, which are not necessarily in keeping with the teachings of the Church or the things we believe as standard principal.
"But these people are never really relegated or thrown out. Some even go ahead and seek buy-in from other members of the Church. When that is done, they need to be brought in and the matter discussed. But they are always free to express themselves and their opinions.
"I've spent all my life, and that's over 60 years, in the SDA Church, and I have always had freedom of expression, so I do not believe persons are suppressed or unable to voice freely. It is just that over time, people come up with their own ideas or find new teachings, and so they move out in that direction. Naturally, they leave the Church, by virtue, to spread this new doctrine."
Morrison insists that it is possible for the Church to adopt and incorporate new ideas but believes that some young people are simply too impatient to follow the obligatory rules, regulations, and procedures.
"There is a process," Morrison explained, "and these persons, having found this new light, are not willing to go through that process, where you take up the issue with your pastor and church elders, and it goes up the line so the matter can be thoroughly discussed and understood and a position taken.
"They are aware of these procedures but believe the elders of the Church are archaic. They have this new light, which they want to thrust, and as young people, they're not about to wait. They just want to run with it, but they are not willing to follow procedure."