At the time of my decision to exit I did not appreciate how important it was to document clearly why my family and I decided to leave the Seventh-Day Adventist cult. By that time, there were many clear reasons to go but just how do I state them openly. Or for that matter why should I even bother saying it, why not just exit and be done with it?
Now at least five years later I see the decision to write my family’s Exit Letter was the right move. Regardless how carefully I stated my reasons or how much Scripture I provided our cult members typically learn to dismiss those who leave as disgruntled and bitter or as people who were hurt by someone’s actions. It helps members to avoid dealing with the reality of the situation; it’s a form of denial. They will chalk it up to a deficiency in understanding Scriptures or what their distinctive doctrines mean. Maybe it is to to lessen the sting that accompanies the antiseptic of Truth when you tell them your reasons.
Well, whatever the reason here are four top reasons why you should write an exit letter when you leave.
1. The exit letter is an excellent way of helping others from sinfully gossiping falsehoods as why you left. Don’t do something you knowingly will cause others to stumble.
Sure enough when Kathe and I left people assumed that it was because of I was merely disgruntled and angry, that I just wanted to BASH SDAs, they gossiped and made reasons. Apparently despite all the years of helping plant my last SDA church those people did NOT know me. I have many family members who still believe in the teachings of the SDAs. My mother is still SDA, my Grandparents were Pioneers of their Churches in the Philippines, and Loma Linda and my Maternal Great Grandparents were early Philippine Missionaries. My roots are Adventist from birth, and the decision to leave did not come without much prayer, the study of Scripture and attempt to reconcile ALL SDA doctrines with Scripture.
2. It shows you have done your homework.
The most common apology I heard as I was leaving the cult is–
“Well, you don’t have to believe all the particular Doctrines. They are NOT salvation issues so you can still be Adventist.” I know the intent behind the comment was well-meant and with love. However, my convictions led me to see that, to be a Christian does not mean teachings are ala carte. The Seventh-day Adventist church has Doctrines that can be discarded or flagged as optional, but we weren’t talking about power windows or a car sunroof. Disposable doctrines are clear indications that those Doctrines came from man.
- If indeed a teaching is optional, it is from man.
- Man-made doctrines are don.t save.
3. You don’t know who else is wanting to leave. Your Exit Letter may serve as the Exit Sign above the door that they’ve been looking for.
It was is tempting to be quiet and just go my way, to let others sit in the pews content with their beliefs and perhaps one day figure these things out for themselves. For me worse yet, was the idea that those who were being wooed by Adventism might fall into the grasp of the cult.
I remember the irritation I felt when I finally realized throughout my entire time in the cult I was conned. I served in Revelation Seminars (Crusades), I was a Junior Deacon and later an Usher, I attend their Sabbath Schools and Churches, their Church Schools, Academies & Universities. All this time not one person even intimated of things might suggest an error in their teachings. What brought it to its head was my discovery the early church leaders in 1919 knew of significant errors in their teachings and doctrines but, they were more focused on damage control than making things right. (See, 1919 Church Transcripts)
I have SDA friends and family, some who shook their heads wondering how a 4th generation SDA could “stumble” so badly and raise questions on doctrines that could “cause others to stumble”.
On their other hand, my non-SDA and Christian friends have asked how did it take so long for me to realize I was blind and believed such things for so long without questioning.
4. There will be times the Exit Letter will be the only way to shut up the cult members who only want to argue with you about why you left.
Yes, admittedly there will be times an SDA will call you a liar for stating why you left. This is different from those in Reason 1 in your immediate church that you cared enough about to let them know why you left. Instead, these people are simply nasty and want to tell you the ONLY way you would have left is because had an ax to grind or that you were never even an SDA. The exit letter is evidence of your state of mind when you left point them to it and dust off the dirt from your sandals and move on.
There are probably many more reasons to write that Exit Letter but these are the four that I can think of.
QUESTIONS: Did you know an Exit Letter is the Cult’s officially prescribed way to leave? What reasons have you been given to keep you to stay?