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) to escape the enemies of the “Adventist Truth” exciting.

I was disappointed when my attempts to read White's , a book describing in much detail the cosmic "conflict between Christ and Satan" along with an extensive depictions of "latter day events," to some neighbor kids failed to produce much interest, let alone any converts.

One year I attended three different church schools.

Aware that things were not right, but not knowing why, and not feeling that I could ask questions about things that no one seemed to want to talk about, I retreated into fantasy and books. The assurance that there was a better world to come where we would finally learn the reason for our trials and tribulations in this wicked world made my confusion and anxiety about what was happening around me more bearable.

If there was no readily available response from those inspired sources, I was told that the answer would be forthcoming when "we get to heaven," an event that was "soon coming." Some things were just to be accepted by faith, and those lacking in faith weren’t going to get into heaven come Judgement Day.

As "God's chosen people," the spiritual successors to the Jews who had supposedly rejected Jesus, we were promised a special place in "the world to come" provided that we were faithful to "the Third Angel's Message." I was suspicious of "worldly" neighbors, most of whom I avoided.

Other Adventist kids with whom I attended church school and Sabbath School didn’t seem to take religion as seriously as I did. In fact I sometimes seemed to know more about the Bible and White’s writings than did my teachers.

Looking back now I realize that my religious precocity had a great deal to do with the ongoing chaos in my family.

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On my father's side, my great-grandfather served time on a chain gang in Tennessee for working on Sunday in defiance of blue laws that Adventists believed were the first step towards establishment of a "national Sunday law” and legal persecution of anyone who worshiped on the seventh day Sabbath.(1) From infancy onward, I was immersed in Adventism and "the Conflict of the Ages," the cosmic war between the forces of good and evil around which traditional Adventist theology revolves.

Being supported by a relatively poor local church organization, the Missouri junior academy (elementary through tenth grade) and boarding academy (grades eleven and twelve) that I attended were apparently unable to recruit capable teachers.

With very few exceptions, my teachers did a poor job of instructing, and some appeared to be in no shape to be doing anything, much less teaching school.

I particularly liked the stories of Joseph and King David. uncovered in the eyes of the handmaids" (2 Samuel , 20) with what I had been taught about proper church behavior!

I did, however, have some difficulty fitting things like David's dancing "before the Lord with all his might . Books written by the Adventist prophetess, Ellen G.

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