I can’t and won’t divulge who the person is, and I honestly have no idea if the name this person used to dialogue with me is a real one or a pseudonym. But after having what seemed like a genuine email conversation (initiated by them), I responded to the email thread this morning, only to find out that the email account has been deleted since yesterday.
I sincerely understand the reasons why this person would do that, and given the pressure they’re probably feeling from family and peers in the church, they probably felt it was better to just forget the conversation ever existed. But this is the problem with Stanton. It suppresses sincere inquiry.
If anyone makes an honest reading of this blog, they will find that I am an honest broker of facts. I find them, present them, and tell you what I think about them. But I believe in the God-given right of every individual to inquire after truth without me suppressing it. This is why I allow dissenting opinions in the comments, which my detractors both bash me for, and take advantage of. But that’s OK. Such is the price of freedom of thought. We will have disagreements. It’s part of the human condition.
But can we agree that anyone who comes along and tries to subvert the process of sincere inquiry is not an honest broker? Can we agree that they are afraid you will be persuaded by whatever facts you might uncover—so they pressure you to stop your inquiry and accept their version of the facts.
The problem with this is that facts are truth. We may all come to understand and conclude different things about the facts, but we cannot have our own facts. Either Merie was or wasn’t withdrawn from for causing division. Either she did or didn’t come back from that withdrawal. Either she did or didn’t eventually succeed in causing the division she was withdrawn from for attempting. All of these facts—not opinions—are self-condemning of the movement she started.
Below is my bounced email response this morning to this person:
Yes, the church has definitely improved on some of its teachings over the years. But all the years I grew in the sect, they bashed other churches for having partial truth, not the whole truth. The very fact that they have changed at all, condemns their original reason for breaking off. I sat through many nonmember classes growing up, and the recurring theme (and one of the most persuasive at the time) was that any church that changes their doctrines couldn’t have the truth, because the truth doesn’t change. They had what they called the “suitcase of books” full of men’s books on religion—books by Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White, Amy Simple McPherson, etc.These other sects/cults were constantly changing their doctrine to please the current generation. Well, that’s exactly what Stanton has done over the decades. As they’ve lost the younger generations, they have softened their doctrine to try to keep their kids and grandkids in the fold. But this simply illustrates the lie that Stanton has tried to tell, saying that they alone have the unchanging truth.
Here’s an article that might help:
They used to quote 1 Tim. 3:15 for years “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” They said that this meant their church…their sect…was alone the pillar and ground of the truth. But if truth doesn’t change, doctrines shouldn’t
change. And theirs has, as you have acknowledged.
As for which church was the One True Church, Merie’s or the one she broke away from, you are asking the wrong question. The “one true church” is not a church with an address and a sign on the door. It is the spiritual body of believers who have obeyed and are part of his spiritual kingdom. Merie made the same mistake many of the first century disciples made. They thought the kingdom was a physical kingdom that would overthrow the Roman government. Instead, it was a spiritual kingdom:
Luke 17:20-21 – And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.
Here’s an article on the topic of the nature and name of the church:
Here are some more articles that might help you understand my point of view on Stanton’s misapplication of scripture:
Some parting thoughts:
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.” ~Benjamin Franklin
“Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” ~ Acts 17:12
And don’t forget my favorite saying around here: Truth shouldn’t be afraid of a lie. If someone’s afraid of you asking me questions, what are they afraid of? I can, and have, faced agnostics, atheists, cultists, sectarians, and my friends over differences of opinion. I love talking about truth, enquiring after it, seeking it with all my heart. The question is—does Stanton?