Trapdoor disposes of visiting Pioneer Memorial Church speaker

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Within 10 minutes of the incident pretty much everyone was at lunch...
Within 10 minutes of the incident pretty much everyone was at lunch…
BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. — Bored yawns turned to mild terror followed by unrestrained rejoicing at Andrews University’s Pioneer Memorial Church (PMC) this Sabbath as a visiting preacher was removed from the pulpit against his will.

Jay Gaggleheum of the Michigan Conference Church Manual Interpretation Department was about to enter the 91st minute of what summer student Samantha Powell described as “eye-crossingly boring spreadsheet slides” when he suddenly plummeted through a trapdoor directly behind the pulpit.

“At first everybody just gasped and didn’t know what to do,” said Powell. “But then a bright green slide titled ‘Your Offering Dollars At Work’ flashed on the screens saying that the trapdoor was one of the many ‘hidden benefits of PMC attendance designed to streamline the worship experience.'”

Senior Pastor Dwight Nelson was away this Sabbath so Associate Pastor Toby Turner quickly took to the stage assuring the congregation that Gaggleheum was in good physical condition and was currently being escorted off campus by campus safety officers.

“He’s absolutely fine folks, it’s just that we warned him to keep things short but instead he kinda rambled,” said Turner to massive cheers and pew thumping, “We want to send a strong message to speakers here that nobody keeps Andrews from lunch!”


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  1. A. Nonymous

    Oh my. Now THAT is funny. The “Michigan Conference Church Manual Interpretation Department”. I am so, so very much hoping that this is a fictitious entity meant to poke fun at Michigan’s obstinate refusal to allow clergy to wear wedding bands despite the GC ruling (and Ellen White’s clear indication) that it was not a test of faith or fellowship. But anymore, I wouldn’t be surprised. *smh*

  2. Richard Mills

    I make a MOTION that this system be installed in every SDA venue all across the NAD. Just like handicapped parking is required, so should this “trap door”.All churches-big or small, old or new-put it into the budget ASAP and let’s get on with it! Doesn’t SOP say 30 minutes is enough for pastors to preach? What a novel idea! Why didn’t I think of that! Woe is me!!

  3. Susan Stormont

    I have a serious question, because I am about out the door. I have been a member of the church for 16 years, prior to that I was raised Baptist. Without going into it, because it is a long telling, I have come to know the SDA church has some MAJOR flaws in beliefs. I don’t think there is the right church for me. I can not go back to Sunday worship and all the false beliefs of that thinking either. If I may, I will list my beliefs: 1 Salvation through Christ, His death and resurrection. When He said “It is finished” and sat at the right hand of God the Father, He meant just that. Nothing else required for salvation. 2 Baptism by immersion 3 The dead “sleep” until Christ’s magnificint return. 3 There is no eternal burning in hell. 4 Saturday is the Sabbath; for worship and rest and not to be a legalistic day of opression. 5 Wine in the Bible is wine and not grape juice. 6 It is fine to wear jewelry. 7 It is fine to wear makeup. 8 To drink wine etc is not a sin. 9 Foot washing was “an expample” of humility to the disciples and to us today, and not a new ordinance. 10 It is not more virtuous to be a vegitarian. 11 It is fine to eat meat. 12 The Sabbath is NOT the seal of God, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer is the seal of God (Ephesians 1:13, 4:30). There are others, particuarly as I have read more of Mrs. White. So much falsehood, just beginning with her lifting so much from other’s previous writings. I have seen so many members put what she has written above what God has said. Mind control is what I now see it is. When my husband and I were in a small group study about her, and I read where she says believers during the “time of trouble” will be left without an intercessor, I knew then I was letting falsehood enter my mind. Jesus, in God’s Word, has told us “I will NEVER leave you, nor forsake you” . So anyway, Where Is My Church? Are there groups of former Adventists who fit the the list above, and who do not worship on Sunday, etc.?
    I’m sorry I ran all that together. I hope it makes sense. I don’t know if you have an answer, and I see your page is a spoof of SDA, and not a place for this type of request, but I have searched, and can’t find my church. I don’t want to be referred to “Proclamation” or Life Asurance, etc, because I don’t think they are right in throwing aside all that they have. I belive a lot of former SDA think Sabbath, state of the dead, views on hell, etc are SDA, when in reality they are God’s truths, and should be understood as such. Whereas, the additions of Mrs. White are not. Jesus said He came to fullfil and not to destroy the law. He fills it with his peace, love, and easy burden and joy. Anyway, if you know of this church I am seeking, please let me know.

    Thank you for your time in reading this.

    1. Hi Susan,

      We typically let BarelyAdventist readers answer other readers’ questions but since nobody seems to be jumping to answer this one we’ll take a stab at it:

      1) We agree that the Adventist church has some serious areas for improvement (that’s partly why we write BarelyAdventist – to bring theses issues to light.)

      2) We like your list of beliefs for the most part but then we aren’t theologians and aren’t into splitting hairs.

      3) We are not Ellen White experts but believe she was an intelligent, practical and well-meaning messenger with a worthwhile message to share from God. We can put you in touch with actual experts that might be able to more effectively answer your questions about the time of trouble.

      4) We are actively involved on a local level in the Adventist churches we attend. We are under no illusion that this is a perfect community but definitely feel like it is a space that has made a sincere effort to discover Biblical truth. We hope that Adventism is open to growing even further and that is why we invest time in blogging:)

      Feel free to reach out further by commenting here or emailing us at

      We are rooting for you and hoping you are open to examining the big issues through the lense of humor..

  4. Susan Stormont

    Thank you for your response, and I do appreciate your comments. I do apologize for brining in a more serious tone. However, I could see from what I’ve read on your site, you do understand the issues, and would know why I have the questions. I can’t see accepting and following anything or anyone’s counsel without researching both deeply for myself, praying for the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead me to what is true, and reject what is false.

    May God bless you, and your readers. I see you have taken some critisism for using the lense of humor on the church. You are not mocking faith. There is a big difference.

    1. Dave

      I am not a ‘new’ member, quite the opposite. This site is a constant reminder that it is our relationship with God that makes ALL the difference, and not the silly rules that some adhere to. Certainly what we eat makes a difference to our health, and how we spend our money makes a difference in how we are able to respond to the needs of those around us. The church has a problem trying to help us understand that. Even God had a problem explaining it to the Hebrews in that He needed 10 commandments. But later Jesus showed us the principles behind the 10 by using only 2.

      So in looking at all of our rules (does anyone think the other churches DON’T have equally silly rules?) go for the principle in them, not just the literal interpretation.

      No, don’t go back to a Sunday church. But don’t fall into the trap of being so busy doing ‘Sabbath things’ that you miss the incredible blessings He has for you when you look to make your relationship with Him a stronger and deeper one.

      The closer you get to Him, the less attractive everything on earth becomes. And these ‘rules’ have much less importance in how you live each day.

      One last thought. Reading Ellen White’s writings always leave me more in awe of God and His mercy and goodness toward me. I have not found anywhere that (when read in context) is in conflict when comparing what she wrote with His principles. The Bible translations are filled with variations and errors to the point that you must read several different ones to gain the message in a particular passage. Do the same with EG White writing. Compare passages. Compare context. Then look for the illuminating thought she is trying to convey.

      The 28 SDA principles are expressed clearly in the Bible and illustrate how much God wants to be reunited with us. Concentrate on the principle and not on the interesting, strange, silly, and downright weird way that we sometime implement them in our worship and living practices today.

  5. Ray Kraft

    Susan Stormont –

    Having grown up 3d gen Adventist and gone to SDA schools 1 through college I made the mistake of reading the Gospels, you know, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, the ones that record or report what Jesus is remembered to have said while he was here.

    And the lights turned on.

    Jesus was obviously an “anti-religionist.”

    He didn’t ask the thief on the cross what he believed.

    He didn’t ask the prostitute at the well what she believed.

    He didn’t ask anybody what they believed.

    And that is why the priests of the day had to get rid of him, he was a threat to their beloved religionism and theology, their doctrines and creeds and rules.

    When the Rich Young Ruler asked what he must do to be saved, Jesus said, “Sell what you have, and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.” Jesus didn’t ask what he believed.

    Luke 12

    When the disciples asked what would happen in the end, Jesus said, “The King will say, whatever you have done for even the least of these, you have done it for me . . . Feed the hungry, give water to the thirsty, clothe the naked, care for the sick, comfort the prisoners, shelter the homeless, the strangers among you . . . and whatever you have not done for even the least of these, you have not done it for me.”

    Matthew 25

    I came to believe (!) that the idea that we need to have a laundry list of “right beliefs,” right theology, right doctrine, is an entirely human invention that has nothing to do with the teachings of Jesus.

    Is Mother Theresa going to sizzle and fry because she was Catholic, not Adventist? I rather doubt it.

  6. Ray Kraft

    If we read the words of Jesus as we have them in the Gospels, we don’t see a theologian, we see a very simple, direct, message . . . Love each other, as I have loved you.

    Be good to each other. If you’re rich, care for the poor. If you’re strong, care for the week. Treat others as you would want to be treated if you stood in their shoes.

    The Golden Rule.

    The Ten Commandments are nothing but variations on the theme of The Golden Rule.

    You don’t wan to be murdered, don’t murder.

    You don’t want your stuff stolen, don’t steal.

    You don’t want to be lied about, don’t lie.

    You don’t want other people messin’ around with your spouse, don’t commit adultery.

    You don’t like people thinkin’ about stealin’ your stuff, don’t covet theirs.

    You can go to church on Saturday, and be callous and cruel.

    You can go to church on Sunday, and be loving and generous.

    You can go to Synagogue on Saturday, or Mosque on Friday, or never go to church anywhere, any time, and be loving and generous.

    My experience, and observation, Adventists spend an enormous amount of time trying to be sure they Believe in the Right Beliefs; but where are the SDA homeless shelters? Where are the SDA drug rehab programs? Who runs Feed The Children?

    It isn’t the Adventist church.

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