By Pauly Fongemie




In their book on cults, BATTLE OF THE ANGELS, Bob and Penny Lord wrote about an experience they had with an apostate Catholic who had joined the Seventh-Day Adventists and who had become active in recruitment, including the proselytizing of Catholics, such as the Lords. When I read their account I was reminded once again that the battle we fight is essentially against underworld powers and principalities and just how successful Satan has been in leading astray Catholics who are vulnerable at key points in their lives, leading them into the nightmare of apostasy, or by positing the answer if they are already losing the faith, in both cases, providing them with false hope through membership in sects and cults or even mainline Protestant Churches.  The Lords, fortunately, did not fall victim to the blandishments of the Adventist. So many good Catholic parents have told me of their sorrow to learn that this has happened to one or more of their children. A devout mother and father of ten children said that all of their children have left the Church. All of them! Some to other religions. Most of us are quite ignorant about some of the more active cults that pose as mainstream Protestantism, but are either sects or cults or a bit of both. Actually any false religion is equally to be avoided, but you might be asking yourself, just what is a cult, what is a sect, as opposed to mainline religions, per se? A good place to always begin a discussion is with defining terms so that we are clear about the topic at hand.


Mainstream Protestant Churches

These are the organized groups that originally broke off from the only True Church, the Holy Catholic Church, during the Protestant revolution in Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. Some of the better known are Episcopalians [Anglicans in England], Lutherans and Presbyterians.

Most mainline denominations do not actively evangelize. When we speak of a mainline Protestant Church, we refer only to those which maintain a belief in the Divinity of Jesus Christ at the very least, along with the immortality of the human soul. In general, belief in Heaven and Hell is to some degree consistent, although there is a disparity on the means, that is, whether Baptism is necessary and what constitutes good works, or even if those are necessary also.


Sects are smaller groups that broke away from the original Protestants, some of which are Congregationalists, Methodists, and the older Puritans, and also the Salvation Army. Sects are generally organized around a specific grievance, that erupted within a mainline Protestant affiliation, such as the Puritans, who refused to celebrate Christmas, for instance. They believed that [once again] they were purifying matters as did the first Protestant Churches. Like most mainline Protestant groups, sects hold a belief in Jesus Christ as Divine and the immortality of the human soul. The notion of Heaven and Hell and how or if one arrives there can vary from vague to specific, and occasionally not at all, such as Unitarianism, where even the belief in Christ as Divine is not a requirement strictly speaking-----although most Unitarians do believe in Christ.

Baptists, which are classified as Evangelicals, that is, are bible-based only proselytizers, have origins going back to John Wycliffe in the 14th century and or Jan Hus of the 15th, and are more difficult to place under the current streams of the multiplication of Baptist branches, each with its own peculiar doctrine. Initially they were strictly classified with the mainline Protestants because their roots are directly from the  Protestant revolt-----note, I refuse to use the term, reformation, simply because the heresies that grew exponentially were a deformation of the Word of God and not a reformation. Today, with the proliferation of sub-groups of Baptists, usually small and formed around an exaggeration of one aspect of doctrine, many Baptists have taken on the characteristics of sects proper, and in some cases even cults, which are defined below. Baptists have characteristics of both the mainline and the sect in general. For instance some denominations of Baptists have divinity schools as do the mainline Churches, which have an ordination process that is overseen by some authority and a number still maintain still a recognized "ordained" clergy organized in a hierarchy. However, there are multiple Baptists sects that do not. A layman or lay woman simply claims that he or she has been called by God to preach.

Sects tend to control doctrinal ideas substantially more narrowly than mainline Churches, one of the reasons for the formation of the sect in the first place. Since all religions except the Holy Catholic faith are false, by exerting control on doctrinal ideas, they make it more difficult for their members to learn the truth. Only the Catholic Church has a mandate through Peter and his successors [the keys of Heaven] from Christ to preserve and disseminate His saving truth as revealed to His Church.

Examples of other sects are Quakers, the Amish, and the Church of the Nazarene.


The word cult, is derived from the Latin, cultus, which is the worship rendered to God and the veneration of the Saints. The meaning of culture is derived from it. All cultures are based on some religion, at least in the beginning, whether
Catholic, pagan, bizarre or extreme forms such as the Aztecs with human sacrifice, or other. But this is not the definition of a "cult" as it has come to be known today. Even cultures that claim to not have a basis in a religion religiously enforce this belief. In fact the willful disassociation from religion itself is a form of religion in that it is the underlying motivation for all of the society's activity and organization, and this, then, is what those loyal to the renunciation of religion place their trust and faith in. "Their god is their belly": if not materialism per se, something akin to it. Atheists are very religious, they rigorously place their faith in there being no God, a belief that takes more faith, so to speak, than actually believing in God, simply because to deny His Existence is a formidable task since evidence of His creation is all around; simply put, the atheist has to deny reality in order to claim that it is he who is the realist.

"Cults" as we use the term here, are bodies of variant Protestantism [not the hippie commune type popularized in the 1960s] that broke off from sects and are formed from the ideas of the founder or spiritual leader. Usually these splinter groups are based on the leader's imaginative or unusual interpretation of their own bible, which was previously altered to suit the preferences of the former sect, and the Protestant bibles before this. While the cults of the Protestant kind recognize Jesus Christ, He may or not be thought to be Divine and or not a member of the Trinity, if there is a Trinity belief. End times doctrine, usually quite specific, in contradiction to the words of Christ Himself, are very important, even central to the system of dogma. Sacraments tend to have less of a role than they do in sects and mainline Protestant Churches. Cults in general train their lay adherents to evangelize, some more strenuously than others. One of the methods of acquiring converts is to take advantage of persons who have suffered a traumatic event and may be particularly vulnerable, less able to resist the lure of a promise of happiness along with sympathy from cult members. Another tactic is financial incentive, which takes various forms from aid to promises of gain, which is what occurred in the encounter the Lords had with the Adventist. A more subtle and increasingly used method of winning over Catholics is to invite them to simply pray with the group or to "merely study the bible". Catholics are told that they can still remain Catholics but come to their meetings and study groups. Of course any Catholic who believes this is already ignorant enough to be persuaded eventually that the Catholic Church is a false religion. This kind of Catholic has been inoculated against the Catholic Faith, "whole and entire" within his own Novus Ordo parish by some poor, ignorant priest who teaches universal salvation de facto if not de jure.

Cult members are more insular than those who belong to sects, much more watchful over the members who show signs of straying. The Amish sect is an exception because it, too, is very mindful that they must be a people that remain apart. In cults an early and continual indoctrination is considered vital. The immortality of the soul can be nebulous, left open to interpretation by individual sub-groups, or defined in such manner that only the adepts or high personages may gain merit. Cults of the Protestant kind are actually not strictly Christian, as considered by mainline and sect Protestants, because their idea of the Trinity is either strange or incoherent, and thus most Protestants, who are at least material heretics themselves, consider these cults off-beat heretics. The most prominent example of this is Mormonism.

[A material heretic is one in fact, if not by ill will. A formal heretic is one who intends to be one, that is, is aware his doctrine is considered heretical, but persists in pride and audacity to resist correction.]

One of the distinguishing features between sects [and mainliners] and cults is the channel of religious authority by which interpretation is handed down. Cults are largely lay operations, although there is a spiritual head or leader; but members have a direct opening to personal messages from the Holy Spirit [if the Trinity is a belief] or whatever the Supreme Being is, thus in essence rendering each sincere adherent his own pope so to speak. [The exception here is the Mormon cult, which is divided into multiple forms.] And yet, many cults also demand "doctrinal purity" which is in conflict with the other tenet. But then, since they are confused at the very least to begin with, managing to reconcile irrational ideas with one another, this inconsistency does not appear to be much of a deterrent. In the mainline Churches and their splinter sects, the religious authorities disseminate doctrine, although as in all Protestant groups of this classification private judgment can and will supersede any such pronouncements of doctrine. In practice this may not be much of a distinction if the result is the same as it is with a cult, and certainly de facto this is correct, but we are speaking formally of the organized intention.

Some well known, very active cults today are the Mormons as we already mentioned, the Jehovah's Witnesses,
Christian Scientists, and the Seventh-Day Adventists. Of the four, Mormons or the Church of Latter Day Saints is the most complicated in doctrine and organization.

While every source we consulted places them in the cult category, Mormons have one characteristic that is a hallmark of sects, a clergy or sorts, complete with bishops. However, by almost every other criteria, The Latter Day Saints are a cult, so much so that doctrinal deviations can cause banishment.

For the present we are going to look at only one, the Adventists, but before we do we need to briefly look at Charismatics, a special sub-category of cult; we say special sub-category because strictly speaking, a charismatic can be anyone with a particular preference for emotionalism in worship and may belong to a mainline group, a sect or a cult or even call himself a Catholic. All charismatics think they do not need doctrinal statements per se, for the Holy Spirit is their own special guide and as such they enjoy personal infallibility, which is channeled through an interpreter, if the message comes in the form of "tongues". The leader usually serves as a facilitator for the emotional experience, rather than as a traditional cleric. Charismatics have a preference for speaking in tongues and in the extreme forms, have been known to use snakes in their religious services and more strange practices, such as grunting like pigs and so forth. Charismania, as I like to call it is a direct form of Satanism although only a few of the practitioners are aware of this. It has its roots in the modern age, as late as the 1950s, to destroy true doctrine by resorting to a false understanding of the Apostolic age of speaking in tongues, etc. The Apostles had to evangelize many cultures that spoke their own language or dialect and they had to do it over a comparatively short time. One of the charisms [hence the root of the name Charismatic] given to the first Bishops of the Catholic Church was the ability to speak in tongues.

When the Apostles were given the charism of tongues, it was for evangelization, not power and spiritual frenzy: By speaking in tongues, the Church means that the person with this charism, can either understand other real languages and or dialects once unknown to him, or can speak in other languages that he previously could not, for the sake of evangelization, to convert large numbers of people at one time as happened at Pentecost, when the Apostles received tongues of flame that descended upon them. This did not last indefinitely and was not a continued charism as the Church grew and had adherents in every language. This gift is sometimes referred to as Glossolalia.

The "speaking in tongues" that occurs at Charismatic revival sessions and/or Masses [if purportedly Catholic] is entirely different. It is an unintelligible gibberish, not valid languages or dialects, with the same stock phrases, consisting of poly-syllabic sounds, repeated over and over in different patterns of six that in turn form a pattern, and the people caught up in the hysteria follow suit. Then since it is obviously a sham, someone who claims the power of prophecy has to "interpret" for the duped. In order not to be proven a fraud later on by actually making a real prophecy-sounding pronouncement, which could be later disproved, that person usually says some banal, regularly occurring ideal or action or otherwise readily known prescription, such as "God wants us to love one another."  It takes all that gibberish for this? It is not banal that we are to love one another as "He has loved us", but it is, to use this method of bringing it anew to our attention. The danger is that in the hands of a major huckster who wants to lead Catholics astray, the interpreted prophecy could be a heresy, for instance.

Father LeBar [See sources below] had another sub-category, that of Pseudo-Christian groups of which the Church of Scientology is one, along with Children of God, a cult that sprang from an ex-Baptist minister; The Way International; World-wide Church of God; Church Universal and Triumphant; and the Unification Church. Father classified these together because they use very deceptive tactics; they also tend to be New Age leading to a one-world universal religion that is anything but Catholic.

Now we will examine Seventh-Day Adventism.

  Based primarily on Chapter 10 of THE CHAOS OF CULTS, by J.K. Van Baalen, 1931.

William Miller is the founder of the movement that eventually became the cult that denounces all Christians who observe the Sabbath on the first day of the week. Miller was a fallen-away Baptist.

Miller, a farmer, was fifty years old when he began to preach, thinking that Divine Providence was leading him through prophecies given to him. He died on Dec. 20, 1849, at the age of sixty-eighth. He and his followers were accused of financially profiting from their preaching, and especially on those who expected the Lord to return in 1843 and, subsequently, in October 1844.  This was in all likelihood a mischaracterization of his motive, but his prophecies of the date of Christ's return was certainly a colossal error. He claimed that he was disappointed in the failure of Christ's non-return as predicted, but he never adequately explained how or why God would deliberately mislead him; perhaps to his credit, he did not play the willful sham dreaming up a plausible explanation. His followers did not seem to labor over this blunder and just went on as if nothing was fundamentally wrong with the underpinning of their belief system which stemmed from a lack of understanding of the meaning of Daniel 8:14 in the Old Testament.

In fact, the Millerites, as his adherents were called at the time, proceeded to compound one error with another, rather than regroup and examine their premise:

Hiram Edson, of New York state claimed to have a vision the morning after "the great disappointment."  In this vision he saw Christ standing at the altar in Heaven, from which he concluded that Miller had been right as to the time mentioned by Daniel, but wrong as to the place. The words, "Unto two thousand and three hundred evenings and mornings; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed," referred to a cleaning of the heavenly sanctuary. [F
rancis D. Nichol, The Midnight Cry, 3rd ed. p. 457.] He did not explain why Heaven needed cleaning but another follower would supply for this defect as we shall presently see.

This teaching was taken over by the later Seventh-Day Adventists [referred to from now on S.D.A.] whose beginning dates from this new interpretation, according to Nichol. [Op. cit., p. 457.] Thus, "they have chosen to emphasize that the 'major mistake' of the Millerites was in their interpretation, not in setting the time.  The S.D.A., according to its own men, began with this new interpretation of the 2300 days, and that this interpretation rests upon an alleged vision of one person.

Equally arbitrary is the choice of the second foundation stone of S.D.A. According to Nichol it was "Father Bates," one of the early converts to Millerism, and a captain at sea, whose "light was the seventh-day Sabbath." Elder James White [the S.D.A. Church had been formally organized in 1860] endorsed just eight years later the view of Bates and others. To him the three Angels mentioned in Revelation 14:6-11 in their "three messages symbolize the three parts of the genuine movement," that is, the genuine advent movement as begun by Miller.

Ellen G. White, who became the "prophetess" of S.D.A., wife of Elder James White, wrote in a similar vein. According to her, Miller and his associates "fulfilled prophecy." They claimed to have had a clear understanding of the message of the first two Angels, but not of the third Angel. Mrs. White and others were willing to receive this also, as a prophecy, the third Angel's message was a change of the day of the Sabbath from Sunday back to Saturday.

The Catholic Church and subsequent Protestants hold Sunday to be the Sabbath of the New Testament or covenant because the Old covenant had been superseded by the new, that is Christ, the new Adam, Who arose from the tomb on Sunday. The Jews and or Israelites of the Old covenant had and have their sabbath on Saturday and they do not believe in the Divinity of Christ, nor do they honor Christ.

Bob and Penny Lord expanded on Van Baalen, informing us that with few exceptions Adventists do not believe in the immortality of the soul, rather that it is buried, too, but then somehow are able to reconcile this with the belief that on Christ's return the body will be immortal again, for the just only. Apparently the nonjust in Hell are not immortal, that is suffer for eternity. Moreover, the S.D.A. observes Jewish Kosher law, as if the Old covenant  rules were still binding. But here, they pick and choose also, such as not observing Passover, remaining consistently inconsistent. Like most Protestants the bible is the only source of doctrine from God, called "sola scriptura".

Mrs. White also claimed a vision regarding the Sabbath. And thus the change of the cult's name from Millerites to Seventh-Day. The Advent aspect will be explained shortly.

Peculiar Doctrines of S.D.A.

S.D.A. deviates from sect Christianity specifically. For this reason it will not be necessary to append a list of statements by S.D.A. writers on various points of doctrine. When we have considered these particulars we have discussed S.D.A. in essence:

1. The doctrine of the soul-sleep after death. "The state to which we are reduced by death is one of silence, inactivity and entire unconsciousness, between death and the resurrection the dead sleep," which contradicts several passages of the new Testament, such as Luke 16 :22-30; Philippians 1 :23, 24 and 2 Corinthians 5 :1-8; Psalm 73 :24; Revelation 6 :9, 10.

2. The doctrine of annihilation of the wicked. "The positive teaching of Holy Scripture is that sin and sinners will be blotted out of existence. There will be a clean universe again when the great controversy between Christ and Satan is ended." This is in contradiction of Romans 2:6-9, Revelation 20 :13; also to John 3 :26, Revelation 20 :10.
3. The third doctrine which is peculiar to S.D.A. is in reality their foremost and great point of doctrine, remaining their private property so to speak. I refer to their view of the atonement.

It is evident that when we discuss Theosophy, Spiritism, and other cults which do not recognize the Bible as the inspired and final revelation from God, we can do little by citing Scripture. The bible has no authority to the mind of adherents of such cults. However, the matter becomes different when we look at the S.D.A. as this belief system claims to be based upon the bible as the word of God. Therefore, it is sufficient to show that their teachings are contrary to Scripture, and are in many instances the result of hasty and superficial quoting from the bible.

It is from their peculiar tenets concerning the atonement that this sect is named Adventists. Their deviation is in reference to the second coming or advent of our Lord.

It is here that S.D.A. deviates most from Scriptural teaching.

Heaven, according to Mrs. White, is a counterpart of the typical sanctuary on earth with its two compartments, the holy place and the holy of holies. In the first apartment of the heavenly sanctuary Christ pleaded for eighteen centuries in behalf of penitent sinners. "Yet their sins remained upon the book of records." Christ's atonement had remained unfinished. There was a task yet to be accomplished, to wit, the removal of sins from the sanctuary in Heaven.

Now, as upon the great day of atonement the high priest entered into the inner sanctuary to complete, to add to the daily sacrifices for sin offered in the other part of the temple, so Christ began His work of completing His atonement for sin in the inner sanctuary of Heaven in 1844. He thereby cleansed the sanctuary from sin.

And how did Christ do this? In 1844 He began His "investigative judgment." He examined all His people, and showed the Father those "who, through repentance of sin and faith in Christ, are entitled to the benefits of the atonement."

It remained only to draw the comparison between the earthly and the heavenly holy of holies still further. On the day of atonement there was a scapegoat who was burdened with the sins of the people and then sent into the wilderness. This scapegoat, so Mrs. White taught, typified Satan, the author of sin, "upon whom the sins of the truly penitent will finally be placed."
They never explain how it that they and they alone are infallible and Peter, who was given the keys to Heaven by Christ is not or why it is that Christ misled the Apostles and their successors for almost 2000 years, which is actual, real blasphemy when you think about it!

Although the foregoing teaching is fundamental to S.D.A., it is not flung into our faces nearly as much as the doctrine from which the system derives the other half of its name. It is not Adventism pure and simple, it is Seventh-Day Adventism. This is the fourth point on which S.D.A. takes issue with all other Christians, as we have already alluded to, the  SABBATH.

In one of her frequent visions Mrs. White saw the ark in Heaven, for surely she thought there must be an ark in Heaven's counterpart of the tabernacle. In the ark she saw the two tables of stone which contained the Ten Commandments; and as she looked, behold, the third [the fourth in some Protestant placement] Commandment stood out above the others, for it was surrounded by the others, including the first and second, disregarding the intended hierarchy given to Moses by God. It had been neglected more than the other nine. How? It was evident. The Sabbath had not been kept holy. It had, in fact, been destroyed. A nasty Sunday, with wicked New England "blue laws," had been substituted for the Lord's Sabbath.

In her determination that Christians should return to the proper observance of Jehovah's Sabbath, Mrs. White began to look into the history of the Sabbath in Christianity and she discovered that the change happened with Catholicism.  Mrs. White, therefore, duly concluded that Sunday observance is "the mark of the beast." Since the Pope is the head of the Church he is identified by her as the evil culprit, which she saw a reference to the first beast in Revelation 13; the second beast is the United States government because this government "in spite of its youthfulness, innocence and gentleness" speaks ''as a dragon" when it makes "Sunday laws."

Mrs. White identified this beast with the "little horn" in Daniel 7:25 and said that horn meant the papacy.  It is from this that the staunch anti-Catholicism that still taints the Adventists is derived, although for public relations purposes the stronger forms have been mitigated at present:

In his work on Adventists and their hatred of Catholicism [see sources listed below], Reinder Bruinsma writes "The desire to win Catholics to Adventism was a major factor in the effort of church leaders to keep Adventist literature, destined for the public at large, free from expressions Roman Catholics might find offensive. Stylistic changes were made in such classics as Uriah Smith's commentaries on Daniel and the Revelation.

"The largely negative, Catholic focus of "source books" for "Bible Students" diminished considerably. In 1930 a council of Adventist editors concluded that "dangers are to be avoided" in the presentation of sensitive topics, such as the role the papacy is expected to play in future events. The editors spent most of their time on problems related to reaching Catholics. It was pointed out that Adventist literature contained much that warns non-Catholics against Catholics, "but very little that is intended primarily to convert Catholics themselves." And further, that courtesy was needed in the treatment of "subjects offensive to Catholics, and that abuse and derision have no place in Seventh-day Adventist literature." [p. 279.]

We must not allow this PR facade to allay our willingness to confront S.D.A. error when a suitable forum presents itself. Bruinsma, a historian for the cult is quite open about the roots of the group's origins in hatred of Catholicism and the purgation of language and a less confrontational approach does not mitigate the prejudice that permeates the cult's teachings and the indoctrination inculcated into its adherents at a young age. Any official moderation is strictly a tactic, although some individual Adventists may not personally claim any bias. To the extent that this "deviancy" exists, says more about the departure from "orthodoxy" of the adherent than the cult itself.

Another aspect of S.D.A. doctrine is the blatant heresy that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross did not fully atone for sin. Then, too, they disregard the teaching of Christ in the New Testament that there is but Baptism for the remission of sins, with the words of Christ clearly providing the exact formula to be used. Adventists reBaptize apostates from other Christian religions who are converting to their cult.

Among the numerous oddities of their beliefs and practices are the following:

"During the whole period of the millennium the world is without inhabitants," and Satan will be "confined to a desolate earth for one thousand years." Such  doctrines, like those of soul-sleep and annihilation of the wicked [no souls in eternity in Hell], are arrived at by the simple process of quoting one or two texts without making the slightest effort to view them in the light of other passages; in other words are due to lack of systematic insight.

 In its zeal for the seventh day S.D.A. goes far beyond the limits of sound and sober sense. In its official periodicals it denounces other Christians in language such as:

"But what the forces of tyranny really want in this country is religious favoritism and monopoly for a certain group of religionists.  . . . When the American patriots divorced church matters from civil government in this country, they planted the standard of religious freedom upon the solid rock of eternal truth." Cited in Liberty magazine, Vol. 41, No. 3, Third Quarter, 1946, p. 16. [This declaration is a heresy from the actual truth taught by Catholicism.]

That all who stood and stand for Sunday observance and "hallowing" of the day are tyrants and opponents of religious liberty, including those authors of liberty so much praised in this same paragraph (they certainly enforced Sabbath observance on Sunday) . . . that they are headed for destruction . . . sunday observance is the "mark of the Beast . . .'

Having said this, as individuals they are to be commended because
But we must never forget that this full-blown cult was  eventually "born" in a vicious hatred of Catholicism and they consider us among these who are wicked, to be annihilated.


We selected the image of the Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart, because these are the two final mercies God has given to those who belong to Him, in end times, the devotion of which is both grace and remedy. One might think that St. Michael would be a most appropriate choice and indeed his image would; but because Jesus Christ has asked for devotion to His Mother's Immaculate Heart be accorded full privileges as it were, in the triumph of her Immaculate Heart, this double image of the Two Hearts was used instead.



1. CULTS, BATTLE OF THE ANGELS, Bob and Penny Lord, 1997: No material was quoted or used directly; the work served as an overview for the web master after reading the other material because the authors are favorites of mine and I have come to trust their judgment in matters similar to the task at hand here. Because various sources assign different religious bodies to one classification or another and were written some time ago, I wanted to learn if a more recent work could offer fresh insight, which the Lord book did, yet the authors confirmed the overall classification scheme of the other books listed here. The Lord book can be ordered by calling 1-800-633-2484.

J.K. Van Baalen, William Eardmans Publishing, Michigan, 1931. Out of print.

3. CULTS, SECTS, AND THE NEW AGE, Fr. James LeBar, Our Sunday Visitor, 1989 with Imprimatur. This work focuses on New Age, pagan influences and does not address the Adventists. Still available.

Reinder Bruinsma,
Andrews University Press, Michigan, 1994. Available at Amazon.

5. CONCISE CATHOLIC DICTIONARY, Robert Broderick, M.A., Comp., Catechetical Guild Educational Society, Minnesota, 1944 with Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur, 1943. Out of print.