An Open Letter to the Biblical Research Institute & the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Regarding the Suspension of the Record Keeper
|photo credit: mezone via photopin cc|
My name is Marcos Torres. I am a senior theology major at Southern Adventist University and am both passionate and committed to the message of the Seventh-day Adventist church. When I first heard of the cancellation of the Record Keeper I posted a blog in which I clearly asserted my trust and confidence on the Biblical Research Institute (BRI) and respected the decision they made regarding this issue. However, in that same post I also expressed my desire for more transparency on behalf of the BRI. I, along with thousands of other Adventists, are disappointed in the church's decision to suspend the Record Keeper but what has hurt us the most is that secrecy inherent in the news article that revealed this decision. No examples of the theological inaccuracies that prompted this decision were given which has left many of us wondering if there is something else motivating this decision.
I just finished sending an email to the Biblical Research Institute, regarding the decision to suspend the Record Keeper, in which I called for a transparent analysis of the issues involved. I believe the BRI and the GC owe this to the many Adventists, particularly those of the younger generation, who were excited and committed to this project. The Facebook page for Save The Record Keeper, a grassroots movement that sprung into action when the initial cancellation threats were made, has over 21,000 likes. That number represents 21,000 Adventists who are excited about the project and who have been let down, not so much by the cancellation, but by the lack of transparency that has followed in its wake. For many of us, trust in the leadership has been broken, hope for Adventist creativity has been suspended, and the concept that our voices actually make a difference in church decisions has been shattered.
For those who think this entire controversy is nothing but a "big nag", I quote to you the words of a commenter on Spectrum's recent article "The Record Keeper's Makers Express Disappointment at Its Cancellation". The commenter who goes by the name TKM answers that question saying,
It's a "big nag" because we who are on the front lines and in the trenches with the real world are sick of having to introduce our religion as "Haha, nooo we're not a cult."....
It's a big nag because I got a text after this that said "I'm trying really really hard to look past my church and see God right now." When "rising up and finishing the work" is starting to happen WITHOUT the church, there's an issue.
And it's a big nag because for ONCE, there was something that lit a spark among the young people to share something their church did; something that also shared their faith, and for it to be sucked back into the atmos, it turned on the old familiar bitterness towards our archaic leadership that refuses to speak in the language of present day.
We in the creative world are being forced to work outside the church because what we have to offer is neither welcome nor appreciated. This absolutely destroyed any hope we had to be involved in something relevant that also involved the support of our church. With all the precautions they took, what are the odds we'd get the rug pulled out from under us again?....
I'm not sure they realize the damage they've caused. Telling us that there were theological problems is simply not enough. According to an interview with the writers for the Record Keeper "the General Conference was involved in every aspect of the development of the project. We turned over every script. I believe the Ellen White Estate itself reviewed our content." If this is true, how is it that these theological issues were not discovered at any point within these 2 years of production? And if they were somehow missed why can they not be fixed? And if the errors are so deeply embedded in the plot that they cannot be fixed then I ask again, How in the world did the script receive approval in the first place? Why would the GC invest so heavily in a project without evaluating its theological accuracy first instead of waiting to the very end to do so? None of this makes sense.
As a committed member of this church who values and respects the leadership that God has placed to guide our movement, I humbly request that the BRI and the GC provide a detailed and transparent analysis of the film complete with the theological inaccuracies involved that led to the decision to cancel the project. I also request that you respond to the allegations that the cancellation was inspired by less ethical considerations. The youth of this church need to have their trust and faith restored in the authenticity and integrity of their leadership. If you ignore this request then do me a favor and do not publish an article in the Review five years from now with theories as to why the youth are leaving the church, for the answer will be quite clear.
 A comment left on the above article.