Final Letter to Church Leaders Regarding the Record Keeper Controversy

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Dear Church leadership,

Last Monday I published an open letter to the Biblical Research Institute (BRI) and the General Conference (GC) of Seventh-day Adventists regarding the cancellation of the Record Keeper. In the letter I requested that the BRI release a statement outlining the theological problems they found in the Record Keeper. The statement was released on Friday (see below) and contained a systematic overview of the theological inaccuracies that troubled the BRI.

I would like to personally express my thanks to the BRI for releasing this statement. The transparency has certainly been helpful in coming to terms with what I sincerely consider the greatest disappointment I have ever experienced as a young Seventh-day Adventist (SDA). I would also like to thank the GC for their leadership. As an Army Veteran who spent two years as a Non-Commissioned Officer (Sergeant) I understand the burden you bear. Leadership is something very few are qualified for but everyone thinks they can do better than the guy doing it. As a result, leaders are always under attack. While my initial letter was frank I would like to clarify that I do not sympathize with those who denounce our leadership nor do I share their spirit. I affirm my trust and high regard for the men and women whom God has placed in positions of such great responsibility within our movement. 

With that said, I would like to also reiterate my request that the GC "respond to the allegations that the cancellation was inspired by less ethical considerations." [1] I therefore urge the GC to follow in the example of the BRI and release a statement answering the many questions that have given fuel to speculation regarding this controversy. The young creatives of this church need the following scenario to be explained:
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.... 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 [two] 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? [2]
Lastly, I would like to take the time to appeal to the youth and young creatives who have been affected by these events. Do not give room to bitterness and contempt. In the midst of your disappointment remember that this is neither unique to the SDA church and its leadership and neither is it unique to Christianity at large. Biblical progress has always been met with suspicion and given the cold shoulder, but if the Lord is behind it it will eventually prevail. I have a gut feeling that the Record Keeper will eventually be released but even if it is not, don't be discouraged. Take this as an opportunity to launch supportive yet independent projects that speak the language of our generation and capitalize on your creative abilities. With God's grace we will create new methods of outreach far superior to the Record Keeper in quality and influence.

Blessings,
Marcos Torres




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Further Reading: Exclusive: Record Keeper Director Talks About Why the Series Was Cancelled




[1] http://www.jesusadventismandi.com/2014/04/an-open-letter-to-biblical-reasearch.html
[2] ibid.

Comments

  1. Excellent letter Marcos! Written with clarity and a non-denouncing spirit. Given the high-tech and savvy world we live in , your final sentence will certainly materialize sooner than we think.

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  3. Marcos, I am so sorry you have been so disappointed over this. I feel your frustration. When I say that I am not trying to foment any anti-Adventism at all. I actually think this is more a generational thing. I really think the GC did the right thing in separating from it--not because of theological issues but more because of the "tone" of the film. It seemed a little wordily to me. However I REALLY think they should release it under a independent SDA group. I think the film has some potential of reaching a younger audience. I thought it looked very slick, edgy, technological, artistic and WELL DONE!! and that might have been the problem with giving it the GC's okay. Sounds to me if there was just not enough communication. Couldn't the GC simply allow a buy out of it and then release it under a different group? WAY too much effort and heart has been put into it to just toss it…. Again, I am sorry for your disappointment Marcos. (Teresa)

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  4. I better explain what I mean. I really laugh at Jim Gaffiagan the comedian. His comedy is basically clean (with a few exceptions). Because of those few exceptions I don't want to whole heartedly recommend his comedy to everyone because I know my parents would be offended. However, my kids laugh hysterically! The series might have offended a few older SDAs and I think we have to be very respectful of their opinions. Senior citizens are watching our world morally collapse and even though the series may not be technically unchristian, just the idea of a Christian series in that genre (scifi) "steam punk" may freak them out. Anyway, I really am sorry. I am heart broken for those people who put so much into it. I think it was handled extremely poorly by the GC. The situation created a great tear in the relationship between the leaders and the youth. It will heal. We are all learning to take a punch for the Lord….

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    1. Teresa, thank you for your level headed comments on this issue. They make a lot of sense and I think you are on the money there. I'm not sure what the future for the Record Keeper will be. The GC actually requested the project from the beginning (I was under the impression they had hoped on board later on) so its entirely up to them. For now, I just have to keep telling the God-story and trust that Jesus will do his thing in his time. :)

      Thanks for the encouraging words!

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  5. The GC requested the project? Now that is weird.

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    1. lol, yes. They approached Big Puddle Films and asked the director to come up with the concept. In the directors words: "The church owns it. It was a work for hire. They hired myself and Rajeev Sigamoney to come up with an idea for the series, and the copyright belongs to them."

      Read more on A Sabbath Blog: http://www.asabbathblog.com/2014/04/exclusive-record-keeper-director-talks.html#ixzz30Nh7yZeo

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