by Jeff Boyd
AT News Team, March 9, 2014
The second season of Preacher's Daughters reality television series began last Wednesday (March 5) and featured an Adventist young adult struggling with alcoholism as she went to church to hear her pastor father preach. It provoked a rare Sabbath news release from the denomination's North American Division yesterday.
The television cameras followed Tori Elliott, the daughter of Pastor Kenny Elliott, as she attended church on a Sabbath morning, nursing a wicked hangover. "Dragging herself to church in the same outfit she wore out partying the night before, Tori tries to keep her head up just long enough for her family to give her credit for attending the service," according to preview program notes in US Magazine. "My parents think I'm hungover in church, but to be honest, I'm still drunk!" As her father begins an especially emotional sermon, Tori can't hold herself together any longer. "I'm about to throw up everywhere!" she says as she runs down the aisle.
"My name is Tori Elliott, and I'm an alcoholic," the young woman says to the cameras. Although her family is horrified at her out of control behavior, she intends to continue her wild lifestyle, according to the magazine story. "Being a preacher's daughter is a challenge at times," she reasons, "but I just worry about me and God. As far as what other people think of me, I just don't [care]."
The television program follows three other young women: Megan Cassidy, Taylor Coleman and Kolby Koloff. Each struggles with the behavior expectations that come with their father's role as a religious leader. The topic seems to have sufficiently wide audience interest to continue the program into a second year.
Denominational leaders "care deeply about the issues raised" by the Wednesday night television show, the NAD bulletin stated, while admitting that they were caught unawares and that "it misrepresents some of the standards and principles" of the Adventist faith. "It sheds light on the challenges that are unique to pastors and their families, and we empathize with their experience."
"The message of the Seventh-day Adventist Church is a one of hope and wholeness. We value the sanctity of the family unit and seek to do all we can to strengthen, support and help them grow spiritually, mentally and emotionally," the statement said. It referred to "a video series to address these types of issues" which began development last year.
A sample of the Adventist video series can be found at www.vimeo.com/nadadventist/pastorsfamily. More information about the video series and the research that it is based on can be found at https://bitsy.spinics.net/1014.