20 March 2022  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

Is Ted Wilson a bad person?

Signed, Kinda Don’t Like Him.


Dear Kinda Don’t,

In the movie The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy says to the Wizard, “Oh… You’re a very bad man!,” and the Wizard replies (truthfully), “Oh, no, my dear! I’m a very good man! I’m… just a very bad wizard.”

There are certainly some bad people in the world. But most, like Elder Wilson, aren’t bad. They’re doing their best. “All fall short,” as the Bible says. 

It is a fact that nearly all large organized denominations are run by and for the old, and they tend to choose leaders who will preserve the past rather than having an exciting vision for the future. Such leaders can be defensive, opinionated and protective. They want everything to remain as it used to be—or at least how they imagine it used to be. 

Elder Wilson loves this church as much as anyone in the world. But he has spent his entire life, since childhood, in the church’s ivory towers. He appears ignorant of the world where real people live. Thus he wages war against women in church leadership, against reading non-Adventist books, against meditation, against rethinking obsolete doctrines, against gay people, while drawing heavily on a 1950s interpretation of Ellen White. He is a godly man with considerable talents. But the last 12 years have been some of the most disastrous our precious church has ever been through.

When people note the decline in morale during his reign, Elder Wilson has occasionally referenced Ellen White’s concept of the eschatological “shaking” of members out of the church. It seems to Aunty that maybe some of the leaders are themselves shaking members out by their stubborn unwillingness to lead the church into needed changes.

Still, let’s try to have compassion for those leading our church. A 1960s song by Eric Burdon and the Animals is running through Aunty’s head: “I’m just a soul whose intentions are good. Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood.” 

Aunt Sevvy


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