2 April 2021  |

Dear Aunt Sevvy,

I’ve been listening to Dr. Walter Veith, and the things he says trouble me. His talks appear to be mostly about conspiracies. What do you think? 

Slightly Suspicious

Dear Suspicious,

Walter Veith (pronounced with a long “i”, like “rice”) is a popular Adventist speaker and writer from South Africa. Though his Ph.D. is in zoology, he now styles himself a pastor/evangelist. 

While he says that he teaches the fundamental pillars of the church, what earns him attention—and presumably pays the ministry’s bills—are his conspiracy theories. Saddam Hussein has been dead for years but was replaced by a body double. The World Trade Center destruction was an inside job set up by George Bush and the CIA. Secret societies abound: Freemasons and the papacy work together to run the world, and the Illuminati embraces figures from Josef Stalin to Ronald Reagan. Symbols such as the goat of Mendes and 666 are hidden in plain sight, and in photo ops world leaders make secret symbols with their hands. He voices suspicions about COVID vaccinations being the Mark of the Beast, and has floated a date (2027) when he predicts Jesus will return. He implies darkly that Jews do unspeakable things, though he denies that he’s anti-Semitic.

In Veith’s world, everything is interconnected in the most unlikely ways, and often assertions are made without the slightest confirmation of evidence. Writes Ron Osborn

Veith does not analyze texts or images but rather dispatches them in tones of great authority and with an air of professorial condescension toward the somewhat bewildered-looking people we catch occasional glimpses of in his audience.

Though Veith is not welcomed by the official church in some regions, he remains popular in his native South Africa where he is embraced, presumably without embarrassment, by the official church leadership. 

Seventh-day Adventists gravitate toward conspiracies. But whenever Aunty hears references to Veith and his ilk, she thinks of 2 Timothy 4:3: 

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions (ESV). 

Walter Veith seems to be one of those teachers. Conspiracies are his ministry’s “brand,” and thanks to itchy-eared Adventists, Walter Veith has become a worldwide phenomenon.

Explains Jennifer Jill Schwirtzer,

Conspiracy theories supposedly expose the dark deeds and covert alliances of governments, secret societies and prominent individuals. One feels very powerful in the role of “knowing.” But the knowing can degenerate into an unhealthy fascination with the mystery of iniquity leaving some so consumed with evil that they lose sight of the Savior.

(Aunty sometimes thinks it’s too bad that religion serves as a cover for people like Veith to dodge legal responsibility for saying things that could lead to people’s deaths, such as when he voices doubts about vaccinations.)

You ought to be more than slightly suspicious of Walter Veith. It is unlikely any of his theories have the slightest truth to them, but even if they did, the question is whether they bring you closer to God, or are mere paranoid diversions for those who don’t know—or don’t want to know—the real Jesus of the Bible. 

Aunt Sevvy

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