The Truth about Morris Venden --Book 2
(Taken from Claudia Burrow's Book "Unrighteousness Uncovered")
Table of Contents
.......................................Preface To Unity By Cover-Up
Chapter 1 .......................................Evidence as of December
Chapter 2 .......................................Judy Wright
Chapter 3 .......................................More Incriminating Evidence
Chapter 4 .......................................The End Justifies The Means?
Chapter 5 .......................................The Oakhurst Church
Chapter 6 .......................................Venden's Personal Appearance
Chapter 7 .......................................The Venden Letter
Chapter 8 .......................................The Fall Council
Chapter 9.......................................Committee Decisions
Chapter 10 .......................................Cleanse The Camp
Chapter 11 .......................................Those Who Sigh And Cry
Chapter 12 .......................................From Alpha To Omega
Chapter 13 .......................................Morris Venden's "Two Packages"
Chapter 14 .......................................Revealing The Apostasy
Chapter 15 .......................................Unity By Cover-Up
"...churches are filled with fornication and
adultery... but these things are kept covered up. Ministers in high places are
guilty; yet a cloak of godliness covers their dark deeds, and they pass on
from year to year in their course of hypocrisy." Testimonies vol. 2, pg.
"You have sinned greatly. But your sin in seeking to cover up, and blind
the eyes of those who have suspected you of wrong, has been tenfold greater."
Testimonies vol. 2, pg. 300
--Preface to Unity By Cover-Up
Mrs. Claudia Burrow composed a previously written book called
Unrighteousness Uncovered. This book explained the immoral involvement
between Pastor Morris Venden and herself. Claudia wrote this book with the
intent of setting forth the true facts of the case, because there had been so
many false rumors in circulation.
It is sad to report that since the first book was written, there have been
even further attempts made by certain individuals in high positions to discredit
Claudia's testimony, which has made the writing of this second book called:
Unity by Cover Up, a necessary thing. The present untruths being
circulated concerning this case must be cleared up, and God's people undeceived.
The Word of God demands that every child of God be afforded a fair hearing,
no matter how seemingly "insignificant" his or her position may be in the
Hear the causes between your brethren, and judge righteously
between every man and his brother... ye shall not respect persons in judgment,
but ye shall hear the small as well as the great... Deuteronomy
The right to have a fair and impartial hearing has never been granted to
Claudia Burrow. Pastor Morris Venden has made accusations against her, and she
wants to face her accuser. She also has made accusations against him and asks
that he be made to answer proper and relevant questions, and face his accuser.
But he continuously avoids confrontation.
James White, when falsely accused, "called for a council of the brethren
to meet with the church that matters might be investigated before them and false
reports met. Brethren came... and my husband fearlessly called on all to bring
what they could against him that he might meet it openly and thus put an end to
this private slander." Testimonies Vol. 1 pages 605 and 606.
It is a sad day in the Seventh-day Adventist Church when men in high
positions and with much influence use Church papers and magazines to put forth
half-truths and distortions of the facts, in order that they might protect "the
great" and destroy "the small."
Mrs. Burrow has exhausted every avenue in -the Church in search of justice
and fairness, but with no satisfaction. Her only recourse in being heard is to
set forth the truth in this book called: Unity by cover up.
*The Author of this book, Mrs. Burrow, has written it in
third person so that the Reader can more objectively see what is
Information recorded in this book has been drawn from various sources. Those
who have proven themselves to be godly men and women were chosen by Mrs. Burrow
as reliable sources of information.
Also, certain letters, documents, reports and other recorded information have
been included and referred to by the Author.
(Written by Claudia Burrow)
We have made so many wonderful and kindly new friends in the Seventh-day
Adventist Church, of whom, without their love and support, we would not have
known what to do in the midst of this trying experience.
We would like to thank all of those faithful Church Leaders who have "sighed
and cried" for all of the abominations that be in the church," and for trying
their best to have this matter properly resolved.
All of the lovely letters which people have sent to us have been deeply
appreciated. They have always seemed to arrive in the mail just at the times
when we needed to have them the most.
Finally, we would like to praise God for making this all serve as a learning
experience, and for causing "all things to work for good."
Please be encouraged to "look on the bright side" and to know that because of
what has happened many have reported to us that they no longer believe that they
can be saved "in their sins," and that their entire lives are now changed for
the better. This is what makes everything worth while to us!
Let's keep each other in our prayers.
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Chapter 1 --Evidence as of December 1988
Mrs. Burrow reports that she and Pastor Morris
Venden became sexually involved, and that he used unethical psychological means
to seduce her into this immoral relationship.
Both Venden and she report that the relationship lasted for a six-month
period; a very short time for which Mrs. Burrow would have had to be so
knowledgeable about Venden's personal traits, as she is.
In the interest of refreshing the memory of previously related facts, and
also to allow the Reader to have one book with all of the known evidence
compiled into one book, first there will be listed a reiteration of the facts
that were known by the date of December 1988, and then in the following few
chapters the more recently acquired evidence will be given.
Bodily appearance- Claudia knew much about
Morris Venden's bodily appearance, as only one who had been in an intimate
setting with him would know. She knew that in regards to his penis; it was
definitely different-looking than her own husband's, which is normally
circumcised. A doctor's examination would prove that this is true. This subject
will be further elaborated upon in a future chapter of this book.
Morris Venden showed evidence of discomfort when told during a "questioning
session" that Mrs. Burrow could describe his penis. Instead of giving evidence
of his innocence by asking what Mrs. Burrow knew about the appearance of his
penis, and then offering to prove her wrong, he only tried to divert the issue
by commenting upon Mrs. Burrow's "background."
Claudia remembered that Venden had lots of gray hair on his chest and also
that he was bald underneath the frontal part of his head; but that there was
hair there to "disguise" his baldness.
Personal problems- Some of Morris Venden's
personal problems were also known by Claudia. He told her that he had sexual
relations with his wife only once a year, and that he didn't love her. Even in
his sermons and his Theology classes, he would belittle his wife.
He told Claudia that he owned a book which described over 100 sexual
He told Claudia that he "manipulates" himself in the shower and that he had
learned about "masturbation" in the bathtub as a little boy. He also said that
his parents told him that he would "go crazy" if he kept on doing that. And
because of what his parents had said he thought that having an ejaculation was
what it felt like to go crazy.
Morris Venden had written a book called: "How to Make Christianity
Real," in that of which he had made the statement that he would at times
take a drive, and be tempted with a certain "sin of the flesh." He told Claudia
during their relationship together, that this "sin of the flesh" problem
involved taking a drive, and then feeling the temptation at these times to stop
at a convenience store to buy pornographic materials to read.
Unethical and unprofessional behavior-
Pastor Venden's behavior towards Mrs. Burrow was very unprofessional and
unethical; and other Seventh-day Adventist Pastors have been removed from the
ministry for exhibiting the same type of behavior as Morris Venden has towards
The Researcher of this case who was hired by the Texas Conference to research
out the matter said that there is definite evidence of unorthodox procedure in
Venden's counseling process with Claudia.
Pastor Venden showed much undue familiarity with Mrs. Burrow, including that
of his invitation to her to move to the room next to his at the Nameless Valley
Campmeeting where she first met him. And at this same time, a friend of Pastor
Venden's who was attending this Campmeeting, remembers that Venden put his arm
around Mrs. Burrow, and that he at that time said that he had "adopted" her.
Pastor Venden admits also to going out to eat with Claudia "once or twice;"
to spending time with her and talking with her.
Pastor Venden admits that he made phone calls to Mrs. Burrow when her husband
was not at home. And if all of the phone records made from Venden at the Keene
Church to Mrs. Burrow were released, they would show that all of his calls to
Claudia were made when he knew that her husband was not at home. Mr. Burrow had
an employment time schedule log book which, when compared with Venden's church
phone records, show that it was always when Mrs. Burrow's husband was not home
that Venden called her. This is especially conspicuous because Claudia's husband
changed shifts each month.
Venden also admits that these phone calls to Mrs. Burrow lasted up to 50
minutes at a time. Mrs. Burrow charges that Pastor Venden would make these calls
to her at night, and then he would try to get her to talk "dirty" to him over
the phone. He even admits to having a "secret phone signal" with her, in that of
which he would phone her and then have her call him back at certain times.
Pastor Venden invited Mrs. Burrow to sit in his theology class. He had wanted
her to do sexual things with him in his van at the park both before and after
class; and he admits to seeing her both before class and after. He also admits
to closing class early on that particular day.
Mrs. Burrow accuses Pastor Venden of meeting with her and "counseling" her in
unorthodox places, namely -at the park in Cleburne, Texas. If innocent, he would
be glad to answer the question as to where it was that he would "counsel" with
her, but instead he claims that it is "irrelevant" where he counseled with her.
This incident concerning Pastor Venden and his meeting with Claudia both
before and after class takes on even more significance when it is realized that
he was told by the Conference President to have no more contact with Mrs.
Burrow. Even after Venden found out that Mrs. Burrow had been accusing him of
sexually immoral conduct with her, he still continued to see her and spend time
Venden also continued making phone calls to Mrs. Burrow after being told by
the Conference President to have no more contact with Claudia.
Lie detector tests- Mrs. Burrow took six
polygraph tests, each one indicating that there had been no deception when she
made the accusation that Pastor Morris Venden had been sexually involved with
The Polygraph Examiner even said that she would stand behind Mrs. Burrow if
this case were ever litigated in court. This Examiner has done over fourteen
thousand lie-detector tests, and she is an expert at determining whether or not
a person is telling the truth.
Pastor Venden was asked to submit to a lie detector test but he refused to do
so, which would have been proof of his innocence- had he passed a test such as
that. John 3:20 says that an evil-doer will not come to the light, lest
his evil deeds be manifested.
Pastor Venden's vehicles- Mrs. Burrow can
describe the insides of all three of Venden's vehicles in quite some detail,
because it was on the inside of these vehicles that he wanted her to perform
sexual acts with him. These three vehicles which she can describe include his
van, his car, and his recreational vehicle.
Pastor Venden admits that his van was customized on the inside, as Claudia
However, Mrs. Burrow has been informed that Venden has gotten rid of certain
of these vehicles since the time that the Conference was informed of her
accusations against him. One can only assume that he has something to hide.
Venden also admits to owning a portable video recorder, which Mrs. Burrow had
accurately described. Mrs. Burrow accuses Venden of trying to seduce her into
allowing him to take pornographic pictures of her with this video recorder.
Venden's evasiveness and Claudia's
openness- There have been many ways in which Morris Venden's guilt
has shown through, that of which is seen in his evasive behavior.
He refused to hand over the church phone records which were important
evidence to clear him if he were innocent.
He refused to cooperate at all with the Texas Executive Committee even after
much urging. He also refused to answer any of their questions.
Morris Venden avoided confrontation at the Texas Executive Committee Meeting
by claiming that he didn't want to discuss any moral issues. He also gave a
veiled threat of a lawsuit, in hopes that he would successfully frighten
everyone into refraining from taking any action against him.
He would not even talk to the Researcher who was hired by the Texas
Conference to research out the matter. He even refused to meet with Mrs. Burrow
to talk over and settle the whole thing. All in all, he has been totally
avoiding any inspection of the matter.
In contrast, Claudia has been very open in her dealings with the problem, as
any honest person would who had nothing to hide. She didn't hesitate to answer
all of the Committee's questions and she is even willing to stand in a court of
law and swear under oath that she has told the truth, if need be; making a sworn
deposition stating the truthfulness of all that she has said against Morris
Venden caught lying- Pastor Venden had been
asked if he had written anything of a derogatory nature against Claudia Burrow
and he denied it. However, once confronted with the fact that a man named John
Adam had Venden's written derogatory statement about Claudia in his possession,
he quickly claimed that he had "forgotten about it" and he admitted then that he
had written it.
Mrs. Burrow has in her file copies of letters signed by Venden, in that of
which he had written a statement about two well-known Adventists. In the first
letter he made a false statement relative to these two persons and in the second
letter, when forced to, he admitted that his earlier signed statement was false.
This reveals that the man is well able to make statements, which he knows to be
Has he done this before?- One member of the
Texas Executive Committee had told several persons that other women had reported
that when they had gone to counsel with Pastor Venden he only wanted to keep on
one subject, and that was the subject of sex.
Claudia Burrow asked Venden if he had ever done this same type of thing with
other women as he had done with her. His reply was that he had done this with a
school teacher, but that it had only been "hugging and kissing, -that's all."
No "conspiracy" as Venden claims- Morris
Venden tries to divert the issue from his own wrong-doing by claiming that some
"Mastermind" is behind this "conspiracy" to destroy his ministry. But the
Researcher of this case states that there is absolutely no evidence of any such
Claudia not "under the influence"- Venden
has also tried to cover up his wrong-doing by claiming that Mrs. Burrow is
"under the influence" and "schitzo." However, the Researcher, who has also been
her Counselor for almost 3 years, states that Claudia shows absolutely no signs
of being under the influence of any drug or such, and that she shows no sign of
using any "fantasy-type statements."
It seems as though Morris Venden will accuse everyone who witnesses against
him, of being "insane!" It becomes more and more apparent that because he cannot
disprove any of the witnesses, he must try instead to discredit them!
Claudia's consistent testimony- The
Researcher of the case states that Mrs. Burrow has always been consistent in her
testimony for over two years now, and that "consistency is the basis of
The Researcher also states that "no one has ever proven false anything that
Mrs. Burrow has said, neither have they proven true anything that Morris Venden
has said in his denials."
Witnesses and convincing testimony- There
were policemen and a 16 year old boy who saw Claudia at the park with Morris
Venden. Also, a woman who worked at the Adventist Book Store would always wave
at Mrs. Burrow when she saw Claudia in the Book Store parking lot. Claudia would
wait at the parking lot for Venden to drive by (at his request) and then follow
him to the park.
Claudia's former Pastor was secretly asked by Conference Officials if she
were honest and could be believed, and the Pastor told them that he could not
believe that Claudia would ever lie about anything like this.
There are many key people involved who believe that Mrs. Burrow is telling
the truth about her involvement with Pastor Venden. Her Pastor; husband; the
Researcher; and Committee of 3 sent to the Burrow's home by Neal Wilson, General
Conference President, all believe her. This Committee of 3 even gave a written
and signed report to Neal Wilson, saying that it was "impossible to disbelieve
her story." The same 3 persons also reported to Neal Wilson that Mrs. Burrow had
credible evidence to support her testimony.
Lawyer's letter to Neal Wilson- A Texas
lawyer, who is also a Seventh-day Adventist, wrote a letter to Neal Wilson, -the
letter being dated August 2, 1988. The following statement was made by this
lawyer in his letter to Neal: "Under Texas law it is my firm opinion that she
(Mrs. Burrow) has an excellent case against both Morris Venden and the
Conference for substantial damages."
Also, in reference to the vaunted claim made by certain individuals who say
that "it is just Claudia Burrow's word against Morris Venden's word:" a lawyer
says that this simply is not true, because Claudia has corraborating evidence to
back up her word, while Morris Venden has only his word, which is confused with
the proper term "no supporting evidence."
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Chapter 2 --Judy Wright
Mrs. Judy Wright had been the former Ghost Writer of Morris Venden's
28 or more books for a 14 year period. Together they composed these books which
have been placed upon the Adventist Book Store shelves under the name of Morris
Within that 14 year period of being closely associated with Elder Venden,
Judy had come to know him very well. Because of that fact, everyone wanted to
know how she felt about the accusations of Claudia Burrow against Morris Venden.
For a long period of time, Judy had not yet read Claudia Burrow's book
called: Unrighteousness Uncovered, which described her involvement with
Venden. And because of her ignorance of the true facts concerning this case,
Judy had been defending Morris Venden's "innocence" for quite a long time.
But then Judy came in contact with Claudia's book and she read it through
with great interest and astonishment; it was evident to her that Claudia knew
much about Elder Venden that she only could have known if she had been
intimately involved with him. Judy Wright therefore became convicted that Morris
Venden was guilty of sexual involvement with Mrs. Burrow.
And so, Judy sat down and wrote a lengthly letter to the Conference
Officials, explaining the various reasons why Claudia's book had convinced her
of Venden's guilt. This letter can be found on the next several pages of this
book that you are now reading.
Suddenly she is a "bad woman"- Both Morris
Venden and certain individuals in the Conference had been using Judy Wright's
good reputation and credibility as a witness that Morris Venden was "innocent"
at the time that she ignorantly defended him.
But strangely, now that she is honestly convinced of Morris Venden's guilt,
after reading Claudia's book and finding out the true facts of the case; these
same men who used her credibility to aid in Venden's defense, are now defaming
Judy. Now, suddenly they are saying that she is a "bad woman," and Morris Venden
is claiming that she is "insane," -just as he has done to Claudia Burrow, by
claiming that she is "schitzo."
A general characteristic- Sadly, it seems
to be a characteristic of these men who use the Bible to lead women into sin;
-to cover up, deceive, and lie, in order to hide their sins. It is so
unfortunate that they will ruin the reputations of everyone else in order to
make others continue to believe that they themselves are holy and godly men:
"It is one of the saddest evidences of the blinding influence
of sin that months and years roll on and there is no awakening to repentance.
With a firm persistence he has pursued his downward course. He has no bitter
feelings of remorse, and no dread of heaven's vengeance. If by lies and
deception he can cover his sins from observation he is content. All sense of
right and wrong is dead within him. A harvest is before him that he will be
horrified to reap." -Testimonies volume 5, page 140.
Again, in speaking of these ministers who corrupt their sheep by leading them
into adultery, Sister Ellen White tells us:
"I have no real ground of hope for those who have stood as
shepherds to the flock; and for years have been borne with by the merciful
God, following them with reproof, with warnings, with entreaties, but who have
hid their evil ways, and continued in them, thus defying the laws of the God
of heaven by practicing fornication" -Testimonies to Ministers, page 428.
"We may expect to find in this company men who will deceive, and lie, and
give loose rein to lustful passions." -Testimonies volume 2, page 450.
"They may become quite bold because they are able to conceal their sins
from others and because the judgments of God do not come in a visible manner
upon them. They may be apparently prosperous in this world. They may deceive
poor, shortsighted mortals and be regarded as patterns of piety while in their
sins. But God cannot be deceived." -Testimonies volume 2, page 448.
*** The following 20 page
Letter was written by Judy Wright, former Ghost Writer of Pastor Morris
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Chapter 3 --More Incriminating Evidence
After hearing of
Claudia's account concerning Morris Venden, many began to gather courage and
they came out with stories of their own to tell concerning their own involvement
with Morris Venden. New evidence kept on piling up and it seemed as if God
Himself had stepped in to rescue Claudia Burrow and to stop the mouths of those
who were accusing her of "making these things up" about Morris Venden.
His ongoing problem with pornography- Mr.
and Mrs. Burrow received a letter from a woman up in Oregon. This lady had read
Claudia's book and she related the fact in her letter to the Burrows that one of
her relatives had an experience of their own with Venden.
This relative had gone up to see Pastor Venden for counseling. The man had
been experiencing difficulties with some type of "sexual deviations." Upon
relating his problem to Elder Venden, Morrie replied that, "All men have this
common problem and that he himself had had a problem with viewing sexual organs
for many years."
We can only assume that Venden had meant that he had a problem with viewing
The lady from Oregon who had related these things to the Burrows seemed to
want to get the point across to Claudia that this incident with Venden
counseling her relative happened over 35 years ago, and that this proved that
Claudia's experience with Venden was not one of "a "Delilah seducing Samson,"
but that instead, it was one of a Pastor who had been corrupt for many years
before he had even met Claudia.
"900 numbers"- Claudia and Judy Wright had
a particular phone conversation, in that of which Judy related to Claudia that
it was a 'fact" that there are "900 numbers" recorded on those unreleased phone
records. The unreleased phone records of which Judy had been referring to were
the records of the calls that Pastor Venden had been making from the Keene,
Texas Church. To elaborate on the nature of "900 numbers," they are calls that
one can make to connect you with a woman who will discuss things of a
pornographic nature with you over the phone. And the number that you call begins
with a "900" area code. To this date, the unreleased phone records remain
unreleased, and so it is not known for sure what is on those records.
$10,000 proposition- Judy Wright also
related to Mrs. Burrow that around the time that Claudia had stopped seeing
Elder Venden, he invited Judy to go to a motel when they were out of town, to
"work on the book materials."
At first, it seemed out of place to Judy, for Elder Venden to be asking her
to meet with him in a motel. But then she reasoned that probably the people in
that town were used to seeing Elder Venden's vehicle parked outside of the motel
room when he would hold meetings in that city; and so she decided to go ahead
and meet with him at the motel room.
Judy arrived at the designated place and entered into the motel room as
Pastor Venden suggested. For awhile, everything seemed to go normally, as they
discussed the book work.
But then, Elder Venden reached over and patted the side of the motel bed. He
said to Judy, "I will give you $10,000 to go to bed with me."
Judy Wright thought that being who he was, a Pastor who was supposed to be
pure and moral; -must have been joking! And so, she herself jokingly said, "Oh,
is that the going rate these days?" Then apparently realizing that Judy wasn't
taking him seriously, Elder Venden said, "Haven't you ever heard that joke
before?" And then things resumed again as they had before- they began to discuss
the book work once more.
UPDATE- as of January 17, 1990:
Other women report being "propositioned"-
Now there have been roughly 10 or so women (that we know of so far)
who have come forward, reporting that at some point in time they had been
sexually propositioned by Elder Venden. These women told their stories to either
and/or both Judy Wright and Robert Spangler, Editor of Ministry Magazine.
Steve Gifford, Southeast California Conference President, and other Officials
have reported that these women had been contacted, and that none were willing to
come forward and face Morris Venden with their accusations. However, recently,
Elders from the Oakhurst Church in California investigated, called the women,
whose names were provided by Judy Wright, and discovered the following: (1) the
women all reported that no one from the Conference had ever
contacted them (2) all of the women were willing to come forward to
testify, except for one.
Another problem is that apparently, the Conference Officials feel that if all
of these women were not actually "touched" by Morris Venden, that it doesn't
"count," unless he had sexual relations with them. But, God regards such sexual
propositions with disgust, and to Him, it does "count":
"The slightest insinuations, from whatever source they may come,
inviting you to indulge in sin or to allow the least unwarrantable liberty
with your persons, should be resented as the worst of insults to your
dignified womanhood. If it is from one in high places who is dealing in sacred
things. . .He is handling sacred things, yet hiding his baseness of heart
under a ministerial cloak." -Testimonies volume 2, page 458.
At least one of these women is known to be a very credible witness, and a
well-respected lady. She is reported to be a friend of a General Conference
Official, and a member in good standing.
This particular lady lives in Keene, Texas, and she reported that it "nearly
floored her" that Pastor Venden had sexually propositioned her after Mrs. Burrow
had already reported her own experiences with Venden to the Conference. And so,
apparently Venden was doing these types of things at the same time that he had
been denying that Claudia's accusations against him were true.
This lady from Keene, Texas said that Pastor Venden sexually propositioned
her not only once, but twice. Each time the lady reminded Elder Venden that she
liked him as a friend, but that he was after all, a married man, and she turned
An adult entertainment establishment- There
is yet another report given, concerning a man who many years ago had attended
one of Elder Venden's Week of Prayer meetings at Southern College.
Apparently the attending of this meeting held by Elder Venden did not inspire
this particular young man to live his life in any more of a holier plane,
because after the meeting, he went straight to an adult entertainment club, in
that of which certain of the women there had the top portion of their clothing
To his great surprise, the young man spotted Elder Venden across the room,
and he went over to speak with Venden. Pastor Venden reportedly then encouraged
the young man to go for a drive with him. During this ride in the car, Elder
Venden attempted to gain the young man's sympathy, and he begged him not to tell
anyone about catching him in this sordid place of entertainment. The young man
agreed to keep this entire episode silent.
But after finding out about Claudia Burrow's story, the young man decided
apparently that this "code of silence" was no longer valid or reasonable under
the circumstances, and so he let this experience with himself and Elder Venden
be known. The man now lives in the state of Alabama.
His Associate Pastor
To their surprise, Mr. and Mrs. Burrow had heard stories of a man who was
coming forward with still another story of his own to tell. Finding out his
name, they called this man to find out more information. This man is Pastor Phil
Elder Payne was the former Associate Pastor to Elder Venden at Keene, Texas.
At the request of the Burrows, Elder Payne came to their home and spent some 4-5
hours telling his story.
Elder Payne related how he had had the chance of being the Pastor of a church
in Cleburne, Texas, but that in kindness to Elder Venden, he stayed at the Keene
Church to help him. He was Venden's close friend and associate.
Elder Payne further assured the Burrows of his credibility by relating to
them that his family name was well known in the Seventh-day Adventist
Denomination and that his father is a retired minister. Also his Aunt had been a
teacher at many Adventist Colleges all over the United States and even the
Elder Payne now began to relate his sad story to Mr. and Mrs. Burrow. He and
his wife had begun having marriage problems. Someone then recommended that Elder
Payne and his wife see Pastor Venden for marriage counseling. They probably did
not realize that Venden was under "Grave Reservations" according to the Texas
Executive Committee, concerning the case with he and Mrs. Burrow. Upon
reflection: it is so sad that Pastor Venden had not been put under restriction
that would have forbidden him to counsel with any more women, after what had
happened between he and Mrs. Burrow. It probably would have prevented the
disaster, which Elder Payne was about to describe.
Elder Payne and his wife began to see Venden for marriage counseling. Pastor
Venden made it a requirement for Elder Payne to come and tell him whatever it
was that he planned to talk about at the next "session" before these 3-way
sessions would take place between Elder Payne, his wife, and Pastor Venden.
Then, about 30 minutes before the actual 3-way sessions would begin; Venden
would inform Payne's wife of all that Elder Payne had related to him. It was not
until later that Payne found out that all this time, Pastor Venden had been
breaking confidence with him and relating everything to his wife.
Eventually, Elder Payne's wife wanted a divorce, for these "counseling"
sessions only seemed to be breaking Payne and his wife further apart. Venden
suggested to Elder Payne that he move out of his own home and relayed the
message that Payne's wife had given him only one hour to remove all of his
possessions from his house.
During the divorce of Elder and Mrs. Payne, Pastor Venden was in the court
room, Pastor Venden used his position as a Counselor to attempt to assure that
this marriage would end in divorce. Elder Payne's two sons became further
alienated from him, and he had to go back to court just so that he could legally
be allowed to see his sons.
Before the divorce was final, Mrs. Payne went out of town. People in Keene
said that they had remembered seeing Elder Payne's wife and Pastor Venden
leaving town together. Mrs. Payne requested that while she was out of town;
Elder Payne should come and feed the outside dog at their home.
Elder Payne, being counseled to always have someone with him when going to
his home because of the divorce situation, had a friend attending him when he
went to feed the dog at his house, as his wife had asked him to do.
Payne was not aware when he went to his home to feed the dog that the door
locks had all been changed at Pastor Venden's suggestion. It was freezing
weather at the time, and so Elder Payne tried to enter his home to check the
water pipes, in an effort to prevent them from freezing up and busting. The
house was to be his at the final divorce, and so he was making an effort to
protect his home. His wife had chosen the other house that was on 10 acres of
land, at Pastor Venden's suggestion.
Elder Payne tried to unlock the house doors, but he realized then that they
had been changed. And when he tried the one last side door, it unlocked, because
it had not yet been changed. He opened the door.
Elder Payne and his friend entered into the side door and were checking the
pipes under the bathroom sink. Then while passing through the bedroom his friend
noticed a used condom in the trash can and drew Payne's attention to it.
Elder Payne took this condom and placed it in a plastic bag for safekeeping,
and then put the bag containing the condom into his car trunk.
Because of the fact that Elder Payne's wife refused to see him unless Pastor
Venden was presents he went to see Venden and told him about the condom, saying
that he wanted to confront his wife with it. Instead of encouraging Elder Payne
to find out whose condom it was, Venden instead replied: "I would not want to
touch that with a ten-foot pole!"
Later, Elder Payne had been working at Parkland Hospital, and there he
befriended a Clinical Pathologist. He asked this Pathologist if it were possible
to have a condom analyzed to find out whose it was. He replied to Payne that
semen is just like fingerprints- in that DNA molecules could be analyzed. It
could be determined whose semen was on that condom. Elder Payne believes that
this condom belonged to Pastor Venden.
Elder Payne stopped for a minute and explained to Claudia Burrow and her
husband that the former Texas Conference President, Elder Bill May, had Payne
fired from his job as a Pastor, because he had gotten a divorce. But Elder Payne
has documents, which prove that this firing was not done according to the rules
of the Church Manual. Later, after finding out the true facts of the case, the
Texas Committee voted Elder Payne back into the ministry.
Payne's wife already had a good job as a school teacher there in Joshua,
Texas. Pastor Venden had a school teacher friend up in Iowa. Before Venden was
sent off to California while he was still under "Grave Reservations" from the
Texas Committee, he had his lady friend in Iowa get Elder Payne's wife a job as
a school teacher in Iowa, even though she already had a good job in Texas.
Because of this, Elder Payne's two sons were separated from their own father.
Pastor Morris Venden was sent to the Oakhurst Church in California,
where Mrs. Venden's relatives were. At the same time, however, he was acting as
Pastor at the Azure Hills Church in California.
There was to be a deep and thorough investigation there at Oakhurst in order
that they might determine Elder Venden's standing as a Church Member. He had
wanted to have his membership transferred to the Azure Hills Church.
Then, Mrs. Marilyn Venden went to talk to the Oakhurst Elders. She told these
Elders that the Elder Payne divorce papers would show that this used condom that
Elder Payne had found really belonged to Payne himself. She was trying to get
her husband, Pastor Venden "off the hook," you might say.
The problem was, however, that Elder Payne had already talked to some of the
Elders, without Mrs. Venden's knowledge, and had offered to show them the
divorce papers, which do not at all say that the condom belonged to Payne
When confronted with the fact that Elder Payne had already told the true
facts to the Oakhurst Elders, Mrs. Venden decided that she had better say that
she must have been mistaken- which she did say.
To this day, Pastor Venden has never offered to take a simple test to prove
that this condom did not belong to him, and Elder Payne says that he can prove
that it is not his own.
After Elder Payne's divorce, he learned that Venden had gone to hang
bulletins for his wife when she had been a school teacher there in Texas. This
was done without Elder Payne's knowledge at the time.
Elder Payne's son also told him that during the summer of '89, his mother,
Payne's wife had gone to California to see Elder Venden. She also was to pick up
Morrie's daughter, Lynne, and later was to go to the East Coast to see Venden
while he was there for a speaking engagement.
This same story was also told to Judy Wright; Neal Wilson, General Conference
President; and others. Elder Payne also related to the Burrows that Elder Neal
Wilson had talked to him twice, and had told him about another sordid affair
that Pastor Venden had had in Iowa at one time. This seems a little interesting
to Mrs. Claudia Burrow, because she remembers, as recorded in her first book:
Unrighteousness Uncovered, that when she had asked Venden if he had ever
done this type of sexual thing before with anyone else as he had done with her,
his answer was that he had done this with a school teacher.
Elder Payne also told the Burrows that when he read Claudia's book:
Unrighteousness Uncovered, he was convinced that Mrs. Burrow was telling
the truth because Elder Venden had told him some of the same things of a
personal nature that he had told Claudia; (the personal things recorded in her
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Chapter 4 --The Ends Justifies The Means?
Mrs. Burrow has been
told that many General Conference Officials believe that Morris Venden is guilty
of sexual involvement with her. Even so, it has been very saddening to watch as
certain Conference Officers and friends of Morris Venden have done their best to
cover up the truth from the eyes of God's people.
It seems as though some have decided that this must not be revealed, and so
consequently a type of "The end justifies the means" philosophy has been
employed in the endeavor to cover up the entire thing.
Nevertheless, this does not mean that God approves of such methods:
"Plans contrary to truth and righteousness are introduced in a
subtle manner on the plea that this must be done, and that must be done,
'because it is for the advancement of the cause of God.'
"But it is the devising of men that leads to oppression, injustice, and
wickedness. The cause of God is free from every taint of injustice. It can
gain no advantage by robbing the members of the family of God of their
individuality or their rights. All such practices are abhorrent to God.
"Men connected with His work have been dealing unjustly, and it is time to
call a halt.
"False propositions are assumed as truth and righteousness, and then
everything is worked in such a way as to carry out these propositions, which
are not in accordance with the will of God, but are a misrepresentation of His
"The great and holy and merciful God will never be in league with dishonest
practices; not a single touch of injustice will He vindicate." -Testimonies to
Ministers, pages 359,360
It is not the fact that Claudia has revealed the sin of Pastor Venden to the
Church that is bringing dishonor to the Seventh-day Adventist Church; but it is
what the Church Leaders are doing with this truth; -that is what
is bringing such reproach to God's holy Name!
Take note of what it was that caused the people of Israel to become disgusted
with the Church and what it was that brought injury to the cause of God when Eli
neglected the duty of removing his corrupt sons from office:
"These unfaithful priests also transgressed God's law and
dishonored their sacred office by their vile and degrading practices; yet they
continued to pollute by their presence the tabernacle of God.
"Many of the people, filled with indignation at the corrupt course of
Hophni and Phinehas, ceased to come up to the appointed place of worship.
"Thus the service which God had ordained was despised and neglected because
associated with the sins of wicked men, while those whose hearts were inclined
to evil were emboldened in sin...
"The people complained of their violent deeds...
"Had Eli dealt justly with his wicked sons, they would have been rejected
from the priestly office and punished with death.
"Dreading thus to bring public disgrace and condemnation upon them, he
sustained them in the most sacred positions of trust.
"He still permitted them to mingle their corruption with the holy service
of God and to inflict upon the cause of truth an injury which years could not
"But when the judge of Israel neglected his work, God took the matter in
hand." -Patriarchs and Prophets, pages 576,577.
Mrs. Burrow has tried to do her part in exposing Pastor Venden
(Testimonies volume 5, pages 138,139).
And when these things are revealed to the Church, the Church then becomes
responsible and guilty unless everything in her power is done to properly deal
with the problem and to remove such a minister from sacred office
(Testimonies to Ministers, pages 426-428).
But instead, there has been lying, deceptions, unfairness, and injustice in
the methods used by certain men to cover this all up:
Starting false rumors- Many reports have
come to the Burrows that Adventist Ministers have actually stood up in meetings
or in their congregations and said that Claudia has "recanted" her story, which
is a total falsehood.
Discrediting the witnesses- Efforts have
been made to cast discredit upon anyone who stands for truth. They are called
"insane" and "immoral" -when there is no proof whatsoever for these charges.
In the "Celebration" Church of California, the Pastor of that Church, Dan
Simpson, stood in front of his entire congregation one Sabbath and told his
church members that Mrs. Burrow was "mentally deficient." The Burrows have that
on cassette tape.
Mrs. Burrow was so distressed when she listened to this cassette tape by
Simpson, that she called him by phone and told him that she thought it to be
very dishonest to be saying things like that when they were absolutely untrue
and unproven. This Pastor Simpson then told Claudia that he had "nothing to give
but apologies to her," but Claudia told him that this was not enough, and that
what he needed to do was to stand up there in front of his congregation and tell
them the truth, -correcting the damage that he had done.
Rumors of Venden's "exoneration"-False
rumors have been perpetuated by both Conference Officials and friends of Venden,
claiming that he has been "exonerated" and that there is "nothing to the
accusations being made against him."
Pastors have also reported that certain Church Leaders have told them to
quiet this whole thing down as best that they can.
Campmeetings used to exalt Venden- It was
reported to the Burrows that a Pastor told of his particular experience
concerning this Morris Venden problem. Before attending a Campmeeting, at which
Morris Venden was to be the key speaker, a Conference Official had counseled
this pastor to tell everyone "what a blessing that Pastor Venden had been to
him." (apparently whether he had actually been a blessing to him or not!).
Using "put-downs"- Joel Thompkins,
Mid-America Union President wrote a letter, which Claudia is in possession of,
-stating that Claudia was just another "Jessica Hahn." This Union President has
never met Claudia, never had any type of correspondence or contact with her
whatsoever, and yet he is making these types of statements about her.
Trying to prevent people from knowing the facts-
There have been numerous reports of Pastors and Church Leaders doing
all they can to keep the people in the dark by discouraging them from even
reading Mrs. Burrow's book; making them feel that it would be a sin to do so.
However, there seems to be a rather humorous effect when this is done because
people who have not even heard of this Morris Venden issue are then led to
inquire about the truth, after the Pastors tell them not to read the book. They
are in effect "advertising" the book for Mrs. Burrow, without intending to.
Concealing evidence- Certain Officials have
tried to lead the people to believe that there is "no proof" for Mrs. Burrow's
accusations against Morris Venden, while at the same time, information and
evidence is concealed from the eyes of the people.
One-sided stories- Very one-sided reports
are frequently given by certain Church Officials, in that they will leave out
important information that gives credence to Claudia's testimony.
Attempting to discredit her entire book-
Certain Conference Officials have written to people who have inquired
about the Morris Venden case. In these letters they sometimes take one
insignificant detail; claim that it is untrue (with no proof whatsoever that it
is untrue); and then tell the people that therefore, because this certain detail
is "untrue," -then that means Mrs. Burrow's entire book is in "question." And
these very same Officials have never contacted Mrs. Burrow, nor have they had
any type of conversation with her whatsoever.
Venden seeking sympathizers- Claudia has
received a phone call from California, where Venden is located. During this
phone call, the woman told her that it just made her "so disgusted," because
Morris Venden was going around out there, trying to act as if he were being
"persecuted," in order to gather sympathizers.
Claiming that Claudia did not author her book-
Claudia has letters in her possession in that of which the Assistant
to Steve Gifford, Southeastern California Conference President, makes the
statement that Mrs. Burrow did not write her book: Unrighteousness Uncovered.
This statement is so ridiculous, in that there is no proof whatsoever that
Claudia did not author her book, nor is there any just cause to even make such a
statement as that.
Finally, Mrs. Burrow had to go down to the Notary Public and sign a statement
which says that she did indeed write her book: Unrighteousness Uncovered.
This notarized statement can be found below. After that- a new rumor was
started, a rumor that Judy Wright didn't write her 20-page letter to the
It has been such a disappointment and a sorrowful experience for the Burrows
to watch these terrible things go on in our Church.
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Chapter 5 --The Oakhurst Church
Morris Venden's Church membership was at the Oakhurst Church in California,
while at the same time he was the Pastor at the Azure Hills Church. And so, he
wanted to have his membership transferred to the Azure Hills Church.
However, there were a few faithful Elders there at Oakhurst who knew that
according to the Church Manual and the Bible- they should hold a meeting in
which they would determine if Elder Venden was fit to be a Church Member still.
They wanted to have a complete investigation into this Venden/Burrow case.
These Elders were holding up the transfer of Venden's membership to the Azure
Generally, things were getting very uncomfortable for Morris Venden, and his
wife, Mrs. Marilyn Venden called the Oakhurst Church and told them that they had
decided after all to leave their membership at Oakhurst.
During this same time frame, in the near future there was going to be a
meeting of several General Conference Officials to discuss important Church
issues. This meeting is called "The Fall Council."
This made it even more tense for Morris Venden and many were watching to see
what move he would make next.
***One of the Elders there at the Oakhurst Church sent a two page statement
of their observations concerning the case between Elder Venden and Claudia to
Mr. And Mrs. Burrow. Here is the statement:
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Chapter 6 --Venden's Personal Appearance
Mrs. Burrow had
made the comment that Morris Venden's penis was "unusually circumcised."
Back on the date of December 5, 1986 Morris Venden had been given an
interview. Elder Cyril Miller, Southwestern Union Conference President; and
Elder Bill May, Texas Conference President had informed him that Mrs. Burrow had
said that she could describe his penis.
Venden's only response was; "Do you know her background?" He had a good
chance then to ask for Mrs. Burrow's specific description of his penis and then
to prove her wrong, but he did not do that.
For nearly three years, Elder Venden had the chance to prove Mrs. Burrow
wrong on that point, but he did not do so.
Neither did the Conference Officials ever ask Mrs. Burrow to explain herself
concerning her comment that Elder Venden had "an unusual circumcision." It
seemed to Claudia that this would have been the natural thing for them to ask,
if they had wanted to get to the truth of the matter.
Mrs. Burrow's meaning-
Whenever any person would inquisitively ask Mrs. Burrow what she
had meant in her comment concerning Venden's penis, she would always reply in
Elder Venden and I were in his van, and he wanted me to perform oral sex
upon him. At that time, I could not help noticing that his penis did not look
like my husband's does.
My husband has a normally circumcised penis.
Then, when Venden saw me looking as if I had thought that he had an unusual
appearance, he made the reply that "a Doctor had messed it up." Never had I
seen an uncircumcised penis before. I naturally then assumed that he had been
circumcised because usually when a Doctor does anything on the body, it is
some type of a surgery. I thought then that this Doctor that he had mentioned
must have circumcised him, but that he "messed up,' when he had performed the
operation. I had seen no particular "scar" upon Venden's penis, but still,
because of the fact that it looked different than my husband's, which is
normally circumcised, and because of Venden's statement concerning the Doctor;
I had come to the conclusion that he had "an unusual circumcision," which is
what I recorded in my book: Unrighteousness Uncovered. I couldn't
recall the exact appearance.
Suddenly, after three years had passed, Pastor Venden went to take a
Doctor's examination, that of which the report can be found on the next page of
William Parks- Bill Parks was formerly a Los Angeles
Police Officer, and later was converted and became a Seventh-day Adventist.
Also, many years ago, Mr. Parks was Pastor Venden's college room mate at La
Sierra in California.
After reading the Doctor's statement on the previous page of this book,
Bill's comment was that he thought it must be inaccurate.
He says, "It wasn't normal; there was something different about it. You just
don't stare at people, but there was something strange about it. I do not recall
whether or not he was circumcised, but there was really something strange about
This Doctor's statement certified that Venden had a penis, which was totally
perfect in every way, but still, Bill Parks thought that it was inaccurate.
And so he called Doctor Woodruff, the man who had examined Pastor Venden. He
asked this Doctor, about the fact that "Sister Claudia had said that there was
something odd about Venden's male organ, and some of us used to attend the
College there with Morris."
Mr. Parks reports that after asking the Doctor that question, there was a
silence. And then the Doctor changed the current of the conversation to
Bill Parks then brought the conversation back to his original question, "Hey,
what about that oddity that Sister Burrow told us and others about?"
The Doctor kept silent for awhile and then said, "Well, I am just sticking
with my report."
Another Doctor's statement- After learning
about this Doctor's statement from Doctor Woodruff, Mr. Burrow, Claudia's
husband, wrote a short letter to another Doctor, asking him if it were possible
to perform a circumcision without cutting away the foreskin.
This Doctor's response letter can be found on the next page of this book. The
Doctor who wrote this next letter is a Plastic Surgeon; a Fellow of the American
College of Surgeons; and a graduate of Loma Linda University.
The name of this Doctor has purposely been erased by the Author of this book,
in order that he might not suffer any type of unfortunate feedback from those
who might try to discredit his name, as some have done to Claudia and others who
stood for truth. The letter from this Doctor is merely factual, and really does
not need any particular name attached to it, anyway. The facts which he has
stated are easy to check up on.
What has really been proven?- At this point, an
honest assessment must be made of this entire situation at hand, and the
question must be asked, "What has really been proven here?"
Q. If Venden really is uncircumcised, does that prove that Claudia was wrong
when she said that his penis was "different-looking" than her own husband's was?
A. No. If anything, the fact that Venden's penis may be uncircumcised, only
lends greater proof that his penis was definitely different-looking than Mrs.
Burrow's normally-circumcised husband's penis.
Q. If Venden is truly uncircumcised, does that prove that Mrs. Burrow was
wrong when she described his penis as being "unusually circumcised?"
A. No. To Mrs. Burrow, who has never seen an uncircumcised penis, her meaning
of the statement that Venden's penis was "unusually circumcised" is to be taken
to mean that the "circumcisional aspect" of his penis was unusual- not normal as
far as a normally circumcised penis is to Mrs. Burrow. The normality of the top
of Venden's penis, did not exist as far as Claudia was concerned.
Q. Is it a possibility that Venden lied to Claudia when he led her to believe
that his penis had been circumcised by a Doctor?
A. Yes. Elder Venden could very possibly have wanted Claudia to believe that
he was circumcised, because of the fact that he may have known that a penis
which is uncircumcised can be a disease-carrier, and if he had let Claudia know
that he was uncircumcised, she probably would not have performed oral sex upon
Q. Is it possible that a Doctor could be stating a true fact, as in saying
that a penis is uncircumcised; but at the same time -leaving out other pertinent
information about the penis?
A. Yes. Mrs. Burrow could have seen something odd about the penis, which has
nothing to do with whether or not Venden had been uncircumcised.
Q. What is the only real way that any Doctor's statement could prove Mrs.
Burrow to be wrong?
A. If the Doctor's statement had shown that Venden's penis was normally
circumcised, just as Mrs. Burrow's husband was, then she would have been proven
to be wrong.
Q. Why did Venden wait almost 3 years to have this Doctor's exam?
A. Perhaps he knew that Claudia may have been describing his penis
accurately. She just didn't know the correct technical term to use.
Suddenly, a report was issued by the Southeast California Conference
Committee, in which it was stated that Venden had been "cleared of charges,"
based on the fact that this Doctor Woodruff had made a statement saying that he
This "statement" issued by the Committee can be found on the next page of
this book. It is devastating to Claudia that they never bothered to ask to hear
her side of this story at all.
Letter from Attorney Max Corbett- Claudia
informed Attorney Max Corbett of all that had recently taken place concerning
this Doctor's exam, and asked what he thought of it; being a lawyer. She has
never intended to go to law concerning this case, but at times Claudia asks Mr.
Corbett for an assessment of things as they presently stand.
His reply was this: "Though such accusations (the claim that Claudia has been
proven by this Doctor's exam to be wrong); stem from certain statements made by
Claudia during the meeting of a committee of the Southwestern Union Conference
on October 22, 1987 to examine Claudia's claims, little is mentioned regarding
such examination, the manner in which it was conducted, and its attempt to
really get at the truth of the matter. For example, proper questioning of
Claudia, when she mentioned the circumcision of Morris Venden, would devastate
their present claims."
And Attorney Max Corbett also made the following statement: "Two matters
considered together evidence that the present manipulations by Conference
Officials constitute a whitewash job to soothe irate church members: (I) what
proper questioning would have revealed, and (2) it is only at this late date
that Morris Venden brings forward that he is not circumcised. Such hokum is
compounded by the fact that they are taking Claudia's simple statements and
drawing some exaggerated conclusions." -Letter from Max Corbett, dated: October
To repeat: the Southeastern California Conference statement can be found on
the next page of this book.
Neal Wilson, General Conference President- Neal
Wilson then had the Oakhurst investigation put to a stop, because of this
Doctor's examination, and the report that was made by the Southeastern
California Conference Committee.
Whereas before, for 3 years it was claimed that the Venden problem was not in
his jurisdiction and that he could not get anything done about it; suddenly he
seemed to have power to get the investigation stopped.
Thedric Mohr and Dr. Wittschiebe- Dr.
Charles Wittschiebe had made an earlier statement, recorded in Claudia's book,
Unrighteousness Uncovered that: had Venden taken a Doctor's examination, he
could have proven Mrs. Burrow to be wrong. But Claudia had not been the one to
say that. Dr. Wittschiebe had never asked her to explain herself in regards to
the actual specific description of Venden's penis. Dr. Wittschiebe had only been
commenting on the fact that Venden seemed to be evasive and not wanting to
openly deal with the whole thing, and that he should have wanted to ask Mrs.
Burrow's specific meaning about his penis, and then proven her wrong. But he did
not do that. This was Dr. Wittschiebe's intent when he made that recorded
statement in Claudia's book.
And so as soon as this Doctor's statement came out, claiming that Venden was
uncircumcised, Elder Gifford's Assistant, Thedric Mohr, immediately wrote a
letter to Dr. Wittschiebe, telling him that Venden had taken an exam, and proven
Claudia to be "wrong." And Thedric Mohr told Dr. Wittschiebe that he now was
responsible for letting everyone know that Claudia had been proven "wrong."
Dr. Wittschiebe wrote a response letter to Thedric Mohr, which can be found
on the next page of this book.
*NOTE: Dr. Charles Wittschiebe was one of the 3 persons sent to the home
of Mr. and Mrs. Burrow under the orders of Neal Wilson, General Conference
President. These 3 persons had returned to Neal Wilson with the statement that
"It was impossible to disbelieve Mrs. Burrow's story."
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Chapter 7 --The Venden Letter
When Venden made mention of a "hair piece"
which he claims that Mrs. Burrow said he had; again- he is twisting what Claudia
has said. Claudia said that when in his van, she touched his hair and it "came
up." She wasn't sure if it was a hair piece or if it was just that he had his
hair combed over a bald spot, -as some older men do. But Venden exaggerates what
a person says, takes parts of it, and then says that he can "prove" that what
you have said is not true.
When Judy Wright read over Venden's letter, she was very upset. She
says that it contains one lie after another, in regards to the things that
Venden said about her.
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Chapter 8 --The Fall Council
It was October 4, 1989, and time for the Fall Council where General
Conference men, about 360 of them, gathered together to discuss important Church
Elder Neal Wilson, General Conference President was about to get upon the
platform to speak. Here was his big opportunity to use his position as General
Conference President to guide and direct those men, and to use his authoritative
power to get them to deal with this Morris Venden matter decisively.
Several persons reported to Mr. and Mrs. Burrow an account of what was said
on that day by Neal Wilson. Basically they all seemed to agree that he had said
something like this:
"This whole Morris Venden problem is such a mess, and it has been
going on for such a long time. I wish it could be cleared up, and I am so
sorry that there are so many unanswered questions. But it is time now to bring
it all to a closure.
After all- it is just Mrs. Burrow's word against Morris Venden's word. Any
person should be considered innocent till proven guilty, and after 2 years of
investigation the allegations remain unproved.
Furthermore, one of the incriminating charges (in reference to Venden's
penis) -has been certified as untrue.
In a situation like this, it is very difficult to make an unqualified
statement of either guilt or innocence. However, since there seems to be a
reasonable doubt, I believe that he should be presumed as innocent as he
consistently maintains that he is.
There have been broken homes, broken families, and broken relationships,
but we seem to not know how to forget these things.
We should all try now to forget this whole thing and go on together in
unity. Let's just put this behind us.
However, should any evidence come up in the future, we will be sure to deal
The matter should now be left in the hands of the Southeastern California
Conference, which employs Venden as a minister."
Let us declare this a decade of healing."
Checking the Scriptures & Inspiration-
Never are we to accept the word of any man, until we have compared
his words with the Scriptures and the Testimony of Jesus.
With all due respect for Church Leaders, let us consider a few recorded
incidents in the Bible, in which Leaders proposed to have "unity" at the price
of compromising with sin:
"They decided that... if Korah would be their leader, and would
encourage them by dwelling upon their good deeds instead of reproving their
sins, they would have a very peaceful, prosperous journey..
"In this work of disaffection there was greater union and harmony among the
discordant elements of the congregation than had ever before existed."
-Patriarchs & Prophets, pages 397,398.
"Aaron had thought that Moses had been too unyielding to the wishes of the
people. He thought that if Moses had been less firm, less decided at times,
and that if he had made a compromise with the people and gratified their
wishes, he would have had less trouble, and there would have been more peace
and harmony in the camp of Israel.
". . .But when, in the absence of Moses, his influence was required to be
used in the right direction, when he should have stood as firm and unyielding
as did Moses, his influence was exerted on the wrong side.
"He was powerless to make his influence felt in vindication of God's honor
in keeping His holy law. But on the wrong side he swayed a powerful influence.
He directed, and the people obeyed.
"... Here Aaron gave decided sanction to the most aggravated sins, because
it was less difficult than to stand in vindication of the right. When he
swerved from his integrity in giving sanction to the people in their sins he
seemed inspired with a decision, earnestness, and zeal new to him. His
timidity seemed to disappear.
"With a zeal that he had never manifested in standing in defense of the
honor of God against wrong he seized the instruments to work out the gold into
the image of a calf." -Testimonies volume 3, page 299.
What do the Testimonies say?- It is time to
ask for the counsel of God in regards to how the Church should deal with these
types of matters.
We ought to see whether or not God tells us to "forget the whole thing, and
go on in unity," or rather does He tell us to make a determined effort to
decidedly deal with the problem?
"I have no real ground of hope for those who have stood as
shepherds to the flock, and for years been borne with by the merciful God,
following them with reproof, with warnings, with entreaties, but who have hid
their evil ways, and continued in them, thus defying the laws of the God of
heaven by practicing fornication.
"We may leave them to work out their own salvation with
fear and trembling, after all has been done to reform them; but in no case
entrust to them the guardianship of souls. False shepherds!
...that which is revealed makes the church responsible and guilty unless
they show a determined effort to eradicate the evil. Cleanse the camp, for
there is an accursed thing in it." Testimonies to Ministers, page
Clearly, there is nothing in the counsel from our Lord that tells us to "put
this behind us."
The General Conference President- What if
the General Conference President himself does not listen to the counsel of the
Lord as recorded in the Testimonies? What will happen to our beloved and
precious Church, God's Church?
"The president of the General Conference should act upon the light
given, not contrary to this light.
"If men close their eyes to the testimonies God has been pleased to give,
and think it wisdom to walk in the light of the sparks of their own kindling,
it will spoil the church.
"Such men are not qualified to become either ministers or presidents of
conferences; they have not taken counsel from the Source of all wisdom."
-Testimonies to Ministers, page 327.
"Many are constantly taking wrong positions and making wrong moves; if we
trust to their guidance we shall be misled." Testimonies volume 5, pages
Absolving of sins?- One last thing we might
consider: is it right to "absolve" someone of their sins and ask everyone else
to "forget about it and put it all behind," when the sinner in question has not
even repented of the sins which he has committed; much less even admitted to his
Is asking the people of God to grant this type of "pardon" wrong?
"A salvation that could be bought with money was more easily
obtained than that which requires repentance, faith, and diligent effort to
resist and overcome sin.
"...Luther, though still a papist of the straitest sort, was filled with
horror at the blasphemous assumptions of the indulgence mongers.
"Many of his own congregation had purchased certificates of pardon, and
they soon began to come to their pastor, confessing their various sins, and
expecting absolution, not because they were penitent and wished to reform, but
on the ground of the indulgence.
"Luther refused them absolution, and warned them that unless they should
repent and reform their lives, they must perish in their sins." -Great
Controversy, page 128,129.
Oh, let us beware of trying to act the part of a "Pope," and not absolve
someone's sins by sprinkling a little Holy Water upon them and declaring them to
be "forgiven and healed."
God's servant, Martin Luther, had a true love for the poor souls of others,
and fearlessly told them the truth: that they must confess their sins and
repent; reforming their lives.
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Chapter 9 --Committee Decisions
After reading the report given by the Southeastern California Executive
Committee, it becomes a necessity to ask the question: does God always inspire
"I have been instructed that committee meetings are not always
pleasing to God." -Testimonies volume 7, page 256
Very simply put: no, they are not! Does God inspire all decisions made by the
"Page after page might be written in regard to these things. Whole
conferences are becoming leavened with the same perverted principles."
-Testimonies to Ministers, page 372What if an entire church
should vote on something and their decision is not God-inspired; does this
"vote" make the decision to be automatically sanctioned by God, just because a
church voted a certain way?
"A whole church may sanction the wrong course of its members, but
that sanction does not prove the wrong to be right. It cannot make grapes of
thorn berries. -Testimonies volume 5, page 103.
Again- one would be wrong to assume that just because an entire church voted
upon something, that the decision must automatically be right.
What are two specific reasons why the decisions of a committee may be wrong
"Great injustice and even dishonesty have been committed in the
board meetings in bringing matters before those who have not an experience
that will enable them to be competent judges." Testimonies to Ministers,
"If these men are not in communication with God, Satan will surely be one
in their councils and will take advantage of their unconsecrated state. Acts
of injustice will be done, because God is not presiding." -Testimonies
volume 5, page 560
And so we can see now that:
(1) the members of the committee may not be competent to judge the matter at
(2) the members of the committee may not be in close communication with God,
and thus, Satan is the one who is influencing them to make whatever decision it
is that they make.
What amount of evidence does God provide?
-There is a difference between "sufficient" evidence, and evidence
that leaves absolutely no room for doubt. God gave sufficient evidence to the
Jews that Jesus was His Son, but they wanted miracles; "show us a sign, work us
a miracle" they cried! But God refused to give that kind of absolute evidence,
when they already had ample evidence to see the truth.
Does God do this to test His people? Perhaps He does. When there is so much
evidence that one cannot deny the truth, but yet there are little places on
which doubts can possibly be hung, if so desired... many will reveal the true
intent of their hearts by trying to find "loop-holes" to escape from facing the
But had God provided absolute evidence; He would have no opportunity to test
us; no opportunity to reveal who has an honest heart, seeking to know the truth,
-and who does not.
Let's look at God's plan when it comes to evidence:
"It's God's plan to give sufficient evidence of the divine
character of His work to convince all who honestly desire to know the truth.
But He never removes all opportunity for doubt." - I Selected Messages, page
"Many wonder in the mazes of philosophy, in search of evidence which they
will never find, while they reject the evidence which God has been pleased to
give…God will never remove every occasion for doubt." -Patriarchs and
Prophets, pages 431,432.
"They (the Pharisees) were not seeking to know the truth; but to find some
excuse for evading it. -Desire of Ages, page 456.
"…the Pharisees would rather deny the evidence of their own senses than
admit they were in error. . .the dilemma in which the Pharisees were placed,
their questioning and prejudice, their unbelief in the facts of the case, were
opening the eyes of the multitude, especially of the common people." -Desire
of Ages, page 472.
"…if you will open your eyes in faith you will find sufficient evidence for
belief. But God will never remove from any man all causes for doubts...God
gives sufficient evidence for the candid mind to believe..." -Testimonies
volume 4, pages 232,233.
No, we can never expect that God will give any man, even committee members,
no room for doubt. His plan is to give sufficient evidence.
Arbitrary power- The Southeastern
California Executive Committee has decided that anyone who continues to
"agitate" this matter when there is no "proof," should be disciplined.
In the first place, there is plenty of proof that Morris Venden is guilty.
Secondly, is it right for a committee to try to dictate to the consciences of
"The question of religious liberty needs to be clearly
comprehended by our people in more ways than one. With outstretched arms men
are seeking to steady the ark, and the anger of the Lord is kindled against
them because they think that their position entitles them to say what the
Lord's servants shall do and what they shall not do." -Upward Look, page
"Position does not give liberty to exercise power arbitrarily over others."
-Upward Look, page 56.
Many faithful Seventh-day Adventists cannot allow their consciences to rest
until this issue concerning Morris Venden has been properly dealt with:
"Unless these evils which bring the displeasure of God are
corrected in its members, the whole church stands accountable for them."
-2RH 453; 12/23/90, Extra.
"The church as a whole is in a degree responsible for the wrongs of its
members because they countenance the evil in not lifting up their voice
against it." -Testimonies volume 4, page 491.
This church is OUR church, and this problem is OUR problem! And why
"discipline" a faithful member of the church for doing what the Spirit of
Prophecy and the Bible says to do in "lifting up their voice against evil?"
In the very verse which the Southeastern California Executive Committee
cites, they are, by quoting that verse- passing condemnation upon themselves!
They are commanded to disfellowship Venden:
"if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator...with such a
one no not to eat... For what have I to do to judge them also that are
without? do ye not judge them that are within? But them that are without God
judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person." I
A state of insubordination- When the woman
in the Bible story pleaded over and over again saying, "Avenge me of mine
adversary," she was only asking for simple justice concerning her case. Jesus
did not "discipline" her for that!
If the hearts of God's people cry out for truth and justice and are
persecuted for it, a terrible state of "insubordination" may result:
"The high-handed power that has developed, as though position has
made men gods, makes me afraid...this lording it over God's heritage will
create such a disgust of man's jurisdiction that a state of insubordination
will result...the result will be a loss of confidence even in the management
of faithful men." -Testimonies to Ministers, page 361.
Sinful leniency towards sinners leads to undue
severity towards the faithful- When Leaders have an undue toleration
of sinners, they will eventually manifest their unbalanced spirituality by
severity and persecution of those who have only done their duty in decisively
dealing with the sins in the church:
"Ministers of the gospel sometimes do great harm by allowing their
forbearance toward the erring to degenerate into toleration of sins…thus they
are led to excuse and palliate that which God condemns...
and after a time they become so blinded as to commend the very ones whom
God commands them to reprove.
He who has blunted his spiritual perceptions by leniency towards those whom
God condemns, will erelong commit a greater sin by severity and harshness
toward those whom God approves." -Acts of the Apostles, page
What blindness! To cover up for a corrupt minister, and then to turn around
and discipline those who are raising their voices against sin!
"I will agree if you will agree"- Martin
Luther was asked by the committee to agree to whatever decision that they would
make. His reply was that "he would agree to abide by their decision- if
they would first agree to make their decisions in accordance with the
And can anyone find fault with someone who is following Martin Luther's
example? We are authorized by the God of the Holy Scriptures to do the same as
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Chapter 10 --Cleanse The Camp
Jesus watched as the priests were corrupting the Temple. In righteous
indignation He caused them to flee in terror as He cleansed theTemple.
And what was His motive? "You have made My Father's House a den of
thieves!" Love for God and protection of His Holy Name was the motivation of
Jesus when He took measures to "cleanse the camp of sin."
Unfortunately, those who follow the example of their Lord are misunderstood.
Instead of being called "Camp Cleansers" they are accused of being "Mud
It is always best to check with The Spirit of Prophecy so that we may
have a better understanding of the correct attitude which the Lord wishes His
people to have when there is a known "Achan" in the Camp
Sins which will destroy the souls of
others- At times, "Matthew 18" is quoted in an effort to make others
believe that certain sins should be taken to your brother "alone" and only to
him are you to mention that sin which he is committing.
But in the case of a minister- especially a very influential one- we must
consider the entire situation from a common sense point of view. Who is
being hurt by such a man's sins? That is the point to consider.
In specifically pointing out a certain minister (Nathan Fuller 2T 449; 5T
138), who was misinterpreting the Scriptures in order to seduce women into
adultery; Sister White said that "his professed robe of
righteousness should be torn from him and his purposes be exposed, in order that
he could not continue to lead others to hell." (5T 139).
His name was publicly exposed and so were his corrupt practices. Matthew 18
did not here apply. The simple reason was a common sense-type one:
His sins affected the entire church body, -as he was
using the Scriptures in a deceptive way, and this was the basic foundation for
the false doctrine which he was teaching to God's people.
In the book: Testimonies volume 2, page 15, there is a specific incident
there recorded. Sister White had publicly rebuked a certain woman for her sins,
and this woman and her husband were terribly upset about it, and they told
Sister White that she should have followed the counsel of Matthew 18.
This was the response recorded:
"My husband then stated that he should understand that these words
of our Lord (Matthew 18) had reference to cases of personal trespass, and
could not be applied in the case of this sister.
She had not trespassed against Sister White. But that which had been
reproved publicly was public wrongs which threatened the prosperity of the
church and the cause.
Here, said my husband, is a text applicable to the case: I Timothy 5:20:
'Them that sin rebuke before all, that others may also fear.'" -Testimonies
volume 2, page 15.
And in the case of that same corrupt minister, Nathan Fuller, God thought it
best to bring it to the public eye:
"The case of Nathan Fuller has caused me much grief and anguish of
spirit. That he should yield himself to the control of Satan to work
wickedness as he has done is terrible.
I believe that God designed that this case of hypocrisy and villainy should
be brought to light in the manner it has been, that it might prove a warning
to others." -Testimonies volume 2, page 449
Cleanse the camp- After very specifically
mentioning the subject of ministers who pervert the Scriptures in order to lead
women into sexual sin.. Sister White says that we must "cleanse the camp":
"Cleanse the camp of this moral corruption, if it takes the
highest men in the highest positions. God will not be trifled with....that
which is revealed makes the church responsible and guilty unless they show a
determined effort to eradicate the evil. 'Cleanse the camp, for there is an
accursed thing in it.'" -Testimonies to Ministers, page
God will withdraw His Spirit- What will
happen if the church neglects her responsibility to show a determined effort to
eradicate the evil and to "cleanse the camp of sin?" Further elaborating on the
same subject, Sister White said:
"Cleanse the camp...Neither will I be with you anymore (said the
Lord), except ye destroy the accursed from among you... 'There is an accursed
thing in the midst of thee, 0 Israel: thou canst not stand before thine
enemies, until ye take away the accursed thing from among you." -Testimonies
to Ministers, page 428.
We will not have the presence of God with our church unless the evil thing is
taken from the midst of it:
"God's displeasure is upon His people, and He will not manifest
His power in the midst of them while sins exist among them and are fostered by
those in responsible positions." -Testimonies volume 3, page
The honor of God's Name- The reason that
God removes His presence from His people when there are sins fostered among them
is because the church is a representative of His Holy Name and His Holy
When remembering the story of Achan: God had warned the people of Israel that
He would withdraw His presence from them if they did not remove the cause of His
displeasure from the camp. Why?
"For the Canaanites and all the inhabitants of the land shall hear
of it, and shall environ us around, and cut off our name from the earth: and
what wilt thou do unto Thy great Name?" -Joshua 7:9
God wants to protect His reputation in the eyes of the world. When Israel had
participated in making the golden calf idol, Moses knew that the sin must be
dealt with. The surrounding nations were watching Israel- the people who claimed
to represent the God of Heaven:
"Moses, as God's instrument, must leave on record a solemn and
public protest against their crime.
As the Israelites should hereafter condemn the idolatry of the neighboring
tribes, their enemies would throw back upon them the charge that the people
who claimed Jehovah as their God had made a calf and worshipped it in Horeb.
Then though compelled to acknowledge the disgraceful truth, Israel could
point to the terrible fate of the transgressor as evidence that their sin had
not been sanctioned or excused." -Patriarchs & Prophets, pages
"God charged Eli with honoring his sons above the Lord." (Patriarchs and
Prophets 577,578). What happened as the result of him being more concerned about
protecting the reputation of his wicked priest-sons than he was in protecting
"The sin of Eli was in passing lightly over the iniquity of his
sons, who were occupying sacred offices.
The neglect of the father to reprove and restrain his sons brought upon
Israel a fearful calamity. The sons of Eli were slain, Eli himself lost his
life, the ark of God was taken from Israel, and thirty thousand people were
All this was because sin was lightly regarded and allowed to remain among
them. What a lesson is this to men holding responsible positions in the church
It adjures them faithfully to remove the wrongs that dishonor the cause of
truth." -Testimonies volume 4, page 166.
God's honor is entirely overlooked:
"In almost every case where reproof is necessary, there will be
some who entirely overlook the fact that the spirit of the Lord has been
grieved and His cause reproached." -Testimonies volume 3, page
Retaining their names on the church roll and
supporting them from the tithe- Should a corrupt minister who handles
God's word deceitfully and who leads other men's wives into adultery be allowed
to stay on the church roll? should we continue to support them from our tithe?
"The ledger of Heaven testifies of this man thus: 'A deceiver, an
adulterer.. .How many souls he will destroy with his satanic sophistry the
judgment alone will reveal.
Such men ought to be rebuked and discountenanced at once, that they may not
bring a continual reproach upon the cause." -Testimonies volume 5, page 139.
"It would be poor policy to support from the treasury of God those who
really mar and injure His work, and who are constantly lowering the standard
of Christianity." -Testimonies volume 3, page 553.
'The names of those who sin and refuse to repent should not be retained on
the church books, lest the saints be held accountable for their evil deeds.They
are to be disfellowshipped; to retain them would be an insult to the God of
heaven." -5Bible Commentary, 1096.
We can now understand that the issue of "forgiveness" is a complete separate
issue from the issue of God's honor and the issue of influential men leading
Frequently, some will say, "Well, can't we just forgive?" they completely
overlook the harm that this person is doing to God's cause and to souls:
"A family picture was presented before me. A part of the children
seemed anxious to learn and obey the requirements of the father, while the
others trample upon his authority, and seem to exult in showing contempt of
his family government...
The father notices all the disrespectful acts of his disobedient,
ungrateful children, yet he bears with them.
At length, these rebellious children go still further, and seek to
influence and lead to rebellion those members of their father's family who
have hitherto been faithful.
Then all the dignity and authority of the father is called into action, and
he expels from his house the rebellious children, who have not only abused his
love and blessings themselves, but tried to subvert the remaining few who had
submitted to the wise and judicious laws of their father's household.
For the sake of the few who are loyal, whose happiness was exposed to the
seditious influence of the rebellious members of his household, he separates
from his family his undutiful children, while at the same time he labors to
bring closer to himself the remaining faithful and loyal ones.
All would honor the wise and just course of such a parent, in punishing
most severely his undutiful, rebellious children.
God has dealt thus with His children. But man, in his blindness, will
overlook the abominations of the ungodly, and pass by unnoticed the continual
ingratitude and rebellion and heaven-daring sins of those who trample upon
God's law... 'The tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.' (Prov. 12:10)." -II
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Chapter 11 --Those Who Sigh And Cry
In the ninth chapter of Ezekiel we read that the destroying angel will
take out his slaughtering weapon and "slay" all those in Israel who do not "sigh
and cry for all the abominations that be done in Israel."
We as a church are God's body, and all are in a degree responsible for the
sins done in the body.
"The history of Achan teaches the solemn lesson that for one man's
sin the displeasure of God will rest upon a people or a nation till the
transgression is searched out and punished." -2BC 996.
If we do not do our best to protest against sin in the church, it is as if we
are fostering the sin and giving our approval to it:
"The church as a whole is in a degree responsible for the wrongs
of it's individual members because they countenance the evil in not lifting up
their voice against it." -Testimonies volume 4, page 491.
"…when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided
measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all.
But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible
positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will
be held responsible for those sins." -Testimonies volume 3, page 265.
"The Lord holds the church accountable for the sin of its members until
they have done all they can to remedy the existing evil." -Testimonies volume
3, page 517.
"Those who have too little courage to reprove wrong, or who through
indolence or lack of interest make no earnest effort to purify the family or
the church of God, are held accountable for the evil that may result from
their neglect of duty.
We are just as responsible for evils that we might have checked in others
by exercise of parental or pastoral authority as if the acts had been our
own." -Patriarchs and Prophets, page 578.
Misrepresented motives- Even though God's
servants may have the best of motives, some may try to cast undeserved reproach
upon them and accuse them of being fault-finders:
"Should a case like Achan's be among us, there are many who would
accuse those who might act the part of Joshua in searching out the wrong, of
having a wicked, fault-finding spirit." -Testimonies volume 3, page 270.
"These will pity those who deserved reproof... All this unsanctified
sympathy places the sympathizers where they are sharers in the guilt of the
In nine cases out of ten if the one reproved had been
left under a sense of his wrongs, he might have been helped to see them and
thereby have been reformed.
But meddlesome, unsanctified sympathizers place altogether a wrong
construction upon the motives of the reprover and the nature of the reproof
given..." -Testimonies volume 3, page 359.
"...with a malicious spirit they assail the character and motives...It is
the same policy which has been pursued in all ages. Elijah was declared to be
a troubler in Israel, Jeremiah a traitor, Paul a polluter of the temple.
From that day to this, those who would be loyal to truth have been
denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic." -Great Controversy, pages
Usually the ones who dare to raise their voices against sin in the church are
accused of causing "divisions." But in actuality, it is they who will not
reprove wrongs who are the ones causing divisions:
"But much evil will be avoided if the ministers of Christ will be
of one mind, united in their plans of action, and united in effort.
If they will stand together, sustain one another, and faithfully reprove
and rebuke wrong, they will soon cause it to wither. But Satan has controlled
these matters very much.
Private members and even preachers have sympathized with disaffected ones
who have been reproved for their wrongs, and division of feeling has
resulted." -Testimonies volume 1, page 212,213.
Turning things around backwards- In this
matter of reproving sin in the church, Satan tries his best to blind God's
people and make them see things in a backwards, perverted light.
In Testimonies Vol. 2, 439,440, Sister White tells us that in a
situation where ministers seduce women into sin by twisting the Scriptures,
Church Leaders will actually look on- while Satan is planting his "hellish
banner" right in our midst and deceiving the inexperienced, but yet these same
Leaders will not see any necessity of raising the alarm; they see no danger, and
if anyone dares to raise their voices against this evil, the Leaders themselves
will say: "This is uncalled for. These men are unnecessarily excited, and seem
unwilling to give us any rest or quietude."
"Satan is constantly seeking to deceive men and lead them to call
sin righteousness, and righteousness sin. How successful has been his work!
How often censure and reproach are cast upon God's faithful servants...Men who
are but agents of Satan are praised and flattered, and even looked upon as
martyrs, while those who should be respected and sustained for their fidelity
to God, are left to stand alone, under suspicion and distrust." -Great
Controversy, pages 192,193.
"Many professed Christians look upon men who do not reprove and condemn
wrong, as men of piety and Christians indeed, while they think that those who
stand boldly in defense of right.... lack piety and a Christian spirit...
"The people were charmed with Aaron's lovely spirit and were disgusted with
the rashness of Moses (when he threw down the tablets of stone). But God seeth
not as man sees. He condemned not the ardor and indignation of Moses against
the base apostasy of Israel." -Testimonies volume 3, pages
How can we know who is on the Lord's side:
"The true people of God, who have the spirit of the work of the
Lord and the salvation of souls at heart, will ever view sin in its real,
sinful character. They will always be on the side of faithful and plain
dealing with sins...
"Mark this point with care: Those who receive the pure mark of truth...are
those 'that sigh and cry for all the abominations that be done' in the
church." -Testimonies volume 3, pages 266,267.
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Chapter 12 --From Alpha To Omega
Now it is time to delve more deeply into the Morris Venden problem. To
gloss over this sickness, absolve the sins of the guilty, without getting down
to the real cause of the illness, will only leave us with a superficial "decade
of healing," which is what Neal Wilson, the General Conference President called
What is this? What is really happening? Something mysterious; something
hinting of evil underlies all of this. Can't you sense it?
It may be a surprise to find out that all of this which is happening in our
church is a fulfillment of prophecy! In the early 1900s something began to
happen. A Dr. John Kellog brought Pantheistic theories into the Adventist
Church. This error of doctrine tended to undermine our Sanctuary doctrine, and
Ellen White knew that this meant a knocking down of every
Pillar of our Seventh-day Adventist faith.
Shocking things were happening, which alarmed Ellen White very very much.
This "New Theology" tended to permeate throughout the
Here is a general basic outline of the characteristics that surrounded this
1.Dr. Kellog refused to listen to Ellen White. This "New Theological" way of
thinking seemed to have with it a feeling that one could be his own "god." It
tended to ignore the Spirit of Prophecy.
2.Dr. Kellog wanted to take over the
entire Denominational control. This was something of a nature that of which was
like a "steam roller," threatening to obliterate all who dared to stand in its
3.Many of our Adventist Leaders were accepting this "New Theology."
Apparently, it was of a very deceptive nature.
4.Ellen White said that if
this false "Reformation" were to take place in our Church, then books "of a new
order" would be written. The Devil was actually trying to change the true
Theological beliefs in our Church, and wanting to take over our Literary
5.This "Pantheism" theology made happy those who were longing
to feel God near. It was the theory that God is in everything, and that
everything that one does comes from God. It gave a false satisfactory "feeling"
to those who longed to be "close" to God.
6.All who adopted this "New
Theology" seemed to have a "Satanic zeal" in their very aggressive evangelism
7.Dr. Kellog tried his best to attract the youth of our Church to
this "New Theology." The Devil wanted to take over the young people of our
8.It seemed that very "charismatic" individuals were used by the
Devil to promulgate these new theories.
9.It appeared that "the end justified
the means" when it came to indoctrinating these new beliefs into the minds of
the people. These men were very dishonest; deceitful; and used psychological
mechanisms to capture the minds of others, and get them to accept this "New
10.Dr. Kellog used political pressure, and even had the youth of
the Church using their talents to assure everyone of how "wonderful" this "New
Theology" was. But at the same time, this theology tended to cause the youth to
exhibit "bizarre behavior," and a "loose" kind of lifestyle.
Right on the eve of this crisis, Ellen White said this:
"The right hand of fellowship is given to the very men who are
bringing in false theories and false sentiments, confusing the minds of the
people of God, deadening their sensibilities as to what constitutes right
principles...The light given, calling to repentance, has been extinguished in
the clouds of unbelief and opposition brought in by human plans and human
inventions." -B-19 1/2, 1897.
At the very bottom of all this; the Devil was trying his best to make God's
people think that they could be saved when they had not repented of sin. He
confused them until they didn't know the difference between right and wrong!
This happening was termed by Ellen White as the ALPHA of an apostasy which
would carry on until Jesus would come. The ALPHA, meaning the "beginning." The
OMEGA or the "end part" of this apostasy was soon to follow:
"'Living Temple' contains the Alpha of these theories. I knew that
the Omega would soon follow in a little while, and I tremble for our people."
-Special Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, page 53.
"Be not deceived: many will depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing
spirits and doctrines of devils. We have now before us the alpha of this
danger. The Omega will be of a most startling nature." -I Selected Messages,
page 197; 1904.
The Omega apostasy- We need to stop and
look at things from the Devil's point of view. Ellen White says that Satan hates
more than anything, the thought of us coming to an understanding of his wicked
devices. And so it behooves us to realize just what he is aiming at here.
The Devil knows that Jesus is coming soon. He also knows that we must be
prepared to stand before God without a Mediator; free from sin. He knows that we
are in the hour of the "Investigative Judgment" and that every one of our acts
and motives are under scrutiny. He also knows that God wants us to give the
Three Angel's Messages to the world, with great power; ourselves bringing our
own lives into harmony with that message.
Therefore, what the Devil wants most, is to bring in false theories, which
will undermine the true Message, and keep us holding on to our sins and
unprepared for the Second Coming of Jesus.
And so, he is at this very minute, trying his best to take over the
Seventh-day Adventist Church with a "New Theology," false doctrines, which will
lead us to believe somehow that we can be saved in our sins! It is really that
simple. And you know that he will more than likely try every angle, every "wind
of doctrine" in order to accomplish this task.
Martin/Barnhouse- Something happened to the
Adventist Church during the years of 1955-1962; the Devil came knocking at our
doors once again!
A man by the name of Walter Martin had written a book called, "The rise and
fall of Cults" and he had stated that the Seventh-day Adventist Church belonged
to that despised group.
Walter Martin was given the job of investigating the beliefs of the
Seventh-day Adventist Church on behalf of "Eternity Magazine". And he
wanted our church leadership to be cooperative with this investigation. He asked
many questions during his meetings with our Church Leaders.
At one particular time he and a man named Dr. Donald Barnhouse met with
Adventist representatives. Barnhouse was the Editor of "Eternity" magazine. At
this time, Dr. Barnhouse was challenged by his son to publish to the whole world
that he discovered the Seventh-day Adventist people to be truly Christian in
However, there were still some bothersome issues concerning our beliefs; as
far as Martin and Barnhouse were concerned. They accused us of teaching
"Airianism" which is the view that Christ was a created Being. They faulted us
for teaching that the atonement was not finished at the cross; that Christ had a
sinful nature; and that we taught salvation by law keeping. These were the
things that they had accused us of teaching.
They also thought that the main problem of our Church, as far as our creed
went, was that we had no formal, well-defined outline of Church beliefs in
In short, the Adventists then created a book called, "Seventh-day Adventists
Answer Questions on Doctrine;" in that of which our true beliefs were watered
down and changed, in order to please the world. But on the other hand, the
Adventist Church; -certain persons in it, at least; had already begun taking
steps to "indoctrinate" the minds of the Adventist people with these watered
down beliefs before Walter Martin ever came along.
In the year of 1946, there had been a revision in the book called "Bible
Readings for the Home Circle," in that of which the section named "a Sinless
Life" had been rewritten. Over the last 94 years, our denomination had held the
position that Jesus possessed the nature of sinful men; but now in this book
that had been changed, our heretofore consistent position on the nature of
Christ had been silenced.
Well, the Devil was laughing at us! He knows that the true fact of the matter
is that since Jesus, having our sinful human nature, could overcome the
temptation to sin; then so could all of us. And of course, the Devil was working
hard to keep us from realizing this fact, because he didn't want us to be ready
for the Second Coming of Christ.
Then, in 1952, our "Review & Herald" denominational magazine put forward
this new way of thinking to the Adventist people: "Adventists believe that
Christ, 'the last Adam, possessed on His human side, a nature like that of the
first man Adam,' a nature free of any defiling taint of sin."
Here, in saying this, our Church Leaders were going directly in opposition to
the words of the Scriptures and the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy and against
the fundamental pillars of our Faith!
When later, Walter Martin pointed out to our General Conference Officials
that some of our books taught different than what the Leaders were now
asserting, something strange happened. The Adventist Leaders assured Martin that
these beliefs found in our books were not accepted by the Denomination as a
whole; but that these ideas concerning Christ and His sinful human nature, were
just the beliefs of a few of the Adventist Church members who numbered among the
"lunatic fringe" of the Church.
Well, some of the Adventists were alarmed at this "New Theology" and they
thought that it seemed the Leaders were adopting a new position on our
established Adventist beliefs. In short, these few people were trying to stand
up for our historical, Biblical Adventist beliefs, while our Church Leaders were
the ones who were actually going off into the Theological ditch.
And so, the solution, the Leaders thought, was to declare that it was they,
the Church Leaders, who were the "sane ones," and that they would "put the
brakes" on any church members who tried to hold views different than that of the
"responsible leadership" of the Church.
The Adventist Leaders also said in the hearing of Martin and Dr. Barnhouse,
that the doctrine of the Investigative Judgment and the Most Holy Place ministry
of Christ beginning in 1844 and the Cleansing of the Sanctuary was not to be
taken literally. They repudiated that doctrine, and also the doctrine that the
Adventists had always taught; that Jesus was still carrying on a second
ministering work in the Most Holy Place since 1844.
Departing from the old landmarks- What a
lesson that ought to be to us; to keep from placing our dependence upon Church
Leaders, who are erring human beings! See if you can find any clue in this next
quotation which would lead you to believe that this "apostasy" was going on in
the same way, when Testimonies volume 7 was published in the year 1902, around
the time of Dr. Kellog and his Pantheism theories:
"Now and ever we are to stand as a distinct and peculiar people,
free from all worldly policy, unembarrassed by confederating with those who
have not wisdom to discern God's claims so plainly set forth in His law. All
our medical institutions are established as Seventh-day Adventist institutions
to represent the various features of gospel medical missionary work and thus
to prepare the way for the coming of the Lord.
"We are to show that we are seeking to work in harmony with heaven. We are
to bear witness to all nations, kindred, and tongues that we are a people who
love and fear God, a people who keep holy His memorial of creation, the sign
between Him and His obedient children that He sanctifies them. And we are
plainly to show our faith in the soon coming of our Lord in the clouds of
"As a people we have been greatly humiliated by the course that some of our
brethren in responsible positions have taken in departing from the old
landmarks. There are those who, in order to carry out their plans, have by
their words denied their faith. This shows how little dependence can be placed
on human wisdom and judgment.
"Now, as never before, we need to see the danger of being led unguardedly
away from loyalty to God's commands. We need to realize that God has given us
a decided message of warning for the world, even as He gave Noah a message of
warning for the antediluvians.
"Let our people beware of departing from the principles of our faith,
making it appear that it is not wrong to conform to the world. Let them be
afraid of heeding the counsel of any man, whatever his position may be, who
works counter to that which God has wrought in order to keep His people
separate from the world." -Testimonies volume 7, pages
Can you see now that this ALPHA and OMEGA apostasy are the taking of the
established doctrines which have made us a peculiar people, and changing them in
order to please the world? Whether it be done in our Hospitals; our Schools; or
in our Denominational Literature; it makes no difference, -it is wrong! And this
can be done in a variety of ways, whether it be the bringing in of pantheistic
or Spiritualistic doctrines or in any other way, the Devil is not particular.
"One thing is soon to be realized, -the great apostasy, which is
developing and increasing and waxing stronger, and will continue to do so
until the Lord shall descend from heaven with a shout...
Ever we are to keep the faith that has been substantiated by the Holy
Spirit of God from the earlier events of our experience until the present
time." -Special Testimonies Series B No. 7, pages 56,57.
That is to be our concern during this OMEGA apostasy which will wax worse and
worse till Jesus comes! We are to stand by the old landmarks of our faith!
The World Council of Churches- In 1957, the
Hungarian Union of Seventh-day Adventists had joined an inter-church Ecumenical
Organization called "The Council of Free Churches."
In 1965 "The Council of Free Churches" joined the "Ecumenical Council of
Hungarian Churches," which is the Hungarian branch of "The World Council of
This "World Council of Churches" is the very type of organization that will
lead out in urging the National Sunday Laws around the entire world. (see Great
Controversy pages 444,445). This is an undermining of another of the pillars of
our Faith, the Seventh day Sabbath of the Lord.
Some alarmed, faithful Hungarian Adventists pled with the Hungarian Union and
then with the General Conference, to sever this awful tie with the "World
Council of Churches." For protesting, as they did; they were disfellowshipped,
and Neal Wilson, General Conference President, has allowed all of this to
To this day, our Seventh-day Adventist Denomination is still linked up to
this "World Council of Churches." No wonder Sister White told us that the OMEGA
apostasy would be of a most startling nature!
Once again, the Church Leaders were going off into a "Theological ditch," and
a small group of faithful protesters were tearfully pleading for them to stay on
the right track; and for this, they were thought of as being "the lunatic
fringe," and were disfellowshipped, put under "discipline," when they had only
been protecting our Seventh-day Adventist Church from changing her established
doctrines which the Lord had marked out for us.
Return to top of page
Chapter 13 --Morris Venden's "Two Packages"
The OMEGA apostasy would "wax worse and worse;"
-winds of false doctrine would blow in from every direction, even from our
Seventh-day Adventist pulpits!
The warning had been given:
"In the very midst of us will arise false teachers, giving heed to
seducing spirits whose doctrines are of Satanic origin." -Special Testimonies,
Aug. 27, 1903.
Beware then! Just because the General Conference supports a man's ministry;
this should not assure us that we can place our confidence in his teachings!
"The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many
years by our people, is not proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not
make error into truth..." -2RH 623; 12/20/92.
In what way did Christ say that we could recognize a
false prophet? "by their fruits ye shall know them." He said: "A good
tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good
fruit." Matthew 7:1518. Jesus also said that these false prophets would come
to you "in sheep's clothing." -verse 15; but that "inwardly they would be
ravening (raping) wolves."
What are the "fruits" of Morris Venden's theology? Where
did he lead Claudia Burrow?
"Teachers of falsehood will arise to draw you away from the narrow
path and the strait gate. Beware of them; though concealed in sheep's
clothing, inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Jesus gives a test by which false teachers may be distinguished from the
true. 'Ye shall know them by their fruits.' He says, 'Do men gather grapes of
thorns, or figs of thistles?'
We are not bidden to prove them by their fair speeches and exalted
professions. They are to be judged by the word of God...
What message do these teachers bring? Does it lead you to reverence and
fear God? Does it lead you to manifest your love for Him by loyalty to His
If men do not feel the weight of the moral law; if they make light of God's
precepts; if they break one of the least of His commandments, and teach men
so, they shall be of no esteem in the sight of heaven. We may know that their
claims are without foundation. They are doing the very work that originated
with the prince of darkness, the enemy of God." -Mount of Blessing, page
Therefore, a warning sign ought to go up in each one of our minds; that of
which should lead us to want to closely investigate Morris Venden's teachings:
"No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation." -2RH 623;
Morris Venden and his "2 Packages"- Morris
Venden comments on the fact that there are "2 packages" when it comes to the
question of the nature of Christ. One of these "packages" includes the belief
that the definition of "sin" is not an issue of "law-keeping," and that Jesus
did not have a sinful human nature. The other "package" was just the opposite.
Morris Venden chooses to accept the first "package," as his doctrinal belief. He
"There doesn't seem to be any question that the definition of sin,
and the nature of Christ, and perfectionism are a package. I think the
contention is quite valid that if a person defines sin primarily in terms of
transgression of the law-in legalistic terms and understandings-then he is
going to need to have a savior who has struggled with all of his same
temptations to transgress the law. In the process one ends up with
perfectionism and a behaviorally oriented Christianity.
"Now if you go back to define sin in terms of living a life apart from God
-you don't need to have a Savior exactly as you are. In fact, His very
difference indicates that He could have lived independently, but He chose to
depend on God. I feel that His dependence upon the Father is the essence of
Christ's example to us. After all, He did say, 'Without Me, you can do
nothing.' Allowing a difference between our nature and Christ's nature
prevents us from getting bogged down in perfectionism, because that's not
where the issue lies, anyway. Perfection of character must be seen in terms of
relationship, not in terms of spelling out ethical and moral options." -Morris
Venden talks to Insight Magazine, Part 2, May 15, 1979, pages 9 and
The definition of sin:
"...sin is the transgression of the law." -John 3:4.
"Our ONLY definition of sin is that given in the Word of God; it is
transgression of the law." (1888) Great Controversy 493.
"The ONLY definition we find in the Bible for sin is that 'sin is the
transgression of the law.'" -ST 5/12/1892.
"The ONLY definition of sin: I John 3:4. This is the ONLY definition.
Without the law there can be no transgression. By the law is the knowledge of
sin. The standard of righteousness is exceeding broad, prohibiting every evil
thing." -7BC 951.
"Man's conscience has become hardened by sin, and his understanding
darkened by transgressions and his judgment has become confused as to what is
sin. He has become benumbed by the influence of iniquity, and it is essential
that his conscience be aroused to understand that sin is the transgression of
God's holy law. He who does not obey the commandments of God is a sinner in
God's sight." -ST June 20, 1895.
Very simply put: "sin" is the transgression of the law. God does not
authorize anyone to make up his own definition of "sin." There is ONLY one
Because Morris Venden has made up his own definition of
"sin," he has come to the inevitable conclusion that a person can transgress the
law of God and still not "sin," because after all, he says that breaking the
commandments is not really what "sin" is!
Morris Venden says that sin is separation from your God. But God says: "But
your iniquities HAVE separated between you and your God." -Isaiah 59:2. Reality
is: Sin CAUSES separation from God.
Venden says that all one has to do to be in a relationship with God, is to go
"be with" Him, don't separate yourself from Him. But in reality, if you are
sinning; transgressing the commandments; you ARE SEPARATED from God, no matter
how much you go "be with" Him, and no matter how much you may claim to have a
"relationship" with Him.
What worse thing could happen than to believe that you are close to God, when
in reality, you are separated from Him!
"And hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. HE THAT
SAITH, I KNOW HIM, AND KEEPETH NOT HIS COMMANDMENTS, IS A LIAR, and the truth is
not in him." -I John 1:3,4.
Isn't it time to speak up loudly in the Seventh-day Adventist Church and
plainly say that this is a doctrine of devils- this teaching which tries to
confuse us as to what constitutes sin! We must KNOW the difference between right
Any man who would DARE to make up his own definition of what is "sin;" -what
is "wrong;" will automatically be making up his own definition of what is "not
sin;" -what is "right," in the process. In other words, he will have to be
inventing his own definition of righteousness. He will set up his own standard.
Only God Himself has the right to do that!
The Nature of Christ-
"God permitted His Son to come, a helpless babe, subject to the
weakness of humanity. He permitted Him to meet life's peril in common with
every human soul, to fight the battle as every child of humanity must fight
it, at the risk of failure and eternal loss." -Desire of Ages, page 49.
"Jesus was placed where His character would be tested. It was necessary for
Him to be constantly on guard in order to preserve His purity. He was subject
to all the conflicts which we have to meet, that He might be an example for us
in childhood, youth, and manhood." -Desire of Ages, page 71.
'For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted; He is able to succor
them that are tempted." -Hebrews 2:18.
"Christ was a human being. He served His heavenly Father with all the
strength of His human nature." -6BC 1074.
"In Him was no guile or sinfulness; He was ever pure and undefiled; yet He
took upon Himself our sinful nature." -RH Dec. 15, 1896.
"For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of
our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without
sin." -Hebrews 4:15.
"The Son of God in His humanity wrestled with the very same fierce,
apparently overwhelming temptations that assail men- temptations to appetite,
to presumptuous venturing where God has not led them, and to the worship of
the god of this world, to sacrifice an eternity of bliss for the fascinating
pleasures of this life." -I Selected Messages, page 95.
Very simply put: Jesus took upon Himself the nature of sinful humans, and He
struggled with all the same temptations that we as humans have -to transgress
Without going into all of the various ways that the Devil- through Morris
Venden, was trying to confuse us, in his "2 packages" speech; we must understand
that he does NOT want us to realize that Jesus DID INDEED have our sinful human
nature, and that He DID struggle with the same temptations common to mankind.
The Mystery of godliness- The simple reason
that the Devil wants so much to confuse us on this subject concerning the nature
of Christ is this: -if Jesus, with all of His temptations to transgress the law
of God, overcame those temptations, then why can't we do the same? What excuse
then, do we have for sinning? None! That is the point:
"Satan represents God's law of love as...impossible for us to
obey. Jesus was to unveil this deception. As one of us He was to give an
example of obedience. For this He took upon Himself our nature and passed
through our experience...He exercised in His own behalf no power that is not
freely offered to us." -Desire of Ages, page 24.
This is the Mystery of godliness:
"He (Jesus) could not have been tempted in all points like as man
is tempted had there been no possibility of His failing. He was a free agent,
placed on probation, as was Adam and as is man. . .
In human flesh He lived the law of God, that He might condemn sin in the
flesh, and bear witness to heavenly intelligences that the law was ordained to
life and to ensure the happiness, peace, and eternal good of all who
obey...This is the Mystery of godliness." -Manuscript 29, March 17, 1899;
Upward Look, pg. 90.
This is the Mystery of Iniquity:
"Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the
flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has
come in the flesh is not of God. AND THIS IS THE SPIRIT OF
ANTI-CHRIST...Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether
they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." -I
Morris Venden is trying to invent for us a new Savior,
one who did not "come in the flesh" -one who did not have our human nature, and
one who did not struggle with all of the same temptations that we do.
Thus, he is inventing for us a Savior who gives us an excuse to transgress
God's holy law. Believe him not!
Perfection of character-
"The Lord requires no less of the soul now, than He required of
Adam in paradise before he fell, -perfect obedience, unblemished
righteousness. The requirement of God under the covenant of grace is just as
broad as the requirement made in paradise, -harmony with His law, which is
holy, and just, and good...Let no one take up with the delusion so pleasant to
the natural heart, that God will accept of sincerity, no matter what may be
the faith, no matter how imperfect may be the life. God requires of His child
perfect obedience." -RH, Nov. 1, 1892.
"God requires perfection of His children." -Christ's Object Lessons, pg.
"In the day of judgment the course of the man who has retained the frailty
and imperfection of humanity will not be vindicated. For him there will be no
place in heaven; he could not enjoy the perfection of the saints in light. He
who has not sufficient faith in Christ to believe that He can keep him from
sinning, has not the faith that will give him an entrance into the kingdom of
God." -RH, March 10, 1904.
"As was Enoch's, so must be their holiness of character who shall be
redeemed from among men at the Lord's second coming." -Testimonies volume 8,
"Now the God of peace...make you perfect in every good work to do His will,
working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Christ
Jesus." -Hebrews 13:20,21.
"Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is
perfect." -Matthew 5:48.
"God has plainly stated that He expects us to be perfect, and because He
requires this, He has made provision that we may be partakers of the divine
nature. Only thus can we gain perfection. The power is given by Christ. 'As
many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God." -ST
March 30, 1904.
"None need fail of attaining, in his sphere, to perfection of Christian
character. By the sacrifice of Christ, provision has been made for the
believer to receive all things that pertain to life and godliness. God calls
upon us to reach the standard of perfection and places before us the example
of Christ's character." -Acts of the Apostles, page 531
Very simply put: WE CAN BE PERFECT; sinless when Jesus comes, and more than
that -it is a requirement of God that we be perfect, if we expect to go
But, in his "package" that he chooses to adopt, Morris Venden wishes to
invent a new religion which labels perfection as "legalism" and something that
just "bogs us down."
Let's take a look at what Venden says in "Ministry Magazine" July
1982, pages 8,9:
"The one who believes in perfectionism is often the one who
insists that the sinful nature is eradicated before Jesus comes again and that
we can not only overcome but become sinless as well. I would like to disclaim
any identity with perfectionism."
How shocking! How could Venden have made such a statement?
"Many of these religious teachers have developed characters in
harmony with their shallow appreciation of divine truth. It has been agreeable
to their carnal hearts to be released from all responsibility and
obligation...They have persuaded themselves that Christ has relieved them from
the duty of purifying themselves even as He is pure...Such souls are deceived
themselves and are agents used of Satan to deceive others." -ST March 30,
"Every one who by faith obeys God's commandments will reach the
condition of sinlessness in which Adam lived before his transgression."
-Signs, July 29, 1902.
"Not by even a thought could our Savior be brought to yield to the power of
temptation... This is the condition in which those must be found who shall
stand in the time of trouble." -Great Controversy, page
The entire purpose of Satan is to invent a way that will keep us from going
to heaven, and stop us from honoring God by reflecting His character perfectly.
This false "package" which was adopted by Morris Venden
is nothing more than a "doctrine of devils," used by Satan to take us off into a
completely different "gospel," than the one given us by God.
Starting with a false foundation- The false
foundation given by Morris Venden, -inventing his own definition of "sin,"
causes him to "spin-off" into many different errors in doctrine. For instance,
he believes that one can be justified by faith, and still retain his sins. But
God says otherwise:
"There is no safety nor repose nor justification in transgression
of the law. Man cannot hope to stand innocent before God, and at peace with
Him through the merits of Christ, while he continues in sin. He must cease to
transgress, and become loyal and true." -I Selected Messages, page
In Morris Venden's book called: "To know God," he says that one can have a
"relationship" with Jesus, while still in his sins. But God says:
"The sinner is privileged to recognize Christ as his divine and
adorable brother, BUT THIS RELATIONSHIP CANNOT BE CLAIMED WHILE HE CONTINUES
TO CHERISH SIN."-RH III, 434.
In talking about the subject of human effort combined with God's power- to
overcome sin, Morris Venden says this:
"I come to God and say, 'Now God, I'd like to have you do this and
this for me.' But then I get myself all mixed up in the operation. I'm trying
to do part of it and trying to let God do part of it, and this is confusion,
the mixing of my own efforts with God's power, comes defeat." -Morris Venden,
Faith that Works page 52, Review & Herald publishing Association
But God's true Servant says this:
"The secret of success is the union of divine power with human
effort." -Patriarchs & Prophets, page 509.
"Man must work with his human power, aided by the divine power of
Christ, to resist and conquer at any cost to himself. In short, he must
overcome as Christ overcame. And then, through the victory that it is his
privilege to gain by the all- powerful name of Jesus, he may become an heir of
God and a joint heir with Jesus.
This could not be the case if Christ did all the overcoming. MAN MUST DO
HIS PART; he must be victor on his own account, through the strength and grace
that Christ gives him. Man must be a co-worker with Christ in the labor of
overcoming..." -Testimonies volume 4, pages 32,33
Why do men invent false theories?
"It is the love of self, the desire for an easier way than God has
appointed that leads to the substitution of human theories and traditions for
the divine precepts." -Desire of Ages, page 409.
Books of a new order- In speaking of the
false "Reformation" which would take place, if the Devil was to prevail in the
ALPHA APOSTASY Sister White said:
"Were this reformation to take places what would result?.. .Our
religion would be changed. . .BOOKS OF A NEW ORDER WOULD BE WRITTEN." -Special
Testimonies, Series B, No. 2, pages 54,55
And of course, this is just what Satan is trying to accomplish in the present
OMEGA apostasy; to overtake our Literary Publishing houses with books just with
the likes of Morris Venden's teachings.
And what is Satan's object:
"I am charged to tell our people that some do not realize that the devil has
device after device and he carries these out in ways that they do not expect.
"SATAN'S AGENTS WILL INVENT WAYS TO MAKE SINERS OUT OF SAINTS.
"I tell you now, that WHEN I AM LAID TO REST, GREAT CHANGES WILL TAKE
PLACE." -Letter, Elmshaven. Feb. 24, 1915.
There we have it! Satan wants to make us think that we
are saints, when in reality-sinners! How will he accomplish this?
"SATAN'S AGENTS are wise to do evil, and they WILL CREATE THAT
WHICH SOME WILL CLAIM TO BE ADVANCED LIGHT AND WILL PROCLAIM IT AS NEW AND
WONDERFUL; yet while in some respects the message may be truth, it will be
mingled with human inventions and will teach for doctrine the commandments of
MANY APPARENTLY GOOD THINGS WILL NEED TO BE CAREFULLY CONSIDERED WITH MUCH
PRAYER; for they are specious devices of the enemy to lead souls in a path
which lies so close to the path of truth that it will be scarcely
distinguishable from it...
AT FIRST IT MAY BE THOUGHT POSITIVELY RIGHT, BUT AFTER A WHILE IT IS SEEN
TO BE WIDELY DIVERGENT FROM THE WAY WHICH LEADS TO HOLINESS AND HEAVEN."
-Mind, Character, and Personality, page 42.
True love for souls:
Don't confuse raising our voices against evil doctrines with "criticism" or
"While the love of God makes its possessor meek and lowly of
spirit, and eradicates all hatred and revenge, and all that is unholy, it will
not leave the Christian without the power to oppose wrong and rebuke sin.
"If dangerous errors threaten the faith, through the efforts of deceived
church members or false shepherds, they will be met and opposed with
decision." -Signs of the Times, Jan. 13, 1888
Return to top of page
Chapter 14 --Revealing The Apostasy
Only to realize that we have a corrupt minister in our ranks; only to
realize that his evil deeds are being covered up; -what good is this knowledge
if we do not fully comprehend the underlying mystery of iniquity which is really
behind all of this? The question we must ask is: why is God apparently working
to uncover and reveal evil in His Church?
In the book called: Testimonies volume 5, pages 207-216; a chapter
called: "The Seal of God," -we are given a "front row seat" in the theater of
the Universe as it were, and shown the events which are to take place just
before Jesus comes in the clouds of heaven.
APOSTASY will be in our Church, and who is it that will be shown to be the
leaders in this?
"No superiority of rank, dignity, or worldly wisdom, no position
in sacred office, will preserve men from sacrificing principle when left to
their own deceitful hearts.
Those who have been regarded as worthy and righteous prove to be
RINGLEADERS IN APOSTASY AND EXAMPLES IN INDIFFERENCE AND IN THE ABUSE OF GOD'S
MERCIES." -Testimonies volume 5, page 212
And now, it gets more specific:
"Here (in Ezekiel chapter 9) we see that the church- the Lord's
sanctuary- was the first to feel the stroke of the wrath of God.
THE ANCIENT MEN, those to whom God had given great
light and WHO STOOD AS GUARDIANS OF THE SPIRITUAL INTERESTS OF THE PEOPLE, HAD
BETRAYED THEIR TRUST." -Testimonies volume 5, page
And so, it is the church leaders who really are the "Ringleaders" in this
And how are they "apostasizing?" they are "examples in indifference and in
the abuse of God's mercy." To elaborate further, they say,
"the Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil. He is too
merciful to visit His people in judgment." -Testimonies volume 5, page
"Thus 'peace and safety' is the cry from men who will never again
lift up their voice like a trumpet to show God's people their transgressions
and the house of Jacob their sins." -ST 211.
And so, a few of the major characteristics are:
1.An example of the abuse of God's grace
2.Will not lift up voice against
4. Say that God is too merciful to
This means both that the Leaders will not punish the wrongdoers in the
Church, neither will they promote true Biblical doctrine which tells us to get
sin out of our lives!
Before going any further, we must realize that we "war not against flesh and
blood, but against spiritual wickedness in high places."
It is Satan who is trying to control things, and he tries his best to
overcome those men in responsible positions. It is sad, and we need to remember
that it is the Devil who is our real common enemy- not men. And all Leaders are
Still though, we must pay close attention to what we are warned will take
place in this apostasy and protect one another from being swept up into it.
What is it that God will do, in order to make His people
aware of who all is participating in the apostasy?
"These persons come to feel secure in their deceptions and,
because of His long-suffering, say that the Lord seeth not, and then act as
though He had forsaken the earth.
But He will detect their hypocrisy and will open before others those sins
which they were so careful to hide." -Testimonies volume 5, page
In order to protect His people, God allows sin to be revealed in
the lives of those who are deceiving others. One such example of God's working
is recorded in Testimonies Volume I, pg 335, 334:
"Elder K has bewildered and confused many minds with his theory of
sanctification. All who embrace it lose to a great extent their interest and
love for the third angel's message...
"…this view of sanctification is a very pretty- looking theory. It
whitewashes over poor souls who are in darkness, error, and pride. It gives
them an appearance of being good Christians, and of possessing holiness, when
their hearts are corrupt...
"It is a peace-and-safety theory, which does not bring to light evil and
"Men and women of corrupt hearts throw around them the garb of
sanctification, and are looked upon as examples to the flock, when they are
Satan's agents, used by him to deceive honest souls into a bypath, that they
might not feel the force and importance of the solemn truths proclaimed by the
"He (Elder K) has been deceived in regard to sanctification. Unless he now
changes his course, and is willing to be instructed, and cherishes the light
given, HE WILL BE LEFT OF GOD TO PURSUE HIS OWN COURSE AND FOLLOW HIS OWN
IMPERFECT JUDGMENT UNTIL HE WILL MAKE A SHIPWRECK OF FAITH, AND BY HIS UNWISE
COURSE BECOME A SIGNAL WARNING..."
If there are false teachers, leaders in the apostasy, who invent "peace and
safety" messages that do not rebuke wrongs and that "make sinners out of
saints," -God will allow such a man to make a "shipwreck of faith" -revealing to
others "those sins that he was so careful to hide."
And why does God do this? the very next sentence tells us:
"...that every honest soul may escape from Satan's snare."
-Testimonies volume 1, page 334.
If men such as Morris Venden are teaching false theories of "Righteousness by
Faith" that in reality are "doctrines of devils," the Lord will allow them to
reveal their apostasy:
"And if men and women who have the knowledge of the truth are so
far separated from their great Leader that they will take the great leader of
apostasy and name him Christ our Righteousness, it is because they have not
sunk deep into the mines of truth. They are not able to distinguish the
precious ore from the base material.
"Read the cautions so abundantly given in the Word of God in regard to
false prophets that will come in with their heresies, and if possible will
deceive the very elect. With these warnings, why is it that the church does
not distinguish the false from the genuine?...
Apostasies have occurred and the Lord has permitted matters of this nature
to develop ... in order to show how easily His people will be misled when they
depend upon the words of men instead of searching the Scriptures for
themselves..." -II Selected Messages, pages 393,394.
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Chapter 15 --Unity By Cover-Up
More and more, as the end of this world approaches, cries for "unity" are
heard. But too often, this so-called "unity" is purchased at the price of
compromise with sin.
This section of the book "Unity by cover up" is being written on behalf of
those faithful ones in our church who are doing their best to honor God and
speak out against this sin in the church.
The Author of this book knows that she participated in the sin with Morris
Venden. In the book called, "Spiritual Gifts," volume 3 & 4 it talks
about when Israel had worshipped the golden calf. Moses afterward called for all
they who had no part in the idolatry to come to his right side and execute
judgment upon the idolators. Those who had joined in the idolatry, but had
repented, were to stand on the left side of Moses.
"None were to execute the judgment of God on the transgressors
(those who had participated in the idolatry but who had not repented), only
those who had taken no part in the idolatry." -SG III,IV pages
Because Claudia Burrow has sinned so terribly, she feels that she should
forever "walk softly before the Lord," but she only asks that the Reader of this
book will consider her study on this subject of "unity."
God's work to expose corruption- In certain
situations, God must work to expose sin, if the sinner is
influencing others to sin also. There are even prophecies in the
Scriptures which say so:
"For the priest's lips should keep knowledge and they should seek
the law at His mouth: for he is a messenger of the Lord of hosts.
"But ye are departed out of the way; ye have caused many to stumble at the
law; ye have corrupted the covenant of Levi, saith the Lord of hosts.
"Therefore have I also made you contemptible and base before all the
people, according as you have not kept My ways..." -Malachi
"And Mine hand shall be upon the prophets that
divine lies...because they have seduced My people, saying Peace; and there was
So I will break down the wall that ye have daubed with untempered mortar,
and bring it down to the ground, so that the foundation thereof shall be
discovered..." -Ezekiel 13:9-14.
"Among God's professed people are corrupt hearts; but they will be
tested and proved God will bring to light hidden things of darkness where they
are often least suspected, that stumbling blocks which have hindered
the progress of truth may be removed, and God have a clean and holy people to
declare His statutes and judgments. -Testimonies volume 1, page 333.
"God's frown has been brought upon the church on account of individuals
with corrupt hearts being in it...every honest one will be
enlightened as to the true state of this company...-Testimonies volume
1, page 122.
"Often those who are seeking to exalt themselves are brought into positions
where their true character is revealed... He (God) may seem to prosper those
who disregard His will and despise His warnings, He will, in His own time,
surely make manifest their folly." -Patriarchs & Prophets, pages 625,626.
"Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before
the whole congregation." -Proverbs 26:26.
The sins of influential men in high places must sometimes
be exposed, in order that they may not injure others by their corrupt
"If the wrongdoer only were concerned, and the work reached no
further than him, he alone should have the words of warning; but when his
course of action is doing positive harm to the cause of truth, and souls are
imperiled, God requires that the warning be as broad as the injury done." -II
Selected Messages, page 153.
"He (Jesus) had exposed the evil practices of the priests...
-Desire of Ages, page 540.
"Through their reverence...and their blind faith in a corrupt
priesthood the people were enslaved. These chains Christ must break. The
character of the priests, rulers, and Pharisees must be more fully exposed."
-Desire of Ages, pages 611,612.
Satan working to cover up- At the same time
that God is working to save His deceived children by exposing sin, Satan is
working to keep the sin covered up, in order that he may hold his prey.
We are helping the Devil in his plans if we keep silent:
"None are to place themselves where they will sanction wrong by
silence. They aid and abet the schemes of the enemy by keeping their lips
closed..." -Upward Look, page 206.
Unfortunately, sins are kept covered up:
"...churches are filled with fornication and adultery...but these
things are kept covered. Ministers in high places are guilty; yet a cloak of
godliness covers their dark deeds..." -Testimonies volume 2, page 449.
"If by lies and deception he can cover his sins from observation he is
content." -Testimonies volume 5, page 140.
"Sins have become fashionable...they are glossed over, palliated, and
excused..." -II Selected Messages, page 151.
This is deception- No matter what
"religious garb" one tries to throw over it; this covering up is deception in
God's sight and He expects His servants to deal only in truths:
"God's servants have to deal plainly, act openly, and not cover up
wrongs..." -Early Writings, page 99.
"The Lord hates all deception, secrecy, and guile. This is Satan's work;
the work of God is open and frank." -Testimonies to Ministers, page 274.
"Whatever in our practice is not open as day belongs to the methods of the
prince of evil. His methods are practiced even among Seventh-day
Adventists..." -Testimonies to Ministers, page 366.
"You have sinned greatly. But your sin in seeking to
cover up, and blind the eyes of those who have suspected you of wrong, has
been tenfold greater." -Testimonies volume 2, page
It is they who are bringing reproach to the
church- Often, the ones who seek to expose the sins which are hurting
the church- are the ones also that receive the blame for bringing "reproach"
upon God's church, when the public finds out about the scandal.
But truthfully, it is the one who has committed the sin, covered it up, that
is bringing hurt to God's church. And the leaders who aid in the cover up are
causing the public to wonder if the entire body of our Seventh-day Adventist
Church are all deceptive!
"And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah that Ahab said unto
him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled
Israel; but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the
commandments of the Lord..." -I Kings 18:17,18.
"The church must show their zeal for God in dealing with those who have,
while professing great faith, been putting Christ to open shame. THEY have
imperiled the truth. THEY have been unfaithful sentinels. THEY have brought
reproach and dishonor upon the cause of God.
The time has come for earnest and powerful efforts to rid the church of the
slime and filth which is tarnishing her purity." -Testimonies to Ministers,
They have brought it upon themselves:
"But whoso committeth adultery with a woman...destroyeth his own
soul. A wound and dishonor he will get; and his reproach shall not be wiped
away." -Proverbs 6:32,33.
"It is natural for the wrongdoer to hold the messengers of God responsible
for the calamities that have come as the sure result of a departure from the
way of righteousness." -Prophets & Kings, page 139.
"Among the false teachers in Babylon were two men who claimed to be holy,
but whose lives were corrupt...When the terrible results of their evil deeds
are made manifest, they will seek...to make the one who has faithfully warned
them, responsible for their difficulties, even as the Jews charged Jeremiah
with their misfortunes." -Prophets & Kings, page 442.
Why the cover up?- When the Burrows had sat
down with former Conference President Bill May for several hours and talked
about the situation with Morris Venden; something particular which Elder May had
said left the Burrows feeling a bit startled.
Elder May had just gotten through telling the Burrows that it sounded like
Venden was "deep into pornography." After that, he said that the Conference had
been thinking of getting Venden into "Evangelism" anyway!
The Burrows wondered if there were any kind of standards at all that one had
to have in order to have a job as an Evangelist in the church; it seems as
though even a minister who was deep into pornography could have the job!
What did it all mean? Later, after quite a long period of time, the Burrows
received the usual Southwestern Union Record Magazine in the mail. This
was the monthly paper sent to Seventh-day Adventists in that particular area.
In this one particular edition, there was a picture of none other than Morris
Venden, in the middle of a "star" background. Cyril Miller, who is the Union
President, advertised that Venden was one of his "stars" who was used by the
Conference for Evangelism.
It seemed as if the Conference wanted Venden to bring more people into the
Seventh-day Adventist Church, and they didn't mind if he was into pornography-
just as long as his popular preaching brought in more worshippers.
Morris Venden makes people feel "relieved" that they are saved even in their
sins. "No more legalism" they shout! I'm free! But are they really free?
"Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin." (John
Celebration Churches- Now the Conferences
are starting something new called: "Celebration Churches." Basically the idea is
to bring in as many people into the church as you can- anyway you can. Don't
"scare anyone off" by preaching any type of message that tell them they must
give up their worldly ways. It is strange that Morris Venden was called
precisely to Southeast California, where one of the main "Celebration" churches
was located. They called him to be the "Conference Revivalist."
Watered down Theology- In the time of the
early Christian church, they got the idea that "watering down" the truths of the
Bible was the way to bring more people into the church. But, there were
"Satan... laid his plans to war more successfully against the
government of God by planting his banner in the Christian church. Idolaters
were led to receive a part of the Christian faith, while they rejected other
essential truths. They professed to accept Jesus.. but had no conviction of
sin and felt no need of repentance...
With some concessions on their part they proposed that Christians should
make concessions, that all might unite on the platform of belief in Christ...
Some of the Christians stood firm, declaring that they could make no
compromise. Others were in favor of yielding or modifying some features of
their faith.. urging that this might be the means of their full conversion."
-Great Controversy, page 42,43.
Even in modern times, Satan still tries the same
"The ministers preach smooth things to suit carnal professors.
THEY DARE NOT PREACH JESUS AND THE CUTTING TRUTHS OF THE BIBLE; FOR IF THEY
SHOULD, THESE CARNAL PROFESSORS WOULD NOT REMAIN IN THE CHURCH. BUT AS MANY OF
THEM ARE WEALTHY, THEY MUST BE RETAINED, although they are no more fit to be
there than Satan and his angels.
"This is just as Satan would have it. The religion of Jesus is made to
appear popular and honourable in the eyes of the world. These smooth things
originated with Satan and his angels... Pleasing fables were taught....and
hypocrites and open sinners united with the church.
"If the truth had been preached in its purity, it would soon have shut out
this class. But there was no difference between the professed followers of
Christ and the world.
Jesus and all the heavenly host looked with disgust upon the scene. -Early
Writings page 228.
This is the same type of reasoning now being used in our church. Ellen White
told us: warned us that the OMEGA apostasy would be of a most startling nature.
These "Celebration Churches" are more like a place to go for entertainment,
instead of for surrendering your heart to Jesus and renouncing sin.
We are warned in Great Controversy pages 461-478 that "Modern Revivals" would
take place in the last days; which will be deceptive:
"Unless a religious service has something of a sensational
character, it has no attractions for them." pg. 463.
The real, testing truths will be left out of sermons, and no heartfelt
repentance will be felt during these False Revivals. Yes it seems as if Satan is
having his way- the OMEGA apostasy is waxing worse and worse, and "doctrines of
devils" are being preached.
And so, it seems that at any cost, Morris Venden, the "star" must be
protected and his sins covered up, no matter who gets hurt.
If it makes Jesus and the entire heavenly host disgusted,
it ought to make us disgusted too!
"Unity by cover up"- In order to make the
cover up sound "Christian," it is said that it must be that we cover this up for
the sake of "unity." "We don't want to cause any disturbance or any divisions in
the church," they say.
And so, in order not to be deceived by any of this "unity" business, one must
study what is meant by true Biblical unity. What is a good example of the wrong
kind of "unity?"
"From the first they hated Him (Jesus) because He had exposed
their hypocritical pretensions. Pharisees and Sadducees were more nearly
united than ever before. Divided hitherto, they became one in their opposition
to Christ." -Desire of Ages, pages 538,539.
It is not good to do as the Pharisees did and to "unify" upon silencing the
truth, because of fear that corruption will be exposed. Both Jesus and the
faithful of all ages refused to have "unity" if it meant compromise with sin or
with true Scriptural teachings:
"We must not, in order to have peace, cover up the faults of those
we see in error. Jesus never purchased peace by covering iniquity, or by
anything like compromise. -Upward Look, page 220.-so much for
Neal Wilson's call for love and peace and harmony then!
"To secure peace and unity they were ready to make any concession
consistent with fidelity to God; but they felt that even peace would be too
dearly purchased at the sacrifice of principle. If unity could be secured only
by compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference, and
even war." -Great Controversy, page 45
Even Jesus Himself was accused of causing
"Jesus could have been at peace with the world only by leaving the
transgressors of the law unreproved. This He could not do; for He was to take
away the sins of the world. Those who are faithful sentinels will be charged
by the world as being disturbers of the peace, and will be charged with
stirring up strife and with creating divisions." -3RH; 7/24/94.
True unity only comes when we unify upon right practices and upon Scriptural
"Christ calls for unity. But He does not call for us to unify on
"The God of heaven draws a sharp contrast between pure, elevating,
ennobling truth and false, misleading doctrines.
He calls sin and impenitence by the right name. He does not gloss over
wrongdoing with a coat of untempered mortar. I urge our brethren to unify upon
a true, scriptural basis." -I Selected Messages, page 175.
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the
Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried
about by every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning
craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. . -Ephesians 4:13,
Yes, if truth is muted, and the people are deceived; if
sins are covered up, and doctrines of devils allowed to find their way into
God's church, for the sake of "unity," then the very most we can hope for is to
expect that every such step taken for the sake of so-called "unity" will only
lead the Church deeper and deeper into the OMEGA apostasy.
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First printing ęClaudia Burrow 1989
Second Printing ęClaudia Burrow 2003
Return to Book I about the Venden Case