It is not uncommon for Seventh-day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons to be grouped together, especially by those who are not particularly religious themselves or for those who are not a part of these respective denominations. All three, considered cults by many in the evangelical community, are distinct in their varied belief systems are quite dissimilar, notwithstanding their respective passion for evangelization. A recent example of this grouping is in relation to the 90-day travel ban imposed on individuals traveling from Muslim countries into the United States. Minnesota representative, Keith Ellison, on Face the Nation drew a comparison stating, “It’s a religiously based ban. If they can ban Muslims, why can’t they ban Mormons, why can’t they ban Seventh-day Adventists, why can’t move into ethnic groups?” An even more recent example of this grouping is playing out even now in Russia. In its succession of attacks upon denominations other than Roman Catholicism, Russia firstly outlawed all types of evangelism, which shortly thereafter resulted in the complete banishment of Jehovah’s Witnesses from the country, labeling them as extremists, shutting down their churches and seizing their property. As reported, “Delivering the verdict on Thursday, Judge Yury Ivanenko ruled that all 395 branches of the religious group on Russian territory are subject to disbandment and the property is to be forfeited to the state. In the run-up to the ruling on its liquidation, based on a lawsuit filed by the Russian Justice Ministry, the Jehovah’s Witnesses group has repeatedly found itself in trouble with Russia’s anti-extremism legislation…Jehovah's Witnesses leaflets promoting information ‘posing a threat to health’ were provided as evidence by the Ministry of Justice during the hearings…More than 90 printed booklets of the organization have been found to contain extremist materials.”
If Seventh-day Adventists cannot read their fate in this ruling, it is because they are in denial or are simply blind and in dire need of eye salve, a chief characteristic of those living in the Laodicean era (Revelation 3:17). It is certainly not far-fetched to realize that Seventh-day Adventists are implicated in this ruling; in fact, Daria Kirjanov-Mueller, who teaches Russian at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, mentions by name Seventh-day Adventists and Mormons in connection with the ban on Jehovah’s Witnesses: “ In the first years after the fall of the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church-Moscow Patriarchate ‘was struggling to serve a huge population of atheists just finally entering into a post-Soviet reality and ready and excited to take on a faith,’ Kirjanov-Mueller said. ‘There was competition, but the majority of the seekers sought Russian Orthodoxy. Nevertheless, there was a selection of religions, and the Russian Orthodox Church lost many ‘native’ Orthodox to various other Christian and non-Christian denominations.’ The 1997 law was meant to address the ‘unwelcome competition’ between the Moscow Patriarchate and other Christian denominations…Twenty years later, the situation has not changed much. The main issue as I see it lies in the fact that the Moscow Patriarchate, along with other branches of the Russian Orthodox Church…sees such religious groups’ activity in Russia as a threat.”
She continues, “Jehovah’s Witnesses are not the only ones affected, she said. The law applies also to Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists, for example. She said that the Orthodox in the south of Russia are generally very religious and see groups such as 7th-Day Adventists as competition. ‘There have been many examples of people from Christian [sects] going into Orthodox churches and distributing literature or in some way disturbing church services,’ she said. ‘They go door to door…and the Russian Orthodox Church sees them as aggressive because they talk to people very openly, they give out literature, they often say very negative things about the Russian Orthodox Church, they’re very good at debating. … They are being perceived — by a very conservative religion that is in the process of reshaping itself and has been doing so for 25 years after a very long time of atheism — they are being perceived as the guys coming in and taking away our future converts.’”
Although often associated together, the real target of Satan and His agents are not the Jehovah’s Witnesses, neither the Mormons, but Seventh-day Adventists, those who keep the Commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ (Revelation 12:17). The enemies of truth and righteousness will stop at nothing to silence the messages found in Revelation 14:6-12. Those who continue to fulfill their God-given message through pen, voice, and the distribution of literature will be found in opposition to Russia’s anti-extremism laws. It is certain that there will be few, who at the peril of their jobs, reputation, safety and very lives, because of their love for Christ and love for His children, will continue going forward disseminating the truth; but the real question is, whether the denominational leaders will be firm or will they cower and abandon their commission to be found in harmony with the state and have their church doors remain open and their property secured.