Background

The main yearly meeting of the world church is called Annual Council. Every October the General Conference Executive Committee gathers for this meeting. Needful decision-making is accomplished by this body for the world church between General Conference Sessions held every five years.

In the 2015 General Conference Session held in San Antonio, Texas, delegates made an important decision. They again (similar votes had been held in 1990 and 1995 sessions) determined they would continue the practice of the Adventist Church from its beginning: they chose (again) not to open the way for the ordination of women to the gospel ministry.

Be that as it may, several women both before and after the 2015 meeting have been illegally “ordained to the gospel ministry” in the Pacific Union. The Columbia Union continues to have policies out of compliance with the world church on this question, and the North Pacific Union and some Unions in the Trans-European Division are following credentialing practices which are out of harmony with the world church.

At 2016 Annual Council the General Conference Executive Committee voted to engage in a process of reconciliation and if necessary, discipline toward errant parts of the world church. The year between meetings resulted in no correction to those insubordinate actions. In October 2017 Annual Council a proposal offerred the GC Executive Committee for how to proceed was returned to committee, leaving the non-compliant Unions out of harmony with the world church and the present leaders of these Unions and Divisions remaining in office.

About two weeks after Annual Council, the North American Division meets to hold its Year-End Meeting (YEM). Certain events in this year’s YEM especially stand out.

NAD YEM 2017

First, time was set aside in NAD YEM to discuss the proposal that was to be considered at 2017 Annual Council and that would have impacted Unions in rebellion in the NAD. During that discussion, a young adult from Canada, Daniel Cho, also a member of the North American Division Executive Committee, obtained the floor and spoke of the necessity of unity. He moved this motion:

In the spirit of church unity and respect for the decisions of the General Conference in session, and recognizing that the General Conference in session with delegates from all over the world is the highest human body that we have for settling disputable matters among Divisions and their entities in the church, we, the North American Division Executive Committee, as part of the General Conference, direct that all entities that we serve bring their practices into harmony with the NAD/GC policy, and the 2015 vote of the world church on ordination. I so move.

The motion was seconded. One person spoke in debate, then a second speaker called for opportunity to be given for prayer. While most committee members were engaged in prayer, the chair, Dan Jackson, conferred at length with ex officio committee member General Conference treasurer Juan Prestol-Peusan, NAD and GC legal counsel Karnik Doukmetzian, G. Alexander Bryant, and others, who did not participate during most of the prayer time.

Almost immediately after debate resumed, Prestol-Peusan approached the mic and after a convoluted reasoning segment, moved to table the motion.

According to Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised In Brief, “The purpose of the motion to Lay on the Table is to enable an assembly, by majority vote and without debate, to lay a pending question aside temporarily when something else of immediate urgency has arisen or when something else needs to be addressed before consideration of the pending question is resumed” (pp. 118-119). Since there was no other pending motion for the NAD Executive Committee to address before it considered Cho’s motion, the motion to table was out of order. This was a misuse of parliamentary procedure to defeat the main motion without debate. Robert’s Rules continues with the question: “Can something be defeated by adopting a motion to table it?” Answer: “This is a common violation of fair procedure. Such a motion is not in order, because it would permit debate to be suppressed by a majority vote, and only a two-thirds vote can do that.”

We are indebted to a sharp-eyed layperson who brought this to our attention.

Someone may say this observation doesn’t apply since the meeting was conducted under the General Conference Rules of Order (GCROO), not Robert’s Rules. However, look again at the reason this practice is not allowed: because it would permit debate to be suppressed by a majority vote, while only a 2/3rds vote can do that. Two-thirds is the required threshold to end debate on a motion by calling question (calling for an end to debate of a motion being considered and immediately putting the main question itself to a vote). Not only does this reasoning operate identically in GCROO, but GCROO specifically makes the same point: “It [motion to table] is not used to ‘drop’ or suppress a motion” (GCROO, 3a, p. 7).

Thus, the NAD president and the maker of the motion to table, Juan Prestol-Puesan, who spoke together while other committee members were praying, knowingly deprived a fellow committee member, Daniel Cho, of the right to have his motion debated, duly processed, and voted on by the assembly. Debate was cut short. Furthermore, Cho is a representative of Seventh-day Adventists in the North American Division and any usurpation of his rights is a usurpation of our rights as members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the North American Division.

What could have been done in the meeting is for a delegate to call point of order, explain the error, and the chair would have been required to rule on the point of order. If his ruling was incorrect, committee members could appeal his decision and overrule it by a simple majority vote (GCROO, p. 3, 8-9, 12).

Another point of interest from the NAD YEM: at one point during the proceedings, NAD president Dan Jackson urged his assembled NAD leaders to be “obstreperous” in pushing, against the decision of the world church, for women’s ordination. Such behavior is hard to square with his other statements that the NAD is in unity and in harmony with the world church.

Actions like those described in this article have caused an enormous loss of confidence in the present leadership of the North American Division. They have propelled the North American Church into a terrible crisis which, unless soon addressed, will split the Church in North America.

The illegal vote to table the motion passed 186 to 25 with 3 abstentions.

14 thoughts on “NAD Illegally Suppresses Young Adult Motion

  1. Cannot something be done to circumvent the illegal vote? I mean beyond just telling people now, not that this shouldn’t be done but may something more?

    Reply
    • At the time the motion to table was being offered or immediately after, a point of order might have been offered forcing the chair to rule. If the chair ruled wrongly, the delegate/committee member could have appealed that decision to the body. A 2/3rds vote by the body overrules the chair and he must proceed according to the decision by the body.

      Brother Cho’s motion was doomed of course from the beginning because NAD leadership has zero plans to turn back from their attempt to overturn the GC decision. At the time these things are happening, participants in the meeting can work in these ways. The other solution is to remove officers for cause, or, to replace them at a constituency meeting. It seems unlikely any of these people are in that place where they are persuadable. That means the only solution is to remove and replace them—a part of the very proposed solution the GC document called for under GC Working Policy B 15 15 on Monday, October 9.

      Reply
      • Thank you for making this information available. Your last point is ironic. The Daniel Cho incident is just another item of evidence in which leaders show themselves. While no one can read the heart, we are to reasonably draw conclusions based on words and actions. Let us stay informed about such significant actions. Accountability is something we should require of one another in God’s Church. Though there was a failure to support such accountability on October 9 at Annual Council, it is right for us to submit to and practice this godly principle at every level of our church.

        Reply
  2. All the persons instrumental to this violation KNOW the procedure! Especially Karnik!
    They did not even give room for the motion to be properly moved. The call to table came too soon. To table cannot be used to drop or suppress a motion; That would have been “Motion to postpone indefinitely” but that was not the call. And postpone indefinitely requires debate!
    I am sad to see such injustice in our Church. The persons lamenting at the AC about sacred trust and faith and unity, cannot adhere to what they lay as heavy burdens on others! Shame on the three musketeers whispering their secret tactics.

    GC RoO, p. 7 and 8
    Motion to Table.
    A motion to table should be used when delegates or committee members wish to postpone to a later time consideration of an item that has been moved. It is not used to “drop” or suppress a motion; the correct motion for this is “postpone indefinitely.” A motion to take from the table business previously tabled, is treated in the same way as a motion to table, though it can be renewed if it fails to pass.
    A motion to table,
    Requires a second.
    Cannot be debated.
    Cannot be amended.
    Requires a simple majority.
    Cannot be reconsidered.
    Does not apply to committee reports or unfinished business but only to a pending motion.

    3e. Postpone Indefinitely.
    The purpose of this motion is to suppress a motion. Subsidiary motions do not apply, except previous question and limit (or extend) time of debate.
    The motion to postpone indefinitely,
    Requires a second.
    Is fully debatable, including both the main question and the propriety of postponing indefinitely.
    Cannot be amended.
    Requires a simple majority.
    Applies essentially only to main motions, though it can be applied to “Questions of Privilege.”
    Can be reconsidered if the vote was affirmative.

    Reply
  3. The fact that Dan Jackson and others were conspiring DURING prayer tells me all I need to know about his and others’ rebellion against the GC in Session, GC Annual Council, and NAD YEM.

    Reply
  4. We can see clearly soon
    The demonstrations of WILL
    Is NAD leaders like JESUS demonstrating HIS WILL or OWN WILL

    WE HAVE a vote in SESSION

    Reply
    • Like to add
      The finger pointing of TED WILSON
      i can’t help think he is VICTIM in all this
      Where are all these hot shot pastors standing by fellow brother.

      Reply
  5. I have always believed the enemy was sleek and smart. Not surprised. There is a time to pray and a time to obey. The idea that we can pray as a way of avoiding to obey is as sleek as any move can be. Have to give these “brethren” some respect for being about their business with promptitude. They are good at what they do. The only question I have is, where are the Lord’s watchmen to leave this young man to stand alone like this? What has happened to the NAD? Years of liberal intoxication has emasculated us brethren. It is time to wake up and be MEN. While we are to be harmless as doves, we are to be men of steel of soul when it comes to the truth. This is a WAR! We are too soft. As Margie Thatcher would say: we are a weak lot: weak, weak, weak!!

    Reply
  6. By the way, we are going to have to learn that this condescending and sleek language that presumes over others will have to be met head with a proper and prompt rectification of the situation. Silence will not do. We have to anticipate it under God and meet it. Courtesy is not a substitute for vigilance and engagement. We can be decent, focused and firm. We have to ask for Divine help with this but we have to address this spirit and mind for what it is. We have to change brethren. Too much is at stake. We need to be wise as serpents. For the Lord’s sake we need we need to be awake, focused and firm. We need to understand how the system works and how it can be abused. We need to be on it. We cannot afford to be outsmarted like this time and time again. Lord help us!

    Reply
    • Well said, Zanoramo. There is no virtue in timidity. However, we always want to be “actuated” by the spirit of prayer. (Let God purify any selfish motives we have.) 8T, p.251

      Reply
  7. This is perfectly fine. The motion was bogus and not in the right forum and devoid of the facts. In any event, it would not have passed. The NAD is not going to let the evil elements of the world church dictate it’s policy

    Reply

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