Started in October 2022, Haystacks & Hell is an online media project for questioning and former Seventh-day Adventists. This includes a podcast, a growing collection of listener-submitted stories, a collection of links to resources, and a mutual aid project.
The project is presented from a mostly secular perspective, featuring stories and guest interviews about growing up Adventist, leaving faith behind, and building new, fulfilling lives. However, some guests do maintain some Christian or spiritual beliefs.
This project exists for people to feel seen, heard, and supported as they go through deconstruction and deconversion, or even as they continue processing years later. Haystacks & Hell is not anti-theist but does reject fundamentalism and, like the early Adventist movement, strongly supports separation of church and state.
I was born and raised in a conservative Seventh-day Adventist church and was a committed believer for ~25 years, serving as a musician, ordained deacon, youth leader, and Pathfinder staff.
Despite the many gut-wrenching stories of hurt and abuse within Adventism and Christianity, the church didn't hurt me. I didn't leave due to peer pressure or because I was "angry with God."
Instead, my journey away from Adventism was a gradual and earnest process as I could no longer reconcile how a loving god would allow so much pain and suffering while being silent.
In 2021, after ~3 years of deconstruction and deconversion, I began identifying as an agnostic atheist and told my Adventist parents. I have a greater sense of peace, a desire to help others, and a duty to address any harm I caused as a believer.
No matter where you are in your journey, and no matter where you go, you are not alone.
—Santiago, founder & host (He/Him)