WHEN you're the son of a clergyman it is expected that you will be faithful to your father's religion. More so when your father happens to be a canon. Michael Nisbett has taken a different path in his search for the truth.
Mr. Nisbett, son of Canon Thomas Nisbett, began his transformation from Anglican to Seventh-day Adventist five years ago.
He said: "When I was going to church everything seemed routine. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't getting much out of the services. I thought to myself 'There's got to be more to this than just going to church on Sundays and then going home and doing what you were before you came to church.'"
He investigated the teachings of the Salvation Army, Roman Catholic and Mormon churches before he found his calling with the Adventists.
Mr. Nisbett said: "A friend of mine, who I work with, said 'Why don't you come to the Adventist church? I thought I had nothing to lose so I might as well try it and see what they're up to.'"
One thing he found refreshing was the Adventists thirst for scripture. "They really encourage you to study the Bible," he said. "As I studied the Bible there were a lot of things that many churches were doing contrary to the Bible."
Some items Mr. Nisbett thought were contrary to the Bible were bowing to the cross and worshipping on Sunday.
"The big thing was the Sabbath but my initial reaction was 'who cares what day you worship on? It doesn't really make much difference.'"
He continued his search for truth and started attending some Adventist cottage meetings and examined their literature.
Mr. Nisbett did some studying. His studies brought him to the conclusion that worshipping on Sunday was wrong. He discovered how emperor Constantine the Great changed the worship date from Saturday to Sunday.
He said: "There is no text in the Bible that says you have to worship on Sunday. If you look in the Bible all the apostles continued to worship on the Sabbath. From that I was pretty much convinced that the Sabbath was the right day."
From there he began to look at faiths that honoured the Sabbath and was left with a choice between Jews, Adventists and Sabbatarian Baptists. "The Jews don't believe in Jesus so that puts them out and there isn't a Sabbatarian Baptist Church in Bermuda so that left the Adventists," Mr. Nisbett said.
In March 1996 he was baptised into the Adventist church and his parents were there to support him. His father even read the scripture for the service.
"They supported me and they actually came to the Baptism when I was Baptised. To be perfectly honest I'm not sure how much more they think about it. I never really discussed it with him ... but I still discuss Bible things with them."
Canon Nisbett was philosophical and said there were worse things for a parent to worry about than a switch of faiths.
"I feel that he has his own life to live. If that is God's leading, if God's directing him and it's of the Holy Spirit, I can't judge. I leave the judgement to God but he is following in the Christian way. I feel that if God is calling in that direction, so let it be."
Canon Nisbett added: "We don't understand the Holy Spirit's guidance at times. One or two people have asked how I felt about it, and I've told them the same thing I've told you. I am not opposing him in what he's trying to do. It's the Christian gospel, but the difference is worshipping on the day but most other things can be quite similar."
He felt like his son Michael was doing the work of God and following his calling and because of that, others were being blessed.
"I'm not turning my back on him because he is following the Seventh-day Adventists beliefs. I shall work along with him and I feel that if he is able to help so many, many, many people who need help out there, if God is calling him to that, I'm happy.
"I've told people he could be doing something far worse and I'm glad he's not going in the other direction. If he had said to me I don't believe in all this religion and they're all a bunch of hypocrites then I'd have something to worry about because he'd be turning his back on the whole church."
Bermuda Sun, 30 January, 1998.