When I was young my mother bought Rhodes frozen bread dough. The bread package had the label made by Seventh Day Adventists (SDA). They practiced Sabbath on Saturday, claiming it to be the required seventh day of rest. A trucker family friend had to stop driving Rhodes goods on Saturday. The believe Sunday worship is driven by Satan to foil salvation.
My next encounter with the church was reading about the whole foods movement where I read Kellogg was an SDA. He, John, and his brother, Will, encouraged granola (granose biscuits, granula, the first dry breakfast cereal was invented by John Caleb Jackson), invented corn flakes, and processed peanut butter. But it’s about sex and the soul and not health.
Will operated a sanatorium and advocated sexual abstinence. Will believed the classic eggs and bacon breakfast led to sexual promiscuity, which led to disease. Corn flakes were to cool your jets. He also advocated only two meals a day, as well as avoiding sexually stimulating spices and meat. He was energetically against masturbation and recreational sex within marriage; causing “cancer of the womb, urinary diseases, nocturnal emissions, impotence, epilepsy, insanity, and mental and physical debility.” To cure masturbation he recommended circumcision, and clitorectomy using acid. From his Plain Facts for Old and Young:
a method of treatment [to prevent masturbation] … and we have employed it with entire satisfaction. It consists in the application of one or more silver sutures in such a way as to prevent erection. The prepuce, or foreskin, is drawn forward over the glans, and the needle to which the wire is attached is passed through from one side to the other. After drawing the wire through, the ends are twisted together, and cut off close. It is now impossible for an erection to occur, and the slight irritation thus produced acts as a most powerful means of overcoming the disposition to resort to the practice.
“He also recommended, to prevent children from this “solitary vice”, bandaging or tying their hands, covering their genitals with patented cages and electrical shock.”
A fan of dramatic enemas, he invented an enema machine that provided several gallons of water at a time followed by a pint of yoghurt, half eaten, half with the enema. He also advocated breathing exercises, sunshine, and exercise as a means of calming the sexually tempestuous spirit. He has been popular in the whole foods movement as he advocated holistic health, vegetarianism, and exercise. What needs to be remembered is that health meant fighting satan. He did not believe the soul was separate from the body.
SDA is considered one of the 10 big religions and is said to be growing rapidly. Scary when you think how close it is to Jehovah’s Witnesses and how JW came from SDA.
But I am getting ahead of myself. In 1822 William Miller, a farmer and popular lay Baptist, revealed the world was going to end as shown by one line of the bible, converting days to years. (Others have used this line to show a second coming was considered iminent in biblical times.)
And he said to me, “For two thousand three hundred days; then the sanctuary shall be cleansed.
By 1833 he published it and had calculated the date being in October 22,1843, later changed to 1844. 21,000 articles (eg, Signs of the Times) a week were published and his gospel caught on. When it didn’t happen, the Great Disappointment, followers had mixed reactions from changing the date, to insisting on prayer, to renouncing the world; a substantial number became Quakers, and more became the Bible Study Movement (Jehovah’s Witness since 1931).
Some decided that it had happened but in heaven. Probation was over and Christ was making his judgement. You’d better be perfect now. Perfect soul, perfect body. No separation.
They came to the conclusion that “the sanctuary to be cleansed in Daniel 8:14 was not the earth or the church, but the sanctuary in heaven.” Therefore, the October 22 date marked not the Second Coming of Christ, but rather a heavenly event. This is the basis for the later Seventh-day Adventist doctrine of the Investigative Judgement.
24 of the 28 fundamental beliefs says:
There is a sanctuary in heaven, the true tabernacle which the Lord set up and not man. In it Christ ministers on our behalf, making available to believers the benefits of His atoning sacrifice offered once for all on the cross. He was inaugurated as our great High Priest and began His intercessory ministry at the time of His ascension. In 1844, at the end of the prophetic period of 2300 days, He entered the second and last phase of His atoning ministry. It is a work of investigative judgment which is part of the ultimate disposition of all sin, typified by the cleansing of the ancient Hebrew sanctuary on the Day of Atonement. In that typical service the sanctuary was cleansed with the blood of animal sacrifices, but the heavenly things are purified with the perfect sacrifice of the blood of Jesus. The investigative judgment reveals to heavenly intelligences who among the dead are asleep in Christ and therefore, in Him, are deemed worthy to have part in the first resurrection. It also makes manifest who among the living are abiding in Christ, keeping the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, and in Him, therefore, are ready for translation into His everlasting kingdom. This judgment vindicates the justice of God in saving those who believe in Jesus. It declares that those who have remained loyal to God shall receive the kingdom. The completion of this ministry of Christ will mark the close of human probation before the Second Advent.
Ellen White (Harmon) went on to write The Great Controversy, the battle between god and satan, and becomes an SDA founder.
The second half of the book is prophetic, looking to a resurgence in Papal supremacy. The civil government of the United States will form a union with the Roman Catholic church as well as with corrupt Protestantism. There will be an enforcement of a universal Sunday law (the mark of the beast) and a great persecution of Sabbath-keepers immediately prior to the second coming of Jesus.
Lest she sounds reasonable:
Small pockets of believers were scattered throughout the northeast. The meetings (attended by Miss Harmon), who met almost exclusively in private homes, were characterized by the “holy” salutation kiss, loud shouting and singing, physical prostration’s, promiscuous (mixed) foot-washing, multiple baptisms by immersion, odd exhibitions of voluntary humility (i.e. crawling and barking). A woman, at the meeting, got on her hands and knees, and crept over the floor like a child. A man, in the same position, followed her, butting her occasionally with his head. Another man threw himself at full length upon his back on the bed, and presently three women crossed him with their bodies.
While SDA say the Bible is their only creed they currently follow a set of beliefs.
- Law (fundamental belief 19)—the Law of God is “embodied in the Ten Commandments“, which continue to be binding upon Christians.
- Sabbath (fundamental belief 20)—the Sabbath should be observed on the seventh day of the week, specifically, from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset.
- Second Coming and End times (fundamental beliefs 25–28)—Jesus Christ will return visibly to earth after a “time of trouble”, during which the Sabbath will become a worldwide test. The second coming will be followed by a millennial reign of the saints in heaven. Adventist eschatology is based on the historicist method of prophetic interpretation.
- Wholistic human nature (fundamental beliefs 7, 26)—Humans are an indivisible unity of body, mind and spirit. They do not possess an immortal soul and there is no consciousness after death (commonly referred to as “soul sleep“). (See also: Christian anthropology)
- Conditional immortality (fundamental belief 27)—The wicked will not suffer eternal torment in hell, but instead will be permanently destroyed. (See: Conditional immortality, Annihilationism)
- Great Controversy (fundamental belief 8)—Humanity is involved in a “great controversy” between Jesus Christ and Satan. This is an elaboration on the common Christian theory that evil began in heaven when an angelic being (Lucifer) rebelled against the Law of God.
- Heavenly sanctuary (fundamental belief 24)—At his ascension, Jesus Christ commenced an atoning ministry in the heavenly sanctuary. In 1844, he began to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary in fulfillment of the Day of Atonement.
- Investigative Judgment (fundamental belief 24)—A judgment of professed Christians began in 1844, in which the books of record are examined for all the universe to see. The investigative judgment will affirm who will receive salvation, and vindicate God in the eyes of the universe as just in his dealings with mankind.
- Remnant (fundamental belief 13)—There will be an end-time remnant who keep the commandments of God and have “the testimony of Jesus” (Revelation 12:17). This remnant proclaims the “three angels’ messages” of Revelation 14:6–12 to the world.
- Spirit of Prophecy (fundamental belief 18)—The ministry of Ellen G. White is commonly referred to as the “Spirit of Prophecy” and her writings are considered “a continuing and authoritative source of truth”, though ultimately subject to the Bible.
National Geographic in 2005 published an article (cover story) stating their low-fat, nut and bean rich, vegetarian diet along with day of rest, and abstinence from alcohol and smoking leads to a life 4-10 years longer than other Californians.
The belief they are in current judgement and atonement tends to emphasize a perfection oriented and exclusive view of salvation. All must behave perfectly and there is no other valid church.
Because of its many variants, schisms, and sects it’s a complicated history. You can see how a religion, without a central authority, divides and hybridizes repeatedly. You can also see why, in early Catholicism, someone like Constantine would want to consolidate the church to stop all the infighting, where one group insists the other is damned for the most ridiculous but absolutist reasons.
I never eat Corn Flakes anymore.
Jim Newman, bright and well