You know how a lot of Christians are prejudiced against each other? There are “right” branches of Christianity and “wrong” branches? Well, I’m not going to debate the correctness of any of this, I just want to share something terribly amusing that happened this morning and ask if anyone else agrees or has any suggestions on what I should say.
As I’ve ranted about in the past, I carpool with a very religious lady who is always looking out for new (and, in this case, not so new) Apocalyptic theories to latch on to. This lady is the daughter of a Methodist preacher and a former Methodist preacher’s ex-wife. This morning she was telling me about this wonderful old book she was reading written in the 1800’s by an evangelist named E.G. White. I thought, “That name sounds familiar.” She told me what a great book it was, how Mr. White had used Biblical numerology to prove the pope was Satanic and that the world was supposed to have ended in 1830. Methinks, “1830? That sounds familiar.” If this terrific evangelist used the bible to prove the world should have ended in 1830, she says, then we are on borrowed time!
She goes on to explain how the book proves that having the Sabbath on Sunday is an extension of Roman pagan sun worship and the Sabbath belongs on Saturday just as God told the Jews. I barely suppress a giggle at this point. Finally, she goes on to talk about another evangelist discussed in the book named William Miller. Tee hee hee hee. To make matters even more amusing, she begins speculating how this Miller could be an ancestor of hers because she has Millers in her family tree and he was from the Philadelphia area, same as her family. I just smile and nod knowingly. (Of course, this is the same person who thought Diamond Dallas Page, the WCW wrestler, was the son of her ex-husband.)
Once at work, I pull up the web to double check my suspicions. Yup, she’s reading a book written by Ellen G. White, founder of the 7th Day Adventists.
Apr 28, 1843 Although this date was not officially endorsed by the Millerite leadership, it was a popular belief among William Miller’s followers that the Second Coming would take place on this day. (Festinger p.16)
Dec 31, 1843 Many Millerites expected Jesus to return at the end of 1843. (Festinger p.16)
Mar 21, 1844 William Miller, leader of the so-called Millerite movement, predicted through careful calculation that Christ would return sometime between March 21, 1843 and March 21, 1844. He gathered a following of thousands of devotees. After the failure of Jesus to show up during this window, the cult experienced a crisis of faith and in the confusion began reinterpreting the prophecy and aggressively proselytizing. (Gould p.49, Festinger p.16-17)
Oct 22, 1844 It’s Miller time again! Rev. Samuel S. Snow, an influential Millerite, predicted the Second Coming on this day. The date was soon accepted by Miller himself. On that day, the Millerites gathered on a hilltop to await the coming of Jesus. After the inevitable no-show, the event became known as the “Great Disappointment.” (Gould p.49, Festinger p.17)
1845 The Second Coming according to the Second Adventists, a group that formed from the remaining hardcore members of Miller’s cult. The Second Adventists were the forerunners of the Seventh Day Adventists (Kyle p.91)
1846 Another Second Coming according to the Second Adventists. (Kyle p.91)
1849 Yet another Second Coming according to the Second Adventists. (Kyle p.91)
To a lot of rabid fundies, 7th Day Adventists are about on par with Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc. So should I tell this proselytizing pastors’ daughter and wife that she’s reading and preaching the enemy? And if so, what would be the funniest way to do it?
(This morning she was telling me how distraught she was over the Alaska Airlines plane crash and she couldn’t sleep until she read from this book because it brought her comfort. So I’m thinking tomorrow morning I should ask her, “So, did you read any more of your 7th Day Adventist book?” That might be enough to set her to sputtering. Or should I just wait and see what happens when she gets to the end of the book? Do you think it would have a bio page for Ms. White?)
“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it,” Jack Handy