I’ve already written about the beginnings of William Miller’s Adventism, but I haven’t yet said anything about its offshoots. The most famous is the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, primarily known for observing the Sabbath on Saturday instead of Sunday.
In a way, this makes sense if you’re going to accept what’s in the Bible. The laws in the Torah were supposed to last forever, not just until God’s son showed up and came back to life on a different day of the week. To a non-religious person, however, the argument comes across as equivalent to the difference between Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
If religion is supposed to be about faith and morality, why does it matter if Saturday or Sunday is the day of rest? For that matter, why can’t you just rest on a different day every week, depending on your schedule? I guess the Seventh-Day Adventists needed something to distinguish themselves from the other Millerites, though. Along with their emphasis on the seventh-day Sabbath is a belief that the seven days of creation were literal twenty-four-hour days, which I tend to doubt even the writers of Genesis actually thought. It’s become a quite popular belief today even outside the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, however. In fact, George McCready Price, a member of the church, is credited as the founder of the modern Creationist movement (now more often called “Intelligent Design,” presumably in order to sound even stupider). Another controversial doctrine taught by these Adventists is the denial of the immortal soul. Mind, body, and soul are all linked, and while the bodies of the faithful will eventually be resurrected, those of the sinful will not.
This holistic approach applies not only to spiritual matters, but to the church’s views on health care as well. I’ve wondered for some time why the Naturopathy movement has been so popular among fundamentalist Christians, and I think we have the Adventists to blame here. They place a heavy emphasis on nutrition, many of them being vegetarians, and even those who aren’t typically following the Jewish dietary laws. Not that this is a problem in and of itself, because it’s obvious that nutrition DOES affect health. The problem is that I think a lot of adherents to this philosophy actively deny that there are other factors at work as well. I mean, there are books out now that claim you can avoid cancer by eating a specific diet. There’s also a book called Eating for A’s, which I find amusing because it seems to be in total opposition to our societal stereotypes about nerds. Unless popular culture is lying to me (which it has before, mind you), a lot of the kids who get good grades in school live primarily on Mountain Dew and Doritos. Somehow I doubt that’s what the book suggests. Anyway, while on this topic, two famous Adventists were the brothers John Harvey and Will Keith Kellogg, founders of the cereal company that bears their name. They’re known to have created corn flakes in order to curb the libido.
And yet there’s a picture of a cock right on the box!
John Kellogg, especially, was a fervent opponent of masturbation, claiming that it could cause cancer, epilepsy, and insanity. Seriously, did someone masturbate into his corn flakes, or what? He was also a proponent of yogurt enemas. The Kelloggs ended up splitting with both each other and the Adventist Church over several different matters, but I’m pretty sure the headquarters of Kellogg’s are still in Battle Creek, Michigan, also the headquarters of the church until they moved to Maryland in 1989.