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Seventh-day Adventism is a cultish denomination of Christianity which holds that Jesus' return is imminent (though conveniently never setting a specific date for his return). Its largest organized church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, boasts approximately 16 million members worldwide.
Note that Seventh-day Adventism necessitates a belief in young Earth creationism. The "seventh-day" is a reference to the seventh day of the biblical creation story: God literally made the world in six 24-hour days, and then on the seventh, he rested. In fact, one of the founding movers and shakers of the creationist movement, Adventist George McCready Price, peddled "flood geology" a generation before the Baptist zealot Henry M. Morris turned it into an industry. Price had already alerted the world to the many "predicaments" of evolution in the first decades of the 20th century and would eventually join up with Morris later to preach against it.
That day of rest is why Seventh-day Adventists hold the true sabbath to be exclusively on the seventh day of the week (Saturday), as opposed to the majority of Christian sects, which mark the sabbath on Sundays. (The satanic-inspired secular ISO calendar tries to confuse upright Western Christians by usurping Religion's divinely-ordained and deeply traditional right to define time, specifying Monday as the first day of the week — like good Russian Orthodox Christian folk.) Adventists take this difference very seriously, to the point that some buy into a conspiracy theory about National Sunday laws (wherein other Christian denominations gang up on Adventists to mandate a Sunday-only sabbath across the nation — and in inland parts of Madagascar too).
Seventh-day Adventism traces its roots back to a movement led by William Miller, a Baptist preacher who, during the early 1800s, preached that his research into biblical prophecy indicated that Jesus would return in 1843. When his set date and subsequent revised dates inevitably passed much like other supposed prophecies, his movement fell apart, and its members fractured. Some, including Miller, renounced Baptist Christianity, while others continued to believe that the Second Coming was imminent, but this time (surprise, surprise) didn't set a date. These believers formed the core of what would eventually become the Adventist movement. (Another non-mainstream group said that Jesus had come and that his reign had begun; these are known as the Jehovah's Witnesses.)
The modern SDA Church began to coalesce with the writings and teachings of Ellen G. White, who claimed to see visions. She was hailed by her followers as a prophet. She articulated many of the church's core beliefs, including the observance of the sabbath on Saturday. The church was officially established in Battle Creek, Michigan, on May 23, 1863, with a membership of 3,500. Membership grew with missionaries, who actively exported Seventh-day Adventism to developing nations in Asia, Africa, and South America.
The SDA Church
The SDA Church was officially founded in 1863.
In addition to rejecting evolution, the SDA church also opposes gay marriage, trade unions, and abortion (though they make exceptions for cases of rape, incest, severe birth defects, or health risks for the mother and baby, which is more leeway than many other fundamentalist Christian denominations are willing to give).
The SDA church is officially pacifist and encourages vegetarianism as a way of caring for the environment. Women are officially barred from being ordained into ministry, although some of the church's divisions ordain female pastors, anyway.
Although she was active in the abolitionist movement, critics allege that a particular line in her book Spiritual Gifts shows that Ellen White, one of the denomination's founders, may have been racist (though this was common at the time):
“”"Since the flood there has been amalgamation of man and beast, as may be seen in the almost endless varieties of species of animals, and in certain races of men."
White also advocated for segregated churches in the South, due to the fact that racist whites would probably burn integrated churches. Her son Edson went down south to spread Adventism to newly freed slaves. He also taught them to read. Ellen herself would eventually go on to help found an industrial school for freedmen in northern Alabama, which would later become Oakwood University, the church's only HBCU.
The Branch Davidians — infamous for the disastrous siege undertaken on their compound near Waco, Texas in 1993, where 81 people ended up dying due to rank incompetence on the part of the federal agents involved — were an offshoot (of an offshoot) of Seventh-day Adventism.
Desmond Doss is perhaps the best publicly known SDA. During the Battle of Okinawa in World War II, Doss was a conscientious objector who never carried a gun or killed anyone. As a medic, he saved over 70 lives in Okinawa and was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Truman. In 2016, a movie was made about him called Hacksaw Ridge.
Seventh-day Adventism is the source of many inexpensive, mass distributed books. You might've seen them around: The Desire of Ages, The Great Controversy, America In Prophecy, and National Sunday Law Crisis (the first three being heavily-edited reprints of books by SDA prophet Ellen G. White).
In 2011, the Great Controversy Project began soliciting donations to enable the mass-mailing of the seminal Adventist text The Great Controversy to select U.S. zip codes. (The value of this effort is dubious, given that, being a book over 200 pages long, The Great Controversy would be the most unwieldy brick of unwanted mail ever stuffed in people's mailboxes.) Included with the book would be the warning "Time is running out! Obama just signed the hate crimes bill that might make it illegal to distribute this book". (Needless to say, this claim is not true.)
To its credit, the Seventh-Day Adventist church owns and operates dozens of hospitals and seven medical schools throughout the world, as well as a network of universities which (unlike some places we could mention) are actually regarded as viable learning venues in at least a few subjects. Students are given religious information, but their diplomas are at least worth something (an exception must be made when acting as a diploma mill - see below).
Of the American colleges listed at adventist.org, all but the Atlantic Union College are still listed as being accredited by the U.S. Department of Education. Similarly accredited universities have been opened around the world.
There has actually been some controversy from within the Church itself about this level of education. For example, La Sierra University teaches evolution as part of their biology program, and this sparked some controversy on an official mailing list in 2010.
Student LGBT rights advocacy group Campus Pride listed two SDA universities on its list of "absolute worst, most unsafe campuses for LGBTQ youth" in the United States, namely Andrews University and La Sierra University.
The church is also involved in humanitarian activities, such as ADRA, which provides aid and relief to third-world countries and areas hit by natural disasters. Maranatha Volunteers International, a supporting ministry of the church, coordinates mission trips to third-world countries to build churches, schools, and dig water wells. The church also has a worldwide media presence. Adventist World Radio, and Hope Channel are official media outlets of the church. Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN) is an independent family of television networks which teaches Seventh-Day Adventist doctrine 24/7.
Seventh-Day Adventist schools
The Seventh-Day Adventist Church has a school system with educational institutions ranging from primary education to higher education. Below is a (non-exhaustive) list of schools owned by the Church.
- Loma Linda University: A religious medical college in Loma Linda, California.
- Andrews University: A high ranking university in Berrien Springs, Michigan.
- Pacific Union College: Liberal arts college in Angwin, California.
- Walla Walla University: Liberal arts university near Walla Walla, Washington.
- AdventHealth University: A school specializing in healthcare education in Orlando, Florida.
- Southern Adventist University: A school in Collegedale, Tennessee. Known for its conservatism.
- Burman University: Not technically a Seventh-Day Adventist school but they are sponsored by the church. Located in Alberta, Canada.
- Oakwood University: A religious school in Huntsville, Alabama that is also an HBCU (Historically Black College/University).
- Universidad Adventista de Montemorelos: Located in Montemorelos, Mexico.
- Centro Universitário Adventista de São Paulo: A university system consisting of 3 campuses located in São Paulo (state), Brazil.
- Universidad Adventista del Plata: A university located in Libertador San Martin, Argentina.
- Universidad Adventista de Chile: A university located near Chillán, Chile.
- Universidad Adventista de Bolivia. A university located in Quillacollo: Bolivia.
- Universidad Peruana Union: A university located near Lima, Peru.
- Instituto Adventista Balcarce: A high school located near Balcarce, Argentina.
- Instituto Superior Adventista de Misiones: A high school and university located in Leonardo M. Alem, Misiones.
- Instituto Adventista del Uruguay: A high school located in Canelones, Uruguay.
- Newbold College: Binfield, England
- Adventist University of France: Collonges, France
Official SDA sites
- Three Angels Broadcasting Network
- Maranatha Volunteers International
- The ironically named Amazing Facts
- Offshoots in the SDA church Disrupting Adventism
- Official Church stats
- "In six days the Lord made 'the heaven and the earth' and all living things upon the earth, and rested on the seventh day of that first week. Thus He established the Sabbath as a perpetual memorial of His completed creative work." — Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Affirmation of Creation.
- See the Wikipedia article on George McCready Price.
- PDF copy of Illogical Geology - The Weakest Point in the Evolution Theory by George McCready Price. Originally published in 1906.
- Chapter 7 of The Predicament of Evolution by George McCready Price, originally published in 1926.
- See the Wikipedia article on International Organization for Standardization.
- See the Wikipedia article on ISO 8601.
- See the Wikipedia article on Names of the days of the week.
- See the Wikipedia article on God's Own Country.
- United for Mission: One Hundred and Fifty Years, History of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. 2013.
- "One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White." —Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Fundamental Beliefs.
- "[W]e believe that the biblical events recorded in Genesis 1-11, including the special creation of human beings, are historical and recent, that the seven days of creation were literal 24 hour days forming a literal week..." —Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Statement on Creation: The Bible's Worldview.
- Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Statement on Homosexuality.
- Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Response to Same-Sex Unions — A Reaffirmation of Christian Marriage.
- Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Guidelines for Employer and Employee Relationships.
- Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Guidelines on Abortion.
- Official Seventh-day Adventist Church Statement on Peace.
- Official Seventh-day Adventist Church document on Caring for Creation — A Statement on the Environment.
- Seventh-Day Adventists Vote To Deny Women's Ordination. HuffPost. 9 July 2015.
- Women Clergy Retreat Creates Atmosphere of Affirmation and Healing Adventist Review. 17 September 2018.
- White, Ellen G. (1864). Spiritual Gifts. Volume 3. Chapter 10: The Flood. p. 75. Online Edition.
- A Brief History of Seventh-Day Adventists by George R. Knight, Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1999, Chapter 5, "Mission to Black America"
- Oakwood University: Mission & History
- White's reference to "solitary vice" in An Appeal To Mothers is generally believed to be a euphemism for masturbation. (Revisiting Ellen White on Masturbation, spectrummagazine.org, 6 August 2008.) Other euphemisms she used included "secret vice" and "self-abuse."
- Official Seventh-day Adventist Church statement on Redeeming Our Sad Gay Situation: Awareness.
- Who Are the Real "Cultural Adventists"?
- What is a “Progressive” or a “Liberal” Seventh Day Adventist?
- Seventh-Day Adventist Church Warns Members Against Showing Institutional Favor for Ben Carson After Neurosurgeon Declares Presidential Bid
- Open Letter to Ben Carson From Fellow Seventh-day Adventist: Stop the Islamophobia
- Hacksaw Ridge on IMDb.
- According to Wikipedia, The Great Controversy is 219 pages long.
- List of Seventh-day Adventist hospitals on Wikipedia.
- List of Seventh-day Adventist medical schools on Wikipedia.
- Seventh-day Adventist AAA Accredited Colleges and Universities
- "The student will demonstrate knowledge of Population Biology, Evolution, and Ecology including population genetics; natural selection; evolutionary processes; speciation..." —page 110 of La Sierra University's List of undergraduate studies courses.
- "LSU has had several board meetings to discuss this issue. While they have reaffirmed their support of the fundamental SDA doctrine on a literal creation week, they have done nothing to address the active promotion of Darwinism and theistic evolution within LSU classrooms." —[Caribsda] Teaching Evolution as Fact at La Sierra College?
- Worst List: The Absolute Worst Campuses for LGBTQ Youth
- "Confronting the Challenges in Adventist Education" by Spectrum Magazine. 2 July 2008.