Archive for the ‘Adventism’ Category


Goodbye & Thanks, Irene

August 19, 2007

Johnny’s Cache pointed me towards a recent Adventist Review news article on the death of Irene Morgan Kirkaldy on August 10, 2007. In 1944, Morgan–11 years before Rosa Parks–as a young SDA woman, refused to surrender her seat to a white couple while on an interstate bus. I have previously presented her story in much greater depth here.

Goodbye, and thank you. You made a difference.



August 12, 2007

I don’t know how I missed this, but I did. In 2006 a number of sources–including the National Public Radio, reported, “A construction crew excavating land for a new high rise in San Francisco’s South of Market neighborhood recently dug-up a well-preserved chunk of the city’s maritime past: A 19th-century whaling ship that archeologists believe was buried and forgotten as landfill after being abandoned by fortune-seeking sailors during the Gold Rush.”

So what does this have to do with Adventist history? Plenty as it turns out. The ship was identified as the barque Candace which once carried Captain Joseph Bates on a voyage from Peru to Boston. Bates did not command the ship on this particular voyage but apparently travelled as a passenger, according to the Adventist News Network report.

Joseph Bates was a founding member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and is particularly known for his promotion of the seventh-day Sabbath. During the spring of 1845 he accepted the seventh-day Sabbath after reading a pamphlet by T. M. Preble. Bates became known as the “apostle of the Sabbath” and wrote several booklets on the topic. One of the first, published in 1846, was entitled The Seventh Day Sabbath, a Perpetual Sign.

Bates’ autobiography has the wonderfully unwieldy title: The Autobiography of Elder Joseph Bates; Embracing a Long Life on Shipboard, with Sketches of Voyages on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas; Also Impressment and Service on Board British War Ships, Long Confinement in Dartmoor Prison, Early Experience in Reformatory Movements; Travels in Various Parts of the World; and a Brief Account of the Great Advent Movement of 1840-44; and was first published as a book in 1868. (Its first publication was as a series of fifty-one (yes 51!) articles in the Youth’s Instructor between November 1858 and May 1863.), Later editions carried the more readable title: The Early Life and Later Experience and Labors of Elder Joseph Bates. An online copy of this second (1877) edition edited by James White is available online. In this edition, Bates’ voyage home to Boston is found in chapter 14.His voyage on the Candace take place before his conversion and before his encounter with the teachings of William Miller. A dedicated sailor, Bates records his feelings as the Candace left port:

“None but those who experience these feelings can tell the thrill that fills every soul, from the captain to the cabin-boy, when the order is given to ‘weigh anchor for home.’ New life, with energy and strength, seems to actuate all on board. The hardy sailors clinch their hand-spikes, the windlass begins to roll and bring the watery cable on deck. The gallant ship, seemingly participating with her joyous crew, advances step by step to her anchor, until the officer cries out, ‘Hold! the cable is a-peak!’ The top-sails are now loosed, sheeted home, and hoisted to the mast-head, and the yards are braced to cant the ship’s head out of the harbor. The windlass is now manned again. The ship is soon up with her anchor. A few more turns of the windlass, and the anchor breaks its hold, and the gallant ship is free. The anchor is up and swung to the cat-head, and the ship’s sails fill with the freshening gale. The sailors cry, ‘We are homeward bound.'”

Upon his arrival in Boston, Bates met a daughter whom he had not yet seen: “A little blue-eyed girl of sixteen months, whom I had never seen, was here waiting with her mother to greet me, and welcome me once more to our comfortable and joyous fire-side. As I had been absent from home over two years, I designed to enjoy the society of my family and friends for a little season.”

Godfrey T. Anderson has written a wonderfully interesting article based on Bates’ logbook for his 1827 voyage on the brig Empress (“The Captain Lays down the Law” The New England Quarterly, Vol. 44:2 (1971), 305-309.).

As Anderson points out, the logbook “handwritten by Captain Bates and over a hundred pages in length, gives an insight into the strong feelings on religion which he was experiencing at this precise time. Typical of the comments was his entry of September 28, 1827: (Sunday) ‘I know not what the Lord is preparing me for, or why I have such conflicts in my mind…. But I feel sometimes such a spirit within me for fear I shall be led to commit some dreadful sin for which I know I must suffer.'”


Shhhhhhhhh – it’s a secret…

July 19, 2007

The Biblical Research Institute (BRI) was “organized in 1956 and operated as part of the world headquarters, [it] … exists to answer and expound on questions of doctrine for Seventh-day Adventists and for those interested in Adventist beliefs. BRI distributes informative papers on specific topics; presents programs for ministers’ meetings; provides specialized short courses for ministerial education programs; operates a vigorous program of Bible Land seminars in Israel and publishes major book-length studies on specific subjects. It also issues a periodic newsletter of theological information and discussions.” (From the GC website.)

The BRI’s newsletter mentioned above is called Reflections and it has been issued four times a year since 2003. Until now it has only been available via email to SDA theologians and administrators. Recently a decision was taken by the BRI to post Reflections on their website – including all past issues. HOWEVER, “The newsletter is only accessible to pastors, theologians, and administrators of the church. User name and password are required.”

The weird thing is, there’s nothing particularly controversial or difficult about the information contained in the newsletter– this is after all, an official GC organization.

I do know the secret password (and it is kind of odd theologically for an SDA organization) but I won’t reveal that here. What I have done is uploaded all the issues of Reflections, 1-19 on (a very cool file-sharing site). They are then available now via the widget you see in my side-bar.



Sarepta Myendra Irish Henry

June 11, 2007

Some months ago I posted briefly on Sarepta Myendra Irish Henry. I’d just like to draw your attention to a wonderful resource that has just been added to the General Conference Archives online resources. It is a biography of Henry by her daughter Mary Henry Rossiter titled My Mother’s Life (A Memoir of S. M. I. Henry). Interestingly, the introduction–written by Bishop John H. Vincent of the Methodist Episcopal Church–has the following comment:

“Of her change of religious profession I say nothing. I do not understand it. But she did; and that is enough for me. She was, under her later confession, just what she was through all the years before,–a sweet, consistent, unselfish Christian. The Church with which she spent her latest years is to be congratulated for the service she rendered, and for the memory of goodness and serenity she bequeathes [sic] to it.” (p8)

Vincent is of course referring to Henry’s conversion to Seventh-day Adventism at the age of 57 in 1896

The book is quite long–353 pages, but it is worth reading. Henry is a fascinating woman. To be remembered for one’s “goodness and serenity” is a fine epitaph.

Just to keep you up to date with the recent auctions on Ebay:

  • God’s Memorial by James White (Battle Creek: Seventh Day Adventist Publishing Association, Not dated, circa 1870). SOLD for $52.50.
  • Why Evil was Permitted by Henry Smith Warleigh (New York: George Storrs, Circa [1847-1863]) SOLD for $146.50.

I hope both of these items have found a home where they will be preserved and made available (by digitization perhaps) to those interested.


QOD & More EBay “Bargains”

June 5, 2007

Allow me to add my voice to that of Julius Nam on Progressive Adventism regarding the upcoming Questions on Doctrine 50th Anniversary Conference (October 24-27, 2007) at Andrews University. The Conference has a website at with all the details.

In my last post Ebay History #2 I mentioned a few items of interest:

  • Scripture Searcher 1-7 Published by Hastings Horace Lorenzo, (Keyport, New Jersey: E Wolcott, 1870). SOLD for US $77.76
  • Jesus is Coming Again Published in Herald of the Morning, Vol. 11, No 2, August, 1880. (Rochester, NY: Nelson H. Barbour). SOLD for US $305.00 !!!
  • John Couch The Two-Horned Beast (Boston: The Advent Christian Publication Society, Not Dated, c.1870-1874). Sold for US $24.99
  • [J. N. Andrews] The Two Laws (Battle Creek: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, Not Dated c.1860). Sold for US $32.55

There are two more items currently for sale from the same dealer who has obviously obtained a group of such items:

  • God’s Memorial by James White (Battle Creek: Seventh Day Adventist Publishing Association, Not dated, circa 1870).
  • Why Evil was Permitted by Henry Smith Warleigh (New York: George Storrs, Circa [1847-1863])

I don’t know who Henry Smith Warleigh was, but George Storrs was a Methodist minister who became a Millerite & is best known for his promotion of the doctrine of Conditional Immortality. You can read some of Storrs’ sermons on the topic here. A brief biography of Storrs can be found here (scroll down the page).


Ebay History #2

May 24, 2007

Currently there are a number of interesting articles related to the early history of Adventism for sale on eBay. Perhaps someone with more money than me will purchase them and donate them to the Center for Adventist Research at Andrews University or the Heritage Room at Loma Linda University. (On second thoughts, donate to the Heritage Room at Loma Linda University, as the Center for Adventist Research still has not responded to my emails concerning the free availability of heritage photos from their collection–see my post here).

Items include:

  • Scripture Searcher 1-7 Published by Hastings Horace Lorenzo, (Keyport, New Jersey: E Wolcott, 1870).
  • Jesus is Coming Again Published in Herald of the Morning, Vol. 11, No 2, August, 1880. (Rochester, NY: Nelson H. Barbour). (Nelson H. Barbour was a Millerite Adventist and predicted Christ’s return in 1873, and when that failed, he revised the prediction for 1874. Soon after that disappointment, Barbour’s group came to believe that Christ had returned in 1874 but invisibly.
  • John Couch The Two-Horned Beast (Boston: The Advent Christian Publication Society, Not Dated, c.1870-1874).
  • [J. N. Andrews] The Two Laws (Battle Creek: Seventh-day Adventist Publishing Association, Not Dated c.1860).

ASDAH Part 3

May 14, 2007

Sabbath began with a presentation by Clifford Jones: “In Search of Utopia: James K. Humphrey and the Seventh-day Adventists” Humphrey is the subject of both Jones’ PhD thesis and his recently published book: James K. Humphrey and the Sabbath-day Adventists (University Press of Mississippi, 2006) ISBN: 978-1578068913 Jones’ presentation was excellent and illustrates the kind of work that needs to be done on any number of neglected SDA historical persons. For those collectors of trivia, Humphrey’s middle name (the K) is Kemuel. Information on Humphrey can also be found in:

Jones, R. C. “Humphrey and the United Sabbath Day Adventists, 1930-2000.” Andrews University Seminary Studies 43:1 (2005): 77-90.
Joe Mesar and Tom Dybdahl. “The Utopia Park Affair and the Rise of Northern Black Adventists.” Adventist Heritage, 1:1 (1974) 34-41,53.

The second presentation was by Carlos Schwantes (pictured below) : “The Notion of Time in Adventist History”. Schwantes pointed out that SDAism has historically placed great emphasis on time rather than on geography.


That ended the formal presentations. On Sunday morning, Joan Francis (pictured below) was elected ASDAH president and as a result it was determined that the next ASDAH meeting in 2 or 3 years will be in Washington DC at Columbia Union College. joan-francis.jpg
It was a wonderful conference, I had a fantastic time meeting new people. See you in 2008/2009!

If you are a SDA historian and are interested in being on the ASDAH mailing list then you may contact Brian Strayer at Andrews University: bstrayer AT andrews DOT edu