Fascinating secular read of JW American Millerite origins
A Political Warning Shot: 'American Theocracy'
NPR - 12 minutes ago
... Jehovah's Witnesses were yet another of the militant denominations assembled in the nineteenth century to await a second coming. ...
Partial excerpts below click link above for a very long read
As American as Apple Pie
Since at least 1776 the upstart sects have grown as the mainline American denominations have declined. And this trend continues unabated, as new upstarts continue to push to the fore.
-- Roger Finke and Rodney Stark, The Churching of America, 1992
It is impossible to locate a period of American history when so-called small sects were not growing at a faster clip than denominations then viewed as large and stable.
[.....Jehovah's Witnesses were yet another of the militant denominations assembled in the nineteenth century to await a second coming. Founder Charles Russell, who rejected the doctrine of the trinity, proclaimed that Christ had returned to earth invisibly in 1874 preparatory to establishing a full presence. The cataclysm or advent was predicted for 1914. Over the years, Witnesses refused to serve in the military, vote, hold office, or salute the American flag, calling such practices the province of the antichrist.As with the upsurge of the Seventh Day Adventists, part of the Witnesses' twentieth-century growth was international, resulting from missionary activities. In the United States alone, nearly one million witnessed the millennium......
......Greater flamboyance marked two other new sects, both enlivened by founders' claims of special divine revelation. After the failure of predictions by William Miller, a self-educated farmer from upstate New York, that Christ would return in 1843 and then 1844, elements of his following were reorganized by associates. They claimed that the return had indeed taken place, but only as a spiritual (and invisible) passage into the presence of the father A full return was still to come. One founder, Ellen White, claimed to have had a personal vision of creation. The Seventh Day Adventists, as they became known in 1860, worshipped on Saturday, kept awaiting the advent, and emphasized dietary practices that pioneered the role of grains as cold cereal. They, too, thrived and grew to count one million members in the United States by 2000.......
.....Although survey results vary, some 7 to 10 percent of U.S. churchgoers appear to be Pentecostals, and perhaps a quarter of churchgoers are full-fledged end-times believers, as opposed to the 50 percent or so who relate to the symbolism when holy wars or tsunamis dominate the news.......
Jehovah's Witnesses are the gospel of gobbledygook-Danny Haszard Bangor Maine