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1847-1981 :

A thesis presented to the London School of Economics, University of London,
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, by Julia Twigg
©AUTUMN 1981 - Thesis Index

The author is now Professor of Social Policy and Sociology at Kent University, England, and has given permission for this previously unpublished thesis to be published on the IVU website. The ownership and copyright remain hers and no part of this thesis may be used elsewhere without her express permission.


[Numerical links are to the author's footnotes, use your back button to return to the same point in the text. Text links are to relevant items on the IVU website, all open in new windows. The original was text-only, all pictures have been added.]

Seventh Day Adventism

WhiteSeventh Day Adventism had developed in the United States in the 1840s and fifties under the visionary guidance of Ellen White. [right] (1) It arrived in England in 1878, and grew from that period, with, according to one adventist historian, a particularly rapid expansion of membership in the depression years of the 1930s. (2)

Adventism had been concerned in health refers and. diet since the early 1850s when Mrs White in her visions had received instruction as to the evil effects of tea, coffee, tobacco and other stimulants. (3) In picking up these thence, together with nature cure and vegetarianism, Mrs White was drawing on an element already familiar in the fundamentalist protestant American milieu of the 1830s and forties. From the 1860s, health concerns became a central aspect of Adventism, as part of its wider accommodation to reformist and this-worldly Kelloggorientations. Battle Creek Sanatorium was founded in the 1870s, and developed under the directorship of J.H. Kellogg  [right] though he eventually took it away from Adventist orthodoxy and towards a more worldly and religiously eclectic view. (4) In England their first health-food factory was founded in 1899, and in 1926 became part of their health-food company Granose, which produced, inter alia, breakfast cereals, decaffeinated coffee and meat substitutes. (5) Vegetarianism is not mandatory for Adventists, and they vary in their commitment to it.

Adventism, in terms of British vegetarianism, is a slightly aberrant element. That vegetarianism should operate within a sectarian formation is not itself odd - sectarianism is often reinforced by dietary, clothing or temporal restrictions – however it is untypical of the social association of modern vegetarianism. Adventism also seems to exist rather apart from the rest of vegetarianism: and its connections. Furthermore, in many of its central features, Adventism runs counter to the 'vegetarian' religious tradition developed here; thus, it is emphatically fundamentalist and Christian; it emphasises personal sin, Christ's atoning sacrifice, the need for belief and grace for salvation, and it has a clearly defined doctrine, mandatory for all believers. Much of the explanation for the difference lies in the origins of Adventism; for it transmits into twentieth-century British vegetarianism and its religious connections, elements whose cultural logic derive more properly from the America of the 1830s and forties.

  1. 201. For Adventism generally see R. Theobald, The Seventh Day Adventist Movement: A Sociological Study with Particular Reference to Great Britain, thesis presented at LSE 1979; and. B. Wilson, Religious Sects, 1970.
  2. 202. In 1930 there were about 4,600 Adventists; they expanded rapidly in the 1950s and sixties, partly through West Indian immigration, and now stand at about 12,700. (figures from Seventh Day Adventist Report by G.L. Anniss).
  3. 203. Theobald, p70-I. They also follow some of the dietary taboos of the Old Testament.
  4. 204. Theobald, p75ff; and account of Battle Creek in VM, October 1937, p314.
  5. 205. Theobaid, p210, 214.

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