In the Bible, Jesus tells his disciples the following about the end of the world: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven nor the Son, but only the Father." (Matthew 24:36). Despite this, William Miller, a popular minister in New York, preached that he had calculated the precise day on which the world would come to an end. He was wrong. Twice. In this episode, Josh explores William Miller’s conversion to evangelical Christianity, his calculations about the end of the world, and the fallout from his incorrect predictions.
Sylvester Bliss, Memoirs of William Miller: Generally Known as a Lecturer on the Prophecies, and the Second Coming of Christ, Joshua V Himes, (1853).
Edwin S. Gaustad, ed. The Rise of Adventism: Religion and Society in Mid-Nineteenth Century America, Harper and Row, (1974).
Nathan Hatch, The Democratization of American Christianity, Yale University Press, (1989).
Ronald L. Numbers and Jonathan M. Butler, eds., The Disappointed: Millerism and Millenarianism in the Nineteenth Century, University of Tennessee Press, (1993).
David L. Rowe, God’s Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World. Grand Rapids: William B Erdmans Publishing Company, (2008).
Chart of William Miller's Calculations via Wikimedia Commons.
Portrait of William Miller via Wikimedia Commons.
Music: "Evening Melodrama" by Kevin Macleod (www.incompetech.com)