How An Obscure Doomsday Prophecy Turned Into One of the World’s Largest Religions
There are thousands of bad prophecies but this one succeeded where others failed

William Miller was not like other preachers. He served in the War of 1812 as a captain and saw combat. Rockets, mortars, and bullets rained around him killing people here, wounding them there but Miller exited the war without so much as a scratch.

When he returned home to Vermont after the war, his father and sister both passed in rapid succession. This troubled Miller greatly. The death that he had seen in the war had followed him home and it raised many questions that he did not have the answers to.

In the mind of Miller, then a deist, death could only hold two options for human beings. Either death was the ultimate end, a swift trip into oblivion, or it had to lead to some sort of divine reckoning. At the time, both options seemed frightful and neither very fulfilling.

In order to get to the root of the problem, Miller decided that he was going to study the Bible. But he was not simply going to read the Good Book, he was going to comb through it, verse by painstaking verse, until he felt comfortable with what the words said.

He began with Genesis 1:1 and studied each verse in-depth, hanging on words, dissecting meanings the best he could, and it was said he did not move on from a verse until he was absolutely certain that he had divined the true meaning of the text.

Miller embarked on his studies in 1815 and did not fully conclude them until 1823. By the time he was done he thought he had discovered something quite remarkable.


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