22 Oct: Not The End Of The World

Jesus failed to show up on the day that came to be known as ‘The Great Disappointment’ – 22nd October, 1844. It was an embarrassment for the New England preacher, William Miller, who had prophesied Christ’s return; and devastating for his 100,000+ followers in North America alone. 

Miller had calculated the end of the world via an idiosyncratic interpretation of Daniel 8:14 (“And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed”). 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider how the Millerites processed their monumental anti-climax; reveal what Ralph Waldo Emerson made of it all; and wonder whether Miller’s flexibility in the face of contrary evidence has parallels in the modern-day QAnon movement…

Further Reading:

• ‘William Miller Convinced Thousands of Millerites the End Was Near’ (New England Historical Society, 2020): https://www.newenglandhistoricalsociety.com/william-miller-convinced-thousands-millerites-world-end/

• ‘The Great Disappointment’ (Grace Communion International): https://www.gci.org/articles/the-great-disappointment/

• ‘William Miller Predicted Christ’s Return in 1844. Here’s What Happened After His Prophecy Failed’ (History Unplugged, 2020):