It turns out that William Miller, the main man behind the movement which resulted in the eventual formation of the Seventh-day Adventists and the Jehovah's Witnesses, was a Freemason. (Read the research article by an Adventist.)
As a Mormon, this interests me (Joseph Smith Jr. and Brigham Young not to mention multitudes of other early LDS leaders having been Masons as well)
New York, Burned Over District, 1820's-30's. 1844. Freemasonry. Prophecy. Belief in continuing revelation. And, a distinctive decline in splendor as soon as there is no Master Mason remaining in leadership.
What is the root of this big correlation? Is it a coincidence? Was there something in the air in those years, Masonically? What inspired these great men and Masons to their larger than life tasks?
Was there an unusual traveling magnetic field passing by in upstate New York in the 1820's? Quite frankly, I wouldn't mind tapping into a little of that juice myself.
The sad thing is, the successive generations of these individuals have largely taken for granted what their founders have provided. Their teachings and instruction are given lip service and perused occasionally, but they aren't recognized for what they were. Aside from the Theology and Eschatology (you might wonder what is left, with these individuals -- I assure you, plenty) it might be worthwhile for the Fraternity to lay their claim on these treasure troves of "living stone" examples and their fruits and writings, that have been abandoned by everyone else. As far as I'm concerned, they are among the best men Masonry has ever made better. If any Masons have ever changed the world, these men have. And I hope it was for the better.
Steps to the Endowment.
3 years ago