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Joseph Bates

The Yankee sea captain and revivalist minister Joseph Bates (1792-1872) was a radical abolitionist who helped to form the Fairhaven Antislavery Society and who during America’s invasion of Mexico denounced the United States as a “heaven-daring, soul-destroying, neighbor-murdering country.” Bates was a champion of strict separation of church and state who objected to the way that sailors were often forced to attend religious services. He was also a radical health reformer who urged vegetarianism and total abstinence from alcohol and tobacco due to the harmful effects of the substances he witnessed among his crews. Church historian George Knight describes Bates as “the real founder of Seventh-day Adventism.”  Following the Great Disappointment of 1844 in which Millerite hopes in Christ’s return were dashed, Bates became convinced of the importance of observing the seventh-day Sabbath in keeping with the teachings of the Hebrew Bible and example of Christ, and convinced James and Ellen White to embrace Sabbatarian Adventism.

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