Archive for November 16th, 2015

November 16, 2015

Great Disappointment

everything dies by box brown

The Great Disappointment was the reaction that followed Baptist preacher William Miller’s proclamations that Jesus Christ would return to the earth in 1844. Many Millerites had given away all of their possessions and were left bereft when the prophecy proved false. Despite this, the movement wasn’t entirely disbanded, and eventually developed into several other denominations of Christianity, notably the Seventh Day Adventists.

The event is viewed by some scholars as indicative of ‘cognitive dissonance’ (discomfort from holding conflicting views) and ‘true-believer syndrome’ (maintaining a belief in the face of evidence to the contrary). The theory was proposed by social psychologist Leon Festinger to describe the formation of new beliefs and increased proselytizing in order to reduce the tension, or dissonance, that results from failed prophecies. His theory was that believers experienced emotional strain following the failure of Jesus’ reappearance in 1844, which led to a variety of new explanations, some of which outlived the disappointment.

read more »