William Miller (1782-1849), a farmer and veteran of the War of 1812, converted to evangelical Christianity in 1816 and applied himself to intense Bible study in order to calculate the date of Christ's Second Coming, or Second Advent.
The exhilaration following the American Revolution, expressed in the Second Great Awakening of the early 19th century, fueled optimism that Christ's Second Coming was imminent. Adventist churches are a product of this hopeful time.
The Adventist movement emerged from the ministry of William Miller (1782-1849), who predicted that Christ would return on October 22, 1844. Another leading figure was Ellen White (1827-1915), whose visions gave the Seventh-day Adventists--the largest Adventist community--much of their unique character.
Adventist churches believe in the divine inspiration and infallibility of the Bible. The Books of Daniel and Revelation, along with passages in the Gospels and epistles, are read for the light they shed on the signs of the end times.
Scholars classify the Seventh-day Adventist Church as Protestant, mainstream, and conservative. In 1993, the Church was linked to ex-Seventh-day Adventist David Koresh and the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, a link that many consider unfair and unfortunate.