March 21, 1844

On March 21, 1844, William Miller predicted that the Second Coming would happen and all good Christians would be Raptured. Tens of thousands of Americans believed him and spent the night of March 20, 1844, praying and waiting for the Rapture. It didn’t happen and quite a few people were disappointed at they’d sold some worldly possessions they’d need back. William Miller came back and said he’d made a mistake in his calculations and said it was really going to happen on April 18, 1844. His followers, the Millerites, said, “Are you sure? We don’t want a repeat of March 21.” Miller assured them that this time his calculations were correct. They weren’t. More of his Millerites left his cult complaining that if Miller couldn’t accurately predict the end of the world and the punishment of the non-believers, what good was he. Miller said to his remaining followers, “Sorry, I misplaced the decimal and carried the two. The end of the World was really going to happen on October 22, 1844.” His remaining followers looked at him and said, “Okay, we’ll believe you this LAST time, but that’s it. If Jesus doesn’t come and take us away, we’re going back to farming.” One of his more educated followers was heard to mutter, “At least John Napier of Merchiston had the sense to foretell that the Rapture was going to happen 75 years in the future when he did it.” October 22 came and went. Jesus didn’t show up. The Millerites went back to farming and William Miller went to his grave in 1849, muttering, “If I carry the three and add six for the leap years, then the Rapture has to happen on….urp,” and he died.

About Joel Byers

Born in North Georgia and educated at some very fine public institutions. Real education started after graduating from college and then getting married and raising two boys. Has the ability to see the funny and absurd in most things and will always remark on it, even if it means getting the stink-eye from his victims.
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