The Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) is a Protestant denomination characterized by its observance of the biblical Sabbath (Saturday), its emphasis on the imminent second coming of Jesus Christ, and its fundamental creed, “The Bible, and the Bible alone.” Officially founded in 1863 by Joseph Bates, James White, Ellen G. White, and J. N. Andrews, the SDA Church grew out of the Millerite movement of the mid-1800s. Its founder, William Miller, preached from his farm in Low Hampton, New York, that the second coming (Advent) of Jesus Christ would happen on October 22, 1844. The day passed without incident and became known as the “Great Disappointment.” Many of Miller’s followers disbanded following this, but a small group of Adventists continued their belief that Christ’s second coming was imminent. This Adventist group was loosely led by Joseph Bates, who was a strong proponent of Sabbath-keeping.
For the next twenty years, Adventists followed Bates, but it was the writings of Ellen White that ignited the Adventist movement. White’s many visions convinced other Adventists that she possessed the gift of prophecy, and she became a central spiritual leader for the Adventists. Finally, on May 21, 1863, in Battle Creek, Michigan, the Seventh-day Adventist Church announced its formation, and the church established a platform of missionary work and revivals to attract new members. This platform was taken directly from a vision Ellen White had in 1848 when she saw the “Three Angels’ Messages” traveling like streams of light around the world. SDA members interpreted this vision to mean that new converts could be made to the movement.
In addition to marking the Sabbath on Saturday, rather than on Sunday as is more common in other Christian denominations, Adventists are also well-known for emphasizing healthy lifestyle habits. Many SDA members practice vegetarianism and adhere to the kosher laws set forth in the book of Leviticus, such as abstinence from shellfish, pork, and other “unclean” foods. Seventh-day Adventists also practice abstinence from illegal drugs, tobacco, and alcohol.
The following video is a good presentation of what the Adventists say about themselves.