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Very few people know the history surrounding corn flakes, specifically Kellogg’s corn flakes. Although John Harvey Kellogg is not create corn flakes on his own, has impacted society greatly, the Seventh Day Adventist church in particular. Born on February 26, 1852, in Tyrone, Michigan. John Harvey Kellogg was an American physician and a health-food pioneer. John Harvey Kellogg was the fourth of the eight children of John Preston and Ann Janette Kellogg. John Harvey Kellogg contributed greatly towards the history of the SDA church that shaped it and changed it in various ways, such as his several publications, his contribution to the invention of corn flakes, and his establisment of the sanitarium.
While still attending school, Kellogg came to be James White’s assistant editor for the Adventist Health Reformer. Kellogg accepted the position as the editor the following year, he also started his career as a writer of health propaganda. Later on he published his first work, Proper Diet for Man in 1874 and a cookbook, which promotes vegetarianism. In 1877, he published Plain Facts about Sexual Life, which was the first-ever book regarding sex. He published Rational Hydrotherapy in 1901, and it played an important role in the fields of medicine for several decades. Kellogg encouraged a diet to avoid all kinds of meat, milk, cheese, refined sugar, use of eggs and to completely avoid the use of alcohol, coffee, tobacco, tea and even chocolate. He even developed a health regimen which includes regular exercise, correct posture, getting lots of fresh air and sunshine, sensible clothing and an intake of eight to ten glasses of water a day. He believed that dietary intake should be limited to nuts, legumes, grains and fruits.
After being persuaded that lack of chewing causes indigestion and tooth decay (Biography.yourdictionary.com, 2020). He started to encourage his patients to start each meal by chewing a slice of zweibach bread, a German bread that is baked twice. When a patient complained that she lost one of her teeth while eating the zweibach, Kellogg started experimenting. He needed to find something that could be chewed safely without running the risk of injury or other inconvenience to their teeth. He and his younger brother, Will Keith Kellogg, a business administrator at The San, created corn flakes. They boiled batch of wheat but forgot about it for several days. Then they rolled it and scraped off the flakes resulting in corn flakes. While Kellogg wanted to use this for chewing practices, the San quickly realized that when milk is added it enhances its flavour. The popularity of the new cear boomed, and during his first year, Kellogg sold over 100,000 pounds of cereal, this product was first known as Granos and was later changed to Toasted Wheat Flakes.
In 1876, John Harvey Kellogg agreed to become the superintendent of the Battle Creek sanitarium (the San) formerly known as the Western Health Reform Institute. Over 200,000 patients were treated at The San, including politicians and industrialists. The San prohibited guests from smoking or drinking and promoted a vegetarian diet. Kellogg created a variety of exercise equipment for his patients to improve their diet. Kellogg even developed a wide range of new foods such as corn flakes, peanut butter, granola etc. To produce corn flakes and other foods for his patients more efficiently, Kellogg and his younger brother founded the Battle Creek Sanitarium Health Food Company in 1898. Will Keith Kellogg, later on, created his own cereal company in 1906, the Kellogg Company formerly known as the Battle Creek Toasted Corn Flake Company. Throughout his years, Kellogg’s wealth and property grew, achieving worldwide recognition, but with it came difficulties towards his younger brother and Ellen White.
Although he had strong support from the church, criticism started to erupt towards Kellogg from Ellen White and other Adventists leaders. These leaders felt that Kellogg had not been following the church’s mission. Although he established the San as a place for Adventists to recover their health, Adventists rejected his admission policy. Kellogg only allowed guests who are prestigious and prevented those who were average citizens or those who he believed were too ill. Kellogg became more determined to discover the medical and scientific reasoning behind why certain foods cause problems. As a result the church leaders started to question his faith.
In February 1902, the Great Battle Creek Sanitarium burned to the ground. Kellogg wanted to rebuild it the Sanitarium on an even greater scale. Ellen White wrote about this as an act of judgement from God. Ellen White did not agree with Kellogg’s reasons behind rebuilding the Sanitarium. Yet he ignored her advice. Financial assistance was required in order to initiate the rebuilding of the new Sanitarium. So Kellogg decided to write a book about physiology and health entitled “the Living Temple”. The money raised from the book will go towards rebuilding the new sanitarium. However, the General Conference Committee rejected the book. Resulting from this, Kellogg started to teach false doctrines regarding the nature of God. Kellogg had adopted some theological understandings about God that contributed to the SDA beliefs. His theology and his understanding was simply this,
“That God is not an actual person who is a physical tangible being. That God is this essence that pervades in everything. It is what the new age believes today. That God is in everything, in the flowers and in the trees. If you’re taking a bath or shower, God is in the water would be one example. It is called Pantheism.”
What Kellogg did contradict to what Christians believe to be the true biblical picture of God. And so the book became a problem. Kellogg ordered 5000 copies of his book to be published by the Review and Herald publishing house. However, the publishing house burned down that same year the book was to be printed. However, that didn’t stop Kellogg and he had the book printed by another publishing company anyway. Ellen White wrote him several personal messages of warning, however, he neglected them. She was also worried that he had gathered an excessive amount of power to himself. In Spite of Kellogg’s stubbornness and refusal, she unrelentingly tried to keep him from abandoning his religious beliefs. Thus resulting in the exile of Kellogg from the Adventist Church.
John Harvey Kellogg contributed greatly towards the history of the SDA church that shaped it and changed it in various ways, such as his contribution to the invention of corn flakes, his several publications and the sanitarium. Through reading the life of Kellogg and his contributions, the Holy Spirit had indeed been guiding him through every one of his decisions. Even though Kellogg made bad decisions, he still did some good.
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