History Book

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, October 22nd. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next up on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book.

Today, the 50th anniversary of a momentus space flight, plus, a presidential candidate responds to critics after admitting a personal struggle.

REICHARD: But first, on this day a group of Christians gather to await Christ’s second coming. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin with October 22nd, 1844. That’s the day Baptist lay-minister William Miller predicted Christ’s return. Miller arrived at the date by comparing Daniel’s prophecies and Revelation to historical events and computed a timeline for the end of the world.

Miller taught that God wanted people to know, so they could prepare. As many as 100,000 so-called Millerites believed him:

ROWE: Some of them quit their jobs in order to get ready for the end. Some people gave away their possessions.

David Rowe is professor emeritus at Middle Tennessee State University and author of God’s Strange Work: William Miller and the End of the World.

ROWE: There were people who confessed to crimes, people who solved long-standing disputes with neighbors or with family members, but for the most part people just prayed and, and gathered with their families…

When October 22nd, 1844 came—and went—without any visible sign of Christ’s return, the day became known as the “great disappointment.”

ROWE: It was a pretty shattering experience for all of them really…

Miller never fully admitted he was wrong: instead, he maintained that Christ’s return was still imminent and blamed the “great disappointment” on faulty Biblical chronologies. Some of his followers left the faith, while others claimed something had occurred, but that it was spiritual.

Later, a handful of religious groups arose from the Millerites, including Seventh-Day Adventists and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Next, October 22nd, 1968. The Apollo 7 command module and her 3-member crew return to earth:

AUDIO: [Sound of Apollo 7 mission]

Apollo 7 was the first manned space flight in nearly two years. After Apollo 1’s fatal fire 20 months earlier, this mission’s success put the goal of getting to the moon before the end of the decade… back on track.  

AUDIO: [Sound of Apollo 7 mission]

Apollo 7 was a “shake-down mission” — meaning it tested the many systems and protocols required for an eventual lunar landing flight. Over 11 days in space, the crew tested the physical and psychological demands necessary for a prolonged mission.

Some of the crew developed head colds in space, and got testy, arguing with mission control over schedule changes and safety concerns. Even so, they successfully accomplished all 56 mission objectives.

President Lyndon Johnson honored the astronauts for their dedication and service:

JOHNSON: Your flight in the new Apollo spacecraft was one of the most successful space missions that’s ever been undertaken. And we just don’t see how you could have done any better…

MUSIC: [Rocketman, Elton John]

And finally, October 22nd, 1976:

CARTER: I have to admit that in the heat of the campaign I’ve made some mistakes…

During the third and final presidential debate between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford, Carter responds to criticism of his comments to Playboy magazine:

CARTER: I agreed to give the interview to Playboy. Other people have done it who are notable, but they weren’t running for president…

Carter’s Playboy interview covered a wide range of domestic and international topics. But the most talked about portion came when Carter admitted he’d looked on—quote—“a lot of women with lust.”

As a Christian, Carter explained that, according to the teachings of Jesus, he had committed adultery in his heart. He said he experienced forgiveness for his sinful thoughts.

The comments created a firestorm for the candidate:

CARTER: If I were to decide again to communicate my deep Christian beliefs and condemnation of sinfulness, I’ll use another forum besides Playboy…

Following his comments, Carter lost ground to Ford in the final weeks of the campaign. On November 2nd, 1976 Carter won the popular vote by a 2 percent margin and earned 297 electoral votes to Ford’s 240, becoming the 39th president of the United States.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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