A few examples of once-wacky groups and what has happened to their major innovations.
|Seventh-Day Adventists||Regarded at their founding as sky-is-falling millenialists obsessed with the purity of their diets.||Adventists' interest in nutrition and health led to the founding of a cereal food company by Dr. John Kellogg and a national system of 431 hospitals and clinics. Their views on the dangers of smoking and dietary fats are standard today.|
|Church of Christ, Scientist||From their founding in 1879 until recent decades, Christian Scientists were often identified as fanatics who eschewed basic medical care in favor of healing through prayer.||Mary Baker Eddy's research into various healing methods, resulting in her book "Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures," broke new ground in the understanding of the mind-body-spirit connection. Today, spiritual healing is considered a mainstream idea.|
|Mormons||Suspect as heathen practitioners of polygamy, members of this Christian sect were driven from their settlements in Missouri and Illinois, where their founder was beaten to death by a mob.||Mormons today are seen as protectors of the traditional family, and include powerful leaders like Sen. Orrin Hatch.|
|Spiritualists||In the early 20th century, mediums crowded Lily Dale, N.Y. and nearby towns, drawing thousands anxious to contact dead relatives through séances.||Spiritualism still lives in Lily Dale, but its wider influence is felt in Dial-a-Psychics and television shows like John Edward's "Crossing Over."|
|Methodists||In days when religious disagreements could cause riots, revulsion at the doctrine of Perfectionism--the idea that believers can become perfect in this life--forced Methodists out of England and America's settled colonies.||With the frontier the only safe terrain, Methodist preachers converted many early pioneers, making Methodism a major American denomination. Today, Methodists downplay perfectionism.|