The Voice Of Prophecy And Other Essays


FoundedOctober 19, 1929 (1929-10-19)
FounderH.M.S. Richards, Sr.
HeadquartersLoveland, Colorado, United States

Area served

North America, Guam, Micronesia, Puerto Rico

Key people

Shawn Boonstra (Speaker/Director)

Jean Boonstra (Associate Speaker)

The Voice of Prophecy, founded in 1929 by H.M.S. Richards, Sr., is a Seventh-day Adventist religious radio ministry headquartered in Loveland, Colorado.[1] Initially airing in 1929 on a single radio station in Los Angeles the Voice of Prophecy has since grown to numerous stations throughout the United States and Canada. It was one of the first religious programs in the United States to broadcast nationally. Under the leadership of Shawn and Jean Boonstra, the ministry has now expanded into additional forms of media, including the weekly Disclosure broadcast [2] and Discovery Mountain radio adventure series for kids. Additional projects include humanitarian efforts in countries such as India [3] and Myanmar.


H.M.S. Richards, Sr. began a regular radio program on October 19, 1929 on KNX (AM) in Los Angeles.[4][5][6][7]

Richards earliest studio was his South Gate Tabernacle near Long Beach, where he was presenting nightly evangelistic meetings. His office was a renovated chicken coop in Walnut Park, California. Seventh-day Adventist Church members donated their old eyeglasses and gave teeth with gold fillings and jewelry and watches to help buy the first radio time on Long Beach station KGER.[8]

Later Richards presented daily live broadcasts of The Tabernacle of the Air over KGER in Long Beach, California, and live weekly remote broadcasts from his tabernacle to KMPC (AM) in Beverly Hills.[4][9]

In January 1937 the broadcast footprint expanded over a network of several stations of the Don Lee Broadcasting System, and the name of the broadcast was changed to the Voice of Prophecy.[7] The first Voice of Prophecy coast-to-coast broadcast was over 89 stations of the Mutual Broadcasting System on Sunday, January 4, 1942.[4][5][7] It was one of the first religious programs to broadcast nationally.[10]

Up until the early 1950s broadcasts were produced live. Mispronounced names and singer mistakes went out unedited to the listeners. By 1980, Richards had a $6 million budget. The Voice of Prophecy broadcast each Sunday to 700 stations around the world.[9]

Throughout the years Voice of Prophecy broadcasts were marked by an opening theme song of "Lift Up the Trumpet" performed by the King's Heralds quartet and closed with Richard's poem "Have Faith in God" each week having a new verse written.


H.M.S. Richards, Sr. was speaker from 1929 to 1969. In 1969, Richards' son, H.M.S. Richards, Jr., succeeded him and was speaker from 1969 to 1992. He was followed by Pastor Lonnie Melashenko, then by Fred Kinsey. The current speaker is Shawn Boonstra.

Preceded by
H.M.S. Richards, Sr.

October 19, 1929 - 1969
Succeeded by
H.M.S. Richards, Jr.
Preceded by
H.M.S. Richards, Sr.
H.M.S. Richards, Jr.

1969 - 1992
Succeeded by
Lonnie Melashenko
Preceded by
H.M.S. Richards, Jr.
Lonnie Melashenko

January 1993 - July 2008
Succeeded by
Fred Kinsey
Preceded by
Lonnie Melashanko
Fred Kinsey

September 2008 - April 2012
Succeeded by
Shawn Boonstra


Various musicians perform on the broadcast. Female vocalist Del Delker began as a regular on the program since 1947. The male quartet King's Heralds also performed weekly on the program from 1936 until 1982. Wayne Hooper served as musical director until his retirement in 1980.[11]

Voice of Prophecy Bible School[edit]

A key program of Voice of Prophecy is the Discover Bible School. Introduced on February 1, 1942 as The Bible School of the Air, it was one of the first correspondence Bible schools in North America.[12]

Known today as the Discover Bible School it offers free Bible guides by mail [13] or online[14] and has affiliate schools in over 120 countries with lessons in over 80 languages and dialects.[15]

In 2010, the Bible School celebrated its one millionth graduate.[16]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  1. ^"Voice of Prophecy Dedicates New Headquarters in Loveland". Voice of Prophecy. Retrieved 2 June 2016. 
  2. ^"Disclosure". Voice of Prophecy. Voice of Prophecy. 
  3. ^"India Project". Voice of Prophecy. Voice of Prophecy. 
  4. ^ abc"HMS Richards (Founder)". The Voice of Prophecy. Archived from the original on 2008-08-08. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  5. ^ ab"Through the Decades..."(PDF). The Voice of Prophecy. Archived from the original(PDF) on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  6. ^"Record, November 23, 2002"(PDF). South Pacific Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Archived from the original(PDF) on July 24, 2011. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  7. ^ abcLand, Gary (2005). Historical Dictionary of Seventh-day Adventists. Lanham MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 313. ISBN 0-8108-5345-0. 
  8. ^"'Voice of Prophecy' founder dies". The Telegraph-Herald. Dubuque, Iowa: United Press International: 10. April 25, 1985. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  9. ^ abKeys, Laurinda (June 7, 1980). "85-Year-Old Voice of Radio Program Claims He's No Prophet". The St. Petersburg Evening Independent. St. Petersburg, FL: Associated Press: 4. Retrieved 2012-10-15. 
  10. ^Knight, George R. (1999). A Brief History of Seventh-Day Adventists. Adventist Heritage Series (2nd ed.). Review and Herald Publishing Association. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-8280-1430-4. 
  11. ^"Voice Of Prophecy press release regarding Wayne Hooper". The Voice of Prophecy. Archived from the original on 2008-06-25. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  12. ^"Voice of Prophecy Bible School About Us". The Voice of Prophecy. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  13. ^"Discover Bible Guides by mail". The Voice of Prophecy. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  14. ^"Discover Online Bible Guides". The Voice of Prophecy. Retrieved 2008-10-28. 
  15. ^"Discover Online Languages". The Voice of Prophecy. Retrieved 2016-06-02. 
  16. ^Johnson, Kurt. "College Student Is One Millionth Graduate"(PDF). The Voice of Prophecy News. Retrieved 2016-05-11. 

The work of the social anthropologist Edwin Ardener (1927-87) remains a fertile source of insight and influence, says his former student and editor of a collection of his essays, Malcolm Chapman.

(This article was first published on 21 September 2007)

Edwin Ardener was born eighty years ago today, on 21 September 1927. He studied social anthropology at the London School of Economics immediately after the second world war, coming into contact with a number of major figures in the subject - Edmund Leach, Raymond Firth, Darryl Forde, and Audrey Richards (as well as encountering the strong posthumous presence of Bronisław Malinowski). Ardener began a long fieldwork involvement with west Africa in 1949, which involved numerous long visits over the next twenty years. Ardener's published ethnographic and analytical work from this period is lengthy and extensive. This is a point worth stressing for those who (if they are aware of him at all) have been exposed only to his later work, a collection of which was published in 1989, under the title The Voice of Prophecy, and other essays,

I had the privilege of editing and introducing this book. It had been in preparation before Ardener's sudden and unexpected death in 1987. He had always tried to retain "urgent provisionality" in his writings, and joked that the only way such urgent provisionality could properly be turned into a bound volume was as a posthumous work. We referred to the collection as "posthumous' even as we were working on it together, not realising how soon the joke would be delivered. This assemblage of writings has been republished in 2007 by Berghahn Books, with an insightful foreword by Harvard University's Michael Herzfeld. [Editor's note: a second and expanded edition is published in October 2017]. It is a modest but real sign both of the lasting interest in and the intellectual fertility and contemporaneity of Ardener's anthropology.

Worlds and meanings

Edwin Ardener's ethnographic writings covered many subjects. He developed his interests through intense attention to social and linguistic detail, in closely observed fieldwork contexts. He studied and published on life in village and plantation in Cameroon. He published on the relationship between divorce and fertility. He came to know the value, and the limitations too, of the positivist approach to numbers, counting and meaning. He had a deep appreciation of the virtues of empirical engagement with society.

He also, however, was coming to a refined appreciation of the limitations of positivism within social anthropology, at a time when something like positivism was very prevalent within social anthropology (and at a time when positivism was, as Ardener once remarked to me, "the religion of the compulsorily educated masses"; I do not know whether he would mind me repeating that or not). His writings, from the late 1960s onwards, were less concerned with empirical and fieldwork matters, and more with the twin meetings that he understood and expressed so well: the meeting of social anthropology with linguistics, and the meeting of society with language. It is this work that is represented in The Voice of Prophecy, and it is this work for which he is best known.

It is difficult to convey any of the ideas simply, not because they were expressed in a complex manner, but because they were all wonderfully interrelated. When Ardener became a lecturer in social anthropology at the Institute of Social Anthropology (as it then was) in Oxford, he was invited to take up this post by the then professor of social anthropology, EE Evans-Pritchard. The latter had published a number of influential ethnographic accounts, where the interaction of people, meaning and things was discussed in intricate detail (for example, Witchcraft, Oracles and Magic among the Azande [1937], The Nuer [1942], Nuer Religion [1956]). Ardener stepped into this tradition, along with a number of other young anthropologists. He also, however, brought to the mix a developing understanding of the emerging ideas of Claude Levi-Strauss, and through him, of the seminal work of Ferdinand de Saussure. It was this meeting of detailed ethnographic knowledge, allied to a concern for meaning and interpretation, with the ideas coming through from Saussurean linguistics, that might be said to be the most important feature of Ardener's thought, and of its development from the 1960s through to the late 1980s.

At this point, it is important to acknowledge the importance of Edwin's wife and fellow anthropologist, Shirley Ardener. They worked together in Cameroon, and were lifelong colleagues in the pursuit of the social life of the intellect, in all the forms that this took in their lives in Oxford and Africa. One of Edwin's most influential short essays was a piece entitled "Belief and the Problem of Women", which popularised the idea of "muted groups". The idea was first applied to women, but came to have a life in many other areas. "Muted groups" were defined by what Ardener called "world structures": they were groups that for one reason or another were unable to express themselves through the dominant existing structures (of language, symbolism or action) in a society. The idea led, through the subsequent work of Shirley Ardener and her many collaborators, to a rich and sustained vein of analysis (beginning with the collection called Perceiving Women [1975]) that continues to illuminate the role and position of women in many societies.

Ardener expressed much of his thinking in terms of "world structures". This was an attempt to express the idea that a society experienced the world through its own structures which it was the task of the analyst to grasp in their full complexity. The idea bore some resemblance to the notion of "the social construction of reality", which was becoming popular at about the same time. Ardener's approach, however, never allowed ideas and materialities to drift apart, in the way that many "social constructionists" seemed to do.

A world structure was, in part, about how materialities could be experienced, and about how events from the material environment could be incorporated into social understanding. A world structure was a form through which everything relevant could be "englobed" (another key Ardener concept); a world structure was totalising. This meant that even impoverished and ill-informed views nevertheless seemed "total" in their own terms - gave, that is, an account of the world where everything was accommodated.

These ideas have found many forms, but some of the most fruitful, at least for me, have been in accounts of ethnicities, of self-classification and classification of others. To take the simplest example, a world structure which contains the idea of "self" (ourselves, us) and the idea of "other" (strangers, not us) is totalising - it contains everybody, according to locally relevant parameters.

Thought and influence

Edwin Ardener's work contained many refined discussions of social classification, deriving ideas from Mary Douglas as well as from Saussure and Evans-Pritchard. It subtly interwove ideas of classification, totalising structures, and anomaly, and in many different contexts - in the analysis of kin groups, of ethnicities, of academics and academic subjects, of genders.

My own work has been particularly influenced by three quite short essays (all of them in The Voice of Prophecy) - "Behaviour, a social anthropological criticism", "Language, ethnicity and population", and "Social anthropology and population". These essays led me, and others, to consideration of world structures wherein ethnic groups constructed and defined their present and their past, My own book The Celts: the construction of a myth is developed out of these influences, as too are the works of Kirsten Hastrup, Maryon McDonald, Sharon Macdonald, and Edward Condry, among others. The collection History and Ethnicity, from a conference of the same name, is another manifestation of this range of interests.

The Ardeners invested a great deal of time and effort in the doctoral students who later became, in many cases, their colleagues, co-authors and friends. I was lucky to have a great deal of time invested in me. I did not realise until much later how unusual this was, and how lucky I had been.

Ardener was probably at his best in oral delivery - in tutorial, seminar and lecture. His lectures in the 1970s were a kind of ongoing comedy adventure, of the deepest seriousness. The writings are what we now have to access this, and they are available once again. I now work in the general field of business studies, and find that ideas drawn from Ardener's writings and ideas are a constant source of challenge and novelty to the entire domain of business studies. They are my enduring intellectual capital, and I know that many people who passed close to Edwin Ardener feel the same. For those that have not experienced the invigorating life-force of his ideas, I humbly and seriously recommend an engagement with the essays in The Voice of Prophecy.


Malcolm Chapman is senior lecturer at Leeds University Business School. He is a social anthropologist by training, and the author of many studies of business management and culture in the perspective of anthropology

Among his books are The Gaelic Vision in Scottish Culture (Croom Helm, 1978) and The Celts: the construction of a myth (Macmillan, 1992). He is the editor of a collection of Edwin Ardener's work, The Voice of Prophecy, and other essays (Berghahn, 2007; 2nd, expanded edition, October 2017)


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