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Ronald Lawson Presents: Adventism and the Immigrant Influx


In October and November 2019 Dr. Lawson made five presentations to the Roy Branson Legacy Sabbath School (RBLSS) class at Loma Linda University.

Additional presentations include: 

Adventism and Social Issues 

Adventism and Governments: A Preference for Dictators?

Adventism in Animist Societies

Comparing the Geographic Distributions, Growth, and Statistical Reliability of Mormons, Adventists, and Witnesses

Adventism and the Immigrant Influx

A previous presentation showed that Adventism has grown especially rapidly in parts of the Developing World, especially Africa, the Caribbean, Latin America, and parts of Asia and the islands of the South Pacific, and that its growth has in recent decades been sparse in almost all of the Developed World — Western Europe, North America, Australia and New Zealand, and Japan in particular. The church membership in many of these parts has begun to decline, but this trend has been averted in countries which have been magnets to Adventist immigrants from the Developing World. Indeed, it seems that Adventists in those countries are especially likely to migrate. First generation non-Adventist immigrants have also proved to be excellent candidates for evangelism.

This presentation explores the impact of immigrants to Britain, Canada, the USA, France, and the Netherlands, where they have transformed Adventism in many respects. Members from Western countries have often been thrilled to see and meet Adventists from countries on such occasions as General Conference Sessions or when they travel to their countries, to feel a strong sense of brotherhood with them, and to rejoice in the success of Adventist mission endeavors that they represent. However, when they have experienced broad changes in their churches and its governing structure, the responses have been more complex.

This presentation by Dr. Ronald Lawson to the Roy Branson Legacy Sabbath School class at Loma Linda University was recorded on November 9, 2019.

WATCH “Adventism and the Immigrant Influx” with Ronald Lawson:

This presentation is also available to watch on Dr. Lawson’s website here.

Author Bio:

Ronald Lawson was born and educated in Australia. He earned a BA with Honours in History and a Ph.D. in both Sociology and History from the University of Queensland in 1970. In 1971 he traveled to Columbia University in New York City on a Fulbright Travel Grant for postdoctoral studies in the Sociology Department and the Bureau of Applied Social Research. He taught at the City University of New York from 1971 through 2009, with six years at Hunter College and thirty-three years at Queens College. He became a tenured Full Professor in 1983. His books include Brisbane in the 1890s: An Australian Urban Society (University of Queensland Press, 1973) and The Tenant Movement in New York, 1904–1984 (Rutgers University Press, 1986). Since 1984 his research has focused on globalizing American-born religious groups, especially Seventh-day Adventism, and he is currently preparing a series of four book manuscripts based on research in sixty countries of the World Church. He has published a slew of articles on protest movements, tenant-landlord conflict, Adventists, and American-born religious groups in academic journals and edited books. He has made those related to Adventism available on his website ( As of the end of January 2020 there are 77 papers there, and a new one is added each week.

Ron Lawson was one of the founders of QUSDAS (the Queensland University Seventh-day Adventist Society) in 1962 and its president from 1963-65. He was an active member of the Metro New York Adventist Forum, a chapter that met every week, from 1971-2015, and its president for 41 years. He formed the Asheville Adventist Forum in 2016, and continues to organize its meetings. Along the way he was instrumental in forming several other Forum chapters, including those in Sydney, San Diego, Toronto, and Orlando. He now lives in Loma Linda, California, where he is working towards completing his planned books on global Adventism.


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