Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Religious Education, PhD

First Advisor

John B. Youngberg

Second Advisor

Richard H. Shwarz

Third Advisor

David S. Penner


Problem. Using the historical-documentary research design, this study documented the contributions of Arthur W. Spalding to family-life education within the Seventh-day Adventist church. The contextual milieu revealed that Spalding was current with his times in fostering family-life education, but unique in his approach.

Method. The author examined primary documents from four archival sources, as well as reference holdings in two libraries. All book and article publications by Spalding were also examined. The findings were analyzed and compared. Agreements and inconsistencies were noted to maintain internal reliability. Secondary sources were utilized to create the contextual milieu and to supplement the primary sources.

Conclusions. The era in which Spalding did his work for families was fraught with rapid changes in morals and domesticity. Spalding developed a personal philosophy, not out of harmony with his church but far in advance of many, for teaching familiness and sexuality. Although his work extended around the world, the Great Depression and indistinct lines of organization impeded further advance of his work in parent and family-life education. Notwithstanding, Spalding's writings and personal work for the families of the church sustained an awareness of their needs. He published more than eight hundred articles and poems, and thirty-one books, giving instruction in Christian philosophy and family life. Although he met with critical opposition for his view that sexeducation ought to be taught in Seventh-day Adventist educational institutions, Spalding pioneered family-life education in Seventh-day Adventist schools and colleges. When he retired, the Home Commission was merged into the Education Department of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, where it lost momentum within a few years.

Subject Area

Family life education, Families--Religious aspects--Seventh-day Adventists


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