Adventists named ‘World’s Worst Dancers’

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Seventh-day Adventists all around the world display striking cultural similarities.
Seventh-day Adventists all around the world display striking cultural similarities.
PARIS, France — Seventh-day Adventists have been officially identified as the World’s Worst Dancers.  The finding comes as a result of a five-year study by a team of sociologists and anthropologists from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Published today as part of a larger study into the effect of religion on culture, the findings surprised the UNESCO research team:

“Despite the fact that there are more than 18 million Adventists worldwide, hailing from almost every culture and major language group, Adventists were surprisingly predictable in their inability to execute even the most basic of dance moves,” said the official report published in UNESCO’s International Social Science Journal (ISSJ).

“We have never seen such striking uniformity in a religious or cultural group of this size and diversity.  It is fascinating.  It would not be an exaggeration to say that Adventists are religiously bad at dancing.”

Sarah McPherson, one of the lead researchers on the UNESCO team said that “large percentages of perfectly healthy Adventists couldn’t even pull off a simple two-step — a common, basic move in folkloric dance the world over.”

McPherson said that by contrast, church members of all ages demonstrated impressive, off-the-chart proficiencies in other areas.  “Two strengths displayed by a disproportionately high percentage of Adventists were superior knot-tying and — even more surprisingly, given their history as conscientious objectors in time of war — their marching abilities.”

McPherson says her team discovered that “these capabilities hail from wide-spread participation in an Adventist version of scouts called Pathfinders that features incredibly beige uniforms, highly vegetarian food and comprehensive training in what the denomination has dubbed ‘essential life skills’ like soap carving and flawless cat identification.”


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  1. There is good reason why SDAs are notoriously bad dancers. Many readers may have forgotten this, but, some years ago, an encyclical issued by the General Conference cautioned against married couples making love/having sex in the upright position, because it might (heaven forbid) lead to dancing.

    1. While part of me sincerely wants to believe this is not true, the rational part of me knows that it probably is. Ug. What is it with Adventism? Don’t get me wrong: I would defend our 28 fundamental beliefs tooth and nail against any theologian who might care to square off. But we go to SUCH extremes. Absolutely no dance at all? What!? There is dance RIGHT in the Bible. Miriam, a prophetess, led the people of God in dance and song (WITH DRUMS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) after God parted the waters of the Red Sea and saved the children of Israel from Egypt.

      Newsflash, Adventist Ultra-Conservatives: Jesus died and saved us from our SINS. That is WAY more of a cause to celebrate than just being delivered from an army! All an army can do is kill you once. You will rise again. Sin has the ability to cause Second Death, meaning you are forever lost.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying our religion should be all day-glow colors and songs with a tempo of 180+. But for pity’s sake, you can dance as a couple without it becoming a Lady Gaga music video! I tell you what: go back and read the Song of Songs straight through several times. The Shulammite dances for Solomon and he describes how gorgeous her curves are pretty overtly! I’m willing to bet they may even have had sex in the upright position. Le gasp!!!

  2. Ann Matthews

    My husband would agree for he says I was born with two left feet. I grew up Adventist and I remember they would occasionly show us a movie, like “My Friend Flika”. When a husband would kiss his wife in the film, the powers that be would put their hand over the lense, as if we never saw our parents hugging each other. I am still an Adventist and love my church and I still can’t dance.

  3. Richard Mills

    5/26/14-Has anyone checked out the moves that some of the Pathfinder drum corps make? Some do a neat 2-step! Check out OshKosh in a few weeks. WOW!! What about the famous “marches” of years gone by? If the marches were any faster, it would look like a square dance! What about the 3rd world nations who attend the GC every 5 years with their colorful costumes and slow walk around movements to the beat of a drum? And,has anyone ever been to an SDA wedding banquet and the bride has her first dance with Daddy? & Hubby!! Have mercy on me, have meeeeeerrrrrcy!

    1. What even is the deal with all the marching they do in Pathfinders? I didn’t grow up SDA but I do work with Pathfinders. I like the whole being outdoors, learning about nature, etc. But I don’t see how learning how to fold a US flag, recite the pledge of allegiance, or follow militaristic marching drills has any bearing on practical living whatsoever. Maybe for countries with obligatory military service like South Korea or China or something, but not in the USA.

      Is it just some attempt to get kids to function as a team and cooperate? If so, aren’t there much more constructive ways to do that like rope courses, group problem solving, etc.? Do Pathfinder groups in less staunchly conservative conferences do all of the marching and such? Or is this sort of like head-coverings: the real ultra-conservatives do it because “that’s how it’s always been done”?

      1. Oh yea, and P.S. I thought SDAs were historically always conscientious objectors to violence. Why military marching drills then? You couple Pathfinder tweens and adolescents doing marching drills every Wednesday alongside video games where they atomize people with laser railguns, rocket launchers, and a litany of firearms, and you’ll get what I experience: lots of kids talking about how cool the military is and how when they graduate high school, they’re going to enlist and serve.

        Bravo, Adventism. Bravo.

    1. Dr. Candy

      Just like sitting together, talking in a slightly separated area, hugging for too long, taking walks together, or (heaven forbid) DRUMS!

      We’re not even going to mention what might happen if you hold hands, date before you are 30, or *gasp* DARE TO THINK THAT YOU CAN LOVE EACH OTHER BEFORE YOU ARE LIKE GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE!

      Sorry, that was just my frustration with the written and unwritten rules. If all of these were true, I should have about 80 kids from about 10 different women.

  4. Lois Stumpf

    First, I didn’t grow up SDA and we DANCED from first grade in school, i.e. square danced during recess in winters. My partner was the Methodist minister’s son – LOL. Anyhow…recently went to Europe with a group of largely SDA friends and at the Irish Jig school, we were a DISASTER. The videos would win an award!!!!!!! I felt really sorry for the elderly teacher but he was a good sport.

  5. FormerSDAmommy

    So, serious question here, for any Adventist that wants to answer…if we weren’t meant to dance, then why do so many young children, from the age they can walk, almost universally start moving their little bodies around whenever they hear music, even without encouragement from their parents? And why did the Israelites “dance unto the Lord” in the Bible?

  6. quest

    i have lotsa non-SDA friends who say people in the west cant dance. since i’v travelled a bit &met them myself, i would say the western non-sdas hav no idea what rhythm is in comparison to africans (non sdas)! so dancing isnt the same thing everywhere. the popular dances in my country originate from ceremonies related to summoning demons & hair raising sexual innuendos; jamaican dancehall moves are catching on pretty fast too, the reason the church discourages dancing.
    among sdas in my country, nodding yo head, clapping, waving, moving infront, then backwards is dancing… its allowed at wedding parties/receptions etc, where marching is also popular.
    so do SDAs in Africa dance? YES! only that we dont do it like others, so they think we dont dance at all! but we do have fun our own way! we dont have to copy the dance moves around us, &whether what i just described that we do here is dancing or not, it doesnt matter! im content!
    i dont feel any pressure or worry that most of us cant “pull off a basic 2step folkloric common around the world”. this is His church (so glad the findings note a “striking uniformity” in the world church) & he guides His flock

  7. there is more to life than dancing. I cannot dance like many adventist but being not able to dance has nothing to do with being an adventist. you can do a lot of important things while in a vertical state, dance is not one of them.

  8. Psalm 149:3 – Let them praise His name with dancing. . . .

    Psalm 150:4 – Praise Him with tambourine and dance. . . .

    Jeremiah 31:13 – Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance. . . .

    Psalm 30:11 – You have turned my mourning into dancing. . . .

    Exodus 15:20 – Then Miriam the prophetess took a tambourine and all the women went out after her with tambourines and dancing.

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