Encore May 2015

Page 10

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The ‘Other’ Kellogg

WMU prof Brian C. Wilson pens bio of John Harvey Kellogg Robert M. Weir

Brian Powers

by

H

aving been born in California, Brian C. Wilson knew only two things about Michigan: “Cars come from Detroit, and cereal comes from Battle Creek.” But soon after accepting a teaching position at Western Michigan University in 1996, the professor of comparative religion found a trove of intriguing information about his new home. Not only is Battle Creek home to the Kellogg Co., the ready-to-eat foods manufacturer founded by Will Keith Kellogg in 1906, but “in the 1840s and 1850s Battle Creek

10 | Encore MAY 2015

Author Brian C. Wilson stands outside the former Battle Creek Sanitarium, which was overseen by John Harvey Kellogg. The building is now the Hart-Dole-Inouye Federal Building.

was a magnet for non-mainstream religions,” Wilson says. In fact, Michigan was a hotbed for alternative religions in the 19th-century: the Strangite Mormons on Beaver Island; the Nation of Islam in Detroit; the Israelite House of David in Benton Harbor; Spiritualists in Frazier’s Grove near Vicksburg; and Hicksite Quakers,