Veterans of Christ: Soldier Reintegration and the Seventh-day Adventist Experience in the Andean Plateau, 1900-1925

Yael Mabat

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article recounts the story of the Seventh-day Adventists' success in Puno, Peru, between 1900 and 1925, from a grassroots perspective. Retracing the footsteps of prominent indigenous converts, the article presents the discovery that most of the church's native leaders were army veterans. These men had spent years away from their communities and, upon their return, discovered the numerous challenges of reintegration into rural society. In almost every aspect of communal life, veterans encountered obstacles to their reintegration: Their lands had been usurped, they lacked the necessary social and political outreach, and they were ridiculed and marginalized because of the cultural- A pparently mestizo-habits and practices they had adopted while away. In their quest for alternatives, these veterans left the Catholic Church and converted to Seventh-day Adventism. Conversion, I argue, offered an answer to the difficulties of their reintegration. It provided new opportunities for social and economic mobility and possibilities for veterans to reinterpret their Indian racial identity in a way that would include the seemingly mestizo traits they had adopted while in the barracks and on the coast. Thus, this paper sheds light on how religious conversion served to ameliorate some of the difficulties that veterans faced as they attempted to re-enter rural life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-216
Number of pages30
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Evangelicals
  • Peru
  • Race
  • Seventh-day Adventist
  • Veterans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • History


Dive into the research topics of 'Veterans of Christ: Soldier Reintegration and the Seventh-day Adventist Experience in the Andean Plateau, 1900-1925'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this