This tract is the product of a broken heart. A lifetime spent in the Message of William Branham, deeply loving its teachings, and trusting deeply the leaders who preached it. The writer of this article has been a message minister living his life in the Jeffersonville Indiana area. The sorrow with which these things are wrote cannot be overstated.
Why is February 28, 1963 an important date to message believers?
William Branham told his followers that he had a mystical experience where he was met by seven angels who instructed him to return to Jeffersonville, Indiana where he would receive the revelation of the seven seals. He told his audiences that as the angels left him, they ascended into heaven and formed a cloud that was photographed and published in Life magazine and other publications in the United States. These events occurred on February 28, 1963.
Here are two articles showing the date that the cloud appeared was February 28, 1963.
Where did William Branham claim to be?
William Branham said over and over that he was there beneath this cloud, and that it was created by the angels who came to bring him a message related to the seven seals. Here is one of the many times he explained it.
And the blast did just exactly the way It said it. Is that right, Brother Fred? And I–I–I must have jumped way off of the ground. And just above me was the Angels of the Lord that sent Message back, for me to come here to break these Seals…
And, now, I didn’t know at the time, that they were taking pictures of that, scientists was, as the Angels lowered themselves from Heaven, to bring the Message…
How many saw, “A mysterious cloud in the sky”? You see the hands. And now the Life magazine picked it up. And I have the–the article here this morning, in the Life magazine, of to show. Now here It is, the same time I was there. See the pyramid of the Cloud? I was standing just below this.William Branham, 06/23/1963, Standing In The Gap
The Facts About February 28, 1963
William Branham was not out hunting on February 28, 1963 when the cloud appeared. In fact, multiple notable witnesses in the Message have confirmed to us he wasn’t there.
Owen Jorgensen’s account
Owen Jorgenson, a message believer who wrote William Branham’s biography Supernatural: The Life of William Branham said the following in part six of his book in 1997. Many message churches sold copies of this book to members of their congregation. The sixth book is notably missing from most collections.
Jorgensen met and interviewed many key Message figures to confirm the contents of his book. He said the following concerning the cloud.
There has been some misunderstanding concerning the photographing of the mysterious Cloud over Arizona and the actual time when the seven angels came to William Branham. The pictures of the mysterious Cloud that appeared in the May 17, 1963 issue of Life Magazine were taken on the evening of February 28, 1963. After hearing some of William Branham’s statements about this Cloud and about the pictures that were taken of it, many people (myself included) assumed he was hunting on February 28, the angels met him in the morning, and the supernatural Cloud was photographed in the evening over the same spot. However, that is not what the facts indicate.Owen Jorgensen, Supernatural: The Life of William Branham, Part 6
Rebecca Branham’s account
After it was first discovered that William Branham had not been hunting in Arizona on the day the cloud appeared, many people began to ask questions. When asked about his whereabouts that day, William Branham’s daughter Rebecca Branham, who was living with her father in Arizona in 1963, confirmed to everyone he was not hunting on February 28 by publishing a detailed explanation of the timeline and events. She published a six page article in Only Believe magazine. Here is an excerpt from the article.
Lee Vayle’s Account
Lee Vayle was working closely with William Branham during 1963 on publishing the book on the church ages. He met with William Branham multiple times and stayed in regular contact and was aware of his whereabouts. He told his church that he always knew William Branham had not been hunting on February 28, 1963
In 2009, Lee Vayle told his church that he talked with both George Smith, William Branham’s son-in-law, and Gene Norman who had accompanied him on the hunting trip. They confirmed what Lee Vayle had known all along: William Branham was actually in Texas on February 28, 1963.
So now, I asked Gene Norman about it, and he just shook his head and knew nothing. And I did not want to talk to those of whom we refer to as the deity cult. So, one time I talked to George Smith, and all George Smith could tell me was that Brother Branham was indeed in Houston. He was not in Arizona, and this picture was takenLast Day Thoughts, Lee Vayle – August 2, 2009
Gene Norman’s Account
Gene Norman was one of the men who was out hunting with William Branham when the cloud supposedly appeared. There is a recording of Gene Norman’s testimony of the hunting trip where he also shares details that confirms they were not hunting on February 28, and that he never saw the cloud.
I hunted, oh, probably about a half hour, and that blast went off. It sounded like it was just right above my head. And, I looked up, and, I didn’t see nothing.
And Bro. Branham killed his pig on March the sixth, and he went up there on March the seventh.– Gene Norman recounting the hunting trip on recorded testimony
Gene Norman also shared enough details in his testimony to confirm they were not out hunting on February 28, 1963, and that William Branham had indeed misled people when he showed them the cloud pictured in Life Magazine. Hunting season had not started yet.
Pearry Green’s Account
Pearry Green is another well known Message leader who started a church in Tuscon, Arizona when William Branham to moved there in 1963. William Branham and Pearry Green were closely connected at the time, and Green was aware of William Branham’s whereabouts. Green also told his congregation that William Branham was not our hunting on February 28, 1963.
You know what, you got to look at it. Brother Branham was not in the mountains on February 28.
The truth is, brother Branham did not see that cloud on February 28.
If you got William Branham seeing something on February 28 when he wasn’t even there, and hadn’t been there, but then he went a week later, and an event happened, you got something that looks stranger than a cow eating grass out of the top of a tree.Introduction to Clarification, Peary Green, July 29, 2009
Just like Pearry Green explained, there is no way at all to make sense of William Branham’s claim that he saw the February 28 cloud pictured in Life Magazine. It is bizarre.
William Branham’s Account
We know William Branham was in Texas because his participation at the meetings in Houston Texas on March 4 is on tape. He was there to participate in a rally on behalf of two young people who were on death row. He attended so he could speak in favor of the pair, asking the state to pardon them or commute their sentences. According to his sermons William Branham was also involved in the group who went before the clemency board at the time of appeal. The story was covered by the local news, who reported that these events occurred in Houston, Texas between February 23 and March 4 1963.
William Branham was traveling to and participating in these meetings in Houston Texas – he was not out hunting on February 28. He finished his work at the meeting on March 4 and returned to Arizona and went hunting afterwards. He explained the series of events himself.
I was going hunting with a friend, not knowing what was going to happen. And someone called me, the one that criticized me about that picture of the Angel of the Lord, the one that took it. I had to go to Houston about his son, for he was going in the death row and was going to be killed in a few days. [March 4, 1963] And he met me in there and throwed his arms around me, said, “Think, the very man that I criticized comes to save my only son!” The humane society give me what they call an oscar, or whatever you want to call it, for saving a life.
Then we went back, I went up in the mountain to hunt. [March 8, 1963] There, Brother Fred and I, one morning when I walked out, and I—I had already got my javelina, and I looked and seen the place where they went.
And I started up the mountain, running as hard as I could on the other side. All of a sudden, I thought somebody shot me. I never heard such a blast; it shook the whole country. And, when it did, standing before me was seven Angels in a cluster.
I met Brother Fred and them, a little after. Said, “What was it?” I said, “That was it.” “What are you going to do?”
“Return home. For, THUS SAITH THE LORD, the seven mysteries that’s been hid in the Bible all these years, these denominations and everything, God is going to open those seven mysteries to us in the Seven Seals.”
There was that circle coming up from the earth, like a mist forming. When It did, It went plumb up into the mountain, begin to circle on westward, from the way It come. Science found It after a while, thirty miles high and twenty-five miles across, just exactly in the circle of the pyramid. [February 28, 1963]
And the other day, standing there, turned the picture to the right, and there is Jesus as He was in the Seven Church Ages, the white wig on, showing Supreme Deity. He’s Alpha and Omega; He’s the First and the Last; He is the Supreme Judge of all Eternity, standing there to confirm the Message of this hour.65-0725E – What Is The Attraction On The Mountain?
Rev. William Marrion Branham
As Owen Jorgenson, Rebecca Branham, Peary Green, Lee Vayle, George Smith, Gene Norman, and others have reported, there is no way to make these dates work out into a plausible timeline. For these events to have happened the way William Branham described, he would have had to travel back in time, or be in two places at once. William Branham’s story is without a doubt either highly exaggerated or totally false. And he led us to build our key endtime teachings and our special status as the bride of Christ on the foundation of his false statements on this topic.
What did message ministers know, and when did they know it?
In the 1980s, it became fairly widely known among leaders of the Message in the United States that William Branham had not been out hunting on February 28 like he claimed. Owen Jorgenson, Rebecca Branham, Lee Vayle, George Smith, Gene Norman, Pearry Green, and others told the truth about the issue but most leaders covered it up and hid the truth from the people. Why did they hide the truth from the people?
The author of this tract knows the leaders hid the truth and covered up a lie. They had to do so because to deny the cloud fundamentally undermines the message itself. Multiple message preachers have confirmed to me personally they were aware William Branham made up this story. I asked one long-time Message minister the question: “So, did William Branham just make all this stuff up?” He answered me “that is pretty well how it is.” Yet this very man had stood on the platform and preached the cloud to the people. How can someone be so deceptive? Don’t be fooled – many preachers know the truth – they are just pretending to believe.
I asked a second long-time message preacher, and he said, “Yes I remember hearing the cloud was made by a rocket back in the 80s.” Yet I heard the same man preached the cloud was made by angels. I could never live with myself for preaching things I knew where false. That is the heart of a deceiver, not the heart of a servant of the Lord.
I have positive confirmation that the highest ranking leaders in the Message have known the cloud story was a hoax for over thirty years. They do not believe the story themselves, but they expect you to.
William Branham’s story concerning the appearance of the cloud and the angels who sent him to preach the seven seals is untrue or highly exaggerated. We can confidently conclude parts of the story never happened as he told it. He was not hunting on February 28, 1963 when the cloud appeared. He misled us when he told us he was standing under the cloud pictured in Life Magazine.
With certainty, something is wrong with the story he told, and the February 28 cloud pictured in Life Magazine has nothing to do with the supernatural experience he said he had on March 8.
In the worst case scenario, William Branham made up the whole story of the cloud. The fact that he never talked about the cloud until after it was already published in Life Magazine seems to indicate that to be a strong possibility.
Either purposefully or accidently, William Branham told us something that was untrue about this cloud.
If William Branham would mislead his audiences and exaggerate about the biggest supernatural event of his ministry, how can we be confident he didn’t do the same elsewhere? How can we trust his word on any topic, if he would mislead on this very critical topic?