Why Did William Branham Falsify His Early Life Story?

Read this article to me.

By Rev. Charles Paisley 

Jeffersonville, Indiana 

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.

Growing Awareness

Growing up in Jeffersonville, being a minister in one of the oldest Message churches, and knowing so many eyewitnesses of William Branham, including friends and acquaintances of his all the way back to the 1930s, I have been aware for many years of discrepancies in William Branham’s early life story. Many old-timers in the Jeffersonville are aware of William Branham’s stories, and we always tended to just dismiss them and excuse William Branham as an exaggerator.

One of the first troubling examples I became aware of was in the 1990s, concerning the healing of Georgia Carter in 1941. William Branham claimed to have a vision directing him to Milltown, and that he never heard of Milltown or Georgia Carter prior to receiving the vision in 1941. However, I knew multiple eyewitnesses who were at his Milltown meetings when Georgia Carter was healed in 1941, and our church published records of their testimonies. According to them, William Branham had been going to Milltown for years before 1941, he already knew Georgia Carter and her condition before he had his vision calling him to Milltown. They had been with William Branham, personally, in Milltown well before he ever had the vision. I wondered many years ago why William Branham pretended to not know anything about Georgia Carter or Milltown when he had the vision, but I dismissed it like many other things.

After I became a Message preacher I became ever more aware of these descrepenacies. In one sermon, I related the story of William Branham meeting an angel at a cabin in the Clark State Forest and receiving his commission as a prophet. I was quickly corrected by the pastor who informed everyone William Branham had met the angel in a cave, not a cabin. Until then I was unaware there were actually four different version of the story William Branham told about the angel commissioning his ministry. I had only ever heard the cabin version of the story. Which one is the true one? How did our pastor arrive at his conclusion that the cave story was the true one? Its hard to know. But why did William Branham tell the story in so many radically different ways?

When you listen to the very different ways he told the story, it really makes you wonder if any of it was true.

Over time, I became aware of the full depth to which William Branham made up stories. The mystery cloud, the origin of the seals, the truth about the FBI investigation into the halo photo, the healing of Donny Morton, the healing of Kare Holma, the light on the wall after the church age sermons, so many things were either total fabrications, or nearly total fabrications. Even things that were supposed to be miracles, supernatural occurrences, visions, turned out to be made up stories. Sadly, William Branham also falsified key parts of his early life story.

The question I ask is why? Why did he make up so many things? Is there any justification for this in scripture? And how can we trust someone with a lifelong history of dishonesty?

William Branham misled us about the death of his wife and daughter

William and Hope Branham

William Branham evoked powerful emotional responses from his audiences by telling them that God took the life of his wife and daughter because he refused to preach for the pentecostals. This was a key part of his early life story, which added a very dramatic effect to his calling, and encouraged his hearers to take his ministry very seriously. Unfortunately, the story is almost completely false.

William Branham and his wife were pentecostals before they ever got married. In fact, they met at a pentecostal church. William Branham preached at pentecostal churches throughout their marriage, and the original name of the Branham Tabernacle was the Billie Branham Pentecostal Tabernacle. When his wife and daughter died, their obituaries said their funerals were held at the Pentecostal Tabernacle, and that William Branham was pastor of a Pentecostal Tabernacle.

Here are the key details of the heart breaking story William Branham shared.

I had heard of Pentecostals, but they were a bunch of “holy-rollers that laid on the floor and frothed at their mouth,” and everything that they told me about. So I didn’t want nothing to do with it.

Life Story, Phoenix, AZ April 15, 1951

It was the worse mistake I ever made in my life, one of the worst. A little later, few years after the children come, and one day we was … there come up a flood, in 1937.

Life Story, Phoenix, AZ April 15, 1951

I took the little baby, and when it died, and put it on the arms of the mother, and we taken it out to the cemetery. And I stood there to hear Brother Smith, the Methodist preacher that preached the funeral, “Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust.” (And I thought, “Heart to heart.”) There she went.

Life Story, Phoenix, AZ April 15, 1951

William Branham and the Pentecostals

The story William Branham told about the death of his wife and daughter is tragic. But many of the details of the story are untrue. For some reason, William Branham pretended he had only heard of Pentecostals and never wanted anything to do with them. He told his audiences that his refusal to go preach for the pentecostals was why God punished him, by taking the life of his wife and daughter. But William Branham was always a pentecostal. From his conversion, there was no time which he was not a pentecostal.

How can we make sense of that? Why would God kill his wife and daughter for refusing to go with the pentecostals, when they were pentecostals the whole time?

Here is a newspaper advertisement ran by Roy Davis’s First Pentecostal Baptist church in 1933, where William Branham was assistant Pastor. Hope Brumbach was listed as the church’s young people’s leader. There is substantial evidence, not presented in this tract, that Hope Brumbach was a minister at Davis’s Pentecostal church. Yes: William Branham’s first wife was a woman preacher.

Notice the topic of the sermon and the description of their services in the following article. “Sermon by the pastor. Subject: The Holy Ghost Religion” … “Many are getting to God in our meetings, where the old time Pentecostal power is falling.”

Jeffersonville Evening News article on Roy Davis’s church
Jeffersonville Evening News article that also places William Branham at Roy Davis’s church.

There are plenty of other newspaper articles with advertisements from Roy Davis’s church, and it is very clear their church practiced speaking in tongues, divine healing, and baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. It is evident that William Branham and Hope Brumbach were attending a Oneness Pentecostal church since the 1920s. The couple married in 1934, the same year Roy Davis’s church burnt down and William Branham started his own church.

William Branham’s new church was called the Pentecostal Tabernacle when he opened it.

1936 deed of the Billie Branham Pentecostal Tabernacle
1935 Jeffersonville Evening News advertisement for the Pentecostal Tabernacle at 8th and Penn

There are dozens of other newspaper articles, government documents, and city directories which inform us that the Branham Tabernacle was originally founded as a pentecostal church, and William Branham was holding divine healing revivals, practicing speaking in tongues, and performing Jesus name baptism between 1934 and 1937.

So why, 25 years later, did William Branham pretend he had stayed away from “Pentecostal holy rollers” and didn’t want nothing to do with them?

The Circumstances of Hope Branham’s death

Even more troubling than the dishonesty about his pentecostal past, was William Branham’s dishonesty about the circumstances of the death of his wife and daughter. The memory of a lost loved one is something that should be sacred to their loved ones.

Why did William Branham say God killed his wife and daughter because he didn’t want to go around Pentecostals, when it is evident that Pentecostals were the only people he was going around? Why would William Branham tarnish their memory with dishonesty?

The obituaries of his wife and daughter say their funeral was held in the Pentecostal Tabernacle, where William Branham was pastor.

July 1937 obituary of Hope Brumbach Branham from the Jeffersonville Evening News

Also notice that the obituary says Hope died of a “long illness,” and that she died in the Clark memorial hospital on July 22, 1937. Yet, William Branham told us she suddenly contracted tuberculosis during the Ohio River flood of January 1937 and died in a makeshift refugee hospital. This gives us another clue something is wrong with William Branham’s story. Here is another quote from William Branham.

[The Pentecostals invited me to preach for them.] And friends, there’s where I made the worst step I ever made in my life, right there. We put it off.
About few weeks after that, things begin to happen. The flood come on later from that. And the first thing you know, wife got sick; Billy got sick during that wrong. Right after that, the little girl… Just eleven months difference between Billy and his little–his little sister, which was Sharon Rose…

William Branham – Life Story (52-0720A)

And so when I… Finally someone come and got me, said, “No, they’re not drowned, Billy, I know where they are at. They’re in Columbus, Indiana in the Baptist church.” And I… They taken me up there, and I run down through that hall that night, screaming to the top of my voice. I didn’t care who heard me, “Hope, Hope, where are you, honey?” Way down through there…
And all the refugees back there on little old cots and blankets, hanging up. And I happened to look way down there at the end, and I seen a bony hand holding up like that. I rushed real quick, pair of boots on, fell down there, and throwed my hat off, looked down there, and there laid my sweetheart, dying. Her hand moving up, her jaw sunk back, about three weeks or more before I’d found her. Her eyes were way back.

I just put my hands over on her. She said, “I know I look horrible, Bill.”
I said, “Honey, you look all right.”
She said, “Now, don’t tell me that, honey.”
I said, “O God, have mercy.” I said, “Where’s the babies?”
She said, “Mom and them has got them over next building.”
I said, “Is Billy alive?”
Said, “Yes.”
I said, “Sharon alive?”
Said, “Yes.”
I said, “Oh, thanks be to God.” I said, “I heard from mama, and mama’s alive. She’s over at some other place.” I said, “I heard by radio, but I couldn’t hear from you nowhere.” And I said, “Oh, honey.” And she said… I said, “You…”
And I felt somebody tap me on the shoulder, and I looked up. It was a very smart looking man. He said, “Rev. Branham?”
And I said, “Yes sir.”…?… a sign. And I walked over there. Said, “Aren’t you a friend of Dr. Sam Adair?”
And I said, “Yes.”

He said, “Your wife, I’m informed to tell you… I’m the doctor here.” He said, “I’m informed to tell you, your wife has galloping TB. She just has a few days to live.” Said, “She’s going to die.”

William Branham – Life Story (52-0720A)

Sadly, hardly a word of what William Branham said in the story is true. Hope had been diagnosed with tuberculosis over a year before the Ohio River flood. In fact, she was diagnosed before their daughter Sharon Rose was conceived. Sharon Rose was born with her mother’s illness and died just four days after her mother.

Hope didn’t die in a refugee shelter, but at the Clark Memorial Hospital five months after the flood had ended.

Hope Brumbach Branham’s death certificate

Why did William Branham tell such a fraudulent early life story? If we counted up all the sentences in his story shared in this article, over 90% of them are totally false, or predicated on false statements. How could he do that? Can we call a story that is only 10% factual the truth?

Here is the truth: William Branham was always a Pentecostal (since at least 1929). His wife was always a Pentecostal too. His wife was diagnosed with tuberculosis in January 1936. After being diagnosed, the couple conceived and had their second child, Sharon Rose who was born October 27, 1936. William Branham left his wife multiple times during her illness to go on week long hunting trips and vacations. In January 1937 the Ohio River flood occured. Seven months later, the flood was long over, Hope and Sharon Rose Branham died in the Clark Memorial Hospital. Their funeral was held at the Pentecostal Tabernacle, where William Branham was pastor and they were buried in the Walnut Ridge cemetery.

The Pentecostal Tabernacle had been underwater during the flood. The fact the funeral was held there is proof enough that Hope did not die during the flood…

How could William Branham be so dishonest about the sacred memory of his dead wife and daughter?

This article incorporates research first published by SearchingForVindication.com. The author thanks the original researchers for their diligent work in obtaining the original documentation from publicly accessible archives. I will confess, when I first came across these documents I believed they had to all be fake, because I could not believe William Branham would have misled us about these things. So I repeated many of the same searches to verify these documents are genuine.