Table of Contents
By Rev. Charles Paisley
I will share my own name, but am using an alias for every other living person mentioned in this tract, except where the name is critical to the story. My purpose is not to draw attention to myself, or to be hurtful or scandalous, but to share the truth of my experiences with people I love. I am reluctant to share this story. I will be hated, reviled, and persecuted by many people for sharing this truth with you. But can I deny the love in my heart for those very people who will seek to destroy me upon reading this? I pray the truth helps them. Someone has to say it out loud. (Isaiah 6:8)
No greater love hath a man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.John 15:33
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 written cannot be overstated.
I apologize for one thing about this tract: it’s length. If I could find a way to say these things in a more concise way, I would. This article is about two hours long and written for people who are truly interested in my story.
I grew up completely immersed in the doctrine of “The Message”, and I loved it. There are still aspects of it that I love and hold dearly. There are timeless truths that were taught within The Message, that come from the bible and the great Christian ministers of days gone by. I was raised to believe those timeless truths were my heritage as a Message believer, and I still consider them my heritage today.
Being part of The Message was a huge source of pride and confidence in my life. I believed with all my heart the things that we were taught. I fully believed and embraced the belief that we were a special and elite group of Christians who God had called to the highest calling. All other churches outside The Message were polluted and corrupted with false doctrine and were full of apostasy, and we alone had the truth. God restored the truth to us through a special prophet, and his name was William Branham. I believed the bible had foretold the coming of William Branham. He was the return of the spirit of Elijah and the special messenger of the Seventh Church Age, the final age before the return of Christ and the end of the world.
We had been taught how Jesus Christ had descended from heaven in 1963 and appeared to William Branham in a cloud in the Arizona desert, and that God later sent an angel to William Branham with the secret revelation concerning the seven seals of the book of Revelation. By understanding and accepting that secret revelation and recognizing the messenger who brought it to us, we became set apart from the rest of Christianity. It was the source of our elite status that would allow us alone to go in the rapture. These things were taught frequently to us throughout our entire lives and I embraced all these things with my heart at an early age.
I was a lifelong follower of The Message of William Branham, spending over 35 years following its teachings. My father’s family is from Canada and had been associated with The Message since the 1960s. My mother’s family is from southern Indiana and were regular members at the Branham Tabernacle when William Branham was still living. Most of my family has been in The Message, including grandparents, great-grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, wife, parents-in-law, siblings-in-law. The majority of my family is still within the various sects of The Message to this day. All my friends and close acquaintances were entirely within The Message. I had no relationships with anyone outside of The Message.
Within the church, I was a poster child for The Message. I was practically born on the bench. I never missed a service, and was often among the first there and the last to leave. Three services a week on a normal week, 12 services a week during conventions. Our vacations were scheduled around church meetings. I was a dyed-in-the-wool Message believer. No one ever saw me in a pair of shorts. I despised participating in activities outside of the church. I never had any worldly friends. I cut off every person who left The Message from my life. I never drank alcohol. I paid my tithes. I never smoked. I married within The Message. I kept every rule. I memorized every doctrine. I listened to taped sermons. And I did not do it because I was forced to, but I did it because I genuinely loved God with all my heart and soul and wanted to live my life in perfect accordance with what I believed he expected from me. I was zealous of good works, and I gave nearly all of my free time to doing the good work of the church and serving God. I visited the sick and elderly. I cared for the widows. I gave to those in need. I prayed and studied my bible and The Message. I was a minister who preached The Message. I was the editor of one of the most prominent publications among Message believers. Nearly every free waking moment of my life was spent in the Lord’s service, one way or another. And I did not do this for a day or two, I lived this way for a large part of my life.
A Question Without A Good Answer
At first, it started with a feeling. I had a feeling that something was wrong. That feeling originated from The Message itself. Raymond Jackson had preached to us for years the characteristics of the Bride of Christ, according to the message of the hour. We were trying to reach a state of unity and perfection that would make us ready for the rapture, and when we finally got into that state, God would send us the revelation of the seven thunders which would be the final step to prepare us for the rapture. But for some reason, it felt like we were only getting farther away from what we were aspiring towards.
Through the 1990s, it really felt like we were right on the edge of achieving and entering a miraculous end time era. But towards the end of Raymond Jackson’s life in 2004, things started to take a dramatic turn and the fellowship of churches began to fall apart over doctrinal and personal disagreements. Raymond Jackson had set our expectations that the Week of Daniel was about to begin and the church would be raptured around the year 2005. As that date neared, Raymond Jackson began to focus on a need for unity. He had a series of dreams that helped him develop that belief, and he taught us that unity was a requirement for us to receive the revelation of the thunders. This gradually started a movement to purge out people who were not in unity.
Unity meant accepting the interpretations of the bible and The Message as God had given it to Raymond Jackson, and being fully submitted to the authority of the ministry, in which Raymond Jackson was chief apostle. I was completely onboard. I was completely convinced of his authority. He shared many times various dreams and experiences he had from God giving him his authority to “hold the line on truth”, which meant he was God’s authority for interpreting the bible. I badly wanted the unity God had told him was so important for us to obtain.
Rounds of separations and divisions occurred, and the leadership focused on scriptures about separating the tares and the chaff from the wheat. Through that teaching, we embraced the divisions as proof that we were near the end. The divisions were severe. Families, homes, and marriages were broken up by the divisions. Looking back, I realize multiple suicides were directly caused by the divisions. Despite the pain it caused, many people craved division and sought it because they believed they were fulfilling prophecy through the separations.
My own extended family became significantly separated as a result of the divisions, and as we were instructed to do by the leadership, I willingly shunned all who refused to submit to Raymond Jackson’s authority. After Bro. Jackson died in December 2004, the rate of division was accelerated by his successors. By 2015, most people who fellowshipped with us for decades had left or been forced out – at least 90% were gone – and our fellowship was continuing to shrink. We were just a small remnant of what had once been. As a result, we had come to believe that almost every other church in the world was lost to hell with little or no hope. Sermons were frequently preached to us to remind us that all our friends and family who refused the authority of Raymond Jackson and his successors had become enemies of God and would have to burn in hell. We were reminded of this several times a week over the course of nearly ten years. By the time I left Faith Assembly in 2020, only three other churches and a scattering of small groups without ministers were permitted to fellowship with us, and people at Faith Assembly were divided over whether even those three churches were truly part of the Bride of Christ.
These things made me very sad. But if that is what it took to go to heaven, of course I was willing to endure it. I would be crazy not to.
Raymond Jackson had always taught that the endtime church would be a global church – and that God had saints of every nation and kindred and tongue. We were told many times God had a fivefold ministry with apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers – and it was emphasized that each of those words was plural meaning multiple of each. But very quickly all that was slipping away. The church was no longer manifesting the characteristics of what we had been told to expect of the endtime church. Somehow people were becoming deluded into thinking they could be the bride of Christ, yet not exhibit the biblical characteristics of the bride of Christ. However, the problem extended deeper than just the demographic makeup of the church.
Gradually, I discovered there was a total lack of unity in the leadership even within the small group that was left. All of the division we had endured was in the name of unity. Unity was one of our highest goals, and for years we bragged about the unity we had achieved. But after becoming a minister, I discovered each preacher had something against the other preachers. Each deacon had something against the other deacons. I would have one preacher come and try to get me to take his side against another preacher. Then the other preacher would do the same. I would have one deacon come and seek me to take his side against another deacon or preacher. This continued over the years until almost every last person in a leadership position had done this to me concerning nearly every other person in a leadership position. The unity I had been told existed was not there. It disturbed me to think we had sacrificed so many people and endured so much division and pain, but after all of it were none the better. We were as divided as ever.
The total disconnect between what the church was “supposed” to be and what it actually was disturbed me. It was frequently on my mind. It did not make me doubt The Message. I wanted to go in the rapture, and getting these things right was critical. I wanted to find the solution to our divisions, so the situation could be fixed, and so our sacrifice would not have been in vain.
Despite the ongoing divisions, the leadership constantly put forth a message that everything was going perfectly, that we had achieved unity, the chaff had all been stripped away and we were just about to reach the end. It became increasingly obvious to me that there was a front being put up, a false face, and I was expected to reinforce that false image. I was supposed to say peace peace, when really there was no peace (Jeramiah 6:13-15).
I would watch as people in leadership knowingly lied and misled people about the state of affairs in the church, and through that I came to realize that the leaders were not fully trustworthy. Maintaining the false face was more important than the truth. When it suited their purposes, they would mislead people. And they did.
Now maybe you would think these things made me question The Message or want to leave, but they did not. I was just as strong in believing The Message as ever and was fully confident there was an answer and a solution to the problem I was witnessing. But it was through these circumstances that my feeling that something was wrong began to produce a question in my mind: “Why is The Message not producing what it is supposed to produce?”
I asked this question to God in an honest way and I began searching for the answer. Any reasonable person in The Message knows The Message has not achieved its stated objectives. No matter what group you are in, the stated objectives have not been achieved. The special revelation has not been learned, or the special lifestyle has not been attained, or the rapturing faith has not been received. Why not? What was holding things up? I believed with all my heart that God had sent William Branham with the Elijah anointing to turn the true church back to the faith of the fathers, and produce a church that was like the early church in nature and characteristics. So why hadn’t The Message produced that?
Problems in the Church
After I became a minister, I slowly became acutely aware of the problems in the church. There are many stories I could share concerning things that were going on, but most of them are not my story to tell. However, I feel that I need to relate the basic facts of some of the cases so you can understand the atmosphere of the church.
Ken, our assistant pastor, was at the center of many different issues going on in the church. Ken had started to get hung up on his personal disputes with other church members. The worst case was with Stan, a deacon who employed him. For years in a row, nearly every single sermon Ken preached was used to target Stan for public shaming and humiliation. The secret subject of every sermon he preached for three years in a row was “Deacon Stan is going to Hell.” It became very uncomfortable and sickening to watch this fight between them unfold over the platform for years on end.
Ken began spreading rumors and trying to create a faction to get rid of Stan from the church. Ken believed Stan was chaff, and he needed to go. He related his opinion to me multiple times, trying to get me into his faction. When I refused, he started to treat me abusively too. Our pastor, Alex, was really the only thing standing in his way, and soon Alex became Ken’s target too. Ken began spreading rumors about pastor Alex, criticizing him, trying to stir discontent against him in the church.
Ken also began interfering in people’s personal lives in negative ways. He interfered in several marriages in very problematic ways and encouraged spousal abuse. Multiple marriages broke up or were severely damaged by following his guidance. In other areas, Ken arranged and pressured individuals to marry, resulting in some very bad situations.
In another area of counsel, Ken condemned people for having financial savings and privately instructed some to liquidate all their retirement savings and instead trust in the Lord. Some obeyed to their own financial ruin.
In other cases, people would come to Ken in confidence seeking guidance with personal struggles, but he would then use their problems as the basis of his next sermon and humiliate and embarrass them from the platform rather than help them. His methods usually made their issues worse and triggered severe problems for a number of people.
Over time, Ken’s abuse against his personal enemies worsened. He successfully expelled several lifelong members of the church using his harassment tactics. He became increasingly abusive to people and increasingly harsh in sermons. It is difficult to explain the experience of sitting through his sermons in writing. He would scream and yell at the top of his lungs using harsh terms and cruel language, and often in very personal ways, usually for an hour or more. Calling people names, like fat and ugly, was not out of the question. You never knew what to expect.
This began to have a very negative effect on various people in the church. Multiple people had mental breakdowns, multiple people became suicidal, and several people were so discouraged they gave up on their faith. In two cases, his targets committed suicide. And it seemed that no one cared or even noticed it happened.
One of the worst things Ken did was to begin discouraging people from taking medicine. One the first medicines he targeted was antidepressants and anxiety control medications. This was particularly cruel because, in several cases, he was the one responsible for inducing the depression and anxiety attacks to begin with. One by one, multiple people went off their medication.
In one case, a young mother stopped taking her medication. A short time later she was targeted during an attack sermon because she was wearing eye-liner makeup. Before the sermon had finished, she had to be taken out of church and briefly committed to an institution because of the mental breakdown and panic attack she suffered while he screamed and yelled at her from the platform. Somehow, no one cared. Somehow people seemed to not even notice it happened. He usually did not mention the name of the person he was attacking, but he stared them down, pointed at them, and any reasonable person should have been able to realize what he was doing. Those in leadership were often aware, and the person being attacked was always acutely aware they were the target.
These things were abuses that became deadly in some cases. Yet they were allowed to go on and on.
In another situation a man had died leaving a widow and young children behind. While the family was still struggling with their grief, Ken screamed and yelled at them, telling them there was something wrong with them for not being able to get over their grief. Ken rebuked them for seeking counseling and taking antidepressants – which only served to make their situation worse. In one sermon, Ken called out the widow by name and rebuked her before the entire church, telling her “it was time to move on.” It was so shocking to me I looked towards the pastor thinking surely Ken had gone too far this time. But the pastor said nothing and did nothing. So neither did I. Shame on me. Far more shame on him. The so-called shepherd sat by while he watched the wolf devour and destroy sheep after sheep.
In another situation, a single young woman in the church was struggling with a nervous condition and she decided to get a pet dog to keep her company and help calm her nerves. Ken soon learned what she had done and belittled her before the entire church for seeking a comfort animal. This type of scenario played itself out over and over. And through it all there was no mercy shown, and people were just left to suffer. No one seemed to care. People would even pretend it never happened. Somehow, people kept giving him a pass as though these things were just coincidental. He would at times pretend he had the gift of discernment, and pretend he did not know what he was saying and doing. But those who were privy to what went on behind the scenes knew he was doing all these things purposefully.
His character was such that he would totally deny guilt when confronted. And then whoever would confront him became his next victim. He turned them into the bad guy for questioning him. His behavior worsened with time. Even more troubling, other people in the church began to mimic his abusive behavior.
Ken would often talk to me privately and tell me about the cases he was preaching about. He was proud of what he was doing, and he was doing it on purpose. He believed it was his life mission to belittle, shame, intimidate, and harass people into living up to what he thought were the standards of The Message. He proudly referred to himself as “the agitator”. In one sermon he proclaimed that shaming people was the will of God.
Things got worse as he increasingly preached against medicine and medical care. He began to preach against blood thinners and cholesterol medication. People listened and some quit taking those medications. Multiple people had serious life-threatening health consequences shortly after stopping their use of medication – including stroke and heart attack. All of these things were covered up, and the true story that these people had stopped taking their medication at the advice of Ken was hidden. But I knew the stories because as a minister these people and their families would reach out to me asking for help to know what to do. Case after case, after case, came to me telling me how they had stopped taking their medication on the advice of Ken, the terrible consequences they suffered, and their desperation to understand how it could have happened.
In one case, a person was living in major pain, and had been told to stop taking all her medications and God would heal her. After over a year hoping her pain would subside she came to me crying wanting to know what she should do, and completely devastated because Ken had convinced her that she had no faith. In another case, a mother in the church had a chronically ill child and any time Ken found out they were seeking medical care he would target her for ridicule, at times it was public before the entire church. Ken left the mother of the child in tears multiple times as she struggled, just wanting to help her child. People were devastated. These are just two of many examples I could share.
Not only was their health failing, the emotional torture was even worse. People were torturing themselves mentally over their “lack of faith”. People could not understand why they were not receiving the healing Ken had assured them they could have if only they believed. They blamed themselves for a lack of faith, when they should have been blaming the one deceiving them and misrepresenting the word of God to them. Case after case after case like this played out. And no one cared.
In another case, Ken accused a woman of killing her 91-year-old mother by giving her morphine while on her deathbed. He reiterated his opposition to morphine repeatedly and some people subsequently refused to give the drug to their dying loved ones. Some were left to die in painful agony. Few people went to visit the dying. But I did. I knew the stories. I saw what was happening. No one cared that people were dying horrible deaths because of Ken’s influence.
One of the most terrible things of all that happened was the way Ken began using funerals as a vehicle to attack and break up families. Rather than focus on healing and offer the comfort of the scriptures as the bible instructs us to at funerals, he would use the funeral as an opportunity to viciously attack and degrade unbelievers who were in attendance, even to the point that they would react with varying degrees of hostility during the funeral service. He did this at almost every funeral over the course of multiple years. And then following the funeral, people would be instructed to shun their unbelieving family members. Instead of offering comfort to the grief-stricken families, he gave them a family crisis. And no one cared.
I could go on at great length about the terrible things Ken did and the great number of people who were harmed, injured, and died as a result of applying his teachings to their lives, but I hope these examples are enough to give you a flavor of what was going on. I wonder how many years these things were happening before I noticed? Was it possible things like that had been happening all along and I just didn’t notice it? Somehow everyone else seemed blinded to it all. Maybe I had just woken up? I don’t know. But I suddenly started to see all these abuses once I had formed the question: “Why is The Message not producing what it is supposed to?”
I hope I have relayed enough examples to show you these things were not rare; they were commonplace.
These things soon brought a new question: Why does no one care about the lives that are being hurt? Why does no one care about the families being broken up? Why does no one care about the people being injured? Why does no one care? Why did it seem like no one could even see what was going on?
I concluded the false face and image created by the leadership was so strong, most people could not see beyond it. Most people were probably unaware of the breadth of the problem. Everyone was suffering in isolation, unaware that their neighbor was facing the same hardships. In this way, they all reinforced each other to keep up the false face. Only someone like me, who was in a position to hear all their private stories, was able to put the pieces together, while the rest struggled in silence blaming themselves.
Their blindness was a direct result of the teachings of Message preachers. People were told repeatedly, to only think on the good things and keep any personal problems to themselves. Positive thinking is a good thing, but when positive thinking is used to blind yourself to life-threatening danger, it is not a good thing anymore. The preachers had weaponized positive thinking to stop people from realizing what was really going on.
People were taught: don’t even give a voice to problems. And people dutifully obeyed. Everyone was pressed to maintain a false face that everything was wonderful. Ken and Alex both frequently condemned any attempt by people to share their negative experiences with others. Any type of negative thought was giving Satan a foothold in your mind. To even begin to consider that there was a dangerous pattern of behavior happening would have been the first step on the path to hell. Most people simply refused to even consider the possibility, and were blinded.
Let me end this chapter by saying that I condemn the failure of every person in leadership who permitted Ken’s abuses to go on for years. I should not have had to be the one who had to deal with him. I condemn you for your slothfulness and your failure as servants of God and shepherds of the flock. I further condemn your failure and standing by and supporting him when he turned on me for trying to deal with his abuses. God have mercy on you, and I condemn your failure one last time because you are letting him continue to do the same things today. You are each and every one without excuse. You have chosen Barabbas.
Dear God, please open the eyes of the blind.
Discipline or Abuse?
Besides the problems with Ken, there was a growing problem with our Pastor Alex as well. These problems were also raising deep concerns for me over what was happening in the church.
Flattery is dangerous, and the only way to guard against it is to make sure people know telling you the truth will not offend you. Leaders who love flattery end up very blinded because those around them won’t tell them anything negative.
I observed how Alex was becoming increasingly manipulated by a small group of people. It is possible he was always that way, and I just never realized it until after I became a minister. Stan particularly was abusing Alex’s poor judgment to his own benefit. Alex had become almost completely reliant on Stan and accepted anything he was told without question. Stan’s influence over Alex was a major thing that caused Ken to dislike him so much. Ken wanted that control and influence for himself.
Stan’s biggest problem was that he was an accuser of the brethren, and Alex was quick to respond to his accusations through church discipline of the accused. Stan falsely-accused many people. I never understood why. The results of his accusations were frequently unfortunate. Some people were rebuked publicly, some privately. Some were removed from their positions in the church. Others were harassed and drummed out of the church. Even mentally handicapped and elderly people suffering dementia were being targeted for public rebuke and humiliation as a result of Stan’s influence on Alex.
As I witnessed these things, I thought surely Alex’s mind was slipping. Some of the things were so petty, they were ridiculous. One elderly man was rebuked for requesting prayer too frequently. One mentally handicapped man was rebuked for saying amen too loudly. One person was rebuked for giving a praise testimony out of turn. One elderly woman and a second handicapped man were rebuked and asked to leave the church “because they smelled bad.” On and on it went. It reached a level that was cruel and evil.
It took me some time to realize how church discipline was being abused. My only involvement in church discipline was generally at the last step. I was called in when judgment was being handed down. I believe that was done to give people the impression I was involved with and supported what was happening, when the truth was, I didn’t even know what was going on. I just took for granted the pastor had followed the scriptural pattern for church discipline, and I was being brought in at the last step in that process. Unfortunately, I later discovered that was not the case at all. Alex had taken up an utterly ungodly and unscriptural form of church discipline. (It is possible it was always this way, and I was simply unaware.) Whatever the case, they are without excuse for how they operated. They should certainly have known better.
On hearsay, and frequently without even one witness, Alex would try, judge, and condemn a person, without speaking to the accused about the issue and without seeking any evidence. The accused never even knew they had been accused and were never given any opportunity to make an explanation. The accused only found out they had been accused when they were called in to be rebuked and punished. I was aghast when I discovered the absolute ungodliness of what they were doing. (Sadly, they attempted to do the same thing against me before I left the church. Knowing their pattern of behavior, I refused to cooperate and demanded the biblical pattern be followed. The pastor refused to speak to me. No surprise there. Thankfully the Lord is our judge, not ungodly and wicked men.)
Over the years, I came to discover that accusing someone was a source of pride for several people at the church. They could be counted on to be a false witness or to misrepresent situations when needed. Those same people were often repeatedly used to back up accusations whenever a judgment came into question. Because I discovered certain people were repeatedly bearing false witness, I decided to begin looking into some of the accusations myself.
I discovered multiple cases where the accusations turned out to be total fabrications, yet the people involved were harshly punished by church leadership. In one case, a man had been accused of stealing from his employer, both of whom were church members. He was condemned and judged privately on hearsay. No one investigated. I later found out from the employer that he never stole anything. The employer was confused why no one reached out to even inquire about the matter. I asked Alex about this case several months later, and he told me the man was probably guilty of something else, so there was no need to make it right. Knowing full well the man was innocent, Alex kept him under punishment for years.
I witnessed multiple people publicly humiliated for things they didn’t even do. Things of this nature were happening on a frequent basis. Some of these cases had terrible consequences. Multiple teenagers, male and female, were falsely accused of being homosexuals. In one case, a young girl was publicly humiliated for it. It had a severe negative impact on her. The accusation was not even true.
These types of things happened over and over again, and Alex was seemingly completely ignorant that he was being lied to and manipulated, and seemed to not recognize the spiritual damage he was causing to people and their faith (Matthew 18:6). And when he later became aware of his misjudgment he NEVER went back and made it right, ever. At the very least, his refusal to make things right when he discovered the truth is a gross and ugly sin that Alex repeatedly committed. To Alex, the image of infallible leadership was more important than making things right. He repeatedly said publicly that he would never change his mind on his judgments. He falsely believed it was God working through him to make those corrupt judgments.
The steady stream of bad decisions gradually eroded my confidence in his judgment altogether. He seemed incapable of discerning right and wrong.
While leadership was harshly punishing people for things they were not guilty of, leadership was simultaneously ignoring and covering up real problems. Someone took pictures of one teenage girl in various stages of undress, and then threatened her with releasing the photographs. The evidence was ignored and they proceeded to cover it all up. Was that child pornography? In another situation, a 45-year-old sex predator who had come into the church lured off a teenage girl and committed statutory rape. At the very least, the people should have been warned publicly that a sex offender had been in the church and to be on the lookout. The people have a right to know that there are convicted sex offenders in the church.
People also shared with me testimonies about being raped, spousal abuse, and child molestation when they were children, and that those cases had all been covered up by the leadership. I buried my head in the sand with the extreme cases. After leaving, I revisited those people to get all the details, and sadly discovered the church likely had multiple pedophiles, and there was even testimony against some of the ministers at the church. Most wanted justice, but they feared losing everyone and everything if they made their story public. And in truth, that is exactly what would have happened. The leadership would have crushed them like bugs. I left the decision with them about going to the police in their individual cases.
When I would inquire to Alex on the cases when I became aware of them, I never felt like I got an honest answer. He at one point told me he was not going to share with me details about people he counseled, which seemed to confirm he knew about the cases. It was hard for me to understand how some people could be treated so harshly for things they never did, while relatives or pets of the leadership were given a total pass on sins of the worst sort.
In addition to the abusive misuse of church discipline, there was a general refusal by leadership to offer counseling to those truly in need. I tried several times to bring some of these issues to the attention of Alex. He did not want to get involved. When people came to him for counseling or support he often would tell them to go away and leave him alone. At the very least, they should have been directed to resources that could help them. Counseling is one the basic responsibilities of the ministry and the church. A pastor who does not pastor is not a pastor. It’s in the job description. But people were instead publicly rebuked for trying to speak with Alex about counseling. Multiple people came to me with stories of being harshly treated and rebuked by Alex or the deacons for asking for help. In almost every case, people were left worse off than when they first came for help. People needing financial assistance were neglected. People facing serious life crises were condemned and blamed for their own problems and no help was offered. Many of the sick went unvisited. Almost all the widows went uncared for by the leadership. The weak went without support. And the feebleminded went without comfort. But rebuke was universal (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
Perhaps it was Alex’s refusal or inability to fulfill his pastoral duties which blinded him to the condition of his flock. Or perhaps he actually supported what Ken and Stan were doing. Perhaps his mind was just slipping. Or maybe he was a corrupt man. I never felt like I understood why he acted as he did. Whatever the case, many people were living a tormented life because of the atmosphere at the church. It was in Alex’s power to change that, but he refused to. He refused to even acknowledge it was happening. He will answer to God for all of that one day.
There are other cases I could relay, but I think that is enough to get a flavor of the negative side of Alex’s personality and bad fruits of his ministry. Unlike Ken, Alex did have some redeeming qualities to his ministry. But his leadership style was a disaster, and any reasonable person could see that he had abandoned the biblical pattern.
These behaviors of the church leadership were some of the things that would eventually lead me to leave Faith Assembly. However, these things never made me doubt The Message. As all these difficult situations were happening, I was rationalizing it all. Just like most everyone that sat through those events, I was susceptible to the false face too. I questioned my sanity at times. Everyone seemed to be doing well on the surface. It was only behind closed doors in private where the horrors were talked about. But as soon as we were back in the daylight, everyone was all smiles and joyous again. Perhaps the false face was reality, and the ugly dark side was just my imagination? So I told myself. I struggled with deciding which side of things was real.
I felt like I had ways to explain all the problems away. God was testing the church. God was bringing trials to make us stronger. Maybe there was more to the story than I knew, maybe God really was speaking to the leadership and telling them to conduct themselves in that way. Maybe I just did not understand. Maybe the victims deserved the punishment and treatment they were getting for some sin or situation I didn’t know about. Maybe God was a harsher God than I understood. I found many ways to rationalize what I was seeing. Besides, we were the bride of Christ, there was no one else. God would have to fix us.
I knew it wasn’t the perfect church God was looking for, but none of those things were enough to cause me to leave or to doubt that God would eventually straighten things out. I truly believed God was working through those circumstances to strengthen the body of Christ and bring it closer to what he wanted. But one thing was sure: this was not what The Message was supposed to produce. So how could we produce it? How could we become what we were supposed to be?
After experiencing this for years, I gradually decided I was not imagining what was happening. To check myself, I decided I would write down every time something bad happened. Keeping a list would help me determine just how frequent bad things were happening. It was after I started writing down and tracking these things on paper that I really became aware of the scope of the problem. I realized that in my rationalizing I had downplayed everything going on. But as weeks and months went by, now with a list on paper, I could soon see the true breadth of the problem. These serious issues were happening frequently. Hardly a week passed without people being abused. Sometimes it occurred multiple times a week. How could that be normal? How could that be Christian?
I was not prepared to admit the reality of the situation at that time, but I later would: I was part of an extremely toxic church that harmed more people than it was edifying. The evidence was overwhelming. The ugly dark side was a reality. Many people were not being equipped to do the work of the Lord or maturing in their personal relationship with Christ. Instead, they were being made dependent and subservient to men, blinded to the true grace of God, and kept in a state of oppression. The majority of the people in the church were suffering silently, thinking it was the godly thing to do, and they probably still are.
Was I The Only One Concerned?
As these events transpired, I had some unusual conversations with other ministers. One day, I had lunch with Alex and had an opportunity to share with him some of my concerns over events I have already described. He replied to me by saying some unusual things. He said, “we must not be that close to the end”. He proceeded to explain that signs were not lining up properly, and that the church was still a long way from being ready for the rapture.
At the time I was completely taken aback by what he said to me. The whole premise of The Message was that the end was just around the corner and Christ’s return was imminent. It was what Alex preached from the platform. But in private he was telling me something very different. On one hand, Alex validated my own thoughts that the severe nature of the problems had serious ramifications on our beliefs. Yet Alex’s answer also acknowledged there might be something wrong with The Message itself. This was my first hint that the leadership did not actually believe The Message.
Then other ministers began to speak to me making similar comments. Ken told me he had doubts Christ would come before the holocaust generation passed away, which was a key endtime teaching of William Branham and Raymond Jackson, and intimately connected to the fifth seal. I was shocked that Ken so casually dismissed the teachings on the fifth seal, as though they didn’t even matter. When I told him that was not a teaching he could make fit in The Message, he told me we couldn’t let that put us in a box. I was shocked: how could a Message minister think the seals were a box that we couldn’t let ourselves get stuck in? I was shocked that he would so easily walk away from one of the seals that William Branham had preached. He clearly did not believe the seals were divine revelation.
As time went on, and other ministers shared their concerns with me, I gradually came to understand that the other ministers harbored serious doubts about The Message.
I was perplexed. How could they believe The Message but have such doubts about core elements, even the revelation of the seals themselves? How could they harbor such serious reservations in private, yet preach with such certainty in the platform on the same topics? It was a curious problem.
I had already seen a level of dishonesty in how the affairs of the church were being handled. And now I was experiencing another level of dishonesty in the ministers concerning the very doctrines being preached. The other ministers secretly harbored serious doubts about the core of The Message. Will they publicly deny they have serious doubts? Of course they will. But I know the truth because they told me. If I was accused of catching a doubting spirit, I would have had to have caught the doubting spirit from the other leaders of The Message. They doubted before I did.
Their statements caused me to start to dig even deeper into the roots of what we believed. I wanted to understand the source of their doubts and find answers. I began a process of looking deeply at the scriptural basis for our doctrines so that my confidence and faith was securely resting on the Word of God, and not on the opinion of men. The search and study I made in those years was a very rewarding experience for me personally. I thank God for it. I could spend a long time elaborating on my precious discoveries and deepening revelation as I made this study, but I will keep this part short. As I studied over the course of some years, I fell in love with Jesus all over again as the doctrine of grace, the atonement of Christ, justification, and true holiness became clearer to me than ever before. It was in this period of time that I really began to find firm ground to stand on that would sustain me moving forward.
Out of Town Visitors and Unusual Allegations
I want to relate another series of events that occurred during this period which feeds into my story.
Message churches were known to have unusual happenings and Faith Assembly was no exception. One such happening occurred around November 2016 (to the best of my recollection). The church was unexpectedly visited by two men from Canada. By the end of service, they were causing a stir and harassing people as they exited the church service. We eventually ejected the men from the building when we threatened to call law enforcement, and they went on their way. Only a few months later, these same men appeared on the national news in Canada. They had been going into many different churches and disrupting them as they had done ours. They were also conducting very aggressive street preaching. In their street preaching they would quote William Branham sermons, especially repeating his harshest statements towards women. It was that incendiary language that landed them in the news. There were dozens of news stories covering the two men’s antics.
I was made aware of the stories by Message believers in Canada who saw it on television news. The headline of the CBC news story was: “How a dead U.S. evangelist inspires London’s reviled street preachers: Pair who shame women are adherents of William Branham, who has links to the KKK and Jim Jones”. Talk about bad PR! Could it get any worse? This headline angered me because it connected William Branham to the KKK and Jim Jones. I thought it was absolutely an outrageous slander. (Raymond Jackson had already told us that William Branham had been connected to Jim Jones, so that information I easily dismissed as a known thing. But the KKK connection was completely new to me.) Reading through the CBC article I quickly identified the source of the allegations was John Collins. I had been aware of John Collins for some time, but I had not heard his Jim Jones and KKK allegations.
I immediately set out to get the details of his allegations so I could refute them and defend William Branham. This story was in the national television news and many Message believers were exposed to it. Over time I discovered that Collins had made the same allegations in other national news stories in other countries. Message believers in Norway had heard similar allegations in their national news. This made me all the more desirous to find the answers to refute John Collin’s claims. There had to be some sort of a defense against the attack.
At first I mentioned the news story to our pastor Alex, and later the assistant pastor Ken, but neither seemed interested in addressing it. At first, I thought they were just dismissing the allegations as rubbish, but I soon learned otherwise.
As I began to look at the evidence I could access, I tried on my own to put together a defense of William Branham. Unfortunately, I did not believe my own defense. I could see all too well the holes in it. The evidence was overwhelming that William Branham had been seriously influenced by the KKK – and even worse – that remnants of that KKK influence were still present in some of the teachings of The Message. I never believed we were racist or white supremacist, in fact we preached against that. So it was totally disturbing to find out while on one hand we opposed racism, on the other hand we were preaching things which had been invented by the KKK.
I am an avid watcher of PBS documentaries, and I once watched a documentary on Ruby Ridge. The people involved in the Ruby Ridge incident were influenced by the Nazi Aryan Church and KKK propaganda, and the documentary opened up by explaining their doctrines. The documentary explained how the Nazi Church believed that the serpent had relations with Eve and conceived Cain, and from there came all the “inferior races.” It was pure racism. But it was also serpent seed teaching. When I first saw the documentary, I thought the White Supremacists must have heard serpent seed from William Branham somehow and twisted it into a racist doctrine. But in truth, it was the other way around. Serpent Seed teaching was promoted by the KKK and other White Supremacist groups in the decades before William Branham preached it. Serpent Seed came from Christian Identity Theology. The White Supremacists did not learn serpent seed doctrine from William Branham – William Branham learned it from them. That was a bitter truth to come to grips with.
At first, I downplayed the connection because I believed we had eliminated any racial elements in the serpent seed teaching. But then one day, our pastor Alex decided it was time for me to hear the secret revelation of the serpent seed. In private, he explained to me that Cain, who was born of the serpent, was the first black man, and that black skin was a sign of the serpent seed. He explained that interracial marriage is what polluted mankind and caused God to have to bring the flood that destroyed the world, and he went on to explain that the same thing was occurring in modern day society and that children born of interracial marriages were the cause of most problems in society. To say I was shocked by his “revelation” would be an understatement. It shocked me in the worst way because it confirmed that there was indeed a racist bent to the serpent seed doctrine in The Message. All my rationalizing was destroyed.
I began to wonder who told Alex this secret revelation of the serpent seed, and I wondered if he learned it from William Branham while he still attended the Tabernacle. I later confirmed that is exactly where this “secret revelation” came from. In conversation with another Message minister some months later, I was informed that he himself had been a member of the KKK, and he related to me the names of other old-timers in The Message who had been KKK members too. I also learned that some of them remained members of the KKK at least into the late 1970s, well after the death of William Branham.
I went back and listened to past messages on serpent seed with this new “revelation” in mind. Sure enough, that racial element was hidden in many different sermons and, somehow, I had just missed it. I had been naive.
Shortly after sharing this secret racial revelation with me, Alex began a series of message in which he all but said Cain was the first black man and God sent the flood because of interracial marriage. He said from the platform almost the same things he said to me privately, he just omitted the word “black”. But he would say, “you need to read between the lines here.” And “some things you just have to catch by the spirit, we can only go so far because of the age we live in.”
I remember looking around the church at hundreds of people, wondering how many people realized what he was saying, and how many were oblivious. He privately explained to me that he could not share the racial part in the sermons because not everyone could receive it. But anyone with any racial thought at all could have figured out what he was saying.
Following this series of events, I suddenly had my eyes opened to something I had never noticed before. There was a hot streak of racism in our church. Suddenly I recalled all the times that church members, church leaders, even deacons and the pastor used racial slurs.
I also recalled some things from Raymond Jackson’s sermons. He preached on the Sin of Ham and said that Africans were supposed to be servants to everyone else, and that their nature had come from inbred sin inherited from the Garden of Eden. (I controlled the church website, and decided to scrub that from the website. But I still have the a copy.)
I also suddenly recalled negative things people in church leadership had privately said about black people in our church and associated churches. Our leaders believed blacks were inferior, meant to be manual laborers, and had an “extra helping” of serpent seed in their DNA.
“Soulish” was the term our leaders used to describe the serpent’s descendants, meaning they did not have a full soul. They were part animal, and not fully human. This was identical to what the Aryan Church and the KKK taught. Could they be right? At the time I concluded William Branham had preached it, so it had to be right. I just could not understand it for some reason. Publicly the preachers said black people could be Christians just like anyone else, but privately it was whispered that being black was a sign of the serpent seed. I finally figured out that as long as black people were willing to accept their inferior position, they would be accepted by the leadership. That seemed to be what was required. It was perplexing to me. I put it on my shelf, like we were instructed to do, trusting I would understand it all eventually.
This troubled me greatly, but it did not make me even consider that The Message was wrong or that I should leave. I was trying to convince myself they must be right.
One of the biggest things that bothered me on this topic was that a certain lady in our church had interracial grandchildren and wanted to bring them to church. For some reason, she felt she needed to ask permission from Alex before bringing those children to church. Alex refused her request and told her he did not want interracial children in the church. I was shocked upon learning about these things. Were interracial children beyond the grace of God? I soon discovered that Alex did indeed hold that belief as he explained to me privately the great mistake a certain white family in the church had made by adopting black children. When I was confronted with this reality, and the things I was being told by Alex, I was stunned and did not know what to do. Everything in me screamed that this could not possibly be godly, yet this knowledge was being shared with me by the man I considered the direct successor to William Branham and was appointed by God to be leader of our church.
In another notable incident, a pair of teenagers, one white and one black, took an interest in each other. Word got back to the leadership who instructed the white parents to stop the relationship from developing. A deacon, (who I will call Max) at the church was concerned about what happened in that particular case and came to me to try and understand why the rest of the leadership was opposed to interracial relationships.
I pointed Max to the only scriptures on the topic I was aware of at the time: the case of Moses, who was interracially married to a black woman. (Numbers 12). In the story, Moses is confronted by his family who condemn him for being interracially married. However, God was angered by their attack and defended Moses by smiting with leprosy the one who had condemned his marriage. This was the clearest case in the bible I was aware of where God took a position on interracial marriage. I tried to share with him what I knew about the origin of serpent seed to answer his question. I heard Max later said it made his eyes glaze over. I guess he didn’t really want to hear the truth about the racially targeted discipline he had been involved in after all.
Though this series of events, I became convinced and found the evidence overwhelming that William Branham and some of his teachings (teachings we still believed and preached) had been directly influenced by the KKK. William Branham had been converted, ordained, and baptized into Christianity by Roy Davis. Roy Davis was a coauthor of the constitution of the KKK in 1921 and later became the Imperial Wizard of Original Knights of the Ku Klux Klan. And William Branham openly admitted that racism and serpent seed doctrine was believed by people at Roy Davis’s church when he attended it as early as 1929. The overlap and similarity of the racist doctrine of the KKK and serpent seed are beyond question. With only a little effort, anyone can research these things for themselves.
I have included some evidence in a tract on this website entitled: The Case of the White Supremacy Origins of William Branham’s Serpent Seed.
While I was troubled that the church was covertly promoting racism, my much larger concern was the discovery that William Branham had not received the serpent seed revelation directly from God. That is what we had always been told. However, the facts were pointing otherwise. William Branham did not get serpent seed doctrine from God – he got it from White Supremacists and adapted it for his own purposes. This was the most troubling aspect to me – I could clearly see how William Branham came to understand the serpent seed doctrine – and there appeared to be nothing supernatural about it.
This left me wondering, if Serpent Seed doctrine did not come to William Branham directly from God, why were we misled to think otherwise? This was the first time I discovered that some of our “divine” revelation had not originated with a divine source. I was left searching for an explanation. I rationalized an answer: God must have supernaturally confirmed the truth of the Serpent Seed doctrine to William Branham, rather than give it to him as an original doctrine. But was it possible God revealed a divine revelation through the KKK? That was hard to swallow.
As I thought about it, I recalled one scripture that I never understood. We were always told the first verse of Genesis 4 was a lie or a coverup.
And Adam knew Eve his wife and she conceived and bare Cain…Genesis 4:1
Was it possible the bible was right? Was it possible that Eve really did conceive Cain by knowing Adam? Had William Branham truly received revelation that this verse wrote by Moses was a lie? I struggled, but William Branham and Raymond Jackson and our pastor Alex must be right – this verse of the bible must have been a lie. I put it on my shelf, believing that it would make sense eventually.
What I am saying here about the message’s connection to the KKK may sound unbelievable. As a message believer, I could hardly believe it. I believed it had to be some kind of trick. Yet I could not find any other explanation for the evidence, and I had my findings actually confirmed to me by multiple message ministers. Maybe you will find a good explanation if you look over the evidence? I would be glad to hear the explanation if you find it.
A Clouded Picture
With one more question on my shelf, I continued to hold tightly to The Message, trusting that there were good answers to these questions. During the midst of this, another unpleasant truth came to my attention. Let me tell you how it happened:
I was the editor of the church’s magazine, and we published the pastor’s sermons in it. Our pastor had taken a series of messages on Revelation 10 and the supernatural events that happened in 1963, and I was working on publishing them.
In case you are not familiar with The Message, let me explain how important 1963 was to us. The supernatural events of 1963 are the lynchpin, the key thing that separates Message believers from all other Christians. In 1963, the Lord Jesus Himself descended from heaven with a shout. The Lord’s face was visible in the form of a cloud in the sky, seen for hundreds of miles, and published in national news. Those supernatural events led to William Branham’s sermons on the revelation of the seven seals. Those events and sermons were the “shout” (1 Thes 4:16) and the “midnight cry” (Matthew 25). Christians who received the message of that shout could become the bride of Christ, who were the wise virgins of Matthew 25, and who were eligible for the rapture. These events were critical to the message. The shout and midnight cry were the key events that separated us from the other Christians and gave us our elite status.
Let me share a quotation with you from Raymond Jackson to demonstrate how key 1963 was:
The midnight cry by Bro. Branham and the shout are one and the selfsame thing. When you read of the shout, it is how Paul used it to start the illustration of how this will all break down. First the shout. He didn’t tell you there would be an interval of time after it. When I look back, I remember when I sat there in 1963, as these things happened.– Raymond Jackson, The Foolish Virgins, Part 1
So I’ve said all of this to emphasize the cry, the shout and the voice of the 7th Church age messenger is all one and the self same thing because you cannot have three different things going on at three different times.Raymond Jackson, The Catching Away, Part 3 1992-10-18am
Now if we look at it right, we cannot have a cry, a shout and a voice of a 7th angel until knew what these things pertained to [in 1963].Raymond Jackson, The Catching Away, Part 3 – 1992-10-18am
That to me proves in 1963, God has now caused a shout.Raymond Jackson, The Catching Away, Part 2, 1992-10-11pm
When we come to the year of 1963, God dealt with this man. The time has come. He wants this people on Earth who somehow or other that are being drawn out by his message to be dealt with in a prophetic way. So he deals with a man like he did in Arizona and brings him back here. And brothers and sisters, that little man stood there at that pulpit each night.Raymond Jackson, Have You Heard The Shout?, 1993-6-29
And as I look back through the years now, it is more vivid than ever. This is the only thing, this side of heaven that could have fulfilled that which Paul says here in one Thessalonians four for the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. Now keep in mind that don’t mean that everybody is going to see the Lord up there hanging in space. But when he said the Lord himself shall descend, we’ve got to realize it’s how the spirit of God moved and projected something to Earth to begin to deal with a people that are destined to fulfill all these scriptures and the income. We can say in 1963, this was when the shout has been declared.Raymond Jackson, The Catching Away, Part 2 – 1992-10-11pm
We can say then in the year of 1963, this man’s message has been prepared, has been sounded, and God has put a punch line in it…Raymond Jackson, Have You Heard The Shout, 1993-6-29
In summary, the events of 1963 was the fulfillment of the shout and the midnight cry: the thing which separated the wise virgins from the foolish virgins. What happened in 1963? The cloud appeared (the lord descended from heaven) and the revelations of the seals were preached (the shout went forth). These events of 1963 are pivotal to the Message.
This is why I have to say brothers and sisters, in 1963 when brother Branham stood there and in the spirit as God had spoke to him out west to go back for this purpose. That’s when God took all the messages that he has dealt with in time up to that hour. And God has put a revelation of the breaking them seals within this. This is what gave that voice, that shout, that cry, the magnitude that’s been heralding backwards and forth around this Earth for the last 30 years. How many understands my explanation?Raymond Jackson, 1992-8-2am (#1393) Have You Heard The Shout
Another quote from James Allen.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. When did this happen? Has it happened? Will it happen? The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout. Bro. Branham taught us the shout is the message. Bro. Jackson taught us the same thing, the shout is the message, the same as the cry of Matthew 25:6. There is something to that. I just told you about Revelation 6:1, a thunder, then verse 6, a voice. The voice is the same thing as the shout. We are not deviating from that. There was enough explanation in what Bro. Jackson taught without me needing to further explain it. There is enough indication to tell you that something happened in 1963. The mystery cloud: that was not just angels. We have the picture here. This was a cloud. It was dynamic enough to put it in Life Magazine. Life Magazine said it was impossible for water vapor to exist as high as this cloud was. It was twenty six miles high and thirty miles across. What does it look like? That is what I am referring to: The Lord himself will descend from heaven. This is in angelic form.James Allen – The Contender: Revelation 10: Part 1, Preached September 4-11, 2016
The quotes from the sermons speak for themselves. The supernatural events of 1963 are at the very heart of the Message. By their own words, the message and the shout and the midnight cry “are one and self same thing.”
If there is a problem with the supernatural events of 1963, there is something wrong with the Message itself.
So while I was working on publishing our pastor’s sermon on this topic in The Contender, I went online to search for images of the supernatural cloud as illustrations. There was a website called BelieveTheSign.com I had used in the past to borrow material from. The website was a pro-message site that published useful information on this and other message topics. Upon going to the website, I was immediately met with a shock. The site had transformed from a pro-message site to an anti-message site. My first thought was that the site had been hacked and taken over, but I soon realized that was not the case at all. The original people who had published all the material on the cloud had discovered a terrible problem that ultimately caused them to leave The Message, and now they were sharing this information on their website.
At first, I copied the images for use in our publication and moved on, and just ignored the allegations made by BelieveTheSign. However, with all the other problems I was already mulling over, the questions raised by BelieveTheSign about the 1963 cloud nagged at me. Over the course of a few months, I gradually started to look at and investigate their claims. I rechecked their documentation. I went and obtained original copies of the documents to review myself. I listened to William Branham’s sermons. I listened to Raymond Jackson sermons. I went over and over and over again reviewing the problem and looking for a solution.
The allegation being made was pretty simple – the editors of BelieveTheSign claimed that on February 28, 1963, when that supernatural cloud appeared over Arizona – that William Branham was not there. They alleged that William Branham only pretended to be there, and made up his story about the cloud after the cloud had already been publicized. To my great sorrow, with all my diligent searching, I ultimately concluded they were correct. William Branham made up the story of being out hunting the day that cloud appeared. The evidence was overwhelming. I hold out hope that maybe someone else could look at the evidence and find a solution. But so far, no one I know in The Message is even willing to look at the evidence.
In reality, William Branham was traveling to and from meetings in Texas that week – not out hunting. The first problem is that the two eyewitnesses William Branham claimed were hunting gave conflicting testimonies; they were not hunting on February 28 and they saw no cloud the day they were out. Billy Paul Branham, who was traveling with his dad that week, confirmed he was not out hunting. His daughter Rebecca Branham Smith who stayed behind while he traveled to Texas confirmed he was not there. William Branham himself admitted he was not there the first time he ever told the cloud story, before revising it to say he was there in later tellings. Lee Vayle, who was working with William Branham at the time on the Church Ages book confirmed he was in Texas. Those are just a few of the witnesses who confirm William Branham was not there.
Besides the eyewitness accounts of where William Branham was that day, you can also compare the dates of his sermons when he preached in Texas and the date of the cloud appearance and see that they conflict.
Another problem was that hunting season in Arizona during 1963 did not start until March, but the cloud appeared in February. So how could be out hunting before the season began? Yet another problem, William Branham claimed the cloud appeared when he was hunting early in the morning, but in reality, the cloud only appeared for a few minutes at dusk. William Branham claimed the cloud was centered over his hunting site near Tucson, but really it was centered over 200 miles away at Flagstaff.
Worst of all, William Branham never mentioned the cloud even once until after it was published in magazines and news articles. If he had been present when it happened, why did he not mention it until after it was publicized by the media? On and on the evidence goes proving he was not there with the cloud. And it is overwhelming.
I have written another tract which includes samples of this evidence entitled: Where Was William Branham on February 28, 1963?
This was very disturbing information to learn. The cloud was the Lord descending from heaven with a shout. William Branham said so. Raymond Jackson said so. Our pastor Alex said so. That was the visible evidence of the supernatural event. How could we say that cloud had anything to do with the seven seals when William Branham was not even there when the cloud appeared?
Unfortunately, William Branham’s location was not the only problem. BelieveTheSign also published articles with documented proof about the origin of the cloud. On February 28, 1963, the United States Air Force at Vandenburg Airforce Base launched a spy satellite into orbit. At about 35,000 feet the rocket malfunctioned and exploded leaving a circular vapor cloud around the site of the explosion. Air Force personnel saw the photos of the “supernatural” cloud in Life magazine and confirmed the cloud was produced by the rocket explosion. However, the spy satellite launch was classified at the time, James McDonald did not publish his findings about the origin of the cloud, and the military was prohibited from sharing the truth publicly. In later years, that information was declassified and shared with the public.
At the time of my discovery of this information, I reached out to multiple Message ministers to inquire if they had heard of these things. I discovered from multiple ministers that they were already aware the cloud had been produced by a rocket explosion since at least the early 1990s. Some were aware as early as the 1980s. I was able to confirm that Raymond Jackson became aware of it around 1993. Raymond Jackson at least had the decency to quit talking about the cloud after he found out it’s manmade origin. (He never mentioned it again, after 1993.) But other message ministers who told me they knew the truth were still preaching it as supernatural, decades after they learned it wasn’t. What in the world could explain that? How can people do that? I asked one long time minister point blank: “So Brother Branham just made this up then?” The reply: “That’s pretty much how it is.” Ironically, some of these same ministers later condemned me for not believing William Branham. What ugly hypocrites. They disbelieved long before I did. And worse, they were preaching things to the people they did not even believe in.
I have wrote another tract which includes samples of this evidence entitled: William Branham and the Mystery Cloud.
So now, not only did I have overwhelming proof William Branham was not out hunting on February 28, 1963, I also had undeniable evidence the cloud was manmade – not God-made. How could I possibly make sense of that? Perhaps God could use an exploded spy satellite as a means to show Christ’s face to world. Why not? So I told myself.
Now you might think at this point I doubted The Message and was ready to leave, but you would be wrong. Like everything else I found ways to explain this away and live with it, and put the rest on a shelf and wait for the day I would understand. I let go of the cloud because it was an evil generation that seeks after a sign anyway. I didn’t need a sign, I just needed the revelation of the seals. My faith was greater than any doubt Satan might try to put in my mind. The cloud may have been an exaggeration, in fact the whole story may well have been made up, but the revelation was divinely inspired and brought to William Branham by an angel. It was divine. Problems were multiplying, but my faith in The Message was as strong as ever. The other preachers knew the cloud was manmade, even Raymond Jackson knew, but they still believed the message. Why shouldn’t I?
Before explaining my exit from Faith Assembly (not my exit from The Message) I want to relate another area of problems I had found.
Ken, our assistant pastor, had a father named Wilson. Wilson was also a Message minister who had been alive in the days of William Branham and had close contact with William Branham at times. William Branham talked about Wilson on tape quite a few times. Over the years Wilson had discussed homosexual rumors about William Branham with multiple people. These same homosexual rumors were also being published by John Collins and I encountered them when I first began to look into William Branham’s KKK connections. The homosexual rumors shared by John Collins matched the homosexual rumors shared by Wilson.
In summary this was the rumor: there were multiple confirmed and known homosexuals that were closely connected to William Braham. William Branham spent a lot of time alone with them, he had stayed overnight with some of them, and some people had heard and seen suspicious things. I will share the details of some of them.
Frary Von Blom was a wealthy man and one of the key figures in the Full Gospel Businessman who financed many of William Branham’s campaign meetings. Von Blom traveled with William Branham and served as an interpreter on some European campaign meetings. Von Blom was a known homosexual.
Leslie Douglas Ashley was the step-son of John Ayers, a leading member of the Full Gospel Businessman. Ashley was also a homosexual man who prostituted himself. He murdered one his clients in the early 1960s and was arrested, convicted, and put on death row in Texas. William Branham had a deep affection for the boy, and went to personally plead for his release and pardon in 1963. (This was what William Branham was involved doing when the cloud appeared in 1963. Ashley was successfully pardoned after claiming insanity. His proof of insanity was his delusional to claim to be Elijah the prophet.)
Paul Cain was a prominent minister who traveled with William Branham and preached and assisted him at many of his campaign. Cain disappeared from public for 25 years just after William Branham died. When he reappeared, he confessed to being a longtime homosexual and was forced to step down from the ministry.
Gene Goad and Leo Mercer were the homosexuals who were closest to William Branham. They attended the Branham tabernacle and were put in charge of recording the church services and making and selling the audio tapes. The two men followed William Branham to Arizona and setup a commune where many children were tortured and molested by them. Some of their victims later came to Faith Assembly Church and related their stories to us. William Branham was confirmed to be aware that these men were homosexuals from at least 1956. They were frequent companions on his hunting trips and joined him on almost all of his campaign travels. There is a photograph of William Branham resting his head against the groin of a man while on a hunting trip with these men.
William Branham was an avid hunter. The majority of his companions were known homosexuals on multiple hunting trips. At a hunting trip with William Branham in Canada, a man participating in the trip was arrested by the RCMP for homosexual acts and escorted from the site to jail. Homosexual acts were still punishable crimes at the time. Following that event, William Branham was accused of being a homosexual by a Canadian ministers’ association.
Besides these documented cases of his interactions with homosexuals, there are a number of other rumors without evidence that I am not sharing. You can easily find them online though. A simple Google search of these men’s names bring up plenty of results to look at.
None of these things are proof that William Branham was a homosexual himself. But there is overwhelming evidence that he frequently kept company with known homosexuals and was frequently in compromising positions with them. And he is certainly guilty of promoting known homosexuals and child molesters as leaders and ministers. That alone is enough to raise serious questions.
Regardless of whether William Branham was himself a homosexual, he was guilty of promoting and supporting homosexuals and he failed to report cases of child molestation among them. These actions, prophet or not, are inexcusable sins and should be openly condemned.
I had an opportunity to discuss one of these cases with our pastor Alex, who was also alive during William Branham’s ministry. Alex confirmed to me he had also heard homosexual rumors about William Branham while he was still living and was deeply troubled by them. He told me that he was contemplating leaving The Message over the allegations before he was given a dream from God. In the dream William Branham came to him and told him the allegations were false. It was only because of that dream that Alex dismissed the homosexual allegations. He encouraged me to accept his dream as an exoneration of William Branham.
I have authored another tract with some details and evidence about the homosexual rumors entitled: William Branham’s Many Relationships with Homosexuals.
In The Message, we were taught that homosexuals acts are a serious sin. In The Message we were taught to completely shun and stay away from homosexuals. William Branham himself is the one who taught us that. How could a prophet who had the gift of discernment knowingly associate himself in so many compromising ways with homosexuals? Men he knew were practicing homosexuals.
Would you, as a Message Believer, spend the night with someone you knew was homosexual? William Branham did. Frequently.
If you discovered your pastor was staying the night with homosexuals, would you not be justified in expecting an explanation that makes sense? Why was William Branham staying the night with homosexuals? I would like to hear an answer to that question that makes sense.
Was he a closeted homosexual? I really don’t know. I don’t even venture to draw a conclusion at this time, but there is more than enough evidence to justify asking the question just like other Message preachers asked the question when he was still living.
How could I justify William Branham’s close and intimate association with so many homosexuals? I don’t know the answer, and neither did anyone else I talked to in leadership positions.
Regardless, this did not make the doctrine or the revelation of The Message wrong. At worst, it was just a personal failing in William Branham’s life, albeit a deep and troubling one.
Throughout my life, people had known my interest in reading, and given me many books. A church friend experienced a death in his family. His father had been a minister. He approached me and asked if I would be interested in any of the books his father had owned. I agreed to look over the collection and took a few books. One of the books in the series was The Book of Revelation by Clarence Larkin. I had never read the book before, but the book had an expired copyright and it had a lot of interesting pictures in it that I thought may be useful for illustrating The Contender and the church website. Little did I know what I was about to find.
I proceeded to go through the book, copying out pictures, but immediately began to notice something very unusual as I was reading the book: Larkin explained the church ages in a manner that was nearly identical to the way William Branham had preached them.
I quickly recalled that William Branham had mentioned studying this book before he preached the church ages, but I was shocked to discover that William Branham had verbatim copied the church ages from this book. I thought William Branham had studied actual history books and put the church ages together himself by divine revelation. I did not realize someone had completely preached the church ages before William Branham did. I was shocked by the discovery, and curious why we had been misled to believe William Branham had received the Church Ages supernaturally.
I went back to the tapes to listen to them, because I knew Lee Vayle had edited the church age book. I wanted to see if it had been Lee Vayle who had copied from Larkin. But sure enough, it was William Branham. He preached the church ages verbatim from Larkin’s book. Many parts were completely identical, word for word. Larkin died long before William Branham was a minister, and William Branham had copied most of the church ages from him.
As I puzzled over this, I recalled something I had learned from Jehovah Witnesses I went to school with. I had learned from them that they believed their leader – Charles Russel – was the Laodicean church age messenger. At the time I thought the Jehovah Witnesses were just copying The Message, but upon recalling this as an adult I realized that made no sense. Jehovah Witnesses believed in Charles Russel before William Branham was even born. So I ordered a copy of Charles Russel’s book, The Finished Mystery. Sure enough, Charles Russel also preached the church ages before William Branham was born. I very quickly discovered that Charles Russel and William Branham had even chosen the same men as church age messengers – Apostle Paul, Martin Luther… We had been told God supernaturally revealed the church age messengers to William Branham. How could Charles Russel have picked the same men 20 years before William Branham was even born? Was this just an unusual coincidence?
I went back and searched William Branham’s sermons again, and I found William Branham said on tape that he had read Charles Russell’s books too. I recalled Raymond Jackson telling us that William Branham’s close friend and next-door neighbor, Banks Woods, had been a Jehovah’s witness and his family shared their Jehovah Witness materials with William Branham. Suddenly a picture was forming in my mind: William Branham had pretty well completely copied the Church Ages from Clarence Larkin and Charles Russel.
I was again troubled. I thought the revelation of the Church Ages came to William Branham directly from God, but the truth was more complicated than that. That did not mean William Branham was wrong about the church ages, but it did mean we had been misled about where these things came from. Was that ok? Was God pleased with that? What reason could there be for hiding that truth from us? Why didn’t anyone tell us where they really came from?
My mind immediately went back to the serpent seed, which was supposed to have come from God. Perhaps this was the same situation. Surely the revelation was still true, and William Branham just exaggerated the story of how he learned it. That seemed like a very reasonable explanation to me. So I told myself.
As I read through the books, I found many, many things in the books that were identical to what we believed. It was clear that William Branham had relied very heavily on Clarence Larkin and Charles Russel. Unfortunately, there was one thing in the books I could not so easily dismiss. As I read through Larkin and Russel’s explanation of the seven seals, I saw some similarities. Raymond Jackson had preached the seals to us many times, we knew them well. I found two of the seals were identical to what Clarence Larkin wrote in his books.
This immediately raised another question: if the seals were divine revelation no one had ever heard before 1963, how was it possible I could find the revelation of two of the seals written in a book before William Branham was even born? I reasoned that if God had opened the seals for the first time in 1963, I should not be able to find them written down by someone before 1963.
It seemed clear William Branham must have studied these books, and at least two of the seals had come from them, and not from an angel. This was very troubling to me, but still, four of the seals were unique. Four of the seals must have come from an angel. So I told myself. I was shaken, but I still had something to hold onto. But I wanted to be sure.
I wanted to investigate this further.
I asked Raymond Jackson’s daughter if he had subscribed to Only Believe magazine, and if I could have the magazines, and she searched and gave them to me. In one copy of Only Believe magazine there were pictures of William Branham’s library. I hunted and searched through internet bookstores, and I was able to find copies of many of the books in William Branham’s library, and I began to study them. I wanted to understand how far these things went. I wanted to know what William Branham got directly from God, and what he got from books.
Through it all, there was one thing in particular I was looking for. Would I find the other four seals?
I have another tract with a detailed review of the origin of the seals and supporting evidence entitled: Where Did William Branham Get The Revelation of the Seals?
This was the position I was in when I was forced to leave Faith Assembly Church. I had not given up on The Message, but I had a sinking suspicion that William Branham was not the original preacher of any of the seals. I will share some more details on what I discovered on this topic after being ejected from the church, but I want to break here and share more details that led up to me leaving the church.
A Crisis Unfolds
The atmosphere at Faith Assembly had become very tense. Several people had died as a result of Ken’s actions and sermons. There were multiple individuals in the church who were battling suicidal thoughts or on the last leg of their health as a result of giving up their medications. I couldn’t live with it anymore. I began to try and push for a change of direction.
I tried to bring the teachings on medicine, convictions, grace and law, holiness, and church discipline back to the center line of scripture. Unfortunately, that made me enemy number one for Ken. He was unwilling to change course or even acknowledge the impact of what he had done. He began targeting me in very cruel ways, using the same tactics he did against multiple other people before me. I won’t dwell on all the things he did, but it was more than enough for me to know that he and I would never be able to work together harmoniously.
I don’t think I have met a more troubling person in my life. In my opinion, he may have been a sociopath. I pray that God can change his heart before he hurts any more people. He wanted me gone, and was trying everything he could to throw a stumbling block in front of me, and he made it clear in no uncertain terms that I was his enemy.
Our pastor Alex had a health crisis in 2019. The situation was really touch and go at first, and it forced me to decide what I was going to do if he did not make it. Through prayer and fasting and communing with the Lord, I was led to decide the only thing I could do was leave if Alex died. The differences between Ken and myself were far too large to be bridged, especially considering that Ken had no interest in that.
Ken had attempted and failed to take over another message church around 2002, before he started coming to Faith Assembly. When he failed to take over, he played scorched earth and nearly destroyed that church. The majority of the congregation fell away, with many completely abandoning Christianity. Ken was not concerned with souls. His track record was destruction.
I loved Faith Assembly very much, and even though it had problems, the thought of it being destroyed broke my heart. I was quite certain if I stayed at Faith Assembly with Ken, either the church would be divided and harmed, or I would have to live a tormented life trying to keep peace.
I could not stand the thought of more families being broken up or people losing all faith because of yet another needless division. And I was at my breaking point mentally; I could not take anymore of his abuse. I decided that the best course of action would be to just go away and let the church carry on without me. I explained this to Alex while he was in the hospital and apologized to him, but told him that is what I would do. I made clear to him my intention was to leave the church and let Ken take leadership.
What happened behind the scenes then I can only guess. The next thing I know, I am being invited to a meeting to stop Ken from preaching and make me the assistant pastor of the church. None of this was what I was wanted. I just wanted to go away peacefully.
Stan had an ongoing feud with Ken for years. I suspect that Stan used the opportunity to get even with Ken. He quickly moved to take advantage of the situation. He convinced Alex to force Ken to step down from preaching and take away his position. Then at a board meeting, the deacons voted Ken out as assistant pastor and voted me in as assistant pastor. They did all this without my approval. No one even asked me if I wanted to be assistant pastor. In fact, I had told multiple deacons and the pastor my desire was to leave the church and I even stated from the platform I had no interest in being pastor of the church.
Yet they completely ignored me. They went against my wishes, and put me into an impossible situation. Shame on them. They used me like a tool rather than treat me like a human being. That is the kind of people they are. These are not good people. Good people do not act the way they act. They are people who use anyone and everyone. And if I had to be a causality so that Stan could get the edge over Ken, so be it. They were just using me.
I knew it was just a matter of time and there would be hell to pay. Ken had proven repeatedly that, despite his protestation to the contrary, he was a cruel vindictive man at heart. I tried to be optimistic, but I knew better. The only thing they had done was paint a target on my back for Ken to come after me.
The Edge of Violence
There was something else very troubling that was going on at the church. Pastor Alex had become increasingly paranoid during the Trump years. He had bought into the Q-anon conspiracy theory and was preaching elements of it in his sermons. He was convinced the government was on the verge of seizing the church, arresting us, and closing us down. He believed the government had been conducting child sacrifice at the White House.
One man shared a dream of soldiers entering the church and abusing women. Another man who was living in the Nevada desert phoned Alex regularly to keep him updated on all the latest conspiracy theory videos on the internet. The Dana Coverstone dreams predicting the imminent collapse of the United States and China, Russia, and the United Nations taking over the world were played at church and promoted by leadership. In sermon after sermon Alex discussed the threats being posed to us by the government. The church had a new security system installed, began locking all the doors when church service started, and a significant number of people were bringing firearms to church. People’s fears were being played on and the situation was getting more and more tense. It was a powder keg.
I will give an example of how on edge the church was during this period. There was a man who visited our church who appeared to me to be a police officer. As he came into the church, people began reaching for their guns and were prepared to fire on him – but the man didn’t seem to notice. A deacon came and sat next to him for the entire church service. After church, the visitor came to talk to Alex and myself, and explained he was a police officer and had come to invite our church to put a float in a parade that was to be held in Jeffersonville. The entire time he moved around the church, armed people were standing on each side of him. One person was holding a concealed gun on him. The visitor realized this at a certain point and quickly decided to leave. He literally sprinted to his car and peeled out of the parking lot like he was scared for his life. I was convinced that with one false move the people would have open fire on him.
Was it possible the man was some kind of a nut or government agent who came to kill us? Maybe… That’s what the leadership led us to believe. Or maybe he was just a nice man wanting us to put a float in a parade, and because he was wearing a police jacket we decided he was a threat to us because of how the pastor had been scaring the people. Somehow everyone thought the church’s reaction to that situation was appropriate. I didn’t.
Scaring everyone with made up conspiracies is wicked and ungodly. There is nothing Christian or edifying about it. But that is the fantasy world where many Message people like to live. We live in a wicked society, there are alot of people who hate Christianity, but there is no plot being orchestrated or in motion to exterminate Christians in the United States. That is simply not true. But that is part of the fear tactics Message leaders use to control people.
In the weeks prior to me leaving the church, this paranoid tension ratcheted up to a high extreme. We were in the final days before Trump was leaving office. Many people were convinced the nation was about to break out in violence and people were going to attack the church and try to shut us down. Many people in the church were completely swept up in the craziness. Of course, it was completely false, none of their predictions happened, and it is obvious to anyone looking back now that Alex and all the people pushing that idea were deceiving and being deceived. Anyone in their right mind should never trust them again after they were so completely and dangerously wrong. It is hard to understand how people continue to give them any credibility after such a blatantly obvious display of their error. At the time though, the church was mere steps away from acts of violence. If someone from the government had walked into that church in those days there would have been a terrible disaster of Waco proportions.
I was truly frightened with how militant many people had become. Matthew 26:52 had certainly been lost on them. Even if their conspiracy theories were true, the way they reacted was completely in violation of the teachings of Jesus. What they were doing was and still is dangerous and sinful.
The Plague Strikes
The COVID plague made the situation worse. Alex allowed Ken to resume preaching and he began doing the exact same things as before. Preaching against medicine and doctors, attacking and belittling people, and generally preaching garbage. He was not repentant in the least. Instead, he had been gathering a faction and plotting to divide the church for months. I heard the rumors, and those close to me knew full well and I told them repeatedly, I would leave the church rather than let him divide it. It was just a matter of time before he struck.
No one wanted to deal with what was going on. All that mattered was the false face, the façade that everything was ok. They wanted me to cry peace, peace – but there was no peace.
Ken‘s return to preaching had predictable results. Nearly every service he criticized the few COVID restrictions we had taken at church (most of which we were not following). He preached numerous times that as Message believers we were essentially immune to COVID. Then it happened.
Just like Satan used Psalms 91 to tempt Jesus (Luke 4:11), Ken read Psalms 91 and proclaimed no one in the Bride of Christ would get COVID. Unlike Jesus, the people were unable to discern the voice of Satan from the voice of God.
Within one week, in a church of 350, over 168 people became sick with COVID. Numerous people were in serious condition and hospitalized. The church had to be closed for an extended period of time because there were not enough healthy people to even do an online broadcast sermon. A significant number of people eventually died from COVID and its complications. Alex, the deacons, even Ken were hit hard with the virus. It appeared briefly as if the entire church leadership might be wiped out. Several were in critical condition. No one took responsibility. No one cared. Ken got yet another pass. There was a total denial of reality.
I exaggerate with this statement: but it seemed like there were some people who would lick the floor if Ken told them to. That is not too far off from the truth.
As I watched people dying yet again, at the fastest pace yet, I became angry with Ken. Anyone with a sane mind should have been angry. The fact the other people sat by and accepted the deaths without even a comment condemns each of them. They acted like they were brainwashed. If any of them read this, let me say clearly: You are an accomplice to death. Your lack of outcry over the situation is a condemnation of you (Jeremiah 6:15). What happened was not ok. And if you think it was ok to sit by and watch people die and not do anything about it, there is something seriously wrong with you. You need to wake up.
To make matters worse, as soon as Ken recovered from COVID, you can guess the topic of his next sermon. His elderly mother had come down sick while the rest of the family had COVID. The doctors recommended hospitalizing her. But instead of getting his mother the medical treatment she needed, he preached another sermon against doctors and medicine. At the same time multiple other people were still hospitalized with COVID in severe condition, and their family was weighing their medical options. Once again, Ken was trying to influence them to abandon medical care.
His mother died shortly thereafter. Was it related to COVID complications? I am sure Ken will never tell the truth.
Satan is a murderer.
A line was crossed. Everyone in leadership had become accomplices. Instead of dealing with the killer in our midst, they had the gall to rebuke me for bringing it up. God have mercy on their corrupted minds and blinded eyes. I refused to accept their ungodly rebuke. And to this day, I continue to indict each of them: these men to this day are accomplices and enablers of death. They have lost their way. I love them dearly, but they have chosen death.
I had a right to be angry. People were being killed. There is nothing wrong with me. But there is something wrong with them. How brainwashed do you have to be to not see what was going on?
Ken, reinvigorated, saw his opportunity to be rid of me. Ken privately accused me of not believing The Message because he knew I was investigating some of the problems and looking for answers. Alex and the deacons called me in to rebuke me for getting angry over the growing pile of dead bodies being produced by Ken’s ministry. I refused to accept their rebuke. I also refused to accept as legitimate the wicked manner in which they went about rebuking me. It was a double ungodliness on their part.
Alex was offended that I questioned his judgment and my refusal to accept a rebuke for pointing out the condition of the church. Alex was glad to seize on Ken’s accusations that I did not believe The Message. He worked with another deacon to spread a rumor among the people that I did not believe The Message. They accused me of trying to take over the church, when I had been trying to gracefully exit for over three years. I tried to leave, but they made me assistant pastor instead. Their accusation was insanity. I heard the accusation second hand, they never even asked me about it. Their dishonesty was deplorable.
Once people reveal themselves as slimy liars and deceivers, you have no obligation to respect their authority as servants of God. They have forfeited all authority.
Alex had accused so many people of trying to take over the church over the years, it had just turned into his go-to accusation. Jesus is the leader of the church. It really makes you wonder if our pastor was confused about that. If you disagreed with him, you must be trying to take over the church. What did the bible or Jesus have to do with it? Who cares that people are dying? I was just trying to take over the church. As soon as I heard the rumor, I quit attending church, determined to leave quietly. They had clearly lost their minds. Brainwashed.
A Change of Scenery
I attempted to phone and email Alex, and offered to talk to him privately about the issues. But he refused to respond to me in any way. Instead they repeatedly tried to lure me into a session where they could force me to confess to false charges and forcefully pressure me into submitting to them. I had been in too many of those sessions already to know how they worked. They recorded everything and tried to twist it against the person. I refused to participate.
Instead of letting me go quietly, deacons phoned me repeatedly, misleading me, and trying to get me to say something they could use against me. They pretended to be on my side, and pretended to be upset with the pastor. But really they were trying to trick me into saying something they could use against me. They were manipulative and dishonest in a way that totally abused the friendship and kindness I had shown them over the years. I was disturbed to watch men I had come to trust turn their backs on me, make up false accusations, and lie about me, just to prove their loyalty to Alex.
The deacons secretly recorded our phone conversations, then lied about what I said, saying they had it on tape – but they never played the tape. Why would they do that? I was shocked with the level of absolute dishonesty the church leadership stooped to. They accused me of stealing from the church, financial abuses, and other incredible things. There is only one question I would like to ask them: have you no shame? It is beyond me how anyone who has ever known me could possibly believe a word they said. I have only one explanation: they are brainwashed.
I was content to leave quietly, which I made every effort to do. Two deacons begged me to defend myself, and encouraged me to make a video to share with the leaders. It was all just a trick. What a fool I was for beleiving they had any integrity.
I made the video to defend myself, as requested, and I sent a private video sharing my concerns, saying goodbye to them, and ended by saying I forgave them all and asking no one to leave the church. Apparently they hit replay on it so many times they got it up to 50 views and accused me of sending it to the whole world. They used that as their pretext to take their attacks to the next level. Being cruelly harassed, threatened, and smeared is a painful experience. Shame on them for putting me through it. There is no justification for what they did. And it speaks volumes about the moral character of everyone who went along with it.
I hope my readers are beginning to grasp the utter corruption of some of these men. I feel bad for some for them, because I know the uppers pressured them and forced them to denounce me against their will. I forgive them. I understand. I know exactly what that is like. I know they don’t really mean the things they said, and I saw the pain on their faces over doing something they knew was wrong. (Luke 23:28)
Ever true to their pattern of abuses, the leadership and some members of the church embarked on a six-month long campaign of threats and harassment against me and my wife, my children, and other relatives. They publicly condemned me to Hell and accused me of committing blasphemy. Threats against my life were made multiple times. They insinuated that I should commit suicide. They came and harassed me at my home. They smeared my reputation. They published their attacks to the public. They made threatening phone calls, sent threatening emails, and sent hate mail to my mailbox. They manufactured false charges against me, and somehow turned decades of good works for the church into sins.
And they turned Barabbas, the killer, into a hero.
One thing that is difficult to understand until you experience it is the manner in which they completely dehumanize the people they attack. They no longer view you as a human being with an inherent right to dignity or even to exist. You become garbage to be thrown away. You become something less than human to them. They do this so they can justify their complete suspension of common decency towards you. You become just an “evil spirit” or a “soulish animal” or “chaff”. You are no longer worthy of even basic respect. You are something to be slaughtered and destroyed, literally. So then the ends justify the means. This is what allows them to make multi-hour long screaming rants cursing you and condemning you for things you never even did. This is what lets your closest friends and loved ones, who know it is all lies, sit there and smile and say amen.
Here is the truth: what their leaders did was utterly unethical, ungodly and wicked. I have done my best to pay them no attention, but I suspect that to this very day they are continuing to hurl insults and lies against me from their churches. They behaved exactly like a cult does when someone leaves. Their actions bore witness of the true nature of their organization.
For over a year they did this, and I made no response whatsoever. I quietly went about by business and said nothing. What can possibly justify their behavior? Only wicked and corrupt thinking.
Their very public attacks against me is what makes me feel it is acceptable to make some of the details of this testimony public, and I may make even more details public if they continue to harrass me. Some of them should probably be in jail for things they have done. I am no fool, I was careful to collect evidence of their wrongdoings once I figured out what was going on. And they know I did. That is probably why they are desperate to destroy me.
So they viewed me as a threat to be crushed, rather than a friend. I am accustomed to taking what comes my way, but what kind of a person would I be if I stood by and did nothing while my Christian neighbors were abused and killed? Should I be ashamed for being upset over the people who died unnecessarily and expecting them to do something about it? Of course not. I will wear it as a badge of honor. I am a lover of Life and a lover of Truth. I will follow Truth wherever he leads me and I will defend Life, he is my God. (John 14:6, 16:3) Who is their god? Clearly not one who prizes life or truth.
It is ironic that the very men who taught me to love the truth, turn out themselves to hate the truth. This testimony contains truth. Let them admit it, if they love truth.
I am sure they never once explained the true reason I left or the nature of my dispute with them. You know… all the abuses, the multiple deaths, and the close calls with extreme violence. I am sure they never told anyone that I told them I was going to leave the church, and then they made me assistant pastor to force me to stay.
Here is the truth: They had to destroy me because they were afraid I would expose what was going on if I left. They thought I was going to talk to everyone and tell them the death stories, so they had to destroy my credibility. But I had no intention of doing that at all. I think going twenty months without saying anything proves I was planning to go quietly. I still have not given many details, even this tract, out of respect to the people involved. Many of whom are still sitting there in church, knowing full well what killed their relatives. Its not my aim to embarrass them by sharing the stories they told me.
As for the leaders: may the Lord reward them according to their works, but even better, may they repent and come to the knowledge of the truth.
I hope they wake up and realize how many people are already dead because of their actions. How many lives have been destroyed by their corrupt ways? God knows. And so do I. I hope one day they repent for what they did. Unfortunately, at least a dozen more people have died since I left. In my opinion some of them were also a direct result of their actions. Nothing has changed.
A Change of Perspective
I found myself on the outside of their group, which was growing increasingly cultish. But thankfully I was still part of the body and church of Christ. What can separate us from Christ Jesus? Nothing.
Free from them, I had an opportunity to investigate even deeper into things and make firm conclusions concerning William Branham and his message.
I decided to focus my efforts on the seals. I had already decided William Branham had misled us concerning the cloud that appeared in 1963. I was also certain he had copied the revelation of two seals from the books of other men. But what about the other seals? If there was any chance those were divine revelation that came from an angel, I had to believe them, and I had to accept William Branham’s claims. But I wanted to be sure. I had to find the answer. I had to be confident.
I began to start looking into William Branham’s original sermons on the seals. In our sect of The Message, we did not listen to William Branham’s tapes on a regular basis. We tended to pass down the stories of what happened in William Branham’s days orally. As I listened to William Branham’s sermons, I had an epiphany. The way William Branham preached the seals in 1963 was significantly different than how Raymond Jackson had preached them to us in the last years of his life. It was more than just progressive revelation – Raymond Jackson had made wholesale revisions to the interpretation of the seals.
For example, William Branham’s interpretation of the sixth seal and Raymond Jackson’s were very different. They were so different as to be irreconcilable. And the way the two men preached the second, third, and fourth seals also had some significant differences. William Branham also connected the seals back to Matthew 24 in a way that Raymond Jackson never did. William Branham also had a different explanation than Raymond Jackson concerning the four beasts. There were also some minor differences with the fifth seal.
I had never recognized that William Branham and Raymond Jackson preached the seals so differently until after I had left Faith Assembly. As long as I was there, I would never have even allowed myself to consider such a thought. But after being free from their influence, suddenly I was allowed to think about things I had been trained to suppress my entire life.
I was struck by that fact: Raymond Jackson had gradually changed the interpretation of the seals over time. Raymond Jackson had not simply added to William Branham’s interpretation, he removed and replaced parts of William Branham’s interpretation. The way we were teaching the seals in 2020 had drifted significantly from how William Branham preached the seals in 1963.
The changes could not possibly be categorized as progressive revelation. Raymond Jackson was not merely adding to what William Branham taught, he was correcting and changing what William Branham taught. Raymond Jackson had revised the interpretation of the seals.
I was very puzzled by this discovery. Why had Raymond Jackson changed the interpterion of the seals? If the seals were divine revelation given to William Branham by an angel – why did Raymond Jackson feel the need to revise the interpretation? How could it be divine and perfect revelation from God and simultaneously need to have corrections made to it? I had to conclude that Raymond Jackson did not believe in his heart that William Branham had a perfect revelation of the seals. Otherwise, he would not have felt the need to change the interpretation.
In any event, I realized I had made a serious mistake in searching for the source of the seals. I had been looking for Raymond Jackson’s interpretation of the seals in Smith, Russel and Larkin’s books. I decided I needed to go back over those books and compare them with the original 1963 sermons preached by William Branham.
Over the course of two weeks, I compared line by line William Branham’s sermons on the seals to Clarence Larkin’s books. I found that William Branham’s interpretation of the fifth and sixth seals were almost entirely from Larkin’s books.
I also found that the first seal, second seal and seventh seal were partial matches to Larkin’s book but had some differences: William Branham interpreted the symbols identically to Larkin, but he applied them to different time periods. William Branham also used Larkin’s books for describing “Satan’s trinity”, and for connecting the seals back to Matthew 24. I could see that William Branham was quoting verbatim from Larkin’s books throughout all the sermons on the seals.
I was still missing something though. Branham’s version of the seals still seemed to be slightly unique to me. So I kept searching.
Next I spent two weeks reviewing Uriah Smith’s books. William Branham had copied many “revelations” from Smith, but not the seals.
Next up was Charles Russel’s books.
Just as I started looking at Russel’s book, through a former Message minister named Tim Humes who had posted a video series online, I became aware of a book entitled Investigating William Branham: The Unfolding Story of Plagiarisms and Errors, by Bryan Smalls. After it arrived in the mail I quickly thumbed through it and discovered I was not the first person to discover the seals were not original to William Branham. Byran Smalls had done the exact same thing I was doing – he had indexed the books of Larkin, Smith, Russel, and others so you could see where William Branham copied all the seals from.
As I read, I found Byran Smalls had connected the same books to William Branham’s sermon on the seals exactly like I had – but he had went further. I had not yet been able to fully compare the seals to Charles Russell’s book The Finished Mystery, but Smalls already did it. In short order I found the remaining missing pieces of the seals.
So let me summarize what I discovered.
- First, Second, Third, and Fourth seals are primarily from Russel (Jehovah’s Witnesses)
- Russel taught the horse riders were four phases of the spirit of antichrist starting with the early church, and continuing to the end time – Just like William Branham
- William Branham’s interpretation of the symbolism of the seals are a mixture of both Russel and Larkin
- William Branham’s discourses that connected the seals back to Matthew 24 during his sermons are from Larkin
- William Branham’s connection of the seals back to the church ages are from both Larkin and Russel
- William Branham’s repeated explanations of “Satan’s Trinity” are from Larkin
- The Fifth and Sixth seals come from Larkin
- The explanations of the two prophets are from Larkin
- The explanation that souls under the alter are Jewish martyrs is from Larkin
- The Seventh seal description comes from Larkin, but his connections of the seal to the thunders comes from Russel.
- Whether William Branham “opened” the seventh seal or not, he described it the same way Russel and Larkin did. He mixed at matched their ideas and concepts.
- Revelation 10:7’s interpretation comes from Russel too
- Russel claimed to be the seventh angel, the Laodicean messenger, and the return of Elijah, and he claimed to have completed revealing the mysteries of God.
- William Branham incorporated some of Clarence Larkin’s interpretation of symbolism for the seventh seal.
I will just give one sample here of what I am talking about. Compare this quote to Clarence Larkin’s writings.
Everything runs out, in this time, the end of the—of the…at the end of this Seventh Seal. Notice. It’s the end of the church age. It’s the—the end of the Seventh Seal. It’s the end of the Trumpets. It’s the end of the Vials, and even end the ushering in of the Millennium. That’s on the Seventh Seal. It’s just like firing a rocket into the air. And that rocket explodes here, and it goes up and then explodes again. It puts out five stars. One of those stars explode and blows out five stars from it; and then one of them stars explodes and blows out five stars from it. See, it fades on out. That’s, what, the Seventh Seal. It just ends the time for the world. It ends the time for this. It ends the time for that. It ends the time for this. It ends the time. Everything just ended up on that Seventh Seal.63-0324E – The Seventh Seal
Rev. William Marrion Branham
Compare this section on the seals to Larkin’s book.
There is no way any reasonable human being with any sense at all in his head can say William Branham was not repeating what he read in this book. And this is just one of many many examples. I chose this one so you can see that even his illustrations came from the books.
Yet in the same sermon, William Branham said this.
Now I want to make this real clear. Every time, every time that these Seals has come to the place; everything that I ever believed on Them, and has read of other people, has been contrary to what come to me in the room.63-0324E – The Seventh Seal
Rev. William Marrion Branham
Clearly, something is very wrong. Very, very wrong.
Any reasonable person should be able to listen to William Branham’s sermons, and review the books of Clarence Larkin and Charles Russel and realize William Branham was primarily just repeated what he read in their books, many times making verbatim quotes from their books. It is also very easy to see that William Branham followed their exact same patterns of reasoning to interpret the symbolism of the seals.
Here is the sad, painful, grievous truth:
There is almost nothing unique in how William Branham interpreted the seals. It is obvious his sermons on the seals are a synthesis and adaptation of other men’s sermons.
You may wonder how it is possible no one in The Message seems to know this or acknowledge it. I only have one possible answer: almost every single Message preacher I know of has spent their entire adult life in the message and has never been exposed to prophecy preaching of other men besides Branham. They are simply unaware of what else is out there. The overwhelming majority of Message believers are in the same situation. Their only knowledge of these topics is what they have learned through Message churches. And if they told us William Branham came up with all these things, we just believed it. It never crossed our minds that he copied all his “supernatural revelations” from other people.
For those who have read the books of Larkin and Russel but refuse to admit the truth, the only explanation for why people would be unable to agree with the preceding statement is cognitive dissonance, a phycological phenomena that is common among people in cults. Let us pray that God will deliver them from that mental condition they are suffering from and be delivered into the knowledge of the truth.
We were the victims of a hoax.
You may find all this unbelievable. I did. But before you call me a liar, why don’t you look and see for yourself. You can order the book on Investigating William Branham. Bryan Smalls does a better and more thorough job than I will here in telling you exactly where to look it all up. Or you can order the original books by Russel and Larkin. I have copies of all the books, I could show you personally. Those books are mostly available online too, and you can get your own copy. I adjure thee, be careful before you reject something told to you in truth. Be sure. It is easy to just dismiss me as a liar and never even check to see if I am telling you the truth. Please don’t expect someone to take you seriously when you refuse to even verify the basic facts.
Compare William Branham’s seal book to Russel and Larkin, or use Small’s book as a reference, and you will find it all.
I have another tract which presents some more of the evidence of the origin of the seals entitled: Where Did William Branham Get The Revelation of the Seals?
Perhaps you read what I am saying here, and you can simply dismiss it as false and not bother to look into it. But for me, I saw these things with my own eyes and know it to be the truth. William Branham copied the seals from other people. Then he lied about.
Now I want to make this real clear. Every time, every time that these Seals has come to the place; everything that I ever believed on Them, and has read of other people, has been contrary to what come to me in the room.63-0324E – The Seventh Seal
Rev. William Marrion Branham
The preceding statement is a lie, and William Branham knew it was untrue when he said it. How could William Branham make such a bold-faced lie preaching what was supposed the most prophetic sermons of his ministry?
I had a dilemma. I needed to come to a conclusion. I already knew William Branham had misled people into believing the 1963 cloud was a supernatural sign and that he was not there when the cloud appeared, and the cloud had been manmade. And now I discovered and confirmed that he had also misled people in saying he learned the revelation of the seals from an angel or the holy ghost. I had proof he owned copies of these books in his library. I had him on tape saying he had read their books. And now I found the revelation of the seals, just as he preached them, also in those books. What could I make of this?
Fact: William Branham copied the seals from other men who wrote on the topic before he was born.
In light of that fact there are questions that MUST be answered by the message:
- Why did William Branham mislead us about where the seals came from?
- Why did William Branham falsely say an angel gave him the revelation?
- If the seals were written down in books before William Branham was born, then how can we say they were not revealed until 1963?
- Were the seals revealed through William Branham’s ministry, or by these other men who preached them first?
- If William Branham misled us so significantly about the events of 1963, the most important events of his ministry, how can we trust him as a special authority on anything?
- If we cannot trust him as a special authority, then how is he different from than any other preacher?
These facts and questions cause a key part of The Message to become incoherent. The picture stops making sense. The shout and the midnight cry, as taught by The Message, appear to be a hoax.
Is there an answer to these questions that does not fundamentally break the core endtime teachings of The Message? I have searched diligently for the answer, like few others have. How can someone criticize me for expecting the leadership of The Message to provide answers to these critical issues?
How can you condemn me for asking these questions? Quite the opposite, perhaps you should be condemned for refusing to ask them yourselves. I am not the guilty one here. The people who are in love with a lie, they are the guilty ones.
If the revelation of the seals did not come to William Branham, and him alone, by supernatural means – then what makes his sermons on the seals more authoritative than any other preacher? If he just copied everything from other preachers, than what makes him better than those other preachers?
Charles Russel said he was the Laodicean messenger, and he preached the church ages and the seals first. And according to William Branham, Russel had most of it right. Who is superior? The originator or the copier? (I am not advocating becoming a Jehovah’s Witness. Merely asking a question.)
Some message preachers will just say these questions are invalid. But that is just being dishonest.
I also must conclude there is no chance whatsoever the supernatural events of 1963 occurred as we have been taught. We were without a doubt misled.
William Branham never saw that cloud until he saw it on the cover of a magazine. He wasn’t out hunting on February 28. He did not see angels that day, and they did not go up and make that cloud in the sky – a rocket explosion made it. William Branham did not have an angel come speak the revelation of the seals to him – he got the revelation out of the books of other men.
Anyone who tells you otherwise is either deceived, ignorant, lying, or trying to change the story now that we know the truth.
This has major implications on the message. Did Jesus return in 1963, descending from heaven with a shout? Did God really speak new revelation that had never been known before when William Branham preached the seals? The answer to both of those question is certainly no.
You do not have to decide whether the revelation of the seals are true or false to arrive at this conclusion. The revelation of the seals may well be true. But you have to decide what to do with the knowledge that William Branham was not the first person to preach them. This is the great problem. This is where my confidence in William Branham began to unravel.
You may say that you just need to trust and only believe. Just have faith. But faith in lies is not faith, it is foolishness. I didn’t want foolishness. I want real faith. Jesus does not require us to have faith in lies. In fact, the bible says people in the endtime would “believe a lie and be damned”. (2 Thessalonians 2:10-12)
If I believe that William Branham was in Arizona on February 28, 1963 underneath a supernatural cloud, I would be believing a lie. If I believe Jesus descended from heaven with a shout in 1963 I would be believing a lie. If I believe that William Branham preached a brand new never-before-known revelation of the seals in March 1963, I would be believing a lie.
If I believe that William Branham didn’t tell us those things, and that our preachers didn’t preach those things to us for decades, that would also be believing a lie. Because he did say those things, and they did preach those things for decades. It is fundamental to The Message.
If William Branham could mislead us about the events surrounding the revelation of the seals, how can I trust anything he said? Especially when we know beyond a shadow of a doubt, by the witness of many men including Raymond Jackson, that William Branham was a terrible exaggerator.
As I considered the implications of what it meant to know other men had preached the seals exactly like William Branham had, decades before 1963, I realized that the bottom was falling out. All the rest of the problems could be explained away. But this problem and issue proved we had been believing a lie. William Branham had lied to and deceived us all regarding what happened in 1963. And when I could make that confession to myself, suddenly it all made sense.
The shout and the midnight cry as taught by the message is based on a hoax.
The church was in a terrible condition. The Message was not producing what it was supposed to produce. The ministers had serious doubts about The Message themselves. Everywhere I looked, the message was in decline and getting worse. And it was probably this way a long time before I recognized it. All the other things I knew and had dismissed for years flooded my mind. At last I had the answer to my question. Why was The Message not producing what it was supposed to produce? Because it was based on a hoax.
Moving The Goal Posts
One thing that happens in cults when their beliefs turn out to be false is called moving the goal post. They try to rewrite their history or beliefs to deemphasize the things that turned out to be wrong. I heard for years that the shout and the midnight cry happened in 1963, and that was The Message. I even have quotes to that effect in this article from the same preachers we all listened to.
Yet today, people will pretend they never believed that. They will come up with some other concoction for explaining how to vindicate William Branham. But you need to tear through all that. Go back and listen to William Branham. He also said The Message and the midnight cry and the shout were the same thing. He also connected the cloud and the seals directly to the shout and the midnight cry. You cannot reinterpret these things without admitting William Branham deceived you.
The mere fact that people feel the need to change what William Branham taught about these things is proof they believed William Branham deceived them, even though they will not say it out loud.
What Was I Thinking?
Don’t think that I was glad to find these problems with William Branham. Quite the contrary, it devastated me. My world was built around The Message. I existed for The Message. My entire universe was quite literally destroyed by what I found. It was the most painful agonizing experience of my life. I suspect in some ways, I will never get over it as long as I live.
But truth is worth the cost.
It took me awhile to process everything I had learned. Once I was able to finally accept the truth, suddenly different things I had rationalized for years started to stick out to me. As I dwelt on each of these things, I was shocked at how I had rationalized and accepted so many terrible things over the years. Let me just share a few things.
Growing up in Faith Assembly, I heard Raymond Jackson tell us many times that the Week of Daniel would begin at a certain time. He had a doctrine he preached for over ten years that Week of Daniel would begin around the summer of 2005 – which was 2004 ½ AD. He was so certain, he titled his messages “The Countdown Is On”. He always cautioned he might be off by a year or two, but he was confident and bold in his predictions. He claimed to have received the revelation supernaturally in an event where a light shined over his chair and told him, “I will show you the order of my coming.” It was preached as gospel to us for over a decade and it dominated my adolescent life. We lived in total euphoria in those years so joyful to know how close we were to the rapture. Then Raymond Jackson died in December of 2004, about six months before the clock was to run out on his countdown. Soon the clock did run out, and then the two extra years he said to account for passed by too.
Let me pause here to say that there are many people who will tell you Raymond Jackson never even preached this. When you hear them say that, the question you should be asking yourself is why are they lying to me? It should make you realize just how unreliable and untrustworthy they are. Are they brainwashed?
Raymond Jackson said MANY times the Week of Daniel would begin at 2004 ½. I have a photo of the original handout created by the church in 1993 on this topic. The explanation he gave was consistent from the first time he preached it. There is a chart hanging on the wall at Faith Assembly with a big arrow pointing at 2004 ½ that people see every time they go to church. Copies of this chart were hung on the wall of churches around the world for decades. Raymond Jackson explicitly said the Week of Daniel would start around the year 2005 many times on tape. But the fact that so many people will deny such a simple fact says a lot about them. The façade of infallibility and perfection is more important that the truth.
At Faith Assembly, and in The Message, verifiable facts are not considered truth – truth is only what the preachers tell us it is. Verifiable facts may well be lies, according to Message believers. If the preachers say it never happened, then it never happened. Who cares if it is on tape or not. It never happened. They are brainwashed.
If you want to perform a simple test to see if people are brainwashed you can do the following:
Ask them to say “Raymond Jackson said the week of Daniel would start at approximately 2005”. Anyone who cannot say that is brainwashed. You cannot trust them to tell you the truth.
Preachers spent years trying to fix Raymond Jackson’s calculations after he proved to be wrong – yet no one was ever willing to actually say the truth – that he was wrong. It led to endless divisions. Why couldn’t anyone just admit the truth: Raymond Jackson was wrong. He taught us something that was untrue. He claimed it was a revelation from God, when really it was just his own idea. It was his idea that the Week of Daniel would begin at a fixed time. He told us a light came over his head in an experience, and a voice said, I will show you the order of my coming. But whatever that was, it could not have been God. He misled us. He was probably misled himself.
He told us stick around and you will see who is right. We did. And it was not him. His time calculations and the conclusions he drew from that experience were wrong. The Week of Daniel did not begin as he taught us it would. Why can’t people just tell the truth? And why have they wasted decades more of our lives trying to find a way to turn a lie into a truth?
In the name of that erroneous idea, Faith Assembly, and the Jackson camp of churches has destroyed countless lives, broken up homes and families, caused innumerable amounts of pain and suffering, people have even died. At it all stems back to the false teachings of a man. Don’t tell me you love truth. If you love truth, start speaking the truth. I understand why it is so hard to admit. Because all these terrible things have been done in the name of this false religion, and to admit it is false is to admit there was no justification for all the abuses. For many, their hearts are far too proud ever look the truth in the face and take responsibility for their actions.
The reality is we were taught things over and over and over again that were untrue. And when time proved it untrue, the leadership glossed it over and pretended like it never happened, or they retrofitted and told us we never understood what they were saying before. They moved the goal posts. That is called gaslighting, making you doubt your own sanity. That is an evil thing to do. But they did it over and over again.
We were taught the blood moon tetrad (2015) was the sign of the end, but the end did not come. Then the Shmita (2016), was a sign of the end, but the end didn’t come. Then the Jubilee (2017) was heralding the end, but the end did not come. Then Trump was going to help rebuild the temple and bring in the endtime, but that failed to happen (2020). They probably have retrofitted that now for fulfillment in his second term, if that ever happens.
Constantly we were being told that the end was just a couple years away and this sign or that sign was proof. But every single time they were wrong. The end may be a couple years away – but they were clearly and repeatedly mistaken when they said the return of Christ was a couple years away for twenty years in a row.
The pattern of getting it wrong has repeated itself over and over and over. At what point do you step back and realize that the people you are listening to don’t know what they are talking about? Or do you just jump from “revelation” to “revelation” for the rest of your life and hope that eventually one of them pans out? Does God use false revelations as a tool to eventually bring you to a true one? Or will false revelations just lead you into more false revelations?
I remember being warned about the coming of the “Amero” , the NAFTA superhighway, and the “North American Union” (2009). It never happened. I remember being warned that China and Russia and the United Nations were going to seize control of America and put all the Christians in concentration camps (2019). On and on it goes. And none of it ever was remotely true or came to pass. And people pretend like it was never said. It is evident our leaders were terribly mistaken. They clear had no idea what they are talking about. Yet people seem to forget or dismiss it and continue to hang onto the every word of men who were so wrong so many times. I was guilty of it myself. What was I thinking?
Sadly, they are still doing the same thing. One group have set the end date at 2024. Another group have set a date a 2027. Others still insist “this generation” cannot pass, when the truth is the generation they are talking about is already gone, and they have done had to revise what “this generation” means three times already. I am sure no one will notice revision number four. They didn’t notice the last three.
I feel totally confident in saying those dates will come and go and the end will not have came yet. The “generation” they are talking about will pass too, and the end will not come yet. They are badly mistaken. Get out a piece of paper, and start writing down their predictions. Give it a few years and see what happens. Ask yourself, why should I listen to people who keep getting it wrong? Why should I expect their next prediction to be any better than the last 10? How can you build your life on falsehoods? That is risky and dangerous.
When those dates and events come and go, will they admit they are wrong? Will the people finally wake up? Probably not. They haven’t woke up the last 20 times they got it wrong. Will the next failed prediction make any difference?
One of the worst memories of growing up in The Message came back to me once I started to realize what I had been involved in. When I was baptized as a young boy, to my utter shock I was put into a room with the preacher and watched him strip naked in front of me and push his private parts towards me. I was then expected to also strip naked in front of the preacher. It was a terrible experience. Finally he handed out the baptismal clothes for us to put on. The whole time of my baptism I was so traumatized, the thought of having to go strip naked a second time with the preacher when we got out of the water was all I could think about.
I remember after the baptism going and hiding in my car and never wanting to talk about what happened to anyone. The preacher had exposed himself to me, and I had to be naked with him. We grew up living extremely sheltered lives. And that experience was traumatic. We had been raised to not even wear shorts in public and to be totally modest – but they expected me to strip down and show my private parts to someone I hardly knew? How could they do that?
Some time later, a friend of mine was baptized who was also a minor, and he was shocked and asked me if I had the same experience. He was likewise troubled by what happened. As we grew older, the story repeated over and over again with other of my friends. Later in life, an adult friend was baptized and the story was the same – he came away shocked that he was forced to strip naked with the preacher to be baptized, and found it odd the way the preacher displayed himself. That was the first time I realized this was even happening among the adults.
In an ironic twist, after becoming a minister, I ended up being in the position of being the preacher in that situation. The practice was so “normal” the helpers shuffled me into the room with the child and I was forced to go along to my own horror.
Standing in the room, it took me back to how I felt as a child, and I was deeply troubled to have to do that to other children. It also made me realize that practice had been going on for decades. The first time I had to baptize a minor I was so troubled, I asked the child’s father to come in the room because I was so uncomfortable. I turned away from the child and kept my back to them the whole time. That was the only thing I could think to do in the moment.
I was so troubled by the experiences, it weighed on my mind for days. Exposing yourself to a child is a felony. Why in the world was this the practice I was expected to follow? Why did our church start this awful pre-baptism ritual? Especially when there was a bathroom one door over where we could change in privacy…
The next time children had to be baptized, I refused to go in the small changing room at the same time. After that baptism, I finally drew the line, and I personally purchased changing screens so that in the future we could put them up and give everyone some basic privacy.
What was the church thinking? Half the church had to know that was the practice. Half the church had to know that the preachers were exposing themselves to children. Yet somehow, we all rationalized it. Somehow no one was willing to say it was wrong and needed to be changed. And it went on for decades. What were we thinking?
These are just some examples of how people in Message churches become warped in their thinking. They will overlook failed predictions and prophecies over and over and continue to have faith in men who proved they have no idea what they are talking about. They find a way to rationalize decades of unethical behavior. They will even find ways to rationalize their preachers exposing themselves to children. Shame on you Faith Assembly. And shame on me too, because I was guilty of rationalizing it too.
What makes it even worse is our church had ministers with a history of child molestation allegations. Why would a preacher who had been accused of molestation put himself into that baptismal situation to invite more accusations? Looking back, I realize these are red flags that likely something very awful was going on in the past. I am not the only one to go through that experience and to look back and believe certain preachers were likely using the pre-baptism ritual to groom children.
How could our judgement become so badly compromised? Who is responsible for that? Who invented the pre-baptism ritual we were following? Was it connected to the child molester preachers who preached at our church? I don’t know, but I have a sinking suspicion.
I was still in the process of investigating that when I was forced to leave the church. It makes me wonder if that had something to do with it.
I have mainly just focused on what I believe were abuses at Faith Assembly Church in this book, but across the Message churches, I have knowledge of many other terrible things that had went on. Pedophile child molesters were in various churches in multiple countries. I was even aware of cases of preachers molesting children, and then the preacher going around to various churches and being welcomed. There were even known child molesters welcomed at Faith Assembly, and multiple pedophile preachers were invited to the platform by Raymond Jackson. Our pastor Alex also brought child molesters around the church congregation.
But what can you do about it? When the child’s own parents become accomplices in the cover up, how can you even begin to approach reporting it? Let me say this to any of the children who may read this article: It someone is molesting you that is not ok. And if your parents are not helping you, or they are involved, you can tell your teacher or the police officer at school. They will help you. Or you can call 911 when no one is watching. There are people who will love you and help you.
I am aware of one child molestation victim who committed suicide, and another one who attempted suicide. There are rapists in The Message. There are polygamists. These are just a few of the things I can share, and things I found ways to rationalize for decades of my life.
Then beyond the cases I am personally knowledgeable of, the internet abounds with horror stories of people who have escaped Message churches where there was physical torture, violence, forced marriages, murder, denial of medical treatment, death, and other horrors. I have never heard of any other protestant denomination producing such terrible results. If we judge the results of The Message churches, the fruits are bad. Very bad.
I have wrote a more detailed article talking about these things entitled The Horrors of the Message.
From a distance things look good, but when you get close, you realize alot of it is just plastic. Its not real. It is a fraud. A false image. A facade.
Some people may say, “Well, all churches have these kind of problems somewhere along the way.” Do they? I am not so sure. The Message is slowly turning into one of the worst kind of cults, and some groups are already there. And have the leaders of the Message responded to these problems in a biblical way? Absolutely not.
I don’t write any of these things to condemn people who are victims of the system, but maybe to shock someone awake. I know personally how you feel, and I know personally what is going through your mind. Because I was once in the exact same spot you are.
If you are someone who has sat by while all these kind of things have went on for decades, the wheels of your mind are already turning trying to find ways to excuse or dismiss the things I have talked about.
I even know what you are probably thinking about me, because I once thought the same things: I am exaggerating. Or I am painting with too broad of a brush. Or this is just my Message group, and we never really believed the Message anyways… Or I just don’t understand. Or I clearly don’t have the Holy Ghost, otherwise I would know the answers. Or these things are not really that bad. Or I am just plain lying. Or I never really believed the Message anyway. Or I am just a bitter person. Or there is nothing wrong with these things at all.
This is what Message believers have been trained to do – look for a way to justify it all. And if we cannot justify it, then we will just trust God will fix it someday, because this is the Bride of Christ. He has to fix it. Just put it on your shelf.
I want to tell you something: It’s not getting better, it’s getting worse. And it is not going to get better as long as you sit by quietly and do nothing.
Your leaders will tell you I am evil, and I could only write these things because I have evil in my heart. But could it be that I love you and want you to see the truth? Could it be that I want you to escape something that is dangerous? Could it be that I am broken-hearted from watching my friends and loved ones suffer in the name of a false religious idea, and I want better things for you?
When I left, many people wanted to leave with me. I was very careful at that time to not ask anyone to leave with me. It is my prayer that some of the good people who are still on the inside can get control of the situation. But if not, run for your lives.
So let me end by going back to the beginning. Why did I leave Faith Assembly? Because I was deeply troubled by the severe abuses, deaths, and close calls with extreme violence that we had, the leadership’s refusal to do anything about it, and the brainwashed responses of people who pretended like it was not even going on. Shame on them. May God wake them up.
Why did I leave The Message? Well, in one sense I don’t feel like I left The Message (1 John 1:5). Not everything we were taught was wrong. There is alot of truth in The Message. To quote a dear brother, “A lie can contain the truth, but the truth can never contain a lie.”
It became very apparent to me that we have been misled concerning the events of 1963. And the poor spiritual condition of so many people indicated there were some serious issues with how we were handling the basics of the gospel. That has implications. I am not dealing with the deep implications in this tract, because before you can get there, you first have to be willing to acknowledge something is wrong with The Message. But I will tell you there is an answer.
Jesus Christ is risen! The gospel is alive and well. The gifts of the spirit are operating. Jesus heals. The spirit is moving. There is hope for the hopeless. There is strength for the weak. There is comfort for the grieving. The gospel is being preached. Souls are coming to Christ. There is a work to do for the Lord. We are seeing signs of the last days, and it is important to be about our Father’s business. It is hard to find that among those who follow The Message of William Branham, but you will find these things among those who follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That is what I want to be part of.
Unfortunately, many Message believers are unwilling to look, and seek, and knock. They have been conditioned to leave the seeking and knocking to their leaders, and wait patiently to be told what to do. Instead of cultivating a personal relationship with the Lord, they have been trained to accept men to be mediators between them and God.
Was everything in The Message bad? No, of course not. There were all kinds of good. Message culture does have good qualities, and most Message believers I have known are truly zealous for the Lord. Message believers are not stupid or lacking common sense. Some things have just been hidden from them. You don’t know what you don’t know. But after reading this, you know. In part, the whole reason I have written this is because I know there are some people who will read this and be glad to know the truth. The question is, are you willing to follow the truth to its conclusion?
William Branham misled us about where he got his “revelations”. The shout and the midnight cry were not fulfilled by his ministry. Those ideas are based on a hoax. That has implications.
I believe most Message believers I have had the privilege to know are true born again Christians who want to serve God with an honest heart. I don’t think they are bound for Hell. (Although many of them will think I am bound for Hell.) I do believe they are misguided and have been deceived. Their good nature and honest hearts have been taken advantage of by men who have misled them. Some ministers misled them purposefully. Other ministers are misled themselves.
Many of the average people sitting in the pews are miserable, sad, depressed, oppressed, stressed, overwhelmed, lonely, unsupported, fearful, bleak in their outlook, and some are even suicidal, and for many people, these conditions in their life are a direct result of Message preachers and their misguided ways. There is trouble in their hearts, but there is a smile on their face because their preachers will rip them a new one if they stop smiling. Their Message does not offer them a healthy spiritual life. It creates and perpetuates harmful conditions and feelings and tells people to pretend the bad things aren’t there. The Message keeps people trapped in their conditions, and it offers no escape except death. It rarely offers true deliverance; it just forces a false face to cover up the underlying problem.
There are a lot more things I wanted to include in this tract, but I have chosen to just focus on the key things that impacted me, and not overwhelm my readers with too much information. I have included some more resources in other tracts you can read, if you want to see more.
I will conclude with this thought: If you are anything like me, and you have been in the message for decades or even your entire life, you probably realize deep down inside that something is just not right. The Message is not producing what it is supposed to produce.
Or maybe you have not had enough experience to see the pattern of results in The Message yet. It took me about 30 years to realize we were going in circles. But you keep watching, and you will see it. The Message is not producing what is supposed to.
Let me ask you my question: Why is that?