In an interview with the 'O Timothy' magazine editor, Alfred Pohl described the "miraculous" healing campaigns that WMB claimed to have healed "thousands."
Pohl was WMB's assistant during the campaigns at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada.
Though I truly believe God healed many in WMB's meetings, this interview puts the healing campaigns into real perspective. Over time, they seem to have grown into something entirely different, like a fable of Robin Hood. We need to remember that WMB was just a man, and that God decides who would and would not be healed.
O Timothy: Now, did many claim to be healed, or did it seem that many were healed in the meeting?
Pohl: In the meetings? Ah, yes, there were those that claimed to be healed, and there were those people that thought they saw healings, or thought they saw miracles. But, when you were on the inside, you saw that some of those things that were supposed to be miracles, were not miracles at all. From the outside, you would think that something had really happened; but having been right close to Branham, and working right with him, I discovered that a lot of those supposed healings or miracles were really notmiracles after all.
O Timothy: Okay. As you took him through the dorm, he prayed for different individuals. What did he say
during those encounters with the individuals?
Pohl: Well, one of the things he did was to take the hand of the person, and quite often I heard him say
that the angel that gave him this gift told him that to identify certain diseases--and he would speak of cancer very much--there are vibrations that he felt on his hand that indicate that this person has cancer. So he would take the patient's hand and hold it. He would say, "Yes, the vibrations tell me that you have cancer."
Then he'd say something like this, "We're going to pray for you, that the Lord will heal you." And he proceeded to do this. Then he went on, and when he was through praying, he would take that hand again or else he would hold the hand throughout the prayer, and he would say, "The vibrations are gone. The cancer is dead. You are healed."
And the person would rejoice, of course; so would I. I thoroughly believed in Branham, I thought he was God's man and so forth, and we wanted to see people healed. So [supposedly] the cancer was dead, and we were happy about this.
But then he had a little added statement there, and that was something like this, "Now, just keep on trusting the Lord. You're healed. Don't loose your faith in the Lord. Just keep your faith and trust the Lord, and you're healed." He said, "You're going to be sick for a while. You're going to be quite sick for a few days." Quite often he referred to three days. "You're going to be very sick for three days."
The people often asked, "Well, what do you mean, Brother Branham? If I'm healed, why should I be sick?"
He said, "The cancer, the cancerous growth which is now dead inside your body has to be carried out by the blood stream. And it's waste material; it has to be carried out; it's poison material, and so you'll be sick for quite awhile until that is carried away."
But what happened then was this: that in the meantime the people wouldn't worry about it. They'd say, "Well, that's what Branham said would happen. I'm healed. "
But this went on, till some of these people got sicker and sicker and died.
So he had an out. By this time he was gone [from that place].
O Timothy: Right. So there were many that he proclaimed healed?
Pohl: Yes, yes. Practically every one as I recall, standing beside these various bedsides--practically everyone was pronounced healed. But the tragedy is that so many of those died after Branham was gone. So there was something wrong.
He also said, "Don't let your faith fail." In other words he emphasized that point. "Don't let your faith fail." And his out was this, I'm sure, that when they died, well, "Their faith failed."
It wasn't his faith, it was their faith. In other words, it was the patient's faith, which I don't see that in Scripture. When the Lord healed people, they were healed. And there wasn't such a thing as "You'll be
sick for five days, or three days," and so, "don't lose your faith." I don't see that in Scripture.
O Timothy: There was a newspaper that tried to investigate the healings. Can you tell me something
about that? What were they able to confirm as far as healings?
Pohl: Yes, in Winnipeg. Branham came to Canada at that time and he preached at a number of Apostolic churches in Canada. The first church was the church of our moderator in Winnipeg, who brought him into Canada. And Mr. Branham had his campaign there. Then he came later on to Saskatoon.
When the campaign was in progress in Winnipeg, the newspaper (one of the large city newspapers) was giving considerable coverage to the meetings, and they indicated that there were a lot of people healed. They were favorable to this church, and advertised it and gave news reports that quite a few people were healed. But later on that same editor sent out some reporters to check on some of these people that they had written up in the paper weeks before. [The reporters were] to check up and see whether these people who were supposedly healed at that time, were still healed, were still alive, or whatever.
And when these reporters went back, they discovered that these people had died, or were in the same state or in a worse state than they were before. So, the editor then put it in the paper that these cases had turned out to be phonies, and that these people weren't healed after all. And there was something wrong with these so-called miracles and healings.
But when the pastor of the church saw these reports in the paper, he went to the editor rather disturbed and not very happy about the situation, and he confronted the editor: "Why do you do this to our church? You're hurting the reputation of our church, and you shouldn't do that to us."
And the editor said words something to this effect, "Well, pastor, if the healings are genuine, you don't have to worry, do you?"
And I thought to myself later on when I heard this, well, that editor certainly had a lot of common sense, because if they're genuine, why worry? If they're not, well then they should be exposed--which is what the paper did.
And the editor said, "Pastor, we gave you good coverage when Mr. Branham was here." The pastor had to admit they did. "Now," he said, "we owe it to our people to give them the rest of the story." And he said, "That's what we found." He said to the pastor, "I'll tell you what I'll do, if you can bring me one genuine case of a genuine healing, I'll give you the front page." And I was told right in that pastor's home that they couldn't find one.
O Timothy: Not one?
Pohl: Not one.
O Timothy: I understand there was a radio pastor whose wife supposedly was healed, and also a man with four students in the college. Could you tell me about those two?
Pohl: Oh, yes. Yes. The first one I would relate to is a man from a little place near Regina, Saskatchewan. He and his wife were staunch Christians in our denomination. Very fine family. They had four children,
and they were all attending our Bible school at that time, in which I was on staff. We knew these children very well--such very fine children, and young people, and a very fine family.
One day during the healing campaign, the phone rang in our dorm and I answered it in our office there, and here was this man phoning from the airport. He'd flown his wife in from near Regina, and he said, "We're here. We want Branham to pray for my wife. She's dying of cancer. What shall we do?"
Well, I said, "Bring her down to the Bible school dorm." And he knew very well where that was. I said, "I'll meet you at the south door, and we'll put her in a room, and I'll see that Branham prays for her."
Which he did, and after the meeting that night we proceeded to take Branham from room to room, and of course we had her in mind very much. And we brought him into her room, and the husband was there, too. Branham prayed for her and pronounced her healed.
Well, there was great rejoicing on the part of all of us. We really were rejoicing that the Lord had healed this woman. [We were rejoicing] for the sake of the whole family. He had given them this story, of course, that "she's still going to be sick, though she's healed; she's going to feel pretty bad." So, they flew back as soon as they could. They wouldn't stay around. We didn't have the facilities to take care of sick people there. There was just a dormitory, and so they went back as soon as they could.
About 10 to 14 days later, in that time frame, I was sitting in the office in the Bible school. Branham was gone; the meetings were over. The door opened to the main building, and I could hear footsteps, then a knock on the office door. In came this gentleman. Of course I recognized him immediately, but I saw that his face was very downcast; he was really under pressure and a heavy burden. So I invited him to sit down, and I said, "Brother," I said, "what's on your heart?" And he said, "Brother Pohl, you were standing beside my wife when she was sick in one of the rooms in the dorm. Mr. Branham prayed for her, and he pronounced her healed."
I said, "Yes, I was right there." He said, "Tell me, how is it that my wife who was healed ten days ago (somewhere in that time frame), is now in the grave?" He said, "Tell me, how that can be?"
Well, it really hit him hard, and it hit me hard too, because that's the first I heard that she had died. We hadn't heard that she had died. So here he was all broken up and he wanted an explanation. What could I tell him? I think that's one of the hardest questions I've ever had to answer in my life. Why is she dead, if she was healed? And I was witness. He couldn't figure this out, a very fine Christian, and I felt for him.
To this day I don't know what I said, but I know we wept together and we prayed together. I could have said this: "Brother, your faith failed, or your wife's faith failed."
What help would I have been to him? I mean, that's a terrible thing to do. I wouldn't dare say that to him, to anyone. He was broken. He had enough to burden him down at this stage without saying, "Your faith failed you." That was the wrong thing to say, so I didn't say it.
I could have said that, because that's the feeling behind a lot of these cases. The healer will say, well "Your faith failed, and it's not my fault."
But, I don't see that that is the case in Scripture either--where people's faith failed, and they lost their healing after God healed, or the Lord healed them, or the Apostles healed them. So, it's ridiculous.
Anyway, he left then, and of course we prayed for him, and so on. But it really was a difficult blow to this man and his family.
Then the other party was--I recall so well--was a pastor from Port Arthur, Ontario, which is now called Thunderbay, Ontario. (They combined two cities, Port Arthur and Port William.]
This man was a Pentecostal pastor, had a radio broadcast and, I understand, quite a sizable church. He flew his wife in and the nurse to Saskatoon which was quite a trip--quite costly. And again I had the phone call from the airport and placed them in a room there eventually in the dorm. And when the meeting was over, and the prayer line was over in the church, I brought Branham into the dorm and he prayed for this lady as well. He prayed also for the nurse. The nurse was deaf. He prayed for her healing, and claimed that she was healed. He also claimed that the pastor's wife was healed of cancer.
Well, there was great rejoicing. Let me tell you, we rejoiced together, because I thoroughly believed in Branham all this time, I thought he was just ... just it. He was God's man. We rejoiced together, and then Branham left. And the husband (the pastor) said to me, "Now, Brother Pohl," he said, "I've spent thousands of dollars to try to get help for my wife, on doctors, and this and that and the other, medicines." He said, "I really can't afford it, but here"-- and he wrote out a sizable check. He said, "I can't afford it, but Branham is worth it." He said, "My wife is healed."
He took Branham at his word. See, it wasn't anything else; he just believed Branham. And here was this sizable check. He said, "Give it to Branham." Which I did, the next day.
Later on, about three, four weeks later, I left for Ontario. I was missionary secretary of our denomination, and I visited some of our churches in Ontario. And in the process of visiting our churches, I came to Port Arthur, Port William. We had a church in Port William, and one of the first things I did when I got to Port William was to ask the pastors, "What about pastor so and so in Port Arthur?" I named him. I said, "How's his wife doing?" I said, "She was healed in the meetings in Saskatoon."
And I saw a strange look that came over their faces as I asked that question. And I thought in my heart, "Oh, no, not another one." Just like the family I was telling you about in Saskatoon, from Regina. And I said in my heart, "No, not another one."
And they said, "Haven't you heard, haven't you heard? She's dead. She passed a way."
Well that was another blow to me, because I began to realize that something was wrong with this kind of healing. This was counterfeit; something was drastically wrong. Of all people, here was a pastor who loved the Lord and served the Lord, and, you know, why did this happen? Did his faith fail? Did his wife's faith fail? He had a whole church behind him. But no, she passed away.
I was told that the worst thing was that this man (the pastor) had a very good radio broadcast in the area. He went on the air as soon as he got home, and he announced that they had been to Saskatoon to the Branham meetings and had wonderful meetings there, and there were many healings, and amongst them his wife was gloriously healed in those meetings.
I'm sure that many people rejoiced, were happy to hear that. But, it wasn't very long after that, a few days later, he had to get on the same radio station and mention the fact that his wife had passed away.
And I was told this gave his radio program a severe blow and setback, because the world at large--I mean they think too, they're not stupid--here one day she was gloriously healed, and a few days later she's dead. You know, this doesn't add up.
We had more of those cases--these are just two exceptional ones--but there were others that passed away. I stood beside bed after bed, person after person who was pronounced healed and yet, where were they? They passed away. So there was something very wrong with this type of healing.