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John Collins04/05/2013

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Today, I’m going to cover a topic that will probably not get too many comments from the cult followers in the haters crowd: television.  Why?  They know they are guilty.

Most cult followers, even the old-timers who know that it is “wrong” to watch television, movies, videos, and more have managed to work out schemes into their school of thought to convince themselves that it is OK for them to watch these things when their “prophet” told them not to.

The “prophet” laid down the law, the members of the Branham denomination followed that law, and long after he is dead and gone, they decided to make excuses by following the “letter of the law” instead of the underlying meaning.  Branham decided to implement a control tactic of keeping the followers from seeing the outside world – as many other cults to – yet the followers find other ways to permit watching the world. 

Instead of “television,” many ministers, deacons, song leaders, followers, and more have “monitors.”  (television that receives no channels over the air.)  They watch the same programming that used to be broadcast over the air through YouTube, Netflix, recorded VHS tapes and DVDs, and other methods.  But by the letter of the law, they do not have (what they consider) television in their homes.  …except, of course, those that I’ve seen televisions hidden in their closets or “spare rooms.”  (What I would call their theatre rooms).

Growing up, my family had television.  And did not.  And did.  And did not.  Why?  The things that my family enjoyed were condemned by “the prophet,” and there were times that they practiced asceticism more devoutly than other times.  The times they gave in, they knew that there was nothing wrong with “The Andy Griffith Show,” but other times, Aunt Bee must have had a dress that was just a little bit too far up above the ankles! 

William Branham condemned the television during most of his ministry.  He was against the people watching what he considered “filth” of this world through the screens, and taught very harshly against them.

Are you willing to sacrifice your television programs? And, you know, it used to be as wrong for us to go to the movies. But now the Devil put one over on you, brought it right in the house with you. That's right. See?  

Eighty percent of the children in Arizona schools are suffering with mental deficiency, sixty-seven percent of them was by looking at television. How about that?  You had better use your shotgun! See? Now, don't let the Devil spray you with that. No, sir. Now people, as I said, people act like they don't have to come to Judgment.  

This, in of itself is a conundrum.  While Branham strictly taught against the television, most leaders and followers of the message of William Branham own a television.  Those that don’t watch their television on the internet, some attend “picture shows,” and others go someone else's house to get their fill of entertainment.  Very few, if any, have gone their entire life without watching a movie or television show.

Are they not afraid of facing the wrath of God on Judgment Day?

Though Branham claimed otherwise, he himself seems to have known a good bit about television programs.  Take the example of Marshall Matt Dillon of Gunsmoke:

Don't try to pattern like some movie star. You're a daughter of God. You're a son of God. Don't try to be a Matt Dillon or somebody. Don't try to be a Peabody Ernie or ever what his name is, or some of those men. You're not... []
60-0403  AS.THE.EAGLE.STIRRETH  (The sermon he copied from Rev. Franklin)

Hmm… what was under THAT blank spot? 

Now, Hollywood is full of--of the gunfighters. Now, anyone that knows history, knows that them people back there in them days, that was gunfighters like the--the different fellows, they wasn't decent citizens, they were renegades, they were like Al Capone and Dillinger. They got a Hollywood play they call, on--on the television, they call, "Gunsmoke." And I heard on the Monitor the other day that the fellow that plays it, Arness or something, or Arness, or I forget what his name is, and he's supposed to take... He represents Matt Dillon who was a sheriff in Kansas. And Matt Dillon was as yellow as a rabbit. He shot twenty-eight man in the back, innocent people, going outside of Dodge City and waiting in a bush. And when a man come along, that somebody would call him and tell him that there was a certain villain coming through, then stay out there and, when the man come in, he'd shoot him through the back. Now we find he's "big guy" that comes down. Why, it's--it's absolutely glorifying sin. But the little children of our country can tell you more about Matt Dillon than they can tell you about Jesus Christ. The--the--the stores, the ten-cent stores, and the clothing department, is hanging full of little--little toy guns, with little hats that--that you could buy anywhere. It's all right to wear that, but I'm--I'm just telling you, you see. Then they--they, the commercial world, picks that thing up and makes millions of dollars off of it.

Some followers brush this away as just Branham’s love in study of the American West.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Marshal Matt Dillon is a fictional character from the television show “Gunsmoke.”  Marshall Dillon never existed.  In the fictional television program, he served as the United States Marshal of Dodge City, Kansas in the 1870s.

The character was created by writer John Meston, who envisioned him as a man "...whose hair is probably red, if he's got any left. He'd be handsomer than he is if he had better manners but life and his enemies have left him looking a little beat up, and I suppose having seen his mother (back about 1840) trying to take a bath in a wooden washtub without fully undressing left his soul a little warped. Anyway, there'd have to be something wrong with him or he wouldn't have hired on as a United States Marshal in the heyday of Dodge City, Kansas."

Matt Dillon and Gunsmoke was very popular, with a 20-year run on CBS Television.  Many viewers tuned in weekly to watch their favorite, fictional marshall from the old west fight the bad and preserve the good.

Why did William Branham claim to know history of Matt Dillon, when there was no history?  Why did he speak with authority of the man’s life, saying that he was a yellow bellied coward, when he never existed?

Most followers today use the excuse that they “only watch the clean shows,” so they think they are following the “prophet’s” letter of the law.  What they do not realize is that Branham enjoyed the not-so-pure shows himself.

The greatest irony in Branham’s condemnation of television and movies is that he himself went to watch Marilyn  in the movie “River Of No Return.”

The kids had been telling me, "Daddy, you go down that River Of No Return, all the time." Said, "They got a play like that on, tonight." They told me a certain night it would be on, a week or two ahead of time. I thought, "Well, I want to see that, 'cause I've been down that river, two or three times; about five times, I think." Well, I--I went to see it.  And Miss Marilyn Monroe acted that out..

In this particular Marilyn Monroe movie, there was very little to watch that was interesting besides the flesh of the movie star herself.  As she lay across the piano in her sexy poses, there was very little left to the imagination: the skirt was so short that you could see the bottom of her panties, and the top was so low that it was only a couple of inches from the nipples.  Was this “avoiding the impure” and only watching the “good stuff?”

New York Times said this:

A sickening succession of rapids, churned into boiling foam, presents a display of nature's violence that cannot help but ping the patron's nerves. The raft tumbling through these rapids is quite a sight to see. And layouts of Rocky Mountain landscapes are handsome in color, too. But Mr. Mitchum's and the audience's attention is directed to Miss Monroe through frequent and liberal posing of her in full and significant views." –New York Times Review

So we have a strange conundrum:  The followers do not ascribe to his teaching by “bending the rules” to not follow the “letter of his law.”  And he laid down the law, without even following it!  It is a PARADOX!

This is exactly what happened in the days of Jesus, when he so harshly condemned the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and double standards.  Rather than uphold the righteousness that the law presented, they invented new laws and bent the rules for the laws that God gave Moses.

It was for that very reason that God fulfilled the Old Covenant and established a New Law in our hearts – doing away with the Old Covenant and Old Law.  (Yes that same law that cult followers try to keep, and only keep specific portions).

In 2 Corinthians 3, Paul says this:

Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses' face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.  Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it.  For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

Why did William Branham try to re-enforce portions of the Mosaic Law, when the Law was brought to an end?

Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains un-lifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.  And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.

As Christians, you should ask yourselves.  Do you follow the letter of Branham’s law?  Or do you follow the spirit of Christ’s law that Paul followed?  The two are not the same!