Video available here: http://youtu.be/HE5Ub4fZv90
Within the cult of William Branham, there is a very strange sensation that comes over the believer with the thought of -- or with the sport of hunting. Even with the non-wilderness types, the sport seems to be calling out to every male member of the cult, an unnatural fondness for nature.
While programmed with cult teachings, this all seemed very normal. But having been through deprogramming through constant prayer and reading through scripture, I realize that this affection for the sport of hunting is unusual. Not everyone is intended to be a hunter!
But with close examination, you will quickly find that Branham’s sporting hobbies, when tied to Branham’s personal history and cult theology, is extremely odd. Whatever Branham was hiding from his past is also tied to his many hunting trips.
In some of Branham’s conflicting life stories, he describes a life of poverty when his father passed. Living in the hills of Kentucky, Branham says that he was the sole provider for the family, trapping and hunting to support his poor mother and all of his siblings. Those poverty stories are in question due to other conflicting stories and estimations of wealth, but the stories of fatherless life in Kentucky have been proven a lie.
According to United States census records William Branham moved to New Albany, Indiana around the age of three, and I sincerely doubt that any one of you would argue that William Branham hunted and supported his family before age three. He would likely rather use the stock of the rifle as a teething object than but it against his arm to kill another animal, and hunting would have been very uncomfortable with a nasty diaper.
And even “The Headquarters” admits that Branham’s father died long after they moved to Indiana, so “Headquarters” actually admits that Branham lied.
Jeffersonville, Indiana was well known for its casinos, gambling halls, liquor parties, and dog races. It did not attract hunters. It attracted the likes of Al Capone and John Dillinger.
The first time that William Branham mentions hunting on recorded tape is in 1950. He is preaching to an audience in Little Rock, Arkansas, which would have included hunters, and he was appealing to their interest. Back home in Jeffersonville, it’s very strange. The first time he even uses the word “hunt” is in 1954 in a sermon entitled “The Invasion of the United States.” That’s supposedly over 21 years after the beginning of his ministry!
Before 1954, Branham’s hunting exaggerations are nonexistent. At that point in time, he was more of a preacher than a great “Gandhi” that sat in the wilderness to gain spiritual enlightenment. In fact, he claims that his hunting first started in New York.
In 1951, a sermon entitled “Expectation” in New York City, he says this:
I've had many good partners in my life, good hunting partners. I like to hunt, go hunting. New York State's where I was initiated. I still love these Adirondack Mountains above any place I've ever seen in my life, the Adirondack Mountains.
So was he really introduced to hunting in New York city, or did he crawl around in diapers in Kentucky with a rifle strapped to his “onesie?”
In Branham’s ministry, many hunting fables are given. Stories about how he prophesied antlers would be a certain size, how he’d get his great bear, the unfulfilled prophecy of the second bear, speaking squirrels into existence and more. I use the word “fables,” because we can’t factually say that these things did or did not happen. Whether or not they did is not the point of this study.
In 1939, D. Dwight Davis wrote a book entitled “The Opossum, Prophet Without Honor.” In this story, Davis takes sympathy for an opossum, nurtures it back to health, and then compares the animal to society. Is this where Branham got his “mother opossum story,” where he takes an opossum laying at his doorstep for a couple of days and uses it to promote Divine Healing?
William Branham was not the first false prophet to influence his followers with myths of hunting and wilderness stories, nor will he be the last. In fact, the prophet Mohammed did the same.
Islam teaches a story of the “deer and the prophet,” in which a deer is trapped in a hunter’s trap. When the prophet Mohammed passed by, the deer spoke to him. He felt sympathy for the deer, and released the animal. The animal’s release, in the story, made the hunter a believer of Islam.
Buddha gives many wilderness stories, one of which sounds awfully familiar: A tiny quail who had feet and wings but did not yet know how to fly. There are other stories of deer, dogs, bulls, and more, each capturing the hearts of the followers of Buddha through nature.
More specifically, American Indians tell a great many stories of God’s connection to nature, and man’s enlightenment through the animal kingdom. To the American Indian, nature is a Bible itself. But though Branham took the Native American viewpoint that nature was “his first bible,” Nature is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Nature does not tell us that Christ came to die for all sin, that He was buried, and that he rose again in three days. Nature simply shows us the beauty of God’s creation.
So why does William Branham focus so strongly on hunting fables during the latter part of his ministry? There are some cult followers that place so much value on these myths that they even compare them to the Word of God! So many non-wilderness types that force themselves to endure nature so they can be like the little man on the mountain!
It is very interesting when you consider the places Branham went to hunt, and the costs associated with them.
While most followers will tell you that Branham lived a humble, simple life, those same people have never studied the cost of an overseas hunting trip. Just leaving work for a few weeks would break most budgets, but Branham would need to spend money on his immunizations, passport, travelling expenses, hunting passes, lodging, and more. Some of these trips would be more than a full one-year salary for many who are trapped in the cult, and Branham frequently spent “tape money” on these trips.
There is only twice Branham mentions it, but it is very interesting that a man from the “hills of Kentucky” spent so much time near the Mexican border.
In 1950, Branham praises those people near the border:
Now, in Mexico, or down near the border among your people, I never seen a Spanish person come to the platform but what was perfectly healed. They're humble. They haven't got much of this world's goods, but they believe God.
Because the story of “mystery cloud” changed so much, many people think that his fabricated story begins up near Northern Arizona where the cloud actually appeared, but that is not the case. When Branham first describes the “spiritual experience in the wilderness,” there is no cloud mentioned. It is a blast, and it is near Mexico:
Now, have you noticed the mysterious parts of this week? That's what it is. That's what it's been. It's been, not a human being, a man; it has been the Angels of the Lord. Notice, there's witnesses of three setting in here, that a week ago (a little over a week ago) I was up way back into the mountains, nearly to Mexico, with two brethren that's setting here, picking cocklebur--or sand burrs off of my trouser leg, and a blast went off that almost, looked like, shook the mountains down. Now, that's right. I never told my brethren, but they noticed a difference. And He said to me, "Now, be ready. Go east."
Now obviously, this story changed over time into great angels from the heavens coming down and telling him to go east – but initially the story was about a single “angel” telling him to go east.
The blast is also interesting, because Branham was not unfamiliar with dynamite:
You know, out in Arizona, we used to prospect. And we'd get into a suitable looking piece of ground, Mr. Mc Anally and myself. And we would see a place where it looked like, in the little ditches, where a little drain, what they call "washes." And I'd... He'd get me down and make me rub the sand and "whew," blow it. Then rub and "whew," blow it. And I wondered why he did that. Come to find out, you see, when you're blowing sand, it light. And all, even to lead, is lighter than gold. Gold is heavier than lead. So when you're blowing, all the rest of the metals and sand and dirt will blow away, but gold will remain on the ground. Therefore, if you got some washings from up in here, it shows there's a streak of gold somewhere up in there. This rain has washed these little pieces out. So then we get the picks and so forth, and dig the hill up, almost, trying to find this gold. Bore holes in the ground, dig them out. Set dynamite, blow it down. Keep on blowing shafts, going down till we found, to find the main vein. Now, that's what we call "prospecting."
Why William Branham was so interested in the Mexican border into the United States is a mystery that is being studied, and with some surprising information. But the stories themselves, along with the hunting stories, are nothing more than myths. Spiritual stories with the intent to capture itching ears.
There were no scribes to write the prophecies down, as there were in the days of the Old Testament Prophets. While the Old Testament scribes kept record to prove that Yahweh was God, the spiritual stories of these cult and other false religious leaders serve only the purpose of showing how “spiritual” their leader was when he walked the face of the earth. The stories have absolutely nothing to do with God, do not tell others of the work that Jesus Christ did on the cross, and do not spread the Good News that Christ rose from the grave.
In 2 Timothy 4, Paul warned Timothy that these false teachers would rise, and specifically that they would capture itching ears with their myths and spiritual stories.
Paul writes: “Preach the word;”
He does not instruct Timothy to tell of the mighty signs and wonders that would have surrounded all of the apostles. There was only one subject matter of importance: The WORD.
Paul continues: be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.
This is a stark contrast between what Paul instructed and how cult pastors preach. Paul says to correct and rebuke, which cult ministers do. Often, during even the same sentence! But Paul also says to encourage! There must be balance in your preaching, otherwise you beat the horse until it dies, and continue beating it every Sunday and Wednesday!
There was a reason for Paul writing this instruction to Timothy. Men with itching ears would tire of hearing the Word of God, preachers would tire from teaching the Word of God, and they would start to want more. They would ignore the sound doctrine of the Scripture, and seek to find other “spiritual” stories. They would seek out men on mountain tops, in rain dances, and under T.H.O.R missile explosions.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
This is exactly what we see in the cult of William Branham. Myths. Men and women who call hunting and fishing stories the “Spoken Word” or the “Voice of God.” Yet, when asked to prove these fables happened, they look at you as though you have some sort of demon!
Paul does not tell us to simply walk away from them and let them roll around in the mud of failed prophecies and false teaching. Throughout his ministry, Paul teaches to rebuke falsehood, encourage others, and snatch as many as possible from the fire.
His very next words are these:
But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry.
As Christians, we should ask ourselves: When we see the spiritual blindness of this cult, a blindness so strong that they believe the fictional stories of a man running from his past, do we just walk away and let them enjoy the heat of the coming fire? Do we not care that they refuse to believe the Truth of God’s Word and would rather follow a leader that has proven time and again to be a serial liar? Do we not care that these people are humans in bondage, willful bondage, that comes directly from the pits of hell?
Wouldn’t you rather tell them that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not to be filtered by stories of bears, squirrels, oppossums, deer, and more? Wouldn’t you rather show them that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation?
Keep your head up! In all situations, God will help you to do the work of an evangelist and do the work that He has called us to do!