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Narcissism

John Collins08/29/2013

Video available here: http://youtu.be/S9idBsTbZV4

One of my favorite cartoons of all time is the Disney and Pixar movie “The Incredibles.”  It takes an element from a very real psychological profile of a corrupt and evil mind, and turns it into one of the most interesting super villain themes used in comic and animation super heroes.

A person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder must have a villain to fight.  Without the opposing side for them to stand against, they become restless and uneasy.  Their feeling of self-worth and security is solely based upon how well they can fight against what they see is their life battle.

In The Incredibles, the super villain actually lets the hero of the story grow stronger.  He is allowed to become close and thrive, just simply so the villain can fight his battle.

The word “Narcissism” originates from the mythical “Narcissus” in Greek mythology.  Narcissus fell in love with his own image, reflected in a pool of water, and was unable to leave the view.  His love for his own image was the cause of his demise.

With Narcissistic Personality disorder, the description from the myth is the exact representation of the mental suffering that plagues the patient.  Frequently, when a simple man rises to great popularity, and their once simple life is seen as an idol before others, symptoms of this disorder start to appear.  That’s when the suffering begins.

People suffering from this disorder have an obvious focus on themselves as the condition worsens.  They struggle to find comfort or satisfaction in the environment that surrounds them, and it begins to seem evil to their distorted view.  Because of this, they have difficulty with empathy, and have hypersensitive reactions to any sort of discussion that draws close to debate.

Because this condition is a direct result to pride, their vulnerability is to shame rather than guilt.  They try to feed that inward pride, pretending to be much more than they really are in all aspects of life.  They detest those who do not admire them, brag on themselves very subtly but persistently, and exaggerate their achievements. 

But the worst and most damaging aspect of a Narcissist is the fact that they are unable to view the world from the perspective of other people.  Their view of the world is the only accurate view – otherwise, they give in to demoting their own opinion and fight against their own pride.

Sadly, there is very little treatment and no cure.

In 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald published a book entitled “The Great Gatsby,” about a fictional person who also struggled with this plague of the mind.  Gatsby is described as "an archetype of self-made American men seeking to join high society," has been described as a "pathological narcissist" for whom the "ego-ideal" has become "inflated and destructive" and whose "grandiose lies, poor sense of reality, sense of entitlement, and exploitive treatment of others" conspire toward his own demise.”

When we examine the many fictional stories William Branham promoted, subtle yet persistent lies that lifted himself in stature before his fellow man, we really find another Gatsby.  And it was destructive to not only his own personality, but his mental health as well.  Branham claims that a “mental condition” plagued him every seven years throughout his life, and it is very evident from the symptoms of this condition that his recorded life matches most if not all of them.

But there is a huge problem here.

By nature of a cult, many men pattern their lives after the leader.  We see it in each of the religious groups we can now label as a cult, and the Branham denomination of faith is no different.  The leader becomes an icon of faith, and men try to mold themselves into that image.

Having been raised under the open discussions of several men who either knew William Branham or who were involved in his ministry, studying Narcissism is a real eye-opener.  Many men I knew, even family members, are text-book cases – having every single symptom in each of the studies that I have read on the disorder.

And it is very damaging to the family unit.  Narcissism breeds narcissism, because most cases are a direct result of having a childhood deprived of the normal love and affection that children require for growth and mental health.  When the father of the family unit suffers from this disease, his children are very likely to fight it themselves.

From a religious standpoint, and as with any disease, it is a result of sin.  Even the common cold is a result of sin, something we must now face because Adam disobeyed God. 

But Narcissism is a direct result of the sin in the life of the patient – not a long-term historical sin from which they had no involvement.  While the patient cannot help himself or herself, hunger to feed their pride turns into an obsession, and that obsession leads to the destruction of their own minds.

And they must have a villain.

In all cases of this affliction, it is a cause for great sympathy.  Even though this affliction causes them to become aggressively violent in conversation or in deed, they really cannot help themselves.  Their disease is similar to the dependency on insulin in diabetes – and the villain is their insulin.  Whatever the villain may be, from political figures, groups of people, or even close friends – the person suffering will aggressively combat the enemy.

The problem here is that with a spiritual leader, their villain becomes the villain of every single one of their followers.

The symptoms in William Branham were not always so evident.  As in the textbook cases, the lies were very subtle – even believable.  Who would question his own birthdate, or his story about the death of his wife and child?  Who would think to investigate whether he was already a Pentecostal pastor after he claimed to have joined the “Pentecostal call” later in life?  Who would guess that his stories of a childhood hunting and trapping to feed his poor family in the hills of Kentucky would be fictional stories?

And the early ministry had no super villain.  The denominational churches that would later become Branham’s villain were all in one accord as his ministry grew in popularity.  All were welcome, all started to become very close to this rising cult leader.  Like the infamous “Syndrome” of the Incredibles, the enemy was drawn close and given strength through uplifting sermons designed to build the faith.  When they “drew him out of their circles,” Branham “drew a bigger circle to draw them back in.”

In the Christian life filled with Grace, this is really the lifestyle we should aspire to have.  We fight small battles, but God has already fought the super villain for us – Satan was defeated when Christ died on the cross for our sins.  He has no power; his power has been stripped from him by just three nails.

But a narcissist personality cannot rest peacefully with this type of Christian life – especially when they make their minds focus on Satan himself for their “super villain.”  That villain must be given power, and the work that was done on the cross must be lessoned in power and result.

This type of personality must de-throne Christ.

In the sermons leading up to the dethroning, we find subtle changes in the nature of Christ – hints that Christ was just an angel (Michael), or the focus on how Christ was a prophet rather than the focus on His Deity.  Branham would emphasize the words of Christ, “I can do nothing except the Father first shows me,” and start teaching that these words meant that Christ had to see a vision like the Old Testament prophets once did.

But ultimately, in a sermon called “Satan’s Eden,” William Branham dethroned Christ.  Christ was no longer in control of this world, He no longer sat on the Throne in the right-hand of authority from God.  The heavens still belonged to Christ, but under this delusion, this world and all that is in it belonged to Satan – not God.

Deuteronomy 10:14 Praises God for his ownership: “Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.”

Revelation 13:12 tells us that God GAVE the beast authority to deceive – it was not the Beast’s to give away or claim for his own.  We are all under a test to see if we are faithful to God, or easily deceived by Satan.

But regardless of the authority given to deceive, all New Testament books point to Christ as the Eternal Son of God sitting on the Throne in all power and authority.  Jude says this:

To the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.

Jude 1:25

If we examine the sermons of William Branham chronologically, and identify his super villains, and compare those doctrines with scripture, we can easily see the delusion.  We can identify the twisting of scripture in order to lesson the power of the true hero, Jesus Christ, and increase the power of the evil villain, Satan.

When the villain was women, a doctrine rose from the depths of hell through Branham that Satan was her designer.  While the Bible says, “male and female created He them,” Branham severed the female part of the original creation and handed it over to Satan on a silver platter.  Satan was now given power to create – instead of being a lowly angel.

When the villain was married to “Ahab” – the nickname for President Kennedy as Branham went on a parade calling Mrs. Kennedy “Jezebel,” Branham claimed that he needed to storm the gates of the White House Lawn to condemn his “Ahab” for letting the powerful super villain “Jezebel Kennedy” into the White House as First Lady.

Listen to what Branham is saying here!  I can just feel the pain and suffering that is plaguing his mind as he lifts this super villain “Jezebel Kennedy” into power.

“But there'll be a one-man system come forth with the power and the anointing of Elijah to fulfill the prophecy. Hallelujah. He'll shake it. And remember, he prophesied to them, and prophesied, and told them all the things, and God worked with him. But his final message was attacked on the White House. When John came, his final message was attacked on the White House of that day. Elijah's final message, when he walked down that road that morning after being in the Presence of God out there, walked down that road with old hairs all over him, his bald head shining, the whiskers blowing, them little old eyes was gleaming with the glory of God, that stick in his hand, and his feet just as steady as they could be: what's he doing? Walking right down from Samaria into the presence of the White House, and saying, "THUS SAITH THE LORD." Fearing nothing... The churches had turned him down; the people had turned him down; so now he's giving his final attack upon the White House.”

61-0319  JEZEBEL.RELIGION

But as we all know, President Kennedy’s life was cut short.  Branham’s super villain was overthrown before “Thus Saith The Lord” could verbally abuse Jacqueline for trying to look pretty.  You can almost feel the letdown in Branham’s voice from November 22, 1963 through most of 1964 as he searched for a new villain. 

Ultimately, the villain that Branham lifted into power was the one that he would die fighting in his mind.  It is a villain that the cult fights today – though some have returned to Branham’s original stance in the beginning.

Branham would finally tell the world that anyone who has joined a denominational church had taken the “Mark of the Beast” – conflicting with his original message and even one of his “visions.”

“It'll never be forgiven them. A denomination, to wear the brand of a denomination, is the mark of the beast.”

65-0801M  THE.GOD.OF.THIS.EVIL.AGE

Those people – those very same people he once fellowshipped and “drew a bigger circle around to draw them in” – had become his arch enemy.  Branham’s delusion had turned him against even his own friends and fellow soldiers in the faith.  They were now mortal enemies, and had been marked with something that even the power of the Cross could not forgive.

The Cross had no power.  Christ was dethroned.  Authority was taken away from Christ hand handed over to Satan.  Satan had a superpower now, one that Christ could not even forgive!

At this point, Branham fully severed himself from the Body of Christ.  Other Christians in the faith – regardless of their walk with Christ and the Holy Spirit in their lives – were now the “evil ones,” the minions of Satan.

And Christ, who has His Hand over His Church, was scorned.  The work that Christ did on Calvary to save even the lowest sinner was taken away.  Christ was just a man; a man who Branham claimed was abandoned by God in the Garden of Gethsemane.  A man who died on the cross without power, a man who died in vain.  A man who could not save the lost if they joined into one of the churches professing His name.  A man who raised up new souls, marked with the seal that Branham called a “Mark of the Beast.”

Christ had become the villain.


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