Apology To Voice of God Recordings, and a Public Retraction:
In our blog posts and private conversations, we often tell people that if they can prove us to be incorrect, we will retract the information and inform our readers. This post is one of only a handful of times we have had to do so, and ironically, it was something that I myself found.
There is very little information before the first recorded tape that Voice of God Recordings offers for sale, indexed at April 12, 1947. And ironically, a large number of Branham's claims to the supernatural come long before that date. Also, there seem to be a number of sermons missing from the collection. The next sermon after April 12, 1947 is indexed November 2, 1947. And we know that according to the newspapers, a young "Henry Branham" was using the same supernatural story (although slightly different) to describe his commission to heal the sick. Why is that recording not in the collection?
Though we could never be for certain, it seemed very odd that the Associated Press used the name of "Henry," one of Branham's brothers. According to their descriptions of the tent meeting, it was a very large tent with plenty of electronic equipment -- something unusual for the small town of Vandalia, IL. They almost describe it as if the circus came into town. For the associated press to have been there, one would assume that it would have been advertised. And if it were advertised, whose name was used? William? or his brother Henry, who did not appear to follow or believe the "Message of the Hour?"
What is odd about this meeting is that we cannot find it indexed among the tapes. Why would they omit one of the sermons that caught the attention of the national news media? So we published the newspaper articles, verbatim, onto our website. And we often ask the question: Why "Henry" Branham?
Today, while researching men who were familiar with William Branham's ministry during the early years, we came across James Randi.
Randi describes details from the meeting, which leads one to believe that either a 1947 recording DID exist, he was there, or he had contacted the people after the meeting. Randi is well known (and hated) by the faith healing community for exposing fraud and underhanded tactics, which Ern Baxter seems to agree with. Randi's exposure of Peter Popoff led to a nation becoming aware of underhanded tactics used in the "Gospel of Divine Healing." And Branham cult followers often gloat at Randi's exposing other frauds in the "divine healing" business -- why do they not gloat when he exposed William Branham?
In his book, "The Faith Healers," Randi describes the Vandalia meetings from 1947. One of the Vandalia townspeople, a "Walker Beck," came to the meetings to be cured of his being deaf and mute. After returning home to accept his healing, Beck was greatly discouraged. His healing never came.
So Beck, deaf and mute, continued through life without being able to hear or speak. And the people, seeing a "once cured" Beck, were shocked to see that his healing never came. Like Alfred Pohl describes in the healing campaigns of Canada, some of the people were suddenly starting to realize that the healer was a fake.
According to Randi, William Branham blamed the lack of healing on the patient. Branham told the people that Walker smoked a cigarette, and therefore was not healed. Because of this, he would suffer a greater disease: the dreaded cancer!
When he heard the next day that Beck’s condition was as bad as ever, Branham replied:
"I hear that Walker has smoked a cigarette after I told him that he would have to give them up. Because of this he will not be able to hear or talk and in
all probability he will be afflicted with some greater trouble—perhaps cancer."
Tobacco seemed an unlikely cause for Beck's deaf-mute condition,
since he had been born in that state. Branham was so convincing a preacher that, when he died in a 1965 automobile accident, he wasn't buried for four months because his flock expected him to rise from the dead at Easter. He didn't."
- Randi, The Faith Healers
When one learns Branham's reason that Beck did not receive his healing of his inability to hear, one must ask the question: What if he didn't hear Branham tell him to stop smoking? Would God refuse to heal if the nature of the disease prevented him from obeying God? Or more to the point, does the Christian God refuse to heal for man's idea of an extra-biblical "sin?"
After reading Randi's shocking details, we began to search to find other details from other men like Randi, Pohl, and Baxter who have details from 1936 to 1947. Interestingly, we found that Time Magazine published an article with not only a description of William Branham's Vandalia meeting, but also a photograph taken of William Branham and Billy Paul Branham walking through an area of the tent that held the sick and afflicted. Though this particular article by Time magazine does not investigate the results of that meeting, it does appear to describe Walker Beck who threw away his hearing aid. It would be interesting to see if other newspapers or magazines returned to Vandalia, IL to speak with Beck, and even more interesting to see if this is the reason we don't find this meeting in the collection of recordings.
Regardless, the mystery of Henry Branham is solved. When the associated press described the nattily-dressed "Henry Branham," they were referring to a young William Branham and Billy Paul sporting what appear to be shiny new suits.
Either way, we apologize and Voice of God Recordings now has another photograph to add to their collection of "Memories" that they sell for a great deal of money, as well as a newspaper clipping. When this mistake was made, the Vandalia article was not so easily accessible. Now, we are in the process of updating our past blog posts for accuracy. It truly does appear that the Associated Press made a mistake in their article naming "Henry Branham" rather than "William Branham."
And we can also find local news media during the Vandalia event. There appear to be some people healed by God in the meeting, as well others who did not. Some died before being called by the healer. We can confirm Walker Beck was there, based on a description of the 19-year-old Beck who did not actually speak -- instead he uttered basic sounds such as "da-da."
Interestingly, one can also find other articles published by Time Magazine from the early years of Branham's participation in the healing revival, such as a story of the young Donnie Morton. Time's article on Morton, like their article describing Vandalia, details the journey to the healer without a follow-up article on the death of Morton. In a 1951 Time article entitled "Medicine: How Can You Give Up?" published Jul 02, 1951, one can read about father's claim to the healing of his son, but Time magazine does not mention Donnie dying of the same disease that brought his father to Branham.
The updated "Henry Branham" document: http://seekyethetruth.com/files/henry/henry%20branham.pdf
The Faith Healers: http://litresp.ru/chitat/en/R/randi-james/the-faith-healers
Alfred Pohl's Assessment:
Ern Baxter's assessment: http://ern-baxter.blogspot.com/2006/12/happy-christmas-to-one-and-all-i-do.html
The Time Magazine Article: http://time.com/vault/issue/1947-07-14/page/22/
More on Donnie Morton: http://en.believethesign.com/index.php/Donny_Morton https://www.facebook.com/SeekYeTheTruth/photos/a.281312795303458.48697.214739791960759/676415382459862/?type=1