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E. Howard Cadle and the Cadle Tabernacle Klan Meetings

Seek The Truth Blog

E. Howard Cadle and the Cadle Tabernacle Klan Meetings:

William Branham often used a strategy of persuasion that involved painting the picture of a courtroom in the mind of his followers, giving them the mental image of his ministry being on trial. As the congregation listened to the version of truth he presented in this imaginary courtroom, listeners could come to a conclusion based on his opinion of circumstances while he controlled the information they used to base this decision. One of the "witnesses" Branham liked to use in these imaginary "trials" was E. Howard Cadle. But was the partial information Branham presented accurate?

What if I could go call E. Howard Cadle, an old friend of mine with the Cadle Tabernacle, was a drunken sot laying out yonder, and the flies blowing his mouth and the vomiting in a barroom and a... What do you think if I could go to the celestial realms of glory and call Howard Cadle down this morning to testify? You've heard his broadcast for years through here. A bosom friend of mine down from Milltown, Indiana, where I pastored a little old Baptist church down there. I'd say, "Brother Cadle, I want you this morning, in the face of the Philadelphian Church, tell me Who you think the Son of God is?"
- Branham, 53-1213M

E. Howard Cadle was a confessed gambler and saloonkeeper who claimed to have converted to Christ and left his past life behind. Once known as the "slot machine king," Cadle was a well-known man in Chicago's "Levee" gambling district. His reputation was that of a magician with dice and cards and he was trained to manipulate and "trim the sucker" in the underworld of casino life. As a businessman, Cadle was the president of the American Shoe Repairing Company, with branches in Chicago, Terre Haute, Louisville, Dayton, Evansville, and other cities. His business locations appear to be strategically placed in cities with a reputation of a thriving gambling community.

But according to Cadle's story, he hit rock bottom before converting to Christianity. Claiming that he had no money for food for his wife and children, Cadle said that he returned to the home of his parents like a prodigal son. And after doing so, he decided to build a church. But rather than a meager church on a hillside, Cadle built a massive structure in downtown Indianapolis by putting down $305,000 in cash. In today's currency, the total downpayment for the building paid in cash would be $1.3 million, but based on the size of the structure in today's cost of construction, the Cadle Tabernacle would require several million dollars to complete

This quickly caught the attention of the news agencies. On August 17, 1922, a rather large article was published in the News and Observer newspaper. According to the reporter, "[He] was more interested in the man Cadle who put $305,000 in cash in the building and who carries it on than I was in the tabernacle."

The Cadle Tabernacle was completed and dedicated on October 8, 1921. From there, things get very strange. Rather than settle into his new church and build a congregation, Cadle formed an organization called the Cadle Tabernacle Evangelistic Association. On November 10, little over one month after its dedication, Ed Jackson, the Indiana Secretary of State was named head of the Cadle Tabernacle. This resulted in a church split, and Cadle claimed that he did not want to give ownership of his new church over to Jackson. Over a thousand members sided with Cadle, and he retained controlling interest for a period of time.

Not long afterwards, men in white hoods started coming to the meetings. During a revival, the Ku Klux Klan made the news when they delivered a message during a gathering at the Cadle Tabernacle. The congregation watched silently as the church began doubling as a spiritual "house of God" on Sunday and a meeting place for high-level klansmen at night. Newspapers are filled with articles describing visits by the Imperial Wizard, Grand Dragons, and other elite figures as they discussed their intentions to enter politics and "clean house."

While services and high-level Klan meetings were being conducted, Cadle started facing problems. After making negative statements about a religious film, Cadle was sued for libel and slander. Not long after, the Tabernacle started struggling. Cadle was not able to keep controling interest of the church. During the banks foreclosure of the church, Cadle accused those with controlling interest of not allowing the church to function in a way that paid the bills. It was during all of these problems that Cadle announced that he was running for public office under the Republican ticket.

Meanwhile, Ed Jackson of the Cadle Tabernacle began to make a name for himself in the State of Indiana, moving eventually from Secretary of State to Governer of the State of Indiana. Others supported by the Ku Klux Klan started filling seats in the Indiana State government, and those who lost their place to the Klan-supported replacements began suspecting a conspiracy. Eventually, the entire Indiana State government was under scrutiny, and Ed Jackson of the Cadle Tabernacle was accused of receiving bribes from the Ku Klux Klan. Denying his accusations, Jackson remained in office during the investigation. Eventually, enough evidence was gathered to have likely convicted him of felony crime. But unfortunately, the statue of limitations had expired on his wrondoing. Jackson was never convicted.

William Branham frequented this tabernacle during his recorded ministry. This church, the Cadle Tabernacle, was where William Branham and the infamous Jim Jones of Jonestown shared a pulpit for a healing campaign that would give Jones the boost he needed to create his People's Temple cult.

We're in this great shrine here, where thousands of souls have been saved. Your servant E. Howard Cadle, Gypsy Smith, B. E. Rediger, many other great men who stood here looking for this day
- Branham, 57-0610

But when William Branham referred to E. Howard Cadle or the Cadle Tabernacle in his imaginary trials, much of this story is overlooked. In most of his statements about Cadle, Branham referred to his gambling days as though he were a two-bit gambler -- not an owner of a saloon in one of the largest gambling districts in the United States. Oddly, he does make one single reference to the politics that went on in the Cadle Tabernacle. According to William Branham's version of the story, Cadle's gambling habits and drunkenness was due to "them Democrats" who overrun his church.

It was E. Howard Cadle, down here at Indianapolis, laying out yonder on the street, drunk, flies blowing his mouth. He staggered into the church where he had backslid. And the Democrats had made a big rally hall out of it, and went down into the basement, drunk, staggered over to the coal pile, and there laid his mother's picture. There he prayed. The darkest hour he ever seen; cold, drunk, passed out. Then Jesus came along.
- Branham, 52-0810A

E. Howard Cadle first ran for public office under a Republican ticket, not Democratic. Ed Jackson, Governer of the State of Indiana, was a Republican -- not a Democrat. And the political agenda of the Ku Klux Klan was strongly opposed to Democratic policy. Klan groups were strong supporters of the Republican party, so long as they were not Catholic, Jewish, or African-American.

Was William Branham trying to divert attention from what really happened at the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis, Indiana? Was he uninformed of what was big news in the State of Indiana? or could it be that he was still bitter at the aftermath of the widespread cleanup in the Indiana State Government after the Klan was exposed?

The newspaper articles:

The video: