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Joint Latter Rain Campaigns Between Jim Jones and William Branham

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Joint Latter Rain Campaigns Between Jim Jones and William Branham:

Until 2016, historians suggested that one single series of meetings were held between Rev. William Branham and Rev. Jim Jones. This is largely due to the fact that only a single resource was available displaying the strong connections between Rev. Jim Jones and Rev. William Branham: "The Raven" by Tim Reiterman and John Jacobs.

According to the information that Reiterman and Jacobs had access to at the time of the publication, William Branham was nothing more than a "headlining act" to attract crowds to Jones' Peoples Temple movement. "The Raven" described the 1956 meetings held in the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis as the event that launched Jones' career:

"Creating an image meant creating publicity, and that meant a bold move. Soon after the move to his new church, he organized a mammoth religious convention to take place June 11 through June 15, 1956, in a cavernous Indianapolis hall called Cadle Tabernacle. To draw the crowds, Jim needed a religious headliner, and so he arranged to share the pulpit with Rev. William Branham, a healing evangelist and religious author. Most Laurel Street defectors tagged along for the same reason that many would initially follow Jones over the years—his healings. This fact trapped Jones: to maintain the hold on such people, he was forced to continue healing, carrying the entire load of deception on his own. In Jones's frenzied rise, amid overflow crowds and a chaotic barrage of words, he hardly had time enough to try to understand the phenomenon buoying up his career. But he marveled sometimes at how a faked healing could stimulate seemingly genuine healings. Though drugged by a stupendous sense of power, he kept a degree of skepticism about his miracle cures. In fact, he often wondered to himself about how long they lasted or whether people really were ill in the first place. Jones was not above convincing someone that he had a disease in order to "cure" the nonexistent ailment."
- Reiterman, Tim. The Raven

Reiterman and Jacobs described the week of meetings and events held by Jones and Branham in great detail, from the number of people in the crowd, to the social and religious backgrounds of those attending, to William Branham himself. According to "The Raven", members of Peoples Temple came to seek private consultations with Jones and Branham, and the synergy between the two ministers was very strong. Together, they created an energy that quickly spread through the crowds that resulted in ecstasy.

"Some eleven thousand Christians attended opening day of the convention, to see Branham and twenty-five-year-old Jim Jones. Though Branham was known from Chicago to the Carolinas, his ministry was not particularly strong among blacks, but Jones's was becoming so. Blacks constituted about a fifth of the congregation that day. Many came to see Jim Jones in the afternoon preliminary service, then stayed around for the climactic nighttime session with the great healer Branham, a quietly charismatic, balding man in his mid-forties.
Though Jones was much more boisterous in his delivery and prayers than Branham, both preachers followed much the same Pentecostal procedure, relying heavily on numbers—addresses, social security, telephone and insurance policy numbers—all facts any good private detective could dig up. Like fortune-tellers, they told people about their past and future lives. Branham even told people what their doctor had said on the last visit. All this discernment was designed to build faith to that peak when "healing" was possible. The prayer lines stretched from the rear of the auditorium to the stage and across it. Individuals came forward in turn for a private consultation with Jones or Branham. As the preacher laid hands on the person and prayed aloud, the energy climbed. In the pews, the faithful lifted their hearts and minds in prayer. Feverish, some uttered cries of ecstasy, or pleaded to Jesus for a miracle. Some "fell out" before the preacher could even touch them. But usually the preacher appeared to give them a good shove on the forehead at the conclusion of the prayer, and that, their own inclination and whatever power came from the Holy Spirit sent them toppling backward, their hands up in surrender to the heavens. Some crumpled softly to the floor, but many keeled over, stiff as boards; it was fortunate that sturdy young men stood by to catch them and lay them down gently. "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord," the people cried as their brethren experienced the Holy Spirit. All around the auditorium people raised their voices in thanks. If all went well, bodies spilled down the aisles like an upset pile of cordwood. Some people touched by the Holy Spirit were supine, twitching, eyelids aflutter, their mouths spasmodically opening and closing, like fishes on land. Some popped to their feet almost immediately, smiling, disheveled but refreshed; their neighbors hugged them as they returned to their seats. Others stayed entranced on the floor—seemingly forgotten by everyone—for minutes and sometimes hours.
By evangelical standards, the more people who "fell out," the better. Branham not only enjoyed one of the best averages around, but he also could get people to fall out of their seats when he was on stage; he could reach them without touching them. And sometimes virtually everyone on whom he placed his hands dropped over. Jim Jones the novice could not rival Branham's percentages. The exposure proved invaluable to Jones. One person introduced to the Peoples Temple pastor by the event was a lanky black man in his mid-forties named Archie Ijames. Ijames had come to hear William Branham, but he was just the man Jim Jones needed. Jones had been experiencing difficulty making blacks believe he was sincere about racial brotherhood; Ijames could help bring them into the fold."
- Reiterman, Tim. The Raven

At the time "the Raven" was written, the world was unaware of William Branham's deep roots in the Ku Klux Klan, and those roots would have likely been interesting subject matter for Reiterman and Jacobs considering Jones interracial agenda. During the 1960's, William Branham was strongly opposed to the Civil Rights movement leaders, calling their agenda "communistic" or demonic. Branham's mentorship by Klan leaders was ever-present in his speeches, often condemning interracial marriage, Catholicism, and even belittling African Americans pushing for the desegregation of schools. This would not have aligned with Jones' agenda, and had he known, Jones would have likely reconsidered his becoming a pastor Branham's "Message" cult.

It was not until 2016, in a project for Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple, that the full extent of William Branham's connection to Jim Jones was identified. Not only was Rev. Jim Jones a "Message" cult pastor, Jones and Branham held multiple series of meetings together before migrating to California and ultimately Jonestown, Guyana. As a "Latter Rain" minister in Branham's "healing revival", Jones toured with several of the other evangelists, notably Branham's close friend, associate, and promoter Joseph Mattsson-Boze. It was Mattsson-Boze who ordained Jones into the "Latter Rain" faith through the Independent Assemblies of God headquarters in Chicago.

The 1956 series of meetings Reiterman and Jacobs refer to in "The Raven" was more than simply a "Latter Rain revival". According to the newspaper advertisements published by Jim Jones in 1956, the gathering was a worldwide convention for "faith healing" evangelists, many of which were employed by or affiliated with Branham's campaigns. T. L. Osborne was a senior editor in the Voice of Healing publication William Branham created to promote his ministry, later the primary publication associated with the "Latter Rain Healing Revival" as it became known. F. F. Bosworth was also an editor for and author of many articles in the "Voice of Healing", and also toured with William Branham after leaving his own faith healing ministry when "Latter Rain" broke out in 1947.

Jones held a second worldwide convention for "Latter Rain" at the Cadle Tabernacle in 1957. William Branham spoke both afternoon and evening, Tuesday through Friday. Morning services were held at 10:00 AM in Peoples Temple, refreshments were served at noon and 5:00 PM, William Branham at 2:30 PM, and then again at 7:30 PM.