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Concerning the NRK Norway Interview

Seek The Truth Blog

Concerning the NRK Norway Interview:

Over the weekend, an investigative reporter for Norway's national news media NRK published an article covering William Branham's "Message" cult in Norway. For those of you who missed it:

Many of you have seen the photos of the cult's operation in Norway, referenced on sites containing photos of cult members bowing down before William Branham's "Houston photograph" or the "mystery cloud of 1963". When one looks at the cult following as it has evolved overseas, one might mistakenly assume that the level of worship for William Branham and his "Message" is far more extreme than we see here in the United States. But is this the case?

Growing up as a "Message" believer whose family was the direct offspring of one of the leaders of the movement, it was very easy to recognize the rhetoric used by the leaders in Norway. My grandfather, pastor of the Branham Tabernacle in Jeffersonville for some fifty years, often made the same exact statement when questioned about his undue loyalty to Branham's sermons: "I don't worship the man, but I worship God in the man!"

This cult leader from Norway is no different. Like so many of the cult's leaders today, my grandfather made a clear separation between God and man when discussing William Branham in public. Even in his sermons or pre-tape speeches behind the pulpit at the Branham Tabernacle, grandpa often condemned those who directly worshipped William Branham -- which unfortunately was a large and now growing number of people around the Jeffersonville Indiana "Mecca". If an unsuspecting person were to enter the building on any given Sunday, they would leave with mixed emotions. The cult followers did not worship the "man", yet they respected and valued his words far more than any other human being that has lived in the past several centuries.

When out of the public view, however, many cult leaders share a much different opinion. While my grandfather was respected by many for publicly denouncing the heretical views that many in Jeffersonville, Indiana shared, his private view was much the same as those he condemned. Not only did he view William Branham's recorded sermons as today's "Bible" like the Latter Day Saints view Joseph Smith's writings, my grandfather truly believed that William Branham was a deity. This is evident from his final speech to the Branham Tabernacle as he was forced to resign after the scandal with church property and finances. Grandpa said that William Branham was "God was tabernacled in human flesh". Many of you were shocked when we posted the audio recordings, having heard him deny this for decades.

When I hear the testimonies coming in from around the world, I have to wonder how many of the cult's following share similar views. How many are willing to publicly admit that they revere William Branham far more than any mortal, but only privately willing to admit that they believe William Branham, his "Message", or the cult relics are snapshots of God frozen in time? How much differently would the people of Jeffersonville, Indiana have viewed my grandfather if he admitted his true opinion of William Branham when interviewed by the local news media, and how much more differently should the current leaders of the cult express their true opinion?

As I read the investigative report that Christian Nicolai Bjørke has prepared for Norway's NRK, I feel a deep sorrow for those people. Truly convinced that William Branham's recorded sermons are the ultimate authority on scripture, doctrine, and lifestyle, they are fully unaware of the prison walls that surround them. Like so many of us, they listen without applying critical thought, unaware of the destructive and extremist views that William Branham expressed on those sermons, and have no idea the extent of inaccuracies, contradictions, failed prophecy, and extra-biblical doctrine. Nor are they aware of the sinister history behind the creation of the cult, and the level of which that history influenced the political views Branham expressed.

Even for those of us reading the interview in the United States, much has been hidden from us. We had no idea that William Branham was labeled a "quack" in Norway, or that the "Kvakksalverloven Act of 1936" prevented William Branham from performing his "healing" in the country. More specifically, we were unaware that this was the reason Branham never returned. If he had a "Message" for the "End-Time Bride", wouldn't that "Message" have been more important than healing the sick? Wouldn't he be more concerned with their life beyond the veil of time, rather than the "temporary life" here on earth?

I appreciate the in-depth study that Christian Nicolai Bjørke has presented and the balanced approach to its presentation. While he is presenting some hard facts to those trapped in the Norway branch of the cult, those facts are presented in a way that does not discriminate, insult, or offend. I hope that his report has a widespread impact and that those imprisoned can be set free.

- John Collins
Author and Founder,