Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Former COG Member Now Part of Branch Davidians

American Cult: 5 Spiritual Groups That Went Too Far




I remember when the Branch Davidian siege was underway how some ministers in Pasadena were quite concerned.  They admitted that we had loose ties to the Davidians because of the Adventist Sabbatarian connections.  They had had some conversations with some COG ministers over the past and the church was concerned about being associated with them.  Plus, James Tabor was working with the auhtorities trying to get them to understand what was happening with David Koresh and his apocalyptic visions.

 At Bible Study With David Koresh’s Last Followers
Every Saturday afternoon, on the Branch Davidian sabbath, Clive Doyle drives to the North Waco home of Sheila Martin, where the two old friends study the Bible together, often joined by a small group of spiritual seekers and curious interlopers. Doyle grew up in Australia, Martin in Boston, but both are now in their seventies and have lived in McLennan County for decades. In the Waco area, where many residents would just as soon forget the tragic events that embroiled the Branch Davidians 25 years ago, Doyle and Martin are unique. They are the last two people living there—and among just a handful left in the world—who fervently believe that their former spiritual leader, David Koresh, was not a crazed cult leader, or a delusional narcissist, or even merely a gifted interpreter of scripture, but a genuine prophet of God.
One of these Saturdays, I drove up to Waco to join Doyle and Martin. Outside, it was cold and raw, with low-hanging clouds throwing off an occasional mist of rain. Inside Martin’s living room, the climate was far cozier, with potted plants, soft lighting, and religious paraphernalia cluttering the space. Martin—who is petite and African-American, and still speaks in a pahked-the-cah New England brogue—took her usual hostess’s position at a small table next to the kitchen, ready to accommodate anyone who needed a glass of water or something to eat. Doyle—jowled and a little stooped as he nears eighty—lowered himself onto a worn couch, taking charge of the room. Seated around the two Branch Davidians were Doyle’s roommate Ron Goines, a messianic Jew who first came to Mount Carmel in 1998, and Marlene Joyce, a former follower of Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God who has been attending Branch Davidian services since the mid-nineties.

Read the entire article here:  At Bible Study With David Koresh’s Last Followers

Here are various articles describing James Tabor's work on the Branch Davidians.

Waco Redux: 25 Years Later
April 19, 1993–Waco Branch Davidian Tragedy Going on 25 Years
Sacred And Profane: How not to negotiate with believers.

James Tabor also wrote a book on the Davidians: 

Why Waco? Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

Now waiting for NCK to get on and deny they had any connection to the WCG or totally derail the conversation into something else.

Byker Bob said...

About 12 years ago, a couple of us from one forum decided to visit another forum, where we had heard the members held similar beliefs to Armstrongism. The group was a kind of a Hebrew roots/sacred names church, and they were discussing such things as the coming apocalypse, and which FEMA camps they might be waiting out the tribulation in. I trod lightly and actually made some friends, but my forum buddy accused them of being Armstrongites.

In the course of the discussions, we learned that some of these folks had been WCG members, and that some of the members of their congregation in Texas had joined a militia. Also, some in Montana. It was at that point that I realized that not everyone who left WCG was interested in normalizing their lives or mainstreaming. I had had all of this happy Armstrong horsecrap handed to me by my parents, and when I left, I wanted my own life and personality back, with a dose of normalcy and achievement. I assumed that all of our fellow spiritual rape victims wanted the same. However, with some, weirdness is a pathology, and that condition continues to deteriorate throughout their lives. Being warped by some of the cues instituted by Armstrongism, some have given their lives over to even more bizarre conspiracy theories, some have misappropriated cultures they feel are more desirable, and others have expanded upon the racism caused by British Israelism. Frying pan to fire, so to speak.

What really blows me away is that the Branch Davidians have not become a regular stop for ACOG splinter-surfers. Birds of a feather and all that.

BB

nck said...

8:48

I commented years ago as the first on this blog how Tabor and his friend tried to assist the fbi because of similarities in prophetic reading by the adventist split off in wacco waco.

By your analogy, you are guilty of massmurder in vietnam and iraq by the simple fact you are american. Of course there is no connection.

Simpleton

Nck

Anonymous said...

Why the hell is this forum stuck in the past? Can you people not let shit go and get on with your lives?

Anonymous said...

Byker Bob,

I didn't really know anything about these Armstrongites until recently.. still don't know much about them, but my mom is a former WCG member in CA who scours the internet for Armageddon/conspiracy crap on a daily basis. It's gotten so bad that she can't function normally in society, because it's all consuming for her. She goes to bible studies for WCG spin-offs, and is on her phone looking up whatever new wildly frightening conspiracy theory she can find, to then share during the meetings.

There was an article recently about religion and mental illness, and in her case, I definitely believe there's a connection. All of the things I was taught growing up seems to have flown out the window, with the radicalized beliefs she has right now. Just this morning I was sent an email about how Facebook is a front for the CIA. It's insane. (I love a good conspiracy theory-they're a hoot. But when you start questioning what you see with your own eyes, there's something wrong with you).

Anonymous said...

Why the hell is this forum stuck in the past? Can you people not let shit go and get on with your lives?

You have no idea what you're saying.

People on this blog have been scarred for life at the least - many have been traumatized, coming out of anything from physical, spiritual, to emotional abuse. Myself included. Saying something as insensitive as 'can you people not let it go ' shows you seem to have no understanding of recovery and what it entails.

The other think is that people need to be aware of the pits and valleys that Armstrongism has reached, so that people who research into it aren't leered into surprises. So it's a responsibility, I believe, when something is found out about our history, to disclose it so people who are researching into the cults can find out and know the whole story.

It is not about being stuck in the past. It is about talking, communicating, voicing thoughts, and conversing with people of like mind online about a common experience, and working through our mutual struggles with being duped and conned into a brutal and abusive spiritual system. It is about doing our part so that people know exactly what Armstrongism is, what it did, because that's the best meter of what it could potentially do to others in the future, and no one needs to go through what many of us did.

If you have a problem with the content of this community, remember that there is nothing stopping you from exercising your freedom of not reading this blog and going about your life. If you think it is so easy to get over it and move on with your life, I'm not sure why you're here reading this and complaining about what's being said here. My advice to you? Follow your advice, live your life, and stop worrying about us. We need support, not cold-hearted complaints.


Near_Earth_Object said...

It is difficult to determine how many Branch Davidians are still around. When you try to find data on the web, the focus is on how many Waco survivors are left - a totally different number. There is also a closely allied Millerite group called the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists.

There may be more Branch Davidians than you think. Let me repeat:

If you believe you belong to the one and only true church,
If you keep the Sabbath,
If you keep the Holy Days,
If you believe that your leader has a great ecclesiastical role (like Apostle),
If you believe that only your leader can interpret the Bible correctly,
If you believe anything your leader does is endorsed by God,
If you believe that your leader(s) can actually be found in the pages of the Bible,
If you believe that the KJV is the only reliable, inspired translation,
If you believe you have a ringside seat on the end time events,
If you believe the Gospel is about predictive prophecy concerning the Millennium,
If you believe the Book of Revelation is where all the action is,
If you believe that your church will be taken to a place of safety,
If you believe that you should not eat pork, etc.,
If you believe the Trinity is wrong,
If you believe the US Government is a source of many conspiratorial evils,
If you believe that your leader, alive or deceased, had sex problems but you are willing to over look them in your magnanimity,
If you belong to a Millerite splinter of a Millerite splinter, etc.,

You just might be a BRANCH DAVIDIAN!

The largest remnant of the Branch Davidians, ideologically, is to be found in the various Armstrongists fragment churches. "Loose ties to the Davidians"? That is an understatement.

All the Armstrongist fragments need is a charismatic leader to rise up, unite them and get them weaponized. They already have proclivities for violence that permit them to believe that Native Americans should be exterminated. Maybe there is a role for the AR-15 yet in their future.

Anonymous said...

Why is anyone in any of the splinters of WCG? Because the mind warps get cemented in and an addiction sets in. They lose the flexibility of thinking and being able to analyze things for themselves, so they will never grow beyond what they were taught all those years ago. They remain stunted for as long as they refuse to let go.

Anonymous said...

12.53 AM
We are getting on with our lives. But we have also been permanently impacted by our WCG experience. The shit never goes away. Ask any woman that has been raped. Ask any war veteran.

nck said...

NEO

Apart from 2 or 3 points they all apply to the catholic church and in the meantime you are frightening the shit out of 5:27 real seeker of help refarding his mother.

She is not going to pull a gun and not aiming at native americans. She is not even going to live in a compound. She needs "control" and "perspective", not this construct to tie 1920 davidian split off from eg wite into something she and we were not part of. Even ratzman would deny your claim and he was a lonely nutter.

Nck

Connie Schmidt said...

Anonymous said...
Why the hell is this forum stuck in the past? Can you people not let shit go and get on with your lives?


MY RESPONSE IS THE FAMOUS QUOTE--

"Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it."

Anonymous said...

Hey, Hitler was raised Catholic, therefore all Catholics are potential Hitlers...so goes the rationale for the anti-COGers of this forum.

Near_Earth_Object said...

NCK:

You are not looking at the entire list. Only a Millerite organization could meet all the criteria.

I think 5:27 is already alarmed and there is no reason to give false hope. The harsh reality is that he is unlikely to be able to do anything for his mother. I could do nothing for my mother-in-law. When she died, a UCG minister preached the funeral service in accord with her wishes but against her family's wishes.

Hoss said...

Connie quoted "Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it."

How about "Those who cannot remember the WCG are doomed to repeat it in a splinter"?

nck said...

"The harsh reality is that he is unlikely to be able to do anything for his mother."

Hmm. You think Tabor's effort was in vain?
It is my, Tabor's and TimMcVeigh's opinion that the FBI was also at fault by their harsh and unreasonabe treatment of the victim/perpetrators. For me the question is academic and constitutional, for Tabor it is personal and unsatisfying after 25 years, for McVeigh it led to misguided revenge of the abhorrent kind.

Regarding clinicical mental diseases I've even seen Alzheimer people lighten up and see light even if they thought that the nurse was their former girlfriend. It doesn't matter. My standards only apply for myself and peoples phantasies are their own. Life is a play anyway.

In the case of wcg people fault armstrong. The real culprit were the ones who pulled the rug under unsuspecting ordinary folk, destroying their life and emotional investment. Who carelessly, unprofessionally and in my opinion criminally culpable destroyed a structure without providing any safety netting.

Many came out unscathed and perhaps even relieved or saved. Others like this person's mother is still looking for structure that was pulled from her by selfish frauds. I urge this person to not succumb to the harsh reality you paint but see if he/she is able to provide objective truth and safety. And by no means do I imply start preaching "religious doctrine" or try and dissuade her. At least check if Mazlov's pyramid is provided for and then extricate oneself mentally from any deranged material she might still cling to and would be poisonous to oneself.

It is hard but it is one of the 10 commandments unfortunately.

nck

True Bread said...

What Connie said....

Lake of Fire Church of God said...

It is hard for me to understand how any ex-WCG'ers can attend a splinter group of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. In this case, the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists. The reason why I say this is because of one of the Proofs Herbert W. Armstrong used to prove he had found God's Church during his early Oregon years was that the Stansberry, Missouri Church had the Biblical name "Church of God" - found 12 times in the New Testament if my long distance memory serves me correctly. Branch Davidians do not have the correct name that Armstrongites would consider necessary.

The other reason why I find it difficult is because I attended the Washington D.C. Worldwide Church of God congregation. In the Maryland suburbs is the World Headquarters of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and a very large concentration of SDAs similar to what would have been found in Pasadena, California with WCG. I can think of several sermons I heard over the years in Washington, D.C. WCG which preached the differences and errors of SDA doctrine.

Of course, we know now about the common origin of the Seventh Day Adventist Church and WCG parent Church of God (Seventh Day). We didn't know it 50 years ago.

Richard

Anonymous said...

Good insights/analysis NEO

Anonymous said...

8.31 AM
Some stay in a WCG splinter because they love the fake reality. They get away with all manner of abusive behavior, by hiding behind the ministers skirts. Being a minister boot licker and minion has its advantages.

Anonymous said...

as a black man, i look at my life, having been raised in wwcg in the 60s, 70s & 80s (as well as two other of my cousins raised the same), and compare them to my cousins lives, what were not raised in the same, and i can confidently that we what grew up in the Church are better off for it...

c f ben yochanan

nck said...

Lake of fire

I enterily agree on your 3:51.
It takes a 7th adventist to recognize one and NEO clearly has no history there.

50 years ago the booklet "true church" concisely recorded the common origin. Often mistaken for cog being a split off of 7th day adventist. Which is untrue. They had a common origin and could by analogy called brothers. Making davidians distant related cousins you never knew and met. NEO twists it in all the same or perhaps even the cousin originating from the wrong uncle. And I figured he was the DNA expert on this blog. Turning the clear wcg history into an appalachian mishmash. (While venting a particular fear of inbred mongrels too while arguing for purity. :-) ) (that last one was a joke NEO, grounded in observation)

Nck

Byker Bob said...

The same messed up doctrines have, to one extreme or another, fornicated up the entire brotherhood or cousinhood of Adventist churches. Because keeping these doctrines were not key to and did not in fact provide any real understanding of prophecy, then it’s not just the prophecies that are bogus. The prophecies and doctrines both rise or fall together.

Hey, nck! What’s a size 68 Armani suit collapsed and setting on a pair of black oxfords? HWA with the crap knocked out of him.

BB

Anonymous said...


Biblical truth is a very dangerous thing. The Devil hates it, and sends his false prophets and other rebels to pervert it.


Vernon Howell changed his name to David Koresh and set himself up as a prophet leading his cult called the Branch Davidians. He wanted everyone else's wives and daughters for himself. He never had anything to do with the WCG. He was just another immoral disaster, and fire hazard, out in the world of false religions.

Gerald Flurry started his PCG cult supposedly to hold on to what HWA had taught in the WCG that the apostate Tkaches were destroying, but then claimed that he, rather than Jesus, was “That Prophet” of Deuteronomy 18:18-19 that everyone had to listen to or else God would be mad at them. Flurry “flooded” his followers with much “new revelation” about how great he was. He caused great division among the COG people and wrecked their families while having his local goons promote sexual immorality.

David Pack started his RCG cult supposedly to restore HWA's teachings from January 1986, but then later started to change things in dramatic ways, such as by stealing everything in sight. Pack's changes were even more cruel and thorough than the changes made by the apostate Tkaches in their Great Apostasy of January 1995. Pack left everyone so totally betrayed and destitute this time that they might be unable to carry on any longer.

Bob Thiel started his Nigerian CCG cult because he wanted to be a prophet and make up his own stuff. It was not enough for RCM to gently humor Thiel that he might be considered a prophet by someone. Thiel had to be a real false prophet. So, right away he looked to the demon-inspired prophecies of pagan Mayans, Kenyans, and Catholics. Thinking that demons would helpfully share little tidbits about the future with anyone was so pathetic, but a mentally-challenged, self-appointed Seer could not see that.

James Malm rebelliously left the WCG in 1985 while HWA was still alive to try to think for himself. Malm and those associated with him got into things that proved they cannot think anything but rebellion and nonsense, such as sacred names nonsense, divorce, calendar confusion, a garbled gospel, and flat earth errors. Some other rebels think they can learn the “odd” thing from him. In a sense, they are right. It certainly will be “odd.”

David Ben Ariel, as someone renamed himself, wanted to be a prophet. He once proposed dividing up the world with Gerald Flurry. One could be the prophet of the east and the other the prophet of the west. Flurry rejected the idea, and David ben Ariel ended up being just another homosexual who died of AIDS.

Norman Edwards left the GCG with a stolen mailing list to try to start his own newsletter. He pretended to be very open-minded and reasonable by saying that he was willing to consider just about anything and everything under the sun about church government, and encouraged people to make up stuff to send to him. He said that the only thing that he would not publish in his newsletter, and would not even consider, and did not even want to receive, was anything in support of what HWA had taught about hierarchical government. Edwards sort of became the leader of the leaderless independents. Of course, the sheep ignored his voice, and his stray cats also left him to go off in all sorts of different directions.

Hoss said...

Anon 1029 wrote RCM to gently humor Thiel

If Bob had stayed on, I wonder if GEW would have put up with him...

Anonymous said...

There is an excellent analysis of the Waco incident on the Web by William Luther Pierce. Whether you like Pierce or not, it will show you what the media are hiding and what really went on.

Anonymous said...

"The clinging to conspiracy theories or alternative teachers is a way for her to get control. But it is a substitute of real control she has lost on aspects of her day to day life. And you no which ones they are."

Clinging to whatever the fake news establishment says is another way to get control. But that kind of control is really being controlled by the cult of the controlled media.

Anonymous said...

Richard at 3:51 complains that the media misquotes Trump then goes on to take Obama's quote completely out of context.

Obama, in the complete statement, said that businesses rely on the roads, water and sewer systems, and communication systems that were built by earlier generations. They "didn't build that" which is quite true. He went on to say that the beneficiaries of government-provided infrastructure have an obligation to future generations of entrepreneurs to fund the maintenance and expansion of this infrastructure so that that their children and grandchildren will have the same opportunities to found and grow their own businesses that the current generation of business owners have had.

Taken in context, only the advocates of trickle-down economics could criticize Obama's statement. Yet, many carelessly listen to only the soundbite.

Near_Earth_Object said...

NCK wrote:

"It takes a 7th adventist to recognize one and NEO clearly has no history there."

This is patently false, NCK. Sorry. I was a Millerite for 30 years. That aside, anyone who can read can come to understand SDA doctrine and recognize SDA practitioners.

Once again, I puzzle at what you have written. I would like to respond if I could figure out what to respond to.

nck said...

NEO

To summarize what I said.

You hodgepodge escatological sects together. That is nice from an academic viewpoint but entirely ridiculous for the contingent of former SDA people who might have joined WCG and cleary made choices because of "differences" in culture. practice and ideology that might not be so clear for people with catholic or presbyterian backgrounds.

Many of the WCG offices were close or directly opposite the local headquarters of SDA. For instance the Bricket Wood campus. Just opposite the road of SDA UK. This is no coincidence. SDA as the older brother already had a constituency in manhy nations and the accompanying disgruntled ex members. For them the refreshing taste of Armstrongism was very clear which might escape someone like you not knowing the subtleties or even the exact history of COG. (I might be mistaken since at least you refer to the common ancestor "Millerites", instead of the ridiculous assumption that COG was a split of from SDA7.)

Again only an academic would recognize there that JW and COG had been distant cousins in a galaxy a long time ago. To all throw JW and COG on one heap because of similarities in doctrine is plain wrong. The differences are more than subtle and the differences between Davidians and WCG can plainly not be bridged although Tabor tried his best and the FBI did not see his added value for internal reasons.

nck

NO2HWA said...

This post has absolutely NOTHING to do with Trump, Republicans or Democrats. I will delete any further comment that continues on with this. This is getting tiresome

NO2HWA said...

Nor does it have anything to do with Brexit

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I have stopped reading so many of the comments when they run off into politics or topics totally off topic. While some of those conversations are interesting, when it downgrades into politics it is a conversation killer.

Anonymous said...


Chronic babblers like Vernon Howell (who renamed himself David Koresh) talked so much that his listeners eventually lost sight of all common sense. The next thing his male victims knew, they were handing over their wives and daughters to the perverted babbler. While foolishly thinking that they knew more than anyone else on earth for listening to a Bible babbler, they ended up knowing only how to be the stupidest people around. Too little actual reading of the Bible, and too much listening to a babbling pervert, can result in a real flaming disaster, like it did for the Branch Davidians. While passing himself off as a Bible expert, David Koresh did not know even the most basic biblical teachings.

The Bible says, in one of the Ten Commandments, “You shall not commit adultery” (Exodus 20:14, NIV).

The Bible also says, “Do not have sexual relations with both a woman and her daughter. Do not have sexual relations with either her son's daughter or her daughter's daughter; they are her close relatives. That is wickedness” (Leviticus 18:17, NIV).


PS: This makes one wonder what will become of other Bible babbling motor-mouths, like David Pack, who passes himself off as a Bible expert but comes up with nothing but complete nonsense.


Anonymous said...

Nck
I have spent quite some time watching the YouTube JW dissident sites. Their doctrines and culture is very similar. There are some differences in doctrines, but the things that really matter, such as tyrannical ministers and a leadership that claims exclusive communication with God, makes it a sister church to WCG. Members in both churches could change places with little discomfort.

Try reading the comments at the bottom of their videos. They are very similar to this blog.

nck said...

6:11

That is an interesting comment on the comments of the disenchanted.
I guess for those, in all denominations, for whom the bad does not outweigh the good the focus and experience is all the same.

In some muslim counntries I would identify myself as "a Christian", (by culture fingers crossed behind my back), since atheists are considered immoral, or worse "communists".
Talking to Christians in Muslim countries I would identify myself of "the protestant kind" (as to mark some boundaries with the orthodox), Talking to atheists in christian countries I would identify my former association of "the adventist kind", Talking to adventists, I would identify my former association as a COG (in the past wcg which is non existent and I want no part of any splinter fraud).

I rarely discuss religion except in muslim shrines, since these people are more keen to talk to other believers instead of their socialist opressors like Syria or Iraq.

And of course with the apostates on this blog of whom the majority of comments will be most despised by the flag counter on the right hand side with the fewest views.

My advice would be for those to keep their opinions to themselves or only visit the "flags" with most hits. :-) I am kidding. Really. Don't try and experiment the opposite of my advice.

nck

Anonymous said...

Anon @ March 29, 2018 at 6:10 AM
You recommended listening to William Luther Pierce III for a good Waco perspective. However, since he's a white supremacist, I'll pass.
I have a conspiracy theorist/white supremacist ex-COG brother-in-law who has sent me endless links on the subject, so I've had my fill. Thankfully, Linda Thompson is now dead and won't be creating any more videos (like the one that inspired terrorist Timothy McVeigh to perpetrate the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing).