A True Davidian

Versus

A Branch Davidian
Who is Following the Truth?

upa7.org
P. O. Box 722
Rogersville, TN
publisher545@gmail.com
www.upa7.org
www.shepherds-rod-speaks.org

Common Law Copyright by Universal Publishing Association-7, June 2004

(You can print a copy of this study for yourself and share it with others as long as you agree
to: make no changes, claim credit for it, charge money for it, and include this copyright and
the contact information at the end of the article.)
Common Law Copyright by Universal Publishing Association-7, June 2004

True Davidians Versus Branch Davidians:
Who is Following the Truth?
Introduction: One of the grossest misconceptions forced upon the minds of Seventh-day
Adventist (S. D. A.) leaders and laypeople alike is the idea that Davidians are a dangerous
offshoot of the church who follow the teachings of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians.
One source has stated that Koresh is “the sixth leader of the sixth splinter from the S. D. A.
church.”1 e article from which this quote is taken tries to prove that Koresh and the
Branch Davidians are the modern successors of the Shepherd’s Rod (SRod) movement that
began in 1930, the “sixth splinter” from the mother church since its origin in 1844 as they
imply. Nothing could be farther from the truth, as we shall see. e purpose of this study is
to examine some of the pertinent historical and doctrinal facts that will clearly discredit such
claims. is is a call to all honest hearted and clear-minded seekers for truth to give a fair
hearing to both sides of the story before making a judgment for or against.
Q: What is a Davidian?
A: Davidians are Seventh-day Adventists who accept and practice all of the fundamental doctrines of the Laodicean Seventh-day Adventist Church (S. D. A.), which are based solely on
2

the Bible backed up by the Spirit of Prophecy (SOP). In addition, they accept the message
of advanced light of revival and reformation that God has sent to the S. D. A. church to prepare it for the judgment of the living. is message, also known as the Shepherd’s Rod
(SRod), announces the “great and dreadful day of the Lord” (Mal. 4:5) that will result in purification of the church separating 144,000 first fruits of the harvest (Rev 7:1-8, 14:1-4) who
will be endowed with a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit in order to gather the second
fruits of the harvest, the great multitude (Rev. 7:9), from the fallen churches of Babylon during the Loud Cry (Rev. 18:1-4, Early Writings, p. 277). e 144,000 will be the ones to reach
the world with the final proclamation of the gospel, not the Laodicean church in its present
1

Shirley Burton, Director of Communication, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Memo to Phil Robertson discussing response to media inquirers regarding the “Waco Case”. Also published as, “Was David Koresh A
Seventh-day Adventist”, Courier, Vol. 7, No. 7, May 21, 1993, p. 6.
2

Victor Houteff, Fundamental Beliefs of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists, Universal Publishing Assn., 1943, b)
Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 10, pp. 21-31

condition of wholesale apostasy from God. e name Davidian derives from the following
explanation.
“We are the only people who have the message of the re-establishment of the House of David,
and of restoring “all things” (Mark 9:12) and are therefore called Davidians.” -- Timely Greetings,
Vol. 1, No. 9, p. 6

Q: Is a Branch Davidian the same as a Davidian?
A: An unequivocal NO! Davidians follow the teaching of the Bible supported by the writings
of the Spirit of Prophecy, which are complied in the writings of the Shepherd’s Rod. Branch
Davidians are comprised of various factions, which follow a strange mixture of doctrines,
which are derived from the uninspired teachings of their two leading presidents/prophets
from the past Ben L. Roden and his wife Lois Roden. Since the death of Ben in 1978 and
latter Lois in 1986 several competing factions have risen up each claiming to have an inspired
leader. David Koresh was just one of these individuals which also include less infamous persons such as Charles Pace, eresa Moore, Denton R. Brunken, and Doug Mitchell. Listed
below are some of the prominent divergent teachings that most Branch Davidians hold in
common that are in direct opposition to the Bible and the fundamental beliefs of Davidians.
e appropriate references are given from the Bible, the SOP, and the SRod, which refute
these errors and prove that Branch Davidians are radically divergent in their teachings with
Davidians on several other theological and doctrinal issues.

Heterodox Doctrines of the Branch Davidians, NOT True Davidians
Doctrine

Origin

Bible and SOP
References

Keeping the ceremonial Ben Roden
feast laws.

Col. 2:14-16, Eph. 2:15; Acts of
the Apostles, p. 188-9, Patriarchs
and Prophets, p. 365-7. Timely
Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 37, pp.
14-15.

The investigative judgment for the living began
its review on October 20,
1955

Ben Roden

Mark 13:33, Rev. 3:3, Great for the
living began its review on Controvesy, p. 490-91, Answerer October 20, 1955 Book, Vol. 1, p. 94

The Holy Spirit is Feminine

Lois Roden

John 14:16-17, 26; 16:7-8, 13; 1
John 3:24, I John 4:1-4

Doctrine

Origin

Bible and SOP
References

There must be a “sinful
messiah” to represent
fallen man in the judgment.

Teachings of David Koresh Rom. 5:12-19, Heb. 4:15, 2 Pet.
applied to himself and be- 2:1-10, Matt. 24:23-26
lieved by his adherents.

Leader(s) claim the prophetic gift. Misapply Testimony to Ministers, p. 475
to themselves

Ben Roden claimed to be 1 Pet. 1:19-21, Amos 3:7, Isa.
Elijah the prophet. This 8:20, 1 Cor. 14:31, Deut. 18:20-22
perpetual claim to the prophetic office is held by others in the Branch movement today.

Q: Was David Koresh a Seventh-day Adventist?
A: He “was reared as a Seventh-day Adventist in Dallas (Texas)”3 and later baptized into the
Tyler Texas S. D. A. church in 1979 at the age of 18 years.4 In 1981 he was disfellowshipped
“because of lifestyle and divergent views.”5 His teachings were a strange admixture of doctrines and private interpretations of scripture, which included the use of the writings of Ellen
G. White and concepts derived from the writings of the Shepherd’s Rod. He never studied or
practiced the original “Shepherd’s Rod” message. Doctrinally, one could not consider Koresh
a true Seventh-day Adventist as the result of his many blatantly unbiblical teachings. is
includes advocating the keeping of the ceremonial feasts and festivals of the Old Testament6
and the concept that he was a new incarnation of Jesus Christ, the lamb of Revelation 5.7 He
viewed himself as a sinful Messiah and claimed to be the one who was to give the interpretation of the seven seals in the Revelation.8 His reported lifestyle habits were also in direct
contradiction to the counsels given in the writings of Ellen G. White. Former followers have

3

Adventist Today, May/June 1993, pp. 4.

4

Raymond Cotrell, “History and Fatal eology of the Branch Davidians”, Adventist Today, May/June 1993, p. 6

5

a) Burton, p. 5 b) George W. Reid “e Branch Davidians-Who Are ey?”, Adventist Review, April 1, 1993, p. 6

6

Koresh’s belief of keeping the ceremonial feast laws originated from the teaching of Ben L. Roden, the founder of
the Branch Seventh Day Adventists. Don Adair, A Davidian Testimony, 1997, p. 196
7

Cotrell, p. 7

8

Ref. 1, p. 8

testified the Koresh had over ten wives, smoked, drank beer, ate meat, and had a passion for
playing rock and rock music all of which are prohibited in orthodox Adventist teaching.9
Q: Was David Koresh the leader of the True Davidians?
A: No, David Koresh, formerly known as Vernon Howell, was the leader of a small group of
followers who called themselves “Branch Davidians.” is group was founded in 1955 by a
man named Ben L. Roden under the original name of “Branch Seventh Day Adventists.”10 As
we have seen David Koresh taught and practiced doctrines that were in direct contradiction
with the Bible, the Spirit of Prophecy, and the Shepherd’s Rod, which all-true Davidians follow. Koresh was one of the successors11 of Ben L. Roden and his wife Louis Roden, not Victor T. Houteff the author of the Shepherd’s Rod and the founder of the Davidian movement.
Let us now commence with a brief historical review of the true Davidian movement contrasted with the Branch Davidians so that we can more clearly understand some things about
the origin and differences between the two movements.
e Shepherd’s Rod message was formally introduced to the leading brethren of the General
Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist church in 1930.12 A Sabbath School Superintendent named Victor T. Houteff from the Glendale California S. D. A. church sent 33 hectographed copies of a book manuscript entitled e Shepherd’s Rod, Vol. 1 (255 pgs.) with the
plea that they make a careful investigation of its contents and reply at their earliest possible
convenience. Six years latter only two of the thirty-three brethren ever responded.
e primary focus of the book was to introduce the message of revival and reformation to the
S. D. A. church calling to their attention the sealing message by which God is going to purify
His church and call forth the 144,000 first fruits and prepare them to go forth and give the
Loud Cry message of Revelation 18:1-4 thereby enabling the great multitude second fruits to
come out from Babylon, the fallen churches of the world, and gather together in the kingdom of God (Isa. 66:19-20).

9

A. Anthony Hibbert, Before the Flames, Seaburn Publishing, 1996, pp. 28-29.

10

Adair, p. 197, Hibbert, pp. 12-13.

11

Douglas F. Mitchell, e Warfare Against Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventists by David Koresh and Others.
Found at http://www.the-branch.org
12

For a complete discussion of the events surrounding the introduction of the Shepherd’s Rod message to the SDA
church and their subsequent response to it, please see: Victor Houteff, e Great Controversy Over “e Shepherd’s
Rod, ” Tract No. 7, e Universal Publishing Assn., P.O. Box 2722, Hartford, CT 06146

Prior to this time Victor Houteff was a faithful S. D. A. who was baptized into the church in
1919. e important religious experiences of his early life have been recorded.13 Starting in
1928 as he was teaching from the Sabbath School lesson quarterly covering the latter chapters from the book of Isaiah, he recognized that much of which was recorded had a latter day
prophetic application, especially in regards to the S. D. A. church. is understanding follows the inspired counsels given by Ellen White who said that the prophets of old spoke
more for our time than the days in which they lived.14
Bro. Houteff’s teaching generated intense interest and most of the students migrated from
other classes to join his class. is excited the envy and jealousy of the other teachers and
soon his class was forced to move into a very small children’s room so that people would be
discouraged from attending. To the dismay of the church leaders people filled the hallway
and stood outside to listen through the windows. Next the elders banned Bro. Houteff from
teaching in the church. At this time one of the sisters who lived across the street from the
church offered her house for a meeting place. Soon a fairly large group was meeting there
every Sabbath much to the dismay of the church elders who tried every tactic possible to prevent the church members from attending. Soon after, they dis-fellowshiped Bro. Houteff
from the church without due cause or proper Biblical procedure15 and even tried to deport
him from the country. ese tactics carried out by church leaders were of no avail as interest
in the message continued to grow. At the same time though, considerable opposition and
prejudice arose against Bro. Houteff and those who followed his teachings. Sadly the church
leaders provoked some people to violently attack Bro. Houteff and even threatened his life on
more that one occasion. e followers of the Shepherd’s Rod have routinely been treated
with great contempt and subject to unchristian actions by often being verbally and physically
abused for simply attending church services on Sabbath morning. On other occasions the
church has resorted to the arm of the state by calling the police in trying to keep SRod adherents from their churches.
As the General Conference (GC) failed to give a fair hearing to the teachings of the Shepherd’s Rod but rather vigorously condemned it and tried with every effort possible to keep
church members from hearing or studying for themselves, Bro. Houteff was compelled to

13

Victor Houteff, Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 35, pp.12-24

14

Ellen G. White, a) Selected Messages, Vol. 3, p. 419, b) Signs of the Times, April 2, 1896, par. 10

15

Proper Biblical procedure to disfellowship a member is given in Matt. 18:15-17 and I Cor 5. Several examples of
illegal disfellowshipments are given in the scriptures, see: Acts 24, John 12:42-43, 16:1-4; Isa 66:5, Luke 6:22, 3
John 9-10. Ellen White describes her experience of being disfellowshiped from the Methodist church for “a breach
of their rules”, see: Spiritual Gifts, Vol. 2, pp. 23-5. For explanations why faithful church members are illegally disfellowshiped from the church, see: TM 47, DA 232.2, COL 74.1, GC 140-1. For further cautions to be exercised
th
in disfellowshipment proceedings, see the SDA Church Manual, 16 Ed., pp. 186-90.

bring the message to the church even though the leading men rejected it. With only a small
group of believers at first the followers of the SRod were forced out of necessity to organize
together so as to bring the message to their brethren in the church and attend to the spiritual
needs of those who took a stand for the message and had been often harshly rejected from
fellowship in their local churches. In addition, to advance this message of “present truth the
flock needs know” (Early Writings. p. 118), they redirected their tithes to begin to print the
message and spread it throughout the denomination. e message continued to expand with
the second volume of e Shepherd’s Rod Vol. 2 (300 pgs) appearing in 1932. In the following years up to 1955 numerous tracts and sermons (Timely Greetings) totaling over 1250
pages of literature were published, unfolding its truth from many different angles. e SRod
literature has been printed by the millions and spread like the leaves of autumn throughout
the S. D. A. denomination ever since and continues to this day. In 1934 the first Association
was established in California, which later moved to Waco Texas in 1935 with a small group
of a dozen believers. is “camp,” as it was referred to, was called Mt. Carmel Center and
remained in operation until Bro. Houteff’s death in 1955. e first name given to the
movement was the “General Association of Shepherd’s Rod Seventh-day Adventists” which
later changed in 1942 to “Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association” in the organization
tract entitled “Leviticus”.”16
12

During Bro. Houteff’s tenure as the spiritual leader of Mt. Carmel Center he had to deal
with a number of fanatical elements who often came into the camp to introduce their own
private opinions of scripture and draw away followers after them. One of the most prominent of these individuals was Ben L. Roden who lived in nearby Odessa, Texas. Although he
claimed to believe the message, taught it, and was able to win at least one convert, his character was known to be a reproach to the message. On one occasion Bro. Houteff called him to
Mt. Carmel for a personal reprimand for his uncomely behavior involving the removal of the
doors of the Odessa S. D. A. church because they wouldn’t allow his family to enter one
Sabbath.17 He apparently made a media publicity stunt out of the incident by calling the local newspaper. According to Davidians who lived on Mt. Carmel his presence around the
camp was always viewed with suspicion even though he worked on the farm in the camp for
a brief period in 1953.18 Roden was never recognized as a teacher or minister of the message
with one accord to the Divine purpose it called for. He frequented around the camp waiting
for his opportunity to move in as an office seeker and draw people after himself. Bro.
Houteff’s comments on the topic of position seeking are revealing.

16

Symbolic Code, Vol. 8, Nos. 1-12, p. 24.

17

Adair, p. 17

18

Hibbert, p. 11

“Plainly, one who aspires to position simply for self-exhaltation, especially when such an office
hold out spiritual responsibilities as does a church office, such a one should not be given any
consideration whatsoever. And if he already has any station of responsibility, he should be
relieved of it, for such high-minded leaders are spiritually blind…Moreover, this class of leaders, dead to Christ and alive to themselves, as a rule love to parade, and even to exaggerate
their religious deeds…This class of men are naturally clever…Multitudes are still charmed by
such so-called good men, and multitudes unquestionably accept their decisions as if they
were God’s decisions.
“Take for example Jesus Christ…Instead of preaching Himself, though, He preached the
Truth…He simply spoke of Bible truth, and gave God, not Himself, the credit.”19

e true motives of Ben Roden were not fully revealed until after Bro. Houteff’s death in
1955. Roden entered in among the Davidians and proclaimed himself the Elijah the prophet
who would never die and thus was able to deceive many who were not well grounded in the
message of the SRod. Earlier there had been division in the camp over whether Bro. Houteff
would ever die since he represented, the antitypical Elijah the prophet who was predicted by
Sis. White (TM 475) to come in spirit and power to announce “the great and dreadful day
of the Lord” prior to the second advent of Christ. Some believed Bro. Houteff would never
die since Elijah never tasted death, but what they failed to recognize that Elijah was a type of
the 144,000 living saints who were to be translated without seeing death20 and not the type
of one person. Furthermore, as John the Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah to
announce the first advent of Christ and died, so to the antitypical Elijah who was to come
just prior to the Second Advent would also die! us Roden was able to capitalize on the
false belief of certain Davidians and stepped in at the right time to exalt himself as the Elijah
the prophet who would never die. Plainly, the SRod message teaches that one person, not a
multitude of ministers, would come in the spirit and power of Elijah in the last days. Ben L.
Roden never brought the message announcing the Judgment of the Living to the S. D. A.
church; this was a work God appointed to one man, Victor T. Houteff.
“That as the Elijah of Christ’s first advent was one person, and also as the Elijah of Mt. Carmel
of old was one person, not a multitude of priests, then by parity of reasoning the Elijah of today must also be one person, not a multitude of ministers.” -- General Conference Special, p. 32
“Since the promised Elijah is to be the last prophet to the church today, as John the Baptist
was the last prophet to the church in his day, and since the last work on earth is the judgment
for the Living, the truth stands forth like the light of day that Elijah’s message is the message
of the Judgment of the Living, the last, which in the very nature of the gospel is of far more
importance and consequence than any other message ever borne to a people.” -- General Conference Special, pp. 22-3.
19

Victor Houteff, Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 28, pp. 15-18

20

Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, p. 227.2

us Ben Roden began his movement in 1955 in Odessa, Texas and named it “e Branch
Seventh Day Adventists” based on a misapplication of Jer. 23:5 to himself. He was able to
get the mailing list from the old Mt. Carmel center that gave him free access to spread his
false doctrines throughout Davidia. In this way he was able to win over some converts who
believed that Roden must be the Elijah the prophet who would never die.
Now, to complete another side of the story, Bro. Houteff warned shortly before his death that
a “knockout blow” would arise from professed friends of the faith and this event would result
in a scattering of the flock according to the following statement.
“Unparalleled, therefore, is the urgent that every eleventh-hour church member now quickly
and solidly brace himself against the Enemy’s effort to deliver a knock-out blow. We must be
alert, too, to realize that the blow is to come from surprisingly unsuspected foes--from professed friends of the gospel, who are no less pious than were the priest in Christ’s day.” -- White
House Recruiter, p. 33

e professed friends of the gospel turned out to be none other than the wife of Bro.
Houteff, Florence and the council she appointed to lead the work after the death of her husband. Contrary to a false report that the GC and all other S. D. A. sources systematically
repeat, Mrs. Houteff was never appointed by her husband to lead the message after he died.21
In fact, a man named E.T. Wilson who was the Vice President of the Executive Council at
the time of Bro. Houteff’s death was the one who should have rightfully continued as the
leader of the message, but Mrs. Houteff appointed herself and nearly everyone agreed since
she was well liked by Davidians and it was thought to be the one to lead the work since she
was so familiar with the message. Anyway, the knockout blow was caused by her false prediction of the forty-two month prophecy in Rev. 11:2-12 and Dan 12:6-7.22 Prior to Bro.
Houteff’s death he was revising the material in Timely Greetings, Vol. 2, No. 15 when he recognized that there was a future application of this forty-two month period. As Davidians
were aware of this they became intensely interested to know the answer to this future fortytwo month prophecy. In fact on the night of his death Mrs. Houteff asked her husband what
was the explanation of this prophecy. He replied that he would have her answer in the
morning. at night he died so the prophecy remained unexplained! is event was witnessed by a Davidian nurse named Sis. Peterman who was assisting in the care of Bro.
Houteff. He was in the local Waco hospital for heart problems at the time.

21
22

1

a) SDA Bible Encyclopedia, p. 329. b) Vance Ferrell, e Davidians of Waco, p. 13

For a more complete account of this pivotal event in the history of the Davidians, see: Hibbert, Chapt. 8 and
Adair, Chapt. 19.

Shortly after Bro. Houteff’s death, Mrs. Houteff announced in the Symbolic Code (the official
newsletter of the Association) her prediction for the fulfillment of the forty-two month
prophecy. She claimed that the forty-two months began at Bro. Houteff’s death in the year
1955 and would end three and one half years later on the date of April 22, 1959.23 She predicted that the end of this prophetic period was going to be the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 (purification of the S. D. A. church) and the establishment of God’s Kingdom on earth (Dan. 2:44)
in harmony with conventional SRod teachings. Her error was that she fell into the trap of
time setting, the prediction of a future date for some important event to occur as a fulfillment of some Bible prophecy. Unfortunately she and the foolish Davidians who followed
her forgot the admonitions given in the SOP against such practices.
“The preaching of a definite time for the judgment, in the giving of the first message, was ordered by God. The computation of the prophetic periods on which that message was based,
placing the close of the 2300 days in the autumn of 1844, stands without impeachment. The
repeated efforts to find new dates for the beginning and close of the prophetic periods, and
the unsound reasoning necessary to sustain these positions, not only lead minds away from
the present truth, but throw contempt upon all efforts to explain the prophecies. The more
frequently a definite time is set for the second advent, and the more widely it is taught, the
better it suits the purposes of Satan. After the time has passed, he excites ridicule and contempt of its advocates, and thus casts reproach upon the great advent movement of 1843 and
1844. Those who persist in this error will at last fix upon a date too far in the future for the
coming of Christ. Thus they will be led to rest in a false security, and many will not be undeceived until it is too late.” --Great Controversy, p. 457
"We are near the end, but if you or any other man shall be seduced by the enemy, and led on
to set the time for Christ's coming (to purify the church, Mal. 3:1-3), he will be doing the same
evil work which has wrought the ruin of the souls of those who have done it in the past.” --Testimonies for Ministers, p. 60-1 [brackets and italics added]
“There will always be false and fanatical movements made by persons in the church who
claim to be led of God --those who will run before they are sent, and will give day and date for
the occurrence of unfulfilled prophecy. The enemy is pleased to have them do this, for their
successive failures and leading into false lines cause confusion and unbelief.--Letter 28, 1897.”
-- Selected Messages, Vol. 2, p. 84

Prior to the predicted date, Mrs. Houteff announced in a later Symbolic Code a “Solemn Assembly” which resulted in the gathering of over 1,000 Davidians from all over the United
States and Canada at the New Mt. Carmel center to wait for their deliverance to the
kingdom.24 At this point it should be mentioned that prior to Bro. Houteff’s death he announced that the property of old Mt. Carmel should be sold off since the city limits of Waco
23

Symbolic Code, Vol. 11, No. 1, p. 13, Vol. 5, p. 12.

24

Symbolic Code, Vol. 14, No. 8, pp. 11-12.

were rapidly encroaching on the camp25. e sell-off began in 1954 and continued until
1957. Mrs. Houteff and her council then bought new property near Elk, Texas, about 30
miles from Waco, and named it “New Mt. Carmel Center”. Several homes were built along
with a very large building for her solemn assembly. As the predicted day approached even
the local newspapers came and interviewed the people and published articles about the event.
Since they did not understand the message of the SRod they often reported many incorrect
statements, for example that the Davidians were gathered for the second coming of Christ
rather than the deliverance from Ezekiel 9. is is one of the ways that misinformation arose
regarding this event. Well, after much pleading with the Lord to fulfill their expectations,
the predicted date came and went and nothing happened! Soon the word spread throughout
the media and the church; this prompted S. D. A. Conference officials to seize the opportunity and capitalize on this folly by arranging a series of meetings to try to win back Davidians
into the mother church.26 As a result of this tragic disappointment, many Davidians who
misplaced their trust in the arm of flesh renounced the message and were scattered abroad, or
joined with Ben Roden. Only a small remnant remained faithful to the teachings of the message.
Rather than admit their wrong prediction about the forty-two month prophecy, Florence
Houteff and her council added one error upon another in trying to justify their colossal
blunder. After going over the whole SRod message they came up with the new interpretation
that every time Bro. Houteff used the word “church” in his writings he meant the fallen protestant churches of the world and not the S. D. A. church. is caused the Council to announce in 1960 a new direction for the message that they should take it to the fallen Protestant churches rather than to the S. D. A. church as the message clearly taught. ey even
went so far as to buy a radio station so that they could broadcast the message everywhere and
wrote up a new series of tracts to meet this objective. Within two years the work went into
disarray. e Council meet again in closed meetings with the General Conference in 1961.
Finally, by the end of the year, Mrs. Houteff and her council could no longer bear the continued weight of their blunders and she publicly denounced the message by stating that both
Sis. White and Bro. Houteff were false prophets and all that we needed to be saved was to
read the writings of the Apostle Paul. She also recommended that if Davidians still believed
in the kingdom that they should join R. W. Armstrong’s Radio Church of God! e remaining council members also left the message with two suffering violent deaths shortly thereafter.
e mother church was naturally very pleased with this news and to this day has been able to
very successfully use it in an underhanded effort to discredit the true teachings of the SRod
and furthermore, discourage members in the church from investigating it for him or her
25

Symbolic Code, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 3-4

26

Hibbert, p. 175

selves. is unfortunate betrayal of the message by Florence Houteff and her council was
recognized by the honest at heart Davidians to be the “knockout blow” that Bro. Houteff
had predicted. In the meantime the remaining faithful Davidians reorganized in 1961 by
holding a special session in Los Angeles, California to continue on with the work that God
had commissioned through the message.
Let us not forget Ben Roden who was still roaming around Davidia looking for converts.
Being the opportunist that he was, Roden strongly denounced Mrs. Houteff as a false
prophet since her predicted date had passed unfulfilled and tried to convince people to follow
him as Elijah the prophet who would never die. Following Mrs. Houteff’s renouncing of the
message she went into hiding and remains there to this day.27 Her council divided up the first
tithe among themselves claiming it was their back pay and entrusted the remaining assets of
the Association (second tithes, offerings, and all the property) in the hands of a lawyer named
Tom Street. Eventually after a long drawn out legal affair over many years in the Texas courts
a portion of the second tithes were returned to the long time workers at old Mt. Carmel under Bro. Houteff. e property, which amounted to over 500 acres and several buildings, was
up for grabs since the Council dissolved without appointing any successors. Over time the
remaining assets were liquidated down to 77 acres. At this time Roden and his believers
moved in and squatted on the land and refused to leave, even under court order. Claiming
to have a right to a portion of the unclaimed second tithe they eventually forced a resolution
which Roden and his clan where able to garner around $32,000 and finally buy out the title
after a long drawn out battle with other groups of Davidians who eventually surrendered
their efforts to regain the disputed turf. A permanent home for the Branch movement was
finally established in 1968.28 e faithful Davidians who did not follow Roden’s strange doctrines were scattered about at this point and were not able to organize together in time
enough to oppose him in the court. e court not knowing anything about the history or
doctrines of the Branch movement was more than willing to let Roden have his object and
get the awkward case off of their hands. is remained the permanent headquarters of the
Branch movement until it was put under siege and later burned out by the United States
government on April 19, 1993.
On the other hand, faithful Davidians who now began to understand something about the
predicted “knockout blow” and the rise of usurpers such as Ben Roden, as Bro. Houteff
warned about, reorganized the Association in Los Angeles, California (1961), appointed a
new Executive Council, and once again began to publish the original tract literature of the
SRod. Since this time God’s storehouse of present truth has moved and reorganized several
times and in order to locate it today one must “seek and ye shall find.” Over the years many
27

Florence (Houteff) Aiken has reportedly died in October of 2008.

28

Hibbert, pp. 17-19.

false teachers and splinters off of the original Shepherd’s Rod have arisen besides Ben Roden
and David Koresh in the devil’s attempt to confuse and mislead the true Davidians who
come in and follow the message with fidelity, not adding to or subtracting one jot or tittle
from what inspiration has revealed.29
Meanwhile, Roden kept control over the Branch group until his death in 1978 which proved
that he was a false prophet who made a prediction that he was Elijah the prophet who would
never die but ended up dying (see: Deut. 18:20-22). At this point Roden’s wife Lois took
over leadership as president/prophetess of the group. Assuming the prophetic mantle she
then introduced her false teaching that the Holy Spirit was feminine and that women should
be ordained as ministers. She also started a magazine entitled SHEkinah, which attracted a
fair amount of interest in certain Christian circles.30 It was in 1981 that Vernon Howell
joined the Branch movement. Soon he became the archrival to the Roden’s son George who
also thought that he was to be the next prophet and leader of the movement being that his
mother was aging. When Lois finally died in 1986 there was an intense battle between Vernon and George for the leadership of the group as they both claimed to be the incarnate
Christ and visible leader of the Branch Davidians and the New Mt. Carmel Center.
According to Doug Mitchell, current President of the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Advents
(BDSDA), David Koresh was office seeker who started up a rival Association in 1983-84
called “Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh-day Advents” (DBDSDA). He apparently gathered a group of sympathizers, Clive Doyle and Perry Jones being his principle advocates, and
attempted to win over the influence of Lois Roden and her adherents. e rivalry between
Howell and Lois’s son George was so heated that Howell and his followers were forced to
move away from the new Mt. Carmel Center and live in the woods around Palestine Texas
for a few years. A year after Lois Roden’s death in 1986 Howell filed a court document
claiming to be the president of the BDSDA’s. In late 1987 Howell and some of his followers
made a military style assault on the new Mt. Carmel property, which at the time was under
the control of George Roden. Although no one was killed the authorities were brought in
and the case ended up in court. During the court hearing George was charged for contempt
of court for an unrelated charge, which led to a short term incarceration and Vernon Howell,
31

29

For more details regarding the history of God’s true storehouse and the numerous counterfeits that have arisen
since the knockout blow please free to contact us at the address at the end of this article. e original Shepherd’s
Rod tract literatures are also available upon request, without cost.
30
31

Adair, pp. 294-95

Mitchell, op cit. Mitchell and other Branch minister Steve Penner claim to be part of the true Branch Davidian
“Church” which currently is located at P.O. Box 1004, Kingsland, TX. ey assert that Howell/Koresh illegally
usurped the Branch church name and property through a cloak of deception and legal maneuvers in the local
courts.

who later changed his name to David Koresh32 became the uncontested leader of the Branch
Davidians until the tragic burnout on April 19, 1993. George was forced to leave Waco and
relocated to Odessa, Texas and was later permanently institutionalized sometime in 1988 after murdering another man living with him who had prior ties with the Davidian movement
but later renounced the message and was promoting anti-Semitic neo-Nazi propaganda.
In the period from 1988 to 1992 Koresh and his right hand man, Dale Perry Jones, traveled
widely seeking recruits for their movement almost exclusively between S. D. A.’s and various
Davidian groups scattered about. He was particularly successful in getting several people
from the Loma Linda California area and the Diamond Head S. D. A. church in Honolulu
Hawaii. At the time of the government raid on new Mt. Carmel in February 28, 1993 there
were almost 100 followers living in the camp. One of the habits of the group that caught the
government’s attention was Koresh’s fondness for collecting guns. is is a perfectly legal
right in America under protection of the 2nd Amendment of the US Constitution, but the
type of activity that true Christians would shun. He also supposedly had several wives some
of whom were already married. e alleged reason for the government raid on the camp was
because Koresh was in violation of certain gun registration laws. As we will see the underlying reason for the government involvement was deeply rooted in the religious controversy
between the S. D. A. church and the Shepherd’s Rod message.
4

e raid on new Mt. Carmel on February 28, 1993 resulted in the death of four government
agents and left sixteen wounded. Several Branch Davidians were also wounded and killed.
is started a 51-day siege that lasted until April 19, 1993 and attracted worldwide attention. At this point the government initiated a raid that resulted in a sudden gigantic fire that
engulfed the entire compound and eventually claimed the lives of 79 men, women, and children who were living inside. e problem that loomed large in the minds of many Americans is why did the US government show up to issue a simple warrant of arrest for an alleged
gun law violation with a gun-firing helicopter and over 100 federal Alcohol Tobacco and
Firearms (ATF) agents armed with automatic weapons? Many other disturbing questions
arose later as the result of follow up investigations which revealed that the government was
likely involved in a massive cover-up and got caught lying about the true cause of the gigantic fire. At first they told the media that the Branch Davidians committed mass suicide by
starting the fire themselves. e General Conference slyly concurred with this notion by
mentioning, in the same breath, a likeness of Koresh and his followers to Jim Jones and the
People’s Temple cult who committed mass suicide in 1978.33 Later investigations by independent sources showed such compelling evidence from many difference angles that the gov32

David being the name of the ideal king of Israel and Koresh the Hebrew name of Cyrus the Persian king who
released the Jews from Babylonian exiled. Both names are types of Christ. Cotrell, p. 7
33

Willaim G. Johnsson, “Pain and Perspective”, Adventist Review, June 3, 1993, p. 4

ernment had started the fire and were partially responsible for the deaths of Branch Davidians that it opened up a new US Senate investigation over the case. Investigative reports also
revealed that they not only started the fire but made every effort to make sure that no one got
out of the building alive and that no tangible evidence would be left to incriminate their dark
deed.34
Why would the government want to go to such efforts to even justify murder and their deliberate attempts to destroy the evidence? Could it be that the General Conference of the S.
D. A. church had some role in enticing the U. S. government to make a raid on the Branch
Davidian compound due to their deep-rooted hatred of the Shepherd’s Rod message? Was
their motive in resorting to almost “superhuman efforts”35 to discredit the SRod message by
associating true Davidians with the fanatical and extreme views of David Koresh and the
Branch movement? e analysis and evidence given in Adair’s book presents a compelling
case to answer some of these troubling questions based on a historical and theological
grounds that can only be understood from the perspective of having knowledge of the SRod
movement, its teachings, and its struggle with the S. D. A. church leadership. In the intense
media coverage that occurred during the debacle, the GC went to very effort to distance
themselves from Koresh and his followers and their uncomfortable connections with Adventism and took the opportunity to convince the world that the Branch group was nothing
more than an extension of a renegade “offshoot” of the S. D. A. church that started in the
1930’s with the Shepherd’s Rod and that David Koresh was merely a successor of Victor
Houteff, a blatant distortion of truth as we have seen. is could explain why the government would go to such a major effort to cover up the evidence, when after the siege they realized that they were drawn into a religious controversy that they had no legal right to be involved with and had no understanding of its beliefs. One could also understand their desire
to distance themselves from this situation due to the previous embarrassment with an incident at Ruby Ridge Idaho where federal FBI agents were convicted for the murder of members of a small fringe group in a similar scenario involving guns and nontraditional political/
religious ideologies.
We must not forget that because Branch Davidians believe in keeping the ceremonial laws,
which the Bible says, were nailed to the cross (Col 2:14), they are in reality denying that
Christ is the antitypical sacrificial lamb. is denial of Jesus Christ when they claim to be
34

For excellent VHS documentaries, see: Waco: e Rules of Engagement, 1997, Firth Estate Productions. Waco: A
New Revelation, 1999, MGA Films, Inc. www.waco-anewrevelation.com. Both of these videos are available from
www.worldnetdaily.com. Probably the best written documentation about the government cover up regarding the
events surrounding the Branch Davidian burn out can be found in the book: Carol Moore, e Davidian Massacre,
Legacy Communications and Gun Owners Foundation, 1995.
35

“e clergy will put forth almost superhuman efforts to shut away the light lest it should shine upon their
flocks.” Ellen G. White, e Great Controversy, p. 608

Christians amounts to blasphemy (Rev. 2:9) and coupled with the fact that they followed a
sinful messiah (David Koresh) rather that a sinless one (Jesus Christ) also makes them idol
worshippers of the worst kind. We must not remove from accountability the fate that the
Branch Davidians brought upon themselves for blatantly erring against the Word of God,
which they professed to follow. How can God protect blasphemers and idolaters who should
know better?
So where does this leave us who are determined to be faithful to God’s Word until the end?
We can only study the message each for ourselves to know what it teaches and to follow its
instruction to the letter so that we can “strive with all the power that God has given us to be
among the hundred and forty four thousand.”36 In the end God is the ultimate judge of those
behind the scenes who are responsible for this sort of spiritual wickedness in high places. Let
us go forward with the high commission given by our Redeemer and “press toward the mark
for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” --Phil. 3:14
In conclusion, David Koresh was one of the many successors of Ben and Lois Roden, false
prophets with many unbiblical and erroneous teachings. e true prophet that Sister Ellen
G. White predicted would come in the spirit and power of Elijah was Victor T. Houteff.37
Read and weigh the evidence for yourself, otherwise you will never know the truth.
--End of Study -For further information or additional questions, please contact us at:

upa7.org
P.O. Box 722, Rogersville, TN 37857; email: upa5453@gmail.com
Common Law Copyright by Universal Publishing Association-7, June 2004
(You can print a copy of this study for yourself and share it with others as long as you agree to: make
no changes, claim credit for it, charge money for it, and include this copyright and the contact information at the end of the article.)

36

Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, p. 970

37

Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, p. 475