David Koresh and the Branch Davidians

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Cultic activity has taken place since the practice of religion was established thousands of years ago. Since then, literally thousands of denominations have been inoculated throughout the world, especially in the United States. A cult, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary is a system of religious beliefs and rituals. By definition, this includes organizations such as Baptists, Catholics as well as Satanists and Witches. While this maybe true, cults have been popularly perceived as Separatists who are consumed by the belief of apocalyptic events, and the leader is someone who believes he or she is chosen by God or some other deity to lead those who are to follow him or her. One group that fits this description is the Branch-Davidians. In the early 1990’s the Branch-Davidians made national headlines when they had a deadly standoff with government agents in Waco, Texas, where many perished, including their infamous leader, David Koresh. To understand why this happened, we must understand the history, beliefs and the determination of the Branch-Davidians to defy the government by stockpiling arms, supplies and taking refuge in Waco, Texas. We must also enter the world of David Koresh to make sense of how he was able to have the impact he did on the minds of members of the Branch Davidians. The history of the Branch-Davidians can be dated back to 1831 to a man named William Miller. According to chronological studies, Miller began studying end of time prophecies of the Bible in 1833 and concluded that by 1843, the end of the world was imminent. The year 1843 arrived and to the disappointment of Miller and his followers, the world had not yet come to an end as predicted by Miller, this eventually led to him revising his prediction date to 1844. In 1844, Christ failed to appear once again. This second blundering prediction by Miller known as “The Great Disappointment” led to the disbanding of the Millerites. After the splitting of the Millerites, a group of former followers formed their own organization. They formed what is known today as the Seventh-day Adventist Church who eventually became a recognized denomination by 1863. Three people who stood out among the leaders of the Adventists were Joseph Bates, James and Ellen G. White. History shows that they were the nucleus of the group and among the three; Ellen grew into a gifted author, speake... ... middle of paper ... ...hy Cohen, Daniel. Cults. Brookfield, Connecticut: The Millbrook Press, 1994. Dansteegt, P. Gerard. Foundation of the Seventh-day Adventist Message and Mission. Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdman’s Publishing Company, 1977. History of Branch-Davidians. Accessed 18 October 1999; available from, Internet. http://homepages.anglianet.co.uk./johnm/outline.html Holley, Joe. Review of The Waco Watch, by Bob Lott. Columbia Journalism Review (May/June 1993): 50-53. Jordan, Anne Deveraux. The Seventh-Day Adventists: A History. New York: Hippocrene Books, 1988. Outline of Branch-Davidian Teachings. Accessed 18 October 1999; available from http://homepages.anglianet.co.uk./johnm/outline.html, Internet. The Personality of David Koreshe. Accessed 18 October 1999; available from http://homepages.anglianet.co.uk./johnm/outline.html, Internet. Porterfield, Kay Marie. Straight Talk About Cults. New York, New York: Facts on File Inc., 1995. Reavis, Dick J., The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1995. Waco: The Inside Story. Accessed 18 October 1999; available from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/waco/davidKoreshe.html, Internet.

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