Question 10 (ABM) - Congressman Upshaw
The following are a series of questions and answers between one of our editors (referred to as BTS) and an anonymous Branham minister (referred to as ABM). This series of Q&A relates to William Branham's credibility. The full text of this question and its answer is below.
Click on the links to go to a specific question or a different subject area. You are currently on the topic below that is in bold:
Question 10 - Congressman Upshaw
Question 10 (ABM) - Congressman Upshaw
This is another troubling example of William Branham's lack of credibility. Honestly, as a former message believer, I was shocked when I discovered how far from the truth William Branham's version was from the actual events.
Followers of the message have been repeatedly told how, at the age of 84, 66 years after becoming physically handicapped, Congressman Upshaw was told "Thus Saith The Lord, you're healed", upon which Upshaw, was instantly healed, rose from his wheelchair and had full use of his legs for the remainder of his life.
The picture of William Upshaw that has been painted into the minds of William Branham's followers is that of a frail, old man who was destined to a crippled life in a wheelchair. William Branham often mentions how the Congressman was so bad off that he had to be wheeled around, carried on beds, and practically unable to function.
Shortly before his death at age 86, William Upshaw published his testimony in a Pentecostal magazine which he had turned into a tract.
The following are excerpts from the article written by Congressman William D. Upshaw:
William Upshaw was “healed” on Feb. 8, 1951, and died less than two years later on November 21, 1952.
But in the newspapers, we find Upshaw traveling across the country, walking around freely carrying his crutches at times, and speaking to multiple audiences per day -- both for political speeches and evangelistic sermons.
As a result, it appears that Congressman Upshaw's healing may not have been quite as miraculous as it was both he and William Branham described it.
There is also significant concern with the huge changes in the story over time as it was told by William Branham.
In Congressman Upshaw's testimony, William Branham never speaks to him or even acknowledges him. The message that he is healed is delivered by Brother Leroy Kopp.
William Branham's testimony (1951) is initially in basic agreement with that of the Congressman. However, by 1958 it had changed to the point that there is a vision of a man in a brown suit with a wired microphone being run back to the Congressman to allow him to have a conversation with William Branham from the pulpit. Leroy Kopp's part in the miracle is completely eliminated as William Branham himself told the Congressman over the pulpit - "THUS SAITH THE LORD, you're healed."
Here is the story from 1951:
Here is the wildly embellished story from 1958:
Based on research done by John Collins from newspaper reports relating to Congressman Upshaw, there is significant doubt that Congressman Upshaw's healing was as miraculous as he claimed. However, even if it was a bona fide healing, the 1958 version of the story is so far from the truth that it can be only called a blatant lie as it goes far beyond embellishment or exaggeration.
I understand that there are isolated incidents in the scripture where prophets appeared to have lied but this appears to be a common occurence in William Branham's ministry.
Why did a real miracle from God (if that is what it was) require William Branham to lie about it?
Thank you for your continued dialogue.
Let me open by saying that there are things I have learned over the years that have shocked me as well concerning Bro. Branham. In that you are not alone. However, I have not yet come across anything which requires me to conclude that Bro. Branham was not an endtime prophet with an Elijah-like anointing who had a messages that would go before the second coming of the Lord. The issues I find are not incompatible with that belief.
I know I have repeated this statement in the last several questions: Bro. Branham had a bad habit of embellishing and exaggerating things. This is something he admitted openly, and asked for forgiveness for. The story of Congressman Upshaw is an example of where Bro. Branham took, what you might call a "small" miracle, and embellished it into a "fantastic" miracle. The Florence Nightingale story is another prominent example. There are plenty more. (Many would argue that all miracles are fantastic, I would as well. But I use these terms for the sake of this discussion to illustrate my point.)
Why Bro. Branham felt the need to embellish what was already a good testimony of a miracle, I do not know. But he did this somewhat commonly. He was an exaggerator. But so was Elijah. I agree with you, if Upshaw's version is accurate, then Bro. Branham's version contains substantial fabrications. (But perhaps Upshaw's version is incorrect, so I leave open that possibility.) But even if I accept that Bro. Branham fabricated most of the story, is it less of a fabrication than the ones we see made by other prophets? Including Elisha.
I understand your argument is that the sheer number of embellishments and exaggerations we find in Bro. Branham's ministry must disqualify him from being a true prophet. I again disagree with that rationale. Because while making up stories is a bad thing, we find other prophets did the same. But even more notable, we find other prophets did far worse. Samson was a fornicator. Did that negate the calling God placed on his life? Peter died the Lord Jesus. Did that negate the calling on his life? David had a man killed and took his wife. Did that negate the calling on his life? David is recorded as being a prophet (Acts 2:30). Jospeh carried a gift of God, but he misled his family, planted false evidence, and took his younger brother "hostage". Examples abound in both old and new testament of men with gifts and callings of God who had terrible personal failings - far worse that Bro. Branham's regular exaggerations and embellishments. Romans 11:29 states "The gifts and callings of God are without repentance." Personal failings are not justifiable, and all will be held accountable for them. But they do not negate the gift or calling God has given.
There is a reason Samson died in Gath. There is a reason David's son died. There is a reason (more than one truly) Bro. Branham passed away and is no longer with us. I do not speculate to say that God caused took Bro. Branham for this reason, but in any event - none of these things revoked the calling God placed on these men. Your rationale would require us to reject a significant part of the bible. Should we reject the psalms David wrote because of his personal failings? Should we reject Peter's books because of his personal failing? Perhaps we should reject Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Songs of Solomon because of Solomon's personal failings? They were all worse than Bro. Branham's personal failings. If I must accept the Word of God spoken through those men, why can I not accept the Word of God spoken through Bro. Branham?
You ask "Why did a real miracle from God (if that is what it was) require William Branham to lie about it?"
Answer: It did not. Congressman Upshaw claimed to be healed. His story was carried in the Los Angeles Times. The Los Angeles Times called it "the most effective healing testimony this generation has ever seen." (You will find this in Doug Weaver's book on page 59). There was already an excellent reception of the miracle. Bro. Branham may have embellished the story to the point that he made his version of it indefensible. That is unfortunate because it was not necessary. But there are prophets who did things equally and even less defensible that. Accept the good, but reject the bad.
Those who find Bro. Branham infallible would find this answer unpalatable.