|If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything. - Mark Twain
For those that study William Branham, one of the difficult things to understand is why his visions, prophecies and stories change so significantly over time. Even more problematic is that fact that the stories that he tells of his early life seem to have no bearing to what actually happened.
The following are a list of some of examples of this phenomena.
Visions and prophecies that change dramatically over time
Stories that seem to have been fabricated
Why Do The Visions/Stories Change as they are Retold?
Some people speculate that William Branham had a mental condition that caused him to make up stories that weren't true or change them in significant ways each time he told them.
Was William Branham a pathological liar?
Pseudologia fantastica, mythomania, compulsive lying, or pathological lying are four of several terms applied by psychiatrists to the behavior of habitual or compulsive lying. It was first described in the medical literature in 1891 by Anton Delbrueck. Although it is a controversial topic, pathological lying has been defined as "falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime". The individual may be aware they are lying, or may believe they are telling the truth, being unaware that they are relating fantasies.
Are they false memories?
False memories, sometimes referred to as confabulation, refer to the recollection of inaccurate details of an event, or recollection of a whole event that never occurred. Studies investigating this memory error have been able to successfully implant memories among participants that never existed, such as being lost in a mall as a child (termed the lost in the mall technique) or spilling a bowl of punch at a wedding reception. In this case, false memories were implanted among participants by their family members who claimed that the event had happened. This evidence demonstrates the possibility of implanting false memories on individuals by leading them to remember such events that never occurred.
This memory error can be particularly worrisome in judicial settings, in which witnesses may have false recollections of a crime after it has happened, especially when told by others that particular things may have happened which did not.
- With an adult,, changing the story often means that the first version was a lie. But with children, it is more likely that the first version was the truth and that later versions are untrue, as the child searches to find something which will satisfy the person asking the questions. (Brain, Christine, Advanced Psychology: Applications, Issues and Perspectives)
- It is by now a well-established fact that people are less accurate and complete in their eyewitness accounts after a long retention interval than after a short one... The accumulation of research tells us that after a year, memory will be less accurate than after a month; after a month it will be less accurate than after a week. (Loftus, Elizabeth F., Eyewitness Testimony)
- What happens when a witness sees some event and later learns a piece of new information which conflicts with some aspect of what was previously seen? It appears that when possible many witnesses will compromise between what they have seen and what they have been told later on. (Loftus, Elizabeth F., Eyewitness Testimony)
- In real life, as well as in experiments, people can come to believe things that never really happened. One of the nicest examples of this can be found in the reminiscences of the psychologist Jean Piaget (1952):
- There is also the question of memories which depend on other people. For instance, one of my first memories would date, if it were true, from my second year. I can still see, most clearly, the following scene, in which I believed until I was about fifteen. I was sitting in my pram, which my nurse was pushing in the Champs Elysees, when a man tried to kidnap me. I was held in by the strap fastened round me while my nurse bravely tried to stand between me and the thief. She received various scratches and I can still see vaguely those on her face. Then a crowd gathered, a policeman with a short cloak and a white baton came up, and the man took to his heels. I can still see the whole scene, and can even place it near the tube station. When I was about fifteen, my parents received a letter from my former nurse saying that she had been converted to the Salvation Army. She wanted to confess her past faults, and in particular to return the watch she had been given as a reward on this occasion. She had made up the whole story, faking the scratches. I, therefore, must have heard, as a child, the account of this story, which my parents believed, and projected into the past in the form of a visual memory. (pp. 187-188)
- (Loftus, Elizabeth F., Eyewitness Testimony)
- ↑ Loftus, E. (1997). Creating false memories. Scientific American, 277, 70–75
- ↑ Johnson, M. & Raye, C. (1998). False memories and confabulation. Trends in Cognitive Science, 2(4), 137–145