Question 28 (ABM) - Did William Branham visit the graves of Muhammad, Buddha, and Confucius?
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 28 - Did William Branham visit the graves of Muhammad, Buddha, and Confucius?
I was in the message for most of my adult life. I trusted William Branham as the prophet to the last age. But as we tried to prove the message true after a myriad of message ministers failed to react in a scriptural way to sin in the pulpit of one of their own, I found myself running into a wall of failure on the part of William Branham. I am not talking about the mere sin of an ordinary person. I did not expect William Branham to be perfect, but I did expect him to be credible. As James said, "My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers, because we know that we teachers will be judged more strictly." (James 3:1) . William Branham must be held to a higher standard, but i believe he even fails a much lower standard.
The famous (non-Christian) philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, stated, "I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”
This is applicable to William Branham. In our prior discussions, you have admitted that William Branham was prone to gross exaggeration, but at what point do we consider this to be just plain dishonesty? It affected my trust in William Branham as an individual. It, therefore, must also affect his credibility as a self-proclaimed prophet.
Edward R. Murrow, a pioneer broadcast journalist and war correspondent, stated, "To be persuasive, we must be believable; to be believable, we must be credible; to be credible, we must be truthful”. One would assume that would be critically true of someone who held themselves out to be the most important prophet since Jesus Christ.
Mark Twain stated, "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."
Sarah Cockburn wrote, "In order to thoroughly deceive others, it is necessary to also deceive oneself. The actor playing Hamlet must indeed believe in the moment that he is the Prince of Denmark, though when he leaves the stage he will usually remember who he really is. On the other hand, when someone's entire life is based on such pretense, they seldom if ever return to reality. That is the secret of many successful politicians, evangelists and confidence tricksters alike–they believe they are telling the truth, even when it seems sure they must have known that they faked the evidence. Sincerity... is a quality not to be trusted."
When we first began to examine the message, with the purpose of proving it to be true, we came across numerous instances of what appear to be lies made by William Branham. You may consider them to be exaggerations but, at what point do the sum of all of these “exaggerations” become deception?
This is one of these cases but we will present others.
William Branham stated the following:
Did William Branham visit the grave of Confucius?
The facts are:
The conclusion: William Branham lied about visiting the grave of Confucius.
Did William Branham visit the grave of Buddha?
The facts are:
The conclusion: William Branham lied about visiting the grave of Buddha.
Did William Branham visit the grave of Muhammad?
The facts are:
The conclusion: William Branham lied about visiting the grave of Muhammed.
Is this simply another of William Branham’s gross exaggerations? It certainly appears that on this issue, William Branham was not being truthful. Why would he need to lie about such things and why would he need to lie over the pulpit?
The question that must be asked is, if William Branham lied about things such as visiting a grave that he had never even been close to, why would we believe him on more important issues?
Response from ABM
I was not with William Branham on his overseas travels, and, other than his life story by Owen Jorgeson (which apparently has multiple problems), I am not certain about whether he was in those places or not. The only living person who could probably attest to if he went to these places is Billy Paul.
I do believe he was at or near shrines and places of worship of Budhism and Islam. I do not believe he traveled to China.
Now, I suppose I could tell you that God may have took him there in some wonderful vision and let him see their graves. I suppose that is possible, though I am unaware of him ever saying something like that. (My cognitive dissonance is working pretty well today.) But I think the most likely answer is that he was exaggerating, and repeating something he had heard or read.
So you ask "If William Branham lied about things such as visiting a grave that he had never even been close to, why would we believe him on more important issues."
Things have orders of magnitude. I think we just disagree over the magnitude of his exaggerations. To me this is like saying, "you lied to me about how many fish you caught, so how can I trust you not to murder me in my sleep." I do understand what you are saying, but they are just not the same magnitude to me. One is life and death, and the other is unimportant. Bro. Branham, to me and many other eyewitnesses, was vindicated by the gifts he had. So he has an inherent credibility that fishing stories alone cannot undermine. If you could actually produce proof that the miracles were a hoax, then you'd have something significant enough. Or if you could find a core doctrine that is universally believed by the message (like Mal 4:5-6) and unequivocally prove it was not Bro. Branham, then you'd have something. But there is just nothing of that magnitude out there. Ultimately, time is the only thing I can see that could prove Bro. Branham to have been a false prophet.
As I have stated before, there scriptural precedence for the prophets of the Elijah anointing to make up stores and exaggerate. So in a sense, this kind of thing just reinforces what we believe.