Question 29 (ABM) - Did William Branham travel around the world seven times?
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.
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Did William Branham travel around the world seven times?
This is another issue relating to William Branham’s credibility.
I don’t see these issues as similar to a mere exaggeration of the size of fish someone caught. This is someone saying something over the pulpit in order to make themselves appear more like a supernatural prophet. This is a significant spiritual issue. There are minor occurrences in the Old Testament but this is under the new covenant.
Message followers often state when referring to William Branham and the message that part of his vindication is that he traveled around the world “seven times”. But did William Branham actually travel around the world seven times?
Here are the facts that we have been able to confirm:
it appears that William Branham considered a trip across the Atlantic Ocean to be a trip "around the world".
Did he travel around the world seven times? No!
Did he travel around the world even once? No!
Here are the trips of William Branham that we are aware of:
Conclusion: William Branham lied when he stated that he had been around the world seven times.
Quotes of William Branham about his travels
Are we missing something? Why did William Branham say he went around the world seven times when he didn't even go around it once?
This is more than simple exaggeration. This is a lie!!
Response from ABM
I would not consider Bro. Branham's travels to be a clear form of vindication as a prophet. Perhaps proof of his fame and popularity at the time.
So traveling around the world, and circling the globe are not necessarily the same thing. It is clear, given the context and increasing number, that he is considering overseas missions trips and traveling around the world. I can give a pass on the "traveling around the world" bit, because he did travel around the world to different far flung places. He did not circle the globe though, but I am not sure that is actually what he means.
While he did only make five overseas missionary journeys, he did make international travel in the western hemisphere several times too. Did he make seven major missionary trips to international destinations? Sure he did. North America, Africa, Europe and Asia.
So on both counts, (seven times, and around the world) he is not too far from his exaggeration.
I understand you find the sum total of all these small exaggerations to equal a large problem. I do think it is unseemly and inappropriate, but it is not a clear indication to me that he was a false prophet or that I cannot trust him on important matters. I know we disagree, but I say again that this types of issue is present in all of the prophets of the Elijah anointing. So this specific kind of an issue is not something I find problematic in light of the scripture. Should I believe Elijah who exaggerated that he was only believer left alive? Should I believe John the Baptist when he lost faith that Jesus was the Messiah? Should I believe the made up story Elisha told the Syrians? No I should not, because they were all wrong and misleading. But should I accept the true things they said? Yes I should. How do I know the parts that are true? By the bible.
It took Jesus to put John the Baptist in context. I believe he can also put Bro. Branham in context for a person too. After John the Baptist died, the people had to move on to something more. His message was not enough, it pointed to something (someone). If we let Bro. Branham's teachings point us to Jesus, we do just fine. Unfortunately, the idolaters only point to Bro. Branham.
Request for clarification
For clarification, when you state that "he did make international travel in the western hemisphere several times", I assume you are referring to the fact that he appears to have driven across the border to Mexico at least once and drove up to Canada several times. Am I correct?
I actually think it is a terrible exaggeration to say that one has been around the world seven times when you have never even been around it once. I have never been around the world even though I have been to Europe dozens of times and have racked up over a million miles on airplanes.
When you say, "on both counts, (seven times, and around the world) he is not too far from his exaggeration." How do you get there? I really don't understand how you can even get close.
Why was William Branham exaggerating?
Furthermore, and I also think this is important, one should ask why he was exaggerating.
He was trying to make people think he was more spiritual or more famous than he actually was.
That is not the spirit of a humble backwoods minister. That is not the spirit of Christ.
Colossians 2:18 (NIV): Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you.
If we find, William Branham exhibiting a false humility, then alarm bells should be ringing.
Why did William Branham feel it necessary to wildly exaggerate his accomplishments??
Response from ABM
Yes I was referring to his international travels to Canada and Mexico.
I think "around the world" is a little ambiguous and does not have to equate circling the globe. It can simply mean going around... in the world... Which is something we are all doing in varying degrees. It does not have to mean circling the globe. That is just one of multiple plausible way to interpret the phrase. If we take it as referring to his international missionary trips, yes he made at least seven of them, including five outside of North America.
Why did he exaggerate? That is a good question. I do not really know the answer, other than to offer my opinion. I think he wanted to be accepted, not in a nefarious way, but in a genuine way. He truly felt what he had was from God, and he saw people rejecting it, and him as well. He was a man who was insecure. He never really ever felt accepted. That would be my opinion. In that sense, his exaggerations were actually an extension of his humility. He wanted so badly to be liked, because her personally thought so little of himself.
I think on a second possible count, he felt he needed to try and exalt the teachings he had received from God. To give them as much credence as possible. I think it was an attempt to try and make his controversial teachings appeal to the people who were rejecting them - not to build himself up - but to try and reach more people. He went a little overboard trying to vindicate everything. Some things can just be true for the sake of being true. It is like the seals. We already had accepted and believed them before the magazine article ever came out with the cloud pictures.
It does not add up to me that he was exaggerating to just build himself up. If he wanted to be built up and be something, he had far more viable means to do so. He had opportunities to do so in other areas in way which would far exceed what he could get through exaggerations. So if he was trying to be something, why just the limited exaggerating?
Bro. Branham and his family lived in a little house and had a modest income most of their life. Bro. Branham reinvested most of is income into the ministry. You know the stories, and they are true, he was too embarrassed to drive the Cadillac that the Full Gospel men gifted him. He wore cheap suits. His children wore hand-me-downs from others in the church. If you went to his house, you could find him doing the dishes or tidying the house. When people had need, he was always quick to try and visit or give them some money to help. I just don't really see what he benefited, materially, from his ministry. He could easily have done like Oral Roberts or the rest, but he did not even solicit donations at his meetings.
Then maybe you would say, he was doing it all to get the praises of men and to be liked, etc. But, surely he could have took a more conventional path to do that. Oral Roberts and other evangelists in that time showed a long staying power by just keeping on with more conventional things. If he was after popularity on a broad scale, why would he "go off the deep end" instead of try to find something with more broad appeal?
There are really only three explanations that make sense to me. One, he was a crook involved in some evil conspiratorial thing like John Collins alleges (which is full of holes) . Two, he was mentally ill, which I never saw any evidence of that. Or three, he was sincere and really believed what he was saying and doing. I believe the third option, obviously. And if you believe the third option, you can find his exaggerations likewise have a sincere motive behind them.
Sincerity does not equal truth. Exaggerations are still wrong according to scripture. But it does go a long way in motives of the heart and understanding why.