Testimonies of Former Followers
This article is one in a series on "Leaving the Message" - you are currently in the article that is in bold:
This page contains videos of testimonies of former followers of William Branham. Each has a unique story of why they left the message in their search for spiritual truth.
Jennifer Hamilton spent most of her life in the message. Here is her story - My Testimony of Why I Left the Message by Jennifer Hamilton
Jennifer Landes was raised in the message and was a follower of William Branham for 35 years. She attended a message church in Virginia, where her husband was a deacon. Jennifer and her husband left the message in 2013. This is part of her story.
Matt Landes was raised in a Christian home and became a follower of William Branham as a young adult. He attended a message church in Virginia and was a deacon in that church. Matt and his wife, Jennifer, left the message in 2013.
Emily Arndt was raised in a Message home in Wisconsin. She left the Message and is now working in Africa.
John Collins is the grandson of the Pastor of the Branham Tabernacle, Willard Collins. He was raised in the Message, and is the author of theSeek Ye The Truth website.
Danny Burboa grew up in the Message. His testimony is a call to honest faith.
David Young was a message believer and employee at Voice of God Recordings in Jeffersonville, Indiana for years.
James Manuel joined the Message in 1972, and spent 40 years believing and promoting the Message. He was honest with the failures once they came to his attention, and is still a passionate Christian.
James Rozak was a Minister in the Message in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Read his story on why he stepped down from this position once he discovered the truth of William Branham's ministry. James Rozak is also the author of the Morning Mercy website.
Jeff Jenkins was the Pastor of Believer's Christian Fellowship in Lima, Ohio for many years. He stepped down in 2014.
I used to be a "Message" believer, but I left. It's been a year since I've left the "Message".
The "Message" is basically what the people call themselves who believe William Branham. They believe that he was the "seventh messenger", "the Elijah who is supposed to come according to Malachi 4". That's the church that I use to go to for about fifteen years. Last year, around February the 12th was my last "End Time Message" service. It's been a year now since I left, and I felt that I should speak out about it because I feel more comfortable now. When I left, I was in all sorts of places. I wasn't doing well. I suffered from insomnia, and from a kind of depression. I was very depressed because I had believed this "Message" for fifteen years.
The reason why I left is, I found out through reading and questioning some of the things that were happening. I thought, "No, this can't be ordained by God. This can't be proper." It was shocking for me, being someone who had always been an avid reader of the Bible, even from a young age. I still remember my dad bought me a Bible when I was still in grade 4. I've been reading the Bible ever since. Reading the Bible is something that I do even now. I do every day. Some of the things that were happening, I just thought, "No, no, no - this can't be." For example, the fact that there are failed prophecies, that this person who claimed to be a prophet actually said, "Thus Saith the LORD". So many times, in his preaching and his prophecies, he used to say "Thus Saith the LORD never fails". Actually, they failed! The "Message" people have a song for that: "Thus Saith the LORD never fails". And yes, definitely "Thus Saith the LORD never fails". But he has lots of failed prophecies! I was looking at his son, Billy Paul. His son is very old. And he said in one of his prophecies that "Billy Paul, my son, you won't be an old man before Los Angeles sinks". At that time, he was a young man, definitely. But now he's old. Then, when I was looking at it, he was 82? 83? I thought, "He's an OLD MAN, like come on! 82 and 83? That's old according to me!" I'm sure you know definitely that that is old. And Los Angeles is not under the sea. That's a failed prophecy. The Bible says if someone claims to be a prophet and they say something that doesn't come to pass, don't fear him, he's not a prophet. He has spoken presumptuously. That was the first thing that actually got me thinking, "look here, I need to look at this thing some more because this is not adding up."
The other thing that got me questioning was the egg-shaped cars. Apparently, there was a newspaper article that said this was a concept car and it's going to wait for this and that, waiting for the roads or something, I can't remember. But yes, it was a concept car back before 1933! So, this guy literally read something from a newspaper and then presented it to the people (who were ignorant of the fact that this thing was in the newspaper) and said it was a "prophecy"! Which it wasn't; it was after the fact. When I started searching a bit more that's when I noticed that there are so many things, like what I was questioning, was just the surface. I could brush that off easily to say, "ok, It's probably one mistake". But the "cloud", he wasn't there. Even his daughter mentioned that he wasn't there. He wasn't where that "cloud" was happening! No! He wasn't there! He was there a week or two later, I think. Not before, later. So, you start thinking, "Ok, so this person preached and said God was coming to talk to him, an angel was coming to give him the "opening of the Seven Seals" and yet he wasn't there. This "opening of the Seven Seals" that an "angel" was supposed to be coming to talk to him every day - it wasn't there. This guy was literally studying Clarence Larkin's books if you look at it!
Do your own research. I would recommend that you do your own research. Because even for me I had to do my own research. I didn't just read from these websites, that many have blamed. I didn't just read from them and then all of a sudden thought, "I don't' believe the 'Message' anymore". I searched and searched. Sometimes I used to even do all night of researching, binge researching on what this thing is. I wanted to get to the bottom of it because I'd believed this thing for fifteen years; it was my life! My adult life and started in the "Message". When I found out that it was all a scam, it was all a lie, my life crumbled. Completely. I got sick. I wouldn't get well, I would be on this and that, antibiotics and whatever the case may be, and I wouldn't get well. I remember at some time I was telling my husband that; my whole body is just sore. My whole body. I don't have the flu, my head is not aching, my tummy is not sore, I didn't get hurt anywhere, but my whole body is just sore. My whole world crumbled. This is what was normal to me, and now it was a scam. It was fake. It was a situation whereby those who invest, say you invest in a scam, and you invest your life savings - basically all you have in life - and you invest everything. You mortgage your house, and everything is invested in that. And then you realize it ten years later that it's a scam. You've been cultivating it. You've been living your life looking towards that thing, and then you realize fifteen years later that it is a scam. You can imagine what happened. I was devastated. I cried. It was difficult. Very, very difficult. I was angry. That's why I can only record this now because now, I'm looking at it in a better light.
My husband actually said, "Look here. You can't be angry at the "Message people". Because I was angry at the "Message" people as well. He said, "You can't be angry at the message people because they are as much a victim as you are. They didn't create this". Yes, they'd perpetuated it so, so much such that, sometimes you can't even recognize the similarities between what William Branham - him being a scam -- preached and what the message is now. Some of them have even added their own rules to it. "Hey! We don't do this! We don't wear high heels! We don't wear this! We don't do that! Some of the things are just human and man-made laws. They aren't God's laws! So, I was very angry. I think some of that was also because of the response that I got from my close friends. You understand hey, I lost my friends. In fifteen years of living in this "Message", we were told you're not supposed to be friends with anyone who doesn't go to the "Message". So, you basically have your circle of friends in the "Message". If you leave the "Message", you've lost your friends, because, they're not supposed to be talking to you. As much as I still have some friends who still talk to me we're, not as close anymore. We're not as close as we used to be because they are not supposed to be talking to me anyway. So, they are trying to keep their distance. I'm sure they are scared that I will influence them. My friends, the ones that I told or the ones that heard about it and came to question me, were very angry. To the extent of even spelling evil! They'd say, "Hey, bad luck is going to happen! Why did you do this? How can you backslide? You out of all people! Why did it have to be you! I mean, you're my friend and now you're backslidden" and all that kind of stuff. Some won't even talk to me, and I'm fine with that. I knew it was going to happen, because that's what we're told, right from the pulpit. The Pastor would say "Don't talk to them! Don't go to their house! Don't visit them! No!" So, I expected that.
What made me stop going to the "Message"? Because, for some time, I was like, "I'll just keep going and then I'll just believe what I believe." Because leaving the "Message" was a big risk. My kids were born in the "Message". The "Message" is what they know. My oldest is now fifteen. The "Message" is all he knows. I didn't want to confuse them. Leaving the "Message" felt like I'm going to disrupt my kids. What am I going to tell them? That "your parents lived a lie or believed a lie all these years"? "We've believed a lie!" - that's what you're going to tell them? I thought, "No, I'm not going to leave the message". "I'm going to keep on going to church, and I want to serve the lives of my kids." I'll just believe what I believe. Which is what some of my friends even told me. "No man, we don't believe that! We don't believe that much! No, no, no, no! We are just in the church, and we know that we believe in Christ! This William Branham thing, um-um!" As long as we go to church, and we don't want to disrupt our lives. So for me, I didn't want to disrupt my kids' lives. I didn't want to disrupt my family life, or my life as well. So I had intended on staying in the "Message" anyway. But, this other time, the pastor at the "Message" church that I used go to started saying things like, "I didn't believe this "Message" because of the 'cloud'! 'Cloud' or no 'cloud', William Branham there on that day or not. I believe the "Message" anyhow. I didn't believe the "Message" because there were two men or sixteen men or eighteen men that fell from that bridge!" (The Municipal Bridge). William Branham apparently said that there was going to be sixteen men drown, and then only 2 men died. So, he was like "I didn't believe the "Message" because of that! I don't' care about that! I believe the "Message" anyhow!"
And I thought, "Man! I care about that! I care!" If I think a man is a prophet, he should measure up and it should be Biblical. Or else I'm going to believe in every person that raises up and says, "I'm a prophet look here I'm a prophet!" So, I said, "no, no, no, no!" I care! And I care too much to ignore that. I told my husband, "I don't think it works for me to keep on going to church - to this church. The "Message", it screws up your mind. I'm telling you. It does. Even this pastor told us, "These people, they're busy criticizing William Branham and his 'Message', but they are not offering an alternative." Come on! The alternative is Jesus Christ! That's the alternative! That's the origin! That has been perverted for so many years. It's not even an alternative; that's where the people are supposed to be! And they said things like, "Hey, they are finding fault with the 'Message'! There are so many faults in the Bible anyway, so they're going to be atheists then!" I thought, "Ok. You are screwing my mind! And I said I can't sit under the preaching of this guy. Not now. I don't think ever. Because you are literally saying if you leave the message you become an atheist." And that's not true. Why come to the message so that you can turn me into an atheist? So, it's either this or nothing? No, no, no, no! The "Message" of William Branham is not Christianity. Christianity stands on its own, and it prevails without William Branham. William Branham tried to pervert it, but he didn't succeed. We saw the scam that he was and left the message completely.
And so that's when I thought, "No, I can't do this. I can't do this." This was the time I was driving from work, and then I thought, "No, man, you should remain in the 'Message'! Your kids! Your family! The people who've always looked up to you, because of the fact that you are in the 'Message'". I don't believe that God does something just for the sake of doing it. So, I thought, "Why would God reveal this information about William Branham to me?" The internet has always been there. It's always been there, in my life. And people have been saying things about William Branham and I used to just brush them off. But in His time God revealed this information, and he made me care enough to research. To say, look here, these people can't just be talking, and talking, and talking. Let me research and if I'm going to believe William Branham as the "messenger" of the "seventh age" or whatever, the age we are in now, but he said a generation is about 40 years. So, whatever I'm going to believe, I want to believe it after researching and seeing the different sides of the coin. So, I thought, "Ok, why did God reveal this information to me if I'm not supposed to use it?" If I'm supposed to just say, "Hey no", Because now I know so many things that William Branham said which were not true - so many things. His prophecies which failed, which he said after the fact, he probably read in the newspapers or something, or a science journals. So many things that he said that were not true. His extra-Biblical teachings that were not true. So, I thought, "Ok, why did God reveal this information, for me to just brush it off?" And if I die today, I was driving then, and say I have an accident now, and then I die. Will I be able to answer God that "I didn't want to disrupt my life?" "I didn't want to disrupt the life of my kids, that's the reason why I kept on congregating with people that are definitely in a cult?" "That doesn't put You first, but put William Branham first?" "That read William Branham's 'Messages' than they read the bible?" Was I going to be able to do that? And when the answer was: no. I knew what to do. I knew I couldn't take it any longer. I couldn't push it any longer. I couldn't' keep on doing the things I was doing any longer. I had to change. And if I was going to keep my life, preserve my life, and not follow the Word of God, it was going to cost me eternal life. And I didn't want to do that. I didn't want to take that chance. So, I left. And that's the reason why I left.
- Evenes Mafupa, Former "Message Believer"