Difference between revisions of "William Branham"

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'''William Marrion Branham'''  was an evangelist who has been called the ''"pacesetter of the healing revival"'' <ref>The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: (Zondervan, 1988, p. 372) ~ ''Branham filled the largest stadiums and meeting halls in the world.’ ... As the pacesetter of the healing revival, Branham was the primary source of inspiration in the development of other healing ministries.''</ref> and a ''"prophet"''<ref>The Full Gospel Men's Voice Magazine (February, 1961) ~ ''"In Bible Days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers.  But in all the Sacred Records, none of these had a greater record than that of William Branham."''</ref>.  He was born in rural Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and in the 1940’s his healing ministry skyrocketed him from a rural pastor to an international evangelist.       
 
'''William Marrion Branham'''  was an evangelist who has been called the ''"pacesetter of the healing revival"'' <ref>The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: (Zondervan, 1988, p. 372) ~ ''Branham filled the largest stadiums and meeting halls in the world.’ ... As the pacesetter of the healing revival, Branham was the primary source of inspiration in the development of other healing ministries.''</ref> and a ''"prophet"''<ref>The Full Gospel Men's Voice Magazine (February, 1961) ~ ''"In Bible Days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers.  But in all the Sacred Records, none of these had a greater record than that of William Branham."''</ref>.  He was born in rural Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and in the 1940’s his healing ministry skyrocketed him from a rural pastor to an international evangelist.       
 
[[Image:Branham28.jpg|thumb|200px|right|William Branham]]
 
[[Image:Branham28.jpg|thumb|200px|right|William Branham]]
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The hard times soon faded and William Branham married Meda Broy on October 23, 1941.  (Meda was the daughter of Frank and Emma Broy, and was born on April 16, 1919.  Emma Broy had divorced her first husband Daniel Lawton in 1907 before marrying Frank, who she divorced on April 3, 1929.)  William Branham was then once again listed as the pastor of the Pentecostal Tabernacle in the 1943 Jeffersonville City Directory.<ref>[[Searching for Vindication]] Timeline</ref>
 
The hard times soon faded and William Branham married Meda Broy on October 23, 1941.  (Meda was the daughter of Frank and Emma Broy, and was born on April 16, 1919.  Emma Broy had divorced her first husband Daniel Lawton in 1907 before marrying Frank, who she divorced on April 3, 1929.)  William Branham was then once again listed as the pastor of the Pentecostal Tabernacle in the 1943 Jeffersonville City Directory.<ref>[[Searching for Vindication]] Timeline</ref>
 
=Commission and Evangelism=
 
{| style="width:200px; border:1px solid #E8B399;background-color:#F0DCC8;vertical-align:top; float:right; text-align:center; padding: 0.3em;margin-left:15px"
 
|'''The Commission''' <br> [http://en.believethesign.com/images/b/be/The_Simple_Truth_about_the_Commission.pdf Click to read more about William Branham's commission]
 
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|}
 
 
William Branham wrote that he received a commission for his healing ministry in March 1945 when he saw a vision of birds that would not eat from a small pile of white bread. A voice told him “That is your Tabernacle and they won't eat the bread of life anymore. I am sending you…westward.” William Branham was then shown a large tent with a platform at the front. Behind the tent was a great pile of the same white bread, and he was told to feed a white-robed audience that had gathered from everywhere. The following day, William Branham explained the vision to his church. 
 
[[Image:Image-rs-155 - Br Br - seated with Bible.jpg|200px|right|thumb|William Branham in the 1940's, still with hair.]]
 
William Branham left Jeffersonville on June 14, 1945 and headed directly west with his wife, son, and Rev. Daugherty to St. Louis, Missouri. The testimonies from the tent meetings in St. Louis were compiled in [[Tract: Heavenly Vision|a tract called “I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision” and distributed at subsequent revival meetings]].  The tract describes that the group that left from Jeffersonville carpooled, as gas rationing was in effect.  Gas rationing in the United States ended August 15, 1945.
 
 
Meda Branham gave birth to a girl, Rebekah, on March 21, 1946. <ref>[[Searching for Vindication]] Timeline</ref>
 
 
The Associated Press published an interview with William Branahm on June 30, 1947 in which he said, “ 11 months ago, I got a call so insistent that I went out and started healing people”. This puts the date of his commission at September 1946.  <ref> http://seekyethetruth.com/pages/57/resources-dig-commissions.html in the Resources article called “The Commission” </ref>
 
 
In June 1947, the Evening Sun newspaper of Jonesboro, Arkansas also reported that "Residents of at least 25 States and Mexico have visited Jonesboro since Rev. Branham opened the camp meeting, June 1st. The total attendance for the services is likely to surpass the 20,000 mark." William Branham also met Gordon Lindsay in 1947, who became his primary manager and promoter. Shortly after, several other prominent Pentecostals joined his ministry team, including Ern Baxter and F.F. Bosworth. Gordon Lindsay proved to be an able publicist for Branham, founding The Voice of Healing magazine in 1948 which was originally aimed at reporting on Branham's healing campaigns.
 
 
Both [[F.F. Bosworth]] and Gordon Lindsay had connections to Alexander Dowie, who claimed he was Elijah.  Bosworth was the band director in Zion, Illinois in 1905 and 1906 as Dowie’s utopian empire crumbled. Charles Parham, one of the founders of the Azuza Street Revival and a member of the KKK, established Tent meetings in Zion in 1907.  Bosworth attended these meetings along with John G. Lake until the Zion Pentecostal revival fell apart after Parham was jailed. 
 
{| style="border:3px solid #cedff2; float:right; margin-left:15px; padding: 0.3em;"
 
|<mediaplayer width="250" height="200" image='File:WBranham-click.jpg'>File:1Branham1.flv</mediaplayer>
 
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|William Branham tells how an angel came <br>in his room, not in a cave or a cabin.
 
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[[Gordon Lindsay]] was born in Zion, Illinois.  Lindsay eventually worked with John G. Lake in establishing a the Divine Healing Mission in Portland, Oregon. 
 
 
It is likely through connections with F.F. Bosworth and Gordon Lindsay that William Branham learned the doctrine that Elijah would come before the second coming.  It didn’t take long before William Branham became convinced that he was that Elijah. 
 
 
William Branham claimed that he received the gift of healing that commissioned his healing ministry from the Angel of the Lord on the day Israel became a nation on May 7, 1946<ref> William Branham, August 9, 1954 in a sermon called “Manifestation of the Resurrection”</ref>, and then again when Israel became a nation on May 6, 1947.<ref>William Branham, July 18, 1954 in a sermon called “The Great Coming”</ref>  William Branham seemed unaware that Israel actually declared its independence on May 14, 1948. 
 
 
William Branham said the Angel gave him his commission at Green’s Mill in an old cabin.<ref> William Branham, September 23, 1951 in a sermon called “Principles of Divine Healing.” </ref>  He also said the Angel gave him his commission at Green’s Mill in a secret cave.<ref> William Branham, May 9, 1953 in a sermon called “The Pillar of Fire”</ref>  In a video called “Twentieth Century Prophet” William Branham said that he was 37 years old when a tall angel with olive complexion walked into his room at home, and told him:
 
 
:''Fear not, I am sent from the Presence of God to tell you that you're to pray for sick people. Great signs and wonders will be following your ministry, and you'll be praying for kings and monarchs... As Moses was given two signs of confirmation of his ministry, that I would be given two signs. One would be the praying for the sick, the miracles, and the other would be you'd know the very secrets of the people's heart. 
 
 
William Branham also met with Avak Hagopian in Florida in 1948, a renown “faith healer” from Armenia who was featured in the May 19, 1947 edition of LIFE magazine.  Avak was tall, of olive complexion, had long shoulder-length hair and wore flowing robes – eerily similar to the description of William Branham’s angel.   
 
 
William Branham’s early work in faith healing attracted attention, and as stories began to spread of his healing gift, local pastors came to ask Branham to minister to their congregations and pray for the sick. When local churches could not accommodate the crowds, Branham's meetings were moved to larger auditoriums or stadiums for united campaigns in major cities in North America. His success soon took him to minister in countries around the world. According to one Pentecostal historian, "Branham filled the largest stadiums and meeting halls in the world."
 
{| style="width:200px; border:1px solid #E8B399;background-color:#F0DCC8;vertical-align:top; float:right; text-align:center; padding: 0.3em;margin-left:15px"
 
|'''The Houston Photo''' <br> [[The Houston Photograph|Angelic being, or indoor lighting?]]
 
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[http://en.believethesign.com/index.php/French#La_v.C3.A9rit.C3.A9_pure_et_simple_sur_la_photographie_de_Houston En Francais]
 
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On the night of January 24, 1950, an unusual photograph was taken during a speaking engagement in the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston, Texas. The photograph was of William Branham standing at the podium, with a halo of light behind his head. William Branham claimed that this was a supernatural light, and paid to have the photograph examined by a professional, George J. Lacy, to confirm that the negative had not been tampered with.  The photographer then refused to let William Branham use the photograph as the cover for his life story.<ref> http://en.believethesign.com/images/1/11/The_Simple_Truth_about_the_Houston_Photograph.pdf </ref>
 
 
William Branham continued his worldwide ministry, and the “Voice of Healing” magazine published an article in June 1950 about [[Kari Holma|a boy who was raised to life in Finland during the William Branham campaigns, after being hit by a car]].
 
{| style="width:200px; border:1px solid #E8B399;background-color:#F0DCC8;vertical-align:top; float:right; text-align:center; padding: 0.3em;margin-left:15px"
 
|'''Finland Miracle''' <br>[[Kari Holma|Do the stories match?]]
 
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By this time, William Branham was praying for the sick using two methods. The first was a physical reaction in his hand indicating the presence of germ diseases. The second was that he knew he could talk to people directly about their lives without the need to ask questions. 
 
{| style="width:200px; border:1px solid #E8B399;background-color:#F0DCC8;vertical-align:top; float:right; text-align:center; padding: 0.3em;margin-left:15px"
 
|'''Donny Morton''' <br> [[Donny Morton|Healed, but dead?]]
 
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|}
 
 
In 1951, William Branham prayed for a boy named Donny Morton, which was reported in Chatelaine Magazine and re-printed in a condensed version in the Reader’s Digest. This article describes how William Branham described the boy’s situation to his father, without asking questions. While William Branham said the boy was healed, the article tells that Donny Morton died of pneumonia while recovering from surgery.  In other words, William Branham properly discerned Donny Morton’s situation, but that did not help [[DonnyMorton_Page4|Donny Morton who died in November of 1951]].
 
[[Image:Durban1.jpg|thumb|780px|The non-European section of the Durban congregation.]]
 
 
In Durban, South Africa in 1951, William Branham spoke at meetings sponsored by the Apostolic Faith Mission, the Assemblies of God, the Pentecostal Holiness Church, and the Full Gospel Church of God. Meetings were conducted in eleven cities, with a combined attendance of a half million people. On the final day of the Durban meetings, held at the Greyville Racecourse, an estimated 45,000 people attended and thousands more were turned away at the gates. As he travelled around the world he met many individuals of public influence.  <ref>[[A Prophet Visits South Africa, by Julius Stadsklev]]</ref>
 
 
A daughter Sarah was born to Meda and William Branham on March 19, 1951 followed by a son Joseph who was born on May 19, 1955. <ref>[[Searching for Vindication]] Timeline</ref>
 
 
=Teaching Strange Doctrine=
 
From the mid-1950s onwards William Branham became more open with his own beliefs.  As a result, people who once preached with him abandoned his ministry.  [[Ern Baxter]] told him not to teach, but he did not listen.  William Booth Clibborn accused William Branham of not knowing his Bible, but William Branham never put the effort in to learn the Bible.<ref> William Branham, April 5, 1956 in a sermon called “The Resurrection of Jesus” </ref>  [[Hagin Prophecy#The Hagin Prophecy|Gordon Lindsay also reached out to William Branham to encourage him to stop teaching, but William Branham replied “''I know I’m not a teacher, but I want to teach. And I’m going to teach!''”]] 
 
 
Some of William Branham’s doctrines from the 1950’s include:
 
*[[The Godhead|He taught that neither Oneness theology nor Trinitarianism lined up with the Bible.]]
 
*[[Enoch and Noah|Reaching outside the Bible to the apocryphal book of Enoch, he said that Enoch talked with Noah.]]  He typed this to a sign of the rapture, with Noah preparing for the tribulation after Enoch’s rapture.  But based on the Bible, Noah was born after Enoch was not. 
 
*Like Job’s friends, William Branham taught that God always punishes you for good reason (which is why his first wife Hope died).
 
*William Branham taught that he was a prophet like Moses, with two signs.  But he had to overlook the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth to claim that he was a prophet like Moses. 
 
*Because Elijah confronted Jezebel, William Branham felt vindicated to speak harshly against women. 
 
**In March 1958, William Branham was teaching that it was appropriate for a man to blister his wife with a 2x4 if she smoked or wore shorts. 
 
**[[The Serpent's Seed|William Branham preached that Eve cursed the human race by breeding with the Serpent, producing Cain]], even though the Bible says that “sin entered the world by one man” (Romans 5:12) 
 
**He taught that Satan designed the Woman, even though God said “Let us make mankind in our image.”
 
*[[The Prophet and The Eagle|He taught that prophets were eagles in the Bible]] – which is not supported by scripture.
 
*He took doctrines from the Jehovah Witnesses and Mormons, modified them, and called the “revelation”.
 
*He taught that the Holy Spirit would come or go based on your actions.  While Jesus said, “I will never leave you”, William Branham taught that the Holy Spirit would leave you for something as simple as speeding. 
 
*[[Fallen From Grace|William Branham also did not understand the doctrine of grace]].  He taught that falling from grace was looking like Elvis], and remaining in God’s grace required obedience to his many rules on conduct, order, and doctrine. 
 
 
It was during these years that William Branham introduced the vision of the [[Third Pull|“third pull”]] that was to play a more significant part in later years. The [[Third Pull|third pull relates to a vision of an Angel who was teaching him how to fish]]. He was to cast his line out, pull slow at first (his healing ministry), jerk a little harder the second time (his discernment ministry), and set the hook for the catch on the third pull. However, in the vision William Branham got his line tangled, and the Angel rebuked him for making a public show of his ministry. He said the angel then took him back to a tent where people were being saved (reminiscent of his 1945 commissioning vision), and that the pillar of fire left him and went into a small building to meet people privately.
 
 
It is in the late 1950’s that William Branham began talking about ‘speaking things into existence’.  By his word, he claimed to have raised dead fish to life, brought a woman’s two sons to instant salvation, and created squirrels.  [[Third Pull#The First Temptation|He shot the squirrels, and one follower of William Branham claimed they sat in his freezer for years, and had no belly buttons]].
 
 
In an interview, [[Ern Baxter]] said “Branham as a teacher was outside of his calling. The fruits of his teaching ministry are not good.”
 
 
On June 1956, [[Jim Jones|William Branham preached a three day campaign at the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis with Jim Jones]]. This three day campaign was attended by over 11, 000 people and sky-rocketed Jim Jones to fame.  Jones later went on to commit mass suicide in 1978 after the world never ended in 1977. 
 
 
=A Prophet?=
 
 
In 1960 William Branham spoke a series of sermons on the Church Ages (see [[Seven Church Ages]] for more details) that outlined his views of church history and his interpretation of the first few chapters of the book of Revelation.  In these sermons, William Branham predicted that the seven visions he saw in 1933 would be fulfilled by [[1977]].  Much of these sermons is similar to the doctrines [[Plagiarism|published by the Baptist theologian Clarence Larkin.]]
 
 
In the 1960’s William Branham would often say, [[An_Uncertain_Sound|“I am a prophet”, then “I am not a prophet”.  He also expressed confusion as to whether he was a seer or an evangelist.]] 
 
{| style="width:200px; border:1px solid #E8B399;background-color:#F0DCC8;vertical-align:top; float:right; text-align:center; padding: 0.3em;margin-left:15px"
 
|'''1962 Vision''' <br>[[Prophecy of the Cloud|Learn about the Prophecy of the Cloud]]
 
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|}
 
 
William Branham’s mother Ella Harvey (Branham) died October 27, 1961. <ref>[[Searching for Vindication]] Timeline </ref>  Just over a year later, William Branham moved his family to Tucson, Arizona.  As he left, he told his congregation in Jeffersonville that he was leaving to fulfill a vision of hunting in the Mountains with his son Joseph, and that five angels would appear to him.  <ref> William Branham, December 23, 1962 in a sermon called “Reproach for the cause of the Word” </ref>
 
 
William Branham came back for meetings in Jeffersonville in early 1963 where he preached about an angelic visitation he had received without his son Joseph and without birds appearing, and how he was divinely instructed to preach about the Seven Seals. These sermons contained a lot of church history, and [[Plagiarism|also borrowed heavily from the commentary of Clarence Larkin]] once again.  People who believe that William Branham was a major prophet consider these sermons the fulfillment of [[Matthew 17:11]], where Jesus says that Elijah must come and “restore all things”. The seals as taught by William Branham can be summarized as follows:
 
{| style="width:200px; border:1px solid #E8B399;background-color:#F0DCC8;vertical-align:top; float:right; text-align:center; padding: 0.3em;margin-left:15px"
 
|''The 7 Seals''' <br> [[Seven Seals|Learn about the Seven Seals]]
 
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|}
 
*First Seal  - Lying
 
*Second Seal – Rome's persecution
 
*Third Seal – Economic pressure
 
*Fourth Seal – Perversion
 
*Fifth Seal - Souls under the Altar
 
*Sixth Seal – 2 Prophets to the Jews
 
*Seventh Seal – The Tent vision
 
{| style="width:200px; border:1px solid #E8B399;background-color:#F0DCC8;vertical-align:top; float:right; text-align:center; padding: 0.3em;margin-left:15px"
 
|'''Arizona Geography''' <br> [http://en.believethesign.com/images/e/eb/The_Simple_Truth_about_Arizona.pdf Click to learn more about where William Branham was when the cloud appeared.]
 
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[http://en.believethesign.com/index.php/French#La_v.C3.A9rit.C3.A9_pure_et_simple_sur_la_g.C3.A9ographie_de_l.60Arizona En Francais]
 
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In these sermons, William Branham tells that he was hunting earlier that month when seven angels came to him in Arizona, and that one angel revealed the seals to him before each sermon.  He later saw a picture of a cloud over Arizona in LIFE magazine, and claimed that he was hunting exactly under it at the time, [[Rattlesnake Mesa|when he actually went hunting a few hundred miles south of the cloud a week later.]]
 
 
In May 1962 William Branham expressed his confusion and decision at becoming a seer or an evangelist.<ref>Questions and Answers, May 27, 1962</ref>  In June 1963 he tells of an angelic visitation where he is told to ''"Return! Did not I tell you in the beginning to do the work of an Evangelist?"''  In the same sermon, William Branham confesses that he has lost the love for the people, calling them "Ricky and Ricketta" when they are still children of God, and are only under bondage to denominations who tell them ''"don't you do this, and don't you do that."'' <ref>Standing in the Gap, June 23, 1963</ref>
 
 
William Branham spoke some very bold prophecies that were recorded during his sermons in the 1960’s that did not come to pass.  These prophecies include:
 
[[Image:Image-rs-131 - BR Branham1.jpg|180px|right]]
 
*[[The Brown Bear Vision|A vision of him shooting a record brown bear.]] He said this was “Thus Saith The Lord”.
 
*[[The Vision of the Meetings in South Africa|A vision of him preaching to 300,000 people in South Africa in a single meeting.]]  He said this was “Thus Saith The Lord”.
 
*[[The Seventh Angel is on the Earth at Christ's Coming|The seventh angel (who he indirectly taught was himself) would be alive on earth at the time of the second coming.]] 
 
*[[1977|He predicted the end of the world in 1977.]]
 
*[[Destruction of Los Angeles|He prophesied that Los Angeles would sink into the ocean.]]  He told Pearry Green privately that this would take place before his son Billy Paul was an old man (Billy Paul was born in 1936), and tied the fulfillment of this vision to his prophecy of the [[The Death of Florence Shakarian|death of Florence Shakarian]].
 
 
In January 1964, [[Hagin Prophecy|Kenneth Hagin had a prophecy that Gordon Lindsay communicated to William Branham, that the devil would take William Branham's life before the end of 1965 because of his own error]].
 
 
William Branham went hunting again in March 1964.  This time he took a larger number of friends with him.  He claimed that a whirlwind came from heaven (there is a video of the dust-devil taken at the camp).  He claimed that it was the judgment sign of the end of the world, and that his message was the “evening light” that came to him on “Sunset Mountain”.  In reality, all of these men were hunting on Rattlesnake Mesa.  While he declared judgement on California, [[The Alaska Earthquake|an earthquake struck Alaska.  Not deterred, William Branham claimed it was fulfillment of judgement]]. 
 
 
In 1965 William Branham spoke some radical sermons.  In [[Marriage and Divorce|Marriage and Divorce, he taught that a man could divorce his wife if she trimmed her hair]].
 
 
=Death=
 
 
[[Image:Image-rs-144 - Br Br Mal 4 - 1671.jpg|right|240px]]
 
On December 18, 1965 William Branham and his family (all except his daughter Rebekah) were returning to Jeffersonville, Indiana from Tucson, Arizona for the Christmas Holidays. About three miles east of Friona, Texas just after dark, a car traveling west struck Branham's car head-on. 
 
The driver of the other car died at the scene, as did the other front seat passenger. The other two passengers in the back seat of the car were severely injured. Branham's wife was seriously injured and his daughter Sarah was lying in the back seat and was also injured. Branham's left arm was mangled and caught in the driver-side door, and his left leg was wrapped around the steering wheel. After about 45 minutes Branham was pulled from his car and transported to the hospital at Friona, and then later transported to the hospital at Amarillo, Texas. He lived for six days after the crash, dying on December 24, 1965 at 5:49 PM. His body was returned to Jeffersonville, Indiana for burial.
 
 
=Legacy= 
 
 
During the 1950’s and 1960’s, over 1,100 sermons were recorded.  The men in charge of this recording were [[Leo Mercer|Leo Mercer and Gene Goad, two homosexuals who started a religious commune that William Branham preached at in Prescott, Arizona, and where they sexually abused the members and their children]].  The sermons were then given over to the William Branham Evangelistic Association.  The sole director of this Association for a time was [[Fred Sothmann|Fred Sothmann, who believed that William Branham was God the Father]]. 
 
After William Branham’s death, the audio tapes were transferred into an entity called “Voice of God Recordings”.  Voice of God Recordings reported assets of $109,834,481 on their US tax return as of June 30, 2011. They earned these funds by distributing the sermons of William Branham.<ref> http://en.believethesign.com/images/d/d5/The_Simple_Truth_about_Message_Fruit.pdf </ref>
 
 
Despite this, most people in Christian churches today have never heard of William Branham.  While tens of millions of people around the world knew about him in the 1940's and '50's, today most people in and out of churches have never heard of him, and his followers are few and self-isolating.  Compare this to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not known outside of Israel at the time of his death, but within 30 years after his resurrection, the new Christian church came under the direct persecution of the Roman emperor Nero in A.D. 64. 
 
  
  
 
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Revision as of 09:18, 23 July 2014

William Marrion Branham was an evangelist who has been called the "pacesetter of the healing revival" [1] and a "prophet"[2]. He was born in rural Kentucky, raised in Indiana, and in the 1940’s his healing ministry skyrocketed him from a rural pastor to an international evangelist.

William Branham

William Branham was compulsively deceptive with those around him. He often embellished stories, facts, and scriptures to his own advantage. What you hear on William Branham's recorded sermons is only one side of the story, yet that story often blatantly contradicts documented history.

This life story account is based on both his recorded sermons and as many historical documents as we could find. Any statements that can be substantiated by written historical documents are referenced. Hopefully this will let you decide for yourself whether William Branham was honest.

Early Life

Three Birthdays?
Click here to learn more about William Branham's three birthdays.

En Francais

Charles Branham and Ella Harvey were both born in 1887. [3]. They were 20 years old when William Branham was born on March 10, 1907 in Cumberland County, Kentucky. [4] They were 21 years old when William Branham was born on April 8, 1908. [5] But his father was eighteen and his mother was fifteen years old when William Branham was born on April 6, 1909 [6] when he was born under an alignment of stars [7], and that a pillar of light entered the shack and scared the midwife. [8]

The Branham family moved from Kentucky to Indiana when William Branham was a young boy. William Branham claimed this was his first fulfilled prophecy. [9] Charles Branham was in trouble with the law at the time, which may explain why he used the name as “Brainon” on the 1910 census records.[10]

William Branham’s father brewed his own moonshine and established a speakeasy in Indiana. While William Branham’s hatred for alcohol and women stemmed from this time of his life, he never stopped admiring the man who provided the booze and drew the crowd:

My, I seen how they come when my daddy run that bootleg place. And I'd see women come there, young women, with somebody else's husband. And the way they would carry on…The only respect I had for any woman was my mother. And that's right. And I knowed she was a lady. I seen her set on the doorstep with the babies in her arms, and cry, and cry, and cry because she was locked out of the house. When my dad, which was a real man when he was sober. (William Branham, July 20, 1952)
Nazarite Controversy
Click to learn whether William Branham was under a Nazarite vow.]

William Branham said that he received two visions as a young boy in Indiana. The first was when his father asked him to haul water for the moonshine operations. William Branham said that a voice spoke to him out of a whirlwind in a tree and said, "Never drink, smoke, or defile your body in any way, for I have a work for you to do when you get older." [11] By his own testimony, William Branham never drank alcohol in his life – other than in Church as part of communion.

Who Died on the Bridge?
Click here to learn more about William Branham's first false prophecy.

En Francais

William Branham also told of a second vision that happened a few weeks later when he was playing marbles with his brother. He said that he saw the construction of the Louisville Municipal Bridge being built across the Ohio River, and 16 men falling off to their death during its construction. He said the vision told him that this would take place 22 years from the time of the vision. [12] The Louisville Municipal Bridge opened on October 31, 1929 which means that this vision took place either before William Branham was born or while he was an infant.

When William Branham was 14 years old, he was shot in a hunting accident, and spent several months in the hospital. His hospital bills were paid for by the Ku Klux Klan and the Masons. [13]

Charles Branham broke horses for Otto Wathen, and later became his private chauffer. [14] Otto Wathen owned the R.E. Wathen Distillery as well as the Louisville Colonels baseball club. William Branham said that their family lived on Wathen’s residence for a time.

When did Charles die?
Click to discover whether Charles died when William Branham was a child.

William Branham recalls that compared to other families, the Branham's were poor. At school his shoes were often torn, and he would sometimes wear a closed jacket when he had no shirt to wear. [15] William Branham also said that his father died when he was a young man, forcing him to drop out of school and become the bread-winner for the family. He did this successfully by hunting and trapping, where he learned to shoot straight in order to preserve costly ammunition.

By 1926, (at the age of 16, 17 or 18) William Branham had enough money to buy a new Model-T Ford. [16] He also claimed to have been initiated as a hunter on a trip to New York’s Adirondack Mountains [17], and to have hunted as a young man in Maine with the famous naturalist Burt Caul (who he called “the most cruel-hearted person I ever seen”). [18] Through his teenage years William Branham did not want to have anything to do with God, or church. It was during this time that a fortune teller told him that he was born under a rare alignment of stars. [19] In 1928, he told his mother he was going camping in Green’s Mill, Indiana, and left to work as a ranch-hand in Arizona. [20] He returned after he received news that his brother Edward had died on June 20, 1929 at the age of 19. [21] Edward's funeral was taken by a close family friend, Rev. McKinney, who made a salvation call that William Branham refused. [22] William Branham was in Arizona during the time of the construction of the Louisville Memorial Bridge in 1929. As a result, he was not aware that Richard Pilton and Lloyd McEwan were the only two men who died during the construction of the Louisville Municipal Bridge, and that neither drowned.

William Branham worked as a laborer digging ditches[23] , and as a collector for the Public Works Company in Jeffersonville in the early 1930’s. [24]

Joining the Church

William Branham said that he was overcome by fumes while checking meters at the Gas Works in New Albany in 1931. When he went to a specialist, however, he was told that he had appendicitis and had to have an operation. Afraid, he requested a minister from the First Baptist Church to stand by him. During the time of the operation, he promised to preach the Gospel if God would restore his health. William Branham said that after this experience, he went into a field to pray, and saw a vision of a light that formed a cross. [25] William Branham also said that he was converted in a Baptist Church [26], a coal shed [27], a saloon that had been converted into a colored Pentecostal church [28], and in a Jewish Hospital[29].

Roy E. Davis & the K.K.K.
Find out Roy E. Davis’ hidden secrets.

One of the churches William Branham visited during his recovery was the First Pentecostal Baptist Church of Jeffersonville at 328 Watt Street, which was pastored by Rev. Roy Davis, a member of the Ku Klux Klan. It was here that William Branham first met Hope Brumbach (born July 16, 1913), who was a youth leader and speaker at the church, and a seamstress at the shirt manufacturer M. Fine & Sons. [30]

Hope’s parents Charles and Hazel Brumbach divorced on November 1, 1931. Charles Brumbach quickly remarried to Grace Creigh February 15, 1932 and moved away from Jeffersonville to Fort Wayne, Indiana (a 3.5 hour drive from Jeffersonville on modern roads). [31]

William and Hope Branham

William Branham asked for Hope's hand in marriage after a sermon preached by Roy Davis after a Wednesday night sermon. They talked about it as they walked to her parent’s house from the church. William Branham said he stood on the porch of her parent’s home, Charles stopped playing the Victrola and came out to the porch. William Branham asked Charles if he could marry Hope while Hope remained inside and talked with her mother. [32]

Roy Davis preached strongly about the Pentecostal revival, advertised regularly in the Jeffersonville Evening News, and wrote that William Branham received the Holy Spirit in his front room. Even though William Branham said that he did not join a church, it was at this time that he became an elder in the First Pentecostal Baptist Church, and was president of the PBYPU (Pentecostal Baptist Young People) in March 1933. [33]

Early Signs of a Supernatural Ministry

The Ohio River Baptism
Click to learn about the voice at the river.

In 1932 when William Branham first prayed for the sick: a Mr. Merril and a Mrs. Mary Der Ohanion were both healed that year. [34]

In June 1933, William Branham had his first evangelistic tent meetings, in which 14 people were converted. William Branham received front page news coverage for these meetings in the Jeffersonville Evening News. [35] William Branham distributed a tract saying that a light appeared in August 1933 when he was baptizing the 17th person on the Ohio River, while 3,000 people watched from the shore.
William Branham at a baptism
William Branham later said the newspapers reported that a light appeared while he was baptizing the 17th person on the Ohio River, while 10,000 people watched from the shore. [36] The population of Jeffersonville was only 12,000 people at the time. [37]

William Branham said that in June 1933, he experienced a series of prophetic visions foretelling major events up until the end of the world. William Branham describes these visions inconsistently, but in summary they are:

  1. Roosevelt would cause the whole world to go to war
  2. Mussolini’s last invasion would be into Ethiopia
  3. Hitler would rise to power, build the Seigfried line, and give the Americans a terrible beating.
  4. Fascism and Nazism would be swallowed up into Communism, which would destroy the Vatican.
  5. Cars will be shaped like an egg.
  6. American women would begin to dress immodestly.
  7. A cruel woman will rule the United States.
  8. America will be ashes from coast to coast.
  9. Don’t eat eggs or live in valleys.

William Branham claimed to have started construction on the 'Pentecostal Tabernacle’ in Jeffersonville in 1933 before he was married (this later became known as the 'Branham Tabernacle').[38]

A Baptist Minister?
Or a Pentecostal Minister? Click here to find out.

However, the last advertisement for Roy Davis church in the Jeffersonville Evening News was on February 10, 1934, [39] and William Branham said he was the assistant pastor of Roy Davis’ church at the time it burned down. [40] Roy Davis then moved back to Texas, and William Branham started construction on his own church. The first advertisement for William Branham’s church, The Pentecostal Tabernacle, appeared in the Jeffersonville Evening News appeared on August 17, 1935. [41]

Is the Trinity OK?
William Branham said it was, based on a vision.

En Francais

William Branham told of a vision he had on the morning he was laying the cornerstone for his new tablernacle. The vision was of an orchard, with places for new trees on either side of an aisle leading to the cross. Plum trees were on one side, and apple trees were on the other side, and both types of fruit were found in the cross. William Branham was instructed to walk between these trees (which he identified as the Trinitarian and Oneness Pentecostals), and do the work of an evangelist, as both types of fruit were found in the cross. Later in his ministry he began preaching that the Trinity and Oneness doctrines were of the devil – in direct violation of this early vision.

William Branham continued to work and preach, and married Hope Brumbach on June 22, 1934 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. [42]

Mishawaka Christians
Who did William Branham meet?

Already married, and a pastor of a Pentecostal church, William Branham travelled north to a town called Mishawaka, where he was received warmly by a group of mixed European-American and African-American Pentecostals. William Branham often said that these Mishawaka meetings were his first introduction to the Pentecostal people. [43] Without Roy Davis around to enforce his KKK agenda, William Branham began accepting a number of invitations to preach at various Oneness and mixed-race Pentecostal churches.

The summer of 1935 was a whirlwind of events.

William Branham’s brother Charles died in an accident on August 5, 1935. Then Hope Branham’s mother remarried to John Cardwell on August 22, 1935. Soon after, Billy Paul Branham was born to William and Hope on September 13, 1935. The 1935 and 1937 city directory listed William Branham is pastor of the Pentecostal Tabernacle, and residing with his wife Hope at 430 Graham Street in Jeffersonville. [44]

In 1936 William Branham said he was pressured by his mother-in-law not to accept invitations from Pentecostal Churches. How William Branham agreed to follow his mother-in-law’s advice is a mystery, because he was the pastor of a Pentecostal church at the time. What he did do was begin to refuse invitations from Oneness, colored and mixed-race Pentecostal Churches. [45]

In the fall of 1936, William Branham claimed to have a vision that the Ohio River would flood, and reach 22 feet over Spring Street in Jeffersonville. [46] A daughter named Sharon Rose Branham was born to William and Hope Branham on October 27, 1936. A month later, William Branham’s father Charles passed away for real on November 30, 1936.[47] William Branham later said that he had terrible grammar because of his father’s early death.

Tragedy and Recovery

The Ohio Flood
What happened when the Ohio river flooded

The Ohio River flood lasted from January 5 to February 5, 1937. William Branham tells a story of how he left his Bible on the pulpit during the flood, and when he came back they found out that the pulpit had floated up during the flood, and rested on the same spot with the Bible still open and dry. [48] The newspapers, however, packed a story of the pews and pulpit rising and falling to a crest of 15 feet during the Ohio River flood in the First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville, because the wooden floor had loosed from the side walls. [49]

Sharon Rose Branham, who died at 8 months old.

William Branham tells how he lost contact with Hope during the flood, and found her dying in a hospital with a hole in her side to collapse her lungs. Hope's nurse was also a personal friend of the Branham family, and William Branham identified her as Hilda/Juanita/Evelyn/Louise Cook/Hale. He ties the story of Hope’s death so closely to the flood, that he makes is sound as if she died in February of 1937. [50] But Hope fought pneumonia for a number of months before passing away on July 21, 1937. Sharon Rose Branham also passed away from disease a few days later on July 26, 1937. [51] William Branham blamed the death of Hope and Sharon Rose on his decision to respect his mother-in-law’s request not to associate with Pentecostals. [52]

William Branham relays little about the years after the death of his wife and daughter. He mentions that it was a period of extreme trial, depression, and responsibility as he worked and looked after his son and pastored a Pentecostal Church. William Branham said that he attempted suicide twice during this time. [53] The Jeffersonville City Directory named William Branham as a collector for the Public Service Company in 1939 and 1941, which indicates that he may have stepped down from pastoring for a few years.

The hard times soon faded and William Branham married Meda Broy on October 23, 1941. (Meda was the daughter of Frank and Emma Broy, and was born on April 16, 1919. Emma Broy had divorced her first husband Daniel Lawton in 1907 before marrying Frank, who she divorced on April 3, 1929.) William Branham was then once again listed as the pastor of the Pentecostal Tabernacle in the 1943 Jeffersonville City Directory.[54]


Footnotes

  1. The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements: (Zondervan, 1988, p. 372) ~ Branham filled the largest stadiums and meeting halls in the world.’ ... As the pacesetter of the healing revival, Branham was the primary source of inspiration in the development of other healing ministries.
  2. The Full Gospel Men's Voice Magazine (February, 1961) ~ "In Bible Days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the Sacred Records, none of these had a greater record than that of William Branham."
  3. Searching for Vindication Timeline - See Charles Branham’s World War 1 draft card for his birthday of January 2, 1887. The Census record from 1900 shows Ella Harvey’s birthday as June 1887.
  4. Searching for Vindication Timeline - The 1910 Census lists William Branham as 3 years old. William Branham also said on September 29, 1951, “Doctor Dowie, in his death, prophesied…he died on one day, and I was borned on the next.”
  5. Proposing to Hope Brumbach - April 8 ,1909 is written as William Branham's birthday on his marriage certificate to Hope Brumbach. William Branham’s younger brother Edward was born in 1909 as the 1910 Census document show Edward Branham as being one year old.
  6. William Branham, April 27, 1964 in a sermon called “A Trial”. April 6, 1909 is also recorded as William Branham’s birthday on his marriage certificate with Meda Broy as found on the Searching for Vindication Timeline
  7. William Branham, July 13, 1952 in a sermon called “Early Spiritual Experiences”
  8. William Branham, April 27, 1964 in a sermon called “A Trial”
  9. William Branham, November 10, 1963 in a sermon called “Souls that are in Prison”
  10. Searching for Vindication Timeline
  11. William Branham, April 19, 1959 in a sermon called “My Life Story”
  12. William Branham, August 13, 1950 in a sermon called “God Revealing Himself”
  13. William Branham, November 10, 1963 in a sermon called “Souls in Prison”
  14. William Branham, April 19, 1959 in a sermon called “Life Story”
  15. William Branham, September 30, 1951 in a sermon called “Expectations”
  16. William Branham, January 17, 1962 in a sermon called “Presuming”
  17. William Branham, September 30, 1951 in a sermon called “Expectation” in New York City.
  18. William Branham, June 30, 1956 in a sermon called “Hear Ye Him”
  19. William Branham, January 17, 1955 in a sermon called “How the Angel came to me”
  20. William Branham, June 7, 1953 in a sermon called “The Ministry of Christ”
  21. Searching for Vindication Timeline
  22. From Julius Stadsklev's book, A Prophet Visits South Africa
  23. Life story by Julius Stadsklev
  24. Searching for Vindication Timeline - The Jeffersonville City Directory
  25. Life story by Julius Stadsklev and Life Story Tract
  26. William Branham, July 20, 1951, Sermon: The Angel of God
  27. William Branham, August 15, 1959, Sermon: As the Eagle Stirreth Her Nest
  28. William Branham, July 31, 1963, Sermon: There Is Only One Way
  29. William Branham, March 28, 1954, Sermon: Sirs, We Would See Jesus
  30. Searching for Vindication Timeline - The Jeffersonville City Directory, Life story by Julius Stadsklev
  31. Searching for Vindication Timeline - marriage and divorce documents.
  32. Life story by Julius Stadsklev in a story written firsthand by William Branham. Also on recording on April 15, 1951, November 8, 1953 and July 20, 1952 in sermons called “A Life Story”.
  33. Searching for Vindication Timeline - June 22, 2013 post re The Common Peoples' Church
  34. Supernatural: The Life of William Branham by Owen Jorgensen, Book one, Chapter 11
  35. Searching for Vindication Timeline - June 24, 2013 post re What The Newspapers Said About the 1933 Baptism
  36. Sermon: August 13, 1950
  37. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeffersonville,_Indiana#Demographics
  38. William Branham, April 7, 1957 in a sermon “God keeps his Word”
  39. Searching for Vindication Timeline - 2013/06/29 post re the History Of Roy Davis' Church
  40. William Branham, April 27, 1964 in a sermon called “A Trial”, “And the Missionary Baptist Church burned down, which I was assistant pastor, at the time. And Mr. Davis come back to Texas.”
  41. Searching for Vindication Timeline - 2013/06/30 post re First Appearances Of The Pentecostal Tabernacle
  42. [File:Marriage License-Branham.jpg]
  43. William Branham, June 9, 1953 in a sermon called “Demonology”
  44. Searching for Vindication Timeline
  45. Searching for Vindication Timeline - 2013-06-20 post re Preaching at Pentecostal Churches
  46. William Branham, July 17 ,1951 in a sermon called “The Manifestation of The Spirit”
  47. Searching for Vindication Timeline
  48. William Branham, September 1, 1957 in a sermon called “Hebrews, Chapter Three”
  49. Searching for Vindication Timeline - 2013/04/02 post re Church Escapes In Freak Stunt
  50. William Branham, April 15, 1951 in a sermon called “Life Story”
  51. Searching for Vindication Timeline
  52. Searching for Vindication Timeline - 2013/06/19 post re Where My Sorrow Started
  53. William Branham, April 15, 1951 in a sermon called “Life Story”
  54. Searching for Vindication Timeline


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