Group Information & BITE Model Analysis
Disclaimer: Most of the group resource information was submitted by former members of The Message, academics, experts, and concerned individuals. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Freedom of Mind. We welcome any feedback. Contact Us
Voice of God Recordings
Spoken Word Publications
William Branham Evangelistic Association
Cloverdale Bibleway Believers
International Still Waters
William Marrion Branham
Hundreds of Different leaders now-most vying against each other while listening to Branham tapes
“The Message,” otherwise referred to as “Branhamism,” “Branhamites,” “Bride Churches,” “Evening Light Churches,” or “Spoken Word” are collectively describing the worldwide cult following of William Marrion Branham from Jeffersonville, Indiana. With the exception of the more extremist sects, most consider Voice of God Recordings in Jeffersonville Indiana to be the cult headquarters. “The Message,” is a pentecostal-style doomsday cult which believed (until 1978) that the year 1977 was the time of Armageddon. The cult leader held joint campaigns with Jim Jones of Jonestown, Guyana, and some believe the events leading to 1978 massacre are related to his influence by William Branham.
The Message follows the Pentecostal-style “holiness” dress code with other various rules of behavior that range from approved (or disapproved) names for children to hair styles. Though most groups in this cult operate individually and decide which rules their group follows, the more extremist sects attempt to follow them all. An exhaustive list of rules can be found here: http://seekyethetruth.com/resources-basics-rules.aspx
Television, movies, and sometimes even radio is forbidden. Questions result in ex-communication or “shunning.” Contact with former members is often forbidden and universally discouraged. Confessions are used against members, often during public sermons. Opposing doctrines are viewed as inferior, and absolute acceptance of William Branham’s views of scripture, politics, “prophecies,” and more are required.
Black-and-white views of doctrine and religion are required. It is an elitist group what views other Christians as not only inferior, but condemned to hell fire — especially those that join Christian denominations. Loaded language is used to summarize both events and views of the cult leader and the opposing views of those who are not in the cult. Hypnotic techniques are used through both structure and rules of church services and repeated playing of over 1400 recordings of William Branham. Branham himself used hypnotic techniques such as persuasion through parallel stories, rhythmic and pulsating Hitler-style speech, and long, tiring services. Often he associated specific songs to certain doctrines, especially those describing Armageddon. His sermons induced glossolalia, though it is not seen as “evidence of the Holy Spirit” within “The Message.”
Certain human emotions and depressive states are viewed as “demon possession,” and in certain sects medication for mental illness is not permitted. When questions arise concerning cult doctrines, the questioner is trained to believe an “evil spirit” is attacking their mind. Guilt and unworthiness are often themes of sermons, pointing to the cult leader’s “direct connection to God” as the answer. Fear strategies include apocalyptic fear, communist scare, UFO scare, atomic scare, demonic scare, rape, death, and dismemberment scare for those who do not fully believe and accept the cult leader and his belief system.
|Detailed BITE Model Analysis|
BITE Model of Authoritarian Control – Applied to William Branham’s “Message” Cult
Duyzer, Legend of the Fall
The Racist Effects of William Branham’s Message Churches
Author John Collins on Branham’s Message and Growing Up in a Religious Cult