This year marks the twentieth anniversary of the infamous assault by Federal agents on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas on February 28, 1993 that resulted in a 51 day standoff and the eventual death of over 80 men, women, and children. The disturbing actions of a rogue government against a unconventional religious sect still has many Americans deeply troubled, especially in light in the increasing police state apparatus that has arisen since 1993 that is fully engaged in removing the basic inalienable rights of free Americans guaranteed under the Bill of Rights to practice freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the freedom to redress grievances against the government, the right to keep and bear arms, basic health freedom, etc.
It seems that the media is reflecting back on this tragedy of American history and still searching for answers. Philip Jenkins in his Wall Street Journal piece argues that is a matter of government intolerance of religious differences that the typical American tends to accept. The Institute for the Studies of Religion at Baylor University is hosting a commemorative symposium on April 18, 2013 entitled “Reflecting on an American Tragedy: The Branch Davidians 20 Years Later” that “will bring a group of knowledgeable scholars together to discuss the continuing issues raised by the Branch Davidian event and provide some insight into its long-term meaning for American religious life and culture.”
Despite the high expectations for such an event, there are some crucial elements missing that unless addressed, will leave more questions than answers.
- Where is the voice from convicted and converted believers in the original Shepherd’s Rod message which supposedly gave birth to the Roden branch movement?
- Why are the fundamental theological differences between the branch movement(s) and its immediate predecessors, the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists and the Seventh-day Adventist church not brought to the forefront?
- How has the long standing hostility of the leadership of the Seventh-day Adventist church against the Shepherd’s Rod message originated by Victor T. Houteff in the 1930′s provided some of the underlying reasons why the Federal Government got involved with what is essentially a deep-rooted religious controversy?
- Why are the striking and fundamental differences between orthodox Davidians who follow only the original writings of the Shepherd’s Rod and the Roden branch trajectories not clearly identified and explained?
There are many more questions that could be asked but certainly a place to begin is to examine the history and teachings of these two distinct and widely different movements from the perspective on one those who actually believe and practice the Seventh-day Adventist message and the additional light coming from the writings of the Shepherd’s Rod message. Can one decide for or against unless they hear both sides of the story, especially from those who are intimately involved in its beliefs and practices? Attached below is a research article that has been published widely across the internet that addresses some of these fundamental issues and provides a basis to sink the shaft deeper into the mine of truth and begin to establish a platform by which to answer some of the lingering and troubling questions about this sullied chapter of American history that reveals a serious black mark against our professed claim to be champions of religious liberty based on the Constitution and the bill of rights. Thus we believe the doors need to remain open for further research and analysis on this most controversial topic before anyone can come to any final conclusions or simply accept the official story line from the media, the government, or our church leaders.
A True Davidian vs A Branch Davidian on Scribd