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Freedom of Mind Group Database Search
Alphabetical Group Listing
Group Information
Title The Message

Voice of God Recordings Spoken Word Publications William Branham Evangelistic Association Cloverdale Bibleway Believers, International Still Waters

Founder William Marrion Branham
Leader 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.

1. Regulation of individual's physical reality
  a. Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates with
  b. What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears
  c. What food the person eats, drinks, adopts, and rejects
  d. How much sleep the person is able to have
  e. Financial dependence
  f. Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations

2. Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals

3. Need to ask permission for major decisions

4. Need to report thoughts, feelings and activities to superiors

5. Rewards and punishments (behavior modification techniques- positive and negative).

6. Individualism discouraged; group think prevails

7. Rigid rules and regulations

8. Need for obedience and dependency.

"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:

1. Use of deception
  a. Deliberately holding back information
  b. Distorting information to make it acceptable
  c. Outright lying

2. Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
  a. Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio
  b. Critical information
  c. Former members
  d. Keep members so busy they don’t have time to think

3. Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
  a. Information is not freely accessible
  b. Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid
  c. Leadership decides who “needs to know” what

4. Spying on other members is encouraged
  a. Pairing up with “buddy” system to monitor and control
  b. Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings, and actions to leadership

5. Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
  a. Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, videotapes, etc.
  b. Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources

6. Unethical use of confession
  a. Information about “sins” used to abolish identity boundaries
  b. Past “sins” used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution

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.

1. Need to internalize the group's doctrine as "Truth"
  a. Map = Reality
  b. Black and White thinking
  c. Good vs. evil
  d. Us vs. them (inside vs. outside)

2. Adopt "loaded" language (characterized by "thought-terminating clichés"). Words are the tools we use to think with. These "special" words constrict rather than expand understanding. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite, platitudinous "buzz words".

3. Only "good" and "proper" thoughts are encouraged.

4. Thought-stopping techniques (to shut down "reality testing" by stopping "negative" thoughts and allowing only "good" thoughts); rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism.
  a. Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
  b. Chanting
  c. Meditating
  d. Praying
  e. Speaking in "tongues"
  f. Singing or humming

5. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate

6. No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate, good, or useful

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."

1. Manipulate and narrow the range of a person's feelings.

2. Make the person feel like if there are ever any problems it is always their fault, never the leader's or the group's.

3. Feeling-stopping. Like thought-stopping, this is the automatic suppression or blocking of feelings that are not acceptable by the cult identity- such as feeling "homesick" or feeling "depressed" or feeling "resentful".

4. Excessive use of guilt
  a. Identity guilt
    1. Who you are (not living up to your potential)
    2. Your family
    3. Your past
    4. Your affiliations
    5. Your thoughts, feelings, actions
    6. Social guilt
    7. Historical guilt

5. Excessive use of fear
  a. Fear of thinking independently
  b. Fear of the "outside" world
  c. Fear of enemies
  d. Fear of losing one's "salvation"
  e. Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by group
  f. Fear of disapproval

6. Extremes of emotional highs and lows.

7. Ritual and often public confession of "sins".

8. Phobia indoctrination: programming of irrational fears of ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader's authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
  a. No happiness or fulfillment "outside"of the group
  b. Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: "hell"; "demon possession"; "incurable diseases"; "accidents"; "suicide"; "insanity"; "10,000 reincarnations"; etc.
  c. Shunning of leave takers. Fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family.
  d. Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group's perspective, people who leave are: "weak"; "undisciplined"; "unspiritual"; "worldly"; "brainwashed by family, counselors"; seduced by money, sex, rock and roll.

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.



(articles, videos, information)

Duyzer, Legend of the Fall