Waco For The Charred Land Of The

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Waco For The Charred Land Of The Free Essay, Research Paper Most people first heard of David Koresh, the charismatic leader of the religious sect that came to be called The Branch Dividians , and the Dividians themselves, in February of 1993, but the Branch Dividians had existed for fifty years before Koresh was even born. They were a break off of the Seven Day Adventist s Church, and were originally lead by a man by the name of Victor Halhead. They were formed in 1935, and based their lives around the belief that God would once again visit them in the form of a living profit. Halhead claimed to be this prophet, and relocated the group from California to Mount Carmel, which is located 10 miles outside of Waco, Texas. They studied the Bible as literal truth. The book of

Revelation and it s cryptic seven seals. The Christians believe that the seven seals tell God s plan for the sequence of events leading up to Judgment Day, and can only be deciphered by a messiah who would come near the end of days. Five years after Halhead s death, the Dividians gathered at Mount Carmel, believing Armageddon, the final fight between good and evil described within the Bible, was close at hand. The Dividian church almost disappeared after that, but Bill and Lois Roden kept a small group together. After Bill s death, Lois continued on, and began training a young Vernon Howell as her understudy. When Lois Roden died, a power struggle between Vernon and Lois s son George began for leadership. The majority backed Howell. When Roden chased them away at gunpoint, they

temporarily lived in Palistine, Texas, sleeping in rusted out buses and tents. But in late 1987, Howell returned with seven male followers, dressed in camouflage and armed with five .223 caliber semi-automatic assault rifles, two .22 caliber rifles, two twelve-gauge shotguns, and nearly four hundred rounds ammunition. During the gunfight, Roden was shot in the chest and hands (www.disinfo.com). Vernon and his followers were put on trial for attempted murder. The seven were aquitted and a mistrial was declared in Vernon s case. Howell told the jury that he and his followers had gone to Mount Carmel to search for evidence of corpse abuse by Roden, and their shots were aimed at a tree. George Roden was later convicted of murder in an unrelated matter. Thus, Vernon Howell came into

power and became the official leader of the Branch Dividians. He then legally changed his name to David Koresh. David because he believed he was now head of the Biblical House of David, and Koresh because Koresh is the Hebrew translation Cyrus, the Persian king who allowed the Jews held captive in Babylon to return to Israel. He did not claim to be Jesus, but instead to be that final messiah mentioned in the Book of Revelations, the seventh messenger. He claimed to be the Sinful Messiah mentioned in the book. The phrase Sinful Messiah was picked up by the Waco-Tribune, and used in a negative tone. It was not meant to be the negative title the paper made it seem. It simply meant that, unlike Jesus, this messiah would be an ordinary human, one who is not without sin. Attracted by

Koresh s teachings, the congregation grew. They took the lumber from the cottages they had lived in before, and used it to build the Communal Church, referred to as a Compound during the upcoming siege. The Dividians were well respected members of the Waco Community. As Jack Harwell, the sheriff of McLennan County said, They were good people. Sure, they had different beliefs than you and me, in their way of life, and especially in their religious beliefs, but they were still good people. I was around them a lot. They were always nice, well mannered, never overbearing. I liked them (Waco: Rules Of Engagement, SP 00:12:00) One of the major prophecies which existed among the Branch Dividians was that there would be a massive confrontation between God s people (those of Mount Carmel)