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David Koresh and The Branch Dividians

David Koresh, also known as Vernon Wayne Howell, was a religious leader and cult leader who led the Branch Davidians, a religious sect that was an offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Koresh claimed to be the final prophet of the Branch Davidians and used his position to control the lives of his followers, including their sexual activity and access to weapons.

Koresh’s background as an Adventist is a subject of much debate. He was raised in a Seventh-day Adventist home and attended Adventist schools and churches in his youth, but he was later expelled from an Adventist church in Texas for his unorthodox teachings. Despite this, he continued to identify as an Adventist and used Adventist texts and teachings to justify his beliefs and actions.

One of the key beliefs that Koresh held as an Adventist was the idea of “the seventh trumpet” or “the end times.” He believed that he was the chosen one to reveal the secrets of the Bible and that the end times were imminent. He also believed that he was the “Lamb of God” referred to in the Bible and that he would lead his followers to salvation.

Koresh also had a unique interpretation of the Bible’s teachings on sex and marriage. He believed that he was entitled to have multiple “spiritual wives,” and he took multiple underage girls as his wives. This practice, along with his stockpiling of weapons, ultimately led to a raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms in 1993. The raid resulted in a 51-day standoff, which ended in a fire that killed Koresh and 75 of his followers.

FBI photo of the Mount Carmel Center engulfed in flames on April 19, 1993 (Wikipedia)

In the aftermath of the tragedy, many have questioned the Adventist Church’s responsibility for Koresh’s actions. While the Adventist Church officially distanced themselves from Koresh and his teachings, some have argued that the church’s emphasis on the end times and the authority of the “end-time prophet” contributed to Koresh’s radicalization.

However, it is important to note that Koresh’s beliefs and actions were not representative of the Adventist Church as a whole. The Adventist Church is a mainstream Christian denomination with over 18 million members worldwide, and Koresh’s teachings were not in line with the church’s official beliefs and practices.

In conclusion, David Koresh was a religious leader who claimed to be an Adventist and used Adventist teachings to justify his beliefs and actions. However, his beliefs and actions were not representative of the Adventist Church as a whole and his interpretation of Adventist theology was unorthodox and controversial.


  1. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/waco/who/
  2. https://www.adventist.org/en/beliefs/fundamental/
  3. https://www.history.com/topics/1990s/waco-siege
  4. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2018/03/01/the-waco-siege-25-years-later-david-koreshs-bizarre-religious-sect-lived-on-after-the-inferno/?noredirect=on
  5. https://www.npr.org/2021/02/27/971768269/25-years-after-waco-the-branch-davidians-remain-a-mysterious-and-divisive-f