My name is John Kennah. I was introduced to the teachings of William Marrion Branham [WMB] in June 1980 and very quickly accepted them as God's so-called "Message of the hour." I attended Tucson Tabernacle, pastored by Pearry Green, from then until December 1989. During that time, I was a diligent student of WMB's sermons and regularly ministered at various Arizona prisons and local nursing homes with "the Message." As I studied the Message in greater depth, I began to discover discrepancies and contradictions in WMB's teachings. The first discrepancy to catch my attention was in his teaching of the "Seventy Weeks of Daniel" where he offered several conflicting interpretations of Daniel chapter 9 in the course of his ministry (these are described at this Site in the section titled, "Controversial Teachings"). I occasionally sought the insight of the leadership at the Tabernacle for explanations of the apparent contradictions, but I never received any concrete answers. Their advice to me consisted of statements such as, "Just put your questions on the shelf and the Lord will reveal it to you in His time," or, "Just don't dwell on it. Lean not on your own understanding; just have faith that the Message is true." As time went on, I came across other disturbing discrepancies in the Message.
My doubts began to create a fear in me that I was "Serpent's Seed." I learned that some brothers and sisters at the Tabernacle were already calling me Serpent Seed behind my back because I had dared to question the prophet. I clung even tighter to the Message, ignoring my doubts! Finally, during a sermon in late 1989, Pearry Green criticized an unnamed man for claiming in a booklet1 that WMB could not have been legally hunting javelina at the time of the February 28, 1963 Cloud that appeared in the May 17, 1963 issue of LIFE magazine. (I should point out that at the time of this discovery, everyone following the Message believed WMB's claims that the Cloud of February 28, 1963 appeared on the day WMB was hunting javelina near Wilcox, AZ. It would have seemed absurd back then for anyone to question that, yet today it's hard to find a Message believer who thinks that the Cloud in LIFE magazine was the same Cloud WMB saw while hunting javelina.) The thought that WMB might have been hunting out of season so disturbed me that I began to research this claim myself. I contacted the Arizona Game and Fish Department to find out when javelina season was in 1963. I learned that javelina hunting season that year ran from March 1 through 10. I also began a study of everything that WMB had to say about the Cloud and this hunting trip. As a result, I discovered that WMB himself indicated that he did not go on this hunting trip until after March 4, 1963 (See or listen to his sermon, Absolute, preached on March 4, 1963. Compare this to his sermon, Trying to do God a Service Without it Being God's Will, vol. 7, book 2, pages 8 and 9, preached November 27, 1965).
Indeed, William Branham did not go on this hunting trip until after the Cloud had come and gone! This was the last blow to my waning faith in the Message! The truth hit me hard. While praying earnestly about what to believe concerning the Message, I felt the Holy Spirit impress on my heart that the Bible is our guide to the Truth. I heard Him say (not audibly) that if I found some of WMB's teachings to be inconsistent with the Bible, I was not obligated to accept them. The Bible would be my absolute. Once I recognized that I could question WMB's teachings without fear of the Lord's condemnation, I began to recall the many questions I had about the Message, some of which I had long forgotten. I decided to give each of two prominent elders at the Tabernacle one last opportunity to address the discrepancies in the Message. They were unable to give me any satisfactory answers. One of these elders had several dreams which confirmed to him that WMB was a prophet. He scolded me for implying that his dreams may not have come from the Holy Spirit. I left Tucson Tabernacle and the Message in December 1989, received Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior in repentance and faith, and I now worship and serve at Faith Community Church, a Reformed, non-denominational church in Tucson, Arizona.
Rewriting Message HistoryA lot has happened since I left the Message in 1989. I began a mission to educate Message leaders, followers and the general public of the irreconcilable discrepancies of WMB's account of the Cloud and other problem areas in the Message. I did this by: starting a mailing comapaign; joining Christian Awareness Fellowship (of which I was on the board of directors for several years and wrote several articles on the Message in their newsletter, "The SERVANT"); giving radio interviews on one of Tucson's Christian stations, KVOI (once appearing with C. Douglas Weaver, author of, The Healer-Prophet, William Marrion Branham); writing my booklet, "The MESSAGE: What every follower of William Branham should know" (originally, "The Message of Willaim Branham: An objective Biblical perspective," 1990) and later on the Internet by creating a discussion forum on Korealink (1999), which later became "Examining the Message of William Branham" on Delphi Forums in 2001. This Website was developed on CompuServe in 2000 and has been growing on Delphi Forums since 2001.
After I had mailed copies of "The MESSAGE: What every follower of William Branham should know" to many of the country's most prominant Message leaders and pastors, WMB's oldest daughter Rebekah responded by writing an article in her magazine, Only Believe, in which she affirmed that the Cloud actually appeared a week before WMB's Sunset hunting trip (see, "On the Road to Sunset", June 19922). Being forced to acknowledge the discrepancies in WMB's original account of how the Cloud was formed, she reinterpreted the Cloud's appearance as a sign predicting that he would be visited by seven angels at Sunset Mountain the following week to commission him to preach the Seven Seals. She based this new interpretation on an obscure, ambiguous statement WMB made at the time he first learned about the Cloud in LIFE magazine.3 Smith claimed that this statement indicated that he knew he was not at Sunset Mountain at the time of the Cloud, despite over a dozen other statements he made in subsequent sermons where he clearly said he was hunting javelina at Sunset Mountain at the time of the Cloud's appearance (see Cloud Quotes)!
In 1993, Pearry Green followed suit by publishing a revised edition of his book, The Acts of the Prophet, in which the only changes that were made were: 1) The removal of all statements in which he claimed the Cloud was formed while WMB was hunting javelina at Sunset Peak, and; 2) Inserting the new explanation that Rebekah Branham-Smith had introduced in her article.
As a result of this rewriting of Message history, a new generation of Message believers has been taught, not through the Message but from the pulpit, that WMB had claimed all along that the Cloud actually appeared "a day or two" before or after he went hunting at Sunset, and not while he was there. This in spite of the fact that he explicitly said in over a dozen sermons that it was formed at the very time he was hunting at Sunset Peak (See my article, What Was the Attraction On the Mountain, at this site). Furthermore, pastors in the Message are now saying that so-called critics like myself are the ones who really misunderstood what WMB said about the Cloud, even though it is they who were forced to reinterpret its appearance as a result of what I and other Message critics were saying! The Bible has had its critics over the centuries, but archeological facts have always sustained the integrity of the Bible and proven the critics wrong time after time. That's not what we see happening in the Message. Followers of the Message have found it necessary to change the long established Message teaching on the Cloud precisely because critics--not Message believers--have discovered and publicized the errors of WMB's claims. I may be critical of WMB's claim to be a prophet and of the unbiblical aspects of his teachings, but I love the Lord Jesus Christ and the Bible. My passionate desire is that those who look to William Branham as their prophet turn from the false teachings of his Message and place their confidence in the immutable Truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which has never been disproved by its harshest critics!
May God continue to use this Website and others to reach those who are held captive to a false Message and lead them to repentance and faith in the true Gospel of Jesus Christ for the glory of God the Father!
1 It wasn't until years after I left the Message that I was contacted by Peter Duyzer on the recommendation of C. Douglas Weaver. Peter and I deduced that this unnamed man must have been Peter, and that Pearry Green was referring to a booklet Peter published in 1980 called, "'Mystery Cloud' Expose on Wm. Branham."
2 I had been a charter subscriber of Only Believe magazine, but unbeknownst to me, George and Rebeka Smith had cancelled my subscription just before publishing this issue. I only found out about it when my cousin's wife, who was also a subscriber, asked me what I thought about the article. I told here I didn't know anything about it, and she gave me her copy.
3"And just as I looked, right there was them Angels just as plain as They could be, setting right there in that picture. See? I looked to see when it was, and it was time, same, about day or two before, or, day or two after I was up there. I looked where it was at. 'Northeast of Flagstaff, or Prescott, which is below Flagstaff.' Well, that's just where we was at, see, just exactly."
"Come, Follow Me," sermon #63-0601)
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