It’s not often that we respond to a negative publication. One of the main reasons is that we rarely receive negative comments or negative press. We do our best to project a Christian attitude in every aspect of our work, and we try to avoid controversy because it rarely ends in a positive outcome. Our objective is to encourage God’s people to look towards the soon Coming of our Lord Jesus, and not be weighed down by the scandals of the world.
Sadly, there are times when we are forced to address accusations against the messenger of Malachi 4, and against the Message he brought. A local news organization recently published a slanderous article about Brother Branham and those of us who follow his ministry. There were many things that were presented as facts, which are false, and we feel must be addressed publicly.
We’ve received many phone calls and emails of support from believers around the world who saw the article. We appreciate all the encouragement we have received. Truly, there is a love among the Bride of Christ that the world cannot understand.
The following is the letter we sent to the news organization. It addresses some, but not all, of the errors in the article.
My name is Joseph Branham. I am the son of Reverend William Branham and President of Voice Of God Recordings/William Branham Ministries. I am writing this letter from both my brother, Billy Paul, and me in regards to the recent article on the six o-clock news titled: “Former member of controversial Branham Tabernacle speaks out,” aired on May 14, 2012.
I appreciate the comment made by the anonymous man in the shadows, pointing out that Brother Branham was the father of the charismatic movement. Famous ministers such as Jack Coe, T.L. Osborn, and even Oral Roberts readily acknowledged that Brother Branham was not only a great inspiration to their ministries, but also that he truly was a prophet of God. I also appreciate the reporter pointing out that Brother Branham claimed to use the power of God to heal. That is most certainly true; he never claimed to have any power in himself. He claimed that Jesus Christ is the healer.
Other than a few bright spots, I was sorely disappointed with the objectiveness of the reporting on this article. WHAS has more than 60 years of experience in the Kentuckiana area and has a good name in the community. As a company that prides itself on being fair and unbiased, there were things in the article that have the appearance of not only being bias, but willfully slanderous.
First of all, blacking out the mysterious guest’s face is a blatant attempt to give the illusion that this man’s life would somehow be in danger if he was identified. In reality, he is an outspoken critic of both my father and all of us who claim to believe his teachings. He makes absolutely no efforts to hide his identity, and you even posted the link to his website that has his name, picture, email address, and his own life story. He plainly says on his website that he is the grandson of Brother Willard Collins, who you interviewed for the story. Do you think the fact that this man is attacking his grandfather might make a difference to your viewers?
You also used a quote from Brother Branham and cut his words short of finishing his sentence, making it sound like he falsely predicted the end of the world. Why would you do this, other than to discredit our ministry? Here is his entire sentence:
Now, counting the time, we find that we have exactly -Listen- seventeen years left, and we will have the same span of time given to us as God dealing with us in the power of the Holy Spirit since A.D. 33 until 1977, the same span of time of 1954 years.
Here is what your clip said,
(Reporter) In 1960, Branham predicted the end of the world.
(William Branham) Now, counting the time, we find that we have exactly -Listen- seventeen years left.
This is NOT objective journalism. In fact, I would say this is a blatant lie to the public. Doing my best to give WHAS the benefit of the doubt, I can only hope that the anonymous guest gave you this truncated quote, gambling that you would not do the proper research.
Your reporter said, “Branham predicted he would be alive to see the return of Jesus Christ,” and “Many of his followers don’t expect him to stay inside the grave. People come from all over the world every Easter anticipating that Branham will rise up to foretell the Second Coming of Christ.” This is even more misleading than the previous example. The Bible predicts that the dead in Christ shall rise and meet the Lord in the air (I Thes 4:13-18). All Christians believe they will be alive at the Coming of the Lord, no matter if they die first or not. Brother Branham’s entire life was dedicated to proclaiming the Second Coming of Christ, which should be no different than any other Christian leader. What denomination does not say that Christ is coming again? It was the desire of his heart for everyone to accept Jesus Christ as personal Saviour and be there when the Lord Jesus returns. And yes, we believe that he will be alive when Jesus returns, the same as all believers will. Here is what Brother Branham actually said,
If I die before Jesus comes and they have--they give me a funeral, they're going to play that (the song ‘Only Believe’) when they putting me down in the grave. So you here in New York, if you hear about it, you know when it's going to be, stop and sing "Only Believe" once and remember me, will you? And remember, I believe this: that someday I'll come out of there. That's right. That's my faith. I believe the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God with all my heart.
And as far as people coming from around the world to the graveyard to see Brother Branham return, this is gossip at it’s best. I grew up in this area with other kids making fun of me about people going to the grave at Easter to see him rise, but in my entire life, I have never met anyone who believes that. I am saddened that WHAS would propagate such a hurtful lie both to me and to all that believe my father’s Message.
In reality, Easter is a time of worship in all Christian faiths, and Brother Branham has been having Easter meetings in Jeffersonville since 1933. The gravesite is a place for believers to visit and pay their respects to a man they hold in the highest regard. A professional journalist would have at least found someone who actually believes this, rather than cutting and splicing David Forsberg’s testimony. We invite your administration to review the entire clip of his interview at the gravesite. It will be much different than what you reported.
Your reporter asked why so many local people don’t know about William Branham. Your mysterious guest said, “It’s almost behind closed doors…” If there is a more open ministry than ours, I would like to see it. Take a walk around Jeffersonville and see how many people have heard of William Branham and his ministry. You will find that almost everyone has. Unfortunately for those who don’t have a good understanding of our ministry, your article will go a long way to cast a shameful shadow upon all of us.
And about your mysterious guest’s comments on Voice Of God Recordings/William Branham Ministries (VGR). He talked about selling toys and other things for a profit. We do sell a few things, but almost always, the items are sold at or below what we pay for them, and almost all of the material shipped overseas is given away. In fact, over 95% of the material produced by VGR is given away completely free-of-charge. We operate almost entirely on free-will donations. You might have known this if you would have asked, but we were not contacted before your story ran. Objective journalism? Why would you publish a story about William Branham and Voice Of God Recordings without contacting Voice Of God Recordings, where both of his sons work?
And finally, I take personal offense at a comment made by your reporters: “They play the same old tapes, eleven hundred and forty sermons; they listen to them over and over and over again. That they did back in the fifties and sixties.” If my father preached the Word of God, then it should not be called “the same old tapes,” just as no one should say “they (Christians) read the same old 66 books of the Bible over and over and over again.” The 1,200 sermons we have are precious to us, because we believe they were spoken by a prophet of God. If God’s Word was true when it was written thousands of years ago, then it is still true today. We believe that for the Bible and for the Message of William Branham. God’s Word does not expire. This was supposed to be an investigative report, but it seems to me that the reporter was interjecting his opinion.
Even if WHAS disagrees with us, we still deserve the same respect as any other Christian. My earthly father did his best to point the world to Jesus Christ and His Word. He lived a life that was above reproach, which has been tested these 47 years since he passed. I don’t understand why you would disregard the truth and give credibility to a man who hides in the shadows and spouts off slanderous accusations with absolutely no basis in fact. This story by WHAS showed bigotry against a certain group of people who have every right to worship as they please, as long as they follow the laws of these great United States.
Please look back at your story and ask yourself: What did this accomplish? Did you bother to check the integrity of your mysterious guest, who so freely insulted and condemned a group of honest and upright people? With what I have presented to you in this letter, did this story live up to the normal standards for a WHAS broadcast?
Joseph M. Branham, President, Voice of God Recordings
Billy Paul Branham, Vice President, Voice of God Recordings