"Waco sect survives, waits"

I saw this article about the Koresh cult a couple of days ago and was not surprised.

Some highlights from the article:

Koresh, whose real name was Vernon Howell, arrived in Waco in 1981 as a 22-year-old high school dropout, drawn to a small community of Seventh-day Adventist believers who called themselves Branch Davidians. It wasn’t long before the smooth-talking Bible expert seduced the group’s 60-year-old leader and displaced her as the group’s reigning prophet.

Eventually he asserted the God-given right to take the underage teenage daughters of his followers as wives, while commanding everyone else in the commune to remain celibate. He justified his licentiousness by explaining that God had directed him to embody the most devilish human behavior as a test of his followers’ faith.

“According to man’s law today, what David did was statutory rape,” said Tom Cook, a Waco hairstylist who joined the Davidians after Koresh died and who maintains the group’s Web site. “But as God states in the Bible, a woman is of marrying age at her first blood issue. It’s all in your frame of mind. People can say it’s illegal, but it’s God’s word.

But far more of the Branch Davidians were like Doyle, who had joined the group in 1957 and became convinced that Koresh was the messiah.

“The people who were here were not hicks, they were not stupid,” said Doyle, 63. “Some of them had letters after their names, graduate degrees.

Despite the terrible price he and his family paid, Doyle says he refuses to entertain any doubts about Koresh or the certainty of his resurrection.

“If it was all a deception, and yet we were convinced it was right, then how can we ever know the difference between good and evil, and right and wrong?” Doyle asked. “If I was misled by God, then how would I ever believe anything ever again?”

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