Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Sickness ~ Pt 2

by Sierra William Branham never claimed to be a faith healer. That is, he claimed that it was the power of the individual's faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ that healed their diseases. Christ had finished the work; there was nothing left to do but believe. In a 1955 sermon entitled Jehovah-Jireh, Branham explained that faith was the force that brought healing to the believer: If I could heal anyone, I'd come down here, and go to each one and heal everyone. I would, if I could. But I can't. And there's no other man can. And--and if Jesus was here, He could not, only if you'd believe. Look. That sounds strange, that Jesus could not heal unless you'd believe. When He went to His Own … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Sickness ~ Pt 1

by Sierra As an adolescent girl, growing up under William Branham’s Message of the Hour, I stood poised before a great fall. Sometimes I felt a cold breeze rising from the pit in front of me. I knew that against my will I was edging closer, and would someday have no choice but to jump in. But I looked frantically for an outlet or a bridge, digging in my heels against the edges of the pit. The name of the abyss was womanhood. I was taught that the Bible recognized three classes of people: men, women, and children. In God’s plan for the family, authority descended directly in that order. Men obeyed God, women obeyed men, and children obeyed all three. For those living within this scheme, … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: The Atheist

by Sierra Willa was an atheist. A self-styled “unschooler,” she attended homeschool conventions and activities with her two children, Alexis (9) and Steven (5), and it was there that she met my mother. Willa’s husband worked in a field that I knew only abstractly as something involving computers and sales. He was a passive, taciturn man with whom I never exchanged a single word. Their children were boisterous, especially Alexis. Willa attached herself to my mother very quickly. Since Alexis was my age, we were an automatic source of play dates, which often really amounted to tea parties for our mothers. Common interests seemed to abound at first: homeschooling, books, and bargains. … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Barren

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD. -Isaiah 54:1 by Sierra The first time I saw my mother cry, she was hunched over the dresser in her bedroom, silent, her shoulders shaking. I had almost walked into the room, but when I noticed her posture I paused and silently backed away, then ran, on tiptoe, to escape the jarring sight. I had not yet turned ten, but I knew what her tears meant. She was crying for my brother, the one lost in miscarriage just before she’d begun taking me to our new church. Every … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Signs

The end of the world I never had the chance to know by Sierra When I reached the age of nine, I began seriously worrying about the age of accountability and the Rapture. There was no magical number attached to the former; indeed, the fact that I was old enough to worry about it seemed evidence enough that I should worry. I was obviously old enough to understand sin, and consequently was old enough to miss the Rapture. And the Rapture was coming. Of that we all were certain. William Branham taught that only the elect, or Bride of Christ, would make it to Paradise in a dramatic snatching-away in the last moments of time. In a 1958 sermon entitled “The Sudden, Secret Going Away of the … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Casualties

by Sierra Soft breaths of cinnamon and vanilla wafted down into the basement from Anna’s kitchen. Laughter chorused over our heads as Sven and I busily fortified our Lego castle with rubber animals: his were the dogs, mine the cats. We worked together to fend off a motley invasion of snakes, hyenas and whatever other ugly miscreants we could dig from the toy bin. Pirates were only ever united by a common love of money. Bare light bulbs hung glaring over our heads, but we ignored them. Tiring of the siege, we took refuge under the stairs and ripped open a bag of butter cookies. Chessmen. We spared no cavalry or foot soldier in the cookie massacre. We were eight years old. Sneaking … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Hairspray

by Sierra I awoke with my lungs filled with something pungent and sticky. I sat up groggily in the upper bunk, fumbling around for a watch or cell phone to tell me why it was still dark when so many beds were vacated. A light shone dimly across the long dorm room through a hazy moisture hanging in the air. My hand closed around someone’s small alarm clock, and I squinted at it. 5:30am. It was hairspray, I discovered as I staggered toward the bathroom. Lithe, elegantly dressed young women gathered cheerfully around the bathroom mirrors as they unrolled golden-flecked curls that fell gently to their thighs. Each strip of hair, carefully unbound from a foam roller, was sprayed within an … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: Two Snakes and a Virgin – The Serpent’s Seed

 by Sierra I was about nine years old when I started paying attention to some of the doctrines that were slowly infiltrating my life over the past two years. I’d stopped wearing pants or cutting my hair by the end of the first year, following my mother’s lead. The last pair of pants she wore were a lovely pair of wide-leg trousers with a sheer lace overlay; they could pass for a skirt until she took a step. She wore them to church, then threw them away – she felt “convicted” for wearing a man’s garment. She threw away her makeup, too, keeping only a sheer moisturizing lip gloss as a token of her past. I liked my new dresses, and I liked the long hair slowly descended across my … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: “Hello, Miss Dog-Meat.”

by Sierra Every so often, a story circulated around Message churches. Our pastor related it with a twinkle of humour in his eye. The precociousness of little children was always a failsafe source of amusement in a world that afforded so many sinful entertainments. Children quoting scripture were even better. Out of the mouths of babes, it was oft repeated, the Word of God was made perfect. And so, it was with paroxysms of mirth that the following anecdote was passed around. One day, a minister’s wife was out doing the grocery shopping with her family. Her youngest boy, then only four or five, spied a worldly woman in the supermarket. With frank and immediate assurance, he called out, … [Read more...]

Daughter of the Patriarchy: A Jewel or a Trash Can

by Sierra William Branham with a woman in his prayer line. (He would lay on hands, pray, and they would walk away healed, allegedly.) If you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always had an answer. If you asked again in ten minutes, it would be a different one. I wanted to be a figure skater, detective, veterinarian, zoologist, writer, astronaut and archaeologist – and not just one at a time. When I went outdoors to play, I climbed rocks and saw them as mountains. When I jumped over streams, I bravely bridged rivers. With stuffed animals as my companions, I sailed pirate ships and submarines and narrowly escaped devastating wars through wit and determination. I harboured … [Read more...]


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