The following are screen captures from the Voice of God Recordings website, illustrating some of the merchandise they provide to believers who follow William Branham’s ministry. This is the organization under Joseph Branham, William’s son, and is the major distributor of Message recordings, transcribed sermons, the life story of William Branham (written by a believer), and other materials. Those “other materials” contain some pretty interesting stuff:
The story of the mother opossum was one of William Branham’s favorites. At a low point in his healing ministry, the opossum crawled up to his door. She was wounded, infected and dying, and had several babies clinging to her back. He ignored her for a few days, but she didn’t go away. Eventually, he prayed for her as he would for a sick human being. She immediately was healed and trucked herself happily back to the woods with her young. William Branham held her up as an example of perfect maternal love: she had been so unselfish as to give her life for her babies, and God had rewarded her with life so that she could continue caring for them.
I have a lot of problems with the moral of the story: it teaches women that their lives only matter if they have children, and that wishing to survive for one’s own sake is selfish. I think our culture needs to do away with the cult of sacrificial motherhood this story promotes. Not only does it prevent mothers from seeking the help they need, it also teaches children that their mothers exist to serve them.
Another children’s book features Branham’s own life. I imagine that some of the key events featured in the book are his first supernatural experiences, his commission to heal the sick, and the hunting trips where he received revelations from God. I also imagine that the story tells some of the harsher details: the deaths of his wife and daughter in 1933, which Branham attributed to his own disobedience to God’s instructions to preach with Pentecostal revivalists. If that story is included, I would be seriously concerned about teaching children that their own shortcomings can result in the deaths of their family members. That was an idea that terrified me for years as a Message child.
This box is just weird. I hardly know what to say about it. My church never bought memorabilia like these because they feared dwelling too much on Branham’s human life would constitute idolatry. Instead, we were supposed to immerse ourselves in the words of the Message and the Bible, and honor the prophet only as a messenger. There is considerable disagreement from church to church about the appropriate amount of deference one ought to show to someone so high-profile (the last of the seven prophets to the Gentiles) without actually worshiping the man.
Anybody willing to purchase this thing and tell me whether or not the quality of the materials justifies the $35 sticker?