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Jewels from Bro. Saether’s Interview (Part 5 of 6) /Summary

28 Oct

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Well brethren, what we’ve learned is truly remarkable. The prior 4 posts have shown us many , many jewels of first hand accounts regarding our main subject –Florence Houteff and Ben Roden, and their works of deception and subversion.

Both of these people are directly responsible for two of some of the biggest snares right now in our Davidian people. FH  with her “new codes”,and Ben Roden with his “feast keeping” and Branch doctrine.

As our readers know we’ve had an ongoing series regarding the new codes and their myriad of problems they possess. But if we truly follow Inspiration and “study” this issue , all should have no problem seeing the “Truth” of the matter.

“Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Tim. 2:15)

Let’s review some specific jewels that are noteworthy.

“The doctrines had been drawn up and published. His work was finished”. (Saether)
This was describing what Saether summed up on VTH’s work in 1954, while VTH ‘s health was deteriorating.

“The next year after he died, one of the first things she told the council was that—“I want to study the Bible now, I have some things on my mind.” What she did was go back to this Timely Greetings, Volume II, number fifteen and decipher that.”

Florence Houteff had an agenda and that was Rev.11, the anti-typical 1260 days. Convinced that VTH’s death meant something in this regard she started deciphering the literal application to apply somehow someway to their time. Unlike VTH who did not explain it, it appears Florence felt her job was to do that for her own ulterior motives.

“Mrs. Houteff said that he told her that he wanted her to be the leader… But I’ve thought since it was a big mistake. Mrs. Houteff and her brother and her mother, all in one family, all in the council. Just unthinkable. Unthinkable.”

As we know Saether and us today knew that FH pushed her way in as leader, relying on her story that brother Houteff “told her” she was to be the leader. Thus the motive and authorization rested solely with her own story. And to ensure her agenda she placed on the council her family members. Thus the coup was ready to move forward. Hijack the work done and the Lord’s Rod message.

At this point it’s noteworthy to make mention of another important issue. Some present truth believers have made a big deal that those on the council today should not be voted in, thereby making it foolish to have a legal Rod council. But VTH’s history shows us the practice they used as spoken by Saether.

” ..it was the duty of the council to fill any vacancies among the officers. The council members were to be chosen by the council. At first they were appointed by Brother Houteff. He made this suit himself. I mean—he wasn’t about to relinquish any hold on it…Then as time went on he could see that it was—didn’t take him very long then, to consider that it was necessary to have this thing on some kind of a legal basis…The way he had it, all the officers and all the council members were  to be selected by a vote of the council in session.  Except the president.”

Let’s move on to brother Bingham. This summary report is just briefly going to highlight him, as the other two were more involved in our two subjects of the New codes by FH and Branch leader apostasy of -Ben Roden. But Bingham played an important role during the knock-out period in steadying the ship, along with brother Warden.

“Bingham had been Brother Houteff’s right-hand man years before, years before. He got into the trouble here and he was out of here for years. He came back in again
and this time, while this was going on, he was sent as a missionary down into the Caribbean. I think at the time he was in one of those islands down there… I knew he wanted to be the leader and I, for one, was determined that he wouldn’t be…

Wolfe was another candidate and I was just as opposed to him, maybe even more so. More so because, primarily, Bingham and I always got along all right. He left me alone
and I left him alone. He was always courteous to me, never discourteous…There was another man that I think was grooming himself to be the leader. He’d been here for a short while, several months. He had a garden down next to the lake. I don’t know
whether it ever amounted to anything. I wasn’t here at the time. This was in 1953. His name was Roden—Benjamin Roden…in 1955 is when he started his demands to take over Mt. Carmel. I think he was possessed by the devil because he used the devil’s tactics in—.”

This is one of the most startlingly discoveries we made. Ben Roden was, according to first hand witness brother Saether, really a foul fruit bearer. It is noteworthy to say that two other firsthand witnesses, and still living members of the old camp, Sister Bonnie Smith and Brother Don Adair back these sediments up completely. Adair’s book “A Davidian Testimony” goes much deeper into the history of Roden and his behavior and troubles in the vineyard. Sister Smith tells us of the personal story how Roden stole her parents money, with a personal promise to take them to Israel. It never came to be and the money was used elsewhere! No repentance or asking for forgiveness ever made!

“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.” (Matt. 7:16-17)

Yes, we know the excuse that “Well Moses and even David were sinners” .True BUT they repented and went on to do powerful work for the Lord. Roden NEVER repented and yet claimed to be God’s prophet–blasphemy! Sorry God does not work that way.

” if a wicked man restores a pledge, pays back what he has taken by robbery, walks by the statutes which ensure life without committing iniquity, he shall surely live; he shall not die.” (Ezekiel 33: 15)

Back to more of FH–

McGee –“Immediately after his death was there any indication that Mrs. Houteff wanted to become the leader?”

Saether — “Well, only that she came to the council room and said that Brother Houteff had indicated that she should be the leader…I don’t think it was his idea. She might have questioned him, see… I think the Hermanson family really—we say, we have that saying, “put one over on the rest of us.”What is the word they—we want? (pause) Pulled a coup d’etat,

McGEE: How did the council go about and when did they begin going about dealing with the question of the leadership? Who would be the leader? Did they do it a month after Brother Houteff’s death or was it a year later or just when?

SAETHER: It was immediate. The day of the funeral. Maybe even before the funeral. It might have been even before the funeral, Oliver came to me and he said this: “Before Brother Houteff died he told Florence that she should be the vice president and be the
manager and that I should be elected to the council, as a council member, to assist her.

… Well—but right away we heard from Bingham. Brother Bingham thought he should be the leader. Wolfe had resigned from the council. 

Again, we see that because brother Houteff was in failing health, the vultures were circling. Ready to pounce once the prey was dead. As we’ve reviewed in entirely this interview there is no doubt that FH and her family had plans to take over and not surprisingly a big part of the those plans was– the vast property holdings Mt. Carmel had. Hundred’s of thousands of dollars maybe even a million. Now the answer to the question of motive as to why the knock out blow was formulated seems very plausible –money.

For concrete evidence of this planning Saether says–

Saether: ..If the modus operandi had changed in 1954, and maybe that’s where they got the idea that the council—the officers should meet with the council. When we came to the council meeting I was presented with a sheet of paper—and Mrs. Houteff told the very same thing that Oliver told me. Only she thought it was better to make it official so she put it in black and white that Brother Houteff had given her the idea that she should lead out in the organization—and Wolfe spoke up…I think the Hermansons were ambitious..

Brother Wolfe and others such as bro. Bingham, Warden, etc. definitely smelled a rat here and was against this coup d’etat, as brother Saether put it.

Speaking of vultures gathering, the most forceful vulture was Roden, who appeared right after VTH’s death.

SAETHER: Of 1955—that Roden came to the fore.

Moving right now to the subject of brother E.T Wilson we see from bro. Saether that probably many of us didn’t know that elder Wilson was sick and therefore not up to the job, let us read —

McGEE: Brother Wilson did not resist the idea of Mrs. Houteff being named vice president in his place?

SAETHER: He was sick at the time and I don’t know how it was that his name was by-passed. As I see it now, he was considered incompetent. I think maybe he was. There was something eating on him. He was here—right here in this building in one of these
rooms, in what we called the dispensary. We had a duplex here…He was in here as I understand it. He was not out in field work. He was here as a patient.

McGEE: Anyway, he was in no position I suppose to object to this
and as far as you know he did not object to being replaced?

SAETHER: No.

Now we move on once more to FH, showing the beginning seeds of her “prophesying” —

Saether:  ..in 1955 and Mrs. Houteff cornered me one day in the office. We closed at noon on Friday so everybody could go home and get ready for Sabbath. She cornered  me there and she talked all afternoon to me, trying to persuade me
to her idea in Revelation 11…I was courteous with her, I wasn’t rough. I should have
even made fun of it but I didn’t. She was in earnest, I thought she’d lost her mind…I thought that Mrs. Houteff was wrong but she talked all afternoon. Hour after hour. Pleading with me. Just pleading. What she should have done was taken it to the council. What she did was go to each individual in the council and talk with them about it.

That’s what she must have done because in the fall of the year we sent out a code—every month a code came out. In this code, on November 9, we opened them—we got them over at the office—they were sent out to the—that’s what was printed I think, as I recall. Fifteen hundred had been sent out to the people and there it says, “We’ve now entered these days.” When I opened it up I was dumbfounded. I knew she talked to me about it but that’s the last I heard of it. Not another word was said.

In March—it was in March that she told me this or April, March, we’ll say. April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, eight months—not a word. Not a word was said. In the council or anywhere else. It was just kept on the q,t. Then, she come out and said we’d entered these days. Hermanson was getting his mail—they were distributing the mail over in the office, to the office workers. He got his code, too, with the mail and he gave us each our code. The codes had been sent out. Taken down to the post office.

So they’d gone out to all the people. I said, “Did you see this?” “Yes.” “We’ve now entered these days, ” I said. “If we’ve entered those days they’re gonna end some day and then what?” “Well,” he says, “she wrote it. It’s her responsibility.”

Ok with undeniable proof FH is shown the sole proprietor of the infamous knockout blow prophesy. Even her own brother Oliver acknowledged it. Obviously her long study  period of about 7 or 8 months  produced her false ideas of the anti-typical 1260 day period. Her new code program was then set to facilitate her plans. Keep in mind what we have learned. This may have all have been a smoke screen to dissolve the whole thing on Mt. Carmel so she could reap the vast holdings there and get on down the road of life. Time would prove this is exactly what was done!

NOTE: Due to the continuing discovery of more information, we’ve had to add one more post to this series and we’ll post that part 6 soon.

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Jewels from Bro. Saether’s Interview (Part 4 of 6)

7 Oct

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In concluding our last part of the interview of this series, we’ll show some great historical evidence from brother Saether.

SAETHER: In the spring now, April 22, the time was supposed to end, It’d
be better to tell ’em now than to wait. While I was thinking
that, word came that I should go out, that we’d have a council
meeting. When I got there they’d already had the council meeting and
they were discussing the question—about those plagues. I could
see that it might happen. I told them when I came in, I said, 

“I just was impressed that we ought to write and tell the people
that we’re mistaken. That we made a blunder here and we want to
rectify it before that time comes. There’s still time,”
Anyway, they didn’t see it that way and they had something
else showing that these plagues would—we were causing these
plagues to the church, you see, by all this.

McGEE: When was that date established and who established it?

SAETHER: Well, we met in council meeting sometime after this.
When this was I don’t recollect.

McGEE: This would be sometime after the fall of 1955?

SAETHER: Right. After—well, “What time’s this going to end now?”
That’s what interested me. That would be the debacle, I figured.
(laughing) To go along with something like that, that was something.
Anyway, I tried to be as agreeable as possible. We decided this: that when that information went out in that code, that must have marked the day when those twenty-three hundred days— I wondered what it would be. Maybe Brother Houteff’s
death. We discussed those things. Decided that it was the day
the code went out. We weren’t all agreed on that, but I think
pretty much agreed. 

When did it happen? On the twenty-second. It was just a
happenstance. That was the Jewish Passover, came that year—
You know, that changes from year to year. The twenty-second was
the day of the Jewish Passover. Some felt that was quite significant.
Well, maybe it was.

McGEE: The tithe had gone down because I guess after 1959 there
was a good deal of disillusionment.

SAETHER: Especially after 1955. 1955 and then 1959, that was when
all the agitation by—you know, all those Branch members, they
weren’t paying tithe anymore. They paid it to Roden.  (Interview no. 8, p.383-394)

McGEE: I see. Well, let me ask you this. The date was April—

SAETHER: —22 .

McGEE: —22 . Can you describe what happened on that day?
(pause) Nothing, huh?

SAETHER: Nothing.

McGEE: Zero. (chuckling)

McGEE: You mentioned Mrs. Houteff’s apparent effort to erase this
or help people forget it. During this time—in 1959—was she
really in charge of things or was there a lack of leadership or
was someone else in charge?

SAETHER: She was in charge. Of course, she had the council and
then these young ministers, one of which was Dudley Goff. Afterwards,
subsequently, he spoke over the radio. We had several radio stations scattered all over the country. How many, I’ve forgotten. 

McGEE: As you look back on what was going on in 1959 during that period,
do you see any signs of the conflict that was later to come out
in the open and break the movement apart?

SAETHER: Well, there were upshoots or offshoots, I’ll say, of our
movement. Bingham was one of them. And Roden was another and Bashan was there from Washington, D.C, and who else? There were several there and the most aggravating was this man Roden. 

You see, he got these people out around Odessa to follow
him and I think most of them liked Brother Roden. He was a
pleasant sort of fellow. A big man. His wife was right with
him in everything he did and I thought many times that she was
the power behind the throne. What she decided, that’s the way
it went.

They came there to the meetings and I think this: that if
you were a member of the organization once and you disagree, I
think a person ought to be heard. I believe, let them voice their
opinion, not squelch it. Because that’s the treatment we received
from the mother church ourselves. But I don’t think a person
ought to come in and disrupt a meeting. I don’t think that’s
fair, either. That’s what they tried to do.

SAETHER: When the meeting was over in 1959, I had my
own opinion of the whole transaction. In fact, I was not in favor
of this meeting. And, it was really, you might say, put over, by
the vice president.
She wanted to talk to me about this doctrine that she had.
This was along in the spring of 1955. She talked all afternoon
trying to persuade me to her viewpoint and I didn’t—I wanted
to be polite;

I didn’t want to be rude and so I told her, “I can see you have a point there in regard to this not occurring in the Dark Ages but the rest of it, I don’t see it.” And she
just begged me to see it. But, I said, “No, I don’t see it.”
I thought she was losing her mind, just the way she looked
and everything. Several months later in November—we had a monthly
magazine then. The monthly magazine came out and they were passing them out with our mail and I stood and opened that up and it
says there, “We now know that we have entered these days,”
it’s Revelations 11. And my—

SAETHER: As I said, I was not in favor of it and I went along
with it. I mean, I didn’t just oppose it and I should have.
I should have put my foot right down on it because it was done
illegally. She should have brought this before the council and had it all decided. This isn’t the first time that she did something like this.

When we were selling this property here in Waco she sold—
I’ve forgotten how many acres, herself, without any okay from
the council at all. And to this day I don’t know what the price
she got for it. I don’t remember and I think it wasn’t clear
how much she got but I think she made a big mistake doing that.
And, not only that, it was illegal. She didn’t have the backing
of the council. That was the agreement;

all the sales had to be okayed first by the council. And then the board of trustees—
signed the deeds to the properties that we sold. We sold lot by lot. (Interview  no. 10, p.421-423)

Due to length of the posts, we’ll do one more final post as a summary. We will particularly concentrate on revealing what brother Saether spoke about Florence and Roden. These two notorious historical figures that prominently made serious diversions to the Rod message, yet nevertheless It will triumph!

Jewels from Bro. Saether’s Interview (Part 3 of 6)

22 Sep

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Baylor University Institute for Oral History

 

Continuing with part three —

SAETHER: The thought came to me like this: if in 1954 when I
asked Brother Houteff two questions about Revelations, a book
that he had written quite a little on and talked a lot on—if
he wasn’t able to answer two simple questions about this because
he wasn’t up to par, then what dependence could you put
on his statement when he was just ready to die?

Would his word and his opinions and his judgment be better or worse  than it was say, six months before that? In 1954?

No, I tell you, I think the Hermansons were ambitious and
the first thing that was done—well I might mention this, that
Brother Bingham was dowm in the Caribbeans at the time.

McGEE: At the time of Brother Houteff’s death? 

SAETHER: Yeah, his death. He was sent a cablegram right away
that Brother Houteff had died. As I recall he came back right
away. Of course, he didn’t like the setup, (pause) As I look
back over it I don’t know what we could have done better, than
to have had Mrs. Houteff as the leader because of this rivalry
between especially Brother Bingham and Brother Wolfe. We didn’t
know anything about Roden at the time. It wasn’t until in the
fall of the year— 

McGEE: Of 1955?

SAETHER: Of 1955—that Roden came to the fore.

McGEE: Brother Wilson did not resist the idea of Mrs. Houteff
being named vice president in his place?

SAETHER: He was sick at the time and I don’t know how it was that
his name was by-passed. As I see it now, he was considered incompetent.
I think maybe he was. There was something eating on
him. He was here—right here in this building in one of these
rooms, in what we called the dispensary.

We had a duplex here. This was one room and that was another and then we had a bedroom over there and kitchen in here, and a bathroom. The same setup
was on the other end of this duplex. It was used for a dispensary
for anyone that was sick. He was in here as I understand it. He was not out in field work. He was here as a patient.

McGEE: Anyway, he was in no position I suppose to object to this
and as far as you know he did not object to being replaced?

SAETHER: No. We had the authority to do it and, as I recall,
we considered that he was—because I’d talked with him here—he
and I were good friends.
He was a very amiable man but he could be stern, too. He
was stern when he was manager in Brother Houteff’s absence.

He had been a leader among the Adventists. And a man has to be, to be a president of a conference he deals with all kinds of people
especially the workers. There are quite a few workers in a
conference. 

McGEE: … Mrs. Houteff was now vice president and general manager. How did things develop from that point forward? 

SAETHER: The first thing that she said when we had our council
meeting was, “I want you men to go all over the camp,” I guess
we used to call it the camp. We figured this was just a camp,
see. We’re just camping out here for the duration.
When Brother Houteff first started this work he figured it
would be all over in a year. When he first started out there in
California there was just a unit there.

Well, then when they came here that was different but he called this a camp. He got
that from Ezekiel, that we should set up a camp and the church
is the city and that’s what we did...She said, “I’m interested in the Bible study and I want to do some private studying.” Well, it wasn’t long after that— 

...This was in 1955 and Mrs. Houteff cornered me one day in the office. We closed at noon on Friday so everybody could go home and get ready for Sabbath.  She cornered me there and she talked all afternoon to me, trying to persuade me
to her idea in Revelation 11. 

Well, one thing I could see and I acknowledged this right
away. I told her, “I can see you’re right in this, that those
days didn’t take place back in the Dark Ages as the church had
thought and as we thought. Brother Houteff thought and taught.

We taught that those days were the days of papal supremacy and
had to do with that. I could see that they don’t. They’re in
present time. That they apply now in any definite way, you
haven’t shown it. You haven’t got the proof, you haven’t got
the backing of it. Where is the proof of this?”

I was courteous with her, I wasn’t rough. I should have
even made fun of it but I didn’t. She was in earnest, I thought
she’d lost her mind.

….I thought that Mrs. Houteff was wrong but she talked all
afternoon. Hour after hour. Pleading with me. Just pleading.
What she should have done was taken it to the council. What she
did was go to each individual in the council and talk with them
about it. 

That’s what she must have done because in the fall of the year
we sent out a code—every month a code came out. In this code, on
November 9, we opened them—we got them over at the office—they
were sent out to the—that’s what was printed I think, as I recall.

Fifteen hundred had been sent out to the people and there it
says, “We’ve now entered these days.” When I opened it up I was
dumbfounded. I knew she talked to me about it but that’s the last
I heard of it. Not another word was said.

In March—it was in March that she told me this or April,
March, we’ll say. April, May, June, July, August, September,
October, November, eight months—not a word. Not a word was said.
In the council or anywhere else. It was just kept on the q,t.
Then, she come out and said we’d entered these days.

Hermanson was getting his mail—they were distributing the
mail over in the office, to the office workers. He got his code,
too, with the mail and he gave us each our code. The codes had
been sent out. Taken dovm to the post office. So they’d gone
out to all the people.
I said, “Did you see this?” “Yes.” “We’ve now entered these
days, ” I said. “If we’ve entered those days they’re gonna end
some day and then what?” “Well,” he says, “she wrote it. It’s
her responsibility.”

SAETHER: Right then and there what I should have said and insisted
on, was that this thing should be brought before the council and if
it could be proven we’d accept it. But, if it can’t, we’ll tell the
people there’s a mistake made. How easy that would have been compared
to what happened. Well, I didn’t know what to do about it.

McGEE: How did things develop after the fall of 1955 when this
message went out? How did things develop here at Mt. Carmel?

SAETHER: It was quite a shock to many of the Davidians that Brother
Houteff died. Some felt that he never would die, that he’d be the
king in the new kingdom. He taught, and we all believed, that there
was to be a kingdom. There were some things we couldn’t understand,I couldn’t. But I couldn’t get a better answer. That was my policy,
if you can’t give a better reason, a better answer, better not say
anything. Why criticize something if you can’t have a better answer
for it? I couldn’t see through some of those things.

McGEE: All right. Then along comes this message that we’re in
the last days—”We’re in these days.” How did the people respond
to that over the next year or two?

SAETHER: I think there was division came in then, more than before.
This came out November 9, [1955]. About October 9 or 10, somewhere
around there, we received a letter from Springfield, Missouri,
general delivery. The group of Davidians wanted to come to Mt.
Carmel, in a group, and they wanted our permission to come as a
group. If it was satisfactory we should let them know by a certain
date and if not they were going to come then.

….In two or three days here came a whole group of people from
West Texas. I knew almost all of them. There was a woman that—
she was just a young woman. She was just a girl here and married
while she was here. They left and she had three children in the
interim.

They were here, too, with her There were two other
women from California, I think, that I’d never seen. But the
Rodens and the Bowlings and different ones from out there who
lived out in West Texas, They came in and they—we had seats in the office. We had
sort of a lobby out there in front and had curtains. Not curtains
but counters, on three sides, with openings, two openings. It
made a really nice lobby there. 

…They wanted to pray and have the children pray, too.
What did the children know about this and they were famished?
They were healthy young children. They looked like they hadn’t
been fasting at all because they were just as healthy as any children
you ever saw. The father was really a husky fellow. He had
been a student here, too. The mother was a strong woman. Well,
they went on and we couldn’t get head or tail. Some of the people were actually discourteous to us.

McGEE: Now, these people had just suddenly showed up from West Texas?

SAETHER: Yes. But they came in answer to The Branch. Now they had—
this letter was signed The Branch. Well, who’s The Branch?

Finally after a long time we understood that they were the ones
that wrote this letter. And The Branch. Well who’s The Branch?
They didn’t tell us who The Branch was for a long time. Finally,
it was Brother Roden. He acted like he was modest but we subsequently
found out that this modesty was just all put on.

McGEE: What had he done? Had he written inviting them to come
here? Had he sent out a —

SAETHER: He—they’d all lived out there. He knew them out—
they evidently met together and they had the phones. They all
lived right there. I’d never been right there at Odessa but
I knew about where that was. Little towns all around there.

I just thought it was daffy, you know. I didn’t realize—I
didn’t realize the seriousness of it. To me it was just foolishness.
Them putting on a demonstration like that.

But what it was, Dr, McGee, they were using incantation. That’s
the way incantation was. Either by words or action, by song. They
do something. What was it designed for? It was designed to terrorize
us. To make us fear, fearful, that fire was coming down and destroy
us unless we’d leave. Then if we’d leave what would happen? They’d step in and take over. 

That was the idea. That’s what they wanted us to—they
were going to scare us. Nobody was scared. I never saw any
intimation that any of the people there—the office workers
were there—and the council members. Just about every available
person was there.

McGEE: So this group showed up from the Odessa area? What happened
that day, that night?

SAETHER: They pulled out and—

McGEE: Did they pull out because the council decided that they
were not welcome or —

SAETHER: No, They were just going to leave us to our fate.

McGEE: Oh, yes. I see

.McGEE: All right. He was with this group from Odessa and they
were talking about The Branch which was the term which he had
created or they had created to describe their particular movement?

SAETHER: That’s right.

SAETHER: It seems, too, that later—after Brother Houteff’s death—
and in that year of 1955—Bingham was electioneering already. What
he wanted to do—he was asked to come here but he refused to come
here. After Brother Houteff’s death—as I understand it—it made
him sick, I guess, because he said he couldn’t carry on his work
so he went home to his home, where his mother lived, in California.

SAETHER: This was Bingham. His wife was here. He’d been separated
from her ten years, I guess. He wanted to go out and visit all the
people. Well, Mrs. Houteff said he should come here. He worked
here in the office. But he wouldn’t come.

McGEE: All right. Let’s continue with that story then. What
happened with that group in the immediate future?

SAETHER: They came again on the twenty-second of October. This time they really—well, I’ll tell you, I’ve forgotten what their position then was. They went away and if they didn’t come back on the twenty-fifth. Now the twenty-fifth was what we call our
Day of Days. Back in 1938 when Brother Houteff was gone to
Europe, there was a rebellion then. Headed by M, J. Bingham
against Elder Wilson’s regime.

McGEE: Um-hum. Well, what happened on this Day of Days, October 25,
1955? The Rodens, you say, were back here on October 25.

SAETHER: Yes, and it was the same thing, trying to get a foothold
some way or other.

McGEE: Were they able to get a foothold?

SAETHER: Not with anybody here, I don’t think. As I recall, there
wasn’t anybody that went with them or—

SAETHER: Yes, those people are deceitful, those Rodens. Deceitful.
They’re treacherous. Because they’re possessed of the devil.
They must be. They’ve resorted to various forms of incantation.

….I went back to the office later on and the wind was out of
their sails. They were allowed to come in the office. That is,
two or three at a time. Roden was in there. He wanted to buy
some charts and Hermanson asked him, “Are you prepared to pay your bill here?” When he came here as a gardener he ran quite a
bill. He just ignored what he said. He didn’t pay any attention
to it. I’m pretty sure that he still owes that bill. He didn’t
pay it. He volunteered to come and have an organic garden. 

It takes something to put a large family—to come and stay for
months at a time and no income. That was his agreement but he
owed this seven hundred dollars anyway, for rent and food and
one thing and another.
That indicates the kind of a leader they had behind them. It’s of the devil.

McGEE: …Mrs. Houteff had said that we were in these days. That was in 1955. Did she
continue to elaborate on her prophecy during 1956 and 1957?

SAETHER Yes, It was in the code that was sent out to our own
people.

McGEE: What kind of response did she get to that?

SAETHER: Some of them believed and some of them didn’t. There
was a division. The very fact that about a thousand people came
here in 1959 showed that they had some reservations as to whether
they believed or didn’t believe. Some of them became believers.

McGEE: How did things develop in the council during 1956 and 1957?
Did the council go along with Mrs. Houteff? Did she continue to
exert leadership?

SAETHER: Yeah, I think so. I was really the only one who was at
loggerheads in regards this moving but I went along with it. Not
very enthusiastic, but I went along with it. It was a—it was
something that— We had opposition on the outside. There was
Bashan and there were the Rodens, there were the Binghams.

…I was approached by Sister Houteff in regard to this question
of there’d be twelve hundred and sixty days in—all one Friday
afternoon. I can see that it didn’t go on back in the Dark Ages
but I couldn’t see how it applied today. What evidence was there that those days were beginning? I can’t see it today. There
is no evidence. And, there wasn’t any then. I think that we
ought to have let the people know that we were mistaken. We
were mistaken.  (Interview no. 8, p.336-383)

…To be continued  with part four

Jewels from Bro. Saether’s Interview (Part 2 of 6)

8 Sep

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Baylor University Institute for Oral History

We continue our series on this historical interview.

McGEE: Tell me, when you were making these visits, did the occasion ever
come for you to identify yourselves as Davidians from Mt. Carmel in
Waco, Texas, and if so, were you recognized? Were the members of the
Seventh Day Adventist churches across the nation familiar with Mt. Carmel
and what was going on there?

SAETHER: I would say that very few churches were unfamiliar with it
because we were sending this literature out to everybody. (Interview no. 7, p.301)

SAETHER: I went to Illinois at the time of my father’s death and funeral.
They asked me, “What kind of a man is Brother Houteff?” Well, I’d say,
“One thing for certain, he was not sanctimonious, not arrogant.” He
could be courteous and polite, but he was not affectations at all. He
didn’t go on ceremony too much although in the meeting he believed in
a certain amount of protocol and order. Very strict on that.

SAETHER: We’d have meetings—Sabbath afternoon and sundown worship
right after that they’d distribute the mail. That was an interesting
time for us. Every Saturday afternoon.

SAETHER: Mrs. Houteff cornered me and said, “You know.
Brother Houteff is not so well now. I think that has affected him.”
That was in 1954. I’m pretty sure it was. In 1955 he died. Less
than a year after this. So you know that affected him.
He was not up to par and he didn’t hold any meetings any more, either.
Others held the meetings.

He didn’t speak, just once in a while he’d
have something to say. The doctrines had been drawn up and published.
His work was finished and as far as the work on the outside, he still
kept his eye on that, but he was in quite bad shape, I’d say.

McGEE: Was this period of his failing health about a year long? 

SAETHER: It was more than a year because—I’ve forgotten what year… here’s the point I want to make. The next year after he died, one of the first things she told the council was that—“I want to study the Bible now, I have some things on my mind.” What she did was go back to this Timely Greetings, Volume II, number fifteen and decipher that.

Even when he died that was on his mind. Revelations 10 and 11, especially 11. That’s the thing that stopped it—published that chapter. Correction of the manuscripts,
and the revision of the printing and all that stopped. We just went up to Volume II, number fourteen and stopped revising. Because he stopped.

But, you know, just before he died he was in worse condition than he was a year before this, but she talked with him and he was still thinking of this and talking about it. Then to take this as a groundwork for a new doctrine, it was really stupid, I think. 

McGEE: She took it as a basis for a new doctrine after his death?

SAETHER: Yeah, that’s where this whole idea of that meeting in 1959 came
from, what she said.

McGEE: Did most of the people at the center here during that last year of
his life recognize that his health was failing? I guess it was pretty obvious to everyone because he wasn’t leading the worship anymore. Did he make any signs, do anything, say anything to indicate that he knew that he would be gone soon and v/ho he wanted to be leader after his death?

SAETHER: Mrs. Houteff said that he told her that he wanted her to be the
leader. Well, that was all right. But now, take a man that’s ready to die, and is not really clear, I thought at the time it was the best way out for us. But I’ve thought since it was a big mistake.

McGEE: To have Mrs. Houteff as leader?

SAETHER: Mrs. Houteff and her brother and her mother, all in one family, all in the council. Just unthinkable. Unthinkable.

McGEE: How did Brother Houteff’s death affect the community? How did the
people respond?

SAETHER: They were just—most of them, I think, were—what would you call
it? Dumbfounded.

McGEE: Something hard to believe.

SAETHER: Unbelievable, yeah. He was gone and who was to take his place? That was the next question. Well, M.J. Bingham had been Brother Houteff’s right-hand man years before, years before. He got into the trouble here and he was out of here for years. He came back in again and this time, while this was going on, he was sent as a missionary
down into the Caribbean. I think at the time he was in one of those islands down there.

McGEE: Who were the other candidates? You mentioned Bingham and Wolfe.

SAETHER: That’s the only ones that were really—the only ones, at the time, that we knew of. There was another man that I think was grooming himself to be the leader. He’d been here for a short while, several months. He had a garden down next to the lake. I don’t know whether it ever amounted to anything. I wasn’t here at the time.
This was in 1953. His name was Roden—Benjamin Roden.

McGEE: Benjamin Roden.

SAETHER: Yeah. He wasn’t here, but in 1955 is when he started his demands to take over Mt. Carmel. I think he was possessed by the devil because he used the devil’s tactics in— (Interview no. 7. p.320-332)

****************************************

McGEE: What were the issues that the council began to deal with as they looked to the future after the death of Brother Houteff? What were the first big issues that the council began to struggle with? Was it the question of who would be the leader? 

SAETHER: I think it was but I think the Hermanson family really— we say, we have that saying, “put one over on the rest of us.” What is the word they—we want? (pause) Pulled a coup d’etat.

McGEE: How did the council go about and when did they begin going about dealing with the question of the leadership? Who would be the leader? Did they do it a month after Brother Houteff’s death or was it a year later or just when?   
SAETHER: It was immediate. The day of the funeral. Maybe even before the funeral. It might have been even before the funeral, Oliver came to me and he said this: “Before Brother Houteff died he told Florence that she should be the vice president and be the manager and that I should be elected to the council, as a council member, to assist her”…but right away we heard from Bingham. Brother Bingham thought he should be the leader. Wolfe had resigned from the council. He was a councilman. He was the acting chairman. He was the chairman of the council for years.  (Interview no. 8, p.335-337)

(Underlines for emphasis for final summary)

Jewels from Bro. Saether’s Interview (Part 1 of 6)

2 Sep

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Baylor University Institute for Oral History

In our ongoing series of the new code controversy, we came across a treasure trove of jewels. Brother George Saether was one of the old time members of the Mt. Carmel “camp”, as brother Houteff would call it. He was there from 1937 to 1961 at the dissolution of the Waco grounds. He played a very influential part in the Davidian movement.

After listening and reading the 10 interviews, we believe that unbeknownst to Daniel McGee, the Baylor interviewer, the Lord was indeed guiding him because Mr. McGee, time and again, zeroed in on the subjects that would later prove noteworthy due to today’s controversies specifically Florence Houteff and the new codes and Ben Roden and the Branch DSDA.

Thus, we’d like to report on what we found noteworthy in this invaluable series of interviews, not only for some clarifications but for the general history of the movement.

Before we begin we’d like to thank brother Jim Mentore for bringing these interviews to our attention. We were not aware of these rich and timely memoirs and have found then, as we said–invaluable for  some clarifications and points.

As we have shown before, the Word says the following —

“There is no excuse for anyone in taking the position that there is no more truth to be revealed, and that all our expositions of Scripture are without an error. The fact that certain doctrines have been held as truth for many years by our people, is not a proof that our ideas are infallible. Age will not make error into truth, and truth can afford to be fair. No true doctrine will lose anything by close investigation.” (CWE, p. 35)

Indeed! Close investigation will not hurt the Truth at all. Thus we shall closely look at what a key member of the movement had to say about Florence Houteff, M.J. Bingham and Ben Roden. We know that two living members of the original camp, sister Bonnie and brother Don, were very young when the camp was in full swing, not so with brother Saether. He was in the prime of his life and thus could relate in more clearer detail what he learned and experienced on the camp.

The first of the series of  ten interviews took place on July 12, 1973. They went on over the next two years with the last one on June 30, 1975.

Ok, let us begin with our analysis of bro. Saether’s  interview. We shall break it up into four parts, relating to Florence Houteff , M.J. Bingham, Ben Roden and a summary. All three of these people, we as present truth believers know, had extremely influential roles in the movement after the passing of brother Houteff.

FLORENCE HOUTEFF/M.J. BINGHAM INFORMATION

SAETHER: Well, the leader of course, was Brother Houteff and his right hand
man was a man by the name of Bingham. M. J. Bingham, He was almost a cripple. Tall, about six foot three or four and just like a bean pole. He had some trouble with his legs. But, could he talk! He could out-talk about anybody you ever heard.
He was a student of words. He doted on that. When he’d talk, he’d get new words and see how many times he could use that new word in his sermon or talk. He could follow that.” (Interview no. 3, p.139)

..when he was here he was the spokesman for Brother Houteff, largely, you know, deal with the people. (Ibid, p.140)

McGEE: Do you think there was any kind of attempt on the part of
Elder Wilson to kind of control Bingham or keep him from getting too
much influence?

SAETHER: Oh, I think there was some. Of course, Bingham resented
somebody else being placed over him. Elder Wilson wasn’t here when
Brother Houteff was here. He was out in the field. He was the only
fieldworker we had. He traveled all over the United States and Canada. Then Brother Houteff left he put him in charge. 

No telling what would have happened if Bingham had been here
just by himself. But he did have a following. He was bright and
some of them followed him. I’ve forgotten all that happened, but
anyway, some of them just rebelled against Elder Wilson and they
went off in the woods here—there was a lot of woods here and you
couldn’t find anybody.

McGEE: Who were these rebels? Who was their leader? Were they rebelling
against Wilson’s leadership?

SAETHER: That’s right.

McGEE: I see. Who was their leader?

SAETHER: Bingham was the leader.  (Ibid, p.161-162)

McGEE: When the group originally came here in 1935, Brother Houteff
was not married? Did Mrs. Hermanson and her children come during
that first year?

SAETHER: They came in that same group, the original twelve.

McGEE: I see. I see. So they were members of that twelve. After
about two years Brother Houteff married—

SAETHER: Florence.  (Ibid, p.169)

McGEE: There really was no question in the minds of anyone at the
Mt. Carmel Center as to who was the leader?

SAETHER: Absolutely not. He was the leader. Bingham was the assistant
leader most of the time. But it was what Brother Houteff said that
they swore by. (Ibid, p.172)

*********************


McGEE: We might, while we’re just thinking about these people,
ask the question about those that are still living. Of course Florence
Hermanson is—she’s now remarried, Mrs. Carl Eaken, E-a-k-e-n.

SAETHER: You talked with her over the phone, did you?

McGEE: No, I got to talk with Mrs. Sophia Hermanson. I never got—

SAETHER: Sophia?

McGEE: Yes.  

SAETHER: You never got to talk to—

McGEE: No, I did not. But Florence Hermanson is living. (Interview no. 4, p.191)

****************************

SAETHER:  When we were here at Mt. Carmel, beginning in ’37 when we came,
there was a meeting every Sabbath, Friday night at sundown there was
a meeting and then usually in the afternoon the next day we had a meeting
and Brother Houteff spoke almost entirely.

Beginning in about ’47, I think, let’s see—’46, he began to
take these all down and well, I guess they had before but now it was
designed to meet the needs of the people and get it in such a shape that it could be published.

His wife was a typist and she took all these notes but wrote them
out so that—so they were publishing a book then. That’s what I was
doing in the print shop. At first I was cutting the paper and then I had charge of the
print shop for a number of years.

Here you see the first one is Timely Greetings, Texts and Addresses by V.T. Houteff, Minister of the Davidian, Seventh Day Adventists, Sabbath, August 3, 1946, Mt.
Carmel Chapel, Waco, Texas. And went on like that. (Interview no. 7, p.305 )

SAETHER: Distinctive. It was his handwriting. Of course, he wrote
a lot. Most of these things that he formulated for printing, he wrote
it first and then his wife typed it. Then she’d say she’d “tackle” it. (Ibid, p.311)

This concludes part one. We are posting relevant information in order to make a good summary for our three subjects, Florence Houteff, Ben Roden and M.J. Bingham. As mentioned we can gather good solid eye witness information on the mindset and agendas of these controversial parties.