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Our Stories - The Predators In Our Church

Seek The Truth Blog

Our Stories - The Predators In Our Church:

Through the years, many former members of William Branham's "Message" cult have contacted us with descriptions of sexual abuse. Besides the documented cases of molestation, rape, and torture on our website, the private groups we have worked with have resulted in numerous testimonies of sexual abuse, with predators ranging from common rank-and-file members to cult leaders themselves.

Until the sexual abuse of an underage boy was the center of attention in one of the "Message" churches in Canada, members of the cult following not yet victimized were largely unaware this problem existed in the group. A large percentage of the predators were either given sanctuary or privacy in the "Message", and potential victims were not warned of the predators in their midst as is standard procedure in mainstream Christian churches. As a result, the problem continued to exist, and likely still exists today.

There have not been very many who are able to tell their story about being abused. For current members and former members alike, victims are often further victimized after becoming vocal. This is a problem that is not unique to the "Message" cult; former members of other cults often describe victims hushed through shaming. Unfortunately, the current laws in the United States legal system are not strict enough to protect our victims, and many predators go free.

Erick contacted me to share his story of abuse in the "Message" cult, and we are publishing it today. Though I do not personally know Erick, what he describes is all-too-familiar. Many of our former members will recognize what Erick describes, and if not for the location, might even think they were victimized by the same predators. The names have been removed from this story to protect Erick. As time permits, the names will be further researched. If documented evidence of the predators still exists, the information will be also published on our website under the resources section.

Here is Erick's story:

I'm 33 from a small town called Petrolia in Ontario, Canada. I was born into William Branham's "Message" cult. My mother met my father at a "Message" church camp when my she was 18 years old. He was age 23, from Ontario, and she from Jeffersonville, Indiana.

I was born March 13, 1984, with a severe case of Tourette's syndrome. I only made it through first grade when my mom found out they were putting me in the teachers' lounge due to my involuntary tics disrupting the other students. After that, she got upset at the teachers and decided to homeschool. It was very difficult for me. At the "Message" church, they laid hands and told me I was healed at least once a week. My mother kept telling me "You have to believe!" -- but it didn't work. I got very angry at this so-called "god" because my tics continually got worse. Still, I continued to be told that I have to "believe" I was healed. I would often get in trouble for not going up and crying with all the others before the church. Even at age sixteen, I knew this was cult mentality.

I was able to leave the church, but not before the damage was already done. I was molested. It was at a very young age, and by a cult member who was a close friend of the family. He was a predator. I don't even remember when it started. As I got older I felt as though it was my fault, so I didn't say anything until after age twenty. By that time, the problem had grown. Other children in the church were also victimized, including my sister, and by a different person.

One of the cult members preying on children lived in a trailer on my aunt and uncle's property in Michigan. Later, he stayed with my grandparents in Indiana. He wore cowboy boots, had a gimp hand, and a trick: He pretended to pull quarters out of children's ears to trick them into sitting on his lap. We learned that he was wanted by the FBI for molesting multiple girls.

I'm told that one of the predators in my childhood "Message" cult church has been caught. The damage has already been done. Trust in our family is gone. I am no longer a "Message" believer.

Erick Van Wyk
- Former "Message" Member