Saturday, August 9, 2014


Rebecca Musser, author of The Witness Wore Red: The 19th Wife Who Brought Polygamous Cult Leaders to Justice

Rebecca Musser empowers women around the world to escape from bondage in all its forms, because as she has said, "I was once owned, too."

Born into the FLDS, an extreme, isolated, polygamist sect of the Mormon faith, as a teenager she was forced in marriage to the 85-year-old prophet; destined to be his 19th wife of sixty-five. After enduring years of violation, upon her husband's death she escaped from his son, Warren Jeffs, when he tried to force her to remarry. On behalf of her little sisters and other voiceless young girls trapped within that culture, Rebecca testified over 20 times against cult leaders to bring evidence to light, and freedom to her people.

Today, Rebecca is the founder of, a non-profit organization dedicated to bringing dignity, hope and healing to victims of human trafficking.

The memoir of a prophet's 19th wife, damned apostate, and witness for the prosecution of Warren Jeffs and FLDS leaders.  I wrote this book because I want to use the experiences of my life as a means to educate others about rethinking possibilities and understanding the power of choice.  I want others to know about the dangers of harmful belief systems that are used to enslave the minds of people just like you and me.I also want my book to inform those within the FLDS and similar situations that there really IS goodness in the outside world.  My hope for all who read my book is that they will celebrate the resiliency of the human spirit, see more possibilities in their own life and most importantly, take action towards achieving their dreams.


Flames engulf the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, on April 20, 1993. A 51-day standoff at the compound ended in a fire and the deaths of about 80 sect members, including two dozen children.Flames engulf the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, on April 20, 1993. A 51-day standoff at the compound ended in a fire and the deaths of about 80 sect members, including two dozen children. Susan Weems /AP   
Twenty years ago, federal agents clashed with David Koresh's Branch Davidian community near Waco, Texas. The standoff ended with a raid and fire that killed some 80 people. It's remembered as one of the darkest chapters in American law enforcement history.

Two decades later, some of the Branch Davidians who survived the raid are still believers, while a new church group has moved onto the land.

Most people born in an earlier generation know the outlines of the story. David Koresh was the self-appointed prophet of a small religious community. He was suspected of polygamy, having sex with underage girls and stockpiling illegal weapons.

On Feb. 28, 1993, a strike force from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms raided his compound at Mount Carmel. Four agents and five Davidians died in the gunbattle. In a 911 call, a Davidian and attorney named Wayne Martin said there were women and children inside the compound and told authorities to call off the raid.

The FBI then took charge of the standoff, and for 51 days agents tightened the noose around the Davidians using loud music, bright lights, bulldozers and flash-bang grenades. The standoff culminated with a gas raid.

On April 19, tanks punched holes in the flimsy building and began inserting tear gas. Then, a fire erupted and incinerated the building. A blustery spring wind fanned the flames, and the structure was reduced to charcoal in less than an hour.

Most of the post-incident reports blame the Davidians for starting the fire and for shooting each other in consensual suicides. Some critics maintain to this day that the FBI raid inadvertently caused the fire.

Either way, the agency's actions are indefensible, says Catherine Wessinger, a religious historian at Loyola University in New Orleans, an authority on apocalyptic groups and an expert on the Davidian episode.

"If the FBI believed they were dealing with members of a cult who were not in their right minds, then why would the FBI put so much pressure on them and then ultimately carry out an assault which just confirmed David Koresh's prophecies?" Wessinger says.

Clive Doyle, a 72-year-old Australian-Texan, still lives in Waco and still has Bible study every Saturday with another survivor, Sheila Martin. Doyle has become the Davidians' unofficial historian and spokesman. He says they are still waiting on the resurrection of Koresh.

"We survivors of 1993 are looking for David and all those that died either in the shootout or in the fire," Doyle says. "We believe that God will resurrect this special group."

Today, all nine Davidian survivors who were convicted for various offenses related to the initial ATF raid have been released from federal prison. Paul Fatta, who spent nearly 13 years in prison on weapons charges, was released two years early for good behavior. Now 55 years old, he lives in San Diego where he manages his family's Hawaiian restaurant. Fatta, too, still believes.


Charles Pace, the leader of a new group of Branch Davidians, stands next to a memorial for members of the sect killed during the ATF raid at Mount Carmel. 
Charles Pace, the leader of a new group of Branch Davidians, stands next to a memorial for members of the sect killed during the ATF raid at Mount Carmel.
John Burnett/NPR

"I would like to see some divine intervention, for God to vindicate his people," he says, "all those that have suffered over the years for truth, who've been misunderstood, have been mocked, ridiculed [and] thrown in prison."

Out on the grassy rise east of Waco where it all happened, there is a new Branch Davidian community that has risen from the ashes; they call themselves Branch, The Lord Our Righteousness.

Twelve people live in a scattering of mobile homes. There's a new church, a dignified memorial to the dead, and a new leader.

"I came back here after the slaughter and I feel that the Lord has anointed me and appointed me to be the leader," says Charles Pace, a portly herbalist who lost a foot in a tractor accident. "I don't claim to be a prophet. I'm a teacher of righteousness, that's the only thing I claim."

Like their predecessors under Koresh, the new community of Davidians is — according to their leader — waiting for the end times.

"The United States has to fall in order for the One World Order to be set up," he says. "Especially if there's war in the Middle East, that's when they're going to see Branch Davidians start scrambling to find out what the truth is, and where they need to be."

Pace says he teaches the dozens of curious visitors who show up here every month the truth of what happened at Mount Carmel. But as with everything else about the Branch Davidian saga, whose truth is that?



Evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung and his wife Han Hak-ja bless newlyweds during a mass wedding ceremony: Mass wedding guru Sun Myung Moon hands power to sons
Evangelist Reverend Moon Sun-myung and his wife Han Hak-ja bless newlyweds during a mass wedding ceremony  Photo: REUTERS

Brides in white carrying plastic bouquets and men in black suits and ties posed for photos after arriving at Sun Moon University in Asan, south of Seoul, for a ceremony that was to be broadcast live at similar events worldwide.

Rev Moon was set to marry off or renew wedding vows for 21,000 people in South Korea as well as for an estimated 20,000 people taking part in ceremonies from Sweden to Brazil and in nearly every US state, church officials said.

The "blessing ceremony" - the church's largest in a decade - comes as Rev Moon is moving to hand day-to-day leadership over to three of his 11 children.

The three sons insist their father remains in charge and in good health.

However, they inherit an organisation that has gone beyond its pseudo-Christian origins to become a business empire spanning several countries, the Guardian reports. Its interests include a newspaper, the Washington Times, a gun manufacturer, hotels, an ad agency, a seafood distributor, a professional football team, and a ballet troupe.

While Rev Moon is expected to retain his overarching influence, the installation of his youngest son, Moon Hyung-jin, 30, as religious director is being seen as part of a drive to modernise the movement and secure new members and funds.

Rev Moon, a self-proclaimed Messiah who says he was 15 when Jesus Christ called upon him to carry out his unfinished work, has courted controversy and criticism since founding the Unification Church in Seoul in 1954.

He held his first mass wedding in the early 1960s, arranging the marriages of 24 couples himself and renewing the vows of 12 married couples.

Over the next two decades, the weddings grew in scale and began to involve followers from Japan, Europe, Africa, Latin America, the U.S. and elsewhere. A 1982 mass wedding at Madison Square Garden in New York, the first held outside South Korea, drew tens of thousands of participants and protesters.

In recent years, the weddings have been smaller in scale.

"My wish is to completely tear down barriers and to create a world in which everyone becomes one," he said in his recent autobiography. He says the blessing ceremonies pairing followers from different backgrounds are part of his vision of building a multicultural religious world.

However, critics accuse the church of engaging in cult-like practices and say the mass weddings prove it brainwashes its followers.

03 Sep 2012

Thousands of Moonies marry in stadium -

18 Feb 2013

UK Telegraph



Why do People Follow Evangelists and Gurus?
He Leadeth Me ... Where?  Jamestown and Jonestown

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