Branch Davidian

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The Branch Davidians (also known as "The Branch") are a Protestant sect that originated in 1955 from a schism in the Davidian Seventh Day Adventists ("Davidians"), a so-called reform movement that began within the Seventh-day Adventist Church ("Adventists") around 1930. The majority of those who accepted the reform message have been disfellowshipped (excommunicated) due to the Adventist church rejecting it.

From its inception in 1930, the reform movement inherited Adventism's apocalypticism, in that they believed themselves to be living in a time when Bible prophecies of a final divine judgment were coming to pass as a prelude to Christ's second coming. The name "Branch Davidian" is most widely known for the Waco Siege of 1993 on their property (known as the Mount Carmel Center) near Waco, Texas, by the ATF, FBI, and Texas National Guard, which resulted in the deaths of their leader, David Koresh as well as 82 other Branch Davidians and 4 ATF agents.[1][2]

Contents

Relationship to other groups

There is an ongoing controversy concerning whether or not David Koresh and his followers truly represented the reform movement that had been in existence for over 60 years at the time of the siege, and whether or not they had a right to use the name and property of the church. Though his followers numbered around 140 at the time of the siege, only about 20 of them and their children were associated with the church before he drew them away to follow his unique teachings and practices. A much greater number of the loosely organized church rejected his claims.

By the time of the siege, Koresh had encouraged his followers to think of themselves as "students of the Seven Seals" rather than as "Branch Davidians." During the standoff one of his followers publicly announced that he wanted them to thereafter be identified by the name "Koreshians".[3] Other of his followers said they did not want to use that new name, and the vast majority of the media continued to use the name "Branch Davidian," in spite of protests from other church members who did not leave the church to join Koresh's distinct offshoot. The Seventh Day Adventist Church with world headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland, was able to persuade the media to not use its name in conjunction with the Branch Davidians[citation needed] because they had not long before trademarked their name, despite the fact that the Branch Davidians had legally used the words "Seventh Day Adventists" in their name for decades before the Adventists had trademarked the name. Protests against the use of the name "Davidian" for Koresh and his followers were also raised by the Davidian groups who were not affiliated with the Branch, but also to no avail.

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