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Benjamin Roden : biography

January 5, 1902 - October 22, 1978

Benjamin Lloyd Roden (January 5, 1902 – October 22, 1978) was an American religious leader and the prime organizer of the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association.

Born in Bearden, Oklahoma, Roden spent his childhood on a farm, graduated from high school, and attended Oklahoma Teachers College. He spent a short time teaching in a country school. For many years he was employed in the oil fields in Oklahoma and in Odessa, Texas. On February 12, 1937, Roden married Lois Irene Scott. They had six children.

Religious adherence

In 1937, Ben and Lois joined the Christian Church, and were active and faithful members. Not long after they learned about the seventh-day Sabbath. In response to his newly found understanding of the Sabbath, Roden and his wife sought out a nearby Seventh-day Adventist Church in Kilgore, Texas, and were baptized in 1940. As one of the laity, Ben was one who shared his faith with others, and as a result of his labors, a Seventh-day Adventist church was raised up in Odessa, Texas, of which he was the head elder for several years.

In 1946, the family accepted the teachings of The Shepherd's Rod, and together they tried to share this message with others in the Seventh-day Adventist church. For a short time in 1953, Roden and his family resided at Mt. Carmel Center, west of Waco, Texas, which was under the leadership of Victor T. Houteff, founder of the Center and of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association, popularly known as The Shepherd's Rod (or The Rod).

The Branch

Although moved by the unexpected death of Victor Houteff in 1955, Roden believed The Rod teaching that truth must be continually progressive and God's people were to march onward with it. Later that year, he said that he was told to give a message to Florence Houteff and the Executive Council of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist, but was hesitant to do so. Roden stated that, because of his reluctance, one night while he was in bed, the Lord picked him up by the pajama tops and told him to write a letter as he had been made to do. He said that after he had written the letter, he told the Lord, These are not my words, I cannot sign this. He said that the Lord then told him to sign it "The Branch." Roden stated that he was later shown from the Bible and Church writings that this name was Jesus’ new name. Roden taught that the change of Christ’s name was reflective of the change of His work as represented in the prophecies which reveal His new name. Thereafter he worked to share with others what he believed God had revealed to him.

Roden also taught that the name "The Branch" was to be the new name of his Church. Thus the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Association was organized. He taught that eventually the names "Davidian" and "Seventh day Adventists" would be dropped, leaving the name of the Church, "The Branch."


One of the doctrines of the Seventh-day Adventists is that on October 22, 1844, God, the Father, and Jesus moved from the throne from which they ruled the universe to the judgment throne in the Most Holy Place of the heavenly Sanctuary in order to fulfill the antitypical Day of Atonement wherein they were to go through the books of records in order to judge the people's deeds to determine their rewards or punishments. They teach that this investigative work was to begin with those who were already dead in order to decide who was to come up in the resurrection of the saints, and those who were to later come up in the resurrection of the wicked. They also teach that eventually the judgment would pass on to those who were living in order to determine who would be translated without seeing death at Christ's second coming, and those would be destroyed by the brightness of His coming. Roden told the Adventist and Davidian churches that the judgment has passed from the dead to the living on 20 October 1955.

Benjamin Roden assumed control of the group, and renamed it the General Association of Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists. He proclaimed himself to be King David's successor. After his death in 1978, his wife, Lois Roden took control. She had been receiving visions that God is both male and female, and that the third person of the trinity (the Holy Spirit) is female, and our heavenly Mother. She later taught that there is a fourth member of the Godhead, a Daughter (the Holy Ghost), and that Christ and the Holy Ghost are the "two anointed ones" (Messiahs - Christs) of Zechariah 4:14,The Bride of Christ, p. 8-14.'s_Daughter_Lamb's_Wife_Lois_Roden and that the Holy Ghost will appear in Her feminine form prior to Jesus' second coming.The Bride of Christ, p. 16.'s_Daughter_Lamb's_Wife_Lois_Roden A power struggle developed between Lois and her son George.

Vernon Howell joined the Branch Davidians in 1981 and was quickly in good graces with Lois, the head of the church. She died in 1986 and Howell was left in control. By 1990 he had changed his name to David Koresh and had settled with more than a hundred followers in a compound called Mount Carmel, ten miles outside of Waco, Texas. Federal agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) tried to execute a warrant for Koresh's arrest on February 28, 1993, as part of an investigation into allegations of illegal weapons and child abuse. A shoot-out ensued that left ten dead: four BATF agents and six Branch Davidians. Koresh and his followers remained in their compound and a confused state of negotiations went on for 51 days, ending on April 19, 1993 when the compound burned to the ground, killing Koresh and 74 followers, including 21 children.

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