Summary of movement
The Branch Davidians are a splinter group of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) whose members observe the Saturday Sabbath. They believe in the imminent return of Jesus and believe that living prophets can interpret God’s Word in the Bible. The Branch Davidians trace their roots to the work of Victor Houteff (1885-1955) who claimed unique insights into the Book of Revelation. In 1935, Houteff established the Mount Carmel Center in Waco, Texas, which was to be the site of the infamous siege of 1993. David Koresh (then called Vernon Howell) (1959-1993) joined the movement in 1981, becoming leader of the group in 1987. Koresh claimed to be the son of God, the messiah for his own times and the Lamb of Revelation.
David Koresh and Waco, Texas, are now synonymous with the events that unfolded at the Mount Carmel Center between February and April 1993. On 28 February, a raid by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) led to the deaths of six Branch Davidians and four ATF agents. There then followed a 51-day siege and the eventual raid of the Center by the FBI on 19 April. At the end of the siege, 76 Branch Davidian members died: 53 adults and 23 children. This event is often referred to simply as ‘Waco’.
- History / Origins
The history of the Branch Davidians is one of theological disputes and contested leaderships. The leaders of the movement have claimed to receive divine revelations about their own status and about the return of Jesus.
The origins of the movement can be traced to the 19th century and to the Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) Church led by James and Ellen White. Victor Houteff (1885-1955), a Bulgarian immigrant to the USA, joined the SDA in 1919. However, in the late 1920s, he began to preach his own message, believing that the SDA had become pervaded by ‘worldly’ influences. He began to preach that SDA members were not the 144,000 faithful mentioned in Revelation 7 who would be delivered at the imminent second coming of Christ. Rather, he preached that he could purify the Church, gather the 144,000 faithful and lead them to Israel where they would meet Jesus on his return. Houteff was excommunicated from the SDA in 1934. In 1935, he purchased land in Waco, Texas and established the Mount Carmel Center. By the time of Houteff’s death in 1955, there were around 100 members living at the Center, which included a school and a home for the elderly.
Houteff was succeeded by his widow, Florence Houteff, who faced a leadership challenge by prominent members Benjamin and Lois Roden. Florence responded by claiming to have unlocked the Biblical code contained in the Book of Revelation. She claimed that the End Times would occur on 22 April 1959. Following this prophecy, membership increased and around 1000 members gathered at Waco. Her prophecy failed to be fulfilled and, in 1962, she resigned her leadership, sold the group's property, and declared the movement dissolved. This resulted in the emergence of several new groups and, once again, leadership struggles.
The majority of members accepted Benjamin Roden (1902-1978) as leader. Roden took the title ‘Branch’ based on a passage in Isaiah (“and a branch shall grow out of his roots”). He claimed that he was chosen by God to complete Victor Houteff’s work. His followers became known as the 'Branch Davidians'. In 1965, he began the legal process to repurchase the Mount Carmel Center. Before his death in 1978, Roden had appointed his son, George, as his successor. However, the majority of members were loyal to his wife, Lois, herself a visionary who claimed that the Holy Spirit was the feminine aspect of God. Despite this, George Roden continued to make attempts to gain leadership, and it was during these struggles between mother and son that David Koresh (then Vernon Howell, 1959-1993) joined the group.
David Koresh, 1987. https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17726433
Koresh became a member of the Branch Davidians in 1981 following his dismissal from the SDA due to his attempts to preach his own version of SDA theology. Lois named Koresh her successor in 1983. However he faced a series of leadership battles with George Roden. He was forced out of Mount Carmel at gunpoint in 1985. He returned in 1987, occasioning a gunfight in which George Roden was slightly injured. The participants were arrested. However, attempted murder charges against Koresh and his followers were later dismissed. George Roden was imprisoned in 1988 on an unrelated charge. Koresh then took over leadership of the group, continuing to prophesise and deliver revelations about his own (and his followers') role in establishing the Kingdom of God on earth.
In 1993, there were around 130 members living at Mount Carmel, including members from Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, the Philippines, Mexico and Israel. About one third were from the UK. Over half were either Black, Asian or Hispanic (Wessinger 2000: 90). Over half of the members (76 in total), including Koresh, were killed in the fire following the FBI raid on Mount Carmel on 19 April 1993.
In 1999, one of the survivors, Clive Doyle, returned to Mount Carmel and constructed a new chapel and visitor centre. He remained there until 2006 when the centre was taken over by a rival group that rejects Koresh as prophet and messiah, led by Charles Pace. Survivor Renos Avraam leads another rival group. There are numerous groups and individuals who claim to continue the teachings of the Branch Davidians and/or David Koresh – there is no single ‘official’ group. Some of these claim their own unique and definitive interpretations of the Book of Revelation.
The Branch Davidians movements are members of a millennial Christian tradition who focus on the Second Coming of Jesus. Influenced by the writings of James and Ellen White and the Adventist tradition, the Davidians teach that prophetic guidance did not end with the apostles but is available as ‘Present Truth’ or ‘New Light’ in each generation (Gallagher 2013: 115). Davidian leaders have, hence, produced new interpretations of Biblical texts, in particular the Book of Revelation.
Koresh was the first Davidian leader, however, who claimed to be the son of God, the messiah for his own times and the Lamb of Revelation. He claimed that this status gave him a unique insight into Revelation and the Bible as a whole (the King James Version). In this claim, Koresh intended his interpretation of Revelation to be the final and definitive understanding. However, since 1993, numerous groups and individuals in this lineage, including survivor Renos Avraam (who calls himself the ‘Chosen Vessel’), have continued to interpret Revelation and to claim a messianic status.
Survivor Livingstone Fagan explains:
“The need for new religious movements often arises because the established order has gone off track….This is partly why our community at Waco came into being. We were raised up by God as were the prophets in times past to deliver a message. I don’t say this lightly, the prophecies also confirm this” (2013: 198).
- Millennial Beliefs
Davidian leaders have focused on interpreting the Book of Revelation, creating a long line of revelations and prophecies. These include Victor Houteff’s claim to be able to purify the SDA Church and gather the 144,000 faithful to meet Jesus at his return; Florence Houteff’s claim to have discovered the date of the beginning of the End Times: 22nd April 1959; Benjamin Roden’s claim to be appointed by God to complete Victor Houteff’s work; and Lois Roden’s visionary claims, including that the Holy Spirit is the feminine aspect of God.
David Koresh claimed visionary experiences. He reported to have experienced a vision when in Israel in 1985. He claimed that he had visited Heaven, was acknowledged by God as his Son, and given the ability to see the true meaning of the Bible. Based on this visionary experience, Koresh claimed that he was the only person who could unlock the Seven Seals of Revelation. The opening of the Seven Seals was believed to be the “prelude to the final cleansing of the earth and the return of Christ” (Wright and Palmer 2016: 104). Koresh also identified himself as the seventh angel of Revelation, in a line of previous prophets: William Miller (who was both the first and second angel), Ellen G. White, Victor Houteff, Benjamin Roden and Lois Roden.
In 1990, Koresh (born Vernon Wayne Howell) filed a legal petition to change his name to David Koresh. In this, he identified with David, the first king of ancient Israel, and with King Cyrus of Persia (Koresh is Hebrew for Cyrus). The Biblical David released the Israelites from captivity in Babylon, and was considered a messiah. Through the name change, Koresh sought to demonstrate his status as the leader of a new Israel and as the messiah or Christ for his own times. Professor Catherine Wessinger of the Department of Religious Studies, New Orleans, writes that “Koresh related the references to Cyrus in Isaiah 40-54 to the conqueror of evil Babylon in Revelation” (2000: 84). She goes on, “he identified himself as the Christ or messiah who would die in Armageddon, be resurrected and then conquer evil to establish God’s kingdom.” He believed himself to be the “Davidic Christ”, present on earth to participate in the events of the End Times, whilst Jesus Christ was another messiah, present in Heaven.
The Davidians believed that Armageddon was imminent – and that Koresh had a role to play in its beginning by unlocking the Seven Seals. End Time predictions included that the Davidians would move to Palestine/Israel to fight in Armageddon “against a United Nations force led by the United States” (Wessinger 2000: 85). It was prophesised that Koresh would be killed in Armageddon but would return to establish God’s kingdom and his children would become rulers of the earth.
Until the start of Armageddon, members believed that they should live apart from corrupt Babylon in “lives dedicated to God at Mount Carmel”, gathering the faithful to their cause (Wessinger 2000: 85). Whilst Koresh initially taught that Armageddon would begin in 1995, Wessinger explains that the Gulf War in 1991 and the persecution of the Davidians in 1992 led him to teach that Armageddon might begin at Mount Carmel (2000: 91). The Davidians believed that the raid on their community was the beginning of Armageddon, as described in the Fifth Seal. It also fitted with their belief, first taught by Victor Houteff and emphasised by the Rodens’ that the members at Mount Carmel would one day experience a purification through a baptism of fire (Newport 2006). However, theirs was a fluid understanding of the End Times, looking to current events for confirmation.
During the siege, Davidians believed themselves to be following God’s orders. They believed they were first to wait, then to celebrate Passover, and then Koresh would write down his interpretation of the Seven Seals. Scholars James Tabor and Phil Arnold attempted to counsel the FBI that Koresh might surrender after he had finished his treatise, but their advice was ignored in favour of the views of ex-members and anti-cultists who claimed that the group was planning either a war with the government or a mass suicide. Koresh’s final letter written to his lawyer, Dick DeGuerin, on 14 April 1993, suggests that he would come out of the Center once his manuscript was complete:
“I am presently being permitted to document, in structured form, the decoded messages of the Seven Seals. Upon completion of this task, I will be free of my ‘waiting period.’ I hope to finish this as soon as possible and to stand before man to answer any and all questions regarding my actions….
I want the people of this generation to be saved. I am working night and day to complete my final work of the writing out of these Seals…
As soon as I can see that people like Jim Tabor and Phil Arnold have a copy I will come out and then you can do your thing with this beast.” (Tabor and Gallagher 1995: 15)
The Branch Davidian practices are in line with the wider Seventh-day Adventist Church including observation of the Saturday Sabbath and the Jewish festivals including Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
Palestine/Israel has featured prominently in the teachings of successive leaders as the site of God’s kingdom. When Houteff established the Mount Carmel Center it was in the belief that this was to be a temporary residence before the group moved to Palestine/Israel for the battle of Armageddon. Benjamin and Lois Roden also founded a community in Israel in 1958. It was in Israel that Koresh reported his defining visionary experience.
Evangelism was another important practice: Victor Houteff focused on spreading his message amongst Seventh-day Adventist members, mailing his tracts to more than 100,000 SDA members and sending missionaries to visit SDA churches in England and Commonwealth countries (Wessinger 2000: 86). Later leaders sought to evangelise outside of the SDA Church, and Koresh and other members travelled throughout the USA and to England, Canada, Australia and Israel. The evangelism message focused on the leader’s interpretations of Revelation.
In line with this, a major practice at Mount Carmel was Bible study. Under Koresh’s leadership, there were daily teachings at the Center in which Koresh outlined his understandings of the Bible. Survivor Clive Doyle explains that these teachings took the form of Koresh narrating his visions as he was experiencing them (Doyle 2012: 119). Music was also important during Koresh’s leadership and Koresh was a keen guitar player.
During Koresh’s leadership, the majority of members lived at the Mount Carmel Center from where they operated a number of businesses including a car repair service and the selling of gun and hunting-related products at gun shows. These businesses, as well as the donations of working Davidians, financed the Center. In the years prior to the raid, as members began to believe that Armageddon would start in Texas, they began to practice a form of survivalism, stockpiling dried food and weapons for use in self-defence.
For the majority of its history, the Branch Davidians were a small, insular community which did not engage in problematic practices or attract much controversy. However, a number of Koresh’s teachings and revelations were problematic. The most controversial practices were Koresh’s personal sexual relations with female members of the community and purchasing weapons both for selling and for the protection of the community during Armageddon.
Scholars including Stuart Wright and Susan Palmer (2016) and Catherine Wessinger (2000), have argued that it was only in the two years prior to the raid that the concerted effort of critics of the movement (including ex-members, relatives and journalists) led to its public construction as a ‘dangerous cult’. This image was exacerbated in the Waco Tribune-Herald series, ‘The Sinful Messiah’, which was published in instalments during the raid.
Cover of the Waco Tribune-Herald, 27 February 1993.
In the years leading up to the raid, claims of child and sexual abuse were levelled at Koresh and the community by former members and critical relatives. Koresh did engage in sexual relations with a number of minors. In 1984 he had married his wife, Rachel Jones, when she was 14, with the permission of her parents who were longstanding members.
In the late 1980s, Koresh claimed a divine mandate to take other spiritual wives from within the community. He began to teach that all women in the community, including those married to others, were his wives; all the men, other than himself, were to be celibate. The mandate also ordered him to father 24 children. These children would be raised within the community and would “eventually serve as the 24 elders spoken of in the Book of Revelation who would rule during the Millennium” (Wright and Palmer 2016: 104). Amongst his spiritual wives was Michele Jones, sister of Rachel, who was 12 or 13 at the time, below the age of legal consent in Texas. The women believed that it was an honour to have a child with Koresh and parents consented to their teenage daughters entering the extra-legal marriages. By 1993, Koresh had fathered 17 children by eight different women.
A home video of Koresh introducing his children, made during the siege and broadcast by CNN
In 1992, following two child custody cases, the Texas Child Protective Services investigated alleged claims of child abuse at Mount Carmel. Former members reported a number of cases of Koresh spanking young children and babies, including his son, Cyrus. However, after visiting the Center on three occasions to interview members, both adults and children, and to physically examine 12 children, no evidence of abuse was found and the investigation was dropped. It is likely that some corporal punishment of children at Mount Carmel did take place, however, in line with conservative Protestant child-discipline practices (Wessinger 2000: 63).
The Branch Davidians did own guns, as was normal in the Texas culture in which they participated. Koresh and other members were also involved in the legal selling of guns. It is contested as to whether there was evidence that members were illegally converting semi-automatic weapons into fully-automatic weapons, as the ATF claimed (Wessinger 2000: 62).
- February-April 1993
On 28 February 1993, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF), raided the Mount Carmel Center in order to serve search and arrest warrants on David Koresh. The ATF acted on the assumption that Koresh was in possession of illegal weapons and explosives. After a gun battle in which four ATF agents and six Branch Davidians were killed and Koresh was injured, the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team was called in to take control of the stand-off.
Over the next 50 days, the FBI negotiated with Davidian members in an attempt to have them surrender, whilst subjecting the community to both physical and psychological violence, including shining bright lights and playing loud recordings. Koresh and other members attempted to negotiate with the FBI through an explanation of their theology. This was dismissed by the FBI as “Bible babble”, motivated as they were by their perception of Koresh as a dangerous cult leader (Wessinger 2000: 74).
On the 19 April 1993, the 51st day of the siege, the FBI launched an assault on the barricaded compound. The compound was soon on fire, which consumed the Center and killed 76 Davidian members, including Koresh and most of his children. Some of the members also had gunshot wounds. Some of the women and children were killed by falling concrete in the room where they had sought shelter. 35 members had left the Center during the siege and nine members survived the fire. Eleven members were imprisoned in 1994 for conspiracy to murder federal agents and other charges.
A short National Geographic report on the ATF raid, sympathetic to the ATF’s perspective, can be seen below
The report includes footage of Bible studies in Mount Carmel prior to the raid.
CNN’s live coverage of the fire on 19 April 1993 can be seen below:
This includes a live interview with a Branch Davidian member, ‘Brad Branch’, in prison, who claims that the fire was destroying evidence.
Scholar Wessinger has written that “Every act of violence in the Branch Davidian case is disputed. The testimonies of Branch Davidians and U.S. federal agents contradict each other” (2000: 57). This is compounded by the fact that most of the evidence was destroyed in the final fire. The FBI had claimed that the Davidians started the fires themselves in an act of suicide.
However, there is evidence that the US Attorney General, Janet Reno, had authorized the use of tear gas (which was actually “banned by international treaty for use in warfare against a civilian group that included children” (Wessinger 2000: 59). In the late 1990s, further information came to light that suggested that the FBI might have been responsible for the deaths of members inside Mount Carmel, including through the use of incendiary tear gas cartridges fired into the buildings. This might have started the fires.
Attorney General Reno appointed former U.S. Senator John Danforth as the head of an independent inquiry into the siege and subsequent deaths. The Danforth Report, published in 2000, concluded that the FBI was not responsible for the deaths, and that responsibility lay with Koresh. This differs from the opinion of numerous scholars of religion who have focused on the interactions of the community and the government forces. Scholars, including Catherine Wessinger (2000) and Stuart Wright and Susan Palmer (2016) are of the opinion that it is unlikely the Davidians committed suicide as evidenced in their negotiations and attempts to convert FBI agents to the end.
Professor Stuart Wright and Dr Susan Palmer suggest that concerted opposition to the movement by ex-members, concerned relatives, anti-cult activists and journalists coalesced in the two years prior to the raid as part of a “deviance amplification spiral” (2016: 106) similar to that at Jonestown. Indeed, concerned relatives had expressed fears that “It’ll be another Jonestown” (Wright and Palmer 2016: 107).
Koresh was involved in some illegal practices (particularly his sexual activity with minors). However, the presentation of the Branch Davidian’s outside the group led to a moral panic of concerned parties, “threat escalation” (Wright and Palmer 2016: 106) and an assault on the community. Wright and Palmer argue that the ATF began preparing for a military-style raid two months before it took place, based partly on ex-member testimonies that Koresh was stockpiling weapons, would never surrender in a conflict with the government, and was manufacturing drugs. According to Wright and Palmer, the raid was flawed from the beginning: the ATF did not accept Koresh’s invitation to Mount Carmel to inspect the weapons, and there were numerous opportunities to arrest Koresh when he was away from Mount Carmel.
“The Davidians were strategically framed by opponents as a violent apocalyptic cult holed up in an armed encampment preparing for the final battle of Armageddon against the Antichrist government forces.”
(Wright and Palmer 2016: 116)
Professor Nancy Ammerman, who was asked by the Justice and Treasury Departments to review the law enforcements interactions with the Branch Davidians, in 1995 wrote:
“After the disastrous BATF raid on the home of the Branch Davidians, as the FBI settled into their long siege and the world's news organizations created a small village outside the perimeter, scholars of religion--with near unanimity--shook their collective heads in disbelief at the strategies being adopted by federal law enforcement. Did they not know that a group was more likely to rally behind its charismatic leader than to surrender to his enemies? Did they not know that apocalyptic beliefs should be taken seriously, that they were playing the role of the enemies of Christ?”
Ammerman details how the statements of critics, including ex-member Marc Breault and ‘anti-cultist’ Rick Ross, encouraged the ATF and FBI to believe that the members would commit mass suicide, as in Jonestown, and/or were planning a war against the government. Government forces erroneously thought that the Davidians had links with Christian Identity/ Posse Comitatus groups (Wright and Palmer 2016: 116). (An 11 day siege between the Weaver family and the FBI at Ruby Ridge in 1992 had ended in three deaths).
But, Wessinger argues, the Davidians were seeking a peaceful resolution to the conflict. Unlike the Peoples Temple, they were not a “fragile” millennial group, as they did not doubt their leader’s status nor the achievement of their “ultimate concern” - “the unfolding of God’s plan to establish his millennial kingdom” (2000: 100). She suggests rather that the government’s violent actions served to confirm Koresh’s teachings and enhance his status amongst his followers.
“The ATF and FBI played the role of satanic Babylon perfectly and confirmed Koresh’s catastrophic millennial prophecies.”
(Wessinger 2000: 94)
The fire at the Mount Carmel Center. Photo by Susan Weems, Associated Press.
Taken from http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/texas/article/Nearly-a-quarter-century-later-a-look-back-at-10963518.php
On the 19 April 1995, the second anniversary of the siege of Waco, Timothy McVeigh, a young Gulf War veteran, detonated a bomb outside a government building in Oklahoma City. 168 people died, including over a dozen children, and over 600 more were injured, making this the greatest loss of life in a US domestic terrorist incident. McVeigh cited both Ruby Ridge and the Waco siege as motivating factors in his antagonism towards the US federal government. In the documentary, The Shadow of Waco, Mark Potok, Senior Fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, explains that “On the far right in this country, Waco was the convincing last straw that government had in fact become a murderous tyranny”. It mobilised the far right belief that citizen disarmament was coming, and led to an increase in armed militias, including the 2014 and 2016 stand-offs between the Bundy family and the government.
The impact of Waco on contemporary militias is explored in the 15 minute RetroReport documentary, The Shadow of Waco, available at https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000003795356/the-shadow-of-waco.html
- Personal reflections
A British survivor, Livingstone Fagan, who was one of those imprisoned after Waco, explains his continuing belief in Koresh’s messianic status:
“There have been questions raised about some of our practices, mainly our having guns and David having multiple wives. I understand how this might appear to an outsider with no knowledge of the underlying theology. But assuredly there is a legitimate explanation and purpose behind all this. Needless to say, God is not bound by the traditions and conceptions of men. In any case, these were secondary to the matter concerning David Koresh himself….
The most important question of Waco is not about guns or fire. It is about whether or not David truly had these communications with God. How this is answered clarifies everything else.
Believe it or not, and I make no apologies for saying this, David Koresh was anointed of God to do the things he did. He took on the mantle of Christ.” (2013: 198).
- Further information
Ammerman, Nancy T. (1993) ‘Report to the Justice and Treasury Department Regarding Law Enforcement Interaction with the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas’ in Recommendations of Experts for Improvements in Federal Law Enforcement after Waco. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Justice.
Available online at http://hirr.hartsem.edu/bookshelf/ammerman_article1.html
Ammerman, Nancy T. (1995) ‘Waco, Federal Law Enforcement, and Scholars of Religion’ in S. Wright (ed) Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Gallagher, Eugene V. (2013) ‘Present Truth and Theological Revisionism among the Branch Davidians’ in E. Barker (ed) Revisionism and Diversification in New Religious Movements. Surrey: Ashgate.
Gallagher, Eugene V. (2013) ‘Branch Davidians 1929-1981’ entry on the World Religions and Spirituality Project website, available at http://www.wrldrels.org/profiles/BranchDavidians1.htm
Lewis, James R. (editor) (1994) From the Ashes: Making Sense of Waco. Maryland: Rowman and Littlefield.
Newport, Kenneth G. C. (2006) The Branch Davidians of Waco: The History and Beliefs of an Apocalyptic Sect. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tabor, James D. and Eugene V. Gallagher (1995) Why Waco?: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Wessinger, Catherine (2000) How the Millennium Comes Violently: From Jonestown to Heaven’s Gate. New York, London: Seven Bridges Press.
Wessinger, Catherine (2016) ‘Branch Davidians 1981-2006’ entry on the World Religions and Spirituality Project website, available at http://www.wrldrels.org/profiles/BranchDavidians.htm
Wright, Stuart A. (editor) (1996) Armageddon in Waco: Critical Perspectives on the Branch Davidian Conflict. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Wright, Stuart A. and Susan J. Palmer (2016) ‘The Branch Davidians’ in Storming Zion: Government Raids on Religious Communities. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Breault, Marc, and Martin King (1993) Inside the Cult: A Chilling, Exclusive Account of Madness and Depravity in David Koresh’s Compound. New York: Signet.
Doyle, Clive, with Catherine Wessinger and Matthew D. Wittmer (2012) A Journey to Waco: Autobiography of a Branch Davidian. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield.
Fagan, Livingstone (2013) ‘Waco: Living Prophecy’ in S. Harvey and S. Newcombe (editors) Prophecy in the New Millennium: When Prophecies Persist. Surrey: Ashgate.
Gladwell, Malcolm (2014) ‘Sacred and Profane: How Not to Negotiate With Believers’. The New Yorker, Annals of Religion, March 31 2014. Available at http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/03/31/sacred-and-profane-4.
Moore, Carol (1995) The Davidian Massacre: Disturbing Questions About Waco Which Must Be Answered. Franklin, Tenn. And Springfield, Va.: Legacy Communications. Accompanying website at http://carolmoore.net/waco/
Noeser, Gary (2010) Stalling for Time: My Life as an FBI Hostage Negotiator. New York: Random House.
Reavis, Dick J. (1998) The Ashes of Waco: An Investigation. Syracuse University Press. (First published 1995 by Simon and Schuster Inc.).
Thibodeau, David, and Leon Whiteson (1999) A Place Called Waco: A Survivor’s Story. New York: Public Affairs.
Films and Online Resources:
CNN (1993) Waco CNN Live Coverage – Part 1. YouTube Video, added by ChickenNoodleFan, 2010 [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRTfEjhdvSo (Accessed 6 June 2017).
Gazecki, William (director) (1997) Waco – The Rules of Engagement. Added to YouTube 2016 by Nick T [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3b9nvIw-_k (Accessed 6 June 2017).
National Geographic (2014) The ATF Raid the Branch Davidians. YouTube Video [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3B7iWE1PrA (Accessed 6 June 2017).
RetroReport (no date) The Shadow of Waco. [Online]. Available at https://www.nytimes.com/video/us/100000003795356/the-shadow-of-waco.html
(Accessed 6 June 2017).
Vleet, Jason Van (1999) Waco – A New Revelation. Added to YouTube 2014 by rtxyz1 [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xr9pQ1pIbiU (Accessed 6 June 2017).
Waco Faith, Fear and Fire CNN David Koresh Children (2011). YouTube Video, added by SpecialPioneerSmerf [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9SUfJ6rP-w (Accessed 6 June 2017).
The FBI files relating to Waco, including transcripts of the almost 250 negotiation tapes, can be accessed at https://vault.fbi.gov/waco-branch-davidian-compound
1993 US Department of Justice Report, ‘Evaluation of the Handling of the Branch Davidian Stand-off in Waco, Texas: February 28 to April 19, 1993’ by Edward S. G. Dennis, Jr. Available at https://www.justice.gov/publications/waco/evaluation-handling-branch-davidian-stand-waco-texas-february-28-april-19-1993
2000 ‘Interim Report to the Deputy Attorney General Concerning the 1993 Confrontation At The Mt. Carmel Complex. Waco, Texas’ by John C. Danforth. Popularly called ‘The Danforth Report’. Available at http://www.cesnur.org/testi/DanforthRpt.pdf.
There is also a Telegraph interview with Fagan on the 20th Anniversary of the siege, in which he further outlines his belief in Koresh and the coming End Times at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/religion/9950378/Waco-siege-20-years-on-the-survivors-tale.html
A Reuters interview with the Australian survivor, Clive Doyle, on the 20th anniversary can be read at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-waco-anniversary-idUSBRE93I16X20130419.
Doyle, like Fagan, talks of his continuing belief in Koresh as Christ.
Author: Sarah Harvey, Inform
Last Updated: June 2017