New Religions Essay

1830 words - 7 pages

New Religions

Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Christianity are religions that have been around for thousands of years. At some point in time all four of these religions were new, and I am sure viewed with some skepticism of this ideology being taught. Within all of these religions there have been people who have disagreed with the beliefs being practiced and this has caused many to leave to form their own religious groups. The road to finding one's faith is not always easy and that is why religions are constantly being recreated to fit one's perception of God.
The new religious movement for this paper will be defined as religions less then two hundred years old. They were formed due to separation from an established church or by an individual having a "vision" from God. There are two in particular that I will cover Branch Davidians and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I will not be focusing on the religion from where it came but rather on the history of the person, beliefs and the practices of these new religious movements.
The Branch Davidians were once known as The Shepherds Rod, a Seventh-Day Adventist Branch. Victor Houteff first heard the teachings of the Seventh- Day Adventist Church in 1918 at a revival meeting. Houteff eventually came to believe that the Seventh-day Adventist doctrines and teachings were inaccurate and he called for reform. The church isolated Houteff and his followers that resulted in a brake from SDA and the foundation of "The Shepherd's Rod." Houteff saw himself as a divine messenger sent by God to reveal the secret information in the scroll mentioned in the Book of Revelation, Chapter 5. Houteff compiled his beliefs in his book "The Shepherd's Rod." He began the process of attaining followers by founding the Mount Carmel Center near Waco, Texas with eleven of his followers in 1935. This event prompted Houteff to change the name of his group to the Davidian Seventh-Day Adventist Association. In 1955, Victor Houteff died. With his mission incomplete and his prophetic claims unfulfilled, unease swept throughout the group.
Houteff's wife, Florence, assumed leadership of the movement despite splintering within the group. One such splintered group, the Branch Davidians, led by Benjamin Roden, would later take control of the Davidian movement. Before this occurred, however, "Florence Houteff predicted that the time of God's judgement would fall on April 22, 1959. She believed this would be when the 1,260 days of Revelation 11 would be completed and on that day God would intervene in Palestine. Followers began to assemble at the New Mount Carmel, located east of Waco, and on April 16, 1959 prepared to move to the Holy Land." (Dallas Morning News)
Roden named his faction the Branch Davidian SDA. Roden declared himself the fifth angel (Revelation 9:1), in the same vein as Houteff, who had declared himself the fourth angel (Revelation 8:12). He lead the Branch until his death in 1978,...

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