Development of David Koresh
In order to understand these characteristics, however, it
is helpful to understand the similarity between varying totalistic
leaders and movements. Towards that end, letís look at Bin Laden
in relation to David Koresh, the leader of an infamous American "cult"
called the Branch Davidians.
Koresh, born Wayne Howell, was
isolated as a child, made fun of, ridiculed. In conversations with FBI
agents during the siege on his compound, he
|characterized his childhood as lonely. He
said the other kids teased him and called him "Vernie". He was
dyslexic, a bad student, and dropped out of high school. He felt
totally isolated, alone.
He found solace in the
Bible Ė and by the time he was 12, he had
memorized large tracts of it. When he was 20, Koresh
began attending his mother's church, the Church of the Seventh Day
Adventists. He was, as correlates with his track record of
rejection and ridicule, subsequently kicked out due to his "bad
influence on the young people". After failed attempts to "make
it" in Hollywood as a rock star, Koresh returned to Waco in 1981, where
he joined the Branch Davidians (which had about 1,400 members).
||Koresh proceeded to
have an affair with the
then-leader Lois Roden, who was 60 at the time. The two traveled
to Israel together on a spiritual pilgrimage.
When Roden died, a power struggle emerged between Koresh and Roden's
son. Koresh split from the group, taking some followers with him.
He then returned to the compound in late 1987 with seven other armed
|attacked the Davidian compound. During the
conflict, Roden was shot multiple times (but wasn't killed).
Koresh and his followers were brought to trial, but the followers were
acquitted, and a mistrial was declared in Koresh's case.
By 1990 Koresh had changed his name from Wayne
Howell, and characterized
himself as the leader/prophet of the Branch Davidians. ("Koresh"
is a Hebrew transliteration of Cyrus, the Persian King who allowed the
persecuted Jews in Babylon to return to Israel.) As you can see,
his dedication to the Bible was still present. Koresh proceeded to
isolate the Davidians in their compound, stating that they were the
chosen ones, the "good" ones, and the world was made up with forces that
will spur the oncoming Armageddon, the day of atonement; and that when
that day comes, God will spare the Davidians because of their dedication
to His truth.
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