A CONDENSED SKETCH OF DAVIDIAN HISTORY

 

In 1929, Victor T. Houteff, a Sabbath school teacher in the Seventh-Day Adventist Church at the time, began to expound a series of Bible studies based on the denomination's Sabbath school quarterly of Isaiah 54-66. He shared these studies with his class on Sabbath mornings and afternoons when requested. Though he was teaching nothing contrary to the denomination as far as the conclusion was concerned, he encountered bitter and determined opposition from the very outset. In the course of time, he documented these and a few other studies and compiled them into a book entitled "The Shepherd's Rod Volume One."

Prior to completing the book and taking it to the publishers, he typed the first 172 pages and distributed thirty-three copies to the leading brethren of the General Conference at its session in June, 1930. He pleaded with them to investigate the contents of the book and to share their findings with him along with any errors they may discover as soon as possible. The recipients verbally agreed to do so either in person or by letter. In this way he presented a formal request to the General Conference to investigate his teachings. 

Sadly, the General Conference did not respond. Prior to completing and publishing the book, Bro. Houteff made two additional appeals to his local conference as to the progress of their investigation and intentions. This was answered only by complete silence. While awaiting a response from the General Conference, the local conference took it upon themselves to disfellowship Bro. Houteff on November 20, 1930. Thus, feeling he had no recourse, 5,000 copies were published on December 4, 1930 with eighty-three additional pages. These copies were mailed to various ministers, Bible workers, churches and lay members of the S.D.A. church.

It took nearly four years for the General Conference to consent to give him a hearing. In the interval between the publishing of the book and the G.C. hearing, members of the church who were brave enough to study his message for themselves were convinced of its truthfulness. Among the brethren who accepted his message were high-ranking, well-respected leaders in the denomination. The result was that they were disfellowshipped from the church, and in many cases physically assaulted in an attempt to bar them from entering. In other cases, those who were somehow able to enter the churches were physically ejected from the premises, though causing no disturbance of any kind.  

After the above-mentioned abuses, the long-awaited hearing was held on February 19, 1934 in Los Angeles, California. Twelve leaders were chosen to hear the evidence of his beliefs. Among the 12 leaders who would decide the fate of his message were seven to ten of his most bitter enemies. Even severe written protest of this fact before the proposed meeting did not change their course of action. Nevertheless, the hearing was held and the message was rejected by the denomination.           

After being cast out of the churches by the leading brethren even before a hearing was granted and a decision was made, the Davidian movement was officially organized on March 12, 1934 out of necessity. On July 15, 1934, the first issue of the Symbolic Code newsletter, the official organ of the movement, was published. As the work grew the California office was not able to accommodate the movement's needs and the leaders desired a more centrally located office. This began an eight month search for a new location, and in May, 1935 the Association purchased 189 acres near Waco, Texas and began to build the institution known in Davidian circles as "The Camp of Eze. 4:2."           

For twenty years, the movement worked diligently to build and complete "The Camp", or Headquarters. The "camp" consisted of various departments designed to facilitate a Bible training school, accommodations to care for the sick, aged, orphaned and unfortunate and school for the children who accepted the message. By 1942, the organization became officially known as "The Davidian Seventh-Day Adventist Association", and in 1943 the governmental principles of the Association were listed and explained in "The Leviticus of the Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists."          

On February 5, 1955, when the "camp" was virtually complete, Victor Houteff passed away. Upon his death, a new leader had to be chosen. Bro. Houteff's wife, Sis. Florence Houteff, persuaded the remaining Council members that prior to his death Bro. Houteff stated that he desired her to be the new leader. On the basis of that, the Council elected her to be Vice-President. However, documented facts conclusively prove that Bro. Houteff never approved her appointment to the office of Vice-President.

In November, 1955, Sis. Houteff set the date of April 22, 1959 for the establishment of God's Kingdom and the purification of the church. This prediction was completely contrary to the whole tenor of the Davidian message and was not endorsed by it. Nevertheless, she and the Council based the truthfulness of the entire message on this false prediction. The prediction failed, and as a result she and the vast majority of Davidians lost faith in the Rod message. Consequently on March 1, 1962 the "camp" was closed down.

From the very inception of the Davidian message, the goal of its adherents has been to share its contents with every church member freely and allow him to exercise the gift of religious liberty to decide for or against it. The Davidians have never voluntarily forfeited their church membership or their privilege to attend the S.D.A church. On the contrary, the message teaches that our duty is to remain on the inside and call for the reformation predicted in the Spirit of Prophecy (see C.O.R. p.121; Testimonies for the Church Vol. 8 pp. 250, 251). In fact, the message emphatically states that the Davidians must remain in the church no less than eleven times throughout its published literature.

Realizing the importance of the "camp" with its various departments, and its role in taking the message to the church, the call was sounded to re-establish it in 1994 in a rural location in Texas just as our founders did. This call has been going on ever since, and while some have responded, there "is yet much room." Therefore, we invite all to "come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty" and assist us in re-establishing the "camp" and taking the "additional message" of the Rod to our beloved church.