Due to the surprising amount of proselytizing activity by the Shepherd's Rod among Adventists - they evangelize Adventists; waiting until their enthronement in old Jerusalem to take their message to the world many requests are received for a fairly complete set of materials on the Rod (Davidian Seventh-day Adventists). Here are the materials currently available from Pilgrims' Rest:

HISTORY OF THE SHEPHERD'S ROD  How did the Davidian Seventh day Adventist Church begin? What are some of its outstanding prophets? What did they teach? Here you will find the drama and tragedy of the Shepherd's Rod, from its beginning in 1929 down to the present time. This is an unusually complete historical presentation.

TEACHINGS OF THE SHEPHERD'S ROD  What are the fundamental teachings of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists? What are the underlying flaws in those teachings? What are effective replies to their beliefs? In this study reprint, you will find the four basic teachings the Kingdom, the Harvest, Ezekiel 9, and the Sealing, along with several secondary teachings presented and refuted. (TOC below)


The Latest Prophet of the Rod: MARC BREAULT - Another Prophet of the Rod: ELIAKIM In this full length tract, you will find discussion and sample prophetic writings of two current prophets of the Shepherd's Rod.  

 History of The shepherds rod

The "Shepherd's Rod" is the commonly used term for the "Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church, " a religious offshoot of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination. Since even its own members frequently call it "the Davidians" or "the Rod, "In this present analysis we will generally do the same.

This splinter organization was started in 1929 by Victor Houteff, and its unusual name, "Shepherd's Rod, " was the title of his first publication, as well as his chosen name for the organization until 1942. In this tract set you will find a somewhat detailed study on the history and teachings of this organization. This first section will deal solely with the history of the movement.

Victor T. Houteff was born in Raikovo, Bulgaria, on March 2, 1885. (He would later die at Waco, Texas, on February 5, 1955 at the age of 69.)

He immigrated to the United States in 1907 at the age of 22, after having been expelled from Bulgaria. Originally a Greek Orthodox, Houteff had become involved in some kind of difficulty with his native church; so much so that they requested the Bulgarian Government to expel him from the country.

Arriving in America, he moved to Illinois in 1919, where at the age of 38, he was baptized into the Rockford Seventh-day Adventist Church. By 1923, he had moved to Southern California, where, two years later, he had his membership transferred to the Olympic Exposition Park Church in Los Angeles. .

Soon complaints came from some of its members that Houteff was teaching rather unusual beliefs in his Sabbath School class and at private Sabbath afternoon meetings with some of the members. A representative group of church workers, Bible teachers, and leaders met with him to consider his views on November 14. 1929. But nothing came of it.

Next spring, Houteff hectographed copies of a study that he entitled The Shepherd's Rod, and distributed it to a number of the leaders attending the 1930 General Conference Session, which was held in San Francisco from May 29 to June 12. One of those who received it-and had time to carefully examine it-was the well known F.C. Gilbert, whose doctrinal books we much value today. He was quite solid in the faith and knew our teachings well. On June 26, Elder Gilbert wrote a letter to Houteff and pointed out a number of errors in his publication and recommended that he give them up. Gilbert also wrote to the church leaders in Southern California and recommended that careful study should be given to this problem before the situation worsened.

On July 23, the Exposition Park church board at the Park Church met with Houteff to consider the problem, but nothing was accomplished. A second board meeting was held on August 14, at which time the following motion was voted:

"It was moved and supported that Brother Houteff be asked to retract his statement that Elder Spicer is not a Sabbathkeeper and to apologize for the disturbance in the church on Sabbath, November 30, 1929. Since Bother Houteff did not make these apologies, the motion was amended as follows, [that) the church wished to express its disapproval of Brother Houteff's action in this matter."

Shortly after this, on October 16, the union president, conference president, and local pastor met with Houteff, at which time this action taken was that:

" 'The Shepherd's Rod' is neither true to simple facts, nor true to the word of God, and it is condemned by the very 'Testimonies' it quotes from. We warn our dear brethren against the false conclusions this poor man has come to."

In November of the same year (1930), Houteff contracted to have the full 255 page book, The Shepherd's Rod, printed. It came off the press a month later. In the meantime, on November 20, a special church board meeting was held, at which time Houteff was finally dropped from church membership.

At each of those six meetings, Brother Houteff was patiently worked with; his errors were listened to and then pointed out; he was asked to retract them. On and on it went for a full year, from November 14 1929 to November 201930. Later, in 1932, Houteff wrote:

"From the very time I tried to get either a private hearing, or else some of the leading men to come and see what it was all about, pleading with them that it was their duty to correct us if we were in error, or if we had any truth that they should know about it. While they refused to give us any kind of hearing, they did everything possible to close our place of meeting, and some of those who attended these studies were frightened for fear of losing their church membership. "-Letter dated April 22, 1932, published in Symbolic Code, Vol. 10, no. 7 (May 1955), pp. 4-5.

Volume Two of The Shepherd's Rod was printed in September 1932. Additional tracts were issued the next year, which Houteff said represented Volume Three of his book.

Because Houteff kept saying that the brethren refused to give him a hearing, two more were then given him, the first on November 11, 1932, and the second in 1934.

The second of the two was an unusually large one and was planned for a full week, with an abundance of time for Victor Houteff to present his views, with time for discussion of them. In addition to Houteff and several of his workers, a steller group of church workers attended that gathering. Here they are:

AG. Daniells, General Conference Field Secretary (formerly the G.C. President); Glen A. Calkins, Pacific Union Conference President; G.A. Roberts, Southern California Conference President; Chester S. Prout, Southeastern California Conference President; W.G. Wirth, College of Medical Evangelists (LLU now) Bible teacher; H.M.S. Richards, Southern California evangelist; C.M. Sorenson, Southern California Junior College (now La Sierra College, the undergraduate division of LLU) Bible teacher; J.A. Burden, Paradise Valley Sanitarium manager (the individual that Ellen White worked so closely with in founding CME); J.C. Stevens, Glendale Church pastor; W.M. Adams, Pacific Union Conference Religious liberty Secretary; J.E. Fulton, Northern California Conference President; F.G. Gilbert, General Conference Field Secretary (the converted Jew who wrote so many worthwhile books for our church).

When the meeting was convened on the morning of February 19,1933, two stenographers were present to take notes. Since Fulton was not able to be present, O.J. Graf, former president of Emmanuel Missionary College attended in his place. The group agreed to hear Mr. Houteff without interruption by anyone until he was finished. It was also agreed to give him a full week for his presentation, if necessary, and that the stenographic report be transcribed so that all would have copies of it for careful study in reviewing the points that he had presented. It was also agreed that a copy would be submitted to him on which he could indicate corrections and then return to them for retyping.

Victor Houteff immediately launched into a study on his teaching of "the harvest:' H.M.S. Richards, who later became founder and director of the Voice of Prophecy, took careful notes which tell us that at 12:30 p.m. Houteff refused to go further until the committee had decided on his view of "the harvest." They repeatedly asked him to continue, but he refused to do so. Here are Richard's notes on this impasse:

"When he [Houteff] got through at one o'clock, Elder Daniells suggested we go and get something to eat and come back and take up where he (Houteff] left off. He said, No, he would not go any further, it was useless for him to go further, that our decision upon this one subject, The Harvest would be our decision upon the whole of his doctrinal program, as that was the key to it. Elder Daniels urged him to go forward. He said. 'We have brought these men here from far away, they are ready to stay two days, three days, a week or two weeks, however long it is necessary for us to get the full picture in our minds. To us it is a serious thing. If you are right, we want to know it. If you are wrong, you ought to know it. We have spent a good deal of money to come here in a serious, honest attempt by the denomination to give you a hearing. Therefore let us go ahead.'

 But Houteff repeatedly refused to continue, so the meeting ended at that point. A copy of the written stenographic report was given him to correct; when he finally sent it back it was carefully considered by a special session of the full committee. W.H. Branson. North American Division President (he would later become General Conference President), and J.L Shaw, General Conference Treasurer, were assigned the task of specially preparing the committee report, which was read to Houteff and a dozen of his followers on Sunday, March 18, 1934, at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. The conclusion of their report was simple enough:

"Since error is found in the Shepherd's Rod, and it is in open disagreement with the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy, the only safe course is to reject its teachings and to discontinue its study." On March 12 of that same year, Houteff met with a number of his followers and officially began their new church organization under the name, The Shepherd's Rod. The General Conference soon began issuing small booklets refuting errors in the teachings of the Rod.

The Shepherd's Rod Is a classic example of how easy It Is to fool a surprising number of God's people, simply by presenting them with unique doctrinal concepts. These teachings can be obviously incorrect, but their strange newness seems to captivate some types of minds.

Early in 1935 Houteff journeyed with friends to Texas, with the idea of establishing a permanent headquarters for their new church. They located 189 acres of land near Waco and purchased it. In May, he and eleven followers moved there. The new headquarters was named" Mount Carmel Center," and was announced amid the kind of cryptic prophecy that kept Houteff before the eye of the people:

"True we are establishing our headquarters on this mount that is found in prophecy, but our stay here shall be very, very short," -V.T. Houteff, The Symbolic Code, vol. 1, no. 14 (August 1935), p. 5. The place could just as well have been called "Emigration Gap." The Center was intended only as a temporary stopover on their way to old Jerusalem. As Houteff explained it, God had revealed to him that the 144,000 were to be gathered into the Rod, move to the Waco headquarters as an assembling point-and then from there all go together to Palestine where the Kingdom of David was to be re-established under the leadership of Victor Houteff. Divine Providence was to open the way so that the governmental authorities controlling Palestine (Palestine was under British Mandate from 1918 to 1948) would permit them to start this astounding theocratic kingdom which soon would be amazement of the whole world.

From its world headquarters in old Jerusalem, the Davidians were, according to Houteff's prophetic interpretations, to evangelize all nations, then the end would come and Jesus would return.

Yes, Mount Carmel was the center of a proud dream; but also of a miserable reality. The eleven followers including children) that migrated with Houteff from California had a difficult time providing for their needs. And to make matters worse, the 144,000 were slow in arriving. Twenty years later, the Waco Tribune-Herald summarized the situation at the Mount Carmel Center:

"The church has about 90 people, a third of them children, living at the center, [and] has had as many as 125 there. Most are workers, about 12 are indigents in the rest home."-The Waco Tribune-Herald, Waco, Texas, February 27, 1955. Although, as mentioned earlier, their church organization began on March 12, 1934, yet no church offices or names of leaders were mentioned at that time. Later, in 1937, just after his marriage, this lack was supplied-with the leading positions going to Houteff and his close blood or in-law relatives- At the top was Victor Houteff, president; Mrs. Florence Houteff (his wife) secretary; and Mrs. S. Hermanson (his mother-in-law), treasurer.

(Houteff was to hold the position of president until the day of his death in 1955, at which time the Executive Council of the Davidians elected his wife to the office of Vice President, her brother T.O. Hermanson to the Executive Board. (T.O. Hermanson was also son of the Treasurer, Mrs. S. Hermanson.) But, oddly enough, no one was selected to fill the vacancy of President, -simply because Houteff had it originally written into the constitution and by-laws that the Executive Council did not have the authority to elect a president!)

On February 15, 1935, Houteff wrote in The Symbolic Code, his monthly publication for his followers, that they should stay in their local churches and not separate, for "if we separate ourselves from the organization, then in the fulfillment of Ezekiel 9, when those who have not the mark are taken away, we shall have no right to claim possession of the denomination." His point was that when in fulfillment of his predictions, the wicked Adventists were suddenly slain for not having accepted the Shepherd's Rod, then the only ones still alive in the church would be the Rodites! They could then take over the entire denominational treasury and its properties,-at least Victor wishfully hoped so.

It was not until 1942 that Houteff finally relented and gave his organization an official church name. The problem was that unless they formally organized themselves as a church, their members could not avoid the draft during the Second World War. They immediately made arrangements for this, setting aside their former name, The Shepherd's Rod, and now calling themselves The Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church. At last, they were publicly an offshoot, something that Houteff had not  previously wanted to admit.

Later, in 1950, Houteff referred to the fact that the Rod was but an offshoot. He spoke of "an ever-increasing family of offshoots, the most prominent of them and most tormenting of which is The Shepherd's Rod." (V.T. Houteff, in his "1950 General Conference Special," p. 3.) And, from the very beginning, this offshoot began offshooting on its own. The following statement was made as early as 1934:

"The disintegrating and dividing effect of erroneous teachings has already appeared in the ranks of the Shepherd's Rod, A substantial number of them, some of them former leaders, have because of errors they found in 'The Shepherd's Rod' [publication] left the former leadership of V.T. Houteff and are meeting by themselves as a separate company. This runs true to form, and is in line with the history of preceding offshoots who have left us. "-Pacific Union Conference statement, 1934.

Throughout Its entire history, Houteff was his organization's biggest weakness. The doctrinal views that he invented at the very beginning laid a poor foundation for it, and the concepts he built on It later were little better. The underlying problem was that the poor man was obsessed with the Idea that he was Infallible In thought and word. His imaginings about Scripture were thought by him as the mind of God. His followers shared this delusion, thinking that he had the gift of prophecy.

As Houteff himself said: "We must conclude that the 'Rod' contains all truth, or there is no truth in it save the quotations of truth. Therefore, if we admit one truth revealed by the 'Rod,' then we must accept it all as truth. . Therefore we take the position that the message in the 'Rod' is free from error in so far as the idea put forth is concerned. "-V. T. Houteff, circular letter dated August 31, 1931 [Italics his].

Here was a man who claimed infallibility and without any end-total, incessant Infallibility. And the proof of the fact was that if even one of his ideas was correct, then they all had to be correct! Four years later he repeated this astounding claim (in The Symbolic Code, vol. 1, no. 8, August 15, 1935), and again in the late 1940s (Timely Greetings, vol. 1, no. 18, p. 10, quoting an address of his given on December 7,1947). That one statement, alone, by Victor Houteff-repeated at least three times In print-should be enough to alert you to flee from his writings and his church. Only God and His Inspired Word are safe. The words of no other man or woman on earth are reliable-even those of the present writer. Cling to the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy and obey them In the strength of Christ-and you will be secure In the days ahead. Run from any man who says that you should consider his words or writings as equal or superior to the Word of God!

Among other concepts, Victor Houteff taught that he would not die, but would lead his people to old Jerusalem and thence to the heavenly Canaan. So it came as quite a shock to his followers when, on February 5,1955, he passed to his rest at the age of 69. "It just could not be; it just could not be: Houteff is dead and Jesus hasn't come back yet!" they thought, and yet it had come to pass: Houteff had died.

Although Houteff had appointed his wife to lead his flock until the lord should choose another prophet to take charge of it, his entire church organization began to crumble immediately after his death. Splinter groups began forming here and there. Some were dissatisfied with the fact of Houteff's death; others with the fact that the organization continued to be strongly controlled by his immediate family.

Something was needed to strengthen the flagging interests of the brethren, so the leadership at Waco publicly announced in print the startling news that the 1260 days of Bible prophecy would end on April 22, 19591 Many of the followers took heart; more prophetic messages were coming from Waco! The faithful could now make it through to the end in full assurance of additional thrilling events, predicted for them by their unique church that was so full of fascinating teachings. Everyone looked forward to that date.

But, before we come to April 22, let us first review the events before and after the announcement that predicted it:

The first intimation came only nine months after Victor Houteff's death. In their official organ, The Symbolic Code, of November, 1955, the Rod leaders at Waco announced that "during the last months of his life" V. T. Houteff had privately expressed certain views which his successors were now in a position to amplify.

"He expressed the definite conviction that the time prophecy of Revelation 11:2-12 and Daniel 12:6,7 could have met their fulfillment only in type from 538 A.D. to 1798 A.D. and that they have a latter-day fulfillment. "-The Symbolic Code, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 3 {italics theirs}.

With that sketchy thought in mind, the leaders of the Rod were fueling up for what was to ultimately become their determination of a major time prophecy that would signalize the end of time!

"We have already entered the period of forty-two months. "-The Symbolic Code, vol. 11, no. 1, p. 13. "The fulfillment of the Slaughter of Ezekiel 9 is immediately preceded by the forty-two months (Rev 11:2) or 1260 days (Rev 11:3) or 'time, times and an half (Dan 12:7)."-Op. cit., p. 12. "This period terminates with the slaughter of Ezekiel 9 (an act of God), war brought by Christendom against the two witnesses (an act of man), and a 3 -day period when the two Witnesses are dead after which they rise in great exaltation by divine Interposition. "-op. cit., p. 13.

People just love time prophecies! They are such exciting things. But the let-down afterward is even bigger. Well, what to do if that happens? The leaders pondered the immensity of what they had on their hands. For, you see, they had already told the people that the "forty-two months" had already started! Time passed, and yet they hesitated to say more. Finally, after a three-year wait, the major announcement came on February 17, 1959. Over the signature of nine members of the Executive Council of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church, headquartered in Waco, an open letter was addressed to the Executive Committee of the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists in Takoma Park. "In November of 1955 this association in its official organ, The Symbolic Code, issued its stand on the prophecy of Revelation 11:1-13, which concerns the 42 months that the Gentiles tread the Holy City, and the 1260 days the two witnesses prophesy with power (authority) in sackcloth.. In the November, 1955, Symbolic Code. We published our stand that we were then living in this time period. Today we believe we are approaching the end of it, in fact, we believe it will end sometime this spring."

The sensational announcement had been sent to the General Conference, and was immediately printed in a special edition of The Symbolic Code, which was issued early in 1959 (vol. 14, no. 6, pp. 5-6).

It was predicted that, on April 22, 1959, God would intervene in a remarkable manner in Palestine and rid the country of both Jews and Arabs. Then He would remove mountains of difficulty and perform miracles of guidance so that the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists might enter the land and take possession of it in the name of the Lord. The "Davidic Kingdom" would be set up, and from their headquarters in Jerusalem the rapidly-forming 144,000 would evangelize the entire world, and then Jesus would return.

But just before that date-the men with the slaughtering weapons would cut down the apostates in Takoma Park and throughout the Seventh-day Adventist Church. All in the Adventist denomination who had refused to accept Houteff's fables were to be summarily dealt with. They would die a most miserable death.

Solemnized with the thought of the magnitude of the events rapidly to follow, the faithful looked forward to April 1959.

But for the leaders at Waco, it was still a time of heart-searching. Could they somehow be wrong? You might be interested in exactly HOW they arrived at this date of April 22, 1959. Leaders at Mount Carmel later told representatives of the General Conference that they calculated the date in this manner: The 1260 days of Revelation 11 :3-6, in literal time, would be 1260 24-hour days. Since they commenced on November 9, 1955, they would end on April 22, 1959. The events of verses 1-13 were, according to the Rod, to be fulfilled after April 22.

NOW, how did they arrive at that date, November 9, 1955? The astonishing fact Is that they Just selected It, almost at random, as being the date on which the "light" on the Subject was first proclaimed among them at Mount Carmel. What a haphazard way to figure time setting!

But, haphazard or not, they were determined that this would be the great test that would make or break their entire offshoot church. They hung everything on their "guesstimate." In their open letter to the General Conference they included this paragraph:

"By this letter we make it known to you that we are now leaving this entire matter with the Lord to demonstrate whether He is leading In the work at Mt. Carmel, or whether he is leading you to stop your ears to the message which Mt. Carmel has put forth in her official publications. . If the message and the work of the Shepherd's Rod is God's truth as we believe it to be, the 1260 days of Revelation 11 as The Symbolic Codes have explained, will end sometime this spring. Then will follow the war that will kill the two witnesses. Those whom the witnesses have tormented will gloat over this. But after 3 days the two witnesses will be exalted. At the same time will come the earthquake (shaking) in which will be slain all the hypocrites in God's part of Christendom-the Adventist Church." The Symbolic Code, vol. 14. no. 6, pp. 8-9.

"If the message and the work of the Shepherd's Rod is God's truth.. the 1260 days. . will end sometime this spring. " That is what the above paragraph, written c. January 1959, said. The same issue of The Symbolic Code also made this important statement:

"Mt. Carmel hereby serves notice that it now leaves the prophecy of Revelation 11 as the Code has explained it, as the test by which the Lord will demonstrate whom He is leading."-The Symbolic Code, vol. 14, no. 6. pp. 29.

Thus the die was cast. If all these major events did not occur in the spring of 1959 as predicted, the Rod and its teachings would be an obvious false. So said its leaders as the deadline drew near. It Is astounding that today, nearly 30 years later, Adventists have forgotten all about that and many are again being attracted Into the ranks of Rod splinter groups! It is for this reason that we are writing this present historical report.

Responding to an official call (The Symbolic Code, vol. 14, no. 9, third special edition issued early in 1959. pp 2-3) to assemble at their Waco headquarters by April 16, 1959, in expectation of a hurried move to Palestine as soon as divine Providence should indicate, several hundred followers gathered at the Mount Carmel Center to await the beginning of final events.

Both eye-witnesses and published reports indicate that between 800 and 1000 persons were gathered at the Shepherd's Rod tabernacle at Mount Carmel Center, near Waco, Texas, during the period from April 16 to 22, 1959. This number included leaders, followers, children, news reporters, and a few curiosity-seekers.

On the morning when they were supposed to do so, a delegation of several Rodites, managed to enter the Takoma Park office of Reuben R. Figuhr, President of the General Conference, and solemnly tell him of the doom that was coming to Adventism that day. Always in command of every situation that he dealt with (although not always correct in his conclusions), Figuhr ordered them out before they could complete their presentation.

April 22 arrived. Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. It was, at the very least, a prophetic disaster. The largest shakeup in the history of the Rod was about to take place. Hundreds of members would drift back into the Adventist Church or out into the world. Those remaining would splinter into splintery splits.

One of the largest of these split-offs, which appropriately enough called itself . 'The Branch, " would later send a few colonizers to the nation of Israel in a settlement project which soon withered away.

In researching out this historical sketch, the present writer is impressed with the part that Florence Houteff apparently played from June 1960 to March 1962. She may have been more down-to-earth and practical than some of the other leaders. And when the thousand would-be emigrants to Palestine moved onto the property in 1959, she may well have been the one that could see the utter foolishness of the whole situation. Especially as she looked into the careworn faces of the assembled pilgrims at Mount Carmel, listened to their problems, and pondered what she heard. Surely, it took someone in a key position to turn the ship around -and we surely see her hand at work trying to do so from June 1960 to March 1962.

Immediately after the debacle of April 22, special services were held daily at Rod headquarters at Mount Carmel in the hope that God would yet signally overthrow His enemies, destroy the Adventists, punish Sunday-keeping America, and set up the Davidians in their new Palestinian kingdom. Weeks passed and the hundreds of faithful ones gathered there realized that something must be done-and soon. Some church representatives who came onto the property and spoke with some of them were told that a number of them were penniless. Others had sold their homes, businesses, and property before heading down to Waco. In fullest confidence that the leaders of the Rod knew what they were talking about, all had come prepared for an imminent move to old Jerusalem where they would be enthroned in the Davidic Kingdom, and begin world-wide evangelism.

But now, one after another, individuals and families began to quietly leave Mount Carmel. They had to find work and start life over again. By now it was June, and already a small part of the assembled Davidians had left. But the larger number were still there.

On June 20, Elder A. V. Dison, a General Conference officer, preached at the local Adventist church in Waco, located but a few miles from the Mount Carmel Center. On the following day two leaders of the Rod visited him and requested that he meet with their Executive Council. This he did, and, surprisingly enough, the Council asked him to speak to the entire congregation gathered at Mount Carmel!

Entering the podium of the new tabernacle, he, with the help of the local Adventist pastor, spoke to them each evening and on Sabbath mornings, from June 24 through July 7. These meetings were primarily question-and-answer sessions, with questions being sent up from the floor for him to answer. Over 600 Davidians were still encamped at Mount Carmel, and the meetings were well attended. Because the interest kept growing, and with it the number of questions, the General Conference sent down one of their research scholars, Elder Robert L. Odom (the individual who at that time was in charge of compiling the three volume Index to the Writings of E. G. White). Throughout the meetings, the Rod leaders were attentive, kind, and friendly. The Adventist workers were given full freedom in presenting their responses to the questions. A number of the Davidians decided to return to the Adventist denomination, while others said they were seriously considering it.

At the close of the final meeting, Mrs. Florence Houteff, Victor's widow and principal leader of the Rod, read before the assembly a resolution voted by her followers, in which they expressed their appreciation for the meetings held by the Adventist workers,-and requested the setting up of a joint committee to analyze the teachings of the Rod and "to freely discuss our differences." The full text of this resolution was included in an official letter sent by Mrs. Florence Houteff to her followers on July 14, 1959.

The meetings began on Monday afternoon, July 27, and consisted of nineteen sessions of approximately two hours each. Friday afternoon, August 7 was the last meeting. Seven representatives from each organization were in attendance throughout the meetings.

At the beginning of the first session, the basic 22-point Statement of Beliefs of the Adventists was read-and agreed to by the Rod as being their beliefs also. Then, for ten sessions, the Rod presented the special views that they had inherited from Houteff. In the next six, the Adventists presented their analysis of those views.

The next step was for a series of replies by the Rod,-but at this point a strange thing occurred. From the very start, the Rod agreed that its special teachings were based on both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, but now, after sixteen sessions of having used both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy, the Rod representatives said they now wanted to switch to the Bible only in support of their views without any reference to or use of the Spirit of Prophecy writings by either side in supporting or opposing their views.

Florence was at those meetings, but a majority of the Rod delegates seemed terrified to learn that they had NO unique teachings to offer that were reliable. Overwhelmed, they were unwilling to face any more revelations in Takoma Park meetings.

The Adventist representatives requested an adjournment in order to discuss this new plan of action. Upon meeting again, they said that the Rod motion was not consistent with its policies and teachings of the past thirty years. Indeed, on page 11 of his very first publication (The Shepherd's Rod, vol.1, 1930), Victor Houteff had declared:

"This publication contains only one main subject with a double lesson; namely, the 144,000, and a call for reformation. . The wonderful light between its pages shines upon a larger number of scriptures, which we have had no understanding of heretofore. The interpretation of these scriptures is supported by the writings of Sr. E.G. White, that is termed the Spirit of Prophecy."

Over the next three decades, this had continued to be their consistent position, as indicated in, for example, the following representative statement that ran in six consecutive issues of their periodical in the early 1940s:

"Our being, as you know, unswerving adherents of the Bible and of Sister White's writings, full-fledged S.D.A.'s, we are sure that both the Bible and Sister White's writings support the 'Rod' one hundred per cent"-The Symbolic Code, vol. 7, nos. 7-12, p. 5, July-December, 1941.

The Adventist representatives also maintained that the recent April 22 disaster at Mount Carmel also revealed the inaccuracy of the Rod positions. An appeal was made for them to include the Spirit of Prophecy in their replies.

After another adjournment, the Rod said that they dare not include the Spirit of Prophecy in their doctrinal defense (for to do so would mean that the Adventists could use those writings in refuting their positions).

So the meetings concluded with appeals by the Adventists for the Davidians to return to the denomination. The greatest tragedy was their unwillingness to return to simple, humble acceptance of the Spirit of Prophecy! When we leave the Inspired Word of God, we are in a most dangerous position and Satan will have the rule over us erelong.

On December 12,1961, Mrs. Florence Houteff and her associate leaders made an open, public, and very frank statement in print. They declared that the fundamental teachings of Houteff and the Rod were not sound. To be certain that this statement would receive wide circulation, they again put it into print on January 16, 1962.

As if this were not enough, on March 11, 1962, Florence and her associate leaders resigned from what had been, until April 1959, the main body of the Davidians. In the process, they dissolved the corporate body and put the Mount Carmel Center property up for sale. Having done this they themselves scattered across America, just as their followers had been scattering for nearly three years.

The next major event occurred in the mid and late 1970s, when Lois Roden -the widow of Benjamin Roden, one of the Rod splinter leaders,-became the next major prophet of the Shepherd's Rod. It is our understanding that the Rodens were the leaders of The Branch, one of the largest of the split-offs of the splinters of the Rod. She declared in the public press that the Holy Spirit was a woman! Photos of her with a tame female dove in her hand were frequently printed in newspapers.

When she later died, the Rod had other prophets, off and on, down to the very present time. One of the present prophets is Eliakim, who sends his messages to the faithful from Israel, where he has a small acreage that is to be used as a stopover for the Davidians when they "soon" journey suddenly to old Jerusalem to be enthroned in the Davidic Kingdom.

The most recent prophet of the Davidians is Marc A. Breault, a partially-sighted young Adventist who, in 1985, journeyed from Omaha to Loma Linda and, after having been converted by representatives of The Branch splinter of the Rod in January 1986, began to have "visions," in which, for example, a woman would alternately explain to him that she was the Holy Spirit, or scold him because he appeared to be inferior in knowledge and insight to herself.

Information on Breault and Eliakim will be found in the section, The Latest Prophet of the Rod: Marc Breault Another Prophet Eliakim." But the story is not complete. There will be more Davidian prophets, bringing more fascinating new trivia to the faithful In the Rod. That organization seems to need them In order to provide it with the vitality needed to keep It going. On the next tract In this series, "The Doctrines of the Shepherd's Rod, "we will begin a brief review of some of the strange doctrines of the Rod that are responsible for rendering It so sterile.

Write for a complete set of these materials and share them with your friends who are thinking of aligning with the Rod. Now and in the future, our only safety will be found in remaining with the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Read and obey those sacred writings and stay away from the conjectures of men. Over the years, the strength of the Rod has been in its claim that its teachings are in complete harmony with the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. But, as we are discovering in this present tract series on the Rod, that is but an empty claim.