The Cuckoo's Egg
Interview with Andrew X98
|This photo of Andrew X98 was taken on November 28, 1999, as he stood outside the property lines of the Mt. Carmel Center in Waco, Texas, protesting construction of the "Cover-up Church." His flag, a white X on a black field, symbolizes the triumph of Good over Evil.|
The Bible has many references to the movement of heavenly bodies and significant religious events. David Koresh was vitally interested with signs in the heavens. There was a comet that had the shape of a guitar during the siege. David felt it had special significance for him. When I asked Clive about David's study of the stars, Clive said he did not know anything about it and had no interest in the subject. "They always just looked like dots in the sky to me," he said.
Well, OK. But imagine. Here you are with "God made flesh," your Messiah. You are willing to die for him. The US government is crashing down on him with tanks. Your "God made flesh" is looking for signs in the stars at this critical time. Wouldn't you, a believer, be even slightly interested? But Clive wasn't.
Sorry, this does not pass the smell test either. I don't think Clive was in there with David.
Here's something small, but significant. Again, remember that Clive testified under oath that he believed David Koresh was "God made flesh." And remember that David's job was to interpret the symbolism in the Book of Revelations.
Once when I was living in Waco, Clive and I went to see the movie "Matrix." Afterwards I started to talk to Clive about the symbolism in the movie and its similarities to David's message. Clive shrugged his shoulders. "I just don't have the mind for symbolism," he said. Now imagine that. You follow a prophet whose job is to interpret symbols, but you don't have a mind for symbols.
To Clive Doyle, David Koresh's teachings must have been as a music to a deaf man. Why did Clive suffer 51 days of torture, gassing, fire, and the death of his daughter? All for the sake of music he could not hear? If Clive didn't have a mind for symbols, on what basis did he come to the conclusion David was "God made flesh"? Sorry, none of this adds up either.
Who were the so-called "Mighty Men?" Did Clive ever tell you their names?
I know the names of Steve Schneider and Wayne Martin. Aside from those two, I don't know who the Mighty Men were. Clive has no information on them, except to say they were not "special." This just shows Clive knew little about David Koresh's Mt. Carmel Center.
There were three types of people at the Mt. Carmel Center when it was raided on February 28. There were poor, broken, and simple people who were there because they had nowhere else to go and David Koresh was looking after them. There were government agents pretending to be Davidians. And there were the strong-minded and true-of-heart who really believed in David. With the exception of Livingston Fagan and a few others, I think the true-of-heart died with David Koresh.
Let's talk about how Clive handles David's teachings and prophecies.
OK, but let's review some preliminaries first. As you may be aware, the Bible is a series of prophecies that tell us how and when the Everlasting Kingdom will be established. Bible people want the promises of God to be fulfilled and are willing to do whatever needs doing to bring them about. Daniel Chapters 11 and 12 deal specifically with the opening of the Sixth Seal (the Resurrection) which must take place before the setting up of the Kingdom. The job of a prophet is to tell us which of the prophecies is currently being fulfilled, so that we might submit to the Word more fully.
So before the Second Coming, the prophecies of Daniel Chapters 11 and 12 must be fulfilled. The founder of the Davidian movement, Victor Houteff, wanted to be God's tool and establish the Davidic kingdom in Palestine, Israel. In like manner, David Koresh also wanted to be God's tool and set up the Davidic Kingdom. David wanted to set it up in Jerusalem, Israel.
David made a number of trips to Israel, and was familiar with the situation in the Middle East. At the start of Desert Shield in 1990, he thought the place of his martyrdom might be in Israel but finally at the start of Desert Storm in 1991 he was convinced that his martyrdom would be here in the US. He started to build and to arm himself for the coming confrontation.
Instead of Israel, David said the prophecies of Daniel would be fulfilled in Waco and that the Mt. Carmel Center was the Davidic kingdom. Imagine! This was a monumental change in his thinking, a change that would affect each and every Branch Davidian. Anyone interested in prophecy and the Seven Seals would want to know: What did David see that changed his mind? I asked Clive.
What did Clive say?
Clive said he had no idea why David Koresh changed his mind. Think about that. You have a passionate interest in Biblical prophecies and want to help fulfill them. You have devoted your life to this pursuit. A man that you believe to be "God made flesh," a Messiah, a prophet of God, says the Davidic kingdom will be set up in Jerusalem, Israel. You are willing to move there, live there, and die there, to help fulfill those prophecies. But then your Messiah changes his mind. Now you don't have to make the trip. Daniel 11 will be fulfilled in Waco, Texas. But you don't know why, and are not curious enough to find out. I don't believe Clive is clueless. Clive has to know what led David to change his mind.
By the way, some time after I had this conversation with Clive, James Tabor, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte [ http://www.uncc.edu/jdtabor/bio.html ], the big expert on religious suicides and now an expert on David Koresh's theology, wrote an article trying to explain David's change of mind: "Patterns of the End Textual Weaving from Qumran to Waco."
In that piece, Tabor compares the beliefs of the Branch Davidians with the beliefs of the ancient Jewish Qumran community. This is not the place to go into Tabor's piece in depth, but suffice it to say that in his 1995 book "Why Waco?"
Tabor tells us David insisted on using the King James translation of the Bible. Just one year later Tabor, in 1996, Tabor writes this Qumran piece for a Princeton University symposium. In trying to explain David's change of mind, does he use the King James? No, he uses the Revised Standard Version, a watered down translation that leads a person away from David's teaching. But look at how deviously Tabor tries to cover what he did.
In Footnote 11 Tabor says: "Biblical quotations are from the Revised Standard Version, although when I deal closely with Koresh's exegesis of the biblical text I use the King James Version, which was the only translation he endorsed." Exactly when does Tabor deal "closely" with Koresh's exegesis and use the King James version? Conveniently, he does not tell us. This in an attempt to clear himself and confuse the reader. The Qumran piece is a masterpiece of deception. I wrote to Tabor several times asking for an explanation, but he ignored my questions.
Tabor could have used the King James version throughout had he wanted to?
Of course. Nothing simpler.
By the way, I visited James Tabor in his office at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte on my way to Waco in 1996. We sat talking for two or three hours. He had what seemed to be thousands of David's sermons there in his office, on tapes.
How did he get those tapes? Was he Branch Davidian?
I asked Tabor if he believed in David and he said no, pointing to his prayer shawl. Tabor is a Jew.
I don't know how he got all those tapes. And I wondered at the time how he was able to collect them so quickly.
Clive likes to stress there was no tape ministry, but from the 1980s David was sending tapes out to pockets of supporters all over the world. Thus we have tapes like Letter to Australia and Letter to California. There must have been tapes in the Mt. Carmel Center that were either destroyed in the fire or removed before the fire was started.
Given the Davidian history, it is likely there were deep cover spooks in David's community, making tapes of his sermons and passing them on to the people who were keeping track of him, theologically speaking. Religion has always been used as a vehicle for controlling populations. They can't afford to have independent thinkers running around out there, you know. You can almost guarantee that they'd have someone inside, close to the action, recording David's sermons to keep abreast of his latest thinking.
You have to remember that most Christians in America have been taught to believe that Jesus can't return unless Israel is in her heaven. Honest, so many people like Jerry Falwell really teach that. That single teaching is the source of a lot of America's support for Israel. And without America's support, Israel would be camel-fodder. So Israel takes a big interest in the official doctrines of Christianity. That is probably why you have Jewish professors like James Tabor sitting around in Universities, fingering their pray shawls and writing books about Christian teachings and Jesus and Paul.
Now up pops David Koresh, and he starts teaching that you can forget Israel, God has shifted his attention to Texas. Suddenly, some very big forces get interested in little unknown David Koresh, and they are not happy.
So you think David may have ruffled some feathers by saying new Jerusalem was in Texas, not Israel?
Yes. What would happen if the existence of the state of Israel was not essential to fulfillment of prophecy? Much of their support would vanish.
I understand that it was after a trip to Israel that David Koresh realized he would be called upon to sacrifice his life in order to bring about the fulfillment of prophecy. Is that correct?
There's never been a question of that. Tabor gives an account on pg. 58 of "Why Waco?" "At twenty five, Koresh had a profound 'experience' while visiting Israel in january 1985 ..."
That sounds like the Jerusalem experience, or the Jerusalem syndrome, as it is sometimes called.
You mean where people go to Jerusalem and just by walking the streets, they suffer this strange mental disease that makes them think they are Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary?
That's the one. I read an article in the Israel Review of Arts and Letters in which the writer said that David Koresh spent time in Jerusalem and may have been affected by the Syndrome, but that it's effect was protracted, since "only after he returned to the US did he proclaim himself the messiah and found his sect at Waco, Texas."
Well, that just shows how much the writer knows. The Branch Davidians were founded long before David Koresh became their leader, of course. And David proclaimed Christhood — that he was the Son of God, the Lamb who could open the Seven Seals — from Jerusalem in January 1985. He was already accepted as a prophet long before going to that filthy city.
No, David's theology was too well developed to be explained by the Jerusalem Syndrome. I've never seen that suggested before. David's beliefs were backed up by profound understanding of the weaving of the Bible. No one has ever been able to match his ability in this area. I have never heard of any theologian saying that David was wrong textually about the Bible, nor do I know of any theologian, aside from Fagan, that agrees with David's conclusions. What is for sure is that David was not crazy as this "reporter" tries to say.
Do you have any details about what David did in Israel, how long he was there, who he stayed with, who he met with? It seems to me that surely he would delver a sermon or make a tape about his experience.
I don't know any of the details. I have never heard of a sermon or tape describing his experience in Israel.
Anyway, when I got to Waco and met Clive Doyle, I realized Tabor had vastly more of David's sermons than Clive had. Tabor also gave me several of David's tapes. One of them was recorded backwards.
Recorded backwards? Did you ask him why the sermon had been recorded backwards?
No, because I only discovered it was recorded backwards well after I left. I have read that recorded human speech is sometimes played backwards to reveal hidden messages.
Now THAT sounds Satanic to me. Failing to deal with the logic of an argument, and reversing logic! Recording human speech backwards would ensure the tape could be understood only by using a special tape player. Few of us have these. Therefore having one of David's sermons recorded backward would prevent that sermon from being circulated.
Now, what of Victor Houteff's view that the Jews were being gathered in Israel so God could more conveniently kill them, and David Koresh's view that Israel was "filthy." How did Tabor represent these views? Surely a religious Jew — one who keeps his prayer shawl in his office — would have strong opinions.
To my knowledge, Tabor has not written one word about Houteff and Koresh's critical stance on the Jews and Israel. Instead, in his Qumran piece, Tabor makes out like David's views were compatible with the views of Judaism.
I think Tabor is in the business of refashioning what David said. I think he is a spin doctor.
You studied David's material at the Mt. Carmel Center under Clive Doyle. Given that Clive lived away from the Mt. Carmel Center for so many years, where did he get his Koresh material?
I recently found out that many of those tapes were supplied to Clive by a man by the name of Mark Swett. Of course Clive has the negotiation tapes, too. The source on these is the FBI.
Mark Swett — is he the person who had a web page devoted to Koresh's writings and sermons?
Yes, the same Mark Swett.
I did not know Mark Swett was a Branch Davidian.
He is not.
Do you know how he got access to David Koresh's early sermons?
That's a good question. If old time Branch Davidian Clive Doyle had to rely on non-Davidian Swett to get this material, where did Swett get the material? Let's just say Swett is a guy with an uncanny genius for getting hard to find material that relates to the Davidians.
Swett says he has copies of the FBI eavesdropping tapes—the audio tapes the FBI claims captured the voices of the Branch Davidians planning and starting the fire on April 19. Swett says that the tapes convinced him that the Davidians started the fire, so he took down his website. He did this — most conveniently — last summer at about the time when the interim Danforth report was issued and the court dismissed the Davidian civil suits.
When I publicly accused Clive Doyle of being an accomplice to the cover-up of the murders of the Davidians, Swett attacked me and defended the Davidians. No, they were not accomplices, he said.
But Swett had fallen into a trap, and I closed the door on it. So I asked Swett: "You accuse the Davidians of setting the fire that killed their children. Therefore you're accusing them of committing the actual murders, right?"
Swett says no, I'm only saying they started the fires that their children died in.
Yes, Swett trapped himself between a rock and a hard place. Can you get much dumber than that? I think Mark Swett is a cop.
How much faith to you have that the tapes of David's teachings are authentic?
I heard David say on one of the negotiation tapes that his interpretation of the First Seal, the one brought out by Ruth Riddle on April 19, "will knock your socks off." I don't believe David Koresh actually said that — I think that was faked, just as I think much of the First Seal was faked. For sure, it didn't knock my socks off. My guess is that some of it was David's, the rest was chaff written by someone else. If the government went to all that trouble maligning David and ridiculing him during the siege to destroy his message, why would they let the message out after the siege? You'd have to be very naive not to question that First Seal transcript.
As far the work David did in the 1990s, I can tell you there's been a coordinated effort to erase it from the memory bank. Certainly the message David taught in the early 1990s concerning the change of locale of the Davidic Kingdom from Israel to Waco — that has been erased from the face of the earth.
OK. So now back to your earlier criticism of Clive. We know Clive spent many years living away from the Mt. Carmel Center. It is possible that he just missed David's sermons concerning the change of the site of his martyrdom and the martyrdom of the women and children. Why are you convinced he is trying to hide this information?
Unlike Tabor and Swett, Clive claims to be a believer in David Koresh. He certainly would have had contact with other Davidians during the years he lived away from the Mt. Carmel Center. His daughters, first Karen, then Shari, were there at the Mt. Carmel Center over the course of years. So was his mother. Clive would have had ample opportunity to keep up on things. I will assure you of one thing: If the prophet I had chosen to follow was sleeping with my daughters, I'd keep close tabs on him. I'd find out what my prophet was doing and saying, particularly on such a fundamental issue as the location of his martyrdom and my daughters' martyrdom. Wouldn't you?
The Chicago Tribune interviewed Clive's ex-wife after the April 19 fire. She lamented the loss of her grandchildren — Shari's children. Later, I interviewed Clive. He denied he had any grandchildren and said his ex-wife was mistaken. Did you ever speak to Clive about his having grandchildren?
I did, and Clive denied he had any. But Karen Doyle left the company of David's women because she was barren. Karen is married now, and her new husband brought a child into the marriage. Meanwhile, her sister Shari lived in the Branch Davidian community and was reportedly one of David's wives. If Shari was also barren, she likely would also have left, as Karen did. But she did not leave. She was listed among the dead. Perhaps Shari did have children with David. I don't know.
Let's continue with Clive's treatment of David's prophecies.
Let me discuss David's teachings concerning two verses of Daniel, Chapters 7 and 8, and specifically Daniel 7:9 and Daniel 7:13. David spoke often of these verses, but addressed them in great detail in a tape called "Letter to Australia."
As I told you, I am a Shiite Muslim. The Bible is filled with prophecies of the Savior coming from Persia or as we now call that country, Iran, a Muslim country. I was always interested to note that the surname David chose, "Koresh" (phonetically the same as the Arabic "Quryash"), was the family name of the prophet Mohammed, peace be upon him. Each Muslim Imam is a descendant of that Koresh/Quryash family. Imam Khomeini, peace be upon him, was a Koresh/Quryash. The awaited Savior of Islam — al Mahdi — will also bear the name Koresh/Quryash.
I arrived at the Mt. Carmel Center in December, 1996. In October 1997 I heard the tape "Letter to Australia." In this tape, David talks about Daniel 7:9 and Daniel 7:13. He says the verses tell of two Saviors. One is the Prince of Persia (Iran), called Koresh (Isaiah 45), and the other one is Jesus. Koresh the Savior and Jesus the Savior join forces to defeat the anti-Christ (or the ad-Dajjal, the Deceiver, as he is called in Arabic); Jesus does the judging, Koresh does the fighting.
I was amazed, for David's teaching about End Days exactly parallels the prophecy of Mohammed in his Hadith, and those of the Imams, peace be upon them.
David was teaching the heart of Islam, but he was unifying the three religions of Abraham. I had tremendous respect for him.
I don't believe I am the only one to realize what David was doing. During the siege, theologian Phil Arnold from the Reunion Institute was a consultant to the FBI. Do you know what they study at the Reunion Institute? They study the unification of the three Abrahamic religions. Coincidentally, James Tabor is one of their speakers.
I told Clive what I had found and asked him to check my findings. Yes, I was right that Koresh comes from Iran, Clive said. Clive and I began to study the Koran and the Bible.
Just a few weeks later, in November 1997, the President of Iran, Ayatollah Khatami, publicly called for discussion between the American people and Iran concerning their religious beliefs.
Khatami's invitation had been written in English. I gave Clive a copy. I also found a biography of Khatami on the Net; he was multi-lingual and proficient in English.
I gave Clive a copy of the biography, too. The importance of this will be clearer as we talk.
I reminded Clive that David wanted his message taken to the world. Here was the perfect opportunity. I offered to compose a letter to Khatami for Clive's signature, telling Khatami about David's teachings. I also proposed that we inform the Davidians of the parallel between David's teachings and Mohammed's teachings, and that we tell them about the letter to Khatami.
Clive said the Davidians were not ready to hear about the identical End Days prophecy made by David and Mohammed, peace be upon him. Instead, he said, we should jointly address the Davidian congregation and tell them of the compatibility between the two systems, and tell them of the letter to Khatami. I agreed.
On January 31, 1998, we held a Sabbath meeting in which Clive talked about David's message and related it to Islam, and I talked about Islam and related it to David's message. We told the congregation about the letter to Khatami.
The address went over well and in the next few weeks we all discussed the letter to President Khatami among ourselves. No one disagreed that it should be sent.
In February 1998 the letter to President Khatami was finalized. But Clive stalled on sending it. He said he needed to learn more about Islam before he approached Khatami.
[See letter to Katami at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/KORESHX98/message/1157 ]
I told him Khatami already knew about Islam, we didn't have to tell him about it. Our job was to compose a letter accepting his invitation to talk about our beliefs.
Still, Clive stalled, dilly-dallying. He always seemed indecisive and weak. I made excuses for him in my own mind. He was brainwashed during the siege, I thought, that is why he is this way.
Weeks rolled by and Clive continued to stall on sending the letter. By the time the April 19, 1998, memorial services were held, the letter still had not been sent out. Ramsey Clark had come to Waco to speak at the memorial service. At that time he made regular trips to Iran. So I told Ramsey about the letter. Ramsey said, "If you can get the letter to me I will deliver it to Khatami by hand."
I was very excited and went to Clive with the news. Clive told me that was a great idea. Over the next few days, each time I saw Ramsey I asked him if Clive had given him the letter. Each day Ramsey said no. Each day I'd go to Clive to remind him.
Finally it was time for Ramsey's departure. Ramsey left. I asked Clive if Ramsey had taken the letter with him. Clive said no — Ramsey said Khatami did not speak or read English, so we'd have to get the letter translated. I told Clive that Khatami was proficient in English, and referred him back to the biography on Khatami. Then I let the matter slide. I did not want to have a confrontation with Clive. I reminded myself of the cruelty Clive experienced during the siege and continued to make excuses for his behavior.
By the summer of 1998 the letter to Khatami still had not been sent. I brought it to the attention of a meeting of Davidians. I complained that we were not following David's instruction to take his message to the world. I asked, "Are we sending the letter or not?" Only Catherine Matteson objected, saying the US government wouldn't want us to send such a letter. Nonetheless, after further discussion, the Davidians, including Catherine, all voted to send it. They also said they wanted a clarification from me concerning the connection between Islam and David's teachings.
I told Clive of the congregation's wish to know more about the parallel between the prophecies of Islam and David Koresh. I offered to give a Sabbath address on the subject. Clive agreed. The address was scheduled and announced. The title was "Koresh from Iran," and the address was to be given at the new Mt. Carmel visitor's center.
The day of the address arrived — It was a hot summer day. The new Mt. Carmel visitors center was filled to capacity that Sabbath morning, full of people who wanted to hear the message. Some of these people were brand new, I'd never seen them before. We even ran out of chairs.
About five minutes before I was to speak, Clive began to try to dissuade me from going ahead, saying that the people did not have the background they needed to understand my address.
I held my ground and told Clive that I fully intended to forge ahead and give the message. In the face of my determination, Clive gave way.
David Koresh's mother, Bonnie Halderman, was there, sitting towards the back. I started my address by apologizing, saying I was just a student. Bonnie mouthed these words to me: "Don't apologize. Just give the message." That was such a kind gesture.
I told the congregation that their minds had been poisoned on the subject of Iran and Islam, and urged them to listen to what I had to say with their hearts. Then I discussed the amazing similarities between David's prophecies and Mohammed's prophecies.
The congregation reacted with great interest. I felt the address was a tremendous success. In particular, the response was excellent from the group of older Davidians.
But during the following week Tom Cook, Wyla, and a few others, expressed outrage. "Andrew is really a Muslim, he is trying to change us into Muslims ... he is trying to steal our revolution." They began to question my motives in giving this address and to raise other issues. So I agreed to clarify points raised at the following Sabbath meeting.
When the next Sabbath rolled around, there were even more new people in attendance than the week before. As I was soon to find out, these new faces were there to serve a purpose.
The service was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. Clive was very late. Naturally we waited for him. He drove up to the Mt. Carmel visitors center at about 2:00 pm. He did not even get out of his car. He just pulled up and told me through an open window: "I'm sick, I'm going home." Then he said he wanted a man named Bryan — who was not a follower of David Koresh — to give the Sabbath address instead of me. Bryan — I'm not sure how he spells his name — would be reading the transcript of the Seal that came out of the Mt. Carmel Center with Ruth Riddle. In other words, there would be no Sabbath address.
I asked Clive why he was canceling my address. He said he did not like my attitude and that I smoked too many cigarettes on the property. I objected. I said "Why didn't you say so before?" and "What has this got to do with the Sabbath message these people came to hear?"
Then the people I had never ever seen before milled around me. They told the other long-time Davidians that I was causing dissension and that I was misrepresenting David. They started an uproar. The newcomers' presence and their reaction to my address was obviously choreographed. I said to Clive, "You planned this, didn't you?" Then one woman whom I had never seen before — middle aged, over weight, wearing too much make-up — defended Clive. "How dare you talk to my rabbi this way!" she yelled. I responded: "Madam, what do you mean, your RABBI? I have been here in this congregation for three years and I have never seen you before."
Clive drove away. By this time the Branch Davidians, many of whom are poor, broken people, had become frightened and confused. Then Tom Cook spoke up: "I'm going to Clive's house. Come with me. Let's go to Clive's." Many drove off in their cars. I understand they went to Clive's house, where Clive held a three hour Sabbath meeting despite being "sick." Brian did not read the Seal after all, I was told.
I was stunned at the turn of events. I did not go to another Sabbath meeting for a long while. But I continued to make excuses for Clive in my own mind. I reminded myself that Clive had been subjected to brainwashing techniques during the siege, and that I should be patient with him because he had been placed in his position by God.
Now I believe that Clive Doyle would do anything to kick dust over the "Letter to Australia" and David's message of the two Saviors. If Doyle really believed David was a prophet, "God made flesh," he wouldn't have the slightest reluctance to bring the message to the world.
Continued in Part 4
The issue of "Davidian survivors" is fraught with questions, as told these chapters of the Museum: