Thirty-One Years Ago Today–Outside Waco, Texas

I am at the ATL airport, for a flight connection, with one thing on my mind. April 19th, 1993. I am tuned in now to the Memorial Service via Zoom, which I can’t attend this year due to an out of town conference.

Some of you will perhaps remember that FATEFUL and tragic day, when the Mt Carmel Center, home of the Branch Davidians, led by their messiah David Koresh, went up in flames. It is burned in my memory, as some of you know, as I was intimately and closely involved, working with the FBI, and seeking to interpret Koresh’s message–including exchanges with him–as a mediator. If you saw the Paramount Network six part streaming series “Waco,” out a couple of years ago, with Taylor Kitsch and Michael Shannon, I even had a character in the last few episodes. Here is the link to the trailer, but you can find it streaming now on lots of services. I highly recommend it, it is not perfect but the best of any film so far made on the Waco tragedy, and there have been a lot of them:

My Youtube channel has several videos under the Playlist Waco you can view, but I would recommend two in particular.

First, my 1995 testimony to a joint-session of congress, with my colleague, Dr. Philip Arnold which is archived here:

Second, for a deep analytical dive into the topic, covering all aspects and controversies, this three hour roundtable with four of us who have worked the most of this topic from the standpoint of the History of Religions and understanding Apocalyptic movements:

There are other videos in that playlist, including interviews with the Branch Davidians inside, including David Koresh, so plenty to explore.

And then of course my book, Why Waco: Cults and the Battle for Religious Freedom in America, which is about much more than Waco–but a deep look at apocalyptic thinking more generally over the past few hundred years.:


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