Waco's true believers
April 14th, 2011
10:56 AM ET

18 years after Waco, Davidians believe Koresh was God

By Ashley Fantz, CNN

Nearly 20 years ago, 76 people lost their lives during an FBI raid near Waco, Texas. CNN's Drew Griffin looks at those events at 8 ET/PT and 11 ET/PT Sunday night in "Waco: Faith, Fear & Fire."

Waco, Texas (CNN) - Sheila Martin's children burned alive. God, she says, wanted it that way.

"I don't expect you to understand," she says, leaning her bird-tiny frame against a full shopping cart in the nursery aisle at a Super Walmart. Her pink shirt, flats and purse match the lilies, hydrangeas and clusters of jasmine she's buying.

"Oh, look, they have forget-me-nots!" She caresses the blue petals and, like a child, puts her nose in the plant and inhales.

"These will be perfect for the memorial."

On Tuesday, Martin and a handful of other surviving Branch Davidians will gather at a hotel off a freeway in this dusty Central Texas town to remember the federal siege on their religious compound, an event that has become synonymous with the word Waco.

On that day in 1993, a 51-day standoff between the armed Davidians and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the Federal Bureau of Investigation ended in a fire and the deaths of at least 76 people. Among them were Martin's husband and four of her children.

Read the full story here.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Church • Texas • TV • United States

soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. james hirth

    I have proof that the A.T.F fired the first shots and started the fires.I know that what the branch davidians was not right but the A.T.F commited over 75 counts of murder.How is that right?

    April 20, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Artist

      That isn't. The ATF went in there looking to kill people and they did. Ruby Ridge? Yes they were wackjobs but that is no excuse for the executions the ATF/FBI conducted.
      When the government wants you dead...you end up dead..that simple

      April 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  2. SLBushway

    It is hard to imagine that despite the evidence that there are some that still view Koresh as a G*d – there's blissful ignorance and then deliberate ignorance – not sure which applies here but in the end it doesn't matter if you're still left with ignorance. The same is true with those who put a particular religion above their G*d. It seems to me that if you believe in G*d that you can't believe that any religion has got it right. The first thing I doubt is that G*d is such an egomaniac that he requires that we praise him every day – before every meal – before every tough decision otherwise you can't go to heaven. Seems to me that if there were a G*d and a heaven that how you live and how you love your neighbor dictates where you'll end up and based on what I see here – there's quite a few that aren't passing the test and G*d is not going to accept "I read it in a book".

    April 18, 2011 at 8:57 am |
  3. david Hart

    This is a thoughtful article. Thank you.


    April 16, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
  4. Adelina

    Secular Americans have become so hopelessly hedonistic they cannot comprehend any type of religious text including the Holy Bible. Insanity from immorality.

    April 16, 2011 at 6:09 am |
    • T-party

      Jim bakker,Jimmy Swaggert, Benny Hinn,Koresh,Pat Robinson,Joel Osteen,Jerry Falwell,Jim Jones, many priests the list goes on and on. Sadly Adelina you can not even understand that I do not mock God. I feel God in my life and love my family my work and my hobbies. I enjoy science friends and all aspects of life. I just can not stand judgemental radical religious folks who use religion to divide judge others. I do not need a religious text to know Ki-lling,lying,stealing,cheating are wrong.

      April 16, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • T-party

      @ Adelina, you said"Secular Americans have become so hopelessly hedonistic" ummm...Jimmy Swaggert,many priests,many many preachers listed above beyond hedonistic and hiding behind God and then saying well I sinned.... I think God is much smarter than you religious folks think he is.

      April 16, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • Halcium

      @Adelina Most of us are smart enough to smell BS from a mile away and choose to distance our selves from it. This BS is also known as politics and religion. Why not focus your energy on something useful and keep your religious beliefs to yourself?

      "Treat religion like your penis; don't show it off in public and don't shove it down your children's throats."

      April 16, 2011 at 11:33 pm |
  5. Info

    "Clive Doyal, who says he was skeptical initially, especially when Koresh started having s.ex with young girls. "I couldn't argue because he'd show you where it was in the bible"

    Did anyone else get a chill or just shake your head? As if you needed anymore proof why the bible shouldn't be taken literal or used for a moral compass or guideline, clearly not the words or work of a omniscient and omnipotent God.

    April 15, 2011 at 10:27 pm |
  6. JonathanL

    Jonathanianity. I am an even better god than he was because I don't sleep with all the underage girls, and all the women, lose my temper easily, or stress my followers into believing what I want them to so I can live out being a super control freak, and I am not strong headed and stubborn and ignorantly immersed in dated scriptures, and I avoid bad situations like becoming a cult leader, and I shave. Those qualifications alone could get me about 1/3 of the world population as submissive unthinking followers. If I mention that statues of me cry tears, and images of me appear in fig newtons

    April 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm |
  7. Joe

    2000 years from now there may be people who follow a religion called Koreshtianity. They might belive that David died at the hands of the evil Americans and that he will rise again to judge the living and the dead and that his kingdom will have no end.

    April 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • Artist

      There is more evidence that Koresh is a god than jesus and the tales in the bible. lol

      April 15, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
    • Adelina

      2,000 years from now, people will be talking about the most empty-headed tribes that were in North American continent who were wiped out because of ignorance and immorality – secular Americans.

      April 15, 2011 at 11:36 pm |
    • T-party

      Joe sooooo true Adelina is an idiot who probably sends money to support evangelical preachers

      April 15, 2011 at 11:41 pm |
    • Adelina

      Hi, T-party. it doesn't take 2,000 years at all, but maybe only a several more years to reveal the full stupidity of American non-believers. Don't worry. If USA is in a bad shape, no nation could be really better-off. We just wanted America to stay healthy longer but you American non-believers are wrecking everything with your ungodliness.

      April 16, 2011 at 5:52 am |
    • Adelina

      T-party, you should listen to Evangelical preachers and do the good things they tell you to do. Why are you non-believers so up against good people and good things? What's wrong with you? Why can't you leave alone the people who adhere their religions seriously and peacefully, doing good things and telling the truth daily? Why do you need to mock religious people with all your might? Your evil stupidity had been prophesied, by the way, so no Christians are surprised. You just don't want to think about the fact that the judgment awaits everyone who doesn't repent and reform. Be thankful to Christians for warning you; you've been told about the way of salvation through Jesus all along.

      April 16, 2011 at 6:03 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.