Episode 9 – An interview with James Rozak (Part 2)

Off The Shelf
Off The Shelf
Episode 9 - An interview with James Rozak (Part 2)

Rod and Bryan continue their discussion with James Rozak, the author of the Morning Mercy  website, in part 2 of their interview

James Rozak was the Associate Pastor of Edmonton Word Assembly for 10 years, serving alongside Eugene Braun. James believed and preached the message as best he knew.

But in February of 2013, the unthinkable happened and James made a decision with his wife to leave the message of William Branham.  Issues discussed on this podcast include:

  • Concerns with the emphasis by ministers on William Branham, rather than Jesus Christ;
  • Reaction of other ministers to James’ focus on helping people that were subject to abuse;
  • The problem with abuse in the message and how ministers deal with it;
  • Cognitive dissonance and the impact on Christians who are still in the message;
  • The testimony of Alfred Pohl, a man who questioned whether people were actually being healed in William Branham’s meetings.

Article referred to in the podcastThe Testimony of Alfred Pohl

Referenced websiteMorningMercy.com is a resource for formers followers of William Branham and contains encouragement from the perspective of an ex-message follower.

Music – Great Is Thy Faithfulness by Jon Gibson, (lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm and music by  William Runyan – 1923) from Soulful Hymns (2002) – View Album


14 Replies to “Episode 9 – An interview with James Rozak (Part 2)”

  1. I actually know someone who went to one of James Rozak’s last youth meetings, I think it may have been the one you guys were talking about, and she said the services was so amazing, and James really had an impact.

    Also, I’d like to know who that preacher is who was beating his daughter, so I can never listen to him again, and tell more people about it.

    1. Liesel – I’m not sure you’ll be checking back to read a response. In regards to the preacher who abused his daughter – I think for me to provide a name, the thing that would need to happen first is fairly engaging in a dialogue with the individual. The disclosure given to me was from his daughter in confidence – whom, based on the extent of our conversations, I believed . But I would never publish a name without a proper due process.

      The point I should have elaborated further about is that this girl was in regards to the role of ministry to “help”. This girl grew up in an intense environment that strictly measured her ability to “perform” to the satisfaction of her headship. Failure to live up to the pressure resulted in many episodes that I consider abusive (mostly psychological in nature) – and perhaps culminating with this physical demonstration of ‘correction’. Ultimately, she was labelled a “problem child” and she was deeply struggling with every aspect of self-worth; she thought it was all her fault that she was broken.

      The true failure is realizing that her inability to be a “good believer” was more than likely be traced back to the expectations placed on her. And so often that association is lost; people are labelled as “backsliders, rebellious, disobedient” and little attention is paid towards the way in which they are being guided and taught in order to be a daughter of God. If her accounts were true, as I believed, she was suffering to feel like a daughter who was unconditionally loved/valued by her family – let alone someone worthy of God.

      1. James,

        I understand, and agree, it’s better to not give out names, I just wish I knew because I’m curious. 🙂

        You know, they say that a child will often grow up to view God in the way they view their earthly father. That’s why it’s so sad about that girl. I hope she recovers from this. I haven’t seen anything like this personally, and I was raised in a good home in the message, so it almost seems unreal that kids are treated like that.

        I currently go to a message church, and I’m putting together my research about the problems with the Message. I’m so attached to the message because of how I was raised, and my family, plus the message feels safe to me, but I hate the thought of being deceived. I have to have everything written down and I have to know all the facts before I can discuss it with people. I have a bunch of files and documents in my google docs, and I’m currently working on organizing and making timelines based on topics and stuff.

        This is actually a pseudonym, because quite a few people know who I am, and you actually know who I am too. lol I’m not popular or anything, but I don’t want to say anything anti-message unless I have everything together and know my stuff.


        1. Liesel,

          #stressedout – I understand so well how that feels. Also, I understand the notion of comfort, familiarity, safety that comes with the Message. All those things are attributes of being emotionally integrated into a community that is vital to your identity. We all want to belong in that way. It’s no different than anyone else would feel being a part of a group or community – even if they hold an entirely different set of values/beliefs. None of those emotional bonds has anything to do with “truth”, and it’s a valuable thing to recognize that strong emotions are not an indicator/evidence of simple, clear, ration, factual thinking. Being able to set aside fear and to look at the information at face value may not bring immediate comfort – because it puts acceptance in that “community” at risk – but it will bring perspective.

          I applaud and encourage you to do just as you are; look at things honestly, examine them with pure intentions, and allow the pieces to fall where they may. You need not disrespect anyone, blame anyone, burn bridges or broadcast your thoughts. It not about the people – it’s about the information being true. In so doing, no one can accuse you of being disingenuous or insincere if you approach it that way. I can’t tell you how many messages I received from people telling me how they always knew I was “fake”, “a fraud”, “a liar”, “an actor” – and although it hurt – because it was coming from people who knew me well – I knew I had acted honestly and carefully every step. And with that view, I never regretted my decision a single day.

          I’m sure anyone reading your words would encourage you with support and prayer. And I too hold you in my thoughts and prayers for your journey. If you ever need help or support, it’s always available.

          In regards to that girl – I too hope she is well. I know she was extremely reluctant to seek help; she was in a phase of running. I am not sure where she is today – our leaving the Message disconnected us from so many people and relationships; we immediately lost connection with her. But I do think about her often.

          Please be well, and blessings to your journey!

  2. Thank you for sharing your journey and insight, James. I remember what an enormous help you were to me, like a soothing balm to my troubled soul, when I first left the Message. I pray that others will continue to find freedom from Message fallacy.

  3. I’m enjoying these podcasts! I especially can relate to James on the abuse in the message. We endured spiritual abuse for most of our 41 years in it. I’ve heard people say that William Branham never condoned the way pastors treat their congregations or taught men to abuse their wives and children. They say it’s isolated cases, not widespread, but I can tell you that since we left 4 years ago, we found out that it is VERY prevalent! If William Branham didn’t really mean that you should beat your daughters with a barrel slat, or clobber your wife with a 2×4, then he shouldn’t have said it, because preachers and their congregations believe that he is “the Voice of God” for this age so they take his words seriously. If the pastor is the “supreme authority” in the church as WMB said, then it gives these pastors free reign to do as they wish with no accountability for church finances or for their actions. HE said it, THEY believe it, and sadly, for so many, THAT settles it.

    1. Sharon, we agree with you. The reason I left the church we were in was because the pastor covered up the sexual abuse of a minor and other ministers rose to defend him. That started my journey out of the message because the reaction of the ministers showed me there was something terribly wrong.

  4. There nothing in question to the late bro.Branham. Its the people that are tossed. They put his words none effect of mis understood & wrong interpreation or simply misled by some wrong minister twisted the message to their favor & greed. Dont forget also for every gathering there is always three (3) belivers… So where are you? Im sorry for the many horrible story of people that suffer to those fallen ministry & may be true base to their claim. Yet i contest that Bro.Branham was the root of it. His life is an open book to us all & all details may not be clear to many as the Lord took him 52years ago, yet the thousands & 200+ sermons he preach is a true testament of his life, character & more; That still stand as i will testify in any way, in any place, in any matter, that what He Preach & Live is Based to Thus saith the Lord. Grow up people & know God in His way not the branham way…

    1. I don’t think William Branham was as open as you think. Do you know that when he died he had the equivalent of over $23 million USD in the bank??? Do you know that Voice of God is worth over $110 million.

      Do not let anyone who delights in false humility and the worship of angels disqualify you (Col 2:18)

      Perhaps things are not as you have been told. Perhaps William Branham only exhibited false humility and it fooled some people. Those are the people that still follow him.

      This is an easy one for you to address. Just prove us wrong – http://en.believethesign.com/index.php/List_of_Issues_with_the_Message

    1. Sorry, Ronnie, but your comment make no sense to me. And I really don’t understand how that relates to the interview with James.

  5. I was not raised in the message. However, my family strictly believed in the bible. My great grandfather who was a trinitarian preacher told me once no matter where you go, no matter how good or bad your life turns out, no matter what you or anyone else believes, when it comes to God and the things people teach you about Him go back to the scriptures and check to see if they are telling the truth. When I was 11 my dad met someone who told him about William Branhams doctrine. I’ve never believed in it. We kept getting kicked out of churches because my dad would tell the pastors that he found a verse that contradicted what they were teaching. This Branham message seemed like a good doctrine to listen to. I heard a few messages from the first preacher and did not like them at all. As we went on listening and learning this new teaching a change happened with my parents. They started whipping us more and I remember once I told my mom I liked a boy down the road a neighbor. She whipped me and said I don’t need to like boys from the world. I stopped telling my mom anything about my personal feelings after that. After the pastor kicked us out of that church my mom and siblings stopped going. I kept going with my dad because I didn’t want him to sit in church alone. I wanted to be a Christian even though I didn’t believe William Branham message. I had questions about a lot of stuff so I couldn’t really believe what I didn’t know. Plus my great grandfather taught me better than to believe what people say. I noticed that every time my dad would scream at us all (mental and almost verbal abuse) I would just laugh at what he was saying because I knew William Branham teaching had an agenda for women seemed like. I used my great grandfather’s passing as an excuse to stop going to church. When we moved to Johnson City where Donny Reagan’s church is. I decided to go a few times to check it out. I noticed a few things that seemed off to me and I asked questions but it seemed like they were making excuses. I heard about Jeff Jenkins and noticed people who knew him were degrading him almost like the way someone superior talks to an underdog or something. I looked him up and that’s where I started to see everything. I am still learning about people who have left and what the answers to my questions are. It is not uncommon for my dad to tell my mom that she is a walking abomination or that I’m a prostitute or my sisters are, basically he just screams so loud, if I or mom try to tell him something that is contrary to William Branham teaching, our voices are drowned out. I tried to show him where William Branham is wrong and before I could give him scriptures or even proof he screamed so loud every time I try to open my mouth my voice gets drowned. I would never raise my daughters to see that kind of abuse. I hope they see enough Jesus Christ in me that they will want that for themselves.

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