Highly gifted children have the tendency to illustrate asynchronous growth. Since they have high cognitive abilities and high strengths, they experience and interact with others in an exceptional manner.
Such children are mostly are acquired because of intensively high scores on an identically scored IQ tests generally above 140 IQ range (Hollenweger, 1972). William Marion Branham was not an exceptional of a highly gifted child and adult throughout his entire life.
He was brought up in the hills of Kentucky starting from the year 1909 (Stadsklev, 1952). His father and mother did not mind about any religion. However, when he was being born, the midwife, his father and mother saw a halo latent above the head of baby William. Thus, other than his growth, Branham demonstrated asynchronous birth that was unique (Delisle, 1992).
Branham’s parents as well as the midwives were very worried about what they saw because they did not know what the halo meant. He grew up in the environs of Jefferson, Indiana in a life of hardship and full of challenges due to their poor financial status (Lindsay, 1950). The life of Branham was full of haziness because he talked of visions and voice which spoke to him out of wind.
It stated, “Do not ever drink or smoke, or defile your body in any way. There will be a work for you to do when you get older” That was a sign of being ordained by God to minister. The halo was again seen in later years when Branham had begun his ministry (Torrance & Safter, 1999) in 1950 at Texas, Houston.
George Lacy who is known as an analyzer of questioned papers, was shown a picture of the phenomenon and he gave the following suggestion, “Rev. Branham, you will not live forever just like other people but as a result of Christian civilization, your image will remain” Even to date, the prominent, copyrighted photograph can be found in major publications, like the Dictionary of Pentecostal.
Therefore, it is clearly observed that Branham in his early years was indeed gifted and all he did was unique and amazing proving the characteristics of gifted children (Lindsey, 2000). His growth was full of miracles and he had massive impact to the society and entire world. It is therefore essential to examine his social and emotional needs that prove he was truly a gifted person.
Social and Emotional Needs
Largely, the desires of gifted kids are alike to those of other ordinary kids without gifts. Branham was brought up in Jeffersonville where his family had been immersed in poverty and hardship. Having a meal was a problem because his father had no descent job that could provide for their needs contentedly (Kleine & Webb, 1992). Gifted kids go through similar growth stages as other kids while at young ages.
Branham’s father was a great alcoholic who could not do without alcohol, his family leaved in an almost slam area due to their financial status and it had no Christian values since his parents new nothing concerning Christianity (Colangelo & Davis, 2003). In fact, their financial status could not allow him to be born in hospital since his family could not afford to pay for that thus he was born in the backyard with the help of a midwife.
Despite his mysterious actions and deeds while still a child, Branham was converted to Christianity through summon of a Baptist minister in 1931 (Jorgensen, 1994). It only took him a few months before he felt the urge to preach. He began preaching at the age of 23 years. He asked for permission from the elders of the church and he was given a chance to preach in a church service.
It was not long before he caught up with the work and in 1933, he preached to more than two thousand people in his neighborhood. He was depressed when his wife and daughter died in 1937 but he felt it was punishment from God for not responding to the call when he was called to minister to oneness Pentecostals (Harrell, 1978).
Predicaments Associated with Characteristic Strengths of Branham
|Obtains/keeps information quickly |
Questioning: looks for significance
|annoyed with others; is against normal basic routines |
Inquires for uncomfortable issues; excessive in interests (Meckstroth & Tolan, 1982).
|Inherent motivation||Determined: resists direction.|
|Problem solving skills||Determined; resists direction.|
|Problem solving skills; abstract, synthesize. |
looks for cause-effect relationsstresses the truth, equity and fair play
looks forward to organize things and people
Gigantic facile vocabulary: advanced widened information
|Withstands routine practice |
Dislikes unclear/illogical areas like traditions or feelingsWorries about humanitarian anxiety
Comes up with complicated rules mostly observed as bossy
May use words to influence; bored with school and age-peers (Neithart, Robinson & Moon, 2002)
|High anticipations of self and others |
Inventive; likes new ways of doing things
|Intolerant, purist; may become depressed |
May be observed as disruptive and out of step
|Extreme concentration; long attention span and persistence in fields of interest. |
Sensitivity, desire to be accepted by others
Very energetic, alertness, eagernessIndependent; prefers personalized work; reliant input; non conformity
Strong sense of humor
|Ignores duties or people during periods of focus; resists interruption; stubbornness |
Sensitivity to censure or peer rejection
Aggravation with inactivity; may be seen as agitated
May ignore parent or peer on self
Your age groups may misunderstand humor; may become centre of attraction/attention
Behavioral Patterns of Branham that were associated with characteristics of Gifted People
Most gifted people display uneven development well referred to as motor skills especially in children where they often lag behind cognitive theoretical abilities. Frequently, these kids discover what they wish to do and what they can do best at an early age although motor skills denies them the opportunity (Seagoe, 1974). Intense disappointment and emotional needs may be experienced.
Branham when still young displayed the motor skills where he claimed to see visions that other people never saw and have never seen throughout their lives. He was only seven when he saw first of his several visions that were intended to guard hid life. He heard a voice in the wind through the leavers of the tree stating, “Never drink, smoke or ruin your body in any way, for I have work for you to do when you get older” (Stadsklev, 1952).
His father started calling him a sissy because he declined his wish to drink alcohol. One day, he was tempted and wanted to disapprove his father and four brothers on the fact that he could not drink alcohol.
Thus, he stood in front of them and took a bottle of alcohol and when he wanted to take a sip, he heard a voice from the wind informing him to stop. He let fall the bottle and begun shading tears, his father then said, “You see, I told you he was a sissy” He often heard the same voice on several occasions warning him never to lead life like his family until when he became a Christian (Lindsay, 1950).
Therefore, it is clear that Branham had uneven development where he was to do things against his wish and the wish of his father. He also underwent intense frustration and emotional outburst when he lost his wife and daughter respectively in one year. He was much disappointed and depressed but he concluded that it was God’s punishment on him for not responding to his call of serving in the ministry.
As a teenage in initial levels of education, William tried to manage things and individuals particularly his pals but was not able (Lindsey, 2000). His exploration for steadiness emphasized on principles which he attempted to use on other people but all was in vain. After he decided to obey the voice, he faced massive challenges from his brothers and peers.
His brothers used to drink with his father but he decided to obey the voice of God and keep away (Halsted, 1994). His friends rejected him because he could not do evil things that they used to do. Therefore, his peer relations were very poor due to his obedience to the voice of God.
Excessive self-criticism refers to the ability of an individual to view possibilities and alternatives which proves that adolescents see unrealistic images of what they might be, and continuously rebuke themselves because they see how they are falling short of an ideal (Weaver, 1987).
This same thing was observed in the life of Branham. It was on May 7, 1946, when William decided to sleep in a cave where an angel supposedly came over and explained to him everything concerning his life and the future life. The angel revealed to him how God wanted to use him to heal people.
Most people especially his followers were concerned about the spiritualistic implications displayed through Branham’s gift of healing. Any occurrence of disease would initiate vibrations, making his hand to swell. He often saw a scorching ball moving across the room and float over the head of specific people to whom he could then utter a word of healing (Kleine & Webb, 1992).
In 1965, Branham conducted a certain conference in which there was observed the scorching ball but one man who attended the conference witnessed that nothing was observed although the rest of the audience saw it and concurred with description that was given by Branham concerning the visible phenomenon.
Several people were against Branham’s End Time Ministry particularly fellow ministers who were amazed with capabilities of Branham.
Many people in halls and stadiums all over the globe attended his preaching, revival and healing services. He was in Africa for about two months (from October to December 1951) where he travelled to South Africa and carried out what he called the “greatest religious meetings ever” There were all sorts of miracles and healings reported at these meetings, which were attended by very many people across Africa.
The services were conducted in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. From that same event, many authors wrote about the preacher and the event including Julius Stadskley, Walter Hollenwegger (Branham’s interpreter) among others (Hollenweger, 1972).
This refers to the ability to view how a person might ideally perform, merged with emotional intensity; lead many gifted people to impractically high anticipations of themselves. About 20 percent of people with high abilities may be hindered greatly by perfectionism in their career lives (Elliott, 1989). Branham used to do strange healing and miracles that made his fellow ministers to question his abilities and his source of strength.
However, God continued to strengthen his ministry and gave him more powers to perform more miracles than expected (Halsted, 1994) give. His ministry was perfected by God to an extent of bringing people back to life; he raised about three people from death throughout his time of ministry and he was alleged to have uttered a word and it happened.
At one time, he was to give sacrifice to God but he was not in a position to acquire an animal to offer as a sacrifice. Therefore, he said, “and let there be a lamp” and it came to be thus he offered the sacrifice to God (Adderholdt & Goldberg, 1999).
Evasion of Risk-Taking
Just as gifted people see opportunities, they also analyze the risks associated with such opportunities. Evading probable difficulties can mean averting possible risks, and may result to underachievement of their plans or missions. William Branham was a very keen person who greatly avoided risks in many occasions (Clark, 1992).
Just as mentions, several fellow ministers criticized him and all that he did but he did not bother them other than pressing on with what he did. He had no time to argue with fellow ministers concerning certain issues that they criticized him about (Seagoe, 1974). However, he always followed what the Bible stated and if it meant to talk about denominations, he actually did that.
For example, Branham reasoned that there is nothing like trinity existing in the Bible as several churches and theologies believed. According to him, nothing exists like God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. His theology believes in oneness of God thus being against the traditional Christian believes about trinity (Whitmore, 1980). He believed that God – oneness theology teaches that God is one essence.
Tge notion of trinity originated from Sabellianism, the ancient Monarchianism. The name Sebellianism was derived from one prominent advocate called Sabellius who came up with trinity (Lindsay, 1950). Sabellius taught individuals God showed Himself in different manner at distinct times.
Before the world came into being, He was God the Father. He again came in form of Jesus who took on human image as the saving son. After God in form of Jesus rose to heaven, God then revealed Himself as the Holy Spirit, and he still works today in the same form to his sons through the church.
Modalism was the first strong effort to retain the oneness of the Godhead. Nevertheless, the notion of the trinity, came by and suppressed modalism of which the Bible refers to on adequate occasions lost. The Trinitarian theology that came up out of the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) was an indication to the fact that the church identified the different subsistence of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Therefore, Branham restored the initial understanding of God in three distinctive modes where he emphasized oneness of God and greatly overlooked the claims of Trinity (Clark, 1992). Therefore, in as much as Branham avoided taking risks, he wanted to bring this issue clear to Christians.
He thought that because God is one, the principle of the Trinity “is of the Devil” Thus any person who has been baptized in the name of the triune God must be re-baptized in the name of Jesus only. Branham clearly understood the baptismal formula given by Jesus in Mathew 28: 18-20 as being a summary of the Modalistic idea.
Gifted individuals often contain several superior potential and may be engaged in broadened activities to almost anxious degrees. Although this infrequently occurs as trouble to the person, it may create predicaments and crisis for the family when verdicts have to be made concerning career selection.
Most preachers or ministers are majorly gifted in one area of the ministry either preaching, healing, performing miracles, teaching and so on though some of them are gifted in utmost two areas. However, Brahman proved to be greatly talented and multi-potential because he was able to preach, teach, heal, perform miracles, utter words as they happen, bless, curse and many other activities in the ministry.
This shows that Branham was highly involved in variety of activities to a frantic degree. Just as stated above, such diverse activities brought problems to the family of William Branham because it was divided into two with some family members being on his side while others against him. Most of his siblings supported his ministry as well as his mother but his father remained with his bad behaviors of being alcoholic and he died as one.
His mother was converted to Christianity as well as some of his brothers and joined his ministry where his mother died as a true Christian (Webb & Kleine, 1993). His home town-Jeffersonville on the other hand gave him hundred percent support where he achieved a wide measure of acceptance among some mainline Pentecostal groups (Clark, 1992).
A Visit from an Angel
There was a time when Branham left for a private place to speak with God through prayers. He cried out to the Lord to speak to him and reveal more things to him in some way.
That night he discovered a light shining unsteadily in the room that began to spread across the floor and then developed into a ball of fire polishing on the floor. Footsteps moved towards his direction and he saw a gigantic man dressed in a white negligee (Anderson, 2004).
William Branham humbly answered that he was so poor and illiterate; no one could even listen to him. The angel gave him two gifts that he would employ as signs to help individuals believe (Kerr, 1991). The first would be his ability to discover a vibration in his left hand; and other would be the world of information and acquaintance revealing the secret hidden in a heart of an individual.
Therefore, from that time, William Branham was able to do extra ordinary miracles and healing where he was able to tell an individual what was happening to his life even without the person talking to him. That is the point where other ministers began questioning his gifts of healing, performing miracles and preaching.
William Branham communicated to his followers about how God confronted him in form of a pillar of fire and exposed the clandestine of Revelation 5-8. Hence it made him be able to forecast coming event before they take place (Silverman, 1993). Some of the predictions of future events according to Branham include:
- Hitler’s ascension to power
- The destruction of America by an explosion in 1977
- In the book The Seven Church Ages Branham assigned 1977 as the first year of the millennium
- Branham’s Unscriptural Views
Just as mentioned above, Branham was against the trinity notion that there is God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. He stated that there is oneness of God where he works in three different forms what he termed as offices. His argument was that God was one in three distinct offices that entails the Father, Son and Holy Spirit but all of them is one God-Jesus.
Since he believed trinity was ungodly notion, a true believer or any convert must be re-baptized in the name of Jesus. He understood the baptism way given by Christ in Mathew 28: 18-20 as a summary of Modalistic notion (Powell & Haden, 1984).
William Branham came up with a dogma called “serpent’s seed” where he believed that Eve, the first woman on earth had sexual intercourse with serpent in the garden of Eden that led to birth of Cain who was serpent’s breed. Thus, according to Branham, some human beings are preordained to hell.
However, some people are “seed of God,” who came in from lineage of Abel who was a result of sexual intercourse between Adam and Eve whom God blessed together with his offspring from generation to another. Therefore, anyone who believed his massage was a “seed of God”.
This notion was supported by a theology, Calvinism, teaches a doctrine of double predestination. However, there is no one not even Calvin himself maintained that movement (Lindsay, 1950).
Branham’s view of hell is very different from the normal notion of traditional Christianity which believes that hell is a place of eternal torment. According to Branham, God will do away with Hell (Stadsklev, 1952).
William Branham considers that any other church that does not honor the word of God as he puts it is of the devil. This means that all the other churches outside his notion are of Devil. However, not all people found in these denominations are of devil, others are seeds of God but they will be saved during the Great Tribulation where they will have to shade their own blood in order to inherit the kingdom of God.
However, through evangelical ministries by Branham’s followers, some people are saved and accept his ways meaning that they are re-baptized in the name of Jesus to eliminate the notion of trinity in their lives (Milne & Reis, 2000). He believed that being in a denomination meant having a mark of the beast described in the book of Revelation (Revelation 13: 6-18).
Branham considered himself the guaranteed Elijah of Malachi 4:5, sent as a messenger to marshal in the end. Traditional Christian exegesis of Malachi 4: 5 has provided John the Baptist as being the messenger spoken of (John 1:6-9). Although John the Baptist declined that fact, he actually completed the role of a messenger of Isaiah 40: 3.
Funny enough, only the Judaism of Orthodox that support the notion that Elijah is yet to come. Therefore, since they believe Elijah is has not yet come, the usually leaves an empty seat for him to occupy during their Passover celebrations (Anderson, 2004). However, no Orthodox Jew ever asked Branham to come and sit in the empty chair.
It is clear from this history of William Branham that there were some problems associated with characteristics strengths of Gifted People that were observed during his time in ministry (Stadsklev, 1952). To wind up on Branham’s strengths linked to his characteristics, here are some of the problems that gifted people like him face.
Although Branham deceased in 1965, he goes on to have followers who are enthusiastic believers in the truth of his cause. Revolutionaries believe he will be resurrected by God to justify his mission. Besides, some of his followers also believe that he was God in form of human being.
However, millions of these people considered him as the last prophet for this generation thus they follow his instructions up to date. The request of the prophet was the believers to maintain their faith and never be immersed in denominations until their time comes. Indeed, he was a servant of God and a highly gifted person who had great impact to the society and to the world at large.
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