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Deadly cult leader who told his followers to be celibate while sleeping with their wives exposed in new Netflix doc Waco: American Apocalypse

Tom Wood

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Deadly cult leader who told his followers to be celibate while sleeping with their wives exposed in new Netflix doc Waco: American Apocalypse

Featured Image Credit: Netflix

The leader of a religious cult in the United States that entered into an armed siege with their own government used to sleep with the wives of other members, despite telling the men that they must remain celibate.

The eventual demise of David Koresh and the Branch Davidians is one of the most shocking events in recent American history, with 86 people left dead by the end after the compound that the cult was occupying burned to the ground.

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Scores of children were killed, as well as law enforcement officers and other members of the religious sect.

The whole thing started because the US Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agency gained a search warrant to enter the Mount Carmel Center in Texas, not far from the town of Waco.

What would transpire became known as the Waco Siege, and the story is being told once again in a new documentary.

David Koresh quickly rose through the Branch Davidians to lead. Credit: Netflix
David Koresh quickly rose through the Branch Davidians to lead. Credit: Netflix
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Koresh was born Vernon Wayne Howell in 1959 and faced a tough upbringing, with both a teenage mother, an absent father, and his mother’s abusive lover.

He lived with his grandmother for several years, and was placed into special education at school.

Koresh also had an illegal relationship with a 15-year-old girl at the age of 19, before being kicked out of his own church for claiming that God told him he should be with the pastor’s daughter.

That led him to the Branch Davidians, where he quickly assimilated himself right to the top of the sect, claiming that he could make prophecies.

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One of those prophecies was that the end of days was coming, and the sect must prepare itself for a violent fight - stockpiling and making weapons at the center.

Incidentally, this turned out to be pretty accurate.

Throughout his time as leader of the sect, Koresh was accused of the statutory rape and sexual abuse of several children, as well as instigating ‘marriages’ with already married women.

The new documentary about Koresh is out on March 22 through Netflix. Credit: Netflix
The new documentary about Koresh is out on March 22 through Netflix. Credit: Netflix
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He banned husbands from masturbation and sex, despite having sex himself with their wives, and even asked them if they were ‘jealous’ of him.

Still, his followers believed him to be anointed by God, and therefore let it continue.

In a book, one of Koresh’s followers wrote: “It was about not just the single women [among the Branch Davidians] being his, but all the wives, all the women.”

She explained: “He gave me a personal Bible study.

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“The feeling was so comforting, [like] my God speaking directly to me.

“Sex was just part of it.

“The sermon made every touch not feel like sex at all, just a culmination of my relationship with God that I’d had all my life.”

The siege ended with a devastating fire that killed dozens. Credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons
The siege ended with a devastating fire that killed dozens. Credit: Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

As for the husbands, one male former follower said Koresh told them: “We’re all God’s guinea pigs here. My lot is to procreate, yours is to tolerate. I’d swap with you any day.”

However, he also said: “I get all the women. Aren’t you all jealous?”

In the end, he sired 17 children by the 11 women in the group, before a warrant was granted to search the Mount Carmel Center and arrest Koresh, as well as several other members of the church.

They resisted arrest using a large cache of weapons, starting a 51-day siege in the compound.

In the end – on February 28, 1993 – the compound caught fire.

To this day, no-one knows exactly what went down, but dozens were killed, including 28 children and Koresh himself, who died either from injuries from the fire or a gunshot wound.

It’s still considered as one of the worst tragedies in American history.

The three-part documentary Waco: American Apocalypse is on Netflix from March 22.

Topics: Film & TV, US News, Weird, True crime

Tom Wood
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