Autobiographies of Three Surviving Branch Davidians
An Initial Report
Keywords:Branch Davidians, oral histories, methods in social sciences
This article provides an initial report on oral histories being collected from three surviving Branch Davidians: Bonnie Haldeman, the mother of David Koresh, Clive Doyle, and Sheila Martin. Their accounts are being made into autobiographies. Interviews with a fourth survivor, Catherine Matteson, are being prepared for deposit in an archive and inform the material gathered from Bonnie Haldeman, Clive Doyle, and Sheila Martin. Oral histories provided by these survivors humanize the Branch Davidians, who were dehumanized and erased in 1993 by the application of the pejorative ‘cult’ stereotype by the media and American law enforcement agents. These Branch Davidian accounts provide alternate narratives of what happened in 1993 at Mount Carmel Center outside Waco, Texas, to those provided by American federal agents, and flesh out the human dimensions of the community and the tragedy. Branch Davidians are differentiated from many other people primarily by their strong commitment to doing God's will as they understand it from the Bible. Otherwise they are ordinary, intelligent people with the same emotions, loves, and foibles as others.
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