DAVID KORESH Biography - Religious Figures & Icons


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Name: David Koresh                                                                   
Born August 17, 1959 Houston, Texas, U.S.                                           
Died April 19, 1993 Waco, Texas, U.S.                                               
David Koresh (August 17, 1959 - April 19, 1993) was the leader of a Branch           
Davidian religious sect, believing himself to be the final prophet. A 1993 raid     
by the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and subsequent       
siege by the FBI ended with the burning of the Branch Davidian ranch. Koresh, 53     
adults and 21 children died in the fire.                                             
He was born Vernon Wayne Howell in Houston, Texas, to a 14-year-old single           
mother, Bonnie Sue Clark. His father was a 20-year-old carpenter named Bobby         
Howell. The pair remained unmarried. Two years later his father met another         
woman and left. He never knew his father and was raised by "a harsh                 
stepfather". Koresh described his early childhood as lonely, and it has been         
alleged that he was once raped by older boys. A poor student diagnosed with         
dyslexia, Koresh dropped out of Garland high school. Due to his poor study           
skills, he was nicknamed "Mister Retardo" by his classmates. By the age of 12,       
he had learned the New Testament by heart.                                           
When he was 19, Koresh had a liaison with a 16-year-old girl who became pregnant;   
the girl left him because she considered him unfit to raise a child. He             
became a born-again Christian in the Southern Baptist Church and soon joined his     
mother's church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church. There he fell in love with       
the pastor's daughter and while praying for guidance he opened his eyes and         
allegedly found the Bible open at Isaiah 34, stating that none should want for a     
mate; convinced this was a sign from God, he approached the pastor and told him     
that God wanted him to have his daughter for a wife. The pastor threw him out,       
and when he continued to persist with his pursuit of the daughter he was             
expelled from the congregation. A member of the congregation is reported to         
have said that he never "thought above his belt buckle."                             
In 1981 he moved to Waco, Texas where he joined the Branch Davidians, a             
religious group originating from a schism in the 1950s from the Shepherd's Rod,     
themselves disfellowshipped members of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in the       
1930s. They had established their headquarters at a ranch about 10 miles out of     
Waco, which they called the Mount Carmel Center (after the Biblical Mount Carmel),   
in 1955.