Tuesday is the last full day of the scheduled meetings for members of the Davidian Seventh-day Adventists, in which three speakers will discuss Bible passages on which they base prophecies concerning forthcoming war in the Middle East and the eventual setting up of the Kingdom in Palestine.

Davidians from all over the nation, gathered at Mt. Carmel Center near Elk to await the events, heard M.W. Wolfe this morning and will hear T. O. Hermanson at 3 p.m. and Dudley Goff at 7:30 p.m. The three speakers are attached to the Davidian world headquarters at Mt. Carmel.

The final scheduled meeting is for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, the day on which — or near which — the expected war is to begin. Goff will be the speaker.

Members of the sect told yesterday how they received word from headquarters to gather at the 941-acre Mt. Carmel Center, sold what possessions they could not bring with them, and made the trek to Waco.

Members of the sect expect the following events to occur within the next few weeks: 1) outbreak of war in the Middle East; 2) purification of their church through the coming of the Lord — they say it possibly will not be visible — with fire and sword; 3) establishment of God’s Kingdom in Jerusalem; and 4) purification of the remainder of the world’s population.

Here are the accounts some of the Davidians related Monday:

“We were living in Narco, Calif., when we received the notice to assemble in Waco,” Tommy Thompson, a lean, weather beaten man in his 60’s recalled.

“I owned a trenching machine business.

“After we received the notice we sold the business, our house and furniture. We packed the rest of our belongings — our bedding and cooking utensils — in the car and a rented trailer and brought them with us.”

Thompson and his wife are living in a tent at the Davidian world headquarters at Mt. Carmel Center nine miles east of Waco.

“We have no particular problems,” Thompson said. “We got what we asked for.”

“Of course,” Mrs. Thomson added quickly, “this mud has been worrisome. It seems like it’s always underfoot.”

George Walton brought his wife, son and 30 to 35 other members to the center when he came from California. And they, like the Thompsons, are living in a tent at the center.

Burned bridges

“We burned all our bridges behind us,” Walton said. “We came prepared to meet whatever comes our way.”

Walton was an employee of the city board of education at Los Angeles. He also was leader of the Davidian group in that area.

Mr. and Mrs. William Glynn of Bend, Ore., are luckier than most.

They have two daughters living at the center. They invested part of their money in a house trailer before they came to the center.

“We came in a caravan,” they said. “There were five cars in all when we started out, but we didn’t all arrive at the same time. Some drove straight on through, but we stopped every night.”

Mr. and Mrs. C.C. Lyons of Portland, Ore., were Bible workers and they said they “were prepared for the call.”

“The Lord is with us,” Lyons said. “We sold our home — signed the final papers and all — and moved out in the two week period between the time we received the call and the time we were supposed to arrive.”

But they ran into a little trouble on the way.

“I’m a heart patient,” Lyons said,” and my wife and I tried to make arrangements to have someone drive us here. We had a woman who was going to drive, but she fell and injured her leg right after we got everything packed.

“We had to come ahead anyway. We had stuff from five other families on our trailer.”

The Lyons are living in an apartment at the center.

“We came prepared to camp out,” Lyons said, “but Sister Houteff (Davidian council chairman Mrs. V.T. Houteff), wouldn’t let us. She assigned us to an apartment and that’s where we’re staying.”

Coming to Texas represented a different type of sacrifice for 20-year-old Richard Strutz, a member of the junior hockey team at Prince Albert in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Glad to be here

“I’m sorry I have to give up hockey,” he said, “but I’m glad to be here.”

Young Strutz came to the center with his parents. His mother is still here but his father flew back to Canada Saturday to make final arrangements to sell the 640-acre Strutz farm in the heart of Canada’s wheat belt.

Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Springer came to Waco from Yoder, Wyo., where they owned and operated a combination farm and rest home.

“We’re still trying to sell our place,” they said, “but it’s hard to do. The residence is set up for a rest home — it has 30 bedrooms — and it’s hard to get anyone interested in it.”

There are more than 600 people in Waco representing almost every state and Canada for the Davidian meetings.

And, according to Davidian council member George W. Saether, most of them, like the Springers, the Struzes, the Lyons, the Glynns, the Waltons and the Thompsons have either sold their property or are trying to sell it.


Read the Tribune-Herald's 7-part investigative series on the inner workings of the Branch Davidians. Hours after Part 2 appeared in print, the ATF raided the group's compound.

Read the Tribune-Herald’s account of the ATF raid on the Branch Davidian compound on Feb. 28, 1993. Four ATF agents and six in the compound were killed in the gunfight.

Read the daily news accounts of the 51-day siege at the Branch Davidian compound near Elk, which began Feb. 28 and lasted until April.

April 19 and beyond: FBI agents began inserting canisters of tear gas into the Branch Davidian compound in the early morning hours. By noon, it was on fire.

Federal officials left the compound site in late May 1993. As identifications of bodies continued, questions about the survivors, the compound and the cult itself began to emerge.

As the world began to take a critical look back at the events and legal proceedings continue, the ATF's bombshell report forces a shakeup at the top after the raid gone "tragically wrong."

In 1994, the surviving Davidians went on trial in San Antonio. Over six weeks, more than 140 witnesses testified, with the verdict coming just two days prior to the anniversary of the ATF raid.

The Rodenville shootout and the 1988 trial, the end of the world in 1959 and more stories from deep in the Trib archives.