A soft-spoken grandmother and minister who began preaching that the Holy Spirit is the feminine member of the Godhead has since been featured in newspapers across the country and on Canadian television and radio stations.
Mrs. Lois Roden, leader of the Branch Davidians, a Seventh-day Adventist group, said she had the revelation that the Holy Spirit is the feminine person of the Trinity in 1977.
Last year, her efforts to convince an international conference of Seventh-day Adventist churches meeting in Dallas of her revelation proved futile.
But the situation is looking brighter now as Mrs. Roden prepares to travel to Israel on another of her many trips to Jerusalem to study with biblical scholars.
The response from different congregations throughout the world has been tremendous, she said.
“Followers are in the thousands. We hear from Africa and India where whole denominations and conferences of churches are interested in aligning with the Branch.
“We’re having an increase in the response in Canada. On every hand our work is growing,” she said. A Seventh-day Adventist minister on the West Coast has pledged that he will begin preaching the new doctrine.
Mrs. Roden has been interviewed on the “Paul Bryan Talk Show” on WFAA Dallas radio station. And on headline of a news article appearing in The Whig Standard, an Ontario newspaper, read, “Her crusade: To tell the world the Holy Spirit is Feminine.”
The religious concept of the femininity of the Holy Spirit is something that “scholars have known. And the advance scholars are easy to talk to about the Holy Spirit,” she said.
In the Aramaic translations of the New Testament, the Holy Spirit is referred to as “She,” Mrs. Roden said.
But when the Bible was translated into other languages, the texts were “deliberately mistranslated,” she said.
“The era we’re living in is a masculine-dominated society,” she said, and that attitude resulted in the male-dominated translation.
Many of the early Christians preserved the knowledge of the Holy Spirit’s femininity, and women were allowed to be clergy in the early church, she said. In fact, Paul’s admonishment for women to “keep silence” in the church was aimed at some female church leaders, some theologians say.
The cover-up is not without its “humorous” side. In the frescoes illustrating the early Christian church, the bishops were both men and women, she said.
“The Vatican has kept the knowledge (of the femininity of the Holy Spirit) under wrap for centuries,” she said.
“The Dead Sea Scrolls, the oldest Hebrew text, preserved the male and female images (of the Godhead),” she said.
The contemporary Scriptures must begin to show the “male and female balance,” she said. “I want to initiate a movement for an honest translation of the Aramaic text.”
Mrs. Roden said the Holy Spirit has its origin in the Jewish Shekinah or the manifestation of God. The Holy Shekinah had feminine gender, she said.
Mrs. Roden is currently getting the “scholarly proofs together for people who have no confidence in divine interpretations. Most people would take their ministry’s word or authority in that.
“But the church has been taught to be cautious of false prophets. But people can be so cautious that they will miss the truth,” she said.
The ministers have faith in what the scholars have studied, and the information about the femininity of the Holy Spirit which appears in the original translations is “closely guarded,” she said. “I am going to Jerusalem to clarify a certain text.”
It is not necessary for the World Council of Churches and the National Council of Churches to debate about changing the “sexist language of the Bible,” she said.
A correct translation of the Scriptures will reveal that the “original family of the Trinity” includes the father, the mother and the son.
“Christ laid aside his deity when he came on earth. But he returned back to his family,” she said.
Recognizing the femininity of the Holy Spirit will again “give the world a legitimate family image.”
For the Godhead to have only a masculine personality is “misrepresentative of the image of God and man,” she said.
The social ills of the world can basically be attributed to the decline of the family, she said.
“The family is the foundation of this country,” she said.
“A projection of the correct image will re-establish the family,” she said.
The mysteries of the Bible are being cleared, she said.
“Some people say that you can make the Bible say what you want it to,” she said of people who attempt to discredit her revelation.
“The Bible tells us to address “Our father who art in heaven.” And Jesus says that I am the express image of my father. But that shows that both of them are masculine gender,” she said.
“It is just as reasonable to say our mother who art in heaven as it is to say our father who art in heaven. It’s just a matter of terminology. (God) is both a female and male image,” she said.
“My work is to bring forth the femininity of God in the Bible,” she said.
The members of the Branch patiently wait outside conventions — Seventh-day Adventists conventions, Southern Baptist conventions, Democratic and Republican conventions — to pass out literature about the Branch and the belief about the femininity of the Holy Spirit.
When the Pope visited America, the Davidian Branch followed him and distributed literature to the crowds.
There has been both negative and positive response from the readers of the Branch’s literature.
Recently, the Branch began publishing a publication called Shekinah. The news magazine publishes material concerning efforts to organize another translation of the Bible or letters from people who agree or disagree about the belief.
Because the Holy Spirit appeared in the form of dove in the New Testament, the dove has become the symbol of the religious group.