It’s been almost a year since we published our first article on this website and it has been quite a journey so far. When we first read Jeremy and Rod Bergen’s Humble Pie article on their Believe the Sign website, we were shocked. How could these folks walk away from the message so easily? At the time, they seemed to be very hung up on Brother Branham’s municipal bridge vision and its importance as an early vindication of him as a prophet. This seemed so simple to us and we didn’t understand why they had not yet been properly refuted. We’d been exposed to the depth and breadth of US newspaper archives and some other historical resources early in life. We felt we could easily answer their challenge by locating the appropriate historic documentation to validate that what Brother Branham said about the bridge was true. After all, he said,
“I got to be sure of what I’m talking about, because I’ve got souls that believe in me. And I got souls that believe that I’m telling them the Truth, that God sent me, and God is obligated to stand behind His Word and back that up. And He will do it. Yes, sir. If He sends you, He will vindicate that He sent you. Just exactly. Amen. I believe that. Don’t you?” (62-0118)
We wanted to research this particular vision, provide the needed evidence, and restore those who were led away from the message. It was our desire from the outset to speak fairly and impartially; to present the evidence as factually as we could. We wanted to perform this activity to the best of our ability, and to provide a voice of integrity by communicating in a spirit of love, respect, and restoration. This is a standard that we continue to strive for in all of our communication.
As we started our research, we found that there was no lack of historical evidence related to the bridge’s construction. Through our research we concluded the bridge vision was not fulfilled as Brother Branham said it was. This was not due to lack of evidence, but rather, clear evidence that contradicted Brother Branham’s story.
Several resources and documents we found while researching the bridge led us to research more of Brother Branham’s life story. The lack of credibility in Brother Branham’s life story opened the door for us to examine the doctrines, teaching, and practices of the message of the hour and compare them with the scriptures.
Today, we are no longer in the message. We are not atheists or apostates, but have continued on to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ based on the pure, simple gospel presented in the Bible. We truly have no creed but Christ and no book but the Bible. We didn’t choose to leave the message because we couldn’t live it, or because we wanted to run off and live a life of sin. We left the message and have taken a principled stand against it because it does not line up with the Bible.
When we started our research and began publishing this website we desired to stay anonymous for a number of reasons. First, we didn’t want to take any credit personally or appear to be trying to draw attention to ourselves. In “message circles” we’re really nobodies: we weren’t deacons or ministers in some big church nor do we have a “big message name” that would draw attention. Finally, part of the reason we chose to stay anonymous was fear. Fear that we would bring hardship or embarrassment to our extended families, fear that our friends would stop associating with us, and fear that some crazy person would show up at our door.
However, recent events have caused us to re-evaluate remaining anonymous. With just a couple exceptions, most of our message friends who we were concerned about alienating have stopped associating with us. Rumors have started within message circles that this website is a front for Jeremy and Rod Bergen or John Collins. Ministers have stated over pulpits that our research is faked, documents forged, or that we somehow obtained these documents illegally. Others have accused us of hiding behind a veil of anonymity in order to cause division. Even though we don’t desire attention, we feel that we need to expose who we are in order to put these rumors to rest. There are a small handful of people who know our identities, and we’d like to free them from the burden of carrying our secret. Finally, we’re confident that we’re walking in what the Lord has called us to and fear has been replaced with a boldness for the gospel. Now, more than ever, we don’t want to bring any hardship or embarrassment to our family members who are still in the message, and for that, we are truly sorry.
In the last year many thousands of people have visited and read Searching For Vindication from 119 countries. Hundreds of people (that we know of) have left the message in the past year and have moved on to a pure unadulterated faith in Jesus Christ based on the simplicity of the gospel.
This website is just one resource that’s helped those who are examining the message. There are many more: Peter Duyzer’s Legend of the Fall, John Kennah’s Examining the Message of William Branham, John Collins’ [Seek The Truth] (http://seekyethetruth.com/), Jeremy and Rod Bergen’s Believe The Sign, Nathan Rivera’s A Logical Refutation of Branham’s Message, James Rozak’s Morning Mercy, and countless others who worked to personally reach out to family and friends.
If you are currently examining the message, or have recently left, know that you are not alone.
It can turn your world upside down for a while.
But the gospel of Jesus Christ is real and alive today.
The odds are high that others in your church are also questioning and seeking answers. Don’t be afraid to search out the truth for yourself. Remember, the scriptures admonish you to do so. Do not accept condescending or weak rebuttals that don’t address concerns, but rather, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
If there’s anything that we can do to assist you in your walk, or you would just like some help getting connected with others who have left the message, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
May God Richly bless you.
Joe and Anna Barone