Excerpts from FRONTLINE interview with Clive Doyle, Branch Davidian, July 9, 1995 in Waco, Texas.
On the faith of the Branch Davidians--------
Q: Is it accurate to say that a literal interpretation of the Bible is a fairly essential part of what you believe?
A: We believe in the literal fulfillment of the prophecies except in the areas where symbols are used. They're definitely not literal. But they refer to literal things. In other words, we don't spiritualize everything away. If the scripture says "Jerusalem," we believe it's Jerusalem rather than heaven or-- the church.
Our basic, fundamental beliefs would be that we believe in family and heaven. We believe that the Holy Spirit is female, so that there is a family grouping -- mother, father, and son -- and each portrayed in heaven. We believe that Christ was the Son of God, that came 2,000 years ago. We believe that knowledge of the scriptures is essential for salvation. But everybody in the earth is basically going to face a judgment in the end time. As a result of that judgment, God is going to intervene in affairs of this world. And along with punishing certain nations or individuals because of what they've done, He's also going to establish a kingdom for everybody to come to.
You hear a lot about one world government, so forth. We don't perhaps use the same terminology or get into all the conspiracy theories that some people that promote that idea promote, but on the other hand, we do believe that the Devil is in control of the nations of the world, and that they are merging toward what the Bible calls Babylon the Great. That isn't formed yet. It's in the process of being put together. And that, we say, is in direct opposition to what God wants and what God's kingdom is all about. So there's going to be a decision presented to the people of the world, to where they're asked to leave Babylon and go to God's kingdom.
Q: This book looks very well worn.
A: That's my mother's Bible.
Q: What does the Bible mean to you?
A: We believe it's God's communication to man. For many years, there was no written word, from the Creation up until Moses. Moses, we understand, is the first one that began writing the scriptures. We look at prophets as people that are directly inspired from God, and they contribute to our knowledge of what God's will is. We have it in written form in the Bible. We believe that the Christian Church has also been sent prophets. So the Bible's very important to us. The Apostle Peter told the Church, in the first century, that he had faithfully done the job of counseling them, guiding and directing them while he was alive. But Christ had told him that he was going to die, and when he was gone, he said all they would have would be the scriptures to go by, that will show word of prophecy, until such time as God would raise up His Son again.
On Daily Life at Mt. Carmel----
Q: Prior to what happened out there at Mt. Carmel, what was the daily routine ?
A: Any given day, we'd probably get up around 6:00, have a fairly early breakfast. If there was something going on, like a building project or something like that, the men would be expected to gut and help out in one form or another.
The women's daily work would be taking care of the children, maybe teaching school; there was washing to be done--We lived kind of primitively, in the sense that the building was still in the process of being built. We had just recently got our water well fixed, which had been out for quite a while. So we had water tanks on the back of the building, so water was piped in as far as the kitchen, but it wasn't all over the building. We didn't have hot and cold running water in different levels of the building. So a lot of the washing was either taken downtown to Washeteria, which some of the women would be delegated to do the wash for everybody. Or else, the women would do light stuff by hand, out in the back somewhere. Usually women were delegated, four or five of them at a time, to take kitchen duty, and then, kind of rotated.
We usually didn't get into Bible studies until usually at night, you know, when it was too dark to work or whatever. Sometimes, we worked. If there was a project we wanted to finish, if we were pouring concrete or something, we even worked on into the night. But usually, we'd have a Bible study at night. Sometimes it would be short, and sometimes it would go maybe all night, just depending on how it went. It wasn't just Bible Bible Bible being bashed into our heads. A lot of it was social. David would play music. People would get up and sing or--sometimes we'd watch videos.
The man and wife from across the road, the Spoons would come over and watch videos with us. We had a pretty good relationship with our neighbors around Mt. Carmel. Some of the guys back in January had gone over and helped Mr. Spoon renovate the house across the road, that the ATF ended up occupying.
Sometime if there wasn't a building project going on, there'd be more social activity, like riding go-carts and mini-motorcycles, that kind of stuff. David pretty well had an all-around program of activity for the people, to keep them occupied and keep them happy. I think most people that were there enjoyed themselves.
On the weapons at Mt. Carmel---
Q: I don't understand the weapons side of all of this. Can you put that in perspective -- why you had such an arsenal out there?
A: As far as the amount of weapons, I wasn't there when this relationship began. But there was an individual by the name of Henry McMahon, who was a gun dealer. David met him at some point, and began presenting what he believed to him. And this gentleman began coming to Bible studies. And then he began missing meetings. And David said, "Why weren't you here last week?" or "We missed you," or whatever. So it came out that Henry was in quite a bit of debt, several thousand dollars.
And so rather than David helping him out, which he'd done with many other people in order to give people an opportunity to come and stay --with Henry, rather than offering just the thousands of dollars to bail him out so-- so that he would keep coming on a regular basis, David said, "Well, why don't we set it up kind of like a business arrangement, where we'll give you the money, you buy guns and resell them. And that way, you can pay us back and you'll be able to spend more time out at Mt. Carmel with Bible study." That apparently was going on before I came back to California, but that's what I understand was the arrangement.
A lot of the guns were bought disassembled. I think that's how they thought they would make their money. Also Henry had explained that certain gun laws were coming in that would make the price of guns go up if you had them before the ban. And so it was an investment, to some extent.
That's not the total reason. We began seeing in the scriptures that it was not wrong to have guns, even though we, being pacifists, do not have guns; hadn't even gone in the military bearing weapons for scores of years prior to that. We began to see that it was not against the Bible to have weapons. Christ himself told his apostles to, if they had two coats, go sell one of them and buy a weapon, buy a sword, he said. And so we kind of took a new look at it from the religious, or from the scriptural point of view.