Nuclear war will begin next Thursday, June 12, or sooner, according to the latest prediction of self-proclaimed prophet Yisrayl “Buffalo Bill” Hawkins, the founder of a religious sect in Abilene, Texas.
“It could be turned loose before then,” Hawkins told 20/20 for a report to be broadcast tonight. “You’re going to see this very soon, really soon,” he said.
Hundreds of truck trailers have been loaded with food and water on the group’s 44-acre compound, in preparation for the coming war.
Unfortunately for Hawkins, it is not the first time he predicted the outbreak of nuclear war.
Most recently, Hawkins set Sept. 12, 2006 as the beginning of the end.
His followers produced an on-line video with a countdown to doomsday.
In Kenya, hundreds of his followers actually hid in basement bomb shelters and donned gas masks on the date.
They went home in humiliation when there was no war.
Hawkins says he does not care if people consider him a laughing stock.
“You know, the savior himself, told me not to worry about that. He said, ‘They’re going to hate you above all people on the face of the earth,’ ” Hawkins explained.
Former members say there is a method to Hawkins’ madness, that the doomsday predictions help him make money and keep disillusioned members from leaving, for fear they will be killed when the end comes.
“He’s been saying just give me two more years, we’re right at the end,” said former member Miriam Martin who left in 2004.
“Why would you give up now? That’s how he controls people, is through fear,” Martin said.
Other former members say they are required to buy doomsday food and supplies from a company that Hawkins owns personally, Life Nutrition Products.
“Everything that he preaches has to do with people buying something,” said former House of Yahweh elder David Als of New York City.
Like many of the his followers, Als actually legally changed his last name to Hawkins because he became convinced that only those named Hawkins would be saved.
“I’m a Black man from New York city. We’re supposed to be slick and wise to the street and he had me hook, line and sinker,” Als told 20/20.
“No one else has the right to the tree of life, except those that keep the laws of Yahweh,” Hawkins has said in his sermons, which are broadcast around the world.
Hawkins says as a prophet he knows that nuclear outbreak will come ’round the great river Euphrates.
In addition to dealing with the beginning of the end, Hawkins is also dealing with some serious legal problems.
The Callahan County district attorney has filed felony bigamy charges against Hawkins, alleging he has multiple wives.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and says he is being targeted because authorities do not like his brand of religion.
June 6, 2008
Brian Ross and Vic Walter