Tuesday, January 13 at 8pm ET/PT [Broadcast date]
He was born Vernon Wayne Howell in Houston, Texas on August 17, 1959. BIOGRAPHY: David Koresh recounts how the young boy was abused by his stepfather and had developed a learning disability by the time he entered school. He found comfort in the Seventh Day Adventist church where he became intensely interested in the Bible, especially in the scriptures that spoke of a vengeful God who would come at the end of time to destroy the evil in the world.
By 18, Vernon had dropped out of high school and was working as a carpenter. He fell in love with a 15-year-old girl who became pregnant. The girl’s father and elders of the church forbid him marry the girl. He began to challenge the elders on many points of scripture and was excommunicated. He heard of the Branch Davidians in Waco, Texas and joined them. At age 20, he became the protégé and lover of the spiritual leader of the group—a woman in her late sixties. After spending time in Israel, he returned to Waco, convinced he’d been chosen by God to unlock the Seven Seals of Revelation. He changed his name to David Koresh, after a Babylonian king, and became a master evangelist. Later, a group of Davidians, who had defected from Koresh, complained that he was sleeping with underage girls and was abusive to children. He was also buying and selling guns to make money for his congregation. The ATF discovered illegal shipments of munitions to the compound and sought to arrest Koresh. The subsequent raid resulted in the death of four ATF agents and six Davidians. The stage was set for the fateful assault 51 days later when federal agents stormed the compound with tanks and tear gas. A fire broke out, killing everyone inside including Koresh. The Davidians are now rebuilding on the site and still believe that Christ will come again to punish evil doers and resurrect the good for all eternity.