There is a lot of crazy in this world. There is your everyday crazy like forgetting to take your dog with you to the vet. There is your certifiable crazy, like admitted into a hospital an given a strait jacket. And then there is the extreme levels of crazy, like religious based cults. Today I’m going to try and talk about one cult with a “religious” basis, when in my opinion it is nothing but a cult as bad as the Branch Davidians or the FLDS.
Texas, gotta love you, but you have your share of religious cult compounds, and the House of Yahweh is one found in West Texas. You will find it to look almost like an FLDS compound where the women are in long skirts, and long-sleeved shirts, numerous children are out playing, working, or studying. This is the House of Yahweh: a different, even darker sect that the state has been investigating for years.
This compound has wind generators, a cafeteria, a food-processing plant and dozens of tractor-trailer rigs holding canned goods. It also has a few stores carrying homemade toiletries and clothing. Unlike the FLDS members who stay on the 1,700-acre ranch, most House of Yahweh followers live in mobile homes surrounding the sect’s compound. Other members own homes nearby or live in trailer parks owned by Hawkins in Abilene.
“Anyone can come here and can leave at any time.”
The House of Yahweh began with Buffalo Bill Hawkins, who legally changed his name to Yisrayl Hawkins. Founded in 1980, Bill was an Abilene police officer who was fired for having beer in his police car. Bill claims that he has been studying and researching the scriptures.
In the 1990’s Bill began to preach polygamy, something he had practiced for a long time as well. He said women had to “accept it or leave and forfeit heaven.” Bill had been practicing polygamy as early as 1953.
In 1952, Bill Hawkin married his first wife, Rosa Bell Boulding, but only a year later Rosa had moved out and Bill claimed his wife cheated on him. Shortly after a new woman moved in, Darlene. Darlene and Bill would have 4 children together. Several years later, Bill was caught in bed with a third woman, and Darlen moved out with the children in 1972. Bill had not officially divorced his first wife, Rosa, and would not file for divorce from her until 1976. Since he filed for divorce, Bill legally acknowledged that he had been married to Rosa the entire time. This was why he would adopt the Old Testament doctrine of polygamy.
Bill’s third wife, Kay, says that when he began to preach about polygamy, that she saw her husband as a fraud. Kay also admits she helped doing much of her husband’s research giving him ideas on scripture interpretation and writings for him, believing she was married to one of Yahweh’s two holy messengers.
Bill Hawkins would never have been able to be a man of God based on the New Testament, since it prohibited sexual immorality and specifically polygamy. However, if Bill became an Old Testament law keeper, a Levite, and observed the ancient traditions of the Jews, then he could have as many wives as he wanted. Bill found a way to make the laws of God work for him and what he wanted.
Bill (Yisrayl) Hawkins claims in his book that he “is a Jew whose family was severely persecuted and forced to flee from Europe to the United States. He had been raised without synagogue, but was strictly taught by his Jewish parents, both of whom trace their lineage to the tribe of Levi.” In fact, he goes on to claim that his family name in Germany was Ha-Cohen but was changed due to Nazi persecution.
One of Bill’s other brothers has stated this when hearing this claim; “Bill’s my brother, but he ain’t got both oars in the water, if you know what I mean. Our daddy was a Dutchman, our mother was three-quarters Cherokee, and we don’t have a drop of Jewish blood in us.”
Bill has written numerous books about Yahweh’s laws and prophecies, and the Book of Yahweh is according to the group, the most correct and accurate translation of the Holy Scriptures. Bill had re-written the Bible, with no training in translations or biblical history, he took it upon himself to add or delete words from the Bible to fit his own theology.
The House of Yahweh, as compared to the Bible, is not Christian. First of all, the group teaches that God had a wife named Lucifer who became Satan when she rebelled. Clearly this is not a biblical teaching. The House of Yahweh believes that the Bible refers to Satan as the god of this world and that she has the entire world deceived.
But like any good cult leader, Bill had his good points, namely that he could convince people to believe in him and the message he was sharing. He can also convince his congregation that they need to tithe not 10% to the church, but 30% of their income.
It comes as no surprise that Bill has failed numerous times in his predictions and prophecies. This however does not stop the believers from following Bill or the other elders. Many of the members show their support by legally changing their names to biblical first names and like their leader, they include the letter ‘Y’. They have also changed their last names to “Hawkins”.
“I’m not asking much out of you – I’m just asking that you be willing to die rather than leave this house.”
Yedidiyah Hawkins was arrested in 2007, for sexual assault of his 14-year-old stepdaughter. She had stated to police the abuse began when she was 8. Yedidiyah was planning to marry the girl, even though members of the group claim this to be false. He was found guilty and sentenced to 30 years in prison.
In February 2008, Bill was arrested on 4 counts of bigamy. These were later dismissed. But there are other criminal acts in the groups compound, a 7-year-old girl died in 2003 when her mother and another member performed an at home surgery on her infected leg. The women were convicted of injury to a child.
In 2006, a woman bled to death after giving birth, as she was prevented from going to a hospital. Her husband filed a wrongful death suit against the House of Yahweh.
David Richardson whose wife and daughter were under the control of Bill and the House of Yahweh. David had been trying to get them out, but claimed the compound was surrounded by barbed wire and members were standing guard at the entrance. David was unsuccessful in extracting his wife and 14-year-old daughter from the group, he fears that Yisrayl will create new rules/laws that will harm her by marrying her off.
Stay Curious my Friends!