Above, the 'House of Yahweh,' the last hope of all mankind.
It is shaping up to be a lovely day, this Thursday, June 12th. Sunny, high in the mid eighties. And I have an Issac Hayes concert to look forward to this evening. Or maybe not:
'...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...'
It all sounds pretty gloomy, especially since Kathy and I are looking forward to the concert. But there is hope:
'...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...'There's no problem that a good dose of commerce can't solve.
The House of Yahweh claims thousands of members around the world, dedicated to the teachings of Mr. Hawkins, despite his brushes with the law: he is currently facing multiple charges of promoting bigamy, organized crime, and violating child labor laws. Tons of the followers are converging on the town of Abilene today.
Why does this always happen?'...Ruby Wilkins, who was a sect member in the early 1980s and whose children also were members, said Yisrayl Hawkins helped her escape from a bad marriage. But she came to see him as controlling, exploiting those who had nothing.
"Out on the street, they were just nobody, and they didn't have enough smarts to be anybody. Bill took them in, would give them a black suit and called them elders. As long as they were there, they were somebody," Wilkins said.
Many members change their last name to their teacher's...'
All that many people need is a single person to treat them with respect; give them that and they'll follow you to the end of the earth. Even if you are a complete and immoral wackadoo.