Shepherd's Rod movement as it is popularly known, was derived from
a series of controversial Biblical Studies presented initially in
Los Angeles, California, in the 1930's by Victor Tasho Houteff,
A Bulgarian Emigre, and while a Sabbath School Teacher in a Los
Angeles local Seventh-day Adventist church.
Houteff was born in Raicovo, Bulgaria, March 2, 1885, and became
a member of the Greek Orthodox Church before emigrating to the United
States in 1907. In 1919, while running a small hotel in the mid-west,
he joined the Seventh-day Adventist Denomination.
Church. By 1923,
Bro. Houteff relocated to Los Angeles, California, where he became
a respected and popular church member and Sabbath School Teacher.
His lessons revealed new and startling expositions of countless
Biblical passages. While not contradicting the church's fundamental
doctrines, he called for a world-wide denominational reform, and
brought "new light" to SDA eschatology. Those new teachings
subsequently brought a wave of persecution to believers who were
convinced of its veracity and that it was divinely inspired truth.
Its theological positions posed a gargantuan challenge to SDA clergy
and laity. Its explications and exegeses were so compelling that
even some high ranking officials embraced the message.
In 1930 Bro
Houteff published his first Volume, entitled, "The Shepherd's
Rod, Volume 1". He published a 2nd (Shepherd's Rod, Volume
II) in 1932. This of course did not stop the persecution. In fact,
it intensified. This brought on a series of confrontations involving
believers being verbally and physically abused. Church leaders numerous
times and with varying methods, attempted unsuccessfully to stamp
out the fledgling movement.
Finding no other
recourse, Rod believers organized the Universal Publishing Association
in 1934, in Los Angeles, California. In 1935 he established a training
center, and Headquarters in Waco, Texas, where for about 20 years
the ministry catapulted the message to Adventists world-wide. It
published and dispensed millions of pieces of literature, initiated
and employed hundreds of workers, all the while building an expansive
institution with 389 acres - with crop farming, houses, horses,
goats, a dairy farm, orchards, and an apiary. It had its own water
supply, dispensary, mercantile, chapel and Bible Training School.
Up to 125 persons resided at the Center--mostly staff and their
families. By the mid 1950's its regular subscribers numbered about
100,000 worldwide. The Denomination numbering just over 800,000.
It was during this period that "Rod" believers became
known as Davidian Seventh-day Adventists.
5, 1955, Victor Houteff died at Hillcrest Hospital, Waco, Texas
of heart failure. His wife was elected the Chairman of the Executive
Council, but through a series of unfortunate and ill-advised decisions
and predictions, plunged the movement into disrepute, especially
when the new Council forecasted the establishment of the Kingdom
in April 22, 1959. This debacle became known as the "knock-out
blow" and subsequently caused the movement to fragment, and
the Association dissolved.
Since that time,
orthodox believers have reorganized endeavoring to carry the original,
untainted, message to the SDA denomination in harmony with Bro.
Houteff's original writings. Believers still number in the thousands,
but continue to face stiff opposition from the Church's hierarchy--believers
still battle unrelenting prejudice and persecution. Furthermore,
they have to confront radical and fanatical elements who start their
own groups and introduce strained and contradictory teachings, completely
out of harmony with the Bible, the teachings of the church and Victor
Association of Davidian Seventh-day Adventists remains true to the
the original teachings as expounded from the Scriptures and the
writings of Mrs. E. G. White, the church's Inspired founder. It
holds true as its original forbearers, that the Shepherd's Rod Message
is God's voice--His revelation today to the SDA Church Denomination.
We are convinced because of the overwhelming Biblical evidence.
That is, despite the skeptics, its persecutors and fanatics, its
teachings' rooted deep in the Holy Scriptures convince us that we
have not followed "cunningly devised fables". (2 Pet.