Perhaps the single most repeated refrain about Waco goes something like this: "Koresh lied repeatedly about coming out of the compound, he broke his word numerous times, so why should the government believe him on April 14, 1993 when he sent out his written pledge to surrender after completing his Seven Seals manuscript." What is so amazing about this point is that apparently everyone has accepted it, from the Attorney General to the media, without actually checking the only record we have: the 51 days of negotiation tapes made of conversations between Koresh, his assistant Steve Schneider, and the FBI agents. The facts clearly show that Koresh did not repeatedly lie. On the contrary he was absolutely consistent in his statements from March 2 until the last day, April 18th. His position was that he and his followers were coming out, but that they had received the Word from God to wait, and would not leave until Koresh heard otherwise.
Those who try to support this false claim that Koresh repeatedly lied about coming out have come up with a completely distorted use of the evidence. All who listen or read the negotiation tapes or transcripts will clearly see these claims are absolutely false. For example, on July 25, 1995, Rep. Charles Shumer inserted into the record of the congressional hearings the evidence that he claimed showed Koresh lied about coming out on March 2, April 2, and April 14 and that Steve Schneider admits the Koresh lied. It is interesting that even Rep. Shumer, as much as he wishes to push this point home, can only come up with this slim line of "evidence." Note carefully the following:
It is invalid to claim that Koresh lied on April 14, when he sent out his written pledge to surrender, since that is the very instance under discussion: should the FBI have believed him or not and allowed him time to write his manuscript?
This leaves only April 2 and March 2.
On April 2 Koresh is asked by FBI negotiator John-5, "Are you planning on coming out before or after Passover?" Koresh answers, "well after Passover, naturally" (Tape 192, p. 65). This is a "before or after" question. Koresh is simply telling the FBI that they are not coming out until after Passover, an eight day festival. It is not a broken promise to exit. Indeed, the day after Passover April 14th, Wednesday, when Koresh got his word the WAITING was over and made his pledge to come out.
This leaves only March 2
It is true that on March 2, after making all the preparations for an exit, Koresh claimed to get his "Word" from God to wait. The Davidians did not consider this a lie, but rather, God telling them what they were to do. Their intentions were to come out, now they believed God had told them otherwise. Steve Schneider never said David lied, what he said was that he could understand how the outsiders, that is the FBI negotiators, would consider March 2nd a lie, since they do not believe in God speaking directly to His prophets. Clearly Steve did not believe it was a lie, but a postponement of their inevitable exit. This is how they explained it throughout. The whole 51 days in incredibly simple in this regard: They had been told to wait, on April 14 David was told to write: the transcripts/tapes show they were utterly consistent in that position throughout the 51 days. They always said they were coming out, but only when God gave them the word. David repeatedly said: We don't plan to die in here.
Conclusion: The many broken promises to come out are simply non-existent. It remains one of the strangest phenomenon of the Waco story that such a lie, if repeated often enough, by enough responsible people, "becomes" the truth to the uninformed. Since no one but a few investigators have actually listened to the tapes or read the 18,000 pages of negotiation transcripts, this distortion grows only stronger. It was repeated just this week by Jeffrey Jamar, Byron Sage, and even Attorney General Reno and is echoed by the media.
Compiled by Dr. James Tabor, Dr. Phillip Arnold, and Dick Reavis
Back To Why Waco
Back to WACO CULT Home Page
The "Why Waco" site was once part of the University of California Press site, then moved to the defunct "Waco Never Again/Research Center" site. For further explanation, see my "Research Center" Salvage page.