The Cult Of The House of Yahweh
The Story Of A Modern Apostate
William B. Hawkins/AKA/Yisrayl B. Hawkins, Founder
Collected From News Reports With Comments
By Cohen G. Reckart, Pastor
Buffalo "Bill" Hawkins
Mr. Hawkins, claims to be the descendant of a Jewish family that fled Europe because of persecution. He claims he has spent the last 40 years of his life researching and studying the Scriptures. He began ministering full time in the early 1980s with the establishment of The House of Yahweh.
A recently published book by Yisrayl Hawkins states that he "is a Jew whose family was severely persecuted and forced to flee from Europe to the United States. He was raised without synagogue, but was strictly taught by his Jewish parents, both of whom trace their lineage to the tribe of Levi."
When this passage was read to one of Hawkins' brothers, he sighed before saying, "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."
In 1952 eighteen-year-old Bill Hawkins and a woman named Rosa Bell Boulding married in Muskogee, Oklahoma and soon relocated to Enid. A year later Rosa Bell moved out. Hawkins would later say that his wife had cheated on him, but relatives remember that it was he who had violated his marriage bt breaking the seventh commandment. His doctrine on polygamy would arise out of a need for self justification for later acts of adultery and fornication. The new woman, a Native American named Darlene, moved in and bore him four children. Hawkins introduced Darlene to others as his wife and told his children that the reason there were no wedding pictures was because he and their mother had eloped. Many years later--after one of his children caught him in bed having sex with yet a third woman, his wife Darlene moved or was kicked out with her four children. Darlene later told her children that she and Hawkins were married in Mexico. Regardless of which account is true, Bill Hawkins had not yet divorced his first wife, Rosa Bell, and would not file against her until 1976, four years after his second wife(?) left him. When this was pointed out to Hawkins by a reporter, he is reported to have said: "Rosa Bell had actually divorced him long before this, in California." "That's what she told my dad in a phone call" Hawkins said. None of Hawkins' relatives ever remember hearing of such a conversation, and in any case, his own attorney could find no record of Rosa Bell's filing for divorce in any courthouse in either California or Oklahoma. By filing for divorce himself, Hawkins was legally acknowledging that he had been married to Rosa Bell throughout his marriage to Darlene, a clear cut case of being married to two women at the same time and tells us why he then adopted his Old Testament doctrine of polygamy. He could NEVER be a New Testament Deacon, Elder, or Bishop, since these prohibited sexual immorality and specifically polygamy (husband of one wife), but if he became an Old Testament Law-keeper, a Levite, and observed the ancient traditions of the Jews, he we are sure reasoned that he could have as many wives as he wanted and no one could condemn him or take away his claim to be a man of God.
As of December 2000, Yisrayl B. Hawkins remains the self-made leader of his Yahweh cult named "House of Yahweh" near Abilene, Texas. He was an Abilene policeman for nine years and known by other officers as Buffalo Bill Hawkins. He started his own Old Testament-based religious cult back around 1980 after spliting off of his brother's Church when they could not agree on the pronounciation of the tetragrammaton. He believes the name of Jesus is a pagan name that came from Zeus and has often said to call the name Jesus the "pig-god name." He believes the correct name of Jesus is "Yahshua" although he has never proved this name was ever used in over 1900 years of Church history and previous to that, over 1600 years of Jewish history. He believes that all the world is obligated to observe and keep the 613 precepts of the Laws of Moses. He is an avowed Concision, a Law-keeper, and beleives salvation is by works and human merits of the Law. His Statement of Doctrine reveals he believes that observing the Law brings salvation (escape of divine judgment), justification (perfection by law observance), and sanctification (holiness). Whatever his claims, he does not believe in superiority of the New Covenant over the Old, and subsequently denies the finished work of Calvary and salvation by grace through faith (Eph 2:8).
The House of Yahweh was first organized by William's older brother Jacob Hawkins. He never claimed to be Jewish, just an average American with a love for Israel. According to reports he went to Israel in 1967 and stayed seven years working on a kibbutz. While there, he heard of an archeological discovery of a 1st century building that had "House of Yahweh" (in Hebrew) over the entrance. He believed that this was the name of a Christian Church group specially selected in ancient times by God. He decided around 1974 to return to the US and to build a sanctuary in Odessa TX with that name.
His members worshiped Yahweh (Elohim) and Yahshua, two personalities deemed equally to be a separate God. They were Law-keepers and Sabbatarians; that is, they believe worship of Christ on Sunday was pagan and so held religious services on Saturday. As Law keepers they commenced to celebrate the three main Jewish festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles. Hawkins taught that Yahshua's shed blood cleanses believers from sin, but only if they also adhere to the 613 commandments of the Law. Both Hawkins brothers believe that if a person seeks as the Apostle Paul taught, to be justified without the deeds of the law (Romans 3:28), that these cannot have the cleansing of the shed blood of Jesus.
We are told that the cult styles itself after 12 disciples (12 Elders) with Hawkins being #13 or the representative of Christ. At one time they published a periodical entitled "The Prophetic Watchman." According to cult sources in the Hawkins group, they do not keep membership records, but reported (in 1980) congregations in the US, Israel, India, South Africa, West Africa, Burma, Australian and Belgium. In 1997 they claimed a mailing list of over 30,000 with over 2,500 members in America.
Following the death of Jacob, the group in Odessa became defunct and the one started in Abilene by his brother William rose to power.
William went to the court house and changed his name to Yisrayl Hawkins so he and his brother could seem to qualify as the two witnesses. We are not certain at this writing if the two brothers ever came to an agreement on pronounciation of the tetragrammaton. The brothers had disagreed strongly over the proper name for God and how it was to be pronounced. With Jacob dead from cancer, William or Yisrayl became the self-appointed prophet and High Priest of the House of Yahweh and surrounded himself with his chosen 12 elders. According to reports he also ordained more as male and female deacons. They celebrate the various Jewish feast days specified in Leviticus 23. They also celebrate two additional feasts: "Yahshua's Memorial" and "Last Great Day" (what ever that is). At these conclaves they boast attendance between 1,000-1500. Neighbors complain about the stampede through their neighborhood to the 40 acre site and of health hazards with house trailers with no septic tank connections. They reported at one time to reporters that they have seven congregations served by 35 ministers. In 1999 they had between 100-200 followers living at their headquarters compound in Abilene.
While Hawkins is a definite apostate, we do recognize he does have some good qualities. It is these that attracts followers to him. He is very persuasive and lords over the ignorance of others with all sorts of illogical and twisted theology. He traps them by convincing them they are standing against paganism and the Catholic Church. Believing they should be holy and having been raised in law-keeping incubator churches (ones that teach only the ceremonial law was abolished), these are ripe for the picking. They are first led to observe the sabbath. Then they are led to observe dietary laws. Then they are led to observe all the law. Then they are led to believe Yawheh is the true discovered lost name of God taken from the tetragrammaton. Then they are led to recant the name of Jesus and receive another name, that of Yahshua. Then they call the name of Jesus the "pig-god name" or the "J-name." This is all done with the help of Hawkins own Bible where Yahweh is interpolated into the text as well as the name Yahshua. After this they believe polygamy is a Biblical right of all men.
According to news reports Hawkins has association with white-racist extreme anti-government groups. According to information provided by Hawkins, he was a follower and believer in Herbert W. Armstrong's Worldwide Church of God and followed his doctrine on law-keeping before starting his own cult group with his brother Jacob. Both William and Jacob claimed to be the two witnesses of John's Revelation. Jacob has died and it did not happen in Jerusalem or Israel as the prophecy speaks of the two witnesses. William remains as the leader of the cult. He changed his name from William to that of Yisrayl in an attempt to give himself some sort of name baptism into his brand of Pharisee Judaism. Claiming to be an expert in both the Paleo-Hebrew and Aramaic/Babylonian languages, Hawkins claims "Yahweh" is the correct pronunciation of the tetragrammaton YHWH or YHVH. He claims also that the name "Jesus" comes from the Greek god Zeus and the correct name of the Saviour is "Yahshua." With law-keeping as his doctrine of salvation, the two sacred names Yahweh and Yahshua, and his hatred for the name of Jesus, Hawkins claims he alone has the sacred calling to establish the House of Yahweh. All other Yahweh movements who have stolen from him his doctrine, he claims are false.
Hawkins requires also for salvation, the essentiality that each member pay to him three tithes of 10% each for a total of 30% of their income. It is believed he has collected millions of dollars from donations as well as thousands of dollars in food stamps he allegedly made members put into special offering envelops.
Members of the cult as well as ex-members, claim that Hawkins has made several prophecies that did not come to pass. The main one was his following Pentecostal prophet Irwin Baxter of the UPC who predicted that the Arafat/Israel peace treaty in 1993 was the beginning of the seven years of tribulation and Jesus would return no later than October 2000. When his prophecy failed and the seals, trumpets, and vials were not fulfilled and two thirds of the world was not destroyed, Hawkins began to yodle another prophecy. That of rebuilding the third temple before Jesus could return. So now he wants to help Jesus come back, and somewhat like Julian the Apostate he wants to try his hand at rebuilding the temple on Mount Moriah. Although he continues to change his doctrines and his prophecies, his followers look upon him as the "anointed one." Some ex-members believe that if Hawkins ask his followers to kill themselves they would do it out of devotion to him (Cool-Aid cowboy mentality of Jim Jones all over again).
Hawkins has preached in 1997 that the world will end in nuclear holocaust in October 2000. But in 1999, Shaul Hawkins, the founder's son, and an elder in the House of Yahweh cult, predicted the end of the world will be in the next three or four years. We assume he is speaking from his father's doctrine here because no elder is allowed to have a different view of prophecy that William Hawkins does not teach.
One of the earmarks of a cult group like that which Hawkin's heads, is that the followers will continue to believe in their leader although he may change his doctrine and teachings continually. Some Yahweh cults hate Jews and blacks and other races and claim the white anglo-saxon races descending from the tribes of Manassah and Ephraim are the true Israel (Armstrong's British-Israelism heresy). Other Yawheh cults accept black members because they are good tithe payers and devout to white leaders wanting themselves to some day be elevated to be one of Yahweh's Ministers or elders.
Yahweh cults are not all alike. There are trinitarian Yawheh cults, two-god Yahweh cults, and even Oneness Yahweh cults. When any cult says the name of the Father is Yahweh and the name of his Son is Yahshua, and elevates the name Yahweh above the name Yahshua, this groups believes in at least two gods regardless of what they might otherwise say in their statements of doctrine. In speaking to one of these cult leaders, he expressly stated that when the saved get to heaven they will see all three gods separate and distinct: a person will see the Father as Yahweh and they will also see the Son there as Yahshua. He would not tell me how we would see the Holy Ghost, whether in the form of a bird, a flame of fire, or as another angelic or human form.
The unsolved murder of a reported one-time Hawkins-Yahweh follower of four years ago in South Carolina still hangs over the cult group. David Richardson who has a wife and daughter under the control of Hawkin's, whom he has been trying to get out, claims that the Yawheh compound near Eula, Texas is surrounded by barb wire with cult members standing guard at the entrance with walkie-talkies looking like a Gestapo unit? Richardson claims that his wife Bonnie has changed her name to Biynyah Hawkins after the cult's leader. The news media claims that records at the Taylor County court house shows that since 1994 over 300 other cult members have changed their last names to Hawkins.
The House of Yawheh claims to have a mailing list of over 30,000 with membership nation wide of over 2,500. Many of these are also members of other Yahweh cult groups in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Georgia. These "faithful" law-keeping members call themselves the "Sacred Name (SN)" and "Hebrew Roots Movement (HRM)." All of them teach a man must wear a beard, some believe it cannot be trimmed while others claim it can.
The daughter of Hawkins, Margo (Hawkins) Corneillie, claims her father treated she and her husband the same as that shown others who began to disagree with him, her story is more poignant. "I used to call him 'Dad,'" she said. That was before she noticed that her father's teachings began to change dramatically. When she and her husband started pointing out things they disagreed with, both were ex-communicated by form letter. "When you question it, you're labeled as a rebel," she said. She said originally her father's teachings were pure. But something happened and he grew paranoid, corrupt and power hungry, she said. "When Yisrayl started hungering for the power, the focus was taken off the Kingdom and placed on the man," Corneillie said. "His goal is to become a god."
One of the identifying marks of a cult is its connection to other know cults. Yahweh cults such as the Heaven's Gate group in California, the Israel Identity movement, David Koresh in Waco, and Jim Jones, shows us that there is more to these religious groups than just a religious difference of opinions. These groups place upon themselves the obligation to die for the names Yahweh and Yahshua. And when Law-keeping is added to the sacred name doctrine, the group in following their cult leader's advice are willing and ready to die if anyone attempts to remove them from their new religion. This establishes the danger of the cult influence.
Newsweek magazine, in covering doomsday cults reported that among Hawkin's group in Abilene many hundreds have pierced their ears as a sign of being a slave or servant to Yahweh and Hawkins. This sign of loyalty can now be seen on many cult members."
For the nine years Buffalo Bill Hawkins led a steady if undistinguished career as an Abilene cop, and spiritually he was at a low ebb. Though he still took his family to church on Saturday mornings, Hawkins worked on religious holidays and spent his off-hours raising coonhounds, operating a mobile home park--which his wife was not even aware that he owned--and making homemade wine. When Darlene was due to have their last daughter, Officer Hawkins simply dropped her off at the hospital on the way to the station and told her to call when the baby was born. Often irritable, he frequently beat Darlene in the presence of his kinfolk. One of his daughters remembered how he reacted when she and her sister burned the potatoes one evening: "He threw them against the wall and made us go to our rooms. Then he came in with a wire hangar and whipped our legs till they bled. And then he pulled off his belt and whipped us some more."
After Darlene learned in 1972 that Hawkins had slept with another woman, it occurred to her that she had given her life and her money to a remorseless cad, so she and their children moved back to Oklahoma. Less than a year later Hawkins took up fornicating with a woman named Kay who lived in his trailer park, and together they had a bastard child out of wedlock. Kay was to later learn she said that Hawkins had a habit of plucking other women out and giving them favors denied to others, insinuating that he was fornicating with all of them. How many were the wives of other men at the compound or wives or men he had kicked out is unknown. How many were young girls we do not know. Eventually the whole story of Hawkins will be known and his House of Yahweh, like the pagan houses of Yahweh of ancient cultures will be demolished.
Kay Hawkins claims it was when her husband began preaching that a man could have many wives (polygamy), she says she smelled a rat and saw her husband as a fraud. This is interesting since some claim she is the harlot with whom Hawkins was fornicating when he was caught and Darlene left him. Kay's first child is proof of Hawkin's adultery and fornication. 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. "This man is not the man I thought I knew," she said. She said she even learned a few things about her former husband, chiefly that his family despises him. His late brother, Jacob, who led a House of Yahweh congregation in Odessa, allegedly wrote his sibling was "deliberately deceiving" followers. And the magazine quotes a brother-in-law calling Hawkins one of the world's biggest liars. "When 2000 comes and it's a bright and sunny day ... he'll change his story like he has before," she said. "In the Bible, the Messiah says, 'No man knows the day or hour, not the Son of Man, but my Father only.' He's put his foot in his mouth this time."
Then, speaking of rampant sexual immorality, Hawkins had the nerve to say the following:
"And as hard as it is to BELIEVE, an estimated 2,000 ISRAYLI women--who are HBV CARRIERS--give birth each year! Many of their infants will become HBV carriers themselves. The estimate for HBV carriers is even higher in other nations. Isn't it TIME we wake up to the FACT that we NEED to start PUBLISHING THE LAWS OF Yahweh TO ALL Nations? Isn't it TIME TO PROCLAIM these Laws of PREVENTION, in order to STEM the flow of death and suffering that the BREAKING OF THESE LAWS CAUSE? Isn't it TIME to bring these LAWS FORTH, making THEM the first line of defense against these diseases, rather than allowing LAWBREAKERS to teach IGNORANT PEOPLE to "USE CONDOMS"?
Child custody cases have mounted in connection to Hawkins and his Abilene compound.
Lynn Johnson can speak from personal experience. Her son, Mark, was married and the father of a 5-year-old girl when his wife came into contact with the House of Yahweh.
Mark and his family lived in the Jacksonville, Fla., suburb of Orange Park and were members of a Baptist church. A couple who were friends found the House of Yahweh on the Internet and became interested in its teachings, Lynn Johnson said.
Her son's wife was interested, too, and accompanied the couple to Abilene for one of the three annual feasts celebrated at the compound in Callahan County. "It was a surprise when all of a sudden she had a whole new Bible and way of life," Johnson said.
Eventually the oddity took a chilling turn. Johnson began researching and came across Hawkins' book, Reconsidering Yahweh's Laws on Slavery and Marriage Obligations.
She was stunned to learn what happens to women who go to the compound unattended by their husbands. "She had to be wife, slave, or concubine to a group member," Johnson said.
The Boston Jewish Times on april 10, 1997 reported that three men were in Israel to give advice on building the third temple with peaceful solutions. The three men are Yisrayl and Shaul Hawkins--both from Texas, and David Hawkins from Wisconsin. All three call themselves "Elders of the House of Yahweh," an organization they founded in 1982, which is based upon strict observance of all the laws of Noah. They claim to have 10,000 members today.
By claiming to observe the laws of Noah, Hawkins, his son, and his cohort were making themselves Gentile adherents to the Seven Laws of Noahach, a subset of Laws the Pharisees concocted to enforce upon Gentile converts. These laws of Noahach are called the Noahide laws and are first found in the Babylonian Talmud. Claiming 10,000 members, Hawkins was in fact claiming that the Talmudic Jews could count on this entire number of followers to be loyal to Israel in spite of the fact that he believed in Jesus as Yahshua and the Jews still considered Jesus a false Messiah with an illegitimate birth whose bastard blood could not save himself let alone others. Which is it, is Hawkins a real Jew or a Gentile Noahide non-Christian convert to Pharisee Judaism? All Talmudic practicing Jews I have ever met claim that a true Noahide who keeps the Seven Laws of Noahach, DO NOT CONFESS FAITH IN OR BELIEVE IN JESUS AS THE MESSIAH EVEN IF HIS NAME IS CHANGED TO YAHSHUA OR YESHUA. If Hawkins made the claim he was a NOAHIDE, then regardless if he uses the name Jesus or Yahshua he has recanted the person of the Messiah to receive favor from modern Pharisees. It is quite obvious that Hawkins and his rants that the world must have faith in Yahweh has long ago lost the message of the New Testament that teaches sole faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.
What is Hawkins up to now? He is on a campaign to stir up interest to rebuild the third temple. Since at least 1997 he has made several trips each year to Israel to talk to Jewish and Arab leaders. Hawkins masquerades as a Jew and claims his family name in Germany was Ha-Cohen but was changed to Hawkins to escape Nazi persecution.
In the photograph on the left Hawkins put on the synagogue hat of the Pharisees and began interviews with Rabbis and other Jewish leaders. His "Peaceful Solution" to build the third temple was to place it due west of the present Golden Gate and north of the Dome of the Rock. His alleged Engineer David Mrotek is a white racist who was a member of the Yahweh group Posse Comitatus. They have created a mock model of the third temple and superimposed it upon the temple mount to show that the Dome of the Rock is not located on the actual temple mount and holy of holies area. Hawkins is hailed as a historian and claims to be an expert on the Hebrew language. When asked by one doubter to say "hot dog" in Hebrew Hawkins did not know how. We know two thing for certain, his claim the Yahweh is the name of God is bogus and false regardless if there are several resources Jewish and Gentile who support his theory. And second, we know his claim that the name Jesus is pagan and comes from Zeus is bogus and false.
Our deduction is that Hawkins is the founder of a cult. His followers are deceived and believe him to be a prophet and an anointed one in whom there is no error. The deception that binds them together is the names Yawheh and Yahshua and Law keeping. If these can be proved wrong to these otherwise perhaps good people, then maybe, just maybe, they can be delivered and set free from the bondage of this cult and the cult leader. As long as there are ignorant men and women who will not take a stand against the abuse and hate against the name of Jesus, cult groups like these will continue to brainwash good people and lead them into mental slavery and then perhaps as sex slaves to someone's adultery or fornication addiction.
Testimonies of deliverance:
Greetings in the name of the Almighty Father, Ruler of heaven and earth;
I would like to first introduce myself. My name is Mrs. Green. I am the former (thank-God,) Kushiyah Hawkins.
I usually do not respond to letters or letters of information, mainly because it brings back some very painful memories of the past. Let me first say that I was a member of the house of Yahweh in Abilene Texas for about 4 years. From September 1995 to December 1999. And that was 4 years too much. I am grateful to the teachings of my early years that brought me to my sences in time. Although I lost my husband at the time, The Lord has blessed me and the latter state is greater than the beginning. And know I continue to give thanks and to God be the Glory.
I do not know if you are doing any other articles on The H.O.Y as it is called, But if you need any truths about that particular cult and its practices, Please do not hesitate to contact me. I pray that you will continue in your crusade for truth. Continue to educate the people. Truth is power over the enemy (Satan).
Now to who is able to keep us from falling, May God bless you is my sincere prayer;
Sincerly Mrs. Green
Your Testimony here