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Edward F. Byskal (Eddie) is the founding pastor of Cloverdale Bibleway. The church has suffered in the last years with a departure of the senior church leadership en masse in October, 2009, after allegations surfaced that Byskal covered up the sexual abuse of a minor that took place in the church. Two new churches were established by those who no longer had confidence in Byskal's leadership (one new Church in Canada and a second in the United States). Prior to the split, Ed Byskal told his congregation that if 49% of them voted for him to step down, he would. More than half of his congregation left after he refused to acknowledge their concerns.
Interviewer: This is a first in a series of spots examining the credibility of message ministers. The first is of Ed Byskal of Cloverdale Bibleway in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada and specifically we want to look at some comments he made on the morning of October 21, 2012:
- I had a man, about 40 years ago, brother Ken (EFB speaking to a man on the platform), who you know well, come into my office and he says…and I’ve mentioned this before, but now I am going to tie it together with my message. He said, “I don’t believe in the “Cloud” anymore. He says. “I have learned that it was just a missile that was destroyed…sent up from Fort Edward’s missile base in California.
- Isn’t it amazing that the person who walked into my study 40 years ago and said, “I don’t believe in the cloud anymore,” just finished a 400 page book, which was released just now, this Spring.
- I DENY HIM THAT RIGHT IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST! HE HAS NO RIGHT AND HAVE NO SPACE IN YOUR MIND, BECAUSE THE BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST IS THE VEIL THAT PREVENTS HIM. CAN THIS CONGREGATION SAY, PRAISE BE TO GOD?”
Interviewer: We have with us, Peter Duyzer, the author of “Legend of the Fall, the 400 page book that Ed Byskal was referring to. Peter, it’s good to have you here with us today.
Peter Duyzer: It’s my pleasure to be able to speak to your audience.
Interviewer: Peter, when did you first meet Ed Byskal?
Peter Duyzer: I met Ed Byskal for the very first time in his Cloverdale home one evening in February, 1972. He was entertaining two minister friends from northern BC. They had just returned from some meetings at Bible Way in the Tri-cities area in southeast Washington state. They related how many young people had come to Christ and had gathered to burn all their drugs, magic and paraphernalia. This impacted me and I had a very dramatic conversion experience in Ed’s living room.
Interviewer: Was there any mention made of Bro. Branham?
Peter Duyzer:No, when I became a Christian I had never even heard of William Branham.
Ed was a businessman and a lay preacher, who preached whenever the opportunity arose. Ed had finished building a new home and he had dedicated his previous home to an outreach ministry for young people. The house was named Bible Way House (after the church in southeast Washington) and Ed had brought a young couple, Roger and Emily Smith, up from Bible Way in Tri-Cities, to be the house parents. The group had services on Tuesday and Friday nights, as well as on Sunday afternoons so as not to interfere with church services in the churches which most of the people at Cloverdale Bibleway also attended. Interestingly, Ed did not push Wm. Branham’s message on people. He had the tapes, but rarely, if ever, mentioned Branham.
Ed had in his possession certain items that had belonged to Wm. Branham. One of them was a floppy felt hat. Ed told me that, because he was mentioned in Wm. Branham’s sermons, certain people would come and talk with him about their prophet. Ed told me that he would show them the hat and they would put it on and go, “Whoa, I can feel the power!”
Ed would then laugh about their silliness. Ed also told me that he could never figure out why, when on their hunting trips, WMB was never seen to pray or to read his Bible, when his hunting companions did. Ed also related that he was shocked that Wm. Branham would sprinkle tobacco on their campfire, to the four winds, as an offering to the Great Spirit, when native people were present.
That summer, Ed took his wife and daughters on a world tour. My wife and I agreed to house-sit for them during the months they were gone.
However, this trip, unbeknownst to Ed, became a turning point in his life.
A number of young men started listening to Branham’s tapes and before long Bible Way became wholly involved with Branham’s message.
The pastors of some of the churches that the young people at Bible Way also attended became very upset. They even came to Bible Way to deal with it, but without success.
The upshot was that the Bible Way people were now looked at with suspicion, because we were heavy into recruiting disciples into the message.
Ed Byskal came back from the overseas trip and saw that Bible Way was basically hi-jacked and had become a message church.
Ed apparently decided to fully embrace the message at that time. Up until then, he was not really considered to be a “believer” by message churches. His hair was considered to be too long, and his wife and daughters did not always wear skirts or dresses.
As he got deeper into the message, Ed began to change and started to promote William Branham and his own role in the life of the “prophet.” His preaching became full of message quotes and “Brother Branham said,”
Not only Ed, but the other young men also became more vocal about the message. Ed started to become a power-tripper with quite a temper.
I used to travel and preach elsewhere, but that, for some reason did not fit with Ed’s plans for my life. We also disagreed with certain discrepancies I found between Wm. Branham’s messages and Scripture. I told Ed that I would have to stick with the Scriptures.
Ed told me that I was blaspheming the Holy Spirit by not believing everything the prophet said because he was the Word of God for the hour. I was also told I had a demon. So we left Cloverdale Bibleway in 1975.
But it was not until late 1977 that I came to the conclusion that the cloud over Arizona was not what Wm. Branham claimed it was. I was devastated because up until that time I still had a lot of respect for his ministry.
This is fully covered in my book, Legend of the Fall, which I published on the Internet back in January 2011, not the Spring of 2012, as Ed Byskal alleged.
Finally in 1980, after doing a lot of research, I published a 27 page booklet, called “’Mystery Cloud, Expose on Wm. Branham,” the findings of which were eventually rolled into Legend of the Fall.
Interviewer: So what about Ed Byskal’s story of you coming into his office to discuss the cloud?
Peter Duyzer:It’s just that – a story – pure fiction. In fact I did not know of the cloud 40 years ago (1972) when I first became a Christian, and I left Bible Way over other disagreements with Ed in 1975.
Interviewer: Did you ever discuss the cloud with Ed Byskal?
Peter Duyzer:I have never discussed the cloud with Ed and certainly never walked into his office for the purpose of telling him that I no longer believed in the cloud.
As an aside, I DO believe in the cloud, I have tons of Newspaper photos of it, including LIFE magazine and others, who gave me written permission to use their photos and articles,
But it has a natural explanation and had nothing to do with appearing to Wm. Branham. He was in Houston, TX at the time and was not hunting.
Interviewer: So Peter, you are saying that Ed Byskal made up the story about your coming to him to discuss your changed beliefs relating to the cloud.
Peter Duyzer: That’s correct. Ed Byskal fabricated the events he related in his sermon. I’m not sure why he felt he had to do this, but there is absolutely no truth to it.
Interviewer: Thanks, Peter, we appreciate your time in sharing this, and clearing this up.