|Born||August 1, 1916|
Stone County, Montana
|Died||November 10, 1986(aged 70)|
|Occupation||Author, Sabbath teacher, Seventh Day Adventists Reformer|
|Known for||"The Branch" leadership 1978-1986|
Seventh Day Adventist Reform Movement
|Spouse(s)||Benjamin Lloyd Roden|
|Awards||Excellence in Media Angel Awards, The Dove Foundation award|
Lois Irene Scott Roden (August 1, 1916 – November 10, 1986) was a president of the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church, an apocalyptic Christian group which her husband, Benjamin Roden founded. The sect began in Texas in 1955 as a secession from the Shepherd's Rod movement led by Victor T. Houteff, itself a secession from the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Contemporaneous with the surge of the Feminist Movement in the 1970s (and corresponding with the egalitarian teachings of many Adventist sects), Roden asserted that women, like men, were made in the image and likeness of God, and that they thereby hold a position of co-dominion with man in all things. She believed the Holy Spirit is a female entity. In 1977, a year before Benjamin Roden died, Lois said she had received a vision of the Holy Spirit, describing it as "a silver angel, shimmering in the night. It was a feminine representation of this angel. I had been studying Revelation 18 and it said this mighty angel was to come down to earth and that was my understanding". She asserted as proof her ideas that the Hebrew word for Spirit (ruach) is feminine, and that Jews regard the concept of "Holy Spirit" and the "Divine Presence" ("shekhinah"...both of which are "feminine" words in Hebrew) are one and the same. (Although Judaism does not subscribe to any concept of "Her individual Personhood", the feminine aspect of the "Holy Spirit" is a prominent feature in Kabbalah).
From 1977 until the death of her husband Benjamin in 1978, she was co-president of the Branch Davidian Seventh-day Adventist Church along with him. When Benjamin Roden died, Lois remained as the sole lawful president until her death in 1986. Early in her presidency her leadership was challenged by her son, George Roden in a leadership election in 1979, and later (in late 1983) by Vernon Howell a.k.a. David Koresh. Both challengers drew away supporters from the congregation, scaring away others by their reliance on the force of arms to further their aims. Before Koresh challenged her leadership, he and Roden (who was then in her late sixties) had an affair, which Koresh justified by claiming that God had chosen him to father a child with her, who would be the Chosen One.
In 1979, along with publishing many related tracts, Roden began publishing a magazine entitled Shekinah. The magazine explored the issues of the feminine aspect of the Godhead and women in the ministry of the Church. Shekinah magazine contained Lois' commentaries as well as reprints of news articles and excerpts of publications from a variety of Christian, Jewish, and other sources which addressed women's place in the world of religion. She received minor awards and commendations for the magazine from various religious groups and individuals. Among them were an Award of Excellence from Excellence in Media Angel Awards, and another from The Dove Foundation.
Though Roden received some support for her work regarding women's position of equality on earth as it is in heaven, she also received heavy opposition from male-dominated ministries. Some of the strongest of this opposition came from those Church members who left her leadership to follow that of Howell/Koresh. One of his unique teachings was that Lois was no longer to publish her message of a feminine Holy Spirit. In early 1983, the Church's publishing building was destroyed by fire. Reportedly, Koresh later admitted that he had set the fire in order to stop her work. To this day, Koresh's followers abide by his teaching in this regard and refrain from republishing any of her teachings or distributing any of her remaining literature; the same is true with respect to the literature of Lois's husband.
- Smyrl, Vivian Elizabeth. "Elk, Texas". Handbook of Texas - Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved June 30, 2012.
- Pitts, William L. "Davidians and Branch Davidians". Handbook of Texas - Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
- Lois Roden in an interview on the Paul Bryan Talk Show on WFAA Dallas, November 4, 1980. Quoted in Graham, Kenneth C. (2006), The Branch Davidians of Waco, London: Oxford University Press, ISBN 0199245746 p.158
- Wilson, Colin (2000), The Devil's Party, London: Virgin Books, ISBN 1-85227-843-9