Two women, Florence Houteff and Lois Roden, attained positions of leadership in the Davidian and Branch Davidian traditions. This article examines how they achieved, maintained, and eventually lost power. Several factors, including money, visions, and legal strategies contributed to their successes, but marriage to the founders of the two movements and the precedent of the influential female Adventist leader, Ellen White, helped to legitimate Florence Houteff and Lois Roden as leaders of their religious communities. Once they had assumed leadership roles, they proved themselves by innovative, radical, and convincing teachings based on scripture. Florence Houteff's leadership foundered on failed prophecy. Lois Roden lost leadership in a succession struggle between her son, George Roden, and Vernon Howell/David Koresh. Both prevailed briefly as leaders because of the persuasiveness of their religious authority.
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