Church of Wells/YMBBA Ministries

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8/12/2014 1:40 am  #1

RagBlog - Lamar Hankins Aug/Sept 2014

REPORT | Child murder in Texas
By Lamar W. Hankins | The Rag Blog | August 11 2014

WELLS, Texas — The death of 3-day old Faith Shalom Pursley in Wells, Texas, more than two years ago was a result of child neglect and satisfied the criteria for injury to a child, criminally negligent homicide, and manslaughter under the Texas Penal Code. The latter two charges, if applied to the case, would make the child’s death a form of criminal homicide — what most people call murder.

Faith’s parents — Kristin and Daniel Pursley — and their religious leaders — “elders” in the Church of Wells — decided their religious beliefs took precedence over seeking medical treatment for the Pursleys’ new baby. As a result, Faith died of a routinely treatable condition. The Pursleys and their religious group, at the insistence of the “elders” of the sect (three 20-something young men — Sean Morris, Ryan Ringnald, and Jacob Gardner), chose prayer, rather than the services of a competent doctor, to “treat” Faith’s obvious medical distress.

Faith’s symptoms leading up to her death were reported to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Department investigators and to Child Protective Service caseworkers. Those symptoms would give a parent of normal sensibilities great cause for alarm. After her home birth, assisted by her father but unattended by any medical professional or mid-wife, the baby would not suckle.

Her father provided the baby breast milk through an eyedropper. The baby slept all night without waking for feeding, or crying — behavior the father reported as “strange.” The baby’s extremities turned a blue tint one or more times. In the hours before death, the baby experienced what the father termed “respiratory distress.” The parents’ response to the respiratory problems was to have “20 or 25” of the Church of Wells members visit their apartment to pray for the child to get better.

According to an eyewitness to the events surrounding the baby’s illness and death, Ryan Ringnald was the “elder” most involved with counseling the parents and directing the decision to seek God’s will in whether to take the baby to a doctor. According to the eyewitness, Ringnald reasoned that God can heal the sick, so they should rely on God to decide whether the baby would live or die. He believed that the baby could die either way — whether they relied on God or on a doctor — so it was better to rely on God. If God wanted the baby to receive medical care, He would let them know, or perhaps would miraculously provide it.

Read the rest...

Rag Blog columnist Lamar W. Hankins, a former San Marcos, Texas, city attorney, also blogs at Texas Freethought Journal. This article © Texas Freethought Journal, Lamar W. Hankins.


10/25/2014 8:29 am  #2

Re: RagBlog - Lamar Hankins Aug/Sept 2014

METRO | Lamar W. Hankins : Facing evil in East Texas 
We look at how the Church of Wells cult recruits members into its fold, and the almost total emotional control the three ‘elders’ have over the group.  

By Lamar W. Hankins | The Rag Blog | September 29, 2014 

WELLS, Texas — The Church of Wells, located in and around Wells, Texas, 17 miles northwest of Lufkin, separates itself from the world because of the evil it sees in the larger culture. But the Church of Wells itself is the source of an evil much worse than what it preaches against and separates itself from. Leaders of the Church of Wells — called “elders” though all three are in their twenties — systematically destroy the freedom of mind, conscience, and volition of their members.

On August 11, I wrote about the death of a baby born to a couple who are members of the Church of Wells Child murder in Texas" by Lamar Hankins, The Rag Blog, Aug. 11, 2014. The infant, Faith Shalom Pursley, was born with a routinely treatable birth defect, but received no medical care because her parents and at least one of the Church of Wells “elders,” Ryan Ringnald, decided to deny the baby medical care in favor of praying that she would get well and, after she died, praying for her resurrection for15 hours before reporting her death. 

Here, I explore the culture of the group, beginning with its recruiting process, based on what I have seen and what witnesses have reported to me. 

To understand how the “elders” control the group’s members, I made a second three-day trip to Cherokee County early in September to gather information on the group and its businesses. Since then, I have received numerous emails and phone calls from witnesses and met with others to learn more about the methods the “elders” use to control the behavior, emotions, and thinking of members, beginning during the recruitment of members.

Usually, recruiters draw people into the group. All of the “elders” (Sean Morris, Ryan Ringnald, Jacob Gardner) engage in recruiting, as do Rick Trudeau (a deacon), William Pierce, Cory McLaughlin, Mosao Gontheir, Jesse Morris (a deacon, brother to Sean Morris and cousin to Cory McLaughlin), Daniel Pursley, Tanner Trudeau (brother to Rick Trudeau), Mark de Rouville (who was a Navy Seal for a brief period), and Jordan Fraker.

These people may also be used to enforce discipline among group members or “protect” members from their families. Chris Faulkner was a recruiter until he had a conflict with the “elders” and left the group. There are other recruiters whose full names or identities I do not know at this time. 

The recruiters often target a person experiencing confusion about the purpose of life, someone who is theologically or religiously confused, someone who is involved or experimenting with evangelicalism, or someone looking for greater meaning in life, what many would call a seeker. 

Read the rest... 

Rag Blog columnist Lamar W. Hankins, a former San Marcos, Texas, city attorney, also blogs at Texas Freethought Journal. This article ©Texas Freethought Journal, Lamar W. Hankins.

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