Church of Wells/YMBBA Ministries

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9/13/2013 6:09 pm  #1

A baby dies - what happened?

More than a year later, still questions unanswered

Daniel Pursley, a well-respected and involved musician for Sagemont Church in Houston, moved his wife and three children to Wells, Texas, when the "Church of Arlington" changed location and became "Church of Wells." He had become very involved with the group through his friendships with the young men founders.

Faith Pursley was the couple's fourth child. She died when she was three days-old, suffering from what an autopsy revealed to be a treatable congenital heart defect. She was a home-birth, without the benefit of a midwife (Dan Pursley claims to have delivered the baby himself), had never been examined by a doctor, and her parents did not seek medical attention for her when the baby was unable to nurse and reportedly may have had symptoms of respiratory distress.

The facts - The baby died on May 26th at 12:45 pm. Authorities were called on May 27th at 4:00 am. When Cherokee County law enforcement responded, they found a number of the "congregation" who wouldn't give their names and each identified themselves as "Christian."

Her father, Daniel Pursley reported to Cherokee County law enforcement that he tried to feed her with an eyedropper, and denies that anything was apparently wrong with her. In his own words:

"Without us realizing what was going on inside her little body, one of her heart valves closed in on her, causing her to slip away from us in a matter of only a few minutes. I was holding her in my hands and tried to revive her, but there was nothing I could do to keep her here."
Daniel Pursley, personal testimony, page 42

What happened after the baby died? They prayed for her resurrection for almost 16 hours.

In Daniel Pursley's own words:

"It was hard to believe that she was really gone, but we knew that there had been those who had “received their dead raised to life again ” by faith not only in biblical history but also in extra-biblical church history; and that if God so desired, He could hear our prayers and raise her from the dead as well. So we called on the elders of our church to pray, as we sought the Lord with prayer and fasting as a corporate body. What transpired over the next twelve plus hours became the center of controversy for the small town of Wells, TX and beyond."

•   "...if God so desired, he could hear our prayers and raise her from the dead..."

•   "So we called on the elders of our church to pray..."

No one denies this. In a sermon that served as the baby's funeral, Sean Morris said this:

“As to the charge that we sinned as elders or as a church, when that child died, we believed that it was God’s will to raise her. We don’t think that was a presumptuous thing. We’ve seen many miracles as a church and as individuals: demons cast out, healings. We weren’t just being foolish; we wanted God to be glorified.”
“In 2 Chronicles 16:12, King Asa sought not the Lord but the physicians, which means he put the physicians in a preeminent place. We are not against hospitals or the medical field. What we’re against is putting any of those things supremely over Christ, not giving him his place as God to heal, or to submit to the leadership of the Holy Ghost. In James 5 and Mark 16, Christ says that it is his will for his people to heal to his glory. Those scriptures have inspired us in the past, and they inspired us in the life of Faith. Sadly, we did not have faith to see the child healed.”
Sean Morris

Listen here -

Cherokee County law enforcement has treated this as a politically-sensitive issue of a church's right to religious freedom from the very moment they responded. Officers were quoted in the media the same day, preemptively qualifying it as a protected religious issue. When the elders themselves never offered that excuse.
Even now, the media continues to incorrectly characterize the baby's death as failed faith-healing of a sick baby. Almost as if they're afraid to call it what it really is.

The Church of Wells never claimed they were healing an ailing infant. They never said that; not once. They have been open about their belief that they could make a miracle and return Faith Pursley from the dead.

Captain John Raffield, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office: 
“You have these things around the country, but this is the first time we have had something this serious in Cherokee County that we have had to deal with.”

“It's going to be a touchy situation.”

 “We don't want to step on churches rights — the line is blurred sometimes between church and state —and you have all kinds of arguments there.”

“I'm not sure how this one is gong to run. I know we are going to do what we have to by state law.”

"Prenatal care would have saved the baby, (but for) all the women who don't receive prenatal care, are we going to charge them?"

"Then because of how they decided to handle it afterwords, we run into freedom of religion and things of that nature.” 

“Ultimately it will be up to the district attorney’s office on how he wants to cover it.”

No, Captain Raffield, you actually do not run into "freedom of religion" and "things of that nature."
You apply law of the land without personal bias. You seek guidance from the Code of Criminal Procedure and the laws of the State of Texas, and the Texas Health and Human Services System.

May 31, 2012 Officials: Mystery surrounds baby’s death. Police say church/state issue ‘going to be a touchy situation’

To be continued.


9/13/2013 6:17 pm  #2

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

I guess if this gets to the media it will be ignored.


9/13/2013 6:30 pm  #3

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

Did I hear recently on one of the broadcasts that the "Church" of Wells is NOT a 501c3 corporation? Are they then, not technically a church? How does that work?


9/13/2013 7:01 pm  #4

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

No. They are incorporated in the State of Texas. A Texas corporation.

I think there's a lot of misunderstanding about what "501c3" is.

And guess what else is fun? Corporations can be sued as an entity. And frequently are.

Last edited by Hythlodaeus (9/13/2013 7:02 pm)

     Thread Starter

9/13/2013 7:03 pm  #5

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

A 501c3 is a non-profit. It's what most "churches" would be categorized as. I am referring to THE CHURCH of Wells. Not all of the other entities. I'm always up for learning something new, however.


9/13/2013 7:14 pm  #6

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

Charitable organizations and churches apply for IRS code 501(c)3 status - for tax-exempt purposes. It's about organizations that deliver public services. It comes with a serious set of rules and guidelines and compliance and reporting requirements. Books and company records have to be disclosed on request. Etc etc etc.
No organization - including a church - HAS to apply for 501c3 status, just because they meet the criteria. It's a tax structure.

Secondary to that, how do churches legitimize themselves? (For lack of a better way to say that.)
I don't know. I've been trying to figure that out. There's no church police, or set of rules, or regulatory anything. As far as I can tell, anyone anytime can be a church. You just say you are. If people believe you, you're 'Go' for launch.

     Thread Starter

9/13/2013 7:15 pm  #7

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

Well stated. Thank you.


9/13/2013 7:33 pm  #8

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

You can hear Jake confirm it in the Nicole Vowell footage. She asks where money comes from, how they support themselves, about the business ventures, and where the money comes from to purchase property and start businesses.

Nicole: "Your church owns five businesses or your church members own five businesses."
Jake: "I'm not sure. Altogether. How many."
She lists them off.
Jake: "Maybe more than five, or six..or seven..."
Nicole: "How did you buy those you know?"
Jake: <glances at Ryan, derisive laugh>"I mean, we have deacons...who...ah...handle...ah, you know, practical carnal matters. We just try to give ourselves to the word of God and prayer."

So, yes, "Church of Wells" is Charity Enterprises, Inc. One and the same.

Corporate structure doesn't typically include "deacon" positions in upper management and board composition. I can just see it - COO, CEO, CFO, President of the Board, Director, Director, Deacon, Acolyte, Nun.

Donald Trump, ya got nuthin'!!


Last edited by Hythlodaeus (9/13/2013 7:48 pm)

     Thread Starter

9/14/2013 1:33 am  #9

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

If you think CoW's business structure is impressive... Check out the Latter Day Saints and their corporat structure. It's for-profit and they keep all financial information private.

Random thought though... Since they are a corporation (CoW) is it possible to go after them in a business sense? For example, taking over businesses, etc.?


9/14/2013 9:05 am  #10

Re: A baby dies - what happened?

The Church of Wells appears to be a cult because of the control the three leaders have over the members. The basis of Christianity is that an individual has saving faith through Jesus Christ, not through the three leaders of this group. Then, there is the matter of Catherine and other members selling their personal possessions. No doubt the profits or proceeds go into this so-called "church." If the three leaders are so pure and faithful, why are THEY interested in the material goods of other people? There are the other incidents described in this blog that show how controlling the elders have been with other members and especially with the family of the three-day-old baby that died. The elders certainly must be on some ego trip. It is high time someone took some definitive action against this group and hellped members to escape and become able to think for themselves again.


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