“Time-out” for Bent threads (except here)

Update: (June 17, 10:41am PST)Bent’s Web site:  “New Mexico returns Willow

Update (June 13, 12:22pm PST): I have decided to keep the comment sections on the Wayne Bent stories closed. If you’d like an explanation, you may read one here.

Commentary

With the hit-counter on this blog soaring (by its humble standards) this afternoon, one might wonder why I’ve just snuffed a primary source of its fuel supply.

For the unacquainted, allow me to first explain that two sides of a controversial story making national headlines recently converged in the comment sections of this blog (*as they have on several other blogs). I’m referring to the Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) story. Bent is the leader of The Lord Our Righteousness Church in northeastern New Mexico. A grand jury indicted Bent last month, charging him with crimes against children. Bent’s son posted his bond (a reader of this blog, “Terry,” reports that the bond money has been returned to the Bents).

You can learn more about the case in stories written on this blog (and the comments from readers). A Google search will also yield many other useful links, to include two Web sites with opposing viewpoints: Wayne Bent’s site strongcity.info and former church member Prudence Welch’s site, travesser.info.

Both Bent and Welch have left comments here. Welch also agreed to an interview.

On June 8th, I suspended the comments on all of the Wayne Bent stories. Simply put, personal attacks were appearing with increasing frequency.

A few readers from both sides of the debate wrote to me, asking that I re-open the comment sections. I agreed to do so. I do value input from readers, and I have appreciated that members of two sides of a controversial–and important–story felt comfortable coming to the same blog.

I have also noted that many of your comments have provided new insights into the story at hand. Much of what readers have written here has also been skillfully and thoughtfully crafted.

Today, the comments were coming in so quickly I found it challenging to keep up with them and the e-mails from readers expressing their disapproval that certain comments had already survived 15-minutes on this blog without my having extinguished the unwelcome verbiage. “Inappropriate,” some argued, as well as, “crosses the line,” etc.

I just know I couldn’t be an effective referee while the comments were pouring in at such a fast rate; thus, my decision–once again–to suspend the comments on these threads. A “time out,” if you will.

As for the standard I have set for your comments (no personal attacks), some have suggested that I have set an unobtainable goal. Perhaps they’re right.

However, I would like to read how you feel about this topic. Should the comments remain open or closed? Why? Why not?

(Deep breath) Okay, here we go…

(*edit: information about two-sides appearing on several other blogs added after original version of this story appeared)

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15 Responses to “Time-out” for Bent threads (except here)

  1. avatar
    VT June 12, 2008 at 10:51 am #

    I would also like to address the post Prudence made about the families leaving the land. I am member of one the “families” that is not only allowed to associate with Wayne but is cherished by him. I don’t have to create a mental trip to know that I am loved and cherished by him. It has been proven for ALL of our association with him.

    Words come with Spirits. One cannot judge words by just letters in a row. The sprit portrayed by Prudence of Wayne’s spirit is 180 degrees the opposite of who he is and how the families have been treated.

    We KNEW that moving into a larger dwelling was just what we needed and the suggestion to move came from a loving Spirit, not rejection. It is true that “dysfunction” was addressed, but is was a loving Shepherd who addressed it and saw a provision to deal with it. Being in the struggle of a dysfunctional household, we welcomed the change and actually judged ourselves as one household that needed to move. We were NOT approached and ordered to move, but given a picture of what living in hell looked like and our circumstances fit the view. There was to be no more hell in Strong City. And we were in full agreement.

    Some folks became bitter and felt rejected rather than loved and helped. A persons context can judge just about anything negatively or positively.

    Michael was right about the move. We have experienced release from Hell, living in a broader space. My testimony is that God’s Holy Spirit has and is currently directing ALL that has occurred through Wayne and at Strong City.

  2. avatar
    TerryCzap June 12, 2008 at 11:03 am #

    As I said to you earlier Mark, let them, “bring it on” (the comments). Vulgar language should not be allowed however.

  3. avatar
    VT June 12, 2008 at 11:09 am #

    My previous comment does refer back to the former string.

    Like you said, I agree with a place to present facts but not to slam character, name calling. I did say that everything is judged from each persons context. Therefore, anything that is remembered and felt will have upon it the persons own present interpretation. And there are only 2 Spirits.

    It does bear consideration that persons spend their days, tearing others to pieces. God is available to “save” anyone who needs it. So why not trust Him with saving anyone from Michael that needs it and wants it. I wonder how the time is available when parents need to attend to the needs of their little ones or those with whom they are placed. What would be left of the day and night but for quiet, reflection and rest.

  4. avatar
    Stephanie June 12, 2008 at 12:32 pm #

    Mr. Horner,

    I appreciate your patience and willingness to work with your readers here. If people cannot discuss a topic without use of personal attacks and vulgarities, then maybe these topics should be closed.

    I have pretty much stated my own opinions in regards to Mr. Bent, and there are only so many circles one can run around in before we are beating a dead horse.

    Thank you! 🙂

    Respectfully,
    Stephanie

  5. avatar
    Grace June 12, 2008 at 1:24 pm #

    Thank you Mr. Horner. I was writing the following as you closed the comment section about Wayne being on a fast.

    Prudence, you speak for forked tongue.
    In reply to Wayne above, you said, “Wayne, I do not hate you. This must be your own imagination. I simply have pity on you. I would love to see you …”

    And yet on your blog you posted: “I personally don’t want Wayne Crucified. Maybe he could use a good castrating?? But to crucify him would be to kind!”

    Your words belie you. Words that do not come from walking in the ways of God.

    And this was very interesting to me, because before you closed the comments, and after I had read them, I felt in my heart that it should be closed. After a certain time, as Stephanie stated, dialogue becomes pointless.
    I don’t think your standard is to high. But you are having to discern the spirit which comes with the words.
    You spoke of personal attack. Michael never ever comes from or speaks from personal attack. This isn’t in him. It isn’t who he is. He is always addressing a spirit — evil or good.

    When a thief robs a house, you call him a robber or a thief. If one is caught lying, you can call him a liar. If one kills someone he is called a murderer and so on. If you see a house burning down, you can say the house is burning down. None of these are personal attacks or done with an attitude. It’s not personal. But a person may take it personally, as a personal attack. This very much has to do with what spirit inhabits a human being which they identify with. “Out of the abundance, the heart speaketh.” it comes out of one’s heart, which is who he is.

  6. avatar
    EMC June 12, 2008 at 2:06 pm #

    Mr. Horner –

    I’ve followed this story with great interest for several months now. I, too, appreciate the even-handed approach and the desire for civility which you have demonstrated here.

    It’s a fine balance between allowing feedback and clarification and having your board, as others have, devolve into an accusation-slinging, turmoil-strewn battle of words between those of Strong City and the rest of the world.

    Personally, while the commentary is a fascinating insight sociologically, I think you have given this topic adequate space and it’s time for the shots across the bow (and into the gut) to cease.

    Kudos for an outstanding reporting style and some very interesting information.

  7. avatar
    fromthewoods June 12, 2008 at 4:24 pm #

    Mr. Horner, if it is alright with you I’m going to continue hosting an open discussion regarding this topic over on my blog.

    If anyone would like to join in please click on my user name.

    Thanks!

  8. avatar
    hornerscorner June 12, 2008 at 4:28 pm #

    From the Woods,

    I’m not about to tell anyone they can’t host a topic on their blog. Best of luck!

    Sincerely,
    Mark

  9. avatar
    hornerscorner June 12, 2008 at 5:26 pm #

    Dear Reader,

    You can visit fromthewoods’ blog by clicking here.

    Best,
    Mark

  10. avatar
    ron June 12, 2008 at 11:38 pm #

    My interest in this case really is from a sociological point of view. I have watched other cults, like Father Divine, for years, but this one is different. First of all, Wayne is a self-promoter. The NG special and his website show that this man has “potentially” broken the law, and it hit a nerve with a lot of people. If it were not for that, Wayne would be just another nut who has written himself into the bible.

  11. avatar
    A Stranger June 13, 2008 at 2:03 am #

    Hello To All,
    I have missed the conversation that has been going on here. Is there a place that I may ready what has been said pryer to this morning,
    Sincerely,
    A stranger

  12. avatar
    Azaniah June 13, 2008 at 2:19 am #

    Dear Mark,

    What we at Strong City know, and Michael has said many times, which has brought about the events here is “do what’s on your heart.” Heaven is not a democracy but a knowing in your heart what the Living God is speaking and doing in you and laying down your life to allow Him to accomplish His purposes. The world is ever learning through its sociological, psycological, theological, ideological, ad infitum logical methods but never coming to the knowledge of the truth as it is in the Voice that speaks within.

    Thank you for doing what was, and is, on your heart..

    Azaniah

  13. avatar
    A Stranger June 13, 2008 at 2:30 am #

    I found the conments. Sorry for the question.

    Sincerely,
    A stranger

  14. avatar
    A Stranger June 13, 2008 at 2:54 am #

    I have read over some of the comments here. I feel that it is a good thing to reveal truth. It would be good to state the truth and then let the truth speak for its self. It sounds like there have been many hurt feelings. But I would say that what so ever a man sows that shall he also reap. Yes offences must come but woe to the one that brings them. I believe in freedom of following God. I could not judge this man and say he is guilty of a crime because only he knows what is in his heart. I was not there when it happened so I do not know what happened, I only know what I have read and herd. I also have children and I would not want them taken from me. I can relate to the feelings of all involved here. I feel so sorry for Willow. I also feel for her parents. I also feel for the ones that have been hurt by there expierences in this group. But it is best to deal with the pain instead of causing more pain by lashing out at the ones that you feel have hurt you. Love your enemies and do good to those that curse you. I believe that it is not a church or beliefe that will save you but rather your heart connection with God. Only God knows the heart of man. He knows if your heart is sincere or not. That is why he is the judge and not us. We could only judge wrongly because we only see from the outside looking in. I personally have been through a hard life. One of religious laws. But now I truly feel that it is only a heart connection that will get you anywhere past this life.

    Sincerely,
    A Stranger

  15. avatar
    hornerscorner June 13, 2008 at 7:18 am #

    Dear Reader,

    I have decided to keep the comments sections related to the Wayne Bent/Strong City posts closed.

    While future comments might have yielded additional insights, I feel those moments would likely be few within the steady increase of personal attack-styled commentary.

    One alternative would be to weed-out the undesired comments. However, the frequency of comments on these threads has risen to a point where I must admit that I do not have the time to referee them with the immediacy and fair-handed treatment that they deserve.

    While closing the comment sections on these threads will result in less traffic coming to this blog, I am at peace with that consequence.

    I will continue to post updates to the Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) story as it continues to unfold.

    My “stats” page indicates that many of you have already clicked the link for the new blog-offering from “fromthewoods.” I wish that person the best with his/her effort. Because “fromthewoods” is also hosting his/her blog on WordPress, you’ll notice that it looks similar to my blog. However, I want you to know that I am not affiliated with fromthewoods’ blog nor do I know the identity of the blogger.

    I want to conclude this final comment on these threads by expressing my sincere appreciation to all of you who have chosen to visit Beyond90Seconds.com. As always, you are welcome to contact me. My contact information is located within the large blue tile in the right sidebar near the top of this page.

    Sincerely,
    Mark Horner

Thank you for visiting.