Categories
7 virgins Beyond 90 Seconds churches Clayton Commentary cults fast fasting Michael Travesser New Mexico News Prudence Welch seven virgins Strong City The Lord Our Righteousness Church true crime Union County Wayne Bent

“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)

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins Beyond 90 Seconds churches CPS crimes against children cults Dean Cline fast fasting law enforcement Michael Travesser New Mexico News Prudence Welch religeon Seth seven virgins Strong City The Lord Our Righteousness Church true crime Union County virgin virgins Wayne Bent

Some of Wayne Bent’s followers now joining him in fasting

Update (June 8, 10:50am PST): I received a brief e-mail from Wayne Bent this morning. Bent wrote, “About 40 people have joined me in the present fast.

One day after The Lord Our Righteousness church leader Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) announced that he is fasting until a girl is returned to her parents, some interesting responses have arrived at Beyond90Seconds.com.

Dean Cline (former husband of Amana Travesser and stepfather of former church member Prudence Welch) sent me the following e-mail (published here–unedited–with Cline’s permission):

Dear Mark,

Thank you for giving us, at strong city, a forum that has not tried to spin what has transpired.
Perhaps I should identify myself first. My legal name is Dean Cline and I am the ex husband of Amana Travesser, mother of Prudence Welch. I to am a member of the LOR church but have not been actively participating on the church site so am now unable to contribute my support for Michael, in his fast, on that site. I do want to let it be publicly acknowledged that I am in full agreement with Michael and will not eat until there is resolution.
Thank you for posting this on your site.
Seth
aka Dean Cline

Other members of Bent’s church have reportedly pledged to join him in fasting, too.

Last month, a New Mexico grand jury indicted Wayne Bent on four charges: Two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, unclothed. And two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

One of the alleged victims is believed to be the girl whom Bent says should be returned to her parents; thus, prompting his decision to fast.

In a comment posted overnight on Beyond90Seconds.com, Bent writes:

I am protesting the illegal imprisonment of a young lady who did nothing wrong.

Bent’s entire comment can be read here.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins AP ap.google.com Associated Press churches Clayton cults Google Grand Jury law enforcement New Mexico News polygamy Prudence Welch religeon seven virgins Strong City The Lord Our Righteousness Church true crime Union County virgin virgins Wayne Bent

Grand Jury indicts Wayne Bent on 4 counts

(Beyond90Seconds.com broke this story)

(Clayton, New Mexico) Union County District Court Clerk Karen Vieites tells Beyond90Seconds.com that a Grand Jury indicted Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) today on four counts.

“Two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor in the second degree, unclothed. And two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor,” Vieites told Beyond90Second.com shortly after 5pm.

According to Vieites, the Grand Jury began to hear the State’s case against Wayne Bent at 10am today and finished around 5pm. Vieites said that jurors only recessed for a 30-minute lunch

New Mexico State Police arrested Bent the morning of May 6 at The Lord Our Righteousness Church. The LOR is located in a remote area known as “Strong City” in the northeast corner of the state.

On May 8th, Bent’s son, Jeff Bent, appeared on CNN’s Larry King Live. King’s panel included former LOR member Prudence Welch. During the program, Jeff Bent said his father would not post bond.

Jeff Bent posted his father’s bond the following day, after an ambulance was sent to the jail. A judge had reduced Wayne Bent’s bond from $500,000 to $55,000.

On May 10th, Wayne Bent wrote about his experiences in jail and the charges he faced.

Just yesterday, a new post on the church’s Web site included 22 letters written in defense of Wayne Bent’s character and conduct. According to that post, the church delivered the letters to the District Attorney yesterday and requested that the letters be read to the Grand Jury.

No word yet on whether the letters were presented to the Grand Jury.

The Union County Courthouse is one of several courthouses in New Mexico’s 8th Judicial District.

###

Update: Read the Associated Press story here (May 21)

District Attorney Donald Gallegos said he made the decision to pursue indictments — shifting the case to district court — to avoid an open preliminary hearing in magistrate court in which the girls could have been subjected to cross-examination by Bent’s attorney. -Associated Press

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins Ben Anthony churches CNN cults documentary film Larry King Larry King Live Larry King Live transcript law enforcement LKL transcript Michael Travesser National Geographic National Geographic Channel News NGC polygamy Prudence Welch religeon rush transcript seven virgins Strong City television transcript true crime Union County virgin virgins Wayne Bent

Larry King Live *VIDEO*: “Inside a Doomsday Cult”

New Update: ( May 25, 2008 ) A reader of this blog has correctly pointed-out today that the Larry King Live videos are no longer available. Turns out the person who had posted these videos on Youtube has had his account suspended.

Update: Rush transcript of Larry King Live program

***

Here is a look (below) at last night’s Larry King Live program concerning Wayne Bent and The Lord Our Righteousness Church. The program appears here in 5 parts.

Larry King’s panel:

  • Jeff Bent, son of church leader Wayne Bent
    -“First of all, he’s not Jesus Christ.”
    -says documentary’s claim that father had predicted “the end of the world” is a lie
  • Prudence Welch
    -much more from Welch in my interview with her here.
  • Rachel Bernstein, psychotherapist & “cult expert”
    -“I see him (Wayne Bent) in the candy store of his own making.
  • Ben Anthony (film producer)
    -“Unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.”
    -“…also quite a disturbing experience…”
  • Allen Armstrong, Former Minister of Bent/Travesser’s Church
  • Matt Grubs, KOAT-TV reporter
  • Capt. Robert Shilling, New Mexico State Police
    -says W. Bent’s bail reduced from $500,000 to $50,000 at Thursday’s arraignment

This program begins with an update on the Texas polygamy case making news in recent weeks. Guests are Rod Parker (spokesperson for Yearning for Zion Ranch familes) and KTVK-TV reporter Mike Watkiss.

This program concludes with Anderson Cooper promoting his AC 360 look at developments in the “cult-like” Charles Manson case.

(*clicking play button at lower left of video window conveniently keeps you here. Clicking play button in center of video takes you to youtube)

What do you think of what came out of this program? You’re comments are welcome below.

(*After searching the ‘net this morning, I found that “torbenmiller” had uploaded these videos on youtube. Thank you, torbenmiller.)

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
7 virgins churches CNN cults Larry King Larry King Live law enforcement Michael Travesser New Mexico News Prudence Welch religeon seven virgins Strong City television The Lord Our Righteousness Church true crime TV Union County video virgin virgins Wayne Bent

Tonight’s Larry King Live to focus on Strong City church

Larry King

Updates:

Watch the program here. (May 9, 10:50am PST)

I’ve been told Jeff Bent, son of arrested LOR church leader Wayne Bent, will also appear on tonight’s program. This is not yet confirmed. (May 8, 12:08pm PST)

***

CNN’s Larry King Live is scheduled to include a segment this evening focussed on the The Lord Our Righteousness Church and this week’s arrest of church leader Wayne Bent.

Beyond90Seconds.com has learned scheduled guests include former church member Prudence Welch and British filmmaker Ben Anthony.

Anthony produced the documentary, The End of the World Cult. The program first aired in the United Kingdom December 12, 2007 on Channel 4.

Later, a revised edit of Anthony’s documentary found an audience in the United States.National Geographic Chanel promo Inside a Cult appeared on the National Geographic Channel April 23, 2008.

NGC repeated Inside a Cult May 7, 2008.

According to its Web site, the National Geographic Channel will be showing Inside a Cult, once again, May 11 at 12am (please check your local listings).

Larry King Live promo

If you want to hear more from Prudence Welch, you can watch my 46-minute interview with her here.

Welch also recently appeared in an interview with Shepard Smith of FOX News. That interview certainly got the attention of her mother.

Welch’s mother lives at Strong City and soon fired-off her own videos.

You can watch it ALL (Shepard Smith interview, Welch’s mother’s videos and my interview with Welch) by clicking here.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Categories
churches cults Michael Travesser New Mexico News Prudence Welch religeon Strong City Union County video Wayne Bent

Prudence Welch’s mother responds to controversial remarks

One day after posting my video interview with former LOR church member Prudence Welch, I have received an e-mail from Welch’s mother.

The e-mail comes from “Amana Travesser.” She identifies herself as the mother of Prudence Welch and concludes her message, “Sincerely, Amana (Louise Cline)”

Welch’s mother lives at the Strong City church property in northeastern New Mexico and a is a member of The Lord Our Righteousness Church.

Her e-mail includes links to two videos (Part 1 & Part 2) posted on youtube May 4.

The videos were posted on youtube by a fellow church member.

In these videos, Welch’s mother addresses controversial remarks made during Welch’s recent interview with Shepard Smith of FOX News. More directly, comments suggesting that LOR leader Wayne Bent (aka Michael Travesser) convinced Welch’s mother to forgo medical treatment for breast cancer.

The fellow church member who posted the May 4 videos writes on youtube:

On Shepard Smith’s interview with Prudence Welch he said he looked forward to hearing more about her mother. Well Sir here she is in person.

I think this controversy is best explained by the people involved, and in chronological order.

We’ll begin with the Shepard Smith interview, followed by the two videos on youtube featuring Welch’s mother.

We’ll conclude with a link to my interview with Prudence Welch conducted yesterday. In it, Welch goes into greater detail about her mother’s health and Wayne Bent than time afforded her in the FOX News interview.

My interview with Prudence Welch may take a minute to load.

Other versions of this interview: QuickTime, iPod (video)/m4v, mp3.

Beyond90Seconds: Where I report and you really do get to decide…

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : Digg it : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook