Elusive cult member seen in public
A young woman who joined a cult-like church in Texas, after reportedly ‘running away’ from her home in Arkansas, was spotted in public Sunday.
The parents of Catherine Grove, 26, claim that their daughter has been brainwashed by the leaders of the Church of Wells, a 57-member congregation in the tiny town of Wells, Texas.
The young woman disappeared from her home in Fayetteville, Arkansas on July 2 last year. She called home three days later.
“When she first called us on July 7, it was 11:30 at night, she said, ‘I’m in Wells, Texas, I’m with a group of people that are taking good care of me, but Mom and Dad I can’t listen to you any more, I have to keep my hands over my ears and I can only listen to my ‘elders,’ and that was alarming to us,” her mother told a reporter.
Since that day, Catherine has cut off almost all contact. Her parents, who have moved to Wells, say that the church’s leaders will not let them meet with her away from the church and its members. They have not seen or heard from their daughter since October.
Law enforcement officials have looked into the case, and have concluded that the church’s members and officials have broken no laws, and that Catherine is a member of the church of her own free will.
On Sunday, police visited the site of wedding in a nearby town after a report was called in saying that someone there had a gun. They instead found Catherine’s father, who thought he might have a change to see his daughter away from the church’s property.
However, he was asked to leave the rented property. An officer then spoke with Catherine, and he told local TV station KTRED that he observed and described her body language as uncomfortable.
When she said she didn’t want to speak with her father, the officer explained that he was a father as well, and that as a father he would want the chance to speak with his daughter. She still declined.
The publishers of Religion News Blog consider the Church of Wells to be theologically a cult of Christianity. Sociologically, the group appears to be cult-like in that its leaders have positioned themselves into high-control authorities.
Abusive Churches / Spiritual Abuse
Healthy and unhealthy churches: distinguish the difference
Churches That Abuse — online book
What is a cult of Christianity?
What you should know about brainwashing and mind control
Doctors not liable in death of Jehovah’s Witness
Many, though certainly not all, Jehovah’s Witnesses don’t accept blood transfusions because the Watchtower Society — the organization they belong to (which, as the ‘Governing Body’ claims to represent God on earth) — misinterprets several Bible verses.1
The woman’s estate sued several physicians and a hospital, claiming that medical malpractice led to the need for a blood transfusion. A judge dismissed the case, and the appeals court upheld that decision.2
The high-control organization is also viewed by many as a cult in the sociological sense of the word. 3
Muslim Dress Code
Which one of these women is dressed most appropriately for public places?
That survey question was asked in seven nations with a Muslim majority in the Middle Eastern Values Study conducted in 2011 and 2013 by the University of Michigan. The countries are: Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Turkey.
The accompanying photos showed five styles of Hijab4, and one woman whose face and hair remained completely uncovered:
- Burqa: all-covering, with a fabric grille masking the eyes
- Niqab: like a Burqa, but with a slit revealing the eyes
- Abaya or Chador: fully covers the hair, ears, and much of the face 5
- al-Amira: a two-piece veil consisting of a close fitting cap and an accompanying tube-like scarf. Covers the hair but not the face
- Hijab: May reveal glimpses of hair and does not cover the face
- No veil
The Pew Research Center summarized the ‘veil portion’ of the study (of which the full title is, The Birthplace of the Arab Spring: Values and Perceptions of the Tunisian Republic in a Comparative Perspective). But the Daily Mail had a better-looking graphic:
Note: there is a greater variety of Muslim veils than shown in the study. Also, not each style of veil has the same name throughout the Muslim world.
As ever-growing numbers of Muslims have moved to Western countries, where Muslim veils often are viewed as anything from a ‘symbol of oppression’ to an ‘illegal disguise,’ the garments have been the subject of much discussion and even legislation.
Religion Quick Takes
- Pope Francis is selling one of his two Harley Davidson motorbikes in order to raise money for charity.: The bikes were given to him in June 2013 to mark the 110th anniversary of the iconic motorcycle brand.
- A growing number of Hindus in India drink cow urine in the believe that it cures cancer. Urine therapy, all or not related to Hinduism. is not a new practice — though usually it involves drinking one’s own pee.
- Six convicted Muslim terrorists have been ordered to pay £33,000 (€39,500 | $54.000) to Muslim Aid and a local school, after posing as charity collectors to fund a terrorism plot. The money will be used to help the homeless and hungry in Britain.
- Coronation Street is set to introduce it’s first Muslim family in the programme’s 53 year history.
- How big is the Muslim population in your city?: Londoners generally underestimate the size of the capital’s Muslim community, but across the rest of the UK’s regional cities, the tendency is for overestimation, a survey by Channel 4 News has found.
- The Islamization of Belgium and the Netherlands in 2013: Say what?
Religion News Blog is based in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Like everyone else we’re concerned about the crime rate among Moroccan and Turkish youth, as well as the presence of intolerant, hateful Muslim extremists. Ironically, the vast majority of Muslims who have in the Netherlands are so-called ‘moderates’ who are, for that reason, hated by the extremists.
But this report by the Gatestone Institute (here’s what Wikipedia says about that organization) is a bit over the top. It presents a collection of more-or-less related news items and — without analysis or evidence of research — appears to come to a false conclusion summarized in the report’s headline.
- Genesis 9:3-4, Leviticus 17:13-14, and Acts 15:28-29 ↩
- View the court opinion, and a concurring opinion. ↩
- Note the difference between theological and sociological definitions of the term ‘cult.’ Due to the Watchtower Society’s high level of control over Jehovah’s Witnesses, along with its doctrines regarding blood transfusions (teachings that have led to deadly consequences), many view the organization as a ‘cult’ in the sociological sense of the word as well. ↩
- Hijab literally translates as ‘covering.’ It is also the name given to one version of the Muslim veil, but it has gradually come to take on a wider meaning — that of Muslim dress code ↩
- These are different, full-length garments ↩