Mother convicted in faith healing death of 9-year-old son

A Tulsa, Oklahoma jury found a woman guilty of second-degree manslaughter Friday night.

Tulsa ABC affiliate TV station KTUL says

Susan Grady was accused of neglecting to get medical attention for her son, who died nearly three years ago.

Prosecutors said Grady chose prayer over getting medical help for her nine-year-old son, Aaron, who became ill in June 2009.

He died June 5, 2009, from complications of diabetes. According to court documents, he had been sick for several days.

The jury imposed 2½ year prison sentence.

The Oklahoman says

District Judge William Kellough set formal sentencing for June 8.

Grady, 43, who has been free on bond, was jailed after the verdict was delivered.

Defense attorney Rob Nigh, who expressed disappointment with the outcome, said he will seek an appeal bond, which would allow Grady to stay out of custody during an appeal. That matter could be taken up at the formal sentencing. […]

In relying on prayer to heal her son, Grady, a member of the Church of the Firstborn, told police in 2009, “I didn’t want to be weak in my faith and disappoint God.”

Nigh has maintained that Grady’s conduct was not unreasonable, based upon the teachings of her church.[…]

Kellough instructed jurors that a person may be justified under Oklahoma law in not providing medical treatment for his or her child, if instead the parent, in good faith, selects and depends upon spiritual means alone through prayer, in accordance with the tenets and practice of a recognized church or religious denomination; provided that the treatment or cure is something which a reasonably careful person would do under similar circumstances and conditions.

“You don’t have a right to let a child die,” [Assistant District Attorney Sarah] McAmis said.

The General Assemble and Church of the First Born

The General Assemblies and Church of the First Born is a small Pentecostal ‘denomination’ of sorts. It consists of a network of more than 100 churches in 20 US states.

The faith healing teachings and practices of this denomination are extreme and unbiblical — to the point where affiliated churches can be considered spiritual abusive, and where behavior of members is contrary to Christian orthopraxis.
These doctrines and practices have resulted in unnecessary deaths, followed by prosecutions of those involved.

In statements to the press church officials generally says that members can seek medical aid, but former members say that those who do so are considered ‘weak in faith’ (or even to have sinned against God by demonstrating a lack of faith), and tend to be shunned.

Faith Healing

• The term ‘faith healing’ refers to healing that occurs supernaturally — as the result of prayer rather than the use of medicines or the involvement of physicians or other medical care.

• But while faith healings do take place today just as they did in the early Christian church, the teachings of some churches, movements and individuals on this subject amount to spiritual abuse.

• Legitimate churches and movements do not equal using drugs or receiving proper medical attention with unbelief, insufficient faith, or otherwise sinning against God.

Other faith healing cases involving the Church of the First Born
Research resources on the General Assembly and Church of the First Born
Research resources on faith healing

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)

Religion News Blog posted this on Sunday May 27, 2012.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at