Daughter's involvement in controversial religious group concerns - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Update: Daughter's involvement in controversial religious group concerns family

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Update (September 6th):  The town of Wells held a town hall meeting Thursday night to hear from a concerned Arkansas mother and father.

The parents say a controversial Wells church is controlling their daughter's life. More than 150 people attended the meeting, including a spokesperson of the Church of Wells.

Catherine Grove's parents claim their 26-year-old daughter joined the church in early July.

They say when grove joined, she temporarily cut communications with her parents and they became worried.

The people of Wells, who attended the meeting, wanted to know why church leaders won't allow Catherine to see her parents. Those with the church say Catherine can do whatever she wants, but those who join the church sometimes withdraw from their families on their own.

Most of the people in the room say they welcome different religions, but they feel the church's unorthodox practices are too extreme.

"Christians believe in children obeying their parents, that's one of the ten commandments, honor thy father and mother," one Wells resident told CBS 19. 

"It seems like they've come in here and they've tried to take over our town and tell us we're all going to hell. You can't come up to somebody and tell them they're going to hell. I've been told that. One of them stopped me and told me at the post office that I was going to hell," said another Wells resident.

Ministers from various churches from within Wells say they (Wells church community) stand for the gospel truth of Jesus Christ.

They don't agree with the Church of Wells, but they don't judge them. They believe that the community should show love to them and hopefully the church will turn around its practices.

We also spoke with the mother of one of the families who belong to the Church of Wells.

She owns the house the church members are currently living in, but they're paying her back.

She doesn't necessarily support their methods, but she says her family members are happy to be there. She supports them and thinks the community should, too.

No action was taken at Thursday night's meeting. It was just meant to allow community members to voice their concerns and hopefully understand the church better.

Despite her parents protests, Catherine is remaining with the church.


(KYTX) - A mother and father from Arkansas say their daughter disappeared and they didn't hear from her for a week.

When they found her, she'd joined a church they say is controlling her life.

CBS 19's Courtney Friedman sat down with all those involved.
 
 
Courtney, we're familiar with the Church of Wells after an infant died last June.
   
Church members were accused of praying over the baby when she became ill,  instead of immediately seeking medical attention.

 
The baby's name was Faith and the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office is still investigating.But it's that same church that 26-year-old Catherine Grove joined when she moved to wells in early July.
   
Members of The Church of Wells say they are Evangelist, born again Christians striving to be saved.
     
When Grove joined, she temporarily cut communication with her parents and they became worried.
   
A week after Catherine Grove disappeared from Arkansas, her  parents, patty and Andy Grove finally got a call from her.

"She said I'm in Wells, Texas and I'm with a group of people that are taking good care of me and that I can't listen to you mom and dad anymore that I have to keep my hands over my ears and I can only listen to my elders." 

The Church of Wells is part of the "you must be born again ministries"  found all over the world. 
   
The faith has come under fire accused of aggressive preaching methods and isolating it's members from family.
   
Church of wells pastor, Sean Morris, says sometimes church members withdraw from their families on their own, once they're "born again" or saved.  
    
"There's a lot of slander that we're cutting people off, its not true. But the change, the radical change that conversion has in an individual's life makes that division spiritually and then there is a division in the family."

Patty and Andy Grove have moved into at RV in Wells, hoping to convince Catherine to come home.

"We fear that Catherine is being exposed to extreme control of not only her mind but her emotions and possibly her own physical health."

In welfare checks, the Cherokee County Sheriff's Department confirms she is healthy, and wants to stay. 
   
The Groves want to talk to their daughter one on one, but say the church won't allow it. When they do see her, they say she is very different.
 
She says mom, do not smile at me any more I'm supposed to be heavy, and down.

But in a statement, Catherine grove tells CBS 19 she's just seeking the lord, saying quote:

"My parents are worried about me and I understand that, but they should be more worried about drawing me away from the Lord, by teaching something that is not in the Bible."

"She wants to stay but more than anything right now she wants to get saved."

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office has received complaints about The Church of Wells' aggressive methods of preaching.
   
But investigators say the church isn't breaking the law and Catherine can make her own decisions.
 
In her statement, Catherine writes,

"These people are not keeping me here against my will. They are not brainwashing me as they have been accused of. They are telling me what the Bible says."

Catherine's family says it will continue fighting for her return home to Arkansas. 

Monday, more than 100 people in the Wells community gathered where Catherine is living, asking her to come out. She did not come out of the house, but many other churches in Wells are  giving Catherine's family their support.

Below is a statement that Catherine Grove sent to CBS 19:

"I, Catherine Grove, am simply seeking the Lord Jesus Christ. I am a wretched sinner and I came here to Wells, TX to talk and listen to these Christians so that they could simply help me find the Lord. They are teaching me what the Bible says. There is no other reason why I am here. These people are full of integrity and are doing no wrong. These people believe and obey every word in the Bible. They are completely innocent of the wrongdoing falsely accused of them. I have actually never met anyone so pure and innocent as them. They have provided for me very well, cooking many meals for me. All I want to do is repent of sin and seek the Lord until I find Him. My parents are worried about me and I understand that, but they should be more worried about drawing me away from the Lord, by teaching something that is not in the Bible. I am not born again, and I don't think my parents are either. These people are not keeping me here against my will. They are not brainwashing me as they have been accused of. They are telling me what the Bible says."

 




 

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