Child Victims of a Faith healing Cult

Belief in faith healing is fairly common, but for most mainstream believers, prayer is generally an addition to proper medical care, not an alternative. Sadly there are some to do indeed view faith healing as the only viable approach to illness and decline all medical care. One such example is a group who call themselves the “Followers of Christ” and are based in Oregon City.

A basic human right is freedom of thought. In essence, folks can believe whatever they wish, so best of luck to them in all such endeavors. Well OK, perhaps we can ourselves exercise another freedom, that of speech, and mock such silly beliefs, however beyond all this is a far deeper concern here – what about their kids?

They don’t get to choose, but instead have this nonsense inflicted upon them, sometimes with dire consequences.

The latest example has come to public attention because of the trial of Timothy and Rebecca Wyland for the medical neglect of their now 18-months-old daughter (pictured here). Because they believed in faith healing as the only means for treating illness, their baby daughter was not given proper medical care in time and so she now has permanent developmental damage to her eye and may require surgery. If the authorities had not stepped in and taken her away from the parents she would have lost the eye.

The only reason they stepped in so quickly is because the state has already experienced these kooks in the past, knew how it would play out, so took immediate decisive action – I applaud them for doing so.

Here is an ABC News report that was broadcast about this specific case yesterday …

The Wylands have now been charged with first-degree criminal mistreatment for failing to provide medical care for Alayna. The defense have raised the issue of religious discrimination and also accuse the state of overly aggressive bureaucracy.

In response, I make the observation that this cult simply cannot be ignored, here is a quote from a Time article over twelve years ago …

Oregon state medical examiner Larry Lewman stated suspicions about the cemetery’s owners, the 1,200-member Followers of Christ church. Over 10 years, he alleges, the faith-healing congregation’s avoidance of doctors and hospitals may have cost the lives of 25 children, some under excruciating circumstances. A series by the Oregonian newspaper announced that of 78 minors buried in the graveyard over 35 years, 21 “probably would have lived with medical intervention, often as simple as antibiotics.”

After reading the above, are you still tempted to think that the state is being “overly aggressive”?

Bottom Line: Playing “Belief” as a get-out-of-jail-free card is no longer an option, these folks need to be held accountable. Sure, they can carry on believing whatever bullshit they wish, but they need to understand that believing nonsense has consequences, and where the result is serious neglect or death of a minor, then they go to jail … period.

There are still other states which permit “faith” as a do-what-you-like clause, they need to seriously reconsider their approach, because not doing so costs lives.

For further reading you can find a Wikipedia page all about this cult here.

Update (June 8th): The Wylands have been found guilty, you can read about it here.

There is now another couple from the same cult whose son was born prematurely and died nine hours later. They are scheduled to go trial in September on charges of second-degree manslaughter.

10 thoughts on “Child Victims of a Faith healing Cult”

  1. Letting children die from lack of medical care due to
    religious superstitions is just another form of human
    sacrifice, no different than ripping the hearts out of
    virgins. Both should be treated for what they are–
    culpable homicide calling for at least long prison terms.

  2. Now this is seriously messed up. To think some people would really endanger the lives of their children and see a holy balance or order to such an obvious case of murder is monstrous in nature to say the least. I really hope that baby gets proper medical intervention and ends up healthy. I also hope that she will hear this and turn away from these drastic and insane methods of ignoring one’s health. As a Christian I agree that God has some form of assistance he can offer but this is just plainly wrong. You should wish the best for you children and turn to both God and medicine should their lives be in dangers. Me for one I wouldn’t take a chance and nor would I put all my apples in one basket.

  3. Sometimes faith works. And in real life, with severe injuries and disabilities, usually MEDICINE works.

  4. this is just awful…

    also, @ Micky, @Richard Allum
    I’m pretty sure Micky’s right… sounded like some sarcastic mocking of these idiots’ beliefs to me…

  5. @Richard Allum

    Am fairly sure Jeckey’s comment was sarcastic in nature; don’t think s/he is actually advocating child torture as commanded by magic sky fairies. That’s how I read it anyway, if I am wrong then he is obviously demented.

  6. The sad truth about this is that these cult members actually practice what they preach. They are true Christians, and it is scary. Other people simply call themselves this but don’t really live by it. This is why religion relies on a premise of insanity.

  7. Here’s one flaw I see in the ‘logic’ of people such as the parents of this story- people who think ‘god’ saved them from a tornado- people who think 25 year olds are raped and murdered ‘for no reason’:

    If your ‘god’ loved you, why would he do/allow this to you in the first place? And no, it isn’t free will. And no, it’s not a test of man. But if it somehow is, and some day you can come-up with actual, verifiable, tangible proof that your god exists, well, you can have him. I wouldn’t want anything to do with a POS that would scar a baby, or even kill a baby, just to test the parents. I wouldn’t want anything to do with a POS that would allow a teenage girl to be abducted, tortured, raped, and murdered.

    One day these idiots are going to die. The heart is going to stop beating – the brain is going to stop firing – and they’re going to be dead. No light, no tunnel, none of that crap that goes beyond your brain firing-off random signals as it shuts-down. They’re go to shut-off like a light and it will all be done. They’ll have spent their life catering to a deity that -according to their own book- is the greatest mass murderer there could ever possibly be. A million times over…..

    • I completely do not, and never will, believe in “faith healing”. If God allows doctors and medicine and treatment to exist on the earth, then aren’t we supposed to use it?
      Say you get cancer, and receive treatment, and survive. It’s still a remarkable experience because so many people have died because of cancer and you did not. God spared you, for what purpose, I don’t know. But he did.
      Faith healing is representing the Christian faith poorly, and indeed, the parents of this little girl deserve to pay the price for their actions.

      For further reference, check out the movie “God’s Not Dead”. It might answer a few of your questions.

  8. It takes quite a lot to make me angry (or so it seems, you cannot trust an anonymous voice on the internet after all). However, if I ever met any parents who allowed their child; a human being whose life could have taken them in any of a million – a billion – directions, each of them wonderful in its intricacy and beautiful in its execution; to die because they believed in faith healing over medicine with an effect that can be seen almost every day, the state would almost certainly end up having to be aggressive.

    And you, my dear jeckey, are either an excellent troll or someone I also hope never to meet. To condone the death of infants for virtually any reason is in my eyes an unforgivable offence, and to even say casually that it is fine because something we cannot be sure of might be better even worse. To say it so fervently is wrong, there is no other way for me to place it, and I wish there were some way to make you see what you have just said through another’s eyes.

    For now, jeckey, and anyone else for that matter, look at the poor baby’s eyes. Look at how she doesn’t even know the truth of what is wrong with her, how she is like any other baby. Now look at where her other eye should be. Look at the growth, with the skin stretched thin over it and the one remaining strand seemingly containing it.

    She could be able to see and laugh with other people in years to come, or she could have to use a stick to see where she is going and may never be able to enter countless wonderful worlds in literature truly, to find her own versions of them. Think of her reading this article in the future, and imagine how she might react to your comment.

    I’d like to call you a monster, however that isn’t true. I just hope that you can live a good life as you see it, leading to the best lives of those around you as they see it.

  9. The child’s eye damage is all part of Gods mysterious plan. And the parents great faith is gonna virtually guarantee them a safe place in God’s magical realm.

    Of course none of us will ever see the evidence of that… it will happen AFTER death. You want the same magical super cool after life instead of being thrown in the eternal pits of hell??? Just BELIEVE the same stuff… Its easy!


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