Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Get me a new apocalypse, this one's Bent!

Not only did Wayne Bent's persecution not lead to the apocalypse, it didn't prevent him from spending a few days behind bars.

Known as Michael Travesser within his The Lord Our Righteousness Church, sometimes called the Strong City Cult, the former Seventh Day Adventist preacher and his followers moved to New Mexico Idaho in 2000. As of this year, the community apparently consists of 50 people, but the failure of a sustained fast - in which his followers consumed neither food nor water - leaves the future of the commune in doubt.

Bent originally announced the Day of Judgment would be on October 31 2007 after calculating a Bible prophecy number (490) and adding it to the year 1517, when the Protestant Reformation began, yielding 2007 as a result. The specific date October 31 comes from the day that Martin Luther produced his 95 Theses.

The details of his arrest, the removal of young followers from the camp by the authorities and the ongoing battle by and against the sect are interesting enough, but what will be fascinating now is - since the day of judgment failed to appear - how the sect changes its 'narrative', in other words how does it explain away the failure? They have apparently ended their fast, claiming that they had essentially 'held up their end of the bargain' with God (Jeff Bent was apparently "surprised" by how weak the fast had left some of his members).

Bent is due to face his own personal apocalypse when an expected week-long trial begins on December 8. He is accused of criminal sexual contact with two of his female teenage followers.

“They were looking for deliverance from God,” said Sarah Montoya, an attorney for the church’s leader, Wayne Bent. Montoya spoke with Bent’s son Jeff on Saturday. “They’re disappointed, but they understand that life goes on.” Montoya says she told Jeff Bent that the group will now have to listen quietly for direction from God, and Bent just chuckled.

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