Breaking News

Saturday, September 20, 2014 - 3:40pm

LIVE ON CNN HEADLINE NEWS: KETK covers 'The Church of Wells' controversy

KETK
News

POSTED: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 - 4:09pm

UPDATED: Sunday, March 16, 2014 - 10:39am

KETK has been covering a developing story on "The Church of Wells" in Wells, Texas, which is about 66 miles south of Tyler.

Because of the in-depth coverage KETK has released on the situation involving Arkansas native, Catherine Grove and "The Church of Wells," CNN has reached out to us to bring this story nationwide attention.


Photo of CNN truck by KETK.

KETK's Nicole Vowell will be on CNN Headline News HLN, Wednesday, at 4:15 p.m., to update a national audience on the investigative reporting she has been doing over the past week.

Also, Thursday, catch the interviews with Patty and Andy Grove, parents of Catherine Grove, and church elder, Jacob Gardner, on HLN.


Photo of Jacob Gardner by KETK.

26-year-old nursing student, Catherine Grove, disappeared from her home in Fayetteville, Arkansas, on July 2, 2013. After endless attempts to reach their daughter, Catherine's parents, Andy and Patty Grove, finally almost a week later heard her voice.

Patty Grove says, "When she first called us on July 7, it was 11:30 at night and 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."


Photo of Patty and Andy Grove by KETK.

The Groves will be conducting an interview with anchors from CNN from the KETK studio and their interview will be aired, Thursday, along with an interview with elder, Jacob Gardner.

In June 2012, Cherokee County officials investigated the death of a three-day-old infant, whose parents, elders in "The Church of Wells,"  allegedly chose to pray over the baby instead of seeking immediate medical attention. They did not contact law enforcement until 15 hours after the child's death.

The Church of Wells opened in 2012 on New Years Day, but the church started in 2010 in Arlington, Texas.

When asked why they moved the congregation to Wells, the answered, God told them to. They said it is made up of "born-again believers," run by three elders from Texas. The elders are Ryan Ringnald, Jacob Gardner and Sean Morris. The elders say their mission for themselves and the 57 members is to preach salvation.

"The key to men being regenerated or being able to follow God again, is through the new birth," said Ringnald.

The church is part of the "You Must Be Born Again Ministry," and they believe you are born sinful and in darkness, and you must be born again to truly follow Christ and be saved.

"We believe man has to see their sin. That's why we preach judgment," said Ringnald.

There have been unconfirmed reports of arranged marriages, but when asked on camera, they declined to comment and instead started praying.

On Thursday night, September 5, the community gathered for a town hall meeting to hear Catherine's parents speak about the church. They also heard from other people who have children involved with the church.

"All the parents that we have been in touch with are very distraught," Andy Grove told KETK. "They have loved ones that have been involved in this group that they have not heard from for years. They haven't seen their kids, daughters, grandchildren... and it's not right."

More than 100 East Texans gathered at the Falvey United Methodist Church to hear their story. Pastors from the community spoke and there was a message from the parents of Ryan Ringnald, one of the three elders of the Church of Wells.

In a written message from Mindy and Scott Ringnald, the couple said their son has been involved with the church for many years and that they've "lost a wonderful son to this cult."

This was the first time that the Ringnalds publicly spoke out about their son and "The Church of Wells."

"Catherine has been taken 'holy captive,' a term I never imagined using," they wrote. "My son is as guilty as anyone involved, and I am ashamed and sickened for his behavior."

The Groves also passed out an excerpt from a book written by Sean Morris, the head elder of "The Church of Wells." The document is titled, "The Doctrine of Judgement," and details the reasons that church members should cut ties with their families.

"I think it's important for the community to know what this church is teaching," Andy Grove explained.



 

 

 




 

Comments News Comments

Only hearing about the Church at Wells now, news gets here slow in South Texas. Is Hennock there? I heard he got pulled into your group from a church I know of. If you're there Hennock, get out! Run, and don't look back, you're friends on the outside are waiting for you!

I just watched the video that is posted in the previous post. It is a horrible lie. The speaker very plainly says that the preacher at The First Baptist Church down the road just has people repeat after him a little prayer and they are saved. I am a member there and have been for years. We have never allowed "repeat after me" prayers. So JMGardner get your facts straight before you post such lies as this.

3. Instill new sense of identity: New identity is reinforced by the group environment, where you get no feedback except from other members who tell you that they understand the right behavior and the right way of being.

4. Isolate: Cut off from outside world. Fear keeps them trapped inside the environment of the group.

DR. PHIL website....
Tools of Mind Control:

1. Control environment: Loved ones are cut off from family, no communication.

2. Break down sense of self: Break down their sense of self-esteem, literally attack them as individuals on the basis that they are wrong and that the group is right.

3. Instill new sense of identity: New identity is reinforced by the group environment, where you get no feedback except from other members who tell you that they understand the right behavior and the righ

'Elders', my ass...this is a crew of scamps who have learned to live off others..Churches do not have the windows boarded up, and entire families are always welcome. Legitimate churches have nothing to hide...and do not 'protect' the members from their own families. This Peter Pan crew is being given too much leniency. They should be fully investigated and dealt with accordingly.

I cannot agree more with your comment. Some of them are related to me and the whole situation is wrong wrong wrong!!!! There is not excuse for them, I am ashamed that I know them.

FALSE."Also, the Ringnalds have taken back their comments and are sorry for posting them. They have formally asked the Groves to remove all comments they made and to release them no more. Thus they are no longer on the "Pray for Catherine Grove" Facebook page." I'm NOT sorry my parents posted them. I suggest in the future, Jake, you get your facts straight and refrain from speaking for others. Sincerely, Ryan's sister.

Thanks for that Rachel. Im also glad the Ringnalds said what they did. It must be really terrible to lose a child to this crazy cult. I can't imagine. Jake, you guys are a bunch of psychos and need to be shut down. Seriously bro, GTFO. Sincerely, someone who grew up with Ryan and knew him well for 12 years before he got wrapped up in this nonsense.

So, What if one of these parents that have not seen their child or have been cut off from their child wants to become a member of your church? Would they be allowed to join?

Well, jmgardner, you kind of loose credibility by the way your attempting to defend yourself. I have a friend who goes to your church and I was very confused pertaining to who your group is. I really called out to God and asked if your church was biblical or not. The answer I received was "Strange Fire" (Lev 10). Two men who were in the temple, thinking they were doing good before the Lord.

Nobody "goes to" this church. It's a live-in arrangement, like boarding school. They don't take day students. When you go, you go 24/7. There's no going home.

This group prayed over the baby AFTER she died. They weren't faith-healing. They were hoping for a miracle of resurrection. Could you address that in the interview, please?

You are correct! They prayed for 2 - 3 days! The reason that they gave that the baby did not come back to life was because someone praying did not have enough 'faith'. Faith turned out to be the baby's name.....hummm. The FLDS members also were told that the reason their leader at the time died was because someone did not have enough faith. I just watched a Dateline show on it.

A reporter posed a question about the baby's death. How did you feel about that? You deferred the question to Ryan, but neither of you responded. Could you respond here, please? Thanks.

Also, Andy's quote, "All the parents that we have been in touch with are very distraught..." This is hard to believe, when the most of the families of those in the church are not distraught because their children have "cut off" communication with them, but, on the contrary the most part of the church have open communication with their families.

We (the Church of Wells) have already expressed desires to Nicole Vowell to hear from the multiple parents that want to share their positive experience

Yes. Great. Good idea. We're all waiting for those "multiple parents." Any idea who they might be?

Is there really a good experience associated with this cult?? I find that hard to believe.

"We have already expressed desires to Nicole Vowell to hear from the multiple parents that want to share their positive experience."
Lemme help. Translation: Jake and Ryan and Sean told reporter Ms. Vowell that they want her to speak with the many members' parents that want to tell the public about their positive experiences with the Church of Wells.
Great! I have no doubt she will! Where are they? Who are they?

Also, the Ringnalds have taken back their comments and are sorry for posting them. They have formally asked the Groves to remove all comments they made and to release them no more. Thus they are no longer on the "Pray for Catherine Grove" Facebook page.

Cory James McLaughin also asked me (his stepmother) to retract all of my statements or he would be forced to bring my name into it. Haa Haaa Haaa. Who cares, I am sick of the whole situation, I have been dealing with this mess for years. Bring it on!!!

How did yall convince the Ringalds to "take back their statements"??? Did Ryan assure them he wouldnt ever talk to them again if they didn't? Those seem like pretty strong words to suddenly take back.

The windows are boarded up so rain doesn't get in - the upstairs is under construction. After construction, the upstairs will actually be a public art studio where people will be welcome to see Cory McLaughlin's art (www.coryjamesart.com).

This is from Nicole's phone in an interview we had a week ago, answering the question of us being a cult: (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement

sorry about the faulty embed video... You can just watch it here:
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=399209273514608

The information given in this video is a horrible lie. The speaker says that the preacher from the First Baptist Church of Wells just has someone repeat after him a prayer and then they are saved. Nothing could be further from the truth. We believe that a prayer for salvation must come from ones heart. A "repeat after me" prayer would not be from ones heart. I would ask jmgardner to get his facts straight before he spreads these false claims.

Post new Comment