Over the past few years, we’ve heard some horror stories of “faith-healing” practitioners who have allowed their children to die from curable diseases or medical problems because, instead of taking the kids to a doctor, they prayed instead.
15-month-old Ava Worthington died that way.
16-year-old Neil Beagley died that way.
8-month-old Alayna May Wyland died that way.
9-hour-old David Hickman died that way.
There’s another bond all of those children share besides their preventable deaths: their parents were all members of the Followers of Christ Church in Oregon. Making matters worse, the laws in Oregon allowed some of them to get away with their crimes because state laws gave these parents “religious exemptions” for their crimes until only recently.
Journalist Cameron Stauth wanted to find out what was really happening inside the church walls so he went to Oregon and found somebody willing to talk. Written as a novel, though it’s entirely non-fictional, his new book explores the badly-misnamed “faith-healing” movement and why the members of that church were so taken in by it. It’s called In the Name of God: The True Story of the Fight to Save Children from Faith-Healing Homicide (Thomas Dunne Books, 2013).
In the excerpt below, published with permission of St. Martin’s Press, Stauth writes about his first meeting with a church insider: