Don't Mess With Texas's Doyle Davidson

by Lorette C. Luzajic
Part 26 of
Pillars of Faith

Blame it on the Boogie

Pastor Doyle Davidson doesn’t believe in mental illness. “I do not believe that any mental illness exists other than demons, and no medication can straighten it out, other than the power of God,” the Texas preacher said.

The founder of Water of Life Ministries in Plano, Texas, was “called” to plant a church after God told him Plano was possessed by the demonic spirit of Jezebel, whose evil seductions “forced” 850 godly men into fornication. A staple of his ministry has been the “loosing” of Jezebel demonesses from women parishioners.

Stranger still is the circle of dancers, singing and jangling tambourines, prancing around the septuagenarian like trained foals. His sermons are peppered with the f-word, and include calling members of his flock “bitch,” “stupid,” and “mindless twits.” The Dallas Observer reported that he once barked at a crying child: “Shut that brat up.” Glenna Whitley quotes him as saying, “I guess if I took my gun and shot every third person in this front row I bet I’d get your attention.”

But what he loves most is preaching against women, offering from his pulpit such devotional inspirations as “my wife is a slut” and, “Who told me she was a slut? God did.”

Thou Shalt Not Suffer a Witch to Live

Said wife was never Doyle’s wife at all, but his secretary. He stayed married to Patti, but she had become infected with that darned Jezebel spirit. “God put a sword between us, and that was it.” Lisa Staton was an emotionally unstable young woman who sought refuge in her pastor.

Their 17 year long relationship ended with Doyle’s arrest. He’d gone to Lisa’s house to exorcise a devil. Her husband came home and found Doyle drunk, pinning Lisa down while choking her.

But Doyle simply posted the “facts” online — quoting from the book of Acts. The Lord sent an earthquake to deal with the false arrest of Paul and Silas, who had merely been exorcising demons. “This is the way God deals with false arrests for casting a devil out of a woman.”

Doyle says Lisa and the police were lying sorcerers. (Lisa and her husband have gone into hiding.)

But Doyle’s obsession with possession has contributed to more than broken homes. There are multiple tales of coercion, manipulation, lying, and threatening from former members who claim they were brainwashed by fasting, controlled socializing, and terror of hell. His family members are too scared to talk about him.

But one woman’s harrowing story stands out over them all.

Isaac Revisited

Dena Schlosser was prone to depression and odd spells. One day after her daughter was born, she slit her wrists. She was diagnosed as psychotic, with postpartum depression, and hospitalized. Dena didn’t want to leave the hospital, but her husband, encouraged by Pastor Doyle, took charge after “praying.” Dena was to throw away all of her meds and refuse further treatment. Prayer and exorcism would heal her.

Dena became obsessed with evil spirits, after Doyle continually fed her garbage about Satanic women. She was taken to hospital again in 2004 after a psychotic break, but her husband feared that the shrinks would “misinterpret” her demon talk for insanity and give her pills, which their church forbade. When Dena’s mother tried to intervene with Doyle, she says he told her, “People who oppose me have been known to disappear.”

In Nov. 2004, 911 took a call from a “euphoric” Dena. They heard hymns playing. She announced that God ordered her to kill her baby. She’d been reading her Bible around the clock and was moved by a verse saying that if your arm offends you, cut it off. And so she chopped the arms off of her infant daughter with a kitchen knife.

The reverend, who counseled the couple multiple times in the week before the murder, told authorities he “barely” knew them. He said he never told anyone to stop taking medication.

Dena was deemed not guilty by reason of insanity. Later, an inoperable tumour was found in her brain.

Doyle says he doesn’t interpret the Bible; he only preaches it. “That’s why the world hates me,” he says.

Where the Fire Comes From
Bob Cargill on the Holy Grail
Meet The Wife
You Can't Keep a Bad Man Down
  • Larian LeQuella

    Is anyone else’s irony meeter going off in that these obviously mentally unstable people themselves don’t believe in mental illness?

    • Monocle Lad

      They belive in mental illnesses, but the demon’s that are possessing them don’t.

    • WMDKitty

      Mine is cowering under the bed as we speak. >.<

  • brgulker

    Goodness, this has gotta be the worst one yet.

    • Edman

      Worst…or best?

    • Michael

      It’s the worst I’ve seen. Westboro Baptist might still be more blatantly bigoted (though not by much), but they are just a nuisance; this guy means business. Really, this preacher is straight out of a horror movie.

  • cynic

    “my wife is a slut” and, “Who told me she was a slut? God did

    That is quite the gem of a quote

  • Jasowah

    How incredibly sad and angering. I can’t think of anything else to say.

  • Peter Cross

    Dena was deemed not guilty by reason of insanity

    A remarkable occurrence for the state of Texas. Andrea Yates, who killed her 5 children, was originally convicted of capital murder, and only later during an appeal was she found insane. A psychiatrist testified that since Yates received her murderous instructions from Satan, not from God, she should have been able to tell right from wrong.

  • LRA

    HOLY CRAP!!!! I used to live in Plano literally a few blocks from this church. I remember the story about the mom cutting off her baby’s arms and I was absolutely horrified at the time. I had no idea that her church was this church. This man should be charged with imitating a doctor (or whatever the charge is called) for instructing his congregation to go off their meds. Giving medical advice when you are not a doctor is illegal, isn’t it?

    • yahweh

      That would be called impersonating a doctor. Or something like that.

      • Michele

        Try “practicing medicine without a license”.

        • yahweh

          You are correct. I was thinking of impersonating a police officer.
          BTW, Just because my doctor has a license, I certainly hope he is not just “practicing medicine” when he sees me. ;-)

  • DCtouristsANDlocals

    How could someone do that to a child??? My mouth dropped open when I read that.

    • chupacabra

      I am beyond horrified. Obviously, there is true evil in this world, and it’s CRAZY!

  • mikespeir

    NOW I believe in demons! ;)

    • DCtouristsANDlocals

      Seriously! This Doyle character is the devil himself.

    • chupacabra

      No kidding! This is proof in the pudding right here.

  • Brian

    I’ve been reading his fan page on Facebook for the past 15 min. Ehhhh……

    • Roger

      He has a “fan” page on Facebook? WTF?

  • Garrett

    If this man was committing comparable acts in the name of anything other than Christianity, is there any chance he wouldn’t be locked up in either prison or an asylum?

  • The God Critic

    Sad, sad story.

  • Michael McHenry

    This is so sad. But I don’t think it’s fair to beat up Jesus and his fans over it. You have a clearly deranged individual that, without access to the bible, would have based his cult on the works of L. Ron Hubbard or, perhaps, a fundamentalist interpretation of Betty Crocker’s cookbook.

    All I’m saying is it’s not about the book. It’s about the hole that exists in people that causes them to search for a higher power and fall prey to a poisonous demagogue.

    I just hope we can teach our children to recognize a cult when they see one, but that may not be any more realistic than teaching them not to cut their wrists when they are chemically unbalanced or fall prey to other vices when they don’t have anything else.

    It’s a sad story and a cautionary tale. I just don’t like that it promotes hatred of theists in general.

    • Ty

      “It’s a sad story and a cautionary tale. I just don’t like that it promotes hatred of theists in general.”

      Your concern is noted.

    • Roger

      “Jesus and his fans”? Is Jesus like Taylor Lautner?

    • Jasowah

      No no no. We here do not hate the sinner, we hate the sin. We hate what the RELIGION is doing to people. ^_^

    • Kalimeros

      But Jezebel story IS in the Bible, not in L. Ron Hubbard’s work or some other place. THAT book has a lot to do with inciting hatred and bloodshed. All over it is the flashing sign: “I am good, you are bad, and you deserve an excruciating life, a cruel death and a crueller, unbearable afterlife”. A crazy piece of shit like this guy will find reasons to cause pain even in the user manual of a juice extractor, but this ‘holy’ book in particular make things easier for him.

    • Lorette

      Thanks everyone for all of your comments through this series. Michael, it is not my intention to foster hatred of theists in general. I just don’t think all of these stories should be so hushed up from within or without the church. If any hatred towards Jesus and his fans is fostered, it is by these godly men and women who so poorly represent his teachings. It’s a perfectly reasonable argument to say ” none of these people are ‘real’ Christians” or “christians are imperfect because of sin” though I admit I’m tiring of that argument quickly. The other point is simply that while Doyle may represent an extreme faction, there is are countless resources online for Christians encouraging them to face the consequences of their sin instead of seeking mental health treatment- meds or otherwise. They are supposed to use pastors only for counsel. This same rhetoric is what I read in secular mental health magazines- study after study shows Christian churches discouraging families or patients from getting help from medication, therapy or even yoga.

      It’s also important to know that preachers and apostles and godly men wrote the Bible, and so how can we trust it when many of them were very much like these people? The inerrant crock is damaging. Why can’t Bible study actually involve Bible study- not false meditation on Calvinist doctrine, for example, but actual study of the era, languages, stories, culture, and people of the time. How about courses in human scribe errors, language guesses, and doctrinal propaganda of various sects. It’s fair to say Doyle’s brand of Christianity is a sect, but so were many sects active during the writing of the Bible. Sure, sure, we can all say it was “god breathed” which makes it easier not to think about it. But if it were god breathed, he’d be making very clear the inconsistencies wrought by human hands or not understood by humans, so that we wouldn’t get confused.

      And yes, Jimmy Swaggart’s on the hit list for sure. I’m having trouble making anything short about Dobson but he’ll be on it. We’ve got child evangels and baby kidnappers on the way as well, so stay tuned.

      Again, thanks to everyone for their comments on this and other stories in the series. Whether we agree, disagree, or agree to disagree, it’s wonderful to be part of this discourse.
      I’m still figuring all this stuff out and may always be, and the feedback and viewpoints from all fields are at turns funny,helpful, illuminating, infuriating and more, and i thank you for taking the time to share.

      Peace, Lorette

      • Garrett

        Lorette wrote, “But if it were god breathed, he’d be making very clear the inconsistencies wrought by human hands or not understood by humans, so that we wouldn’t get confused.”

        Not if this god character is purposefully obfuscatory so as to test peoples’ faith or some such nonsense. Based on what the fairy tales book known as The Bible says about god, I’m not going to assume that petty, vindicitive character isn’t purposefully confusing.

    • yahweh


      “promotes hatred of theists in general”
      While hatred may be too strong of a word, this retard hasn’t promoted anything new. He is only reinforcing the notion that fundies are nutjobs and batsh*t crazy.

    • UrsaMinor

      @Michael McHenry:

      I detect the echoes of the “No True Scotsman” argument here.

      Yes, many theists are harmless. It does not follow that theism is harmless. There are many more examples of theists doing harm because of their religious beliefs than agnostics or atheists doing harm because of their nonreligious beliefs.

  • Friedrich

    I believe Richard Dawkins called Religion a ”Mental Illness” . Here’s definite proof!!!!!!!!

  • claidheamh mor

    Ugh. Throwbacks to hostile superstitions are bad enough in history. This is horrifying and frightening. Garrett has a good point. Being christian protects hostiles and crazies who would otherwise be committed or imprisoned — just because other xians won’t report, commit, or sentence them, because they share the same mythology.

  • GeekGirl

    ““That’s why the world hates me,” he says.”

    No, it’s not.

  • DarkMatter

    “Pastor Doyle Davidson doesn’t believe in mental illness. “I do not believe that any mental illness exists other than demons, and no medication can straighten it out, other than the power of God,” the Texas preacher said.”

    I agree with this pastor, christians do not suffer from mental illnesses, but demon possessions. These demons though many is called christianity. The power of God is war on so called evil people and nations.

    • chupacabra

      So, if you are a Christian, you are possessed by a demon? I’m confused.

      • DarkMatter

        If you are confused, seek professional help, like … a doctor?

  • Tobytwo

    Another fine entry in this excellent series. Have you considered doing one on Jimmy Swaggart?

  • Custador

    There really should be a legal mechanism to charge these wackos with murder.

  • Ty

    “People who oppose me have been known to disappear.”

    How come whack jobs like this never threaten me? Man, I would love to have a guy like this make an overt threat to my face.

    I gotta get my Dennis Quaid as Doc Holliday on:

    “I’ve heard you’ve been tellin’ people you’re going to kill me. Commence.”

    • Elemenope

      How come whack jobs like this never threaten me? Man, I would love to have a guy like this make an overt threat to my face.

      LOL. Yes, me too. I feel cheated that nobody has ever demonstrated to me in person the necessity of a good beating.

      FWIW, I liked Val Kilmer’s Doc Holliday better.

      • Custador

        I’m your Huckleberry – that’s just my sport!

        • Ty

          But the Dennis Quaid line I quoted is awesome.

          ‘Commence’ is such a great taunt.

          • Siberia

            That is now among my favorite quotes.

          • Nzo

            Val should have said that… what a great line to be wasted on the lesser of the two.

            • Ty

              See, I disagree. I think people are mixing up the movies with the performances. Wyatt Earp was way too long, pretentiously self important, and suffered from Kevin Costner doing almost four hours of deadpan. Tombstone was a much much more fun ride.

              But I don’t agree that Kilmer was a superior Doc Holliday.

              Don’t get me wrong, Kilmer’s Doc was a lot of fun, and he clearly had a great time playing the part. I enjoy what he’s doing in Tombstone. But Dennis Quaid’s portrayal of Doc was subtler, and more historically accurate. They were trying to do different things, but I think Quaid was ultimately more successful in doing what he set out to do.

  • zack

    Super fucking disturbing. This is pure insanity, man it’s too easy to loose all hope in humanity.

  • Tabbie

    Just another nutcase…but then again, aren’t they all either nutcases or liars (or both)?!

  • Janet Greene

    The problem I have with this, and the reason it’s so damn scary, is that he’s right – he is “JUST PREACHING” the bible. He is one of the few people who actually follow the bible. That other intellectual giant that does this is Fred Phelps. This is the elephant in the room that christians don’t want to discuss. These crazies are not “fringe”. The sociopaths and deviants are the only ones who are actually able to follow through with the insanity, mysogeny, hate & violence dictated by most of the bible.

    • Garrett

      And, yet, I’ve spoken to sane people who think the Bible should be taken literally. I take that to mean they think it should be followed to the letter, which they do not do (for obvious reasons). Now, perhaps I’m making an unfair leap. Perhaps “taken literally” and “followed to the letter” are not equivalent. That said, I think they’re enablers for people like Davidson, who ought to be locked up. I’m reminded of the recent discussion about how moderate Christians provide cover for the crazy Christians.

  • Lloyd

    Unfortunately many will use this “person” to tar Christianity.
    There is an old saying, “God uses the good ones and the bad ones try to use God”
    There is something in scripture that says something about a mill stone and the deepest part of the ocean in relation to people of his ilk. It says it would be better for him. I can’t imagine him volunteering for such treatment but if it would be better from his point of view, then his promised judgement must be a dilly!

    • Ty

      Christianity does a good job of tarring itself.

    • Elemenope

      It’s Matthew 18:6-7.

      What’s interesting about that is: “She’d been reading her Bible around the clock and was moved by a verse saying that if your arm offends you, cut it off. And so she chopped the arms off of her infant daughter with a kitchen knife” was motivated by another Bible verse.

      Matthew 18:8.

      • Ty

        My arm never offends me.

        But other people do all the time…

        *gets axe*

  • Reggie T

    Here is Davidson preaching about his “slut” wife:

  • Squirrel

    I used to go to this “nut-job’s” church for years. A long time ago. Yeh, I was a squirrel sitting there with all the other nuts.
    Doyle’s affair with the married woman started in 1987. Many of us saw them ugh, together, and we booked it outta there. They poked around, (or should that be porked around) for 17 years. She dumped the geezer in 2004. It wasn’t till 06 that he went to her house. Hubby let the geezer in, which I guess was ok since Doyle was paying the rent on the house. He went up the stairs and was sitting on her chest with his hands across her face and neck. He was drunk as a skunk, cops were called and they threw the old fart in a cell. Plano’s too small to have a drunk tank like Dallas. So miss Hoochie Mama and her Hubby waited till a Sunday morning and hauled a– with a Uhaul. At least that’s how we’ve heard it. Hoochie Mama was supposed to be Doyle’s Baby Mama and have his love-child and name it “John”. That was supposed to happen about um 4 years ago. He’s blind, no teeth, can’t drive. I’m talking about Doyle . Baby John never got started. So he decides to jump another Soul Train and steals another married woman about the same age as Hoochie Mama. Just one thing: HM2 decides she’s gonna get some money outta the old man. So he proudly announces that God gave him HM2 as his third wife. By the way HM2 was married but she moves in with geezer for 1,000 bucks spending money, brand new Cadillac and clothes galore. She left her hubby of 25 years, give or take, for this toothless prune drinking old man who publicly told the whole world he couldn’t. Shoot, I meant to say Jack D. and prune juice.Let’s say he would need a sh-tload of viagra. Not a bad deal for Hoochie Mama2. All it cost her was a marriage to a good man, her kids that won’t have anything to do with her, and her soul which she sold to the devil if you believe in him. The way I see it, HM2 cut a good deal. But I’d have upped the ante to at least three grand a week. I don’t think old man Davidson’s daughter likes HM2. She’s older than her step mama. Hard to believe we haven’t seen all this on cops out at the trailer park. The only thing missing from the story is that these people have some moola. Else we’d see them at the trailer park woth tattoos all over them, the women would be fat with bleached blonde hair with a serious root growing out problem with a Virginia Slims hanging outta their mouths. I think the bible does says you can’t make a silk purse out of sow’s ear. Maybe not the bible. But someplace. Can we say “Soooooo-eeeeeeeee? Squeal like a pig!”
    And THAT people is all of the Deliverance you’ll get outta Water of Stagnant Life church.
    Gotta go hunt nuts. C ya.

  • rosiebrucie

    Well, well, well….good sumarization of Doyle the dark con man.

    I myself also came from this sick cult and boy could I tell you some stories….read more about this nut job at

    We set-up this site exclusively to expose this man. He took millions of dollars away from his congregation. My family was taken by this con and he even convinced us that we needed to pay him additional funds personally to him along with the multile thousands we gave from the company as tithing and personally.

    We all hold out hope someday that this man will repent and quietly go away!