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.
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.