Followers of Christ faith healers bury their dead children

Fallen followers: Investigation finds 10 more dead children of faith healers

BOISE, Idaho – Peaceful Valley Cemetery sits on a windswept hill 30 miles east of Boise.

Followers of Christ faith healers bury their dead in Peaceful Valle...

KATU’s Dan Tilkin covered many faith-healing stories. He traveled to Idaho to trace the connections between Followers members in both states, and a new trail of dead children.

A former member of the Followers of Christ advised him to go to Peaceful Valley and look for two specific names. He found them. He found many more.

A coroner’s report says a 6-day-old baby died of interstitial pneumonitis. That’s pneumonia, untreated.

A baby girl lived only 20 minutes. The coroner’s report said she received no pre-natal care.

A coroner believes a 2-year-old who had Down’s Syndrome died of pneumonia. 

A 15 years old girl died of food poisoning. She vomited so badly she ruptured her esophagus. 

A four days old boy died of “likely an intestinal blockage.”

A 16-year-old girl died of pneumonia. 

A boy died from diabetes at the age of 11.

A 12 year old girl died in Albany, Ore. Her parents, Travis and Wenona Rossiter, face manslaughter charges. 

In 2010, jurors in Clackamas County convicted Jeff and Marci Beagley of letting their son Neal die of an untreated urinary tract infection. 

Of the 553 marked graves at Peaceful Valley Cemetery, 144 appear to be children under 18. That’s more than 25 percent. 

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Comment by Bertold Brautigan on August 28, 2014 at 8:03am

@Loren - Do Points 2 and 3 outweigh Point 1?!?  Sure sounds like it.  Should ANYONE's religious beliefs vitiate someone's right to LIVE???  I mean WTF, here!!!

You've got it almost right, but you're forgetting that the child's right to live only extends to the moment when s/he emerges from the birth canal, according to Wingnut Ideology 101 anyway.

Comment by Loren Miller on August 28, 2014 at 7:42am

Check me on this, but:

  1. The child has a right to live.
  2. The parents have a right to their religious beliefs.
  3. Being a minor, the child is subject to its parents' religious beliefs.

Do Points 2 and 3 outweigh Point 1?!?  Sure sounds like it.  Should ANYONE's religious beliefs vitiate someone's right to LIVE???  I mean WTF, here!!!

Comment by tom sarbeck on August 28, 2014 at 6:45am

Given SCOTUS' recent craziness, the following is possible.

Faith healing parents withhold medical care and their sick child dies.

The parents are prosecuted and a jury convicts them.

They appeal, claiming that prosecuting them violated their religious freedom.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 26, 2014 at 8:07pm

I don't think any of the institutions had the welfare of the child in mind when make decisions that affected the little ones. You may be right, they may feel threatened because they believe in the old rule of spare the rod ... I know teachers and principles hated it when they could no longer swat the kid with a board with holes in it. That law went through very early in my career in WA state. 

Comment by Luara on August 26, 2014 at 7:57pm

Sounds like you're saying parents want power over their children and "family values" and "keeping the family together" are euphemisms for the power of parents over children, power to bring them up however they like - so voters are identifying with the abusive parents in this situation, not with the children - they would feel threatened if an abusive parent loses their child.

Comment by Pat on August 26, 2014 at 7:02pm

Why would the federal party line be "keep the family together"? Think John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and all the other right wing religious nut cases in Congress who "loves them some Jesus", hate gays, want a family that looks like Wally, Ward, June and the Beaver. Don't mean to put to fine a point on this, but the religious delusional nutcases in the government want everyone to be white, straight, and Christian.

That's why the federal party line is to "keep the family together."

Comment by Luara on August 26, 2014 at 6:52pm

The US government helps fund child welfare and protective services in all 50 states. And, if the individual states want to get their $$$$, they had better tow the federal party line.

Why would the federal party line be "keep the family together"?  I figured it was a rationalization for low-budget child protection?

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 26, 2014 at 5:03pm

Pat, I appreciate your willingness to fight for the human rights of a child. It has been a long and lonely battle to get as far as we have. 

Sometimes, I weep at the violence I remember; other times I am grateful because I had brains and vision to see beyond the reality into the possibility of a preferred future. I have a voice and I am in the unique position of being able to identify the trauma violence plays on families and I know the remedy. I have seen change in the worst of the worst and no change in those who did not accept responsibility for their assaults. 

The institutions of our culture, the families, churches, education, health care, law enforcement and judges all need to work together as a team to identify those at risk, and offer treatment for those who are able and willing to make changes. The work can be accomplished if the institutions do not share in the effort, however, it is more difficult. 

Comment by Pat on August 26, 2014 at 4:18pm

Joan and Luara, you're correct about the goal of "keeping families together" being a load of BS and preached like the 4 gospels in a whoop and holler church by every child protective service worker you've ever met. Just in case you're wondering, here's where that comes from. The US government helps fund child welfare and protective services in all 50 states. And, if the individual states want to get their $$$$, they had better tow the federal party line. 

As I stated earlier here, a large part of my law practice is representing children in courts for juvenile abuse and neglect. I've actually seen lawyers for the State of Illinois come into court and insist on getting orders signed by the judge declaring the intent is to return the children to their parents, after I've made an impassioned argument that their biological parents weren't fit to raise a goldfish, let alone a human being. The attorney for the State, in the hallway out of earshot, will agree. But without the signed order, they lose funding. Therefore, they have to put up a sham to take our tax dollars until such time as I can terminate the parents rights to the children and arrange for an adoption with a good family.

Given the bureaucracy, I've seen this process take up to three years while the child languishes in foster care - often being bounced from one foster home to another.

Comment by Joan Denoo on August 26, 2014 at 4:05pm

Luara, I argued against "keeping families together" as well. For the good of the child, to be in a home that is compassionate and firm on the important things, like tending to home, school and civic responsibilities, and feeling safe, was a primary motivator for me as their counselor.

It is also for the good of the parents because if they have high conflict between them, it is virtually impossible to make the changes needed with children involved. I found that separating children and parents, training them individually before bringing them together with the new skill set was important in their treatment.

It was good for society, because stress in the home often leads to community involvement, police, social workers, judges. The judicial system is not the place for healing. it is the institution that can put pressure on people to cooperate and make necessary changes. No jail ever taught an abuser the things he or she needed to be a healthy spouse or parent or child. 

A person doesn't know how to tie a shoe until he or she learns how. It is the same with interpersonal relationships; if one doesn't know how to be healthy in a relationship, nothing changes until and unless the person learns the skills. Not all families teach those essential things. We learn from our parents and our grandparent, who may have a screwed up idea of how healthy families function. 

Of the boys I encountered at the boys' ranches, about a third had parents who were too strict and the boys acted out in a rebellion or an anti-social way. About third of the parents were too lenient and did not provide the essential boundaries that children need. And about a third of the boys ran around with a group that influenced them at a time when peer acceptance is more important than family acceptance. 

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