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News reporters allowed inside self proclaimed messiah's compound in Union County

Clayton, NM -- Nearly two years after the arrest of self proclaimed messiah Wayne Bent, NewsChannel 10 became the first media allowed inside the Strong City compound north of Clayton.

Even after their spiritual leader went to prison, life continues for the group that says they're leaving everything in God's hands.

If you spend a day walking around the remote property of the Lord Our Righteousness Church in Northern Union County, and you wouldn't believe you were amongst what New Mexico State Police call an apocalyptic cult.

One member of the group, Anaiah, says, "God brought us out here into this wilderness place, to bring us into a quietness not only in our environment but into our hearts."

The 2008 arrest of their spiritual leader, self proclaimed messiah Wayne Bent, rocked that quiet.

Since then, the group of about 35 say they've become even closer.

Bent's son, Jeff Bent, says, "When persecution comes, people tend to drop whatever remaining differences they have, and kind of collectively pull together."

Small trailer homes and Rvs dot the hills that make up the compound.

They live a communal life, pooling together their money from the members who work.

They meet once a day, but it's not the same without their leader.

Jeff Bent says, "The gatherings together at the barn, to have meetings, and to have that spiritual enlightenment happening with us, has not happened since he left."

Then, only a week before our visit, one of the girls Bent reportedly assaulted, returned to Strong City following her 18th birthday.

Healed is the name she took after her experience with Bent. She says, "God put it upon my heart, and he showed me it was his will for me to be here."

Healed and her older sister both testified in court that Bent did not touch them sexually.

They say instead, guided by the spirit of God's son, healed them of turmoil inside.

Healed says, "He gave me true life. It's like he gave me what God intended for life to be."

Now, while they wait for their messiah to return to Strong City, they look forward to the time God takes them and all Christians off this earth completely.

Jeff Bent says, "There is another world, we believe it, and most Christians profess to believe it. And we want to go there, we're called to go there. But it's in God's way."

For they say it's living according to God's will that brought them to this property in Northern Union County in the first place.

Bent's lawyers have filed an appeal, and are awaiting the response from the state.


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