New Mexico-based charismatic leader fails to predict doomsday, again

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Wayne Bent, leader of a controversial United States religious group based in New Mexico, the Lord Our Righteousness Church, failed again to accurately predict doomsday. Bent had made a prediction that Judgment Day would occur on October 31, 2008. Bent had previously made a prediction reported on in the documentary film End of a World Cult that the world would end on October 31, 2007.

Wayne Bent in a May 2008 booking photo
Image: Clayton Police Department.
We don't anticipate any future beyond Oct. 31.

—Jeff Bent, son of Wayne Bent

Sarah Montoya, a lawyer representing Bent, said in a statement to the Albuquerque Journal that members of the group were disappointed when Bent's prophecy failed to come true, "but they understand that life goes on".

Members of the Lord Our Righteousness Church, based in Strong City, New Mexico, believed that they were going to go to heaven on Friday night. "We don't anticipate any future beyond Oct. 31.," Bent's son Jeff Bent had told the Albuquerque Journal in a telephone interview last Thursday.

According to The Santa Fe New Mexican, the 45 adult followers of Bent in Strong City recently ended a two-week long fast whose purpose was to protest charges against Bent of child sexual abuse. The Associated Press reported that Bent himself has not eaten food since October 16, and a post on the organization's website stated he began a "no water or food" fast Thursday after he was taken from the group's compound.

Bent was arrested last week on failure to appear at a court hearing. New Mexico State District Judge Gerald E. Baca issued a bench warrant after Bent failed to appear in court, and he was arrested last Thursday by Union County sheriff's deputies.

He stands accused of sex crimes against female members of his group. Bent was arrested in May 2008, and faces indictments on four counts: two of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and two counts of criminal sexual contact of a minor. In an October hearing, Judge Baca ruled against a defense request for an evidentiary hearing where two girls would have described naked encounters with Bent. The judge instead ruled that the girls can tell their story to a jury in the upcoming trial, which is set to begin on November 17.

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  Learn more about Lord Our Righteousness Church and Doomsday cult on Wikipedia.