2 Feb 2009

Follower of imprisoned cult leader Wayne Bent talks about death wish

KOB-TV 4 - New Mexico February 2, 2009

Just hours later, deputies took her away from her cult compound near Clayton where she has lived in isolation since she was six years old, along with others who believe Wayne Bent to be the messiah.

By: Jeremy Jojola, Eyewitness News 4, and Kurt Christopher, KOB.com

Esther (above) told Eyewitness News 4 she would not live with imprisoned cult leader Wayne Bent's

A New Mexico cult member has spoken exclusively to Eyewitness News 4 about why she wants to die for Wayne Bent, the man she believes to be God but a jury convicted as a child molester.

Eyewitness News 4 investigative reporter Jeremy Jojola spoke with the woman, known as Esther, just hours before deputies took her away from her cult compound near Clayton. It is where she has lived in isolation since she was six years old, along with others who believe Wayne Bent to be the messiah.

The compound, known as Strong City, is 311 miles from Albuquerque, the last 30 on dirt road. It is here in a trailer home that we found a pale and weak looking woman with a heating pad on her lap, sitting still in a chair. She is 25 years old.

"The last time I ate was the morning of December 30th," said Esther.

That was the day Wayne Bent, known as "Michael" to his cult, was sent to prison for ten years for touching a teenage follower's breast as she lay naked with him.

He claims it was a healing ceremony.

"I swear by God that he is in jail over a lie, and I won't support that," said Esther. "I'm willing to die on what I stand on, which is purely God's instructions to me. I wouldn't be doing this if God hadn't told me to, but I'm willing to die doing what God told me to do, and in essence, yes, it would be for Wayne Bent."

Esther wrote out a signed statement refusing medical care, saying "I don't want to be resuscitated unless Wayne Bent is released."

"I'll stand like a rock," she said. "I'm not giving in."

"I love Michael [Bent] with all my heart, and he means more to me than the world will ever know, and he's just precious to me, and I'm not going to live with his suffering."

"I want people to just leave me alone," she said. "Let me do what my religious beliefs are."

Jeff Bent, Wayne Bent's son, also signed Esther's statement as a witness.

"It's not my heart's desire for Esther to fast on the level she is and taking it to this length," said Jeff Bent. "But that's her conviction, and she's really acting out how we all feel about this injustice, and we're going to fight it."

But the written statement didn't work. Ten hours after Eyewitness News 4's Jeremy Jojola sat down with her, Union County deputies handed Esther a judge's order demanding she get into an ambulance to receive medical attention. The video was posted online by cult members.

Esther's older sister, who is no longer part of the cult, got the order to keep Esther from harming herself. Elsa Sayer is also a former member of the Strong City Cult. She has no problem with deputies hauling Esther off to the hospital

"It's just killing herself, for no reason I see," said Sayer.

It was Sayer's two daughters who climbed into Wayne Bent's bed naked, leading to the charges against him. Sayer hopes now that Bent is gone, his followers will see the light.

"I am glad that he's locked up in a way, because it gives everybody out there a chance to be away from his influence. It gives them a chance to think for themselves, so might see the real truth and stuff," said Sayer.

There are 45 people remaining in the Strong City compound, according to Jeff Bent. No one has moved away since his father was sent to prison.

As for Esther, it's unclear how long she will have to remain in the hospital or in her sister's custody. Medical research shows someone can suffer permanent organ damage after 30 days of starvation.

This article was found at:



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  1. Fast forward a few years and this gal was able to get out of this horrible cult.
    She's now leading a somewhat normal life, enjoys drinking a few cold ones, dancing and liing life to its fullest, including dating, working and trying to move past the nightmare she endured being deeply committed to the leader who called himself the Messiah...but he's nothing more than a perverted pedophile.
    I doubt Esther will talk about what happened as I'm sure she'd be too embarrased as he took her virginity away from her when she was 18...sad but true! The dog, WayBent is nothing more than a perverdted animal. Thankful he wasn't able to get the charges dropped. Wondering how much money was spent on all this appeals and defense appeals he said God would get him out...but ha! He's gonna be there a LONG time!
    He shouldn't have laid naked with little girls between his bedsheets, him naked, ontop of naked 12-14 yr old girls! That proves he's being guided by satan. Nothing good can come from evil!
    Lets hope he doesn't convince them to kill themselves, which I think will happen in very near future....sad, they could be having a wonderful life, the one the Lord intended they live.

  2. Where was Hanifa, Esther's mother? Oh, she stood by and allowed her daughter to nearly starve herself to death. This was in the video that this cult put up on youtube, years ago. I'll never forget watching Hanifa sit on Esther's bed next to her, encouraging her to continue starving to death.

    It's a good thing that Esther got away and was able to rebuild her life. Wayne Bent needs to stay in prison. They are going to keep him there because the judge wants to make sure that these young women live a normal life away from this monster.

    I just find it hard to understand why Esther's mother stood aside while Wayne did this to her daughter. Unreal.