“You’ll Die Too.” Texas Evangelicals Top the Week’s Longreads

Water tank, Wells, Texas. Courtesy Texas Monthly.

I have loved Texas Monthly ever since my parents, third-generation Texans raising me in Houston, were wise enough to be among the magazine’s first subscribers. So you betch yer ass I was glad to see the magazine once again among the best of the week as curated by the good folk at Longreads.

Here’s a snip of Sonia Smith in the magazine’s January 27 issue, with “Sinners in the Hands, ” a look at how the town of Wells, Texas, grappled with a church that appears to be a cult. I’ve not read it yet, but about this messing with that grandma you see below — I reckon that proves a mistake.

But as the number of church members crept upward, residents of the tiny town started to feel uneasy. The recent arrivals systematically visited other churches to accuse the congregations of spiritual bankruptcy. They roamed the streets listening to the elders’ sermons on headphones, and they were frequently confrontational. A few church members, including Ringnald, moved in across from Gertrude Hearne, an 84-year-old grandmother of ten. Almost every afternoon, as she sat in a tan recliner in her wood-paneled living room, watching Jimmy Swaggart, church members would drop by to read her the Bible or sing hymns. At the sight of the Pentecostal televangelist, they’d flick off her television and declare Swaggart a false prophet. Finally, she’d had enough. “When I asked them to stop, they told me I was going to die, and I said, ‘You are too.’ ”

via Top 5 Longreads of the Week | Longreads.

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