Cult Leader Ordered Released From Prison

   A New Mexico State Appeals court has ordered Wayne Bent, aka Michael Travesser, to be released from prison. In short, the court ruled that the term of the grand jury that indicted Mr. Bent had been extended and that was outside of State statute. Therefore the indictment was void and there were no grounds to prosecute and sentence Mr. Bent.     “Judge Rod Kennedy wrote the opinion for a unanimous three-judge panel, saying the grand jury’s term had expired but then was arbitrarily extended by the district court. “Legally speaking, there was no grand jury convened in this case. Therefore, there was no indictment under the law…” Kennedy wrote. He said the state was free to retry Bent if it chooses. From a news release found here: . We certainly hope the State of New Mexico decides to retry the case.

   For a little background, Wayne Bent is now 70 years old and has been the leader of a small religious cult in New Mexico called “Strong City”. We have referred to his group in previous posts and have shared about one survivor of that group named Prudence Welch. Though there have been no recent updates, her blog is found here: . From the National Geographic® site: “Doomsday cult leader Michael Travesser prophesied that the world would end October 31, 2007 — but what happened?” National Geographic® has also done a video series and has a page on their website about this group.  Here is the link:

The video is below. Within the first 20 seconds, Wayne Bent is shown saying, “I am the embodiment of God. I am divinity and humanity combined.” As mentioned before, it is the deed and not the creed. He can believe that all he wants. But, when Wayne Bent encourages young girls who were/are minors to lay naked in his bed and then hold them; I have a problem with that.

   The State Appeals court in their opinion refers to Bent’s beliefs about this practice, “Defendant, the apparent leader of a religious community in northeastern New Mexico, was charged with various crimes centering around what he maintained were religious practices intended to be cleansing ceremonies. The State argued that such practices amounted to criminal sexual contact of minors and contributing to the minor’s delinquency.” (emphasis added) Full court ruling found here:

COA_opinion bent case

   In the video, Ester and Danielle are shown talking about their experiences with Wayne Bent. One says she knew she had to “…be naked before God”.  Also, one says she was naked and “He held me”. Clearly, this man has a perverted idea of “cleansing”. From all appearances, it looks like he was attempting to “cleanse” them of their innocence and/or even their virginity.

   Wayne Bent has maintained his innocence as have over 99% of the prisoners that I have ever talked with personally or heard their story from others. He and his son apparently write a blog here: . Caution, there is some pretty deep “stuff” on that site. Wayne Bent is also the man who took his son’s wife and called it the will of God. The National Geographic® video explains all this – sorta. It will be interesting to see if National Geographic® makes this full length video series available again as Bent’s release will certainly stir interest. It will be worth watching to see if Bent is ordered to stay in the State of New Mexico and if he will return to take up where he left off with his group. He had at least two women who felt like it was their duty to have sexual relations with him. This remains an interesting story to follow. The lives that have been affected are numerous. It is sad.

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3 thoughts on “Cult Leader Ordered Released From Prison”

  1. This man should be carefully watched upon his release. I consider him as dangerous. One of the female members of this cult, Esther, was starving herself to death for this man. Very sad, and although she has moved on, his release from prison could very well put another strangle hold on her or others.

  2. Stephanie,

    I agree. Esther was one who in the Nat. Geo documentary was shown telling her experience of laying naked with the man. She said it was such a revelation of God to her to “be naked before God”… I hope her caustic attraction to this delusional man is over.


  3. what happened to matthew, the only ternage male at strong city, was 15 in 2007.
    why is there nothing about him anywhere??
    he was also a minor

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