Video: Faith Assembly Members Denied Necessary Healthcare Facilities

Faith Assembly

Josh Wilson, former member of Faith Assembly, recently released a video discussing how his congregation did not allow patients afflicted with various illnesses to avail themselves of necessary healthcare facilities because of religious reasons. Faith Assembly was a cult of sorts that rose to prominence in the mid 1970s under the influence of its charismatic preacher Hobart Freeman.

During that period, health officials in Indiana observed that at the congregation’s headquarters, diabetics were not being given insulin and expectant mothers were not being provided prenatal or postnatal care. Reportedly, dead babies were laid next to live babies at the altar, so that the former could be brought back to life. Apparently, one woman prayed over her dead child for as long as four days, before the funeral home decided to step in.

Faith Assembly was considered socially impenetrable unless one entirely embraced its claims of miracle healings, prophecies, testimonies and human sacrifices. Yet there was a sense of cohesion, community care, superiority and exclusiveness among members of Faith Assembly, until of course, some people started to feel persecuted because of Freeman’s teachings. Those who did not belong to a similar school of thought as Freeman were either made to conform or compelled to leave.

Surrounded by old cassette tapes of Freeman’s sermons, listening to which is both “reward” and “punishment” to Wilson, he explains, “You have deeply ingrained in you to not trust anyone else. You have a sense that we’re the only ones and we can’t trust the rest of the world. I think that is one of the legacies of Faith Assembly.”

According to county authorities who eventually looked into the poor health condition of several members of Faith Assembly, women giving birth at the congregation’s quarters were 60 times more likely to die than those who sought help and advice from midwives or bona fide doctors.

Freeman died in 1984, a fortnight before he was expected to defend himself in court against a charge of negligent homicide. The circumstance of his own death stresses how blindly he believed in his own teachings. Reportedly, he died at his own home in Shoe Lake due to a congestive heart failure and bronchial pneumonia, which was complicated by a gangrenous leg that had also been infected with ulcers. Apparently, he had refused all medical help, so much so that he did not even allow for his bandages to be removed so his leg could be cleaned. After his death, an overnight prayer vigil was conducted by his followers, who obviously failed to bring him back to life.

Over time, his followers started to diminish, but his wife still had faith that he would walk in from nowhere one day and want his suit to be ready to be worn. So she decided to leave it on the edge of the bed for a significantly long time after his death.

Photo Credits: Rootsweb

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