7/20/09 – Alamo Terminology

Texarkana Gazette
July 20, 2009

Alamo Terminology

Witness testimony during the trial of Tony Alamo and interviews with former followers have revealed a vocabulary unique to the group. A list of terms and their meanings:

Sealing: Marriage.

Baby Christian: A member with little time in the church. Baby Christians are supervised strictly and must immerse themselves in Tony Alamo Christian Ministries doctrine and pray around the clock.

Older Christian: An established member who can be trusted to supervise baby Christians.

Visiting Christian: A person who attends church services at Tony Alamo Christian Ministries but doesn’t live on ministry property. Individuals who sympathize with Alamo.

Report: If a member observes a fellow member violating minstry “rules,” they are obligated to “put them on report.” Alamo then determines the consequence.

Proverbs: Punishment.

Correction: Punishment. It can be in the form of a paddling with a wooden board.

Spanking: Punishment. Former members said the term is used to describe beatings administered with a wooden paddle handcrafted by a member specifically for the purpose.

Fasting: Members can be forced to fast for failing to abide by ministry rules or for any conduct Alamo deems punishable.

Backslider: A former member who has left the church on bad terms, or a current member who is not conforming.

Bucks: A weekly or monthly allowance members receive. One former member said she was given about $5 a week in the ’70s. A more recently departed ex-member said he would receive about $20 per week. Bucks were subject to be cut off at any time. Members whose behavior displeased Alamo could be ordered “off bucks” as punishment. Members are not permitted to save money. The church’s theology includes a pooling of resources. Members work as volunteers in jobs Alamo assigns.

Rider: Members are not allowed to travel alone. When driving, they must take a rider approved by Alamo and the travel must also be approved. When anywhere off ministry property, members must go “two by two.” Former members said it is because Alamo wants them to report each other.

Watch: A term for guard duty. Members were required to serve as lookouts in addition to their other jobs. Men and women both performed “watch duty.”

Tracts: Newsletters distributed by the thousands by followers. In addition to mass mailings, the literature is often slipped beneath the wiper blades of parked cars. The content includes Alamo’s teachings, some of which is highly anti-Catholic and alleges the Vatican controls the media and federal government.

Tracting: Distributing literature. Members often travel in groups or in pairs around communities handing out or depositing Alamo’s messages. Members are given quotas for the number of tracts they must proliferate.

Finance List: Requests for food, clothing, toiletries and other necessities are put on the list by members. Alamo reviews the list and approves requests he deems have merit.

Mini-mansion: A house on Locust Street in Texarkana shared by members of the ministry. Alamo decides who lives there and when they will move.

School and Mission: Alamo’s Fouke, Ark., residence. Living quarters for women, offices and Alamo’s bedroom are within.

House of Scorn: Also known as “the Green House.” The house is a residence for women on ministry property in Fouke. Men and women as well as boys and girls are not allowed to mingle unless they are married. One of Alamo’s alleged wives testified Alamo doesn’t want anyone to look at “his wives.”

In: 2009 - (Trial year)

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