9/21/08 – Tex. Gazette: Crowd Gathers Near Compound to Watch Events Unfold

Texarkana Gazette
September 21, 2008
By: Susan Lindsey

Crowd gathers near compound to watch events unfold

FOUKE, Ark.—A crowd gathered at the town’s car wash Saturday evening to witness whatever they could of the raid on Tony Alamo Christian Ministries.

To many, the events were a welcome relief and had been a long time coming.

“I have been waiting on this for three years,” Fouke Mayor Terry Purvis said about the execution of search warrants prompted by allegations of child pornography.

Alamo has been a controversial figure in this town of about 800 residents.

“This is an answered prayer. We have prayed for the women and children …,” said Sherry Potts of Fouke.

The allegations stem from the belief that young girls are being forced to marry at puberty. In statements Alamo made in his ministries, his belief is that young girls are rightfully able to wed if they have started menstruating.

“We are all excited… They need to take that place out,” said Fouke resident Mitchell McCormick.

The excitement was also evident from the numerous hugs and shouts of “Praise the Lord!” that came from those gathered near the compound.

“Hopefully, no child will be endangered any more,” said Annette Howard, whose sentiment was shared by many in the crowd and throughout the city.

“It would be the happiest day in Fouke. I’d like to see them out of here,” said Becky Richardson, manager of the local Monster Mart convenience store.

One of the biggest problems in recent years has been the blocking of public streets by armed guards hired by Tony Alamo Ministries. Many believe if the church and the followers have nothing to hide, security would not be so tight.

Ben Edwards, a member of the Fouke City Council and Alamo’s ministry, would not allow citizens to come to his home to discuss city business because his home was on the ministry’s property, said the Rev. Doyle House.

“We could tell after they moved in, it wasn’t what it ought to be,” House said of the Alamo followers.

Alamo formerly preached against House in an on-air ministry, saying that blackbirds on House’s property were a curse from God because he was taking a stand against Alamo.

“People like him prey on people and they prey on small communities … that’s exactly what we are,” Howard said.

Individuals associated with Alamo ministries could not be reached for comment.

Melanie Bottoms, a former secretary for the city of Fouke who has been associated with Alamo Ministries, was among witnessing the raid at the Alamo compound.

Bottoms refused to comment on Saturday’s events. When approached for comment, individuals around Bottoms surrounded her.

In: 2008 - (Trial year)

| Back to Top |
Want to help?

Click the button!

Post A Comment

Please note: All comments are moderated. There is no need to resubmit your comment. Please submit a well thought out post with proper punctuation and spelling, so that it can be reviewed and posted promptly (as space allows).

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.