What is the Church of Wells? Small town ‘cult’ accused of drugging, manipulating members

In recent years, a few reports have emerged about the controversial practices of a small East Texas church that ex-members refer to as a “cult.” The next two episodes of The Dr. Phil Show feature ex-members and their families describing what they went through. One man who appears on the episode airing today, entitled “Accusations of Drugging and Indoctrination: One man’s days inside the controversial Church of Wells,” claims he was “habitually drugged.” CLICK HERE to find more about Jordan’s experience in the group.

According to Kvue.com, Jordan Jordan Reichenberger, who is featured on The Dr. Phil Show, disappeared during a Halloween night out in Austin, Texas. The family of the then-27-year-old street preacher feared he had been carjacked; instead, it turns out Jordan had been approached by some of the church’s members, who came to Austin on the holiday to recruit new followers.

They told the young man that they were “following Jesus,” and asked if he wanted to come along. He said yes and left with them that night. His family was shocked and relieved when Jordan returned to them.

Texasmonthly.com reports that many of the group’s small membership (somewhere between 65-90 members total according to different reports) are young adults who are told to cut ties from their family. What exactly makes a group a cult and not a religion is a fascinating debate, but one of the markers of a “cult” is a demand for separation from a person’s family and friends.

According to the Dr. Phil Show, the group has several odd practices and rules. Men are required to wear plaid shirts, and women are required dress “modestly.” They are also required to walk behind their husbands and to not speak.

Monday’s show deals with the story of Catharine Grove, a young woman who is still in the group. Her family believes she had tried to escape multiple times and alleges she is being drugged as well, according to her mother.

In addition, abc13.com reports that in the summer of 2015, six of the church’s members were arrested for interrupting Pastor Joel Osteen’s sermon at Lakewood Church in Houston. At the time, the pastor explained his church’s views to the press.

Although its membership is very small, the church hae huge ambitions.

“[We are] approximately 90 genuinely, authentically converted Christians which is very rare are all in this one small city,” Pastor Morris said. “We are here just because God sent us here. We’re seeking to proclaim the Gospel and evangelize this city, this town, and surround cities. Our mission is not to camp out here. We hope to plant churches in all of the world, in every nation, tribe and tongue.”