Laurie Roth
Church of Wells--Are they just an "Evangelical Church" in East Texas?
By Laurie Roth
January 20, 2014

On January 9, I talked for an hour on my national radio show with the desperate and loving parents of Catherine Grove. They shared the frightful story of their 26 year-old, Christian daughter who had found this alleged "church" online last summer and found herself drawn in and invited to the headquarters of the Church of Wells in Texas. Catherine's parents had no idea Church of Wells members were skyping Catherine the few months before she actually disappeared. The parents describe Catherine as a responsible, sweet, and committed Christian who wanted to grow in the Lord.

About a month before she disappeared, she began to withdraw from her family, school, and jobs. On July 2, Catherine just disappeared. This was after mysteriously abandoning her car and quitting her job. Andy and Patty knew that none of this made any sense.

Out of nowhere, they finally got a call from Catherine, allegedly at this church location (10 hours away from where she had lived) saying she was all right and wanted to see them. They made plans to visit her grandfather together, and she was cool with that. This was soon followed by another call where Catherine said she had changed her mind and wouldn't be going and didn't want a visit from them. Andy and Patty were allowed to only talk to Catherine a few times and always with church members present. They now smelled a big rat and drove to Wells, Texas to find out info.

They took time off work and drove their RV from Arkansas to East Texas where the Church of the Wells was. Once there, they asked around and didn't see any so called "Church of Wells" and were finally directed to a store. In confusion, they went into the store and asked where Catherine was and were stonewalled by a church member. They left and came back and were finally allowed a "visit" with their daughter only surrounded by church leaders and members. They were not allowed to see her alone. Catherine appeared to have a staged and controlled response that she was happy and ok. It seemed very unreal to her parents. They finally left, knowing something was very wrong. Was she being brainwashed and seemingly trapped somehow?

The silence grew over the weeks as the summer turned into fall, and they weren't allowed in to see Catherine. Growing in concern, they sent Catherine's older sister, Amy, to go in undercover and try to find her. Amy was dropped off by her parents and walked into the church store. The occult members surrounded her and started preaching for hours. As she was wanting to leave, they finally produced Catherine, then lured Amy to an undisclosed location. Many hours passed and the concerned parents urged the police to check on Amy. Amy did not want to leave without Catherine and was waiting for an opportunity to get a lift back to her parents waiting location, since she didn't know where she was. Catherine got into the car with Amy, and there was hope they would both be able to leave, but a church member summoned Catherine to get out of the car and she did. Why did she get out of the car? Was she afraid?

The car was driven by Rick Trudeau's current wife Anna – the same Rick Trudeau who was allegedly arrested in New York for threatening the mother of his child. Amy was driven back to the store where she returned to her parents without Catherine.

On November 4, there is a police record that Catherine tried to run away from the church with her backpack full of clothes. A church member immediately called the police, and they went searching for her. Shockingly, the parents said they weren't called, and they heard about this later. Why did the police take Catherine back to the cult compound after an alleged 18 hours of running away? Why not take her to her parents, or simply question her elsewhere?

On November 10, Catherine's parents, Andy and Patty, got a call from their daughter saying to them that "Catherine is dead." This was just days after she tried to escape. During that time also, witnesses report seeing a small shed outside the compound being guarded, and there was thought to be a person inside it. My source thought it was Catherine being punished for trying to run away. Was she put in here, perhaps the so-called "prayer closet" for punishment? According to my source, two others who have escaped and are terrified and in hiding shared that they had also been locked in a "prayer closet" for hours or days and now are being blackmailed with information they gave leadership in the cult when they were there.

On Nov 26, 2013, reporter Leah Caldwell of the Texas Observer published an investigative piece on the presented "evangelical church" Church of Wells and the building controversy of Andy and Patty Grove trying to get their daughter Catherine out. Caldwell was also "ever so politically and with Christian sound bites" stonewalled by church leadership.

After talking with Catherine's parents, I studied the Church of the Wells' website statement of faith, manifesto, and other presented info. I noticed with fascination the "supposed" and posted affidavit by Catherine, speaking against any wrong doing and implying she was freely staying with this church group.

As an Evangelical Christian and pastor's daughter, I am very aware about what the Holy Bible says and what the message of Jesus is. The Holy Bible tells us to honor (Matthew 15:4) and love our parents not to treat them as idols and abandon them. The Holy Bible calls us to be a light to the world, trust the Lord Jesus, and reach out to people, not hide in a "locked prayer box" separate completely from the world and judge them. Be separate (Romans 12:2) from the world but be in the world, not hide in a cave somewhere. The real Christian faith is defined as repentance of sins and growing in a relationship with Jesus Christ – not turning church or cult leaders into "gods" and doing everything they say.

For a real Christian, of course, nothing comes before God, but God also says be in the world and not "of" them. The message of Jesus Christ is the exact opposite of what the Church of the Wells teaches, preaches, and pushes in my opinion. It is a cult that hides behind the "Evangelical Christian Church." I am the daughter of a retired evangelical pastor, and as I said before I am a sincere, evangelical Christian, and a member of real church now.

The Church of Wells is about as "Evangelical Christian" as hell is in an ice cube factory! I can feel the assaults by church leaders against me even now. "Laurie Roth is evil and going to burn in hell." My response will be: "I've been there and your parents are fine. They are waiting for you."

When reading through Church of Well's belief statements, several clear themes came soaring off the page. The church skeleton looks like this from their own words: Salvation is not secure; Holiness, being like Jesus and salvation is only achieved when you get rid of the idols...and magically these are – parents, work, careers, dreams, money, religious structures that are all "false." They talk endlessly in their verbiage about "separation" as the goal. Thus, the emotional and spiritual trap is set for the innocent, young, and naive Christian or "searcher" who doesn't know the real Holy Bible in context and doesn't see or feel the distortion or danger...certainly in time.

Is the Church of Wells creating the exclusive pull to separateness and describing families as being "idols" to seduce and trap new members away from everything and everyone except them? For what purpose? Who gains in this?

I dug deeper and found more

I checked with a top level human trafficking source. He has followed and is investigating this "Church." He will remain off the radar for now since an ongoing investigation is mounting regarding the Church of the Well. He stated in our interview.

"In this case there are many things that are indicators of trafficking. This is an organization that presents as a church but is structured as a for profit organization of businesses that benefits from many forms of labor. Construction, lumber, cleaning, restaurant work, and others. If a few benefit from the labor of many, then the amount of income is quite large in addition to the alleged victims dissolving their possessions and cash – giving to the group."

In the span of just a few weeks, it's reported that several new and naïve recruits have been divested of $30,000. Obviously, the members pool their money, assets and checks...then work all kinds of jobs for the group, naturally flowing down through the heads – stealing and redistribution central. Shall we quote another scripture here?

A few "facts" on record about this "church"

Church of Wells is a Texas for-profit corporation, "Charity Enterprises Incorporated."

Directors as of June 2012:

Jake Gardner
Masao Gonthier
Cory McLaughlin
Jesse Morris II
Sean Morris
Daniel Pursley
Ryan Ringnald
Richard Trudeau
Tanner Trudeau

R&R Mercantile – grocery
Texaco gas station #351955 (Chevron)

The headquarters of Church of Wells is 502 Rusk Ave / PO Box 861, Wells, TX 75976.

Website boasts a full service restaurant, bulk foods, meat market, Laundromat, 936-867-5300.

Green Texas Lawn and Landscape,, 936-867-4001

3Fold Construction – renamed Charity Construction,

Trudeau Tree Service,, 518-524-4894

Custom Cut Lumber,

Cory James Art,


MannaMedia – a website development company. Web hosting, website building, and maintenance. The website is now dead and has not been renewed.

It makes sense that the teachings say that the alleged victims are not saved as long as they need sleep, long for their loved ones, and desire contact with family members. This sounds like classic "cult" material to me.

Other than forced and locked prayer closets and not allowing private family visits, they have allegedly used the "power of prayer" in interesting ways as well. In 2011, this group prayed over a new born infant that needed medical attention she was allegedly denied. According to reports, they then prayed over her for 15 hours before some outside person found out and called the authorities.

Most recently, one of the heads of the group, Rick Trudeau, was allegedly arrested in New York for aggravated threats against the mother of his child. He was there to take his kid back and is reported to have said that God had told him that she was going to die on a certain date. This was the enlightened guy that Catherine was staying with on the compound back in East Texas. Now he has been arrested for threats, and she is perhaps a material witness having lived with him. She should at least be picked up and questioned by police. Perhaps if the cops came to talk with Catherine and took her someplace private, church members couldn't intimidate her by surrounding her.

If there was ever a need and a time to call in an investigation and action by the attorney General of Texas this is it. We have several testimonies of alleged church members being locked in "prayer closets," two who have escaped and are hiding in fear; a sick baby who was denied hospital care and died; creating a world of Biblical lies to control and manipulate complete separation with their members; they are collecting their money, getting them to then work for the group and in essence be slave labor. They build a huge fear of not being saved and going to hell if they don't comply. Is the Church of Wells a cult that is involved in human trafficking, "forced labor," and other crimes? You decide.

Trafficking victims protection act: "Anyone held in service of another through forced fraud or coercion for purposes of forced labor or commercial sex is a victim of human trafficking."

I call on Texas police to call Catherine Grove out of this church for questioning, since Rick Trudeau has been arrested, and she was living with him. What does she know? I also call on the Honorable Attorney General of Texas Greg Abbott to take action and investigate this front of a church and expose its real agenda and create a real situation where people can leave and get help...such as Catherine Grove. It is beyond time to stop looking the other way. This is awkward and takes courage. Other family members come forward out of the shadows. Authorities rise up.

Please respectfully join me in writing the Attorney General of Texas and demanding an investigation into The Church of the Wells. Address: The Attorney General, The Honorable Greg Abbott, P.O. Box 12548, Austin, Texas 78711-2548

Let us shine the REAL LIGHT OF TRUTH on this fake-out church that is destroying lives and ripping apart families. While we are at it, lets deliver Catherine Grove and many others out of this.

© Laurie Roth


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Laurie Roth

Dr. Laurie Roth — the "Annie Oakley" of the airwaves — is a nationally-syndicated radio talk-show host. She has hosted successful talk shows on radio stations from Boston to L.A. with no shortage of callers... (more)


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