Former Alamo Church Member Tells the behind the Scene Story

By Karen Hopkins
September 23, 2008

There's more fallout from the Tony Alamo Ministries raid. Arkansas State Police are looking for the parents of six girls taken into custody. They all lived in the compound near Texarkana. Lots of people called claiming to be the parents of the girls.

A spokesperson for the Department of Human Services says they had to check ID's first. The DHS is caring for the six girls taken from the Fouke church. KTAL talked with a man who has children at other Alamo churches to find out what life is like for kids, as well as with Tony Alamo himself.

News of the raid Saturday gave hope to former church member Anthony Lane. He has three children in other Alamo churches - nine year old Tim, 11 year old Sarah and 13 year old Ashley. "I fear that my daughters may already be married to some older man, and I fear that my daughters may already be pregnant or have children of their own," says Lane.

Tony Alamo says girls at puberty age are ready for marriage. "A person can get married, is at legal age for marriage at puberty. Puberty is primarily 14 years old for girls."

Lane says he's never met his son Tim. He just gets emailed pictures, like this one of his daughter with a black eye. "You're not going to see any sexual acts or even abuse in the general church. That's all done behind closed doors. If a child is going to be beat, they're going to take them to the beating place," says Lane.

Alamo says children are not abused. "No children are being abused. They might get spanked for doing wrong, and the Bible tells you to do that. Is there something wrong with that?"

Lane says two of his children were born at Alamo churches. Alamo says the church does give birth certificates but no social security numbers. "No one had a Social Security card until they went to work. Babies are not working," says Alamo.

Alamo says children at his churches are happy and home schooled. "We teach reading, writing arithmetic, all that good old fashioned stuff." But Lane says the contrary goes on behind closed doors. "They don't do much schooling though, for someone who claims they home school their kids. I didn't see a whole lot of kids going to school every day."

Lane says he will fight to get his three children out of the church, but he says bringing them home will begin a new struggle.

"Kids have been taught that the Tony Alamo way is right and so it's almost like de-programing them and showing them no there's another way."

A spokeswoman for the Department of Human Services says if a judge decides there's enough evidence of abuse, a custody hearing will follow.


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