No one in the United States of America should ever be targeted because of who they are, what they look like, or how they worship. – President Barak Obama, February 13th, 2015
This is the personal homepage of Wayne Bent, also known as Michael Travesser in some circles. Mr. Bent is cofounder of The Lord Our Righteousness church.
Wayne Bent is probably most widely known by his depiction as a New Mexico cult leader in the National Geographic programs Inside a Cult and Inside a Cult: Messiah on Trial (2008 and 2009, respectively).
In 2007 Channel 4 in the UK broadcast End of the World Cult, a movie about Mr. Bent and Strong City, a small community where his church is based. Inside A Cult was a remake of the UK film. Mr. Bent and his church maintains the sensationalized context of the film deviated wildly from what was shared in on-camera interviews with the filmmakers, revealing their opportunism and their willingness to distort the truth to enhance the entertainment value of their film.
In 2008 Mr. Bent was put on trial in Taos, New Mexico for practices associated with a 2006 religious healing exercise that correlated with a ceremonial “pouring out of the prophetic seven last plagues.” In the eight months leading up to the trial, National Geographic broadcast their program about Mr. Bent and his church several times a week, stirring up a media sensation in New Mexico and arguably tainting the pool of prospective jurors.
During the trial, in the presence of local and international media, Wayne Bent faced comparisons to Charles Manson, ridicule of his religious beliefs, and innuendo masquerading as fact. The district attorney accused Mr. Bent of sexually touching two underaged females during the healing, but Mr. Bent strongly maintained his innocence and the two young women in question denied that they were touched sexually or victimized in any way.
Mr. Bent was acquitted on one count related to the healing but convicted on three other counts and sentenced to eighteen years in prison, with eight years suspended. He is currently in his seventh year of incarceration, now at the Penitentiary of New Mexico in Santa Fe, and his legal case remains on appeal.
Mr. Bent contends that his prosecution and convictions were not based on the evidence, which did not support the allegation of sexual touch. Instead, he maintains he was convicted because of his religious beliefs and specifically his testimony that the Christ Anointing had come into him and was speaking and acting through him. He maintains that the State of New Mexico crucified Christ afresh by throwing him into prison for his testimony and obedience to his calling, thus ushering in events that will lead to the end of the world, just as the Jews brought destruction upon Jerusalem by crucifying Jesus Christ.
Wayne Curtis Bent is currently 74 years of age. He was born in Riverside, California. He married in 1962 and has three children. He converted to the Seventh-day Adventist faith in 1967. He later attended Loma Linda University, earning his Masters degree in Religion. He served in the Adventist ministry as pastor in southern California for 12 years before leaving the denomination and cofounding The Lord Our Righteousness church in 1987.
In the year 2000 Mr. Bent and his church relocated from the pacific northwest of the United States to a remote northeastern New Mexico ranch that came to be known as Strong City, a name derived from Scripture that connotes a city of refuge. The community remains and awaits the vindication and return of Mr. Bent, or Michael as he is also called.