Christian Parents Convicted of Neglect after Relying on Prayer to Heal Baby Girl with ‘baseball-sized’ Face Tumour

By Mark Duell

An abnormal growth of blood vessels on her left eye could have blinded her.

But Christian couple Timothy and Rebecca Wyland relied on faith healing instead of taking infant daughter Alayna to a doctor. They were found guilty of first-degree criminal mistreatment for failing to provide medical care for their daughter, who had an abnormal growth of blood vessels on her left eye.

Her condition has now improved under state-ordered medical care but her parents have been convicted in Oregon of felony criminal mistreatment.

The parents belong to unorthodox Oregon City congregation the Followers of Christ, which relies on faith healing.

So rather than taking their daughter to a doctor, they relied on prayer, anointing her with oil and laying hands on her.

It was 'the size of a golf ball, maybe a little larger', he said – and photos shown in court suggest at one point that it was as big as a baseball.

Her parents said in another hearing last July they wouldn't have willingly taken her to a doctor because it would violate their religious beliefs.

Around 20 supporters from their church were in court to hear the verdict, made by the jury in an hour, and sentencing was set for June 24.

Followers of Christ: Others Jailed

Two other couples from the same church whose children died from untreated ailments have been prosecuted in the last two years.

The Followers of Christ was founded in the 1890s in Kansas but moved to Oregon City in the 1940s.

The devout followers firmly believe that the power of prayer and the laying on of hands – where ministers lay their hands on believers while praying – can cure illnesses.

It’s thought that some followers secretly visit traditional doctors – but if found out, they are likely to find themselves ostracised.

Some Comments

This is why religion is so dangerous. It makes people stop thinking and using common sense.

– LM, Hamilton, ON, Canada, 10/6/2011 14:31

People who are in cults that do not believe in doctors etc, or do not believe in certain medical treatments because it is against their beliefs, should have their children taken from them at birth!

– Honey, Norwich UK, 10/6/2011 14:06

Surely the theory of 'Faith Healing' requires faith by the one to be healed? How can an infant have any 'faith'? It just shows what nonsense religion is.

– Medic One, Andover, UK, 10/6/2011 13:59

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