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'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite
May 31, 2012
6:09 am
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greeney2
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I wonder how many die we never hear about? This guys Father died the same way. 🙄

'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia Pastor Dies From Snake Bite
By ARLETTE SAENZ | ABC News – 10 hrs agoEmailShare30PrintRelated Content'Serpent-Handling' West Virginia …
A "serpent-handling" West Virginia pastor died after his rattlesnake bit him during a church ritual, just as the man had apparently watched a snake kill his father years before.

Pentecostal pastor Mark Wolford, 44, hosted an outdoor service at the Panther Wildlife Management Area in West Virginia Sunday, which he touted on his Facebook page prior to the event.

"I am looking for a great time this Sunday," Wolford wrote May 22, according to the Washington Post. "It is going to be a homecoming like the old days. Good 'ole raised in the holler or mountain ridge running, Holy Ghost-filled speaking-in-tongues sign believers."

Robin Vanover, Wolford's sister, told the Washington Post that 30 minutes into the outdoor service, Wolford passed around a poisonous timber rattlesnake, which eventually bit him.

"He laid it on the ground," Vanover said in the interview, "and he sat down next to the snake, and it bit him on the thigh."

Vanover said Wolford was then transported to a family member's home in Bluefield about 80 miles away to recover. But as the situation worsened, he was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Jim Shires, owner of the Cravens-Shires Funeral Home in Bluefield, told ABC News that Wolford died Monday. Wolford's church, the Apostolic House of the Lord Jesus in Matoaka, will host a viewing Friday and a funeral service Saturday morning. Wolford will be buried at the Hicks Family Plot in Phelps, Ky.

Officials at the Panther Wildlife Management Area had been unaware of Sunday's event until they were notified by callers after the service.

"We did not know that this event was happening, and if we had known about it or if we had been asked for permission, permission would not have been granted," Hoy Murphy, public information officer for the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, told ABC News.

Hoy said West Virginia state park rules prohibit animals other than dogs and cats on the property.

While snake-handling is legal in West Virginia, other Appalachian states, including Kentucky and Tennessee, have banned the practice in public spaces.

Snake-handlers point to scripture as evidence that God calls them to engage in such a practice to show their faith in him. Mark 16: 17-18 reads, "And these signs shall follow them that believe: In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover."

Wolford told the Washington Post magazine in 2011 that he is carrying on the tradition of his ancestors by engaging in snake handling.

"Anybody can do it that believes it," Wolford said. "Jesus said, 'These signs shall follow them which believe.' This is a sign to show people that God has the power."

Wolford said watched his own father die at the age of 39 after a rattlesnake bit him during a similar service.

"He lived 101/2 hours," Wolford told the Washington Post Magazine. "When he got bit, he said he wanted to die in the church. Three hours after he was bitten, his kidneys shut down. After a while, your heart stops. I hated to see him go, but he died for what he believed in.

"I know it's real; it is the power of God," Wolford told the Washington Post Magazine last year. "If I didn't do it, if I'd never gotten back involved, it'd be the same as denying the power and saying it was not real."

May 31, 2012
6:24 am
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frrostedman
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The Pentecostals are generally some very frightening, weird people. I wouldn't go to a Pentecostal "tent revival" even if you paid me to.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

May 31, 2012
7:14 pm
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greeney2
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Stupid, ignorant people!

May 31, 2012
7:53 pm
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Agree..this is just plain dumb. May as well be juggling a 440 Volt line.

Orangetom

June 3, 2012
5:02 am
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bionic
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He just didn't believe enough..the big faker..got what was coming to him, I say..secret faithless sinner, I'm guessing(really though, regardless of who he was and his ways..etc...R.I.P. fellow human)

Willie Wonka quotes..
What is this Wonka, some kind of funhouse?
Why? Are you having fun?
A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.
We are the music makers, we are the dreamers of dreams

June 5, 2012
5:29 am
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frrostedman
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The poor sap handled a few snakes in the past and actually started believing in his own facade.... he was like.. "Wait a minute! Maybe I am infused with Godly powers! I'm the new Moses!"

Sickening.

What makes me so sad is that the Pentecostals get a lot of recognition and many Atheists believe they are bona fide representatives of the Protestant/Evangelical Christian Church.

They are a cult. Everything I've observed about them utterly and completely defines the word cult.

And here is something nobody talks about. These folks "speak in tongues" when they come under the "power of the Holy Spirit." This is an effort to emulate the events in the bible where the apostles were given the gift of tongues in the upper room during Pentecost. The apostles came under the power of the Holy Spirit, and spoke in tongues. Everything they spoke was understood by everyone standing around, although the people in the crowds spoke many different language. In other words, an apostle would say something and 1 person who spoke only Greek understood it in Greek, and another who only spoke Hebrew understood it in Hebrew. It was a legitimate miracle.

The "Pentecostals" make a mockery of the event by dishonestly pretending to come under the same power, and speak in "tongues." But here is the difference which reveals them as frauds. NO ONE understands what they are saying because they aren't even speaking a language. They speak gibberish. It's total bs.

And that's that. In my teens, I used to mumble gibberish and convulse just like these frauds, when me and my friends--for kicks--would hyperventilate while huffing nitrous-oxide out of whipped cream canisters.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

June 6, 2012
1:13 am
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qmark
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I do believe the "gifts of the Spirit" are still active and available today. HOWEVER, I do not believe they operate as the "name it and claim it" crowd would like us to believe. I am fairly confident that just about 99 % of what we see out there is just plain bogus, scamming for money, or power, or both. Or, in the case of this poor guy, just a total lack in godly wisdom. Sickening or sad, I'm not sure which. Obviously, snake handling is not one of the gifts, but I believe it is the same worldly spirit that motivates the other charlatans.

June 6, 2012
2:26 am
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frrostedman
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"Sickening" in reference to the man believing his own lie was a poor choice of words and I should have more respect for the dead.

But it does turn my stomach because--if my hunch is correct--the guy started off as a pretender and a fraud. Then, when he realized he could actually handle a rattlesnake without getting bitten, he started to believe his own lie and got burned for it.

Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man. - Albert Einstein

June 6, 2012
2:57 am
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"frrostedman" wrote: "Sickening" in reference to the man believing his own lie was a poor choice of words and I should have more respect for the dead.

But it does turn my stomach because--if my hunch is correct--the guy started off as a pretender and a fraud. Then, when he realized he could actually handle a rattlesnake without getting bitten, he started to believe his own lie and got burned for it.

Was he a pretender and a fraud, or just plain deceived? I don't know. Sad in either instance. If he was a fraud, then it is sad that Christianity gets a black eye because of him. If he truly was a brother but deceived, then it is truly sad at a whole new level.

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