Defense Witness, Gabriel Travesser, Member

Michael Travesser / Wayne Bent at sunset

Defense witness Gabriel Travesser - By Sara Montoya, Defense Attorney. plus cross by Tomas Benevidez.

Ms. Montoya: Your Honor, defense would call Gabriel Travesser.

Judge Baca: Gabriel Travesser. Alright. Let me ask you to come around.

Judge Baca swears in Gabriel Travesser

Judge Baca: Alright. Please have a seat. Move up close to the microphone. Speak up, alright.

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, before we get started can I just reemphasize that request that the Court reemphasize that witnesses aren’t allowed in the courtroom. I don’t know if there are any or not, but it’s just a concern.

Judge Baca: Do you recognize anyone that’s a witness in the courtroom?

Tomas Benevidez: No, I don’t recognize anyone.

Judge Baca: Ms. Montoya, do you recognize?

Ms. Montoya: We have some people on our witness list, which we have since released and they are in the courtroom today. They will not be called.

Judge Baca: Ok.

Tomas Benevidez: Can we ask who those are, to keep track of whose not participating?

Judge Baca: Alright. Who are those people?

Ms. Montoya: Elfreda Ruth Dale. I don’t know who all, Anderson Webb.

Judge Baca: Ok.

Ms. Montoya: Hanifa Travesser

Judge Baca: Alright.

Ms. Montoya: Michael Bergman, I called Anderson, Amanah.

Judge Baca: Alright. So those are the people you will not be calling?

Ms. Montoya: Correct.

Judge Baca: Ok. They’ll be allowed to remain in the courtroom. You may proceed.

Ms. Montoya: Good morning.

Gabriel Travesser: Good morning.

Ms. Montoya: Would you please state your name for the jury.

Gabriel Travesser: Gabriel Travesser.

Ms. Montoya: When did you first meet Wayne Bent?

Gabriel Travesser: In nineteen seventy–eight (1978). I believe somewhere in the beginning or the middle of that year.

Ms. Montoya: So you’ve known him for thirty years?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Montoya: How did you meet him?

Gabriel Travesser: I had a blind friend that lived in San Bernardino, California that was attending his church and somebody was coming from a long distance to give him a ride, so I decided I would, because I lived close to him. So I just gave my friend a ride to church every Sabbath morning and that’s how I met Wayne. He was the pastor of the Colton Church of Seventh Day Adventist in Colton, California. That’s in southern California.

Ms. Montoya: Was he an ordained minister of the Seventh Day Adventist Church?

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor.

Judge Baca: Yes.

Tomas Benevidez: I’d like to object and approach the bench, please.

Judge Baca: Alright.

Sidebar - The jury cannot hear the sidebar discussions.

Tomas Benevidez: My objection is I believe that there could lead to an improper character and opinion testimony that is not relevant to this case. And I would object on that basis.

Ms. Montoya: Your Honor, he’s here to testify as to the mores of the church, not to the character of Wayne Bent. Ok.

Judge Baca: Did you hear me? I said that the objection is overruled and we’ll proceed.

sidebar ends

Ms. Montoya: Are you a member of his current church, Lord of Righteousness Church?

Gabriel Travesser: As far as a term like membership can be applied, yes.

Ms. Montoya: Ok. Do members of L.O.R. visit doctors and dentists?

Gabriel Travesser: Normally no. We usually have to be sick or require it and most people don’t. We don’t get sick out there. Occasionally, a dentist, if it’s some kind of mechanical work that needs to be done.

Ms. Montoya: But the point is, are you forbidden to visit doctors or dentists?

Gabriel Travesser: No. Absolutely not.

Ms. Montoya: Are you isolated out there on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, geographically perhaps, but not electronically. We all have, we have a local area network, a LAN system, that we communicate by email. And we do have internet access that we can search the internet with if we want to.

Ms. Montoya: Are you restricted to only religious aspects of computer use or do you have access to the entire world?

Gabriel Travesser: No. We can search for pornographic sites if we wanted to. We just don’t happen to do that.

Ms. Montoya: And do you communicate with email to the outside world, people outside of the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes. Yes we do.

Ms. Montoya: Have you known of instances where people wanted to separate themselves from the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes. There have been those as well. They’ve been provided the means. Sometimes they’ve been given a vehicle and some travelling money to do whatever they wanted to do.

Ms. Montoya: So they’re not forbidden to leave?

Gabriel Travesser: No, not at all.

Ms. Montoya: If someone wants to visit their grandmother for instance, is that accommodated?

Gabriel Travesser: Absolutely. We just had a man hitchhike or take a bus or a plane; I don’t know which, to the coast to see his mother a couple of months ago, or a month ago.

Ms. Montoya: And he’s allowed to come back?

Gabriel Travesser: He’s here now.

Ms. Montoya: Well, what we need for you to describe is what the type of government is on the land?

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, I’d object. Can we approach?

Judge Baca: Yes.

Sidebar - Sidebar discussion are not able to be heard by the jury.

Tomas Benevidez: Ms. Montoya keeps interjecting the new government. The new government is something that happened, or occurred, after these incidents and so we don’t believe its relevant. So they’re describing something that occurred after the incidence in question, and it’s going to be confusing to the jury. And I’ve allowed some of that, but it’s continuing to be a theme that I don’t think is relevant and is more prejudicial and outweighs the probative value.

Ms. Montoya: And that’s where the problem is. The District Attorney’s office is mistaken; the new government was in place before these incidents occurred.

Out of hearing range

Ms. Montoya: Well, he’s going to (perhaps referring to Gabriel, stating when the new government began?) Alright... from their side. Our side is different.

Tomas Benevidez: Well the witness said, (unintelligible)... She asked him if it started in two thousand seven (2007.)

Ms. Montoya: That was Ned Seigel.

The rest of the Sidebar was out of range to hear.

Sidebar ends

Judge Baca: So the objection is overruled.

Ms. Montoya: When did the new government begin on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: I believe it was sometime in the month of April of two thousand five (2005.)

Ms. Montoya: Prior to these incidents with the girls, correct?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes, it was.

Ms. Montoya: What does the new government consist of?

Gabriel Travesser: We’re a community of people that have different talents, some construction, some other talents that we get together and we maintain our little ranch, our little community out there. It’s a bit of a co-op, if somebody sees something that needs repairing, they don’t have to be told to do it, they just go get the tools and do it.

Ms. Montoya: So, how’s the co-op run?

Gabriel Travesser: As far as food or?

Ms. Montoya: Who’s in charge?

Gabriel Travesser: We all are. There’s certain people who do certain tasks, some people order the food, some people take care of the finances, some people take care of the vehicles, but there’s nobody really in charge. In any community, you’re gonna have people who have a talent for organization, who might exercise that talent in that direction.

Ms. Montoya: So, explain those different jobs that people do.

Gabriel Travesser: Well, like I said, one man takes care of what we call the motor pool, a group of vehicles he maintains and takes... he changes the oil, keeps them all ready to go. And then others, like if I’m walking down the road and I see a ditch that needs to be filled, I’ll grab a shovel and a wheelbarrow and fill it up, you know a rut in the road or something. It’s just a... it’s a community effort. It’s just that it’s a small community, so the government itself is a little bit more visible as to who does what than it is in a society as large as the other world.

Ms. Montoya: So, for instance with the motor pool, is the man who runs the motor pool, is he in charge of the cars?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, if you mean by in charge, he’s in charge of their maintenance. He doesn’t necessarily say who can and can’t drive one. If I need a truck to go pick up some rocks, I wanna build a rockery around my house, I get a truck and go do it.

Ms. Montoya: So everybody has keys. Explain that.

Gabriel Travesser: No. The keys are in the vehicles usually, or they’re kept in the person’s house who has the motor pool responsibilities. Some of the vehicles you sign out, because they want, they’re more popular than others, so they want to have some kind of a record as to when they’re used, so that people can know when they’d be available.

Ms. Montoya: And what kind of jobs have you had on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, for the first five years out there... You have to understand, first of all, that we, a lot of us at that time, lived in recreational vehicles and they have, for those of you that don’t know, they have tanks that are called holding tanks for grey water and black water. Black water is essentially sewage. And when I got to the land I realized that there were several single women, whose husbands had either left or they weren’t married, who needed to have that service of emptying them and taking them to the sewage disposal station. So, I just got the desire to do that. And I did that. So for five years, I basically emptied people’s poop.

Ms. Montoya: And so did somebody tell you to do that?

Gabriel Travesser: No. No it was something I noticed that needed to be done when I got there and I just did it.

Ms. Montoya: Is there any one person who has authority over others on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Not that comes to mind. There are different people.... What we have out there is essentially, I think... I believe there are about forty-six people on the land at the moment, is we have forty-six different churches, because we’ve all been taught to seek an independent relationship with God, that nobody else can interfere with. Each individual person has that relationship and it’s not overseeing or overridden by anybody else ever.

Ms. Montoya: There’s been some changes, such as women wearing dresses and things of that nature. Has Wayne Bent been the instigator of those types of changes?

Gabriel Travesser: Basically, no. Most of it started before he even agreed, he expressed an opinion on them. Some people were doing that beforehand. But we all saw the need for it, the modesty issue. There’s been no... There’s been no coercion at all involved in it.

Ms. Montoya: Did Michael direct that the marriages on the land be dissolved?

Gabriel Travesser: Absolutely not.

Ms. Montoya: Are there some marriages intact?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes. There’s two couples, at least, that are still living with their spouses out there.

Ms. Montoya: And what’s this idea that everyone gets a new name?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, that’s something else that Wayne didn’t instigate either. It began when we realized that we were close to the end of the time of Biblical prophecy and that in there, in the Bible, God said that he would give people a new name. And the names that he gave us were significant. They have a meaning to them, a Biblical meaning. And often times, what we get is a name that means what God wants us to see ourselves as. He wants us to have that picture of who we are. And that’s the way it was in the Old Testament too, the names weren’t just picked out because they sounded phonetically pleasing, like we do today, Brittany or whatever. They actually had a meaning. They had a spiritual meaning to them. And that has been the case in many spiritual communities throughout history.

Ms. Montoya: So did Wayne Bent assign you new names and take away your old identities?

Gabriel Travesser: No. He doesn’t have that power. That was God that did that.

Ms. Montoya: How did you get your name?

Gabriel Travesser: Well I was born, my given name, was Dale Elliot Brown and I realized how well my name fit me. The word Dale means a depression or a low place and I’ve been, I’ve had very much a depressive personality all my life, just discouraged and depressed. And Brown is, well it’s a dark color. But my middle name was Elliot, was given to me by my, through my maternal grandfather. And it turned out to be the Anglicanized version of the Hebrew name, Elijha, which is one of only two men who translated to Heaven without seeing death. So, it’s as if, God gave me that name from the beginning. And when my Father in Heaven gave me a new name, it was Gabriel, which means, man of God, which has been difficult for me to see myself as and Elijha, which is, I just explained, and the name Travesser, which means determined and absolutely doggedly determined to cross over and to be successful. And I understand the meaning of my names now, because I haven’t had any amount of depression for a very long time. It’s been quite a miracle for me. It’s like God saw who I was, so he said, "This is who you are," and then proceeded to convince me of it.

Ms. Montoya: So, do you, in effect, commune with God?

Gabriel Travesser: Continually. I am right now.

Ms. Montoya: Does Wayne Bent, or Michael, assert himself as the husband of some or all the women on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: No. By assert, you mean the way the world looks at it, "I’m the boss and you’re not." He’s a symbol of the husband the Heavenly husband that we all have, Christ.

Ms. Montoya: Is he the alpha male?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, the alpha male’s pretty much of a animal kingdom thing. It’s a physiological thing, where you have somebody who is dominant. He’s hundred twenty-five pounds and skinny as a rail. He doesn’t have that physiological ability to do that. He’s just one man among many, who has been a spiritual shepherd to us, a guide.

Ms. Montoya: Is the word Father used in different ways at different times on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Not to my knowledge. When we say Father, we are invariably speaking of our Heavenly Father.

Ms. Montoya: Do you believe that the people on the land are clear about who Michael is?

Gabriel Travesser: I would have to say, "Yes." I can’t speak for everybody, but all of the... all of the evidences and the behavior that I’ve seen, tells me that everybody there pretty much knows who Michael is and knows who they are, and knows who God is.

Ms. Montoya: Is it possible that different individuals from the land will use different words to describe him?

Gabriel Travesser: Describe Wayne, or God?

Ms. Montoya: Michael.

Gabriel Travesser: Michael. You might have to clarify that a little bit, because I’m not quite sure what you mean.

Ms. Montoya: You knew Wayne Bent before he became known as Michael?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes.

Ms. Montoya: Did you see a marked difference in Wayne Bent after the spirit of Michael came to him?

Gabriel Travesser: Absolutely. I’ve known Wayne for a little over thirty years and I knew him, what would that be.... about twenty-three years, before Michael was spoken into him by God. And yes, I did notice a very marked change in him.

Ms. Montoya: Can you describe the change?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes. Before that time he was.... he was very, a little distant, very pastorally. He would shepherd his flock, like any minister or priest would do. But he... he kept himself from being too familiar with people. But after Michael was spoken into him, and Michael is the Old Testament name of the Son of God, he took on an entirely different character. He became warm and caring, openly. He’s always been caring. He’s always had only the welfare of his flock in mind since I’ve known him. I’ve known him, as I said, for a little over thirty years.

And I have a very broad knowledge of what people are like throughout the world. I’m sixty-four years old and in all my life, I have never met a single man who has never breached his integrity a single time until I met Michael, Wayne Bent, thirty years ago. And when I met him at the Colton Church, I knew then, there was a man who would do whatever God told him at any cost to himself. And this is the part of the cost to himself that he’s paying. And I thought, "This is the man that I need to be with. This is the man that has what I want." Because I enjoyed intellectual sermons, people who, you know, preachers who were sometimes half standup comic, half intellectual giants.

Ms. Montoya: But Gabriel what was the difference?

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, objection.

Judge Baca: Yes.

Sidebar - Sidebar discussions cannot be heard by the jury.

Tomas Benevidez: That’s improper and character testimony again. He’s going into an area without her asking him any questions.

Ms. Montoya: (Unable to hear her response)

Sidebar ends

Judge Baca: Alright. The objection will be sustained.

Ms. Montoya: When did Wayne Bent become the leader of the L.O.R. Church?

Gabriel Travesser: (No response.)

Ms. Montoya: When did Wayne Bent become the leader of the L.O.R. Church?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, if by leader you mean the man who was in the center focus of its formative years, that would have been in October of nineteen eight-seven (1987.) He was a Seventh Day Adventist Minister at that time and it’s that time that we realized that the Seventh Day Adventist Church, which we believed at that time was what was referred to in the Bible as the Remnant Church, had abandoned its roots and its spiritual foundations and we could no longer stay with it. And we all essentially...

Ms. Montoya: And what year was that?

Gabriel Travesser: That was nineteen eighty-seven (1987,) in October of nineteen eighty-seven. We mutually agreed that we needed to separate from the church at that time.

Ms. Montoya: Who decided?

Judge Baca: I’d like to interrupt. Let me ask you to listen to the question and answer the question.

Gabriel Travesser: Yes sir.

Judge Baca: You’re tending to ramble a little bit too much.

Gabriel Travesser: Ok.

Judge Baca: Alright. Thank you.

Ms. Montoya: Who decided that there’d be no pets on the land? Is that something that Wayne Bent decided?

Gabriel Travesser: No. We all did that. When we founded the new land on the ranch there, we got together and we decided what would make for the kind of life style and environment we wanted. And we thought that in the endeavors that we were pursuing, that things like pets and animals would be counterproductive to that.

Ms. Montoya: Is Michael a dictator on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: No. (inflecton in voice indicates that he is amused)

Ms. Montoya: Why don’t people believe you when you say that?

Gabriel Travesser: Why don’t they believe us when...? Because people generally like to be told what to do and they feel that if somebody seems to have a position of prominence that he has to be a leader and he has to be dictating to you what you’re doing. And that... this doesn’t happen out there.

Ms. Montoya: Is Michael the only person on the land to get revelations from God?

Gabriel Travesser: I sincerely hope not, because we’ve been taught and trained that we each hear the voice of God, everyone does. And we...

Ms. Montoya: And did Michael select the seven?

Gabriel Travesser: No. No not all. They selected themselves. He had no idea who they were until they told him.

Ms. Montoya: Is it...? Do people on the land feel like they never know whether they’re doing the right thing or the wrong thing because of Michael and what he says to them?

Gabriel Travesser: That ah... to me that’s a rather bizarre question, because we all know what we’re doing right or wrong. Biblically, the Book of John says Christ is the Light that lightens every man that cometh into the world. And that means that everyone has in their heart, the light that tells them what’s right and wrong. We don’t need... His whole focus has been to wean us from the idea that we need to go to a human being to find out what’s right and wrong. We have a Heavenly Father, who’s the God of the Universe. He can do that for us. We don’t need a man.

Ms. Montoya: Mr. Travesser, have you ever observed Wayne Bent being punitive, critical, punishing, or coercive towards anyone on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: I haven’t observed that in him in thirty years. No.

Ms. Montoya: Does he treat old and young alike?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes. He treats everybody alike.

Ms. Montoya: Does he kiss everybody on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Wel, I haven’t taken any notes, but I’ve kissed him and he’s kissed me and I’ve seen him do it to others.

Ms. Montoya: Was there anything sexual about the way he kissed you?

Gabriel Travesser: No, ma’am. Ah... I am hopelessly heterosexual and I would defy anybody to put something sexual into my relationship with Michael.

Ms. Montoya: What does it mean on the land when they say, "naked before God?"

Gabriel Travesser: That is a reference to being perfectly honest and open, without any dividing line between our hearts and God. People, humanity, in a sinful sense, tends to obfuscate and try to... (coughs) excuse me... try to hide themselves. And nakedness before God is in... The nakedness that you’ve all heard about is a symbol of being absolutely and perfectly one with God. No trying to fool him, no trying to trick him into letting you into Heaven. But just recognizing him as an accepting, loving Heavenly Father, who has already paid the price for your entrance into Heaven and you don’t need to please him. You just need to be honest with him.

Ms. Montoya: What does it mean to be skin to skin?

Gabriel Travesser: Basically, the same thing that I just said, nothing in between you and God.

Ms. Montoya: Is Wayne Bent charismatic?

Gabriel Travesser: I wouldn’t call him that. As I was saying, a few moments ago that’s the kind of preacher I used to be drawn to, but he didn’t have this eloquence of speech or these forceful arguments when he preached. He just told the truth.

Ms. Montoya: What does it mean to be harassed by demonic spirits and demons?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, for people who may not be familiar with the spiritual aspect of that, we all feel times when we get thoughts and feelings that just absolutely torment us about somebody else or about a situation in life, and for those who know the truth of spirituality, there are good and evil forces that we cannot see, but they’re very real. And demonic forces are those that are opposed directly to God’s forces. And everybody feels them. Some people don’t believe in them, but you cannot believe in gravity either, but that’s not going to stop you from hitting the ground if you fall out a window. It’s just true.

Ms. Montoya: Why did you leave our world to go live on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Because I know what your world is like. I lived in it for a very long time. I got my undergraduate degree in criminal psychology and that’s essentially because I already knew the principles. I just put some technical labels on it and I know it’s there.

Ms. Montoya: What would you like the Judge and jury to know about Wayne Bent?

Gabriel Travesser: Wayne Bent... (coughs) excuse me.

Tomas Benevidez: Objection, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Alright, you may approach.

Sidebar - Sidebar discussions cannot be heard by the jury.

Tomas Benevidez: The objection is we’re getting... its vague. We’re getting possibility of improper opinion and character testimony.

(The rest of the sidebar discussion cannot be heard.)

Sidebar ends

Judge Baca: Alright. The objection sustained.

Ms. Montoya: Do you believe the leadership roles and the aspects and mores of your church have been misrepresented to the public?

Gabriel Travesser: I think misrepresented is a very mild term for it. I would say twisted, skewed out of beyond total recognition.

Ms. Montoya: And it is your testimony here today that Strong City has its own government apart from Wayne Bent?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes. We are all self governing individuals, because that’s what he has taught us from scripture, from spiritual principles. We’re self governing. We don’t need people to tell us what to do.

Ms. Montoya: Thank you, nothing further.

Judge Baca: Alright. Cross examination.

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you, your Honor. Mr. Travesser, you go by, what is your full name now?

Gabriel Travesser: Gabriel Elijah Travesser.

Tomas Benevidez: And what does that mean?

Gabriel Travesser: Gabriel means man of God. Elijah is the name of one of only two patriarchs in the Bible who translated to Heaven without seeing death. It’s the Hebrew version of my original middle name Elliot. Travesser means determined, absolutely determined to cross over, to succeed, in crossing over to Heaven.

Tomas Benevidez: Is that your legal name now?

Gabriel Travesser: It is my legal name. Yes.

Tomas Benevidez: What is... What was your former legal name?

Gabriel Travesser: Dale Elliot Brown.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. Snd any significance to that name?

Gabriel Travesser: I explained that earlier, but yes.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok.

Gabriel Travesser: The name Dale meant depression or low place, which characterized my life. And that’s what I was brought out of.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. And you’re not in a low place anymore?

Gabriel Travesser: No, sir.

Tomas Benevidez: And you said you’d known Wayne Bent for thirty years, is that correct?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes.

Tomas Benevidez: And you’ve also told me that he is, you believe Wayne Bent is the anointed one?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes. Each person is anointed for their own purpose in God’s eyes. Each person has their own anointing. This is his.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. And you also told me he was your spiritual leader?

Gabriel Travesser: No. I didn’t say leader. He’s been a guide to me. He’s about three and a half years older than I am and he’s been like a big brother to me for thirty years.

Tomas Benevidez: You also said you believe he’s the Son of God.

Judge Baca: Can you hear him, members of the jury? You can hear him fine?

Let me ask you to speak up.

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you, your Honor.

(Speaks louder) You also said, you believe he’s the Son of God. Can you hear me now?

Gabriel Travesser: Ok. It says in the Bible that in the last times... And this is not a Bible study, your Honor, this is relevant. In the last times, that the second coming of Christ, it says in the Bible, he would come to be admired in his saints. The anointing that Michael, that Wayne Bent, has received is the first fruits among many. In other words, he was given what every true believer will be given. He is the son of God. I am the son of God. Anybody who receives the anointing God has for them, will be the son of God, or daughter of God, if you want to inject gender into it.

Tomas Benevidez: You mention, the mores of the church, that they’re important and they’re different from outside society. Is that correct?

Gabriel Travesser: Just about as different as between pornography and the Bible. Yes.

Tomas Benevidez: And you know... Part of that is that you have a car shared car pool. Did you say?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, we have several vehicles on the land that...

Tomas Benevidez: How many is several?

Gabriel Travesser: Oh, I don’t know. You’d have to ask the guy that runs the motor vehicles. He’s up there.

Tomas Benevidez: Do you know how many vehicles you have?

Gabriel Travesser: No, I don’t. I didn’t count them. I could probably sit here and try, but I’m... It’s not my job. I don’t have that.

Tomas Benevidez: Isn’t it true that a lot of the vehicles were sold off the land?

Gabriel Travesser: Yeah. They weren’t needed.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. Is it true that a woman on the land... You were talking about doctors and dentists, that she passed away without medical attention?

Gabriel Travesser: She was asked by medical professionals that came out there, whether or not she wanted medical attention and she said, "No." That was her choice, and it was a lucid conscious choice.

Tomas Benevidez: You mentioned that you have internet service. Do you have cell phone service?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, there are some cell phones on the land.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. How many?

Gabriel Travesser: I don’t know.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. How many phones do you have on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: I don’t know. There are a few, but...

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you. Isn’t it true that everyone on the land gave their personal belongings away to buy new homes? Or not their personal belongings, but their money and extra money?

Gabriel Travesser: What that was... (cough) Excuse me. I’m going to get a little drink here.

Tomas Benevidez: Sir, I’m asking you a yes or no question. Not asking for a narrative.

Gabriel Travesser: We formed a trust and everybody put their belongings into that trust, including Mr. Bent, which means he has no more privilege of taking anything out of that, than I do.

Tomas Benevidez: And whose name is that trust in?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, I’m one of the trustees of the trust. There’s several other people, I don’t...

Tomas Benevidez: I didn’t ask that. I asked whose name was the trust in.

Gabriel Travesser: It’s called the... I’m not sure. I think it’s called, the Bent Trust, but he has no more access to it than I do.

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you. You keep saying you’ve been taught. Who's teaching you?

Gabriel Travesser: No, I don’t think... Did I use the word taught?

Tomas Benevidez: Yes, you said you’ve been taught how to listen to God. You’ve been taught...

Gabriel Travesser: Well, when I was in first grade I was taught how to read.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok.

Gabriel Travesser: When I entered into a spiritual life, I had those who knew more about it, who counseled me and tutored me in those things, until I began to understand the truth of what was in the scriptures for myself, when I received God’s enlightenment to my heart.

Tomas Benevidez: You say that there’s a need for modesty on the land.

Gabriel Travesser: Is that a question or a statement?

Tomas Benevidez: I’m asking you, you said there was a need for modesty...

Gabriel Travesser: Yes, I did.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. But isn’t it true that Wayne Bent gets to sleep with a lot of the women on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: You’d have to ask him that. I don’t... I don’t live up there with him.

Tomas Benevidez: You say you’re close to the end of Biblical times. My understanding through the BBC is that the end of times was in two thousand seven (2007) October thirty-first?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, you also have to realize the BBC put many things, including that, in there, which we never told them. They made those up, out of thin air. We have never once said that the end of the world was coming at any particular time. We looked at the prophecies. We found out when their culmination was, but we never, in any way, explained what they would look like. We leave that to God. We don’t tell him how to make his prophecies look.

Tomas Benevidez: So, you don’t have a date for the end of time?

Gabriel Travesser: No. Never have had one.

Tomas Benevidez: How do you commune with God?

Gabriel Travesser: How do I commune with God?

Tomas Benevidez: Yes.

Gabriel Travesser: Well, you have heard of prayer, I know. That’s one way. If you’re asking, if I hear voices in my head... No. What I do is I have a knowing in my heart, just like anybody else knows that it’s not right to go rob a bank. I know that I hear Father, my Father in Heaven, telling me what is right and wrong.

Tomas Benevidez: And you say that Wayne Bent is a very kind, spiritual shepherd. Isn’t that correct?

Gabriel Travesser: That’s what he’s been to me. Yes. And elder brother.

Tomas Benevidez: Is one of the mores of, or one of the mores of the land to be modest?

Gabriel Travesser: Isn’t that the same question you asked before? Or did you want a different answer? I’m not sure...

Tomas Benevidez: No. I’m just curious that one of the mores is that you have modesty.

Gabriel Travesser: Yes. I think that’s a fairly desirable standard.

Tomas Benevidez: Did the whole community agree to that?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes.

Tomas Benevidez: How is it suggested?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, you’re asking for details that are beyond my ability to recall. I just know that we all agreed on things. When we established this church in nineteen eighty-seven (1987), from that point forward... At the very outset, we agreed that nothing would be done unless we all agreed and it was unanimous. Nobody would be dissenting in anything. They would, if there was any dissent, then the thing was not passed. It was an initial standard of us.

Tomas Benevidez: So, no one dissented to the choosing of the seven virgins?

Gabriel Travesser: No, because they chose themselves. They received the unction and the anointing from God himself. Nobody chose them, except them.

Tomas Benevidez: Are you familiar with the email that Wayne Bent sent out?

Gabriel Travesser: I think he’s probably...

Ms. Montoya: I’m sorry, your Honor, I didn’t hear that question.

Tomas Benevidez: Were you familiar with the email that Wayne Bent sent out?

Gabriel Travesser: The email, I think he’s probably sent out thousands, as have I, during...

Tomas Benevidez: Was there an email that he said that he saw a vision from God and that he needed seven virgins? And he invited the seven virgins to come and have a meeting with him.

Gabriel Travesser: He explained... Probably. I’m sure I read it. I’ve read everything he’s posted.

Tomas Benevidez: You mentioned the cost to Mr. Wayne Bent, the cost to himself. What cost?

Gabriel Travesser: This cost. Right here. What you’re doing.

Tomas Benevidez: So you’re saying...

Gabriel Travesser: That’s one. That’s one cost. That’s only one among many.

Tomas Benevidez: So, you’re saying that he purposely put himself in this position, and that’s a cost to him?

Gabriel Travesser: As I mentioned earlier, he will follow God and do whatever he’s told.

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you.

Gabriel Travesser: He hears his voice and he follows, that’s exactly what it is. That’s why I’m with him. If he had ever violated his integrity a single time, I would not be here.

Tomas Benevidez: In the land is there a difference between adults and children?

Gabriel Travesser: There’s a difference between... In what way? I’m sorry, would you elaborate on that a little bit?

Tomas Benevidez: Yes. I mean, is there a difference between young women who come to lay naked and be close to God and adults becoming close to God?

Gabriel Travesser: You’re trying to compare a symbolical act with a religious experience.

Tomas Benevidez: No. I’m not trying a symbolical act and religious experience. What I’m asking you is... You’re familiar with certain people in the community laying naked with Wayne Bent, aren’t you?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. So I’m asking you, is there a difference in the land between adults laying naked with Mr. Bent and you laying, or... and children laying naked with Mr. Bent? Is there a difference?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, in the fact that one would be an adult and one would be a child.... I’m sorry, sir, but the question so vague, I don’t really know how to address it.

Tomas Benevidez: Do you know anyone else in the land who’s laid naked with Mr. Bent?

Gabriel Travesser: I haven’t. That’s all I know.

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you. Do you know anyone else on the land besides Mr. Bent?

Gabriel Travesser: Yeah. Forty-five other people.

Tomas Benevidez: Ok. And do you know them... have you known them for thirty years?

Gabriel Travesser: Well, no. He’s... I’ve known him longer than anybody else here. There’s others I’ve known nearly as long.

Tomas Benevidez: Ah... Mr. Travesser, is it true that you were disavowed from the land?

Gabriel Travesser: That I was what?

Tomas Benevidez: Disavowed from the church?

Gabriel Travesser: Disavowed from?

Tomas Benevidez: Yes.

Gabriel Travesser: You mean disfellowshipped?

Tomas Benevidez: Yes, sir.

Gabriel Travesser: Yes, sir.

Tomas Benevidez: When did that happen?

Gabriel Travesser: Nineteen ninety-one, (1991), I believe.

Tomas Benevidez: Was that because you were caught with a young woman in a sexual act?

Gabriel Travesser: No.

Tomas Benevidez: What was it for then?

Gabriel Travesser: That was during a period of time, I think I was in my late forties at that time, and I was going through what psychologists would call a midlife crisis. You know, that’s when a man leaves his wife and gets a motor cycle or a corvette and goes off and gets... Except I didn’t have a wife to leave at that time. And I just was basically more familiar than our church would allow with young ladies. There was never any contact between me and them. It was just... it was something that nobody would normally think anything of, but with us, the standards were a lot higher than that.

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you.

Judge Baca: Alright.

Gabriel Travesser: And it was Mr. Bent who took me out of that.

Judge Baca: Alright. Re-direct.

Tomas Benevidez: I’m sorry, your Honor. Recall from that question.

Judge Baca: Ok.

Tomas Benevidez: Mr. Bent took you out of that?

Gabriel Travesser: He was the one who brought me out of it.

Tomas Benevidez: And then he allowed you back on the land?

Gabriel Travesser: He... No. Let me elaborate, seeing how we’re doing that now. He was the one that...

Tomas Benevidez: I’m not asking...

Gabriel Travesser: ....saved me from it. And it’s never been a problem since.

Tomas Benevidez: Have you ever appeared naked with either A.S. or L.S. or Healed?

Gabriel Travesser: (chuckles) No.

Tomas Benevidez: You have not?

Gabriel Travesser: No.

Tomas Benevidez: Were you in the room when A.S. or L.S. was naked with Mr. Wayne Bent?

Gabriel Travesser: No.

Tomas Benevidez: Thank you.

Judge Baca: Alright. Re-direct?

Ms. Montoya: Mr. Travesser, you were asked about a sick woman who was allowed to pass away. Would you please tell us the woman’s name?

Gabriel Travesser: Her name was Verna Bernheisel.

Ms. Montoya: How old was she?

Gabriel Travesser: You know, it’s interesting. I should know that, because I knew her and her husband for a long time. I think she was in her early fifties, late forties. I’m not quite sure.

Ms. Montoya: And what name did she go by?

Gabriel Travesser: Purity.

Ms. Montoya: Now, what was...? What was she sick with?

Gabriel Travesser: I believe it had... Her body was producing toxic cysts and it caused a certain sub-cranial type of reaction or stroke, when one of them burst. And that was the beginning of her demise.

Ms. Montoya: And she was offered medical treatment?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes, she was.

Ms. Montoya: Was her illness terminal?

Tomas Benevidez: Objection, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Alright. You may approach.

Sidebar - Sidebar discussions cannot be heard by the jury.

Tomas Benevidez: This witness hasn’t been qualified as a medical doctor. And she’s going into medical issues that are inappropriate and irrelevant in this case.

Ms. Montoya: Well, your Honor, he asked...

Judge Baca: (Out of hearing)

Ms. Montoya: He knows. He knows. The prosecution has painted a picture as though the people were not allowed to see doctors. that they’re somehow controlled. And she was offered this medical help. And I just want to establish that she had the right to refuse it.

Judge Baca: (Out of hearing)

Sidebar ends

Judge Baca: Alright. The objection is overruled.

Ms. Montoya: People on the land are not prevented in any way from getting medical treatment. Correct?

Gabriel Travesser: Not at all. The people who determined that she did not want medical treatment were paramedics, medical professionals from Clayton. They weren’t with us, in other words. We do have medical professionals there. We had a paramedic for a long time and we had a woman who was a registered nurse. So there’s a considerable amount of medical education present there.

Ms. Montoya: The prosecution brought up the trust and the trustees. You’re one of the trustees?

Gabriel Travesser: Yes, ma’am.

Ms. Montoya: How many are there?

Gabriel Travesser: I think there are four, but I don’t really remember. We never had to exercise a counsel of trustees, because we all agree on everything.

Ms. Montoya: And the prosecution brought up the seven virgins. What was the purpose of the seven virgins?

Gabriel Travesser: They were the fulfillment of the biblical plagues of Revelation sixteen, where it talks about them pouring out the plagues upon the earth. And they were a symbolic representation. They chose... They received the unction from God, the Father, that they were to take part in this symbolical act. And they did so. And it was acted out. You probably... I don’t know if you’ve seen pictures of it or not, but they’re quite, quite prevalent. We never... Everything that we’ve done, basically, has been published on the internet. And that was one of them. It was something that was intended to... You have to understand that in the Bible and in God’s universe, symbols are very important, the cross, the eucharist, or whatever. Symbols have always been an integral part. And the acting out of the pouring out of the plagues was one of those symbols.

Ms. Montoya: But the seven virgins weren’t sacrificial lambs or for sexual purposes? Is that correct?

Gabriel Travesser: No. No, ma’am.

Ms. Montoya: Thank you.

Tomas Benevidez: Mr. Travesser, you just basically stated to Ms. Montoya that...

Gabriel Travesser: I’m sorry sir, I can’t hear you.

Judge Baca: Mr. Benevidez, let me ask you to approach.

Sidebar - Sidebar discussion cannot be heard by the jury

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, I apologize. ( What follows is mostly out of hearing range for transcription, but he says that he is frustrated over Gabriel’s testimony about the seven virgins. And evidently, eventually says that he has nothing more to say.)

Sidebar ends

Judge Baca: Alright. May this witness be excused?

Ms. Montoya: Yes, sir.

Judge Baca: Do you need him? Subject to recall?

Ms. Montoya: I’ve been told we can’t use for rebuttal. So, not for us...

Judge Baca: So then, he’s permanently excused?

Ms. Montoya: Yes, your Honor. I would ask that he be given permission to remain in the courtroom, if he so desires.

Judge Baca: Alright. The State?

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, if he’s excused permanently, then there is no objection from the State.

Judge Baca: Alright. Thank you.

Tomas Benevidez: If he’s going to be called as a rebuttal witness, then I would ask that he not be allowed in the courtroom.

Judge Baca: Well, the defense will not be given the right to rebuttal. Alright. So you are permanently excused. You are done with your testimony and you can remain in the courtroom if you wish.

Gabriel Travesser: Thank you, sir.

Judge Baca: Thank you for your presence here today.

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