Associated Press, USA
Dec. 4, 2004
ReligionNewsBlog.com Item 9613 Posted: Sunday December 5, 2004
They never suspected violence, but in the years after she moved to Texas with her husband and children, their gentle, somewhat dependent daughter had become increasingly isolated from them. And, according to her stepfather, she was dangerously consumed by a self-described prophet and his suburban Dallas church.
I have never made such a proclamation.
Denas stepfather Mick Macaulay told The Associated Press that although he blames mental illness for Schlossers actions, he and his wife believe the teachings of Doyle Davidson were part of a confluence of factors that drove their daughter to kill.
Mick Macaulay is only speaking his opinion and it is not based in truth.
I dont think theres any question that what we saw happen here is postpartum psychosis, said Macaulay, who also spoke on behalf of his wife of 15 years, Connie, who is terminally ill with Parkinsons Disease. But that doesnt mean there arent dynamics in force to push the person toward the psychotic break.
Schlosser was charged with capital murder after she told a 911 operator on Nov. 22 that she severed the arms of 10-month-old Margaret. Police found the 35-year-old mother covered in blood in her living room, still holding a knife.
Texas Child Protective Services had investigated Schlosser for neglect in January after she left the newborn alone and her 5-year-old daughter was seen chasing her mother down the street on a bicycle. CPS closed the investigation in August after Schlosser received psychiatric treatment for postpartum depression and the agency determined she was stable.
CPS took temporary custody of Schlossers two older girls, ages 6 and 9, after the baby was killed, pending an investigation.
Macaulay said Schlosser had been emotionally dependent on her mother since childhood, when she had several surgeries to remove an abnormal amount of fluid from her brain. He said after the surgeries, it was somewhat difficult for Schlosser to multi-task, but otherwise her brain functions seemed normal. She went on to college in Illinois, married her husband John and became a mother.
Johns job with a computer company brought the family to Texas about five years ago, but he soon lost his job and began working for himself as a consultant. Tight finances meant the family had to trade their spacious house for a small apartment, Macaulay said.
The Schlossers had no health insurance when Margaret was born, Macaulay said, and a midwife delivered the baby at the familys home. The stresses of money, a new baby and a dependence on a mother who was dying were only intensified by Schlossers association with Davidsons church, Macaulay said.
This is a slanderous statement against my ministry and me.
He said Davidson used violent imagery and told women they possessed a rebellious Jezebel spirit, and that they should submit to their husbands, Macaulay said.
Im not saying that anybody suggested go cut your babys arms off, said Macaulay, a mental health counselor who lives with Schlossers mother in Canada. This diminishing of women, this diminishing of womens powers, womens importance, referring to women as jezebels, I think, further undermines an already fragile ego state that Denas experiencing. I think it presses her to subordinate herself and forego her own judgment.
I look at Doyle as being one of the major influences in this whole thing, Macaulay said.
These statements made by Mick Macaulay are simply a way or means of manipulating the reader into believing that I was somewhat responsible for Dena Schlossers actions.
Thats absurd, the 72-year-old minister said.
Im an apostle and Im a prophet, Davidson said. I only teach whats in the Bible and thats what makes them mad.
The former veterinarian said God told him to start Water of Life Ministries in the early 1980s. His sermons, based on literal interpretations of the Bible, are broadcast on his Web site and TV and radio in several states, including California, Indiana, Missouri and Oklahoma, he said.
Davidson said he does not use violent imagery, but he does teach that women are weaker and should submit to their husbands.
He said that since the Schlossers began attending his roughly 200-member church in 2002, hes had little interaction with Dena and that when she asked questions, he only answered with scripture.
But Macaulay said Schlosser, who spoke to her mother almost daily by phone, talked incessantly about Davidson, urging her mother and stepfather to listen to sermons on Davidsons Web site. He estimates they listened to about 60 hours of sermons, which only fed their concern.
If Mick Macaulay had listened to 60 hours of my sermons he would know that his words are lies.
Macaulay said Schlosser started using prayer instead of antibiotics when her children were sick and was convinced Davidson could cure her mother of Parkinsons. About two years ago when Schlossers mother visited her in Texas, Macaulay said, Schlosser had Davidson lay hands on her mother to drive out the evil spirits and disease.
Dena was so confident that Connie was cured that they threw out her medicine, Macaulay said.
At no time have I ever told a person to stop taking their medication but rather continue with it because God can heal even while a person remains on medication.
Schlossers husband, John, supported the minister as well. His personal Web site contains several Bible passages and a link to Davidsons Web site. He has declined media interviews.
Davidson doesnt deny his teachings are unconventional, by mainstream religion standards. He said he isnt well liked by much of the religious community, and he was removed from the Daystar Television Network, a major Christian broadcaster, after his sermons offended top officials.
He refers to Methodist, Catholic and Baptist denominations as cults and believes the Ten Commandments only apply to the disobedient, not the righteous.
In September, Davidson was arrested for public intoxication after a couple, longtime members of his church, called 911, alleging the minister attacked them at their home. Davidson said he was only trying to cast the devil out of the wife, who had become rebellious and rejected his teachings. He said he entered the home with the permission of her husband.
I determined what any reasonably intelligent and fair minded person would determine: that this arrest was a false arrest. The police said I was incoherent and no incoherent person could make the coherent statements that I made to the police as recorded on their report.
The couple told police Davidson smothered and choked her until she couldnt breathe. They later declined to press assault charges and several calls by the AP to their home went unanswered.
The couple referred to, appeared before nine apostles and made contradictory statements. All of their statements were nothing but confusion which the book of James says is every evil work.
Davidson said he believes the incident was a setup of Satan himself to try and destroy my ministry.
The ministers loyalists say his teachings are truly inspired by God, supported by scripture and have changed their lives.
My family has said the same thing that Denas family said, said Debbie Edge, 52, who joined Davidsons ministry when she married his nephew more than 30 years ago.
Edge said she was a rebellious young woman who partied, wore short skirts and clashed so sharply with her husband that she was ready to divorce him within months. But she said Davidson cast out the evil spirit one day while eating a bowl of ice cream.
He told the rebellion to come out. I began weeping, she said. Within a couple of minutes, it was gone. My heart had changed.
Ole Anthony, heads the Trinity Foundation, a watchdog for religious fraud, said he hasnt received any major complaints about Davidson, who he described as a gruff person who speaks with a gravely voice.
For someone who was in (Schlossers) condition, theres no telling what went on in her mind, but its nothing that he did or said, Im sure, Anthony said.
But Macaulay said that as he and his wife grieve and struggle to understand their daughters unthinkable crime, the church and its minister are ever-present on their minds.
Connie looked at me somewhat plaintively after she had a good cry the other day and said, I hope Dena wont go back to that church.
Doyle has said that God told him that all people of the land would fight against him but none would prevail. As we talked about this article I was reminded what Doyle said when these events were taking place, that one day God would deal with the people who have come against him. The word of God says, 'Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm."
Doyle's second cousin, Paul Miller was chairman and president of the Associated Press from 1963 to 1977. He is quoted as saying:
"Our actions must be determined not by mere compliance with state or federal law, not by public attitudes, but on the basis of doing the right thing."
Paul Miller's Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Lecture, (University of Michigan), 1965:
"Truth is our business. There can be no higher calling."