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Heaven Bent

Heaven Bent

Tara Jean Stevens grew up in a bizarre spiritual movement in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. As a teen, she had doubts about the claims of supernatural activity in her childhood church, but it took years to divulge fact from fiction. Today, she?s what they call a backslider; living free from religion and helping others navigate their own faith journeys. This investigative series explores the world of Pentecostal and charismatic Christians, one season at a time. In season three, Tara Jean follows the Pentecostal spirit of revival to Nashville, Tennessee where a once thriving church is up in flames and a mutilated body is found inside. In season two, she examines the questionable teachings of Bethel Church, in Redding, California. In season one, Tara Jean seeks to understand the strange behaviour of worshippers in the ?Toronto Blessing? movement.


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The Big Ol' Ship

In the final episode of season three, the shocking truth about what actually happened at Emmanuel Church of Christ, on June 16th, 1987. And the verdict in the David Terry murder and arson trial. Plus, where has this journey left Sharon today and what does the future hold for her childhood church?

Subscribe to Heaven Bent Plus for early access to episodes and bonus content, all ad-free. 

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The Tongues Not of Their Own

Tara Jean helps Sharon trace Emmanuel?s roots back to the 1906 Azusa Street Revival, in Los Angeles. The revival marks the beginning of a painful racial split in the Pentecostal church, leading Tara Jean and Sharon on an exploration of the appropriation of Black culture in the white Pentecostal church.

Subscribe to Heaven Bent Plus for early access to episodes and bonus content, all ad-free. 


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The Women Preachers

Tara Jean shines a spotlight on the women and girls of Emmanuel Church of Christ, including founding Bishop-Overseer Nina May Pierce. How did she fight off the men in her church who thought they knew better? Sharon shares her own experience growing up as a girl in Emmanuel post-Nina's leadership. 

Subscribe to Heaven Bent Plus for early access to episodes and bonus content, all ad-free. 

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A special message from Tara Jean

We're taking a break from releasing new season three episodes. But you can listen to the whole season right now by subscribing to Heaven Bent Plus.

 Subscribe to Heaven Bent Plus for early access to episodes and bonus content, all ad-free. 

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The David Terry Trial

Emmanuel Pastor, David Terry faces murder and arson charges in a Tennessee court. What does his former lawyer remember about the trial? Also, Sharon confronts her dad about his memory of the trial and hears his perspective for the first time ever.

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The Tabernacle

When the fire happened, in Nashville, Sharon was at Emmanuel?s church camp; speaking in tongues and crushing on boys. What dark secrets did the adults in her church keep from her? And why did they suspect a cult might be involved?  

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The Bishop-Overseer

Sharon learns about the early days of Emmanuel Church of Christ and its intriguing legacy of female leadership. Can this in-depth look at the church's history help us better understand what led to the tragic events of 1987?

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The Emmanuel Church of Christ

It's the morning of June 16th, 1987, in Nashville, Tennessee. Shortly after midnight, firefighters are called to a blaze at Emmanuel Church of Christ. What they find in the ashes would change this small Pentecostal congregation forever.  Thirty-five years later, Tara Jean Stevens begins to unravel this shocking crime.

On the journey with her is Sharon Edwards. She was just a kid when the fire tore apart her church family. Today, she wants to know the truth about what happened.

Subscribe to Heaven Bent Plus for early access to episodes and bonus content, all ad-free.

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Introducing Season Three: Death in Emmanuel

It?s 1987. Nashville, Tennessee. Emmanuel Church of Christ Oneness Pentecostal is up in flames and a mutilated body is found inside. Who did it? Why is the congregation?s beloved pastor missing? And could a Satanic cult be responsible, or was it something else equally sinister?

In season three, host and creator Tara Jean Stevens reveals the shocking details surrounding this mysterious and thought-provoking murder. Along the way, she learns about the church itself and the people who once sat in its pews. Their story brings forward a deep history of tent revivals, gospel music, and a rare legacy of female preachers. Plus, as always, a whole lotta speakin? in tongues!

Subscribe to Heaven Bent Plus for early access to episodes and bonus content, all ad-free. 

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S2E8: The Heart Of Bethel

In the final episode this season, what?s truly at the heart of Bethel Church, in Redding, California? And, is it a cult?

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S2E7: The Devil Himself

The eye-opening evolution of the image of Satan in the Evangelical Church. Plus, what does the Devil have to do with the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. If you ask the leaders of Bethel Church, in Redding, California. The answer is a whole Hell of a lot.

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S2E6: The Once Gays

Can God cure someone of their homosexual desires? Tara Jean Stevens explores ?conversion therapy? and the ?ex-gay? movement, within Bethel Church.

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S2E5: The Outbreak

A COVID-19 outbreak at Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry makes national headlines. And, Sean Feucht?s ?Let Us Worship? tour hits Washington, DC. Is he right? Could this be a ?tipping point for revival in America?? And how about his critics? Will this be the superspreader event they?re dreading?

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S2E4: The Power To Heal

At Bethel Church, they believe in the power to heal the sick and raise the dead. What could possibly go wrong?

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S2E3: The Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry

What happens at Bethel?s bewildering School of Supernatural Ministry? And how do they plan to keep students safe as they return to class during the COVID-19 pandemic?

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S2E2: The City of Redding

How much influence and impact does Bethel Church have in Redding? Turns out? a lot. And many locals are not happy about it. Is a cult really trying to take over this Northern California town?

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S2E1: The Freedom To Worship

In defiance of COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings and public singing, a Billboard charting worship leader from Redding, California launches a national, outdoor worship tour. Thousands of people show up at nearly every stop, and there?s barely ever a mask in sight. Is Sean Feucht a superspreader? Join Tara Jean Stevens, as she begins her exploration into Bethel Church, one of the largest and most unusual churches in America.

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The Modern Prophetic Tour

You?ve never met. So, how does he know your phone number? Your children?s names? And what you do for work? On this final season 1 bonus episode, join Tara Jean Stevens as she takes a deeper look into the controversial ministry of prophet Shawn Bolz ? a ?pioneer? in the Apostolic Prophetic Movement.

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Season 2: Inside America?s Most Unusual Church

Supernatural healings. Gold dust falling from the ceiling. Resurrections. Bethel Church, in Redding, California, is one of the largest and most unusual churches in America. What goes on inside its bewildering School of Supernatural Ministry? Is Bethel as powerful as its critics believe it to be? And, during the COVID-19 pandemic, why are its most high-profile leaders defying public health orders? In season 2 of Heaven Bent, join Tara Jean Stevens as she continues to track the ?Toronto Blessing? ? a bizarre spiritual movement that spread to her childhood church, and around the world.

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The Most Evil Person Ever

Fire tunnels, gold dust, and a mysterious silver fleck. On this season 1 bonus episode: Tara Jean Stevens? candid conversation with Bruce Vanden Berg. Like Tara Jean, he was once involved with the Toronto Blessing movement. Today, he has fond memories of his time with the church, but there also came a day when he knew he had to leave.

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Introducing Unfinished: Short Creek

A divided community in the desert. A prophet with total power. A battle over family, home, and the limits of religious freedom. Unfinished: Short Creek, is the latest investigative true crime podcast from Witness Docs, and Critical Frequency. Short Creek, located on the Utah/Arizona border, is home to the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a break-off from the Mormon church that practices polygamy. Since their leader, Warren Jeffs, was sentenced to life in prison in 2007, the people of Short Creek have been forced to reckon with their painful past, and struggle to define their future. Episodes 1&2 of Unfinished: Short Creek are out NOW ? listen and subscribe wherever you find your podcasts. If you want to listen to the full season of Unfinished: Short Creek now, without ads, sign up for Stitcher Premium at Use promo code WITNESS for 1 month free.

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S1E5: The Gold Teeth

In March of 1999, more than 300 Christians claimed that gold teeth or fillings had miraculously appeared in their mouths. Can any of these ?dental miracles? be verified? On this episode of Heaven Bent, Tara Jean Stevens returns to her childhood church in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, to find out. Also, on this final episode of the season, Tara Jean, herself a former follower, comes to some personal conclusions on the ?Toronto Blessing? movement.

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S1E4: The River

In 1995, a pastor?s wife from Florida attended ?Toronto Blessing? services in Toronto, Canada. Just days after her return, the strange phenomena happening there started happening in her church back home in Brownsville. Was her trip a successful crowd-control reconnaissance mission? On this episode of Heaven Bent, Tara Jean Stevens tracks the spread of this controversial spiritual movement ? where it spread, and why. Also, what?s the ?new wine?? And what does it feel like to get ?drunk in the spirit??.

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S1E3: The Carpet Time

Even the children fell to the floor, shaking and speaking in tongues. On this episode of Heaven Bent, Tara Jean Stevens explores the strange phenomenon known as ?carpet time?. Was something supernatural at play? If not, what else could be going on? And, tracing the fascinating historical roots of the ?Toronto Blessing,? we learn about the ?Jesus Freaks? of the 1960s and 70s.

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S1E2: The Gifts of the Spirit

They say she heals the deaf and blind. They even say ?Mama Heidi? has raised the dead. On this episode of Heaven Bent, Tara Jean Stevens explores the divine healing ministry of Mozambique missionary and Toronto Blessing follower: Heidi Baker. Plus, what does science teach us about ?speaking in tongues?? And, birthdates, the names of your children, the description of your childhood home ? where does Prophet Shawn Bolz get his ?words of wisdom? from? He says it?s the Holy Spirit. His critics say? it?s the internet.

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S1E1: The Revival

In 1994, a small church next to Toronto Pearson International Airport suddenly became one of the city?s ?Top Tourist Attractions?. Why did millions of Christians flock from around the world? Was something truly supernatural happening? 25 years later, join Tara Jean Stevens as she revisits the unusual spiritual movement she was a part of as a teenager.

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Coming Soon: Heaven Bent

Tara Jean Stevens was a teenager when a bizarre spiritual movement spread from Toronto to her childhood church in Prince Rupert, British Columbia. Why did worshipers shake and fall to the ground? Did anyone truly get healed? And did gold teeth miraculously appear in people?s mouths?or not? Join Tara Jean on her curious journey to find out.

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