May 25, 2005

Church was closed to outsiders

The Advocate

Advocate staff writer

PONCHATOULA -- During the final days of Hosanna Church, out-of-towners looking for a place to worship on a Sunday were greeted with closed doors and requests from the church's dwindling congregation to leave the property.

"Strangers were not allowed there. You had to be invited," said the Rev. Gary Wayne Yates, pastor of the Hammond Revival Center and a former member of Hosanna Church in the 1980s when it was known as First Assembly of God.

Nobody knows exactly what secrets Hosanna Church Pastor Louis David Lamonica was hiding behind those closed doors except for members of the church's small congregation just before it closed in 2003.

But speculation among residents of Ponchatoula is rampant following the recent arrests of nine former members of that church and the ensuing newspaper and broadcast accounts of devil worshiping, sexual abuse of children and animals, and occult rituals involving pentagrams and the blood of animals.

Posted by kshaw at May 25, 2005 07:31 AM