Located in Middlesboro, Kentucky is a church that is inspired by the biblical verse Mark 16:18: ‘They will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them.’ It is here, where worshipers began to hold church services, dating back to over a hundred years ago, within the Appalachian Mountains.
What makes them unique, are the types of services conducted and their religious beliefs. These folks, use live snakes during their sermons. Cody Coots, is one man determined to continue his father’s teachings, even though Jamie Coots died from a rattlesnake bite back in 2014. Recently, Cody was bitten by a rattlesnake as well, inside the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus’ church. He later was carried outside, after feeling sick from the strike of the serpent.
Cody is 23 years old and likely will die earlier in life, from conducting these church gatherings. Inside the premises, women wear dresses only and those who feel moved by the Holy Spirit, are invited to come to the front, drink poison, handle fire or be bitten by a snake of some kind.
So far, there are around 14 people who attend the service on a regular bases. Each service held on Sunday, lasts between 90 minutes to upwards of 5 hours. The services are bizarre and intense to those who attend. Like many other churches, they do share some festivities like singing and dancing.
This is what Cody had to say, ‘When the Bible says serpents, it means a poisonous snake. When the old man got bit he died within probably 10 minutes, it’s a nasty bite. ‘Every time he’d ever got bitten, I’d never seen him drop a snake.
And I’ve seen the snake hit the floor I thought, “We’ll just take him home”. ‘He walked back to the bathroom and the last words he did say to me was, “My face feels like it’s on fire”. ‘I stepped out of the bathroom and then I heard a scream and when I went back there he just went limp. ‘
Cody has a 25 year old wife named Tammy, they seemed to click with one another immediately after being introduced by Tammy’s father. However, Tammy mentioned that all of this isn’t for her. She wasn’t raised on this religion. Tammy also said, ‘That church is their blood, you know.
It started with their family and it’s going down with their family. ‘It is not for me’. Tammy said she is crazy over Cody since they met one another. They didn’t talk with one another about religion, until after they got married to one another. Tammy also said, “God, what did I get myself into?”. ‘I do worry that Cody is going to leave this world like his dad did. I don’t ever want that to happen to him because I love him‘.
According to the the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, there are an estimated 7,000-8,000 people who are bitten each year by venomous snakes. Around 5 people die each year statistically. In general, rattlesnake bites are not fatal if they are treated quickly. Within the past 6 years, there have been 3 different deaths in the United States from religious type ceremonies.
Processes and services such as these, are dangerous and highly understood it seems.
(Source: Metro UK)