For 18 days, she simply “dropped off the grid.”
Her social media accounts were shut down, she stopped going to school, turned off her phone and stopped communicating with friends, including her boyfriend. They were so concerned the hashtag #FindTessBoyer began trending on Twitter.
Then, her father, Pastor Roy Boyer, stepped forward and told GossipCop today (Mar. 17) that Tess was “fine” and “not missing.”
Finally, Tess herself posted a video on YouTube addressed to friends and others who were concerned.
She appeared without makeup, was calm and matter-of-fact. But her comments, no matter how reassuring, revealed that she was torn between two worlds.
There was Tess, the outgoing student and budding professional singer, and Tess at a sudden and unexpected crossroads.
“I took a break from my social media and my phone and different events in my life to completely clean out everything and to get back to where God has purposed me to go. And, to get down to the root of what his purpose and destiny and calling is on my life,” she said.
“That’s why I’ve sacrificed everything, so I can find out who that is, and be who he has called me to be, according to his will,” she added.
While the words were hers, the sentiment was a clear reflection of her father’s ministry.
Boyer is pastor of the Harvest Community Church in suburban St. Louis. He preaches a literal interpretation of the Bible and apocalyptic worldview.
According to the church’s Web site, the Old and New Testaments are “the only infallible, inspired Word of God, and that its authority is ultimate, final and eternal.”
“It cannot be added to, subtracted from or superseded in any regard. The Bible is the source of all doctrine, instruction, correction and reproof. It contains all that is needed for guidance in godliness and practical Christian conduct.”
Boyer is also a believer in the final days. “We affirm the bodily, personal, second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, the resurrection of the saints, the millennium and the final judgment,” according to its Web site.
The church’a philosophy is rooted in Pentecostalism, an early 20th Century religious movement that believes in the imminent second coming of Christ. More radical Pentecosts believe in divine healing, miracles, speaking in tongues and supernatural abilities known as “spiritual gifts.”
More than 700 denominations and a large number of independent churches fall under the Pentecostal umbrella, with most rooted in the nation’s Bible belt in the South, Midwest and Southwest.
Boyer founded his church in 1990, based on “prophetic interpretations.” Then known as the Harvest Assembly, in 2010, he renamed his ministry Harvest Community Church, according to its Web site.
Boyer appears to be low-key and moderate in his ministry, eschewing fire and brimstone sermons in favor of positive messages. And, he’s no YouTube preacher. Only one sermon could be found on the social media site.
He’s very involved in community events, supports veterans groups and belongs to a Christian group that supports Israel.
But he’s devout in his beliefs. He once wrote on his blog about how he used divine healing to heal torn ligaments and cartilage in his knees.
And, he speaks in sermons of ever-present “enemies,” who are out to undermine the faithful, although he doesn’t say who they are.
He’s also involved with a group called “Prepare the Way Ministries International.” Headed by James and Colleen Nesbit, it’s far more fundamentalist in its views.
What’s somewhat troubling about Tess Boyer’s “disappearance” was the belief among friends that her father had something to do with it.
The concern was heightened by the summary way they were told to “get off the property,” by her brother when they inquired about her, one friend told GossipCop.
They even went to the trouble of hiring lawyers, but finally agreed to stay out of the family’s affairs in exchange for some assurance that Tess was safe.
While Boyer certainly has the right to practice his religion–there’s nothing wrong with his widely held religious beliefs–Tess also has the right to make her own decision about how she’ll live.
It’s just a bit unsettling to see her change from someone who had found her dream on “The Voice,” to someone who is suddenly reclusive and searching for her soul.
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