WELLS — The sister of 26-year-old Catherine Grove is supporting her younger sister's decision to stay with the controversial Church of Wells and away from her parents, who are trying desperately to get her to return home.
During a telephone interview this week from her home in Fayetteville, Ark., Amy Grove said her sister, Catherine, sought out Church of Wells parishioners because she wanted new friends in a community who could help her escape her controlling parents.
“I think she's trying to get protection from my family,” the 30-year-old said. “Catherine truly sees the Church of Wells like the early church — as a group of Christians who seem persecuted. So she wants to join them because of their persecution. She feels their pain.”
Amy, who said she and Catherine have always shared a close bond, said she felt comfortable speaking for her sister, but acknowledged Catherine, whom she described as an “introvert” really just wants to be left alone.
Reached by telephone for comment Friday afternoon, Andy Grove — father of the two sisters — said he was in a brief meeting and would call back shortly. But neither he nor mother Patty Grove returned this call prior to deadline.
A request for a face-to-face interview with Catherine Grove was declined Friday. However, Church of Wells Elder Sean Morris responded in an email that Catherine's only reason for coming to Wells was "to seek an assurance of her salvation with Biblical counsel and help."
During the almost two-hour interview, Amy Grove talked about what it was like to grow up in a four-daughter missionary family under a minister father. Amy Grove described her parents as “manipulative” and “controlling” as she outlined a life she said was fraught with constant, sometimes violent, conflict between parent and child. Amy contends that one time, her father burned boxes of her books. She claims the girls were not allowed to have a door on their shared bedroom, nor were they allowed to watch TV, use computers, watch Disney movies or write in diaries.