JENSON, Ky. (WATE) – The Bell County Sheriff’s Office confirms a man was bitten on the arm by a snake at a Sunday church service at Mossie Simpson Pentecostal Church in Jenson, Kentucky.
Deputies said John D. Brock, 60, of Stoney Fork refused medical treatment after he was bitten on his left arm. Brock went to his brother’s home where he died from the bite.
The doors were locked at the church Tuesday, but church members say they are grieving and will not comment on what happened.
Mossie Simpson is a snake handling church where members say the Bible tells them to “take up serpents” and to handle venomous snakes because God will take care of them. Followers also believe even if they are bitten by a venomous snake, their fate is in God’s hands.
History of snakes in Kentucky, Tennessee churches
A snake handling pastor from Kentucky was also killed from a snake bite. James Cootes, 42, died after suffering several rattlesnake bites. Coots was handling a snake during an evening service at “Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name” in Middlesboro, Kentucky. His son was also bitten by a six foot rattlesnake, but survived.
Pastor Andrew Hamblin had more than 50 venomous snakes seized from Pastor Andrew Hamblin in November. Tennessee Wildlife Resource Ajency took the snakes to the Knoxville Zoo, but they all died or had to be euthanized due to their poor health. Hamblin went to court, but a grand jury declined to indict the Campbell County pastor and reality television star on charges related to snake handling.