The same week Jerry Pearce's ministry in Dalton, Georgia, about a Bible allegedly producing oil shut down amid challenges to its credibility, a pastor at a church in Cleveland, Tennessee, where Pearce started attending claimed gold is appearing and an acoustic guitar there is producing oil.
Robert Bankston, pastor at Soaring Eagle Ministry and Teaching Center, said he and other people began finding gold chunks and flakes throughout the church over a series of days in early February.
Brodie Allred, who often leads worship at the church with his wife Debbie, said droplets of oil began forming on his guitar around the same time.
The men claim the dust and chunks would appear when no one was in the church, though the two men claim churchgoers saw dust appear on their Bibles during a service. In an interview this week, the men claim they never said the gold-colored pieces were actual gold.
However, multiple church members said the leaders told the people in attendance the gold was real. In a Feb. 8 service streamed on Facebook Live, Bankston said the gold would be collected to pay off the debts of Christians and Allred discouraged church members from taking home any of the pieces they found.
Around this time, Allred posted a series of videos to Facebook of himself finding the alleged appearances. The videos were later deleted. Allred said they were drawing unwanted attention.
In one deleted video obtained by the Times Free Press, an enthusiastic Allred walks around the church picking up "chunks of gold" and pointing out oil allegedly appearing overnight on his guitar and a nearby Bible.
The events splintered the Cleveland church. Members reported leaving, believing they were being deceived by their leader. Harry Brannen resigned from his position as associate pastor a week after the events began. He did not want to be a part of what was happening, he said.
"That's the reason," Brannen said. "I didn't have anything to do with that."
Several church members said they were concerned about the alleged appearances of gold dust and oil around the same time Pearce began attending the Cleveland church.
In multiple Facebook videos, Allred said he and Bankston anointed the door of the church with oil allegedly from the Bible in Dalton.
Pearce was the leader of His Name is Flowing Oil, the ministry claiming to have a Bible producing oil. The group — which shut down earlier this month during challenges to its credibility — continues to defend its work despite admitting its leader bought mineral oil and canceling all future prayer services.
Pearce is not the only connection between the ministry in Dalton and the church in Cleveland. Allred and his wife led the worship services for His Name is Flowing Oil. Bankston, the pastor, was regularly in attendance of the weekly events in Dalton and continues to carry a vial of Pearce's oil in his pocket. While others have distanced themselves from the now-closed ministry, Bankston said he stands by the group.
"I'm glad to say I was a part of it down there [in Dalton]," he said. "I'm not going to run and stick my head in the sand."
Pearce began attending Soaring Eagle in February and appears in several Facebook Live videos talking about his Bible, though he denied having any further involvement with the church or the events there.
Allred and Bankston both claim similar events — oil on the guitar and gold dust appearing — happened to them before and in other churches around the country. Bankston said he prayed for the events to stop, though he is seen celebrating in multiple videos.
Allred said he has locked his guitar in his home to see what happens. He said he would not test the oil on the instrument to see what it is.
Bankston said he does not want people to come to his church just to see the gold dust. If the appearances of the gold chunks and dust continue, they will be cleaned up so no one from the church or the public can see them, he said.
"We'll just see what God's gonna do," Bankston said.