Peyote.
Andrew Pielage
Peyote.
Peyote Way's sign, next to the front gate of the property, is painted with the church's tax ID number in case any curious government officials come knocking.
Andrew Pielage
Peyote Way's sign, next to the front gate of the property, is painted with the church's tax ID number in case any curious government officials come knocking.
Church founder Immanuel Trujillo (right) with Rabbi Matthew Kent and the Reverend Anne Zapf, who holds a piece of Mana pottery.
Courtesy Todd Pierson
Church founder Immanuel Trujillo (right) with Rabbi Matthew Kent and the Reverend Anne Zapf, who holds a piece of Mana pottery.
Trujillo's gravesite is prominent on church property near where church members take spirit walks.
Andrew Pielage
Trujillo's gravesite is prominent on church property near where church members take spirit walks.
A rustic campsite, where members take the holy sacrament peyote, is a short walk from the main house.
Andrew Pielage
A rustic campsite, where members take the holy sacrament peyote, is a short walk from the main house.
The Reverend Anne Zapf sits in the peyote house, where there are more than 10,000 plants of various stages of growth.
Andrew Pielage
The Reverend Anne Zapf sits in the peyote house, where there are more than 10,000 plants of various stages of growth.
Peyote takes years to grow and is considered by some to be an endangered species.
Andrew Pielage
Peyote takes years to grow and is considered by some to be an endangered species.
Zapf prepares peyote for sacramental use.
Andrew Pielage
Zapf prepares peyote for sacramental use.

That night, on the way to a hotel in Safford, headlights illuminate "Peyote Way Church of God" on an Arizona "Adopt a Highway" sign.

Correction: The story incorrectly stated Trujillo's son Juan was killed in an accident at the church. It was Trujillo's son Byram who was killed in the accident. Juan now goes by the name of Will and lives in Santa Fe.
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2 comments
hurricaneric
hurricaneric moderator

Here's a Letter to the Editor we received from Peyote Way Church:


1. Carlos Castenada’s work has long been regarded as fiction by scholars. For more accurate and scientific information about peyote’s alkaloids, please consult MAPS or EROWID, or Edward Anderson’s Peyote the Divine Cactus.

2. No one is getting rich off Peyote. The holy sacrament Peyote is not for sale at the Peyote Way Church. The gross income listed in the article does not reflect the taxes paid by Mana pottery, or the cost of upkeep for buildings, vehicles that wear out quickly on the rough roads, or minimal salaries for minimal staff. Our records are available upon request
 
3. The church is tolerated and even admired by many of its Mormon and non-Mormon neighbors. Mormons tend to know a thing or two about religious persecution and do not tend to practice it. The many other friends of the church, in and out of Graham County public office, will go unnamed, but we know who you are and appreciate your kindness, acceptance, and often support over the decades.
 
4. When Immanuel and his associates purchased the land in Aravaipa, it was not in foreclosure. It was Immanuel who was often battling foreclosure to hold this beautiful 160 acres as a sanctuary for all race Peyotism.
 
5. Membership is not a one time fee, but an annual donation. We, like all other non profit organizations, depend on membership support.
 
6. To a person who considers Peyote a Holy Sacrament it is painful to hear it described as a hallucinogen. We consider the word hallucinogen to be a pejorative. It is an inaccurate term that has been used since the 50’s and 60’s to denigrate the Peyote experience and not an accurate description.
 
7. The establishment of discriminatory Peyote laws that limit Peyote use strictly to Native American members of the Native American Church, while prohibiting these same people from cultivating their holy sacrament, is a threat to the survival of this sacred plant.

Rev. Anne L Zapf, Apostle, with approval of the Peyote Way Church of God Board of Stewards

mtomchee
mtomchee

It's difficult not to quickly judge these individuals as peyote, a healing medicine to our Native peoples, has provided psychological benefits through mind-body connections. It's not surprising that non-natives have embraced this herb to heal PTSD and other ailments in their quest for spiritual enlightenment. In the early years (1950s and 1960s) the Native Americans fought unwaveringly to legalize the possession/use of this healing herb. The result is the passage of the Native American Religious Freedom Act of 1978. This non-profit group should follow the same suite in all fairness.


 
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