Religion: Marian and the Elders

Accused of fornication, a woman hales her church into court

People lined up 45 minutes early each day to get a seat. Spillover spectators stood along the walls or perched on windowsills. A law student from California had come to Tulsa for the event; one man had driven down from Washington State. Most of the nearly 200 people in the audience, however, were Oklahoma churchgoers, some of whom clutched Bibles to check out passages on sex and sin referred to by the speakers.

Though the bench seats resembled pews, this was no prairie Bible...