At least, a guy who seriously thinks he’s Jesus happens to live there. What’s more, he’s joined with a woman who prefers to go by the name Mary Magdalene. Unsurprisingly, some people have a problem with this.
The pair, real names Alan John Miller, who once lived in Loxton in South Australia’s Riverland, and Mary Suzanne Luck, operate from rural Wilkesdale near Kingaroy, where they have been joined by an increasing band of followers.
“My name is Jesus, and I’m serious,” Miller said in a video recording from one workshop.
Cult watchers and the Anglican and Catholic churches are alarmed the pair, who ask followers to make donations to sustain them, could draw in the vulnerable.
And as this whole Harold Camping/May 21st Rapture thing is proving, there are a lot of vulnerable people in the world willing to believe their faith has been rewarded with a truth fools (aka someone “who says in their heart, There is no god” – Psalm 53:1) have long denied.
This couple and their followers have been good for one thing: a real estate boom. Their purchase of a chunk of land has led to their followers wanting to buy up the property around them, too. They claim that the crucifix shape of their cleared land is completely coincidental.
Some residents complain they are being driven out of the quiet hamlet by the group, which resembles Debra Geileskey’s Magnificat Meal Movement that drew scores of followers to Helidon near Toowoomba.
Queensland has a tradition of fostering fringe religious movements. Fugitive killer Luke Andrew Hunter was recaptured in February after 15 years on the run in which he hid out with the separate Jesus Group in the state’s far north.
Concerned relatives and friends have been contacting the Cult Awareness and Information Centre to warn of Divine Truth followers selling family homes to move to Wilkesdale.
I wrote about Hunter when that happened but I hadn’t heard of the other group. It was before my blogtime; the last article Religion News lists about Magnificat comes from June 2008 regarding community grants people connected with the cult were somehow eligible for and leader Debra Geileskey’s overall wealth. There was heavy criticism over how much funding should have been earmarked for real and helpful community groups instead of given to Geileskey and company. There were also a call for an audit.
Centre spokeswoman Helen Pomery said: “The moment someone becomes God or God’s voice on Earth it gives them another level of authority to enforce submission to them.”
Anglican Archbishop Dr Phillip Aspinall and the Catholic church, unaware of the group until contacted by the Sunday Mail, urged people to be cautious when exploring new movements.
Right, because only established churches should be allowed to tell people they are really God’s voice on Earth and have the true authority…
The article also claims he’s tailoring his appearance to make sure people can tell at a glance that he’s really the savior.
Didn’t know Christ had a penchant for floral button-downs. Somehow that verse never made the final gospel cut.
In all seriousness, it’s truly troubling that there are people who can’t just look a guy like this, hear what he says, and think, “What a loon” and walk away. Why are so many people willing to believe him? Is the craving to believe in something (no matter how ridiculous) so overpowering that people will simply lock up the rational part of their brain and fill their heads with this nonsense instead? What is it about the societies we create for why they all result in people yearning for these kinds of kooky answers to life’s hardships?