2 Feb 2011

Australian survivor reveals abusive environment in Jesus Group cult where women and children have no rights

Herald Sun - Daily Telegraph Australia January 10, 2011

Inside cult of a man's world

by Letitia Rowlands

IT'S a secretive community that works on the philosophy of "what's yours is mine".

It is led by a self-proclaimed prophet who demands followers pray three times a day and convinces women their role is to serve their husbands.

Members give up access to their own money, they are stripped of the ability to make decisions and are told if they leave they will go to hell.

This is life inside the North Queensland Jesus Group, a quasi-religious cult of about 150 run by Sydney man Dawid Daniel Yosep Abishai Yokannan Landy-Ariel.

The group has communes in Cairns, southern Queensland and the NSW town of Parkes, but its existence has remained largely a secret.

For the first time, an ex-member has spoken about the 28 years she spent on the inside, painting a picture of an organisation that tries to use mind control to recruit and rule the lives of followers.

Tamar Joha said Mr Landy-Ariel presides over a community dominated by men and in which women are inferior. All females are required to wear headscarves from the time they are toddlers and violence against women goes unchecked.

Ms Joha, 47, said members are encouraged to allow the group to access their bank accounts so money can be pooled and shopping is done only when a strict shopping list is approved by one of Mr Landy-Ariel's appointed group leaders. They are only allowed a limited number of clothes which must be purchased from charity shops.

The mother-of-nine said adults would physically discipline any children in the group, not just their own, which had led to some abuse and bullying.

Members must take a biblical name within weeks of joining, learn the ancient Aramaic language and study spiritual guidelines written by Mr Landy-Ariel.

Women learn their role is to serve their husbands, men are told they are not allowed to shake hands with women and mothers are expected to give birth at the commune.

Mr Landy-Ariel has denied he dictates how members live their lives, but said individuals abide by the group's rules out of "respect" for him as the "founding father".

He said he did not condone or authorise violence and said it was pregnant women who chose homebirths.

He claimed he started the community almost 40 years ago to create a "healthy, creative environment" where members could experience the teachings of Christ and that members were free to leave.

He said the group was only "secretive" because members "mind our own business and take care of our own affairs".

It's not a description that fits well with Ms Joha's memory, or that of other ex-members who have also told of their experiences.

Ms Joha and her ex-husband Levi Joha, 52, have six sons and three daughters. Only one of them was born at a hospital due to complications.

Six of the children have the genetic physical and mental disability fragile X syndrome.

Ms Joha said that despite discovering she was the carrier of the faulty gene, the group did not allow contraception, with Mr Landy-Ariel believing birth control would lead to teenage pregnancies and promote adultery.


MR Landy-Ariel, 58, began the group in Cairns in 1972. It also has houses in Redfern and Hebersham. By his own admission, Mr Landy-Ariel did not undertake any formal religious training and has not registered the community as a church with open records as he believes in the total separation of church and state.

The majority of children who have grown up in the group have received most of their education through home schooling. No females have finished high school beyond Year 10 or attended university, although several have obtained TAFE qualifications.

Ms Joha grew up in Sydney before joining the group when she was 17 after her brother came back from a trip to North Queensland and told her about the commune.

She said she was a bit "lost and rebellious" and thought it would be fun to experience something new.

"I thought I would go there for a year or so and check it out," she said.

"Try a different way of life and then come back to Sydney with a good story to tell."

But once there the group's - and in particular Mr Landy-Ariel's - influence became overpowering.

"It was a lot different to what I expected," she said. "Everybody just kept saying the same things over and over until that became your way of thinking. That's what the group does, everything that he says becomes the truth, nobody has their own mind."

Ms Joha finally fled to a women's refuge three years ago, initially taking only her youngest disabled son. Four of her sons, all sufferers of fragile X, now live with her.

She fears her children left in the community will marry early, become pregnant quickly and may suffer physical abuse.

She also fears for their education after one of her daughters, who is not disabled, recently sat a national NAPLAN exam that showed her numeracy and writing were below the minimum national standard.

Mr Landy-Ariel has 13 sons and three daughters by a number of women. He claims he does not approve of polygamy, but admits he once took a second wife because he believed the woman he was married to could no longer have children.

Another former cult member said she met her future husband, a group member, when he travelled to India aged 18.

She described the group as "male-dominated", with women not being allowed to make decisions and remembered that Mr Landy-Ariel had to approve any book, video or music.

She said she did not get to name her first four children, with her husband and Mr Landy-Ariel choosing the names.

She said finances were controlled by Mr Landy-Ariel and his group leaders. She said she once begged her husband to buy clothes for their children but he refused unless he had approval.

Ms Joha recalls one incident in the early 1980s when her disabled son dirtied his pants.

"I had four young babies and was breastfeeding one of them," she said. "All of the disabled boys had problems going to the toilet."

The incident was reported to the group leader and it was decided that Ms Joha would have to be punished for being a "bad mother". Punishment involved having the can that everyone used as a toilet emptied over her bed and being made to clean it up.


A MALE former group member said he had assaulted his wife while in the group after being taught that it was the correct way to behave. The violence ultimately led to the breakdown of his marriage and he has since left the group.

Another former member said Mr Landy-Ariel and his appointed leaders read all the incoming mail.

Some community members accused Ms Joha of several outbursts while she was in the group. Ms Joha does not dispute the incidents, but said they were rare occurrences and in response to one of her disabled children being tormented or treated badly.

Ms Joha is currently seeking legal advice and is considering suing the group and Mr Landy-Ariel for damages.

Mr Landy-Ariel declined to answer any questions about any of the allegations.

This article was found at:



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Self-proclaimed prophets: Phillip Garrido, David Berg and Joseph Smith

Another self-proclaimed prophet who terrorized and sexually abused his cult followers

Self-proclaimed minister pleads guilty in child sex case, gets 7 years

Black Jesus cult leader who boasts he had sex with over 400 girls as young as 8 convicted of rape

Russian sex cult leader "from the star Sirius" charged with rape, sexual abuse and human rights violations

Apocalyptic Arizona cult controls members, competes with Scientology for weirdest sci-fi cult

Sects and sex abuse: battle of the apocalyptic sex cults

The Making of a Twisted Sexual Theology: Q+A on "Jesus Freaks"

Sects are all about sex

40 years of fraud and abuse by evangelist, Tony Alamo, ended by sex abuse testimonies

German sect leader and suspected pedophile accused of abusing two girls and four boys a total of 314 times

Child sexual abusers commonly turn to religion to rationalize their behavior

House of Yahweh 'prophet' no different than other charismatic cult leaders who manipulate and exploit followers

Add Israeli polygamist to long list of 'messiahs' who sexually exploit their cult followers

Ugandan police detain apocalyptic cult followers

Cult leader Wayne Bent says his "persecution" is bringing about the end of the world

Cult leader sentenced to 18 years

Prosecuting Israeli cult case reveals difficulty of protecting children from religion-related abuse

Italian leader of new-age sect arrested for sexually abusing young girls and their mothers

Prosecutor: Alleged molester leads 'cult'

Little Pebbles Cult Now in Japan

S.Korea cult leader jailed for 10 years for sex crimes

Leader of Australian Internet-based cult charged with 14 sex offences


  1. Inside Australia's chilling new cult

    by David Millikan September 18, 2011

    Cult experts have warned that a 47-year-old Queensland man and self-proclaimed “Jesus” is in the early stages of developing a dangerous religious sect comparable to WACO, which ended in mass-suicide, Channel 7’s Sunday Night has reported.

    Former real estate developer, Alan John Miller, from Kingaroy in Queensland, is the leader of Gods Way of Love. He has an estimated 100,000 DVDs in global circulation and financially survives on collecting donations from followers. He also uses donations to acquire property for sanctuaries - in preparation for doomsday.

    The earth will “change a lot” in the next few years, Miller believes. “What you now know as countries will disappear completely, other ones will change completely,” he told his followers at a recent seminar aired by Sunday Night.

    Cult expert Rick Ross told Sunday Night that Miller is still a fairly new leader who hasn’t fully developed his group. “It is still in its early stages but the idea that the group is coming together in a community and that Miller is developing a compound in my opinion is ominous,” he said.

    “Only the most extreme cults isolate themselves in a compound, such as Jonestown or WACO Davidians group, which both ended tragically in mass suicides.

    “This is when groups become extreme because the leader controls everything,” he said.

    Additionally, Sunday Night guest reporter and cult expert Rev. David Millikan raised concerns around Miller’s ability to break up families.

    “He is surrounded by people who have walked out of marriages and businesses. They have forsaken all to follow Jesus,” Millikan said.

    “Neuroscientist Dr Louise Faber left the Queensland Brain Institute to buy a property next to Miller in O’Dea Road, outside Kingaroy. I asked her if she believed Miller was Jesus. She said: “Oh yes, David, I know he is Jesus”.”

    Ross said: “Basically Miller sets himself up as God, he is Jesus Christ, he is a God man and if you disagree with him you disagree with God so if you have a spouse or a family member and they are critical of Miller they have come against God and therefore they are not spiritually right for you.”

    “Mr Miller seems to use his position as Jesus to get sexual favours from women that he is attracted to...it reminds me of many so called cult leaders that I have run into over the years who use their position of spiritual authority to get want they want sexually, financially, in whatever means they wish from people that become their followers,” he said.

    Miller told Sunday Night his first memories of his past life as Jesus occurred when he was two, having nails driven through his feet.

    “I didn’t put them together as I’m Jesus from that. I just slotted it in to the back of my head and merely got on with my life until...I started having a lot more specific memories about my life...at 33.”

    He claimed his teachings “are all about love and developing relationships” and denied being cult leader.

    “I don’t see how I can be a cult leader when I ask everybody to actually engage their own desires,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Miller told reporter Millikan that he performed most miracles, as they are in the Bible, but he disputed others.

    “Most of the miracles involving recovery of people's sight [and] the recovery of their limbs but the walking on water is one of the things that I didn’t do.

    “Another one that I didn’t do was turn the water into wine.”

    Miller urged reporter Millikan to get back in contact with him sooner than later.

    "You are going to want to meet me much sooner than ten years time, I am saying that you will start thinking that wow maybe there is something," he said.


  2. Neuroscientist Dr Louise Faber moves close to Alan John Miller to study effects the effects of his teaching on brainwaves

    by David Murray The Sunday Mail (Qld)
    September 18, 2011

    A LEADING neuroscientist has joined Queensland's "Jesus and Mary" group and is studying fellow believers.

    Dr Louise Faber left a promising career with the prestigious Queensland Brain Institute and moved to rural Wilkesdale, near Kingaroy, to be close to other followers.

    She has bought a property close to Alan John Miller, who claims he is Jesus Christ, and has been studying the effect of his teachings on brainwaves.

    "In terms of following AJ I have no regrets, absolutely none. It's absolutely the right thing to do for me," Dr Faber told The Sunday Mail.

    The brain institute, based in a $63 million centre at the University of Queensland, is one of the world's leading neuroscience research facilities.

    Dr Faber was a team leader and her research attracted international attention. She found Miller through her yoga instructor.

    "As I got more into AJ's teachings I realised that I didn't want to kill animals as part of my job any more," she said.

    "It actually started making me ill doing it. So then I changed fields at work and I started working on the effects of spirituality on the brain."

    She left the institute around December but continued her research work, which she is preparing to publish for peer review.

    As part of the research she performed an EEG on believers to test electrical activity in their brain as they experienced Miller's "divine love".

    Dr Faber said the results were similar to brain activity seen in monks during meditation. "We've found the divine love causes quite a lot of changes to the brain," she said.

    She added: "It's the first study that's ever been done of this kind so it's very exploratory."

    A University of Queensland spokeswoman confirmed one of Dr Faber's colleagues at the brain institute had been "analysing some of the data she collected before she left".
    Miller and partner Mary Suzanne Luck, who says she is Mary Magdalene, claim Wilkesdale will be a safe zone from catastrophic "earth changes".

    Cult investigator The Rev Dr David Millikan spent two days with the group for Channel 7's Sunday Night program, which will air tonight.

    He found Miller was surrounded by people "who have walked out of marriages and businesses" and forsaken all to follow Jesus.

    "Outside the group AJ Miller is nobody ... inside he is a colossus," Dr Millikan said.
    Dr Faber, who is among followers set to affirm their belief in Miller on Sunday Night, insists there is no cause for concern and said her own mother supported her.
    "She just said you're looking really well and you seem really well and I trust you will have intellectually scrutinised this path and therefore go with it."


  3. The messiah complex

    The Young Witness April 30, 2013

    It's after 1pm when I pull up outside the house on Chinchilla Wondai Road in Kingaroy, inland from Queensland's Sunshine Coast. The lantana is in bloom, its purple flowers a welcome luxuriance after the blanched paddocks and dusty roads along the four-hour drive inland from Brisbane. The house is a restored Queens-lander and, even from beneath its stilts, I hear the clamour of excited voices and shuffling footsteps. I feel anxious, though. I had intended to be here earlier and, despite my profuse apologies, I get the sense that my tardiness isn't appreciated.

    Kingaroy is home to former computer systems engineer and property developer Alan John "A. J." Miller and a group of about 100 people, including my hosts today, who believe him to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. Miller and his partner, Mary Luck - a former humanitarian aid worker whom he claims is his lover across time and space, Mary Magdalene - are the leaders of a New Age sect called God's Way of Love. They believe, among other things, that the planet will soon undergo a series of cataclysmic events, called Earth Changes, in which billions of people will die. The events, as Miller has described them, would not be unlike those depicted in the apocalyptic Hollywood thriller 2012, starring John Cusack. In fact, Miller has used it as a prop in his online seminars about "the end times".

    In order to gain access, I've had to agree to being filmed at all times by two of his followers, a husband-and-wife duo from Ukraine and Russia - footage that Miller said would serve as an unedited and unbiased account of our encounters. When I asked him to reconsider the terms, his emailed reply ran to more than a thousand words: "We have a responsibility to act in a manner that is loving and truthful at all times, and to encourage the same behaviour in others. This is the reason we created the requirements in the Participant Release Form," he wrote. "I am sorry if I somehow indicated that our requirements were negotiable in any way, since they are not."

    And so, upon introducing myself to the group of men and women congregating around the front door of the house today - all followers of Miller's - I have not one, but two video cameras thrust in my face.

    "I'm Joy," says a friendly-looking older woman as she holds the door open. "Come inside. We've been waiting for you." Joy Harris, a 68-year-old grandmother from the Gold Coast, moved here to be close to Miller, a decision that caused some consternation among her adult children. "The first year was, like, 'Shock, horror, Mum has joined a cult,' " she tells me, an anecdote the group has clearly heard before and finds amusing.

    Harris seems to have a thing for charismatic leaders. She spent 18 years following American self-help guru Tony Robbins and about $100,000 on his programs, a decision she regrets. Doesn't her past experience at least raise the possibility in her mind that A. J. is not Jesus, I ask. Her answer is as cryptic as it is brief. "It's possible," she says with a beaming smile, "but it's not likely."

    Louise "Luli" Faber, a 39-year-old former neuroscientist from the UK, is the owner of this house. She first heard about Miller in 2010, when she was working at the Queensland Brain Institute at the University of Queensland. Leading me into the kitchen, she invites me to help myself from the dishes of vegetarian food the group has prepared for my visit. Miller is a vegetarian and, as a result, his followers are now, too.

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  4. The house, which is well lit and airy, has a welcoming air. The living room's centrepiece is a massive flat-screen TV which appears to be flanked by more copies of Battlestar Galacticathan the educational DVDs Miller distributes free of charge (there are, allegedly, 100,000 copies in circulation). Several people have told me they first came to Miller's teachings through the DVDs.

    Miller's philosophy is not unlike a fractal: the more closely one inspects it, the more complex and esoteric it becomes. He believes that by examining trauma, both in this life and in lives that have been lived previously, one can move up a spiritual ladder, each rung taking you closer to a perfect relationship with God. All of the things that could impede a follower progressing up the ladder - addiction, failed relationships, even cancer and childhood illness, Miller tells me - are brought about by malign spirits who cause us to act in "unloving" ways, ways that displease God and distance us from His love.

    Miller claims that he has returned to shepherd his flock along a path that will lead them back to God through the performing of good deeds and spiritual exercises. Miller also teaches that each of us comprises one half of a whole spirit, and that only by finding our other half, which he calls a soul mate, can we ever truly feel whole.

    The promise of a personal relationship with God; the possibility that our misfortunes are not of our own making and can be corrected with support from Jesus Himself; the potential to find a real and true soul mate together with a strong group code based around proto-Christian ideas of kindness and charity ... put them all together and it becomes possible to see how Miller is capable of attracting a significant following.

    We assemble in the living room, nine of Miller's followers sitting on a pair of sofas opposite each other and me on a bar stool at the edge of the room. Cutlery scrapes on plates in the uncomfortable quiet before anyone speaks. Slowly, a conversation starts up about how each of them has arrived here, what they've left behind and their reasons for believing Miller is the Messiah.

    Faber tells me she was in her 20s when she first started to feel disillusioned with the course of her research and changed her focus to studying the workings of religiosity on the brain, a decision her colleagues mocked. "I guess I was in my mid-20s when I started seeing the shortfalls of medicine and science when it came to explaining things," she says. "I just needed more answers." She first came across Miller's teachings in 2010 when a friend gave her one of his free DVDs to watch. She says it opened up a new world to her.

    How do her parents feel about her decision to abandon a promising career in academia to follow Miller? "They respect the decision I've made," she replies. "They don't necessarily agree with it or believe that A. J. is Jesus, but they respect that this is what I want to do with my life."

    Does she believe A. J. is Jesus, I ask? "That varies," she answers, laughing. "At the moment, probably not. Not in my heart. Intellectually, it seems like a very likely thing, but I don't know it."

    The others nod in agreement and laugh nervously. Later, as I leave for my hotel, the camera-woman, Lena Shakhanov, asks me whether I'm excited to be meeting Jesus in the morning. "It's going to be amazing, you'll see," she says with a broad smile.

    Miller is doing the ironing when I arrive at his house early the next morning. He and Mary Luck occupy a small ranch-style home off a dirt road on a property that sprawls out into the bush. They sleep, however, in a raised tent - complete with large bed, swish bathroom and a claw-foot porcelain bathtub - set up in the bush about 100 metres or so from the home, supposedly because this is more in keeping with a philosophy of simplicity and favouring spiritual over material wealth.

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  5. His landholding is surrounded by dozens of properties purchased by his followers, although towering gum trees and scrub screen it from full view. There are about 100 followers living on the properties around Miller, who also claims to have several thousand followers around the world, mainly in the US and UK.

    Miller, who's nearing 50, has shoulder-length hair and a muscular build. Today, he's wearing a wrinkled Billabong jumper and appears not to have shaved in several days. He flashes a megawatt smile, though and, for a moment, it's possible to see why followers such as Shakhanov describe him and his influence in such breathless terms. Luck, who is 10 years his junior and a striking beauty despite the dark circles under her eyes, is wearing a cardigan and tugs gently at the ends of its sleeves as Miller talks. Conversation turns immediately to the question in which I'm most interested: whether or not Miller can understand why people may not believe that he is Jesus. He understands perfectly, he says, again flashing that high-beam smile. "When I claim I'm Jesus, most people automatically assume that means I'm claiming a lot of things," he says. "They assume it means I'm claiming I'm God, and I'm not. They assume it means that I'm claiming that everyone should listen to me, and I'm not. In fact, I tell people they need to always analyse things through their own experience."

    Luck has said in recordings of their seminars that when Miller revealed to her that she was Mary Magdalene reincarnated, it was one of the worst experiences of her life. She felt angry and confused by the disclosure. But something has clearly changed over time and now Luck sits at Miller's side, staring at him with a disconcerting degree of intensity. The way the Bible is recorded is flawed, continues Miller, and thus the way in which modern Christians practise their religion is also flawed. God's Way of Love offers an alternative model. God, he says reasonably, wants people to be happy. "This concept that God is vengeful, a God who punishes the wicked, that's not my experience of Him and it wasn't my experience of Him in the 1st century," says Miller.

    Of course. We must remember that Miller believes he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ. He claims he has been born twice - most recently on March 10, 1963, in Loxton, South Australia, amid a close-knit farming community on the banks of the Murray River some 246 kilometres east of Adelaide - and previously, more than 2000 years ago, in a manger in Bethlehem, 10 kilometres south of Jerusalem. His parents in this life are Maxine and Alan Miller, both members of the Jehovah's Witnesses church. And in the 1st century his parents were the peasant, Mary of Nazareth, and Yahweh, the God of the Jews.

    In the 1970s, Miller's family moved from Loxton to the Adelaide Hills. Alan was a shy, deeply spiritual teenager who came out of his shell only when discussing Jehovah's Witness theology, according to a former close friend who speaks to me on condition of anonymity. Miller followed the Jehovah's Witness tradition of spending his holidays preaching door-to-door with his sister, Jenni, rather than pursuing the activities that many other handsome young men his age were exploring. He was considered to be one of the best-looking boys in town, the former friend adds.

    Miller left high school in 1979, at the age of 16, to complete a course in computers at Adelaide's Regency Park Community College, eventually opening what he describes as a successful business called Expert Computer Solutions offering IT advice to mid-tier companies and government departments. He married his first wife, 19-year-old Sheree Newman, whom he'd met as a teenager through the church, before his 21st birthday.

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  6. Miller was an exemplary member of the close-knit Jehovah's Witness church and rose through its ranks to become first a "pioneer" (the term for a full-time proselytiser) and then a church elder in Port Lincoln, a sleepy coastal town with a population of fewer than 15,000 people.

    By this time he was in his early 30s, with two young sons and a beautiful wife, and Miller should have felt on top of the world; instead, he was struggling. He says that, for as long as he can remember, he has lived with harrowing memories of his life as the historical Jesus and its culmination in the crucifixion. These memories - of the nails tearing through the flesh of his hands and feet as he was nailed to the cross, the lancing of his side - he found so distressing that he never spoke of them to anyone. Yet they wouldn't be suppressed. He suffered from panic and anxiety attacks. "I felt I was going crazy," he says. "I felt it couldn't be possible. I sought professional help, but didn't find it very effective."

    And then, at 40, he had what he calls an epiphany. Truths, he says, were revealed to him by God, and as he began the process of writing them down and formulating them, he sold his businesses and some properties he owned and began a process of spiritual examination. He told his mother and his sons for the first time that he believed he was Jesus. They understood, he says, and graciously accepted his "coming out". He began to devote himself to a way of life that would become known as God's Way of Love.

    His marriage to Sheree did not survive this epiphany, however. She now lives in Adelaide where she has remarried and works as a housekeeper. She has declined requests for comment, telling me she doesn't want to jeopardise her relationship with the two grown sons she shares with Miller.

    Dean Alan Sims is a round-faced Texan who met Miller during a visit to Dallas in 2008 and was immediately taken with the charismatic Australian who claimed to be Jesus. Sims was, and still is, a devotee of a body of esoteric writings known as the Padgett Messages.

    James Padgett was a 62-year-old American lawyer who, in 1914, claimed to be receiving messages from his recently deceased wife, which he was able to record using a technique called automatic writing. He would enter a trance and simply write down the messages that were being communicated to him without conscious awareness. The Padgett Messages, which are enjoying something of an internet-fuelled renaissance, are significant for having introduced several spiritual ideologies that outlived Padgett - namely, a belief in the existence of soul mates, in the possibility of life after death and the hope of achieving immortality, and in the idea of Divine Love. Miller has co-opted, almost verbatim, nearly all of these ideas into God's Way of Love.

    It was into a New Age community in Dallas that Miller and Natalie Lewis - a British woman serving as his helper in the crucial years following his coming out as Jesus - arrived in 2008. (Lewis, who now advertises her services as a psychic and clairvoyant on Psychicstuff.co.uk, also declines to comment, fearing Miller might retaliate "on the astral plane" if she angers him.)

    "Early on, he seemed very kosher," Sims tells me from his home in Texas. "I was willing to suspend any disbelief and try it."

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  7. Over time, their relationship became close. Miller wanted to spread his message but, to do so, he needed recording equipment to make videos of his sermons, and recording equipment costs money. Sims, who says that Miller's spiritual presence held an almost magnetic grip on him, was only too happy to help.

    "You don't have to give him money but if you want access, the quickest way to get his attention is to give him a donation," says Sims. "I used to send him money monthly. I bought the recording equipment he uses." Sims estimates that he gave Miller just under $4000 during that first year.

    Several of Miller's followers in Kingaroy tell me they frequently make small donations, either in person or through his website. The donations seem to explain a great deal about how Miller and Luck are able to maintain a comfortable lifestyle despite not working. It also goes a long way to explaining how they afford the plane fares and hotels on their frequent proselytising trips overseas, most often to the US, the UK and the Caribbean.

    Over time, as more and more followers flocked to Miller and as his tone grew ever more imperious, Sims says he began to have doubts. He had particular difficulty accepting a practice that Miller continues to this day - informing some couples, even married couples, that they are not yoked to their soul mates and they'll never achieve happiness while they remain in their current relationship. (Former followers tell me Miller uses this technique to control the group, splitting up those who fall out of favour and shunning the offending partner, who then either distances himself or herself from whatever behaviour has offended Miller or leaves the group.) Reluctantly, Sims decided to cut off contact with Miller in 2009.

    "I wish I was wrong and A. J. was right," he says. "I'd much rather have that be the case."

    It's impossible to know just how much money Miller has accepted from his followers because the organisation doesn't release financial reports. Miller claims he doesn't demand that his followers give him money, but some of them, like Sims, maintain that making a contribution is the most effective way to gain access to him.

    Strangely, given that he maintains a website and conducts seminars on God's Way of Love around the world, Miller insists that, to him, it is immaterial whether or not anyone follows his philosophy. He also professes not to care what happens to the hundred or so people now living around him. "The only person I'm responsible for is myself and whether people make the choice to listen to what I say and attempt to practise it ... I don't feel that I have any responsibility unless I've said something inaccurate or incorrect," he says.

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  8. Miller has already incorrectly predicted the date of what he calls "Earth Changes" - a series of global cataclysms - at least three times. On each occasion he pushes the date back further and on each occasion his followers accept that communicating with spirits is not an exact science. In May 2011, for example, he claimed on Twitter that "a big awakening" was coming in 2012, while in September 2011 he warned of "100-foot tidal waves" turning Kingaroy into beachfront property. He then claimed last September that the "Earth Changes" would be coming in early 2013.

    Nowhere is this blind faith more obvious than on a 242-hectare property on the other side of Chinchilla Wondai Road. Angela Griffiths and her partner Robert, both acolytes of Miller, look after the property - bought by a group of Miller's followers, allegedly on his orders - and are building a learning centre for God's Way of Love that at present is little more than foundations and a wooden skeleton. They live in a tin shed on the property with their three children, who are aged 16, 14 and 11.

    Miller and Luck directed them to "restore Eden", Angela tells me with a faraway look in her eyes as we walk through a field of tall grass. "When we're in a more loving condition and don't need laws or rules, there could be a hundred families living here," she says in a monotone.

    Although Miller insists he has no direct involvement with the property, Sims says he remembers things more like Angela. "I was still on the reservation when the property purchase was initiated," he tells me, meaning that he was still a believer. "He wanted them to purchase that. There was another, more desirable, property, but it wasn't right next to where he lives."

    In the end, I'm not able to ask Miller about Sims's concerns, or why people seem afraid to talk to me about him. When I leave Kingaroy, it is all smiles and handshakes. Seven hours later, though, as I land in Sydney and turn on my mobile, I find a 1554-word email from him telling me I've caused deep offence to the group and I'm to have no further contact with him or his followers until I've learnt some respect.

    Over the next few weeks, I receive almost 20,000 words in hostile emails from more than half a dozen of Miller's followers. Perhaps Miller didn't like being challenged. Perhaps it had to do with my scepticism regarding his Earth Changes.

    Ultimately, the experience has left me with a sense of foreboding. I feel concerned for Miller's followers. "When you keep making these predictions about Earth Changes and nothing happens, you're painting yourself into a corner," Sims tells me. "And, frankly, that scares me."

    This article originally appeared in Good Weekend. Like Good Weekend on Facebook to get regular updates on upcoming stories and events –


  9. Australian man claims he is Jesus Christ reincarnated, garners followers

    Times LIVE | 30 May, 2013

    A former IT specialist in Australia is claiming to be the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, and his partner the repentant prostitute Mary Magdalene, according to reports.

    Alan John Miller of Kingaroy in the state of Queensland, runs a religious movement known as the Divine Truth from his home, says Sky News.

    Miller claims that not only is he Christ, but his partner, Australian Mary Luck, is in fact Magdalene, who, according to the Bible, was present at the crucifixion and was said to be the first person to see Christ after he rose from the dead

    He has tailored his appearance to match conventional depictions of Christ, and claims he now has 30 to 40 people living on site who have flocked to the Divine Truth movement.

    According to the Daily Mail, the presence of Miller and Luck has sparked a property boom in the area - appropriately dubbed Queensland's Bible Belt.

    Some 30 followers have aggressively bought much of the land surrounding Miller's compound, where he has been living since 2007, leaving very little available to locals.

    His disciples also joined forces in 2009 to buy a $400 000 property where they hold weekly meetings and plan to build a centre for international visitors.

    Whilst critics dismiss his claims the seminars attract large groups of people, up to 150 a time.

    Police are said to have been called to investigate screams, only to discover members taking part in a healing exercise where they shout to help process 'past soul damage'.

    Australia's Cult Awareness and Information Centre and the Anglican and Catholic churches are concerned that the couple are drawing in vulnerable people searching for meaning in life.

    “My name is Jesus and I'm serious,' Miller says. “Just a little over 2 000 years ago, we arrived on the Earth for the first time,” the Daily Mail quotes him as saying.

    “Because of my personal desire and passion for God, as I grew, I recognised not only that I was the Messiah that was foretold by ancient prophets, but also that I was in a process designed by God that all humans could follow, if they so desired.”

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  10. Miller, a divorced father-of-two, claims that he was Christ in a past life. He said his first marriage broke down when he 'began to remember details' of the supposed incarnation.

    He told Sky News: "I have very clear memories of the crucifixion, but it wasn't as harrowing for me as it was for others like Mary who was present.”

    After his crucifixion the Australian claims he entered the spirit world where he met Plato, Socrates, popes and presidents.

    He also says he remembers performing miracles.

    He said: "I did resurrect quite a number of people ... including a friend of mine Lazarus, who most people know is mentioned in the Bible."

    British woman Louise "Luli" Faver, 39, is a former neuroscientist who has given up her career to be closer to the couple.

    "It's just nice to instead of being surrounded by people who think you are nuts, to be surrounded by people who understand what you are going through and the difficulties of trying to deal with all the emotional stuff," she said to Sky News.

    She believes Miller has helped her become happier and more fulfilled in life.

    Some, however, are concerned - like Reverend David Millikan, who has met Miller and has studied cults for 30 years.

    He said: "The danger is you'll be drawn closer and closer into his web to a point that you lose access to your social life, you spend all your money, you'll have the curses of all your family ringing in your ears and you may well lose your relationship."

    But Miller says he does not demand anything of those who come and listen to him speak. He claims donations are welcome, but not obligatory.

    He added: "There were lots of people in the first century who didn't believe I was the Messiah and were offended by what I said - and in fact I died at the hands of some of them.

    “Unfortunately they didn't learn love either and my suggestion is, even if you don't believe I am Jesus, at least learn how to love.”

    Luck admits her family have not supported her relationship with Miller.

    She said: "My parents became very afraid simply because [Miller] was saying he was Jesus publicly and by their own admission they feared for what my life would be like.

    “They also had some fundamental issues with looking at emotions which is core to these teachings."