Serge Benhayon isn’t the only OnePosted: April 29, 2013
If you blindfolded yourself and chucked a rock in Northern NSW it would probably hit a messiah, and while a bunch of UM followers fancy themselves as THE ONE from time to time, truth is they think Serge is IT.
Last weekend’s Sydney Morning Herald featured a nice article ‘The Messiah Complex‘ on A.J. Miller’s Jesus and Mary cult in Kingaroy Queensland. Aka ‘God’s Way of Love’.
Miller reckons he’s the reincarnation of Jesus Christ and UMers might be disappointed to learn that’s not the only parallel with the object of our attention.
Cookie Cutter Guruism
The first parallel that jumped out of the article was followers with scientific backgrounds rejecting verifiable scientific data for belief based ‘intellect’ and revelatory ‘knowledge’. From a former neuroscientist:
“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.” …
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.”
An emotionally blackmailing ‘love’ based doctrine that offers a path to divinity.
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.
Feeling (experience) trumps fact.
“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.”
Wholesale co-opting of Esoteric doctrines penned by an early 20th century spiritualist.
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.
Only donate if you feel to.
“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.
Controlling the relationships and sex lives of followers:
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.)
No financial accountability
It’s impossible to know just how much money Miller has accepted from his followers because the organisation doesn’t release financial reports.
Prophecies and predictions of calamities, although Sergio covers his bony tail by being less specific about events and dates. He just reckons there will be more natural disasters and more hideous incurable diseases like ‘contagious cancer’.
Miller has already incorrectly predicted the date of what he calls “Earth Changes” – a series of global cataclysms – at least three times.
Hostility to scrutiny/media coverage. Bombarding journalists and media outlets with indignant correspondence. The journalist reports:
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.
Only 20,000 words? A.J. should hook Eunice, she can throw out that many words writing her shopping list and with twice the outrage.
Read the article: [www.smh.com.au]
As a chaser, this is Rick Ross’ list of ten warning signs of potentially unsafe groups or leaders.
Absolute authoritarianism without meaningful accountability.
No tolerance for questions or critical inquiry.
No meaningful financial disclosure regarding budget, expenses such as an independently audited financial statement.
Unreasonable fear about the outside world, such as impending catastrophe, evil conspiracies and persecutions.
There is no legitimate reason to leave, former followers are always wrong in leaving, negative or even evil.
Former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances.
There are records, books, news articles, or television programs that document the abuses of the group/leader.
Followers feel they can never be “good enough”.
The group/leader is always right.
The group/leader is the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation, no other process of discovery is really acceptable or credible.