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"Jesus Christians," "cult", Dave McKay, the "Truth Believers"
Posted by: Liverpool Writer ()
Date: July 04, 2005 12:59AM

Update 2012: It appears that the "Jesus Christians" group led by Dave McKay has changed its name to the "Truth Believers" and has a new Web site.

See [www.wix.com]



I had some dealings with a cult about ten years ago. I have not been able to find out much about them since, but here are the facts I have.

1. They called themselves simply "the Christians".
2. They originated in Australia.
3. They distributed comic books on the streets in return for donations. Their comic book was called Fair Dinkum, harshly criticizing mainstream churches.
4. They demanded that members give over all material things to the group, supposedly to be sold to raise money for the poor.
5. They had a mission for at least a short time in Liverpool, England.
6. Their leader in Liverpool was a man called Roland.

I spoke to a young man who left his family without telling them and found himself trapped and unable to leave. Eventually he "escaped". He was certainly physically abused while he was there, and possibly sexually. I also know they had been going from door to door in Liverpool and exploited some old persons by arranging to take their furniture without their full consent (taking full advantage of their vulnerability and confusion about what was happening).

Does anyone recognize this?



Edited 6 time(s). Last edit at 03/09/2012 05:32AM by rrmoderator.

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: Concerned Oz ()
Date: July 20, 2005 06:13AM

The following link is to a Christian Fundamentalist evangelist from the USA who uses comic strips as his tool of conversion trade.
[www.chick.com]

This guy distorts the truth of the mainstream christian churches, especially Catholisism, with a vengence and vendeta. His version of Christianity and its history is "comical" :lol:

Would the group you are trying to research have used this material? - If so, it may give some insight into their beliefs. Hope it helps you narrow down things.
Oz

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: anaglypta ()
Date: August 14, 2005 12:03AM

The group Liverpool Writer refers to are the "Jesus Christians", and they have absolutely nothing to do with Jack Chick, thank goodness, heheh.

I encountered the Jesus Christians more than four years ago and have remained in touch with them ever since, considering them to be very good friends. They are the most genuine and effective Christians I have ever met. I have never once felt under any inappropriate pressure to join their group, never seen any evidence they are into brainwashing at all.

It was the "Fair Dinkum" comic that made me get in touch with the group. It's a modern, very Australian in idiom, comic expression of the letter of James.

They do indeed require new members to renounce their material possessions, as Jesus told the rich young man to, and I have no reason to suppose that the proceeds from the sale are not going to the poor. The group, and their supposed "leader" Dave McKay, all live a simple, poor lifestyle.

Roland and his wife Susan are still with the group and are currently being illegally charged with kidnapping in Kenya, thanks to a corrupt system and rampant bribery. In Kenya the group had working with local Quakers to assist in relieving the poverty and deprivation found in that part of the world.

The group are not a cult in any negative sense of the word, they are just a group of Christians who take Jesus at his word a lot further than most Christian churches. This is not something they can be condemned for! Jesus did tell that rich young man to forsake all his possessions; here in the West we are all rich in comparision to the third world and if they think that this puts them in the same position as the rich young man then that should only be applauded.

If you wish to find out more about them, I suggest you visit their website, [www.jesuschristians.com], where you can also find out more about the ghastly situation in Kenya.

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 14, 2005 04:28AM

anaglypta:

Actually the group called "Jesus Christians" appears to be little more than a personality-driven cult led by a former member of the notorious "Children of God" named David McKay.

See [www.culteducation.com]

They have a sordid history of bad press and controversy.

Many members donated their kidneys to people at the suggestion of their leader McKay.

Doesn't look like a very good group at all.

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: anaglypta ()
Date: August 14, 2005 06:23AM

Quote

Actually the group called "Jesus Christians" appears to be little more than a personality-driven cult led by a former member of the notorious "Children of God" named David McKay.

Well, in that case all I can suggest is that how it appears to you is at complete odds to how it appears to me. :-)

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See [www.culteducation.com]

They have a sordid history of bad press and controversy.

Yes, I've had a good read of that already-- though I'd actually read most of the articles before, since when I first met the Christians I had a good poke about for dirt, and indeed gave them a good grilling about what I'd read. There's generally two sides to every story and this is certainly true with the press about the Jesus Christians. When they were based in London, where I met them, they got [i:99c68790bb]positive[/i:99c68790bb] attention from the local press, which was aware of the "kidney scandal" but was going on the local work the Christians were doing.

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Many members donated their kidneys to people at the suggestion of their leader McKay.

And a marvelous idea it was too. Don't you think altruistic donation could be of great assistance to the shortage of "spare parts"? It's perfectly legal to do so in America, which is where most of the group who have done so, have donated.

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Doesn't look like a very good group at all.

In my personal experience they a fabulous group. Honestly, they have never said or done anything that rang alarm bells for me. As I said, I've known them for four years now, and have met Dave McKay, and he's really not an ogre, and plays a fine game of Scrabble.

Power within the group isn't focused on Dave at all, each group of Jesus Christians is largely autonomous, including financially, from Dave.

Thank you for your swift response-- I am enjoying exploring the site. I have had an interest in cults and fringe Christian movements for some years now.

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: rrmoderator ()
Date: August 14, 2005 08:28PM

anaglypta:

You apparently see what you want to see reagarding Jesus Christians and offer no hard facts backed by objective evidence.

You offer an anecdotal apology without documentation to support your conclusions.

It is disturbing that members of the group are so compliant to David McKay's will that they donated kidneys upon his suggestion.

This is certainly a frightening demonstration of how much control he has over his followers.

McKay's background in "Children of God," one of the most abusive and horrific cults in modern history, is also revealing. Perhaps he picked up his leadership style there.

See [www.culteducation.com]

Apparently McKay runs the group like a dictatorship and has little if any meaningful accountability.

I am not aware that Jesus Christians has any mandated democratic process through a formal constitution, any government through an elected board, or financial transparency through a published independently audited financial report that details the groups buget and expenses.

Rather than simply talking with members and citing your personal impressions, which is subjective, it would be helpful if you could instead support your conclusions objectively by citing specific proof such as a formal written constitution that contains democratic checks, balances and bylaws and a published financial report.

Objective rather than subjective evidence is compelling when investigating allegations about a group called a "cult."

To better understand the warning signs of a potentially unsafe groups see the following links:

[www.culteducation.com]

Note the following guidelines published by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.

[www.ecfa.org]

Based upon disturbing and negative news reports and repeated complaints about the group I would not recommend Jesus Christians to anyone under any circumstances.

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: muppet ()
Date: May 22, 2006 06:24AM

The Christians went on to be called the Jesus Christians.

Liverpool writer, you mentioned that a young man was physically abused in the group. could you elaborate on that?

Ana, you say you met McKay and that he plays a fine game of scabble. It is highly unusual for such a group to have anything much to do with outsiders so you must have impressed them tremendouly to get to meet their leader. Did he realise you do research and did he give you any of his materials?

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: muppet ()
Date: May 22, 2006 08:27PM

Does anyone know if its true that McKay left Kenya to avoid arrest or is this just a rumour?


[www.therockalltimes.co.uk]

Jesus Christian lays down tambourine
Nairobi jolly ends in resignation
by Lukas Dechurched
It is not common for The Rockall Times to publish news concerning the activities of private associations of Christ's faithful, except for the purposes of satire (and that doesn't count). However, current news regarding The Jesus Christians is sufficiently worthy of note to rate a mention in the Annals of Sacred Rockall, albeit perhaps under the classification of "Deranged Loons and other hazards to navigation".1

Briefly, one Roland Gianstefani, an Australian citizen and loyal member of the Commonwealth, was charged with kidnapping one Betty, a twenty-six year old single mother, Kenyan citizen and loyal member of the Commonwealth, in Nairobi just over two months ago.

Roland strenuously denied the charge, stating that Betty had chosen to depart from her father's house and voluntarily join the cult that Roland is a senior member of.2 Roland's protestations fell on deaf ears in the Kenyan Police Force, and they incarcerated him in a Nairobi gaol pending either a substantial bribe, political pressure, or the return of Jesus.

The leading members of Roland's cult, considering that they might be joining him in detention, promptly deserted him and returned to Australia.3 Roland's wife and child did not join in the exodus, as it is cult policy that goods and chattels shall remain with their Lord and Master, even if he's languishing in a Colonial gaol.

After four weeks, the matter was taken up by the Kenyan Attorney-General, examined, and the charges dropped. Unfortunately during his sojourn as a guest of the Kenyan penal system, Roland was treated even more severely by his fellow inmates in the gaol than his fellow inmates in the cult, contracting tuberculosis (and possibly other infections that are inappropriate to mention in these pages).

Roland threw in his membership card upon his release, and departed from the cult where he had spent more than a quarter of a century and at whose instigation he had embraced (among other things) sterilisation and kidney donation as methods to publicise the cult's activities.4

You can find out more information about Roland and Betty, and an application form to join The Jesus Christians, at this address: www.jesuschristians.com. Note that these unscrupulous folks at last visit had a Javascript email address harvester running on their homepage, so you may wish to alter your email address in your web browser before visiting them.

Notes
1. Presuming that Sacred Rockall has loons, this seems a reasonable title.
2. Voluntarily in this instance should be taken in a loose way. Threatening people with hellfire for failure to join does not in this context constitute coercion.
3. It's Jeremy Thorpe I believe who stated: "Greater love no man hath, that he lay down his friends for his life."
4. The Slotskys — an early 20th century Russian cult — adopted self-castration as a method to achieve piety. Sadly, the practice did not prove popular. The JCs adopted a lesser variant which they describe as "The Virgin Army teaching" or "The 144,000" though it is not clear how sterilisation equates with chastity. On organ donation for publicity, well, that's exceptional, and worthy of another article.

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: Liverpool Writer ()
Date: May 22, 2006 09:18PM

The young man I spoke to was about 16 or 17 years old. This was in about 1993, when the group were very active in Liverpool.

He was deprived of food on the basis of the Bible verse that says, "if any man will not work, he shall not eat". If [i:267d46cc7d]x[/i:267d46cc7d] amount of comics were not sold in a day, he would not be allowed to eat.

He also had reason to believe he was sexually abused in some way. He woke up one morning and discovered his pants had been removed during the night.

If I remember correctly, he had to invent a story to escape. He convinced them (eventually) to let them visit his grandmother. He took them to an address in Liverpool, and convinced them to wait outside while he went in. I think he basically did a runner.

The group had also been targeting vulnerable pensioners in the area, and taking (or attempting to take) their furniture from them.

Interesting that this guy got more or less the same response from the group that I did. I too wrote personally to the group, and received at least two type-written replies from Roland accusing me of being a nit-picking pharisee.

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Australian cult: Anyone recognize this?
Posted by: muppet ()
Date: May 23, 2006 01:36AM

How bizarre!!! Are you still in touch with the young man? Would he post his experience on the board? Perhaps he remembers who was with him in addition to Roland.

Anaglypta is probably wrong about power sharing in the group. Dave McKay[/color:ff5aaabbf9] has always been the absolute leader of the group and all members have to send him detailed and frequent reports. He has been accused of being a pathological liar and actually admits to deception in one of his articles called 'The Great Escape' where (with the help of his brother Ron McKay [/color:ff5aaabbf9]who had some connection with the Salvation Army in the US at one stage) he hid an Indian minor from her parents until her 18th birthday and then took her to Australia, cutting her off from everything she was familiar with. In the process of fleeing this Indian village, and in an attempt to avoid detection the McKays deposited their literature in a local well!

He has repeated this recruitment pattern in the UK and more recently in the US where he claims that one of his members was beaten up by the family of the new recruit.

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