Post Courier religious sect on watch list

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Six leaders of the religious cult known as the ‘Prophecy Group’ are now on the police watch list as the group continues to recruit with numbers nearing 1,000 in Oksapmin, Telefomin, West Province Sepik.

With the group claiming the end of days would occur this month, the claims have police concerned as the group’s isolation has removed them from the public eye.

“What they are planning, we don’t know; we need help to reach them as soon as possible before something drastic happens to the group,” said Sergeant Praise Kaiyus, Commander of the Rural Police.

The group is formed based on their beliefs in the writings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with the six men and their followers saying their beliefs will see them rise in this month which has been designated as the end of the days.

Their belief in October has troubled Telefomin police who say that due to the remoteness of the group’s camp, they don’t know what they are planning.

It is alleged that the sect based its activities on the writings of American author Ellen Gould White, co-founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church (SDA) and who wrote about many of its visions.

Multiple sources claim Ms White’s writings have been twisted to suit the ideologies of the six leaders of the group.

Mr Kaiyus said that “the issue has been raised with the relevant authorities for intervention but no response so far with the situation still tense between the villagers and the sectarian group”.

“The cult group was formed in 2019 by a splinter religious group from the SDA.

They posted themselves in the jungle of Mitihanap district of Oksapmin and carried out several worship activities there,” Kaiyus said.

Among the many converts are teachers and health workers, this educated people burned their transcripts and fully engaged in sectarian activities.

Among some of their beliefs are:
– K20 and K50 notes are not allowed to be touched
– If a wife is converted, the husband is considered unclean and everyone except cult members is considered unclean
– Students who have joined are not allowed to attend school
– Foods such as cooking oil, beef and palm, noodles, canned fish are prohibited for consumption
– The preaching is done in the open air and the rain can wash them off, they can be exposed to the heat of the sun during the session, it is considered natural
– Baptism is done outdoors then taken to a dark room by their leaders for anointing
– It is forbidden to touch the corpses. They say they’re going straight to heaven
– They have 12 disciples and other positions that God had in his Kingdom
– The leader has servants who shoo him away flies and insects, fan him, wipe his sweat, bathe him, cook for him and many other things
– A married man and another married woman are allowed to sleep in the same bed for several nights to test their faith
– They believe that Jesus will return in October 2022.

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