The Age: Controversial Sect At Congress 'To Learn'

From XFamily - Children of God

Controversial Sect At Congress ‘To Learn’

The Age(Melbourne)/1973-02-22

By Michael Gordon

A religious sect which has been investigated by Scotland Yard and blessed by Pope Paul is among the pilgrims in Melbourne for the Eucharistic Congress. The sect is known as the Children of God. The Children of God is a unique religious sect that says it aims to help those dissatisfied or disillusioned with today’s world. The sect believes the answer to the problems of the world is God.

The institutional churches have been unable to make up their minds about the group. Some say it is potentially dangerous, but the blessing from Pope Paul came last year. Scotland Yard investigated the sect recently after a Member of Parliament described the group as "sinister" and various parents demanded it be outlawed. The inquiry found nothing suspicious about the group.

Although members in Melbourne are not actively participating in the Congress they are attending most functions and hope to learn a lot. Some of the "children" attended the Rolling Stones’ concerts, handing out pamphlets inviting fans to visit their North Melbourne colony.

Those who join the group give it all their possessions, adopt a biblical name and begin a thorough Bible study. Their task, they say, is to give God to the world.

The theme of the group is "You’ve gotta be a baby to go to Heaven." Shua Irvine, 21, a "child" from Sydney, said this refers to when Jesus told a Pharisee he must become as a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

The cult began in America four years ago- now it has spread to many countries including Canada, Mexico, Britain, Denmark, Germany and Italy.

In its short and controversial history the sect has faced allegations of brain-washing, alienation of children from their parents and causing alarming character changes.

But what they call persecutions do not deter the group members, who see themselves as facing the same problems as Jesus and the Disciples- setbacks just make them more determined to succeed.