This group existed as a church for many years.
But public attention turned on them in recent days after the group’s leader, who some have described as a “self-claimed prophet”, made outrageous predictions that are too good to be true.
Amongst his predictions is “the opening of the earth on 16 January 2018 and that all unbelievers will fall into that big opening”.
January 16 came yesterday and nothing happens.
The group’s rise and the recent behaviour of its leader carry all the hallmarks of a cult.
And that’s what this so-called “Message of the Kingdom” really is.
They are a cult.
Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton, who once taught at Harvard Medical School in the US, wrote a paper titled Cult Formation in the early 1980s.
He delineated three primary characteristics, which are the most common features shared by destructive cults.
- A charismatic leader, who increasingly becomes an object of worship as the general principles that may have originally sustained the group lose power. That is a living leader, who has no meaningful accountability and becomes the single most defining element of the group and its source of power and authority.
- A process [of indoctrination or education is in use that can be seen as] coercive persuasion or thought reform [commonly called "brainwashing"].
The culmination of this process can be seen by members of the group often doing things that are not in their own best interest, but consistently in the best interest of the group and its leader.
Lifton's seminal book Thought Reform and Psychology of Totalism explains this process in considerable detail.
- Economic, sexual, and other exploitation of group members by the leader and the ruling coterie.
The destructiveness of groups called cults varies by degree, from labour violations, child abuse, medical neglect to, in some extreme and isolated situations, calls for violence or mass suicide.
Reports from Malaita in recent days claimed some members of “Message of the Kingdom” gave away their valuables in preparation for the predicted January 16 event.
Let’s not believe anything this group and its leader, or leaders, talk about.
They are a cult and cults always made outrageous claims and predictions.
The police however, must keep a closer eye of such groups.
Around the world, cult leaders whose predictions failed often resorted to violence or mass suicide.
This is why the police need to closely monitor this group.