Cult squashed in remote village

A cult that encouraged members to donate personal belongings, including pigs, was squashed by authorities in the highlands of Papua New Guinea in the past week.

According to a Post Courier report, the cult, which was started by what police called “a goddess”, had attracted a large number of followers after promising them that rapture, the taking up into Heaven of righteous Christians, would take place soon.

Provincial police commander Superintendent Simon Nigi said that more than 700 people gathered at Orie village in Imbongu district on July 29 after a woman claiming to be a goddess, promised that members would soon go to Heaven.

“The followers of the so-called goddess, who call themselves God’s Holy Words Church, conducted rituals to make themselves holy before 3:00 p.m. on July 29 because they were told by one woman who claimed to be the goddess that all the faithful followers of Jesus Christ would be taken back to heaven,” Supt. Nigi said.

He said the cult movement was the first of its kind in the province and a lot of people were misled.

He said the group gave away all their personal belongings including pigs, saying that they would not need them because the self-styled goddess allegedly told them that the rapture would take place on July 29 at 3:00 p.m. They began their fellowship on July 25.

“The speaker (goddess) proclaimed that everyone at the gathering would go to heaven. She also claimed that she would purify the sinners’ souls and take then to heaven,” said Supt. Nigi.

“Police arrived at the scene and arrested the goddess, including 23 cult followers. The other 12 were later released because they were old men and women.

Twelve members have now been convicted, censured and released for misleading residents, under the Summary Offence Act, for willfully misleading the people and caused ill feelings among groups of people of Oreia village and the whole of Imbongu District.

Supt. Nigi urged the people not to be misled by false prophets and cult groups.