Tony Wall at SST reports:
Bishop Brian Tamaki has raised the stakes with his Destiny Church followers, exhorting them to leave behind houses, jobs – even family members – to join him at a “City of God” he is building in South Auckland.
At the church’s annual conference in Rotorua on Friday night, Tamaki spent his entire two-hour sermon talking about how God had told him to build the city and why his followers had to lose their “parochialism” towards their home areas, even if it meant leaving behind loved ones.
Cult expert Mark Vrankovich said the speech was designed to “soften up” Tamaki’s followers and the real pressure to move to South Auckland would come with one-on-one sessions with local pastors.
“Saying that the church family is more important than your physical family, that you must go with the spiritual family, is a classic cult idea. This will put great pressure on families and break up families.”
Vrankovich was also concerned that Tamaki appeared to be encouraging people to sell their homes. “They’ll be pressured to give the money from the house sale to the church, and they’ll never see it again. He’s extracting money from people for his dream, and something that he will effectively own. He wants to be mayor or king of this ‘city’ so he’s softening them up to get them to move [to Auckland] so he’s guaranteed not to be losing money on the deal.”
I suspect Tamaki will own all the properties in his “city” and that indeed his followers will be urged to hand over the proceeds from selling their own home in exchange for being allowed to live rent free in their new allocated home. However if you leave the faith or criticise Lord Brian, then I imagine you will get turfed out with nothing. It will give him huge power over his flock.