Religious Group Slammed As “Coercive Cult” After Pushing Members To Donate Their Kidneys

  • The Jesus Christians encourage followers to donate kidneys to strangers as an act of kindness.
  • Led by David McKay, the group was dubbed 'The Kidney Cult' due to its controversial organ donation practices.
  • Renee Spencer sued David McKay for defamation, winning $185,000 in damages and court costs.

A controversial group dubbed “The Kidney Cult” encourages followers to donate their organs to strangers. Officially named The Jesus Christians, the group has consequently drawn criticism and accusations of being a manipulative and destructive cult.

The Jesus Christians, a secretive community led by David McKay, was formed in 1981. Its headquarters are tucked away in suburban Melbourne, Australia.

The Kidney Cult’s Aussie members live in a nondescript home, but smaller congregations have since emerged in other parts of the world, including Canada, the US, Mexico, and Kenya.

Almost two decades ago, David and his followers, who currently include a few hundred worldwide, hosted a whipping of their members in a public display of supposed atonement for the sins of others, 7News reported on Monday (May 20).

The Jesus Christians, dubbed “The Kidney Cult,” encourage followers to donate their organs to strangers

Despite other scandals emerging in the news, the group is best known for being referred to as The Kidney Cult, with devout followers encouraged to donate a kidney to complete strangers as an act of kindness.

The purpose of this seemingly heroic gesture is currently unknown.

Cult specialist Rick Ross told 7News: “Think of the people that have donated kidneys because Dave McKay influenced them and coerced them in his own methodical way to give up a kidney.

“Those people are scarred literally for the rest of their lives.

“Dave McKay’s demands on them will change their lives forever.”

Rick has reportedly followed The Jesus Christians closely and subsequently found that the group fit the profile of a “destructive cult.”

He explained: “Over the years, he has recruited very young people often, and they are idealistic.

“They care about the condition of the world.

“They have faith in God, they believe in the Bible.”

The group has drawn criticism and accusations of being a manipulative and destructive cult

“And Dave McKay manipulates that and orchestrates that for his own purposes.

“I see him as a deeply narcissistic man, a man that craves attention, and he will do virtually anything so that he can get attention.”

In 2007, a Canadian hospital refused to accept the offer of a kidney to a stranger by one of the group’s members as a way of expressing his faith in God, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

At the time, over half of the Jesus Christian members had donated a kidney to people they did not know prior to agreeing to donate.

Renee Spencer, mother to daughter Ellicia, who has been embroiled in the cult since 2017, told 7News that Elicia found The Jesus Christians on YouTube when she was 22 years old.

According to Renee, her daughter began fervently watching their videos, emailing a contact address on the channel, and meeting members in person.

One of the members, a man named Joseph, would reportedly become her husband within months.

Renee told 7News: “She fell in love. I think she genuinely fell in love with Joseph almost as soon as she met him.”

The secretive community, led by David McKay, was formed in 1981

When Ellicia joined The Jesus Christians, Renee reportedly said she didn’t initially open up completely on the nature of the church.

Instead, Elicia directed her mom to a website that, on the surface, “just seemed very much like that website that they were just this hippie Christian group.”

Ultimately, Renee came to understand that her daughter hadn’t simply joined any Christian group.

The heartbroken mom said: “It’s led by a controlling, manipulative leader who thinks that he has divine authority and that he’s an apostle of God.”

Renee went on to sue David for defamation after one of his videos accused her of worshipping the devil.

An official court document showed that on December 18, 2023, Renee won the case, and a judge awarded her $85,000 in damages and $100,000 in court costs.

“This case involves a plaintiff whose daughter joined a religious group,” the document reads. “Ms Spencer considers that the religious group is a coercive cult.”

It further states: “Ms Spencer has become estranged from her daughter and believes that the estrangement has been orchestrated by the defendant in his capacity as the leader of that group.”

The group’s headquarters are tucked away in suburban Melbourne, Australia

Elicia went as far as to testify against her mother, further damaging an already frayed relationship.

Meanwhile, David has been adamant that he is not the figurehead of a cult, telling 7News that calling his church a cult is akin to calling someone an “a**hole.”

He told the Australian broadcaster: “It’s just an insult.

“That’s all it’s, it’s purely and simply an insult.”

“I recognize we’re different.

“I recognize we’re a high-demand group.

“I recognize we’re a new religious movement.”

The Jesus Christians emphasize living strictly according to the teachings of Jesus, particularly those found in the New Testament.

The Jesus Christians emphasize living strictly according to the teachings of Jesus, particularly those found in the New Testament
Pastor Mackenzie Tied to Alleged Organ Traffickers Dave and Sherri McKay of the Australian Cult “Jesus Christians.”

Dave reportedly urged his followers to donate their kidneys to international recipients, claiming that it was a “living sacrifice to God.”

This commitment extends to practices such as communal living, the renunciation of personal wealth, and extreme acts of altruism, including donating kidneys to strangers.

According to the World Religions and Spirituality Project and New Religious Movements, the group rejects traditional Christian institutions, criticizing them as overly focused on doctrine rather than the direct teachings of Jesus.

Their activities have included public demonstrations and the distribution of religious literature.

Despite announcing their disbandment in 2010, they have continued their work through various online platforms, maintaining a presence and promoting their beliefs.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.


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