More Ex-Members Come Forward, Call McKeesport Church “Cult-Like”

CBS News KDKA-TV, Pennsylvania/March 3, 2016

By Andy Sheehan

At the Church of Life in Christ in McKeesport, Pastor Guy Miller preaches that he has a special relationship with God.

A church recording reveals Miller allegedly saying: “I am closer to God than anybody you’re ever going to meet. It’s just the way it is. Why? ‘Cause I’m more obedient.”

“He’s the only one who can hear God’s voice. No one else can hear God’s voice,” said Joni Jenko

And since our investigative report aired on Wednesday, six more former members have contacted KDKA, confirming what others have already claimed, that Miller controlled the very minutia of their lives with divine authority.

“You know, who you should date, who you should marry, he tells you pretty much how you should live your life, and if you don’t listen to him, then you’re not following God,” Jenko said.

Like others we’ve spoken to, Jenko says she was shunned by her family when she left the church, and that Miller forced her parents to choose between his church and their own flesh and blood.

KDKA’s Andy Sheehan: “Is that a cult?”

Jenko: “Absolutely. Absolutely, 110 percent it is a full-blown cult.”

Based on her own account, and now more than a dozen other ex-members, cult expert Steven Hassan [Warning: Steve Hassan is not recommended by this Web site. Read the detailed disclaimer to understand why.], agreed in a Skype interview from Boston.

Sheehan: “You believe this to be a cult?”

Steven Hassan: “There are many types of cults, Andy. There are benign cults and there are destructive cults. I would characterize this one as a destructive cult.”

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The ex-members KDKA interviewed said Miller preaches obedience to his word. Those who obey can live and be healthy, those who don’t will get sick and die. Hassan said Miller appears to practice emotional, thought and behavioral control associated with cult leaders.

“He’s claiming to have this exclusive power and relationship with the divine. He’s teaching shunning, as I understand,. He’s putting phobias in people’s minds, irrational fears that if they question him or disobey him they’re going to lose their salvation,” Hassan said.

Miller and representatives of the church continue to decline our repeated requests for interviews. On Wednesday, his attorney issued this statement:

“For 37 years, Guy Miller has carried on a ministry in the McKeesport community. These recent, uncorroborated claims concern events alleged to have occurred years ago, by persons long unaffiliated with Mr. Miller and his church. Simply put, these allegations are specious and unfortunate, and Mr. Miller categorically denies them.”

Jenko says she’s come forward to tell people in the church there’s a way out.

“To come out of that church and realize, there’s nothing bad about coming out of there and being free. You can be on God’s side. You’re not following some man, you’re following God,” she said.

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