Inside God's Executioners

Parents fight for daughter's freedom

The Sunday Mail (Queensland, Australia), January 17, 1999

By Chris Griffith

They are known as God's Executioners at Armageddon and the SAS of Christianity. And they could be your neighbors.

The suburban cult is believed to be stockpiling guns, including semi-automatic weapons, for their sacred mission on Doomsday.

The sect of about 25 followers live quietly together in rented houses. Its headquarters is in Alexandra Hills, on Brisbane's southside.

The cult's leader is "Paddy," an unemployed panel beater who claims to have died in a traffic accident, visited heaven, and then returned to Earth with power over spirits.

His wife, a trained psychologist, is a social worker with a state-funded health agency.

Queensland Police yesterday said they had an extensive intelligence report on the cult, but were powerless to act.

Case investigator Det. Sgt. Daryl White of the Cleveland Detective Unit said he needed direct evidence of the guns before police could act.

Sgt. White said he had reports that the group had a cache of guns, including semi-automatic weapons.

But police could not execute a search warrant as the information was not first-hand.

"We couldn't take it any further. We need solid information, and direct observations of the weapons. Then we could take that next step."

Police could not help parents retrieve teenage children who had left home to join the sect.

"You couldn't leave home under the old system until you were about 16. You were still under the care of your parents.

"Nowadays they can get social security allowances and live with whomever they choose," he said.

Paddy's followers include teenagers as young as 14, and former drug addicts and prostitutes. Some have been recruited from mainstream churches and a nearby school. They live together but work in the community, contributing 10% of their income to Paddy.

Early last week four cult members had agreed to talk freely with The Sunday Mail but later said they were too frightened to meet us.

The followers said they and their families faced reprisals should they discuss the cult's workings publicly.

But the distraught parents of one young follower gave The Sunday Mail the first detailed account of the sect.

They said the Brisbane cult was becoming more secretive, isolated and dangerous as the new millennium approached.

The cult member's father, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said the poorly educated Paddy "put his views verbally with great force and also claims to be a martial arts expert."

Paddy's creed, he said, was the "all non-Christians were satanists. All Catholics of the rank of bishop and above were reasons, all masons were druids, all druids were pagans, and all pagans were satanists."

The only true Christians were him and his followers.

The cult member's father also claimed that Paddy's wife had given Paddy access to tape recordings of her clients from work.

He said his daughter first met Paddy when he offered to take a group of teenage boys and girls surfing, a seemingly innocent after-school activity Paddy provided through the Holland Park Uniting Church.

"I thought this was just a Uniting Church activity. I had no idea it had anything to do with a cult," he said, adding that his daughter's loss had been "bloody devastating."

"It's more devastating to have a daughter not trust you and actively feel hostile. And it's even worse to have the words of Jesus quoted to you to justify it."

The parent of another cult member, who also withheld his name fearing reprisal, said he could no longer handle the possible rejection in trying to win back his son.

Like the first couple's child, his son had been recruited through the Holland Park Uniting Church.

"He was obsessed. He'd read the Bible in class and try and covert the kids."

The father said he later took his son to a psychiatrist in a vain attempt to weaken the cult's grip on his mind. But his son left home to live with the cult on his 18th birthday.

The Rev. Adrian de Bruyn, who runs the Reformed Church of Mansfield, siad Paddy and his group had infiltrated several churches seeking members.

"They'd come to the evening service. At times they were disruptive. They would try to change some of our policies.

"We had a visitors' book in the lobby and they defaced it making comments in it about what they wanted done. I would say he's a megalomaniac."

Mr. De Bruyn said he later succeeded in counseling some followers to leave the cult.

The Rev. Evan Stenlake, a former pastor of the Holland Park Uniting Church, said he tried to accommodate Paddy's group within his church.

Paddy and his followers had conducted Bible study and prayer meetings with young people as part of regular church activities, apparently with parental approval.

"I personally thought it was better to have a Christian group under the auspices of a recognised church rather than having them out in the open.

"They'd reach out for the druggies, alcoholics and prostitutes."

But he conceded the cult had used the church to recruit members and said Paddy had even tried to recruit him.

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