Deported cult members arrive in U.S.

Some Coloradans able to speak to relatives

Denver Rocky Mountain News, December 6, 1999

Members of an American doomsday cult landed in New York City on Sunday after Greek officials deported them amid fears they were planning to mark the new millennium with mass suicide.

Some Colorado relatives of the members of the group, Concerned Christians, waited in the New York airport in the hope of speaking with their loved ones. Group members severed their family ties, sold their homes and quit their jobs when they joined the group.

The group's leader, Monte Kim Miller, 45, a former Denver resident, has said he would die in the streets of Jerusalem this month and be resurrected three days later.

Dave Cooper of Boulder succeeded in talking briefly with his brother, John Cooper before the members left the New York airport by taxi for destinations unknown.

"It was really great," Dave Cooper said in a breaking voice on KCNC-News4.

"It's a very emotional experience."

John Cooper's daughter, Jennifer, of Boulder, also was in the airport to greet her father.

Another woman learned she is a grandmother and -- although she wasn't allowed to hold the baby -- was able to embrace her daughter. Both women wept.

A member of the group read a statement during the broadcast calling America "Babylon the Great," meaning America is evil. He said the group has been subjected to "extreme slander and prejudice."

Under heavy police guard, the 16 members of the group were put on a plane to New York at Athens international airport earlier Sunday, police said. Denver police officer Mark Roggeman, who monitors cults on his own time, said he didn't know which members of the group were on the plane.

"I don't think they'll come to Denver," Roggeman said Sunday. The detainees, all U.S. citizens, were expelled from Greece after their residence permits expired, police said.


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