Cult masquerading as church, stepfather says

The Press (New Zealand)/July 9, 1998

Palmerston North businessman John Hornblow is counting his blessings after his 18-year-old stepdaughter escaped from what he calls a "mind-bending" cult masquerading as a church.

Rachel Boyack is home from Auckland University for the holidays, after three weeks' involvement with the International Church of Christ. She was recruited into the church when a member approached her on an Auckland street and invited her to attend a service.

Mr Hornblow, a Palmerston North mayoral candidate, said Miss Boyack agreed and within days she was showered with love from other members. "She was surrounded by six or eight chosen people who absolutely saturated her with friendship. Then she was pressed continually into church activities and, after three weeks, she was being asked to move out of her accommodation and into the church's own flats."

What most concerned Mr Hornblow, and Miss Boyack's mother, Jenny Boyack, was that the church told Miss Boyack she was worthless and full of sin, people of any other faith, including her friends and family, were devils, and that she would have to make significant financial contributions to the church. It was not until church members told her she could not go home to Palmerston North for the holidays that she starting doubting the church's authenticity.

"They told her they would pray about it and decide whether or not she could come home. It was then that Miss Boyack thought 'Hello, something isn't quite right here'," he said.

The International Church of Christ was not available for comment.

It has its roots in Boston, in the United States, and is establishing itself in Pacific countries.

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