Doomsday Cult in Denver Vanishes


.c The Associated Press

DENVER (AP) -- The leader of a doomsday cult who predicted the destruction of Denver last weekend has vanished along with about 50 of his followers, raising fears they are bent on mass suicide.

Followers of Monte Kim Miller's group, Concerned Christians, have sold their belongings and abandoned their homes. Cult watchers believe the group may be headed to Jerusalem because of Miller's belief he would die there in December 1999 and be resurrected three days later.

Miller founded Concerned Christians in the early 1980s, preaching against the evils of cults and New Age movements.

Hal Mansfield, director of the Fort Collins-based Religious Movement Resource Center, which has been monitoring the Denver-based Concerned Christians for at least two years, said Miller might have started the movement as a financial scam. But critics said the group has transformed itself into an apocalyptic personality cult.

Miller, 44, claimed that God was using him as a vehicle to speak to his followers. After prophesying that the Apocalypse would begin with an earthquake in Denver last Saturday, the cult leader and about 50 of his disciples dropped from sight.

Denver police officer Mark Roggeman said at least 20 of Miller's followers have contacted relatives since Saturday and promised to keep in touch.

If Miller's predictions fail to materialize, tragedy could result, said Bill Honsberger, a Christian missionary who has monitored the group. He said the cult leader is capable of leading followers to mass suicide, much like the 39 members of the Heaven's Gate cult who killed themselves near San Diego in 1997.

Nicolette Weaver, a 16-year-old Denver girl who was a Concerned Christians member for nearly 10 years, said she fears the worst. She left to live with her biological father two years ago when Miller "started going off the deep end." Her mother and stepfather stayed with Miller.

"He is so controlling, they would do anything he said," she said. "He has been prophesying the end of world for so long. When it doesn't happen, he will have to find some way for their world to end."

Nicolette said Miller held meetings every week or two at his house, sermonizing that America is Satan or the government is evil.

"Sometimes when he was speaking for God he'd roll his eyes back and then close them and get real dramatic," she said.

AP-NY-10-15-98 1746EDT

Copyright 1998 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.


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