Why did we leave the Jesus Christians, led by Dave McKay?
Back in August 2010 the Jesus Christians were having a worldwide reunion in Australia. Some members had stayed in Kenya to keep some projects running there. Dann (who is Roland and my son) stole some money from the community while we were all staying at Dave's house out in the country. Dann was 15 years old at the time and didn't want to be there. He was not being co-operative with community expectations which were for him to work in the garden, do housework and be involved in adult meetings and activities. He was also not allowed to use the computer for leisure, the library was inaccessible, nor was there any other children for him to play with. In short he had little freedom and no money of his own. His father, Roland, was far away in Sydney for the first few weeks of the reunion, and I was busy working on a film and was trying hard to conform and submit to Dave's leadership regarding Daniel.
When we arrived in Sydney and Roland and I were reunited, Dann ran away on the morning the community planned to conduct The Sydney whipping trial...this time the whipping trial was to highlight the persecution of the Falun Gong in China. The emotionally intense event was filmed by Chinese television. (click on link for video which is in Chinese, but includes footage and a statement in English by Jesse)
You can understand why a 15 year old would not want to be at such an event.
At the end of the day and the trial, Dann emailed Roland and me to ask us to come and pick him up from a local park where the community had been camping. Dave tells us we shouldn't pick him up but we should leave him sleep out for punishment for stealing the money, until Dann shows some serious repentance for stealing. We reluctantly obey Dave’s instructions, which was supported by the rest of the community who were there at the time. Roland and I had been given a few days on our own since we had been separated for so long and were staying separately from the community in one of the campervans. Dave starts "counselling" us via email as to exactly what to write in emails to respond to Dann’s emails to us, who has started to beg us to pick him up. Dave instructed us not to give in to Dann's "demands". For awhile we were blindly obedient to Dave although we were really struggling with what Dave was telling us to do (which ended up being a plan by Dave to leave Dann out on the street by himself for three weeks without anywhere to go and then for us to hand him over to social services on returning to London!)
When we understood this was the plan we emailed Dave to say we felt like he was pushing us against our will to abandon Dann. Dave blew up at us and he and the rest of the community had a private meeting behind our backs to officially decide to kick us all out. Everyone in Australia (except Ross who declined to vote) unanimously decided to kick us all out of the group, never to return, a decision which Dave informed us of via email.
We never found out exactly what the official reason was, due to the fact that we never discussed it with anyone from the community after that. We can only assume our crime was disobeying or questioning Dave and not doing what he believed we should do to with Dann.
The following week the entire community (originally including ourselves) were booked to go on a one week cruise up the coast of Queensland with friends and relatives of the Jesus Christians. Dave had said that for those of us who distributed, it would be a reward for distributing 20,000 books in the previous year. Roland, Dann and I all had reached the target and Roland had actually been one of the top distributors in the whole community. When we wouldn't agree with Dave and were kicked out and our bookings were given away by Dave to relatives of the community.
Members of the Jesus Christians (named) led by Dave Mckay on a cruise with relatives in August 2010.
Dave writes to us as he is sailing out of Brisbane, that he realises we had previously missed an email from him where he had given us instructions on exactly HOW long to leave Dann out on the street for, and under what circumstances Roland should possibly meet up with Dann. Dave had assumed we had read this email which was why he was particularly angry about our lack of response to those instructions, which led to us being kicked out. However, there is no suggestion to have a meeting to re-discuss the decision to kick us out, and Dave still presumes we are being dishonest about things.
After we were kicked out, while the others went on the cruise, Roland, Danny and I spent the next two weeks living on the streets of Sydney in a tent we purchased until the others got back from the cruise, as they had our passports. We were given some money by the community on our departure, but we needed to save it for some large upcoming bills we were due to pay when we got back to the UK. We hitch-hiked to Dave's house to pick up our passports and then hitch-hiked to Melbourne to wait another two weeks to get our flight back to the UK in
early September, 2010. For a few days we slept on the beach in Melbourne with a friendly Maori who confessed he had just got out of prison for murdering someone. Then my brother kindly offered us to stay at his house.
Back in the UK we tried to remain on as positive terms as possible with the JC's there, and we still felt a deep loyalty to the community. In November 2010 Dave had an idea that everyone should immediately cut off ties with the entire world and go underground without notice, to confuse his enemies. He assumed we would also instantly obey him, even though we are no longer members, and got angry when he found out we had visited a long term friend of the community after he had sent out this directive. Roland and I prayed about the plan the community was coming up with to go underground and got leadings from God that it was not his will for us to go underground with them. We informed Dave and the community. The entire community immediately excommunicated us and eventually sent us a fake computer generated form letter that Dave had drafted up telling us "This is a computer generated response. The Jesus Christians have officially disbanded. ...". Our relationship deteriorated with Dave in particular over the next year or so. Dave falsely accused us of things and sent edited emails from us with his comments on them to the secret community to reinforce to the rest of the silent community how evil we had become and that we were "the closest thing to public enemies". Simon has a dream about devils trying to climb in a window and Cherry interpreted the dream to tell the rest of the community that the devils are ourselves!
Ross (member of the JC's for 30 years) was also immediately excommunicated by Dave and the JC's in Australia in November when he questioned the idea of instantly obeying Dave and cutting off ties with outsiders without there being more group discussion first.
Alan (a 65 year old member) was kicked out of the underground community directly on Dave's orders in
February 2011 for refusing to take his wife to court to sue her for more money in a divorce settlement over the sale of their house. Alan disagreed with Dave's plan to go to court to fight his wife for a larger share of their assets and decided he would rather accept the substantial amount she was offering Alan. Dave kicked Alan out, who had been a member for two years, and claims Alan never “forsook all” (which was a requirement to join the Jesus Christians). This was very cruel of Dave because Alan had forsaken everything he could to the community and it was only the potential money that he could have taken his wife to court to fight for that Dave was accusing Alan of not forsaking! Alan’s two daughters still won't speak to him and his wife of 25 years has now divorced him.