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Source : 12/06/1987 Northampton Post

Leading local churchmen this week warned children and their parents to be wary of religious cults, following claims that teenagers have been lured off the streets.

Two Kettering girls have claimed they were pressurised into visiting the Jesus People's New Creation Farm at Bugbrooke, and Northampton's Archdeacon Bazil Marsh has warned that parents must keep a keen interest in their children's whereabouts.

'Parents are responsible for their children until the age of 18, and they really ought to know where they are', advised the Archdeacon.

'And those children should make a point of keeping their parents informed'.

The teenaged girls claimed they were told if they didn't go with the Jesus People - who are said to sever all ties with family and friends - terrible things would happen and they would suffer eternal damnation.

'Quite frankly, this worries me sick', the Archdeacon added. 'It's the same classic cult practices as used by the Moonies, Children of God and the Church of Scientology.'

'It seems appalling that the full weight of brainwashing techniques should be used on children of 14 and 15. Adults can be expected to fend for themselves but our children need to be protected.'

'It's especially worrying at that age. Younger teenagers are often looking for a more heroic world than the dull, materialistic world of their parents, so they're vulnerable.'

'just as parents teach small children not to take sweets or accept lifts from strangers so older children should be warned of the dangers to these visits - they must go to their parents first,' he added.

Spokesman for the Jesus People, Liz Donovan said: 'We proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ anywhere and everywhere and in the course of speaking to interested adults we may invite them to come and visit us at home.'

'It is not our policy to proclaim the gospel to youngsters without the permission of their parents, but rather to those who are of age. There is never any question of people of a young age being invited to join the community.'

'We do, of course, seek to lead them to Christ but there is certainly no pressure put upon anyone to come and visit.' She added.

'We do however invite many people to come and see how we live and where we live.'