Tuesday, September 17, 2013

eCult by Betty J.R. Chavez

eCult: A Sister's Memoir, Betty J.R. Chavez.  New York: Writer's Showcase, 2001.  e-book, 378 pps.

Betty J.R. Chavez grew up in a family of six children.  She is a mainstream fundamentalist Christian and continues to support family values.  In 1998, one of her siblings-- Jan, along with Jan's husband Jim disappeared-- along with the rest of the Concerned Christians who were living in Denver, Colorado.  The Concerned Christians group was defined by Betty as a cult because its' leader Kim Miller advocated that the members [fifty to eighty all told, the exact number is unclear] dump their families and just stick with him and other members. 

eCult purports that the members of the Concerned Christians were also controlled by e-mail.  Betty J.R. Chavez corresponded with her sister by e-mail.  She endeavored to point out to her sister the erroneous interpretations of scripture that Kim Miller was espousing.  Sometimes it was her sister who wrote back. Other times it was Kim Miller or other members of the church who wrote back.  The author could tell when it wasn't her sister by the wording of the e-mails.  The e-mail exchanges resulted in no changes.  Jan and Jim remained in Concerned Christians.  Their exact whereabouts were unknown at the end of the book. 

This article here: http://www.religionnewsblog.com/22679/concerned-christians-kim-miller written in 2008 states that the members of Concerned Christians are probably overseas.  A web search reveals several websites operated by Kim Miller and his group are still up.

sapphoq reviews says:  As I read eCult, I could feel the heartbreak that Betty J.R. Chavez and the rest of her family has gone through because of Concerned Christians.  The leader, Monte Kim Miller, claims to have a direct pipeline to the Almighty and that his God speaks directly through him.  In spite of the serious illness of another sister, Jan and Jim stayed away.  Although some of the dialogue was stilted in the direction of overly-explanatory expositions, eCult is a book that will stay with me for a long time.  Having witnessed the effects of a coercive group on those in it and those left behind up close, I have much sympathy for the plight of all involved in eCult.  Readers who are not able to deal with biblical arguments for whatever personal reasons ought to give this one a miss.  Recommended to those who are interested in studies of destructive groups. 

N.B.  The group Concerned Christians started by Monte Kim Miller is not affiliated with a group from Mesa, Arizona which helps ex-Mormons.

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