Believed he’d be a prophet, family says
Associated Press, Mar. 17, 2003
TUCSON – Even though he was a diabetic, friends say James W. Killeen had been fasting, possibly for 40 days, before his death.
Killeen was found dead in his home on Jan. 27. His wife, three adult daughters and members of the World Ministries, with which they were involved, reportedly prayed for three weeks that he would be resurrected. Authorities discovered Killeen’s body after concerned relatives called asking that police check on him.
Killeen’s family says the 50-year-old diabetic was encouraged to fast and was convinced he was the group’s next prophet.
Police reports indicate Killeen had been fasting at the time of his death. Friends said the fast was to last for 40 days – the same amount of time Jesus wandered the desert fasting and praying before undertaking his ministry.
“They’d rather that God perform the healing than a regular doctor,” said former World Ministries member Steven Trejo, a 40-year-old worker at a local carwash. He spent several years with World Ministries during the 1990s and kept in contact with the group while he was serving a prison sentence for forgery.
Trejo said World Ministries leader Stan A. Bennett believes the world is going to end this year, but that the group’s retreat center in Sahuarita will be a haven when it happens.
Bennett says he follows only the Bible and Jesus’ word.
In a brief interview at Killeen’s house last week, Bennett said that accusations World Ministries could be a cult are unfounded.
“It’s a reaction to grief,” Bennett said of his critics. “We preach the word of Jesus.”