Secretive Jesus Group community works on the philosophy of “what’s yours is mine”.

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It is led by a self-proclaimed prophet who demands followers pray three times a day and convinces women their role is to serve their husbands.

Members give up access to their own money, they are stripped of the ability to make decisions and are told if they leave they will go to hell.

This is life inside the North Queensland Jesus Group, a quasi-religious cult of about 150 run by Sydney man Dawid Daniel Yosep Abishai Yokannan Landy-Ariel.

The group has communes in Cairns, southern Queensland and the NSW town of Parkes (Austalia), but its existence has remained largely a secret.

For the first time, an ex-member has spoken about the 28 years she spent on the inside, painting a picture of an organisation that tries to use mind control to recruit and rule the lives of followers.

Tamar Joha said Mr Landy-Ariel presides over a community dominated by men and in which women are inferior. All females are required to wear headscarves from the time they are toddlers and violence against women goes unchecked.

Ms Joha, 47, said members are encouraged to allow the group to access their bank accounts so money can be pooled and shopping is done only when a strict shopping list is approved by one of Mr Landy-Ariel’s appointed group leaders. They are only allowed a limited number of clothes which must be purchased from charity shops.

The mother-of-nine said adults would physically discipline any children in the group, not just their own, which had led to some abuse and bullying.

Members must take a biblical name within weeks of joining, learn the ancient Aramaic language and study spiritual guidelines written by Mr Landy-Ariel.

See also: Cult FAQ and Who Joins Cults, And Why?

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This post was last updated: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 4:40 PM, Central European Time (CET)