More strange news for this week to report: At long last, Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene have returned. Or at least that's what one Australian couple wants you to think. [via]
Cult watchers are keeping a close eye on the pair, actually named Alan John Miller and Mary Suzanne Luck, who under the title "Divine Truth" claim to be the second coming of the biblical figures.
"Just a little over 2000 years ago, we arrived on the Earth for the first time," Miller says on his website. "Because of my personal desire and passion for God, as I grew, I recognized not only that I was the Messiah that was foretold by ancient prophets, but also that I was in a process designed by God that all humans could follow, if they so desired."
Miller, 47, and Luck, 32, have drawn in between 30 and 40 disciples since moving to the Wilkesdale region of Queensland in 2007, the Courier Mailreports.
"I don't want to be Jesus. Who wants to be Jesus?" Miller told his followers. "But I love the divine truth."
Australia's Cult Awareness and Information Centreand the Anglican and Catholic churches are concerned that the couple, relying on supporter donations to sustain themselves, appeals to the vulnerable.
"The moment someone becomes God or God's voice on Earth, it gives them another level of authority to enforce submission to them," Cult Awareness and Information Centre spokeswoman Helen Pomery told the Courier.
Divine reincarnation or not, the holy couple has worked wonders for local real estate. Miller and Luck's move to Wilkesdale reportedly sparked an "unlikely property boom," as their followers aggressively purchased much of the surrounding land.
In 2009, followers pooled together $400,000 to purchase roughly one square mile of land, where they currently hold weekly meetings and plan to build an international visitors center.