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North Christian Church

The multiracial North Christian Church in Johannesburg—like the Grace Gospel Church, in Durban, an affiliate of the Mauritius-based Church Ministries International (CTMI), is allegedly involved in rape, the surgical sterilization of congregants, and arranged marriages. CTMI was founded by Miki and Audrey Hardy, who live on Mauritius in what a former follower calls a “palatial estate, with tennis courts, stables, an affinity pool, and a hill behind the house stocked with deer for hunting” built mostly by artisans who belong to the church, some of whom worked “out of love” and for no pay. Research provides evidence to allege that CTMI brainwashes educated young people and encourages them to abandon their families and studies and move to Mauritius. Yet a series of 2009 interviews found “young, spirited people desperate to defend the church against mind control allegations.” “The church saved my life,” several claimed, and church leaders, described by members as “polite, and even warm towards me,” firmly denied the allegations. It was clear that many members had not had any damaging experiences. When reporter Victoria John went to Durban late last year and called the local leader to arrange a meeting, he said, “Are you married, Victoria? No? Do you have a boyfriend? If you are not prepared to answer these questions, then how can you ask us such personal questions about our lives? You need to question your own heart.” Yet descriptions of life in CTMI churches mirror, in excruciating detail, the life-controlling features of what we have come to call cults. CTMI claims to have 1,000 churches, mainly in Africa, but also in the United Kingdom and the United States. (Mail and Guardian, 12/21/12) [IT 4.2 2013]

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