Concerned Christians: The Manson Connection

Another version of the Fletcher article on Concerned Christians published in the Salt Lake Tribune appeared with the title Bizarre Tape Turns Up After 14 Arrests in Jerusalem in the San Francisco Examiner for January 5, 1999. On January 6, 1999 the San Francisco Chronicle reported (see Don Lattin, "Cult Experts Say Arrests May Bolster Sect Leader: Israeli Raid Seen As Encouraging Group's Paranoia" ) that, according to Christian groups that monitored the movement, the tape may be genuine but one should not read too much into it, since Miller conducted numerological analyses of a number of names, not only Manson's. See also a simple chronology on Concerned Christians published by The Denver Post.

 JERUSALEM - The "Time of the End" message is dated June 25, 1997, and its title is "I am the Lawmaker" - a reference to a phrase used by convicted murderer Charles Manson.

 Manson is the centerpiece of the taped message, which a reporter found early Monday evening on the doorstep of the abandoned house of alleged Concerned Christians cult members detained here Sunday. The tape, listed as Series No. 18, Tape No. 30, was apparently overlooked in the Israeli police investigation of the rented house in the Jerusalem suburb of Mevasseret Zion.

 The tape is being turned over to police, who had no comment on its discovery. Israeli police arrested 14 Americans - six of them children - said to be followers of the Denver-based cult leader Monte Kim Miller.

 Israeli police said the group planned to provoke a bloody shootout by opening fire on police in the streets of Jerusalem, believing the violence would hasten the return of Jesus Christ.

 Authorities moved to deport five adults and all six children Monday. Their names were not made public. The other three detainees - John Bayles, Eric Malesic and Terry Smith - will be held until the police investigation is complete and will be deported then, officials said.

 Miller, who has predicted his own violent death and resurrection here in 1999, was not among those detained Sunday. Police said he was not in Israel.

 While the origin of the tape could not be confirmed, millennium expert Gershom Gorenberg, an Israeli researcher for Boston University's Center for Millennial Studies, listened to the tape and said the voice and preaching style resemble that found on other cassettes issued by Miller. But the soft-spoken, drawling voice, delivering what is said to be biblical prophecy, remains unidentified.

 The vision on the tape is darker than that of previous tapes, said Gorenberg. He also said he had not previously heard of any Manson links in the group's religious philosophy.

 The tape, if authentic, offers an intricate and frightening insight into the thinking and teachings of a messianic cult leader.

 Miller founded Concerned Christians in the early 1980s, preaching against the evils of cults and New Age movements.

 After prophesying that the Apocalypse would begin with an earthquake in Denver last October, Miller, 44, and about 50 of his disciples dropped from sight.

 Cult watchers believed the group had headed to Jerusalem because of Miller's belief he would die there in December 1999 and be resurrected three days later.

 Officials said investigations were continuing concerning three of the men arrested; the 11 ordered deported include the six children.

 The teachings on the discovered tape seem to center around the personal history of Manson, and his supposed role as a divine "lawmaker" or "son of man."

 In the taped message, the United States is described as a "dragon kingdom" that will receive "double the judgment" that Japan incurred in the atomic devastation of World War II. And President Clinton is described as a "counterfeit son of man" - or false messenger - in his involvement in the 1993 Israeli-Palestinian interim peace treaty and the subsequent Israel-Jordan peace accords.

 Along with the taped message, a reporter found an accompanying 26 pages of photocopies to which the speaker refers throughout the tape. The text diagrams key passages of the tape, and pictures of historical and political figures ranging from Calvin Coolidge to Clinton and, of course, Manson.

 "This is looking to be like the final message of our time together, at least as it concerns the Manson murders," the tape begins.

 Throughout the course of the past century, the tape indicates, false messengers and counterfeit religious and political figures cloud the true meaning of biblical prophecy regarding God's final judgment of man and Jesus' second coming.

 In fact, while most fundamentalist Christian sects portray the United States as part of the forces of good in the end-days battles of good and evil, in this vision the United States, too, is doomed to be judged harshly at the approaching end of times.

 The end-time prophecies seem to converge in the life and cultic mission of Manson, who in the tape and printed text is repeatedly referred to as the "ManSon" - a biblical allusion to the figure of Jesus.

 "The Charles Manson murders connect to the son of man judgments, that is the return of Jesus Christ," the taped message relates. "The overriding theme of the Manson murders is judgment and the return of the Lord in judgment. The name "ManSon' represent the judgments that occur upon the coming of the son of Man - Jesus Christ."

 The 1969 Manson family killings of actress Sharon Tate and her unborn child have rendered a kind of divine judgment - by killing a baby who is said here to represent the "Antichrist," adds the tape.

 "The killing of Sharon Tate's baby represents a killing of Rosemary's baby (the Roman antichrists) by the Lord," explains both the tape and printed text. "The Manson murders foretell the slaying of America's antichrists and America itself by the Lord."  A footnote on the text refers to the 1967 cult book "Rosemary's Baby," by Ira Levin. The book and subsequent movie, directed by Sharon Tate's husband Roman Polanski, dealt with a woman who bears a child of the devil.

 Although the tape describes Manson as doing God's work and glorifies his deeds, the speaker in one instance is more ambiguous, calling "ManSon . . . a counterfeit, and sometimes a picture of Jesus Christ, the son of man."

 Underlying the taped message is the biblical end-of-times prophecy of Isaiah, Chapter 2, Verse 3, which foresees a final judgment - and then the era of peace in which "men will beat their swords into plowshares."

 Isaiah's vision is linked repeatedly to events in the Manson saga, via the mystical number, 23 - a combination of the chapter and verse reference.

 "The NUMBER 23 and LAW is continually connected with the Charles Manson murders representing the return of the Lord and judgment day because of Isaiah 2:3, "for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem,' " the text reads.

 The timing of key historical events - from the closing days of World War II to the 1992 Hurricane Andrew and the 1993 Oslo peace accords, is linked by a 23-year span to various events in the life and saga of the Manson family. For instance, the 1945 atomic bombing of Nagasaki occurred 23 years before Manson recorded an album.

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