On The Street, 11th January 2013
Miguel preaching in Market Street
Today the team were again on Market Street, Manchester. As John was preaching from Colossians chapter two concerning the vanity of religion as a means of salvation two young men approached him asking what he was doing. John explained that he was preaching concerning the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Miguel also approached and between them John and Miguel spoke with them at some length concerning the difference between Christ as the means of salvation and Christianity as the means of salvation. They also stated to the young men how that there are many who consider themselves to be Christians but who are not true believers. Miguel pointed out that the catechism of the Catholic Church states that Muslims can get to heaven even though the Bible states that a person must believe in the Son of God!
At this point they admitted to being Muslims. They took the literature from Miguel and thank him and John.
As John was preaching suddenly his voice was drowned out by loud music. As usual a group of women had set up their PA so that their child dance crew could dance. They do this quite often as most street entertainers believe that what they are doing takes precedence over Street Evangelists. The team was forced to move to another location!
Miguel preached. A young photographer began to take pictures of Miguel. Amélia approached him. He admitted that he thought that Miguel was nuts but as he prayed he had, what only could be described as, a spiritual experience. Suddenly what Miguel was preaching made sense. Amelia chatted with him and gave him a leaflet. John also spoke with him. Apparently he was employed by the Reuter’s News Agency and had been sent to cover a demonstration by the Anonymous Group. However noone had turned up so he decided to photograph Miguel instead!
John was approached by a man who asked me if we were part of a community. John told him that he and Amélia used to be but not any more. He informed John that he had been. When asked the name he replied, “Remar”. John immediately asked him if he spoke Portuguese as he had experience with Remar in the past and knew that many of the people involved here in UK were of Portuguese origin. He said that he was Portuguese.
Amélia is Portuguese and John speaks the language. He said that he had just left Remar this very morning. All he had was a back pack and a small suitcase. As they conversed about his reasons for leaving and his experience in the group it simply confirmed to John what he had already witnessed with the group.
Remar had brought him to UK to undergo rehab from Alcohol addiction. Now that he simply could not submit to the life in a Remar community he was basically shown the door! He had walked all the way from their house on Great Clowes Street at the Cliff in Salford to the centre of Manchester. He said that he was aiming to get to London where he had friends. After speaking with Amélia about it John went with him to Chorlton Street Bus Station and bought him a bus ticket to London plus some food. Later on He phoned to say that he was on the bus and on his way.
His story is all too common and typical of a number of religious sects of which both John and Amélia are ex-members.
John had personal experience with Remar. Remar was founded in Spain by Miguel Diaz. The reason why some people think they are Portuguese is that so many of the people involved are Portuguese. John and Amélia were introduced to them about 10 years ago when they lived in Salford. they visited them quite often and were shown around their operations in Nottingham and Sheffield, as well as here in Manchester.
Being bi-lingual (I speak Spanish and Portuguese besides English), and a Christian, the local leaders at the time (a Portuguese couple) were interested in having their involvement because John would be able to work for them as an interpreter.
They quickly began to have suspicions about them that Remar was a cult. This was partly because of their own experience in another cult group over 30 years ago. What they witnessed in Remar was typical of cult groups such as the one John had been a member of for over 6 years.
The people who are brought into Remar are very vulnerable being people who are seeking to end their addictions (whether drugs or alcohol mostly). Once in the group they are often sent abroad, rather then undergo rehab in their own country. Remar state in their publicity that they help turn these people into “Useful members of Society” however these people are not given rehab with the intention of teaching them a trade and reintroducing them back into society as other Christian Rehab organisations do. Once in Remar they are expected to remain.
Just as with the group they were members of Remar feed these people on a diet of unhealthy food. Mostly food that is being thrown away by businesses. Often it will be Pasta with a bit of meat, water to drink and stale cakes or donuts, sometimes out of date yougurts, etcetera. Added to this the members are expected to work very hard, often from very early in the morning until the evening 6 days a week. They often saw them, during what was meant to be a time of prayer, dozing off because they were so tired. This is one of the marks of an abusive cult.
Also the members are referred to as the “Boys and Girls” (Even though they may be older) and they are treated as children. Dissent is not tolerated. If a person decides that they don’t want to stay they are shown the door and disowned. They will leave with no money and no help to return home–which is a frightening prospect for someone who is hundreds of miles from home in a foreign land where they do not know anyone or even speak the language.
People are often told of the terrible things that happened to those who left Remar. Stories of people “dying of Aids” and other similar stories. This is because by leaving the protection of Remar they were leaving the protection of God! John was told such a story by the leader he was being shown around by. Yet another sign of an abusive cult!
One of the English members they spoke with–who left soon after they had met with Remar– spoke with a preacher we both know about an English member in Chicago who was being pressured into marrying a man within Remar. Members are expected to marry within the group. This man was HIV+ and she did not want to marry him. She was told to “trust God” and God would keep her safe. Our preacher friend paid for her plane ticket to get out of Remar and come back home to UK!
Because of John’s linguistic abilities they were interested in he and Amélia joining so that he could work with them as an interpreter. When John declined, partly with the advice of his then Pastor, they werer no longer contacted!
We believe that this group’s activities show them to be an abusive cult of Christianity.
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