Beware of wolves in sheepskin…fear used to instill discipline among the congregants

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IT is a fact that in times of crisis and problems people look for someone to deliver them.
Historically, those who stepped in to fill this role of saviour came cloaked in religion.
But history has sad lessons of ‘leaders’ who led astray a whole people aided by persons overwhelmed by social, economic and other problems.
In the grim aftermath of the First World War, the worst of men rose to the highest office in some parts of Africa, Europe and Asia.
The world entered the unspeakably violent Age of Dictators, with Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin and Adolf Hitler taking centre stage.
While they espoused totalitarianism, in each case the political system they represented was different.
For Mussolini it was fascism, for Stalin, communism while for Hitler it was national socialism.
All promised economic and social rescue, and there were early successes recorded by these programmes.
In other parts of the world arose religious leaders like the infamous Charles Manson who brainwashed people to kill for him and drove some of them to commit suicide.
Another type of that leader was the equally infamous Reverend Jim Jones who started his Peoples Temple in the 1950s and ended with mass suicide in Guyana.
The above scenario, where religion has being used to silently destroy unsuspecting congregants has manifested itself in Africa generally and Zimbabwe in particular where false preachers and pastors are holding millions of people to ransom and leading them to their graves by preaching and imposing laws that have nothing to do with the gospel, but lead to destruction.
Everyday in the papers are stories of pastors and anamadzibaba raping congregants as well as causing the breakdown of families.
VaPostori sects who are the major subject of this topic are using cultism to gain congregants; they have instilled fear in their followers.
Some of them have denied their followers some basic human rights such as certain foods, medicines and other essentials for the human body to function well.
There are people dying from ailments that can be easily prevented and treated.
And these sects are mushrooming on a daily basis, at an alarming rate; one just has to listen to the radio as many of them are advertising their ‘services’.
The urban and rural landscape is now littered with these sects, mostly led by young men ‘spitting’ verses as well as instructions for those needing their assistance and where to deposit funds.
While people have the right to choose where and how to worship, what is scary is the power they have over their ‘followers’.
People have been instructed to stop medications they have taken all their lives and sadly have passed away from conditions that were not supposed to kill them.
I know of people who have stopped taking high blood pressure medication only to suffer from stroke and die.
I have seen people who have stopped consuming healthy foods because the church does not allow it, only to waste away.
There are people I personally know who stopped consuming traditional foods such as madora/mopane worms, mbeva/mice in peanut butter, pork, fish, termites and an array of tubers and other traditional meals that made them enjoy a healthy life.
Warnings that they needed these foods fell on deaf ears with the sect leader being said to possess powers to see those who ate ‘banished’ foods.
Actions by some of these leaders have disadvantaged a lot of children who were, and still are, denied education and taught that skills like blacksmithing, basket weaving and tailoring are all they need for a ‘happy’ life as they are masters of their own employment.
Despite laws forbidding it, young girls are being married off to church elders.
These matters only surface in cases where leaders of the church refuse to marry girls they would have impregnated.
As much as we have freedom of religion, let us not promote the growth of cults in the country.
Generally, cult leaders and preachers do not sound like deceivers, but they are.
Logic and common sense must not be discarded because of hardships; congregants must not be afraid to interrogate their leaders; among human beings there are no gods.

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