A man claiming to be Jesus is gaining followers and causing concern among cult experts in Australia.
Former IT specialist Alan John Miller, or AJ as he prefers to be known, runs a religious movement known as the ‘Divine Truth’ from his home near the small town of Kingaroy in the state of Queensland.
Mr Miller claims that not only is he Christ, but his partner, Australian Mary Luck, is in fact Mary Magdalene, who according to the ‘Bible’ was present at the crucifixion.
He told British media: “I have very clear memories of the crucifixion, but it wasn’t as harrowing for me as it was for others like Mary who was present.
“When you are one with God you are not in a state of fear, and you have quite good control over your body’s sensations and the level of pain that you absorb from your body.”
Mr Miller holds seminars near his home and also travels around the world teaching people how to have a personal relationship with God, often by delving deep into their emotions.
Dozens of his followers are understood to have bought properties in the area to be closer to him.
After his crucifixion the Australian claims he entered the spirit world where he met Plato, Socrates, popes and presidents.
He also says he remembers performing miracles.
He said: “I did resurrect quite a number of people … including a friend of mine Lazarus, who most people know is mentioned in the Bible.”
Whilst critics dismiss his claims the seminars attract large groups of people, up to 150 a time.
British woman Louise “Luli” Faver, 39, is a former neuroscientist who has given up her career to be closer to the couple.
“It’s just nice to instead of being surrounded by people who think you are nuts, to be surrounded by people who understand what you are going through and the difficulties of trying to deal with all the emotional stuff,” she said.
She believes AJ Miller has helped her become happier and more fulfilled in life.
George Hamel has left behind a business and his wife in California to be closer to Mr Miller and his teachings. He firmly believes Mr Miller is ‘Jesus Christ’ and insists there’s nothing sinister about him.
“It’s natural that people form fears when they don’t know about something,” he said.
“Anyone who has a chance to look into it aren’t going to find anything too upsetting.”
Some, however, are concerned – like the Rev David Millikan, who has met AJ Miller and has studied cults for 30 years.
He said: “The danger is you’ll be drawn closer and closer into his web to a point that you lose access to your social life, you spend all your money, you’ll have the curses of all your family ringing in your ears and you may well lose your relationship.”
But Mr Miller says he does not demand anything of those who come and listen to him speak. He claims donations are welcome, but not obligatory.
He refutes any suggestion that he forces anyone to do anything they are uncomfortable with.
“All we do is present seminars and answer people’s questions. I still for the life of me can’t quite understand where the cult thing has come from,” he told UK’s Sky News.
He added: “There were lots of people in the first century who didn’t believe I was the Messiah and were offended by what I said – and in fact I died at the hands of some of them.
“Unfortunately they didn’t learn love either and my suggestion is, even if you don’t believe I am Jesus, at least learn how to love.”
Mary Luck admits her family have not supported her relationship with Mr Miller.
She said: “My parents became very afraid simply because AJ was saying he was Jesus publicly and by their own admission they feared for what my life would be like.
“They also had some fundamental issues with looking at emotions which is core to these teachings.”
Through DVDs, the internet and in person AJ Miller is spreading his word globally.
Whether he is the Messiah or just make believe, there are plenty of people who are prepared to listen.