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Gloriavale: [New Zealand]
Secretive New Zealand cult where teenagers are banned from speaking
Rachel Eddie For Daily Mail Australia
For Daily Mail Australia
August 10, 2015


Inside the creepy world of Gloriavale: Secretive New Zealand cult where teenagers are banned from speaking to each other until they marry - and the men choose who can have children with whom

» The Gloriavale sect is based in Haupiri in New Zealand's South Island

» The community follows the New Testament literally and all dress in blue

» A new documentary follows the marriage of Paul and Pearl

» It is revealed that senior men are responsible for matchmaking couples

» They make a list of those who are not too closely related to have children

» Founder Neville Cooper, or Hopeful Christian, was jailed in the 1990s

» Cooper was charged with the indecent assault
it is typical for each couple to have as many as 12 children


A bizarre cult where teenagers are banned from speaking to each other until they are married off has been exposed in a new documentary.

Footage from inside the community reveals how leaders match young men and women and use bloodlines to ensure members of the same families do not marry.

The sect, based in New Zealand's South Island, is secretive about its practices, but recently former members who fled the community have opened the lid on what really goes on.

Young people are encouraged not to speak to the opposite sex until there is an arranged relationship in place, and are told if they do 'things could get messy', according to Paul Valour, one of the community's members

Paul Valor and Pearl Hope were arranged to marry after a 'shortlist' was devised by leaders to decipher which women are not too closely related to Paul for him to bear healthy children

The sect has drawn controversy over recent decades with founder Neville Cooper, who has legally changed his name to Hopeful Christian, convicted for three counts of indecent assault.

The documentary, Gloriavale - Life and Death, follows a young couple, Paul Valor and his wife Pearl Hope, as they embark on married life and raise their growing family, NZ Herald reports.

Like all married couples in the community, their relationship and other facets of their life have been decided on by the senior men of the community.

‘It’s the Gloriavale equivalent of an arranged marriage,’ TVNZ writes.

Teenagers are discouraged from speaking to one another until a wedding between them is arranged.

Otherwise ‘things could get messy,’ Paul says.

Under the guise of the lord’s will, the leaders arrange marriages by identifying partners that are not too closely related to have healthy children – which whittled down to just five or six women suitable for Paul in a community of round 530.

‘The leaders – they have got lists of all bloodlines and so when you come and ask them to get married, they can get you a list of, you know, five or six girls who you can marry without any problems and they’ll all be within your age bracket,’ Paul said in the documentary.

A wedding at Gloriavale, a cult which promises seclusion from the wickedness of the 'outside world'

Pearl said she loved whoever God wanted her to.

‘That’s a decision you make and it’s not hard, it’s easy,’ she said in the documentary, Gloriavale – A World Apart.

The couple have two children including a daughter named Esther and son Josiah.

Birth control is not permitted in the community, and it is typical for each couple to have as many as 12 children, with Paul being the eldest of 11, and Pearl the second youngest of 10.

Rose and Steady Standtrue, one of the oldest couples living in the community on the South Island’s West Coast, have 57 great grandchildren.

In troubled births, it is up to the father to decide if they take the newborn to a hospital.

It is typical for the men to make such decisions, with wives reportedly living in subjection to their husbands.

But, part of the second generation of his family born inside the community, Paul only knows the outside world through stories told to him by the leaders.

‘I believe that the truth is here,’ he said.

‘When people leave here, they are leaving the truth behind.’

After watching the documentary series, many aired criticism towards the Gloriavale community on social media.

Television production company Pacific Screen gained unprecedented access to the community, which follows a literal interpretation of the Bible’s New Testament.

‘It’s a relationship we’ve cultivated over many years,’ producer and director Amanda Evans is quoted on saying by TVNZ.

Read more here.



Disclaimer:This news page is about groups, organizations or movements, which may have been called "cults" and/or "cult-like" in some way, shape or form. But not all groups called either "cults" or "cult-like" are harmful. Instead, they may be benign and generally defined as simply people intensely devoted to a person, place or thing. Therefore, the discussion or mention of a group, organization or person on this page, is not necessarily meant pejoratively. Readers are encouraged to read widely on a topic before forming an opinion. Never accept information from a single source at face value. This website only holds a small amount of information and should not be relied on as a complete source. For example, if you find older information, this should be weighed up against newer information as circumstances can change.
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