Ready To Die For Church, Pastor

Loyal members of the Back To Eden Church say they are prepared to die for their church and Pastor, convicted rapist Iowane. Vakadranu was sentenced to 14 years, two months
06 Oct 2016 11:00
Ready To Die For Church, Pastor
Two members of the Back to Eden Church at Veinuqa in Tailevu. The members asked that they not be identified. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Loyal members of the Back To Eden Church say they are prepared to die for their church and Pastor, convicted rapist Iowane.

Vakadranu was sentenced to 14 years, two months in jail for rape yesterday. He has to serve a minimum non-parole period of 12 years two months.

Some of his faithful followers were present in the High Court in Suva.

They say Vakadranu is immortal and they believe he will return to re-join them one day.

Their spokesperson at the church’s commune near Veinuqa Village in Tailevu, who wished to remain anonymous, said they would not change the group’s teachings.

“Even if they take our pastor or the church to jail our teaching will continue and no one can change it. Our pastor might spend 40 or 50 years in jail, but he will come back and live to the end of the world.”

Vakadranu had told the court that he was preparing the women he raped to go on a mission.

The spokesperson said: “The law of the Government is different and the law of the church is different, we are sitting on the law of the Bible.”

She said the church aimed at getting their messages across the world and they trained their youths to deliver these messages.

They believed one needed to understand the teachings before preaching.

“You cannot preach something you don’t know, we are teaching our youths and giving them some tests because we want them to know what is there in the world. You can’t be preaching about fornication if you don’t know what fornication is, because you don’t know the feelings and consequences so for that we need to test the youths to see how loyal they are to the Gospel and these tests will only be done by the pastor because he is anointed,” she said.

“There is a message that we cannot expose in court and that is preparing the youth for the mission especially those that have posts in the youth ministry. There are three girls who are called the Commander of the Mission, one is the Youth Leader, her Assistant and the third one is the

Treasurer of Health Reformer.

“These three girls are well trained but before the act is done to them they have to give their consent which they did, and that’s their right so what the law is doing now is that they are restricting people’s right.

“We believe in healthy living, our pastor is a health reformer and we are very strict with our health. We only eat twice a day, including our young ones, we do exercises every day and we pray every morning and evening. Our kids do go to school until they’re 15 or 16 then they’ll join the mission team and our kindergarten is run by Mrs Vakadranu.’’ she added.

In the wake of Vakadranu’s conviction, five families had withdrawn from the church, she said. She could not give the exact number of people. But she said 12 loyal members remained on the commune.

Back to Eden church was founded in 2006 by Vakadranu, as a breakaway group from the mainstream Seventh-day Adventist Church. The group established its headquarters on a piece of leased land near Veinuqa Village, Tailevu. Another base is at Vucilevu, Labasa and nine members are there.

The spokesperson said: “The committee of the church will have a meeting, after the sentencing of our Pastor, then we will appoint who will take over, but this will not change the teachings of this church.”

The women dominate life at the commune. There was no sign of men or boys when a Fiji Sun team visited the commune recently. One group of boys left the commune in 2013 because they could not accept the teachings, especially the preparation phase of the so-called mission that Vakadranu referred to in court.

So who will succeed Vakadranu?

“God will provide,” said the spokesperson.


Edited by Naisa Koroi


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