The Major meets the Prophet
The Major and Maurice had a second stop to make on their way to Opala, the “holy village” of Yakoko, where the prophet Moses, self-professed “anointed one”, lives among 15,000 disciples. The Major and Maurice were not making a pilgrimage, rather they were trying to find out whether or not the “cross of death” in front of Ephrem’s door in Obenge was really put there on behalf of the prophet. It was apparently a missionary for this messiah, Moses, who traced the cross in front of our TL2 compound.
In Yakoko, Maurice, who has been working with us for more than 5 years and who comes originally from Equateur province, was immediately recognized by one of the disciples, also from Equateur province. He was of another Congolese sect, the Kitawalists, whom Moses is trying to recruit — along with the followers of Patrice Lumumba – to his great cause. What is his cause??
Maurice and Guy asked just that, and this is what the prophet told them. “Fight against all un-true religions that come from abroad: Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and Jehovah’s Witnesses”.
Actually the prophet’s “true” religion seems to have gleaned a bit from his un-true antecedents. The sign at the entrance to Yawende has Christian symbolism and biblical quotes. My Jerusalem Bible gives Luke 3:2, one of the cited verses, as “And the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from Heaven, You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you.” OK.
And the other sign at the entrance to Yakoko says this:
“From the entrance of the Belgians in 1881 until 1921 = 40 years
Kibangu (founder of a Congolese church) from 1921 to 1961 = 40 years
After Lumumba = 40 years: 1961-2001, then Lord Olumbu Christ in Opala/Yakoko”
The Prophet got his calling and started preaching at midnight – January 1st, 2001. Forty is clearly a spiritual number.
“All armies celestial and terrestrial obey me”, he told Major Guy and Maurice. Despite this he has not gotten an audience with the governor and is thought by the Provincial Administration to be a threat –an unsavory political alternative. The Prophet, however, eschews any political ambitions – publicly at least.
The Major and Maurice also found this out: The Prophet goes by the full name “Moses, Liberator, Patrice Lumumba, Christ, Olumbu, Living God”. Olumbu was apparently his given name. He has 80 wives and increasing. They take turns, one each night with the Liberator. The little girls stay with their parents until maturity and then start taking their turn. (In our modern world, this at least seems like typical political logic). Forbid anyone to touch one of the Liberator’s wives. A story Maurice learned on the side from his Kitawalist “buddy” was that the “son” of Lumumba, publicly always at the Prophet’s side, was once found in a most compromising situation with one of the wives. He received a serious flogging, and then was forgiven. The Liberator apparently is forgiving, benevolent, redeeming.
But from the prophet himself, were Maurice and Major Guy getting the truth? He assured them that he would never do anything illegal. How could he as the living Christ? But he did tell them that all sorts of people are amongst his followers: politicians, deserters and bandits. That at least is a truth. Perhaps spiritual enlightenment comes before moral conversion?
The Major and Maurice continue towards Opala without enlightenment. How much was the Prophet involved with the bandits moving into the TL2 region? Was he really trying to form a coalition with the criminal Thoms?
Maurice in frustration sent this message “Moses talks like a fool. He is incoherent and makes no sense.”
Not answers perhaps, but here is some evidence later found in the abandoned backpack of the bandit, Jacques:
It was Jacques who drew the cross that was a death threat to Ephrem and all TL2 workers in Obenge. It does indeed seem that moral conversion is slower than spiritual adherence, or perhaps there is nothing much spiritual about the adherence?
For many – spiritual adherence is fun. Below is part of the prophet’s flock dancing their enlightenment in Yawende.