Mt Morgan starts fightback against cult image

By MELANIE PETRINEC

PUBLICAN Pat Wheeler led the Mt Morgan fightback yesterday as the town hit back against its un- wanted cult reputation.

Religious sect Soul Freedom has used Mt Morgan as their "head- quarters'' since 2002, according to their web site and a former member.

However, as the Leichhardt Ho- tel owner chatted to his loyal cus- tomers it was clear the town still belonged to the people, not the cult.

Mr Wheeler said Mt Morgan didn't deserve to be tainted as a cult centre and his stance was backed by regular patron and long- time resident John Lempriere.

"They've certainly bought a lot of land apparently,'' Mr Lempriere said of the cult, of which he has not met any members.

"But they will not control the town. "I have a great belief in Mt Morgan.''

Mr Wheeler has been living in the small town for eight months and feels like he has found home.

"It's a nice place to live,'' he said, adding he did not agree with the image given to the town in recent times. "The people are very, very good and sincere. "From what I've found, the peo- ple here are very helpful.''

Soul Freedom has been careful not to mingle with the people of Mt Morgan, with the cult operating in secret underneath residents' noses.

While residents are not entirely happy with the image the cult has cast upon the town, people such as Cliff Roberts were quick to point out they are a tolerant community.

"It affects the image of Mt Mor- gan itself, and its people,'' he said, as he sat at the bar in the quaint old pub. "(However) I'd treat them (Soul Freedom) the same as any other person. "That's how Mt Morgan people are, they treat everybody equal.



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