In late December 1999, while the artist then known as the artist formerly known as Prince was preparing to party, and while the rest of the world was shoveling canned goods into their bunkers in preparation for the would-be-apocalypse of Y2K, Kim Miller was trying to get to Jerusalem to die. He and his cult, the Concerned Christians, had gone to Greece via Denver -- after being deported by Israeli officials as a pre-emptive measure to ward off their plot, which involved a gun battle and a Christ-style resurrection, which, Miller theorized, would happen just in time for the real Christ's second coming.
The second coming never materialized, but here's the bizarre part: Neither did Miller or any of his followers, save one.
As we count down the days to Boulder native Harold Camping's backup-apocalypse on Friday (he initially predicted the Rapture would happen on May 21, 2011 and the final destruction would come to pass six months later, on October 21; the first didn't happen, but he's still holding out for the second one), we're taking a look at some other doomsday predictions that have originated out of Colorado. Most of them have happy endings -- the world, you know, doesn't end -- but there's also a darker side to any apocalypse story: What happens to the people who bought it, who invested their life's savings, who abandoned everything to their belief that the end was near? For the followers of Kim Miller, the outcome remains grim.
Born in Burlington, Colorado, out on the Kansas border, Miller grew up, went to college and moved to Denver, in general living a pretty normal life until he got divorced in the early '80s. Right around that time, he started the Concerned Christians and, under those auspices, began ministering against the evils of new-age movements and cults. He put out newsletters, preached on Christian radio stations, and began attracting a band of followers with his anti-cult message. And ironically, somewhere along the way, he started a cult.
By the mid-'90s, shit was getting weird. Miller had amassed a group of loyal followers about a hundred strong, and to that group he began preaching the endtimes, predicting that the beginning of the end of the world would happen on October 10, 1998 with a devastating earthquake in Denver. "[God] speaks through my mouth," Miller told 9NEWS in 1997. "He just tells me, like the Old Testament prophets of the old days, and he speaks through my mouth."
Abruptly, just before the predicted date of the earthquake, Miller gathered his flock of followers and took off, abandoning their possessions and anyone who wouldn't join them.
They headed to Jerusalem, where Miller predicted he'd die in a gun-battle on December 31, 1999, and be resurrected three days later for Christ's second coming. But Israeli authorities got wind of that and deported them back to the U.S. Dozens of families went out to meet their loved ones at the airport and were ignored -- the entire group, without saying a word to anyone, boarded a bus and holed up in a Holiday Inn until they left the country again about a month later for Greece.
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But here's the truly crazy part: To this day, over thirteen years after they left Denver, Miller and the majority of his followers have basically never been heard from again. Authorities suspect most of them are either in Greece or Pennsylvania, and one member left the cult and settled in New Mexico, but for the most part, those hundred-or-so people have broken off contact with anyone in the outside world and effectively disappeared.
Will they resurface in time if the world is definitely going to end this Friday? It remains to be seen -- but if the world doesn't end, they can catch the world premiere of Jesus vs. Bono, Ivan Suvanjieff and Dawn Engle's epic documentary shot during Harold Camping's last apocalypse, when Jesus didn't come to town but Bono did. Until then, stay tuned for more on the end of the world.