Patrick Gower: Will Fervent Stedfast or Howard Temple lead Gloriavale?

With Hopeful Christian gone, there can only be one 'Overseeing Shepherd'.

Fervent Stedfast: "Unofficial leader"

Age: 72

Fervent Stedfast
Fervent Stedfast Photo credit: TVNZ

Fervent Stedfast is one of Gloriavale's 'shepherds', and is effectively second in command to Hopeful Christian.

He's in charge of the day-to-day running of the trust as a general manager, treasurer and accountant.

Nicknamed "Fervie" by those inside, he is known as a hard taskmaster and he has a huge amount of power.

He is the man you go through if you contact Gloriavale, and has always been quite polite to me despite having deep reservations about TV3 personnel after previous investigations.

You get the clear feeling that Fervent is in control.

A Kiwi, he joined the sect in 1970 aged 23 and was previously called Alistair Barret.

He is believed to have authored he document What We Believe, which everyone in Gloriavale signs.

Fervent is married to Peace and has children called Valiant, John, Maranatha, Grace, Prudent, Rapture and David.

Fervent Stedfast has effective control, and acts like the leader in waiting - but is not officially next in line.

Howard Temple: "The chosen one"

Age: 75

Howard Temple
Howard Temple Photo credit: TVNZ

Howard Temple is Gloriavale's overseeing shepherd designate.

Those who have left the sect say Hopeful Christian had given his official blessing for Howard Temple to take over, although they say this never felt certain.

Official documents show that his real name is Howard Smitherman.

Howard is an American, a mechanical engineer who served in the US Navy. He met a Kiwi wife, Joy, and joined the sect in its early days in North Canterbury.

Those inside know Howard as a nice guy with better people skills than Fervent Stedfast.

When we went up to Gloriavale, Howard was there waiting to meet us. He was sitting in an old green Peugeot, the motor running and in a slow drawl said: "I'm Howard."

He appeared at Hopeful Christian's right-hand shoulder as he came out to see us.

Making the leadership tussle even tighter is the fact Howard Temple and Fervent Stedfast make up most of the top tier of leadership, along with Enoch Upright, a Greek-Australian immigrant who has been there since the early days.

Howard has children called Salem, True, Angel, Vicki and Bruce.

While Howard Temple is the chosen one, he does not have the grip of control.