Gloriavale's new leadership is asking followers to sign a declaration in which they agree their souls will be in peril upon breaking it.
Newshub has obtained the revised 'Declaration of Commitment', which effectively asks followers to sign away their souls if they don't keep to the declarations.
It reads: "If ever I wilfully break them, I do so to the peril of my soul."
It's the first big move inside the religious sect following the death of leader Hopeful Christian - but Newshub has learned there is a resistance inside Gloriavale that does not want to sign it.
Gloriavale's 500 residents are being asked to sign more than their life away with the one-page agreement.
By signing the agreement, they agree that it will: "Bind me for the rest of my life; not only legally and morally before men, but also spiritually before God in heaven, so that if ever I wilfully break them, I do so to the peril of my soul."
John Ready was expelled from Gloriavale and he says "the peril of my soul" is a serious threat to those inside.
“It is basically saying if you break this you go to hell - that is like eternal fire forever.”
Newshub has obtained the declaration, believed to be an attempt to "standardise" earlier versions. It spreads the power, to "the overseeing shepherd and to other shepherds".
Followers have to agree to the following conditions:
- "Any money or assets which I ever give or acquire are to be administered without fetter by our overseeing shepherd and the other shepherds."
- "I will live here for the rest of my life unless the shepherds of this Church ask me to serve Christ elsewhere."
- "I will neither hold nor teach any doctrine or belief contrary to what they teach"
- "I will never claim anything back for myself, my relatives, or anyone else."
Gloriavale expert Professor Peter Lineham says it shows the sect will be stricter than ever.
"It indicates that Gloriavale is just as tight and controlled… and is probably going to become more nervous and conservative," he said.
Mr Ready’s advice to those inside: "Don't sign it."
Lawyer Grant Cameron says the declaration is about legal protection.
"It seems the community is trying to tie people into a position where they can't take claims later."
It's the second time this year a new declaration has been put to the people. The first was resisted and this version is facing resistance too, as shown by the leaking.
"They don’t agree with it," Mr Ready said.
Gloriavale's tax-free status is monitored by the Department of Internal Affairs, and in another sign of the resistance from inside it said it has also been given a copy of this new declaration. But there was nothing in it to act on.
Gloriavale's leadership did not respond to Newshub's requests for comment.