Two Gloriavale members kicked out for mobile phones

Two members of Gloriavale have been kicked out for using "contraband" - a mobile phone.

The move by the leadership comes as former members say smuggling in secret phones is a key tool for encouraging others to leave. 

Newshub has been told one of the men was caught with a mobile phone three times.

He is 34 years old and has a wife and seven children, including a baby, left inside. 

A second man was also accused of using the contraband phone and kicked out too. He's in his early 20s and has a wife and two children, also including a baby, left inside.

Phones are banned and deemed "contraband" in the closed community. James Ben-Canaan - a former Gloriavale member, has been helping the men.

"The leaders found out that he had a cellphone - and that was the end of him," he told Newshub.

"There's a few spots within Gloriavale where you can get fairly good reception."

Newshub has agreed not to name the men - believed by former members to be the first time the leaders have "put out" people for phones.

But ex-members like Mr Ben-Canaan said there are lots of contraband phones in the compound and he regularly talks to people inside.

"What we've found over and over again with guys that have a phone and use it to talk to us or other outside people, is it just opens their mind," he said.

He said that phone contact helps people leave the religious sect - and is why the leaders have taken such a strong stance.

"The important thing to the leaders is the information control."

Gloriavale's leadership declined to comment when contacted by Newshub. 


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