Home > Corruption, Papua New Guinea > The embarrassing tale of the King James Bible present to PNG: Fraud, Corruption, Hypocrisy, Cargo Cultism, and amusement

The embarrassing tale of the King James Bible present to PNG: Fraud, Corruption, Hypocrisy, Cargo Cultism, and amusement

By Anonymous and via Nineteen Years and Counting

The gift of the supposed 1st edition 1st imprint of the 1611 King James Bible to Papua New Guinea is an amazing piece of drama.  It wraps and presents in a single, digestible story all the craziness, hypocrisy and corruption that characterises PNG today.

THE FRAUD

Deceiving the people about what this Bible present represented was perpetrated largely by PNG Parliamentary speaker Theo Zurenuoc, who is so immersed in his magical cargo cult dream world that even having the whole world laugh at him wouldn’t cause him to pause and reflect. Zurenuoc’s fraud was four-fold:

The Fraud:  The Bible was not delivered by any American government party in Indiana.  Instead the event was an exchange between churches at the small

The Fraud: The Bible was not delivered by any American government party in Indiana. Instead the event was an exchange between churches at the small “Interchurch Holiness Convention” of fundamentalists in Dayton, Ohio

1. An American government gift?   Zurenouc originally said that the gift was coming from either the national government of the United States or the state government of Indiana.  Neither proved true.  No one who participated on this sightseeing trip has provided even one piece of evidence of American government involvement in the Bible gift nor its presentation.  The American Embassy in Port Moresby refuses to comment on the whole affair.

2. Donated and picked up in the USA State of Indiana?  The Bible was not received in Indiana by the Government of Papua New Guinea, but in another state altogether by PNG fundamentalist church leaders. The event occurred as one session during a meeting of the Interchurch Holiness Convention, which is solely comprised of fundamentalist Christians and took place in Dayton, Ohio.  This is well established by photos and accompanying captions that have appeared on the internet, as well as on the website of the group that presented the Bible.

3. A unified welcome for the Bible?   The major churches of PNG, including Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran, were silent about the gift when it arrived in PNG.  However, the Catholic church was outraged by the earlier destruction to parliament building traditional art carvings that Speaker Zurenuoc led in late 2013 as Step 1 of the process to ‘rid parliament building of evil spirits’.  The new Bible is Step 2 of the process.  The whole affair was led by the fundamentalist Christian sect called the PNG Bible Church which interprets the Bible in a very different way from the mainstream Protestant and Catholic churches. Only on 1 May did the Catholic Bishops finally acknowledge the Bible donation, showing dismay that Zurenuoc and others “often appear to use ‘Bible’ and ‘Word of God’ interchangeably, meaning that Zurenuoc was promoting an object as being the word of God rather than as witness to the word of God, as befits the reality of numerous Bible translations over the millenia and endless interpretations of what the words in the Bible say.

4. A rare, priceless gift to PNG of great significance?

The moment it got into PNG hands, the supposedly 'priceless' Bible was carried around like a common book, touched directly by people's fingers.   To treat a

The moment it got into PNG hands, the supposedly ‘priceless’ Bible was carried around like a common book, touched directly by people’s fingers. To treat a “priceless antique” in this way might be considered the height of blasphemy by knowledgeable Christians. The Bible now has its home in the humid tropics in a country that can’t even provide proper temperature and humidity control to protect its priceless cultural treasures in the PNG National Museum & Art Gallery. Fare thee well, priceless antique!

First, Zurenuoc said it was one of a kind, then he said it was 1 in 3 known copies, then he said it was 1 in 5 known copies, a statistic that PM Peter O’Neill repeated.  The story changed constantly.   PM Peter O’Neill stated that it was a “priceless antique”.  It was also reported as “known to be the best and most well preserved [copy]”.  You would never believe it, witnessing the relatively careless way the Bible was carried once it came into PNG hands.  Anyone who truly respected a priceless ancient book would never allow it to be exposed to air, much less handle it and parade it out in the open.  Zurenuoc’s ignorance and arrogance allowed all these violations to occur.  In the bigger picture, the Bible donation event was so insignificant that it wasn’t reported at all in the American media.  In fact, American scholar Donald Blake, in an interview with Australian Broadcasting Corporation, flatly denounced Zurenuoc’s assessment of the Bible’s rarity, stating that there he has documented at least 169 known copies of the 1st edition King James Bible, and suspects there are as many as 680 in existence, most of which would be damaged, with pages missing.  Expert Blake estimated the value of the rarer 1st imprint Bible to be no more than USD $95,000, or about K280,000.

THE CORRUPTION

Unionist John Paska and the Post Courier now both say that the trip to get the Bible cost taxpayers K693,041,far more than the Bible’s estimated K280,000 worth.  Funding this junket with taxpayers’ money amounts to misappropriation for several reasons.

First, the government and the public was deceived by Speaker Zurenuoc that this was a government-to-government transaction and probably did so to escape misappropriation charges.  But the reality is that this was a fundamentalist Christian church-to-fundamentalist Christian church transaction that Speaker Zurenuoc only played a witnessing role in, driven by the Speaker’s personal religious beliefs.

Second, despite a party of 4 MPs taking off for the event, all photos posted on the internet that show the Bible transfer in Dayton, Ohio, shows only Speaker Zurenuoc present.  Missing in Action seem to be Southern Highlands Governor William Powi, Lae MP Loujaya Kousa, and Kundiawa-Gembogl MP Tobias Kulang.  None have come out in the media and stated what they did on this trip to justify the cost of sending them.  It is intriguing that MP Loujaya Kousa is not mentioned in Union leader John Paska’s submission to the Ombudsman Commission, even though she was originally included in the travel list and posted a remark on Facebook in a way that implies she was present at the handover.

Zurenuoc himself is silent about the MPs activities or any justification for sending a government party of at least 5 individuals for a private church trip at taxpayers expense.  Neither the Americans states of Indiana nor of Ohio would be considered top priorities of important places for a parliamentary delegation to visit to achieve anything significant.  This has all the appearances of being a sightseeing excursion for all but Zurenuoc, although undoubtedly many ‘great accomplishments’ will suddenly be revealed by Kulang, Powi, and Kousa if ever an investigation takes place.

james bible 3

THE HYPOCRISY 

A number of Christians in the social media either declined to respond to the allegations of misappropriation that this trip involved or have stated that it was okay that this trip be funded with taxpayers money.

This is a small example of a longer, bigger trend in a country that states itself to be Christian, but radiates to the world one example after another of hypocrisy against the Bible’s guiding words. Christian country PNG of today has few Christians displaying vocal outrage against either recent witch burnings nor violence against women generally.

For years, Christian churches and their congregations have hardly protested about blatent high level government corruption and stealing. Several Christians on the social media actually felt it was okay to use government funds for this recent even only because it involved a Bible, and ignored the lies and deceptions that surrounded the event.

This highlights a disturbing trend in PNG not to learn from mistakes that today’s advanced nations went through when  religion and governance were allowed to mix with each other, but to repeat the mistakes. It also displays for all to see the hypocrisy some PNG Christians have at understanding that the 10 Commandments do not only apply to “certain situations” and that anything involving the Bible is exempt from following God’s Word.

THE CARGO CULTISM

Primitive cargo cult mentality in PNG is alive and well. The mentality has its origins in not understanding how things work and assuming that only the proper rituals would lead to the wished for results.   Cargo cult mentality persists today in PNG because we’re content at our status as a poorly educated society.  This means that as a people we are largely ignorant of global realities and of how science and technology discover truths about the universe and it working.   People like Zurenuoc are products as well as promoters of this ignorance. Zurenuoc’s organised ritual to welcome the Bible, added to his pronouncements of this one Bible’s magic to change the nation is Biblical cargo cultism.

The Bible was paraded around Moresby and a red carpet reception as if it were either a person or a magic object.  It was lifted to idol worship status by promoting that it had exceptional power, above and beyond other Bibles.

Eda Ranu CEO Henry Mokono stated that the mere presence of the Bible “would make a difference in the long run” to straighten out all the social issues PNG was facing.  Speaker Zurenuoc stated that the mere presence of the Bible in parliament would “elevate the standard of leadership.”  Carrying out a ritual (the idol worship-style procession) in the expectation of cargo (the doing away with evil in parliament) fits the definition of classic cargo cultism.

THE SIDE ENTERTAINMENT

Dr Gene Hood, the fundamentalist Christian who donated the Bible, died the day after it was transferred into conspicuously careless PNG hands (what magical explanations could we come up to explain that coincidence?!).  Dr Hood was misrepresented by his PNG supporters as a billionaire media magnate.  In reality, he wasn’t even a millionaire and lived in a simple house at 216 S 17th Ave, Beech Grove, INDIANA 46107.  He owned a handful of radio stations under his company Pilgrim Communications, Inc., established with the idea of using radio to spread fundamentalist gospel.  Yet, he and son Randy, also a Pilgrim Communication principal, weren’t so committed to spreading the Good News that they said “no” to leasing one of their stations, KREL-AM to a group that proceeded to unveil its new programming schedule as KHIG(H), America’s first radio station to devote all its programming to promoting marijuana use.  This surprising news came out in April, just before the Bible donation, an unexpected development that’s not all that surprising, considering that so much was hidden from the people of Papua New Guinea about the Bible story to begin with.

The PNG government’s always-present commitment to non-transparency expressed itself once again in the King James Bible donation.  Zurenuoc and company bears the blame not only for early errors in figuring out what the Bible donation was all about.  However, Zurenuoc also gets all the credit for motivating a legion of volunteer internet investigators to dig out and expose the lies, deceptions, and other unpleasant facts surrounding this tale.

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  1. Mr Kandiko
    May 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Absolutely correct on your point no.3 which is the underlying misconception in this whole issue.

    “Zurenuoc and others “often appear to use ‘Bible’ and ‘Word of God’ interchangeably, meaning that Zurenuoc was promoting an object as being the word of God rather than as witness to the word of God,”

  2. kurt kaima
    May 8, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Talking about tax payers money….Many wellknown businesmen and other PNGs who pay tax came to witness the ceremony too..And many Christians who pay lot of taxes were pleased to hear the good news…what about the 20000 plus people were there at Jacksons airport to wellcome the National Treasure..what about thousands who couldn’t come to POM that day…they pay tax too but they were well pleased to hear the actions taken up by the Speaker…stop tax money reason! Many of us tax payers want such actions taken up by our leaders….Like what the Speaker has done…excellent…!

    • Harold
      May 10, 2015 at 5:52 pm

      In other words lies and deceptions that include misappropriation (illegal) are quite okay as long as you can get a big enough crowd of dummies to support the result.

    • Kapa Top
      May 11, 2015 at 12:42 pm

      99.9% of the people of PNG will get nothing out of this Bible donation. This Bible is no better or worse than any other Bible and being in a class case in Parliament makes the holy word inaccessible to everyone. It was a total waste of taxpayer’s money in a land where infants are dying unnecessarily and people’s great mental potential is destroyed by denial of a proper education. Those of you who call yourselves Christians yet think this Bible ranks higher than saving the lives of infants are beyond hope in the category of humanity and compassion.

  3. Ruben Taminza
    May 9, 2015 at 6:35 am

    While I like to accept your assesment of the speaker. I do believe that their can be skeptics to what God is doing in our nation. Yu can not accept things to be the same when Gods people are praying. The speaker is the man for the hour.

    • Benny
      May 11, 2015 at 9:40 am

      The speaker is indeed not only man of the hour but man of the year in making our country look like a land of buffoons and ignorance! Full credit to him for that accomplishment.

  4. earleydaysyet
    May 9, 2015 at 9:30 am

    Reblogged this on Earley Days Yet.

  5. Vaclav Havel
    May 9, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Stupid f***ing morons, the lot of them! Our schools are languishing and in disrepair, yet they have the capacity to spend more than half a million kina sending these stupid fundamentalists abroad on an overseas trip to retrieve an object of dubious worth. Can we please separate church and state?!

    • mainoterry
      May 10, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      It was a prophetic act taken by speaker and the delegation. God is telling us again thru this act and His Word that we must realign ourselves as a nation as we reach 40 years of independence and beyond.
      God is telling us we must read and get back to his Word as a Christian nation and as a last frontier, we must take it upon our shoulders and send more people to the nation’s of the world to spread the gospel. As a Christian nation we have no choice but embrace this prophetic act.

      Let’s read the Word to be wise and be spiritually sound. Wisdom of the world will not understand what God is doing because worldly wisdom is foolishness to Him.

      Spending money for such activity is worth it. God owns the universe. He owns gold and silver etc. Spending how much money is nothing compared with Him.

      Only fools will keep on arguing because only fools say there is no God.

      God bless everyone who read this.

      • George Tapiro
        May 13, 2015 at 3:46 am

        It always amazes me how there are people like you who act like you are God’s special emissary to tell us what he’s saying. What gives you such privilege, mate?

  6. Paula Kari
    May 11, 2015 at 8:35 am

    No presence of any kind can ever change the attitude, mentality and behavior of people. No change can happen due to the mere presence of an article, any article or an item, including a book or a Bible for that matter. No matter how they are packed, a Bible is a Bible and all Christians find solace, comfort, guidance and prayer in any book presenting the Word of a God. It is embarrassing and demeaning enough to be constantly associated with a country making a name for all the wrong reasons!

  7. May 11, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    It has always been that whatever God wants to do, the devil would always counter attack. However, at the end the truth would always prevail. When God told Moses that He would send rain to destroy a sinful generation with flood, people scolded Noah and ask, ” nothing is going to happen, why is he building the boat”, until the flood came. It was too late, all disobedient and ungodly died in the flood.

    When God sent word through Lot for Sodom and Gomorrah to stop sinning ( breaking of God’s law), the people kept disobeying the word of God, until fire came down from heaven and it was too late, all died.

    God is now using certain individuals and organisations to send a message to PNG of somethings He wants to do. He’s word is also here to tell PNG to stop disobeying God and start doing what is right in His sight. Those who are criticizing should stop.

    PNG as nation should embrace the Word of God and stop our leaders whom God is sending messages to us as a nation. We need to take heed and obey His word so that prosperity will be experienced in this nation. Everyone of us, including our leaders that need to repent and confessions our sines for God to forgive as us individuals and as a nation.

    God bless PNG

    • May 13, 2015 at 2:26 pm

      Thank you for bringing of the story of Lot. As I remember it, Lot got pissed as a newt one day and had sex with his daughters in a cave. God saved him. Lot’s wife looked over her shoulder. God killed her. That’s in your Bible. That kind of “Word of God” we can do without.

      • Kraps
        May 18, 2015 at 7:17 am

        Why would God save such a horrible creature who committed incest? I don’t understand this God!

  8. casie damien
    May 12, 2015 at 8:45 am

    The King James Bible has no significant for PNG. Its no a standard Bible either, it has a lot of mistakes too. Its all cargo cult. And those that involved are either wrong in their mind too. They need counselling before they go insane\

    • Dromsol
      May 15, 2015 at 6:12 am

      I agree totally with you bro. They’re making Christianity into a cargo cult which is like dumbing down what is a great religion. I assume it is because they were born with minds that cannot handle complex matters but only things made very simple for their brains to comprehend. It is always simpler to make the complexities of God’s word into a cargo cult that centres around a single idol, in this case, the donated Bible. Of course there are so many of our fellow people also born with that kind of simple thinking brain and they were all there to wave their hands at the new idol.

  9. May 14, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    Reblogged this on Anaramsai's Blog.

  10. Belina
    May 14, 2015 at 10:29 pm

    Ignorance rulz in PNG thanks to the reject pastors from foreign lands who learnt that they could become highly respecting kings of the mountain if they moved to PNG and began preaching the gospel to totally ignorant souls. It’s still working. Ignorance has spread. the world treats PNG as its entertaining amusement. Thank you, Theo Zurenuoc. May God bless you for your accomplishments.

  11. Brady Duren
    July 16, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    The King James Bible, 1611 received by Papua New Guinea, came from England and the influence of that Bible preached and taught lifted English spirituality and morality and vision to change and better the whole world.
    Part of England’s influence went to the United States, to change the world and change multitudes of common people into better and reliable citizens with direction from the Bible.
    This Bible’s original manuscripts came from the days of the Apostles, on through Erasmus 1516 a.d., Tyndale 1525 a.d., Coverdale 1539 who was involved in five major upgradings of the developing English even to Geneva in 1560, the Bishops Bible and the King James 1611.
    It is the last English Bible of any signifance to be produced, coming from the apostles unchanged, as some 300 plus English Version Bibles have been produced from changed sources, called the Nestle texts and this since 1881.
    Also, this King James Bible came from the identical texts known as textus receptus, that joined themselves in Geneva in the Geneva Bible, coming through the Waldensians 120 and 150 a.d, as well as from the Reformation source through Erasmus. This is where fleeing Christans joined with John Knox and John Calvin and many more, to produce the Geneva Bible coming to USA on the Mayfowerl. This 1611 King James Bible is much more than a King James Bible, it is the same as the word of God from the Apostles, though translated into English. Also, it will bring moral, financial, and spiritual blessings to Papua New Guinea and those Asian nations following the PNG example.
    Those bringing this mentioned Bible to their country has saved their people millions of dollars, as its influence through the land will raise Papua New Guinea in all ways, to bring about education, morality, vision, and a following of the true God and not just a religion.

  12. CATwoman1
    August 23, 2015 at 3:24 pm

    I just think it is interesting that in the last several years that secularism has basically had full control over most of the world, social problems and overt crime has run completely rampant. Think about it. How is the liberal secularist helping our world out? Seems to me that the problems has increased exponentially since they took over. They’ve had 70 or 80 years to prove that their ways are better and according to statistics, they’ve not done that fabulous of a job. If it was turned around, they would be screaming for Fundamentalist blood right now, telling them that what they were doing wasn’t working, and that it was time to return to something that gave results. Oh, and just so you know, I am a fundamentalist, and a free and highly educated woman, so nobody needs to act like I am some idiot that couldn’t find her way out of a paper bag. I see far more vitriol and viciousness from Liberals than from Fundamentalists. If you are going to preach tolerance, then be tolerant.

  13. Dave
    September 18, 2015 at 3:13 am

    I was at both ceremonial events in Indiana and Ohio when this Bible was handed over to PNG. The Governor of the State of Indiana did in fact send a representative from his office to the ceremony in Indiana. The PNG leaders did in fact meet with the Governor of Indiana at the state house and there are plenty of pictures to prove it. You can be absolutely certain that this Bible is authentic and very rare considering the excellent condition that it’s in. PNG should be proud to have something that millions of people throughout the whole world would love to treasure in their own country. My guess is that most PNG people ARE proud of the new national treasure. Regarding the last paragraph in the story… Dr. Gene Hood was a good man who chose to live a simple lifestyle. He was very blessed and often talked about God’s goodness to his family. He was a man that understood the basic biblical truth that we are not living for this world, but rather for the world to come. He was a man that used his resources and influence for the God that he loved so much; therefore, it is irrelevant whether he was a millionaire or not.

  14. Zepheniah
    September 23, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    Above all the underlying critics, the 1611,404 years old KJV Bible is finally in the Highest decision making institution of the country. It is not just another mare relic/symbol or monument of national treasure as many may have seen. It is about the POWER/MAGNITUDE of the WORD of God and its Authority that can unite, change/transform the focus and direction of this nation when it is honoured and treated with perspective by its principles as the foundation of this country going forward. For so long this nation has been governed/ruled with corruption, greed & missuses. For so long being poor in our own land that is rich in mineral resources. Enough of ideologies and theologies of man, enough of hoping/putting our trust and confidence in money power to change the course and direction of this great nation. It is about time we NEED GOD’s POWER and guidance.The power of the WORD of God and it’s Authority/BIBLE finally going into the chamber of our parliament which is a significance for great things to come for this nation. It is as moving the PRESENCE of God into the chambers of our National Parliament as the biggest decision making body for our country. By doing so God’s presence would be seen as the watch dog for our leaders who are in the greatest decision making mody.This would remind them that GOD would be always watching when it comes to decision making, making sure that they do not steal/cheat etc, all decision makings would be guided and ruled by the fear of the Lord…Those are some positive things moving forward with the current approach as the nation approached its 40th anniversary. Hence, that is why it is worthwhile to say “IT WAS TIME TO CROSS OVER” as after the 40 years of wilderness life by the children of Israel they finally crossed over to the other side of Jordon into Canaan. Let’s put aside our differences and doctrinal beliefs and about time we look forward for some positive things for this great nation. Let’s SANCTIFY ourselves, our motives, focus etc as Joshua has commanded the children of Israel on the bank of the Jordon river before the night of the CROSSING OVER (Joshua 3:5)..After crossing over “CLEAN” (Josh 3:17,Josh 4:1) went all the way to overcome the Jericho wall which God fought for them. For so long we’ve tried to focus on our own strength and understanding, our own ideologies and theologies and money power. NOW it is about time to focus on GOD’s POWER. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb 13:8)..” I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name” (Rev 3:8)…May HIS WILL BE FOREVER ACOMPLISHED FOR THIS GREAT NATION and its People whilst on this side of life and thereafter to come in eternity…Unto Him be all Glory!!!

  15. Philip Kai Morre
    December 12, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    KJV Bible is translated by Catholic monks and Anglican scholars for English speakers authorised and funded by King James of England. Fundamentalists Christians never existed at that time and even now they don’t have a bible of their own. Don’t mess it up if you can not translate one,

  16. August 11, 2016 at 4:11 pm

    I pity those who shake their fist in the face of GOD!

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