The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois on March 18, 1973 · Page 10
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The Pantagraph from Bloomington, Illinois · Page 10

Bloomington, Illinois
Issue Date:
Sunday, March 18, 1973
Page 10
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Pantagraph A-10 Bloomlngton-Normal, III., Sun., March 18, 1973 Th ey fly out ' quakes, floods By Davt McClelland CABERY "For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" When this day prophesied in Revelation 6:17 arrives, Richard Kieninger and his followers plan to be ready. "We expect to have built machines to Keep us aloft while all the earthquakes and tidal waves wreak destruction," he said in an interview with the Pantagraph. "But we certainly don't plan to levitate as was stated in Time." Kieninger, a 45-year-old father of . three, was referring to an article which appeared in the March 5 edition of Time Magazine. Kieninger believes the article : poked fun at him, his followers and their ' beliefs. Kieninger is president of the board of trustees of Uie Stelle Group, which he said is a religious education corporation. They have purchased 320 acres of farmland (Records at the Ford County Courthouse show the purchase price was $169,000.) about three miles south of here. Cabery is the northernmost town in Ford County; it lies dead center on the Kankakee-Ford county line. On this acreage and more, which the group plans to buy later, will be built a community of 10,000 persons, Kieninger said. He said the population figure should be reached by 1980. 3,000 buildings Kieninger, who hopes to move from Chicago to the farm by the end of this month, said approximately 3,000 buildings will be constructed in the community. Already built are a woodworking factory, the first of many homes, a water treatment plant and a building which will serve as Kieninger's home and temporarily as the school. It later will house administrative offices. Why was Ford County chosen as the site for the survival city? "This is the place I was instructed to locate in," Kieninger said. He said the instructions came from a person known to him only as "Dr. White," apparently a member of a brotherhood of scientists-philosophers. The Stelle Group is strongly influenced by ancient brotherhoods and their "universal wisdom." In 1963 Kieninger wrote a "biography" titled "The Ultimate Frontier." He used the name Eklal Kueshana, which he said means the fountainhead of knowledge of Christ. In the book, Kieninger wites of the brotherhoods: "If the world had been aware of the work of these world-wide interlocking organizations during centuries past, they would only have suffered unwarranted suppression by political and religious factions in authority." Identity withheld "The members and students of the 'Brotherhoods' . have traditionally withheld their identity from non-members in order to avoid certain persecution for holding highly idealistic views." Kieninger said the Stelle Group is "here to carry out a program that has been established by the brotherhoods." Brotherhood, he said, is a name for a group of persons who have achieved sainthood. - Cikc faCTOrS IIIOI l4IKJiy ri? 13 mm q if OUSI HO ffywJk li PlSlIilllllS ' wftuinm iii - "We're a little sacreligious here, I guess, in that we're trying to teach people how to become saints." The "highly idealistic views" held by members of the brotherhoods also are the basis for the Stelle Group. "One of the things that inspires people to come to the Stelle Group is not just to preserve a high level of civilization but to build a better one," Kieninger said. The group is a non-profit organization with an educational program designed "for individual spiritual growth ... for emotional and practical uplift," Kieninger said. The community in Ford County to be known as Stelle is one of two the group plans to build. ' The second will be called Philadelphia and will be located on an island in the Pacific in the late 1980s. Kieninger said he was "not allowed to tell at this time" the name of the island. Fears migration He said he feared that once the name was know n people would migrate to it in masses. The purpose of Stelle and Philadelphia is to provide self-sufficient communities for members of the group. Kieninger said the group "foresees . considerable economic difficulties about the middle of this decade." "Because of this," he said, "we felt we had to get into a self-sustaining community until the 1980s when things start to whirl again." The group plans to build ' printing plants, plastic work plants and others in which they will manufacture merchandise for themselves and for sale to the "outside world." They also plan to contruct stores and other businesses for use only by members and employes of the group. The Stelle Group believes a great war and massive earthquakes and tidal waves will afflict the world at the turn of the century. "Almost everything will be washed over with wave action," Kieninger prophesied. "We plan to put aside materials for rebuilding. We anticipate air-lifting the people of both Stelle and Philadelphia." Once the destruction has run its course the Stelle Group will land on Lemuria, also known as Mu. Lemuria to surface Lemuria, he said, will have re-emerged from the Pacific during the cataclysms. At the mention of Lemuria, Time magazine offered this footnote: "A favorite myth of cult groups in the U.S. and Great Britain, Lemuria or Mu, as it is also called is a Pacific Ocean version of Atlantis, a lost continent complete with a vanished civilization. "Kieninger's group derives its name from the German Stelle, which means 'place' and refers to their survival community; it is also the name of a one-time Lemuria cult leader, Robert Stelle." But Kieninger, who is bespectacled and soft-spoken as Time described him, is offended by reference that his group is a cult. "We're not a sect. We're made up of too many religious backgrounds." He said members there presently are 130 official members, 45 couples and 40 individuals are of many religious backgrounds. Woodworking factory on the Stelle Group's farm already is turning out products to be sold in the "outside uwiiuiny in iwicyfvunu is one vr scveral models of homes group plans for community. Building in back will o..:u: : -j i t h ' Spli pili iM Leader "Everyone here has a belief in God but he has his own way of worshiping. We have no priests ... no mystic rites," Kieninger said. The Stelle Group sponsors no religious services. There is no pressure to change a member's religious views, Kieninger said. All members must do, he said, are have a "dedication to God's desire for what human beings are to achieve." Customs of the Stelle Group are not all that extraordinary. No intoxicants Members may smoke so long as they do not offend those nearby. They may not, however, use drugs, liquor or other intoxicants. "Being intoxicated is not beneficial to spiritual advancement," Kieninger said. Marriages are transacted when a man and a woman declare their state of matrimony before the congregation. An officer of the group must be on hand to attest to the marriage and the couple must purchase a marriage license, Kieninger said. The Stelle Group does believe in reincarnation. Kieninger believes he has had 3,000 previous lives. Although the Time article said Kieninger once was incarnated as the Pharaoh Akhnaton and another time as King David of Israel, Kieninger said he does not know who he was in previous lives. The Stelle Group tithes to support its organization and there is no fee to become a member. However, when a person becomes a resident member of Stelle, he signs a contract in which all of his possessions are willed to the group with the exception of household furnishings and an automobile. These may be willed to someone else. If the person is married, he or she may will the possessions to the spouse, world." Woodworking is but one of several industries the non-profit group has planned for its town. ' "f'M),VM-.'..'.WV ftt.f-MV;,.AJ&'.'WogW-VA7.A'J..J'4 .71. ; iri" 'ffyfi'":' lift -i iiuuse jvrwi wn a ic also will be used as inger and his family. house school on a temporary basis. It a home for Kien- 1 Cabery Richard Kieninger, 45, l rnrnfn . V' L-fTl! heads group building a survival town J t IV , X ' " f - TflU1 near here. Population is to hit 10,000 i. C " ' W UTX U k I tell cliilc illlliiift 'zssSM then at death the possessions go to the group. Accept 25 per cent Kieninger said about 25 per cent of all applicants for membership to the group are accepted. In order to qualify for membership, a person must be 21 years old, have some background in practical business experience, be willing to work hard and be psychologically mature. The latter prerequisite, said Kieninger, is "one of the major stumbling blocks ' for those who apply. Many, he said, are "far out." Kieninger said children of those who are members of the group enjoy the "rights and privileges" of members until they become 21. Then they must decide for themselves whether to become members. No attempt is made to influence their decisions, Kieninger said. His 21-year-old daughter is not a member. Race, creed or color have no bearing on the decision of who may become a member, he said. "On the basis of their applications we decide whether they fit into our plans." Present members are engineers, architects, accountants, etc. And even though membership is open to a "chosen few, there are no attempts to keep proceedings of the Stelle Group secret, Kieninger claimed. No secret society The headline on the Time article said "The Secret of Stelle." Kieninger, in backing up his no secrecy statement, cited the book he has published, the newsletters the group sends out and the public meeting held in Chicago "to let people know about us." When the community is large enough to be incorporated, a mayor will be elected and the town will be operated as a normal one except that the stores and other businesses will cater only to residents. A passerby will not be permitted to purchase items at a store in town residents will make purchases on a credit card system. Purchases will be charged against their account, cutting down on the use of currency. Their school which is to open next month will be private and students will work at their own rate to achieve state certificates. Mason Cify Scouts organizing MASON CITY (PNS) - A new Boy Scout Troop is being organized in Mason City to be known as Troop 197. The troop is being sponsored by the First Christian Church. The boys will meet at the First Christian Fellowship Hall, formerly the old Catholic Church. Larry Harrison is Scoutmaster with assistants,- Pete Bowers, Roger Banister, Gary Bair, Mike Mulford, Mike Eigen-brod, and Steve Zimmerman. Committeemen include Bill Norton, Leonard Adams, Ernest Schmidt, Wayne Eigen-brod, Roy McDaniel and Larry Fancher. Boys wishing to join the troop may contact Larry Harrison for information. Decker to lead McLean services McLEAN (PNS) George Decker of Siloam Springs, Ark., will be evangelist for a series of meetings to be held at 7:30 each evening beginning Monday at the Christian Church and continuing through Sunday, March 25. Decker is promotional director for the Cookson Hills Christian Children's Home at Siloam Springs. He is a graduate of Minnesota Bible College and served as a missionary in Alaska for 15 years. He is a native of Rutland, III. A nursery for children will be provided during the meetings. mm- - 1 - - H QDDV ' 1 Hri Cabery residents ik e new CABERY Reaction toward the Stelle Group by this sleepy little community of 300 or fewer surprisingly is favorable, even enthusiastic. "They're really all such nice, pleasant people," said Mrs. Bud Hummel, owner of Hummel's Grocery. "I'm glad to have them myself." Mrs. Hummel's grocery, the only one in Cabery, does substantial business with the Stelle people when work on the community is in full swing. And she made her comment realizing that once the Stelle people build their own store, she will lose their business. "The ones I've come into contact with are nice people intelligent and nice to be around," she said. Richard Kieninger, president of the group, said, "We've developed a pretty good relationship with business people and neighbors and we certainly get along fine with them." Kieninger said he encountered no problems in obtaining the necessary zoning ordinance changes required to permit a community to be built. Survey recorded Since Stelle Group does not plan to sell individual lots, there was no need for approval from the county board and no need to record a plat. The group has, however, recorded a survey of the land at the recorder's office in Paxton. Kieninger said at first there was "some stir about how many people were going to be here," but. the private school helped soothe that problem. There are approximately 16,000 persons in Ford County. Kieninger said he does not believe the Ford County Board is taking Stelle Group's plans very seriously. "The county board will believe it when they see it," he said. 3 Very nice ; 1 12223 (J ff 8 I) " T :d t-lli:i.i:I lll.L I Vfel ml MSBSlB. : f-""" """" "slJf L I Cabery Mrs. Bud Hummel, owner of Cabery's only grocery, said she's hap- pv ,0 have Stelle Group near even though she will lose their business eventually. ighbors nei But the people of Cabery take it seriously and they seem to be in favor of it. Richard Colthurst, town clerk and owner of Cothurst Hardware, said he believes those in town who oppose the group do so because so little is known about them. "I think there's quite a few who don't approve of them because they don't know what's going on." He then said he did not believe there are any who really opposed the group, just those who are a little wary. 'Very nice' "They've been very nice when they come into the store," said Colthurst. "Just real fine." , Richard Read, owner of Rich and Ethel's Tap, said there have been members of the group in his tavern even though it is forbidden for them to drink. "They would come in here and drink pop and talk. They seemed real nice, real friendly." Read said no members of the group had been in his tavern recently. "They're real nice and polite people," said Bernie Cassidy, Cabery postmaster. "I hope they do all right out there. -I mean it'll help me as far as postal revenue is concerned and you need all you can get." ! "They seem to be just normal people," said Louis Bishop, an employe at Fritz Sadler's Standard Service, the only service station in town. "The men who work out there buy gas and they seem all right with me," he said. "I like them, what I see of them," said Mrs. Maxine Snicker. Mrs. William McCulloch said she was very much in favor of the Stelle group. "They don't bother me," she said, "and if its going to help Cabery stay on the map, I'm all in favor of it." Richard Read, tavern owner, left, and Richard Colthurst, town clerk and hardware dealer, say they've found Stelle people "very nice and friendly." (Pantagraph Photos)

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