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I Am Not Being Held - Missing Boy

A teenage boy believed to be with a religious cult has insisted that he is not being held against his will.

A teenage boy believed to be with a religious cult has insisted that he is not being held against his will.

Bobby Kelly, 16, from Romford, Essex, who is thought to be with an organisation called the Jesus Christians, said he was not considering going home permanently.

In an e-mail he stated:

"There is no way I am being held from home against my will."

He added that if a court order making him a ward of court was destroyed, he would reassure his grandmother, Ruth, that he was all right.

The cult's leader, David Mackay, has said he plans to appeal against the decision to make Bobby a ward of court.

He is willing to return Bobby in exchange for continued access to him. Explaining why he left home. Bobby wrote:

"I had two choices. The first was to follow my previous ambition to become an entrepreneur, or to give my life to God and work for Him full-time.

"Most teenagers would probably choose the money option - but I feel that there is more to life than money and fame. Obviously I have chosen the 'God-option' as well as having rewards like eternal life. I also will enjoy my life and when I am 80 I can say 'I have enjoyed my life'." Asked where he was now, he wrote: "Sector 1685 in the alpha quadrant one. The phone number is ... I have forgotten."

In a note accompanying Bobby's answer, Mr Mackay said: "I'm assuming that Bobby is just being cheeky with his response ... I had hoped that he would at least say that he was still in the country ... but I'll blame that on your question."

Bobby, asked if he had a message for his grandmother and any other family members, wrote: "I love my family a lot. I miss my sister's love and cheeky smile. I miss my mum's great character of love and happiness, and I miss my nan's love, generosity and how she would do anything to make sure I am happy."

Asked what attracted him to the Jesus Christians, he wrote: "Their attitude towards the Bible, which is most sincere. They live their whole life on the teachings of Jesus, not on traditions."

Bobby was made a ward of court by the High Court last week in a bid to find him when he left home just hours after encountering members of the cult in Romford.

Ruth Kelly, Bobby's legal guardian, with whom he lives, told the court that her grandson met a member of the Jesus Christians while they were shopping in Romford after he stopped to talk to a man handing out leaflets.

The same afternoon, he packed some of his belongings and told his grandmother he was going with them.

Mrs Kelly said last week she wanted Bobby home. She had spoken to him on the phone but was concerned that someone was "guiding his responses" and that he sounded like a "complete stranger".

Mr Mackay, who exercises strict control over his followers around the world, founded the Australia-based Jesus Christians in 1981.

He told GMTV today that Bobby was not in anyone's "clutches" and did not want to go back to his grandmother.

He added: "He's 16, somewhere between a child and adult, we feel his rights should be respected. He's not being held, it's the court that wants to put locks on the doors, not us."

The cult's literature calls on converts to forsake their jobs, boss, even their family and friends.

"God is now your Boss and he has a new job for you that will not wait," says a leaflet handed out by cult members, while a message on their web site reads: "We, like you, were born as normal children of normal parents. But we have been transformed by the supernatural power of God into immortal children of God.

"Not even death can destroy us now. We are no longer a part of this world; but we have come to this world to warn you of events that are soon going to take place on this planet."

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