“New Heaven/New Earth”
Apocalyptic and messianic in nature. Essentially a doomsday cult.
Said to have 200k members in an early 2020 estimate but during the course of the coronavirus outbreak and research, In March 2020, health authorities of the Government of South Korea declared to the press that they obtained an exact list of 317,320 registered Shincheonji members.
Founded in 1984 by Lee Man-Hee. Prior to forming his own religion, he was a member of another religious group called Olive Tree.
Believers in the faith believe that Lee Man-Hee is the 2nd coming of Christ. He promises to bring 144000 people to heaven with him on judgement day where they’ll have eternal life.They also believe that only Lee Man-Hee can interpret the bible, as it is actually written in secret metaphors.
Aside from their beliefs, their means of maintaining and recruiting new members is also weird and culty. Many of their members live in secret compounds where they have hours long bible study a day and are encouraged to endlessly recruit new followers
“Their so-called harvesters go to other christian churches, take part in prayer sessions there and engage in other activities to woo away ordinary believers”Shin Hyun-uk (anti cult campaigner)
Churches in South Korea have stickers stating that “Shincheonji members are not allowed inside”.
Jo Mit-eum, a 35-year-old pastor, founded a company, Bareunmedia, to help educate people about these groups and the tactics they employ. .
“Shincheonji preaches to divorce from one’s spouse and other groups strongly advise people to quit their studies and jobs,”
Ahn So-young 27 when parents put her in program to leave church – attempted suicide several times afterward. “During my five years inside the group, I feared going home and I interacted less with my parents as I increasingly lied to them,” she says. “My contacts with school friends stopped.” Shincheonji members visited Ahn’s house and threatened to sue her parents for coercing her into leaving the group.
They don’t only use this sneaky means of recruitment in S.K, but also in other countries around the globe, including
UK – In November 2016, the Church of England issued a formal alert to around 500 parishes in London about the activities of a Shincheonji affiliate known as Parachristo. Parachristo, a registered charity in the UK, runs Bible study courses in London Docklands, and was using these courses to recruit members of the Church of England. “Those who become involved gradually withdraw from friends and family and actively lie about their real lives.Further warnings were issued by Nicky Gumbel, vicar of Holy Trinity Brompton, and John Peters, rector of St Mary’s Church, London.
India – In August 2019, the Baptist Convention in Manipur, India, warned worshippers to be wary of Shincheonji. “Their leader Lee Man-Hee claims to have access to secret knowledge of scriptures which other church pastors do not know. Moreover, he claims that one can truly know God only by following and listening to the teachings of Shincheonji. Once they are into this group, they spend most of their time inviting people to join Shincheonji group and spend less time with their families, friends and churches and neglect and quit their studies or work
Singapore – In late February 2020, Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam announced that the Ministry of Home Affairs would be investigating the local Shincheonji chapter for fraudulent activities including creating front companies and using deceptive methods to recruit young people into their sect
Prob many more as well.
So WTF does this have to do with Coronavirus?
Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the authorities were investigating reports that Shincheonji had operations in Hubei, the Chinese province that includes Wuhan, where the virus emerged. The South Korean news agency News reported on Friday that Shincheonji had opened a church in Wuhan last year, and that references to it had been removed from the church’s website BUT thats not really the part that matters, unless somehow this next lady i talk about was actually infected in Wuhan at church…
Up until this happened, SK covid #s were relatively low
A single “super-spreader” , a 61 year old woman known as “patient 31” – is thought to have caused the rapid rise in cases.
“The situation here was not really serious until mid-February. It began to get very serious starting with patient 31,” said Hwang Seung-sik, a spatio-temporal epidemiologist at Seoul National University.
“Before patient 31, our strategies to contain the virus were working. But after countless people were infected by patient 31, it became very difficult to control.”
The service that patient 31 attended while sick was also attended by 4500 other attendees. These meetings were tightly packed, patrons sing with hands on each others shoulders and had been discouraged from wearing masks.
Patient No. 31 checked into a small Daegu hospital on Feb. 7, after a minor traffic accident. The next day, she complained of a sore throat. The day after that — a Sunday — she attended a Shincheonji church service, health officials say.
She developed a fever the next day that wouldn’t go away and she stayed in the hospital but somehow still managed to get out the following Sunday to go to church again.
At least 2x, doctors recommended that the woman transfer to a bigger hospital to be tested for COVID-19, but she refused – insisting she hadn’t been to China or come into contact with anyone infected.
Eventually she felt sick enough to check into a government-run clinic for a coronavirus test and the next day she was confirmed to be infected.
“Her behavior is not surprising to people familiar with the church,” said Chung Yun-seok, an expert on religious cults who runs the website Christian Portal News. “To them, getting sick is a sin because it prevents them from doing God’s work.”
An So-young, a 27-year-old who left the group, told Reuters.“You would be 5 centimeters away from the person who sits next to you, and have to say ‘Amen’ after every sentence the pastor speaks — it’s the best environment for the virus to spread,”
The church says members sat close together on the floor because local authorities would not give it permits to build bigger churches.
The church was super difficult to work with in regard to locating and testing other members as a means to track the spread of the virus. An expert from the SK Christian newspaper, Kukmin Ilbo, states that the health authority struggled too track down at least 400 of the members from the Deguan location and the members that they did connect with were reluctant to both test and cooperate. Evadentally the church sent out an internal document to all of its members saying that if authorities were to speak with them, to say “I didn’t go to church that day” or that they worshipped somewhere else.
The church responded to these allegations by basically saying “we don’t know what an internal notice is.” OK SURE.
Now, the Seoul Metropolitan Government, has filed a formal complaint against the congregation, accusing it of murder. – Because members must attend these prayer services even when they’re sick, knowing that the environment completely goes against recommended guidelines for social distancing, the charge is “murder through willful negligence.”
Today, the 88 year old man calls the pandemic the “devil’s deed” to top the rapid growth of Shincheonji” – likely because so many of their members are falling ill and dying and the whole situation is causing even MORE backlash to the religious sect.
Before Patient 31, South Korea Had a Plan...
Regardless of patient 31, S korea flattened the curve way faster than everyone else because they used technology in a way that we def have not. First infection Jan 20 – numbers were v low then patient 31 came around mid feb and fucked shit up. Peak infection day = Feb 29, since then numbers drop each day. Why?
1. Immediate and widespread testing – drive thrus etc – by 3/17 270000 had been tested.
2. After tests confirm a positive case, officials use interviews, GPS phone tracking, credit-card records, and video surveillance to trace an infected person’s travel history. This information was used to track geographic infection rates in real time. They had an app that sent emergency alerts about spikes in certain areas.
3. They track movement of confirmed cases – an app that sounds an alarm when users get within 100 meters of a place that a confirmed patient has visited recently.
4. Another app helps employees plot the safest routes to and from work that don’t intersect with previous paths of infected individuals.
5. Telemedicine thru an app called coronavirus 119 where patients enter symptoms and get a pre diagnosis
6. App that showed inventory of facemasks at local stores
7. Self-quarantining apps that helped users monitor their condition and connect them to a doctor if needed. These apps also set off an alarm on a users’ smartphone when they ventured out from a designated quarantine area.
Moonies - The other South Korean Cult you may have heard of.
Unification Church aka Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity – Mass weddings, unique Christian theology, controversial.
Founded church in 1954. Pusan, South Korea, by the Reverend Sun Myung Moon – Moon was born in 1920. Raised Presbyterian. He had a vision when he was 16 that told him he was to complete Jesus’ unfinished work. between then and the church opening (mid 1940s) he was kidnapped by N Korea who accused him of being a S Korea spy. Once released he fled to S Korea and started working on his doctrine. Shortly after he wrote his book, Exposition of the Divine Principle, a reinterpretation of the Bible that his followers treat as holy scripture:
God is all powerful and all knowing but is not complete without the love of his children. He wanted all people were to be his son’s and daughters just as Jesus was – divine but not god. If Adam and Eve hadn’t fallen, all mankind would’ve been perfect. God’s plan is to establish one god-centered family and this family will change the world. They believe Jesus’ main objective on earth was to form a perfect marriage but he died, so a 3rd coming of Jesus was needed and that was Moon. He and his 2nd wife, Hak Ja Han are the “true spiritual parents of humankind” aka true parents. Couples – most arranged by Moon, others already together – married at their mass wedding ceremonies became regarded as the “true children” and were now linked to god. These couples were usually from different nations as a means to encourage world peace. “My wish is to completely tear down barriers and to create a world in which everyone becomes one,” the Rev Moon wrote in his autobiography.
Seems ok. They are a S Korean conglomerate with their hands in all sorts of stuff from cars to fishing to weapons, to farming. Ilhwa, a major food and pharmaceutical company which makes the popular Mc Col beverage, is affiliated with the Unification Church, which was founded in 1954 by Reverend Sun Myung Moon – he didn’t live forever…he died in 2012 at the age of 90.
“It is intoxicating to know the Truth, even if it’s not really Truth; I will most likely never replace that feeling. But I’ve also learned a new intoxication of knowing that there is no ultimate Truth and figuring out my own truth as I go along. Just like everyone else.” Lisa Kohn, ‘To the Moon and Back: A Childhood Under Influence’ ex moonie –
This guy was a Moonie and wrote an article about Shincheonji, so maybe they’re an actual cult?
Steven Hassan M.Ed. LMHC, NCC has helped thousands of individuals and families recover from undue influence (mind control). With over 40 years of experience, he is sought after as one of the foremost authorities on undue influence and controlling groups and individuals. Steve understands the subject from a unique perspective as both a former cult member and as a clinical professional. Steven Hassan has published 4 books about cults. His first book, which came out in 1988 under the title Combatting Cult Mind Control, was updated and re released in 2015 as Combating Cult Mind Control. Chapter 2, My life in the Unification Church has been placed for free on this web site. This book is available as an audiobook as well as on kindle.
Steven is the Founding Director of the Freedom of Mind Resource Center, a coaching, consulting, and training organization dedicated to supporting individuals to have the freedom to think clearly and to freely consider how they want to live their lives. Steven pioneered a breakthrough method called the Strategic Interactive Approach (SIA), an effective and legal alternative for families to help cult members. The SIA teaches family and friends how to strategically influence the individual involved in the cult.
[copied directly from his website]
There are other S Korean religious cults too – one had mass suicide. If you look hard enough at anything, you’ll find a pocket of info. Evangelical Baptist Church – 29 August, thirty-two members of the sect who believed in doomsday, including Park Soon-ja, a woman said to have swindled 8 million or so dollars from 220 church members – and her three children, were found dead, bound and gagged. case was closed as mass suicide but reopened and it wa discovered that this church was really just a means for big corporations to get $
So,What's a Cult Anyway?
Generally speaking, a cult is a religious group that doesn’t have acceptance of the masses.
Why do we all feel so freaked out by them??
Stephen Hassan, Ex Moonie, Cult Expert, mentioned above talks about this method:
- Regulate individual’s physical reality
- Dictate where, how, and with whom the member lives and associates or isolates
- When, how and with whom the member has sex
- Control types of clothing and hairstyles
- Regulate diet – food and drink, hunger and/or fasting
- Manipulation and deprivation of sleep
- Financial exploitation, manipulation or dependence
- Restrict leisure, entertainment, vacation time
- Major time spent with group indoctrination and rituals and/or self indoctrination including the Internet
- Permission required for major decisions
- Thoughts, feelings, and activities (of self and others) reported to superiors
- Rewards and punishments used to modify behaviors, both positive and negative
- Discourage individualism, encourage group-think
- Impose rigid rules and regulations
- Instill dependency and obedience
- Threaten harm to family and friends
- Force individual to rape or be raped
- Instill dependency and obedience
- Encourage and engage in corporal punishment
- Deception: Deliberately withhold information (Distort information to make it more acceptable, Systematically lie to the cult member)
- Minimize or discourage access to non-cult sources of information, including: Internet, TV, radio, books, articles, newspapers, magazines, other media; Critical information; Former members; Keep members busy so they don’t have time to think and investigate; Control through cell phone with texting, calls, internet tracking
- Compartmentalize information into Outsider vs. Insider doctrines, Ensure that information is not freely accessible, Control information at different levels and missions within group, Allow only leadership to decide who needs to know what and when
- Encourage spying on other members: Impose a buddy system to monitor and control member, Report deviant thoughts, feelings and actions to leadership, Ensure that individual behavior is monitored by group
- Extensive use of cult-generated information and propaganda, including: Newsletters, magazines, journals, audiotapes, videotapes, YouTube, movies and other media; Misquoting statements or using them out of context from non-cult sources
- Unethical use of confession; Information about sins used to disrupt and/or dissolve identity boundaries; Withholding forgiveness or absolution; Manipulation of memory, possible false memories
- Require members to internalize the group’s doctrine as truth; Adopting the group’s ‘map of reality’ as reality; Instill black and white thinking; Decide between good vs. evil; Organize people into us vs. them (insiders vs. outsiders)
- Change person’s name and identity
- Use of loaded language and clichés which constrict knowledge, stop critical thoughts and reduce complexities into platitudinous buzz words
- Encourage only ‘good and proper’ thoughts
- Hypnotic techniques are used to alter mental states, undermine critical thinking and even to age regress the member
- Memories are manipulated and false memories are created
- Teaching thought-stopping techniques which shut down reality testing by stopping negative thoughts and allowing only positive thoughts, including: Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking; Chanting; Meditating; Praying; Speaking in tongues; Singing or humming
- Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism
- Forbid critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy allowed
- Labeling alternative belief systems as illegitimate, evil, or not useful
- Manipulate and narrow the range of feelings – some emotions and/or needs are deemed as evil, wrong or selfish
- Teach emotion-stopping techniques to block feelings of homesickness, anger, doubt
- Make the person feel that problems are always their own fault, never the leader’s or the group’s fault
- Promote feelings of guilt or unworthiness, such as: Identity guilt, You are not living up to your potential, Your family is deficient, Your past is suspect, Your affiliations are unwise, Your thoughts, feelings, actions are irrelevant or selfish, Social guilt, Historical guilt
- Instill fear, such as fear of: Thinking independently, The outside world, Enemies, Losing one’s salvation, Leaving or being shunned by the group, Other’s disapproval
- Extremes of emotional highs and lows – love bombing and praise one moment and then declaring you are horrible sinner
- Ritualistic and sometimes public confession of sins
- Phobia indoctrination: inculcating irrational fears about leaving the group or questioning the leader’s authority; No happiness or fulfillment possible outside of the group; Terrible consequences if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 reincarnations, etc.; Shunning of those who leave; fear of being rejected by friends, peers, and family; Never a legitimate reason to leave; those who leave are weak, undisciplined, unspiritual, worldly, brainwashed by family or counselor, or seduced by money, sex, or rock and roll
After all of this stuff, the members are totally IN. like Jim Jones. I saw a doc about that and it was mind blowing. People are crazy.
Some evangelical, fundamentalist christian groups are like this. SOme say Mormons, Jahovahs Witnesses,
They take STRONG leadership. They offer a “secret knowledge” that make members feel empowered.
FEAR OF TURNING BACK ON GOD might be enough, especially when these beliefs are different than the mainstream
In a paper delivered at the Center for Study of New Religions in Pennsylvania in 1999, Melton said: ‘we have reached a general consensus that New Religions are genuine and valid religions. A few may be bad religion and some may be led by evil people, but they are religions.’ To call a group – be it Scientology or the Moonies, or the Peoples Church – a cult is to obscure the fact that to study it and understand it properly, both sociologically and theologically, we must treat it like any other religion (Melton prefers the term ‘New Religious Movements’). His point underscores the fact that questions of legitimacy, authority and hierarchy, and of delineation between inner and outer circles, are as much the provenance of ‘classical’ religious studies as of any analysis of cults.
Whatever we initially feel about, say, Scientology and however much we know about compounds where members voluntarily hand over their savings to charismatic leaders are creepy and/or wrong, we can’t forget that the history of Christianity (and other faiths) isn’t much different – even when it comes to leaders abusing its members – we see this a lot with priests, right? i spent time on an ashram as a child – sitta yoga – and there was all sorts of weird abuse by one of the gurus…it’s sort of like that expression about weeds – all that is different from a plant and a weed is it’s label – religion vs cult. idk. touchy subject. Charismatic leader – I mean, can I suggest that maybe Jesus Christ could be considered that? Too far? Isolated living/compounds – monasteries, convents, ashrams. Financial obligations all go to christianity, catholicism, jews, islam..all want
Religion and Pandemic
The rapid spread of coronavirus through the world can be traced back to religious services and pilgrimages
-Israel’s virus hotspot is Bnei Brak, where some ultra-Orthodox people live. their way of life shelters the residence from the media, etc – sceptical of outsiders – ya know they’re ULTRA orthodox – idk if they just didn’t get the into or just defied the nationwide lockdown but they continued to attend services, etc – the living space in this area is very tight too, so coming into contact with someone is easy. 1 in 7 infections came from here. the are went on todal lockdown – no outsiders in and those there barely allowed to do anything. 4500 elderly at risk were taken outside of the city.
-The initial epicenter of Iran’s outbreak was the holy city Qom. Pilgrims from all over come to visit the holy site of a holy man and holy woman’s tomb. its super emotional – everyone cries. The tradition says that each tear will become a pearl, those pearls are signs of devotion and an angel will greet them @ heaven with a bucket of pearls aka signs of their devotion. A metal cage surrounds the tomb itself, and when the weeping pilgrims finally reach it, they’ll grab the bars and often weep into it. SO LOTS OF BODILY FLUIDS THERE. In a single day, many 1000’s visit this spot. Not only did these infected spread the virus thru iran, but also brought it back to their home country/city. Mohammad Saeedi, the head of the shrine in Qom and a local representative of the country’s supreme leader, not only opposes a quarantine but begged people to visit the shrine, calling it a “place of healing.”Iran’s government didn’t really handle anything well – tons of top officials have been infected, the VP contracted the virus and then met with the P and cabinet members. i watched a video of top Iranian health official, Iraj Harirchi, assuring the public of their safety, while sweating and coughing on colleagues and his audience because he has contracted the coronavirus! WTFFFFF.
– – Tablighi Jamaat is the muslim missionary headquarters in New Delhi india aka the Markaz. more than 8,000 people, including foreigners, visited the headquarters in early March – it also acts as a dorm for preachers all over the world. They held an event on 3/13-15 that evidently caused tons of covid outbreaks – 1/3 of all outbreaks in the country. Hindus are pissed at the muslims and i guess there has always been some tension there started a hashtag #CoronaJihad that just slanders muslims. One of the most popular false #CoronaJihad tweets claims to show a Muslim man from the Delhi congregation intentionally coughing on somebody. 4,200 retweets and 503 replies – also ones of muslims sneezing, etc “Corona jihad is this new idea that Muslims are weaponizing the coronavirus to target Hindus,” says Thenmozhi Soundarajan, executive director of Equality Labs.
-Kazan Cathedral in St Petersburg has a relic of John the baptist that is traditionally kissed when visited. they had insisted they will not stop in-person services or try to block traditions such as kissing icons, although now i read that they are sanitizing them more frequently and having people wear gloves when offering communion.
The Greek Orthodox Church, has announced as a matter of doctrine that it does not believe the coronavirus can be transmitted via communion wine or wafer.
Can't forget the U.S. of Fuckin A.
Tampa Bay Megachurch – sheriff’s deputies arrested evangelical pastor Rodney Howard-Browne when he refused to close for social distancing. 500 people attended a service and not only didn’t observe the 6ft rule, but he also urged his congregants to continue shaking hands, despite social distancing guidelines, reminding his flock that they weren’t a bunch of “pansies”). He was dropped by his insurance company. Was arrested by Sheriff Chronister, who is a Republican, which matters because somehow this is political (?) “His reckless disregard for human life put hundreds of people in his congregation at risk and thousands of residents who may interact with them this week in danger,” . “Our goal here is not to stop anyone from worshiping, but the safety and well-being of our community must always come first.”
Gerald O. Glenn,the bishop of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, Va – disregarded social distancing requests from governor and held a service on Mar 22, with a few dozen members. At the time, the bishop was quoted by local media outlets as saying that “I firmly believe that God is larger than this dreaded virus.” Local media reported that Bishop Glenn said that he would keep preaching “unless I’m in jail or the hospital.” Ended up with coronavirus and died.
Life Tabernacle church in Central, LA outside Baton Rouge. 500 people attended church despite a ban on gatherings. A 78-year-old parishioner died – Rev. Tony Spell called the coroner’s determination “a lie.” Their church lawyer, Jeff Wittenbrink, became infected and had to be hospitalized. The lawyer still believes in his mission though and is still representing them. go figure.
**Spell maintains that in-person services are essential to his congregation’s faith and financial well-being**.