“Serving Jesus as the center”
A person claiming to be an insider is calling JMS (Jesus Morning Stars) a cult. He is claiming to deserve compensation because he was allegedly deceived by the religious organization. The organization was labelled a cult by distorted news reports and broadcasts. Those who are demanding to be compensated are seeking to settle for a large sum of money from the religious organization.
JMS is not a cult, and Jung Myung Seok is not Satan.
The Bible is the foundation of Christian doctrines. The messages contained in the Bible are boundless. If one were to capture the Bible’s essence it is that God created human beings, and that human beings should obey the Ten Commandments, as they believe that God is their creator. The Ten Commandments serve as an oath to bind and preserve the relationship between the Creator and the created. Thus, the Commandments allow people to persist in living in their predestined relationship with God as father and son.
The Ten Commandments dictate what must and must not be done, in man’s relationship with God. The Commandments are: 1) Do not serve other gods before God; 2) Do not worship idols; 3) Do not make vain the name Jehovah God; 4) Remember to keep the Sabbath holy; 5) Honor your father and mother; 6) Do not murder ;7) Do not commit adultery; 8) do not misuse the name of Jehovah God; 9) Remember the Sabbath by keeping it holy; 10) Do not covet your neighbors property.
The first four Commandments relate to people’s conduct towards God in their faith. The remaining Commandments relate to the relationship between people. Obedience to these Ten Commandments is fundamental for anyone who believes in God. If a group teaches doctrines that deviate from these Commandments, that group would be none other than a cult. The laws of the world cannot judge the correctness of religious beliefs, and so came about the ideology and authority of religious freedom.
If all religions were measured by this ideology of religious freedom, then no group would be a cult. This is especially the case given the existence of around 300 different denominations in a scramble. The decision to believe or not believe rests entirely on one’s freewill. How a person behaves, while following a certain faith is also within their freewill.
I have been writing about the ordeals experienced by this religious organization with hope that the readers would be the jury. With that understanding of religious freedom, I hope that the readers would see through the JMS position in this dispute.
The ordeal and victimization of Providence
Last month, an article was published about JMS (formally known as the Christian Gospel Mission), in which the controversy of whether JMS is a cult resurfaced. The article reported on the disclosure of alleged internal video footage by a former executive member of the organization.On its face, this video shows that the Christian Gospel Mission (the CGM) is a bizarre religious group.
However, the intention behind this disclosure is extremely suspicious. Who was behind the release of these videos? Why was it released? Why was it not released earlier?
On its face, the video appears to originate from the CGM Church. But evidence of editing and the piecing together of different footages are visible on careful observation. It is easily discernible that the main person featured in the video fabricated these footages, under the covert directions of another person. In the video, this person raises a photograph of President Jung Myung Seok when he is mentioned, and by doing so connects the two footages together in the viewer’s mind.
The film only shows the perspective of this main person. Two footages filmed on different days appear to be edited together, to make it seem like President Jung had attended a particular event, where he is shown to have troubled expression. The reasons behind the making of the video and its release to the public are suspicious.
The JMS Damage Control Group (DCG) and its representative Kim Jinho are making efforts to release this perplexing video to the entire world. They claim that they are doing this to save the victims of the CGM. However, this purpose loses meaning given that all the women featured in the video are victimized by the release. There are concerns that the video violates human rights and the individual’s right to privacy and anonymity. The bigger problem is that the video causes the misperception that all members living in ways that are contradictory to their religious life. This led to unjust accusations against them.
Opposition to this religious group all started from one individual
The person who threatened to expose the video was someone who once faithfully followed and served the CGM for many years. He was also a secretary of the CGM executive and he was well‐known among all the CGM members.It has been said that he was once a promising disciple of President Jung Myung Seok within the CGM. He was a graduate of the military academy and had worked as a field‐grade officer. In March 2009, he was discharged from the military, in order to pursue missionary work with the CGM and thus became the executive secretary. He was keener to missionize than to be in the military. Such was the person who established the DCG and became its representative.
By 2009, President Jung Myung Seok was already confined. He was tried over rape allegations, in which he was unable to defend against the victims’ onesided claims. During the trial, anti‐JMS forces slandered President Jung with scathing criticisms, but he led the believers with sincerity and passion.
Last month, the DCG representative reported to the ‘Sunday Newspaper’, a weekly journal, that he would publicize obscene videos of CGM members. Prior to this article’s publication, Mr Kim had also claimed that a member owed him 2 million won in damages. Mr Kim then posted on the DCG’s online home page a demand for compensation to be paid.
About the obscene videos, an administrator of the CGM said, ‘that video was a manipulation of 2 different videos from 2007 and someone had edited them together.’ One video was of an informal festival event. Throughout the event, President Jung Myung Seok was wearing formal attire and there was nothing about his conduct that was worth criticizing. The second video was a low resolution video that had nothing to do with President Jung Myung Seok. The CGM administrator explained, ‘it appears that the video was edited by someone for the purpose of defaming President Jung’.
Moreover, if the video was originally made in 2007, it would have had no connections to the current CGM. Also, President Jung was already living in confinement at that time, in a state that was similar to his 10 year imprisonment.
For the CGM church, they could not express just how unfair and upsetting it was that President Jung Myung Seok’s position was not taken into account during the trial, and only the alleged victims’ claims received widespread public attention. On top of that, this secretary whom they considered as a brother is now threatening to release obscene material. For them, being stabbed in the same place twice is no small ordeal.
CGM’s administrator also said, ‘Despite [the secretary] once being an ex‐officer of the military, having accomplished many things and someone who held great responsibilities, what he did was beyond pure church ministry. He used his position to receive funds from many CGM members and collected tens of thousands of won from them. He used that money to buy land and invest in his own business.’ The administrator added, ‘we experienced much suffering and damage as a result of his swindling. Yet, we tried to forgive him. Members withdrew their complaints against him and reached an agreement to resolve a dispute over a healthcare foundation he was operating. However, members are deeply shocked to see his shameful actions for resolving his own problems that were vastly different to the passion he displayed in the past for CGM.’’ The administrator also presented court papers detailing Mr Kim’s fraud conviction in his first trial. He added, ‘Mr Kim is currently a pastor in a Christian church and the vice‐president of a prayer house near Namyanju, where in fact, he purchased those positions for the price of 3 million won.’
Illegality validated by the disguise of being an ‘informant’
There were two issues to the dispute. The first issue was that the anti‐CGM group, the DCG, was established by Mr Kim. The other issue was that he was a fraudulent pastor, ordained through a payment of money. In order to find the truth, I personally met with Mr Kim.
About the plans and actions of the DCG, Mr Kim, the representative of the group said as follows: ‘Former members who experienced physical and mental damage, as a result of being fooled by President Jung Myung Seok, come together to form the DCG. Its purpose is to bring down JMS. The ultimate goal is to help members leave JMS and bring a complete end to the religious group. Such outcome would be just compensation for the former members.’
In response, I asked him the question – are you not once an accomplice to President Jung Myung Seok, given that you were once trusted by him and did the same work as he did? I also asked him to be a fair representative of the DCG, should you not first receive the same punishment as President Jung did? In response, he asserted that he had been utterly fooled by President Jung and it is with contrition that he is working to help those who were hurt to be compensated.
In response to CGM’s claim that he purchased his position, he said that there were no problems, ‘there is a system of transfer whereby a person from one church can move to another. One’s experience and position from the previous church is transitioned to the ministry of the latter church.’ Despite that, it is still questionable whether he is allowed to preach a doctrine different to the customs of the so‐called authentic church, especially given that the CGM church was branded as a cult by the ‘authentic’ church.
The CGM’s explanation was, ‘Mr Kim, along with a few other pastors, was ordained on the basis of money being paid in secret. This happened at the same time as he was serving the position of secretary to the CGM and occurred without the approval of the CGM.’ The CGM administrator also passed me a taperecording of other pastors who had worked with Mr Kim and a written statement.
If Mr Kim’s ordainment occurred at the same time as he was secretary of the CGM, then it is doubtful that a leader of a church, deemed as a cult, cannot be ordained in an orthodox Christian church.
Mr Kim claimed that the CGM began to disintegrate when President Jung Myung Seok was under arrest, as such, it was his responsibility to guide members to the orthodox Christian churches. He explained that his role was to help the CGM church leaders to transition to become pastors of the orthodox Christian churches.
In response, the CGM administrator acknowledged that Mr Kim was a founding member of the CGM. However, he was ambitious to become the President of the CGM. He had unethically forged a private document at the orthodox church. It was also exposed that the orthodox church never gave him permission to be ordained via payment.
I then asked Mr Kim how he felt about the practice of ‘transition’ between churches. He replied, ‘now that I think about it, it is wrong.’ He said, ‘I would rip apart the ordainment papers I received and begin a new church ministry based on a pre‐established theology and walk that path honourably.”
The CGM members expressed sadness over Mr Kim’s inability to humbly recognise his own wrongdoings and for blaming others for failures over his own responsibilities. Mr Kim was someone who was once their brother, who was moved by President Jung Myung Seok’s words and had lived a diligent life of faith.
They also expressed sadness over the fact that the people of faith, who obey God’s commands and should be united as one, failed to be united. They expressed their willingness to resolve, as soon as possible, the misunderstandings that brought unfairness and suffering upon their religious life; a life lived for the soul and spirit.
They also spoke about how the people who slandered were demanding a further 2 billion won, even after having extorted millions already. They were the people who were threatening to expose various scandals and were operating internet websites. It is extremely suspicious that this current incident is of the same kind. By law, their actions are a clear obstruction of freedom and are unlawful threats. Yet, because they are believers of God, they can only endure it all.
The CGM hopes that someday, the truth will be exposed and those who unfairly harmed them would be repaid justly. They say that such people are like the malicious consumers in the ‘market’ of religion.
The english translation and pictures are released for public use under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.