Disclaimer: This is an independent opinion piece that does not represent the views of Jung Myung Seok or Providence (Christian Gospel Mission).
A spotlight only illuminates a single spot and if you see only that spot without seeing the full picture, you may misinterpret it and see it out of context. If you want to see the full truth, don’t use a spotlight; turn on the lights.
Spotlight is a TV program run by 7News, Australia, and on July 2, 2023, it released a show and accompanying article titled “World-first look inside Providence, the ‘Cult Next Door,’” which features Providence (CGM). The show self-proclaims to be an objective documentary but is in reality a fantasy drama that appears to be a spin-off from the Netflix drama “In the Name of God.” The show uses re-enactments to depict non-existent events, features manipulated audio recordings without verifying its credibility, and selectively crops and cuts footage of interviews and video material to adhere to a strict storyline that had been framed for the viewer. The producers tell an appallingly one-sided story, blatantly reneging on their repeated promises to CGM that they intend to produce an objective and balanced film. The deception that the producer used to obtain access to CGM’s headquarters and an interview with CGM staff is only the tip of the iceberg of the lies and fraud perpetrated in the show. Just like a spotlight, this show selectively highlights only a very tiny fraction of the full picture, misrepresenting the truth to the public.
The main protagonists of this show are two Australian women, “Amy” and Liz, who were former members of CGM, as well as Professor Kim Do Hyung (Kim), an anti-CGM activist. “Amy” and Liz are portrayed as sexual assault victims, Kim is portrayed as some kind of hero that is working to bring down CGM, and CGM is portrayed as the villain. Together, these characters paint a picture of CGM being a sex trafficking ring that recruits young women, grooms them for sex, and then ships them to Korea where Pastor Jung of CGM would have sex with them in a cave. This makes a perfect story for a crime fantasy movie, certain to boost viewer ratings and perhaps win the producer some accolades – the goals of any media company and producer – but could not be further from the truth. It is time to turn on the lights and reveal the full picture.
About CGM and the Natural Temple, Wolmyeongdong (WMD)
CGM’s mission is to spread the love of Jesus Christ our Lord to the world, and to fulfil the Great Commission of spreading the gospel and saving lives. Pastor Jung’s personal philosophy and constant teaching is to love God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Son Jesus with all our hearts, souls, and minds (Matthew 22:37), and he lives his own life in such a way, as a role model to all of CGM. Pastor Jung encourages members to love each other like ourselves, and to dedicate our lives to serving the community and giving to those in need. He teaches that whatever we do for the least of them, is what we do for the Lord Jesus. CGM members thus dedicate themselves to the service of God and the community, praying for peace and healing while reaching out to people from all walks of life to spread the love of God.
Unlike what is depicted in the show, CGM promotes transparency in our recruitment methods, and fully respects members’ autonomy and free will. Nobody in CGM is coerced to do anything against their free will. The show’s allegations that CGM isolates people and indoctrinates people to be deprived of food and sleep are completely false. CGM encourages members to live healthy lifestyles and to develop their talents, and CGM members are active in various segments of the community, and many have reached excellence in their field.
The show goes on to portray CGM’s Natural Temple, WMD, as a closed and secluded place, and that 7News is the first media company to “infiltrate” it. It also depicts the Natural Temple to be a creepy and spooky place used to perpetrate sexual acts. This is a complete mis-portrayal of the Natural Temple which is a place for people to gather, pray, worship, and spend time with God and with church members. It is open and welcoming, and members come and go freely. Media companies such as The Korea Post have visited WMD and even published articles about it.
The show falsely claims that faith stars are attractive women that are groomed to have sex with Pastor Jung. The truth is that faith stars are simply persons who choose to be celibate and dedicate their lives to God. There are both male and female faith stars, and not only female faith stars, as depicted in the show. It is also false that only physically attractive persons are faith stars. Further, the show states that CGM teaches Pastor Jung to be God but this is absolutely false. Pastor Jung has always emphasized that he is not God and that he is 100% a human being, just like us.
Kim Do Hyung
Kim claims that Pastor Jung’s goal is to sexually assault 10,000 women and that he achieved it. This is so ridiculous that even a 5th grader would not believe it. Here are the media reports where media companies have apologized for making false allegations against Pastor Jung for sexually assaulting women. The show then claims that Pastor Jung absconded from Korea in 1999 and was at large until 2006. One cannot believe that a self-professed documentary would publish a decades-old lie that has been proven time and again to be untrue. The truth is that Pastor Jung travelled overseas in 1999 for missionary trips and had returned to Korea on several occasions even before 2006. The show then features a scene of Pastor Jung in Hong Kong, where he was half-dressed in a mosquito net with two women, and attempting to block the camera lens. The show then states that he was arrested shortly after for sexual assault. However, the show fails to state the important conclusion – that the Hong Kong authorities investigated the matter and immediately freed Pastor Jung because it had determined that no offence was disclosed. See first-hand witness testimony, article, and video explanation of actual circumstances.
It also fails to explain the full picture that Pastor Jung was half-dressed because he had just been swimming, and he had blocked the camera lens because Kim’s team (Kim Young X and Kim Hyung X), had been trying to film footage of the two women without their permission. The full footage shown on Netflix in fact reveals the two Kims using vulgarities and violence on Pastor Jung in the most uncouth and barbaric manner, and Pastor Jung reacting in the most gentlemanly manner by simply walking off. See related article.
The most important fact that the show intentionally omitted about its main protagonist, Kim, is that he is a convicted felon who has been indicted of multiple charges of robbery and theft and who was sentenced to several years in prison. He was also previously convicted of 5 counts of defamation and 2 counts of blackmail, and made to pay over 10 million won in fines. (Kim’s 9 criminal convictions.) He has been making falsehoods against CGM in order to extort money from CGM. CGM refused to cave in to his blackmail. See article on Kim’s blackmail of CGM (Eng translation follows the original Korean article), and had in fact been paid a hefty sum for his acting role in the Netflix drama about CGM. He had actually written an apology letter to Pastor Jung acknowledging his wrongdoing and lies, but has now unfortunately reneged on his conscience. See Kim Do Hyung’s notarized apology letter.
“Amy” and Maple
“Amy” claims to have been coerced into going to Korea where she was sexually assaulted by Pastor Jung a total of 5 times, before she decided to return to Australia, and she only left CGM a year after returning to Australia, after she realised what had happened to her.
These allegations are completely baseless and unproven. “Amy” has not adduced a shred of evidence to prove her allegations besides her bare word. Further, these allegations are being decided in ongoing legal proceedings and it is unethical for Spotlight to comment on these allegations before they have been proven, at huge risk of influencing and swaying the ongoing proceedings. “Amy” left Providence due to personal reasons that pertained to her own lifestyle choices that had nothing to do with any alleged sexual assault by Pastor Jung and CGM reserves the right to rely on them in any legal action taken against “Amy”.
Spotlight then referenced sexual assault allegations made by Maple, who also claims to be a victim, but these are likewise devoid of evidence. The show broadcasts an audio recording it claims was recorded during the alleged rape of Maple but there is overwhelming evidence that this audio recording is false and manipulated, which critically damages the credibility of Maple. Maple’s conduct as reflected in her diary entries, interview videos, performance videos, and text messages that were contemporaneous to the alleged sexual assaults were also inconsistent with her allegations of sexual assault, furthering weakening her credibility. As with “Amy,” the allegations against Maple are still being tested in ongoing legal proceedings and it is unethical to pass judgment on them before the judge has even decided the case.
It is not surprising that the imaginations of Spotlight’s criminal investigative journalists have run wild – they are always searching for newsworthy stories to report, and the adage is true that one sees what one wants to see. But not every bloodstain connotes a murder and not every cave is a dungeon for sexual assault. One has got to look at the context, the full picture, and the facts and evidence. If you shine only a spotlight, the victim appears like the killer. A spotlight is myopic; turn on all the lights!