President Jung Myung Seok of JMS
“His 10 years on the cross opens the path to forgiveness and reconciliation”
The media continuously published apologies and correction statements, after Jung Myung Seok was cleared from a second round of allegations.
In 2009, when President Jung Myung Seok took on the long sentence, it put to an end the accusations and social issues brought against him by former members of the Christian Gospel Mission (CGM, so called JMS). However, in 2012, former members brought a second round of allegations. Approximately 10 allegations were made, of which the Prosecutor cleared him from all. Also, the media continuously published apology and correction statements, after having reported false news. For over many years, all types of false news and slander have been in the public domain. The truth is now revealed. President Jung who will be released in 5 months has a heart like such: “I will entrust the determination of truth to God, while I walk the path of the cross to the end.”
Written by Reporter Jae-hee Yoo firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos provided by Christian Gospel Mission
In 2012, the Prosecutor’s Office found him innocent of all allegations. Thus, the turning point began.
In the June 2012 and December 2012 Editions of our magazine, we reported about the JMS incidents. We published a report which covered an in-depth analysis of events surrounding President Jung Myung Seok, involving former CGM members and a press conference which led to public concerns. Following our investigative report, Jung was exonerated of approximately 10 allegations. This was then reported in our December edition. Media companies which had published false news then published apologies and correction statements.
These events are like a turning point to altering the negative perceptions surrounding President Jung and CGM. Things similarly occurred in the past. The internet and media published false reports about JMS, then the anti-JMS group made accusations one after another in order to extort money. The news then repeatedly reported on the view that President Jung was unjustly sentenced to 10 years without evidence. In 2005, the court recommended mediation to S Broadcasting Company, which had depicted JMS as a public problem. Then in 2010, the court awarded compensation to JMS for damages suffered.
Changing the perception hardened by inaccurate news is difficult. False news continued and damage continued.
It is difficult to change public perceptions, which have been hardened over a long period of time by inaccurate news, with just a few lines of correction statements. Even after the correction statements were published, negative news continued to be publicized. Especially after the Sewol Ferry incident in 2013, there were many libellous news articles about Yoo Byung-eun of the Salvation Sect and President Jung Myung Seok.
The public had forgotten about President Jung’s story. Then the media publicized again about President Jung and caused many in CGM to be victimized.
One significant example of victimization is what occurred in schools. The school community ought to be neutral in regards to religious and social issues (as provided for in Section 6 of the Framework Act on Education, Korea). Schools should not affect adolescents with biased views, because they are vulnerable to influence. However, people made up and spread rumors throughout schools because the President is in prison. Here are examples.
“Who will compensate for the damages that CGM members have suffered in their families, schools, jobs and society, due to 20 years of false news?”
A lesson by Teacher B in a Society and Culture class of High School B on March 17, 2012.
Teacher B wrote the words ‘JMS’ on the board and said, “there is a person called Jung Myung Seok who claims to be the Son of God. It is hilarious that people believe and teach this…There are even college students with excellent grades who believe this. He is not in our country. He is in a prison in the Philippines. Yet there are people who believe him.” In this way, the teacher distorted, inflated and spread rumors.
On October 16, 2015, Principal P of Elementary School C, an after-school training instructor, presented at an after-school training session with 44 other elementary and high school teachers from School District H.
During the two-hour presentation, as he was explaining about best practices in schools, he out of nowhere said “There is a strange person who is an after-school golf instructor”, and began to openly speak negatively about him. Principal P denigrated the golf instructor’s marriage to a Vietnamese woman, claiming that it was practically a false marriage, and continuously made distasteful remarks about CGM being a strange group.
He spoke for some time about matters that were irrelevant to his presentation: “Jung Myung Seok is in the same group as Salvation Yoo Byong-eun… He is currently in prison. However, the religion is doing very well without fail”; “Do you know why JMS members have three children? This is so that they can naturally increase their numbers through giving birth.”
Teacher Y who had attended the session complained, “It was a waste of time. He propounded a biased perception towards a particular religion. What he did was too far off from the proper purpose of education.”
Later on, after CGM had responded to the incidents, both Teacher B and Principal B apologised for defaming and insulting the CGM and President Jung.
The Ivory Tower of Truth* ruined by a religious war
Universities are no exception. The problem is especially serious in universities that were originally founded by Christian missionaries. If students are thought to be in a cult, their personal information are leaked and parents are contacted without the students’ consent, in order for the students to be forced into conversion educations.
In the case of E women’s university, the office of the school chaplain telephoned the student’s parents abruptly, and asked the parents, “Did you know that your daughter is in JMS? We have received a report indicating that your daughter is in JMS. I will introduce to you church A.” Church A is infamous for forced conversion education. It was reported to the press that Church A had received tens to hundreds of thousands of won (equivalent to thousands to tens of thousands USD) from parents and then had forcefully kidnapped and forced the children into conversion education. The President of Church A was sentenced to eight months imprisonment and two years probation.
Following the Ministry of Education’s recommendation, E University made an announcement that personal information about students would not be disclosed without the student’s consent. Under the guise of guiding students with their life and faith, disclosing students’ personal information is happening frequently in universities founded by missionaries.
Another college professor apologized for criticising the Christian Gospel Mission while in class. On May 24, 2016, during a lecture at D Women’s University Graduate School, Professor B asked the question, “Does anyone know about JMS?”
The CGM stated, “We were hurt by the media. However, we will forgive them because they apologized. There is hope that there are still journalists with good conscience in Korea.”
* In Korean, the expression ‘ivory tower of truth’ is figuratively used for universities.
We hope that injustice would not be repeated
In the meantime, it has been 10 years since President Jung Myung Seok received his 10-year sentence. As the day of his release approaches, the Christian groups and anti-JMS groups are on the watch alleging that problems would occur again. The CGM are on the lookout for any strong winds that would blow again.
The CGM said, “President Jung is in a position to endure everything and carry the cross. Because of this, we chose not to sue those who hurt him and us, even though we could have sued. We don’t care about the slanderers for simply speaking ill of us. However, we will not tolerate a childish religious war. We will no longer be unjustly attacked like we were in the past. The journalists who once slandered us have now issued apologies and correction statements. Hence, the truth is now revealed.”
Damages caused by fake news must be eliminated
The problem of fake news is worldwide. While the Moon Jae-in government of Korea had suffered fake news, President Jung Myung Seok from JMS is the key example of how fake news regarding religion caused significant damage. The irony of the situation was that in the name of protecting victims, many became victims as a result.
Journalists can create false news because they are human. Conscientious journalists would admit their errors and reveal the truth. Apologies from the media were extremely rare in the past. Now, the media, by their conscience, have come forth to acknowledge their mistakes and apologize.
After the Sewol Ferry incident, people began to distinguish between real and fake news. They no longer trusted the media which poured out fake news. What would be the ramifications of hundreds of fake news articles about the Sewol Ferry incident? Journalists ought to be humble.
Our society should be without discrimination or prejudice
There is a very negative sentiment towards cults in our society. That sentiment grew more negative as a result of the Sewol Ferry and Choi Soon-sil cases. This caused discrimination against minority religions to become more severe.
Professor K from the Sociology Department of S University described this as a ‘collective bullying phenomenon’. He said, “An emerging religion develops to solve the problems caused by the failure of the established religion. Historically, established religions with longstanding interests would persistently be biased against minority religions. This has been the case for tens to hundreds of years. Then when a minority religion grows in number, it becomes recognised as a religion. Alternately, it will disappear in the course of history.”
“The problem is that this fight hinders social harmony. Religious minorities and the weak are being bullied- we should be considerate of them and allow them to reach their full potential and contribute to society”, Professor K stated.
The current government is emphatic about supporting social minorities and the weak, and encourages society to be without prejudice and discrimination and to have equality and harmony. This is a task that both government and society must complete.
“The 10 years of imprisonment is the path to forgiveness and love”
President Jung Myung Seok would have been imprisoned for 10 years by next February. People say that 10 years is an epoch. He has overcome devastating anguish and pain for 10 years.
With hope, he is planning and preparing everything with expectation for that day of a new beginning.
In his poem ‘Prayer’, President Jung prays this prayer: “Even if they hate me like their enemy, please feed them when they are hungry and clothe them when they are naked and give them a place to stay when they wander.” He expresses his heart, “Even if my heart crumbles because of injustice from the enemy who harms me, I will pray for the Lord, pray for the Earth, pray for myself and pray for the enemy. I will bear everything and work only for Heaven.” Just as the Bible said “forgive not seven times, but seventy-seven times”, President Jung forgave with love those who brought injustice upon him, as he walked the path of the cross.
The painting itself expresses the fate of the weak before the strong. The snail on the verge of death is the most delicious food for the stork. No one would say that this snail would survive. The stork said to the snail, “You are my food. If I pick you, you will die.”
However, the snail never gave up under the threat of death and said, “I will live.” He does his best to escape death. No matter how fast the snail tries to move, his speed is like that of the hour hand compared to the second hand.
In this painting, the artist paints the one who entrusts his destiny to Heaven’s will. This painting is full of meaning: We cannot live our life on our own, rather destiny is determined by Heaven’s will. If he gives up, he will die. He will lose.
One must do it until the end, without being conscious of others. The fate of the Lord’s cross is also deeply embedded in this meaning.
The Lord said, “Father, why have you forsaken me?’ However, God only forsook the body, but did not forsake the spirit. The spirit is glorified, while the body resurrects in glory through the spirit.
“He preached the gospel through written words, to the point his hands wore out.”
While in prison, President Jung Myung Seok lives by an extremely busy schedule- writing series of books. The publisher who publishes his books confirmed that he had each year, written and sent 150 to 250 poems, 7000 to 8000 proverbs, over 100 sermons and 20,000 letters.
After he was imprisoned in February 2008, he published 63 books including ‘The Poems of Inspiration’, which was a bestseller for 9 years and 6 months, as well as other poems, proverb books and sermon books. He has written 84 books in total, awaiting publication in the near future. He is a poet, who is represented in the 100 years of Korean Poetry (1908-2010) and 10 of his poems have been published in the Korean Poetry Book in 2011. Recently, he has been writing music on sheet music, without access to any instrument in prison. He released 1 to 2 praise songs every week. He has already written about 40 songs this year.
One can catch a glimpse of President Jung’s heart through his painting ‘Destiny’ and the series of paintings ‘Boldness’, which were selected as masterpieces in the 2011 Buenos Aires Annual Contemporary Art Fair. ◎
This is an artwork that the Holy Son asked the artist to paint, so as to be a pair with the painting ‘Destiny’.
The artwork carries the message, ‘If you are bold, you will escape even death.’
The snail that was always weak grew to be fearsome and attacked the stork. The stork was so stunned that it almost suffered a heart attack. Afterwards, the stork changed and stopped attacking the snail. God and the Holy Son were with the snail and they defeated the strong. ‘Destiny’ became ‘Boldness’.
Likewise, if you are bold, you can exert tremendous power like a bear or King Kong. The rock upon which the snail sits is shaped like a bear. Take action with boldness!
Download English PDF: Monthly Politic & Economic News – Sep 2017 (Eng)
Download Korean PDF: Monthly Politic & Economic News – Sep 2017 (Kor)