Malaysians Share Their Uneasiness At Being Approached By A Korean Religious Group
A student from a Subang Jaya-based university is warning others to be wary of alleged cult members who approach them to talk about 'God, the mother'
In a Facebook post, which went up on the university's confessions page on 9 August, the anonymous student shared that their girlfriend was approached by members of the group and forced to listen to them.
The post was accompanied with screenshots of tweets that claimed the 'cult-like' group believes in both 'God the Father' and 'God the Mother'.
Based on the encounters shared in the comments by other students, targets are usually approached by two people under the guise of asking for help
Most recently, netizens have alleged that members of the group approached them at the Asia Jaya LRT station.
One netizen claimed the they were approached by 'two ladies whose English are so so' and are believed to be of South Korean descent. The women wouldn't let the target go and insisted on telling them about 'God the Mother', before finally leaving them with a brochure.
Another netizen claims they were targeted once in their college foyer and another time in a shopping complex nearby.
The group is believed to operate in various areas as well, as another netizen claimed the group approached them in Sungai Long.
Other methods may include asking targets to fill up a survey for 'college purposes' beforehand.
The 'missionaries' are believed to use fear tactics to coerce their targets into attending their 'Bible study' meeting.
In most cases, the targets are young female students.
The group is internationally known as the World Mission Society Church of God (WMS)
WMS' website states that it was founded in 1948 by Ahnsahnghong and claims to have over two million members from 2,500 local churches that have been set up in 175 countries.
According to claims from ex-members of the group, people who join the church are slowly isolated from family and friends and are brainwashed into donating 10% of their income to it.
It is also believed that members are told that Gil Jah Chang, a South Korean woman in her 70s is 'God the Mother'.
Lawsuits filed by ex-members in the United States have accused the church of forced abortions, micro-managing members' free time, and forbidding them from using the Internet.
Various viral posts have also claimed that 'God the Mother' is a code word used in human trafficking.
However, previous investigations have not found any proof to substantiate these claims.
In one such viral incident, a now-deleted Twitter thread claims that targets who are asked about 'God the Mother' will notice that there are people who are near or following them and that they should "find a security guard or stay in a group".
Rumours about the alleged link between the group and human trafficking are believed to have started when college students were "asked to join these recruiters for a [B]ible study and to learn about God the mother", according to the user.
Lexington Police Public Information Officer Jervis Middleton in the United States confirmed that rumours about the church's involvement in human trafficking were 'untrue'.
"We have investigated this complaint and have found nothing to substantiate that this group is or has been involved in any criminal activity," Middleton told WKYT-TV on 30 December 2017.
On 21 February 2020, Cromwell Police Chief Denise Lamontage told The Middletown Press, "Recent social media posts discussed concerns that this is a scheme and may have a direct involvement with a human/female sex trafficking ring. In order to complete our due diligence, Detective Pietraoia investigated these claims and determined this was not connected to a sex trafficking ring."
In these situations, the best thing to do is to avoid engaging with the group altogether
However, if you feel that you're in danger, here are some steps to take, as recommended by the Royal Malaysia (PDRM):
- Pretend to be on a phone call with someone and loudly mention your location.
- Note down the number plate of the vehicle/taxi that you are about to board or of a suspicious vehicle approaching you.
- Press all the buttons on the lift you're in and, if needed, press the emergency alarm.
- Get a pepper spray ready.
- If you suspect that you're being followed by another vehicle, drive to the nearest police station or to a crowded area.
- If in the backseat of a suspicious vehicle, use your handbag strap to strangle the driver from behind.
- If you're being followed, quicken your steps or run to the nearest business area.
- If a perpetrator enters your house, run into the kitchen where chili powder, plates, and knives can be used as a weapon. Throw whatever items you can to make loud noises to attract your neighbours' attention.