This story comes to us from one of our friends whose son has been involved with the World Mission Society Church of God for over three years. His drastic and sudden personality shift is not unlike the many other stories we hear about. Our heart goes out to this mother who is persevering in her effort to win her son back. Here she is now in her own words:
My son has been in the World Mission Society Chuch of God since July 2008. My husband and I did not find out until October 2008. He hid it from us all that time.
We were away for a week at the time, and had left him in charge of the house. Being extremely responsible at the age of 20 we trusted him. He was meant to come away with us but had to remain to complete a short course at university. By the time we got back, he had already apparently been baptised within 2-3 days of knowing them in our home. The WMSCOG apparently came knocking on the door offering their literature which consisted of small leaflets about “God the Mother” and the “second coming”. As we were away for a week I had my parents pop in to check on him. My dad said he found 4 glasses, one of them had lipstick on it. He joked with my son about the lipstick, as though he’d been entertaining. My son admitted to nothing.
He obviously listened to what they had to say. Within 3 days after meeting the WMSCOG recruiters, he dropped his class at university to study daily with these people.
When we got back, we noticed he became extremely interested in the Bible and started showing us different verses. He was jumping all over the Bible. We’re Christians but not over the top religious and were not very knowledgeable about the Bible at the time. Our son wanted to read the Bible every night with us however, we’d just end up arguing about it. All we were doing was fighting over the Bible. He was trying very hard to convert us without our knowledge and to believe these weird doctrines. We argued that these were very strange interpretations of the Bible. We tried hard to explain to him that he was confused and his interpretations were a bit “off track” (He had attended a Christian school, so he already had prior knowledge of the Bible – he even studied religion as a subject).
As we read the Bible together, I noticed he would reveal things very slowly. He’d come to a certain “prophecy”, and then say I’ll reveal the rest tomorrow. I’d want to continue, but he would tell me I was not ready to hear the “truth” yet.
During one of our readings of the Bible he explained that “Jesus had already come back in secret”. By this point I was getting very upset, as he was revealing this slowly and suspiciously. I thought he was going to tell me he was Jesus Christ! After a couple of days he finally revealed what he said was Jesus’ second coming, however he did not mention anything Korean or Ahnsahnghong or “mother”. I was in shock. At this point we told him he needs help -Spiritual and psychological.
Over the next few months, my son kept telling us he was extremely busy on Saturdays, helping out a friend with work. This of course was extended to Tuesday nights. The excuse was the same. He had to help his friend with his business. My son also had a part time job, so when the feast days would come up, he would tell us he had to open the grocery store he was working in on his own at 5am. He simply lied to us the whole time.
By around September 2008, our son told us he was going to go to Korea for a holiday to study with a friend from University. He told us he was a very good friend who had invited him to go to Korea with him. He kept telling us it was a great opportunity to visit the country and may not be able to again. This just didn’t sound right to us but we couldn’t really say why. But he said he really wanted to go. Our response of course was that we were concerned because we didn’t even know this mysterious friend. We tried hard to talk him out of it, but he reassured us it was a holiday to study and explore a new country.
About three days before he was meant to go, we found out he was really going to Korea to meet “god.” We confronted him with this and asked him what he was involved in. He told us the truth that he was involved in the WMSCOG and that it was not a cult to him.
We spoke to our local priest who came and spoke to him the following evening. Our priest tried to point out that the Bible interpretations he was presenting were totally off-beam when compared to normal Christian interpretations. The priest also tried to point out the craziness of going to Korea. He told him to hold off a while as 3 months of attending this church was not enough time to be placing so much trust in them and to be leaving the country. My son agreed and swore he would cancel his ticket the next day.
The next morning our son was a totally different person and was acting very suspiciously. I actually managed to ring the travel agent myself and cancelled the ticket. But of course, the travel agent notified the pastor who alerted my son about the cancellation. When my son found out he was absolutely furious with me. My son had never sworn at me his whole life, but that day he called me every bad thing you can imagine. He showed me the cancelled ticket and said he was not going and that the members were angry with him, as I placed him in an uncomfortable situation. I don’t think any of that was true though. He went on to tell me that in his fit of anger he threw his passport away. I realized then, that he was still lying and planning to leave somehow. He had given his luggage and passport to the WMSCOG. In the following days leading up to the trip he continued acting very suspiciously.
This just was a total shock to us. I did have the perfect child. He was very close to us and we had a great relationship. What was happening was like a death in the family. He sold all of his possessions including iPods, cameras and a watch to fund his trip to Korea. I go into his bedroom now and there’s nothing, just the bed he sleeps on. He has kept the computer we bought him as he needs this for his study. Although, I did have to stop him from selling it in the beginning.
He eventually went to Korea. He pretended to go to work early in the morning on the day of departure. He called us that evening from the airport and said he would be back in two weeks. I was devastated. I needed a lot of medical attention to get me through those two weeks. When he got back he told us that he’d met “god” and this was “his church” and he was “never going to leave it”.
The day after he returned from Korea, he wanted his father and I to attend his “church”. I didn’t want to go at all but my husband thought we should give it a try so we can see what he is involved in. On arrival at the church, which was just a house, everyone was welcoming and saying “god bless you” to us. They made me wear a veil on my head. I was in disbelief during the service as there was a lot of singing and NO worship of Jesus. They prayed and sang to “christ Ahnsahnghong” and “mother god” who they call “mother jerusalem”. The men sat on one side of the room and the women were seated behind them. The women all wore veils on their heads. I was expected to wear one. The pastor was very forceful during his address to the congregation. He choose bible passages and interpreted them with his own spin. Everyone was friendly as long as you didn’t begin to question anything. The members read from their own Korean/English Bibles. They have “song books”. The fellow who had converted my son sat with us during the service and guided us through the singing. He kept encouraging us to join in but that was the last thing we could do. They expected my husband to sit at the front with the men and they wanted me in the back with all the women. But I refused to separate from him.
My son works part-time but he never has any money. I’m not sure if they have access to his bank account. From what I understand there’s a 10 per cent tithing on earnings plus many other offerings. There are also the offerings during all services attended on Saturdays.
I know my son marks the roll of attendance at every service to see who has turned up. If a member is absent, they will phone or physically go to that person’s home and ask why they didn’t come to church. He goes “preaching” from 8 am to 10 pm on most days. He has spent all of his time recruiting during semester breaks from college. Most of the time it’s as if he’s not there, like we’ve lost him as a person. He reads the Bible and WMSCOG literature all the time. The change in his personality is astounding.
There was an occasion where I had to take my son for a medical appointment, as he needed medical attention. They must have advised him not to go. They kept him busy the whole day. I had a lot of difficulty contacting him because he turned off his mobile phone. I went to the “church” to find him. I was approached by the pastor’s wife who told me “he was a man” and I had no right to take him to the doctor. I told her how upset I was as he needed to see a doctor. I continued to tell her how upset I was that he was part of this “church”. The pastor’s wife then told me to get off of the property or she would call the police. She turned very nasty towards me. Other members came outside and urged me to leave also. When I told my son about how abusive the pastor’s wife was towards me, he defended her and told me I should never have gone to find him to go to the doctor. He told me I was on private property and the pastor’s wife had every right to tell me to leave or call the police.
About a year ago I had a local newspaper reporter approach me for my story. I told him my story which he wanted to publish. However the week before it was to be published, the local paper had written a small article about the church, which included a small quote about my son selling everything to go to Korea. Apparently members from the church went charging into the office telling them how wrong they were. They had to print another article written by one of their pastors. In this article they claimed what I said was not true. I was furious! The reporter told me they were quite abusive and they called the police. Because of their intimidation, the reporter was too afraid to publish my full story. You can imagine my disbelief.
Friends have tried to keep in touch with my son but he has distanced himself from them. He had tried hard to convert all his friends but they didn’t want to know about it. So he cut off all ties with them. One friend (his closest) had supported him through the whole ordeal but he has now given up hope as my son has cut ties with him also. Our son is still trying to get us into the church and tells us that we will one day become members. He says this because “mother” told him he shouldn’t worry because we would all eventually enter his “church”. He tells me one day we will see the “truth”.
As a family there are many things we can’t do together anymore. We have not had a Christmas or Easter together for the past three years because he doesn’t believe in those holidays anymore. On Christmas day my son will leave around 6 am and not return home until after midnight. He has told me that Christmas makes him “sick” and we are all wrong to celebrate it. He will not set foot in our church (or any other church for that matter) because he says they are the “wrong churches”. He refuses to attend and has missed out on many family functions such as weddings, christenings etc. My biggest fear is a funeral. Both my husband and I have elderly parents, so the realization that he will not attend these is heartbreaking for us.
Our son has gone through periods of fasting when he does not eat or drink for up to 7 days. He says he does this because it will make his prayers more meaningful. He also tells us that we’re all wrong and he’s the only one in the right church and he’s trying very hard to save us. We have found some ex-members who have written emails to us about their experiences but when we show him these he just dismisses them. I’ve given him so much information and have encouraged him to do some other bible studies and branch out and look at other things. I constantly print information from different sites to give to him. He always just dismisses the information. He tells me he has no time to read it and that it’s wrong anyway. If I show him testimonies from ex-members, his response is that they fell out of the truth and didn’t fully understand.
Our son has been to Korea twice. He had not notified us of the second trip either. Instead, he just called from the airport letting us know that he was leaving. He does still live with us but it is very difficult. We live with a total stranger. However, I live with the hope that he will “wake” up from this nightmare and come back to us. The fact that he believes the things that the WMSCOG claims makes me ill. His whole person has changed to someone we really don’t know and can’t trust anymore. The people in this group can appear to be very loving but they can be very harmful at the same time. This honestly has devastated and ruined my family.
A heartbreaking story of family strife caused by a son’s involvement in the World Mission Society Church of God. Please comment below to let our friend know you support her. Is your story similar? Feel free to contact us and share your experience.