How The WMSCOG Turned My Life Upside Down Part 3 – Why I Left – A Former Member’s Story
In parts one and two, of this five part series from our correspondent in New Jersey, we learned how she was first recruited into the World Mission Society Church of God, and how the pressure to spend more time at the organization slowly increased. In part three below, we’ll learn the blatant Biblical contradiction she discovered that led to her dramatic exit. We’ve taken the liberty of adding some relevant annotations between square brackets .
Before my husband and I left for our honeymoon, the pastor advised us to pray during the service times and spend the Saturday that we would be away, reading a book written by Ahnsahnghong. My husband and I agreed and we were off on our way to Mexico. Little did I know, that would be the last vacation we would spend together.
When we returned, the pressure to spend more time in the church increased even more. There was also a huge focus on “bearing ten talents” or recruiting. I remember going out with “sisters” to “preach” to new members. I had a sense that we were targeting people in their 20s and 30s since we never approached anyone that appeared to be older than that. We always went to crowded areas like stores and shopping malls. I was told that crowded areas were best and we would get to talk to the most people. I had a difficult time with this because I didn’t feel comfortable walking up to strangers and asking them if they had “ever heard about god the mother in the Bible”. The rejection from most people didn’t help. A lot of people would just walk away or tell us that they were atheists. Security asked us to leave after receiving complaints from customers.
A few months before the wedding, one of my friends sent me an email that refuted the WMSCOG’s claim that Constantine abolished the Sabbath. This email had been bugging me for a few months and now that I had some time to think, I decided to do some research on the topic. I thought that it would be great to find some information that supported what I was taught during my first study about the Sabbath at the WMSCOG. I had trouble finding information in bookstores so I finally turned to the internet. I had avoided the internet after having heard that the internet was evil and considered by the WMSCOG to represent the modern day “tree of knowledge of good and evil” [more info on this]. A simple google search and I was lead to an article titled “Did Constantine Abolish The Sabbath In 321 AD?” [For our readers, she is referring to this article]. I was shocked to find out that Christians had been worshipping on Sunday long before Constantine was even born. So Constantine didn’t abolish the Sabbath did he? The WMSCOG’s studies that I thought were rock-solid seemed to be starting to crumble one at a time.
This lead me to do a google search on the WMSCOG. To my surprise, I found a website that claimed that the WMSCOG was a cult! [The site is no longer online]. My anxiety levels continued to increase as I sat reading information about the contradictions in the WMSCOG doctrine, questionable practices, and former members’ stories about how they had been hurt by the WMSCOG. The most disturbing information that I had come across was that the WMSCOG was said to have been using the same mind control tactics used on US prisoners of war in N. Korea. I also learned about Robert J. Lifton’s thought reform model [more on this]. When I finally read an article that explained how the Jehovah’s Witnesses used the same tactics to control their members I could not ignore the similarities to what I had experienced in the WMSCOG. [For our readers, she is referring to this article].
I discussed the information that I had come across on the computer with my husband that evening after work. He was in his second day of a three day fast. I cannot recall the occasion for the fast, but fasting at the WMSCOG means no food or water. Participation in the fast is expected from all members including children and infants. I remember hearing a “sister” explaining “my baby needs salvation too”. I found this outrageous so I refused to participate.
It was a Tuesday evening so we were scheduled to attend the 3rd day service. After confronting my husband with the information that I found on the internet, he was shocked too. He admitted that we had been fooled and wondered why an organization would take advantage of people like this. He said that he felt “lost” and didn’t know where to go now. He was starving so we went to dinner and decided not to attend the service that evening. The WMSCOG takes attendance during services so it was soon obvious that we did not show up. We were both contacted that evening regarding our absence and I remember replying something to the effect that I had found some information on the internet that caused me to consider whether or not we would be returning. We were encouraged to attend a meeting with the pastor where all of our questions about the information on the internet would be answered. We were assured that the negative information on the internet was all lies.
My husband and I went to the WMSCOG a few days later to meet with the pastor. When we arrived in his office there were three other WMSCOG members present (a deacon, a deaconess, and another male member). The meeting started with an explanation of how people persecute the WMSCOG on the internet by spreading lies about “father and mother”. I was assured that all of my questions would be answered.
I remember asking the pastor why members in the WMSCOG had separated from their non-believing spouses. After all, the girl who recruited me had just left her husband because he decided to stop attending the church. I pointed out how in 1 Corinthians 7, the apostle Paul states that married members of the church should not separate from their non-believing spouses. The pastor explained that the church does not encourage divorce, but instead encourages married couples to stay together. So again I asked, if this is true then why are there so many divorced or separated members? He explained that the members had no choice but to leave their spouses because of the persecution they received. He went on to explain that the non-believing spouses usually had a problem with how much time the member spent in the church and usually would end up trying to make the member choose between the church and the marriage. The deaconess sitting to my right went on to explain that she divorced her husband due to similar circumstances and that her husband had also committed adultery. It is important to point out that she had never once mentioned that her husband had committed adultery to me before. The other times that she had discussed leaving her husband with me, her reasons were that he had tried to stop her from tithing and attending the church as often. I thought, how convenient.
I then pointed out the contradiction from “The Mystery of God and the Spring of the Water of Life” pg. 465 where Ahnsahnghong writes “Jesus Christ went up to the temple and preached every day during the Feast of Tabernacles,…”. In the Bible (John 7:14) it says that Jesus did not preach in the temple courts until the middle of the Feast of Tabernacles. The WMSCOG believes that Ahnsahnghong and Jesus are the same like water exists in three chemical forms (solid, gas, liquid) so does God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). But how could Ahnsahnghong and Jesus be the same and tell different versions of the same story? Did Jesus preach every day of the feast or did He wait until the middle of the feast? It cannot be both because God does not make mistakes. The deacon explained that “Jesus preached every day”. I pointed out that in the beginning of John 7 it clearly explains the reason for Jesus having waited until the middle of the feast. In John 7, Jesus tells his brothers to go ahead of him to the Feast of Tabernacles, and afterwards travels in secret because He knows that people are looking for him to try and kill him. Jesus could not have traveled alone in secret, and preached during the 2 1/2 day journey (on foot) from Galilee to Judea. If Jesus traveled alone in secret, that obviously means that he was not telling anyone who He was right? It was at this point that the pastor explained the reason for the contradiction. The particular edition of the book was written in Korean on the left page and in English on the right. The pastor pointed to a word that was mistranslated, underlined it (중에), and explained that it was an error in translation. According to the pastor, the word he underlined (중에) should have been translated to “middle” instead of “every day”. So therefore, according to the pastor there was no contradiction between Ahnsahnghong’s writings and the Bible. He explained that the people who translated the books from Korean to English, made a mistake because English was not their native language. He assured me that he would be notifying the general assembly in Korea to correct the error. I was still skeptical at this point. Why wasn’t I given that explanation in the beginning? [For our readers, by request, we asked our correspondent for a picture of the word in her book, and she sent us the photo below]:
I was determined to find out the truth about this alleged “mistranslation”. A few days later, I asked my husband to drive me to a nearby town where many Korean folks live. I know it sounds crazy but I had to know. I approached random Korean people on the street and asked what the underlined word (중에) meant. Some just pretended that they didn’t speak English probably because they thought I was trying to recruit them. Some didn’t know enough English to tell me what the word meant. Some were too Americanized and didn’t know enough Korean to read the word and tell me what it meant. I was becoming frustrated because it was around midnight at this point and I still hadn’t found anyone to help me with the translation. I had just about given up when I found a couple in a diner that was willing to talk to me after I started the conversation with “I’m not trying to preach to you, I just need to know what this Korean word means in English”. The gentleman that was willing to look at the book told me that the underlined word (중에) meant “during” and not “middle”. He also pointed to a word in the next line that said “every day” (날마다). That meant that there was no error in the translation! Ahnsahnghong really did write that Jesus preached every day during the feast. I was completely shocked!!! That meant that the pastor lied to me. I couldn’t believe that he would lie to me just to placate me.
When I told my husband what the Korean man in the diner said, he was less than moved. I couldn’t understand why this seemed not to bother my husband. My husband ignored the blatant contradiction between Ahnsahnghong’s book and the Bible, and continued to attend. [For our readers, there are many more contradictions between the writings of Ahnsahnghong and the Bible listed here] . Despite confirmation of the translation with Google, my husband was somehow convinced by a WMSCOG missionary that the word did in fact mean “during”. I remember even asking one of the Korean “sisters” what the underlined word meant as I was in line to use the bathroom. She also told me that the word (중에) meant “during”. Some time later my husband eventually admitted that the pastor did in fact lie to me, but excused his actions. According to my husband, the pastor lied to me in an attempt to “save” me. I don’t understand why, but he continued to ignore the contradiction between Ahnsahnghong’s statement and the Bible. I asked my husband why the pastor would point to Ahnsahnghong’s writings and lie if the pastor believed that those words were written by “god”. Would he point to the Bible and do the same? When did Jesus or any of his apostles lie to someone in an attempt to save them? Never.
The last service that I attended at the WMSCOG after this incident was a reality check for me. First, I was made to sit next to my husband, which is a big no-no in the WMSCOG. I was later told by a deaconess that “sometimes married couples sit together” though I had not observed this in the past year of my membership. Then toward the end of the service the pastor mentioned that it was only acceptable for new members who hadn’t finished their studies to ask questions about contradictions they read on the internet. According to the pastor, if the member asked questions after having completed the basic studies, it was “stupid”. I thought, wait a minute, didn’t he just tell me a few days ago that I could come to him with any questions that I had and that they would be answered. Why would the pastor encourage me to ask questions and then call me “stupid” for doing exactly what he encouraged me to, in front of the whole congregation a few days later? Was this an attempt to humiliate me?
My husband later admitted to me that the seating arrangement had been made prior to my arrival in an attempt to keep me from “contaminating other sisters” with my doubts. So the deaconess lied to me too? At this point I felt manipulated and I had had enough of the lies and secrecy. I would not be returning to the WMSCOG. I wondered, and worried, what it would be like now that I had decided not to return to the WMSCOG and my husband had decided to remain a member.
Wow. We have no further comments. She said it all. What an incredible story of her dramatic exit from the WMSCOG. Can you believe what happened in that last service she attended? The audacity and rudeness is almost unbelievable. How people stay in this group is mind boggling. If you thought part 3 above was bad, wait until you read part 4 when the WMSCOG attempts to make her sign a document saying she can not talk about her experience. What is with these people? We’re sure glad she didn’t sign it, otherwise she wouldn’t have been able to share her experience with the rest of the community here at www.examiningthewmscog.com.