I almost joined a cult, you guys. Well, this is quite embarrassing but I felt the nudging from the Lord to share this story. It’s one that contains a multitude of emotions ranging from scary, sad, humorous, gratitude and more but I’ll let you decide for yourself.
It all started a few years ago after entering a new season of spiritual growth in my life. I was still very new to Christ but I was searching for answers. I wanted to go deeper but I wasn’t quite sure how and what made it even more difficult, I was not a member of a local church. Yes, the perfect recipe for being attacked as a new believer. I had recently left my former church and was searching for a church home in my neighborhood. I’ve attended church every Sunday but what I was honestly looking for were friends. I already had dozens of friends who loved God but I wanted at least one really close one to accompany me on this new spiritual journey. Yea, I wasn’t very mature at the time.
So I prayed and I mean I cried out to God about this. Then one day while shopping at H&M, a really nice young woman approached me. She seemed to be around my age. She invited me to a coffee gathering and asked me if I was Christian. I told her that I was. I remember thinking wow this girl looks like me and she really loves God too, I want to check out her gathering. She mentioned that the gathering was not a church gathering just a time of fellowship and bible study for people of all diverse denominations or faith who love God. It sounded very enticing at the time. So I attended and immediately felt something that is difficult to explain. I remember it clearly after worship there was a Korean man who presented a short sermon and I don’t remember everything he said but I remembered the feeling I felt. You know when Paul says “They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts, for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right.” Romans 2:15(NLT) Well, I didn’t know the scriptures very well at the time (which is why I was searching for bible studies) but I just knew everything he was professing was false teaching. It was as if the Holy Spirit was saying very clearly “that’s not true. Get out of here.” I felt the urge to leave immediately but I wanted to be polite to my new friend who seemed like the sweetest girl on the planet. So she starts asking me about my job and my schedule and eventually she introduces me to other people there who were trying to get me to complete an application with personal information. Thank God I didn’t complete the entire application but yikes!
Jude 1:12 (NIV)
12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.
Eventually, this woman, let’s call her Justina, began to reach out to me often to meet up and talk and even do a bible study. I was all for it because I love bible study and I started to like this girl who I thought I had so much in common with. Then she assigned me to what they call a private teacher who would meet with me 2-3 times weekly for a bible study and that’s where things started to get really weird. If I did well with this bible study and understood the teaching, they were going to enroll me in the main course which was a free 6-month Bible-intensive course that will help me to become a bible scholar. I felt hesitant but I was also curious. So I attended for about 2 weeks and I noticed many red flags. One major one was their emphasis on the book of revelation and perception of Jesus’ parables as “hidden keys.” They believed that we must fully understand the book of revelation in order to be saved. So I ejected but they kept pursuing me. I no longer cared to attend but oddly I was curious about investigating further. I began to raise questions like: Why was it that no one I met had a church home? and why is Justina always speaking of traveling to Korea? And why do they compromise on things the bible is clearly against? I often spoke to my brothers and sisters in Christ about it and every one of them advised me to stop meeting with these people. I even challenged the private instructor I had and I noticed a shift in her demeanor. That same day she asked if I could be re-assigned to another instructor. I guess the truth really hurts.
This is where I finally gave up: I got accepted into the technology program of my dreams. It was already hard enough to get into the program and I had already decided that I was going to devote myself to completing the program. Of course, they were not in support. They were relentless in getting me to join the 6-month course. There was a process in recruitment and I’ll never forget the recruiter who tried to get me to join says “you can’t share anything you learn with everyone because they may think you’re weird”. HUH??!! I immediately felt the Holy Spirit at this point stirring in me all types of emotions but ultimately a sense that this was very ungodly and anti-gospel hence the gospel is all about sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and making disciples. So I politely said that I will not be joining. Of course, they guilt-tripped me and said something along the lines of “if you truly loved the Lord you would make the sacrifice.” I remember walking away that day feeling so alone, confused and crying out to God, desiring to be closer to Him and to be protected from people like this but also begging Him to know the truth. I just wanted to know Him for myself. So I did that on my own.
1 John 4:4 (NKJV)
4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
A year later I accidentally stumbled upon a Youtube video about a Korean Christian Cult called Shincheonji. I researched it and noticed how fast it was growing around the world and how it is disguised in many locations. It seemed almost completely identical to the one I almost joined. I fell to my knees and praised God for being with me and rescuing me from that. I sometimes imagine what my life would be like if God was not with me and I actually agreed with their teaching. Thank God for discernment. I believe God uses all experiences to bring us closer to Him and to help others.
These people still roam the streets today in efforts to recruit people who are searching for answers. My heart is burdened for those already brain-washed by this. Please be careful brethren. I encourage you to know the Lord and His voice for yourself. I pray that you will be hidden in the word and keep your mind guarded against deception so that when you are approached your discernment will be sharp.
Thank you so much for reading and may God bless you and protect you always!