By Christopher Shaddock
On Feb. 19 an email sent by DeSales Chief of Police, Steven Marshall, to the students of DeSales indicated a possibility of a cult-like group, called World Mission Society Church of God, approaching the campus. This speculative possibility is in response to reports at a local school, Muhlenberg College, to which members of the group approached students asking, “Do you know God the Mother?”
“Several days ago this group made an unauthorized visit to Muhlenberg College where they approached students and asked if they were familiar with the concept of God the Mother,” said Marshall in his email. “The students were also asked to provide their cell phone and/or email addresses to members of the group under the pretext of continuing their conversation. Some students offered this information while others felt uncomfortable doing so and reported their concerns about their encounter with the group to authorities at Muhlenberg.”
World Mission Society Church of God claims itself a non-denominational Christian church. The group was started in South Korea in 1964 by a Korean Christian minister named Ahn Sahng-hong, who founded Witnesses of Jesus Church of God. After his death the Witnesses of Jesus Church delineated into World Mission Society Church of God, where Ahn is revered as God. They also worship God the Mother, who is a person named Jang Gil-ja, whom they believe fulfilled the prophecies of the bible. According to the organization, they have 2.7 million members in 175 countries.
Based on claims from former members, World Mission Society Church of God exhibit a lot of cult-like tendencies. They isolate people from their friends and family, use fear and guilt to convince people to stay, want members to focus only on the church, deprive members of sleep and performed brainwashing techniques on members. Some of the shadier allegations about the group is their belief that the world is soon ending, encouraging members to get abortions, mandating 10 to 15 percent of member’s salaries as tithes, targeting rich, young, white males and fasting for days. World Mission Society Church of God has spoken out against these claims.
“In an effort to keep our campus safe, the Campus Police Department felt compelled to share this information with the DSU community,” said Marshall. “Although we have not received any reports of this group being on the DeSales campus, they were at the Muhlenberg College, so we ask that everyone use caution should they encounter anyone from this group.”
Given that it has been a month without any reporting of members appearing on campus, it is unlikely that they will appear. Additionally, Muhlenberg is in a more urban area than DeSales making it easier for members to blend in and mobilize, contrary to DeSales which is rural and secluded.
Considering the potentially dangerous consequences of interacting with them, it is strongly advised that students should not interact with members, in the possibility that any do show up. If any student does run into a member of World Mission Society Church of God, they should contact campus police immediately at this number 610-282-1100.