The JMS cult has been surprisingly open about recruiting at the University of Houston. Here are a couple of examples:Expanding Revolutionary Ministries Across HoustonRevolutionary Ministries, Running Together to Fulfill The Lord’s Seventy Thousand Dream!
It was only a matter of time before someone encountered them there and realized they had encountered the JMS cult. Like all the testimonies I've read and collected, this one offers insights into the psychology of the group, its practices, and its tactics. And I believe these testimonies offer the best chance to reach members when/if they decide to explore further:
Hello. I found out that I became involved with this cult recently. I became associated with this group for 7 months. This is my testimony in hopes that it will help anyone out there who encounters this harmful group. Not everything that glitters is gold, and unfortunately, I found that out the hard way.
In November 2015, I was walking to my university’s library with the intent to study for an exam I had the next day. As I walked up the stairs, I was approached by a young girl who wanted to ask me some questions. I agreed since she seemed nice. The questions she asked were “Do you believe in God” and “Do you believe Religion and Science can coexist.” I do come from a religious background and am a science major so the answer was yes to both questions.
She informed me that she was part of an organization on campus that gave bible studies for the common college student. She asked me if I would be interested in joining them. At the time, I was looking for a religious organization to join so I readily agreed. We exchanged information and parted ways. Later that day, I received a text from her asking for my availability for the next day so that we could begin the first bible study lesson. Come the next day I met with the same girl and we began the first lesson.
The first lesson that we learned was regarding the tale of Peter and the Fish. What the lesson covered was how the bible uses many parables throughout the books in order to convey messages to people who actually want to learn. That because of the many parables, there is often many misinterpretations of the bible which is what leads to many problems and conflict. I found the lesson very interesting and because the girl who taught it was very friendly, I agreed to continue with the bible studies.
The next lesson was regarding Joshua and the prayer that he says when battling the Gibeonites. This was taught as because there was limited knowledge about how the world worked, the actual prayer that Joshua meant was for victory. This continued on with other stories in the bible.
Around my fourth or fifth bible lesson, the girl (who I will refer to as M) brought up the person who created this bible study. M referred to him as “seonsaeng”. I was told that he spent his whole life studying the bible and that through him continuously studying it, he received revelations which led to him creating the bible study. I didn’t think much of it so I didn’t ask many questions about him. But as the studies continued and M kept bringing him up, I realized that he was to be considered important.
When “seonsaeng” was brought up again in one of the lessons, I began asking questions about him. I learned from M that he was born in a small, poor village in South Korea. Because of the poverty, seonsaeng had no other books but the bible to read, therefore he continuously read it and looked for answers there. One of the things that really stood out to me was the manner in which M spoke of him. Her tone of voice and just simply the words she would use gave me the impression that she had a lot of admiration for him.
However, for some reason, there was something about the way she looked when she would bring him up that gave me the impression of a person in love. It was a quick thought and after asking M how old he was (he is 75), I quickly got rid of that notion. At the very least, I thought, she has a crush on him. Or maybe it is just a lot of respect that she has for him, for being a very godly man? I had no idea how wrong I was.
As the lessons continued, there were often times when other members (I later found out they were also group leaders) would attend the studies with us. I did not think anything of it, but now I believe it was a way for them to monitor what I was being taught. M had mentioned that she had just begun teaching so perhaps that had something to do with it. I also began to attend their group meetings, which placed a lot of focus on playing games and doing social activities instead of actually giving messages, despite claiming to be a Christian group. If anything, there would be a short message at the beginning and then quickly go into games and such activities. I also started going out more with this group, getting to know each member who expressed so much kindness to me. They would always tell me how “precious” and “special” I was. I would always receive so many compliments from the members. It’s no wonder how even now, there is a part of me that is still shocked at how conniving and harmful this group actually is.
There was a time where I thought it was strange how connected this group was. From what I gathered, though there were many students from my university in the group, there were also others who had already graduated or did not attend any university. I thought this was strange at first, but I pinned this down to them just being very close friends.
I continued to be invited to places, many times if we went out to eat, a member of the group would pay for me. A thing that I would also like to mention, is that M would often bring me treats like candy before each lesson. I was being manipulated through classical conditioning. This is just to show you how far this group of people is willing to go to indoctrinate a new person.
Another thing is that if I did not attend a group meeting, M would inform me how the other members missed me and how they had wished I’d gone and how important I had become to the group. This would, of course, lead me to feel guilty and make me strive not to miss any more meetings.
Finally, there came a time when I became so close to the group that I was invited to their service. The location that the service was held was simply a plaza location that was rented out. There were no signs indicating that it was a church. I asked M about this but she mentioned it was because it was a new location that they had rented out. The windows, I also noted, were draped with heavy curtains so any onlooker could not see what was inside.
Once there, I found out that the message was actually read by someone (usually the pastor), but was written by the man they referred to as seonsaeng. I initially thought that this man was actually the pastor of this small group, however I found out that he is indeed in South Korea. It was here that I found out that he is currently serving time in prison. At first I was not told specifically why he was incarcerated. They told me that because his bible studies were significantly different than the traditional faith, he was sent to prison. They informed me that because his beliefs were so radical, he was persecuted and eventually arrested, despite having done nothing wrong.
I continued with the bible studies and once again as I continued, more and more was slowly revealed about seonsaeng. At this time, because I was so involved with the group, I attempted to research more about the bible lessons and about this man they called seonsaeng. Unfortunately, the only thing I was able to find out was that seonsaeng was the Korean word for teacher.
One day, I was invited to a service that was to be considered very important. The service was actually going to be a live broadcast worldwide and many of the churches that followed these lessons would be watching, this one included. Watching it, a thing that I noted was how many young people were in the crowd. All of them were around my age. Luckily, it was here where I was able to hear some words (such as setsuri, providence) that I would be able to look up later.
A few days later, I had bible study again (my last one) and it was here where M finally went into detail as to what exactly this “seonsaeng” was in prison for. She informed me that four women had testified against him even though there was no evidence indicating that those allegations were true. That because of his radical teachings, the courts did not give him a fair trial and imprisoned him. Here, M began to say things like “when Jesus taught, he would often preach to the prostitutes and those who did not believe in him thought many bad things about him.” She said that similar to Jesus, seonsaeng was being persecuted. She then indicated that there were videos on the internet but that “you shouldn’t watch them. They’re really bad for your soul and not good for you.” This simply pushed me to search harder.
On my final lesson, I also noted that M seemed frustrated with me. I was confused because she kept leading me to the same bible scripture, Revelation 19:11. We ended that lesson with me confused and M upset. That night, I researched and I found out everything.
As of right now, I’m in the process of removing myself physically as well as emotionally from this cult. It saddens me to think that something this insane, is progressively getting bigger. I hope this testimony helps someone who is getting involved into this. Although now my trust issues have increased, my faith in God has also. I have a while to get back to where I was spiritually before this cult, but I have faith that I will.