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Author Topic: Heavenly Mother Seeks Recruits In Pennsylvania  (Read 7405 times)

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February 03, 2008, 11:59:15 AM
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Offline Peter

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Heavenly Mother Seeks Recruits In Pennsylvania
« on: February 03, 2008, 11:59:15 AM »
The Church of God / Heavenly Mother cult has is the focus of some unwanted attention in Pennsylvania. (Link updated Feb. 6, 2018)

The article is also archived here at Rick Ross's CultEducation site.

Do you know of the Heavenly Mother? Many students do now, after recent encounters with teams of missionaries on campus.

Members of the World Mission Society Church of God have been proselytizing on campus over the past few weeks, approaching students on various street corners and outside University buildings.

The Korea-based organization is one of a number of groups that have broken off from the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Its principal belief is the second coming of Jesus Christ in the body of Korean man Ahnsahnghong, the group's founder.

Religious Studies professor Stephen Dunning said many conservative Christians would consider the group a cult, given its deviations from traditional interpretations of the Bible.

It is not unusual for such groups to try to recruit college students because they believe they are more open to new ideas than adults, he added.

Many students at Penn said they have encountered representatives from the group, which is not associated with the University, on multiple occasions.

College sophomore Sarah Martin said she was approached by two young women from the organization as she was about to cross the 38th Street bridge one day last week. One walked with her to Logan Hall and then invited her to a Bible study session.

Martin said she found the incident more humorous than anything else. "I didn't want to interrupt her because she seemed so intense," she said.

College junior Eliora Porter said two recruiters stopped her last Friday to ask whether she had heard of the Heavenly Mother, a central figure in the group's belief system. When she said she was in a hurry, the missionaries expressed their disappointment.

"It's kind of annoying that they're harassing me when I'm in a rush," she said. "I don't like the idea of missionary work in general, of having to convince people that your beliefs are right."

The group did, however, manage to engage some Penn students in conversation.

College junior Kathleen Sieffert, an officer of Penn's Campus Crusade for Christ, said she talked to two representatives from the World Mission Society for 10 minutes on Locust Walk, discussing their differing interpretations of certain Bible verses.

"It was a totally peaceful conversation and we ended it agreeing to disagree," Sieffert said.

Penn has no policy regarding such groups proselytizing on campus, as long as they do not pose any danger or impediment to the community, University spokesman Ron Ozio said.

Still, religious leaders on campus warn students to be wary of any deceptive information or messages such groups may offer.

Interim University Chaplain Charles Howard said that, while rare at Penn, visiting religious groups have been known to put pressure on vulnerable college students.

According to Dunning, proselytizing was more common in the early years of his career at Penn but has died down since the late 1990s. For example, he said, the Unification Church, whose members are sometimes called Moonies, has a building on 41st Street and used to have a more noticeable presence on campus.

Despite repeated attempts, members of the World Mission Society could not be found for comment on this article.

And a little more:
Join our club cult: Student members of a Korean sect of Christianity that worship a man named Ahnsahnghong as the embodiment of Christ have started using aggressive recruiting techniques at the University of Pennsylvania, even going so far as to follow some students to their classes. Religion prof at the school insists they are a cult. Creepy, regardless.

February 07, 2008, 01:34:28 PM
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Offline Peter

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Heavenly Mother Seeks Recruits @Yale
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2008, 01:34:28 PM »
Followers of the Heavenly Mother have been bugging students at Yale. (Link update Feb. 6, 2018)

Members of the Yale community practice many faith traditions. But proselytizing by members of one Korean church have left some students feeling a bit disturbed.

Representatives of the World Mission Society Church of God — a religious group based in Korea that has been labeled a cult by Korean political leaders and ex-members — have been approaching students on campus to talk to them about the religion.

The church’s doctrine dictates that the denomination’s late leader, Ahnsahnghong, was the second Christ. Ahnsahnghong founded the Church of God in 1964 after leaving the Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

Ahnsahnghong died 23 years ago and the church is now directed by Zahng Gil Jah and Kim Joo-cheol. Zahng Gil Jah is called “Heavenly Mother” in the World Mission Society Church of God.

It is unclear just how long the church’s members have been trying to convert Yalies, but it began expanding outside of Korea 10 years ago, according to its Web site. No church members could be found for comment.

Yalies have reported being approached in Sterling Memorial Library, the corner of York Street and Broadway, as well as the Yale Bookstore. Jessica Marsden ’08 said a Church member first began talking to her after she crossed the street in front Au Bon Pain. She said the member was not older than 25 and was Korean.

The woman said she was a Korean student and asked Marsden if she knew anything about the female god, Marsden said.

“At that point, I realized she wasn’t asking for directions and told her I wasn’t interested,” Marsden said. “Then I realized there was another woman standing behind her, and they were together.”

Marsden is a former managing editor for the News.

The World Mission Society Church of God members followed Marsden to Labyrinth Bookstore on York Street, all the while gesturing toward a picture of a female figure who they claimed was the female god, Marsden said.

When she exited the store, the women were gone, but she said they were doing the same thing to another young man. Marsden was later approached by a male member of the church in the Yale Bookstore, she said.

Yale University Chaplain Sharon Kugler said university campuses are often targeted by religious groups looking to recruit members. She encountered similar situations at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, where she served as chaplain until coming to Yale last July.

Kugler said the church will not be very successful at a school like Yale, because the students are generally very busy, and they are smart enough to realize the World Mission Society Church of God is not a recognized religious group on campus.

“The Yale Chaplain’s Office has a specific structure in which all religious denominations, known as the Yale Religious Ministries, have a covenant with each other about appropriate behavior, Kugler said. “This group is not included.”

Kugler urged students to use caution and not to give out personal information to religious solicitors. She said she believes the group is just passing through New Haven and will not cause any long-term nuisance on campus.

Lily Rothman ’08 said she encountered two young male Church members in the music library in SML. The men said they were divinity students and asked if she had heard about the Mother Goddess in the Bible, Rothman said.

“I told them I didn’t have time to talk and put my headphones back in,” Rothman said. “I had been warned about them so I knew not to start a conversation.”

Marsden said although the church members were not coercive, their relentlessness made her feel uncomfortable.

“I was clearly not interested, but they continued to talk to me,” Marsden said. “That was pretty frustrating.”

According to the church’s Web site, the group has over 400 branches worldwide and has sent missions to every continent other than Antarctica.

Kugler said she encourages any student who would like to talk about their experiences with the church to visit the University Chaplain’s Office.

The Daily Pennsylvanian, the University of Pennsylvania’s daily student newspaper, reported last week similar occurrences on Penn’s campus in Philadelphia.