A comparison between the Netflix audio clip released in “In the Name of God: a Holy Betrayal” and the JTBC (Korean broadcast) audio clip released in 2022, reveals that both are clearly related and edits have been made.
Please click on the subtitles icon to show the English subtitles.
Disclaimer: This is an independent opinion piece that does not represent the views of Jung Myung Seok or Providence
On 3 March 2023, Netflix broadcasted a so-called “documentary” named In the Name of God, which paints a picture of Jung as a monstrous beast who had raped over 100 university students in Taiwan and who had raped and had sex orgies with girls from all over the world including Korea and Hong Kong. These allegations are unproven, and had been investigated and dropped by the prosecution. There is also no concrete evidence to prove these accusations. Instead, Taiwan’s Ministry of Education had investigated the claims and published a statement stating that there were no victims. There are also many newspapers that had already previously publicly apologised for making these incorrect accusations against Jung. Whatever the case, these are matters that should be dealt with through the judicial process and not on Netflix. The show has unfairly prejudiced ongoing legal proceedings by swaying public opinion.
Netflix is at its heart an entertainment company, and the producers’ main aim is to gain viewership. They included fictional scenes, and interviewed only a select handful of ex-Providence members in order to paint a one-sided and biased picture of Jung. They omitted to mention any of Jung’s remarkable achievements which would show a more complete picture of Jung, and how he was in 2008 found to be an innocent victim of a false allegation of sexual assault by the court. The broadcast even contains footages that are taken completely out of context, as well as footage of unknown provenance that may have been altered or completely irrelevant. There are also many questions and inconsistencies about the true motive and conduct of the main accusers in the show. Furthermore, the remainder of the accusers are anonymous, or merely conveying hearsay and rumours which they do not have first-hand information of. These serious accusations ought to be left to the judicial process, and the irony is that while Netflix accuses Jung of claiming to be God, it is actually Netflix that has played God by trying to prejudge the truth before it has been decided by the judge.
The perils of mob justice
On a quiet night in 1933, a black young man, Tom Robinson, walks alone down the street towards his home. The street is deserted except for a flock of ravenous birds circling the skies in search for prey. As Tom rounds the corner, multiple silhouettes emerge from the alleyways, brandishing steel baseball bats and thorny whips. Tom tries to run but he is surrounded on all sides. He does not know them, but they know him. They accuse him of raping a young white girl, Mayella Ewell. Tom protests his innocence, but they would not listen. Tom was black, and Mayella was white, and thus Mayella must be telling the truth as there was no reason for a white girl to frame a black man. There is no need for a judge, as the mob had decided that Tom is guilty, and thus he must die. The mob lynches him mercilessly, and by the next morning, Tom’s body would be found hanging on a tree. It is only many months later that the mob realises that Mayella had been lying. But it was too late. Their prejudice had caused the death of an innocent man.
A lynch mob scene adapted from Harper Lee’s award-winning book, To Kill a Mockingbird.
In the 19th and 20th century, several thousands of Tom Robinsons were killed by vicious lynch mobs without a court trial. Many of them were innocent but never had the chance to tell their side of the story or have a fair trial. The people, having heard the accusers, had already pre-decided that the accused were guilty and deserving of punishment. They would gather together in mobs, enraged and furious, and taking justice into their own hands, lynch the accused to death. What caused such abominable behaviour?
For one, the mobs arrogantly thought that they were better administrators of justice than the justice system itself. They arrogated to themselves the role of judge and executioner, as though they knew what justice was when they saw it. The crowd also easily jumped on the bandwagon because everyone was doing it, and it was all too easy to simply join in the crowd in pointing the finger at a defenceless, isolated, victim. It perhaps even gave them a sense of superiority to be part of the supermajority, and a feeling of power to be able to condemn a helpless person. Most importantly, they had preconceived stereotypes of whites and blacks, that led them to be biased against blacks and to pronounce them guilty before they could even speak.
Lynching was finally criminalised in the 20th century, as people realised the grave injustice that could be caused by judging and punishing someone without a fair trial. Such conduct should never be condoned. Nobody, not a black, and not even a beggar, should be condemned without a fair trial. Justice should be left to the judicial system, and not the mob. Alas, the criminalisation of lynching only solved the problem on the surface but did not eliminate the fundamental problem – lynching has simply evolved in the 21st century into what we know now as flaming and doxxing.
The internet lynch mob; Netflix – courtroom or entertainment company?
On 3 March 2023, Netflix broadcast a so-called “documentary” titled In the Name of God, with the first three episodes about Jung Myung Seok (Jung), the founder of Providence. The show was primarily narrated by three ex-Providence members, with several other ex-members hiding in the shadows and making remarks behind a veil of anonymity. Together, they paint a picture of Jung as a monstrous beast who had raped over 100 university students in Taiwan and who had raped and had sex orgies with girls from all over the world including Korea and Hong Kong. Jung’s goal, according to them, was to rape 10,000 women. They also accuse Jung of claiming to be God, of living in extravagant palaces overseas, and of other heinous acts including kidnap and assault.
Documentaries are meant to be factual, but as of the time of Netflix’s broadcast, none of these stated extreme accusations had been proven through the court process, and there was minimal (if any at all) material or objective evidence to substantiate these allegations. The accusations were based mainly on the words of these naysayers. The only exception was that Jung had in 2008 been convicted of assaulting 4 women. However, even that judgment was based purely on the bare allegations of those women, as there was no material evidence to prove the assault. The judgment had later been criticised and is unsound (see here for an opinion piece of why the judgment was flawed; see here for a news article criticising the judgment).
Neither Jung nor Providence members were given a chance to watch the film or respond to these unproven allegations before Netflix broadcast its show, despite multiple attempts by Providence members to engage Netflix to hear their side of the story. This is shocking. Any producer aiming to film a factual and accurate documentary about a subject would surely want to hear from the subject himself and feature what the subject says, in the spirit of objectivity and offering a balanced perspective. It is clear that objectivity was not the producer’s top priority. Providence also attempted to persuade Netflix to stall the release, and have the allegations dealt with through the judicial process as they should be, to no avail.
The response to the show was as expected. The internet erupted in flames, with many condemning Jung to go to hell. Jung and his members received death threats, hate mails, and Jung becomes public enemy number 1. The mob has already decided that he is guilty, even though he has yet to be proven so. Jung is mercilessly lynched by the textual whips of a mob of keyboard warriors. The identities and addresses of Jung’s members and churches are divulged (this is also known as doxxing and is a form of cyber-bullying), causing them to be condemned along with Jung (see e.g. here and here). As a result, students are afraid to go to school for fear of being bullied and mocked by their classmates. Employees have lost their jobs. Members with famous backgrounds such as celebrities, sculptors, and lawyers, have their faces splashed all over the news and are being flamed with hate speech. These people, who are simply regular human beings like anyone else, now have to fear for their privacy and personal safety. They have been severely victimised as a result of the Netflix broadcast, and are being persecuted for their religious beliefs in violation of their human right to religious freedom.
Was it correct for Netflix to air these allegations before they were tried and tested in court? Was Netflix objective and impartial? What was Netflix’s motive for broadcasting this show?
There is a reason why trials are conducted before a judge and not before an angry mob, and why justice is served in the courtroom and not on the internet. In the judicial process, thorough police investigations are conducted, witnesses are cross-examined under oath, evidence is forensically examined, and both sides have a fair chance to present their side of the story before an impartial judge. It is a calm, objective, and methodological process.
But on the internet, malicious actors can easily spread false information while hiding behind the veil of anonymity, without being held accountable for what they say. There is no way to verify the truth of their accusations as they are not cross-examined, and they do not have to provide evidence to back up their claims. Information spreads if it is sensational and not necessarily because it is true, but the more the news spreads, the more people come to believe that it must be true. The other party is also not given a chance to speak to present his side of the story.
Netflix is neither a courtroom nor an investigation agency. At bottom, it is merely a profit-making entertainment and media company which generates income from subscription fees paid by viewers, and in order to keep viewers subscribing, they need to continually broadcast sensational and riveting content to keep viewers interested (see e.g. here and here). Netflix has in recent years been criticised for making money off the fictionalisation of real-life crime (see here), the abuse of others’ identities for self-profit (see here), and even for presenting an incomplete picture of the truth (see here).
Jung’s case is no different. In the show, the producers only selectively featured a handful of ex-Providence members who bear grudges against Jung, in order to support their sensational narrative of him being a sex-crazed rapist. These ex-members, having left Providence, are biased against and opposed to Jung, and present only a very myopic and one-sided perspective of Jung. They constitute only less than 0.1% of the total Providence membership, as Providence has tens of thousands of members worldwide. If the producers were concerned about objectivity and providing a balanced viewpoint, they would have interviewed some of the tens of thousands of existing Providence members who would have readily testified that Jung is not the person that the producers color him to be (see various testimonies here, and here). Jung received several national awards for his exemplary conduct and for risking his life for his nation during the Vietnam War (see here), and published a four-part book series titled War was Cruel; Love and Peace, describing how God protected him during the Vietnam War (see here). Jung composed 1,700 songs, published multiple poetry books and was featured in the Great Dictionary of Korean Poems (see here), delivered over 10,000 sermons, and wrote over 50,000 proverbs. He also built a beautiful natural church to honor God (see here), and positively changed the lives of tens of thousands of people (see here, here, and here).
As the producers had no actual footages to prove the supposed rape and sex orgies and the extravagant palaces, they hired actors and actresses to enact fictional sex scenes. They even hired an actor that resembles Jung and featured him making voodoo movements, painting Jung as a psychopath or lunatic. All these were done for the sake of drama and sensationalism, and are not a realistic portrayal of Jung. See here for criticism of Netflix’s fictional re-enactments. See also these fictional scenes, clearly intended to portray Jung as a psychopath:
Hyung features in the broadcast making allegations that Jung had sexually assaulted many female members. However, Hyung does not have any first-hand knowledge and is not in any position to comment on this. Hyung was neither the person allegedly assaulted nor was he present at the alleged assault. All Hyung has is hearsay and rumours that he heard from other unidentified members, who may have in turn heard those rumours from other unknown actors. Hyung does not have any evidence to prove the assaults. Critically, Jung has never been charged or convicted for any of these hundreds of so-called sexual assaults, apart from the 1 sole case already explained above.
Hyung also claims that his girlfriend was a member of Providence and that his girlfriend told him that he was sexually assaulted by Jung. However, there is likewise only his word for this. His alleged girlfriend never asserted this in public, it is not known if she ever filed a police report, and Jung has never been charged, let alone convicted for assaulting his girlfriend.
A deeper look into Hyung reveals that he had wrote an apology letter to Jung in 1999 for defaming him, and two more similar apology letters in 2005 (see here). Notwithstanding these apologies, Hyung later had a change of heart and demanded 2 million USD from Jung, in exchange for dropping the charges that he had filed through the victims. Hyung’s conduct of threatening Jung is proven by an audio recording of the conversation and testimony made in court (see here). Hyung’s conduct raises many suspicions about his character. If Hyung wanted justice, why he is threatening Jung for such ridiculous sums of money instead of seeking justice till the end? Further, why does he have the power to decide whether the alleged victims should continue to charge Jung or not, when he is not the alleged victim and not even a relative of them? The truth is revealed in a 2008 court trial where one of these so-called victims (Jang) testified in the courtroom that Hyung had organised “camps” where he coached these so-called victims to make false accusations against Jung. Jang testified that she herself had been coached by Hyung, and that other females too had been coached by Hyung and were lying. The transcript of Jang’s testimony in the courtroom is here. The important segments are reproduced in this table:
Q: Is it true that you had heard from the JMS believer, Kim Ji Oon (this is a different Kim), words such as: “can Teacher insert his fingers into your vagina? Can you go to the God’s room and take off all your clothes? Pluck off all your vaginal hair”.
A: I never heard these.
Q: Didn’t you testify like this in the investigation agency?
A: I do not remember well. At that time, Kim told me to testify like that; that is why I simply testified according to what Kim told me.
Q: Is it correct that you cancelled the complaint?
A: Yes, because I wanted to, I cancelled it.
Q: If what you say is true, and if the complaint was false, then the accused Jung Myung Seok has been very wrongfully imprisoned, isn’t it?
A: Yes. That is why my heart feels nothing but apologetic.
Q: During this period of living together, did they (Exodus) prevent you from contacting outside persons?
A: Yes. At that time, Kim said not to contact others, even my mother, as much as possible, and she also said that she would also not contact others. And she also said not to inform (anyone) where I was.
Q: During the camp, did Kim Do Hyung and Kim talk to you and teach you what to testify and how to act during the press conference and investigations?
Maple then explains how, after coming to Providence, Jung helped her recover from her past by showing her love and care that she did not know before, sending her letters to encourage her, and giving her autographs.
Jung would also drive her around and constantly praise, encourage, and reassure her, despite being extremely busy.
Jung also invested in Maple’s development by giving her a lot of opportunities to grow and showcase her talents. Jung helped her fulfil her dream of becoming a singer and later a newscaster, and later even appointed Maple as a pastor and gave her opportunities to preach on stage, despite her young age. Maple also began to give testimonies in public and even on YouTube about her faith in God.
It therefore comes as a shock that Maple claims in the Netflix show that she was somehow coerced to do these against her will. Those who knew Maple personally knew that Maple loved performing, acting, and being on stage, and she loved the attention and the glamour. Maple did all of these gladly and willingly. This is also apparent from her genuinely radiant and joyous expression in these pictures.
During this period that Maple was in the limelight and constantly receiving attention (from early 2018 till at least early 2020), Maple was happy in Providence and there were absolutely no allegations by her that Jung sexually assaulted her.
Things changed during the COVID situation when Maple was unable to be on stage and unable to meet Jung or Providence members. She had to be isolated due to the lockdown and anti-COVID measures, and lost her chance to perform on stage. She felt left out, lack of love, and severely depressed, similar to how she was before coming to Providence. She began falling back to her old lifestyle before coming to Providence. She also felt a lot of resentment towards Jung for not showing her more care and attention during COVID (Jung was unable to do so as he was extremely busy looking after the multitudes of other members who were facing difficulties). Maple thus complained to her close friends that she felt that Jung did not care enough for her (there are text messages to prove this, which have been presented to the judge as evidence). Maple thus became progressively more depressed.
Maple had a psychological disorder during the COVID period and resulted to self-harm as she felt alone and lack of attention. Maple herself reveals pictures of her self-harm in the documentary. Persons with Maple’s psychological disorder tend to have a victimisation complex, feel left out, want attention, and self-harm is a common symptom of this condition. When persons with this condition feel that they are not being given enough attention from someone that they want attention from, they may start to perceive that person as enemies. Their perspective of others also tends to swing from one extreme to another extreme. There are even cases of persons with this psychological disorder murdering their loved ones in the course of a dispute or a relationship spat.
It is in this context that Maple began to accuse Jung of sexual assault, claiming that he had sexually assaulted her between 2018 and 2021. This includes the period from 2018 to 2020 where Maple can be seen perfectly happy while receiving attention on stage in various roles, and where Maple had spoken positively about Jung in many public platforms. Maple can also be heard to be laughing and enjoying herself in an interview on 31 May 2020 about her Providence life, and Maple readily professes that she was really happy in Providence. In March 2021, Maple can also be seen basking in the limelight while performing and singing on stage at a large scale Providence event.
Why did Maple only begin to make such allegations in 2022, almost 4 years after the allegations supposedly began? Why did she not leave earlier? How could she look so happy and so supportive of Jung while being sexually assaulted? These questions need to be answered.
A few weeks later, in March 2022, Maple is on stage again, but in a different role. She appears at a press conference and reads word by word off a script that Kim Do Hyung hands to her, telling a full room of reporters how Jung had sexually assaulted her. Jung is then investigated and put on trial.
Merely a few months after, Maple enters into a romantic relationship with Alex Fong, a Hong Kong actor more than 12 years Maple’s senior (see here). At best, this was only around a year after the period where she was allegedly sexually assaulted 18 times. How did she get to meet Alex Fong? Why did she choose to date a celebrity 12 years her senior? Would she not be traumatised by men, especially those older than her, after what had allegedly happened to her? These questions have yet to be answered.
Yet a few months after, Maple appears in Netflix’s show as the main character. She is in the limelight once more and getting the attention that she used to receive. She tells her story and accuses Jung of sexually assaulting her. Just as in the actual trial itself, there is no evidence to prove her claims, except her bare word, and an audio clip that Maple claims to be a secret recording of Jung having sex with her.
At the time of the Netflix broadcast, the judge had yet to accept the audio recording as valid evidence. As the recording was not an original file, Jung’s lawyers asked Maple for the original file so that they could verify the authenticity of the file. Maple was unable to produce the original audio file. She claims that she lost the original audio file because she transferred the files from her original phone into the cloud, and then downloaded the files from the cloud onto her new phone, and after which she got rid of her original phone (see here). Nobody can prove that the audio is real. The Korean National Forensic Service even confirmed that the audio clip could not be proven to be unedited and authentic (see here). Why did Maple get rid of her original phone, when it was the only device that could prove that the audio was real? If she truly went through the painstaking efforts of trying to secretly record an audio that would prove, once and for all, that Jung was raping her, would she not preserve that audio as best as she could? These are important questions to be answered.
Anyone who is familiar with Jung’s voice will know that the audio does not sound like Jung’s voice, and the audio needs to be strained to be interpreted as what Maple claims it says. In this digital age where audio recordings can be easily “deepfaked” such that a person’s voice can be substituted with another (see here) In this digital age where audio recordings can be easily “deepfaked” such that a person’s voice can be substituted with another (see here) or edited from different original clips to form a completely different conclusion (see here and here), one has to be more discerning before believing that an audio recording is real.
Shortly after the Netflix broadcast, Alex Fong makes a press release stating that Maple is his girlfriend and that they had been dating for some time. He says that he believes that she is telling the truth. Did Maple know in advance that Alex Fong was making this press release? Did Maple tell Alex Fong to say that he believed her? Did Maple intentionally date a famous person like Alex Fong so that she would have a famous person on her side? These too, are questions to think about.
Do we know enough to prove that Maple is lying? No. But do we know enough to be sure that Maple is telling the truth? The answer is also no. The wisest thing to do in such a situation is to refrain from judgment and to let the matter be decided through the judicial process, as it should be, instead of having it made into a drama for the whole world to see.
Anonymous persons and unidentified footages
There are various anonymous persons who accuse Jung of sexually assaulting them. Similar to the above, none of these are proven and there is also no evidence of this apart from bare allegations. Not much can be said of these unknown individuals as they have chosen not to reveal their identities. It would not be fair or proper to simply believe their account when we do not know who they are, they have not been questioned, and they have not revealed the precise details of their allegations such as when, how, and where they were allegedly assaulted. It also ought to be pointed out that if these individuals genuinely wanted justice to be done, they would have gone to the police, and not to Netflix.
The Netflix broadcast also features several audio recordings of unknown provenance. The producers describe the recordings as showing Jung engaging in sexual talk with female members, and female members complaining about Jung and his followers. However, these recordings are not reliable. It is not known who made these recordings, who were speaking in these recordings, and what was the context of the remarks made in the recordings. Therefore, it is not known if the recordings are genuine or not, and even if they are genuine, what the meaning of the words in the recordings are. They could very well be deepfake recordings manipulated by Kim or Hyung, and their band of anti-Jung followers.
Nude photos and videos
The broadcast features nude photos and videos of women and asserts that Jung had asked his female followers to send him nude photos and videos of themselves. The nude footages shown in the broadcast are blurred such that the faces of the persons are unrecognisable. Nobody can tell if they are Providence members or porn-stars, and if these are manipulated deepfakes. The women featured in the nude footages themselves also do not appear on the film to explain what the nude footage was all about. The narrative is done by someone who is not a first-hand witness to the nude footage and who can only speculate what these nude footages are about.
On the contrary, there are countless female members in Providence who will readily attest that they have never heard Jung asking for nude photos and videos, and that instead, Jung has always asked members to dress modestly.
Even if these nude footages are somehow true, it does not mean that Jung had solicited them. People do crazy things in the name of God, Jesus, and Allah, such as terrorism and mass killings – does it mean that their God requested or sanctioned them? Trump’s supporters have also done crazy things for his sake but does it mean that Trump directed all of them? One should not assume what the truth is until one has investigated the people involved and gotten to the bottom of it.
Kidnap and violence
The broadcast features various allegations of kidnap and violence. Likewise, these have not been proven in the courtroom as a fact, and Jung has not even been charged for these. At the time of these alleged violence, Jung was actually overseas. Even if these were somehow true, there is no evidence that Jung had anything to do with these, and as already pointed out, not everything that a member does is sanctioned by his leader. Peter cut off the high priest’s ear, but that went against what Jesus told him to do, which was to love his enemies.
Jung has always taught Providence to obey Jesus’ teachings, to love our enemies, to resolve all things peacefully, and never to resort to violence. In around 2005, there was an arts performance in church where Jung was present. As part of the stage performance, some teenagers began taking out toy guns and shooting each other. Jung immediately took the microphone and halted the performance. He made it very clear that there was to be no guns or violence in church. As Jesus said, those who live by the sword will die by the sword. Jung made it clear that anyone who considers himself to be a member of Providence should never carry weapons.
When Jung was in Los Angeles in 1994, there were huge gun crime problems and 14,000 people were being killed every year due to gun violence. Guns were legal in the US and people had the right to carry guns under the 2nd Amendment. It was so bad that people were afraid to even go out at night. One night, Jung wanted to play sports in the park. His followers approached him telling him that it was dangerous, and asked if it was fine to carry a gun for protection as they were afraid of being attacked. Jung firmly replied in response: “No one who carries a gun can follow me. If you want peace, the one who wants peace must throw away the gun.” This was the same belief that Jung had fervent held since his time in the Vietnam War, where he saved dozens of comrades and even the enemy.
When Jung heard about America’s gun situation, Jung began praying fervently for America. Months later, a miracle happened. For the first time in American history, the US President (who was at that time Clinton) signed an assault weapon ban. The Senate finally approved the decision with a vote of 52 to 48, after having failed 3 times in previous attempts to ban assault weapons. From then on, there was a steep decline in gun violence. God had answered Jung’s prayer.
For a fuller understanding of Jung’s views of the use of arms and violence, read Jung’s four-part autobiography of his experience in the Vietnam War: War was cruel; Love and Peace, which is available on Amazon here. See also further below for video evidence of Jung’s abstinence from violence (filmed by none other than Hyung himself).
It is impossible and unnecessary to address the seemingly endless number of unproven claims that the accusers have launched against Jung, given that there is no evidence for them to begin with. What will be helpful, however, is to highlight a few select examples to show how the producers have taken material completely out of context and used them to paint a distorted picture of Jung.
First is a clip filmed by Hyung and his gang in Hong Kong. The clips show Hyung and the cameraman walking towards a translucent mosquito tent in an outdoor area surrounded by trees. Jung and two other persons can be seen to be in the tent. Upon nearing the tent, Hyung shouts “Come out, you bastard!” The Netflix subtitles also record Hyung as threatening Jung: “Come out! before I kill you”. Jung looks understandably shocked, as he was being ambushed out of nowhere by a cameraman and an angry Hyung who was threatening to kill him. Jung’s shirt is unbuttoned and he was only wearing swimming trunks, as he had just been swimming. Likewise, the other two members in the tent were in swimming attire. Jung emerges from the tent and asks what Hyung was doing. Jung does not want to be filmed, and thus attempts to block the camera. At this, Hyung slaps Jung in the face. Jung does not retaliate, but instead walks off. The narrator is heard calling Jung a pathetic coward. Jung is then arrested by the Hong Kong police, but is later released by the authorities. No charges were brought against Jung in Hong Kong and he was never proven to have committed any wrongdoing in Hong Kong.
It is not understandable why this clip is being used to portray Jung as a perpetrator of crime, when it is clear from the face of it that Jung is the real victim in this incident. What was going on was that Jung and the two members had just had a swim, and were having a normal conversation in a mosquito tent that was next to the swimming pool. Here is a picture showing the location of the tent relative to the swimming pool.
These events happened in broad daylight, in a relatively public area where people could easily enter (as did Hyung and the cameraman), and not behind locked doors. Jung then attempted to stop the cameraman from filming, which is an entirely natural reaction when one is being filmed without permission. When Jung was slapped, anyone in his shoes would have retaliated and fought back, and all the more so when there was no doubt that Jung would clearly win Hyung in a fight – Jung was a decorated special forces soldier that had fought in the Vietnam War (see here). However, Jung had the incredible moral resilience to simply walk away. This footage is in fact the best evidence of Jung’s tremendous moral fibre, and his commitment to avoiding violence at all costs. Hyung just looks downright bad as he was the perpetrator who had first resorted to vulgarities and violence, when none of this was called for.
Furthermore, as Hyung himself admits to in the show, this clip was filmed after Hyung had been stalking Jung for about a week, trying to film incriminating footage. If this was the best that Hyung managed to film after stalking Jung for a week, there must have really been nothing going on worth mentioning.
Second is a footage of a man claiming that Jung always brings a lot of women around with him, followed by various footages of Jung with women. These footages are selectively cropped and shot at an angle to make it seem as though Jung is only with women. If the full footage is reviewed, one will see that there were also many men at the scene. There are also claims that Providence only has female members. This is untrue. There are tens of thousands of male members in Providence. There is also a blurred-out footage of women in bikini partying on a boat. The women are not recognisable from the footage and it is not clear who these women are, whether they are even Providence members, and what they were doing on the boat. No explanation is given and the clip is just used for sensational effect, alongside all the other dramatized and fictional scenes portrayed in the show.
Third is a footage of Jung convulsing in the courtroom. Kim himself describes Jung as foaming at the mouth, but then goes on to accuse Jung of putting on a show. But the narrators are not in any position to comment on this. They are not medically trained and also did not examine Jung’s medical condition at the time.
What was not revealed in the show is that, just immediately prior to Jung returning to Korea and put on trial, he had been tortured for 10 months in China by the police during investigations. The torture included the psychological torture of being confined alone in a completely dark and isolated room with minimal food and water, and being subject to mind games where the police would cock their guns at him threatening to kill him, as well as the physical torture of being hung from a tree in a gunnysack while being beaten, and other conventional torture methods such as the electric chair and finger torture. Jung thought that he was going to die in China. After 10 months of such torture, he was severely psychologically traumatised and his body was also physically devastated by the effects of such torture. Despite such torture, Jung protested his innocence till the end to the Chinese police, and at the end of 10 months, they decided to release him.
Jung decided to return to our homeland of Korea, where he was immediately arrested and investigated without any chance to recover from the mental and physical torture. In was in such context that he broke down in convulsions. Again, perfectly understandable.
An anti-Jung activist then alleges that he was an observer in the prosecution’s interrogation of Jung and that during the questioning, Jung got down on his knees and pleaded for mercy. If this is indeed true, one seriously questions why an activist was allowed to be present during the prosecution’s investigations, why he is allowed to reveal the process of these confidential investigations to the public, and what the prosecution had been doing to Jung to cause him to have to kneel down to beg for his life. Furthermore, even if we assume that this is true, Jung had every good reason to act in this way, being under the psychological trauma and influence of being subject to the most inhumane torture in China. It may be that if he had not begged for his life in China, he may have already been killed without a trial. After 10 months of torture in a confined space, one may not be able to differentiate whether one is in China or in Korea.
There are a host of other allegations about Jung bribing Hong Kong officials and absconding without a passport, none of which are proven.
This is not the first time the media has distorted the truth to paint a biased picture of Jung. In around 1999, SBS Broadcasting Station manipulated a video of Jung saying: “evangelise one person out of ten” to make it sound like “evangelise one woman each”, trying to paint Jung as a sexist. The court ordered SBS to stop reporting false material and that information provided unilaterally by Hyung (who was also involved in that incident) must not be aired (see here). However, leopards do not change their spots.
Conclusion: who is really playing God?
The producers accuse Jung of claiming to be God, but the irony is that it is they themselves who are playing God by attempting to judge matters which they have no concrete evidence of and by taking justice into their own hands when no decision has been reached by a court of justice. As a wise person advises in Acts 5:38-39, “Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.” Justice belongs to God and to the judges who are called by God. An entertainment company should stick to its role of providing entertainment and leave justice to those called for the mission. 2000 years ago, Jesus was crucified due to a lynch mob. Nothing has changed in 2000 years.
About the writer:
The writer is just an ordinary human being with a semblance of common sense and a healthy dose of skepticism. The writer also does not condone any form of sexual assault or violence, and firmly believes that such actions must be punished, but that this should only be done after a fair trial with the required evidence. You may choose not to believe a word of what the writer said, but equally, don’t believe a word of what the media says, because they may be lying to you. Check and verify the evidence for yourself and then judge, for then your judgment will be founded on solid grounds. As Jung often says, wisdom is to check and check again, and to check until the end. The writer hopes that all who read this article will check to the end and receive the wisdom of discernment.
During the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, the religious organization “S,” that caused the second wave of spread of COVID in South Korea, became an issue. As a result, national resistance to heretical religious groups exploded along with resistance to Christianity. On the internet, I Am Jesus, a parody of I Am a Singer, which was a composite of religious leaders calling themselves “the Second Coming Jesus,” was circulating.
Among them was Pastor Jung Myeong-seok (Christian Gospel Mission, so-called JMS). Why is President Jung Myung-seok, who has lived the life of a “religious/faithful bride of Jesus,” being treated as a “self-proclaiming Second Coming Jesus”? Is it because human nature seeks stimulation? Instead of the Word of God that resolves life’s problems, or wholesome and touching stories, the propagating power of stimulating rumors and criticizing content is much more overpowering.
This time on Netflix, a documentary called In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal was aired and spread secondary and tertiary content, once again infringing on President Jung Myung-seok and CGM members. Hold on. Here you can just press the “Back” button, saying “Oh, this article was written by a JMS believer” or “You are a cult, so you shouldn’t speak,” but I hope you can read this until the end.
That “perspective” is repeated again
Actually, as a result of checking the main content of the program, I found out that the logic, flow, and information used to attack CGM are the same as before. Mr. K, the key figure of the opposing force who appears directly in the program, has continued to slander CGM with the same narrative since 1999 through SBS’ I Want to Know, MBC’s True Story Expedition in 2020, and JTBC in 2022. In President Jung Myung-seok’s sermon video, he distorted the audio and subtitles from “evangelize one out of ten [yeol-ai-ha-na jeon-do]” to “evangelize one woman [yeo-ja-ha-na joen-do],” and he did not hesitate to use only a portion of an audio recording of President Jeong Myung-seok to make a religious consultation with a [church] member in need sound like a sex crime.
And in 2023, through Netflix’s In the Name of God, using OTT (over-the-top) platform characteristics that are not restricted by broadcasting law, without hesitation, President Myung-seok Jeong and the CGM are portrayed in a sexual and provocative way.
This program is promoted by various media outlets as being objectively and credibly produced. However, it meticulously interprets the path that President Jung Myung-seok walked through one person’s one-sided logic and narrative, which is Mr. K’s. This path, which started with the Word of God that saves lives, is a history that Mr. K has never been a part of. Based on the malicious claims of those who left CGM and the one-sided allegations of the opposition, the broadcast only tarnishes this history as a “history that sexually seduces female believers.” It was done to the extent that I thought it was childish. There was no mention of how God’s words had resolved people’s life issues or how it solved Biblical questions. Instead, Mr. K himself is portrayed as an “apostle of justice who seeks to rescue those who had been harmed by President Jung Myung-seok.”
Video claims and contents: is all of it true?
On February 17th, CGM filed an application for an injunction to ban the broadcast, but the Court rejected it. “For past cases, they have cross-checked various materials such as videos and photos, and the part related to the ongoing criminal trial is in line with the plaintiffs’ statements since they have met and conducted interviews with the plaintiffs, so it is difficult to see them as false,” the Court described.
In the film, Mr. K’s argument, the tearful statements of the accusers, and the presented video and audio recordings of the female believers make people speculate, “President Jung Myung-seok really committed these crimes.” The reenactments also emotionally trigger the general public and induce them to believe that “this really happened.”
But are these allegations and contents true? It is unclear from where these materials were gathered, and whether they were really produced at the site where President Jung Myung-seok had allegedly violated the female believers. In particular, the full version and context should be clearly given for recordings that are offensive and shocking for viewers. Among the statements of the accusers in the actual film, there were many things that could be proven to be absolute lies.
In the Name of God may end up as a source of stimulation and entertainment (or discomfort) for the public. However, CGM, which has been quietly preaching the gospel and spreading a sound view of faith, will be undermined, and the damage to its image and members will be severe.
Currently, President Jung Myung-seok is undergoing the first trial, and no decision has been made yet. The process from the prosecution of Ms. M in 2022 to the arrest and trial of President Myung-Seok Jeong was not easy from the standpoint of CGM’s opposition. Although I cannot reveal the specific trial process and the circumstances of the accusers here, there were sufficient grounds to prove that Ms. M’s claims were false. Meanwhile, the accumulated negative public opinion led to the arrest of President Jung Myung-seok. In the Name of God is the culmination of that. The accusers, including Mr. K, appear to be trying to agitate public opinion on a global scale through In the Name of God in order to lead the trial in their favor.
It is often argued that broadcasting should be fair. However, it is difficult to come up with such good broadcasts. This is because the broadcaster’s circumstances, characteristics, and financial logic have no choice but to come into play. In particular, fair broadcasts are no fun. In a reality where few people seek the Word of God, to have content encompassing CGM’s wholesome nature and image that differ from its opposition’s claims would be meaningless from the standpoint of OTT, which pursues profit. In order to make content that sells well to the public, there is no choice but to compose content that is stimulating and R-rated.
In the Name of God is a concoction of CGM opposers who cause trouble for CGM and try to justify themselves by any means beyond logic, Netflix’s pursuit of profit, broadcast producers’ desire to succeed through an OTT platform, and the general attack of Christianity which condemns CGM as heretical. Anyone who consumes content should keep in mind that there will be a certain number of hidden agendas.
[Writing | G. jams ]
* This blog collects organized material on the main issues appearing in Netflix’s In the Name of God.
Some of them can be fully explained, but some have not been made into content due to the safety of CGM members.
Background: For one week in mid July 2022, JTBC in Korea featured provocative broadcasts about Jung Myeong-seok, including a misleading audio clip that will be discussed in the article below. Similar themes were brought up in the Netflix docuseries In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal.
A sex scandal headliner based on an audio recording of President Jung Myung-seok was broadcast continuously for one week on JTBC. The following article was written from a Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) member’s point of view, after analyzing the problematic parts in the voice recording that was aired.
In fact, CGM has been misunderstood many times due to doctored recordings. For example, in the 1999 SBS series’ I Want to Know, President Jung Myung-seok’s sermon video on “Evangelize One out of Ten [yeol-ai-ha-na jeon-do]” had been distorted to sound like “evangelize one woman [yeo-ja-ha-na joen-do]” and aired. For such cases, editors usually ignore the context or video background but just focus on wording or parts of the sentence.
This was no exception. If we look at the overall context of the recording, President Jung Myung-seok’s key point is that faith should not be human-centered but God-centered. (You) should love God fundamentally using (your) brain. In fact, a CCTV video that was recorded at that time does not show any indication of what the broadcasting company claims to be true.
Also, as a believer of CGM, I didn’t find it abnormal when I heard the recording myself. It’s because I knew the intention behind his words. The wording that CGM uses can be a bit different from its usual context. For example, “love” does not [necessarily] mean the relationship between the opposite sex; rather, it usually refers to spiritual love, loving heaven, and leading a life of faith. If someone says “love,” a regular person may take it as having a sexual/romantic relationship, but Providence members understand it as spiritual love. Especially for a religious leader who preaches from a religious perspective, the meaning of his words may differ from that of the general world.
This time too, the intentional editing was noticeable, as the audio can certainly be seen as provocative and be misunderstood by those who do not know the doctrine of CGM. The words that became the center of controversy in the recording and the sentences that could be misunderstood due to ambiguous meanings will be discussed in this post one by one. (From here on, CGM will be referred to as Providence. Providence is used internally within CGM, meaning God’s Providence.)
1. Does God appear through a person?
This is mentioned a lot when you join Providence. The key point behind “God appears through people” is to “see God, see what’s fundamental” when you are looking at other people or nature. As a human being, we call upon God. But because God cannot physically appear before people, He enlightens them or appears through nature or human beings. The Messiah is the one who resembles God the most and is the one sent by God to the world to fulfill God’s mission. Thus, when interacting with the Messiah, “you should think of God.” That is the core. If you believe and live your life thinking about God, even if a person asks for sexual relationships in the name of the Messiah, you should reject it. The Messiah is not God. God is higher than the Messiah. In other words, even if you see the Messiah, you should look at the core and see God.
Furthermore, CGM teaches that the Messiah is a missionary of salvation, who records God’s Word according to each time period. He is not God nor the Second Coming Jesus. President Jung Myung-seok says that “the perfect Messiah, the Savior, is only Jesus,” and that “the almighty Divine Being is only the Holy Trinity; human beings or a person of mission could never become God Himself.” President Jung Myung-seok himself is also a bride (the counterpart of love) of God and is a person who leads people to meet the Lord of the Second Coming perfectly.
Anyone who receives the Word becomes a god
President Jung Myung-Seok
This does not mean that humans become God Himself. As a human being, no matter who you are, if you develop yourself according to God’s Will, “you will be able to live a divine-level life’.” (As a human being, you can never become God).
2. Serve the Messiah with love instead of seeing him as a human?
What does this mean? If it means to be physically close, then tens of thousands of Providence members will go near him, and he may then be torn apart. So that’s not the right meaning. Since the Messiah receives God’s Word directly, the essence of the Messiah is the Word. “You should not live your life recklessly but be close to the Messiah” means to be close to the Word and thus be close to God. When we look at this spiritually, “to serve” does not simply mean to treat, entertain, or respect the person. As said in the Bible, “serving with love” means to offer love through your life; thus, in the recording, President Jung said, “do not treat the Lord like just another human being” but serve him. This means to live your life according to the Word, loving and serving the heavens.
3. Fruit should ripen?
The meaning of fruit in a physical love relationship is different from spiritual love. If the fruit means sexual organ in physical love, then the fruit between God and people is the brain. Love with God is done through your thoughts, life, and actions. And those thoughts, heart, and mentality commence from the brain. Therefore, in Providence, the spiritual fruit of love is the brain, that is, the heart, mentality, and thoughts.
What it means to ripen is for the person’s body and spirit to mature, for their brain, heart, thoughts, and mentality to resemble God’s thoughts, and for the person to be perfect in God’s eyes. That’s why the recording mentions “the fruit ripening” and “the thoughts ripening.” A person should fall in love when they are mature to a certain extent to avoid complications. The Bible also often references fruit as a parable for a person’s growth.
4. You say you want to do things together? Living together, a responsive life
Aim to live together. If you love, you will want to do things together. Even if God is dying to do things together with people, if people do not want it, it won’t work out. Thus, President Jung said, you should want to live with the heavens first. In other words, spiritual love with God is seen as living together.
There is also a “responsive life.” According to the purpose of creation, the doctrine of CGM, heaven and earth are in counterpart positions. Metaphorically, heaven is in the position of a man, and the earth is in the position of a woman. As it is a counterpart relationship, people are God’s counterparts of love. When a man and a woman love each other, they are happy when their counterpart is thankful. God is also content when people show responses to His Word. Being responsive means being thankful for the life we’ve been given, loving God’s Word, realizing God’s Word deeply, and taking action upon the Word in our daily lives. You should want to do it. Then, you will be able to realize the value of faith and the value of life. Thus, in a life of faith, being responsive is very important.
5. Don’t touch other people? You belong to God?
CGM views the Fall through its own doctrine on the Fall, which refers to Adam and Eve loving each other before their bodies and minds had matured to the stage God wanted. When the order of fertility and prosperity is swapped, it is viewed as the Fall. This means that the essence of human beings is God. So before centering on a physical person, one should live life centering on God first.
In Providence, if a person is still in the process of growing their faith, they learn about love through centering on God first—God who is the fundamental being of love—and engage in spiritual love with God while living their life. That process must be undergone to be able to have a perspective based on the Truth, so that even if one were alone, they would be able to control themselves with their faith, and even if they were to see the opposite sex, they would be able to see them from God’s perspective. That is the correct process.
In other words, as this Word is from God, we should not give our body to the Messiah nor engage in promiscuous sex. Instead, look at God rather than people. Learn from God first and live a life centering on God, and have a faith that centers on God.
In conclusion, this sexual promiscuity slander is used to attract people and occurs due to misunderstandings of the parable regarding spiritual love between God and human beings.
If you want to know a person’s intention, you need to know the concept behind the words the person has used. Before you start to debate, it is proper etiquette to align each other’s notions. If we have a different notion about something and start talking to each other, then even if you have endless conversations, you will only resolve it in your own way. This sexual promiscuity slander is used to attract people and occurs due to misunderstandings of the parable regarding spiritual love between God and human beings.
In the Bible, the Song of Songs describes God’s counterpart of love. There is parent-child love in the world, but there is also intense love that is inseparable, like the counterpart love between a man and a woman. God is the origin of love. All forms of natural love, from agape to eros, come from God. However, before God, eros is not a relationship between the opposite sex. It is love in life and a spiritual love that is done with the heart, mind, and thoughts. However, in the sense that the love of a counterpart relationship is exchanged between heaven and earth, rather than a one-sided love given by heaven, the love between a groom and a bride, and the love between each man and woman is used as a metaphor. Even if the Messiah has come, he would not have sex on behalf of God. If the Messiah preaches God’s Word and lives a life of faith according to the Word, then that becomes love with God.
CGM (JMS) teaches that love with God is not a physical love but brain love and a spiritual love. This is often referred to as agape love. It is unital love, knowing one’s heart and not a physical love done using your body. If it were physical love, then would male members and older men or women be able to live a life of faith in Providence? Love between God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Son cannot be a physical relationship type of love. Thus, regardless of your gender or age, no matter who you are, you can fulfill Heaven’s Will of love by having God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Son as the subjects of love. Before God, the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Son, as a bride, our love is equivalent regardless of gender or age. President Jung Myung-seok has taught about such spiritual love, and through the Word, he has helped people to feel and meet God in their daily lives. Many gentiles and people who had faith but could not feel God were able to feel him after listening to President Jung Myung-seok’s words. How could he help those people to feel God if he himself had not met God? People who had revived their faith through listening to the Word by coming to CGM churches, will know the truth about President Jung Myung-seok without having to see it with their own eyes.
“In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal” tells about “Korean cults” and uncovers Jung Myung Seok’s evil deeds. (Picture / subtitle from Netflix)
The Netflix documentary “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal” mainly speaks about “Korean cults” and introduces the deeds of 4 cult leaders. It sparked discussions as soon as it was released. Among them, there is a discussion that the new religious group founded by Jung Myung Seok (정명석), the Christian Gospel Mission, also known as Providence, has been sexually assaulting female believers. It is alleged that the victims are spread across many places, including Taiwan. In this regard, the Christian Gospel Mission Taiwan Providence Church issued a 4-point statement on the evening of today (8th), emphasizing that the female members of the Christian Gospel Mission have not been violated or selected to bathe together as reported by the media.
Taiwan’s Providence Church put forward a 4-point statement, refuting that the leader Jung Myung Seok had sexually assaulted Taiwanese women. (Picture / Recapitulated from Jung Myung Seok – Our Life Tutor Facebook)
【Full Statement of the Christian Gospel Mission – Taiwan】
The Christian Gospel Mission – Taiwan began to devote itself to the local development of Taiwan in 2009. It has worked hard to study, try and practice in the fields of sports, culture, art, and public welfare. However, it has become the focus of public opinion because of Netflix and media reports. Violence is an act of harm and destruction. It not only harms individuals, but also harms the harmony and stability of the entire society. It is really unbearable to see church members face threats of violent words and bear many attacks because of reports. We are against any form of violence!
In response to recent media reports, the Christian Gospel Mission made the following statement:
1. The female church members of the Christian Gospel Mission did not report being abused or choosing to bathe together in the media. When Next Magazine published the report in 2001, when a hundred female college students were victimized at National Chengchi University, and in 2005, when Apple Daily published a report on the sexual assault of thousands of people, there were no such incidents, no substantive evidence and no victim testimonies presented. “Nearly 100 people were victimized” and “1,000 people were sexually assaulted” are the speculations of Next Magazine and Apple Daily. The School Safety Center of the Ministry of Education, in accordance with its responsibilities, stated in the letter No. 0940180806 dated January 11, 1995, that on October 15, 1994, the School Safety Center affiliated with high school vocational schools and tertiary institutions was asked to know whether any related incidents occurred on campus. So far, no school has reported any incident of victimization of students as described by the media.
I hope everyone can examine whether the trial of the case in 2009 is really uncontroversial. In the past 14 years, the Christian Gospel Mission has worked hard to show our accurate selves and our church life, and we want more people to know us not just through the claims in the media. However, because of the case in South Korea, we are constantly being questioned.
3. I hope that the media can respect the right of privacy and the freedom of religious belief of the faithful. Because the media went to the church without permission to take pictures and disturb the personal life of the faithful, it has seriously affected the rights and interests of the faithful. I hope that the public can give the faithful space with respect. This includes the recent concert held by the “Peace Symphony Orchestra and Choir” in order to promote social care, so that people who are alienated from society and themselves due to technology advances can feel the mood conveyed by the creator through music. Instead, the people involved in this choir are being stigmatized and threatened with violent attacks. I hope that the general public will not blindly follow such claims and arbitrarily forward speculative words to encourage the spread of violence.
4. The Christian Gospel Mission sincerely apologizes to the scholars and social figures who were implicated by this media report. I also thank scholars and social leaders for giving advice in academic exchange activities. I hope that everyone can respect academic exchanges and legitimate public communication, and not use public opinion to influence the lives of scholars and social leaders.
The Christian Gospel Mission is a legal religious organization deeply rooted in Taiwan. We hope that social rumors will subside and end, and we will continue to work hard for Taiwan. May God bless this beautiful island.
It is a cardinal principle of the justice system that an accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. This principle is necessary to protect the accused’s right to liberty, to be free from incarceration, and his right to a fair trial. On the other hand, there is a need to uphold justice and protect victims. The court balances these competing interests by establishing the rule that an accused person should not be convicted until objective evidence is adduced before the court to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
In cases involving sexual offences there is often no material evidence or eyewitness evidence. This creates a problem of “he-say she-say”, where it is only the victim’s (usually a ‘she’) word against the accused (usually a ‘he’). Since there is no material evidence, the accused faces a high risk of being wrongly convicted based on the sole subjective testimony of one person. Although there are situations where the accused is truly guilty, there are also situations where the alleged victim is trying to frame the accused for certain ulterior motives. The court has to draw the proper line to balance between these two situations. Hence, in such “he-say she-say” situations, the court should only find the accused guilty only if the victim’s testimony is sufficiently clear and convincing such that the court is persuaded beyond a reasonable doubt that the victim’s version of events is true, and that the accused’s version of events is false.
The court ought to assess factors such as whether the victim’s testimony is consistent with external evidence, whether the victim’s testimony is internally consistent, whether the victim has shown a candid demeanour, and such other related factors. The court should not convict an accused solely based on a victim’s testimony if the victim is found to be an untruthful witness, if the victim’s testimony is internally inconsistent, or if the victim’s testimony contradicts other external evidence or other third-party testimony.
The beginning of allegations against President Jung
The he-say she-say problem arose when President Jung was arrested in 2007 in China by the Chinese police and investigated for allegedly raping one Ms Jang and one Ms Kim, amongst others. Jang and Kim alleged that he raped them in Ansan City (China) between 2 April to 3 April 2006. However, there was completely no material evidence to support their claims. Despite this, the Chinese police locked President Jung up for a total of 10 months, subjecting him to significant psychological and physical torture, attempting to force a false confession out of him. During those 10 months, he was prevented any contact from the external world, and members of the Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) did not even know if President Jung was still alive.
President Jung declared innocent by Chinese police
However, after 10 months, President Jung was released by the police who told him that there was no evidence of any of the rape allegations, that the allegations had likely been fabricated, and that he was free to go.
At that point, President Jung could have remained in China, or gone to another country, but out of love for his nation and his people, he chose to return to his homeland, Korea.
Korea unwilling to accept China’s decision
Regrettably, Korea was unwilling to accept the decision of the Chinese police and decided to re-investigate the case. President Jung was once again arrested, and faced charges of raping Kim and Jang, amongst other charges. Jang and Kim claimed that:
Around 29 March 2006, Jang, Kim, and some other members of the Christian Gospel Mission (CGM), went to Ansan City (China) where President Jung was residing, to put up a taekwondo demonstration.
It was alleged that around 4pm on 2 April 2006, President Jung brought Jang and two other Korean females (not including Kim) from the taekwondo team to the bathroom in the basement of his accommodations, raped them in turn, then grabbed the shower hose (with the front portion detached), turned the water on, and inserted the hose into the vagina of Jang and poked about, causing her to suffer from internal vaginal bleeding discharge injury, anxiety order and other harms.
 between 4am to 6am, President Jung brought Kim to the bathroom in his accommodation, undressed her, turned on the hot water and inserted the hose with the showerhead detached, together with his fingers, into her vagina. He then soaped his penis and her vagina and raped her. Kim claimed that her hymen and internal part of her vagina were ruptured and bleeding, and that her belly was so filled to the brim with air that she could not walk.
It was alleged that that morning, Kim told Jang about what happened, and she and Jang then decided to escape from the place. They took a taxi to the airport, where Kim called her mother and said “I was raped. Please save me”.
Jang confesses to lying and framing President Jung
Consistent with what he had done in China, President Jung maintained that he was innocent of these false accusations. The case hence went to trial. Midway through the trial, on 10 June 2008, Jang appeared in the courtroom to testify. Amongst other things, she confessed that:
She had not been raped.
She had lied to the investigation agency, according to what Kim told her to say.
She had falsely accused President Jung.
She did not voluntarily file the complaint.
Kim had told her several times that Kim had also not been raped.
Kim Do Hyung, the representative of Exodus (an anti-JMS organisation), and Kim, had made her stay in a one-room apartment where they coached her on what to say and how to act during the press conference and investigations, and did not allow her to leave the apartment apart from mealtimes or contact others.
Q: Did you, the witness, state the truth in the investigation agency? A: No. Q: Is this how you testified? A: This is how I testified, but it is not the truth. Q: After confirming that it was written as you stated, you signed and sealed it, right? A: I read it, but it is not the truth. Q: It is correct that you, the witness, filed the charge voluntarily? A: No. Q: So, are you saying that you haven’t suffered such damage? A: Yes, I have not.
Q: Is it true that you had heard from the JMS believer, Kim Ji Oon (this is a different Kim), words such as: “can Teacher insert his fingers into your vagina? Can you go to the God’s room and take of all your clothes? Pluck off all your vaginal hair”. A: I never heard these. Q: Didn’t you testify like this in the investigation agency? A: I do not remember well. At that time, Kim told me to testify like that, that is why I simply testified according to what Kim told me.
(The witness’ photo exhibited at pages 13 to 14 of the investigation record) Q: Is this your photo? A: Yes. However, it is not a photo I took because I wanted, and the injury in the photo is not an injury caused because of that (alleged) incident. Q: In that case, how did you get injured? A: It was an injury I obtained before going to China when my taekwondo department was practicing for a long period of time in Cheonan, Kim had always liked aggressive exercises and as I was Kim’s only practice counterpart we continually exercised together and during the process of tumbling I got injured. Q: In that case you are saying that you got injured during taekwondo practice? A: Yes. Q: In that case, why take that photo? A: It was taken by Kim. Q: In that case, she could have just taken her own photo, why also take your photo? A: She said to me to file a complaint together with her. Q: In that case aren’t you agreeing to file a false complaint? A: At that time, I did not want to do that, but because I was young, so when Kim who was (8 to 9 years) older than me said that, I just followed. Q: Because you are young, you didn’t even have that degree of discernment? A: I don’t know well, at that time, because Kim pressurized me, I had no choice. Q: Did Kim keep you captive, restrain you or use violence or intimidation on you? A: No matter what I said, Kim kept nudging and poking me from the side and said don’t do that. Q: Do you see this photo of your panties? A: Yes. Q: How come there is blood discharge there? A: At that time I was menstruating. Q: According to the testimony of the interpreter, Kim Nam Hee, you had started menstruating when you were being investigated at the Chinese police. But isn’t this photo before the investigation began? A: I had been menstruating for a period of time. Q: When did you start menstruating? A: It had started before I went to the (China) airport.
Q: You told the Chinese police that you had been raped? A: I had said this together with Kim, but I had actually not wanted to say this. Q: Then what was your intention? A: At that time, I had not slept even a wink at the motel near to the China airport, and in that state, whatever Kim had told me to say, I just repeated accordingly. Q: What did Kim tell you at the motel? A: She said let’s file a complaint against the accused, Jung Myung Seok, together. Q: Kim instructed you to say this and this? A: Yes. Q: Even so, you testified to the Chinese police something that didn’t even exist? A: I had not wanted to testify like this. Q: Then why did you do so? A: Kim kept nudging and prodding me from the side and told me to just believe and follow what she said.
Q: Is it true that at the hospital, you were laughing and talking together with Kim, and having a good time together? A: Yes, I was laughing and talking together with her. Q: As persons who had gone to the hospital because of body pain, were you both in a mental state to talk and laugh? Even supposing all that (the body pain) was just a pretense, you and Kim would have had to let other people believe that you were really in pain, but if you smiled and talked, how would they believe you? A: Kim didn’t think that far ahead, since Kim laughed, I followed and laughed too.
Q: Until now I have been asking you about the facts in your complaint, therefore, are you confessing that you have lodged a false complaint? If you lodge a false complaint, you can be punished for perjury, did you not know this? A: My heart has been very frustrated because of this therefore I cancelled the complaint. Q: Is it correct that you cancelled the complaint? A: Yes, because I wanted to, I cancelled it. Q: If what you say is true, and if the complaint was false, then the accused Jung Myung Seok has been very wrongfully imprisoned, isn’t it? A: Yes. That is why my heart feels nothing but apologetic.
Questions by lawyer, Jung Ik Woo
Q: If you look at the investigation record, a complaint sheet was tendered with yours and Kim’s name, was that complaint written? A: Yes it was written, but not because I wanted. Q: If that is the case, who wrote that? A: I wrote it because Kim told me to write it.
Q: Who wrote this explanation? A: Kim wrote it. Q: Is it correct that Kim wrote it? A: It seems that this was written based on what Kim said, as for who wrote it I am not sure, but these were not my words.
Q: Kim’s mother greatly disliked the accused Jung Myung Seok and the Christian Gospel Mission, do you know this? A: Yes Kim has told me this before.
Q: You lodged a complaint and were investigated at Mapo police station? A: Yes. Q: At that time, Kim and her mother were also seated and received the investigation together? A: Kim and her mother were there too. Q: At that time, was Kim’s mother by the side interfering and persuading you to speak about the complained incident? A: More than Kim’s mother, Kim did that to me.
Q: Is it true that you lived with Kim together in a one-room apartment in Shin-lim-dong? A: Yes. Q: Who paid the rent for the apartment? A: Exodus (an anti-CGM organization) paid it. Q: Did Exodus also pay for meals? A: Yes. Q: During this period of living together, did they (Exodus) prevent you from contacting outside persons? A: Yes. At that time, Kim said not to contact others, even my mother, as much as possible, and she also said that she would also not contact others. And she also said not to inform (anyone) where I was. Q: Was it people from Exodus or was it Kim who said that? A: I came to hear it as the two of them were talking. Q: During the camp, did Kim Do Hyung and Kim talk to you and teach you what to testify and how to act during the press conference and investigations? A: Yes.
Q: Can you tell us whatever you remember of what they said? A: I cannot remember the details, but Kim told me to see what she says and to follow accordingly. Q: During the time of lodging together, did you tell them that this was not the truth, but Kim told you that “since this has already happened, just do according to what I order you and lets push forward just like what we had said previously”? A: Yes. Kim said things like this to me. Q: During the time of lodging together, did you want to leave, and were frustrated and stressed? A: Yes. When I was there, I received a lot of stress. Q: How long were you at the Shin-lim-dong accommodations before you left? A: It was about one month. Q: Were you together with Kim even after you left that place? A: After about one month, I said that I wanted to see my mother, and that my mother was feeling very unwell so I had to go home. At that time, Kim and Kim Do Hyung had a discussion and then said let’s go together, and we went together to my house.
Q: In that case, you were together with Kim at your house? A: Yes. Q: Do you remember what kind of conversations you had with Kim during the time you were together at your house in Yong-dong? A: I didn’t converse with Kim about anything in particular. Kim spent the time at my house exercising, reading and studying. Q: If that is the case, why did Kim have to continually stay with you? A: I don’t know. She prevented me from receiving incoming calls, and even though I said that I really wanted to meet people, she made it such that I couldn’t meet them, and was looking over me from the side.
Questions by lawyer, Lee Yeon Rang.
Q: You were together with Kim for quite a long while in China and from hearing your testimony today, you say that you lodged together with Kim even in Korea too, did Kim really say that she had been raped by the accused Jung Myung Seok, or did she say that actually she had not been raped? A: After returning to Korea, maybe in Shin-lim-dong, or if not maybe before that, and also sometime once when I went to Kim’s house to play, Kim whispered to me that actually she had not been raped, and at that time I was shocked. Q: Did she say this often? A: She said this frequently, and while telling me not to misunderstand, she said that she had not been raped.
Q: Did the people you met from Exodus say to you that they will receive huge compensation sum and give it to you? A: More than me, it was usually Kim who spoke to the Exodus people. Q: What did Kim do for the one month that you were in Shin-lim-dong? A: Kim Do Hyung from Exodus and Kim told me “rest, something will happen to JMS”. Q: They locked you up and while showing you and Kim the Exodus website, made you receive education right? A: Kim told me to watch together with her and frequently opened the Exodus website to see.
Q: Before going to China, when practicing and lodging with Kim in Cheonan, Kim taught you the new self-defense techniques that she had newly familiarized with, such as neck choking, right? A: Kim always followed what the guys did, and since her first practice partner was always me, I got a lot of bruises and body ache. Q: Kim is very aggressive? A: Yes. She is very much like that. Q: Kim also demonstrated very impressive backflips, right? A: She was very good. Q: Even after arriving in China, you and Kim were the representatives of the Taekwondo Department to demonstrate self-defense techniques in front of the accused, Jung Myung Seok, and others, and practiced fervently for this demonstration, right? A: Yes.
Q: Looking at the 7 April 2006 treatment records of Kim at the police hospital after she returned to Korea, at that time, her hymen was still intact and it was difficult to believe her statement that she had sexual relations with the accused Jung Myung Seok. You said that in truth, Kim had never had sexual relations with the accused Jung Myung Seok, right? A: Yes. Kim said this to me directly.
Questions by lawyer, Ham Gui Yong
Q: You said that you received a lot of stress when you were lodging in Shin-lim-dong for a month. Was the reason because you were so-called imprisoned there and not allowed to have external contact? Or because of what happened in China? A: Kim excessively/ overbearingly prevented me from making external contact and said that apart from mealtimes, let’s not go out. Because that place was a one-room apartment, if we raise our voice even slightly, the people in the adjacent apartment can hear it.
Q: If you look at the photo you saw earlier, there is a photo of Kim with her stomach protruding, did you take that? A: I didn’t know that Kim’s stomach was pain. Q: I tried an experiment and ate a lot for dinner, and took a photo after choosing a good angle and while sticking out my stomach, and looking at the photo, my stomach seems as if protruding. With what method was Kim’s photo taken? A: We returned to the accommodations immediately after dinner and took the photo. Q: Such photo can be taken by sticking out the body part and choosing a good angle. So how was this taken? A: No special angle was used, but Kim stuck out her stomach and took the photo. Q: After the dawn of 3 April, was Kim’s belly protruding? A: She drinks a lot of water.
Q: According to your testimony today, you had lied to the investigation agency and you feel very uncomfortable and anxious because of lying throughout this time, right? A: I really like people but because of one person, Kim, it is regrettable that things turned out like this.
Closing questions by Prosecution
Prosecutor To witness Q: You, the witness, admitted that you committed the crime of falsely accusing the accused, Jung Myung Seok, right? A: I would like to say that I am sorry. Q: In that case, you accept that you will bear the punishment for that, right? A: Yes. Judge Notice of decision to lift the disclosure restriction. 2008.6.10. Court Chief OOO Chief Judge OOO
Decision by the Seoul Central Local Court
As a result of Jang’s confession to lying and falsely incriminating President Jung, Jang’s charges were withdrawn by the Prosecution. This means that President Jung was acquitted of all charges pertaining to Jang.
Furthermore, the Seoul Central Local Court found that Kim had exaggerated the contents of her testimony, and acquitted President Jung of rape causing bodily hurt to Kim. In other words, the judge had decided that Kim had lied:
그런데 증인 송철호, 김남희 등의 법정진술, 의무기록 사본의 기재, 대한 의사 협회장의 2008년 6월 27일 사실 조회 회신 및 경찰 병원장의 2008년 5월 19일 자 사실 조회 회신 중 김XX에 관한 부분의 각 기재에 의하면 인정되는 아래와 같은 사정에 비추어 위 1)항 증거들 중 피해자 김XX 진술은 이를 그대로 믿기 어렵고 피고인의 판시 제 4항과 같은 행위로 피해자가 질 내 파열상, 외상 후 스트레스 장애등의 상해를 입었다고 단정하기에는 부족하다.
However, the court testimony of witnesses such as Song Chul Ho and Kim Nam Hee, the medical record copies, the segments relating to Kim in the Korea Medical Association President’s reply to factual inquiries on 27 June 2008 and the police’s hospital director’s reply to factual inquiries on 19 May 2008 affirm the circumstances as set out below. In light of these circumstances (set out below), it is difficult to simply believe the testimony of Kim as set out above in the 1) section, and there is insufficiency (of evidence) to prove that the accused, through actions set out in paragraph 4 of the judgment, had caused the victim to have internal vagina rupture injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
피해자가 가해 내용을 과장하기 위해 배가 불룩하게 나온 것이 피고인의 행위로 인한 것이라고 진술할 것으로 보인다.
In light of such circumstances, it seems that the victim had testified that her belly bloatedness was caused by the accused’s actions, in order to exaggerate the contents of her victimization.
These are the reasons why the judge decided that Kim was exaggerating (which is in effect saying that she had lied):
Kim’s examining doctor testified, and the pertaining medical records showed, that she did not suffer such injuries. According to the medical records of the police hospital where the victim received treatment around 14:00 on 8 April 2006 (five days after she was allegedly raped), Kim received a uterus examination but it was recorded that there were no particular opinions of injuries to the uterus, cervix, vulva, hymen or such body parts. Doctor Song Chul Ho who treated the victim testified that if there had been an injury, it would have been known, stated and recorded in the medical records. According to the police hospital director’s reply to factual inquiries on 19 May 2008, in the section relating to Kim, if she had indeed suffered from large amounts of bleeding, it is difficult for her internally ruptured vagina to heal within 5 days leaving no trace whatsoever.
Medical experts testified that it was not likely for water to inflate her belly. The victim testified that water was inserted through her vagina and her belly became bloated. However, according to the records relating to Kim in the 19 May 2008 police hospital director’s reply to factual inquiries, in the situation where water is inserted through the vagina using a showerhead, only an extremely small amount of water would end up in the abdomen. According to the records pertaining to Kim in the 27 June 2008 Korea Medical Association President’s reply to factual inquiries, where water is inserted through the vagina, it is generally not an expected situation for the water to enter the uterus or the abdomen. According to the medical records of the police hospital, it is recorded that the victim had suspected symptoms of diarrhoea and acute gastroenteritis. Further, according to the records pertaining to Kim in the 19 May 2008 police hospital director’s reply to factual inquiries, the abdomen could have been inflated due to the diarrhoea and acute gastroenteritis. In light of such circumstances, it seems that the victim had testified that her belly bloatedness was caused by the accused’s actions, in order to exaggerate the contents of her victimization.
The prosecution chose to withhold her diagnosis reports. The victim testified to the police that she was hospitalized due to the mental shock that she received from this case, and had even submitted the diagnosis report. However, the prosecution did not apply for the diagnosis report to be admitted as evidence for this case, and also did not submit it. The victim also said that she would submit another different diagnosis report. However, the prosecution also did not apply to submit this as evidence. If the victim had hospital reports that supported her claim, it does not seem likely that the prosecution would not submit it as objective evidence.
The blood on her panties could be due to menstruation. The victim showed a photo of blood on her panties and argued that this was caused by her internal vaginal injury. However, Kim Nam Hee, the translator in charge at the time when the victim was being investigated at the China airport and when she was receiving treatment at the hospital, testified that during the process of translation, she had heard the victim say that she was in menstruation.
However, the judge went on to make a contradictory decision. On one hand, although the judge had explicitly stated that Kim’s testimony had been exaggerated (which in effect means that she had lied), the judge went on to say that Kim’s testimony was credible.
위와 같이 피해자 김XX이 일관되게 피해 내용을 매우 구체적으로 진술하고 있고 그 내용은 당시의 상황을 직접 경험한 사람이 아니면 진술하기 어려운 내용이며 피해를 당한 이후 피해자의 행적이나 기타 법정에서의 진술 태도나 모습 등에서도 특별히 부자연스러운 면이 없다.
Similar to the above, the victim Kim’s testimony was consistent and very detailed regarding the victimization, and it would be difficult for a person who did not directly experience that situation to testify such content. There is also nothing particularly unnatural about the victim’s behaviour after the victimization and the victim’s attitude or appearance whilst testifying in court, amongst others.
As a result, the judge convicted President Jung of raping Kim (without bodily hurt), even though Jang had already testified in the courtroom that Kim had told Jang that Kim had never been raped.
Decision by the Seoul High Court
On appeal, the Korean High Court confirmed that “there is no worthy evidence to affirm that the victim suffered from internal vaginal rupture or post-traumatic stress disorder as stated in the charge”, and acquitted President Jung of rape causing bodily injury to Kim.
However, the Korean High Court confirmed that President Jung was guilty of raping Kim.
Decision by the the Seoul Supreme Court
The Seoul Supreme Court confirmed these decisions.
The injustice suffered by President Jung
The judge should not have convicted President Jung primarily based on Kim’s verbal testimony, with no other corroborating witness evidence, and no material evidence.
The witnesses do not support the charge. According to the original version of Kim and Jang, there were multiple victims who had been raped during the same period in Ansan. Hence, it is strange why only Kim and Jang came forth to bring charges against President Jung, while the other alleged victims at Ansan never came forth to bring charges. Eventually, there were only three witnesses regarding the Ansan events, Kim, Jang, and President Jung. Two out of three, President Jung and Jang, both testified that these events never happened. Notably, Jang had confessed, at the risk of being charged with perjury, that she had actually been lying and falsely incriminating President Jung. If Jang had truly been a victim of rape, there was no good reason she would make such a confession to save her rapist, at risk of landing herself in jail. Jang also testified in the courtroom that Kim and Kim Do Hyung had brought her to an Exodus camp to coach her about what to say and act during the investigations. All this supports that the charges had been orchestrated by a mastermind, Kim Do Hyung, who was part of the anti-JMS organisation, Exodus. Ultimately, the only witness testimony was that of Kim.
Unfortunately, the judge believed Kim’s testimony, which was not credible and should not have been believed. There were many problems with Kim’s testimony:
The local court judge himself found that Kim had been exaggerating, and disbelieved Kim that she had suffered the alleged medical injuries. He acquitted President Jung of rape causing bodily injury, explaining that the objective evidence showing that Kim did not suffer those bodily injuries. Since the evidence showed that Kim was lying in respect of those injuries, the judge should also have considered that she was also lying about the rape.
Kim’s testimony was directly contradicted by Jang. Kim claimed that she had told Jang about the rape and that they had escaped from President Jung’s accommodations together. However, Jang testified in court that Kim had confessed to her that Kim was never raped or assaulted.
Kim’s testimony contradicted her statement to the Chinese police. The recorded transcript of the statement made by Kim to the Chinese police showed that Kim had testified that President Jung’s penis did not enter her vagina, and Kim had said that only his finger entered her vagina. This is of tremendous importance as it is contemporaneous evidence given in China shortly after the alleged rape, about the key question of whether his penis entered her vagina (which is necessary to prove rape). The judge knew of this transcript. However, he chose to believe Kim’s lame explanation at trial that she had told the Chinese police “the accused’s penis did not perfectly enter my vagina”, which was why they recorded it that way. However, it is not understandable what is the difference between “perfectly” entering the vagina and “imperfectly” entering the vagina. It either entered the vagina or it did not. Kim’s explanation is not believable. In any case, even if she had said that to the Chinese police, the Chinese police should have recorded that it did not perfectly enter her vagina. Instead, they recorded that only his finger entered her vagina. The Chinese record hence contradicts Kim’s testimony at trial, suggesting that she had fabricated the rape allegations only later on.
It is strange why Kim’s mother was not called to testify although Kim said that she called her mother in China to tell her about the rape. There was lack of corroboration of Kim’s evidence.
The judge observed that “the victim can be seen to be smiling in a video taken on the day that the victim ran away from the accused’s accommodations”. Such behaviour is not consistent with someone who had been raped a few hours ago. The judge did not sufficiently consider this point.
The judge also accepted that Kim had received help from Exodus during the process of lodging the case and testifying about the victimization. This supports Jang’s evidence that Kim was in cahoots with Exodus to coach Jang what to say during investigation and trial, to frame President Jung.
It is not logical that a youthful and strong Taekwondo black-belt holder like Kim would allow herself to be victimized in the way she described by an elderly man almost twice her age, when a roundhouse kick to his head would likely have made him unconscious.
Not only was Kim’s evidence insufficient, but there was also strong evidence showing that President Jung was framed by Exodus:
In a recorded conversation, the representative of Exodus said that if President Jung were to give him 2 billion won, he could drop all charges:
Jang testified in the courtroom that Kim had told her that Kim had not been raped, and that it was Kim and Kim Do Hyung of Exodus who coached her what to say and how to act during investigations, and that she did not bring the claim voluntarily. There is no good reason why she would put herself at risk of being charged just to protect her rapist. Her testimony should be seen as more credible than Kim’s.
The judge acknowledged that Kim had received help from Exodus during the process of lodging the case and testifying about the victimization.
Wisdom is to judge and discern by looking at both sides and to judge and discern by looking at all the evidence and factors in totality. If we are obsessed with only one person’s subjective view point or one piece of the puzzle, we fail to appreciate the truth that is formed by putting all the pieces of the puzzle together.
Assessing this case holistically, there is a strong possibility that Kim had been lying, and that she had conspired to frame President Jung. There was a reasonable doubt as to President Jung’s innocence, and he should have been declared innocent.
The famous adage goes: history always repeats itself. More than four thousand years ago, a righteous man of God, Joseph, was framed for the alleged rape of his master’s wife and thrown in prison for more than a decade. But God loved and protected him, ultimately blessed him, and used him to save his people from the severe 7-year famine. In the same way, President Jung, a righteous man of God, was framed and bore the cross for sharing the words of God and saving lives. Despite all this, God has protected him through the ten years of the cross and today, he has fulfilled an even greater history of God.
I’m going to talk about what I experienced when I met Peter Daley when he visited Wolmyeongdong during the 2006 summer retreat. Even though it was 10 years, my memory of Peter is very clear because of all the shocking lies I saw later on his website.
I visited Wolmyeongdong to attend the summer retreat. It was the retreat for the military members’ department in Providence, and since the department was not that big, there weren’t many people there. So I sat in front of the lawn, and then I saw a westerner / foreigner – Peter.
I approached him and then introduced myself and asked him things like, “Where are you from?” “What are you doing in Korea?” and “How did you come here?” (Note: Pastor Hwajung served as a translator in Wolmyeongdong and helped foreign visitors regularly)
I am a middle aged married man living in USA. I have seen Peter Daley’s website and some of the videos he put up. Instead of being confused, I found what he has put up to be very distasteful, offensive, out of context, and often fabricated. With the whole issue of fake news these days following President Trump’s elections, I think people can appreciate how fake news can be more sensationalistic and popular that the real news. I will use a video that Daley created, and explain from my perspective of what it reveals about Daley and his credibility.
Tabloid newspapers in South Korea have published untruthful comments about women in Providence Religious Movement, known as ‘evergreens’. These tabloids claimed that ‘evergreens’ are ‘500 to 1000 women groomed for sexual exploitation by Jung Myung Seok’ , ‘sex bribes,’ and ‘sexual favors’. These tabloids made no attempt to verify those allegations, before publishing them.
False Reports causing public contempt
There are no, and has never been any evidence or proof of, ‘sex bribes’, ‘sexual favors’ or ‘sexual exploitations’ ever occurring. A few individuals fabricated these claims. The false claims were made so that the media would publish, and thus, generate public contempt for Jung Myung Seok and Providence religious movement. These claims are no more than tabloid gossip. Such claims especially contradict the fundamental tenet of Providence–abstaining from sexual immorality.
The Reality is Different: Resolving controversies about Providence Church Korea’s “Brides”
Recent news stories about Providence Church Korea and Jung Myung Seok have made headlines out of claims that members of the Church are groomed to be ‘brides’ for its leader. This led to the misreporting of Jung Myung Seok as a religious leader who is a womanizer. Fortunately, the reality is very different from these news stories.
The concept of ‘brides’ stems from the Bible. Multiple parts of the Bible depict the relationship between God and people as ‘husband and wife’ (see Isaiah 54:5) ‘bride and bridegroom’ (see Revelations 21:2) and enriches it with imageries such as a ‘wedding banquet’ (see Revelations 19:7). This is the Holy Bible, the authoritative text, that served as the fundamental tenets of Judaism (in part) and Christianity. For anyone who knows the Bible, referring to oneself as the bride of God is nothing new and far from committing religious controversy.