Christians on Trial – Pastor Joshua Jung Myung Seok

1. Pastor Joshua Jung Myung Seok

Imprisoned in China

[img: Pastor Joshua Jung Myung Seok]
Pastor Joshua Jung Myung Seok
The founder and teacher of Christian Gospel Mission (also known as Providence) Pastor Joshua Jung Myung Seok has been preaching for some time now about the Lord’s Second Coming. He has also organized many worldwide events for cultural exchange and has preached in various parts of the world ever since 1999. However, in May 2007, he was arrested in China and thrown into prison based on some misunderstandings. He does not often tell of what he endured in China and it is rare that many people can understand unless they themselves have been through such torment, but he does occasionally tell stories of how God helped him to get through such difficult experiences.

2. Tried in the Korean court system

After a year of imprisonment and interrogations, China found him innocent of all charges and released him. Before his release, he was asked if he would like to stay in China or face charges in Korea. He chose to go to trial in Korea. [1] There was concern that he would not receive a fair trial in Korea because even though South Korea is a democratic nation their court system is very different from the western court system. They don’t have trial by jury. In American courts, you are typically deemed guilty by a group of common citizens chosen by the lawyers. A jury of your peers listens to both sides, discuss with one another, and you can only be considered guilty if the entire jury votes unanimously against you. Those in the jury aren’t allowed to hear anything they say about you in the news or be influenced in any way outside the court. In Korea, there is no trial by jury but instead everything is decided by the judge and open to the public. For this reason, public perception has a large influence on trial decisions. In the case of Joshua Jung Myung Seok, a combination of irresponsible journalism and erroneous court decision had resulted in an unfair trial.

Some of the accusations were too ridiculous to believe. But no matter how outlandish they were, the news would print and broadcast the rumors causing many problems for Providence. Korea Providence as well as Taiwan Providence even sued the news media for libel and unfair abuse of reputation. As a result, the Taiwanese newspaper released an official apology. In Korea, a court also ruled in favor of the church ordering the following: 1) the media must not use one-sided material provided by the informer and others; 2) the media must inform the organization 48 hours before broadcasting; 3) the media must guarantee 5% of the broadcasting time to [the Church] so that their rebuttal will also be aired; 4) if these orders are violated, the media must pay damages in the amount of 30 million won (about the equivalent of $30,000)  for each violation. The court decision acknowledging the media’s errors and biased reporting was not made widely known to viewers.

But the damage to the public’s perception of the Pastor Joshua Jung Myung Seok’s reputation was already done. His case was a far more difficult case to try than that of his church’s case against the media, because many of those who made the accusations against him refused to show in court. Those who did testify in court didn’t have a consistent story. One person who witnessed the trial described how the stories had such obvious contradictions that at one point the judge even stopped the witness and addressed her with this comment, “Please understand, that if you change your story again like this it is very possible that this bad man could go free. So do you want to continue with the story as you just told it?”

[image: Anti-JMS confession letters]
Apology letter from Jeong’s accuser
At one point, an alleged victim completely reversed the statements that she had given to the police and the prosecutor’s office, completely denying the allegations she had previously made. Even though the court warned her saying, “If your testimony differs from the contents of your written statement, you could be penalized,” and the alleged victim replied, “I’m fine even if I will be penalized.” She admitted to having filed a false complaint and confessed to having given false testimonies until now. [2]

The judges concluded that they couldn’t trust the words of anyone who belonged to the church due to the fact that it was a religious organization and Pastor Joshua Jung was the founder. No matter who or what was testified on behalf of Jung, the court wouldn’t consider it valid.

There were five alleged victims. Jung was deemed innocent in relation to one alleged victim, the court found that another alleged victim was exaggerating and partially rejected her complaints, and the judges decided that he was partially guilty in relation to the other three persons.

The court relied only on the testimony of the complainants and not on any evidence presented. It was revealed that the complainants had made up evidence to exaggerate and falsify. Even though it was exposed that the witnesses were unsavory enough to concoct evidence in an attempt to strengthen their argument, the judges accepted the charges brought by the complainants.

Jung maintained that he was innocent no matter how much the complainants claimed they were victims or how credible their testimonies might have seemed. He did not ask for a lighter sentence by asking for mercy. In fact, that attitude seemed contemptible to the judge who was already suspicious of Jung’s innocence. The judge held Jung more culpable for not admitting guilt or attempting to comfort the female complainants.

Hence, in April 2009, the court sentenced him to 10 years in prison. Joshua Jung declined to plead guilty because he held that he was absolutely not guilty even 1%. He did not risk any plea bargaining for proof of full innocence and took the full 10 year sentence. He said that he would carry the cross just as Jesus did not decline to walk the path of Calvary.

3. Joshua Jung’s situation in prison.

While in prison, Joshua Jung Myung Seok prays 3 hours before going to sleep, he sleeps 3 hours each night and wakes up at 1am to pray at least 3 hours or more each morning. On days when he writes the Sunday or Wednesday message he prays as much as 5 to 8 hours. He exercises, sings, and writes proverbs, poems, songs, and letters everyday. He lived in a very small cell by himself and spends most of his time alone. He was only allowed out on the exercise field for one hour each day so he also exercises in his room. He told one visitor that he does 700 squats a day, overhead arm raises, and he runs in place on top of that. He was in his mid 60’s but those who had seen him say he looked far younger than when they saw him before. They also described his intense gaze. They say that his eyes are so focused and he looks so young that it is shocking and indescribable. Those who worked with him in the past say that his schedule may sound impossible but they confirm that he has always worked intensely like this even in the past.

Just as Paul managed the early church through a ministry of writing letters, Pastor Joshua too had written letters to the Providence churches in 50 nations and writing the Sunday and Wednesday messages. With fewer distractions than those of us in the outside world he was able to spend most of his time spiritually focusing on and connecting with Jesus. For this reason Jesus is able to speak very powerfully through the messages we receive. Jesus urges us to prepare for the Second Coming by making ourselves pure through repentance.

With the last days at hand and Jesus’ second coming so close he says that we must live with a sense of urgency and immediately repent, pray, and prepare for the Lord in our daily lives.

(Note: Pastor Jung Myung Seok was released from prison in 2018 and has continued his endless dedication to doing God’s work and taking care of numerous flocks of people)

About the Author of this Article

[photo: Shaun McMillan]Shaun D. McMillan graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Animation & Media Arts in Los Angeles, CA and has worked as a professional animator, game artist, and web designer at various different studios. He’s also taught as a college art instructor, and computer art classes for 6 years as a highschool teacher. He has also designed and published multiple educational games.

Related Pages

About Joshua Jeong Myung Seok

This is a brief biography of Joshua Jeong Myung Seok’s life leading up to the events described above. It gives a brief description of his background, his army service in the Vietnam war, and lists a few of his achievements including the founding and establishing of Providence Church around the world.

Legal Details of Pastor Jung’s Trial

This is a detail analysis backed by court documents on the injustice experienced by Pastor Jung in the trial – pointing to the questionable outcomes of that trial. Notably, it was incredulous that an alleged victim confessed to framing Pastor Jung and said that there was a mastermind framing Pastor Jung. The judge’s judgment was even more incredulous. Read more.

Footnotes

[1] In the Sunday message for February 27, 2010 Jeong explained that originally he did not want to return to Korea  upon release in China. But when the Justice Department of China sent an official to find out his final decision, Jeong ultimately decided to face trial in Korea once released from China.

Other Related Articles

[image: Joshua Jeong Myung Seok in the News]

[2] JMS in the News: Full Report Reveals All

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