While there has been significant negative press in the media about Pastor Joshua Jeong Myeong Seok (Jung Myung Seok) due to sensationalism and questionable journalism, there have also been numerous press releases that provide the counter perspective from the point of view of third-party journalists as well as Providence.
Here is the timeline of the background events and these news releases about Pastor Jung Myung Seok:
First Wave of Media Allegations
1999 SBS (Korea), instigated by Mr. Kim, made sexual allegations against Pastor Jung in a broadcast. Pastor Jung traveled overseas for missionary work during this period as well. Following this first broadcast, overseas news media jumped on the bandwagon and broadcasted sexual allegations against Pastor Jung. After these allegations, the Christian Gospel Mission (CGM) sued SBS for its report. Nonetheless, conflict and confusion among members ensued.
Pastor Jung was also accused of ‘fleeing’ overseas. However, the sexual assault charges were in fact dismissed by the prosecutors involved, and Pastor Jung was able to travel overseas lawfully. He returned to Korea several times during his travels and was investigated by the prosecutors about his travels. In these ways, the news broadcasted about Jung Myung Seok was different from the facts. [ref] [ref: Yonhap News 16 Mar 2015]
Formal Charges against Pastor Jung
2001 Formal charges were made against Pastor Jung, while he was missionizing overseas.
2006 April SBS issued another broadcast, led again by Mr. Kim, that made new sexual allegations against Pastor Jung in China. South Korea puts Pastor Jung on the international wanted list and asked China to extradite him.
2006 April Ms. Jang and Ms. Kim, the alleged victims, undertook a medical examination in a hospital, while under Chinese police protection. The examination resulted in a finding of no traces of sexual assault. The Korean Police Hospital did a subsequent check on Ms. Jang and Ms. Kim and found no traces of sexual assault. Hence, the case amounted to nothing. However, South Korea’s extradition request for Pastor Jung remained. [Ref: Feb 2010 Minjung News, News Daily, and Break News].
Imprisonment of Pastor Jung in China (Without Trial)
2007 Pastor Jung was arrested by China based on the extradition request, and put him in prison for 10 months without a trial.
Extradition to Korea, Trial and 10 Years Sentencing of Pastor Jung (Without Evidence)
2008 The Chinese Government did not find Pastor Jung guilty of breaking local laws, and released Pastor Jung in February to be extradited back to South Korea to stand charges. He was subsequently tried for 5 charges by 5 women. One of those women making the charge, Ms. Jang (from the 2006 April allegations), admitted to fraud and dropped her charge, and pointed out that the other women too were committing fraud. There was no evidence for Ms. Kim’s allegations (from the 2006 April allegations). [Ref: Feb 2010 Minjung News, News Daily, and Break News] Nevertheless, the judge, making his decision in the face of a negative public opinion because of the media distortions, sentenced Pastor Jung to 6 years imprisonment in August. He was judged as guilty for three out of five charges made against him (all of which were based only on verbal evidences).
Pastor Jung denied all the remaining 3 charges and appealed to the high court. However, the court held the sentence, and added back Ms. Kim’s charge (making it four out of five charges) against Pastor Jung because he was deemed as unrepentant, thus increasing the sentence to 10 years. [Ref: Feb 2010 Minjung News, News Daily, and Break News]
In prison, Pastor Jung continued to write sermons, letters and pray for Providence members, according to the allowed rules. [Ref: Uri News 2013 Nov]
Third Party Reporters Report Serious Issues with the Trial
2010 Third party news reporters reported serious issues with the trial in the following articles. Some called for a retrial but to no avail.
2010 Feb 12: [News Daily] “The truth concealed behind the 10 year sentence of Jung Myung Seok, Chairman of Christian Gospel Mission (JMS) – Part 1: Falsified News Report by SBS.”
2010 Feb 15: [Break News] “Jung Myung Seok case needs a retrial.”
2010 Feb 26: [News Daily] “The truth concealed behind the 10 year sentence of Jung Myung Seok, Chairman of Christian Gospel Mission (JMS) – Part 2: Ms. Y falsely claimed herself to be a victim of sexual assault by Chairman Jung, but confessed the truth in court.”
2010 Mar 31: [News Daily] “The truth concealed behind the 10 year sentence of Jung Myung Seok, Chairman of Christian Gospel Mission (JMS) – Part 3: The 20 billion won request from K.”
Court Ruled 1999 Broadcasts Biased, but Irreversible Damage Done
2010 September The Korean Court ruled that SBS was biased and relied entirely on Mr. Kim’s one-sided report, and that it should not have aired the broadcast in 1999. However, this ruling was not known to the public. Pastor Jung, who was already branded a criminal by public opinion and imprisoned, had continued to suffer because of the media. The footages aired by SBS in 1999 turned out to be distortions of the original video, crafted by video editing. The media company had depicted President Jung Myung Seok as a leader with sexual problems in its broadcast by editing a portion of Jung’s Sunday sermon from 1995. [Ref: Jeong Gyeong News 2012]
Second Wave of Media Allegations & Charges (Dismissed Due to No Evidence)
2011 The media focus on Pastor Jung waned after his imprisonment in 2008. Out of the blue in 2011, organizations such as ‘Anti-JMS’ began to demand money from CGM for compensation and attacked Jung with new charges like sexual assault, terrorism, and other misdemeanors. Mr. Kim, together with a few ex-providence members, made allegations against Jung with the release of an obscene alleged internal video of CGM at a press conference. This spurred over 10 investigations on Pastor Jung.
2012 As the investigations were ongoing, third party reporters reported about the questionable motives of Mr. Kim and the ‘Anti-JMS’ organizations who placed new charges on Pastor Jung:
2012 March: [Minjung News] “Jung Myung Seok follows only Jesus”
2012 Oct After concluding 10 investigations, the Korean Court eventually dismissed all the charges made against Jung in October 2012 because there was no evidence. The obscene video turned out to be edited and pieced together of different footages that causes a misperception that all members were living in ways that are contradictory to their religious life. The video manipulated two different videos from 2007, a festival event where Jung was wearing formal attire, and a second low-resolution video that had nothing to do with Jung. [Minjung News] Controversies about ‘evergreens’ were also refuted. [News n Joy]. The final verdict was reported in the following:
Third Wave of Media Allegations (Dismissed Due to No Evidence)
2013 Just as the media attention on Pastor Jung began to die again, fresh allegations were made against Pastor Jung for receiving preferential treatment in prison. The Minister of Justice deemed these allegations as speculations, and news reports irresponsible and groundless. News reports on this:
2013 Nov 6: [Hyundae News] (Original in Korean)
2013 Nov 14: [Daejeon City Journal] (Original in Korean)
Fourth Wave of Media Allegations
2014 Peter Daley, an Australian who marketed himself as a “cult expert”, published accusations against Pastor Jung and CGM on his own website. Additionally, he supplied these allegations to news agencies. SBS (Australia) broadcasted this as a one-sided story that was completely without evidence. Other unreliable news media like the Daily Mail also published Daley’s allegations. This once again tarnished CGM and Pastor Jung’s reputation. CGM released an official reply in the following video:
2017: Media Apologies and the Vindication of Pastor Jung?
2018 July: Peter Daley Apologizes to Providence Church
2022: Fifth Wave of Baseless Allegations Against Pastor Jung
2022 Mar 16: Mr. Kim, former head of anti-Providence group called EXODUS, organizes a press conference making baseless allegations against Pastor Jung again. Mr. Kim had previously extorted money and revealed to have questionable personal motives for his crusade (see news here). He recruited 2 ex-members who made sexual allegations that are not based on any evidence.
2022 Mar 30: A reporter with News.com.au posted a highly misleading article regarding serious allegations about CGM’s Australian churches.
2022 April to October: Police conducts periodic investigations with Pastor Jung, who is fully cooperative.
2022 July: JTBC (Korea) featured a provocative broadcast featuring a misleading audio clip. (A CGM member explains why the clip distorts the truth)
2022 October till now: Pastor Jung is detained by police for investigations. Pre-trials begin in late 2022.
2023 Mar 3: Even though the pre-trial is ongoing, Netflix features the series “In the name of God: A Holy Betrayal”, which features 3 episodes of one-sided accusations against Pastor Jung. The series features a completely one-sided account of Pastor Jung, built on the narrative provided Kim Do Hyung, the mastermind who had previously attempted to extort money from Providence and was revealed to have questionable personal motives for his crusade (see news here and here). He also recruited at least 2 ex-members who made sexual allegations that were not based on any evidence, which was revealed in the 2008 court testimony not featured by Netflix. Kim Do Hyung assembles largely the same accusers from the past, and the series mixes in two new alleged victims (Maple and Amy) to connect the narrative from the past. However, they bring mainly verbal accusations, with only one actual concrete evidence (an audio recording) that has not been accepted in court because of many issues surrounding the audio file’s evident manipulation (see Article 1 and Article 2).
Christian Gospel Mission features a series of articles and videos explaining the other side of the story. (Articles: Detailed opinion article, Opinion, Taiwan CGM statement, Videos: Investigative Series (Ep. 1 to 9) – Turn on Eng Subtitles)
“Come to Play, Kim Won Hee” YouTube Channel shares the truth and facts behind the Netflix series “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal: Playlist with English Subtitles
2023 July 2: 7NEWS Spotlight (Australian) features a one-sided video that follows on Netflix “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal” narratives, rebranding it to focus on a few Australian ex-members, one of whom was featured in Netflix. 7NEWS also claims to have infiltrated into CGM locations and to be the first in the world to do so, and hence boasted exclusive footages. This is irresponsible and misrepresents the fact that 7NEWS was invited by CGM to film those locations (just like CGM had done with other news media before like this one) with a mutual agreement that 7NEWS would present things more objectively, which 7NEWS had broken without due regard. CGM HQ and Australia CGM have issued statements in response. Opinion article here.