Recognizing a cult in America is not always so easy. Americans tend to be drawn to groups who seem generous, have a clear vision, and do charity work. Today I came across an article that highlights one such cult group, and its characteristics. I found it highly relevant.
Why is this group called a cult?
Here are some reasons reported.
Former members allege that they were pressured to spend most of their free time at the church and were kept so busy they did not get enough sleep, which made them more susceptible to the teachings.
One former member reported the church coerced her into getting an abortion.
Ex-members said they agreed to donate 10 percent or more of their incomes in tithes and other offerings as a show of devotion to the Heavenly Mother.
Former members said it was common for people to give up dreams of careers and families because church leaders asked congregants to devote themselves to the gospel.
How did the group respond?
Here are the few responses of the group.
The church denied encouraging abortions, saying that such decisions were a “private matter” and that many members had children.
The church said that many members remain close to relatives who are not part of the church.
How does the group interact with the public?
The public sees the group as “very helpful” as the group does charity work.
As the church has grown, it has gained a reputation for public service, including holding large blood drives that draw members from its East Coast branches.
They show up at picnics for the elderly.
Church members, wearing their distinctive yellow shirts, take on difficult tasks, such as removing downed tree limbs after Superstorm Sandy.
What group is this?
You can read more about this group now, thanks to some lawsuits. The value of the lawsuits is not in winning the suit, but in exposing the group.
For those familiar with our blog here, what sounds familiar? What is different from other Korean groups? Is the lawsuit path helpful or not?