Quote from Kim Nam-hee
Korea, Religion 65

From Mannam to IPYG: another Shinchonji cult front

Lately, there’s been a lot of attention directed at a shady volunteer group called International Peace Youth Group (IPYG). They seem to take peace very seriously, and they’ve been organising peace walk campaigns around the world. But who are they, and where did they come from? Here’s the long answer.

If you are visibly non-Korean and were present in Korea in spring/summer 2012, chances are you were approached by a shady volunteer group called Mannam. They offered free Korean language classes, volunteer opportunities, free balloons, fun fun parties, running clubs, photography clubs, cooking classes and more. And yes, they were a front for a cult.

mannam_fun_fun_fun_festivalTheir reach was far. They were in all the major cities, and in smaller cities they visited schools with foreign teachers and orphanages. They even waited for new arrivals at the airport. They were hungry for foreign participants but kept Koreans at arm’s length.

My first encounter with Mannam was outside the World Cup Stadium. I met a Mannam volunteer who was offering a trip to Ganghwa-do as well as several other services, including free Korean lessons. That piqued my interest because I was planning to write an article about free Korean lessons. I traded contact information and did a short interview with the Mannam contact. She ended up texting me repeatedly about that trip to Ganghwa-do, which I never had any interest in joining.

I published the article, complete with images of some of the classrooms. They showed adults studying Korean and generally having a pretty good time. But the one image I got from Mannam was…sketchy.

My apologies to everyone in this picture; I'm sure you're not cultists.

My apologies to everyone in this picture; I’m sure you’re not cultists.

Something on their faces, I could tell they felt awkward being there, something was wrong. I had nothing more than an unspoken gut feeling, but it was enough to pique my interest (later, when I discovered Mannam’s true nature, the article was edited to remove any mention of them).

“I was approached by one of Daegu’s most active members, a young girl who had given up her studies, temporarily I hope, to ‘volunteer’ full time for Mannam,” says Peter Daley, an expert cult-watcher we previously interviewed on the topic of Korean cults who runs his own cult-watching website. “She showed me a Mannam brochure and told me about the group. By then, I had been interested in Korean cults for about seven years, so I was quite familiar with the front groups of other Korean cults like the Moonies, JMS, and Dahn Yoga. The material she presented me with and her description of Mannam reminded me very much of the various front groups used by those other cults. I asked her if Mannam was related to a religious organization. Her negative answer was a lie. A lie, which I later discovered, was not uttered in ignorance.”

The closer we looked at Mannam, the more distinctive some of their features emerged, leading to the secret of their true nature. They had that hand gesture, with the thumb and forefinger extended like you’re pretending to hold a gun. They had that slogan, “When Lights Unite.” What was that about?

In your very first Mannam class, they teach you the phrase “When light and light meet, there is victory,” or in Korean, “빛과 빛의 만남은 이김.” Turns out, this is kind of an anagram of two Korean names, 김남희 and 이만희, with particles added and converting 희 into 빛, another derivation from the same Chinese character as I understand it. Kim Nam-hee was the official chairwoman of Mannam, and Lee Man-hee was the “honorary” chairman. He was also the head of Shinchonji Church of Jesus the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony (SCJ), a notorious destructive religious cult.

What do I mean by destructive? Surely some cults are just misunderstood. Yes, definitely, but SCJ is well known for its subversive techniques. It breaks up families and infiltrates mainstream churches, sowing conflict and recruiting whoever is shaken free. It sends members to university campuses to work on attracting young girls, a popular commodity for cults that use honeytrap tactics. Most Korean churches quickly learned what they were doing and began posting anti-SCJ posters on their doors forbidding the subverters from entering.


SCJ knows its name is dirt, which is why it’s so careful not to reveal its true identity. Most SCJ followers are lured in for Bible studies classes, and by the time they learn they’re in SCJ, they’ve already been indoctrinated. This is nothing new, and many Korean cults have been doing this for years.

What about the religious beliefs of SCJ? I don’t like to get into this too much, but suffice it to say, they took the Christian Bible and inserted their leader Lee Man-hee as a continuation. I’ve heard them describe Jesus as being promised in the Old Testament, fulfilled in the New Testament, and in a similar way they see Lee Man-hee as promised in the New Testament. Lee claims to have been visited by Jesus. He started SCJ in 1984, when the Universe completed its first orbit. He also is the only one with a total understanding of Revelation with his own symbolic interpretation that requires a great amount of studying from his followers. He has a Messiah complex, often comparing his own church’s poor reputation with the persecution of Jesus. Putting aside his apparent preaching for peace, he also claims “Anyone who hears the testimony about the fulfillment of the New Testament prophecies and refuses to believe it will be destroyed, just like the people in the time of Adam and Lot.” If you want to hear more stuff like this, here are some excerpts from his book The Creation of Heaven and Earth. But suffice it to say, whether Lee is the Advocate, or the Promised Pastor, or SSN or whatever, his cult uses deception tactics to lure in new recruits.

So, this revelation that Mannam was somehow intimately linked to SCJ helped kick things into gear, beginning a long, drawn-out struggle across the media and Internet to reveal Mannam’s cult ties. The news spread fast, devastating foreign attendance in Mannam’s numerous, numerous branches and clubs. Still, we couldn’t convince everyone:

1. While many of us were crying “Mannam is a cult!” it didn’t match up with many of the active volunteers. “Well,” these people would respond, “they’ve never mentioned religion at any of the classes I’ve attended. The second they start preaching, I’m out the door.” Mannam didn’t feel like a cult because they weren’t actively recruiting for a religion, and they allowed members of all religions (or no religions) to join.

2. Many more just flat out didn’t care. “I’m getting free classes/food/etc and I’m not giving anything back in return. If Mannam is a cult, I don’t care. They’re not going to recruit me into their fruity little religion.”

3. It was unclear how much control this hated cult had in Mannam. Was it possible SCJ was just one of many backers of Mannam? (Spoiler: SCJ 100% funded and controlled Mannam’s activities from behind closed doors.)

4. “Mannam is a humanitarian group, and they would not turn away this cult just because you hate them.”

5. “What do you have against world peace? If you are against Mannam, are you pro-war?”

“People who think SCJ is harmless simply have no idea what they are talking about,” says Peter Daley. “Such an opinion is usually based on attendance at peripheral events organized by SCJ front groups like Mannam and perhaps friendships formed with Korean members at those events. Such an opinion is usually accompanied by a complete ignorance of SCJ’s teachings and history coupled with a reluctance to correct that ignorance. If you are going to form an opinion about SCJ by its front groups and the nice young people in them, you might as well form an opinion about North Korea by believing its propaganda. Don’t judge SCJ by the quality of the kimchi you made at a Mannam cooking class or the goal you scored at a Mannam soccer match; judge SCJ by Lee’s hate-filled book The Creation of Heaven and Earth, judge SCJ by the testimonies of former members and their families, judge SCJ by its lies. Better yet, sit down with the mother of a young girl who has been indoctrinated to believe her mother is possessed by Satan and then tell me SCJ does no harm.”

It became clear over the course of studying Mannam that foreigners were on a separate track from Koreans. Foreigners were shepherded around, taught the slogans and hand signals, set up in photo ops, but they weren’t being invited to take Bible classes nor asked for money. We later heard from insider sources that SCJ instructed its Mannam workers not to try to convert foreigners, to just let them be content. Because they knew if they started talking Revelation, they’d lose all those foreigners.

On the other side of the aisle, the Korean members were hearing very different things. They were told that Lee Man-hee’s message of world peace was resonating around the world, that he was universally admired by everyone. And look, here are pictures of foreigners doing the SCJ hand signal and shouting what happens when Light and Light Meet. There had even been numerous public events where foreigners and Koreans were told different things at the same time: “이만희선생님 만세! Do you guys want world peace? When Light Meets Light…” So that way if you only know English, you can cheer for world peace and repeat a bland slogan. Meanwhile, if you only know Korean, all you heard was “Long live Lee Man-hee!”

They operated under the assumption that foreigners and Koreans couldn’t communicate or understand each other. Essentially, they were spending a lot of money to lure thousands of foreigners to their events, events which were really nothing more than film sets for SCJ propaganda videos. And in return, their Korean followers would see SCJ progressing into the world and, more importantly, keep tithing. It worked as long as everyone remained compartmentalised. So while foreigners were being deceived through Mannam, we were being deceived in order to commit a greater deceit on Koreans through SCJ. By willingly taking advantage of what Mannam offered, you were complicit in victimising Korean cultists, most of them in their early 20s or younger. I heard one story about a foreign guy who had been dating one of the girls in Mannam. When he heard all this he exclaimed “Am I being pimped out by a cult?”

This actually inspired me to try my hand at drawing comics again.

This actually inspired me to try my hand at drawing comics again.

If you were approached by Mannam volunteers around then, you may have been told about a World Peace Festival held on September 16, in conjunction with the UN’s International Day of Peace. Or, earlier, they might have said it was the International Day of Mannam. Here are a couple posters.


So, which is it, International Day of Mannam or World Peace Festival? Actually, no, it was Lee Man-hee’s birthday party (he was born September 15, 1931). You see, every four years, SCJ holds the Shinchonji National Olympiad. 2012’s was to be the sixth Olympiad, and it was happening on September 16. At the same time and place as the above events. With no mutual acknowledgement. Was the Olympic Stadium double-booked? Or did they just want to cram as many people into the stadium as possible? Here’s a look at the 5th SCJ National Olympiad:


You are likely thinking “Wow, that is exactly like that Mass Games/Arirang Festival performance in North Korea.” And you are right. Same type of performance, similar message, different leader.


News of Mannam’s shady cult ties was devastating to SCJ, whose big end game was fast approaching. One of the top blogs that did the research and exposed a lot of their lies was Scroozle’s Sanctuary.

Mannam ploughed ahead, refocusing away from the English-speaking expat community and going after the US military, migrant workers, and new arrivals at the airport. Every chance, they denied that the event was at all related to SCJ, and when confronted with the fact that, yes, there is only one event planned in Olympic Stadium that day for 100,000 people, they claimed that SCJ had offered Mannam the role of co-host of the event and are still arm’s length from each other. They also began leaning on the World Peace Festival and and the World Peace Initiative, de-emphasising Mannam further.

Two nights before the Olympiad, on the eve of Lee’s birthday, SCJ and “Mannam” held a press conference in the Westin Chosun Hotel with speeches by Lee and Kim themselves; Asia Pundits was there.


If you’ve ever been to a Mannam event, this was far worse. Cameras everywhere capturing us at all time from many angles. Most present were devotees visiting from overseas. During the question period they took turns grilling Lee on…what he thought about world peace. The cantankerous octogenarian rambled on and on about world peace with gems like “If only everybody shared the same beliefs and goals, there could be world peace.” He has stated numerous times his belief that the true obstacle to world peace is diversity; we won’t have peace until everyone has the same beliefs, the same interests, the same religion…united in peace under the leadership of…well, you can probably see where this is going. The same direction it’s gone with every deluded megalomaniac hellbent on world domination.

If you study the banner behind Lee, you’ll see a few unexpected names:


You may notice that the Ministry of Unification is listed as a sponsor. They had been tricked into sponsoring the World Peace Festival, but they figured out the ruse just a couple days prior to the Olympiad and withdrew their support. By then, it was too late to pull their names from the various banners and flags printed for the Olympiad. Consequently, and conveniently for SCJ, their name remained proudly on display all through the festivities.

As well, I bet this was the first time outside of internal documents that the names Shinchonji and Mannam appeared next to each other in English. Actually, they had originally planned not to have the name Shinchonji present at all. Here, take a look at the cover of the press kit. See anything fishy?


Well, okay, there’s a lot that’s fishy, starting with “Culture and Sports Celebration and Restoring Light.” Down in the lower left, there’s Mannam’s name and logo, under which is SCJ’s logo and…a sticker of their name? Peeling it off, I discovered it was blank underneath. They’d originally intended to just include the SCJ logo without saying what it was. But then they obviously knew the jig was up so they added it in at the last minute.


So, other than this press conference, Mannam kept lying to foreigners to lure them to the Olympiad. And foreign supporters of Mannam continued to deny SCJ’s involvement…right up until they were shown to their seats in a huge stadium with tens of thousands of colour-coded cultists cheering on a very thoroughly religious performance.

"When Light and Light Meet, There is Victory."

“When Light and Light Meet, There is Victory.”


This is of course the same group whose leader claimed “We volunteer silently and without fanfare.” Let me repeat that, in image macro form, the only medium that adequately communicates the hypocrisy present here.

Quote from Kim Nam-hee

Quote courtesy of Kim Nam-hee

Let me work you through what you’re seeing up there. Basically, the entire section across from us was a human LCD, with each pixel controlled by a cultist holding up a colour-coded sign. You can just barely make out the minders standing in front of each section controlling the turning of cards (the North Koreans do this better through the use of percussion). To either side of the human billboard you have the colour-coded sections for each of the twelve tribes of SCJ, named after disciples of Jesus such as Simon in orange on the upper left and Bartholomew in green on the right.

Each tribe sent a platoon of its colour-coded members to stand on the stadium grounds in formation for most of the morning. And in the middle, the white-clad disorganised mass, that’s the 13th tribe–Mannam. Some of the people there had literally just been recruited off the street and had no clue what they were in for. I found the firsthand account of one person down there who claimed he was terrified the whole time.

While some (obvious SCJers) still adhered to the story that this was a secular event, that would require a superhuman level of compartmentalising, as the “secular” bits of Mannam are surrounded by a sea of SCJ, and those same SCJ members held up Mannam signs as well as religious stuff in their card performance. The two organisations were intertwined to the point that it became clear we’re talking about one big group. The people themselves were kept separate so they couldn’t compare notes, simultaneously supporting two contradictory narratives depending on which side of the stadium you entered and on which language you read. There were many heavy-handed security workers to keep that curtain up.

As well, the name of the Olympiad was in dispute depending on what you looked at. Check out the official name courtesy of the human LCD:


Let’s compare the two.

Language English Korean
Upper World Peace Festival 6th World Peace Restoring Light and Heavenly Culture Celebration
Lower The 6th Culture and Sports Celebration of Restoring Light Shinchonji and Mannam Volunteer Organization (international ministry) Coalition Festival

I can’t be too sure about representing 부 as ministry, as I’m using it more in the government ministry sense, but it does seem to identify Mannam as an internal part of SCJ. Also, I later heard there was a bit of disagreement from Mannam leaders regarding that “6th,” as this was the 6th SCJ Olympiad but the first Mannam event of this kind, and that number was a dead giveaway at who was behind the wheel.

So yeah, the secret was out. They’d previously been so careful about not exposing foreigners to the religious content through Mannam, that I think their strategy was to fill seats using any means possible, and then it didn’t really matter what happened next. After all, this is still a religious cult, operating on the belief that if they assembled 144,000 people, it would trigger the Second Coming. Well there was no Rapture or Armageddon or whatever, though this whole event created a tidal wave of rage and regret in the foreign blogger community from those who’d been duped and were angry about it.

“I spoke to a former SCJ member who told me SCJ expected to recruit foreigners from Mannam after the Olympiad,” says Peter Daley. “They assumed they would have built up enough good faith by then to make targeted foreigners more susceptible to the less secular and more cultic aspects of the parent organization. The greater awareness of Mannam forced SCJ to essentially scrap it as its most visible front group.”

And Mannam, having outlived its usefulness, faded from public view. So, end of story, right?

Rather than disappear altogether, Mannam simply shifted its activities. Following the Olympiad they made a big push in Africa. Previously (April 7), Mannam had organised a charity concert for Al Noor, a South African orphanage that cares for orphans infected with HIV. However, when contacted, nobody at Al Noor had heard about Mannam or received a cent from them. Mannam representatives were questioned by a Yonhap reporter about the missing charity money, at which point they made a lot of excuses and sent one of their people to donate the suddenly remembered money, which amounted to 1.27 million KRW. The money was handed over on September 29, over five months after it had been collected, and probably only because they were called out on it.

Poster for the charity concert

Poster for the charity concert

So, like a door-to-door vacuum salesman, Mannam had its foot firmly wedged in the door in Africa–and what they were selling sucked just as much.

In December 2012, they launched an Africa tour for Lee Man-hee, using the same double-sided propaganda approach they’d previously tried on us in Korea. A “renowned South Korean peace activist” was said to be touring Africa, meeting with leaders such as the  presidents of Ethiopia and South Africa. Oh, and you might note that they were now no longer referring to Lee as the honorary chairman of Mannam.

Somehow an internal e-mail explaining Lee’s Africa tour was leaked, and we learned how Mannam/SCJ sounds behind closed doors. SSN stands for 선생님, or teacher, which is how they refer to Lee inside the cult, along with the Advocate.

The purpose of SSN vist

1. To let all mankind know that Shinchunji is the only the place that can receive salvation and The avocate, who is Chairman of Shinchunji, is the only one that can lead us to heaven.

2. To make everybody recognize Only Shinchunji can show heavenly culture. Mt11:27
Let us do not lose our focus on the purpose of SSN visit here.
In terms of the event, First priority of event should be Open bible seminar
we should put our energy and all the efforts on OBS first and the others are rest.
if we can make it perfect and beatiful then there is no argue. if we can bring many pastors,members and medias, then SSN should be pleased.

Mannam and WPI is just instrument to take an eyes from Media and Keyperson.

Even though the size of event that we will do in Capetown would be small, important thing is let Press and Media should know about the SSN.
Person who going to meet is more important.

They claimed in a statement (also visible on the same page linked above) that “two million people of Nigeria invited us, and several hundred thousand people of Congo invited us,” although those events seem to have been cancelled; we heard from an insider that Lee was disappointed with the trip and wanted to cut it short, taking his anger out on his followers for being too lazy.

But anyway, it was content. There were articles appearing in the media referring to the visit as a Mannam event, but also many more inward-pointing coverage of Lee as the leader of SCJ. So, it’s the same old “Important people come to meet peace activist/chairman of Mannam” -> “Important people met with leader of Shinchonjibait-and-switch. This has happened many times over a long period of time.

Likewise, they doled out all this content a little at a time, spreading it out and maximising it. They attempted to bury the negative press by overwhelming the Internet with their own content through a pro-Mannam thicket of blog after blog after blog after blog after blog after blog after blog after blog after blog after blog. This tactic was mildly successful in diluting all the accurate information and negative press present in the blogosphere. It didn’t change anyone’s mind (it was actually quite worrying to see), but anyone new looking for information on Mannam would have two well-presented opposing sides…at least when the peace group wasn’t telling tasteless racist jokes.

Actually, there have been glimpses of Mannam pouring religion into its programming. There was a rumour sometime in 2013 that one foreign Mannam volunteer in Korea somewhere was told if she wanted to keep attending, she would have to attend Bible Studies classes. I don’t know what happened with that. As well, they sent out invitations to an actual religious event run under the name Mannam, in contradiction to Mannam’s own guidelines as stated by Chairwoman Kim Nam-hee on Mannam’s official website: “within Mannam Volunteer Association there must not be any political and religious activities.”

Mission creep?

Mission creep?

Mannam continued to exist and still has events to this day, but it operates in secrecy, with even the locations of its Korean classes publicly undisclosed. Facebook groups operated by Mannam are typically closed and any dissenting opinions are censored. But Mannam itself has withered away and fallen out of the spotlight. Part of the reason for this might be Kim Nam-hee‘s fading influence; although she was for a while speculated to be positioning herself to run the whole show once Lee dies, it does seem like Mannam hasn’t been the huge success they were all counting on. But anyone who’s seen the recent Captain America movies knows what happens when you cut the head off a hydra.

First, Mannam rebranded itself under the new name MIYC (Mannam International Youth Coalition) which first started appearing online in early 2013. They targeted youth-based organisations overseas, mainly in Africa as well as in West Asia, reaching out through a number of feel-good activities such as peace walks meant to promote world peace without really speaking meaningfully on it.

They held a march on June 25, 2013, to mark the almost-60-year-anniversary of the cessation of hostilities of the Korean War. They carried signs of the world’s great peacemakers like Gandhi, Mandela, Willy Brandt (incorrectly labeled as Billy Brandt), and…Lee Man-hee. They had anonymous members stationed throughout Itaewon holding placards thanking veterans for their service.


They flashed the SCJ handsign as they marched up and down Itaewon, driving the police crazy and generally confusing everyone else. They even managed to convince a few foreigners to participate, who didn’t ask what the M in MIYC stood for. When I talked with those guys after, they were quick to realise they’d been tricked; they knew about Mannam’s cult background but hadn’t connected it with MIYC.

Like this, on both sides of the street, lasting for over ten minutes.

Like this, on both sides of the street, lasting for over ten minutes.

Also at this event, as if realising what was holding them back, they removed the “Mannam” from their name, becoming “International Peace Youth Group” instead. In their literature they claim this as a merger, but…yeah, that’s likely. And you won’t be surprised who is named as the founder of IPYG.



Lately, things got quiet, and the cult-watchers were kept busy watching Salvation Sect go down the drain and the usual chatter from the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG, though you might know them as the Church of the Heavenly Ajumma) and JMS, the cult of imprisoned serial rapist Jeong Myeong-seok. Then, they came back seemingly out of nowhere, advertising another peace walk on the anniversary of that last one. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but I can pretty much picture exactly what happened. I also heard they were luring more unsuspecting foreigners there, including one unfortunate who was only responding to a comely lass on Skout, a popular dating app.

What’s more, Lee Man-hee has continued doing his world tours under the new name Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) because they seemingly can’t give up on the whole “Heavenly Culture” thing. Under this name, Lee has visited the Philippines where he signed a redundant peace agreement in the Philippines on Mindanao Island where strife is ongoing between Muslims and Catholics. He became the “world’s first Romani (Gypsies) people’s ambassador at the Romani Assembly.” And according to this article, he has met with Peru’s vice president, former presidents of Guatemala, a former president of Chile, and the president of Uruguay. He presented a peace award to the president and king of Uganda, two people who the commenters in that article agree haven’t done anything to contribute to world peace. What’s more, one commenter recalls when an earlier Ugandan president was tricked by the Moonies, almost giving up land to the cult. Lee has also suckered Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the photographer behind the book Korea from Above, into including footage from SCJ’s 9th World Peace Tour in his upcoming film Human, which will screen at the UN General Assembly next year. A suitable honour for someone who signed a world peace treaty, wouldn’t you say? Why didn’t anyone else think of signing a world peace treaty centuries ago?

Also, Kim Nam-hee has her own International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG) because why not at this point? And while we’re on that topic, here’s another women’s group called She Can that has the familiar face of Kim Nam-hee.

“That’s another sign that SCJ and whatever this week’s front group is has something to hide,” says Peter Daley. “Legitimate organizations don’t rebrand themselves every other week and then try to hide ties to last week’s incarnation. It’s also a sign that there are large and important events planned, events worthy of new names, new websites, and new T-shirts. I’ve witnessed a more recent front group taking credit for a previous event at which there was no mention of the newer front group because it hadn’t been created yet. Such changes also serve to keep members busy with a constant series of changing ‘We can save the world’ projects and events. I think the ‘keeping members busy’ aspect is one of the major reasons for all these groups and events/rallies.”

As of Monday, June 16, it appears the websites for IPYG, HWPL, and IWPG are down. That probably means they’re going into hiding, Mannam-style, but I’m certain they’ll be back even if it’s under completely new names. Update (17 July 2014): it appears now that the IPYG, HWPL, and IWPG websites are blocked domestically but are viewable from anywhere else in the world. The reasons for this strategy should be apparent as laid out in this article.

What can you do to not get fooled by another SCJ front? If you’re approached by someone offering a lot of free stuff, look the gift horse in the mouth. Ask if the group is connected to a church. Drop the name Lee Man-hee and see how they respond. If they are a SCJ front, their responses are coached and will be instant denial, rather than confusion or ignorance. Study their literature carefully for anything mentioning “light” especially lights meeting or being restored. Check their photos for people doing the SCJ salute (as demonstrated here by either the tribe of Philip or Thomas, can’t tell).

We have two more years until the next SCJ Olympiad, so who knows how many front organisations they will take on before then. In the interest of honesty and truth, you can expect there to be people out there keeping an eye on them.

This picture will be hanging in SCJ's headquarters within a week.

This picture will be hanging in SCJ’s headquarters within a week.

You Might Also Like


  • Michael 마익흘 Aronson (@hdefined) says: June 16, 2014 at 7:31 am

    What an ending!

  • Steve says: June 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm

    Well written and researched.

  • Lord-Samuel Werrett says: June 16, 2014 at 9:36 pm

    Brilliant article. It’s great to see such a well written article about these people being shared about. It’s important that people are made aware. In 2012 I was duped into going the Mannam Judo club and even coached them. They’re sneaky fuckers! I went there wearing a haggard old black belt that I have had for years. On my second day going there, they had a brand new black belt for me with my name etched into it in gold writing on one end, along with MANNAM JUDO on the other. I thought it was a little odd that they had bought me a brand spanking new belt of top quality after I had only been there once, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt. They soon were begging me to go on these events and weird things, and I did go along to a few in my blissful ignorance, then I started getting pissed off. Yeah, they bought me a belt, but they’re asking me every weekend. I just wanted to go to Judo, and play the sport that I love.. (even though they used to talk about a shared energy, light, and air at the end of every Judo session). I stopped going because the pressure to go to their weird fucking culty events was getting too much. I think i went to two, maybe three events – including a world peace walk (or something), a sports display day, and some sort of festival. I just got sick of it all trying to encroach on my life, so I refused to go out in Itaewon with them handing out flyers. I decided to stop going, but then the next week the story broke about the groups real identity and agenda. Still have the belt though! I never wear it, but it sits there gathering dust in the closet. Hope more people see this!

    • Jon Twitch says: June 17, 2014 at 12:25 am

      That’s quite a story, and quite a souvenir you walked away with. Make sure you don’t lose that belt.

  • Nathan says: June 17, 2014 at 3:44 am

    Well researched. Nice article.

  • Matt Inman says: June 17, 2014 at 11:25 am

    Man, I had heard small quips about cults in Korea and I had no reason to doubt that they did exist. But, I had no idea that things went this deep! Wow, this kinda blew my mind. Cheers for the information!

  • Byunghun says: June 17, 2014 at 11:30 am

    shady… I better watch out as well.

  • Duke Stewart says: June 19, 2014 at 3:35 am

    Definitely something that doesn’t seem to go away. I was approached once by one on a beach on the south coast back in 2012. Really uncomfortable moments had speaking to the “representative” of the “sports festival.”

  • Living in Korea for Expats.com says: June 19, 2014 at 8:37 am

    I have to admit, I was a bit intimidated by the length until I started reading it, then I got hooked. What a great article. I’m glad you reported on this because I had no idea. And I also have to admit that I might have been one of those people who would have taken the freebies thinking I was smart enough to know when to draw the line, but I didn’t see that plot twist coming. And you’re absolutely right. Being a propaganda piece for tricking Koreans is pretty bad and one should expect such things from these kinds of groups.
    I once went to a timeshare sales pitch thinking I could walk away with the free airline ticket. By the time we got out of there, I was so pissed at their hard sell tactics, I threw the ticket away.

    It’s also funny, like you say how they can’t seem to not mention the word “light” in their ever evolving front group names. They can’t hide from their own egomania.

    I feel sorry for the people who get tricked into these cults. I like to think that I have strong defense mechanisms for such things, and I liked this article because I think it will teach me to be even more critical of things, especially front groups and groups handing out free stuff, but I wasn’t always critical. Like a lot of people, I was pretty easily intimidated when I was young, too. Then once you’re in…

    Thanks for this brilliant article. I’ll keep it in my back pocket to link to the next time they stick their heads out on some forum or wherever, and I’ll let others know about it.

  • AbpLloydOSJV says: June 28, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Thank you for this article which took three pages of Google to come up (due to the self publicity you refer to above) but am so pleased it did! I’ve been pestered for two weeks by HWPL to receive an invitation to a “WARP Summit” in September in Seoul. I’d never heard of Chairman Lee nor the organisation so was researching to find out more… Frankly the “M.O.” was reminiscent of the Moonies and your article has confirmed my suspicions. Thank you for this info, I shall politely ignore and if pressed, decline the invitation!

    • Jon says: June 28, 2014 at 2:23 pm

      Wow that may have jus filled in a big blank spot. Thank you so much.

    • adamrcarr says: June 28, 2014 at 4:10 pm

      Nice info. Good on ya!

  • Liz says: July 25, 2014 at 8:11 am

    Hi, thanks for this very informative article….so timely….my institution has been invited to go to South Korea to participate on their “peace summit” this coming September…at first we were interested but since the objective of their summit is not quite aligned to our organization, we declined the invitation. I’ll be sharing your article with the others for their awareness…thanks once again.

  • - says: August 11, 2014 at 10:24 am

    On behalf of the chairwoman of the International Women’s Peace Group (IWPG), Ms. Maria Kim, it is my honour and privilege to inform you that IWPG will be co-hosting an unprecedented world peace summit in Seoul, South Korea this coming fall. IWPG, in collaboration with Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) and the International Peace Youth Group (IPYG), would like to cordially invite you to the first summit of World Alliance of Religions: Peace Summit (WARP) to be held on September 17th-19th, 2014.
    The main goal of the women’s sector of the WARP Summit is to have both religious and secular woman leaders from across the globe gather together to discuss creating a constitution and how this would bring us one step closer to achieving world peace.
    IWPG is focusing on the leadership of women to find solutions to war and conflict, and bring peace to all nations.
    Your participation and specific input concerning this challenging peace agenda of humanity will add value and motivate those attending the summit. I sincerely believe that your presence will make a meaningful difference to the conclusions we arrive at, and ultimately, help shape the future of our world.
    During the 12 global peace tours undertaken by our chairwoman, Ms. Maria Kim, she has met many inspirational woman leaders. This has bolstered her belief that when woman leaders unite, peace can truly become a reality amongst us. Because of Ms. Kim’s unfailing trust in the united and collective power of women, all woman leaders worldwide have been invited to join the summit and thus work together in determined pursuit of a practical and sustainable solution to world peace.
    Once again, I would like to express my immense pleasure in being able to invite you to the WARP Summit in September, thus ushering in a new era of peace together. Please find attached the official invitation letter extended to you by our chairwoman. Should you require any further information please visit our website internationalwomenspeacegroup.org or kindly contact me via email and I will gladly be of assistance.
    Thank you very much for your kind consideration of this email. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Best regards,

    Lisa Baik
    Head of Strategic Planning Department
    International Women’s Peace Group

    Tel: +82 (0) 2 540 5999
    E-mail: warpsummit@internationalwomenspeacegroup.org
    Website: http://www.internationalwomenspeacegroup.org
    Opera House fl.7, Cheongdam-dong 89-21, Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea

    • Jon Twitch says: August 11, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Thanks for your comment, but the website internationalwomenspeacegroup.org seems to still be under construction.

  • Christelle says: August 13, 2014 at 11:50 am

    My son of 23 has been sucked into this cult in Cape Town and nothing I say or do or prove that they are a cult makes any difference. I pray every day that he will come to his senses. If you know of anyone in Cape Town that can be of assistance to me please let me know. This is extremely urgent.

    • Jon Twitch says: August 14, 2014 at 1:23 am

      That is a very difficult situation to be in. Like most destructive cults, Shinchonji is known for breaking up families. Your son might try to convince you to join, and if you don’t, they will try to convince him that you are evil and use it to harm your relationship. I encourage you to read up on dealing with a family member in a cult. Basically the key is maintaining communication and not being judgemental. And if he says he is distancing himself from the group, that might be a lie they have coached him to say.

      Here are some resources you should study:

      I might also be able to connect you with other people in South Africa who are going through the same hardship.

    • Thandi says: May 6, 2015 at 6:41 am

      Christelle how are things with your son now?i also tried to get recuited by a friend.
      The main point she would share with me is that the bible study is free, i must know my purpose.
      At first the was secrecy behind the name of the bible study which i didnt understand. She eventually gave me the name thats when i googled it Heavenly Culture organisation and saw this post.
      And also she no longer goes to the church she use to and she questions the whole christian faith belief
      I thank the Lord for the gift of discernment really many will fall prey to this

  • Anonymous says: August 21, 2014 at 10:58 pm

    Hey, thanks so much for the article. I’ve been here for a few years and had no idea about this stuff. Scary shit to say the least. Thanks for the compelling and educational read!

  • Stefan says: August 27, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Hi, I also got invited to Peace Summit in Korea (everything paid – I hoe so). After reading this article, you point out that is not safe to go there just because of this religious stuff (which by the way can’t touch me since i have atheistic views and common sense) or it is not safe to go there like I will never come back home , in a way that they will make me some problems and keep me there?

    I invite people who have participated in some of their events to give their comments. Thank you.

    • Jon Twitch says: August 28, 2014 at 1:14 am

      Is it dangerous? I don’t believe I ever referred to it as such, but it is a classic example of a destructive cult that uses deception tactics. The worst they’re likely to do to you is try to take your camera, push you around, and threaten you with a lawsuit, all of which happened to me at the September 2012 Olympiad. But if you’re talking about actual real danger, it’s the cult members themselves that suffer the worst. If your trip is paid for, it is paid for by the tithing of Lee Man-hee’s worshippers. If you read the article closely, you’ll see that they don’t really care if you join their cult or not because you’re not Korean. And if you’re really an atheist, why fly to Korea to participate in a religious cult ceremony?

      • Stefan says: August 28, 2014 at 7:52 am

        Thank you Jon for your answer and I am glad that it is a safe place for visit. Reasons for my trip are many, like visiting new country – I have never been in Asia, new people and contacts and of course trip is free.

        • Jon Twitch says: August 28, 2014 at 8:16 am

          It’s not free. You’re stealing from the victims of a destructive cult. You can expect that most of the Korean people you meet on this trip will be cultists. Other Korean people who are not part of Shinchonji will not want to associate with you because of your purpose for being in Korea.

          It’s a lot more expensive, but if you get a chance, you should visit North Korea. You’ll be treated a little better than you would by Shinchonji, and they also have unique and impractical ideas about how to create world peace. Plus, their mass games performance is better than Shinchonji’s.

          • jtb says: September 2, 2014 at 6:18 pm

            Stefan, don’t go. It would be cheap to sell your integrity for a place ticket.

    • Peter Daley says: September 5, 2014 at 4:42 am

      Hi Stefan,
      There are quite a few comments from people who attended the last big event two years ago here:

      And here is an interview with a former member I know personally:

      I’ve been threatened and harassed at some of their public events. I’ve called the police on two occasions and both times the police sided with me^. If you go as a guest, you’ll be safe, but as Jon said you would only be benefiting from the exploitation of members. Most of whom are quite young.
      Essentially they just want to parade you in front of the Korean followers to enforce the fiction that their leader, the messiah, is loved and respected all over the world. And they will want to film and photograph you for their propaganda films. Are you comfortable with that? I can’t imagine how anyone could be.

      If you are curious (and you should be) to learn more about the group’s inner and non-public teachings, which are akin to ISIS’s (death to unbelievers & our leader alone speaks for God etc), you can read more here: http://jmscult.com/forum/index.php?topic=852.0

      There are dozens of criminal organisations masquerading as religions and peace groups here in Korea, and of course there are thousands all over the world. Whether you chose to support such a criminal group simply because it is free is up to you of course. But at least go knowing about the group you are endorsing and aiding by your presence. I personally can’t comprehend why an atheist would want to travel anywhere to be filmed worshipping a cult leader, but I also realize the appeal of a free trip. Just go in with eyes wide open. Notice that the obedience you see amongst the young Korean members is the result of sleep deprivation, separation from families, and threats. Notice that all the organising was the result of their exploitation, and the free trip the result of their financial exploitation.

      If you do make the trip, please share your experiences, but and at least look beyond the smiling faces and stolen money they throw at you.

    • Peter Daley says: September 13, 2014 at 12:44 am

      Hi again Stefan, if you’re coming, it will certainly be a fascinating experience. It certainly helps that you’re attending with some awareness the group is a cult. If you’re up for it, you have a great opportunity to spread a little mischief and whisper in lots of ears “this is a cult” etc if you’re game.
      We have a few inside sources, so you might be interested in some of the goings on behind the scenes. I’ve updated my site with more links about this cult for those attended and anyone interested. Information is coming in all the time…

      And here are some brochures about the summit that were leaked this past week:


  • Jon Twitch says: September 5, 2014 at 12:42 am

    Wow, that’s quite an agreement you had to sign. It’s win-win for Shinchonji. Yes, I believe your presence will cause financial harm to the cultists, both from your trip being paid out of their tithes and any explicit or implicit endorsement you give to the cult through your presence. It could also be dangerous to openly criticise the cult while you’re here, as you’ll be at their mercy and they could cancel your return ticket or cause other legal harm to you.

    It may be an interesting subject for religious studies courses to see a large Korean cult in action up close, but be very very careful of any future agreements you sign, especially if they forbid you from ever saying anything critical of the church or any of its front groups. For that matter, you should recheck the first agreement you signed to make sure you haven’t already agreed to that.

    I have no reason to believe that Lee Man-hee is lying about being a war veteran. The Korean War was a brutal genocidal war with Korean soldiers on both sides raiding villages and forcefully drafting more soldiers while murdering the rest. Neither side was fighting for peace, but rather domination and conquest, and those are the principles Lee still lives by today, albeit through deceptive Bible studies classes and PR events with foreign world leaders and volunteer groups rather than the barrel of a gun.

    As I told another guy in the comments here, you probably would have enjoyed going to North Korea a lot more. They treat you with more respect and welcome, you’ll have more access to the general population, their Mass Games are more interesting, and their ideas for world peace are equally valid to Shinchonji’s.

  • Peter Daley says: September 5, 2014 at 4:51 am

    While there is a lot of bullshit about the leader (descended from royal blood etc), I haven’t come across anything refuting his participation in the Korean War. Given the whole country was at war and given his birth year (1931), his participation in the war is very plausible, perhaps likely.

    If you do come over, I think a few of us in Korea, certainly Jon and I, would be keen to meet up if you have time to hear how it’s going. I hope to at least visit the area on the Friday afternoon.

  • Andrew Burgen says: September 14, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    I’m heading to the IPYG peace summit in South Korea today! Free flights and accommodation from Australia, lol….

    • Peter Daley (@PeterDaley72) says: September 22, 2014 at 3:27 am

      I laughed out loud at your lol^ Thanks, I needed that^ How was your trip?? Hope you managed to have a few laughs between all the craziness^

  • Josh Han says: September 19, 2014 at 7:28 am

    I’m an American currently in Korea right now. I came for Christianity, but to a different church. Today with my church we had the opportunity to go to the Shinchonji Sept. rally to protest against their really stupid and pathetic teachings. (I honestly can’t see how some people, especially other foreigners get sucked into their teachings… I got shocked when I saw Americans here mindlessly chanting). Anyways, I want you all who read this to not fall for their tricks into recruiting people and to help get people out if you know anyone in there. I also want to share with you all the truth about the Bible and what real spiritual messages are. I’m not telling you all to come to the church where I’m in, but instead to not fall for any of these cults, whether it be Shinchonji or other church. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xJfy0ILoXeU&list=UUCsNqVjQrwt4zOMn4niVkQQ . You’ll probably think that this is a cult too. I thought that too, but it’s not. This pastor keeps it real and keeps the main message too the point; not mixed with useless information. I really hope you guys watch this, or other ones on her; at least giving it a try.

    I hope Shinchonji falls. Sending out a message that after 144,000 people come, Jesus will come to them… then over 200,000 people and they say they need to weed out the cows and pigs mixed with the sheep. How do people believe this….

    • Anonymous says: March 31, 2015 at 8:38 am

      howdopeoplebelieve_YOU! damned pastors and their residents. Stop your jesusing and churching at last! the other way round your really hate j.c.

  • Tammy Budinski says: September 21, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    SCJ is my church and I sure haven’t seen anything like what you have been talking about in this article. I can’t believe the misinformation. Heard from someone…heard from someone..The people at my church are wonderful people, very dedicated to studying the Bible and really want to achieve world peace. I have been in SCJ for about a year now and it’s been great. Except for the hatred of people outside of our church. That I’m having such a hard time understanding. The Peace Summit in Seoul was amazing! Seeing people of all religions coming together for peace was something I’ll never forget. I was there for the whole thing. Our dream is to achieve peace in the world. It’s not a bad thing and we’re doing nothing wrong. Too bad about all the prejudice and lies but in time I think people will come to understand that the last thing we want to do is hurt anyone! We want peace for the whole world and that doesn’t come with violence!

    • Jon Twitch says: September 22, 2014 at 12:28 am

      Despite a lot of the charged feelings shown by both sides, I am very interested in hearing the SCJ side of this story. My only interest in watching SCJ and reporting on events like this is so that participants go in with eyes open, knowing that this is the work of SCJ rather than hiding the church behind a veil of front groups. For instance, most foreign attendees of this year’s WARP Summit hadn’t even heard of SCJ.

      If you would be willing to speak with me (just through e-mail is probably best), I would be happy to ask for your input on an upcoming article I’m doing about the WARP Summit, and I promise to be fair.

      • Tammy Budinski says: September 22, 2014 at 4:39 am

        Hi Jon,
        In response to your interview request: I am afraid to talk to people outside SCJ because it is dangerous for the members. I have seen so much unreasonable hatred and persecution against us. There was some sort of crap shown on PD note about us which has been totally refuted. However, you know how that goes. No one pays attention to the refutation. That show is notorious for fear-mongering. That’s how they make their money. This has helped contribute to the mindless prejudice against us. My Korean husband’s father told him that he wasn’t his son any longer if he continued with SCJ. And many of our members are kidnapped by their families and forcibly confined until they renounce their faith. Pastors in Korea are making a lot of money in the conversion business. Their fees are very high. I am very lucky that I am Canadian and we believe in freedom of religion so my family respects my choices.
        But I am too worried about our other members, whom I care for very much, to say much to non-SCJ people about our church.
        For instance, Peter Daley replied to my post comparing us to nazis, to jms, to subway bombers….how can I even talk to someone with those kinds of prejudices?
        I wish we could be more open but with so much negativity, it seems that no one will really listen~

        • Peter Daley (@PeterDaley72) says: September 22, 2014 at 4:37 pm

          “There was some sort of crap shown on PD note about us which has been totally refuted.”

          Well one of those allegations was that you break up families, and you confirmed that by saying families resort to kidnapping their children from SCJ. Why would they need to be kidnapped, if they weren’t taken in the first place? What is it about your church that makes children leave their families and break contact? Your own videos highlight the black and white us vs them thinking that dominates your group’s culture. And that is exactly the kind of culture that leads members to believe those outside the group are under the influence of the boogey man. Sounds pretty cultish to me. I met with families of current members. They don’t all resort to such drastic actions, but they all love their children and have legitimate reasons for worrying about them.

          Yes I did compare your group to the Nazis: I compared Lee’s teaching to Adolf’s. Death to outsiders. I notice you didn’t refute those hateful teachings. Again, I have his secret disgusting book right next to me. Mass rallies? Check. Demonising outsiders? Check. Security forces that intimidate and assault dissenters. Check.

          And I didn’t compare your group to the group that gassed the subway, even though it was also a cult of personality and it also breaks up families. Come to think of it, it is rather similiar.

          You said your members were nice people. That is not a defense against allegations your group is a cult. The former Aum member I mentioned didn’t take part in the gas attack. He had no idea they were being planned. My point, since you obviously missed it, was that nice people populate cults. And like you, he had no idea about the true nature of the group he had been deceived into joining.

          Jon, she’s blaming me for not being interviewed, but she would never have agreed. Another similarity to JMS. And likewise, I don’t imagine many Aum members are fond of interviews either. I hope one day, you’ll be as certain of your beliefs as I am and will be prepared to state them often and loudly. Until then, go back under your little rock. When Lee orders another circus, they’ll be more people aware of his true nature and ready to mock your idiot thugs etc, all over again. I’ve never met a cult that was such a sucker for punishment, and for that I thank you.

          Since you admit he’s so hated in Korea, isn’t that also an admission his “peace maker” persona is bullshit? He sure hasn’t been much of a peace maker in his home country.

          “I wish we could be more open but with so much negativity, it seems that no one will really listen”

          If you’re so certain of your beliefs, you would think someone might listen. And what if they don’t? At least you would know you tried and you had the courage to speak about your beliefs. “Yes, I do believe Man Hee Lee will never die.” lol. On second thoughts, perhaps you should stay silent.

          • Tammy Budinski says: September 22, 2014 at 11:34 pm

            We don’t break up families. People who choose to join our church are disowned by their families due to prejudice in society. As a personal example there is my husband. He is 40 years old but his dad told him if you go to SCJ you are not my son. My husband loves his dad but his dad disowned him! Not the reverse. It is the families breaking up with the children.
            The children aren’t taken!!! They are so free to go if they choose! Good heavens! I’m there. I know.
            I don’t know what boogey man you are talking about but there is a real danger to church members being kidnapped and forcitlyb confined against their will until they renounce their beliefs. This is no boogey man.It is a real big business in Korea right now.
            Death to outsiders??? What in the world teachings are you talking about? Have you ever attended a service at our church? I think not! We are trying to find peace for the world.
            My hands are shaking as I respond to your spew of vitriol. I can see why other SCJ members don’t even bother to try talking to you. Tried and convicted and not even given a chance to testify…
            I think you don’t actually understand the teachings in the book but are totally misinterpreting everything.
            Mass rallies? We’re not supposed to have celebrations together? Why the heck not?
            I don’t see any demonizing of outsiders either. We obviously need to be careful though. We’ve seen too many people attacking our congregation members. And their pics being posted and losing their jobs and whatnot because of attitudes like yours. “Security forces that intimidate and assault dissenters” haha…more like university students trying to keep uninvited people out of our events to protect our members from people who want to break in to harm them.
            Crawl back under my rock??? Well ok, talking to you is like banging my head against a brick wall~:)

    • Peter Daley (@PeterDaley72) says: September 22, 2014 at 3:37 am

      Tammy, I agree that there are many nice people in SCJ. I’ve had nice chats with Aaron and Lee’s translator and left both conversations thinking highly of those people. Liewise, I’ve met many nice people who are members of Korea’s JMS cult, a cult that specializes in the rape of young women. I met a lovely guy this summer in Washington at a conference about cults who was a member of Aum Shinrikyo, the group that gassed the Tokyo subway. To identify a cult as destructive is not a reflection of the regular members, most of who were drawn to that stated (but false) ideals of SCJ and its numerous front groups. While I have met many nice people in cults, I have also met some not-so-nice people. Most recently of course the violent thugs your cult used to maintain its illegal military-style perimeter around its events in order to control who members talked to and where they went. From my ten years experience watching cults, I have to say that I am disturbed about your group as I am about the other groups mentioned. The blind obedience displayed by the thugs when given violent, illegal, and ridiculous orders is evidence of a very thorough, sophisticated, and well-implemented indoctrination process. Peace will not be achieved through such totalitarian military-esque cults of personality. The Germans already tried that and it didn’t workout too well. Yes, before you ask, I am for “peace” just as am for “happiness” and “nice tasting food”.

      • Tammy Budinski says: September 22, 2014 at 4:07 am

        Peter, you cannot compare SCJ and JMS! The mission of SCJ is world peace. Also, you might think the ideals of SCJ are false. But I don’t and I am entitled to freedom of religion. I respect others rights to be free to follow their hearts and believe what they think is right. I request the same freedom for myself. Comparing nice people in SCJ to raptists and subway bombers? That’s like saying I’ve met nice people like your mother…and then Jack the Ripper was charming as well…I feel a lot of enmity from you and you don’t seem at all willing to listen to my personal, first-hand experience as an SCJ member.
        The violent thugs you talk about…they are so far from thugs! But what do you do if you have people trying to break into your home? With the amount of prejudice against us in Korea, it’s very dangerous to have people come into our events. Many people here do not have the luxury that I have of religious freedom. My family respect my right to worship how I choose. But here, it’s a little different and many members are kidnapped by their families if their families find out that they belong to SCJ and forcibly confined until they renounce their faith. This is a big business in Korea nowadays among pastors. They charge families a lot of money for this service. Naturally we have to protect our members! And obviously if you don’t have an invitation to our event, you can’t come in. Standing outside and yelling and pushing to get inside is not the right way! I have not witnessed any violent or illegal behavior and I am a lot closer to the situation that you. Furthermore, the Germans weren’t trying for world peace for everyone!!!! Just for themselves obviously. We want world peace for everyone.

        • Peter Daley (@PeterDaley72) says: September 22, 2014 at 7:25 am

          I can compare SCJ and JMS and I assure you the two cults are more similiar than you realize. JMS also has transitory front groups related to “peace” and “volunteering”. One was GACP, The Global Association of Culture & Peace. – You like peace, right? You should join. But you can’t because like Mannam, it’s extinct. Here’s one of their “stadium” events. Notice anything familiar?

          Likewise, the inner secret teachings of the two are identical. Accept the Messiah or die. Here are a few quotes from Man Hee Lee’s The Creation of Heaven and Earth. I have my copy, right next toe me. If your’s is handy (and I’m sure it’s not too far away), you can confirm the quotes and pages.

          “Anyone who denies the one sent by God and Jesus is an antichrist” (410). Strange coming from the host of an inter-faith summit. Did he express that hateful sentiment to his guests?

          “Anyone who hears the testimony about the fulfillment of the New Testament prophecies and refuses to believe it will be destroyed,” P.564
          Strange coming from a “peace” advocate. Did he express that sentiment at the summit? Was his book available for sale at the summit? There’s a reason the book isn’t available publicly.

          Both JMS and SCJ “churches” display no signage. Both groups put younger members in group houses where they may be more easily controlled and indoctrinated. Both groups break up families and commit acts of violence against critics.

          Both groups leaders’ spent time in earlier cults and both borrowed heavily from those cults when building their own. JMS came from the Moonies. SCJ came from The Olive Tree Movement. More about that here:
          The author know SCJ, perhaps you’ll recognize the surname.

          I know you are close and feel you understand the group better as a result, but insiders in your state of mind usually know the least about the group they are in. Instead of looking at the trees around you, zoom out and look at the whole forest. And compare that forest to the forest of JMS, Scientology, and The Moonies.

  • Stefan says: September 22, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    I am back. And just want to say that it was really great! :) Not a single pressure from volunteers about any religious talks, or this church which you are talking about. We had a lot of free time to see the city, also we participated in the opening ceremony at the Olimpic Stadium – amazing event, specially choreography, and yes, we could leave the site with no problem.

    Also, everything was ok with organization, accommodation, food, transport, etc… but I admit that official speeches at the meetings / conferences were religiously oriented, but in that manner that religion is in charge for the world peace, since many wars were started because of the religion.

    So, if this event is going to be organized again, I recommend you all to accept the invitation and enjoy! For any further questions, feel free to contact me, or comment here.

    • Tammy Budinski says: September 22, 2014 at 11:36 pm

      Thanks Stefan, I’m glad you enjoyed your time with us! :)

    • Jon Twitch says: September 23, 2014 at 12:22 am

      Thanks for checking in again. Would you be willing to be interviewed for a follow-up article looking at the impressions of the WARP Summit on the various guests?

  • MintyBadger says: September 22, 2014 at 10:30 pm

    No one hates SJC per se…but I believe their main objections are to the contradictory messages in SJC’s philosophy, the deception practiced to net participants, and their propensity to take advantage (financially/physically/ect) of well-meaning people such as yourself. If you choose ti embrace a belief system like this…at least see all of it…not just the parts that make you feel good. Peter and the other guys are very invested in anti-cult activities because they have either personal connections with people in them or just sincerely care about others…so if they state things strongly…it is not out of hate…but out of compassion for people in trouble. I hope you’re still open to discuss this. Thanks.

    • Tammy Budinski says: September 22, 2014 at 11:40 pm

      Thank you for your considerate message. I am afraid though, that I am giving up after Peter’s last message. He told me to crawl back under my rock and I guess I will listen! It’s too stressful dealing with all the hate and vitriol when I’ve done nothing wrong and have seen no wrong doings in my church at all. I will go back to my ‘ignorance is bliss’ and stop searching for SCJ posts. This is why you never hear our side of the story~

      • Peter Daley (@PeterDaley72) says: September 23, 2014 at 1:46 pm

        Tammy, I have to admit you caught me at a bad time. I was harassed and assaulted for several days at the event by the people I refer to as goons.
        You said I wasn’t invited, but I was, I was approached in Itewon by SCj members under a new smaller front group. I also received text invites to Friday’s march. But I do not need invitations to any public place in the country. I was also asked by a father to keep an eye out for his daughter. He just wanted to know she was OK. That stopped me dead in my tracks when I read it. Any thought I had about not attending events outside of my work hours evaporated instantly. I knew there was no chance of success, but I could only answer “I’ll try”.

        I’m also weighing up pressing criminal charges against a young SCJ member who impersonated a police officer. That’s not an easy decision to make. On the one hand I do think a message needs to be sent. On the other, the young guy was just following orders. So when I responded to you, I was responding to all the shit that went down. I still maintain the similarities I mentioned all present, but I got a little carried away. I just want to say shutting yourself off from all this is something I hope you don’t do. That’s exactly what those controlling you want. You keep calling me negative, but actually I’m a very positive person, and I see nothing negative at all about investigating and writing about what I know to be true about SCJ, JMS, the Salvation Sect, etc. etc.

  • Mousa says: December 8, 2014 at 5:26 am

    My organization (WHICH WORKS IN THE MIDDLE EAST) got invited to IPYG event the writing was very shady so i thought id look into it and oh well what do you know. its very bad that such organizations try and take advantage of grass root level community groups on the other side of the world for their selfish purposes and I am disappointed and slightly insulted that they didnt think we would do our homework.

  • Youseff says: December 31, 2014 at 3:06 am

    This is a great organization. Bringing leaders of other religions to become one is fantastic. I see all the cultish remarks about the organization, but there’s always nay sayers with every good work.

    • Jon Twitch says: December 31, 2014 at 4:05 am

      So you don’t have a problem with religious leaders coming back from Korea and telling their followers “Forget that Jesus/Mohammed/Vishnu guy. We now worship an 85-year-old heretic from Korea!”?

      • Youseff says: December 31, 2014 at 4:50 am

        I don’t have a problem with that because religious leaders DID NOT tell followers to “forget that Jesus/Mohammed/Vishnu guy and worship an 85 year old from Korea”.
        I instead went home and told everyone what an event I took part in.

        • Jon Twitch says: December 31, 2014 at 4:52 am

          85-year-old heretic, not just any old octogenarian. There is a reason he is considered a heretic in Korea and all Christian churches hate him and protect themselves against his followers.

          • Youseff says: December 31, 2014 at 5:09 am

            There are many who call us heretic, as with Christian denominations, and now I am seeing other religions being called heretic but to what arguments? Is it from accusations of a few testimonials? Here in India there are many who persecute people of the Hindu and Muslim faith. What happens in Korea is no different from anywhere else. Nothing to be alarmed about unless war is the outcome of it. But if peace and unity is the outcome, I see no harm.

      • Youseff says: December 31, 2014 at 4:59 am

        I worship Allah. Mohammed was a great prophet who changed and transgressed society but I do not worship a man before God.

        Do you honestly think that attending a Peace event means to give up one’s religion? If so, where is your logic behind this?

        • Jon Twitch says: December 31, 2014 at 5:06 am

          Well, you did apparently sign an agreement to unite your religion or religious organisation with Shinchonji, which worships a man before God. Why did you think they wanted you to sign that paper? They want Shinchonji’s kingdom to be larger.

          • Youseff says: December 31, 2014 at 5:13 am

            I’ve read the agreement and signed it and found no such binding words on the agreement.

            For one organization to take over the world by a signing of paper that has no international effect of submission is absolutely unrealistic.

            Thank you so much for your thoughts on this matter Mr Jon Twitch. You have no valid points.

          • Jon Twitch says: December 31, 2014 at 5:17 am

            About what I could expect from a member of Shinchonji.

  • […] A big thank you to Jon Twitch for keeping up to date on the various front groups employed by one of Korea’s most notorious and visible cults. And a bigger thank you for allowing me to offer my thoughts on Shinchonji and its many incarnations. http://www.asiapundits.com/mannam-ipyg-sinchonji-another-cult-front/ […]

  • Demi says: June 23, 2015 at 8:33 pm

    It is said that: a time is coming where man will no longer be able to teach man, “Know the Lord.” After reading all opinions; without any doubts – we all know God from the mist of our depths.

  • Beech says: August 2, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    I was recently invited to a bible study in Durban, South Africa by a friend of mine. When I went it seemed a bit dodgy and no one ever told me the name of the organisation etc. I was also not allowed into the class but met with a young (and very sweet) Korean lady who asked about my faith journey and then explained to me that in order to know God, I need to be taught the Word and if I’m not taught it properly I won’t go to heaven (she showed me a lot of scriptures to back up her beliefs). I sensed something wasn’t right but what she was saying wasn’t completely against my Christian beliefs so it was hard to put my finger on it. At the end of our time together however, she told me not to tell anyone about the classes etc. because churches resist different approaches and will be opposed to what goes on there and also that there are secrets in the Kingdom of God.

    I have not gone back since then but really want to know what it is that is going on there because my friend is very much involved. When I asked her what they are called, she said they are the International Bible School. I googled them, but that website is based in America and doesn’t seem the same as this place (which has no signs outside the building) Apparently, the volunteers were previously in Cape Town. They never mentioned anything about Shinchonji or anything other the Word of God. There are different classes which run every week night, but in order to start the class you have to meet with one of the volunteers individually for 4/5 times first. Please let me know what you think? I would really like to know whether it is Shinchonji or not?

  • Ann says: September 24, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Hi Jon,
    I want to thank you for this article. It gave me a great background of what these organizations do and how they deceive people. I live in California US and I recently stopping going to a “bible study” which I was attending for almost 6 months/ 3 nights a week! It started with a couple one on one lessons and then I joined a class. Which was predominately Asian, and our speaker was a Korean man who we had to listen to being translated during each class. At first I really enjoyed the class, what we were learning, and how everyone was so nice. However, in the back of my mind I was always questioning if I was really learning truth or not. So last Sunday after class I was fed up with waiting to know who “the one who overcame” who will fulfill revelation was. So I google imaged “the one who overcame”, assuming it was going to be an Asian man (I’m not prejudice) and I ended up finding a pic of Manhee Lee. So I did my research, realized I was basically joining a cult, and stopped going to class. I’m really disappointed because I put a lot of hope and time in what I was learning. I feel bad for all the people continuing to be deceived by Manhee Lee, and receiving false hope and teachings. Thanks again for this article.

  • Yuna says: September 26, 2015 at 3:25 am

    Woah. Thanks for this! I had this weird account following me on Twitter and it seemed like s/he was related to WARP and IPYG and stuff. Things seemed a little suspicious so I decided to do a little research, and what do you know, BAM. Shinchonji. Ugh… They’re EVERYWHERE; it’s terrifying.

  • Mar says: January 18, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    I lead a community cultural centre in Peru whose mission is to build a peaceful society through artistic activities, and I have just been contacted by a representative of IPYG saying that he is interested in work in projects together. I started doing some research on who they are and I found this article. I am thankful for the information… and I would continue doing more research as well. If Peter, Jon or anyone else has any advice, I would appreciate it to be shared.
    Thank you.

    • Peter Daley says: January 19, 2016 at 4:19 am

      Hi Mar, thanks for your post, and I’m glad you read Jon’s article.

      I think it’s best to ignore them completely. Like other similar groups, the front groups they create are usually almost the opposite of the originating cult. I’ve got some more info here: http://www.jmscult.com/scj.html
      Essentially, it’s a miniature dictatorship that seeks to control and exploit who they can. Their is another English article that should be out in a week or two with interviews with former members of this and two other similar Korean cults. I expect that will offer some deeper insights into how the group functions in Korea at least. I’ll post a link here when it’s out.

  • Shane says: January 29, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Hi Peter,

    Just an anonymous individual in Oz, whose came across a vid of yours through the ex-scilon board, which in a round-a-bout way led me here.
    I’m a bit of a cult watcher myself, having been in one a number of years back, along with family members caught up in one.

    Anyway, just wanted to say keep up the good work.


  • Leave a Reply