May 3, 2017

Korean 'cult' recruiting in Dunedin

Otago Daily Times
May 3, 2017


A South Korean religious group known as Elohim, and described by some as a cult, is operating in Dunedin.

The Roslyn Presbyterian Church, in Highgate, has been the Dunedin headquarters of the World Mission Society of God church since 2012.

It believes Korean founder Ahn Sahng-Hong is an incarnation of Christ.

The South Today has been told the society, using the name Elohim, or the Elohim Training Institute, is approaching people on the University of Otago campus and outside shopping malls.

The group holds regular meetings at the Otago University Students' Association building and according to Critic writer Esme Hall, is recruiting students.

''About a month ago a friend of mine said she'd got baptised into a cult.

''We were all like: `What the heck'.

''She just didn't really know how to say no and ended up getting taken to their church and pretty much baptised in the name of their God.''

And student Izzy Condon said she had also been approached.

''It just felt very invasive, almost intimidating in the way where someone says, `you're wrong' or `the way you think is not right'.''

Canberra-born university lecturer and recognised cult expert Peter Daley, who now lives in South Korea, says universities need to do more to educate students on the presence of cults on campus.

"It can take time for these groups to become known and gain a reputation, and that's the benefit of these transitory front groups," he said.

"The medicine for these kinds of extremist organisations... is to realise you're probably going to encounter these people in-between classes, at shopping centres, in your day-to-day life."

Otago University Students' Association communications manager Katrina McLennan told the South Today in a statement this week: ``I don't believe OUSA has received a formal complaint but please rest assured that this
is being addressed internally.''

A member of the group declined to discuss its activities when approached by the South Today.


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