Sep 28, 2020

CultNEWS101 Articles: 9/28/2020

Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Korea, Church of the Last Testament, Legal, Russia, QAnon

"... Over 1,100 congregants of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus donated their blood plasma in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. Their contribution was so significant that the Korea Center for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC) wrote the organization a letter of thanks, addressed to chairman Lee Man Hee.

This donation continues a string of events where the Shincheonji church has attempted to make the best of its unfortunate involvement in the March outbreak. Immediately after the outbreak took place, Shincheonji stopped all gatherings to prevent the further spread of the virus. Chairman Man Hee Lee bowed to the floor in a public apology, and 4,000 members expressed their willingness to donate their convalescent plasma. A $10 Million donation was offered to the Community Chest of Korea as well.

Yet none of Shincheonji's attempts to reconcile with the Korean government were reciprocated. The $10 Million donation was flatly rejected due to negative public opinion about Shincheonji. Lee Man Hee's apology attracted conspiracy theories about his affiliation with the jailed former president Park Geun-hye. And the attempts to donate plasma were met with tepid responses until now. What Shincheonji has received in return is a series of investigations and the Chairman Lee Man Hee being put into jail for falsifying records and embezzlement."
"The leader of a prominent religious sect has been arrested in a remote part of Siberia by the Russian security forces, police say.

Sergei Torop, who is known to his followers as Vissarion, founded the Church of the Last Testament in Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region in 1991.

He was arrested along with two other leaders of the group.

They stand accused of extorting money and causing physical and psychological harm to their followers.

Mr Torop, Vadim Redkin and Vladimir Vedernikov are suspected of "establishing a religious association whose activities involve violence against individuals and of inflicting grievous bodily harm to two or more people," a spokeswoman for Russia's Investigations Committee said.

"They used the money of [their followers] and also used psychological violence against them," she is quoted as saying by state media."

"For some Republicans, QAnon is an opportunity to garner support. But for those who have lost loved ones to it, QAnon is a destroyer of families and relationships

"I lay awake at night and worry if my brother's going to shoot a bunch of protesters," said Daniel, 36.

Daniel, whose name has been changed to protect his family, always had a close relationship with his twin brother, Greg. They had "that twin thing, that twin bond", Daniel said.

The brothers had visited each other often when they both lived in Wichita, Kansas, usually spent holidays together, and continued to talk at least once a week, even when Daniel moved overseas. They disagreed on politics – Daniel is a centrist Democrat, and Greg had espoused libertarianism – but their political differences had never come in the way of their relationship.

In early June, however, they had a major fight. Daniel had heard from their mother that Greg was posting on social media about the Boogaloo Boys, an armed far-right movement in the US that seeks to incite civil war. When Daniel called to confront his brother about the extent of his involvement with them, Greg had insisted that the Boogaloo movement was just an internet joke – but he also said that he hoped the country would, indeed, descend into civil war. The brothers argued and hung up on each other.

On 1 July, Daniel called to apologize. Greg said he was busy, as he was on his way to a counter-protest to a Black Lives Matter (BLM) rally in Lawrence, Kansas. He had packed his guns in the car, and was intent on helping local police identify BLM protesters. According to Greg, protesters and antifascist activists were "looting and rioting", and he intended to do his part to stop them. "He said that antifa was lynching people and sending them to re-education camps," said Daniel.

The demonstration was not without violence, though not on the protesters' part: two cars attempted to plow through the crowd; no injuries were reported. There was no truth to what Greg had said. The brothers have not spoken since."

"Like those leaving cults, some people who believe in conspiracy theories like QAnon and Pizzagate can break free from their beliefs

Recently, QAnon has gotten a great deal of attention in the media due to QAnon-promoting congressional candidates such as Republican nominees Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert, thus bringing the theory mainstream. It has also been linked to violence, such as the 2019 shooting of a Staten Island mob boss by a QAnon supporter and a Texas woman attacking two strangers with her car earlier this year because she believed them to be child traffickers. President Trump has refused to overtly discredit or reject QAnon ideology, to the delight of believers, whose primary goal is to win Trump's attention.

"They desperately need a place to put their anger and a way to make sense of the world. Us versus them, the horrible bad guys, is something they all seem to cling to," says cult expert Diane Benscoter, who has spoken to numerous people whose loved ones are involved in QAnon. 'The doctrine makes it easy to say, 'Clearly we have to make a stand against this,' and it feels really good to believe you're on the side of righteousness and saving children.'"

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