Mar 31, 2022

ICSA Annual Conference: Catholic Cults in our Midst? Catholic orders and movements accused of being cult-like

ICSA Annual Conference: Catholic Cults in our Midst? Catholic orders and movements accused of being cult-like
ICSA Annual Conference: Catholic Cults in our Midst? Catholic orders and movements accused of being cult-like

J. Paul Lennon; Saturday, June 25, 2022; 2:00 PM-2:50 PM – online

Many will be unaware of “Catholic Cults in our Midst”. The movements described in the presentation will not admit it if questioned, usually claiming official Church approval. But if we apply the classic Cult Characteristic List to a series of Catholic communities and movements, most of them officially approved, we will begin to wonder, to question and to be on guard. Beside the better-known organizations such as Opus Dei, Legionaries of Christ/ Regnum Christi Federation, Neo-Catechumenal, Charismatics, Focolarini … we will discover some lesser-known but important groups active in the Americas and in Europe, in all cases covering their foundation, influence, cult-like features and official church interventions. Q&A period to follow the presentation.



J. Paul Lennon
J. Paul Lennon
Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, J. Paul Lennon, STL, MA, LPC, Board member, Regain Network co-founder (Religious Groups Awareness International Network). Mr. Lennon was a Legionary of Christ brother from 1961 to 1969 and an LC priest from 1969 to 1984, living in Spain, Rome, U.S. and Mexico. He served as a Diocesan priest from 1985 to 1989 and received an MA in Counseling from the Catholic University of America in 1989. He worked as a Child and Family Therapist in Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A. for 13 years, serving mostly Spanish-language clients. In 2008 he published a memoir, “Our Father Maciel who art in bed, A Naive and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ”. After retirement he moved to Guatemala with his wife, where he continues to study, write, and speak on his favorite topics: Legion of Christ, Regnum Christi, Harmful Catholic and Christian Groups, sexual, emotional, and spiritual abuse, situation of the Catholic Church, etc. He speaks fluent English and Spanish, can converse in Italian, and understands some French. https://regainnetwork.org/

Falling Out

Falling Out podcast

A podcast about leaving the Moonies and other cults, as told by the kids who grew up within them. 

Hosted by Elgen Strait. Pronounced El-Gin, like the drink.

Elgen was born into the Moonies and grew up within the cult. This is his project.







No alcohol, tobacco, coffee or Coke stocks - a look at how the LDS Church has grown its wealth

Valued at above $52 billion, Ensign Peak Advisors’ account is full of blue chip holdings and some interesting Utah companies.
Valued at above $52 billion, Ensign Peak Advisors’ account is full of blue chip holdings and some interesting Utah companies.


Tony Semerad
The Salt Lake Tribune
March 29, 2022

The immense and once-secret investment portfolio of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints now has eyes watching its every step.

The Utah-based faith’s Ensign Peak Advisors tally of stocks and other holdings topped $52.3 billion in value as of Dec. 31, boosting its earnings during the pandemic to $22.4 billion as quarterly reports showed it regularly outperforming market bellwethers such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Managers first disclosed the fund’s Wall Street holdings in March 2020, with a report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on nearly 1,659 stocks and mutual funds, many of them household names.

Since that initial glimpse of how the global church of 16.6 million members invests some of the excess tithing paid, those quarterly reports have mapped a remarkable rebound from $8 billion in losses early in 2020, when markets tanked due to COVID-19. The investments are now almost double in value compared to late 2019.

Market watchers are taking notice. Salt Lake City-based Ensign Peak is now ranked among some of the largest U.S. institutional investors and hedge funds, and it draws regular updates over its trades. In just two years, the portfolio has expanded to 2,199 different holdings, SEC disclosures reveal, for a mix heavy in blue chip stocks and consumer favorites along with billion-dollar stakes in technology titans such as Apple, Microsoft and Google.

Half of Ensign Peak’s $52.3 billion, as of the quarter ending Dec. 31, is now held in 44 stocks.

The increase represents a 9% gain from the prior quarter and compares to 7.8% gain on the Dow Jones Industrial Average for the same period.

Beyond shares in well-known stocks, as one might expect from investment managers for a fiscally conservative worldwide faith, analysis shows that Ensign Peak as a whole is widely diversified across industries, risk levels and company sizes, akin to the benchmark Standard & Poor’s market index.

It also has some interesting quirks.

Church puts big money into Big Tech

Ensign Peak’s shares in five technology stocks — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Microsoft — were valued at $5.5 billion at the end of 2019 but reached $10.3 billion in the past quarter, about a fifth of the entire portfolio.

Those gains have been driven partly by record performances of tech firms such as Amazon during the health crisis, but it’s also been partly by design.

Apple has been Ensign Peak’s largest holding since late 2019, when it represented $1.5 billion of the total portfolio. Managers quadrupled the fund’s stake in the California company in spring 2020, expanding from 4.9 million shares to 19.2 million shares. They have pared that position by about 3 million shares since.

The Apple stake was worth $2.9 billion at year’s end, slightly ahead of its second largest holding, Microsoft, valued at $2.8 billion.
Church investors skip soft drinks

The church has said Ensign Peak’s managers do not invest in industries that faithful Latter-day Saints consider objectionable, including alcohol, tobacco, coffee and gambling. Interestingly, though, of 30 large stocks that compose the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Ensign Peak has never invested in Coca-Cola.

While some member shun caffeinated beverages, consuming drinks like Coke, Pepsi or Dr Pepper actually violates no teaching within the faith, including its Word of Wisdom health code.

SEC documents show shares in the worldwide soft drink maker have not been part of its portfolio during the nine quarters it has reported to the agency, while every other Dow component — from Amgen, Boeing and Caterpillar to McDonald’s and Walmart — has drawn Ensign Peak investment interest at some point since late 2019.

Also off the fund’s list are Coke rivals, PepsiCo and Keurig Dr Pepper, a conglomerate that also owns a prominent coffee brand. Ensign also seems to avoid most so-called pure-play coffee suppliers, such as Starbucks, as well as tobacco makers.

Utah companies make the list

Of the five largest publicly traded Utah companies listed on the Fortune 500, Ensign Peak, as of Dec. 31, owned shares in four of them: bank holding company Zions Bancorp.; multilevel marketer Nu Skin Enterprises; online retailer Overstock; and airline SkyWest.

It also holds stakes in prominent companies based in the state such as software survey firm Qualtrics and some of Utah’s top health-related operations such as Health Catalyst, Health Equity, Merit Medical Systems and USANA Health Sciences.

Several notable Utah firms were off its list at year’s end, including financial tech company PROG Holdings; Midvale-based retailer Sportsman’s Warehouse; and home security provider Vivint Smart Home.

Disclosures show Ensign Peak held a $76.8 million stake in human-resources software firm Pluralsight at the end of 2019 but had slashed that to zero by spring 2020 and hasn’t held shares in the company since.

Fund managers reported a $91 million stake in Zions as 2019 closed but had trimmed that to $1.4 million as of late last year.

The account’s ownership in Qualtrics, meanwhile, has followed almost a counter-trajectory: Ensign Peak held no shares of the company — which also does surveying for the church — from late 2019 through 2020 but then bought a $9.8 million stake in early 2021 and has expanded that to $12.9 million by last quarter.

The fund steered clear of shares in online retailer Overstock.com from late 2019 until the end of 2021, when it bought a $535,000 stake.

Editor’s note • This story is available to Salt Lake Tribune subscribers only. Thank you for supporting local journalism.

https://www.sltrib.com/religion/2022/03/29/no-alcohol-tobacco-coffee/

CultNEWS101 Articles: 3/31/2022 (Larry Ray, Legal, Podcast, Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, Bad Vegan, Distress and Resilience, Event)

Larry Ray, Legal, Podcast, Independent Fundamental Baptist Movement, Bad Vegan, Distress and Resilience, Event

"Lawrence V. Ray grunts and screams on the audio recording. He asks for his "sharpest razor," calls for a hammer and yells at a young man named Santos Rosario.

"I swear I'll put this through your skull," Mr. Ray shouts. "I want to take you out in a brutal way."

The recording, played to jurors in Mr. Ray's trial on charges of sex trafficking, extortion and racketeering conspiracy in Federal District Court in Manhattan, captured the rage he unleashed on young people whom he first befriended, then mesmerized and then accused of sabotaging him.

Mr. Ray, 62, who was arrested in 2020 after he was the subject of a New York magazine article, spent nearly a decade controlling and abusing a group of young people, prosecutors say. He met most of them, according to testimony, in 2010 after moving into his daughter's dormitory at Sarah Lawrence College in Westchester County, just north of New York City.

Mr. Ray has been accused of manipulating, threatening and assaulting those under his sway and isolating some from their parents. Prosecutors said he pressured the young people to make false confessions of undermining him and damaging his property, then extracted payments from his victims and their relatives.

After the recording was played in court earlier this month, Mr. Rosario testified that Mr. Ray had become infuriated when someone had listed him on the web as a mental-health provider. Mr. Rosario, conditioned by years of fake confessions, told Mr. Ray he had posted the information, but then could not comply with his demand to remove it.

'He was hitting me with the hammer," Mr. Rosario testified, adding that the encounter lasted for "several hours."

The defense has maintained that Mr. Ray was absorbed into a fog of falsehoods created by students who mixed their own life stories with his, adding details and building upon one another's accounts to create "one fantastic conspiracy.'"
"There's a dark cloud hanging over the Independent Fundamental Baptist movement, and our guest today wants you to know about it. Eric Skwarczynski is the host and creator of the Preacher Boys podcast, which is a platform for survivors' stories and the basis of an upcoming documentary film about a deeply disturbing pattern of sexual predation and abuse claims within  the IFB. Eric joins us to talk about blowing the whistle on the IFB, what sucks about purity culture (hint: everything), and what it will take to create a sea change among current congregants, leaders, and pastors. He also gives us the scoop on his new podcast: Figuring it Out which currently features life advice from Shaq (!!!)" 
" ... The founder of Manhattan clean-eating hot spot Pure Food and Wine was a tabloid fixture in 2016 after she defrauded investors, stiffed staffers, and went on the lam, under what she says was the bizarre spell of a man she met online and went on to marry. As a new docuseries looks at the scandal with fresh eyes, Melngailis speaks on what happened then and where she is now."

" ... She is currently reading Terror, Love and Brainwashing: Attachment in Cults and Totalitarian Systems by Alexandra Stein. Such books help her understand what she believes she went through. "Like dissociation, and the fact I can't remember so much stuff. I feel close to former cult members because we understand one another." She recently recorded an interview for a forthcoming episode of the podcast A Little Bit Culty, hosted by Sarah Edmondson and Anthony "Nippy" Ames, survivors of NXIVM."
Emma Antelo, Omar Saldaña, Oscar Wu-Salmeron, Alvaro Rodriguez-Carballeira
Friday, June 24th, 2022
3:00 PM-3:50 PM Part 1
4:00 PM-4:50 PM Part 2
During the last decades, different studies have shown that people who experience group psychological abuse may suffer clinical distress and psychosocial difficulties after leaving the group. However, previous studies conducted in other abusive contexts indicate that social functioning and resilience can mitigate these adverse psychological effects of interpersonal violence. Unfortunately, little is known about the role of these variables regarding how survivors of social groups that are high-demand, manipulative, or abusive towards their members cope with trauma. Taking into account this gap, the purpose of this study is to examine how social functioning and resilience may influence distress suffered by former members of abusive groups. An online questionnaire was administered to 794 English-speaking former members of different types of groups, 499 victims of group psychological abuse and 295 non-victims. Results showed that victims of group psychological abuse reported lower levels of social functioning and resilience than non-victims, and higher levels of psychosocial difficulties and psychopathological symptoms. Furthermore, results showed that participants who had experienced higher levels of group psychological abuse tend to have poorer social functioning, negatively affecting resilience. In turn, lower levels of social functioning and resilience may increase distress. In addition, women and survivors who were born or raised within the group reported lower social functioning, and in consequence, higher levels of distress. This study highlights the need to promote and enhance social adjustment and positive coping for fostering recovery from the abusive experience. Effective interventions will need to focus on a wide range of factors, including the abusive experience characteristics, the circumstances of the survivors such as sex or the age joining the group, and the promotion of social functioning and resilience.

News, Education, Intervention, Recovery


CultEducationEvents.com

CultMediation.com   

Intervention101.com to help families and friends understand and effectively respond to the complexity of a loved one's cult involvement.

CultRecovery101.com assists group members and their families make the sometimes difficult transition from coercion to renewed individual choice.

CultNEWS101.com news, links, resources.

Facebook

Flipboard

Twitter

Instagram

Cults101.org resources about cults, cultic groups, abusive relationships, movements, religions, political organizations and related topics.


Selection of articles for CultNEWS101 does not mean that Patrick Ryan or Joseph Kelly agree with the content. We provide information from many points of view in order to promote dialogue.


Please forward articles that you think we should add to cultintervention@gmail.com.


Mar 30, 2022

Sugar Coated Panacea w/ Dr. Willoughby Britton

IndoctriNation Show: New Episode Out! "Sugar Coated Panacea w/ Dr. Willoughby Britton". In this second half of their two-part conversation, Dr. Britton provides more details about the resistance she came up against in the science and meditation communities after publishing data that contradicted their narratives of meditation as an infallibly positive pursuit.

Mysterious secret hidden behind ordinary door in Sydney’s CBD

It looks like an ordinary door, tucked off one of Sydney’s busiest CBD streets – but what lies behind it is causing controversy.

Alex Turner-Cohen
News Australia
March 30, 2022

A South Korean religious group that was founded by a convicted rapist has opened up a church in the heart of Sydney.

News.com.au can reveal that the sect forked out $1.54 million to buy a commercial property in the city centre.

Property records show that in August last year, The Lord’s Hope Church Incorporated settled on an office suite at 4/173-179 Broadway, in Ultimo.

News.com.au understands renovations finished earlier this year and the “temple” is now open for business.

It’s a stone’s throw away from several major universities, including Sydney University and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). A former member told news.com.au the religious group has already started dance classes and student societies at both universities.

A church spokesperson confirmed the purchase and renovation of the property, but has denied its purpose is to recruit young members from nearby university campuses.

The Lord’s Hope Church Sydney is a faction of Providence, a South Korean religious fringe sect also known as Jesus Morning Star, Christian Gospel Mission, The Bright Moon Church, the Global Association of Culture and Peace and Setsuri.

A now 77-year-old Korean man, Jeong Myeong-seok, founded Providence in 1978, proclaiming that he was Jesus’ second coming. Since then, the religious group has spread to more than 50 nations, with 200,000 members and 400 churches worldwide.

Jeong was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting several female followers. He left jail in 2018.

Earlier this month, on March 16, two more women came forward calling for local authorities to reopen investigations, including one Australian who alleges the religious leader indecently assaulted her during visits to South Korea. The other woman, from Hong Kong, claimed Jeong had raped her dozens of times since his release.

The church is along Broadway, a bustling Sydney street, opposite an Anglican church, St Barnabas Broadway.

A former Australian Providence member Samantha*, who is in her early 20s, told news.com.au that the new Sydney church was largely funded through member contributions.

The uni student gave about $10,000 to the church during her stint in the sect. She has only recently managed to cut ties with the group.

Members were expected to donate a minimum of 10 per cent of their pay packet to the church as a tithe, she says.

According to her, donations were tracked in an Excel spreadsheet where the church’s finance department could ensure members paid their dues.

A church spokesperson denied that financial contributions were compulsory.

“Tithing is not compulsory and it is rarely spoken of in our sermons or teachings,” they said. “Members are free to give offerings as they please.

News.com.au understands this is Providence’s first property in NSW but they also bought another building five years ago in Melbourne, at 7 Rakaia Way, Docklands.

A spokesperson said of the Sydney purchase: “We purchased this property because many members of our church wanted to have a permanent place that belongs to the church, to use as a home for their faith.

“It is a place for families, children, and members of all ages could [sic] gather and share their faith as a community. Also, subject to council approval, the place would be used as a place of worship. So the church congregation agreed to purchase a property for these reasons.”

Samantha’s nightmare at the sect began when she was recruited to attend a one-on-one bible study group.

From there, she says she was sucked into the world of Providence

EXCLUSIVE

A South Korean religious group that was founded by a convicted rapist has opened up a church in the heart of Sydney.

News.com.au can reveal that the sect forked out $1.54 million to buy a commercial property in the city centre.

Property records show that in August last year, The Lord’s Hope Church Incorporated settled on an office suite at 4/173-179 Broadway, in Ultimo.

News.com.au understands renovations finished earlier this year and the “temple” is now open for business.

It’s a stone’s throw away from several major universities, including Sydney University and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). A former member told news.com.au the religious group has already started dance classes and student societies at both universities.

A church spokesperson confirmed the purchase and renovation of the property, but has denied its purpose is to recruit young members from nearby university campuses.

The Lord’s Hope Church Sydney is a faction of Providence, a South Korean religious fringe sect also known as Jesus Morning Star, Christian Gospel Mission, The Bright Moon Church, the Global Association of Culture and Peace and Setsuri.

A now 77-year-old Korean man, Jeong Myeong-seok, founded Providence in 1978, proclaiming that he was Jesus’ second coming. Since then, the religious group has spread to more than 50 nations, with 200,000 members and 400 churches worldwide.

Jeong was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting several female followers. He left jail in 2018.

Earlier this month, on March 16, two more women came forward calling for local authorities to reopen investigations, including one Australian who alleges the religious leader indecently assaulted her during visits to South Korea. The other woman, from Hong Kong, claimed Jeong had raped her dozens of times since his release.

A former Australian Providence member Samantha*, who is in her early 20s, told news.com.au that the new Sydney church was largely funded through member contributions.

The uni student gave about $10,000 to the church during her stint in the sect. She has only recently managed to cut ties with the group.

Members were expected to donate a minimum of 10 per cent of their pay packet to the church as a tithe, she says.

According to her, donations were tracked in an Excel spreadsheet where the church’s finance department could ensure members paid their dues.

A church spokesperson denied that financial contributions were compulsory.

“Tithing is not compulsory and it is rarely spoken of in our sermons or teachings,” they said. “Members are free to give offerings as they please.”

News.com.au understands this is Providence’s first property in NSW but they also bought another building five years ago in Melbourne, at 7 Rakaia Way, Docklands.

A spokesperson said of the Sydney purchase: “We purchased this property because many members of our church wanted to have a permanent place that belongs to the church, to use as a home for their faith.

“It is a place for families, children, and members of all ages could [sic] gather and share their faith as a community. Also, subject to council approval, the place would be used as a place of worship. So the church congregation agreed to purchase a property for these reasons.”

Samantha’s nightmare at the sect began when she was recruited to attend a one-on-one bible study group.

From there, she says she was sucked into the world of Providence.

Young Australians recruited

Once she was inside Providence, Samantha tried to bring people into the fold.

“I worked really hard in recruiting people, I was good at it,” she said.

“They actually ideally want local people, JMS [another name for the religious group] loves non-Asian, it gives you real merit if you recruit someone who is a local [because] they’re harder to get.”

Some friends she introduced to Providence are still currently involved in it.

During her time there, she claims Providence used activities with universities to convince more young people to join.

“They have a society at Sydney University, which is a front group,” she claimed.

A PowerPoint slide she obtained during her time at the sect showed the society being listed as an “evangelism method” for Providence.

This society has more than 1000 followers on social media and in its description, says it only wants women to join.











A leaked PowerPoint slide describing Providence's evangelism methods, including listing the name of the university society on one of the dot points.


Providence admitted some members had created the Sydney University society but rejected claims it was used to bring non-religious people to their cause.

The church “does not have any ‘front’ groups that operate in universities or elsewhere,” a spokesperson said.

When contacted, the club said no religious activities ever took place.

The society “was initiated by a few health science students who also happen to be church friends within CGM [another name for Providence],” they said.

“It was born from a mutual passion for health and wellbeing by a group of young women, and to motivate other young women to be healthy and fit.”

The uni society closed down in 2020 because of Covid-19 and they have no plans to re-register it.

“If any of our students have any concerns we urge them to get in touch so we can look into the matter properly,” a Sydney University spokesperson said.

“Support is also available for any of our students who might need it.”

UTS also hosted dance classes in 2018 reportedly run by Providence members.

Samantha knows of other members who recruited people through modelling agencies or by asking them to fill out surveys.

“A new tactic they developed while I was there was recruiting people who do photo shoots,” she added. “They would say they’re studying a project. That’s another tactic, pretending you have some uni assignment.”

Sect experts contacted by news.com.au were concerned about the new location of the Providence temple in Sydney. [...]

NSW-based Tore Klevjer, President of Cult Information and Family Support Inc, was alarmed when he heard of the location of the new “temple”.

“Providence does target uni-aged girls especially,” he told news.com.au.

“Having a property that they can invite people to and is easy for people to get to, it’s got to be a huge advantage for recruiting people, it’s really concerning.”

‘Red flags’

Every morning, Australian pastors hold a pre-dawn service for Providence believers at 4.45am. On Wednesdays, Jeong tunes into the session remotely from South Korea.

Samantha says she was expected to attend every day but struggled to meet this quota.

“I’ve got insomnia now, my sleep has been so messed up since I left,” she said.

She moved out with other members of the sect and cut off friends and family soon after.

“They discourage you listening to Christian music but wanted you to listen to Providence music … same with TV shows and movies, which is such a red flag [in hindsight],” she said.

“They discourage you from having fun outside of the group, you’d be judged if you went to the movies [with other friends].”

Joining the group also changed the way Samantha dressed — she purged all the black clothes from her wardrobe.

“They said there’s no black in heaven, it is the colour of Satan, it makes the Messiah upset if he sees you in black,” she explained.

“A lot of people who joined felt the pressure to buy new clothes. You had to dress really nice for the Sunday service and dawn service, so like nice blazers and dresses.”

Other media outlets have reported that Providence recruiters sought to indoctrinate tall and pretty young women.

Indeed, Samantha estimates 80 per cent of the members were female.

Women in the group are taught that they are brides of God and by extension, the brides of Jeong.

Looking good, keeping themselves slim and dressing well is emphasised to women in the group.

‘I lied so much’

Knowing it would be hard to explain her actions to the outside world, Samantha lied to her family, telling them she had moved out of home with uni friends.

“I lied so much,” she said.

When Samantha finally decided to leave, a senior church member got wind of her plans and she was “love-bombed”, where religious members tried to guilt her into staying through an outpouring of love and affection.

When she finally left, she was convinced something terrible would happen, as punishment.

“The first few weeks you’re living with so much fear, waiting for something bad to happen, waiting for my family to get sick, because that’s the teaching,” she said.

“Then nothing did, good things started to happen instead.”

ussie alleges she was indecently assaulted by leader

On March 16, lawyers held a press conference at the Seoul Lawyer’s Hall in Jongno-gutwo alleging Jeong had reoffended since being released from prison in February 2018.

The lawyers represented two women from Australia and Hong Kong who claimed they had been molested or sexually assaulted by the Providence leader, according to local reports.

The 30-year-old Australian said she was indoctrinated into the sect’s Australian branch in 2014 when she was 22.

She alleged she had been subjected to sexual touching five times since July 2018, when she visited South Korea on a church-funded trip.

Providence is “not some righteous religion, they’re an organisation that supports an actual criminal, a rapist and that is not OK, that can’t go on”, the unnamed Aussie woman stated during the broadcast.

After the alleged molestation, the woman recalled: “The first thing I did in the morning was contact one of the main pastors and I was like ‘this thing happened last night. Is there any chance we can meet and get some clarification?’.

“I think she knew what was going on. And she just said ‘I’m sorry, I’m busy, can you talk to so-and-so’s other pastor’. So she didn’t want to deal with it.

“So I talked to this other pastor and she spilled all this stuff into my brain like ‘you know you really are the bride and in a normal relationship can’t the husband have that kind of relationship with the bride?’ and all this stuff.”

At the media announcement, a woman from Hong Kong, Maple Ying Tung Huen, claimed Jeong had raped her multiple times.

“I think the task that Heaven gave me before I die is to reveal the truth so that there are no more victims. Jung Myeong-seok is absolutely not the Messiah,” she said, according to a translation.

The lawyer representing both women has filed a complaint about Jeong with the National Police Agency on charges of ordinary quasi-rape and ordinary quasi-forced molestation.

Since the press conference a fortnight ago, Providence’s Australian branches appear to have tightened their security.

YouTube livestreams, which were already only accessed through private links, are now Zoom calls where attendees must provide their full name to get in.

Daily proverbs are also deleted three days after being posted to their secure portal and inactive members are unable to access daily live broadcasts.

The history of Providence

In 1999, rape allegations about Jeong first came to light, prompting him to leave South Korea.

He was charged over raping or violently molesting five Korean believers and was arrested in 2007.

A year later he was found guilty on three counts of rape.

When he tried to appeal the decision in 2009, another four years was added to his original six-year bid. He finally left jail in February 2018.

A former Canberra member of the religious sect called Liz appeared on SBS in 2014 claiming she had been encouraged to write intimate letters to Jeong while he was imprisoned.

She said he regularly replied with explicit content, such as “your white skin arouses me” and “your vagina would look pretty”.

A Providence spokesperson denied this at the time.

In 2016, Australian publication Crikey reported that a Providence member employed at the Australian Taxation Office used their work computer to water down the Wikipedia article on the sect.

They admitted to removing references to Jeong’s sexual assaults as well as mentions of the term “cult”.

Providence has been known to be vindictive to those who speak out.

In 1999, when the national Korean broadcaster was going to air an explosive news package, Providence threatened legal action by calling the organisation up to 60,000 times a day over two months.

In 2008 when Jeong was found guilty of rape, his followers broke into a South Korean newspaper office that had published negative articles about him and damaged the place.

Providence responds

Providence has strongly rejected the new sexual assault claims.

When the 30-year-old Australian initially alleged she had been molested, Providence released a video that was shared in the press conference.

An Australian Providence pastor said, addressing the Australian victim: “We have a lot of big people so we will have a press conference against you and we will reveal every unfortunate, unethical and amoral thing that you have done.

“We don’t want to do this but again we need to do this to protect myself and other beloved ones that will be affected by your attacks.

“We don’t want to do this because it will detrimentally affect your life and definitely your future career.”

In a statement shared on their website, Providence said although they wanted “to express our regret for this situation”, they denied all wrongdoing and called the claims untrue.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/sydney-nsw/mysterious-secret-hidden-behind-ordinary-door-in-sydneys-cbd/news-story/14760ca957f181ba2b185b1445c13e49










https://www.news.com.au/finance/real-estate/sydney-nsw/mysterious-secret-hidden-behind-ordinary-door-in-sydneys-cbd/news-story/14760ca957f181ba2b185b1445c13e49