WMSCOG and People.com
Last December, reporter Chris Harris, PEOPLE’s “true crime reporter,” published a story on PEOPLE.com called “Former Members Allege New Jersey Church, South Korea-Based World Mission Society Church of God, is Actually a ‘Cult.’” This is a month before he also co-authored the story on The Record about the World Mission Society Church of God. And as he would later do in The Record article, Chris Harris presented the reader with the opinions of former members of the Church of God, including Michele Colon, without providing any factual information on what crimes the Church of God is committing.
WMSCOG “Doomsday Cult” Claim
The article starts by introducing Michele Colon and portraying her as a victim of the Church of God, saying, “For two years, Michele Colon believed with complete conviction the end of the world was imminent […] she defected from the World Mission Society Church of God […] because she believes she had been brainwashed into what she alleges is a doomsday cult.”
The Church of God does not teach about the end the world. People have tried to claim the Church of God proclaimed a 2012 end-of-world date but have yet to provide any evidence of this. All of the teachings of the Church of God are readily available on the Church’s websites and a date of the end of the world was never announced. In fact, the Bible teaches that no one knows the date.
WMSCOG “Profit-Making Cult” Claim
“Colon further claims in a civil suit she filed against the 50-year-old World Mission Society Church of God […] that the group is a ‘profit-making’ cult that ‘uses a number of psychological control tactics…to prevent its members from exposing its criminal and tortious behavior.”
What exactly is the “criminal and tortious behavior” of the Church of God? Though it’s a “crime report,” the article fails to provide any proof of this. This is because it’s not true. The Church of God teaches the biblical law of tithes and offerings. And people have used this to say the Church forces members to give the Church all their income. People like Michele Colon who lack understanding of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the basis of Christianity, manipulate these very teachings to mean something else. If the Church of God were a “profit-making cult” because its practices the law of tithes and offerings then every other church in the world should also be labeled a “profit-making cult” for practicing the law of tithes and offerings.
WMSCOG & “Fear and Guilt” Claim
“‘Fear and guilt — that is what fuels this cult,’ Colon tells PEOPLE.”
Again, another biblical teaching twisted to suit the article’s agenda without providing any appropriate evidence — simply Michele Colon’s erroneous claims. The Bible has more than 100 verses teaching about the fear of God. Every Christian knows this and it is not a belief solely of the Church of God. “Cult experts” have come up with a “model” to define cults and to have a fear is one of the characteristics they say “cults” have. So because the Bible teaches to fear God and the Church of God teaches the Bible, then automatically, the “cult expert” model to define a “cult” makes the Church of God a “cult.”
WMSCOG & Deceptive Recruitment Claim
“‘The don’t tell you what they are all about upfront, because if they did, no one would join them,’ Colon tells PEOPLE.”
Michele Colon claims the Church of God does not tell people what they are about upfront and that the Church deceptively recruits people who are vulnerable. I wonder if Chris Harris knows how Michele Colon came to the Church of God since he portrayed her as a victim of the Church making it seem like the Church trapped her into being a member. Michele Colon was never “recruited.” In fact, she invited herself to the Church of God. She was never deceived into believing — because if she actually believed the Bible she wouldn’t twist its teachings like she’s doing now.
The Church of God is very upfront about all of its beliefs. They’re on the Church website and we clearly preach about God the Mother to people and during services. So this “deceptive recruitment” claim is yet again another lie.
WMSCOG & Forced Abortions Claim
“Colon and the other former members allege that church leaders would direct congregants to get abortions, telling women it was ‘pointless and selfish’ to bring a child into a world so close to the bring of annihilation.”
This is probably the most absurd claim yet. Every other claim the article comes from their twisting the teachings of the Bible. But this one came from two former members — Diane Sims and Ron Ramos. Though these two members admit the Church never taught them to force members to have abortions, they took it upon themselves to assume from their “own common sense” that it was inappropriate for members to have children. But Michele Colon, former members, and the media have now taken this and added it to their list of false claims against the Church of God.
It’s very sad that the media has voiced the opinion and lies of former members for a sensationalist headline to the detriment of Church members, their families and friends, not only in the U.S. but even across the globe. I encourage you to experience the Church of God for yourself. Study the Bible at the Church of God, join us for a family or volunteer event and at least for your own opinion about us.