Experiences with Shincheonji and their Studies.

Dear reader, 

Below are some edited excerpts of e-mails which we have received and have kept anonymous.  They are from people who have had different experiences with Shinchonji/Shincheonji 
I began to feel uncomfortable when my Christian friends wanted to attend my SCJ studies and the SCJ leader told me to be evasive with them.  This felt strange and made me wonder if Jesus would agree.  I started to feel odd too when I thought about the way we were supposed to spread the Shinchonji teachings.  It didn't feel right and I knew my Christian family would be shocked if they knew about this.      
I was introduced to this group by my sister back in the summer of 2009. It was the whole one-to-one Bible study pattern. In the beginning, I didn't think anything was suspicious; I was almost fascinated how they were able to "connect-the-dots" about certain terminologies presented in the Bible. I remember learning about "birds", "fire", "trees", etc. However, when they started talking negatively about churches and pastors and how the "seed of Satan" was in them, that's when the red flag came up for me. 

About two months later, I told the guy who was teaching me that I wanted to stop, he got angry and told me where else could I get the truth...With prayer, a help from my best friend, and some research, I stopped attending the Bible study in December 2009....I just wanted to encourage you to continue to spread awareness about Shinchonji and bring people back to the Gospel they've heard at first. Thank you so much. A sister in Christ.
I stopped taking the studies after I did some more research.  I didn't like how they lie and don't tell people right off the bat that they are SCJ. They justify themselves saying that they have to be in disguise because people already have preconceived notions on SCJ that "are not true". Also, their studies (from beginning to end) point to the revelation of one man. It's all a set-up to lead to this conclusion and make people believe in the teachings of this man (i.e. explanations of parables, what everything symbolizes, how the Jews rejected Jesus because they didn't recognize him, how the "word" sounded different but still have to accept it, etc.). They emphasize the Word of God and neglect other important aspects of the Christian life: prayer, praise and worship, and service. They also have a lot of wrong interpretations.

My wife left me and kids three years ago because of Shinchonji. I am Korean and know about Manhee Lee's history.  When he was a young man, he went to Joun Do Kwan's group.  This leader claimed to be God and Mr. Lee spent many years in this group.  After that he was associated with two or three other (end-time) groups.  There is (are) too many problems in Shinchonji.
When I was in Korea, I had attended several of these studies with two other family members. It was just the three of us and a teacher. The studies started out with just going through the OT looking at verses that prophesied about Jesus' first coming, and how that was fulfilled. The lessons didn't seem threatening, and they were presented in an easy to follow format - with lots of Scripture. I found the studies interesting, and wanted to hear more because they were just so matter-of-fact and nothing "felt" wrong. I don't remember if I ever asked the name of the group or church they were associated with. When I got back home, I didn't continue the studies until my husband and I were married and then we started them online again with the three original members. 

Things were ok - but then we got into the book of Revelation, and our interest kind of started to fizzle out. While I think that interpreting Revelation is a big task for anyone, we just didn't quite "get" how this group was interpreting Revelation - it seemed like maybe they were reading a lot into it. I don't remember too much specifically, but I remember sometimes thinking, "Well... maybe that's what it means... but maybe not..." I think that my husband maybe voiced the fact that he wasn't comfortable with all of it - and he felt like there was too much of an emphasis on KNOWING things and not enough on just having faith in God. He pointed out that anyone who has a desire to know God and understand His Word is going to - God isn't going to hide from anyone who is earnestly seeking after Him! I agreed with him, though a part of me was still curious about how this study ended - now I'm glad we didn't stick around to find out. 
Something recently happened with some friends, who are in Shinchonji, that has left me greatly distraught. These friends have taken 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 and as well as Matthew 7:13-14 to mean that they are the only lovers of Truth, this God's Word, and that only those that believe as they do have been chosen to be saved at the fullness of time upon the return of our Lord. However, we know that no prophecy of Scripture is of private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20) and that all true believers are of One mind and One spirit (John 17:21; Romans 15:5-6; 1 Corinthians 13:11; Ephesians 4:4; Philippians 2:2; 3:15-16) in Christ Jesus 

During an online Bible study, another person and I were led through the Bible by my friend (in Shinchonji) going from one verse to another through a topic that he had chosen as he enthusiastically called on us to read certain passages testing our 'knowledge' of the Word by asking us periodically where certain verses were found, at which point I began feeling very uncomfortable and nervous if I was unable to produce the right answer. The 'study' felt very controlled and in the flesh not led by the Holy Spirit.

By the end, my spirit was so grieved. My friend asked me to pray and I simply couldn't. When the study was over, I asked my friend if we could talk privately and told him how I had been made to feel. He told me he was grieved that I couldn't cite verses or that I had not known the answer to certain questions. I felt that He had judged the Word of God I had in my heart, which only God knows. By His grace, I desire nothing more than to have His Word in my heart and to meditate on it day and night. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 27:4) For many years due to illness and still now, I am unable to read the Word as much as I desire because of pain (of which my friend knows nothing about - 1 Peter 4:1). At this point, I was grieved to the point of tears but praise God for His Word that began filling my mind. Romans 8:1 being the first verse. 

Romans 8
1There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. 

After the conversation, I continued to seek the Lord in prayer. I wrote my friend attempting to make peace in the matter but have yet to hear back. What grieves me the most is that I sense no repentance on his part but simply pride and Phariseeism, exalting himself thinking he has been given special revelation from God and that only he and those that are part of his group and come under his teaching are saved. If it were the Holy Spirit in him (for true brethren are One in Spirit), he too would feel grieved and would have made an attempt to make peace and would have responded to my efforts to do so. I had asked him certain things which he often ignored (Mt 7:20). God exhorts us to make every effort to keep the bond of peace among the brethren with the grace He gives us (Ephesians 4:3) 

Through this experience, the Lord has confirmed to me that the many untrue doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1) and teachings of men that are rampant in these last days are all an attempt to stop the spreading of the gospel. I ask for your prayers at this time and for my friends, against the wiles of the enemy and for God's will to be done. In Jesus' name. Amen. 
Two family members have become persuaded by SCJ teaching.  As you might suppose, my wife and I have been taken by surprise, and are not a little heartbroken.  After some time went by, they began to try to convince us—out of fear, I guess, that we were not part of the 144,000.  We consented to listen to a recording of one of their teaching sessions, but they became irritated by the questions and observations we offered after listening.  At one point, the teacher said, six times in a row, that we had to forsake our own thinking, that our own thinking was bad, that our own thinking would get in the way, etc.  Through this I realized that mindless reverence and submission seem to be a goal for this group...The real headscratcher is that they claim they are "just studying the Bible."  We reply that they are in fact being given Manhee Lee's questionable interpretations.  They reply that they are "just studying the Bible."

I wanted to share some notes from a 1987 study about how and why people defect from groups like SCJ.  I didn't include in my notes the main reasons that people leave, but they are mainly these: (1) perspective gained from time spent away from the group, (2) a desire to join a spouse or significant other who leaves the group, (3) disappointment that the group is not achieving its goals, (4) a feeling of being poorly treated by others in the group—not so much by fellow members as by immediate supervisors, and (5) a perception that the leaders of the group are not practicing what they are preaching.

I was in SCJ and finally decided to leave the organization after realizing that the teachings were not true. It took me over a year, after 'crossing over' and attending their services, to leave quietly on my own terms.  It is a fresh breath of air knowing that the simple truths are all clearly stated in the word already and Jesus Christ is our Savior.
when I was in SCJ in october of 2010, almost 3 years ago now, they had about 100,000 members then. lee manhee gave orders to all churches that they need to double in size by 6 months. and when he gives orders, everyone obeys as he "is" jesus. fast forward 3 years. didn't happen. i'm sure there are well over 144,000 people, but nothing's happened. so they would give excuses saying that the people inside the church are not real followers or giving false numbers. if the followers don't "count" as part of the 144,000...then that's also faulty bc heaven is supposed to be perfect. that's two pretty solid signs to me that something's not right (Taken from Shinchonji:Fact or Fiction).