Providence (religion)

Providence (religion)

Providence is a new religious movement founded by international fugitive Jung Myung Seok around 1980. It is widely referred to by the media as a cult, and most of its publicity comes from reports of its founder's alleged sexual abuses against its female followers.

Other names for the religion include Jesus Morning Star (JMS), Christian Gospel Mission (CGM), Setsuri, International Christian Association (ICA), Morning Star Church, The Bright Moon Church, Ae-chun Church, Young-dong Church, Nak-seong-dae Church, and Seoul Church.

Providence members also run various Providence secular organisations for recruitment purposes.

While the number of members is unknown, the majority of members live in South Korea and Japan.

Recent events

Police have raided eight Providence facilities in Chiba, Japan on suspicion a senior member illegally obtained residence status. [cite web| url=| title=Police raid Setsuri cult facilities in Chiba| accessdate=2007-02-07] They also searched a facility in the city’s Chuo Ward. The police believe Jung used a room inside to sexually assault female followers. [cite web| url=| title=Police raid Setsuri cult facilities in Chiba| accessdate=2007-01-19]

Media attention

This is the media attention concerning the religious organisation Providence. There is more media attention concerning Jung Myung Seok's crimes and alleged crimes, as well as mostly positive media relating to the events held by the secular organisations run by Providence.


One reported event was the attack on the 64-year old father of the founder of EXODUS on October 23 2003. EXODUS is an organisation formed by former members of Providence set up in response to the rape allegations concerning Jung. A doctor confirmed the victim's account that he was bombarded with weapons such as iron pipes, and concluded he could have been killed if the blows landed directly on his head. The attack permanently shattered his left facial bones, and severely damaged his facial nerves.

When interviewed in prison, the individuals responsible said they were not told to assault him. However, several other similar events have been reported in the Korean media. Police discovered that the culprits were all Providence members and had planned out the assault. This was the third attempt. It was ruled a retaliatory attack against EXODUS.

Seven days reports that former members Young-Soo Kim, Doe-Hyung Kim, Choi and Park have all been attacked by Providence members. (Kim is a common last name in Korea.) The office of EXODUS has also been trashed. A former member named Hyun-Jin Kim was attacked by Providence members, who he reports said to him, "how dare you speak ill of our teacher". As a result, he needed several stitches on his head. Kim said that he believes they were either trying to maim him to make an example out of him, or were trying to kill him.

Korean police confiscated a computer disc from the perpetrators. It contained plans to deal with critics of Providence. One section was labeled "sal sang boo" (list of people to be killed). The disc contained personal information, such as addresses, phone numbers, work places, and family member names of 206 people. The list included members of EXODUS, critics of Providence, as well as the producers of Seoul Broadcasting System.


Providence was first reported in Japanese media in late July 2006. While most reports were about the sexual allegations, the Asahi Shimbun commented on the Providence group (known in Japan as Setsuri) in their August 19 2006 editorial. It reported that Providence is "causing serious social problems in Japan", labeling it as a "cult" and "sect". It reported, cquote|The followers are required to pledge absolute submission to the founder and are forced to live communally and take part in mass weddings among members.

...Followers are evaluated according to the amount of money they donate to the sect. Many young members fall into financial trouble because of their large contributions to the group.

...a close look at the sect's activities would show it is nothing but an antisocial group that tries to manipulate the followers' mind and bamboozle them out of their money."|30px|30px|Asahi Shimbun|" [ Editorial/ Another problem cult] "

Hong Kong

The religion has been reported about in Hong Kong, known as "月明教會" (The Bright Moon Church) there. In October 2006 a former member, under pseudonym "Geung"(阿強), told Oriental Daily News that the church targets university students and in particular Christians to recruit on university campuses. He also said that the church has about 100 core members in Hong Kong, many of whom are medical graduates, while some are assistant professors. In church Jung is called "Joshua Jung", and leads church services via video stream. Geung found that the church gives Jung's photos to the members and asks them to worship the photos. When Geung finally left the church, he was threatened and harassed by the church's student members. Though the church has been in Hong Kong for years, the slow development made it fairly unknown until its media exposure to the public. To attract youth, the church tried to create an organisation to run various community activities, known as the United Culture and Arts Network (UCAN). The organisation's webpage was deleted in May of 2005. [cite news
publisher=Oriental Daily News

There is also one reported case of the parents of a female medical student seeking help from Hong Kong Christian Short Term Mission Center. The parents complained that the student's behavior changed completely after joining the church and she left home and never came back. Instead, she devoted herself to church's development and donated all her income to it. Her family found a photo of Jung in her wallet. [cite news
title=韓邪教襲港 吸大學尖子 變身「月明教會」 醫科生家人求助
publisher=Hong Kong Economic Times
(Database. membership required)
] [cite news
publisher=Central News Agency (Republic of China)


The organization's earliest activity in Taiwan was in 1988 [cite web|url= |title=總會長的點點滴滴--海外宣教 |accessdate= 2006-04-22|work=總會長的點點滴滴|publisher= 中華基督教新時代青年會CCYA(攝理教會) |archiveurl= |archivedate=2006-03-28|quote=台灣的宣教活動自從1988年開始|language= zh-tw] . The organization is commonly known as Jesus Morning Star church (JMS), "晨星會" (Tongyong Pinyin: chéeng sīn hùei. The literal translation of Jesus Morning Star church), "攝理教" or "攝禮教"(shè lǐ jìao).

The organization itself rejects these common names, officially registered as "中華基督教新時代青年會" (China Christian Youth Association, CCYA), and sometimes calls itself "攝理教會", and Providence Church [cite web|url= |title=立案證書 |publisher= 中華基督教新時代青年會CCYA(攝理教會)|language= zh-tw] .

In November 2001 the Taiwanese version of Next Magazine published the article "Korean cult leader raped over one hundred Taiwanese female college students". Allegedly involved National Taiwan University, Fu Jen Catholic University, and National Chengchi University all denied the report, stated that there were no cult activities in their campuses at the time. NCCU acknowledged that there had been such activities many years ago. There had been similar reports in 1997. [cite news|url=,&user=321&databaseNum=12,&pagenum=1&ID=862821&P=中央日報&D=90/11/09&T=8|title=宗教染指 上百女生受害?某周刊指韓國攝理教會教主涉嫌引誘非禮 遭點名臺大、政大、輔大否認|publisher=Central Daily News|author=李美嬅, 陳洛薇|date=2001-11-09|page=8|language=zh-tw] Members of EXODUS soon came to Taiwan and held a press conference with an involved woman. [cite web|url=|title=攝理教韓受害女性控訴教主 記者會火爆口角衝突 |author=陳志東||date=2001 December 10|accessdate= 2006-04-22|language= zh-tw]

In October 2005 Apple Daily (Taiwan) reported that many student clubs in National Central University and other campuses are recruiting for Providence Church. These clubs hold a wide variety of activities including the "Eagle Cup" soccer tournament in Taipei city and regular model training. The paper quoted an undisclosed former church member, that the church's "modeling department" is in fact a channel of recruiting sexual partners for Jung Myung Seok. The paper obtained three audio recordings of dialogs of some female members, which say that Jung have had sex with ten female members by mutual consent, most of them college students from the modeling department. [cite news|url=|title=踢爆邪教魔爪校園再現|author=黃白雪|publisher=Apple Daily (Taiwan)|date=2005 October 13|language= zh-tw]

In June 2006 Jung commissioned a friend to file a private prosecution against a former church member names Wang Wen-yi (王文益) along with many media in Taipei. During the trial Wang admitted that he released three unverified audio recordings to the media. Keelung District Court's judgment is that Wang's statements of "Jung sexually violated female college students" are defamations, media's reports during 2005 October 13 to 16 are untrue, and Wang was sentenced to 30 days of detension with two years of probation. [cite news|url=|title=攝理教主性怪癖 ? 教友亂爆料|author=楊惠琪|publisher=United Daily News|date=2006-06-22|page =C4/北市綜合|language= zh-tw (Membership database)]

Since Japanese police opened investigation on the church's Japanese branch, they believe "the second in command" of the branch had fled to Taiwan in 2006 after allegations of rape were reported by Japanese media. She is currently wanted by Japanese police for immigration violations. [cite web| url=| title=Police: Setsuri cult no. 2 in hiding in Taiwan| accessdate=2007-02-07] [cite news|title=助教祖性侵 攝理教女幹部遁台|date=2007-01-20|author=黃菁菁|publisher=China Times|page=A15|language=zh-tw]

See also

* Jung Myung Seok
* Global Association of Culture and Peace


* Korean section: Seven Days SBS news report 13 June 05
* Japanese section: Asahi Shimbun [ August 18 2006 editorial]

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