A South Korean cult has been accused of recruiting vulnerable young Australian women in shopping malls, brainwashing them and then shipping them abroad.
The victims were told they were the ‘spiritual brides’ of Jung Myung Seok (JMS), the self-proclaimed second coming of Jesus Christ and the messiah of the Providence Church he founded in 1978.
But JMS is a convicted rapist, and the women were sent to his Wolmyeongdong compound not for spiritual reasons, but to allegedly be sexually assaulted.
Recruiters are reportedly being told to look for tall, skinny white women for JMS, and two Australian survivors, Liz and Amy (not their real names) have spoken out to warn others to know they could also be targeted.
Amy was recruited while on her way to meet a friend to go bowling at Melbourne Central shopping centre, she told Channel 7’s featured program.
“Suddenly someone tapped me on the shoulder, I turned around and two girls were smiling at me…they asked me to take a survey about my faith,” she said.
A vicious South Korean cult has been found to be recruiting vulnerable young Australian women in shopping malls, brainwashing them and then shipping them abroad. Survivor Amy in the photo
Amy was 22 years old at the time in 2014 and had a growing interest in Christianity. The chance encounter would change her life for the worse.
“I thought this was almost an elevated version of Christianity because that’s how it was presented to me,” he said.
Liz had just finished Year 12 when she was approached at the Canberra Center and thought it ‘sounded really fun and exciting’.
“I was on a gap year, so I was looking to travel, I was working part-time, and I was also thinking about what I was going to do with my life.
“I was in a very good position to be susceptible to psychological coercion, and they definitely took advantage of that.”
The young women attended Bible study classes and lectures and eventually moved into houses of worship in Australia where their lives were strictly controlled, including getting up at 2am every day to pray to JMS.
Over time, their physical and mental stamina eroded and they were called ‘faith stars’ by people they considered friends.
Liz (pictured) had just finished Year 12 when she was approached at the Canberra Center and thought it “sounded really fun and exciting”.
The phrase was a cover for the prettiest, tallest and most obedient women being brainwashed into believing they were brides of God and therefore brides of JMS.
“It was never explained to us that this was what JMS wanted because he was sexually deviant and psychopathic,” Liz said. ‘The guy’s just a sick twisted predator.’
While still in Australia, JMS was serving a 10-year sentence for sexual violence against four members of Providence after being found guilty of rape in 2008.
Liz and Amy traveled to Korea to meet him in jail.
“(They told us) that he was in prison for 10 years, it’s not because he raped women, it’s because he’s saving the souls of all mankind,” Amy said.
‘It made sense to me. Unfortunately, she really did.
Liz said there was only plexiglass between them when they sat across from him in jail.
“He came in, just in a prison jumpsuit, smiled at us, blew kisses,” she said. I feel bad thinking about it.
Looking back, Liz said she was “absolutely prepared to be assaulted, abused and raped by him.”
Jung Myung Seok (pictured) is a convicted rapist who was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The women were sent to the Wolmyeongdong compound (pictured) not for spiritual reasons, but to allegedly be sexually assaulted by Jung Myung Seok.
Back in Australia, Liz was able to escape Providence’s clutches with the help of her mother and a cult deprogrammer who staged an intervention.
But Amy was not so lucky.
She returned to South Korea and stayed at the Wolmyeongdong compound, where JMS was living at the time, after she was released from prison.
Amy said that JMS sexually assaulted her five times.
At one point she was told to go into a room with him, where a translator was present.
They told her to take off her clothes and he would dress her, she said.
‘After he dressed me, he went and sat on a chair and asked me to stand in front of him and he started talking to me.
‘And at that…moment he just lifted up my skirt and reached into my underwear.
“And for those whole five minutes he was just talking to me…touching me,” she said.
Amy was shocked and reported what happened to a Providence female leader.
Liz appears in South Korea in 2011, when she went to visit Jung in prison at the organization’s request.
She told the young Australian that JMS was her husband. ‘Can’t the husband do that kind of thing to his wife?
“It’s the same here, you’re the bride, you should be thankful, it’s your blessing,” the woman allegedly told Amy.
Last year, Amy and another alleged victim from Hong Kong who recorded harrowing audio of her alleged rape went public with the allegations about JMS.
He is now back in jail and awaiting trial on 22 counts of sexual and indecent assault.
More victims have also come forward and some of the alleged hairdressers are also facing charges.
Amy said she was threatened when she went public with her allegations against JMS.
Daily Mail Australia has contacted the church for comment.
The national counseling, information and support service for domestic, family and sexual violence can be contacted at 1800RESPECT – 1800 737 732