A suspected Korean cult is targeting K-pop fans in London and across Europe

Many a joke has been made about the cult-like nature of K-pop fandom but now it appears an actual cult may be targeting K-pop fans.

A couple of days ago someone sent me a message on Facebook asking if they could post about an event they were involved. After a quick look, I agreed thinking it looked like any other of these harmless Korean culture events that take place a few times a year. But as I looked at it more closely,it became a little suspicious. “That thing I just posted looks bit cult-y” I joked to Sasha.

The event, called Korea Camp, lasts for three days and is being held in London. It features all the hallmarks of one of the kinds of activity days that organisations like the KCC and the KTO often hold with old favourites like K-pop, Korean food, Korean culture classes and a “mind lecture”?

Hello, Everyone :)We have another good news for you guys!We are having the 2nd Korea Camp at the end of this month.3…

Posted by IYF London on Monday, 14 March 2016

The name struck me as peculiar in its lack in any actual meaning.

IYF.

International Youth Fellowship.

At first glance, it’s a vaguely religious but harmless sounding NGO that according to its website is “dedicated to the spiritual, intellectual, and emotional growth of young people around the world.”

It’s also appears to be a front organisation for a group many people consider to be a cult.

The founder of International Youth Fellowship who, according to their US website, wants to give young people “deeper, multidimensional views of the world and clean hearts before God in order to become leaders of the next generation” is also the leader of a church, or “mission organisation” as it sometimes refers to itself, called Good News Mission.

wsospark

Park Ok-soo started Good News Mission in 1976 after receiving missionary training from an American pastor called Dick York. It’s this part of his history that links Good News Mission to two other Korean sects Life Word Mission and the Evangelical Baptist Church of Korea – notable as the group founded by Yoo Byoung-eon, the man believed to have owned the Sewol ferry and had faced various accusations of embezzlement and fraud even spending four years in prison before his death.

Together the 3 factions are commonly referred to in Korea as Gu-Won-Pa, the Salvation Sect or the Saviourist for their shared ideology which focusses on an extreme interpretation of the Evangelical conceptualisation of salvation, although they are completely separate groups. While Evangelicals and Baptists generally believe being “born again” is central to finding salvation from damnation as part of their wider belief system, if you read Park Ock-soo’s writing, Good News Mission seem to solely focus salvation at the expense of all else. He also repeatedly infers that he knows the only right way to god.

“Sadly, many churches in Korea today do not teach about repentance Biblically and precisely. They simply tell people to confess their sins. “God, I have committed such and such sin. Forgive me.” This is how people live their spiritual life. They repent and they sin; they repent again and sin again. No matter how much they repent–even if they do it a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand times–they are still unable to depart from sin.”

– Park Ock-soo, “Repentance and Faith”

Any religious group that constantly emphasises that its is the only true path (particularly while attacking others) should raise a red flag but it’s not just that. It has been condemned as heretical by all the major Protestant denominations in Korea (and anyone who knows much about Korean Christianity knows if these guys are saying something is extreme, it’s time to worry.)

Although finding information about Good News Mission on the internet takes some digging there are accounts that indicate they use tactics like controlling members’ behaviour through things like sleep deprivation and lowering their self-worth through constant negative feedback – after having shown initial intense attention towards that person (referred to by cult experts as “love bombing”). Here’s one former member’s experience:

” I would like to state that this cult is some respect more dangerous than the Moonies or Jehoviah Witness [sic], because they do rely on the Bible and there are some truth to the things they teach. However they often do speak out of context from the true meaning of the Bible and use cleverly phrases like “break your heart”, “change your heart”, “or that you are evil”. Basicly these words are used to make the victim feel guilty and destroyed so that they are left in a weak state where they have no choice but to accept what the pastor says. IN GNM whatever the pastor says comes direc.tly from God so disagreeing with them and they will immediately starting attacking you and claim that “you haven’t received salvation”, just because you happen to disagree.”

According to some, they also seem to try to isolate members from family and friends – at least if this blogger’s experience of leaving the church and trying to contact people still inside is anything to go by.

Arguably the thing that most marks Good News Mission 0ut as a questionable organisation is the fact the leader is held up as “closer to God” than anyone else. He’s even been quoted as saying he met Jesus. Anyone who has read the New Testament (and I grew up a good Catholic girl – that one didn’t last – so I have) knows the overarching theme is that there is God, and that includes Jesus, and then there are (sinful) people. Humility is also one of the biggest themes of Jesus’ speech in the gospels. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth”, as they say. So any Christian-based religion that holds up one person’s interpretations of Christian doctrine as more valid and more important than anything else should cause a major red flag. That pretty fundamentally goes against the basic universal values of mainstream Christianity and should make you seriously question the goodness of their intentions.

And just in case you’re still on the fence about the leadership of this group, it’s worth noting Park Ock-soo also claims to have met Jesus.

But maybe you’re still thinking, “So what? Okay, maybe they have some slightly questionable ideas but I just want to meet new people and do Korean things. I don’t have to join their religion.” “It’s not bad just because the person running it is a pastor and anyway I’m Hindu” to paraphrase the discussion I had with the person who initially asked us to publicise this event. And yes maybe you will go to this, meet some new people and all will be just fine. But be aware that this organisation may be primarily set up to draw people in.

The New York Times published an article in 2012 about the International Youth Fellowship’s “English Camps” where American students are brought in to teach English in South America… but end up getting preached at instead.

In fact, they said, the volunteer teaching was tucked into a much different and larger agenda centered on the religious theories of Ock Soo Park, a Korean preacher and founder of Good News Corps, the sponsor of the “English Camp.” Mr. Park also founded the Good News Mission, which its Web site says consists of 300 churches in Korea and 120 churches in 43 other countries, and Mahanaim, a theology and music school in Huntington, N.Y.

Speaking in Korean, Mr. Park delivered talks that often ran two hours or more, to a group of 1,600 people, about 400 of whom were connected with the camp and had traveled from as far as Alaska to volunteer. Associates gave supplementary “Mind Lectures” on biblical passages as interpreted by Mr. Park, who asserts that the human heart is lodged with “filth and evil.”

Security guards at the doors to the ballroom of the hotel, the Intercontinental in Dallas, discouraged anyone tempted to skip out, Mr. Scherer, 18, said. Volunteers who turned up late for 6 a.m. sessions of calisthenics and group massage were ordered to perform squat thrust exercises, said Seda Oral, a junior at Hunter. Those who skipped sessions were tracked down by teachers and ordered to explain their absences.

Every indication is that this group is involved in recruiting young people into a religion classified by many as a cult. The fact these Korea Camps look so like similar events held by government-backed organisations like the KCC and KTO only make it scarier. There are a lot of young and potentially vulnerable people in the K-pop fandom so it’s important to have all the information.

  • Jenn

    Well this is nothing but BS!
    I know that this is not a cult! It’s a christian based group a small mind lecture isn’t going to harm anyone if anything it teaches us basic morals and principles (which apparently from reading this article not everyone has) such not to tell lies or not to judge someone before you get to know them.
    Then it does infact embrace KPOP and korean culture so much cause the people running it are korean themselves and they spend 2-3 hours each day making food for many people and even one day made our own kimbab. This is so bad cause we’re meant to be embracing korean culture not discouraging it which is exactly what this article is doing.
    Finally it was wrong for you to post this without checking your facts first and confirmimg all your phony little details. If you want to know what love, happiness, peace and so many things that reflect positivity is about then write your very offensive article. So come I dare you from the 31-2 and then lets see what rubbish you’d like to spread cause your report is just disgusting next time check before you wreck!

    • http://www.jmscult.com Peter Daley

      The article is spot on. What elements are you doubting exactly? Are you suggesting the New York Times also got it wrong? These modern-day Korean Bible cults with Messianic leaders do a lot of harm. There’s a reason it made this list of top 3 cults active on Korean campuses:
      http://www.koreabeat.com/2014/03/28/a-rundown-of-cults-active-on-korean-campuses/#.VvR7h-J95qP

    • Kpopkimi Chan

      im sorry but this reaction is whats BS around here
      Point 1: at no point in the article was it stated that the event IS run by a cult – it is clearly stated about the background of said creators. (Unlike the events page which doesn’t actually state that anything “christian” is going to take place – which in its right is false advertising or to put another way – misleading advertising)
      Point 2: “”it teaches us basic morals and principles (which apparently from reading this article not everyone has)”” – at what point do you have the right to state who has morals and who doesn’t?
      Point 3: “”it teaches us basic morals and principles (which apparently from reading this article not everyone has) — “”not to judge someone before you get to know them.”” – HYPOCRISY MUCH???
      Point 4: “Then it does in fact embrace KPOP and korean culture ” – as the article states the events that have taken place, but again we are glossing over the whole “lets try to force our religion on people” – who might i add are only there through false pretenses.
      Point 5: “” This is so bad cause we’re meant to be embracing korean culture not discouraging it which is exactly what this article is doing.”” – embrace the korean culture, yes im totally with you there…. but under the false advertising of being there for just cultural reasons and not mentioning that its a christian run group where the “Mind Lectures” are actually preaching and readings from bibles – there are other people out there with different religions, do you really want to mind lecture someone who doesn’t have the same beliefs? and please for the love of everything dont say “yes because god is one being” because God is different for each individual!
      Point 6: “”it was wrong for you to post this without checking your facts first and confirming all your phony little details.”” – It is purely EVIDENT that the writer of this article has done enough extensive research (in fact its at a level of a university graduate) into the history and background of the event, even going back as far to sight the creator of the “good news mission” … and digging even deeper to find out why there is such a stigma behind the organisation through blogs, newspaper articles and other news sources
      Point 7: “”If you want to know what love, happiness, peace and so many things that reflect positivity is about then write your very offensive article”” – in reality this doesn’t make sense, but i get the jist of what your wanting to state – also in reality, each person has their own way of showing love, happiness and peace, this article was to inform people of something that was hidden for an ulterior agenda, and inform the people it has. Its not about love, its not about peace, and its not about happiness – it is a news article to inform and guide; it is upto the reader to make their wn decisions on the matter. Also there is NOTHING offensive nor attacking anywhere inside the article, if so, you have been reading it completely wrong.
      Point 8: “”So come I dare you from the 31-2 and then lets see what rubbish you’d like to spread cause your report is just disgusting “” you started out seemingly adult and then turned your whole “argument” (if we can call it that) into a school yard attack for 5 year olds, and then a plug to attend the “peace, happiness and Love” event with a violent dare?… again HYPOCRISY MUCH?

      In the end you have come off as a butt hurt person – the event has not stated its true intentions and instead are hiding behind the words of ” mind lecture” which to their obvious target market being the younger “k-pop fan” could mean a talk about korean culture. The fact this small “Mind lecture” is about christianity and isn’t stated broadly is an obvious attempt to hide the ulterior motion i which the event will turn.

      Im sorry but your freedom of speech has been noted but your argument here is void – though like you said “”next time check before you wreck!””

      • Justforthisonepost

        My first question is have you been to korean camp???? If it is no then please don’t say stuff that aren’t true okay , first I have been to korean camp in London and I am planning to go again this year .This camp is NOT A CULT it is a camp where we have fun we make food, learn about korean culture, learn how to work in teams and it is the greatest experience I have ever had , it is a Christian organisation but at no times did it ever offend any other religion , I had other friends who went and who where not Christian and attended the mind lectures and they found them in no way offensive, I don’t know why you think it is right for you to say bad stuff of IYF (korean camp ) when you have never attended anything from there organisation. I know people from IYF and they are the greatest people I have ever met. They are happy and always are possitive , if you ever met anyone from IYF you would not be saying this . I had to say my opinion because it is not right for someone to talk bad about something that is not bad at all . I hope you read this and take this in mind . I speak/write this because I am someone who has attended korean camp and know people from IYF .

      • Iyf London

        Hello, I am one of the organisers of this Camp, Jonathan. We have been having Korean Class for the past 5 years and we have had several Korean Camps but never had we received complaints for religious or any other reasons. Why are you writing such things without even experiencing it yourself. Don’t just listen to what other people say, come yourself. We want to officially invite you to this Camp. There is nothing better than first hand experience.

    • Gina

      It isn’t bs. They downplay the religious aspect. I am an atheist. I like kpop. There would obviously be problems if I attended. Everything their promotions does is very misleading to what the ‘camp’ really is. I don’t need them to teach me about morals. I have a brain and common sense.

  • http://kpopalypse.wordpress.com/ kpopalypse

    Wow, this is like something from one of my fanfictions!

    • Boom

      except in your fanfic the campers were being axe-murdered one at a time and being de-brainwashed rather than being inducted into a cult.

  • Kpopkimi Chan

    as a side note – thank you for the heads up :)

  • Kpopkimi Chan

    as a side note – thank you for the heads up :)

  • Fiona

    I think that there is a complete misunderstanding on what the Korean camp does. Unless you attend one and see for yourself the activities that take place then you have no right to assume anything about this organisation. In the camp there are many fun activities linked with korean culture for people to participate in. There is no sort of ‘cult’ trying to persuade people to join any sort of religious activities. The camp is just an opportunity for fans of kpop and korean culture and people who aren’t fans but are interested alike to come and participate in fun activities and make new friends. It is open to all faiths and there is no strings attached. There is nothing behind it at all. I will repeat this again: unless you attemd one yourself and actually see with your own eyes what is going on then you have no right to post an article like this.

    • http://kpopalypse.wordpress.com/ kpopalypse

      I’ll believe this if you publicly post the entire contents of the “mind lecture”.

      • Fiona

        http://iyfusa.org/mind-lecture-2/

        The mind lecture has not religious attachment to it. The mind lectures are simply there for us to listen to the ideas that we bring upon yourself and put ourselves down with and to learn to dismiss them. There are a lot of youth in this generation that may go through a lot of hardships and the mind lectures are there to let everyone know that they’re not alone. The mind lectures is sort of like a form of motivational speaking and usually afterwards everyone in their “groups/teams” are left to talk with each other about there problems and to encourage each other about life. That is why i don’t agree with this article at all. All the person saw was the word mind lecture and didn’t think to research more about the contents of it and just assume that it is some form of persuading people to confirm to a certain religion. The mind lecture is just a simple part of the program for the camp which actually most of the people enjoy because we can all become closer. Even the person who lectures us is very funny and very engaging with us and his way of speaking to us is very unique and he likes to use a lot of pictures and funny images to help us enjoy the lecture more. Yes, the organisation is a christian one and that doesn’t mean that the Korean camp is going to be something that targets people about Christianity. If they want to have a mind lecture as part of their program then let it be. The lecture doesn’t target anybody’s beliefs at all because it is not about religion whatsoever. It’s just an interesting part of the programs available at the Korean camp. I hope that you understand it more now if i was able to explain it more clearly for you. If you’re still skeptical about this then i suggest you do your own research about the Korean camps that have taken place all over the world and read reviews of what people have said about it.

        • http://kpopalypse.wordpress.com/ kpopalypse

          The conspicuous avoidance of religious reference while still pushing religious thought patterns (from the link: “desires foster misery and ruin our lives”) confirms cult activity as this is one of the techniques that cults use to draw people in who might be cynical. They know a religious lecture will turn people off so they “soft sell” religious values instead.

    • http://www.jmscult.com Peter Daley

      Nothing was “assumed” about the organisation. A New York Times article was quoted and links posted to other resources. Fact: This group is considered a cult and not without reason.

  • Iyf London

    Hello Lizzie, I am one of the organisers of this Camp, Jonathan. We have been having Korean Class for the past 5 years and we have had several Korean Camps but never had we received complaints for religious or any other reasons. I am unsure why are you writing such things without even experiencing it yourself. Don’t just listen to what other people say, come yourself. We want to officially invite you to this Camp.

    • gangice

      nice try m8

  • Fiona

    I would like anyone who is confused about the mind lecture segment of the korean camp to look at this link please: http://iyfusa.org/mind-lecture-2/
    It shows the sort of topics that the mind lecture is about and what we will receive lectures on. The mind lecture has nothing to do what any soft of religious beliefs . It is a form of ‘motivational lecture’ provided for all of the people at the camp to become more together. It is a short part of the activities that take place in the camp and it is not the main feature of the camp. I can even assure you that the lecture won’t be boring and actually very fun and interesting!!! Please do not let this article discourage you from signing up to the camp as it has no sort of relation to any of these ‘cult’ activities. If you are a kpop fan or are interested in Korean culture and even if you aren’t but you are very much interested then please search up the IYF Korean camp and join other people with the same interests to participate in a lot of fun activities and make a lot of new friends. (We also freak out to alot of kpop together lol)

  • idkaboutyou

    Just a heads up: If you talk about a cult on a website, it’s followers will come and defend it and that’s the biggest proof you can have it’s a cult.
    Watch out.

    • http://www.mykoreanhusband.com/ Nic (MyKoreanHusband)

      Exactly. Also like other cults, like Scientology, lower and younger members have no idea what is going on at the top, and that info is deliberately withheld, so they passionately defend it without really knowing anything.

  • Vanessa

    Seriously, how can you write something like this without even experiencing what it actually is about. People are so blind for believing what they see, read or hear.

    For example.. there’s apple tree and banana tree. On apple tree, there’s apples. On banana tree, there’s banana’s. If you would see a banana on apple tree, would you say that it’s a banana tree? No, it’s an apple which has a shape like banana’s, so it still is an apple tree. Before judging something from it’s looks, you need to get to know what is actually is about. Just like IYF and this Korea Camp, you need to experience it before telling that they are dangerous cult, which they are not.

    • http://kpopalypse.wordpress.com/ kpopalypse

      No doubt this wacky analogy comes straight out of one of those “mind lectures”.

      • Vanessa

        So?

    • http://www.jmscult.com Peter Daley

      Like Scientology, you needn’t attend events to get a good grasp of the cult. Attending superficial front events won’t reveal all that much anyway as cults are not likely to advertise to new comers the more cultic aspects of the cult. You can learn all you need to know about a cult by reading newspaper articles, testimonies from former and current members, browsing cult, and operated websites with a knowledge of how cults operate.

      • Vanessa

        “You can learn all you need to know about a cult by reading newspaper articles, testimonies from former and current members, browsing cult, and operated websites with a knowledge of how cults operate.” So you learn by reading and hearing. That’s good if it would be for school. You shouldn’t always believe what you read from newspapers and specially from internet. Sometimes people should learn by experiencing.
        It’s true that we do advertising and we do it with any possible way because we want new people to experience Korea in Korea Camps or Workshops. And this, what London’s IYF has been advertising is Korea Camp. Yes, there’s mind lectures and in mind lectures Pastor talks to us about the subject and by the subject we want people to feel better about themselves. We don’t want them to feel burden or anything. That’s not the point. But after the Korea Camp or Workshop, we don’t force anyone to be part of us, it’s up to them what they want to do. Korea Camp is just regular Camp where we have fun and get to know to new people. After the camp, some of people go home and life their life like they always have and forget about this camp or some people, like me, follow IYF whenever they have a new event. I made the choice all by myself, no one didn’t force me into anything. If someone wants to leave our IYF Family, then they can just leave, we don’t force them to stay.

        • http://www.jmscult.com Peter Daley

          Vanessa, you’re group is considered a cult in Korea and it has been banned from many campuses including a uni I used to work at.

          I attended a IYF speech contest and it was a very disturbing event. It began with a promo video about your leader which would have made Kim Jong-un proud. Likewise, the rest of the event was just like a scene from North Korea. Every speech was about how great IYF was. Normal groups just don’t hero worship their leader and heap so much enormous praise on themselves.

          And there’s also that snippet in the article about your leader meeting Jesus. Obviously that is a fiction to cement his messianic role. Other Koreans that have claimed the same include the leader of the Moonies, the leader of Shinchonji cult, the leader of the JMS cult… I could go on.

          Safe leaders do not strive to create such an enormous power differential between themselves and young members/followers. Even aside from the fact that IYF has a well-known reputation for being a cult in its home country, there are red flags aplenty in the article above and in the comments of members here.

          • Vanessa

            If that’s the way it is, then that is the way it is.

            Also, thank you for telling that you have been able to experience IYF.. even thought it wasn’t good experience for you, but I’m still happy.

            I’m part of IYF in some other country ( not going to tell where, sorry) and being part of this family has been just good to me. I know that in speeches we tell how good IYF is but it’s because it’s good for us. I can personally say that IYF has been helping me in many possible ways and I’ve grown so much as a person thanks to IYF.

            And to be honest.. whenever I’ve heard a speech about my school or someone’s work.. it’s always been about praising the school or the work, I’ve never heard negative speech.. I’m looking forward to hear one someday. Ah.. that sounds so weird to say like that, but oh well.

            Of course IYF is not good for everyone, some people don’t understand it or some people just don’t find it helpful.. I know few of those as well and I’m ok with that. It’s their choice and I respect that.

            Actually one of the oldest ones in our family was against IYF at first and didn’t understand IYF’s meaning at all, but in the end she was able to open her heart for IYF and began to understand. So I’m happy that I’m able to know this person today, because she is a wonderful person.

            To be honest.. I don’t really know our “leader” in Korea, but.. yeah.. I don’t really have much to say about the leader part since I don’t know well. I’m still new.. but yet old enough to defend IYF in some point. Knowing my Pastor in my country is enough for me and being able to see other Pastor’s from different countries is honor for me. I like to listen to them because every word they say are wise. For me their words are wise and to our IYF family, their words are wise.

            Meeting the Jesus.. well.. I could say that meeting Jesus is possible through a miracle.. but as in person it’s not possible. For example my friend had some kind of sickness for a long time and she prayed that it would go away.. and one day it disappeared.. (I don’t remember well so I’m trying to tell it as well as possible.) Since the sickness of her’s disappeared like a miracle, Jesus came to her and healed her.. not in person, but like a miracle.. omg so hard to explain. But I guess.. that’s possible. Anyway, my friend is happy now and she is thankful to God and to Jesus.. so if she is happy, I’m happy.

            Our Pastor.. he isn’t like our god.. he is more like a dad of ours who teaches us different things and all. But this is my point of view.

            This also might sound strange, but I’m hoping you to comment more, since I like to talk to you. Everything you say is interesting and I like to answer with my point of view and with my experience. Since we have our own point of view, it’s fun. I know I’m weird.

    • konata3k7

      Excuse me, but you’re using a typical tongue twister in order to protect your claim about IYF. I had argued with some dudes years ago, their opinions are cleverly distorted.
      John 3:16 tells everything, period.

  • Jaehyus

    Sounds all nicely innocuous like Dahn Yoga.

    • http://www.jmscult.com Peter Daley

      Needless avoidable deaths and rape allegations. Nothing innocuous about Dahn. All these groups with messianic leaders are essentially mini North Koreas

      • http://beyondhallyu.com/ Lizzie (beyondhallyu)

        Don’t worry this one’s a running joke from a conversation we’ve been having elsewhere

    • http://www.jmscult.com Peter Daley

      OOps^

  • SKT T1 Zeratul

    I’m a 26 year old Korean and I can confirm “Gu-Won-Pa” is a 이단 which means “Heresy” in Korean. They mostly like spread their religion in order to get money not because they are truly into Jesus or real salvation lmao. Ask me anything if you want to know more about that heresy groups in Korean source. I will answer as much I can.

    • Ninichki

      This is basically what IYF is doing, they have a “membership fee” (20€/months for underage members, 50€/months for adults) which is suspicious because in my country we can go to church for free… also their camps are pretty expensive.

      • Nabi Diana Carolina Achury

        Iyf not is a Church

  • http://www.jmscult.com Peter Daley

    A really honest and sincere post by Vanessa was unfortunately deleted. I appreciated your honesty, although I suspect it was deleted because it really didn’t do much to counter the cult allegation. Rather, it contains elements that support the idea. The concept of the leader becoming like a father figure is disturbing. All cults essentially strive to replace the family. Vanessa also essentially confirmed the disturbing aspects that I observed at a speech contest in South Korea which felt like a North Korean speech contest: every speech was about how great IYF and their Dear Leader are. Here’s Vanessa’s deleted comment:

    Vanessa

    If that’s the way it is, then that is the way it is.
    Also, thank you for telling that you have been able to experience IYF.. even thought it wasn’t good experience for you, but I’m still happy.
    I’m part of IYF in some other country ( not going to tell where, sorry) and being part of this family has been just good to me. I know that in speeches we tell how g ood IYF is but it’s because it’s good for us. I can personally say that IYF has been helping me in many possible ways and I’ve grown so much as a person thanks to IYF.
    And to be honest.. whenever I’ve heard a speech about my school or someone’s work.. it’s always been about praising the school or the work, I’ve never heard negative speech.. I’m looking forward to hear one someday. Ah.. that sounds so weird to say like that, but oh well.
    Of course IYF is not good for everyone, some people don’t understand it or some people just don’t find it helpful.. I know few o f those as well and I’m ok with that. It’s their choice and I respect that.
    Actually one of the oldest ones in our family was against IYF at first and didn’t understand IYF’s meaning at all, but in the end she was able to open her heart for IYF and began to understand. So I’m happy that I’m able to know this person today, because she is a wonderful person.
    To be honest.. I don’t really know our “leader” in Korea, but.. yeah.. I don’t really have much to say about the leader part since I don’t know well. I’m still new.. but yet old enough to defend IYF in some poi nt. Knowing my Pastor in my country is enough for me and being able to see other Pastor’s from different countries is honor for me. I like to listen to them because every word they say are wise. For me their words are wise and to our IYF family, their words are wise.
    Meeting the Jesus.. well.. I could say that meeting Jesus is possible through a miracle.. but as in person it’s not possible. For example my friend had some kind of sickness for a long time and she prayed that it would go away.. and one day it disappeared.. (I don’t remember well so I’m trying to tell it as well as possible.) Since the sickness of her’s disappeared like a miracle, Jesus came to her and healed her.. not in person, but like a miracle.. omg so hard to explain. But I guess.. that’s possible. Anywa y, my friend is happy now and she is thankful to God and to Jesus.. so if she is happy, I’m happy.
    Our Pastor.. he isn’t like our god.. he is more like a dad of ours who teaches us different things and all. But this is my point of view.
    This also might sound strange, but I’m hoping you to comment more, since I like to talk to you. Everything you say is interesting and I like to answer with my point of view and with my experience. Since we have our own point of view, it’s fun. I know I’m weird.

  • Ninichki

    I’m just gonna paste my comment from our facebook conversation. (This is my personal experince with IYF, I won’t mention my country.)
    I’ve also been to their camps AND church, their camps are super fun but the church? Not so much. I think they favor the ones who seem easier to brainwash. Also the pastor has jokingly said that he has Korean men for all of us to marry, but recently a friend of ours who is a part of the church (she’s like 28? i’m not sure) was suddenly married to a man in Myanmar who she had apparently met like 3 days before… so it was probably a marriage set up by the pastors. Anyway, they teach stuff like “don’t follow your heart but the bible”, and the volunteers who come from Korea don’t really spend time with people from outside of the church… also it’s pretty suspicious that if you want to volunteer abroad they offer to pay everything for you except for the flights. So yeah. Nice people but idk, it’s super uncomfortable.

    Also I want to add that when I started going there at first, everyone was super nice and welvoming, but after going there for a year, I could feel the pressure of having to believe. Some of us were sometimes taken to a “private” discussion (including me) with a pastor or another volunteer where they would ask us things like “Do you believe in the Bible/Jesus/God?” and if you say no, they will say stuff like “You have to believe! It is a must!” and then they will basically force you to say that you believe.

  • Marissa

    Are you guys stupid or you just dont understand english? What the leader is saying by meeting jesus doesn’t mean he met him personally but he met him in his heart so by meeting jesus he means that he didn’t know jesus before that. I have met this leader personally and I have heard his story. He never has said that he met jesus in a person. But he’s saying that he met him in his heart. So before you write this kind of an article maybe you should study english first. Or get some kind of common sence.. I don’t know it’s just makes me angry that you write about something that you don’t even know about!

  • Marissa

    So you deleted my comment because you know I was right and didnt want others to see it.. Good job! Then you should put down the whole fucking article because it’s not true!

    • http://beyondhallyu.com/ Lizzie (beyondhallyu)

      No one deleted your comment, Marissa. It’s still there.

  • gangice

    I’ve always been creeped out with the Korean religious cult shit after watching that one ss501 show wherein a kid the ss501 boys were helping.. drew them on a wall without their heads (that show still haunts me in my dreams tbh)

  • Rose

    Thank you SO MUCH for this! I was going to attend but after reading this decided not to. I was unsure about the ‘mind lecture’ part to begin with and this solidified my decision.

  • Rin Gingerbuck

    Here in Argentina IYF also uses kpop and k culture to get more adepts. I knew about them when I wanted to start learning Korean, but I immediatly refused to attend to the course. Classes are held in church and you must stay to go to mass. I mean, you can choose your religion and it’s ok if you like them. As an agnostic, I wouldn’t join a group like that just to “learn more about hallyu” but i respect those who do. And would like people to think that is not “going and watch oppas”. Bc that’s what actually happens in my country. It’s religion guys! Think a little!

  • Terra

    I heard something like this from former member of a religious political party with twisted hidden agenda, that is to change local culture with arab culture. At first they only want to gather people. Then they select people to join next level. Then select people again to join next level. Grassroot and mid level always defend truthfully and honestly because they dont know the truth. The member is brainwashed and indoctrinated systematicaly according to level. At some level they are forbidden to seek knowledge outside group/their teacher.
    To make it short, I think this is just the first step of the cult. Gathering people

  • Nabi Diana Carolina Achury

    Es una organización de alto riesgo donde los jovenes con problemas de drogadicción, ideas suicidas, problemas emocionales o los seguidores del K-pop y otras costumbres tienen un alto riesgo de encontrarse con Cristo o una organización que les enseña a tener una mente fuerte frente a toda adversidad, esto debe ser terrible…verdad?

  • koreanhotspotjournalist

    Let’s try to be logical. Did you write this post after direct experience with them? I don’t trust religious places in general but I know for sure that Korean Christianity do whatever it takes to slander whatever sect isn’t theirs, so I can’t trust this article either. So much effort has been put into writing this article and I see this pretty often all over Korean internet too. One-sided views and no direct experience doesn’t help in making a neutral decision. It’s clear that this is the writer’s hatred speech towards this cult or whatever — you don’t even clarify if it’s the NGO or the religion we should be concerned about. I’m not Christian so I wouldn’t know what sects you people fight about, but this is clearly a one-sided hate speech and stupid religious fight. The definition of cult really depends on what side you’re on and perhaps it would have been more appropriate to just say the event of religious nature. For those who don’t mind, they’ll still go for it but it’s definitely enough to deter me from attending. I really like visiting BeyongHallyu and I get a lot of news on Kpop here but this sort of post is disturbing.

    • http://beyondhallyu.com/ Lizzie (beyondhallyu)

      Right, so it’s a commenter with no Disqus comment history or linked social media who should be worrying about OUR motives?

      That’s a nice Naver blog about IYF you have, by the way. Looks like you’ve been to lots of places. What does the name mean? Travels on the waves of light? Cute.