Several quasi-religious groups exist worldwide, but the Shincheonji Church of Jesus has become a global talk. The Christian new religious movement was found in 1984, i.e., over 30 years back. However, the religious group has only now received limelight and recognized not only in the national but global platform. The reason behind a theological curiosity group to a global pariah greatly reflects on the controversies it associates with.
Lee Man-hee founded Shincheonji. Though there is no evident proof but Lee Man-hee was previously a member of the controversial group called the Olive Tree that existed during post-war Korea. The group’s teachings declare Lee to be the “promised pastor” who contains the spirit of the returned Jesus Christ. Lee continues to preach that the Bible, which contains the Book of Revelation, is written in secret codes that only he can translate. The quasi-Christian doomsday sect also declares that the way to salvation is through Shincheonji, and everyone outside the group will be destroyed during the Judgment day.
The outbreak of the Coronavirus in South Korea was centered in the city of Daegu. A 61-year-old person was infected with the virus and had spread the virus to the people around him. The person infected was traced back to be a member of the Shincheonji, which later resulted in negative public and media attention against the church members. Eventually, most of its members hide themselves from the world. There were also rising cases of discrimination, abuse, and threat targeted against the Christian new religious movement members.
Lee Man-hee publicly apologized for the unintentional outbreak of the virus by its church members. He also continues to speak about the false accuse of the spread of the virus. It criticized the Government who failed to control the travelers from China to enter Korea. Despite the effort to clear the name of Shincheonji associated with the COVID-19 outbreak, over 1.3 million citizens of Korea signed a petition to disband the religious group.
More than 60 percent of the total COVID 19 positive patients are of Shincheonji members. The result of the sharp spike in COVID 19 instances in South Korea is all because of this woman who is a follower of this Shincheonji cult group. And the South Korean jurisdiction has already declared that the cult is behind surpassing the amount of patients infected with COVID 19. It all happens because the elderly woman who is a devout disciple of this Shincheonji cult refuses to keep standards guidelines and slipped out from the hospital several times to attain services. And after a couple of days, she discovered to be COVID positive and has infected her other devout disciples, thus spreading out. Thus, the news spread like wildfire, and soon, the authority claimed that the Shincheonji cult group was the main reason for the great spike on COVID 19.