Kent State campus is abuzz with rumors of a sex-trafficking group masquerading as a Bible Study. Viral Facebook and Twitter posts are promoting the story of people inviting women out to meetings where they are then kidnapped.
Reports say two people – a man and a woman – are walking around campus asking people if they know about “God the Mother” and then inviting them out to coffee or to their Bible study. They have been seen roaming campus and even going door-to-door in the dorms, Jehova’s Witness-style. At a recent Campus Religious Life Association meeting I attended the topic was brought up, and leaders from all the groups represented were concerned. What are we to do about this?
These recent events have left students feeling on-edge. My mens’ small group Bible study has been in the practice of playing board games on campus to try and meet new friends and invite them around (a typical practice of any campus student organization.) This week, we attempted to meet people at the Eastway Lounge when several members of the building’s security team approached us and said we are not allowed to be doing this anymore. We weren’t even inviting people to our Bible study yet, just inviting people to play. We attempted to clarify:
“You mean to say we cannot invite people to play games with us?”
The security guard indicated that he can’t be too careful these days, saying “Well, it is 2018.”
The guards were apparently tipped off by a student who was “creeped out” by our students inviting random people to play games. It wouldn’t be surprising if this is due in part to the “Mother God” group.
The first thing I wanted to find out is if these sex trade allegations about the group are true. Kent Wired reported that these are all just false rumors. The group calls itself the World Mission Society Church of God and was started in South Korea. The group is nothing more than a cult. Among their many misguided and unorthodox beliefs listed on their website, they also teach that church co-founder Zang Gil-ja is God the Mother herself – the embodiment of Jesus returned in the flesh.
We’ve always had to deal with the presence of strange cults at work on campus, and this one appears no different. The real damage to our ministry efforts at the moment are the false sex trafficking allegations levied against this group. We can anticipate a tougher time trying to spread the message of Christ and inviting people to our group in the near future, as we’ve already experienced. But what we can’t do is let this intimidate us into silence. It is amazing how quickly these false rumors have spread immediately after our “Storm the Campus” strategy to meet new students kicked off. This is spiritual oppression, and the Bible warns us to expect this when we are actively doing the work of ministry.
“Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” – 1 Peter 4:12-13
This may all blow over and be forgotten as a false alarm, or it could go from bad to worse as the campus cracks down on Christian student outreach. either way, we know what we have to do. In all boldness and courage, rely on Jesus Christ and keep on fighting. That doesn’t mean we should be defiant to those in authority who may try to give us a hard time. We should listen and be respectful. If we’re asked to leave, we’ll move on to the next place.
But also, let’s not be intimidated into silence.
The security guard trying to protect students from playing board games with you sounds like he is reflecting the iGen, scaredy-cat mindset – the new phone-addicted generation living in their bedrooms with their phone. What’s so ironic is they are terrified to be invited to play board games while they surf the web and form relationships with online predators they can’t even see.