|A preaching session of the Church of God the Mother in 2018. — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a directive urging local authorities to bolster their efforts in monitoring, promptly detecting and decisively addressing the activities of the Church of God the Mother, also known as the World Mission Society Church of God, in Việt Nam.
The religious movement, originally established in South Korea in 1964 by Ahn Sahng-hong, who is believed to be Jesus Christ by its followers, is currently led by Jang Gil Ja, referred to as God the Mother.
The emergence of the religious group in Việt Nam dates back to 2018 with a range of negative reports due to its unconventional teachings and methods of attracting followers, including deceptive recruitment, questionable and manipulative indoctrination, preaching of doomsday sermons and that salvation from a higher being is only possible by following the group, donating cash, and abandoning own families.
In recent times, the religious group has re-emerged in various localities across the country, raising concerns among the public. Their activities are violating Việt Nam’s law on beliefs and religions, as well as going against Vietnamese traditions and values.
Deputy Minister Vũ Chiến Thắng has called upon local People's Committees to intensify their monitoring efforts, swiftly identify and eliminate the organisation of the Church of God the Mother in Việt Nam.
Local authorities have been instructed to revoke religious operation registration certificates, prevent the re-establishment of this organisation and its places of worship, and decline to license any form of operational registration, including religious activity registration or other forms such as the establishment of non-governmental organisations, companies, representative offices, stores, clubs, extracurricular programmes.
The People's Committees of cities and provinces must take strict measures against any violations of the law by this organisation. Such violations have negatively affected its followers and society, such as actions that disrupt social order and safety, insult and divide beliefs and religions, pose risks to individual’s properties, health and life, as well as their dignity and honour.
Thắng stressed that relevant agencies and units must seriously address organisations and individuals engaged in illegal activities, including online misconduct.
Furthermore, efforts should be made to disseminate information and educate the public about the Vietnamese Government’s policies and laws regarding freedom of beliefs and religions. This should include raising awareness about the negative consequences by the Church of God the Mother’s activities, especially at grassroot levels.
Thắng also called upon party committees, the Fatherland Front, and local authorities at all levels, as well as educational institutions at the local level, to strengthen information dissemination and raise awareness among officials, civil servants, employees, party members, union members, and students regarding the nature, tactics, and methods of operation of the Church of God the Mother.
Appropriate measures and disciplinary actions should be taken against its followers to ensure compliance with legal provisions. — VNS