By Rafael Flores
It was a fresh first week of the spring semester for students at West Texas A&M University, but that would soon change with speculations made on social media.
““It was a specific post that had inaccurate information, and of course once you do that– it goes all over the place,” said UPD Sergeant Barbara Ferrara.
A post on Twitter by Chloe Ellison, junior computer information systems major, warned people around the area about “God the Mother” as the name of a supposed sex-trafficking cult group after hearing disturbances from her sorority sisters at Alpha Sigma Alpha. “I’ve heard horror stories of similar events happening to victims of rape (slash) murder so why not go ahead and warn people on campus and advise them to be cautious,” said Ellison.
The World Mission Society Church of God is a religious movement that originated in South Korea has been around since 1964. It was founded by religious leader, Ahn Sahng-Hong. Whom in the eyes of the WMSCOG; is the second coming of Jesus Christ. They also believe the co founder, Zahng Gil-Jah to be “God the Mother”.
Over the years, the organization has expanded around the world and garnished a reputation in humanitarian works such as disaster relief, community support, clean world movements as a few activities to name. In addition, their works have received notable awards such as the President’s Volunteer Service Award from both former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump and the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service as some of the few awards to name off their list.
That’s the last thing people would expect after these reports came out throughout the day. Candance Ramos, an Amarillo resident who works as an IT technician, was invited by a member of the WMSCOG to attend an event at the Embassy suites in downtown Amarillo. What ensued for Ramos was as he describes, an experience he won’t forget.
“Everybody that was with this church looked so lost, their eyes were dilated,” Ramos said. He was also overwhelmed with their over-persistence to push the studies of the bible because Ramos felt the church’s beliefs were being forced on him. “Every single one of those people that worked for the church all had the same scriptures highlighted,” Ramos said.
In addition, the setup of the service was different for him. “During the service they made all the men sit on one side of the room and all the women on the other side and then forced the kids to sit in the back away from their parents,” Ramos said.
As it turns out, Ramos was one of the people baptized. “My first intent was to go to an ordinary bible study but once they started talking about Ahn Sahng Hong I wanted to see how they worshipped and how they were baptized,” Ramos said. “They pressured me into it by using scare tactics– how you won’t make it to heaven and unless you get baptized like this,” he added.
WMSCOG leader, Zarrel Williams, explains the process of preparing for the event that night. “42 new members were baptized in the previous two days as well as our campus club members from University of Denver Colorado coming to help spread the message of God the Mother seen in bible as well as the New Covenant Passover restored by Ahn Sahng Hong,” he said. As for the seating arrangement, Williams stated that it’s actually open seating and not forced, but only advised to help minimize distractions to focus on worshiping in spirit and in truth as attested in John 4:24. He added that the church usually holds its service at a house church in Amarillo. According to Williams, Amarillo is one of the last major cities of the world to adopt the teachings of Ahn Sang-Hong and they look to take over the building where the Loft Church held services previously at 4400 S Georgia Street in Amarillo.
Brandon Fabre, another WMSCOG leader, said he was very shocked when he heard reports of his religion being linked to sex cults and human trafficiking. “When it comes to that situation, the first thing I thought– if you look at the church we do the exact opposite,” Fabre said. He referenced Acts 24:5 from the scripture when the Jesus’s people were accused of being a cult. “God’s people go through it– it’s disheartening because its our intent to bring them to salvation,” Fabre said.