Thursday, November 1, 2018

A statement from Japan about David Jang

I gather that there have been some developments lately in Japan with regard to David Jang. Several former members have come forward, and released a statement detailing their experiences with his organization.

It appeared in Japanese a few weeks ago, but the Kirishin website has now posted a translation into English.

The urgent statement by former believers of Jang Jae-hyung (Pastor David) and religious corporation “Ai no Hikari”, “Olivet Assembly” and other related groups. 
We are former members of the “Community” who consists of believers David Jang whose real name is Jang Jae-hyung. We received a one-on-one Bible lecture (70 lectures) from a Korean missionary in the vicinity of our university and local station. This Bible lecture was based on a very general doctrine of Christianity, but in the final lecture, the history lesson, we learned the lessons titled “The Genealogy of Christ,” “Time and Date,” and “New Israel.” 
The last history lecture was focused on the core doctrine that “there is already a Second Coming Christ after Jesus”. We were “guided” by missionaries to believe that this Christ was Pastor David. We were warned not to tell anyone this truth. These churches were called Tokyo Sophia Church, Tokyo Ephesus Church, Hongo Presbyterian Church (Hongo Shinjuku Ward, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, Yamabukicho, Shinjuku Ward, Chiyoda Ward, Ueno, Ikebukuro, Waseda, etc.) belonging to “Nihon Kirisutokyo Choro Kyokai”(Japan Christian Presbyterian Church). We were cleverly guided by the lecture to realize that Pastor David, the supreme power of the Church, was a Christ. We devoted our life to the greatest task of building God’s Kingdom (the Kingdom of God on earth). 
We had to hide everything in order to keep the Community not look like a heresy until the last day. We learned that if Pastor David was known as Christ, he would be arrested and persecuted and his history ceased. They said the Gospel of the New Testament was incomplete because “Jesus said in parables,” but the Gospel of David was called the “Eternal Gospel” preached by one who had mission of Christ. We were under the direction of David and the missionary, and we had to work at the relevant organizations and corporations, and have never been repaid. Through this statement, we would like to clarify the human rights violations and damages actually received. 
Since 2003, Pastor David named his church community “Nihon Kirisutokyo Choro Kyokai”(Japan Christian Presbyterian Church). Before that, the General Assembly (headquarters) was located in Koganei City, Tokyo. Since 2002, the Community had wandered some rented building and changed its name from Tokyo Sophia Church to Tokyo Ephesus Church, and to Hongo Presbyterian Church. The believers were suffering from poverty, and the missionary lived on the loan and savings of new believers.
We raised money and paid a rent for church-related organizations across the country. Despite knowing the believers’ poverty, Pastor David said, “You have no faith, gather more believers.” He ordered us to contract for the building that were more good-placed and high-class. We had no ability to pay monthly rents of hundreds of thousands of yen, delinquencies and outstanding payments were common in many places. When we could not pay to the owners, they demanded eviction, but immediately we contract another high-class building to continue the church and the business. We were scared of urge from creditors for repayment of large loans. On the other hand, we were so tired mentally and physically to engage in building “the Kingdom of God.” So we somehow decided to “escape” and “resign” from the Community. Actually, there are many members who left this Community. Some people cannot testify because of their painful experiences, which are too deeply hurt by David or missionaries and cannot be told to others. Some people are afraid of retaliation and cannot cooperate. 
The believers of the church, which is now called the “Ai no Hikari” (Light of Love) denomination, is composed of same missionaries and Japanese believers of that time. It’s nothing more than a change of name. Some of our members were responsible for the ministry (Christian worklabor) of “Christian Today”. “Go to the big church,” David instructed to us. This is because they cannot disclose the existence of their own churches, so if they are asked which church they belong to, it is necessary to prepare a church to answer temporarily. This was for not to be denied interview.  They were instructed to go to Yodobashi Church (Wesleyan Holiness Church). 
We would like to appeal to you about human rights violations and damages, focusing on the following contents. 
The orders of the pastor David and the superior missionaries were absolute and we had to obey. We contracted a large amount of loans as a student. Mental pain was caused by domination. 
The suffering caused by forced marriage (a way of looking like a Unification Church, Moonies’ arranged marriage) unpaid work at Christian Today, Inc., Verecom, Inc., Breathecast, Jubilee Mission, and ACM (now AM). There was no written contract, no explanation about guarantees and insurance. (Pastor David decided who works at which organization. The believers could not choose by themselves.) 
We paid the tuition fee of Olivet University, founded by Pastor David, but we could take few lectures. 
Each one of the believers are very pure people. Most of them are evangelized in their school days and do not know the world outside of the Community. They do not intend to hurt others. However, for the absolute obedience to David’s orders, no one can resist. They execute as he says. Even lying and wrongdoing are justified by the word of “obedience”. 
One thing to note is that the appearance of the Community is a ordinary church based on the faith of Jesus Christ, but it also hides the presence of another Christ “David” (Jang Jae-hyung). We appeal to prevent secondary damage to youth so that they are not subject to similar damage, and we still strongly expect and demand the withdrawal of our colleagues still remaining in the Community and their rehabilitation into the society in the future.
I'm quoting it in full here, because statements like this have a tendency to go missing: Jang's got good lawyers, and he's not afraid to use 'em.

For folks observing from the outside, there's nothing really new here. It's the same story I've been hearing for the last six or seven years: folks were "evangelized" as teenagers or very young adults, and were taught that Jang was a second Christ. Convinced of this, they submitted unquestioningly to Jang, worked for little or no pay, moved where he told them to move, married whom he told them to marry, and ran up huge debts at Jang's direction but in their own names. And the whole while, they tried to present to the outside world a facade of success and prosperity.

The saddest part of this story is precisely that there's nothing new here. This is the same story I've heard dozens of times, from all over the world.

Nor does it take much imagination to see the parallels between what happened with these Japanese converts and the websites and organizations they started back in the early 2000's, and what has happened with Johnathan Davis and Etienne Uzac and IBTimes and Newsweek much more recently.

Jang is gonna Jang. It's just what Jang does.

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