Story: My Aunt Spreads Heretical Gospel to Family Members

A picture of the gathering that the Church of Almighty God, also known as "Eastern Lightning" on an unknown date
A picture of the gathering that the Church of Almighty God, also known as "Eastern Lightning" on an unknown date (photo: Elaine Yi)
By Elaine YiFebruary 28th, 2024

During the Chinese New Year holiday, while gathering with family and visiting friends, I experienced a relative sharing about the Church of Almighty God cult.

My Christian aunt, who had fallen into the heresy of the Church of Almighty God, also known as "Eastern Lightning," rarely joined family gatherings after her conversion. Unexpectedly, this year, she and her family members came to celebrate the New Year at my house. During the meal, she inquired about our faith, asking about whether we attended church services. Then she began to talk about her belief, stating, "The Almighty God has come, right here on earth." She claimed that Jesus had returned to the earth in the name of "Almighty God" and that he was currently abroad, emerging from Hunan Province.

I had heard about my aunt's involvement in the cult before. Despite numerous attempts to dissuade her, including reporting to the police, her family members failed to pull her out, as she remained steadfast. My mom mentioned that when my aunt initially joined the cult, she would bring people to our house repeatedly, helping with chores and trying to induce my mom to join. Failing to convince my mom, my aunt eventually gave up. Though her family cut off financial support and confiscated her phone for an extended period, she was still stubborn, for the heretical ideology had already taken root in her mind.

During this recent close interaction with my aunt over a few days, I observed that they primarily targeted believers and tried to persuade them to attend their lectures and watch videos after the debate. They would share with non-believers who were willing to listen, but if there was resistance, they wouldn't engage.

Regarding their teachings, they focus on the law, grace, and the kingdom of God, emphasizing the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. Although they practice Biblical communication, they deny the authority of the Bible, claiming it is outdated. They assert that people are in the era of the new heaven and earth described in Revelation, with God's new revelation found in the Almighty God’s books The Word Appears in the Flesh and The Scroll Opened by the Lamb. They also claim that those who believe in the Almighty God will not suffer from diseases and disasters on earth.

My aunt mentioned that she was just here to give us a heads-up and suggested contacting more experienced individuals in our area if we wanted to delve deeper. She mentioned that the Church of Almighty God are present in diverse cities and regions but operated in relatively secretive locations, which made it challenging for outsiders to find them. They distribute videos, testimonies, and teaching materials exclusively through their internal channels. They target acquaintances, especially family members, which is their consistent strategy.

I learned from my cousin that, initially, acquaintances, under the pretext of arranging a marriage for my aunt's child, pulled my aunt into a cult. Over three days, a group of people staged a performance in front of my aunt, convincing her that Christ had truly returned and was standing right in front of her.

According to my cousin, at that time, her mother was in a state of half-belief and half-doubt regarding what she saw and heard. Upon returning to serve the church, she shared her experience of seeing "Christ" and the various events she underwent. Instead of giving support and guidance, fellow church workers informed others that she had fallen into a heretical cult without extending a helping hand. Her family members, who did not have faith in or support her belief in the first place, responded with criticism and complaints after learning from the church that she had joined a heretical cult. The care from the cult shattered her last line of defense, prompting her to join the organization when she was wondering if this was a heresy.

In my experience, when a believer enters a cult, pastors and staff workers first communicate with them, attempting to win them back with the truth and dispel their erroneous thoughts. If the person is deeply entangled, the church informs believers not to believe the information spread by that person.

Currently, my aunt firmly believes in Almighty God, is busy recording her "testimony" of experiencing Almighty God every day, and is eager to share her faith with others. The family is trying every means to keep her close, preventing her from going out, but they are at a loss for how to bring her back.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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