K-Pop Star Lee Kyoungyoon Victim of Controversial JMS Cult
K-pop idol Lee Kyoungyoon, who is a member of Dongyo Entertainment's boy group DKZ, revealed he grew up in Korea's controversial religious cult JMS.
JMS Providence, also known as Christian Gospel Mission, was founded by convicted rapist Jung Myung Seok, who groomed and sexually exploited young female followers, according to Soompi.
In March, Dongyo Entertainment released a statement denying Kyoungyoon's involvement in JMS, claiming the idol believed it was an "ordinary church" and was not "aware" of the controversy surrounding the organization, according to Allkpop.
However, on March 13, Kyoungyoon revealed a different story in an interview with Korean news outlet Dispatch.
"I remember watching the [sermon] video. He lays down [bait] for two to three hours before he says, ‘I’m the messiah.’ After doing that, when he says those words, many believers respond. That’s how you get sucked in. It’s a type of gaslighting," Kyoungyoon shared of his and his family's experience with the controversial JMS leader.
A recent Netflix documentary called In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal highlighted the church's controversies, which led to the exposure of members' addresses, including a restaurant owned by Lee Kyoungyoon's parents.
Allkpop reports Kyoungyoon said he was born into the cult, where he was brainwashed.
"I think I was brainwashed little by little at JMS. Because my family believed it…I didn’t even have anything to compare it to," Kyoungyoon shared, revealing that a medical emergency when he was in the second grade reinforced his family's belief in the church.
"When I was in second grade, there was fluid in my brain. I couldn’t eat anything and kept throwing up. A bunch of pastors came from afar to pray [for me]. Then three days later, I went for an examination to get surgery, but they said there were no problems. After that day, I think my mother believed her faith was real," he explained.
Regarding Jung Myung Seok's crimes, Kyoungyoon claimed he was taught to believe that the leader was "falsely accused," even when he was arrested.
"They teach so many reasons why he’s innocent. It’s almost indoctrination. I think that’s how I was brainwashed to think, 'Ah, Jung Myung Seok is being persecuted like God' ... I believed he wasn’t someone who would do that. I am so ashamed of myself for thinking that," he elaborated.
Kyoungyoon added he kept his association with JMS a secret from his bandmates, agency, friends and fanbase, sharing he could "not dare face our fans" and that he and his family have since left the church.