I am Wang Fang, a 39 years old man with a junior high school education from Nanxiong City, Guangdong Province. I started to attend the Christian family church in 2006, and in 2010 I was lured to join the Church of Almighty God. Because I believed in the Almighty God, I alienated myself with my family, devoting almost all my money to the God in spite of the objection from family members; and even more regrettable was that I dragged my girlfriend into the Almighty God cult. In order to serve the God, we gave up marriage, and she even had an abortion for the sake of serving God. An otherwise happy family was thus completely ruined by the Almighty God. What a tragedy!
I had originally believed in Jesus Christ
I was born in a poor countryside family and had a quiet personality. Because of poverty, I went to school much later than my peers. I stopped schooling after graduating from a junior middle school. In December 2005, I came to Tanzhou Town, Zhongshan City just before Christmas. I was told that hats might sell well during Christmas, so I bought in batch some hats and sold them on the street. An aunt with the surname of Gong, seeing me sell Christmas hats, came over and talked to me about the origins of Christmas hats, thus I got to know some stories about Christianity. Since then, Aunt Gong would come to the place where I sold goods as long as she had time, and told me the stories in the Bible and about the goodness of Jesus Christ. Gradually I was attracted by people and things mentioned in these stories. I thought if there was really such a good God and I could get his protection, then I had nothing to lose if I believed in him for a while.
One Sunday in March 2006, I went with Aunt Gong to a family church in Zhuhai, which could accommodate about 60 people. That was the first time I listened to a pastor preaching. I clearly remembered that Pastor Yang was telling the story of Joseph. His preaching was particularly vivid. After other believers left, Pastor Yang asked me to stay for a while. He patiently told me about origin of the major religions and their differences. His teaching was simple and easy to understand. I admired him from my heart; moreover, he was so caring. Since then, I joined and believed in Christianity. Whenever I had time on Sunday, I would go with Aunt Gong to listen to the sermon.
Having attended more and more services, I gradually began to understand Christianity. I heard about how the God loved the world and His people, and how hospitals and the Red Cross came into being because of the fraternal spirit of Jesus Christ. I also got to know that the Red Cross sign of the hospital symbolized the love of Jesus Christ. My mood was slowly getting better, and I found hope in my life. But later on, for various reasons, I seldom went to church, only reading the Bible and praying occasionally.
Unexpectedly trapped into the Almighty God cult
One’s life path often changes just because of some casual choices. In March 2010, I met Aunt Gong again. We had not seen each other for quite a long time. She was very enthusiastic and expressed deep concern for me. Aunt Gong said, "Do you still remember Pastor Yang? One of his fellow villagers just came from Henan, and his preaching is very good. He will leave after a period of time. There will be a sermon on this Sunday. You can also go to listen to it, I am sure you will understand God's mind better and get better protection!"
At that time, I did not know at all that Aunt Gong had already joined the Almighty God, and I was the target of her "evangelism". I felt that Pastor Chen’s sermon was very good and practical. That evening, Aunt Gong gave me a call and told me, "In the next two days, Pastor Chen will talk about the Bible, but he will go back soon. This is a good opportunity that you mustn’t miss. We can go together to listen to his teaching." As she was so enthusiastic, and I also wanted to listen to the teaching, so I promised to go with her. The next day, Aunt Gong and another woman waited for me at the gate of our residential compound very early. Aunt Gong asked me to follow her, but we were not going in the direction of the church. I was curious and asked, "Aren’t we going to church?" Aunt Gong said, "Today, Pastor Chen will only give a sermon to a few of us, the most blessed, so we have changed to a smaller place." I didn't doubt it much and followed them to a strange residential area. Several people were already in the room when we arrived, but I didn't know any of them except Pastor Chen. Everybody there greeted me warmly.
Pastor Chen asked me how I felt after I listened to his sermon about "the dialogue between Jesus and Madam Shamaria" last time, and I said it was good and easy to understand. Then he took out a Bible, turning to the Gospel of Matthew, and read the scriptures about the catastrophes, such as wars, famines, earthquakes, and asked us if there were more and more disasters now. After reading the scriptures, Pastor Chen paused and said to us seriously, "Not all those who pray to the Lord can enter the paradise. The most important thing is that you understand the Father’s will, and act accordingly, only in this way may the Father praise you. Just like in a factory, if you make products according to the requirements of the factory this year, the boss will like you; if the factory wants to make another kind of product in the next year, yet you still make the old ones, how can the boss possibly pay you?" Now it’s ridiculous to think about it, as only a cult could think of comparing Jesus as a factory owner! However, as the saying goes, blunt are those concerned. At that time, I only felt that this pastor’s preaching had new ideas which were easy to accept and also compatible with mine. I even felt a little bit complacent.
However, I still raised doubts about his preaching and asked the pastor. "But how can we know the Father's will? Does the Bible talk about anything about God’s will at the end of the world?" "Judging from all kinds of disasters, it can be said that Jesus is coming again", answered the pastor. Someone else asked rhetorically, "Even if he comes, no one knows, because the Bible says clearly that no one knows when the end of the world will come. And Jesus said, ' No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.' Then, how can we know?” Pastor Chen seemed unhurried, as if he knew that someone would ask such a question, he answered, "No one knows the exact time when Jesus come back, but when he speaks while working, someone will know his words, which are just like the dialogue between Jesus and Madam Shamaria. Through this dialogue, we know that Jesus is not an ordinary person. His words are different when he is working. Is there any difference between me and other pastor in preaching the Bible?" I thought about it for a while and felt that Pastor Chen was somehow indeed different. Another person next to him, pretending to be surprised, asked, "Does it mean you will know it when Jesus comes?" "Of course, if not, I couldn’t have delivered such a sermon." Pastor Chen meaningfully answered with a smile. But still another person raised one more question: "The world is so large, if God comes again, which country he will come to? And on what basis do you say that?" Pastor Chen opened the scriptures and said, “Lightning is sent from the east and directly shines over the west, and when the Son of Man comes, it is the same. Wherever the corpse is, there will be gathered the eagles.’ China is a country without religious beliefs, so God is coming to China.” Then Pastor Chen turned to the page of "Revelation" and said: "the Almighty is actually the new name of the God of Eschaton, the scripture says, 'I am the Almighty God who is and who was and who is to come.’ God originally had no name, God was named only because of his work, and the name of God will ultimately be restored. But God is almighty, so it is best to call him the Almighty God."
Immediately afterwards, Pastor Chen talked about the three stages of God’s work one by one, which made me feel that only by believing in the Almighty God could I be saved and get an eternal life. If I did not believe in him, I would fall into hell and die. Later on, I myself also became a "pastor" in the Church of Almighty God. It was then that I came to know the whole thing: Not only this pastor was a fake, all the “brothers and sisters” next to me were also Chen’s decoys. They just aimed to create the atmosphere of a church for newcomers who had been tricked into joining in, and then force them to fall into the trap designed by the Almighty God step by step.
Absurd ideas propagated by the Almighty God cult
When one has crazy beliefs, he will surely do crazy things. After I participated in more and more gatherings, I was deeply trapped in the quagmire. I became completely obedient to the Almighty God, and began to do all kinds of absurd things.
A person who converts to the Almighty God must swear an oath of loyalty and write a guarantee. At the gatherings in those days, some people would specially tell me how to get the God’s praise. They said that China was an atheistic country, so we should do things secretly. It was good for us. If you made it public, the government would force you to give up, and we would have no way to believe in the God. Therefore, if a man said he was a true believer, he had to swear and write a guarantee, and was not allowed to ask about others’ names, home addresses and jobs. Anyone who did not write a guarantee was a “suspect”. Those who believed in the Almighty God were not allowed to receive schooling more than they needed to. In some gatherings, it was mentioned that schooling was the "Satan poison" of modern society. The founder of the Almighty God Zhao Weishan had explained, "The elementary and junior middle school education was the real-life common sense people need to get. High school and high education were all about Satan's philosophy. After graduating from high school, one would become a small devil. After graduation from university, he would become a real demon". Many believers therefore refused to let their children go to school. A believer from Henan said, many children in their village were not allowed to go to school when they got 11-13 years old, instead, they began to “do their parts” by preaching the gospel .
Believers of the Almighty God must love solely the God instead of their own family. The Almighty God judges people by testing whether they are absolutely obedient. That is to say, caring for the family, being honest and virtuous like normal people, is not good in God's eyes. Only by following God's words could he be regarded as a qualified follower, and could be saved and eventually survive. Therefore, in order to satisfy the God’s will, many believers gave up their jobs, families, and went out to “do their parts” by preaching.
The Almighty God cult constantly emphasized that the end of the world was coming soon. Many of its instructions were issued especially in 2012, and the idea of the coming of the end of the world was repeatedly instilled into believers during the gatherings. At that time, all the followers believed that December 21, 2012 was the “World Doomsday”, and that the world would be destroyed soon. Everyone wanted to keep up with the God's work, in the hope that he could be saved at the end of the world. Many believers of the Almighty God took a long vacation or even quit their jobs in order to evangelize full time. The believers donated a lot of money, and many people even donated their computers and clothing, while some others arranged accommodation at home for the church. At that time, people were saying in the gatherings that preaching gospel and handing in "devotion money" was the last chance for them to be prepared in practicing philanthropy. Access to the "passport" for paradise depended on whether you could seize this last chance. If you were not prepared for doing kind deeds, there would be no chance in the future.
Addiction to the Almighty God has caused me great losses
At that time, I was totally obsessed with the Almighty God, and changed into a completely different person. I wasn’t active as I used to be in my work. I read books about the Almighty God or went to the gatherings all day. I broke up with my mother and felt that living at home would interfere with my belief in the Almighty God. Soon after, I moved out and rented a compartment, which became a reception place for the Church. At that time, apart from regularly giving the "devotion money" to the Church of Almighty God, I was also responsible for the reception work including preparing facilities and accommodations for all the church events.
I had a girlfriend who loved me very much, and we got along with each other very well. Under my influence, she also joined the Almighty God cult. One night in 2012, my girlfriend told me that she was pregnant with our child, but I became worried instead of happy, because she would not be able to “do her part” as before. If the child was born, we had to take care of the child and would have no free time to obey the God wholeheartedly. So, I convinced my girlfriend that since we were the ones serving the God, so we must sacrifice everything we had to pledge our obedience, and the child when born would only become a burden.
That day, I took my girlfriend to the city hospital where she underwent an abortion.