He Fengru is a 46-year old woman with primary school education, living in Lucun village, Southwest Street, Sanshui District, Foshan City, Guangdong Province. Contacting with the "Almighty God" cult in May 2013, and believing it could change one’s temperament and avoid disasters, this ordinary rural woman spent almost all her time and money on serving God. Even so, He Fengru didn't think it was enough to show her devotion to and belief in "Almighty God". Therefore, she managed to persuade her two teenage daughters, a 17-year old and a 14-year old student, to believe in "Almighty God". Being influenced by their mother and poisoned by the "Almighty God" cult, her young daughters, who were in a critical development period of their life at that time, became wayward and extreme, with their values and outlooks on the world and life being totally distorted. However, instead of yielding to the dissuasion of their relatives, neighbors, and teachers, He Fengru and her daughters shouted abuse towards them, having their otherwise happy family messed up by "Almighty God" ever since.
The starting of a nightmare
He Fengru had a happy family with an honest and dutiful husband and two originally clever and sensible daughters. Her husband did odd jobs near the city while she sold in the village market vegetables she grew by herself to support their family. They were not rich, but they lived a smooth life through their hard-working. The couple's biggest wish was trying to save enough money to fund their two daughters' education so that they could land good jobs in the future.
However, the peaceful life of the family of four was broken in May 2013.
On the morning of May 5, 2013, when He Fengru was selling her newly picked vegetables at the village market, a short-haired woman in her mid-30s visited her stall several times before generously buying a lot of vegetables. After paying the money, the short-haired woman started a chat with her. With their talk becoming more and more pleasant, the woman took out a few printed papers from her bag and gave them to He Fengru for careful reading at home.
The next day, the short-haired woman began to describe to He Fengru the benefits of believing in God, such as changing one's temperament and keeping one safe, and saving the believers from disasters when they came. The woman especially reminded He Fengru not to do things that are disrespectful to God. After several contacts, the woman who previously claimed to be a "Sister" told He Fengru that she was called A Ling and was from Guangxi, since she felt that He Fengru was an honest and reliable person. Afterward, she gave He Fengru several books one after another, such as The Scroll that the Lamb Opened, Book of Songs and Only by Believing in Almighty God Can We be Saved in 2012, etc. Guided by A Ling, He Fengru became more and more interested in the contents of those books, and her belief in the so-called “Almighty God” had changed from uncertainty in the beginning to absolute certainty in the end.
Falling into the cult’s trap
It seemed that life had suddenly become relaxed for He Fengru ever since she came to know “Almighty God”. Every day, instead of working hard as usual in the field or going up early in the morning to sell vegetables, she just stayed at home reading those books and praying to God, chanting silently: "Omnipotent Almighty God, I am your servant, and I pray for you to change my bad temperament, make me better and better, and make my life more and more prosperous." Every time she prayed, He Fengru felt that she went a step closer to God.
The fields where the crops used to flourish were now full of weeds as a result of being left unmanaged. At that time, He Fengru was only trying to cultivate the "experimental field of her heart", hoping all her prayers to God could be answered and that all her wishes to God could be realized. Later, the woman called A Ling began to take He Fengru to attend the gathering called “Family of God's Fellowship”. Two months passed quickly while she was busy with reading, praying, eating and drinking. He Fengru had been wondering why the miracles that had been manifested in others didn’t appear in her life? When she asked A Ling for the reason, A Ling told her that other believers all had given "donation money" as preparation for good deeds, so God blessed them and had miracles manifested on them. And then, in order to obtain good health, peace, harmony and other benefits promised by the omnipotent “Almighty God”, He Fengru successively contributed nearly 8,000 yuan to an “Almighty God” group to express his piety and kindness, in the belief that God could see her good deeds, bring her blessings and peace and eliminate demons and disasters for her. He Fengru knew that the more money she donated, the more favor and protection she would get from God.
Later, He Fengru attended the “Family of God's Fellowship” for several times. Finally, she could make a speech boldly in front of other brothers and sisters. Moreover, her speech was often praised by her "superiors".
Preaching the “gospel” to daughters
He Fengru paid more and more attention to following the footsteps of God closely, becoming more and more obsessed with the various “truths” of God. Now and then, A Ling would come to He Fengru's home and stay there for more than an hour every time, singing the so-call “God Songs” together. Meanwhile, He Fengru spared no effort in preaching the “gospel” to people around her: first her husband, then her elder sister and next, the neighbors in the village, but she got nothing back from her fast-talking, not a single soul willing to join the Church.
As he Fengru met with refusals frequently in persuading others to join the cult, she finally focused her mind on her two daughters. Her elder daughter Zhang Ziqi was a 17 years old student in the second year of a senior high school and had been ranked among the top 10 in the class in terms of academic performance, while Her younger daughter Zhang Zitong was a 14-year-old student in the third year of a junior high school, a cheerful girl who got along very well with classmates. In order to persuade her two daughters to believe in “Almighty God”, He Fengru began told them that it could help avoid disaster and protect them. She even asked A Ling to take her daughters to learn songs and dances in praise of “Almighty God”, claiming that “Almighty God” would bless her whole family. With more and more contact with “Almighty God”, her two daughters devoted more and more time and energy to it. Sometimes, at the instigation of their mother, they even cut classes to participate in "Almighty God" activities. It was under these imperceptible influences that they accepted the fallacy that only by believing in Almighty God could they be saved from disasters. Step by step, the two young girls were led astray by their mother He Fengru.
Being bitterly rebuked by her husband
Her husband Zhang Wensheng recalled: "Over the past year, my wife He Fengru went out frequently. Whenever I asked her what she was doing out there, she would explain it away, looking nervous and furtive, as if she was doing some shameful things. But when she came back home, she would become very excited and energetic, often mumbling words like ‘God please bless me’ and so on. What I hate most is that she lured our two daughters into believing in ‘Almighty God’. Our two daughters are clever and sensible and used to have very good academic records. Now they are both led astray by her, not in the mood for study. At my home, it seems that I have become an outsider, a minority. All the other three family members turn against me whenever I express my objection."
Zhang Wensheng was filled with nostalgia for the days when his wife was a hard-working, family-oriented and capable woman. Although not well-off at that time, they had a smooth life and a harmonious family, with their daughters often helping with farm work after school. “I used to work outside. And I didn't mind how hard the work was. I just wanted to make enough money to provide for my two daughters' education. It gives me heartache that my hard-earned money has been given to others by my wife. I feel sad that my two daughters have become what they are. They are still young and haven't entered society, so I really hope someone can help them and our family out," said Zhang Wensheng. With that, the 50-year-old man who rarely shed tears in his life couldn't help crying.
(Excerpts from The Stories of 36 Cult Victims)