My name is Deng Xiaoguo. I was born in 1996. My elder sister is called Deng Xiaohuan, 3 years older than me. We live in a small town in Meizhou City, Guangdong Province. My sister and I grew up under the care of my grandmother. After graduation from middle school, my sister was admitted to Shenzhen University, majoring in finance. During her undergraduate studies, she achieved outstanding academic results and was preparing for attending postgraduate entrance examinations. Meanwhile, I was studying in a middle school at that time and was determined to go to university like my sister in the future. Later, being deceived by the "Almighty God" cult, my sister gave up her studies while I attended the covert activities of "Almighty God", acting as its cat's-paw.
Falling prey to a woman in a Christian church
I heard from senior people that I would wail without ceasing for some reason at night after I was born. My mother and maternal grandmother burned incenses everywhere, praying to Buddha or asking witches for help but to no avail. Later, at the suggestion of my relatives, my family took me to a Christian church, asking the presbyters to pray for me. Since the night I went home from the church, I no longer wail like before. As a result of this, my mother and grandma gradually believed in Christianity, with an original and simple intention to ensure peace and safety for our family members.
On Christmas day of 2011, I went to the church as usual with my mother and grandmother to receive blessings. At the church gathering, I came across a woman I shouldn’t have got to know in my life: Auntie Gao. On one occasion, seeing that I was not feeling well, she cared for me kindly by taking me to have breakfast in a breakfast store outside the church and helping me to buy stomach medicines in a drugstore nearby, which made me feel quite warm at heart. Since then, whenever I went to the church, she would take me to have breakfast and show great concern for me, thus relaxing my alertness to strangers. Auntie Gao once asked me for my phone number, saying that she would take me to attend study activities in the future.
Being enticed to believe in "Almighty God"
Before the Spring Festival of 2012, Auntie Gao called me to go to a riverside park for a private chat. When I met her at the park, she started telling me about the “Revelations”. She said, "When doomsday comes, Jesus Christ will come again, but it is to judge people. Those who believe in Jesus Christ will be taken to heaven, while those who don't believe in Jesus and have committed sins will be sent to hell. By that time, there will emerge all kinds of disasters, such as floods, famines, plagues and earthquakes, etc." With that, she took out an MP4 and played a disaster video showing various appalling disasters that happened around the world in recent years, including floods and earthquakes and so on. Finding me horrified at watching them, she seized the opportunity by saying to me: "These devastating disasters are warnings of God and they are the same as those described in the ‘Revelations’. There will be more disasters coming, which means that God has begun to judge people."
Later, Auntie Gao said, "God has already come and is now judging people. This time, he isn’t here to judge only some people but to judge all human beings. So this God is almighty. His name is called not only ‘Jesus Christ’ but also ‘Almighty God’." As a man with religious awareness since childhood, I was confused by what she said but felt there seemed to be some truth and sense in it. So I accepted her story in a daze. Afterward, Auntie Gao invited me two more times to chat with her, both times in a quiet corner of the park. Holding an MP4 in her hand, she talked about nothing but the Three Steps of Work of "Almighty God", human ancestors being destroyed by Satan and then God beginning his work to save people.
Broken family leading me astray
In my impression, my father had a hot temper, often throwing dishes and bowls and then storming out of the door angrily. Whenever he came home, there would be the noise of quarreling, fighting, shouting madly and throwing things. At that time, I felt I wasn't living at home but in hell. During my third grade of primary school, my father had an affair and divorced my mother. My elder sister and I continued to live with my mother, while my father disappeared since then.
My mother became a strong-minded woman after divorce. In order to support my sister’s and my study and life, she left our hometown Meizhou to work in Guangzhou through the introduction of her friends. Meanwhile, my sister and I were left to be taken care of by our grandma at home. Before long, my sister was admitted to Shenzhen University with excellent examination results, while I went to a senior high school as a fresh student. I lived in the school, leaving my grandmother alone at home.
In April 2012, Auntie Gao gave me a call, suggesting to take me to a gathering attended by members of the "Almighty God". Since then I started to attend various "Almighty God" gatherings. When my sister came home for vacation, I told her all about I knew about Auntie Gao, who later invited both my sister and me to go to the park, where she talked a lot with my sister. She said: "Now Jesus Christ, under the name of "Almighty God", has come to the world for the second time through incarnation to do the work of saving all mankind..."
Deluded into believing in heresies
One day in summer, when my sister and I were back home for vacation, she pulled me to her room, whispering to me that she had understood what "Almighty God" was all about. She also preached to me the doctrine of "Almighty God", saying "Jesus has come", "Three Steps of Work and 6000-year business plans are all the work of God to save people," and that “If we can't keep up with God's work, we will be eliminated and suffer eternal pain in hell” and so on. My sister asked me to pray as she did. After this "prayer ceremony", I became a member of the "Almighty God" cult.
From time to time, my sister told me about the "Three Steps of God's Work". She played for me a paper-cut animation video that explained the "Three Steps of God's Work" based on Biblical stories. Besides, she took me to three gatherings, all in a remote private house in suburban Jiangnan of Meizhou. At the request of my sister, I even made some videos for her.
To me, the purpose of joining "Almighty God" is the same as that of my family members’ believing in Christianity in the past, that is, to seek peace and a better life in the future. However, joining the "Almighty God" cult has brought unexpected disasters to our family instead of peace and happiness.
Best years of life wasted on a cult
When the summer vacation came to an end, I prepared to go back to my high school as a grade two student, but my sister continued to stay at home instead of returning to Shenzhen University. She said: "Now is a good time to preach the Gospel and save people. If you preach more Gospel, you will be rewarded with more fortune. I will go back to school as soon as I finish my mission here."
Shortly after I returned to school, I received a call from Huizhou, Guangdong province. The woman making the call asked me if I was called "Jiaming" and said that she watched the videos I made and considered them pretty good. Indicating that a church in Huizhou needed help in making videos, she asked me to go to Huizhou and do them a favor during the National Day. My sister suggested that I should go there, saying: "It'll be good for you to get in touch with society in advance, as you will go away from home to study in the future. It will only take you a few days to do some good deeds for the church. Moreover, it will give you some hands-on experience." I thought naively that I was asked to do something as easy as a snap of fingers for Christianity.
When I arrived at Huizhou during the National Day, a receiver took me to a room with a computer, arranged for me to learn the AE and PS applications, so I sat there learning them. On the third day, there came an auntie, who called three people including me together and said she’s got a task for us to make two videos of songs in praise of "Almighty God". And then the three of us divided the task among us. I was to search for relevant pictures and video materials, while Youai was in charge of creating video texts and PS pictures and Liu Jing was responsible for synthesizing videos and creating special effects by using AE software. We finished the work in two days. After watching the videos, the Auntie was very satisfied with them and took them away. Afterward, there came a 25-year-old sister, who asked me to make more videos of songs…
After learning about what my sister and I did, the anti-cult staff in our hometown Meizhou immediately came to Huizhou, where they found me and took me back to my home which I had left for a long time. It was with their guidance and help that I realized "Almighty God" is not Christianity but a cult in the name of religion. The "Almighty God" cult was exploiting the youthfulness and ignorance of believers like us to do illegal and criminal things for them. We knew so little about the insides of the cult organization that we were misled by their deceiving words. I'm a typical victim being exploited as a cat's-paw, so is my sister, who as a former excellent student has given up her studies and wasted her precious youthful years on the cult.
(Excerpts from The Stories of 36 Cult Victims)