Park Jin Young Responds To Further Accusations Of Being A Member Of Religious Cult

Park Jin Young has issued another statement in response to further reports that he is a member of the Korean religious cult Salvation Sect.

On May 2, the outlet Dispatch published photos and voice recordings of Park Jin Young at a religious meeting and accused him of being a member of the Salvation Sect, stating that he was spotted with the cult’s key figure and Dapanda Co., Ltd. CEO Byun Ki Choon. On the same day, Park Jin Young denied these claims in a statement and posted a long testimony about his beliefs, and a source from the cult also stated that he is a not a member.

On May 3, Dispatch published another article. It stated that Park Jin Young rented the basement of a building in the neighborhood of Yeoksam to hold a religious meeting and the building belonged to someone who was an affiliate of the Salvation Sect prior to the Sewol ferry incident. They also said that the operator of the “E” cafe who helped organize the meeting was an affiliate of the Salvation Sect and the owner of the building was the Semo Credit Union, which has ties to the cult.

Dispatch wrote that they received a phone call on March 19 and the informant said that their parents, who were members of the Salvation Sect, pressured them to go to listen to Park Jin Young’s missionary meeting to be saved. The publication stated that they didn’t report that Park Jin Young had business ties to the Salvation Sect, and highlighted examples of similarities between the doctrines of Salvation Sect founder Kwon Shin Chan and Park Jin Young.

Dispatch also stated that for two months, it met with several people who are current and former members as well as insiders and outsiders of the sect, all of whom testified without hesitation that Park Jin Young is a member of the Salvation Sect. They said that they received testimony from someone in the entertainment industry who claimed that Park Jin Young suggested a separate Bible study.

Dispatch said, “This report is counterevidence to Park Jin Young’s stance all these years that he’s ‘non-religious.’ It’s also a refutation of his denial about the Salvation Sect.”

The publication also responded to speculations about the timing of their article, which state that it may have been a coordinated distraction from news of a controversy involving a breach of accounting rules by Samsung BioLogics. Dispatch denied this, and said that they had gone to Park Jin Young’s missionary meeting in the last week of March and then went to Geumsuwon, Samgakji Jugang Church every week. They completed their coverage on April 20.

They then requested and received trial results related to the former leader of the Salvation Sect and owner of the Sewol ferry Yoo Byung Eun and Byun Ki Choon. Dispatch explained that they finished writing their initial article on April 30, but didn’t publish it on May 1 because it was Labor Day, which led them to release it on the morning of May 2.

Following this report, Park Jin Young took to Instagram again to post another statement for further clarification.

His statement is as follows:

“Because it feels like exhausting controversies are being repeated, I plan to hold my meeting again with reporters in September. If any reporters are interested in attending, please contact me. I’ll reveal the date and place later. For those who are worried, I’ll explain the truth in more detail. There are two things that Dispatch is mistaken about:

“1. The meeting that I held recently and the Bible study that I hold twice a week has no relation to the Salvation Sect.

“2. Dispatch’s article that portrayed me as a member of the Salvation Sect is not true at all.

“I’ll now explain in detail. First, I don’t belong to any church or denomination because I don’t want to be tied to a particular denomination.

“The only group that I’m a part of is the Bible study group that I started in my home four years ago with my friend. As the group began to grow, we had to move locations. These days, the meeting has regularly grown to about 30 people so I rent vacant offices and do Bible study twice a week.

“We study in the format of a debate without a preacher. Out of these people, I studied the Bible for a long time, so there are many times where I do the explanations. However, there are many people who disagree and say that my explanation seems wrong and we fiercely debate to find the answer every time.

“I want to freely study the Bible while debating like I do now without belonging to any denomination. I also want to explain to those who say they want to learn about the Bible from me and live that way. I don’t like a solemn, religious atmosphere.

“This meeting was exactly that kind of meeting. It was a meeting that takes place once every six months for those who don’t know the bible very well and the 30 people who came to the meeting are now our friends and family. So, there were people of various religions and denominations at the meeting and there were some who belonged to the Salvation Sect as well.

“For the past seven years, I’ve talked with many people from each religion and denomination, and had many debates as well. I’ve gone to places where Presbyterian, Baptist, and Salvation Sect members study and have also gone to the Jogye Order. The people that I got to know this way said they wanted to hear my explanation and came. Rumors spread within the Salvation Sect members that I was good at explaining the Bible and sent their children or relatives as well. I heard that amongst the Salvation Sect members, there were people who cautiously sent their children to my meetings.

“Ask the person who said they came to my meeting because their parent told them to go. That person and their parent know all too well whether my meeting is a personal meeting where I do whatever I want, or a meeting by the Salvation Sect.

“As everyone knows, I insist on eating organic food. I wanted the people who attended to eat an organic meal, so we held the meeting next to an organic restaurant and organic cafe. The owner of the building where the meeting took place has no affiliation with the Salvation Sect, so he was probably very shocked after seeing the news.

“Also, it’s not true that my wife has some position in the Salvation Sect. This is something you can find out if you interview Salvation Sect members.

“What’s important is what I have explained, which includes my testimony and context. What specific denomination and religious body I belong to can be determined by those who are knowledgeable about doctrines after reading my testimony.

“To be honest, that testimony is something that I wrote to show people around me a year ago. So when I read it now, there are parts of it I want to edit, but you can think that the key point is the same.

“If you infringe on someone’s privacy and wrongfully record them to release it to the world, then you need adequate grounds to claim that it will damage society. So I don’t understand how they wrote this article without going through the process of confirming with the person. I sincerely hope that these kinds of journalistic practices will change with this incident.”

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여러가지로 소모적인 논쟁이 반복되고 있는 것 같아 그냥 9월에 기자분들을 모시고 이 집회를 다시 하려합니다. 기자분들 중에 오시고 싶으신 분들은 연락주시기 바랍니다. 날짜와장소는 추후에 공개해 드리겠습니다. 걱정하시는 분들을 위해 진실을 더 자세히 설명드리겠습니다. 디스패치가 잘못 알고 있는 사실은 크게 다음 두가지입니다. 1. 제가 이번에 한 집회 그리고 제가 일주일에 두 번하는 성경공부 모임은 속칭 ‘구원파’ 조직과 아무 상관이 없습니다. 2. 디스패치의 기사가 저를 구원파 조직의 일원으로 본 것은 전혀 사실이 아닙니다. 이제부터 자세히 말씀드리죠. 우선 전 속해 있는 교회나 종파가 없습니다. 왜냐하면 특정한 종파에 얽매이기 싫어서 입니다. 제가 속한 유일한 모임은 4년 전 저와 제 친구 둘이서 집에서 시작한 성경공부 모임입니다. 그 모임이 조금씩 사람이 늘어나면서 장소를 옮겨 다녀야 했고 요즈음은 정기적으로 모이는 사람이 30명 정도로 늘어나 빈 사무실을 빌려 일주일에 두 번씩 성경공부를 합니다. 설교자는 없고 토론 형식으로 공부하는데 이 중에선 제가 성경을 오래 공부한 편이라 제가 설명할 때가 많긴 합니다. 그러나 제 설명이 틀린 것 같다고 반박하는 친구도 많고 그럴 때마다 함께 치열하게 토론하며 답을 찾아갑니다. 전 지금처럼 어떤 종파에도 속하지 않은 채 자유롭게 성경에 대해 토론하며 공부하고 싶습니다.또 성경에 대해 저에게 배우고 싶다는 사람이 있으면 설명해주고 그냥 그렇게 살아가고 싶습니다. 엄숙하고 종교적인 분위기가 싫습니다. 이번 집회가 바로 그런 집회였습니다. 6개월에 한 번 정도 성경을 잘 모르시는 분들을 위해 설명하는 집회이고 오시는 분들은 지금 우리 30명 모임의 친구와 가족들입니다. 모든 준비는 우리 30명이 했고 제가 혼자 7일동안 성경에 대해 설명한 것입니다. 그래서 그 집회에는 다양한 종교와 종파의 사람들이 와있었고 그 중에는 구원파라 불리는 모임의 사람들도 몇 명 와있었습니다. 전 지난 7년 간 각 종교, 각 종파의 많은 분들과 얘기를 나누고 토론도 벌였습니다. 장로교, 침례교 그리고 구원파 분들이 공부하는 자리에도 갔었고 조계종 총무원에도 갔었습니다. 그러다가 알게 된 분들이 제가 설명하는 내용을 들어보고 싶다며 오게 된 것입니다. 구원파 분들 사이에서도 제가 성경을 잘 설명한다는 소문이 퍼져 자식이나 친척을 보내기도 했습니다. 사실 구원파 분들 사이에서 제가 설명하는 모임에 자녀를 보내는 걸 눈치 보면서보내는 상황이라고 들었습니다. 제 모임에 부모가 가라고 했다는 그 분에게 물어보세요. 제가 하는 모임이 제 개인적으로 맘대로 하는 모임인지 구원파에서 하는 집회인지. 그 분과 그 분 부모님이 너무나 잘 알 것입니다. 다들 아시다시피 제가 유기농 음식을 고집하기에 참석하시는 분들이 꼭 유기농 식사를 했으면 해서 유기농 식당과 유기농 까페 옆에서 하게 된 것이구요. 집회를 한 장소의 건물주는 구원파와 아무 상관도 없는 분이라 뉴스를 보고 많이 당황하셨을 것입니다. 또 제 아내가 구원파의 무슨 직책을 맡고 있다는 건 전혀 사실이 아닙니다. 이거야말로 구원파분들에게 취재를 해 보시면 아실 겁니다. 그럼 중요한 건 제가 설명한 내용일텐데 그 내용은 제 간증문과 맥락을 같이합니다. 그게 정확히 어느 종파 어느 교단에 해당하는 교리인지는 교리를 잘 아시는 분들이 제 간증문을 읽고 판단하시면 될 것 같습니다. 사실 그 간증문은 1년 전에 제 주변 사람들에게 보여주려고 쓴 거라 지금보면 어설프고 또 고치고 싶은 부분들도 있지만 큰 핵심은 같다고 보셔도 됩니다. 누군가의 사생활을 침해하고 부당하게 녹취를 해서 세상에 공개하려면 사회에 해를 끼칠 수 있다는 충분한 근거가 있어야 할텐데 어떻게 이렇게 본인 확인 절차도 없이 기사를 썼는지 이해가 안 갑니다. 이번 일로 이런 취재 관행이 바뀌길 간절히 바랍니다.

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