DKZ's Kyoungyoon Admits To Being A Victim Of JMS Cult In New Interview

DKZ’s Kyoungyoon has now confessed to his former affiliation with the JMS cult spotlighted in the recent documentary “In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal.”

“In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal” is a documentary series exposing four cult leaders and their horrifying practices. One of the cults covered in the series is JMS Providence (also known as the Christian Gospel Mission), founded by leader and convicted rapist Jung Myung Seok, who is described as having groomed and sexually exploited many of his young female followers.

In the wake of the documentary’s popularity, a list of addresses allegedly affiliated with the JMS cult began spreading online, and one in particular drew attention for being the address of a café run by Kyoungyoon’s parents.

On March 7, shortly after the initial reports, DKZ’s agency Dongyo Entertainment shared an official statement to deny Kyoungyoon’s affiliation with the church. They stated that Kyoungyoon “believed that the organization in question was simply an ordinary church that his parents were attending, and he had never come across or been aware of the information in the [docuseries].” The agency added that the family has ceased business operations, left the church, and will have no association with it moving forward.

Despite the agency’s statement, DKZ’s Kyoungyoon has now come forward in a new interview with Dispatch to detail his experience with JMS cult and share an apology.

On March 13, Dispatch revealed an interview with Kyoungyoon that took place on March 8 and 10. To begin, Kyoungyoon explained that he was born into the religion and attended the JMS church with his parents growing up. While his mother originally attended a Presbyterian church, she was introduced to JMS by her younger sister.

Kyoungyoon explained that he first heard a JMS sermon through a video and was introduced to the leader by his aunt as “an amazing person who’s read the bible 2,000 times and conveys god’s message well.” He elaborated, “I watched ‘In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal.’ There’s a part where he says ‘I’m the messiah.’ Just watching that [edited] part made me think, ‘Ah, he’s a crazy person.’ But I didn’t know then. I may look pathetic…but that’s how it was.”

Expressing his understanding that others may find this hard to believe, Kyoungyoon shared, “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.”

Although he did not personally believe that Jung Myung Seok was the messiah, Kyoungyoon shared that he was gradually brainwashed to think that. He added, “To be honest, I didn’t have the right to choose a religion. Because my family believed it…I didn’t even have anything to compare it to.”

Kyoungyoon then touched on an incident from his elementary school days that he thinks made his mother fall deeper into the religion. “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.”

Thinking back to this time, Kyoungyoon continued, “Wouldn’t it have been an illness that gets better with time? It was just that the timing was right.” He added, “Thinking about it now, it was so foolish.”

On his personal association with the church, Kyoungyoon revealed that he joined JMS’s vocal club around his third year of middle school, as he wanted to receive proper vocal training but did not have the financial means to do so. He explained, “I was active [in the club] from my third year of middle school to my first year of high school. We met offline about once or twice a year. We never performed. I think JMS used the interests of youth to evangelize or propagate. Back then, I didn’t question it. I just thought of them as people who taught me music.”

When Kyoungyoon was born in 2000, Jung Myung Seok was on the run. When Kyoungyoon started elementary school, Jung Myung Seok was arrested, and was then released around the time Kyoungyoon graduated high school in 2018. Given all the news coverage surrounding the JMS founder, the interviewer asked if Kyoungyoon truly believed him.

Kyoungyoon answered, “Ever since I was younger, I learned ‘Jung Myung Seok has been falsely accused.’ 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.'”

Kyoungyoon was then asked if he did not believe the news, to which he responded, “The Jung Myung Seok I saw did not look like a sex offender. Being deluded just from seeing that image is my mistake. I merely followed the phrase ‘There’s no need to be swayed by the surrounding slander.’ I believed he wasn’t someone who would do that. I am so ashamed of myself for thinking that.”

On how he explained his religion to others, Kyoungyoon shared, “When I was younger, I was once bullied for believing in a cult. Subconsciously, I became defensive. If someone asked my religion, I’d say I was Christian.” He added, “I have never mentioned JMS to my agency, members, or anyone else.”

The interviewer asked Kyoungyoon if he had ever propagated while promoting as an idol and he responded, “I swear I never have. Those closest to me are my members and fans. I have never once spoken about [JMS] to them. If I did, I’d have no excuse to stay in DKZ. I could not dare face our fans.”

Lastly, Kyoungyoon firmly stated that he has left the church. He stated, “I saw a comment that said ‘Leave [your group] and go back to Jung Myung Seok.’ It’s not that I don’t understand where these criticisms are coming from. However, can’t they help [believers] escape this as soon as possible? While this is a shameless request, I’m asking for a chance.”

Kyoungyoon continued, “When the controversy first began, I was terrified. I used the excuse ‘I was ignorant.’ Was I a victim because I didn’t know? It’s true that I ignored [the truth] because I didn’t want my faith to be denied. That’s why I closed my eyes and ears. I felt apologetic after seeing the pain of the victims.”

Kyoungyoon concluded, “Is it a relief that I’m not famous yet? I thought that [if I was more famous,] I could’ve been used as their tool for propaganda. That’s really terrifying. Although it’s late, I’m now leaving the church. I’ve left the church. There is no more JMS.”

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