Why have hundreds of people abandoned their families, responsibilities, self-respect, sense of propriety, justice, honesty and honour to walk on on a path where there’s no turning back? By accumulating over 4 million RMB through illegal means, with followers spread over more than 20 cities and prefectures and 12 provinces, how did a man go from being an an ordinary migrant worker escaping debt to become a supreme “king” of the “Father God” cult? Now let me uncover the absurd and promiscuous “Father God” cult.
On 10 December, 2010, police in Taihe County, Anhui Province received a number of reports from people in Xiaokou Town and Daxin Town that their family members had run away from home due to their belief in “God” and that their whereabouts were uncertain. The police began an investigation immediately and unexpectedly uncovered a shocking scheme. The “Father God” cult was unearthed.
According to the investigation, on 8 December, 2010, over 30 people in the towns of Daxin, Xiaokou and Huzong, who followed a new cult named “Father God”cult and believed that a disaster was coming, ran away from home to get on the “ark” and escape the disaster. Some of them even sold their property, closed doors and moved away with their whole family. Those acts caused panic in the local population and rumors began to spread. As the investigation went deeper, the police in Taihe County found that the number of people running away was rising, and some of those came from the adjacent Linquan County, Jieshou City, etc. According to incomplete statistics, on 8 December, 2010, over 70 people ran away in groups from Taihe, Linquan and Jieshou. This was not the first case. Before this, hundreds of followers from Shanxi, Henan, and Shaanxi Province had run away from home in groups to get on an “ark” to escape disasters.
On 31 December, 2010, clues revealed that some people from Taihe County showed up in Jiangkou City, Hubei Province. Taihe police went there immediately and arrested 4 suspects including Su Chun (male, 43, a resident in Huzong Town, Taihe County, Anhui Province). As the interrogation went deeper, a cult named “Father God”, which had been spreading in several provinces and cities, began to surface.
“Father God” cult is a variation of the “Almighty God” cult. It began with “The Shouters”.
1. Li Changshou, originally from Shandong Province, established “The Shouters” in the US in the 1960s.
2. Zhao Weishan, originally from Heilongjiang Province, the first “follower” of “The Shouters”. In 1989, he drew other backbone members over to his side, betrayed and quit the “The Shouters”. He set up the cult “Eastern Lightening”, another name “Actual God”, present name “Almighty God”. In 1999, the core members of “Almighty God” had a conflict of interest. The cult was divided and leaflets called “myth” were distributed.
3. De Sheng, formal name: Xiao Baoyu, male, was said to be the head of a variant cult separated from the “Almighty God” cult. He went to Taihe to disseminate the “Father God” cult with a man from Shanxi Province in 2004 and 2005. However, it was said within the cult that De Sheng was killed by the “Almighty God” cult in a cave of Jiangxi Province on 23 July, 2005.
4. De Zhi, name: Sun Zhibin, originally from Hubei Province. A leaflet spread on 9 April, 2008 said that “De Zhi is able to hear the inside soul. Let’s hail the birth of the second god”. The cult called itself “Mohou Christ” or “Group Christ”. On 8 August, 2008, Sun Zhibin began to write. He said in the leaflet that family boundary, emotional boundary and gender boundary are to be broken; disaster is coming, followers should leave their families and enter the “big family of Eden”; he is the “king” and can lead people to a correct path of belief. This marked the formal establishment of the “Father God” cult.
Organization and structure of “Father God” cult
“Father God” cult has a tight structure and is rigidly stratified. The upper demands the lower to be absolutely obedient. The upper contacts and manages the lower. The lower shall not ask about the upper. No transverse communication is allowed. Members are not allowed to ask about each other’s true identity, family or career. The highest level of “Father God” cult is “Father God”, also called “king”, soul name “Sheng Zhi”; there are 12 people around the “Father God”. This is an imitation of Jesus’ 12 disciples in the Bible. The 12 people are directly responsible to the “king”, transmit the “myth” and other orders. There are 24 people under them. The 24 are responsible to the 12, transmit “myth” and orders to the 48, and manage the 48. The 48 are the lowest positions in management and are in charge of managing local churches and transmit superior orders and “myth”. Local churches are not within the management. Within a church, there are 4 management members. The major one is called “factory direct”. The one who is responsible for recruiting new members is called “recruiter”. The one who is responsible for developing new members is called “teacher”. The one who is responsible for transmitting messages and daily management is called “financial manager”.
Secretive activities of "Father God" cult
All the members of “Father God” cult had previously been believers in Christianity or “Almighty God”. In terms of age, most of them are middle aged. Most of them are closely related, such as husband and wife, parents, children, uncles, sisters in law, cousins, etc. In the early stage, most members were from rural areas, but now more and more come from urban areas and are younger and more intellectual. Those with higher ranking mostly reside and work in middle and large cities. Those who run away from home mostly earn their living by working in restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and carwashes. They usually are coworkers, with one working in the morning and the other working in the afternoon, thus enabling them to meet and communicate which is called “eat and drink myth”.
The "Father God" cult holds collective activities irregularly. The followers work in the daytime and meet in the afternoon or at night in public places such as parks or squares or at home. The meeting is small scale, between 2 or 3 people. They communicate experiences with no paper materials. The meetings last for around half an hour. The members talk in code words, using their “soul names” instead of true names. For example, the “king” is called “Sheng Zhi”, the 12 are called “Sheng Chu”, “De Chun”, “Sheng Yan”, “Sheng Qing”, “Sheng Li”, “Sheng Li”, “Sheng Yi”, “Sheng Min”, “Sheng Lan”, “De Cheng”, “Sheng Shan”, “Sheng Xun”. The lower levels are forbidden to ask about those above. People within same level are not allowed to ask about each other. Meeting is referred to as “transport”, the Heavenly Father as “Dad”, materials and songs transmitted as “grain”, problems as “environment”, gathering as “making a turn”, beating and cursing as “repairing the team”, sexual life as “implementation”, being arrested as “being hospitalized”.
Harm of "Father God" cult
First, estrangement from family members and abandoning families. “I’m sorry for not being a good mother; I’m sorry for not being a good wife; I owe my family,” said Gao Xiaoping, a backbone member of “Father God” cult who was active in Xiangyang, Hubei Province, after being arrested. She said that in order to follow the “king” as hundreds of other followers do, she gave up her family, responsibilities, self-respect and even sense of shame and honor. A man surnamed Gao from Daxin Town, Taihe County, Anhui Province, 46, left his home with his wife and eighty-year daughter in 2010, discontinuing her studies. The couple didn’t go back home or give money to their elder daughter when the elder daughter was married or gave birth to children. It’s very common for the followers to stop working, farming, or studying and abandon families.
Some of those followers even sold their properties. Most of their relatives were too depressed for work and became desperately poor. Their houses collapsed and weeds grew in the courtyards. This brought great hidden danger and real harm to their families and society.
Second, mind control and group sex activities. In order to control the followers who left home to join the “big family life”, especially the backbone members, the cult advocates “free sexual life” and breaking gender boundaries. Men and women at the same level are allowed to have sex freely. The superior may order others to have sex. The high-ranking members may have sex with female followers in the name of “god” at any time. They ask couples not to hate each other or be jealous, but to be calm and indifferent. The “Father God” cult referred to this act as “implementation” and explained it as a necessity, showing one’s firm belief in “Father God”. To enchant the followers, the “king” arranged sexual activities between his wife, daughter and others, and then has sex with seventeen to eighteen women. Being brainwashed, the followers will not quit the cult easily. Even if they were returned to their hometown for being seriously ill or too old, they will keep their mouth shut about the cult activities. Many followers separate themselves from their families and former living environment and dedicate themselves to the “king”.
Third, amassing money and disturbing society. Zheng Caili, female, 45, originally from Taihe, Anhui Province, one of the 24 of "Father God" cult responsible for activities in Shanxi Province, remitted over 330,000 RMB to her superior from Luliang City, Shanxi Province since 2015. Chen Guiying, female, 47, originally from Neijiang, Sichuan Province, extorted 390,000 RMB from followers in Xinjiang, Henan, Shanxi, Sichuan and Shaanxi provinces. According to incomplete statistics, the "Father God" cult has cheated and collected about 4.6 million RMB. The "king" got over 1 million, not including the great amount of material objects, gold and silver ornaments he received from his followers.
(Editor in charge: Xiao Niuniu)