The Pearl River in Guangzhou presents a beautiful sight at night. When the night fades away, the neon lights begin to shine on the pleasure boats decorated with lanterns and festoons on the river, while the fresh breeze is blowing gently. Everything is so cozy against the Canton Tower—a new landmark of Canton—in the distance.
Fu Juan, born in November 1977, was a woman from Nanxiong City, Guangdong Province and had an 11-year-old daughter who had been living with her grandmother Wen Guixiu in their hometown Nanxiong. Although her family wasn’t rich, her husband worked hard and loved her, and their daughter was lovely, studious and self-motivated. Their life was somewhat dull but promising. However, all this had been changed later by the "Almighty God" cult.
Daydreaming vies blind filial piety
It is said that winter solstice (Dongzhi) has been celebrated as a festival in Guangdong. On this day, families will be reunited in celebration of the Dongzhi Festival. On the winter solstice in 2010, Fu Juan traveled 300 kilometers by train from Guangzhou to her hometown Nanxiong for the festival. As soon as she got home, her mother began to instill the idea of ‘God’ into her mind. At that time, Fu Juan didn’t know that her younger sister and 12-year-old daughter had both been drawn into the "Almighty God" cult by her mother. In the next few months, whenever Fu Juan came back home, her mother would try to persuade her privately, saying that she wouldn't have to work if she believed in "Almighty God" and that she would be blessed by the God with no need to pay for what she eat and use as long as she served the God with all her heart.
In November 2011, Fu Juan got pregnant, but she had to undergo an abortion due to her uterine myoma. As she would need the care of her relatives during the operation, she returned to her hometown Nanxiong to undergo an abortion. In order to take good care of her after operation, her mother came over to stay with her at her home. By exploiting the opportunity to look after Fu Juan, her mother invited her more often to believe in "Almighty God". At the end of November 2011, being inveigled continuously by her mother, sister and daughter, she finally joined the “Almighty God” Church.
Struggling desperately amid misleading family members
In the beginning, her daughter, mother and younger sister all served as Fu Juan's “teachers”. Gradually, Fu Juan went further and further on the path of worshipping "Almighty God". To avoid going against the "goodwill" of her mother and younger sister, Fu Juan gave up the idea of returning to work in Guangzhou, thinking that as "Almighty God" says "believing in God is most important while money isn’t." So she settled down in her hometown to practice her belief in "God" wholeheartedly.
In January 2012, Fu Juan offered her house as a reception point for the "Church of Almighty God" gatherings and also expressed her desire to provide as required by the organizers free lunches for the believers attending the gathering so as to show her obedience and loyalty to God. Little by little, Fu Juan fell deeper and deeper into the “Almighty God” cult, convinced that "Almighty God" was the truth and would lead her to the road of a bright life.
Getting bogged down deeper and deeper into the cult
Fu Juan attended on time two or three gatherings every week, rain or shine, without ever missing them. The brothers and sisters at the reception point were all very happy and get along quite well with each other just like one family, and she loved this kind of atmosphere very much. Listening to others talking about the miracles that happened in their life, such as witnessing the glory of God or being punished by God, she also felt gradually that God had already worked and manifested miracles in her life.
With increasing attendance at such gatherings, Fu Juan improved her sense of God and became more devoted to it. She participated devoutly in various gatherings. A church leader told them that "Almighty God" had reached the peak of his work and that with the coming of doomsday, false Christ and Antichrists might appear and many cults would draw people in. According to the church leader, Christianity and other religions say the "Almighty God" books contain overpowering drugs and may only be opened by sticks instead of by hand; Besides, Almighty God is going to combine all religions into one and have the Gospel spread to the whole world. In July 2012, Fu Juan was promoted by the "Almighty God" group as a lecturer, which gave her a sense of achievement that she had never had before.
Enticing lures that expand like soap bubbles
Being recognized by the church, Fu Juan worked even harder as a lecturer. "To preach more Gospel is to do good and it will bring you more blessings from God"— these beautiful words lured her away day by day, and her ambitions were growing like soap bubbles in the sky.
At a gathering at the end of October, the church arranged for its members after the regular classes to recommend lecturers, emphasizing the need to strengthen evangelism. Then, Fu Juan thought of her husband, believing that if they as a couple cultivated together, they would receive more blessings from God. Being unable to resist the temptation, Fu Juan's husband who loved his wife dearly joined the "Almighty God" at the request of her. Although Fu Juan had never seen God, she felt that God, as the church leader said, would bless her with more energy as long as she sincerely served him and preached more Gospel. For this, she had to draw more people into the cult. At this time, she remembered her brother-in-law, who was contacted by an "Almighty God" group from Lianzhou a month later to draw him in. This made Fu Juan further realize the power of the "Almighty God" groups, which had brothers and sisters scattered everywhere. Now that her family members had all become God's children, Fu Juan thought the good days would be coming. She felt very glad that all her family members, including her and her husband, her daughter, mother and sister, had all joined such a group.
Waking up to reality when imprisoned
In December 2012, Fu Juan was arrested by the public security organs for violating the law by printing 40,000 copies of "Almighty God" leaflets. Su Rou, her daughter, left home in March 2013 and hadn’t been heard of for more than two years.
With the help and education from people across all walks of life, Fu Juan finally realized the evil nature of "Almighty God". It made her heart bleed to think of her daughter who had been away from home. She regretted having believed in "Almighty God" and given up her responsibility as a mother. Later on, her husband told her the news that he had heard from their daughter, and Fu Juan regarded it as something that still worth living for.
(Excerpts from The Stories of 36 Cult Victims)