Shincheonji is a branch of a Christian new spiritual movement started by Lee Man-hee in South Korea. Shincheonji is also known as the Church of Jesus, the Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. Lee Man-hee based Shincheonji on 14th March 1984 and started its first temple in Anyang, Gyeonggi Province. The members of its followers grew, along with the membership was split into twelve tribes within South Korea according to its geographic territories. The headquarters were moved to Gwacheon in 1999 as it had a prophetic significance within Shincheonji theology.
In 2003 the earliest instance of deprogramming Shincheonji members began when the mainline Christian churches were alarmed with its members’ loss. According to the teachings of Shincheonji, it is asserted that Lee Man-hee is the pastor who is promised in the New Testament. And it is also believed that the Book of Revelations is composed in secret metaphor, which just Lee Man-hee can translate. Lee was also a part of this controversial group, the Olive Tree, before he founded his own religious movement.
According to the teachings of Shincheonji, it is true religion with that its members are going to receive salvation at the time of final judgment. And all those men and women who are not members of their group will be denied forgiveness and will be ruined. Shincheonji was one of those fastest-growing religious sects in South Korea, with members over 120000 from the year 2014 and around 200000 were estimated at the year 2020. In March 2020, just 317320 members were found registered while the government of South Korea’s health police was exploring the Covid-19 pandemic.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic in South Korea, this group became the center of intense evaluation. The outbreak of coronavirus cases started in Daegu following a 61-year-old member of the group has been found positive. The pandemic began to spike in Daegu after he infected the other church members. The disease began to spread among its members and lots of other people across the city. There was a national outcry against the group because the disease kept spreading.
But, the church or even the new religious movement is frequently known as a doomsday cult. The church became the highlight of intense scrutiny throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in South Korea. It was stated that the outbreak of the corona virus was situated in the city of Daegu, in which a 61-year-old Shincheonji manhood infected other church members and led to the spread of this pandemic. Regardless of the negative comments, the church is highly active in various cultural and social works. It participates in various volunteer efforts. Additionally, it runs various social action organizations.