Dispatch Addresses “Timeline Errors” In DKZ Kyoungyoon’s Exclusive Interview: Koreans Remain Skeptical About The Idol’s Confessions
On March 13 (KST), Dispatch released an exclusive interview with DKZ member Kyoungyoon who admitted he fell victim to Jung Myung Seok (JMS)’s Providence Church cult.
Following the emotional interview, though—despite the international support he received for having the courage to speak up—Koreans expressed doubt toward the claims made in the interview.
Dispatch: Let’s talk about Wolmyeong-dong.
Kyoungyoon: I went to Wolmyeong-dong three or four times when I was in elementary school. My parents would take me there, saying that we should make good memories. I remember eating delicious food, swimming, playing soccer, volleyball, and basketball. Sexual exploitation? I had no idea that was happening. Those of us who came from the countryside to Wolmyeong-dong had no idea what happened.
Dispatch: Have you ever seen JMS in person?
Kyoungyoon: I have seen JMS in Wolmyeong-dong. There was a basketball court. JMS would pray at the opposite end of the court, and then he would shoot the ball. All of his shots would make it into the basket. I thought “What is that? How is that possible? Wow, he really is something else.”
Dispatch: He was called “Jung Messi” because he scored 30 goals in one match.
Kyoungyoon: There would also be a dozen goalies in front of him, but he would still score a goal. In reality, the goalies were not really blocking JMS. But when I was young, I saw how he passed through all of them, and I got hooked. I remember telling my friends, “There is someone that amazing out there.”
Referring to them as “errors in the timeline of his claims,” Koreans questioned some of the contradicting points in the idol’s statement.
Dispatch: JMS was on the run in 2000 when you were born. He was arrested in 2008, when you were 8, and released from prison in 2018, when you were 18. How come you still believed in JMS?
OP: Dispatch detailed the timeline of JMS’s arrest later in the interview like this. JMS was in prison between 2008 to 2018 while Kyoungyoon entered elementary school and moved on to high school. This means there is no way Kyoungyoon could’ve seen JMS in person in Wolmyeong-dong when he was in elementary school. This contradicts Kyoungyoon’s statement that he saw JMS playing soccer three to four times.
Another Article: Back in 1999, Jung Myung Seok faced some speculations of sexually exploiting his followers. He was overseas for a decade, doing evangelical work. In 2008, he was arrested in China then sent to Korea for sexual assault, rape, and harassment charges. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was released in February 2018. Four years later, he was arrested again for raping a follower in 2022.
OP: Other articles on JMS also confirm that he was imprisoned between 2008 to 2018. So it is simply impossible for Kyoungyoon to have seen JMS in person during his childhood and teenage days. Had he actually seen JMS in person, it would’ve been in his adulthood.
Soon, Dispatch updated its interview to include an update—after “checking back with Kyoungyoon” for clarification:
We checked back with Kyoungyoon regarding his memories from Wolmyeong-dong. When we told him that ‘JMS was on the run while he was in elementary school,’ Kyoungyoon tried recalling his memories again.
Kyoungyoon guessed that the man he recognized as JMS might have been JMS’s younger brother, Jung Bum Seok. He also said that, while he said ‘in elementary school’ specifically, he meant more in the sense of ‘when he was young.’
He also clarified his account on having seen JMS play sports. He commented, ‘I think I must have confused Jung Bum Seok who I saw at Wolmyeong-dong with JMS who I saw in the videos’ and asked for the readers’ understanding for the confusion.
Kyoungyoon said that the last time he was in Wolmyeong-dong was in 2018 when there was a big event celebrating JMS’s release from prison. He confirmed once more that he has never been to a JMS-affiliated event after he debuted as a K-Pop idol.
While apologizing for the errors in his memories, Kyoungyoon said that it has been such a long time and that he got confused. Kyoungyoon assured the readers that he still stands by what he said about regretting his past in association with JMS’s cult, reflecting on his actions, and promising to leave the Providence Church for good.
Regardless, the interview remains “taken with a grain of salt” among Koreans.
- “Is Dispatch his legal council or something…? Stop defending him with ‘updates’ or whatever. He needs to stop hiding, step up and speak for himself.”
- “Stop causing so much trouble for the group and please withdraw.”
- “Cult followers lie all the time. It’s a lie after lie after lie for them. Just drop out of the group, please.”
- “I don’t know if I can believe that he left the cult. But I can believe that he confused his memories from a long time ago. I, too, don’t have a lot of logical memories from when I was a child (before I turned 10). It’s not like we have mature minds when we’re at that age. It’s all a blur… I know that leaving a cult is difficult and that we need to make sure he keeps his promise. But I don’t think we should beat him up over making honest mistakes in his interview.”
- “Just shut up and leave the group, man.”
- “Who can remember all the details from their childhood? I, too, get it mixed up all the time… But I do agree that we should keep track of if he leaves the church or not.”
Some Koreans went as far as to do detective work and collect “proof” that the idol’s claims were “all for show.” For one, according to another viral theqoo post, Koreans believed Kyoungyoon was never in a “financial struggle” bad enough to be unable to afford singing lessons outside the cult…
OP: I think people could read his interview and think that he received help from JMS’s cult because he was not well off. (Keep in mind that, as a 00-liner, he was in ninth grade in 2015. His mom opened the cafe in 2020.) But while promoting with DKZ, he was branded as “The Rich Farmer’s Son” and “Heir of Youngdeok.” He, too, would talk about his parents’ orchard, farm, and private mushroom-growing mountain as his “selling point.”
Screenshot: [Kyoungyoon’s] parents own an orchard so the members at the dorm receive fruit often. (Rich in fruits.) His parents also own a mushroom-growing mountain and a dairy farm in Youngdeok. His mother runs a cafe near Youngdeok Market. So DKZ members sometimes poke fun at how “he doesn’t need to work but is promoting as an idol for funsies.” (The rich farmer’s son.)
…bad enough to be unable to afford singing lessons outside the cult.
There were various groups such as hip-hop, dance, band, and singing groups within the church. I really liked to sing. I wanted to get vocal training from someone who was good at singing. However, I wasn’t even able to think about it because of the financial difficulties my family had. That’s when I applied for the JMS singing club.
The idol’s past broadcasts in which the idol was referred to as “The Young and Rich Farmer’s Son” have resurfaced…
…and based on the fact that the idol “does not disagree” to these titles, the online comments found the interview hard to believe.
- “So full of lies.”
- “With all that land, his parents are registered farmers with the regional union for sure. Is he kidding? LOL.”
- “If he is so sure that he is done with the cult, he can meet up with the professor who unveiled JMS. Until then, his lies aren’t going to convince me.”
- “I also have relatives who run an orchard. I don’t know how big, but it’s similar to his… That being said, my uncle sold some of his farm land and bought himself a ₩2.00 billion KRW (about $1.51 million USD)-worth building in the suburbs. My point being, to ‘farm’ at such a scale, the family absolutely needs and has enough money.”
- “I never bought the management’s official statement either. He wasn’t ‘too young’ to believe it was a normal church.”
- “Look at all these lies… This is the reason people want him to withdraw from the group. Please quit.”
Some also questioned the intentions behind the subtle changes in his statement—like the one about his aunt. Before the interview, according to the skeptical Koreans, the “aunt” in question was thought to be not related to the idol. But in the interview, the aunt is identified as his mom’s sister.
경윤이 이모님께서 경윤이와 디케이지 멤버들한테 직접 손으로 써서 보내주신 메세지가 있다구ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ 넘 따수우셔… 🥺 pic.twitter.com/f2DLtOEPRB
— 경윤.zip (@kyoungyoonzip) April 27, 2022
I, too, have an older brother. I also have an aunt who is like immediate family to me. She’s always by my side. And she wrote down each member’s name and sent a congratulatory message…
The unconvinced Koreans also claimed that there are discrepancies in the idol’s stance on whether or not he was aware of what JMS did. Before the interview, in an official statement released by the management, he and his parents “thought [the Providence Church] was a normal church.”
DKZ member Kyoungyoon has checked with his family regarding their business, which was mentioned on social media and other web communities. As a result, it was found that until Kyoungyoon had realized through the tip-offs submitted by many people and the broadcast information, he thought his parents were attending just a normal church. He never experienced or realized whatever was broadcast in the show.
— Dongyo Entertainment
But in the interview, he admits to having known the church was not “a normal church,” to the point of having been bullied for following a pseudo-religion.
Dispatch: You must have seen the news about JMS, though.
Kyoungyoon: Ever since I was young, I was taught that JMS was falsely accused of his crimes. They teach you a lot of reasons why he is actually innocent. They basically cram us to believe those reasons. So, eventually, we were all brainwashed into thinking, “Oh, JMS was persecuted just like Jesus was.”
Dispatch: So you chose not to believe the news?
Kyoungyoon: The JMS I saw at Wolmyeong-dong did not appear like a sex offender. It was my mistake to judge him just by looking at him. I only followed what others said: To “not be swayed by the surrounding evils.” I didn’t think he would be someone capable of such things. I am so ashamed of myself.
Dispatch: What did you tell people about your religion, then?
Kyoungyoon: When I was young, I was bullied for believing in a pseudo-religion. I became a defensive person without even realizing it. So when someone asked about my religion, I said I was Christian. We all believed in God anyway. I have never mentioned JMS to my agency, members, or anyone else.
Amid the growing doubt, Kyoungyon is also receiving support from those who understand the struggles that cult victims face before and after deciding to leave their pseudo-religious facilities. Against the negative consensus toward an unprecedented “cult-associated K-Pop idol,” some Koreans are asking others to show him some grace for his courage and patience for him to “right the wrongs.”
He is proof and example of how dangerous it is to be born children of parents who are knee-deep in pseudo-religions. He had no choice but to believe in the Providence Church and was brainwashed from birth. I can’t ‘support’ him knowing that he took part in a cult, but I can keep watching him as he works on righting the wrongs. As a public figure—an idol with followers himself—he needs to be aware of the impact that he can have on other people’s lives. So he needs to understand, regardless of whether he is a victim or not, that he has to prove to his fans that he can and will sever ties with the cult. We, as onlookers, don’t have to fight and we don’t have to convince one another about what we think. What we should do is wait for him, hold him responsible to keep his promise to his fans, and wish for him to seek help and treatment once it’s all done and over.
Kyoungyoon has not yet issued additional responses to the questions that followed the interview—though, based on the fierce demand for his withdrawal from DKZ, some expect to hear from the idol soon.
Read his full interview here.
DKZ’s Kyoungyoon Admits He Was Victim To The JMS Cult In An Exclusive Interview With Dispatch
DKZ’s Kyoungyoon Admits He Was Victim To The JMS Cult In An Exclusive Interview With Dispatch
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