The director of Netflix‘s In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal shared the eerie stories of cult members stalking him and the victims.
Cho Sung Hyun, the director of the docuseries, not only shared that the reality of the JMS cult was ten times worse than shown on screen but that he experienced JMS members following him.
There were many twists and turns throughout the making of the docuseries, but the frequent leakage of personal information was remembered as a creepy experience for the production team. He claimed members of JMS, also known as Christian Gospel Mission or Providence, stalked, threatened, and hacked him and the victims that participated in the docuseries.
I have a three-tiered self-defense baton and a stun gun in my car. This has never happened in my 15 years as a producer.
— Director Cho Sung Hyun
The series covers four cults in Korea, the first being about JMS and its cult leader Jeong Myeong Seok, who claims to be the Messiah. In attempts to defend their leader and religion, JMS members physically interfered with the cast and crew of In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal‘s production team.
In fact, at the beginning of the first episode, Maple, a young victim from Hong Kong, can be seen being followed from Incheon Airport to her hotel as soon as she lands in Korea to speak out against JMS. She continued to be watched from a car outside her hotel.
In an interview on MBC Radio‘s Kim Chong Bae’s Attention, director Cho Sung Hyun said that even though he changed Maple’s flight ticket three times, JMS members would come to the airport and physically stop her from getting on the plane and leaving Hong Kong.
He also shared an eerie moment of JMS members stalking a victim.
When we were filming with a victim, it was raining outside so the victim gazed out the window. Then, she got a text saying, ‘You’re looking out the window, too? It’s raining.’ It was so scary.
— Cho Sung Hyun
There were even moments when director Cho Sung Hyun suspected there was a JMS follower among his production team. “There were a lot of situations where I wondered how this information was handed over to the other party,” he said. “Once, while preparing for a video interview with a victim from Australia, we got a text that said, ‘Don’t accept to do the interview’ five minutes before it started, as if they knew.”
He also said that information shared in a conversation he had with Maple in a pre-interview was reflected in the defense at the time of the examination of Jeong Myeong Seok’s arrest warrant.
Suspicious of how the JMS members seemed to know what was happening with the production, the director tried various methods to figure out who was spilling the information—he even tried leaking the wrong information and not sharing details about the filming, but he did not find a culprit.
I ended up in a situation where I was doubting everybody.
— Cho Sung Hyun
However, the production eventually came to an end and director Cho Sung Hyun thanked the 200 people he met while producing the docuseries.
He thanked the victims who participated and vulnerably shared their testimonies and praised Pastor Kim Gyeong Cheon, the ex-vice president of JMS, for sharing everything he could about the situation as an insider.
He also thanked Professor Kim Do Hyeong, an anti-JMS activist, for playing “a big role in the process of bringing JMS to an end.” He added that many people are participating in the lawsuit against the cult leader.
Lastly, he gave a message to those still active in JMS: “Silence doesn’t change anything. Turn a blind eye, and someone will still exploit you in ten years. Ask yourself: ‘Is he really a Messiah?’ If you hear your mind saying no, it’s time to speak out.”