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Students File Police Reports Over Fringe Church’s Recruiting Efforts

During the first week of school after Winter Break, Elizabeth Joseph, MCAS ’19, was sitting by herself in Eagles Nest when a Korean woman approached her asking if she could read her Scripture. The woman inquired into her knowledge of the Bible, and then asked her if she had heard of God the Mother. Unsure of what this was, Joseph was then asked if she would be interested in attending a Bible study session at an off-campus location.

Joseph did not end up attending the session, and had later learned of a rumor that God the Mother is a human trafficking scheme.

“This past week, I’ve heard of seven different people that this has happened to,” Joseph said.

Ivelisse Mandato, MCAS ’20, was also approached two times by different members of the church. After being read and quizzed on Scripture like Joseph, Mandato went to BCPD. There, she found out that another report on a similar incident had been filed that same day.

Students across the country have had similar encounters at institutions like Vanderbilt University and the University of Memphis.

The Boston College Police Department distributed a Community Awareness Bulletin to students informing them of these incidents.

“Boston College Police Department has received multiple reports of individuals not associated with Boston College soliciting BC community members to participate in Bible study groups,” the statement read. “This is being done in-person and through a variety of social media platforms both on and off campus.”

“Boston College has not authorized any of these groups to be on campus.”

In spite of these allegations of a human trafficking scheme, sources from across the country in similar situations indicate that this is solely a recruiting effort for the World Mission Society Church of God.

“There is no sinister sex trafficking group going from college to college—it’s just a religious organization called the World Mission Society Church of God,” said Harry Shukman, of The Tab. “They’re originally Korean, and have branches across the US.”

The World Mission Society Church of God also confirmed that the aforementioned incidents are solely recruiting efforts in a statement made in January.

“Recently, we were made aware of a social media post in which someone appears to accuse the Church and its members of being linked to a ring of sex [and] human trafficking,” the statement said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. We are a church of Christian love and denounce any such activities wherever they may be carried out.”

BCPD said no criminal activity has been linked with the group’s activities and that they are being investigated with local and state agencies. BC’s The Torch reported that the individuals approaching students are connected to the World Mission Society Church of God on Jan. 31.

Featured Image by Taylor Perison / Heights Staff

February 18, 2018