Am I overreacting?
I very rarely post anything here (only to contradict something, mea culpa), but I honestly could not think of any other sub to post my case. The post might be a bit too long but there will be tl,dr in the end. My background: woman, raised in catholic schools but saved in reformed one.
My story. I have been living in South korea for two years now because of Grad School. Living far away from everything familiar, I found important to surround myself here with Christian friends.
The country is very infamous for its cults, we as foreigners are reminded of it, and I have been watchful of not "buying" the "suddenly-friendly" english speaking koreans who approach me near the campus. At least twice they were insistent enough in the whole "are you a christian" questioning to be borderline abusive.
Fast forward. Have been going to a church on campus, expat oriented, still feeeling the need for more community and learning. I met a nice group of koreans looking for language exchange partners one day in campus; once again, being careful with the type of questions they ask and what they seem to demand on this relationship, I conclude they they were nice enough. Friendship evolve, helps me cope with the extreme loneliness there is to be a Grad Student living abroad. But a few occasional friends is not enough, and the loneliness kicks in and leave me quite vulnerable. My friend Z (from the korean group) notices it and suggest for us to take "bible lessons" together. She studies in a all woman university and told me she met this missionary in a "church visit" made to her university (which is confessionally christian anyway). I think "ok, I just need to be careful, let's see". The missionary is really nice. But is not reformed. Nor catholic, nor anglican, lutheran, nothing. Says her church is non-denom, international oriented. The lessons do not strike me as heretic enough. But after a few months some of the content rubs me in the wrong way a little bit – and I start honestly believing is just the "reformed mindset" I have, nothing wrong with confrontation, let's push it. Casting doubt over your salvation? Well you should really pay more attention to your fruits and all. Keeping the promise over the second coming is the most important part of your faith? Well… it… might?
Meanwhile a friend, named G, I had since day 1 in Korea calls me, and while talking abt summer jobs prospects she tells me her story of almost getting caught with some weird sect group. All started with individual bible lessons, to then suggesting a formal course. When going to the course place she found everything too shady for her (like treating the students as new believers, while she's been in the faith for a long time), and asking for some behavior she didn't like (as, asking to say "amen" after every bible sentence reading). She decided to leave the group, and warned me abt it. The group was also familiar to her roommate, and even to a korean older pastor she knows from another city. I make a mental note to keep out from it. My friend G is pentecostal and I thought if they did enough to spook her, I would be able to see it from miles.
A couple of weeks in this missionary, who has become to be my friend after months, invite me to take this course in her church (a supposedely non-denom international one), bc she figures I do better in academic setting than in one-on-one sessions. Which is true. And I'm also quite tired of having multiple sessions of study since I started working, the course environment might give me a bump. I go to her church, talk with the head teacher, an older lady. The church has no name whatsoever, but it is indeed full of foreigners. My mission friend explained a little bit how the course is supposed to be. Next day I go to the "first class", an introduction. The lesson is the Parable of The Sower, nothing toooo weird, but again, not completely orthodox* (I could go on that later). In the lesson they made clear the whole idea of "faith perseverance", and that if we started to take these lessons the ~enemy~ would trow obstacles at us. The Word is priority over school and work, and it was worth it, hard to disagree. At this point I was already trapped in guilt over my, what I considered, lazyness. Then finally the thing ends and the guidelines for the course is presented. 8 months of class, three times per week at the evening (I'm working, so that already put me off, and it would go even during my semester!), no payment but for building mantainance (weird for a seminar-like course) a few weird rules like "don't cross your leg", etc. Then more of the guidelines come and it finally clicked. Was the same damn group my friend G warned me about.
My missionary friend seems overjoy with me enrolling, which I don't, later I quietly go home (which is 40 minutes away from this "church"). I call my friend G, ask her for full disclosure. It is indeed the same group, even the lesson was the same. But different location and different "professor".
Heavens, how guillible I have been! Months of friendship with mission friend, and 1 year with friend Z! Aweird wave of cynism and suspiscion comes.
But the thing is, was that so bad? Clearly they were not orthodox, and they were my friends, so the suspiscion now does feel overboard. And it is not truth that persevering in the Word studies is important? And I was quite lonely and found friends with these two.
I could talk to my mission friend abt not joining and my restrictions, but am I even being reasonable? It doesn't seem like a cult that much. Tl;dr: Have been lonely while doing Grad School in South Korea. While I did my best to avoid cult recruiting, I ended up befriending people from a "church" who deems to be non-denom and worried abt putting bible lessons to foreigners. Non orthodox. Could stop seeing them but I would be back to lack of studying again, and maybe a little confrontation is good?
Submitted by HubbiAnn