LUPD has installed its own set of COVID-19 guidelines. Lehigh Police Chief Jason Schiffer said he is pleased so far at students' willingness to follow Lehigh's new health guidelines. (Xinru Qin/B&W Staff)

“God the Mother” solicitors reported on campus

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Michelle Gebo, ‘21, was walking down to E.W. Fairchild-Martindale Library one evening when a woman stopped her near Packer Avenue. 

“Do you have a minute to talk about how God is our mother?” the woman asked. 

Gebo didn’t want to be rude. 

“Okay. I’ll talk to them,” she thought. 

Gebo said it had slipped her mind that she’d seen a message a few weeks before that warned students to “watch out” for solicitors on campus. 

Several students have experiencedand some have reported to LUPD—being solicited for information by individuals sharing material about “God the Mother.”

“God the Mother” is the female image of God, as recognized by the World Mission Society Church of God, a Christian non-denominational church. 

According to its website, the World Mission Society Church of God has registered members in 175 countries. The church believes in Elohim God—God the Father and God the Mother.

The religious movement began in South Korea when Ahn Sahng-hong, Christ Ahnsahnghong, founded the church in 1964. 

The church made news when former member Michele Colon told People Magazine the World Mission Society Church of God was actually a cult. 

The National Council of Churches in Korea condemned the World Mission Society Church of God as heretical.

More recently, students have seen posts shared on social media warning them of the church’s presence on college campuses. 

Brett DeWeese, ‘21, had seen a warning post on Instagram over the summer, which was shared by a friend who attends Syracuse University.

When some of her Lehigh track and field teammates told her they talked to a “weird person” who mentioned “God the Mother” this fall, she remembered the social media post. 

Another one of DeWeese’s teammates said she had talked to a woman sharing “God the Mother” information over the summer. 

“(My teammate) said the woman was totally harmless,” DeWeese said. “She just really wanted my teammate to give her her number or go to a meeting to talk more about it, but she said she talked to her, and nothing came of it.”

Students on other college campuses across the country have been exposed to social media posts and encounters with individuals who seem to be associated with the World Mission Society Church of God. 

LUPD Chief Jason Schiffer said his records show three reports of possible related incidents at Lehigh. For one of the instances, however, his department does not have enough information to directly connect the World Mission Society Church of God to the situation.

He said though there were three official reports, LUPD could have received more calls or tips, but the amount of detail given determines whether the instance culminates in a police report. 

The three reported instances occurred during September and October this year. 

Schiffer said Lehigh is a private property and does not allow solicitation from outside groups. An outside group can fill out the paperwork to register to hold an event on campus, for example, but it has to go through the proper channels. 

“So what we tell anyone who is trying to solicit anythingif they’re trying to sell things to our students or solicit information or anything like that(is) … they can do that stuff on the sidewalk off campus, but not here on our campus,” he said. 

Schiffer said it is legal for individuals or organizations to stand on a public sidewalk off campus and talk to people as they pass by. If the behavior starts to cross into harassment, however, the situation could rise into criminal behavior. 

Schiffer said it is relatively rare to have outside solicitation on campus.

Gebo said the “God the Mother” solicitor advised her to give her time to talk to others. 

“She was saying, ‘If you ever run into people, you should give them 10 or 15 minutes of your time to talk to them,’” she said. 

Gebo said the woman asked if she wanted to know more, and though Gebo said no, she assumes the woman would have asked her for her information if she had been interested.

Schiffer said if students question the legitimacy of an individual or group on Lehigh’s campus, they should call LUPD so the officers can take appropriate action. He said students should ask individuals if the organization they represent is authorized and connected to the university. 

He said it is safer to ask an individual or organization for its contact information instead of giving out your own.

“Now, you can check up on them without giving your personal identifiable information away,” Schiffer said.  

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3 Comments

  1. Deacon John Novak on

    This group is dangerous and self destructive and has its members cut off all relationship with family and friends who are not members of this cult they preach a dead Korean guy who stated this church in 1964 they claim he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ they insist that you keep the weekly sabbath and dietary law found in the ot book of Leviticus women must wear veils on their head in church women and men are seated separately in church they believe they must keep the 6 holy days of the Old Testament and all
    The Old Testament comandments and keep the Passover to be saved the ignore the death and resurrection of Jesus on the cross or that you are saved by what Jesus did for us on the cross and we are saved by grace not the law

    • Apparently, I met a lady from the church today who wanted to “share the good news about the mother” with me. I thought she wanted to talk about the role of mothers and women in the Christian society. Then she started talking about a woman Spirit and how this is the way to be saved.
      She also said we have to keep the sabbath and passover and that we are not saved fully yet. Meaning that what Jesus did is not significant. I was shocked. I made her realise the only way to be saved is through Jesus and what He did. His death, burial and resurrection.
      She even said there’s a male God and a female God (who is the new Jerusalem) and believing in this is what brings salvation. hahaha.

      I showed her John 3:16 again. The most common verse about our salvation. And even that we confess with our mouth and we believe with our heart that Jesus died, was buried and rose again for us and this is how we are saved. This is the gospel according to 1 Corinthians 15 :1-3 And that we are the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus.

      She rejected all I had to say and even said I want displaying humility. She only mentioned the name of the church once and not again when I asked thereafter.
      We She saw she couldn’t shake my belief, she said “God bless you and bye”.

  2. Today I was on my break at work, sitting outside on a small stairs. I was approached by 3 women, but only one talked to me while the others stood by. She wanted to share the word about “God the Mother” and said “did you know that in the Bible, God is speaking in plural?” She then showed me Genesis 1:26 where it says “in our image” and saying how man is in Gods image and females are in God the mothers image. She didn’t take too much of my time and I just didn’t want to be rude, but I’m glad she wasn’t super pushy and asking for my own information (she didn’t ask for my number or anything). She did say that they have bible studies going on if I was interested, I explained I don’t have the time as I am a student and working. She said “okay, you can think about it when you hear about us again” and left me after that. Felt off especially since I’ve been hearing about “God the Mother” on TikTok and people trying to get peoples information.

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