China-originated ‘religious cult’ trying to garner followers in Nagaland
Dimapur, June 26 (EMN): An alleged religious cult by the name of ‘Eastern Lightning’ is reportedly trying to set base and garner followers in Nagaland by adding people on social media platforms such as Facebook.
Eastern Lightning, which is also known as ‘The Church of Almighty God,’ is said to be a religious movement established in China in 1991 by Zhao Weishan.
The organisation reportedly faces various allegations such as kidnapping, murder and infiltrating themselves into various church organisations in China as well as in the United States of America.
Speaking to Eastern Mirror, Pito Kiba, a member of Faith Harvest Church in Kohima, who has been ‘researching about the cult’, alleged that its members use Facebook as a platform and befriend many young Nagas.
“After they befriend them, the phone numbers are asked and those Nagas are added on WhatsApp groups where they have daily worship,” said Kiba.
Kiba claimed that there could be approximately 300-400 members from Nagaland since they ‘started actively recruiting from at least two years ago’.
He shared that his church pastor asked him to research on it and claimed to have found many youths, not only in the state but also Nagas living in other states, were also being contacted via Facebook.
“I was also added to one of these groups for my research but was discontinued to be part of the group by the admins because of the many questions I was raising,” he said.
Kiba, who has a degree in Theology, claimed that the group has “twisted and distorted” the word of the Bible.
“According to them there are three different ages, the age of law, age of grace and age of kingdom; they believe that we are now living in the age of kingdom,” said Kiba.
When asked what the age of kingdom means for the cult, Kiba claimed that the members of the cult ‘believe that Jesus has been reincarnated in the form of a middle-aged Chinese woman who is now presently living in America’.
“Basically, they are teaching that they do not need the Bible anymore as Jesus has been reincarnated in the form of the Chinese lady and only the word of God will come from this flesh,” Kiba said.
“I have personally reached out to some Naga members, but it is difficult as they are all young and have been brainwashed,” Kiba claimed.
Many Nagas have also claimed to have been approached by members of Eastern Lightning on social media platforms.
Pastor Shan Kikon of Faith Harvest Church, Kohima and Dr. Khetoser Kevichusa, a noted speaker, also spoke extensively about apologetics and cults in a live video conference on Facebook.
Speaking about the Eastern Lightning organisation, Pastor Shan claimed that he kept getting friend requests from Chinese women, and after investigating further, he found that most of them were part of Naga groups on Facebook.
“They join these groups and indoctrinate the Naga youths in the beliefs of their cult,” Kikon stated and claimed that when a member passes a certain stage, they may even be allowed to start a church or delegate the teachings to others.
Kevichusa cautioned that it was very easy to label a group that is different from “us,” hence one has to be careful while differentiating various cult organisations.
“Cults are an offshoot of Christianity, which can involve certain social traits and practices that are not normal, like mind control, paranoia etc.,” said Kevichusa.
Stating that they deny the central doctrines of Christian faith, he said that a cult would represent itself as the ‘highest and one and only form’.
The associate pastor of Dimapur Ao Baptist Arogo, Imnatoshi Longkumer, also said that there were many other organisations that have been trying to ‘sway away young Nagas.’
“We are becoming like namesake Christians that is why we are tempted to join such cults; if you are sure of your faith, it will be difficult for such cults to recruit people into their organisation,” Longkumer said.
Further, the pastor said that ‘one cannot force others not to go or join any organisation but one must be aware of their faith truly’.