China’s Scary And Fast-Growing Cult Eastern Lightning

eastern lightning

Chinese Christians live in fear of being kidnapped and brainwashed into Eastern Lightning. Vice writes:

In some ways, Eastern Lightning are hilarious. For starters, the cult’s core belief is that Jesus Christ has been reincarnated as a middle-aged Chinese woman called Lightning Deng who now lives in Chinatown in New York. Then there are the bizarre evangelizing attempts to recruit China’s rural communities—stuff like the sudden appearance of live snakes painted with scripture and mysterious glow sticks hidden in people’s homes that somehow (I’m really not sure how) signal the second coming of Christ.

To their victims, though, Eastern Lightning aren’t a joke. The cult operates by infiltrating China’s underground house churches (proper ones are banned in China) and integrating themselves into the community, before allegedly seducing, kidnapping, bribing, or blackmailing members into joining them. Highly organized and comprised of more than a million members, according to some estimates, Eastern Lightning train their leaders to build trust slowly over months before making their move.

The government has been upping its efforts to root out the cult since the December 2012 protests, sometimes subjecting Christian house church members to violent interrogations in an effort to reach Eastern Lightning members.

Outside of Chinese Christian communities, the cult’s violent activities go largely unreported. But within those circles, Eastern Lightning are highly feared. I contacted the director of one of the largest Christian ministries in Asia, but he declined to speak to me out of fear that the cult would target him.

In 2002, Eastern Lightning kidnapped 34 leading members of an underground Christian network, the China Gospel Fellowship, and held them captive for two months. I managed to speak to an American missionary, Hope Flinchbaugh, who met one of the kidnapped Fellowship leaders while in China. According to Flinchbagh, women from the cult seduced the captured pastors and took compromising photographs to blackmail them later if they resisted their conversion efforts.

One pastor, she said, was drugged and restrained while two women whispered Eastern Lightning doctrine into both of his ears throughout the night. Others had “legs broken and ears cut off.” When one of the victims finally escaped and informed the police, every single one of the cult members supposedly disappeared without leaving a trace.

Read the rest at Vice.

5 Comments on "China’s Scary And Fast-Growing Cult Eastern Lightning"

  1. Reminds me of another large, Chinese pseudo-Christian cult at war with their gov’t:

    Let’s keep the death toll under 60M this time, guys.

    • Calypso_1 | Aug 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

      We should point out that the leader of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom was proselytized by Edwin Stevens of Yale Divinity School. Yale Divinity a few years later established branch campuses in China that have been tied to Skull & Bones, opium smuggling and the OSS.

  2. BuzzCoastin | Aug 28, 2013 at 1:33 pm |

    > China’s underground house churches (proper ones are banned in China)

    they are not banned, they operate above ground
    I know Party members who claim to be Christians
    the house churches are “illegal” but
    the law hasn’t been enforced in decades

    as to the rest of the story
    it’s happening all the time in the land of the free
    on a much larger scale

    • ThomasArezzo | Aug 28, 2013 at 10:39 pm |

      You said it Buzz. I live in Beijing and I can tell you that there are numerous, very active churches here. And yes this sort of weirdness has been going on in the U.S and Africa since there were crazy white folks there to do it. Everybody loves to point out the insanity of China, especially those who aren’t here or are but don’t want to understand it, but the truth is the whole world is unhinged. Its just easier for most folks to distract themselves with something alien and novel.

      Calypso makes a good point as well, I’ll have to check up on that.

  3. As long as they don’t start abusing kids at daycare centers, everything should be fine.

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