Much has been written about the South Korean government’s repression of Shincheonji after the COVID-19 epidemic, which the movement was accused of having contributed to spreading. Less attention has been paid to Shincheonji opposition that started decades before the pandemic, rooted in campaigns by the Korean Christian countercult movement aimed at eradicating “heresies” and fast-growing competitors. This article discusses the history of Christian countercultism in South Korea, the rise of Shincheonji, and why it became a main target of the countercultists who opposed the movement both through deprogramming and by calling for its suppression by the authorities. Finally, this article addresses the countercultists’ hopes that Shincheonji will disappear when its founder, believed to be immortal by devotees (based on their interpretation of the Book of Revelation), will die.

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