An Examination of the Eastern Lightning Cult

For several hours the three imposters argued among themselves, making us feel guilty for not wanting to break up and go different ways. Lies came one after another until finally we were convinced that it was rude for us not to obey the wishes of our hosts. The Xian man shouted, “Hallelujah! Thank and praise the Lord! God always remembers His sheep! We shall leave today.” This was how the EL successfully split the brethren. Later, using similar methods, the two brothers in Lanzhou and the two sisters who went to Xian were convinced to split again. The two men in Lanzhou were subjected to horrible torture, beatings and constant round-the-clock brainwashing and sexual entrapment.

Although neither brother gave in to fornication, they were given “medicine” for their painful injuries. This medicine made one brother even more ill, and he was unable to sleep. He lost his perspective and willpower. His mind was in a state of utter confusion. A woman was taken to his room, where they photographed him in his semi-conscious state with her, to be later used as “proof” of his sexual immorality. In Xian, we were introduced to two other women, and were told they had arranged meetings for us to teach at. They said, “Hurry, our two congregations are ready and waiting. What should we do? It’s a terrible waste to keep two good preachers together.” The two women began to argue who should get us. We felt embarrassed and agreed to split up, the sister going one way and me another. We did not see or talk with each other for the next five months. I was taken to Weinan, then to Tongguan, moving constantly. In my first meeting I was asked to teach. The congregation (all EL members) unfailingly praised my sermon, saying things like, “Your sermon was the best we have ever heard, please come to our village to preach.”

On the fourth day I was preaching when two men in the congregation made a scene. They were specially chosen by the EL to act as though they were demon possessed. They shouted, “Don’t listen to her!” They rolled around on the ground, hit people, and broke things. I was totally convinced these men were truly possessed. Seeing people possessed by a demon naturally attracted the attention of the congregation. They pleaded with me to cast the demons out. When I tried to pray over them in Jesus’ Name, these “possessed” people retaliated, holding me down, sitting on top of me, and beating me. The more I tried to cast out the devils the more possessed they seemed to become. One of the men mocked me, “Why do you still pray in Jesus’ Name? Don’t you know Jesus’ Name became useless long ago?” The congregation also mocked me, asking “Is Jesus’ name really powerless? Why can’t you cast out these demons?”

“The cult then moved to their next phase, called “break the escape.” It is their way of making sure I could not runaway. Somebody suggested that the two “demon possessed” men be sent to a mental institute for their own safety. The entire congregation was asked to donate money. They asked me, “Do you have any money on you? This will probably cost a lot, maybe tens of thousands.” This was how they removed all my money, more than a thousand RMB (US$ 120). Now I could not escape, as there was only one bus per day down from the mountainous area where I was being held, and I couldn’t get on the bus without any money to pay the fare.

The next day an Eastern Lightning leading “brother” named Wang Enguang from Zhejiang Province came to the meeting. When the two “demon possessed” men saw him they immediately fled to a corner of the room, tried to hide under a table, and shouted, “The Light! It is glaring! I’m afraid!” After some coughing they became calm, and the demons were presumed to have been cast out. The congregation all said with one voice, “Hallelujah! This is the truth!” I felt humiliated and defeated, while “preacher Wang” took center stage and explained the teachings of the Eastern Lightning. He quoted many verses from the Bible and systematically explained what they believe step by step. Then the members of the congregation took turns speaking, trying to convince me of my erroneous belief in Jesus. My heart became confused, worn down from lack of sleep and constant pressure. Every night they removed my shoes and clothing, so that I wouldn’t be able to escape. In addition, there was always one person watching me as I slept. I was never allowed out of the house. If I needed to go to the toilet I was given a pail to use. Slowly they were “changing my perspective” [brainwashing]. At one point I remembered my family and colleagues, and wanted to bring them in and tell them about the truth of the Eastern Lightning. I was fighting a losing battle.

I was also subjected to sexual temptation. At one stage two EL women slept beside me at night, one on each side, so that I couldn’t even turn over. In the middle of the night they shouted out Bible verses, acting like they were having a dream or vision from God. One woman claimed she saw a scroll descend from heaven. On it was written “Ruth 3:7,” the verse that tells when Ruth slept at the feet of Boaz. She said a voice from above also told her that I should do as Ruth had done; that I should obediently sleep with Wang. Praise God, the Lord was still protecting me and I was able to resist all of Wang’s evil advances. At first, I didn’t contemplate escape because of the isolation of where I was being held, and because I had no money. But one day I realized all freedom had been robbed from me and I had to do something before it was too late. God helped me slip away through the hills and I begged my way onto one bus after another until I finally reached Tongguan and Xian. In the end I was able to call my brother in law who asked a friend to give me a train fare back home. When I finally saw the faces of my brethren, I wept uncontrollably.”

This dear sister’s pastor concludes this terrible story….

“Of the four, she was the last to escape. She had been away for about five months. When she reached home, she did not look human. She believed she was going to die, and had written two wills, one to her family and one to the church. In her will to the church she wrote “Dear fellow workers, no matter when, no matter where, coworkers must not separate.” We all wept when we read her words. She had been brainwashed so that her mind was in a state of total confusion. She couldn’t pray for months. Even one month after her escape, this sister still didn’t believe the incident with the two demon-possessed men had been an act, so convincing was their performance. Many of us fasted and prayed all night for her, asking her to repeat prayers line by line, renouncing the cult and its false teachings…. Thank God, for He listened to our prayers, and this sister shined a little brighter each day.

In October 2000 two Eastern Lightning men came to our town looking for the four coworkers who had all managed to escape from their clutches. They secretly met with the sister, but she told me. She also warned me that they planned to kidnap me, and told me not to stay in my home.

We have other coworkers who’ve been caught by the Eastern Lightning and never came back. Some are staunchly following their erroneous doctrines. We had a female coworker named Chen who was invited to Anhui and has since changed sides and is now working for them. Another brother who initially really loved God, and was under our guidance for a long time, also changed sides. He constantly called me and asked me to come to meetings, but I refused. He was able to get a sister named Han instead. She was lost for 18 days. We found out later she had been confined in a cave in Gong County. She came back so badly beaten and bruised that she couldn’t get out of bed.

How can we combat this wicked threat to the church of Jesus Christ in China? First, we must communicate better. We can never, without prayer and confirmation, promise to go somewhere for speaking engagements. When we travel we must never go alone. The worst thing that has happened because of the Eastern Lightning is that the brethren have now lost mutual trust. We do not know if one of the members of our own congregations is an EL spy, nor can we tell if pastors and leaders from other churches are still walking rightly with God or have come under the EL’s influence.”

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This post was last updated: Dec. 17, 2012    
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