Dami Mission

A South Korean cult whose leader used a false apocalyptic prediction to defraud his followers out of millions of dollars.

Religion: Christianity
Denomination: Nondenominational
Founded: 1987
Ended: 1990s
Location: South Korea

The Dami Mission, also known as the World Peace and Unification Sanctuary, was a Christian-based new religious movement founded in South Korea by Lee Jang Rim, a former Presbyterian minister. Established in 1987, the movement gained notoriety for its apocalyptic predictions and the significant impact these had on its followers and broader Korean society.

Lee Jang Rim stirred global attention with his claim that the Rapture and the end of the world would occur on October 28, 1992. This date was supposedly revealed to him through a vision seen by a 17-year-old boy, and Lee argued that 144,000 believers would ascend to heaven at this time. Those not taken would endure seven years of tribulations involving war, famine, and various other catastrophes leading to the death of all life on Earth, culminating in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ​​​​.

The Dami Mission promoted this prophecy through extensive advertising in major international newspapers and published materials, including Lee’s book “Getting Close to the End.” As the predicted date approached, the movement’s activities led to a significant social crisis in South Korea. It was estimated that tens of thousands of Koreans were influenced by this prophecy, with some taking drastic actions such as aborting pregnancies, fasting to death, and even committing suicide. The belief in the prophecy also caused economic disruptions, including large sums of money left for those who would remain after the Rapture​​​​.

However, when the prophesied apocalypse did not occur, the movement faced widespread ridicule and legal scrutiny. Lee was arrested in September 1992 for fraud and illegal possession of significant amounts of cash, after investigations revealed that he had used the fear of apocalypse to defraud his followers of millions of dollars. The authorities also discovered that Lee had invested in bonds that would mature after the supposed doomsday, indicating his personal disbelief in the prophecy​​​​.

Following his arrest and the non-event of the prophecy, the Dami Mission was disbanded. Lee served a prison sentence and upon release, he founded another church but with a much smaller following. He publicly renounced his previous apocalyptic claims, attributing them to a dangerous and heretical misunderstanding of Christian eschatology​​.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *