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In North Korea thou shalt have only one god ... Kim

Jang Jin-Sung had a meteoric rise to the top of North Korea’s elite. Working in counter-intelligence and psychological warfare for North Korea’s secretive United Front Department he grew disenchanted with a regime that prospered while its citizens starved by the millions. In 2004 he chose to escape the world’s harshest totalitarian regime; the detailed autobiographical account of his escape, Dear Leader, recently soared to the top of best-seller lists around the world. Here, Mr Jang writes exclusively for The Catholic Weekly on the fate of North Korea’s Christians...

In North Korea’s capital city of Pyongyang, there are two so-called “churches”: Bongsu and Chilgol. When you go into these two buildings, the only two in the nation that feature a cross in their architecture, you can find priests preaching and even see members of the congregation entering the confessional. Last but not least, you can hear the singing of hymns.

But what most visitors fail to realise is that this whole production is specially staged for foreigners. Once they return to daily life after their shift, the performers become worshippers of Kim Il-sung, who is the true God of North Korea’s official churches.

The “priests” are actually loyal cadres of the Korean Workers’ Party who have been selected and specially trained for the job; and, for the purposes of maintaining operational secrecy, members of the congregation consist only of vetted family members of these “special-ops” cadres.     [Full Story]

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