Tue, Jun 15, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Probe investigates finances, practices of religious sect

By Cody Yiu  /  STAFF REPORTER

A religious organization was recently accused by its members of random matchmaking and amassing money under the guise of helping its members cast off bad luck.

A Chinese-language report said the Noah True Love Religious Association (中華萬流歸宗諾亞真愛協會) has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars from selling religious beads, fortune-telling and providing name-changing services that purport to help members drive away bad luck.

The justice ministry's Bureau of Investigation has begun an investigation into these allegations. The members also claimed that the association's leader, Feng Mei-ching (馮梅卿), 45, set up a mandatory matchmaking system and dictated that all sect members must participate in it, regardless of gender or marital status.

Feng claimed to be matchmaking in the name of Only Match (淨配), which resembles Catholic Match. The latter program, formerly known as the St. Raphael Catholic Singles Network, offers single Catholics the opportunity to meet others for the purpose of discerning their ttitudes on marriage and religious life.

According to the report, the Noah True Love group currently has about 300 members, and most of them live in Taipei.

Although the doctrine of the sect resembles that of the Roman Catholic Church, members are told to shave their heads and dress like monks and nuns to solicit money from the public.

Meetings of the group are usually held at expensive hotels, sometimes after midnight.

Feng reportedly has claimed to be the Virgin Mary, and her doctrine has been adapted from the Christian bible.

According to the Civil Affairs Department, a group called the Noah True Love Religious Association (諾亞真愛協會) was registered last Sept. 21.

"Should the Bureau of Investigation's probe into this case find that this group has violated the law [article 58 of the Civic Organization Law (人民團體法)], the [agency] may take actions against it," said Chen Chi-hsun (陳其勛), a section chief at the civil affairs department.

Article 58 stipulates that organizations that conduct any illegal activities or activities that are detrimental to the public may have their registrations revoked and assets seized by the government..

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