An NHNE News Flash:
God Misses TV Appearance
Wednesday, March 25, 1998
In case you missed it, here's the latest on GOD'S SALVATION CHURCH in Garland, Texas, who expected God to make a television appearance yesterday.
With Love & Best Wishes,
UFO CULT CALM AS GOD MISSES PREDICTED TV APPEARANCE
March 25, 1998
GARLAND, Texas (CNN) -- Members of God's Salvation Church gathered at a member's house Tuesday night, waiting for a sign. Chen Heng-Ming, known to his followers as "Teacher Chen," had said that God would appear on television channel 18 worldwide at 12:01 a.m. CST, and in person via flying saucer on March 31. When the hour arrived, the set showed nothing but static. "Because we did not see God's message on television tonight, my predictions of March 31 can be considered nonsense," Chen said through an interpreter.
Chen's followers gathered at a cult member's house to watch for God's appearance. "I hope that everybody can still have the true belief in God, in the existence of God. Even though the image doesn't show on the television, I don't have any reason to doubt the existence of the supreme being, God." Chen, who said he would offer himself for stoning or crucifixion if his prophecies did not come to pass, says he will stay in Garland "to continue studying and researching." He insists that his followers are free to go their own way, and have always been. Chen, who claims he fathered Jesus 2,000 years ago and now talks to God through a ring on his finger, brought his followers from Taiwan to the Dallas suburbs to await God's appearance. The 150 members, who dress all in white, from their sneakers to their cowboy hats, sold everything back home moved to Garland because, they say, it sounds like "God's land."
The group also built what they called a spaceship out of radial tires and plywood, and stocked a shrine with fruit, cola and crackers for God's arrival. Police cordoned off a 165-house area where the group lives, fearing the group might resort to suicide if God did not appear. Chen insisted that there was no threat of a mass suicide like that of the Heaven's Gate cult a year ago, almost to the day. "They've been model citizens," said Garland police Lt. Don Martin Tuesday night.. But, he said, "We would be remiss in our duties if we didn't consider that option."
Religious experts say the Salvation Church, whose members include doctors, engineers and teachers, is typical of the kind of religious groups that spring up at the end of a century. "They are comfortable with technology as a means through which spiritual powers can work," said Lonnie Kliever, a professor at Southern Methodist University. A neighbor says she does not mind having the sect next door. "They are not loud. They keep up their places nice. We could use more neighbors like them," said Bonnie Nichols.
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