Timothy A. Peters
Helping Hands Korea (& Asia Reach Ministries?)
Tim Peters, the “American humanitarian aid worker” based in Seoul, South Korea, was in the news again, speaking to the House Committee on International Relations, giving interviews about his work to aid North Korean refugees, talking about the Korean Underground Railroad, and talking about human rights. Peters describes himself as a NGO worker associated with a variety of missions such as Helping Hands Korea and Asia Reach Ministries, and Peters is appealing for your donations.
Appearing as a soft-spoken evangelical Christian pastor from Benton Harbor, Michigan, he prefers to be known as “Rev. Timothy A. Peters.” Perhaps he is who he appears to be. But then again, perhaps not. The question remains: why does Peters adamantly refuse to denounce the controversial group he joined in the 70s, one which he proudly associated himself with in recent years?
Peters is heavily featured on the pages of the Family Care Foundation (FCF) — a front organization with inextricable ties to The Family International, and he is is on record proudly associating himself with very same group.. Although the Family International prefers to present themselves as "an International Christian fellowship" and as a loose-knit fraternity of independent missionaries, a peek beneath the veneer will reveal that group—formerly known as The Children of God—is anything but. It is a high-control group typically referred to as a cult, a sex cult in fact, with a documented history of running prostitution rings and trafficking children.
In 2002, former members of the TFI who knew of Peters' activities in Korea contacted him, encouraging him to distance himself and his missionary work from an "abusive cult" with highly controversial doctrines and practices. Peters countered by posting at an open public Internet forum, stating that he was proud to be a member of the group. To date, he has steadfastly refused to distance himself from them or make any statements renouncing or denouncing the cult's teachings and criminal activities.
In the face of mounting criticism and increased public awareness of his cult affiliations, Peters engaged in campaigns of censorship, deleting and altering information about himself on his Wikipedia page. His daughter participated in discussions at exFamily.org's genX forum claiming, that he was no longer a member. In response, exFamily.org posted an Open Letter to Tim Peters, requesting that he get in touch personally with an updated statement in regard to his current affiliation and loyatlies to the teachings and leaders of the cult. Peters simply ignored the request—he continues to sing praises about the TFI's FCF operations to this day.
Peters' belligerence has cost him the support of the the very people he claims to be advocating for. After consistently ignoring the queries of NorthKoreanChristians.com—a major donor for his supposed cause—regarding his true standing with TFI, they were left with no choice but to withdraw their support and sever all ties with him.
The message from Peters is clear: he answers to no one.
Tim Peters — poster boy for freedom?
Does Peters realize the incredible irony of running a "Freedom Railroad" while still tied to The Family International? After all, The Family International is a group which itself is responsible for human-rights violations, such as the breaking up the family unit and the withholding contact between parents and children. The Family International has also been documented in court for running its own internal Gulags where teens were imprisoned for retraining, used for forced labor, beaten, confined, subjected to sleep and sensory-deprivation and denied food for days.
In touting himself as a proponent for social justice and nonviolent resistance, Peters is bringing awareness to political circles about the refugee problem—a good thing. But we are obliged to ask this: is Peters merely channeling resources and using already-existing South Korean government programs once the refugees have arrived, then taking credit as the Caucasian savior of Koreans who don't do much for themselves? One could get the latter impression from reading the FCF's pages.
According to a TIME magazine article, the operatives working inside China, South Korea and Laos are critical to the work on helping North Korean refugees escape to freedom. Apparently, the border between the Koreas is impossible to pass. The only smuggling of refugees that can take place is done by fishermen or other very clandestine operations. Could it be that the real heroes of the day are the South Korean relatives and indigenous Chinese Christians who do the real work, but for their own safety, must remain in the dark and away from publicity? What does Peters really do for them, and more importantly, what does he do with the money he raises for the cause?
While we believe in supporting bona fide charity organizations and do not want any genuine charity work to suffer, the public has a right to know the facts in order to make informed personal choices about where to place their hard-earned money.
Tim Peters — the facts:
As a donor you have a right to full disclosure regarding Peters' financial obligations: If he is a tithing member of The Family International, anywhere between 10% to 14% of his yearly income will go to The Family International's leadership. That money is then used for the promotion of controversial doctrines like Mastur**ting to Jesus and anti-semitism. That money will continue to support leaders who live in hiding to avoid criminal prosecution.
We urge you to find the answers for yourselves. If you are new to looking into this topic, we urge you to carefully scrutinize the answers you may get from "Rev." Peters. The Family International believes in using deception as a matter of policy, and its members have been found guilty of deliberate lying in court while under oath. For their own legal protection, the financial paper trail between The Family International and the Family Care Foundation is convoluted and well hidden, but the connection is undeniably there if you look.
Donating to Tim Peters, Helping Hands Korea or FCF? It is worth finding out:
NorthKoreanChristians.com, formerly a supporter of Peters' work, has tried to contact him, asking him to clarify his relationship with the FCF and The Family International. After not having heard back from him for some time, they were reluctantly forced to present a similar information page as this on their web site, asking some of the same open questions we've been asking for years:
Peters, just where do you stand exactly in regard to The Family International, its teachings and the FCF?
Tim Peters in the News:
LATEST: Daughter(?) tries to censor record of Peters' involvement with The Family International.
Peters still playing the name game: Same old same old denial, nothing new
More about the controversial group Peters is connected to, known as The Family International:
Discussions by people who know Peters personally:
Peters plays the name game:
FOOTNOTES & REFERENCES: