Local police say religious group legitimate

Published 1:05 pm Tuesday, January 30, 2018

After the University of Mississippi students took to social media sites Tuesday after members of a Southaven church approached people about joining their church on and off campus, investigators with the University and Oxford police departments have both announced the group has not committed any crimes.

OPD and UPD both posted on Facebook earlier today that they had received numerous calls and messages from students on campus and students living in student housing complexes, about a religious group approaching people and trying to get them to attend Bible studies, and asking for phone numbers.

“In conjunction with the University Police Department, contact was made with one of the members of the church. We have investigated and determined that the church, the World Mission Society Church of God, is a legitimate church looking to expand to our area.”

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According to the OPD, the Freedom of Religion Act allows people to go door-to-door sharing information, but investigators told the church members they should get permission from housing complexes before going door-to-door in those areas.

“As with any situation regarding your property or personal safety feel free to call us if you have any concerns,” the OPD statement reads.

The University Police Department posted a similar statement on their Facebook page Tuesday afternoon.

“Investigators at UPD have made contact with members of the organization and have communicated proper UM policies and procedures. At this time, neither UPD nor the Oxford Police Department can verify any claims that indicate that the organization is involved in criminal activity.” the statement read.

The church World Mission Society Church of God was founded in South Korea in the 1960s. They have more than 7,000 churches all over the world and are based out of New Jersey. The nearest church to Oxford is in Southaven.