‘In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal’: Kim Ki-Soon’s Baby Garden Cult, Mistreatment, and Death of a Young Boy

ShowBiz CheatSheet/March 3, 2023

By Gabriela Silva

Audiences of Netflix’s In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal are advised that the docuseries goes into detail about the crimes committed at Kim Ki-soon’s Baby Garden cult. While the crimes of JMS leader Jeong Myeong-seok seemed appalling, Baby Garden involved the death of a young boy. Here is a deep dive and breakdown of Kim’s rise to cult powers, the mistreatment of her followers, and more.

Kim Ki-soon enslaved and beat her Baby Garden followers ‘In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal’

Before getting into the murder cases, audiences have to understand Kim’s backstory. Kim did not rise to power on her own. She was an avid follower of pastor Lee Kyo-bu. But he was arrested and sentenced to prison for dancing naked during a religious ceremony. Lee explained that Kim had lost her parents at a young age and wanted to reach glory and honor. But when she married a pastor and had a child, her dream was a distant memory until it was not.

After Lee went to jail, many believed the holy spirit had moved to Kim. She had a unique doctrine advocating for love to enter heaven and live an eternal afterlife. Baby Garden began in 1982, and everyone believed it was heaven on Earth. In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal uses first-hand accounts from fellow Baby Garden members about giving Kim everything they had to buy land and build a compound. The real mistreatment soon began. Kim would force her followers to work day and night to make money.

The money accumulated into wealth for Kim and Baby Garden. After buying land, the members became laborers and built their perfect Eden. But Kim’s doctrine led to mistreatment, sexual abuse, and fraud. First-hand accounts stated they had to follow three rules to enter the “Millenial Kingdom.” They had to sever ties to compassion, material goods, and sexual desire.

The Netflix crime docuseries explores how the follower’s children had to cut ties with their parents and could not address them as mother and father. Siblings also could not acknowledge each other as family. Married couples did not live together and could not have sexual relations. Baby Garden’s followers became entrapped and enslaved people. Children were forced to beat their parents for wrongdoings. Kim also viciously beat her members.

Kim Ki-soon and Baby Garden were investigated for three murders

Part of Kim’s doctrine for Baby Garden, according to In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal, was that sex was a sin. Her followers could only have room in their hearts to love her and no one else. Sexual relations were forbidden and subjected to beatings. But Kim was a sexual predator. She appealed to the young male forbidden by calling them to her room at night.

One of her fellow followers explains, “She didn’t do it with just anybody. She only let her favorites do it. What do you think they did behind closed doors every time they met.” He explains that he did not know any better as a young man and thought of her as his “lover.” Other members recall sounds at night, and young men would enter and leave her room. Unlike other cults, In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal explains Baby Garden made more money exploiting its members, even children.

Baby Garden grew exponentially when Kim founded the record company Synnara. It became a grand success, even in rural areas. Money flowed like never before. But Kim and Baby Garden would fall on the police’s radar for three murders. Kang Min-koo was the chief prosecutor then and received statements from fellow members about mistreatment and three murders.

When In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal started, fans learned the brutal truth behind the murder of 5-year-old Nak-gwi. His mother was a member and often worked. Kim went to his aunt, ordering her to punish him. Bound in a pigpen, Nak-gwi’s aunt forced him to eat pig feces and beat him with a wooden stick. Women from the cult also took turns beating him. They believed he was possessed. Nak-gwi was bound for a long time, unfed, and beaten. Kim informed Nak-gwi’s mother of his death the day after and called her son’s death a “sacrifice.”

‘In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal’ reveals Kim Ki-soon was found not guilty and returned to Baby Garden

Besides Nak-gwi’s death, there were two other murder cases prosecutors needed to find evidence of. Yoon Yong-un and Seo Jong-won were beaten to death for defying Kim and the cult. In the case of Mi-gyeong, her story is one of horror. As a pretty and kind girl, she captured the attention of one male. It happened to be Kim’s son. Realizing it could cause controversy, she had her female followers beat her to death.

Prosecutors raided Kim’s home and hoped to arrest her, but she fled. On the run, authorities sought evidence of the murders beyond the testimonies. Their case fell on Baby Garden excavator driver Yoon Bang-su who disposed of Mi-gyeong and Nak-hwi’s bodies. Yoon admitted to what happened in 1987 and where the bodies were buried. But they could not be located.

The case fell apart until 1996, when Kim called the prosecutors to turn herself in. As expected, she denied all the allegations, and Yoon said he made false statements. In court, Nak-gwi’s mother denied what had happened to her son, despite the other members admitting to beating him. She was present when Yoon disposed of her son’s body and cremated it. She also signed the false death report.

In 1998, Kim was found not guilty of murder and fraud due to the lack of evidence. In the Name of God: A Holy Betrayal explained that she had paid her 5.6 billion won fine and was free to return to Baby Garden. She is one of Korea’s worst criminals, like The Raincoat Killer.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.